Posted inOpinion

ASEAN strives to navigate Covid, corruption

As members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) grapple with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their economies, they are also having to mitigate a rise in corruption. On July 1, Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) indicted a former Supreme Court judge, dealing a harsh blow to what could be massive systemic […]

Posted inIndonesia

Bali’s Covid-19 defenses start to wash away

BALI – Previously persuaded it may have a mysterious immunity, Bali appears to be headed for a cruel Covid-19 wake-up call after a single cruise ship worker who refused to self-quarantine reportedly caused widespread infections in a village in the east of the Indonesian tourist island. Acting on April 30, authorities sealed off Abuan, lying […]

Posted inCovid-19

Buyer beware of fake Covid-19 ‘cures’

SYDNEY — Criminal groups are offering unproven treatments for Covid-19 on the dark web, including vials of blood from recovered patients and samples of vaccines that are still under clinical testing. Researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) found 645 listings for medical products, supplies and treatments related to the virus during a survey of […]

Posted inAustralia

Ferrets used in first Covid-19 vaccine animal trial

SYDNEY – An Australian biosecurity laboratory has started the first comprehensive global animal trials of potential Covid-19 coronavirus vaccines and said it expects human testing to begin in several months if they are successful.   The two candidate vaccines were developed by researchers at University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and American company Inovio Pharmaceuticals […]

Posted inAustralia

Australia lab may have found Covid-19 cure

SYDNEY – Australian researchers have been given the green light to start human trials of a promising drug treatment for the novel coronavirus after raising funds from donors in a remarkable global appeal.  Covid-19 patients will be given two drugs previously used to treat AIDS and malaria at about 50 hospitals in Australia, with tests […]

Posted inAustralia

Australia new epicenter of pandemic panic

SYDNEY — Australian scientists are fast-tracking trials of Covid-19 vaccines after a wave of infections in aged care facilities forced another lockdown in Melbourne that will limit the movements of about five million people. The outbreak in the country’s second-biggest city, which has come after measures to control the spread of the virus were eased, […]

Posted inAustralia

Australia gives US partial support against China

SYDNEY — Australia has agreed to support US efforts to forge an alliance of democratic nations to counter China’s geopolitical ambitions but will not join US-led freedom of navigation naval flotillas in the volatile South China Sea. Foreign Minister Marise Payne reaffirmed Canberra’s commitment to the US-Australian pact after talks in Washington while insisting it […]

Posted inAT+

Ericsson, Nokia are more Chinese than meets the eye

Australia is shocked – shocked – to discover that its main supplier of telecom equipment, Ericsson, depends on Chinese equipment from Panda Electronics, a Nanjing-based manufacturer that appears on the Pentagon’s latest list of Chinese companies linked to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

The supposedly incendiary revelation, by now widely reported in the Australian press, came as the US Defense Department named Panda as being “owned by, controlled by or affiliated with China’s government, military or defense industries.”   

Panda Electronics, it turns, has a joint venture in China with Swedish giant Ericsson, a major supplier of equipment used by Australian telecom network providers Telstra and Optus. Those tie-ups means Panda, by at least one degree of separation, is and will be involved with Australia’s pending 5G rollout.   

Posted inAT+

Indonesia’s Masela gas dream dead in the water

JAKARTA – Japan’s Inpex Corporation and Royal Dutch Shell are in bitter conflict over Indonesia’s giant Masela natural gas project, slowing the US$20 billion venture to a crawl and raising questions whether it will be another decade before it gets off the ground.

Shell has wanted out of the project since the new Joko Widodo government insisted on an onshore development in 2015, removing the need for the company’s floating liquified natural gas (FLNG) technology that brought it into the deal in the first place.

Time is not on the government’s side if it expects to earn foreign exchange from the venture. Market analysts say a 2030 start-up means that Masela’s useful life may only be 20 years when many gas-guzzling countries aim to be carbon-neutral by 2050.

Posted inAustralia

Australia’s Qantas cuts 6,000 jobs

Australia’s Qantas is cutting 6,000 staff and grounding 100 planes for up to one year in a US$10 billion cost-cutting blitz in response to the Covid-19 crisis, the airline announced Thursday. CEO Alan Joyce said the three-year plan to save Australia’s flag carrier from “the biggest crisis our industry has ever faced” would also see […]

Posted inHealth

Nationalism trumps cooperation in virus vaccine race

SYDNEY — China has emerged as the leading contender to produce a Covid-19 vaccine as concerns grow that nationalism and commercial interests could frustrate efforts to ensure equal access to an eventual treatment. With three vaccine candidates approved for human testing — from consortia led by CanSino Biologics, Sinovac and the Wuhan Institute of Biological […]

Posted inChina

Dossier an indictment of China’s virus response

Did China deliberately suppress or destroy evidence of the coronavirus outbreak in an “assault on international transparency’’ that cost tens of thousands of lives? According to a 15-page dossier prepared by concerned Western governments on the Covid-19 contagion and obtained by The Saturday Telegraph, it lays the foundation for the case of expanding negligence being […]