Singapore

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This weekend, President Trump plans to address a political rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Organizers say face masks will be optional. Elsewhere, rules are very different when it comes to political gatherings — including one of the economic centers of Southeast Asia.

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Interisland travel without quarantine is now underway. And on Friday, bars will be allowed to re-open on Oahu. Friday also marks a new phase for looser restrictions for two important economies in Asia.

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Clinical trials are underway around the world in the search for a treatment for COVID-19. They are in various stages of research. And in Singapore, one is about to launch human clinical trials.

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While many businesses are slowly re-opening, questions linger about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on other activities. That includes voting. And in one democracy in Asia, despite uncertainty, planning is underway.

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States are taking different approaches on slowly re-opening businesses. That’s also true for countries, where two key economies in Southeast Asia are moving into a new phase.

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Some restrictions are gradually loosening on businesses around the state this week and next week –although we are still some time from ramping up travel to Hawaii. But there are some countries in the Asia Pacific that are taking a different kind of attitude to certain types of travel.

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In many places, today is Labor Day — a celebration of working people at a time when work has been disrupted around the world. In one Southeast Asian nation, the Prime Minister used his annual Labor Day address to talk about a cautious re-opening to a work world that will be very different.

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The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way many businesses operate. It’s also led to an increased pace of development for certain ideas — including one announced this week in Singapore.

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The novel coronavirus pandemic has hit vulnerable populations around the world especially hard. That includes the elderly and the disabled. And in Singapore, it includes low-wage workers from other countries.

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Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has ordered wider use of facemasks in public, starting next Monday. It’s part of the efforts to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus, and it broadens his earlier request that people wear masks when they go out. This week in Singapore, authorities made that behavior mandatory.

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Throughout the global pandemic of COVID-19, many health experts have pointed to Singapore as a country that has taken many of the right steps to combat the spread of the virus.  Now, the country is ramping up a new series of restrictions.

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Singapore is often cited as a location that has been effective in its initial reaction to the coronavirus pandemic. This week the country is taking new steps because of a spike in new cases — largely because of residents returning from overseas.

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This week, Vice President Mike Pence mentioned Singapore as a place the United States could learn from when it comes to fighting the community spread of efforts of the coronavirus. The Southeast Asian nation has had more than 100 cases, and most of the patients have already recovered.

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Cities and countries around the Asia Pacific are struggling to deal with the public safety aspects of the coronavirus — as well as its economic impact. While the situation is still developing, some locations are doing better than others.

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When it comes to the coronavirus, China remains the country with the vast majority of cases. But health officials in one Southeast Asian nation have just raised their alert level.

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Video gaming has hit a new milestone this week. Esports are already a competitive venture at many high schools and universities — including here in Hawai’i. But now, there’s a new global governing body for the sport headquartered in Asia.

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A piece of science fiction is one step closer to reality this morning. In the skies above a major city in Southeast Asia this week, residents and visitors were treated to the sight of a flying taxi.

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One of the world’s richest inventors has dropped an ambitious plan for high-technology manufacturing in Southeast Asia. The decision means a shift for a well-known company and a leading regional economy. 

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New research out this week recalculates some of the costs of climate change. A report from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds the current pace of carbon emissions will cause the U.S. economy to shrink by more than 10% by the year 2100. One country in the Asia Pacific is taking new steps to tackle climate change.

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Following a recent trip to Singapore, State Senator Stanley Chang remains committed to adapting the island nation’s public housing model for Hawaii.

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Travelers are used to occasional schedule disruptions at airports — for reasons ranging from mechanical issues to weather. But over the past week there’s another factor that’s delayed flights at one of Asia’s busiest airports: drones.

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President Trump’s recent visit to Japan included a stop on a Japanese helicopter carrier. The president talked about military exercises involving regional allies, but China is having similar discussions this week.

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Hawai’i is not the only place where residents and governments are wrestling with vacation rentals. It’s a hot topic around the world — including a surprising development this week in one Asian city.

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Flying cars have been part of science fiction stories for many years, but developers are coming closer to produce a flying vehicle. And a company based in Singapore says they could be in the skies over California as soon as next year.

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There’s a new project that’s opening this week in Southeast Asia. It includes a botanical garden, a boutique hotel and the world’s largest indoor waterfall. And it’s opening at the airport.

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Hawaiʻi's state legislature has been looking at Singapore as a possible model for certain kinds of publicly-supported housing. But this week, there are new developments when it comes to another part of Singapore's urban planning.

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Eighty percent of Singapore’s 5.6 million residents live in public housing. A 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom apartment can be purchased on the resale market for around $250,000 U.S. dollars. The island nation’s success in making housing affordable has caught the attention of lawmakers in Hawaiʻi.

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The link between high sugar consumption and health problems has sparked a legislative response in a number of states and overseas. One target is sugary drinks – and one approach has been to apply a special tax on the beverages. In Singapore, that’s just one of the proposals in play, and lawmakers are entering a new phase in considering several ideas to cut sugar consumption.

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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.

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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.

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