Vaccination drives stutter as new Covid-19 waves hit Vietnam, Thailand

Newlywed Nguyen Phuong Anh had been dreaming of starting a family in a virus-free Vietnam until she was jolted back to reality last week. One of her tenants, a medical student living a few floors beneath Anh, was told to isolate after visiting a public cancer hospital where a Covid-19 cluster was discovered. For Anh, a 26-year-old cashier in Hanoi, it was too close for comfort. “My husband and I had not made any contact with her, so we packed our stuff and went to stay at my grandma’s place…

IOC shock after protester saying ‘f*** the Olympics’ crashes online press conference

A mysterious protester embarrassed International Olympic Committee officials on Wednesday when he managed to gatecrash an official online press conference to display an anti-Tokyo Olympics banner while uttering “f*** the Olympics”.A man going by the name of David O’Brien and claiming to be from Yahoo was last up during question time at an IOC online press conference, which followed Wednesday’s board meeting. However, instead of asking a question, he held up a black banner with “X” signs and the…

Indian workers lured to US and paid US$1.20 per hour to build Hindu temple, lawsuit says

FBI agents searched the sprawling site of a Hindu temple on Tuesday as a lawsuit filed in federal court alleged workers from marginalised communities in India were lured to the US and forced to work long hours for just a few dollars per day to help build the temple.The lawsuit accuses the leaders of the Hindu organisation known as Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, or BAPS, of human trafficking and wage law violations.An FBI spokesperson confirmed that agents were at the…

Malaysian ex-police chief Abdul Hamid’s expose makes waves but won’t spark reforms: experts

When Malaysia’s former police chief last week took aim at government officials over their links to elite officers as he passed the reins to his successor, insiders who had long discussed the issue in hushed tones found their suspicions brought out in the open. Abdul Hamid Bador, who stepped down as the national inspector-general of police on May 3, had unleashed an unbridled attack at Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s government that drew particular attention to the current Home Minister…

WHO designates coronavirus strain in India as ‘variant of concern’

A Covid-19 variant spreading in India, which is facing an explosive outbreak, appears to be more contagious and has been classified as being “of concern”, the World Health Organization said on Monday.The UN health agency said the B.1.617 variant of Covid-19 first found in India last October might also have some increased resistance to vaccine protections.“There is some available information to suggest increased transmissibility of the B.1.617,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s lead on Covid-19,…

Malaysian investment fund 1MDB sues global firms in effort to recoup US$23 billion

Malaysian state-owned investment fund 1MDB and a former unit have filed a combined 22 civil suits against entities and individuals for the recovery of assets worth more than US$23 billion.1MDB, whose full name is 1Malaysia Development Berhad, filed six suits against nine entities, including two foreign financial institutions, and 25 individuals for various wrongdoings, including fraud and conspiracy to defraud the fund, the Finance Ministry said in a statement on Monday.SRC International Sdn…

New Zealand’s bid to find middle between its Western allies and China not lost on Beijing: experts

The New Zealand parliament’s unanimous declaration last week that human rights abuses were occurring in China’s Xinjiang province drew condemnation from Beijing, but the removal of the term “genocide” suggested Wellington is unwilling to jeopardise relations, analysts said.The experts also said the attempt to find a middle ground between New Zealand’s largest trading partner and its “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance – which includes the US, Britain, Australia and Canada, who have all…