ASEAN Today

Are Southeast Asia’s cyber defenses vulnerable to Chinese attacks?

A telecom firm in the Philippines recently hired the services of a United States-based cybersecurity firm to shore up its defenses against the potential threats of spying by China. It became the latest in a string of Southeast Asian corporations to have engaged a cybersecurity firm to strengthen ...

Umair Jamal

How Cambodia can revive agriculture with big data

Once the backbone of Cambodia’s economy, agricultural growth is slowing. It stood at 7.2% between 2003 and 2007 and 4.5% between 2008 and 2012 but has hovered around 1% in recent years. In 2019, the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors contributed just 20.7% to the country’s gross domestic product, ...

Grace Lim

New Chinese power deal sees Laos risk its future for quick gains

In early September, the Lao government signed a deal to give majority control of its electric grid over to a Chinese state-owned company amid mounting public debt as Beijing continues to expand its role in the country. State-owned China Southern Power Grid Company signed a deal with the ...

New Mekong dam ignores threats to UNESCO World Heritage city, livelihoods and ecosystems

As US-China tensions turn towards the Mekong River and its dams, the area near Laos’ latest hydropower project on the river is already seeing major controversy around existing dam projects. The Lao government is preparing to start construction on the Luang Prabang Dam, a 1,460-megawatt (MW) project that will be ...

Editorial

A broken dam and broken promises: Laos doubles down on hydropower despite risks

Two years ago this week, a dam in southern Laos collapsed, releasing a flood that displaced over 7,000 people and killed at least 71. When a section of the Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy hydropower project broke on July 23, 2018, it sent 500 million cubic meters of ...

Thai farmers are trying a new, climate-friendly way to grow rice

A new agricultural program in central Thailand is working with farmers to change the way they grow rice, in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from rice paddies while saving water, time and money. The program, backed by the Thai government and German development agency ...

Skylar Lindsay

New study shows loss of Southeast Asia’s peat forests drives climate change

A new study by researchers in Singapore from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) uses satellite data to show just how rapidly Southeast Asia’s vital peat forests are being cleared, drained and dried out. The paper, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, uses remote sensing to document how peatlands ...

Skylar Lindsay

Southern Myanmar’s indigenous groups say the UN should scrap $21 million conservation plan

Myanmar’s Tanintharyi Region is among the most vibrantly biodiverse places in Asia. The southern tail of kite-shaped Myanmar, Tanintharyi encompasses hundreds of islands in the Myeik Archipelago, mangrove-lined coast, evergreen forests and the mountainous spine that forms the Thai-Myanmar border. The region holds some of Southeast ...

Skylar Lindsay

The COVID-19 rice economy: what a pandemic means for Southeast Asia’s staple

As cities and countries impose lockdowns, people around the world, from the UK to India, are struggling to access food. The causes vary, with some communities facing lost income and local scarcity while others deal with barriers to movement, but the drivers of this food insecurity are primarily ...

Skylar Lindsay

New study shows China caused drought in the Mekong, local experts must have control of their resources

“No fish. Nothing. We can only catch enough to eat ourselves. We fish through the night and all we catch is one or two skewers for cooking,” a Lao fisherman told Radio Free Asia earlier this year. He spoke to journalists on his boat on the Mekong River ...

Skylar Lindsay

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