Under The Radar News, 12.18.09

Posted on Friday, December 18, 2009 by Prashanth Parameswaran

A weekly compilation of underreported developments in Asia

China To Deepen Rural Credit Cooperative Reform (Xinhua) - Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan said China would deepen the reform of its rural credit cooperatives in order to better serve farmers and facilitate rural economic growth. The cooperatives are major sources of agricultural loans in the rural areas.

ADB Approves Loan to Rebuild Cambodia's Railway System (Xinhua) -The Asian Development Bank approved 42 million dollars in investment to boost Cambodia's battered railway system. If successful, rail travel into Cambodia from other Asian countries could be possible by 2013 and Phnom Penh will be at the center of a growing trade network in the Greater Mekong Subregion.

Japanese Computer Servers Involved in International Cyberattack (Japan Times Online) - Japan's National Police Agency suspects that eight computer servers in Japan were involved in a wave of July cyberattacks that hit government and commercial websites in South Korea and the United States. The attack overloaded the web servers of 35 government and private organizations, including the South Korean presidential office.

Indonesia Boosts Naval Capabilities (Jakarta Post) -The Indonesian Defense Ministry signed a contract with the state aircraft producer PT Dirgantara Indonesia (DI) to procure three CN-235-220 Marine Patrol Aircraft over the next two years. The signing is part of a wider strategy shift by Jakarta to shore up its procurement of domestic weapons systems and increase its lagging defense spending.

China Beginning to Reverse 'Brain Drain' (UPI Asia) - Research indicates that an increasing number of Chinese students and professionals who study abroad – mostly in the education and technology sectors – are heading back home instead of remaining overseas. Though the trend, which started in 2001, suggests Beijing may be beginning to reverse its 'brain drain', statistics also indicate that those who stay abroad longer are less inclined to return.

Palau, Saint Lucia, call for Taiwan Inclusion in Climate Talks: (Taiwan News) - Palau and Saint Lucia advocated the inclusion of Taiwan in global discussions at the 15th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). Taiwan has previously called on the UNFCC to reconsider its participation in lieu of its extreme vulnerability to climate change. Palau and Saint Lucia are two of the 23 countries that still have relations with Taiwan.

Increased Thermal Coal Demand from India and China Threatens Supply (Bloomberg)- A new JP Morgan report says supply of thermal coal will be tight over the next two years due to soaring demand from India and China. The fuel's price is expected to rise from $70 a ton this year to $85 in 2011. The report attributed part of the demand upsurge to the rise of electricity generation in China.

Report Says Burma One of “Worst Affected” Countries By Climate Change (The Irrawaddy)- A report published by the Berlin-based climate watchdog Germanwatch mentioned Burma as the second-worst affected country by climate change in the world over the last two decades. Five other Asian nations made the top 10 list, including Vietnam, India, China, and the Philippines. Burma, one of the world's least developed countries, has been ravaged by illegal logging and struck by devastating natural disasters, including Cyclone Nargis in 2007.

Indonesia Could Embrace Nuclear Power Next Year (Sydney Morning Herald) - Indonesia could formally embrace nuclear power as early as next year, building up to four reactors to address growing energy demands. The plan raises serious concerns about radioactive leaks, particularly given the reactors' proximity to a Central Javan volcano.

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