Philippines presidential race: former boxer Manny Pacquiao enters the ring for 2022

Boxing star Manny Pacquiao on Sunday said he will run for president of the Philippines next year, after railing against corruption in government and what he calls President Rodrigo Duterte’s cosy relationship with China.Pacquiao accepted the nomination of his political allies during the national assembly of the faction he leads in the ruling PDP-Laban Party, days after a rival faction nominated Duterte’s long-time aide, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, as its presidential candidate.That faction…

Hunger and debt: hit by Covid-19, farmers in the Philippines hope their children follow a different path

Nueva Vizcaya, a landlocked province in the Philippines with a population of about 460,900, is home to some of the biggest vegetable producers in the country.An agricultural region eight hours’ drive from the nation’s capital and known as “the salad bowl of the north”, it supplies most of its vegetables to Manila despite not having an airport of its own. Vegetables travel by trucks daily from the upland green plots to the tables of the capital’s residents.But when the coronavirus pandemic hit…

Is Russia stirring memories of Japanese war crimes to get close to China?

A two-day international conference convened by the Russian government in the city of Khabarovsk in early September to re-examine the war crime trials that took place in the city in December 1949 has angered Japan’s conservatives who have accused Moscow of magnifying the imperial army’s atrocities to seek geopolitical gains. Back then, 12 men from Japan’s notorious biowarfare research base known as Unit 731 – based in northeastern China during the Sino-Japanese war – were found guilty of…

Coronavirus: Singapore shifts primary schools to online learning; fatigued Philippine nurses battle resignations

Singapore’s primary schools will shift to home-based learning for 10 days ahead of a key national examination, the education ministry said on Saturday, as the city state reported 935 new Covid-19 cases the previous day, the highest since April last year.Primary 1 to 5 students will move to home-based learning from September 27 to October 6.Primary 6 students will go on a study break for a few days from September 25 before sitting for the national examination to minimise risk of school-based…

Thais can’t get enough of Blackpink Lisa’s favourite meatballs from Buriram

From meatball vendors to clothes stores, small business owners in Thailand have reported a rise in sales on the back of the success of Thai-born Blackpink member Lalisa “Lisa” Manoban’s first solo single. The K-pop star last Friday released the music video for LALISA, a hip-hop track featuring scenes from her culture and hometown, to the delight of fans in Thailand and elsewhere. Dressed in a shimmery Thai silk dress while donning a traditional golden headgear, known as a chada, Manoban…

Singapore foreign minister’s apology lays bare angst over elite school obsession and class divide

When Singapore’s foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan remarked on an opposition politician’s educational background to a party colleague in parliament on Tuesday, he did not expect what he said to go viral.But his asides were caught on microphone – and with the session being live-streamed, an audio clip with the comments “He’s illiterate”, “Seriously, how did he get into RI?” and “Must be a lousy school” quickly made the rounds.Online, public attention focused more on the exchange than the…

Jakarta’s air quality is terrible – and Indonesia’s President Widodo is among those to blame

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo is among the seven officials found guilty by a Jakarta court of environmental negligence over air pollution in the capital.In a civil lawsuit, the Central Jakarta District Court on Thursday ruled that Widodo must set adequate national ambient air quality standards “to protect the people’s health, the environment, and the ecosystem”, though it dismissed a claim the defendants had violated a human right for health, including clean air.The standard for annual…