Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Brunei Darussalam’

20th February 2012

In previous postings on this web log the issue of a single travel document for use throughout the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been discussed. ASEAN includes many of the nations which comprise Southeast Asia including: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam. At the present time, it is not possible to obtain a visa or travel document which would allow entry into all of these nations as travelers must obtain a visa for each individual country before traveling thereto (in some cases, visas on arrival or visa exemptions may be obtained depending upon the local immigration rules and the passport holder’s nationality). Many travelers find that this situation can make traveling in Southeast Asia rather difficult as obtaining multiple visas from multiple Embassies and/or Consulates can be a time consuming endeavor. In an effort to remedy this situation, many of the ASEAN nations have voiced support for a single ASEAN visa scheme. However, efforts to implement a single ASEAN visa program have yet to bear fruit. Recently, it came to this blogger’s attention that the Vice-President of Indonesia has made comments in support of further efforts to facilitate a single ASEAN visa program. In order to provide further insight into these developments it is necessary to quote directly from a January 13th article posted on the website Philstar.com:

JAKARTA (Xinhua) – Indonesian Vice President Boediono asks the ASEAN to speed up implementation of a joint visa for the region in order to boost the number of foreign tourist arrivals and services in the industry in the region amid the global economic crisis threat, a statement from the vice presidential office said here on Friday…”The goal that we want to reach is not only the increasing number of tourist but also the improved quality of services and the sustainability of the visits,” Boediono said…ASEAN leaders had given commitment for the implementation of the facility during the 11th ASEAN Summit in Bali in Nov. 2011.

Readers are asked to click upon the hyperlink noted above to read this article in full.

There is little doubt that a single ASEAN visa scheme would provide benefits to ASEAN members in the form of increased tourism especially for destinations that are sometimes overlooked by travelers put off by the prospect of processing more than one visa application. One could also speculate that a single ASEAN visa would be beneficial to business travelers wishing to visit more than one ASEAN jurisdiction.

Currently, it does not appear as though a single ASEAN visa scheme will be implemented in the near future, but there is room to hope that progress will be made as it appears there are many officials in the region who support the notion of a single ASEAN visa, at least conceptually. Meanwhile, issues associated with visa procurement in Southeast Asia are evolving. To shed further light upon recent developments it is necessary to quote directly from the website Eturbonews.com:

For now, non-ASEAN travelers have to play with different rules for almost each country…Myanmar just announced at the end of last month to implement e-visa facilities and relax entry into the country.

In an interview conducted by the Myanmar Times newspaper, Union Minister U Tint San declared on February 1 that the government will try to introduce an e-visa system from March that would allow international visitors to apply from anywhere via the Internet before visiting Myanmar. In parallel, the e-visa would allow travelers to enter or exit from any border crossing point. The web address for the proposed e-visa site is www.myanmarevisa.gov.mm . At ATF, Phyoe Wai Yarzar, Secretary of the newly-formed Myanmar Tourist Board, explained that e-visa facilities would, in fact, be the most efficient way for the government to balance the absence of diplomatic representations.

They are also rumors that Vietnam would work on a e-visa solution. There is already the possibility of getting a pre- E-visa clearance in certain cases. But the procedure remains expensive and on a case-by-case basis. Officials from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism admitted during the ATF that lengthy visa formalities are certainly a major handicap to the development of tourism. Nothing official has been announced so far, but it seems that the government seems to realize that it has to change the way visa is provided if Vietnam does not want to lose out tourists to other destinations.

The administration of this web log encourages readers to visit the hyperlink noted above to read this article in detail.

In the past, the process for obtaining a visa to enter Myanmar (Burma) could be quite cumbersome. It has been this blogger’s relatively recent experience that obtaining a Myanmar visa is somewhat time consuming, but not particularly difficult compared to visa procurement for other nations in the region. Hopefully, the developments mentioned above will lead to further streamlining of visa processing for those wishing to enter countries such as Vietnam and Myanmar (Burma).

Although it remains to be seen when a single ASEAN visa scheme will be fully implemented ASEAN members appear committed to such an endeavor which will likely provide benefits for all concerned.

For related information please see: Thailand visa

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3rd October 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the dynamics of Sino-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam) relations has been a topic of discussion. In order to provide further insight into these matters it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of Bernama at Bernama.com.my:

KUALA LUMPUR, October 3 (Bernama-AsiaNet) — The economic relation between China and the ASEAN is very close despite the territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The establishment of the China and ASEAN Free Trade Area creates the world’s largest free trade area that comprises developed countries and has 1.9 billion consumers, a GDP of nearly US$6 trillion and foreign trade totaling US$4.5 trillion…

This blogger asks readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read this article in detail.

It would seem that many feel as though there will likely be further economic benefits derived from further economic cooperation between China and the countries which comprise ASEAN. In the context of specific countries, such as Thailand, this benefit may be further magnified by bilateral relations with the US. Thailand maintains a strong economic relationship with the United States as enshrined by the US-Thai Treaty of Amity. Bearing this in mind, the dynamics of Asian economics is subtle and multifaceted. That stated, there are many indications that the economies of Asia will continue to economically thrive in the future.

In news pertaining to travel matters in the United States it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been recently analyzed for what appears to have been an invasive pat down of a woman who had been afflicted with breast cancer. In order to provide further information regarding this situation it is necessary to quote directly from a posting by Lori Dorn via Boing Boing on the website Gizmodo.com:

Lori Dorn, the wife of Laughing Squid’s Scott Beale, recently submitted to a backscatter scan at JFK airport. The TSA pulled her aside for a breast patdown, even though she stated she had breast implants in place after her bilateral mastectomy. Of course, that didn’t stop them. They didn’t even let her take out the Device Identification Card that would could have explained where the implants came from and their medical purpose. No. Instead they humiliated her in public…

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the aforementioned hyperlinks to read more from this interesting article.

In this blogger’s mind, there is no question that security should be a concern for travelers both in the US and abroad. However, usage of the term “security” as an umbrella term to allow for the humiliation of a breast cancer survivor seems rather draconian especially in light of the fact that the woman in question apparently had a Device Identification Card for just such occasions seems perplexing, to say the least. Hopefully measures will be taken to provide some sort of protection for travelers with disabilities so as to address safety concerns while simultaneously preventing humiliation while traveling.

– Benjamin Walter Hart

For information pertaining to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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2nd October 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the President of the Philippines has voiced his belief in the advisability of further integration of the economies in the countries which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam). In order to provide further insight into these comments it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of Asia One at AsiaOne.com:

Asean must take advantage of opportunities at a time when the world’s traditional growth centres are slowing down, Philippine President Benigno S Aquino III yesterday said. At the close of Asia Inc Forum’s Asean 100 Leadership Forum here, Aquino said for Asean to grow further, it is necessary for the member states to work together to continue to maintain peace, stability and an environment that attracts investments. “I am aware that the diversity in Asean makes it difficult to completely agree with one another on some issues, but this has not stopped us from collaborating on the economic front, and integration has always helped us push our economies.”

This blogger encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read this interesting article in detail.

There seem to be few who question the soundness of the idea that economic integration in ASEAN would provide benefits to the citizens of all of the economies at issue. That stated, ASEAN is a unique regional bloc due to the fact that it has utilized a relatively slow economic integration process which has allowed the participating members to provide mutual benefits to one another while simultaneously allowing the member nations to respect the views of each other regarding national interest and foreign policy, especially in a global context.

Meanwhile, another ASEAN member; specifically the Kingdom of Thailand, has recently been the topic of an article about that nation’s relationship with the United States. In order to provide further context it is necessary to quote directly from an article by Walter Lohman posted to the official website of The Heritage Foundation at Heritage.org:

The United States and Thailand have enjoyed more than a century and a half of close relations, beginning with the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce in 1833. They fought side by side on the Korean Peninsula and fought together again in Vietnam. However, as a result of U.S. withdrawal from Indochina, both nations’ 1970s rapprochement with China, and China’s subsequent rise to major power status, the alliance has struggled for lack of shared strategic purpose…As critical as this cooperation is, it is not enough to reconstitute a grand strategy on the scale of the Cold War. But rediscovering shared purpose in the U.S.–Thai alliance does not require a grand strategy. The regional dynamic is too complex, Thailand’s position ambivalent, and America’s own relationships in the region too varied and layered to foster a strategic meeting of the minds with Thailand…Both U.S. and Thai officials praise Cobra Gold as a pillar of the cooperation and interoperability of the U.S. and Thai militaries, an achievement that has proved useful for military missions, such as joint patrols of vital sea lanes, and noncombat missions, such as disaster relief following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2008 Cyclone Nargis in Burma.[1] Two other major joint exercises are the annual CARAT (Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training) naval exercises[2] and Cope Tiger, an exercise involving both countries’ air forces…[3]

The administration of this web log asks readers to click upon the aforementioned hyperlinks in order to read this article in detail.

This blogger must take note of the rather precise understanding of the complex interplay of relationships between Asian countries in the context of global diplomacy. It is especially gratifying to see that type understanding in an analysis of US-Thai relations. A prime example of how some such relationships smoothly operate over time can be viewed in an analysis the relationship between the United States and Thailand. The US-Thai Treaty of Amity has proven to be a useful platform for Thai-American business while simultaneously having the ancillary benefit of providing new business opportunities in the economies of the surrounding nations. Hopefully the same trend will continue and similar situations will arise in the other ASEAN economies which foster and facilitate sustainable regional growth for the whole of ASEAN.

For information pertaining to procurement of legal services in the Kingdom of Thailand or the Greater ASEAN region please see: Legal.

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27th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the question of ASEAN economic integration may be a topic of discussion at an upcoming forum. In order to provide further insight it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of Asia One, AsiaOne.com:

BRUNEI – Just how close is Asean to becoming “One Asian”? That’s one of the main questions, executives, government leaders and members of civil society will tackle in the upcoming Asean 100 Leadership Forum, said Dato Paduka Timothy Ong (pic), Asia Inc Forum founder and chairman. As the convenor of the Asean 100 forum, Dato Ong hopes the forum will provide an avenue for people to agree, or disagree to “learn from each other effectively”. The One Asean question is one of two questions that Dato Ong finds important in order to help Asean businesses and leaders advance further. “Some people will say we are close, some will say we are not close, but no one will say we are already there. So how close are we and what do we need to do to get to ‘One Asean’?” The second question was made to be “slightly provocative”, where Asean 100 asked if the Philippines can be the next “Asian Tiger”…

The administration of this web log encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above in order to read this insightful article in detail.

As frequent readers of this blog may be aware, there has been much discussion pertaining to the jurisdictions which comprise ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam) especially regarding the future ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). In fact, there has been some speculation that a unified ASEAN visa scheme may be employed in order to streamline travel in the region, but such developments have yet to come to fruition. The future of ASEAN and Greater Asia is a matter of speculation for many, but there is reason to believe that the ASEAN economies will be robust in the coming years.

In matters pertaining specifically to the Kingdom of Thailand it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the amount of certain Condominiums in Greater Bangkok has apparently declined in recent months. For further clarity it is necessary to quote directly from the Property Report website, Property-Report.com:

The supply of new condominiums in Greater Bangkok has declined an estimated 10 per cent this year, while the number of new low-rise units is increasing, according to a report released by the Real Estate Information Center (REIC). Land allotment permits for low-rise units, excluding vacant land lots totalled 27,400 units in the first half of the year, up from 19,800 in the same period of last year. The increase in low-rise units is expected to equal the peak witnessed in 2005. According to the Bangkok Post, last year, low-rise permits totalled about 51,400 units, up from about 42,600 units in 2009. Meanwhile, the number of new high-rise housing construction permits in Greater Bangkok in the first quarter dropped to 260 buildings containing 1.51 million sqm from 302 buildings with 1.59 million sqm in the fourth quarter of 2010…

The administration of this web log encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read further.

Many foreign nationals in Thailand opt to purchase a Thai Condo since it may be possible to gain freehold title to such property. Such title is also referred to as Chanote Title in Thai. That stated, there are concerns among many foreign real estate purchasers regarding the conveyancing of such property so some opt to retain the services of an attorney in Thailand to assist with such an endeavor.

For information pertaining to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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25th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that there has apparently been some analysis of a recent American report on China’s military. In order to provide further insight it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of China Daily, ChinaDaily.com.cn:

WASHINGTON - The US Department of Defense on Wednesday unveiled its annual report on China’s military, recognizing and welcoming China’s contribution to international safety and security… The report, titled Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, recognized that China has made “modest, but incremental, improvements in the transparency of its military and security affairs,” while alleging “uncertainty about how China will use its growing capabilities.” China has repeatedly stated the defensive nature of the country’s national defense policy, issuing a white paper on national defense in March to enhance its military’s transparency and boost the world’s trust in its commitment to peaceful development. The Pentagon report also noted China’s investment in modern military hardware and technology, including in its naval forces, as the country started its sea trials on a refitted aircraft carrier…

This blogger encourages readers to click on the appropriate hyperlinks noted above to read this article in detail.

As China becomes an increasingly important component of the geopolitical landscape it stands to reason that there will be analysis of that nation’s defense and security apparatus. Meanwhile, there is speculation that China will continue to expand economically along with other nations such as those which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam). In fact, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Foreign Minister of Singapore was noted for comments regarding the future prospects of ASEAN amidst concerns about the global economy. In order to provide further clarification on these developments it is necessary for this blogger to quote directly from the Channel News Asia website ChannelNewsAsia.com:

SINGAPORE: Minister for Foreign Affairs K Shanmugam said he believes ASEAN can overcome the challenge of another global economic crisis. But Mr Shanmugam stressed it’s all the more important ASEAN remains focused on realising the common goal of an ASEAN Community by 2015. Mr Shanmugam was speaking at a reception to celebrate ASEAN Day. In commemoration of the group’s 44th birthday, embassies and consulates in all ASEAN member states will now fly the ASEAN flag permanently alongside their national flags…

The administration of this blog asks readers to click upon the hyperlinks above to read this this insightful article.

There are some who are of the opinion that the economic integration of the jurisdictions which comprise ASEAN will result in significant economic benefits for not only the ASEAN countries, but China, India, the so-called BRICS countries, the USA, and the Asia-Pacific region as a whole. Moreover, with recent discussion of a possibly unified ASEAN visa system there is strong evidence to suggest that further positive economic and trade developments may arise in the relatively near future.

For information pertaining to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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24th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that a Professor in the sovereign State of Utah has apparently filed a declaration regarding statements pertaining to the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA). In order to provide further insight it is necessary to quote directly from the website of Talking Points Memo, TalkingPointsMemo.com:

A University of Utah professor who specializes in the study of affectional bonds and same-sex sexuality is accusing House Speaker John Boehner’s legal team of distorting her research. Professor Lisa A. Diamond, whose work was cited by the legal team arguing on behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives that the Defense of Marriage Act is constitutional, filed a declaration in federal court stating that the legal team “misconstrues and distorts my research findings, which do not support the propositions for which BLAG cites them.” The legal team chosen by Boehner, headed by former Solicitor General Paul Clement, quoted Diamond as writing that there “is currently no scientific or popular consensus on the exact constellation of experiences that definitively ‘qualify’ an individual as lesbian, gay, or bisexual” as support for their claim that sexual orientation isn’t immutable. “That is incorrect,” writes Diamond. “My quoted statement concerns the scientific and popular debates over the defining characteristics of LGBT individuals and it says nothing whatsoever about the immutability of sexual orientation itself…”

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks above to read this article in detail.

The provisions of DOMA currently result in a situation where same sex bi-national couples are unable to enjoy the same visa benefits as their different sex counterparts most particularly in the form of the K-1 visa, the CR-1 visa, and/or the IR-1 visa. Currently, proposed legislation such as Representative Jerrold Nadler‘s Respect for Marriage Act and Uniting American Families Act would ameliorate this situation, but passage of said legislation remains to be seen.

In news pertaining to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Secretariat of ASEAN is apparently releasing information regarding human trafficking. To provide further insight this blogger is compelled to quote directly from the official website of the Malaysian National News Agency website, Bernama.com:

JAKARTA, Aug 24 (Bernama) — The Secretariat of Asean on Wednesday made public the Progress Report on Criminal Justice Responses to Trafficking in Persons in the Asean Region, says Vietnam News Agency (VNA). The report highlighted achievements made by Asean during the past decade in the fight against human trafficking and its forthcoming challenges in the near future. It also underlined the need to perfect the legal system on transnational crimes, promoting regional cooperation, raising efficiency of verifying, prosecuting and convicting human trafficking criminals as well as protecting and helping victims. Addressing the ongoing 11 th Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) here, Asean Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan said that the report will provide a cooperation model for countries as well as other regions…

This blogger asks readers to click on the relevant links above to read more from this interesting article.

Human trafficking is a problem that many nations tackle with and it is genuinely reassuring to see the jurisdictions which comprise ASEAN (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam) taking the time to analyze this issue as it is certainly a problem deserving of attention.

For information pertaining to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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23rd August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice has apparently filed a memorandum noting un-Constitutional discrimination imposed pursuant to the provisions of section 3 of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA). In order to provide further insight this blogger is compelled to quote directly from the official website of Instinct Magazine, InstinctMagazine.com:

President Obama’s Department of Justice filed a memo in support of Edie Windsor’s case against the “Defense of Marriage Act” on Friday, marking the second time the Administration has officially stated its opposition to the discriminatory law.

Windsor, who was subjected to unjust federal taxes after her partner of 44-years passed away in 2007, filed a lawuit challenging DOMA. Last week, the DOJ added its weight of support to her claims.

Written in the memo:

Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutionally discriminates. Section 3 treats same-sex couples who are legally married under their states’ laws differently than similarly situated opposite-sex couples, denying them the status, recognition, and significant federal benefits otherwise available to married persons. Under well-established factors set forth by the Supreme Court to guide the determination whether heightened scrutiny applies to a classification that singles out a particular group, discrimination based on sexual orientation merits heightened scrutiny. Under this standard of review, Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional.

But the DOJ states in the brief:

-DOMA is discriminatory

-Sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic

-Anti-gay discrimination on religious grounds is unconstitutional

-LGBTs make good parents

-DOMA is harmful to children…

The administration of this web log encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks above to learn more from this interesting article.

As DOMA is currently interpreted and enforced by the American government same sex married couples cannot obtain immigration and visa benefits such as a K-1 visa, a CR-1 visa, or an IR-1 visa. This current state of affairs may contravene notions of Full Faith and Credit as enshrined in the United States Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause. However, as there has yet to be a final resolution in the US Courts on the matter and as the United States Congress has yet to pass legislation such as the Respect for Marriage Act or the Uniting American Families Act the ultimate fate of same sex bi-national couples in America remains to be seen.

In news related to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN which includes the following jurisdictions: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam), it recently came to this blogger’s attention that there are those noting the possibility of further ASEAN economic progress in the coming months and years. In order to provide further information on these issues it is necessary to quote directly from the website of the Bangkok Post, BangkokPost.com:

CIMB Thai Bank is developing an infrastructure base to cope with greater business opportunities offered by the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, said chief finance executive Narongchai Wongthanavimok. Its major shareholder, CIMB Group, expects the AEC will increase deals in the region. The group has a strong network across Asean that can support CIMBT’s expansion in the region. The bank developed a core banking system and improved its financial support to cope with international transactions, he said. The Malaysia-based CIMB Group has the largest branch network in Asean with 1,105 subsidiaries across Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand. It also has plans for branches in Cambodia, India and Sri Lanka. The financial group is helmed by people from the region and it reaches 81% of the Asean population, representing 89% of the region’s gross domestic product…

This blogger asks readers to click upon the hyperlinks above to view this insightful article in detail.

One could infer from the information above that the increasing economic integration of ASEAN and the emergence of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) may result in further economic benefits for the jurisdictions which comprise the organization and region. As noted above, the ramifications of these developments could have implications for economies such as those of India and Sri Lanka since the increasing business and trade occurring in Southeast Asia could “spillover” into those nations. Meanwhile, discussion pertaining to an ASEAN visa have yet to result in the creation of a tangible unified ASEAN travel document. How all of the developments noted above will evolve over time and the ultimate fate of ASEAN’s economy remains to be seen, but there is clearly a trend of increasing optimism regarding the future of Southeast Asia’s economy.

For information related to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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20th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the chairman of the Malaysian Securities Commission was recently noted for comments regarding the future economic prospects of the ASEAN Community. In order to provide further information regarding these developments it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of The Philippine Star, PhilStar.com

KUALA LUMPUR (Xinhua) – As global stock markets tumbled over the week in response to the US credit woes and the Europe debt crisis, Malaysia’s Securities Commission chairman, Zarinah Anwar holds a positive view that markets in Southeast Asia is strong enough to fend off the crisis…”Domestic demand is still strong and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nation) has to continue to look at its neighbours to pick up selective demands that may arise as a result of the economic woes in our traditional export markets,” she aded. ASEAN’s effort towards an integrated regional economy, with 2015 as a deadline, also contributed to ASEAN’s sound environment…Countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines are in the process of developing a cross-trading arrangement linking their trading system, giving investors direct access to other markets. Currently, Bursa Malaysia, Singapore Stock Exchange, Vietnam’s Hanoi Stock Exchange and Hochiminh Stock Exchange, the Indonesia Stock Exchange, the Philippines Stock Exchange Inc have already linked up on a website labelled as “ASEAN exchanges” which provides investors with access to check the top stocks in the region…[sic]

The administration of this web log encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to read this fascinating article in detail.

There has been a great deal of discussion surrounding the future of the economies in the jurisdictions comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam). In fact, there has even been discussion about a possibly unified ASEAN visa similar to that utilized by some of the members of Schengen area in Europe. As of yet, such discussion has yet to yield tangible results, but there are those who hope that further discourse on the topic may result in a unified visa of some kind coming into being. Hopefully, ASEAN continues along the path of economic growth to the benefit of all concerned.

In news pertaining to the continuing struggle for LGBT Equality it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the American government appears to have noted the un-Constitutionality of certain provisions of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) in the US Courts. In order to provide further insight it is necessary to quote directly from the website of Metro Weekly, MetroWeekly.com:

Back on July 1, the Department of Justice took a big step in defining what its Feb. 23 decisionthat the federal definition of marriage found in Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional would look like. In Karen Golinski’s case seeking equal health benefits for her wife, DOJ argued that the case should not be tossed out of court and should be allowed to proceed. On Aug. 19, DOJ went a step further, telling a judge in the Southern District of New York that Edith Windsor — who is seeking a refund of the more than $350,000 estate tax bill that she had to pay because her marriage to her deceased wife, Thea Spyer, was not recognized by the federal government — should be granted that refund because DOMA’s federal definition of marriage is unconstitutional…This is the first time the government stated affirmatively in court that a lawsuit requiring that Section 3 of DOMA be struck down as unconstitutional should succeed…[sic]

This blogger asks readers to click upon the hyperlinks above to learn more about these developments in detail.

For those unfamiliar with the current immigration implications of DOMA it should be noted that said legislation precludes accordance of US visa benefits such as the K-1 visa, the CR-1 visa, or the IR-1 visa to same sex couples even where the couple has entered into a same sex marriage in a American State jurisdiction which legalizes such unions. Currently, proposed legislation such as Representative Jerrold Nadler‘s Uniting American Families Act and the Respect for Marriage Act would rectify this current discrimination to one degree or another, but the ultimate fate of these bills remains to be seen.

For information related to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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18th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Customs and Border Protection Service (USCBP) is apparently poised to begin issuing new identification cards to participants in the Global Entry Program. In order to provide further insight into these developments it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of USCBP, CBP.gov:

Washington – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today announced that Global Entry members will now be issued a Global Entry version of the SENTRI card which allows expedited entry into the U.S. from Canada and Mexico using the NEXUS, SENTRI and Ready Lanes at land ports of entry. The new card operates as a SENTRI card for Global Entry members. The Global Entry card is a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)-compliant, radio frequency identification (RFID) technology-enabled document that may be used by U.S. citizens when entering the U.S. through a land or sea port of entry from Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean…

Readers are strongly encouraged to click upon the aforementioned hyperlinks noted above to read this information in detail.

Frequent readers may recall that the Global Entry Program was purportedly created in an effort to streamline the process of entering the United States for American Citizens. How the creation of new identity cards will facilitate this program remains to be seen, but hopefully such developments will be beneficial for all concerned.

In news pertaining to the economies which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam), it recently came to this blogger’s attention that some commentators are noting positive economic developments in the region. To quote directly from the Money Control website, MoneyControl.com:

ASEAN economy has proven itself to be resilient, but there are lingering challenges and risks, including the sovereign debt crisis and fiscal problems in some developed markets, rising food and commodity prices, and continued financial market stresses…According to the ASEAN secretariat’s press release received yesterday, ASEAN’s recovery as a whole has matured as both exports and domestic demand fueled growth to expand by 7.5% last year. Intra-regional trade and investment flows also showed an upward momentum and are likely to support domestic growth this year, which is projected between 5.7% and 6.4%. ASEAN`s merchandise trade grew at 32.9% last year, as trade value jumped from USD 1.54 trillion in 2009 to USD 2.04 trillion last year, after the 19% decline in 2009,” according to ASEAN`s high ranking officials as quoted by the secretariat. As an attractive foreign direct investment (FDI) destination, ASEAN has maintained its allure…

The administration of this blog recommends that readers click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to read this article in detail.

As ASEAN jurisdictions continue to be “alluring” to foreign investors it stands to reason that further economic growth can be expected in the future. That stated, as ASEAN has a unique Constitution in much the same way that each of her component jurisdictions have unique Constitutions one can easily infer that the trajectory and complexion of the economic growth and innovation in the coming years may be quite unlike anything seen in recent memory. For instance, the ramifications of a unified ASEAN visa much akin to the Schengen visa scheme in the European Community could be economically explosive while such a visa scheme could be custom tailored to the unique needs and desires of both ASEAN as a whole and her member nations.

For information pertaining to legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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13th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that an 11th Circuit Court of Appeals decision apparently found certain sections of the law enacting American health care reform to be unconstitutional. In order to provide further details this blogger is compelled  to quote directly from an article written by JENNIFER HABERKORN and posted to the website of Politico, Politico.com:

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday ruled that the health care reform law’s requirement that nearly all Americans buy insurance is unconstitutional, a striking blow to the legislation that increases the odds the Supreme Court will choose to review the law…The 2-1 ruling marks the first time a judge appointed by a Democrat has voted to strike down the mandate. Judge Frank Hull, who was nominated by former President Bill Clinton, joined Chief Judge Joel Dubina, who was appointed by George H.W. Bush, to strike down the mandate…

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Where governmental officials impose restrictions upon individual rights there may be an argument that said activity violates the United States Constitution. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether this case will be appealed to the United States Supreme Court and, if it is appealed; whether the Supreme Court will grant Certiorari. Even if the Supreme Court opts to review the matter it is difficult to speculate as to their decision since Supreme Court decisions should never be considered foregone conclusions. Hopefully the ultimate decision in the matter benefits all concerned while remaining in compliance the the law and principles of the United States Constitution.

In news pertaining to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community was noted for comments regarding ASEAN’s perspective on economic issues in the United States and Europe. To provide further elucidation on these developments it is necessary to quote directly from the website MYSinchew.com:

MANADO, Indonesia, Aug 12 (Bernama) — The Association of Southeast Asia Nations (Asean) learns a lot from debt crisis in Europe and the United States, looking ways to avoid such disaster, a high-ranking official at the Asean Secretariat told Xinhua news agency in an exclusive interview on the side lines of Asean Ministers Meeting in North Sulawesi provincial capital city of Manado. Deputy Secretary-General of Asean for Asean Economic Community Sundram Pushpanathan said that in term of the current situation in Europe, Asean has agreed to stay vigilant. “After experiencing two crises in the region (in the past), ASEAN recognizes the importance of coordination of policies and keeping each other informed, so that the region stays stable in the situation. And of course, I think that from the EU, we have learned a lot of lesson,” he said…[sic]

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Many of the jurisdictions which comprise ASEAN (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam) have shown strong growth in economic terms. Meanwhile, further integration facilitated by trade is likely to lead to further economic advantages for the ASEAN region in the coming months and years. Discussion regarding a unified ASEAN visa could result in tangible benefits to business travelers and those wishing to streamline regional business operations.

For information about legal services in Southeast Asia please see: Legal.

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