Coronavirus: as Malaysia’s contract doctors prepare for day-long strike, who is to blame for their woes?

As Malaysia’s health system heaves under the weight of a Covid-19 daily caseload that remains stubbornly high, thousands of young contract doctors like Anthony John are volunteering at virus response centres to ease the pressure off counterparts with permanent jobs.The task at hand is grim, with these centres and hospitals operating at near capacity and doctors on some occasions required to triage patients based on their chances of survival.Despite anxieties about the future of his career…

Coronavirus: Australians protest lockdowns; Bali faces oxygen crisis

Thousands of people on Saturday took to the streets of Sydney and other cities in Australia to protest Covid-19 lockdown restrictions amid another surge in cases, and police made several arrests after crowds broke through barriers and threw plastic bottles and plants.The unmasked participants marched from Sydney’s Victoria Park to Town Hall in the central business district, carrying signs calling for “freedom” and “the truth”.There was a heavy police presence in Sydney, including mounted police…

Coronavirus: Singapore’s on-off rules on dining in leave chefs, restaurateurs vexed

Some of Singapore’s top chefs are fed up with the government’s on-again, off-again measures to stop the spread of Covid-19, which include a temporary shutdown of in-person dining.Faced with a surge of cases from clusters related to karaoke lounges and a fishery port, authorities this week announced tighter controls, including a stoppage of eating at restaurants until August 18.The dine-in ban, which took effect on Thursday, comes just a month after it had been allowed again, dealing another…

Tokyo Olympics: South Korean TV network sorry for ‘inappropriate’ country captions during opening ceremony

A South Korean television network has apologised after using inappropriate images and captions to describe countries during the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony on Friday.The broadcaster, MBC, used images of pizza to describe Italy, an upheaval for Haiti, Chernobyl for Ukraine, salmon for Norway, when athletes from those countries entered the stadium for the opening ceremony.In its captions broadcasting the ceremony, the network referred to the Marshall Islands as “once a nuclear test site for the…

Uncertain tax positions: draft legislation published

The UK government is pressing ahead with new rules requiring large businesses to report uncertain tax positions when they file their returns, despite many respondents to a recent consultation expressing concerns that the additional administrative burden will outweigh the anticipated growth in tax revenue.

Asean nations left ‘exposed’ by global minimum corporate tax seen forging closer ties with China

The global minimum corporate tax – agreed upon by Group of 20 finance ministers this month – is set to re-chart the course of international investment flows, creating new uncertainties for Southeast Asian nations that have been striving to lure foreign capital and financial expertise.Final agreement on the 15 per cent minimum-tax plan, originally agreed to by Group of 7 (G7) developed economies in early June, is not expected until October. It could also be years before it takes effect. But its…

Asia’s planned travel bubbles burst by Delta variant as some governments cling to ‘zero Covid’ strategy

Fresh lockdowns and restrictions in Asia brought on by the faster-spreading Delta coronavirus variant are making the region’s pursuit of travel bubbles look like an increasingly fruitless endeavour.Air travel bubbles, corridors that allow movement between countries without the need for quarantine, have largely been a letdown as nations pull up the drawbridge again to contain outbreaks. A travel link between Singapore and Hong Kong, first mooted last year, has never actually opened. Meanwhile,…

Tokyo Olympics: ceremony director fired for Holocaust comments as Covid-19 cases rise to 87

Problems continued to mount for Tokyo Olympic organisers on Thursday, as two more athletes tested positive for Covid-19 a day before the Games are set to officially open and the director of the opening ceremony was fired over comments he made about the Holocaust.Organisers announced 12 new positive cases overall on Thursday, including the two athletes, bringing the total number linked with the Games to 87.The news is the latest in a series of embarrassments for Tokyo organisers that have…