Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Philippines’

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…

The administration of this blog asks interested readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to read this interesting and insightful article in its entirety.

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]

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

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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6th August 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that further support for the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) may be forthcoming from membership of the United States Senate. To quote directly from the official website of The Washington Independent, WashingtonIndependent.com:

Long a holdout in signing on to back the Respect for Marriage Act, Sen. Amy Klobuchar indicated this week she’ll sponsor the bill, which would repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Klobuchar is the last Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee to back the measure after Sen. Herb Kohl of Wisconsin expressed his support in April. Fellow Democrat Al Franken was an original sponsor of the act…

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

Frequent readers of this blog may recall that Representative Jerrold Nadler introduced a “Respect for Marriage Act” counterpart piece of legislation in the United States House of Representatives where there is some doubt as to the ultimate fate of the bill notwithstanding the fact that it supports fundamental notions connected to States’ Rights pursuant to the United States Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause. Meanwhile, there is also a compelling argument that support for the RFMA as a replacement for the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) is simultaneously supportive of notions related to Equal Protection and natural law. How all of these issues will ultimately be sorted out by US Courts and/or the American legislature remains to be seen, but following the debate generates a great deal of intriguing insight into the evolving nature of the United States Constitution.

Meanwhile, in news related to the jurisdictions of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); it recently came to this blogger’s attention that some international media outlets have reported upon the Russian perspective of recent ASEAN meetings. In order to provide further particulars it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of The Voice of Russia, ruvr.ru:

The dialogue between Russia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is actively developing, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said following a ministerial meeting in Indonesia. Experts cannot fully agree with this, saying that the sides have yet to completely activate their potential for both bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

The administration of this blog asks readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to learn further from this insightful article.

Although this blog attempts to primarily focus upon issues pertaining to ASEAN from an American context the activities of any of the so-called BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) in the ASEAN region is of compelling interest to those who follow geopolitics and economics with any degree of frequency. How negotiations regarding the future structure of ASEAN will play out is anyone’s guess. Concurrently, the confluence of economic forces at play in the ASEAN region could yield trade opportunities with the potential for future exponential growth in real terms. As a result, an understanding of the unique nature of ASEAN and her component jurisdictions (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam) could provide real insight to those looking to conduct business in Southeast and Greater Asia.

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

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31st July 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that there are increasing instances of Western commentators discussing the Pan Asia Gold Exchange (PAGE). As these discussions can have implications for the wider business community it may be prudent to quote directly from an article written by Ned Naylor Leyland and posted on the website 24hgold.com:

Today was the inauguration ceremony replete with myriad ministers and mandarins from central and regional government. This initiative is supported at the highest levels in China with SOEs as shareholders, the support of the Beijing Gold Exchange and SAFE (State Administration of Foreign Exchange). PAGE are buying into the concept that leverage has its limits and that leasing must also be carefully monitored…The biggest bombshell however, is the offer of Rmb contracts for international investors, agreed by SAFE. The international part of the Exchange’s business is expected to be available by Q4…

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

Issues related to business and capital movement in the jurisdictions which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam) have been of increasing interest to those who monitor international trade and geopolitics. Meanwhile, many in the business community would appear to be anticipating how the ramifications of further business in China will impact Greater Asia and the global economy. Hopefully, these developments will be beneficial for all concerned.

In news pertaining to American immigration, it recently came to this blogger’s attention that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is apparently trying to encourage further use of the T visa. To quote directly from the Daily Journal website, DailyJournal.net:

PHILADELPHIA — Federal immigration officials are working with authorities in Philadelphia and other cities around the U.S. to try to increase the use of a special visa to help victims of human trafficking, a visa that has been underutilized since its creation nearly a decade ago. At issue is the nonimmigrant “T visa,” which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials say is an underutilized tool that can be used to help victims of human trafficking who have been brought into the country — using deception in many cases — and then used as sex slaves or forced into other types of involuntary servitude. There is a 5,000 yearly cap on the visa, which allows eligible victims and family members to stay in the country up to four years. But fewer than 5,000 have been approved in total since it was instated in 2002…

The administration of this web log asks that readers click upon the relevant hyperlinks above to read this article in detail.

Unfortunately, the scourge of human trafficking has yet to be fully eradicated in either an international or national context. Hopefully, USCIS can effect some change to this situation through astute use of the T visa noted above. Meanwhile, as noted previously on this blog, there are other agencies of the United States government taking proactive measures to decrease incidents of human trafficking. Hopefully these efforts results in tangible benefits for all people since the issue of human trafficking is something which effects everyone.

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

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30th July 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that representatives from the jurisdictions which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are set to meet in September. Further, the Philippine DFA has apparently commented upon these developments. To provide further insight it is necessary to quote directly from the website ABS-CBNNews.com:

MANILA, Philippines – A team of maritime legal experts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is scheduled to meet in Manila in September to begin talks on maritime territorial issues, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Friday. This is part of the preventive diplomacy approach wherein ASEAN experts will determine disputed from non-disputed waters, DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said. “The experts will give a concept paper to determine the zone of peace and cooperation and let them discuss it, assess and hopefully support it. We will present it to the ASEAN and hopefully China will hear it,” he added…

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to learn more from this insightful article.

There are many who have speculated that the ASEAN region could one day see a single visa system similar to the Schengen system utilized in certain countries of Europe. However, this development remains to be seen. Meanwhile, discussions regarding the tensions which have recently arisen with respect to the South China Sea area have sort of been “tabled” until the upcoming meeting in Manila. Hopefully, this situation evolves into something that is beneficial for all of the ASEAN countries and the Greater Asian region as a whole.

In news pertaining to the continuing struggle for LGBT Equality it recently came to this blogger’s attention that a venerated publication has noted recent shifts in American attitude regarding same sex marriage. To quote directly from the official website of The Economist magazine, Economist.com

[W]hen National Journal polled political “insiders” this month, it found a majority of Democratic politicos, lobbyists and strategists in favour of making gay marriage legal. No less telling, a majority of their Republican counterparts, while continuing to oppose gay marriage, thought their party should just ignore the issue. That might make electoral sense. Since it is the young who are most relaxed about gay marriage, standing in its path might cost the Republicans dear in the future. The notion of denying gays the spousal rights available to others makes little sense to a generation that sees marriage at least as much as a union of soul-mates as a formal structure for child-rearing…That may be why Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York who ran for the presidency in 2008 and may yet do so again, has warned fellow Republicans to “get the heck out of people’s bedrooms”…

This blogger asks readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read further from this insightful article by Lexington.

Frequent readers of this blog may have noted that the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) noted above was introduced in the United States House of Representatives by Representative Jerrold Nadler. Representative Nadler is also the sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) which, if enacted, would remedy the current discrimination faced by same sex bi-national couples who cannot receive visa benefits such as the CR-1 visa, the IR-1 visa, or the K-1 visa in the same manner as their different-sex counterparts notwithstanding that they may have a valid State licensed same sex marriage.

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

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23rd July 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the heads of the American and Chinese foreign services commented upon those two countries’ ability to peacefully resolve disputes pertaining to the rather vexatious issue of the South China Sea. In order to provide further information this blogger is compelled to quote directly from the China Daily website, ChinaDaily.com.cn:

BEIJING – China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have the ability and wisdom to settle the South China Sea disputes, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday. Yang, speaking on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum to be held on Saturday on the Indonesian island of Bali, said the Chinese side is committed to maintaining freedom of navigation and security in the area. Clinton said the United States understands that the South China Sea issue is complex and the US side takes no position on the issue. She added that Washington supports measures conducive to the settlement of the disputes, and has no intention of getting involved or making it a problem in China-US relations…China and ASEAN countries recently reached agreement on the guidelines of implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, which lays a foundation for cooperation in the area and demonstrates that China and ASEAN countries can solve the disputes on their own, Yang said…

The administration of this web log asks readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to learn more details from this interesting article.

It is certainly heartening to hear news about the maintenance of principles such as those espoused above, hopefully such discussions will result in benefits for not only the United States and China; but all concerned as well. Frequent readers of this blog may have taken note of the fact that there have been many discussions centering upon matters arising in the context of the jurisdictions which comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam). Such discussions would seem to have revolved around topics such as the aforementioned South China Sea dispute, a possible single ASEAN visa scheme, as well as issues related to trade in the increasingly economically vibrant region.

In somewhat related news it would appear as though a former Vietnamese Air Force Commander has passed away. In order to provide further insight it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of The New York Times, NYTimes.com:

Nguyen Cao Ky, the flamboyant former South Vietnamese Air Force commander who served for two years as his country’s wartime leader, then fled to the United States when Saigon fell to the Communists, died Saturday at the age of 80. Mr. Ky died at a hospital in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he was being treated for a respiratory infection, a nephew, Peter Phan, told The Associated Press. After serving in both the Communist and French colonial armies, he rose through the ranks of South Vietnam’s fledgling air force, then led Vietnam as prime minister from 1965 to 1967 before serving as vice president under his bitter rival, Nguyen Van Thieu…He re-emerged in the news in 2004 when he became the highest-ranking former South Vietnamese official to return to Vietnam, at the invitation of the Communist government. In government, he relished a bad-boy reputation, striking a vivid figure in his purple scarf, thin mustache and cigarette and appearing on occasion with his glamorous wife, both wearing matching black flight suits…

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to read more about what would appear to have been an interesting personality. Although it has been some time since the conclusion of the conflict in Vietnam, an understanding of the history of said conflict can provide a great deal of historical context and contemporaneous insight about the current situation in both Vietnam as well as Greater Southeast Asia.

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

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20th July 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the Election Commission in the Kingdom of Thailand has certified the election of both the apparently outgoing Prime Minister and the possible future Prime Minister of that nation. In order to provide further insight into these developments it is necessary to quote directly from the official website of the Voice of America, VOANews.com:

Thailand’s election commission endorsed the election to parliament of Pheu Thai leader Yingluck Shinawatra, Tuesday, clearing the way for her to become the nation’s first female prime minister. The commission said it had voted unanimously to dismiss complaints that Yingluck violated election laws by involving banned politicians – including her elder brother – in her campaign. The decision eases fears of instability raised by the commission’s failure to endorse her with the majority of the July 3 election winners last week. The commission also announced the endorsement of outgoing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, whose endorsement also was delayed last week. A total of 370 lawmakers have now been approved…

This blogger asks the reader to click upon the appropriate hyperlinks above to read about these events in detail.

Although this blog attempts to refrain from detailed discussion of Thai political matters it is noteworthy that Thailand may soon see her first female Prime Minister. Hopefully, this election will result in benefits for all concerned. In matters related to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) it recently came to this blogger’s attention that some of the ASEAN member nations may be discussing ways to streamline matters pertaining to higher education. In order to elucidate further this blogger is required to quote directly from the official website of Bernama, Bernama.com

DENPASAR, July 18 (Bernama) — Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the Asean Credit Transfer System is being expanded to include more universities, students and programmes, as part of the efforts to improve education quality through regional cooperation. He said the student mobility programme with the credit transfer system implemented among three countries namely Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand since 2010 for example, represented one of the initiatives under the ‘permeable framework’ for the internationalization of higher education. “Currently, we are in the process of expanding the number of participating universities, students and also programmes of each country…

This web log’s administration asks readers to click on the links above in order to learn further from this article.

Although not directly related to business in the ASEAN jurisdictions (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam), issues pertaining to higher education can have a tangential impact upon the business world since the increase in the labor pool’s education level can have ramifications across the economy. It stands to reason that a more well-educated workforce in the ASEAN jurisdictions will lead to new and innovative business strategies in the coming years.

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

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15th July 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the upcoming ASEAN Ministerial meeting in Bali, Indonesia will discuss the notion of something akin to an ASEAN Schengen-like visa. In order to provide further insight into these matters it is probably best to quote directly from the official website of the Thai News Agency MCOT, MCOT.net:

Jakarta, July 14 (ANTARA) – Indonesia is to bring up the issue of instituting a joint ASEAN visa system at an ASEAN ministerial meeting (AMM) next July 16-23, a minister said. “The idea to adopt a joint ASEAN visa system for visitors from outside the ASEAN region will be discussed during a ministerial meeting in Bali. The concept of a joint visa system will resemble the Schengen visa system adhered to by some European countries,” Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said here Thursday… Earlier, the ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA) comprised of member tourism organization from the 10-member nations of ASEAN, is busy lobbying their respective governments to adopt a policy of a single visa valid for all ten countries as a critical step of turning ASEAN into a single tourism destination…

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to delve further into the details of these currently unfolding events.

Readers may recall that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is composed of the ten members nations Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam which are becoming increasingly vibrant in the overall spectrum of the global economy. Furthermore, there is an increasing amount of trade transpiring throughout Asia. Much of this trade occurs between ASEAN jurisdictions or between ASEAN countries and jurisdictions such as the United States of America, the so-called BRICS Nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), or the Greater Asia-Pacific region. Therefore, it is not an overestimate to surmise that the ramifications of the creation of some type of pan-ASEAN visa or similar travel document would, at the least, be a step toward possible further streamlining of tourism and trade in the ASEAN region.

This news comes at a relatively contemporaneous moment with that of news that discussions in Bali may also revolve around recent discussions pertaining to the South China Sea. In order to provide further insight into these developments it may be best to quote directly from the official website of The Mainichi Daily News, Mainichi.jp:

JAKARTA (Kyodo) — The 44th meeting of foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations in Bali next week is expected to bring the regional grouping and China closer step to finalizing of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, according to a draft of joint communique of the meeting seen Wednesday. The draft obtained by Kyodo News shows ASEAN and China, one of the group’s dialogue partners, have begun discussion on the Code of Conduct “by building upon the momentum of the 20th anniversary of ASEAN-China dialogue relations” which falls this year…In the same draft, both sides are also expected to repeat the calls on all parties to respect the freedom of navigation in and over-flight above the South China Sea as provided for by the principles of international law…

The reader is again asked to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read further from this insightful article.

With this news coming upon the heels of a recent trip by the Chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff to China and the announcement that United States President Barack Obama is scheduled to attend the upcoming meeting in Bali it is not a difficult inference to make the conclusion that discussions at the upcoming meeting could result in substantial economic, political, and legal benefits for all concerned.

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14th July 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that United States President Barack Obama is apparently set to attend an upcoming ASEAN summit in Bali, Indonesia. In order to provide further information regarding such developments it is necessary to quote directly from the Jakarta Updates website, JakartaUpdates.com:

United States President Barack Obama is scheduled to attend the ASEAN Summit in Bali in September 2011. Obama’s arrival is hoped to bring a positive image for Bali and Indonesia in general in particular after the 2002 Bali bombing. “The arrival of President Obama is hoped to foster the trust of the international community regarding the security aspects of Indonesia and especially Bali’s readiness to hold a world-class event,” said a member of Commission IV DPRD Bali, Tjokorda Raka Kerthyasa, in Denpasar, on Tuesday (12/07/2011). According to Kerthyasa, this visit will have a very positive impact not only great for tourism in Bali, but also for Indonesia. That will mean Indonesian security has been acknowledged and Bali is considered a very special place…

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

This news comes upon the heels of a recent trip by the Chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff to China. Clearly, both of these developments illustrate the increasing importance of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) jurisdictions (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam) and China. These events are also a testament to the increasing global economic dominance of Asia in general. Hopefully the discussions held at this upcoming summit will result in tangible benefits for the American people and the people of those nations which are members of ASEAN.

In news pertaining to the struggle for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) Equality it recently came to this blogger’s attention that a highly respected advocacy organization for the cause of LGBT Equality recently submitted a brief to a New York Court in support of the rights of a same sex bi-national couple. To provide further insight it is necessary to quote directly from a press release posted upon the official website of Lambda Legal, LambdaLegal.org:

(New York, July 12, 2011) – Yesterday, Lambda Legal filed an amicus brief in a case involving Cristina Ojeda and Monica Alcota, a married binational lesbian couple from Queens, New York. The friend-of-the-court brief argues that immigration officials are incorrectly relying on an inapplicable case for authority to continue deportation proceedings while the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is being challenged…In the brief filed yesterday, Lambda Legal argues that USCIS cannot insulate itself from legal and political developments surrounding both DOMA and a 1982 case, Adams v. Howerton. Adams has been superseded by intervening legal and legislative developments including the emergence of jurisdictions where marriage or civil unions of same-sex couples are recognized, and ongoing federal court cases challenging the constitutionality of DOMA. Finally, since the law surrounding DOMA is developing, the brief urges immigration officials to administratively close or postpone all pending immigration matters involving married same-sex couples until DOMA is repealed or declared unconstitutional. Absent DOMA, there is no legal impediment to extending immigration protections to Ms. Alcota and spouses in similarly-situated same-sex couples…

The administration of this web log adamantly encourages those interested to click upon the relevant hyperlinks noted above to read about these developments. As a practical matter, “administrative closure” has been used in the past with respect to the K-3 visa (a United States travel document somewhat akin to the K-1 visa although designed for the foreign spouse of an American Citizen) where the underlying I-130 (the petition form for a CR-1 visa or an IR-1 visa) sees adjudication and arrival at the National Visa Center prior to, or contemporaneously with, the I-129f petition package. Therefore, usage of administrative closing in an immigration context is not altogether unheard of. That said, whether such a mechanism will ultimately be utilized under these circumstances remains to be seen.

As noted previously on this blog, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) did attempt to place a hold upon deportations involving same sex bi-national couples. However, that hold was apparently rescinded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) citing the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) as a valid reason for such action. Thereafter, it was noted that the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder, vacated a finding for deportation in a case before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) involving a couple who had entered into a same sex civil union in the sovereign State of  New Jersey. It was recently noted that United States Bankruptcy Courts appear poised to begin adjudicating bankruptcy petitions from same sex couples. All of these developments have occurred contemporaneously with news that the Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate is preparing to hold hearings regarding the possible repeal of DOMA and the ramifications of adopting legislation such as the Respect for Marriage Act. The Respect for Marriage Act would hopefully provide federal recognition of a same sex marriage legalized and/or solemnized by an American State which permits such unions.

Strictly within the context of American immigration it should be noted that Representative Jerrold Nadler has introduced legislation such as the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) in order to remedy the current legal discrimination imposed upon the LGBT community. Furthermore, it would appear that Representative Mike Honda‘s Reuniting Families Act includes UAFA-like language which would attempt to correct the current inequities borne by same-sex bi-national couples.

For related information please see: Full Faith and Credit Clause.

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