Geopolitics

Geopolitics

Could The Omicron Variant Have Been Avoided?

I am an epidemiologist working in global health and have worked in the field of vaccines for nearly 15 years. While the scientific successes of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development have been surreal, the inequity of the pandemic and access to vaccines has left me despondent. As Australia reaches almost 90 percent coverage for two doses of COVID-19 vaccination, it’s a success story worth celebrating. COVID-19 vaccination has already proved to be highly effective at dampening wide-scale community transmission in settings such as New South Wales, where a rapid rollout with high levels of first-dose

Omicron Shuts Borders Across The Globe

A new, heavily mutated COVID-19 variant spread across the globe on Sunday, shutting borders, renewing curbs, and sparking fears for the fight against the nearly two-year-old coronavirus pandemic. Dubbed Omicron, the strain has cast doubt on global efforts to battle the pandemic because of fears that it is highly infectious, forcing countries to reimpose measures many had hoped were a thing of the past. Dutch health authorities said they had identified at least 13 cases of Omicron among 61 quarantined passengers who tested positive for coronavirus after arriving from South Africa. "The

PCRs Detect Omicron: WHO

While PCR tests can detect infection with Omicron, studies are looking to whether the COVID-19 variant of concern has any impact on other test types, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Sunday. "The widely-used PCR tests continue to detect infection, including infection with Omicron, as we have seen with other variants," the WHO said in an update on what is known so far about the new variant. "Studies are ongoing to determine whether there is any impact on other types of tests, including rapid antigen detection tests." The WHO on Friday declared Omicron, first detected earlier this

COVID: Early Action Against Omicron Is Imperative

It was only a matter of time before a new SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern emerged, requiring an urgent global response.  It would seem that the Omicron variant, identified by scientists across Africa, including the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), poses the next major threat in the course of the pandemic. Early evidence from their genomic surveillance suggests that this new variant is a serious cause for concern and it is imperative that we act fast in response to this new information. The variant has also been detected in Botswana and Hong Kong, and will undoubtedly

Energy

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,…

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…

Markets

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-…

Philippine Economy Needs 10 Years To Recover

The Philippine economy will take more than a decade to return to pre-pandemic growth, an official said Thursday, warning the next two generations of Filipinos would be paying for the cost of COVID-19. Lockdowns and…

Global Brands Trapped In Vietnam’s COVID Lockdown

From shoes and sweaters to car parts and coffee, Vietnam's strict and lengthy coronavirus lockdown has sparked product shortages among worldwide brands such as Nike and Gap which have grown increasingly dependent on the…

Technology

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…

Facebook Harms Children, Stokes Division: Ex-Employee

Frances Haugen, a 37-year-old former product manager turned whistleblower, heavily criticised the company at a hearing on Capitol Hill. Facebook has faced growing scrutiny and increasing calls for its regulation.…

Tech Titan Shake-Up

A big quake may be headed towards California. No, it is not the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that Californians have been worried about. This has only a 31 percent chance of happening. And that too from now to 30 years. Of a…

Environment

COVID: Women Bore Brunt Of Social, Economic Impacts

The social and economic burden of COVID-19 has fallen disproportionately on women around the world, the Red Cross has warned, in a stark analysis of the impact of the pandemic. Women were particularly affected by the…

China’s #MeToo Movement Faces Crackdown

China's #MeToo movement has stumbled in the face of swift internet censors, a patriarchal society and a legal system that places a heavy burden on the claimant. Explosive claims this month by tennis star Peng Shuai…

Vietnam Tourist Island Reopens With Big Dreams

Tour guide Lai Chi Phuc has been counting down the days until travellers return to the white-sand beaches and thick tropical jungle of Vietnam's Phu Quoc, a once-poor fishing island pushing to be Asia's next holiday…

Fast Spreading Bird Flu: Europe, Asia On Alert

Several outbreaks of severe bird flu in Europe and Asia have been reported in recent days to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), in a sign the virus is spreading quickly again. The spread of highly…

10 Fun & Exciting Places in Singapore to Take Your Kids to

As a parent, thinking of a holiday in Singapore with your children will be equal parts fun and stressful. It’ll be fun because you get to project your own childhood dreams of visiting or experiencing a certain activity (wink wink) and also get to spend time with your little buddies.  However, it can also get...