Asean in uncharted waters as it snubs Myanmar junta chief Min Aung Hlaing

A cloud of uncertainty hangs over the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) as the bloc’s leaders convene this week in unprecedented circumstances, with Myanmar’s junta chief Min Aung Hlaing excluded from the talks in a rebuke over the bloodshed following his February coup.Founded in 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, and expanded in the 1990s to include Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, Asean has never before excluded a national leader from its…

Coronavirus: Singapore uses fake news law against anti-vaxxers; New Zealand spike brings second-worst day of cases

Singapore’s Health Ministry has issued a correction order to the website “Truth Warriors” over claims that Covid-19 vaccines are not effective.International evidence shows categorically that vaccines cut Covid-19 infection, as well as serious illness and mortality rates from the virus, the ministry said in a statement on Sunday. Truth Warriors, which says it is made up of a local community in Singapore, also claimed that ivermectin is a potential treatment for such illness.Vaccine hesitancy has…

Coronavirus: Tokyo’s cases lowest in 16 months; South Korea on alert for Halloween

Tokyo confirmed 19 daily coronavirus cases on Sunday, the fewest since mid-June last year, as the downtrend in infections continues across Japan.The figure released by the Japanese capital city’s metropolitan government was below 20 for the first time since June 17 last year, when it reported 16 new infections.The latest seven-day average of new infections stood at 31.3 per day, down 48.2 per cent from the previous week, according to the metropolitan government.In the wake of the improved…

WWF Singapore ex-employee says workplace bullying gave her PTSD

A former WWF Singapore employee who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after allegedly being bullied by her old boss has spoken out against the global conservation body, which she says rejected her request for compensation to cover medical treatment.French national Coralie Ponsinet, 31, claims she suffered emotional abuse as a junior member of the sustainable finance team at the NGO’s Singapore branch from July 2015 to February 2017, after which she left the city state for a job…

Coronavirus: Singapore to restrict workplace access for unvaccinated employees

Singapore will require all workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19 or get tested regularly to enter the workplace starting next year, officials said on Saturday as they cited the risk posed by unvaccinated residents despite the country’s high inoculation rate.From January 1, employees who have not been vaccinated must undergo an antigen rapid test administered by a health ministry-approved provider every day they need to access the workplace, as negative results are only valid for 24 hours…

Malaysia to scrutinise biscuit maker Hup Seng Industries after cancer claim by Hong Kong watchdog

Malaysia is looking into the findings by Hong Kong’s consumer watchdog that cancer-causing substances were detected in biscuits and crackers including those produced by Hup Seng Industries, according to a statement on Friday.Hong Kong Consumer Council on Monday announced that the 60 samples of pre-packed biscuits and crackers it tested contained cancer-inducing elements such as glycidol or acrylamide. The council also found that 40 per cent of the products analysed had misleading nutrition…

China ramps up electricity imports from North Korea, Russia, Myanmar in bid to ease power crisis

China has ramped up its electricity imports from North Korea, Russia and Myanmar amid its worst power shortage in decades, customs data shows, although the increases do not offer an immediate solution to the nationwide crisis.Imports from North Korea increased by 62 per cent to 35,974 megawatt-hours (MWh) in September compared with the same period last year and by 37 per cent year on year to 291 gigawatt-hours (GWh) in the first three quarters of 2021.September’s imports were valued at US$1.5…