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Sometimes sports can open up the way for politicians to take action. Several decades ago, ping-pong diplomacy helped to ease tensions between China and the United States. Now, it appears that the upcoming Southeast Asia Games (SEA Games) also may be wielding some influence in policy making.

Environment ministers from countries in the region and officials from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), hoping to keep the skies clear during the sporting competition in Brunei in August, on July 6 announced a plan to try to prevent forest fires and avert the dangerous levels of smog and haze that enveloped the region 2 years ago.