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Covid-19 highlights the urgent need for ASEAN forest protection

With international attention trained on environmental protection and water supplies in the wake of World Forest Day (21 March) and World Water Day (22 March), it is clearer than ever that these two burning issues are intricately interlinked. In order to protect dwindling water...

Tokyo Olympics: the capstone on Asia’s resilience in the time of coronavirus?

Last week brought the positively heart-warming news that the world’s oldest living person—118 year-old Kane Tanaka, who has survived two bouts with cancer, two world wars and two global pandemics—will carry the Olympic torch as Tokyo inaugurates the 2021 Olympic Games. In many ways,...

‘Open Sesame’: vaccine passports are the key to Southeast Asia’s recovery

Recently-released data makes clear the cost of coronavirus for Thailand, despite the Kingdom’s overall successful management of the pandemic: the no-show of some 40 million expected tourists in 2020 has caused the country’s worst economic downturn since the Asian financial crisis in 1997. Sadly,...

Vaccine negligence undermining Asia Pacific’s coronavirus response

Many countries from the RCEP trade partnership – comprised of the ten ASEAN countries, plus South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand– are now scrambling to secure coronavirus vaccines while coping with an upsurge in cases. It’s a jarring reversal of fortunes for...

ASEAN nations set Covid-19 example for wealthier counterparts

Two of Asia’s major economies, Japan and South Korea, have donated $1 million to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) coronavirus relief fund. Although not part of ASEAN proper, the two powers are members of the ASEAN Plus Three trade bloc and have...

Dirty flow: The Covid-19 risk in Southeast Asia’s rivers

If the findings of a new study are to be believed, the novel coronavirus holding the world hostage at the moment poses a greater threat to the health of humans, animals and plants than previously suspected. The study – which still awaits peer-review –...

ASEAN’s Huaren Titans Must Pay Their Dues Beyond COVID-19

In a recently leaked letter, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha made an unconventional appeal to the kingdom’s so-called “five families” to do more for their country during the ongoing coronavirus crisis. These billionaire business clans with tight ties with China control much of Thailand’s...

How ASEAN’s water scarcity will exacerbate the Covid-19 crisis

While the world’s attention is squarely focused on Europe as the global epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic, Southeast Asia is also well on track to losing control over the spread of the new pathogen. The governments of Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and others – all...

Singapore’s corona-tracking measures invite both acclaim and controversy

singapore garden by the bay
As the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc around the world, Singapore has garnered praise for flattening the curve of the virus’s spread. The city-state’s success in flattening the curve has been attributed to a number of factors: the swift introduction of border controls, clear...

Pilgrims gather in Indonesia despite coronavirus fears

More than 8,000 Muslim pilgrims have already gathered in Gowa, in Indonesia’s South Sulawesi province, despite a formal request to postpone the event from regional authorities. Authorities are still trying to halt the event, though they admitted that the number of attendees who have...

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Grab set for US listing via ‘world’s biggest’ SPAC merger

Grab Holdings Inc., the company behind Southeast Asia's largest ride-hailing and food delivery platform, is set to go public in the U.S. through a...

Envoy pleads sanctions, no-fly zone into Myanmar

Myanmar’s envoy to the United Nations has called for sanctions and a no-fly zone into the country amid ongoing chaos between protesters and the...

Malaysia sends 5 million students back to school

All five million Malaysian students were sent back physically to school despite the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the country. This after secondary school...