• Thailand's National Legislative Assembly accepted (in principle) the 2015 budget bill. The Junta's first budget since coming to power includes spending increases in education and (you guessed it) defence. When quizzed by reporters, the head of the Thai Junta said: 'If we don't increase the budget and purchase new weapons, then nobody will fear us'.
  • Is Myanmar moving toward a new kind of authoritarianism? An ISEAS paper explores the state of Myanmar's democratic transition.
  • US Secretary of State Kerry threw his support behind Myanmar's reforms and played down concern of stalled reforms during his visit. He later noted  Myanmar's 'extraordinary transformation'. By contrast, he said Washington was 'very disturbed by the setback to democracy' in Thailand. A full transcript of Kerry's address at the East-West Center on the US Vision for Asia-Pacific Engagement can be found here.
  • Can Indonesia save the Six-Party Talks?
  • Malaysia looked into banning Facebook this week and then back-pedaled quickly.
  • Indonesia's draft budget includes a debilitating rise (not the hoped-for eradication) in energy subsidies, and may hamper Jokowi's chance to boost growth.
  • Progress or despair in new moves to unearth Myanmar's phantom World War II Spitfires?
  • A long running debate in Myanmar on the adoption of proportional representation hit the streets earlier this month and continues to consume column inches. Those against PR say its being pushed by the ruling USDP party to enhance its election chances ahead of the popular Suu Kyi-led NLD (other views can be found here, here and here).
  • The NY Times' interesting take on US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Dempsey's visit to Vietnam  (mine here).
  • If you missed this year's Shangri-La Dialogue, IISS has a great round-up of events in a new publication replete with videos.  
  • The BBC goes to Mong La, a  Chinese gambling town in Myanmar: