Asia Minute

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Traffic can be an issue in parts of Hawaii — especially on Oahu. There’s a city in India which has come up with a different kind of policy response to fight congestion on crowded roads.

Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

Plastic bottles have long been a pollution problem all over the world. But one country in Asia is taking steps this month to clear up some of the issues that have lingered for years.

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Last week’s move by the Honolulu City Council to ban many forms of single-use plastic is the latest development in a wider movement. In Japan, a smaller step is in effect this week.

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General Motors and a South Korean company are putting up more than a billion dollars apiece to build a battery factory in Ohio. The plant is a key part of GM’s electric vehicle strategy — and it underlines the presence of South Korean companies in this growing market.

Andy Leung / Pixabay

Protests in Hong Kong are continuing this week. Although they’ve been smaller in scale and more peaceful than in recent weeks. But the economy continues to sputter, and city officials are spending more money to try to improve the situation.

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Indigenous leaders in Western Australia are seeking compensation from the state government for the loss of some of their traditional lands. The size of the claim would make it the largest legal case in the history of the country.

Ron Reiring / Flickr

China has protested U.S. support for demonstrators in Hong Kong. That support came in the form of a new law requiring an annual review of Hong Kong’s special trade status. Another measure bans the export of tear gas and other material to Hong Kong police. China’s response carries official anger, but the impact is mostly symbolic. 

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In the United States, on this Monday after Thanksgiving, some of you may still be thinking of turkey. But in China, there's increased attention on a different kind of meat. It's pork — and the country is suffering a severe shortage.

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One of South Korea's largest companies is shifting its strategy when it comes to certain markets in the Asia Pacific. It's cutting back its presence in China, and making a big bet in Southeast Asia.

Maruthu Pandiyan from Pixabay

For residents of Hawaiʻi, one thing to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day is clean air. That is not the case in many parts of the world — and one of the latest reminders of that fact came this week in New Delhi.

Airman 1st Class Erica Crossen / U.S. Air Force

Officials in the Trump Administration are still working on regulations that would cover the vaping industry. That’s also true in the Asia Pacific, where several countries are making adjustments to their policies.

Tech. Sgt. Brian Ferguson / U.S. Air Force

Britain is about to take back more than three-dozen container loads of plastic trash from Malaysia. It’s the latest case of a Southeast Asian nation sending garbage back to where it came from.

StockSnap from Pixabay

Convenience stores around the world are often known for being open all the time. But that’s changing in at least one Asian country, and not for the reasons you might think.

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Updated: Nov. 22, 11:11 a.m.

It has been a week of destruction in parts of Australia as wild fires have swept across the eastern part of the country. While conditions are improving slightly as the weekend approaches, the danger is not over. 

Vincent Thian/AP

While news from Washington has been dominated in recent days by the impeachment hearings, there is other activity as well — and some of it is even bi-partisan. That includes a pair of bills passed this week concerning Hong Kong.

Senior Airman Dana Hill / U.S. Air Force

Talks about payment for U.S. forces in South Korea broke down this week. Government teams from the two countries remain far apart on a deal that expires in about six weeks — and the negotiations are drawing attention elsewhere in the region.

Steven Yu from Pixabay

There’s been another dramatic turn of events in Hong Kong this week — where about a hundred protestors remain surrounded by police on a university campus. Some have been arrested, while local media report dozens were able to escape from police. But there are other developments beyond the violence.

Anthony Quintano / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

Electric scooters made a brief but memorable appearance in Honolulu about a year and a half ago — lasting for all of one week. The vehicles remain a point of controversy in many cities around the world, and over the last couple of weeks have been making news in the Asia Pacific.

Staff Sgt. B. Nicole Mejia / U.S. Army

Some of the top military leadership of the United States is in Asia today. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has been in South Korea this week, and today he’s joined by the Defense Secretary — who’s starting a regional tour.

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Plastic pollution is a growing problem both in the waters of our islands and around the world. This week, the United Nations has focused in on one area that is among the worst polluters: Southeast Asia.

AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

November is traditionally the month when many people start their holiday shopping. In the United States, retailers of all sizes are trying to push consumers to spend money — but the biggest online sales day of the year comes from Asia.

Ben Mierement / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Plastic waste has become an environmental issue around the world, and it’s increasingly a political issue as well. That’s true in Japan, which has become the latest country to move to restrict the use of single-use plastic bags.

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The U.S. and China are still working on details to sign an interim trade agreement, but many disputes remain between the two countries. One of the latest involves drones.

Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

The government of Chile has cancelled plans to host a pair of international meetings scheduled for November and December, because of continuing violent demonstrations. UN officials are scrambling to re-set a climate change conference scheduled for December. But next month’s regional trade meeting known as APEC may be cancelled — and that will have ripple effects.

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If you’re driving and looking for directions, odds are good that you’ll use some kind of GPS or other electronic guidance. While the days of the paper map have been in decline for some time, a new milestone was announced this week in Australia.

AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim

One of the world’s biggest carmakers is staking out new territory in Southeast Asia. Toyota is stepping up its plans to produce electric vehicles in Indonesia.

Andy Leung / Pixabay

Hawaii tourism figures will soon be out for the month of September. So far this year, visitors have been increasing from the United States and dropping from the Asia Pacific. Part of that trend relates to slowing economies overseas. But within Asia, other tourism figures are being hit by political developments.

yuiberry / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr

There is a growing controversy in China about one of the country’s most popular games. It’s often the focus of small social gatherings, but in some cities it’s now coming under the watch of police.

Thailand Royal Office via AP

This has been a busy week for developments in the royal family of Thailand. The king of Thailand has fired half a dozen officials — days after taking action against one of his closest confidantes.

akenarinc / Pixabay

A piece of science fiction is one step closer to reality this morning. In the skies above a major city in Southeast Asia this week, residents and visitors were treated to the sight of a flying taxi.

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