Asia Minute


It's been decades since the global space race was led by the United States. But as Russia, China, Japan, and other countries have made progress in their programs, another country has been making quiet strides as well.

Wokandapix / Pixabay

Recruiting and retaining public school teachers remains a challenge in Hawaiʻi. But for another location in the Asia Pacific, a recruitment drive is turning some other issues.

Amila Tennakoon / Flickr

Plastic and oceans are a bad combination. It’s a growing problem not only here in Hawai‘i but around the Pacific. And an event this week in Indonesia is the latest reminder.

Shealah Craighead / The White House

The politics of trade remain a top priority for the Trump Administration, and that is having an impact on the rest of the Asia Pacific. Vice President Mike Pence represented the United States at the recent APEC meetings, which in many ways set the stage for another international gathering later this month.

Masakatsu Ukon / Flickr

Japan’s government is working on an issue related to travel around the world – including Hawaii. It’s dealing with a problem that has surfaced in more than one case in recent months: airplane pilots and drinking.

Zscout370 / Wikimedia Commons

It’s been three weeks since the president of Sri Lanka fired the Prime Minister and dissolved the country’s parliament. The political upheaval since then has involved every branch of government, including the judiciary. And it’s threatening a key part of the nation’s economy.

고려 / Wikimedia Commons

If you’re having any stress in your life today, you might want to consider 18 year olds in South Korea. For those who want to go to college, this is a tremendously important day — packed with stress. Because some say today’s events can impact the rest of their lives.

Charles Haynes / Flickr

Around the world, certain foods are associated with particular locations. For most people, sushi goes with Japan, bratwurst with Germany, and kimchi is a match for Korea. But on that last one, there’s been a development.

Rs1421 / Wikimedia Commons

It’s been about three months since one of Japan’s leading medical schools admitted that it discriminated against women candidates. Tokyo Medical University said it altered test scores for years – favoring male applicants. Now government investigators say other medical schools may have done the same.

Mariano / Wikimedia Commons

The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers is working to help preserve a series of ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs at Pōka‘ī Bay on the west side of O‘ahu. Other drawings in caves and on rocks have been found all over the world. But a new discovery announced this week in Indonesia is capturing attention not only from the archeologists, but also in the world of art.

Joannerfabregas / Wikimedia Commons

An experiment in tourism continues this week in the Philippines. The government closed one of its most popular beaches for six months to clean up the area and reduce the capacity for visitors. Now the beach is open again, but not everything is going as planned. 

Sriram Jagannathan / Flickr

While many Americans are paying attention to midterm elections today, in another part of the world the focus is on a different kind of event. Tomorrow is the Hindu festival of Diwali — and this year there’s a special set of concerns in the Indian capital.

seaninjapan / Flickr

Pedestrian deaths remain a focus of concern across Hawai’i – where they are running at roughly seven times the pace of last year’s fatalities. In parts of Asia, there is another safety issue that’s drawing a lot of attention.

Maithripala Sirisena / Flickr

Mid-term elections in the United States are just a few days away. But the political situation in a small country in the Indo-Asia Pacific is more dramatic. Sri Lanka has been in a leadership crisis for a week, and the situation is moving towards a climax next week.

Solar Impulse

It’s been more than three years since a solar-powered airplane touched down in Hawai‘i after traveling more than 5,000 miles from Japan. The “Solar Impulse Two” set a distance record, but now there are solar-powered planes in the Asia Pacific with even more ambitious goals.

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.