Asia Minute

World Travel & Tourism Council / Flickr

The mid-term elections are now less than a week away in the United States, but in Southeast Asia an election scheduled for next year is getting more attention. The location is Thailand — where a number of political developments are taking place, and quickly.

Someformofhuman / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

Electric cars are growing in popularity — both on the mainland and in Hawaii.  That’s leading to plans for increased production — including in one Asian nation that may be a bit of a surprise.

Steven Byles / Flickr

Congress won’t be back in session until after Election Day. But before leaving Washington, lawmakers allowed an action to go ahead that’s likely to raise some objections in China.

Joannerfabregas / Wikimedia Commons

An experiment in tourism management has reached a new stage. One of the most popular resorts in the Philippines has been closed for six months while workers cleaned the beaches. And now it’s open for business.

Jeff Schmaltz / NASA

Lawmakers are facing calls for increased government spending because of the cost of recovery from a series of disasters. That could be a headline here in Hawai‘i, but it’s a story this week from Japan.

jepoirrier / Flickr

The next stop on professional golfing’s Asian tour is the Panasonic Open in India. But even before the tournament gets underway tomorrow, there is already controversy in the air.

AhmadArdity / Pixabay

These are volatile times for China’s stock market. The first trading day of the week saw the biggest gains for the Shanghai Composite Index in more than two and a half years. On Tuesday, the market plunged. And over the past year, the market is still one of the worst performers in the world.

Spielvogel / Wikimedia Commons

One vision about a space-age future may be closer than you realize. Flying taxis have made appearances in movies, but they may actually be tested as soon as next year in at least one Asia Pacific country — and maybe more.

Pictures of Money / Flickr

Trade tensions between the United States and its economic partners have started to hurt growth around the world. That’s the view of the International Monetary Fund — which this month cut its forecast for global economic growth for this year and next year from nearly 4 percent to 3.7 percent. But for the very wealthy, there is faster growth – especially in the Asia Pacific.

Michael Day / Flickr

The United States and North Korea are quietly continuing talks about denuclearization. But South Korea’s government is moving faster toward cooperation on some projects with the North. And that’s drawing a reaction from the United States.

Radspunk / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons

Police in South Korea this week made the largest seizure of methamphetamine in the country’s history. Authorities say it was smuggled in by an international syndicate; it’s the latest reminder that the drug remains a potent threat in the Asia Pacific.

Joshua Damasio / Flickr

It’s still too early to determine what impacts the Marriott hotel strike may have on tourism in Hawai‘i. That may be one challenge for the new leader of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, expected to be named soon. On the other side of the Pacific, there’s a different sort of challenge for tourism.

craigsyd / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr

Authorities in New Zealand are trying a new tactic to better understand patterns of drug use in the country. They’re testing the water — waste water from sewers. It’s been done elsewhere, but for New Zealand this is a different approach.

Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons

It’s been a week of some dramatic developments in Japan. These changes have nothing to do with politics or diplomacy, but a lot to do with the cultural history of the country’s capital city.

Gretar Ívarsson

Warnings from a UN panel this week about the pace of climate change are putting a new focus on the use of fossil fuels. When it comes to one form of renewable energy, several countries in the Asia Pacific are expanding their goals.

Kleineolive / Wikimedia Commons

A United Nations report out this week warns that the world has a dozen years to make dramatic changes in energy use to limit the impact of global warming. That includes dramatically cutting the use of coal. But for several countries in the Asia Pacific, both economics and politics are moving in a different direction.

YunHo LEE / Flickr

Visitor spending and arrivals are up across the islands compared to a year ago. That includes visitors from most markets in the Asia Pacific. And residents in one of those countries are setting records for foreign travel.

Leonidl / Wikimedia Commons

The United States is facing a diplomatic complication this week with one of its allies in the Asia Pacific. It follows a top-level meeting on Friday — and the outcome remains uncertain.

Alexey Komarov / Wikimedia Commons

The Hawaii Tourism Authority says August was another positive month for visitors to the state, although growth came at a slower pace than earlier this year. Elsewhere in the Pacific, there’s a tourist destination that will soon re-open – after the government shut it down for six months because of the wear and tear of too many visitors.

David Newton / Wikimedia Commons

Navy ships from more than a dozen countries will be taking part in an event next week in South Korea. But there is controversy – not about ships or weapons, but about a flag.

Glenn Fawcett / U.S. Customs and Border Protection

If you have travel plans coming up that include a flight to Asia, you may be part of the newest wave of airport technology. The idea is to get passengers on their way more quickly — and without having to always take out a passport.

Sonata(talk / Contributions) / Wikimedia Commons

An election in Japan may have an impact on U.S. military planning in the Asia Pacific. The election was in Okinawa, and the potential effects may stretch all the way to Hawaii.

JohnAdamsj / Pixabay

The continuing trade dispute between the United States and China is starting to hit a variety of products.  Last week, the Trump Administration slapped ten-percent tariffs on another 200-billion dollars of Chinese imports. One area that’s feeling the pinch: seafood.

ABC (Australia) logo / Wikimedia Commons

It’s been a dramatic week at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The public broadcaster is now under investigation following two high profile departures and allegations of improper government influence.

Buonasera / Wikimedia Commons

The issue of trade remains a topic for the Trump Administration with several countries, especially China. And a leading regional financial institution says that ongoing dispute will soon begin to have a wider impact.

Yun Huang Yong / Flickr

There are many ways to measure a country’s progress. It’s not limited to economic growth or per capita income, or even lifespan. A new study looks at a different measure — and the United States is slipping while China is gaining ground.

Altt311 / Wikimedia Commons

There’s news this week concerning a train project that has been long-delayed and whose costs have soared way past the original budget. It’s not the Honolulu rail project. This rail is more than 5,000 miles from O’ahu – connecting Hong Kong and southern China.

Philippe Teuwen / Flickr

We’re a week away from the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s annual Global Tourism Summit. While the state will update its latest strategies to attract visitors, other locations are considering similar plans. And that includes the capital of South Korea.

Koshy Koshy / Flickr

There’s been a lot of media focus on talks this week between the leaders of North and South Korea. Two other long-time foes were moving toward talks this week — until a sudden disruption.

Pedro Szekely / Flickr

Short-term vacation rentals remain a controversial topic both here in Hawai‘i and in many locations around the world. In Japan, the government has adopted an ambitious plan to regulate the practice. And now there’s a case that’s testing the system.

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