Asia and the Pacific News

1. Japan keen to seal first trade deal with Tony Abbott, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

Tony Abbott's hopes of signing a series of bilateral free trade agreements with some countries within a year may not be as unrealistic as first thought, with at least Japan privately keen to get the jump on its Asian competitors.

2. India-Russia ties should adapt to changing times, Times of India, India

India has lately been looking at new vendors like the US and Israel for its military hardware, creating apprehensions in Russia which has been long-standing major supplier of the defence equipment.

3. Militarisation warning for Antarctica as China and Iran show increasing interest, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

A report highlights a Chinese base inland in the Australian Antarctic Territory for its satellite intelligence gathering potential and also flags Iran's recent interest in establishing a polar presence. Abuses of the treaty's strict controls on any use of military personnel are said to have already occurred with many countries not reporting their use in Antarctica, while Australia is neglecting to use defence assets there.

4. Singapore 'least bogged down in Asia by bureaucracy', Strait Times, Singapore

Singapore's civil service emerged tops in a survey of 12 Asian economies, for being least encumbered by red tape and concentration of power

5. Malaysia may lose out without TPP pact, Business Times, Malaysia

MALAYSIA risks losing out to other countries if it refrains from joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement as its reluctance may impede investments trickling into the country.