Geopolitics

Geopolitics

COVAX Opens New Front In Pandemic Arms Race

COVAX aims to break the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022 by ensuring a steady supply of vaccines at last for the world's poorest countries – and swiftly getting them into arms. The global scheme, aimed at procuring donor-funded jabs for the 91 weakest economies, delivered its one billionth dose last weekend – a major milestone that came far later than anticipated after a year of setbacks. The battle for COVAX in 2021 was getting hold of doses – besides rich countries cornering most of the vaccine supply, it faced export bans from producer countries, regulatory red tape and manufacturing delays.

One Hamster In Hong Kong COVID Cull Tests Positive

Hong Kong authorities said Sunday that one of 77 hamsters handed in by pet owners for a COVID cull has tested positive, as thousands of city residents remain under lockdown to combat an outbreak. The financial services hub adheres to mainland China's strict "zero-COVID" policy under which even the slightest sign of the virus is stamped out with contact tracing, targeted lockdowns and long quarantines. More than 2,000 hamsters have been culled after some imported from the Netherlands by a local pet shop were found to be COVID-positive, raising fears of animal-to-human transmission. The risk

Omicron 'Sub-Variant' Throws Up New Questions

Scientists are keeping a close watch on a recently-discovered sub-variant of the Omicron version of the COVID-19 virus to determine how its emergence could affect future pandemic spread. The initial Omicron variant has become the dominant virus strain in recent months but British health authorities have notably identified hundreds of cases of the latest version, dubbed BA.2, while international data suggest it could spread relatively quickly. The United Kingdom (UK) Health Security Agency (UKHSA) identified more than 400 cases in Britain in the first 10 days of this month and has indicated

Malaysians Demand Anti-Graft Chief Resigns

Hundreds of Malaysians rallied in the capital Saturday, demanding the country's powerful anti-graft chief resign over a stock trading controversy where he owned millions of shares. Wearing masks and shouting "reject corruption", the mostly black-clad crowd of about two hundred called for immediate action against Azam Baki, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) top official. Protests in the Southeast Asian nation have been rare since the beginning of the pandemic due to virus curbs and fears of infection. But public anger over corruption has previously led to mass demonstrations

Energy

Geothermal Key To Philippines’ Energy Demand

Today, there are nearly eight billion people living on the planet. As this number continues to grow, the need for water, food, land, and energy will also rise. The climate is one of the earth’s fundamental life support…

The World's Slow Transition To Cleaner Energy

The transition towards cleaner energy has made progress but not quick enough to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, as agreed in the 2015 Paris climate agreement. While the COVID-19 pandemic initially…

ASEAN To Push Utilisation Of Storage Technologies

ASEAN Member States (AMS) need to step up their game on energy storage development. As the 6th ASEAN Energy Outlook foretells, ASEAN’s Total Final Energy Consumption (TFEC) projects to increase by 38 percent by 2025 and…

Asia Disputes IEA Call To Curb Energy Investments

Asian energy officials on Wednesday disputed a call from the International Energy Agency (IEA) for no new oil, natural gas and coal investments for the world to be able to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,…

Markets

How A Billionaire’s Cruise Empire Collapsed

Lim Kok Thay started a cruiseferry and gambling boat business in 1990s Hong Kong and turned it into one of Asia’s biggest cruise operators. It was a labour of love, as well as a way to diversify the casino business set…

Who Will Win The Great Resignation Talent War?

A new report argues that firms must change how they view workers to compete in the war for talent. The coronavirus pandemic has caused the biggest worker reshuffle in modern history and in the process radically shifted…

Indonesia: Religious Council Says Crypto Is Haram

The use of crypto assets as a currency is forbidden for Muslims, according to Indonesia’s council of religious leaders. The National Ulema Council, or MUI, has deemed cryptocurrency as haram, or banned, as it has…

Supply Chain Woes Slowing Global Recovery

Power outages in China, chaos in Britain's petrol stations, factory closures in Germany – supply chain problems around the world are threatening to gnarl up a global recovery as countries try to re-emerge from pandemic-…

Technology

Airlines Vs 5G: What Are The Concerns?

Airlines have voiced concern that the rollout of 5G mobile technology in the United States (US) could cause potentially dangerous interference with aircraft systems. Verizon and AT&T were activating their networks…

Pandemic Exploited To Normalise Mass Surveillance?

The COVID-19 pandemic was exploited as an excuse to further normalise surveillance and monitor an increasing number of daily activities of people around the world under the guise of public health, a tech watchdog warned…

Instagram Investigated Over Impact On Kids

A bipartisan coalition of United States (US) state attorneys general said on Thursday it has opened a probe into Facebook, now known as Meta Platforms, for promoting its subsidiary Instagram to children despite…

Facebook Changes Parent Company Name To 'Meta'

Facebook changed its parent company name to "Meta" on Thursday as the tech giant tries to move past being a scandal-plagued social network to its virtual reality vision for the future. The new handle comes as the…

Environment

Thousands Mourn Passing Of Father Of Mindfulness

Thousands of mourners packed a pagoda in Vietnam's Buddhist heartland on Sunday to pay tribute to the late Vietnamese monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh, credited with bringing mindfulness to the West. The Zen…

Burning Bright: Vietnam's Golden New Year Tiger

Vietnamese are paying hundreds of dollars for gold plated tiger models as gifts as the Lunar New Year draws near, bucking a major economic slowdown caused by the pandemic. Tet, as it is known in Vietnam, is the most…

Ozone Pollution Costs Asia Billions In Lost Crops

Persistently high levels of ozone pollution in Asia are costing China, Japan and South Korea an estimated US$63 billion annually in lost rice, wheat and maize crops, a new study says. While ozone forms a protective…

Study: Face Masks Make People Look More Attractive

There have been precious few positives during the COVID pandemic but British academics may have unearthed one: people look more attractive in protective masks. Researchers at Cardiff University were surprised to find…