Jon Ponfret at the Washington Post reports that a recent publication by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute shows that concerns over China's rise has pushed countries in Southeast Asia to almost double their weapons purchases from 2005 to 2009.
"The buying spree is set to continue, with reports that Vietnam has agreed to pay $2.4 billion for six Russian Kilo-class submarines and a dozen Su-30MKK jet fighters equipped for maritime warfare. This is in addition to Australia's stated commitment to buy or build nine more submarines and bolster its air force with 100 U.S.-built F-35s. Malaysia has also paid more than $1 billion for two diesel submarines from France, and Indonesia has recently announced that it, too, will acquire new submarines."2. CHINA TO CLOSE 2,000 ENERGY INEFFICIENT FACTORIES
Keith Bradsher at the New York Times reports that China will close 2,087 steel mills, cement works and other energy-intensive factories by September 30 in order to try and increase its energy efficiency.
3. CHINA MAKES NO PUBLIC COMMENT ON SEIZURE OF ITS FISHERMEN
Brian Spegele at China Real Time reports that China has still made no public statement regarding the seizure of three fishermen by North Korea, allegedly for fishing in the North Korean exclusive economic zone.
4. HUGO CHAVEZ TO MEET NEW COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT TO TRY AND DAMP DOWN TENSIONS
Christopher Toothaker at the Associated Press reports that Hugo Chavez will meet the new Colombian president--Juan Manuel Santos--will meet in Colombia to discuss how to reduce tensions between the two countries.
5. PRESIDENT MEDVEDEV ARRIVES IN ABKHAZIA ON SUNDAY
CNN reports that Russian President Medvedev arrived Sunday in Abkhazia where he will meet with his counterpart, Sergey Bagapsh.
6. FORMER PRESIDENT OF MEXICO FOX CALLS FOR THE LEGALIZATION OF DRUGS
Jonathan J. Levin and Jens Erik Gould at Bloomberg report that the former President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, has called on the country to legalize drugs as a way of tamping down drug cartel violence.
8. COMPANIES ARE SEEKING LICENSES TO BUILD 22 NEW REACTORS
Chuck McCutcheon at the Christian Science Monitor reports that companies in the US are seeking licenses from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build and operate 22 new reactors. A Gallup poll in March found that 62% of Americans now favor nuclear power.
9. US INCOMES FELL BY 1.8% IN 2009
Phil Izzo at Real Time Economics reports that US incomes fell by an average of 1.8% in 2009. The article includes a sortable chart of income growth by city.
10. KRUGMAN NOTES THAT CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE US IS BEING ALLOWED TO FALL INTO DISREPAIR
Paul Krugman at the New York Times reports that localities are letting their roads go to gravel, turning off the lights, and pushing through big cutbacks in education funding while the rest of the world is in the process of building up their infrastructure. A good read.