Asia Minute

Marc Nozell / Flickr
Marc Nozell / Flickr

Vice President Joe Biden is starting the week in Australia. Biden was in Hawai‘i at the end of last week, where he observed the Rim of the Pacific military exercises. After a few days in Australia, Biden will head to an unusual destination for a US vice president: New Zealand. HPR’s Bill Dorman has details in today’s Asia Minute.

The last time an American vice president went to New Zealand, Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles and the Bee Gees were wrestling for the top of the music pop charts, Annie Hall won the Oscar for Best Picture, and Jimmy Carter was in the White House.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Beach cleanups are frequent weekend activities around the islands…organized by groups from Surfriders to Sustainable Coastlines Hawai‘i. But in Hong Kong, beach cleanups have recently reached a new level. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

The emperor of Japan may be stepping down. Not immediately, but Japan’s national broadcaster NHK says he’s considering the move. And that was enough to dominate headlines across the country. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

It’s been 199 years since a Japanese emperor has voluntarily given up the Chrysanthemum Throne.  That was Emperor Kokaku….founder of the branch of the current royal family.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

After a UN Court ruled against China Tuesday in a case involving the South China Sea, the immediate reaction focused on diplomatic and security issues. But a large part of the story also concerns the environment. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

The South China Sea dispute covers a lot of territory—and not just on a map.  Most attention zeroes in on diplomatic disputes, freedom of navigation, and exploration for oil and minerals.

YouTube Via CC Commons
YouTube Via CC Commons

It’s been less than a week since the latest mobile gaming craze has hit the country---including Hawai‘i. “Pokemon Go” has captured nationwide attention—but in Japan it’s drawing a different kind of focus. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

    

Researchers in Hawai‘i and around the world are closely monitoring the health of ocean coral. But there’s another form of marine life that’s also getting close attention—especially off the coast of Australia. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Seaweed comes in various forms…including kelp—which is a brown algae that grows in relatively shallow oceans.  And a recent study about kelp off the west coast of Australia comes to some disturbing conclusions.

YouTube Via CC Commons
YouTube Via CC Commons

It sounds like a political dream and a logistical nightmare.  Thousands of voters at a single event—a captive audience…complete with catering. But what’s been a tradition in Malaysia also stirred some controversy this year. HPR’s Bill Dorman explains in today’s Asia Minute.

The Prime Minister of Malaysia had crowds of people over to his house the other day.  The official tally for Najib Razak was about 75,000 visitors.

YouTube Via CC Commons
YouTube Via CC Commons

It sounds like a political dream and a logistical nightmare.  Thousands of voters at a single event—a captive audience…complete with catering. But what’s been a tradition in Malaysia also stirred some controversy this year. HPR’s Bill Dorman explains in today’s Asia Minute.

The Prime Minister of Malaysia had crowds of people over to his house the other day.  The official tally for Najib Razak was about 75,000 visitors.

inaswords.wordpress.com
inaswords.wordpress.com

Summer months are the busiest time of the year for lifeguards—in Hawai‘i and across the country. Summer vacation and hot weather pack beaches and pools in many locations. But in one Asian city, the crowds of summer are bringing trouble when it comes to lifeguards. HPR’s Bill Dorman explains in today’s Asia Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Investigations are continuing into last Friday’s terrorist attack at a restaurant in the capital of Bangladesh. Twenty hostages were killed—mostly foreigners. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack—which is having an impact on another part of life in Bangladesh. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

YouTube Via CC Commons
YouTube Via CC Commons

Travelers to South Korea may soon be getting some help from an unexpected source.  The country’s largest international airport is preparing for some new roles to be played by robots.  HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

If you’re wandering around South Korea’s Incheon Airport with travel questions, you may soon be able to get help from a roaming robot.  Cleaning robots are already in use at a number of facilities…including Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

News about North Korea often concerns missile launches and military threats. But officials from South Korea’s intelligence agency focused on some other news late last week—some personal details about North Korea’s leader. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Kim Jong Un is putting on weight….apparently quite a bit of it.  Maybe you’ve noticed the North Korean leader looks a little chunkier than he used to if you pay attention to those occasional scenes from government television.

Australian Embassy Jakarta / Flickr
Australian Embassy Jakarta / Flickr

Voters across Australia will go to the polls tomorrow in a national parliamentary election.  Polls show the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is likely to hold onto power, but with a slimmer majority in both houses of parliament.  One factor: the complications of Australia’s political parties. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Arian Zwegers / Flickr
Arian Zwegers / Flickr

Motorcycles are a common form of transportation in many developing countries, in part because they’re cheaper than cars. But in one of the biggest markets in the world, radical change may be coming. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

If you’ve ever tried to cross a road in a major city in Vietnam as a pedestrian, you’re familiar with the local popularity of motorcycles.  Honda—which produces more motorcycles than any other company in the world---says Vietnam is the number four global market for the two-wheelers.

Awards for bravery and public service are part of the careers of many law enforcement officials around the world. But in one Southeast Asian country, a different sort of award is making headlines. HPR’s Bill Dorman explains in today’s Asia Minute.

In many parts of the world, bribery is part of business as usual.  Sometimes that includes law enforcement officials.  But the government of Indonesia has come up with a novel concept---rewarding honesty—giving national recognition to a policeman who has refused to accept cash bribes.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Financial markets in Asia began the week with a more measured view of events in Britain than the US stock market.  Some of the larger equity markets even began the week with strong gains, while currency markets have had a more complicated reaction.  HPR’s Bill Dorman has details in today’s Asia Minute.

When it comes to big money in Asia, it’s still early to fully evaluate the implications of Britain’s exit from the European Union.  After steep sell-offs last week, stock markets across Asia have generally calmed down a bit.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

What’s your relationship with your phone? That may seem like an odd question, but it’s one that psychiatrists in South Korea are increasingly asking some of their patients. HPR’s Bill Dorman has details in today’s Asia Minute.

Chi Tranter / Flickr
Chi Tranter / Flickr

Geothermal power has been part of the electricity grid for decades on Hawai‘i Island. In Japan, development of geothermal has been slow—but a recent move might speed things up. HPR’s Bill Dorman explains in today’s Asia Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

As we’ve been reporting recently on HPR, crystal methamphetamine continues to be a crisis in Hawai‘i. And there is evidence that use of that drug is increasing in New Zealand and Australia. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Police in New Zealand seized more than half a ton of methamphetamine from an abandoned boat on a northern beach this week…with a street value of more than $350 million US dollars.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Sustainable seafood is an important part of Hawai‘i’s local diet.  The Hawai‘i Seafood Council lists sixteen species of wild and sustainable fish that come from waters around the islands.  But the waters around the Philippines are facing new challenges when it comes to sustainable fishing. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Danilo Cedrone / United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
Danilo Cedrone / United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization

The South China Sea is a center of territorial disputes involving half a dozen governments. China’s construction activities and military patrols in the region have drawn criticism, but there’s also a growing chorus of protests from another group: environmentalists. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

faerie-angel Via CC Commons
faerie-angel Via CC Commons

In the 1980’s, Japanese investment poured into Hawai‘i—from residential real estate to hotels. Hawai‘i is still a popular destination for Japanese investors…. but they’re increasingly being joined by those from South Korea. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia minute.

South Korea’s central bank cut interest rates to a record low Thursday…one and a quarter percent.  Those low interest rates at home are one factor driving investment money abroad—including here in Hawai‘i.

Pixabay Commons
Pixabay Commons

Hillary Clinton’s email may be a topic that we continue to hear about in this presidential election year. But questions about government workers and their use of technology continue to evolve around the world. And they’ve just taken a sharp turn in Singapore. HPR’s Bill Dorman explains in today’s Asia Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Continuing drought conditions in parts of Asia have hit farmers and livestock producers for months. And now there are signs that parched weather is translating to higher prices for rice. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

It may not show up in your plate lunch just yet, but the global price of rice is on the rise.  The Nikkei Financial Review reports the cost of rice from Thailand is up nearly 20% from the start of the year….its biggest jump in eight years.

newsonline / Flickr
newsonline / Flickr

The US Navy has imposed a total ban on alcohol for all sailors in Japan. The more than 18-thousand Navy personnel in the country have also been ordered to stay on military bases, following the latest incident involving drinking and destruction. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

City of Augsburg
City of Augsburg

Hawai‘i is one of the most dangerous states for pedestrians—especially for older residents. That’s been the case for several years—even when people are using cross-walks. There’s an experiment planned in Australia that might offer some ideas---but it’s expensive. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

The Prime Minister of India is coming to the United States---again. Narendra Modi will be in Washington next week…meeting with President Obama and discussing a variety of issues. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

It’s been just a couple of months since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was last in the United States.  This will be his fourth trip to the US in the two years he’s been in office.  That’s drawn some criticism at home…where some suggest he spend more time focused on domestic issues.

www.publicdomainpictures.net
www.publicdomainpictures.net

The use of solar energy is still growing in Hawai‘i….although more slowly than in recent years. The Solar Energy Industries Association says $331 million was spent on solar installations across the state last year, an increase of 3% from a year earlier. But while solar installations in Hawai‘i tend to focus on residential electricity, in Asia there’s a different story: consumer electronics. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

More than 45 million people around the world are living in slavery.  That’s according to an Australian human rights group which compiled what it calls the “Global Slavery Index.” And it says two-thirds of those modern day slaves live in the Asia Pacific.  HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Ernie / Flickr
Ernie / Flickr

Hawai‘i is one of the most aggressive states when it comes to restricting smoking. Earlier this year, Hawai‘i became the first state to raise the smoking age to 21, and smoking at beaches and other parks has been banned in recent years. But in one growing Asian nation, efforts to cut back on smoking are going the other way. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

The World Health Organization is concerned China may be backsliding in its campaign against tobacco use. The country’s latest five-year plan called for a complete ban on smoking in public places.

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