Asia Minute

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250 years ago today British explorer James Cook went ashore onto the land of what it is now called New Zealand. The anniversary is being marked with some ceremonies, but not everyone is calling it a celebration.

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If you listen to some of your news or music by way of a smart speaker, you’re not alone. In fact, smart speakers are one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. consumer electronics market. And sales are growing even faster in China.

AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade

Professional basketball is making a splash in Hawaii this week. The Los Angeles Clippers played the Houston Rockets last night—and on Sunday they will host the Shanghai Sharks at the Stan Sheriff Center at the University of Hawaii. The NBA is also active in Asia this week and next week.

Senior Airman Dana Hill / U.S. Air Force

Talks are underway between the United States and South Korea about sharing costs for U.S. forces based on the Korean peninsula. This is part of a longer story.

MAKY_OREL / Pixabay

There’s a question many Hawaii residents have asked that is growing around the world. How does one balance the preservation of natural beauty with a growing tourism industry? A new approach was announced this week in Indonesia.

Senior Airman Andrew Lee / U.S. Air Force photo

Today marks the end of an era in Japan. The very last phone paging service in the country stopped operating just after midnight.

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Recycling remains a challenge for both policymakers and consumers — not only here in Hawaii, but all around the world. In New Zealand, the government is trying a different approach when it comes to plastic bottles.

AP Photo/Kin Cheung

Authorities in Hong Kong are bracing for another weekend of protests. It’s been the same pattern for several months, but this coming week will bring an especially sensitive time.

Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump says the United States and Japan have reached what he calls the “first stage of a phenomenal new trade agreement.” But the full details are a little less clear.

Achmad Ibrahim/AP

Thousands of people have been protesting against the government in one of Asia’s largest cities this week. These demonstrations are not in Hong Kong, but in the capital city of Indonesia. 

Ahn Young-joon/AP

Japan and South Korea will begin discussions about a long-running trade dispute. The talks are part of a process set up by the World Trade Organization — but in South Korea, consumers are taking direct action. 

Vincent Thian/AP

The multi-billion-dollar world of Formula One Racing faces an unusual challenge this weekend. It’s not about stormy weather or road conditions -- the problem is air pollution in Southeast Asia. 

Pavel Golovkin, AP/Pool

The ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China continues to generate stories around the world. But another aspect of China’s trade is getting much less coverage. 

AP Photo/Vincent Thian

Protests in Hong Kong have marked another milestone this week. It’s now been more than a hundred days since street demonstrations began in the city. And the path to resolution still looks complicated.

AP Photo/Amr Nabil

Movement in the price of oil has been more subdued today compared to its biggest spike in more than a decade yesterday. A weekend drone attack on Saudi oil facilities could lead to economic pressures in different parts of the world, and that definitely includes the Asia Pacific.

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U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators are scheduled to resume talks next month. Late last week, China said it would loosen restrictions on some imports from the United States. And that includes one of the most important consumer products in China.

Masakatsu Ukon / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr

It’s been more than a year since a Chicago restaurant sparked a local outrage here by trademarking the phrase “Aloha Poke.” Some legal issues related to that action are still pending, but this week there was a bit of an echo of that case in New Zealand.

Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory / NASA

Scores of firefighters on Maui have fought a high number of brush fires this summer that have burned hundreds of acres of land. This week, fires elsewhere in the Pacific are causing problems for several countries.

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

A continuing dispute between South Korea and Japan has moved from politics and history to business.

Clint Stone / U.S. Army

Several construction and maintenance projects in Hawaii face delays because of President Trump’s diversion of government funding to build a wall at the southern border of the United States. More details have now emerged about other projects around the Asia Pacific that will also feel an impact.

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As Hong Kong heads into another weekend, residents are bracing for more protests. But the city government is taking a different approach.

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A national study earlier this year found that Hawaii is one of the most dangerous states in the country for older pedestrians. Cars are the main concern, but bicyclists on sidewalks are another challenge. In one Asian city, lawmakers are considering forcing bicycle riders to buy liability insurance.

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A multi-billion-dollar train project is now expected to begin operations slightly sooner than expected. It’s not the Honolulu Rail Project, but a massive development across the Pacific Ocean.

Photo: Lachlan Fearnley / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

A controversial visa policy in Australia is coming under closer examination. The program allows permanent residence for investors who invest several million dollars.

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Electric scooters are gaining popularity around the world, but wherever they go they seem to bring controversy as well. That was true when LimeBike tried to break into Honolulu, and it’s true this week in New Zealand.

King Rodriguez of Philippine Presidential Department / Public Domain / Philippine Government

One of the more complicated relationships in the Asia Pacific took another turn this week. The president of the Philippines led a large delegation to Beijing, where he met with China’s president — drawing attention from much of the region.

State Department photo/ Public Domain

The United States is expressing concern about the downward spiral in relations between two of its closest allies in the Asia Pacific. It’s been another week of disputes involving Japan and South Korea — and the concerns are stretching all the way to Hawaii.

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Trade talks between the United States and China remain an up and down process these days. While the resolution of those disputes is uncertain, a big piece of American business has just landed in China – with an enthusiastic reception.

Rizky Maharani / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons

Climate change is affecting various parts of the world differently, and many of the initial impacts are in the Asia Pacific. That includes Indonesia, which has announced plans to move its national capital.

Marco Verch / CC BY 2.0 / foto.wuestenigel.com

President Trump helped send stock markets sharply lower on Friday when he called on U.S. companies to consider alternatives to doing business in China. But unwinding the regional supply chain is not a simple matter.

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