bne IntelliNews – Torpedoed. Georgia’s government knocks out consortium contracted to build Anaklia deep sea port but flagship infrastructure should still be built

Though Georgia’s government has torpedoed the consortium it asked to build a $2.5bn flagship deep-sea port on the Black Sea coast, there are few politicians in the small country that would openly declare that the long prized infrastructure ambition should be dropped—especially with the Georgian general election coming up later this year. The prospect of building the port not only helps spread the feelgood factor among Georgians wanting affirmation that their country at the crossroads of Europe and Asia has solid economic growth prospects. It also helps to symbolise the desire…

China’s counteroffensive in the war of ideas

From Beijing’s perspective, political influence operations are at least as important as military operations, if not more so. Although the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) military modernisation programs have been at the centre of attention for decades, China’s influence operations have only recently begun to be scrutinised. It is easy enough to understand why. Policymakers can easily point to an adversary’s growing military capabilities in order to raise public awareness, highlight the potential danger posed to the nation’s security, and rally their constituents around the need to provide adequate means to…

Three-way maritime standoff emerging in Spratlys — think tank

Three-way maritime standoff emerging in Spratlys — think tank MANILA, Philippines — A three-way maritime standoff among China, Malaysia and Vietnam is developing in the disputed  Spratly islands in the South China Sea, a Washington-based think tank reported on Saturday. The Center for Strategic and International Studies-Asia Maritime Transparency International (CSIS-AMTI), in its latest monitoring of the South China Sea dispute, said the developing standoff stemmed from Malaysia’s gas and oil exploration within its declared fields that sit on block ND1 and ND2 in the archipelago. “A months-long standoff over…

China’s Belt and Road detours downstream in Myanmar

Ethnic wars, security concerns and official foot-dragging have all conspired to stall China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) plan to build a high-speed railroad from its southwest down through Myanmar’s volatile northern regions to the Indian Ocean.     But Beijing has an emerging alternate plan: Develop a safer trade route via Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River – a 2,200-kilometer waterway which flows north to south through the length of a nation known for its lack of modern roads and rail links. The China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC), a BRI-driven plan to link China…

Is the country moving in the right direction?

Is the country moving in the right direction? Consider: • President Duterte abrogated the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States due to his pique over the United States’ cancellation of the US visa of Senator Bato dela Rosa. He has made a strategic shift away from the United States with deep consequences to our economy and our national security over a trivial matter. However, the cancellation of the visa of his friend and political supporter, Senator Bato dela Rosa, may have been just a pretext on his real intention…

Plug the gaps to make Malaysia a maritime nation

Location alone will not be enough for Malaysia to thrive in the maritime sector, experts say, as more effort are still needed to streamline and merge agencies in the sector while adding new functions and roles to close the gaps that have been the bottleneck in the sector. MANCHESTER: Location alone will not be enough for Malaysia to thrive in the maritime sector, experts said. Malaysia is a blessed nation, be it for its natural resources, political stability or even geographical location along the Strait of Melaka, which is a…

We need to intensify our marine conservation efforts

By Natalie Parletta At least a quarter of the Earth’s oceans need urgent conservation measures to preserve marine biodiversity, according to an international study, and more than eight million square kilometres need new conservation initiatives. “Given only 7.9% of the ocean is currently protected, this represents a pretty large increase,” says Kendall Jones from the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, US, “but bold steps like this are necessary if we’re going to secure the health of our oceans.” Recent decades have seen encouraging growth in marine conservation efforts, but…

Vietnam, US Cooperate on Arrest in Child Sex Case | Voice of America

Vietnam and the U.S. have announced that cooperation on cross-border crime has led to a U.S. grand jury indictment of an American teacher accused of traveling to the Southeast Asian nation to have sex with minors. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California alleged that the teacher, Paul Marshall Bodner, of San Francisco, California, “met Vietnamese boys as young as 11 or 12 years old and engaged in sex acts with them at a hotel located in Ho Chi Minh City when he traveled to Vietnam” in…