Bill Dorman

Vice President & News Director

Bill Dorman has been the news director of Hawai‘i Public Radio since February 2011. Born in New York City, he spent 21 years at CNN in various positions behind the scenes and on the air in Atlanta, New York, Washington DC, and Tokyo, Japan. He was also managing editor of Asia Pacific Broadcast for Bloomberg News for five years before moving to Hawai‘i in 2009. He’s covered stories from more than twenty countries and territories.

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If you’re a fan of bubble tea, you may want to consider some alternatives. The problem is the bubble part or what are called boba and it’s a story that stretches across the Pacific.

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More people continue to get COVID-19 vaccinations both around the islands and across the country, and that’s making some people are thinking about travel. Over the coming year, more of that travel is likely to be international. So how strong is your passport?

AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, Pool

Japanese travelers have not yet returned to Hawaii in great numbers, largely because they face a mandatory quarantine on their return home. But one prominent Japanese visitor is heading to the East Coast later this week.

Song Kyung-Seok/Pool Photo via AP

South Korea’s biggest city has a new mayor, and he’s looking to change the way the national capital is dealing with the coronavirus.

AP Photo/Kandhi Barnez

A powerful tropical cyclone cut its way across the Asia Pacific last week. Indonesia was hit particularly hard, and scientists there say climate change played a role.

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Thailand is closing bars and clubs in dozens of provinces, the latest move to contain an outbreak of the coronavirus. The actions come as residents are about to celebrate a national holiday.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

The tourist trade is picking up a bit, and not just in Hawaii. This week, the Hawaii Tourism Authority has reported more than 20,000 arrivals a day, about three-quarters of them coming for vacation. Elsewhere around the Pacific, other tourist destinations are getting ready for business, such as Indonesia.

Masakatsu Ukon / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr

Tourism is slowly returning to some parts of the world, and so is the concept of “travel bubbles.” That’s the ability to visit certain countries without quarantine, and a new one’s about to get underway in the Asia Pacific.

AP Photo/Aaron Favila

COVID-19 cases are spiking again in the Philippines. The government there is extending a lockdown in the Manila area, and some hospitals are turning patients away.

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Late last week, the CDC said people who are fully vaccinated can travel “at low risk to themselves.” That helps bring a closer focus on the idea of “vaccination passports”—a concept under review in several Asian countries.

AP Photo/Vincent Yu

It’s been a week of dramatic developments in Hong Kong. Seven leading pro-democracy activists have been convicted of unlawful assembly and the United States has again sharply criticized China’s policies there.

Yui Mok/Pool Photo via AP

More than a quarter of Hawai‘i’s population has now received at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccination. Elsewhere in the Pacific, vaccines are rolling out more slowly, but with some milestones this week.

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Visitor counts are gradually increasing across the state and the vast majority are domestic passengers—a trend that’s true around the world. But in parts of the Asia Pacific, preparations are underway to welcome more international travelers.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

While Hawai‘i leads the country in its goals for clean energy, most of the state’s electricity still comes from fossil fuels. That includes a coal-fired power plant on O‘ahu—a technology that’s a long-time target of environmental activists. It’s also an area where Japan may be shifting its policy.

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More students are returning to classrooms, here in Hawai‘i and around the country. But one group of college students remains in low numbers: those from overseas. And in Australia, some government officials are looking to boost those numbers.

Suez Canal Authority via AP

The Suez Canal remains closed Friday—as crews work to free a huge container ship that got stuck in a sandstorm. While the incident has sent ripples of concern around the world, it has particular impact for some in the Asia Pacific.

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It’s been more than a year since the World Health Organization declared that the coronavirus was a global pandemic. Part of the new reality since then has been the widespread use of disposable masks. Now a team in Indonesia is experimenting with recycling them—not as masks, but as part of other products.

AP Photo/Frank Augstein

Hawai‘i’s Department of Health continues to administer the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson vaccines—the same ones in use for the rest of the United States. But in many parts of Asia, one of the key vaccines in play is the one from AstraZeneca—and the pace is picking up this week.

New cases of COVID-19 have risen in recent days here in Hawai‘i—along with a number of other states. They’re rising even faster in several locations overseas—including part of South Asia. Health officials in India are warning the country could be in the early stages of a new wave of COVID-19 cases.

AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File

More people are making travel plans for the future, but right now international trips remain difficult. Many countries are not even accepting visitors, while others require lengthy quarantines. But in Southeast Asia, one long-planned alternative has now opened for business.

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cc commons

Pineapples are playing a growing role in Asia Pacific politics—at least when it comes to China and Taiwan. A dispute over the fruit has now gone international.

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists hundreds of threatened and endangered species around Hawaii---from plants and snails to reptiles and birds. In Australia, scientists are trying to save one bird by helping to preserve its song.

AP Photo/Aaron Favila

While cases of COVID-19 are falling in many parts of the world, in certain areas they continue to rise. And that includes the Philippines, which is now imposing new restrictions to reverse the trend.

AP Photo/Andy Wong

While much of the state has been hit with a lot of wet weather lately, a different kind of storm is causing issues in northern China. It’s the worst sandstorm in a decade, and the impact is stretching beyond the country.

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As vaccinations increase across the state and around the country, the thoughts of some are turning to travel plans. But for many in the hospitality industry, the shorter-term targets are still a domestic market.

Senior Airman Dana Hill / U.S. Air Force

You may have seen the headline this week that Washington and Seoul have reached an agreement on a cost-sharing agreement for U.S. troops based in South Korea. But there’s a deeper story behind the numbers.

AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File

The Biden Administration is sending its first official overseas delegation to the Asia Pacific. Next week’s trip will include stops in Japan and South Korea. It will also mark the first visit of a Biden cabinet secretary to Hawaii.

AP Photo/Frank Augstein

Hawaii’s Department of Health says that more than 416,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed across the state. Around the world, vaccinations rolled out faster in the United States and Europe than other regions. In the Asia Pacific, it’s been slower — and the pace is varying in different locations.

AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim

The Hawaii Department of Health says more than 60,000 COVID-19 vaccines are heading for the islands this week. The vaccination process continues through priority lists — now open to those 70 and older. But in one Asian countries, vaccine distribution is taking another course.

AP Photo/Mark Baker

Life is back to normal for residents of coastal New Zealand this week. Late last week, a series of powerful earthquakes struck the South Pacific — leading to tsunami warnings around the region. And while the waves were not as high as feared, for some they were a wake-up call.

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