Health & Environment

A plume rises over Tonga after the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai erupts on January 15, 2022. Photo: NOAA/SSEC/CIMSS via Reuters
Opinion | Why Tonga’s volcanic eruption was so violent, and what to expect next

When hot magma rapidly blasts out of the ground and meets cold water, this ‘fuel-coolant interaction’ can be akin to weapons-grade chemical explosions.

3 hours ago
As Japan’s population declines, more people are likely to consider sperm donors. Photo: Shutterstock
Woman who thought Chinese sperm donor was Japanese sues for US$2.9 million

Married woman had sex with donor on 10 occasions after finding him on social media. She says he falsely claimed to be a single graduate of an elite university.

17 Jan 2022 - 6:19PM
A performance at MM, a live music venue in Hong Kong’s Central that has since closed down. Government rules require singers to wear masks and perform behind a partition. Photo: Babe Tree
Abacus | Don’t let Omicron smother the soul of Hong Kong’s live music scene

The city’s leisure and F&B industry is once again in crisis and it’s up to the Hong Kong Musicians Union to ensure entertainers aren’t cut off from government relief.

17 Jan 2022 - 9:30AM
The Novak Djokovic saga is open to political spin. Photo: Getty Images
Could the Djokovic saga swing the Australian election?

With Omicron cases surging, PM Scott Morrison faces a dilemma: allow ‘novax’ to remain and be seen as soft on borders; or throw him out and be seen as a ‘joke’.

12 Jan 2022 - 1:54PM
Children ride bikes along the Helix Bridge with a view of the financial business district in Singapore. Photo: AFP
Singapore calms fears over Covid-19 mRNA jabs for young children

No serious adverse events have been reported among children aged five to 11 who got the Pfizer-BioNTech jab, authorities said

10 Jan 2022 - 5:31PM
British-Indian student Tanya Marwaha has set up a programme to support young people with their mental health. Photo: Handout
British-Indian student’s mental health support group fights stigma

Tanya Marwaha, 20, created ‘Championing Youth Minds’ after realising young people from British-Indian families found it hard to seek help for their struggles.

9 Jan 2022 - 9:57PM
Lim Kok Cheong (left) with his wife Jun Chua and son Ee Young. Photo: Amy Chew
How the son of poor rubber tappers became one of Malaysia’s top entrepreneurs

In a rare interview with This Week in Asia, the entrepreneur reflects on a journey that began with his grandparents leaving China in the 1920s and has since come full circle.

11 Jan 2022 - 10:06PM
A police personnel distributes face masks to pilgrims in Kolkata. Photo: AFP
‘We are too late’: Omicron sends India’s virus cases to 7-month high

Experts hope India’s experience will mirror South Africa’s, where cases peaked in four weeks then went into rapid decline.

7 Jan 2022 - 6:37PM
People relax under trees in the financial district of Singapore. Photo: AFP
Singapore in talks with US after CDC description of Covid situation baffles experts

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans against travel to the city state. Singapore is gearing up for a wave of Omicron cases but says it won’t close borders and ‘go back two years’.

5 Jan 2022 - 9:56PM
Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki. Photo: Kyodo
Anger in Japan’s Okinawa as US bases blamed for Omicron spread

The prefecture is mulling emergency measures amid a sixth wave of Covid-19 infections fuelled by the Omicron variant.

5 Jan 2022 - 4:48PM
Cats were blamed for starting 107 house fires in Seoul over the past three years, leaving four people injured and causing some US$118,500 worth of damage. Photo: Shutterstock
Owners warned after cats cause 107 house fires in South Korea over 3 years

The fires caused an estimated US$118,500 worth of damage and left four people injured. Seoul saw a fourfold increase in the number of fires caused by household pets over an earlier three-year period.

3 Jan 2022 - 3:02PM
The Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital in Singapore, a country that’s one of the top medical tourism destinations in Asia. Photo: Handout
‘We trust Singaporean doctors more’: can Bali become a medical tourism hub?

Jokowi hopes the Bali International Hospital will be able to reverse US$7 billion from being spent annually by Indonesians seeking medical treatment overseas.

3 Jan 2022 - 9:42AM
Bilal Ahmad Dar stands at the bank of the Jhelum river in the evening after finishing his Covid-19 duties for the day. Photo: Adnan Bhat
Once hailed as green hero, Indian youth now disinfects streets to manage Covid

Bilal Ahmad Dar, featured in a documentary on the preservation of Kashmir’s Wular Lake, was passionately involved in the trash-filled water body’s clean-up.

31 Dec 2021 - 3:19PM
A Singapore Airlines plane waits to depart at Changi International Airport. Photo: AFP
Singapore to serve as aviation hub during Beijing Winter Olympics

Singapore Airlines will operate daily flights for Singaporean and foreign athletes and officials from January 21 to March 16.

30 Dec 2021 - 2:08PM
A giant panda at Adventure World theme park and zoo in Japan inspects the numbers 2022 carved out of ice in celebration of the coming year. Photo: Kyodo
What does 2022 hold in store for Asia? Here are seven forecasts

US-China competition, the Communist Party’s 20th Congress, Asia elections, inflation, supply chain disruptions, decarbonisation goals and the Taiwan issue are among developments to watch.

29 Dec 2021 - 5:50PM
A health care worker prepares a dose of Covid-19 vaccine in Indonesia. Photo: EPA
Indonesian man claims he got 14 Covid-19 shots on behalf of vaccine sceptics

The man in Sulawesi said he was paid US$7-US$56 each to receive the shots on behalf of others. His story, and others like it, show how widespread vaccine hesitancy is in Indonesia, say observers.

28 Dec 2021 - 3:29PM
Condominiums in Phuket. Photo: Richmont’s
As Omicron rages, Chinese buyers offer hope to Thailand’s property market

Real estate firms in the country have seen a slight uptick in remote purchases by Chinese clients, providing a balm for the pandemic-hit sector.

27 Dec 2021 - 10:30AM
Many of Hong Kong’s domestic workers find themselves trapped in the city again this Christmas, far away from their families. Photo: Nora Tam
Hong Kong’s domestic workers struggle amid another Christmas far from home

Pregnant domestic workers and those who are far from their children are among those struggling the most amid Covid-19 restrictions. Specialists warn of isolation’s impact on their mental health, and the need for more support.

25 Dec 2021 - 7:54AM
A man dressed as Santa Claus offers hand sanitiser to pupils at a school in Mumbai, India, on Wednesday. Photo: AP
Omicron fears cancel Christmas in New Delhi, as India braces for third wave

Officials say they are ready for a surge in cases given Omicron’s seemingly milder symptoms when compared to the deadly Delta variant. But millions remain unvaccinated – and protection is waning even for those who are.

23 Dec 2021 - 6:00PM
Thai men dressed up in Squid Game costumes pose in front of Christmas decorations in Bangkok. Photo: EPA-EFE
In Thailand and Singapore, Omicron hits Asia’s nascent tourism revival

Singapore has frozen new ticket sales for flights and buses in its vaccinated travel lane scheme until January 20.

22 Dec 2021 - 9:06PM