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Taiwan inducts new amphibious ship in push to bolster indigenous defence industry

KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan – Taiwan’s navy took delivery Friday of a new, domestically made amphibious warfare ship that can be used to land troops and bolster supply lines to vulnerable islands, part of President Tsai Ing-wen’s defence self-sufficiency push. The 10,600-tonne Yu Shan, named after Taiwan’s tallest mountain, is the latest development in Ms Tsai’s ambitious […]

South Korea removes Covid-19 PCR testing for inbound travellers from Oct 1

SEOUL – South Korea has announced the further easing of Covid-19 restrictions for inbound travellers, as the current coronavirus wave subsides. From Saturday, the country will remove a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing requirement for visitors on the first day of their arrival, Yonhap news agency reported on Friday. Currently, a PCR test is […]

Japan’s Kishida orders stimulus to cope with inflation; analysts warn of overspending

TOKYO – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida instructed the government on Friday to come up with an economic stimulus package by the end of October to help mitigate the impact of inflation, as economists warned against over-sized spending. The order from Mr Kishida came during the morning’s cabinet meeting, chief spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters […]

Indonesia approves first homegrown Covid-19 vaccine: IndoVac

JAKARTA – Indonesia has approved its first locally developed Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, the head of the country’s public health agency said Friday, hailing it as a step toward “the nation’s independence in access to medicine”. Jakarta has stressed the importance of developing national vaccines since the beginning of the pandemic, but it currently […]

Malaysian ringgit, equities face stronger headwinds in the face of early election

KUALA LUMPUR – The sliding ringgit is expected to become a political hot potato in the next election, which is widely expected to come on the heels of next week’s tabling of the federal government budget. Malaysian economists and political analysts do not expect Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s administration to deliver a reform-centric budget […]

Probe reveals ‘predatory’ culture at Australia’s Antarctic research bases

SYDNEY – Women working at Australia’s isolated research stations in Antarctica face a “predatory” culture and widespread sexual harassment, according to an inquiry report published Friday. Problematic behaviour ranged from sexual jokes and taunts to unwelcome requests for sex, and even the display of pornographic material on the bases, the report said. Expeditioners described the […]

Australia to end mandatory home isolation for Covid-19 patients

SYDNEY – Australia will end the mandatory five-day home quarantine for Covid-infected people on Oct 14, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Friday, as the country scrapped one of the last remaining restrictions from the pandemic era. “We want a policy that promotes resilience and capacity-building and reduces a reliance on government intervention,” Mr Albanese said […]

Overlooked no more: Maria Orosa, inventor of banana ketchup

MANILA – Bright red, slightly sweet, slightly tangy, a popular Philippine condiment that’s almost like the real thing: It’s banana ketchup. Its creator, Maria Orosa, was an innovative food scientist and Filipino nationalist who pioneered methods of canning and preserving native fruits, intent on making her country self-sufficient in food production. She later turned her […]

China certifies C919 passenger jet to compete with Airbus and Boeing

BEIJING – China held a ceremony on Thursday to certify its C919 narrowbody passenger jet, photos on social media showed, representing a major milestone in the country’s ambitions to challenge Airbus and Boeing in commercial aerospace. The plane, produced by state-owned manufacturer Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (Comac), had been widely expected to be certified […]

To tackle a kimchi crisis, South Korea banks on massive cabbage warehouses

SEOUL – South Korea’s kimchi makers are in serious pain: a climate change-induced shortage of cabbages sent prices rocketing this year, exacerbating damage inflicted by cheaper offerings from Chinese competitors. Such is the sense of crisis surrounding the spicy pickled side dish eaten daily by many Koreans and central to Korean identity, that the government […]

Senior Indonesian officials ‘targeted by spyware last year’

JAKARTA – More than a dozen senior Indonesian government and military officials were targeted last year with spy software designed by an Israeli surveillance firm, according to nine people with knowledge of the matter. Six of the individuals themselves told Reuters they were targeted. The targets included Chief Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto, senior military personnel, […]

US, Pacific island nations vow to strengthen partnership in summit declaration

WASHINGTON – US President Joe Biden, with his administration pledging to help stave off China’s “economic coercion”, promised Pacific island leaders on Thursday to work harder with allies and partners to address their needs. After a two-day Washington summit, the United States and leaders and representatives from 14 Pacific island states issued a joint declaration […]