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Is the ‘ASEAN Way’ finally bearing fruit?

For years, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) was criticized and seen as stumbling block for the improvement of diplomatic relations. Today, this multilateral organization is only a few steps away of forming an economic community and has already concluded free trade agreements with China, Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and India. Have we now been proven wrong in our criticism of ... Read More »

Chinese Orphanages: Hatching Social Problems

On March seventeenth, the Guangzhou Orphanage in China announced the shocking amount of disabled children dropped off at the baby drop-off hatch that had opened no more than two months earlier. Many babies had died due to a lack of care or too severe diseases and the world was shocked. How did it get to this, and is the Chinese ... Read More »

Turkey: A Country Torn Between Going East or West

By Yuri van Hoef With corruption scandals coming to light in December 2013, Istanbul’s Taksim square once again became the site of major anti-government protests. Earlier, in May 2013, what started as a small environmental protest against the demolition of parts of the park, quickly escalated into full-blown protests against the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ... Read More »

Taiwan: How Not to Communicate Negotiations

While the US and the EU continue their negotiations about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) under disputable circumstances, namely the lack of public oversight, negotiators should maybe take a look at Taiwan: The student-led mass protests give a striking example of what can happen if governments try to implement questionable trade agreements behind closed doors or even against ... Read More »

The Perks of an Exchange

The road towards a career constitutes a never-ending story and is imbued with making choices. One of these is whether or not to step out of your comfort zone, and take on the challenge to study abroad. After careful consideration, overwhelming amounts of paperwork and endless procedures I decided to go on an exchange, and here I am, studying at ... Read More »

Carrying trade into cold waters

“No, there are no penguins in the Arctic.” The confusion about the polar regions is still not settled in the popular mind, while on the other hand serious business interests start to come into play in one of the globe’s most fragile ecosystems. With climate change advancing at a pace never experienced before, the sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean ... Read More »

Where the judge harms you more than the gang

Dubai. The name stands for wealth, opportunities and shiny facades. But how does the oil-rich gulf country actually run and think? Eight young men just got jailed for up to one year for posting a parody internet in the internet. The sharia law and strict judges have no sense of humour when it comes to issues of “national security”. The ... Read More »

A Spiritual Guidance of the Nation

In a country far, far away there once was a dictator that controlled an entire nation. He was in charge of all three branches of government, plus the economy and the media. Everybody had to do as he pleased. He was the richest man of the country. But the dictator was not satisfied, he wanted more. And so the dictator ... Read More »

The Muslims of China

2 November 2013 – last Monday, a car crashed through the heavily guarded barricades of Tiananmen Square  and burst into flames in front of the steps of the Forbidden City. Later this week, the Chinese authorities said the crash was probably a suicide attack committed by Uighur Muslims belonging to a radical Islamist organization. This claim was immediately disputed by ... Read More »

No White Christmas for Kim Jong-un?

When we hear ‘human rights violations’ and ‘North Korea’ in the same sentence, it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. But one might be baffled to hear that in the following ski-related case, North Korea is not the one being accused of human rights violations, but the accuser. North Koreans have been working night and day on the construction ... Read More »