HANOI – March 14th saw the rollout of Vietnam’s new online visa processing system. As a result of the new system, foreigners will now be able to register and fill out visa application forms online. The official website can be found here.
Previously, foreigners looking to apply for a Vietnamese visa had to physically visit the relevant representative government agency in their area in order to get the required forms. Continue reading
SINGAPORE - Last week, Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) announced it would invest in three new measures to support technology startups: a startup accelerator, an accreditation program and a fabrication lab.
The startup accelerator program marks a strategic partnership between Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL, the investment subsidiary of IDA) and Joyful Frog Digital Incubator, a leading startup accelerator. The first accelerator program will take place from 20 March to 1 July. Continue reading
India’s electorate may choose to break its historical tendency to vote according to religious and caste affiliations as the BJP, AAP and Third Front seek broader appeal with messages of good governance, economic development and anti-corruption.
By Shawn Greene
DELHI – India’s Election Commission has announced the dates for this year’s highly anticipated general election, which will be held in nine phases in April and May.
Polling for the 16th Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) will begin April 7 and conclude May 12. Votes will be counted on May 16, and the new Parliament must be constituted by May 31. Continue reading
By Shawn Greene
At the so-called “Three Amigos Summit” in Toluca, Mexico, celebrating the 20th anniversary of NAFTA this week, the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the United States have vowed to expand free trade agreements between North America and Asia while pushing for the successful conclusion of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations this year.
Speaking at the summit, President Obama expressed a determination to keep TPP progress on track despite many in the U.S. Congress indicating they will refuse to support a renewal of so-called ‘fast-track’ negotiating authority, or trade promotion authority. Continue reading
By Shawn Greene
SHANGHAI – For the first time in five years, worldwide defense spending will increase according to IHS Jane’s Annual Defence Budgets Review.
According to the forecast, China is on track to outspend the UK, France and Germany combined by 2015, and Asia Pacific remains the only region with a steady increase in defense expenditures from 2009 onwards.
The yearly review from the U.K.-based defense analysis company tracks military expenditures in the 77 top-spending countries while making predictions about global defense budgets over the next five years. Continue reading
HANOI – Vietnam’s Moc Bai Economic Zone and Border Gate (hereinafter referred to as “the Zone”) is expected to become an international trade center in the near future. The Zone will serve to promote cooperation and development between Vietnam and Cambodia, as well as the other countries in the ASEAN region.
Located along the soon to be completed Trans-Asia Road, the Zone is in a prime position to benefit from the trade that will soon by moving via the new roadway. The Trans-Asia Road, currently under construction, stretches from Myanmar, through Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and finally ends in Quangxi, China. Continue reading
HONG KONG - From February 5, officials and diplomats from the Philippines visiting Hong Kong will not be able to enjoy the 14 day visa-free exemption they currently do, Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying told a press conference yesterday. The move is in response by Hong Kong to a tragedy in Manila over three years ago, when eight Hong Kong tourists were killed and seven others injured in a hostage situation that lasted over 10 hours. The Philippines’ President Benigno Aquino III has consistently refused to make an official apology for what he sees as the actions of a lone gunman, leading to tension between Hong Kong and the Philippines.
In August 2010, after senior police inspector Rolando Mendoza had been dismissed from the Manila Police District, he boarded a tourist bus armed with an assault rifle, in an attempt to get reinstated. The rescue attempt lasted over an hour, and ended after Mendoza was shot and killed. Hong Kong has alleged that it was the poor handling of the incident by the Philippines’ officials that led to the victims’ deaths. The Hong Kong government placed a black travel advisory warning (the highest warning level) on the Philippines, cautioning Hong Kong residents that the country posed a “severe threat” and advising that all travel be avoided. Continue reading