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Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, Thursday, 17 January 2019

Bhargav Reddy of APAC Assistance Asia Pacific team discusses Main Issues in South Asia

Main Issues in South Asia

Firstly in INDIA

  • In the southern state of Kerala, the trade unions representing the workers of Kerala State Road Transport Corporation have called for an indefinite strike from today. The workers are demanding a single-duty roster, resolution of a crisis in schedules, reinstatement of dismissed employees, and periodic wage revision. The trade unions have claimed that even after submitting a strike notice to the corporation management 16 days ago, no actions have been taken.
  • The indefinite strike is likely to disrupt the transport network across Kerala this week. The state-owned corporation is the only transport operator to offer services to all parts of the state. Private transport operators are also likely to be affected by the strike due to an increase in congestion with more passengers.
  • Clients are advised to be aware of the transport disruptions expected in Kerala this week. Avoid prominent landmarks in major cities expected to host protest by the trade unions.

SRI LANKA

  • Sri Lanka is reportedly considering an offer from Bank of China for a loan of USD 300 million which can be raised to US$1 billion. The loan will help Sri Lanka with debt repayments of USD 5.9 billion this year, USD 2.6 billion of which is due in the first three months.
  • A quarter of Sri Lanka’s total foreign debt is from China. Sri Lanka has already borrowed about USD 8 billion from China to build ports, highways and other major investments.
  • Clients are advised to monitor the economic situation and be aware of the possible tax reforms and austerity measures by the government to boost revenues and repay the loans. It could also lead to anti-austerity protests by political parties in the opposition. Monitor alerts and advisories from APAC Assistance for further updates.

 

Main Issues in East Asia Pacific

The PHILIPPINES

  • Security has been tightened in Cotabato City in the southern island of Mindanao ahead of the plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law scheduled on Monday, January 21. Cotabato City is under the control of the Commission on Elections for the plebiscite and Mindanao is under martial law. Military and police checkpoints have been set up on main streets, and entry and exit points of the city.
  • The Bangsamoro Organic Law is expected to replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region governed by a parliament elected by the people in Bangsamoro Region. Frequent attacks by Islamist terror groups like the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and Moro Islamic Liberation Front have been reported in the region.
  • Clients are advised to employ extreme caution in the region. Avoid traveling outside the city limits of Cotabato without a security detail.

JAPAN

  • Mount Shindake volcano has erupted this morning within the vicinity of Yakushima town on the southern Kuchinoerabu Island. The volcano last erupted on December 18, 2018.
  • The volcanic eruption is likely to cause disruptions on the island and in the air traffic over the region.
  • Clients are advised to follow the directions of the local authorities and monitor the flight schedules for possible cancellations and delays.

THAILAND

  • The Election Commission is reportedly considering March 10 for the general elections to meet the 150-day deadline set by the constitution. The General Secretary of the Election Commission, Jarungvith said yesterday that to prevent possible charter violations, the commission plans to hold the election and announce the results within the 150-day time frame.
  • Jarungvith further said that the commission is authorized to set the election date while the government is responsible for announcing the election. The commission will need around 45 days to prepare for the election, it should announce the election date by January 25 if it wants the election to be held on March 10.
  • Clients are advised to avoid all political events before the elections. Political campaign demonstrations are expected before the elections across the country. Monitor alerts and advisories from APAC Assistance for further updates.
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