Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Philippines’

23rd April 2014

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the President of the United States is set to visit Japan in order to begin a multi-nation trip around North and Southeast Asia. Currently on the itinerary are South Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Apparently, the trip is being undertaken in an effort to strengthen ties with those nations and to further showcase the administration’s commitment to the “pivot” policy whereby the United States will further concentrate upon ties with the nations of the Asia-Pacific region.

It is interesting to note that this recent trip comes during a time where there are perceived to be increasing tensions between the United States and the Peoples’ Republic of China. Moreover, recent Chinese claims to territories in the Eastern and South China seas have caused further tensions between China, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, and Malaysia (to name only a few). The issues surrounding dealings with China, which is one of the United States’ largest trading partners as well as a competitor for influence in the Asia-Pacific region, are likely to be at the forefront of discussions between the American President and his counterparts in the various countries to be visited. As economic growth in Southeast Asia continues, it stands to reason that building long-lasting economic ties with the region is a substantial concern. Meanwhile, smaller Asian nations may seek support from the United States in an effort to counter what some view as an overly expansionist China. All of these issues arise at a time when the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is preparing for further economic integration in the form of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) which is set to come into effect in 2015. How ASEAN integration, Chinese expansion (both militarily and economically), and American foreign policy will interact in the months and years ahead remains to be seen, but clearly Southeast Asia remains at the forefront of geopolitics.

With respect to the Kingdom of Thailand, it appears that Thai officials are preparing for ASEAN economic integration by encouraging the creation of an ASEAN trading hub in Southern Thailand. As Hat Yai is currently a significant trading center in the Southern region of Thailand and boasts of an international airport along with multi-cultural demographics it is a logical location to capitalize upon ASEAN economic integration which would result in significant benefits for Thailand domestically as well as Malaysia and ASEAN as a whole. The economic benefits which could arise from ASEAN economic integration are virtually limitless and perhaps one day the ASEAN trading bloc could be as economically dominant as the economies of the USA and China.

 

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17th August 2013

In previous postings on this blog the issues related to same sex marriage in the United States, and the immigration benefits connected thereto have been discussed. However, discussion about how same sex marriage is viewed in the eyes of the law in Thailand has been comparably brief. As of the time of this writing, there would seem to be a growing movement to legalize same sex unions in Thailand following a recent case involving two same sex partners who attempted to register their union in Thailand in much the same manner as different-sex couples. To quote directly from the Asia Times website:

Last year, Nathee Theeraronjanapong (55) and his partner Atthapon Janthawee (38) decided to make their 20-year relationship legal. Citing section 1448 of Thailand’s Civil and Commercial Code, which deems same-sex marriage unlawful, the head of registrations in Thailand’s northern city of Chiang Mai handed the couple a letter of denial…

An English translation of Section 1448 of the Thai Civil and Commercial Code reads as follows:

A marriage may take place only when the man and woman have completed their seventeenth year of age. But the Court may, with appropriate reason, allow them to marry before attaining such age.

In much the same way that Section 3 the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) only Federally recognized marriages between a man and a woman (notwithstanding the fact that some States recognized such unions) the governing laws of the Kingdom of Thailand only recognize marriage as a union between two people of the opposite sex. Notwithstanding the law’s view of this issue, it should be noted that the Kingdom of Thailand remains one of the most tolerant jurisdictions in Asia when it comes to issues of race, religion, creed, and sexuality. Thailand has a significant and thriving LGBT community and even in the workplace the sexual preferences of employees are considered personal matters. This stands in stark comparison to the atmosphere in other Asian countries and even other jurisdictions within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). To quote from the website of Inter Press Service News Agency:

Sodomy is criminalised in six member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – namely, Brunei, Burma, Malaysia and Singapore, as well as Marawi City in the Philippines and the South Sumatra Province of Indonesia.

At a very early stage compared to other nations around the world (including the United States), in 1956 Thailand repealed the law making sodomy illegal thereby permitting intimate consensual relationships between consenting adults of the same sex. This decision placed Thailand among the most progressive nations in Asia (and the world) on the issue of LGBT equality.

However, it would appear that implementing policies to allow same sex marriage in Thailand is a more daunting endeavor. Many outsiders view Thailand as having a somewhat laissez-faire, perhaps even libertarian view, on social issues. In fact, many Thais are very conservative in their opinions, especially Thais of the older generations. This is not to say that such people are intolerant as many Thais maintain very conservative personal opinions while simultaneously remaining tolerant regarding the decisions and life choices of others (a dichotomy which makes Thailand such a wonderful and interesting place to live). However, this dichotomy must be taken into consideration by those pressing for changes to the Thai marriage laws as the Inter Press News Agency noted:

Danai Linjongrat, executive director of the Rainbow Sky Association, has been urging caution in the drafting of the civil union bill, so that it will not inadvertently fan the flames of intolerance and heighten regional stigmatisation of the LGBTIQ community. “We are looking for a bill that equalises all relationships,” he told IPS. “For example, the current marriage law grants heterosexual couples the right to marry once they reach the legal age of 17, but for LGBTIQ people the legal marriage age would be 20 years old.”

This blogger feels that it is likely that the rules regarding registration of marriage for same sex couples in Thailand will change at some point in the future. As the younger generation grows older it stands to reason that many will feel that the current legal prohibitions on same sex marriage are antiquated. Furthermore, Thai lawmakers often maintain a deep sense of pragmatism when it comes to issues which may impact tourism and foreign capital investment in the country. Should same sex marriages be permitted in Thailand, the already large LGBT tourism sector would likely grow due to others from Asia (and around the globe) traveling to Thailand to register their marriages. Also, those foreign nationals with a Thai same sex spouse would be more likely to bring their assets to a jurisdiction which recognizes their union as such a jurisdiction would provide ancillary benefits regarding issues such as estate planning, healthcare decision making, and taxation. Although LGBT equality is a human rights issue and not strictly one of economics, the economic component of the same sex marriage debate is one that lawmakers are likely to take seriously. The conclusion of the same sex marriage debate in Thailand remains to be seen, but a rational debate of this issue in Thailand is a good start.

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9th August 2013

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the regional bloc which includes Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, celebrated it’s 46th birthday. To quote directly from the website thepeninsulaqatar.com:

DOHA: Ambassadors of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Qatar were in accord, saying Asean will meet its target to integrate the 10 nations’ economies by end of 2015, as they celebrated the 46th Asean Day yesterday at the Vietnam Embassy…Singapore Ambassador Wong Kwok Pun cited some areas that Asean has made progress on the implementation of the Asean Charter. In particular, he pointed out Asean has made headway on disputes settlement mechanism, has been working towards the implementation of the roadmap for the Asean community, and taken big steps toward an integrated and sustained economic development…

The implementation of policies which would create an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) has been an oft-discussed topic among business and legal professionals throughout Southeast Asia. This issue is such a significant topic because by creating a unified Southeast Asian marketplace the countries which comprise ASEAN would become one of the largest markets in the world virtually overnight. That stated, there is a great deal of debate as to whether or not the transition into a unified market will occur smoothly. Some argue that the disparate laws, regulations, and policies throughout the ASEAN member states will not easily coalesce into a workable framework for businesses to operate in the region until governments in ASEAN can implement local policies to bring their regulations in line with the other ASEAN nations. On the  other hand, some argue that because ASEAN leaders have adopted a slow approach to integrating the ASEAN economies the nations which comprise this trading bloc will be able to integrate within the larger body relatively quickly.

Of further concern to both foreign nationals as well as nationals from ASEAN member nations is the promulgation of a single ASEAN visa scheme. Presently, there is not a single visa which one can obtain which would allow the bearer to travel unfettered throughout the the whole of ASEAN. However, leaders in some of the ASEAN countries are looking to remedy this. To quote from the website aseanvisa.com:

Ministers and tourism authorities of the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Indonesia have expressed their intention to collaborate with relevant government agencies and other stakeholders to facilitate travel in the region by developing a common smart visa system…According to www.smartvisa.travel, a smart visa is a digital paperless substitute for a traditional visa that can be obtained by a traveler from a travel agent or participating airline…

Clearly, steps are being taken to create some sort of travel document which would provide immigration benefits in multiple ASEAN nations simultaneously. The impetus behind the push for a single ASEAN visa seems to stem from two sources. First, many of the ASEAN nations would appear to view an ASEAN visa as a means of increasing tourism throughout ASEAN. This would appear to especially be a concern to officials in those Southeast Asian nations which do not benefit from high tourism as compared to their other ASEAN counterparts. By creating a visa which allows for access to more than one ASEAN jurisdiction tourist travel to some countries might increase as travelers are no longer deterred in making “side trips” to less popular destinations due to a desire to avoid the need to obtain another visa. Another consideration would appear to be business travel, as ASEAN economic integration continues to gather steam it stands to reason that more foreign nationals will need to visit multiple ASEAN jurisdictions in order to conduct business in the region. By implementing policies to provide for a single ASEAN visa, business travel may increase throughout the region.

The aforementioned article also mentions the recent decision by Thai and Cambodian Immigration authorities to provide a unified visa scheme for travelers wishing to visit those two countries. To quote further from the aseanvisa.com article:

It [the single ASEAN visa scheme] also builds on the single visa scheme for tourism travel between Cambodia and Thailand, which was implemented on January 1, 2013. Progressive relaxation and an Asean common visa would also benefit non-Asean nationals who intend to visit the Asean countries…

One can speculate whether or not the Thai-Cambodian visa scheme mentioned above will one day be consolidated into a pan-ASEAN visa scheme. There are certainly arguments as to the benefits of such an integration, most notably the probable increase in tourism to all of the ASEAN nations. However, one thing remains clear: it appears that virtually all leaders of the ASEAN nations are assiduously studying the ramifications of a single ASEAN visa scheme and should their findings prove that such a scheme would be a benefit to all of ASEAN; then it is likely that such a scheme will eventually come into existence.

For related information please see: Thailand visa.

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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…

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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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