Asia Minute

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

When you hear stories about trade these days, they’re often focused on tariffs — and the ongoing dispute between the United States and China. But there’s another trade story in Asia that also has lingering implications.

Government of India / Wikimedia Commons

There’s been an unusual development in the government of India this week. The country has seen developing public tension between the head of the government and the head of the central bank — something that has also been happening in the United States. But in India, this has led to a dramatic change in the midst of global market volatility.

Petar Milošević / Wikimedia Commons

The Chinese technology company Huawei has been accused of fraud by the U.S. government – trying to get around trade sanctions on Iran. While the company was unfamiliar to many Americans until recently, it’s already had a controversial history with Australia.

Carla Cioffi / NASA

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for space landings and launches. Last week, NASA’s InSight lander touched down on Mars — and there have been other developments involving space programs in South Korea and India. 

The Diary of a Hotel Addict / Flickr

Each week seems to produce more news about climate change. This week a United Nations report said global carbon emissions will rise by nearly 3-percent this year. Rising sea levels also continue around the world. And one major city in Southeast Asia faces a new urgency about flooding.

Mike Mozart / Flickr

A number of countries, cities and counties put an extra tax on sugary drinks. In Hawaii, that policy has been suggested and rejected several times by the legislature. The tax is designed to fight obesity. But one country in the Asia Pacific is considering taking the concept one step further.

MTV International / Wikimedia Commons

One of the biggest U.S. movie hits of the summer is turning out to be a flop in China. “Crazy Rich Asians” opened this past weekend — and the box office was disappointing.

The White House / Flickr

The Group of Twenty meeting in Argentina wrapped up this weekend — generating a number of headlines. But there were also some smaller stories that may be significant in the long term. And that includes an unusual bit of diplomacy involving three countries.

Presidential Press and Information Office /

As you’ve been hearing on NPR, the Group of 20 Summit gets underway today in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The international forum started meeting nearly 20 years ago, and while the headlines may focus on bi-lateral meetings, countries from the Asia Pacific are playing a growing role.

Trosmisiek / Wikimedia Commons

The list of places banning single-use plastic bags is growing. This week, Charleston, South Carolina joined 10 other state coastal communities in stopping their use. Next month, Boston will join the list. And in the Asia Pacific, recent developments about plastic in two countries are getting broader attention.

Wise Hok Wai Lum / Wikimedia Commons

There’s been a lot of focus on climate change this week. Part of that story involves coral reefs. And it’s not all bad news. There’s a project underway in Australia that could help restore reefs around the world.

Studio Incendo / Flickr

A pair of elections in the Asia Pacific this weekend turned out to be big wins for candidates favored by China’s Beijing government. In Taiwan, the political party of the ruling president lost a series of mayoral races. And in Hong Kong, there was a defeat for a pro-democracy candidate.

stephenwd4h0 / Pixabay

As U.S. troops continue their presence along the southern border, they are putting up more razor wire. While this border is getting more barbed wire, there’s another famous dividing line between two countries where the trend is going the other way.


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.

The White House / Flickr

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 / 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.