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Why do forests fires rage every year in Indonesia? Some people benefit from the business of fire, enjoying profits and economic rents at the expense of environmental quality. EPA/Adi Weda

Playing with fire: the economics and network of fire and haze

Scientists and policymakers - aware of the extreme dry season of El Nino - have warned of fires in Indonesia months in advance. Why then, do fires continue to blaze and what is being done about it?
Tens of thousands protest in Malaysia, including members of the country’s indigenous Orang Asli community. Edgar Su/REUTERS

Malaysians worldwide demand prime minister’s resignation

Two million Malaysian immigrants live in countries around the world. That's not stopping them from being involved with politics back home.
University of Cape Town scientists work in the Drug Discovery and Development Centre. More needs to be done to keep Africa’s scientists on home ground. Epa/Nic Bothma

Closing the research gap between Africa and the rest of the world

If the continent is to grasp the science and technology revolution, then governments should take the lead in both policy formulation and implementation.
Despite the show of people power in Malaysia’s streets, the greatest threat to Prime Minister Najib Razak’s leadership is probably from within his own party. Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha

People power challenges Malaysia’s PM, but change from within most likely

The demonstrations against Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak are a potent manifestation of the scale of disillusionment with the government.
Prime Minister Najib Razak is at the centre of a scandal over investigations into the origins of US$700 million transferred into his bank account. Reuters/Olivia Harris

Malaysia in turmoil as PM focuses on survival

Najib Razak's response to corruption allegations has been a crackdown on investigators and his critics on both sides of politics. Malaysians are left wondering where their nation is headed.
Australia’s proposals to recognise Indigenous people in its Constitution will likely be much less substantive than those of many other countries. AAP/David Moir

What can Australia learn from indigenous recognition in other countries?

Constitutional recognition may have very limited impact if the groups benefiting from the change lack the political weight to leverage it into greater social change.
Indonesia is forcing people with drug dependence problems to go into rehab. joloei/

Forced rehabilitation of drug users in Indonesia not a solution

Indonesia's war on drugs aims to protect the country's young generation from an alleged "national drug emergency." But the government's coercive approach is harming the people it wishes to protect.
These Rohingya women and children, rescued by fishermen in Aceh, are among thousands in need of resettlement. EPA

Australia can do better on Asian boat crisis than ‘nope, nope, nope’

A summit in Bangkok is discussing the fate of thousands of people who were stranded at sea. Australia is represented but refuses to resettle any refugees, casting doubt on its commitment to a regional solution.
Rohingya refugees from Myanmar travelled in this fishing boat to Sumatra, Indonesia, with officials announcing some 2000 people were rounded up or rescued after arriving in Malaysia and Indonesia over the weekend. EPA

Pushed offshore, the ‘boat people’ crisis demands regional response

Australia may have 'stopped the boats' but the tragedy of people drowning at sea continues to our north and is getting worse. A regional solution to the refugee crisis is urgently needed.
To see off challenges to its dominance, Malaysia’s government exploits Muslim sentiment at every turn. This has been a factor in sodomy charges against opposition figurehead Anwar Ibrahim. EPA/Azhar Rahim

Malaysia reaches a critical crossroad over state Islamisation

Fuelled by the rise of Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria, debate about Islam and violence has flared again in Australia. In a predictable cycle of provocation and reaction, governments launch a wide-ranging…
Thailand’s military coup in May is a sign of political malaise without an obvious cure in the absence of a new social contract. EPA/Pongmanat Tasiri

Asian states in crisis can choose more democracy or more conflict

Rather than a new dawn for democracy, political and social reform in the region has led to less representation and more contestation. This has potentially far-reaching consequences. What does the May coup…
Seeing orangutans like Big Ritchie in conservation areas can raise vital support to protect his cousins in the wild, new research shows.

How wildlife tourism and zoos can protect animals in the wild

Big Ritchie looks up from his pile of bananas, unperturbed by the flock of tourists taking his photo. Sprawled around him, mother orangutans* and their fluffy orange babies groom affectionately, chase…
Relatives of the missing passengers on flight MH370 march on the Malaysian embassy in Beijing. EPA/Rolex dela Pena

Sino-Malaysian friendship will defy public fallout from flight MH370

“Visit Malaysia Year 2014” was expected to bolster Malaysia’s growing Chinese tourism market: Malaysia’s third-largest. Last October, commemorating four decades of close relations, Chinese president Xi…

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