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Deepnews Digest #62

All Eyes on Asia – UPDATE

Some countries in Europe have begun reopening in earnest this week, though when looking East it becomes clear that the process of managing the wind down in restrictions will be a long one. This week’s Wednesday Digest picks up where last Friday’s left off and gathers a group of articles about how countries in East and Southeast Asia are coping with coronavirus, from worries about discos in South Korea to the role of Taiwan’s vice president/epidemiologist. All articles have been gathered with the help of the Deepnews Scoring Model, and we hope they help you feel informed.


Editor’s Note: This Digest was inspired by the responses to a poll that we conducted on Twitter. If you want to interact more with Deepnews, or maybe tell us your own idea for a Digest, make sure to check us out on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.
Story Source
South China Morning Post
Beijing rejects claim Chinese dams behind drought hitting countries downstream

Editor’s Note: Coronavirus has touched on so many parts of life, from the local to the global. Here Laura Zhou of SCMP gives an in-depth report on the water politics of Southeast Asia and worries that the temptation to look inward during the pandemic could make the situation worse. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Japan Times
When Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike in late April asked residents to grocery shop three times a week to limit unnecessary outings to curb the spread of coronavirus, Toshiya Kakiuchi, 31, who has dysosteogenesis, or defective bone formation, worried the measure would pose challenges to his daily routine. He has spent most of his life in a wheelchair.

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CNN
It’s the bottom of the ninth inning. Kim Sang-su steps into the batter’s box for the NC Dinos, who are down 4-0 to the Samsung Lions on Tuesday’s opening day of the Korean Baseball Organization’s (KBO) 2020 season.

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Reuters
Beijing: Wuhan, the original epicentre of the new coronavirus outbreak in China, reported on Monday its first cluster of infections since a lockdown on the central Chinese city was lifted a month ago, stoking concerns of a wider resurgence of the disease.

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Associated Press
SEOUL, KOREA, REPUBLIC OF — South Korea on Sunday reported 34 additional cases of the coronavirus amid a spate of infections linked to club goers, as President Moon Jae-in urged calm, saying that “there’s no reason to stand still out of fear.”

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Bangkok Post
More than 130 Thais stuck in Wuhan and nearby Chinese cities were flown back to Thailand in the first repatriation trip arranged by the Thai government in conjunction with Air Asia in the wake of pandemic fears in early February. The government has toughened return measures for citizens stranded overseas in its bid to curb new coronavirus infections.

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The Diplomat
Amid the flood of assessments, we should be mindful of the challenges and limitations inherent in evaluating national performance on the coronavirus.

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Shine (Shanghai Daily)
U, W or L? No, these are not answers to a word puzzle or some obscure form of cryptography, but letters to describe how the current global downturn, expected to be far worse than during the financial crisis of the late 2000s, might evolve. Each letter represents how the trajectory of GDP would appear on a graph.

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Nikkei Asian Review
TOKYO — Fifty-eight percent of Japan’s prefectural governors support a September start to the school year, according to a Nikkei survey that waded into the country’s on-again, off-again controversy about aligning its academic calendar with those in the West and China.

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Bloomberg
Fried-chicken chain sticks to expansion plan despite pandemic

Editor’s Note: As lockdowns lift, stores that were going to try to make a splash with openings need to decide how to go forward. Here American fast food chain Popeye’s isn’t chickening out, and hoping that a boost in sales in China will help out its bottom line around the world. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

South China Morning Post
Rents in the world’s most expensive office market return to 2017 levels as companies downsize or move somewhere cheaper to save costs

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Straits Times
SINGAPORE – Ms Mavis Tan, 42, has her hands full during the coronavirus.

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Nikkei Asian Review
BANGKOK — The social distancing measures required to fight COVID-19 have been painful for Thailand’s traditional massage and medicine sector, which has been shut down by controls aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus and will continue to face restrictions as the country slowly emerges from its nationwide lockdown.

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The Diplomat
Efforts to combat COVID-19 have taken a toll on trade and economic growth worldwide, but North Korea’s decision to close its border to prevent the spread of COVID-19 domestically has essentially brought its trade with China to a halt.

Editor’s Note: It is difficult to get reliable information about North Korea, though one lens on it is its relationship with China. Here Troy Stangarone writes for The Diplomat about what it means that Pyongyang has closed its border. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

South China Morning Post
Senior officials have promised to work to save the deal after Donald Trump threatened to walk away unless China sticks to its commitments

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Shine (Shanghai Daily)
The primary reason for these cancellations is, obviously, connected with health and safety concerns. However, another key factor is the financial difficulties that these students may face. In the UK, the average cost of an undergraduate course for non-EU international students is US$20,000 per annum, while the Chinese average is less than half of this amount.

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Bloomberg
Japan’s approach to the coronavirus, which called on citizens to voluntarily stay at home and for business to enact their own shut down measures, led to predictions of disaster when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency last month.

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The Hindu
The increase of China-U.S. tensions is likely to drive India to adopt a hedging strategy toward both countries, says Chinese foreign policy thinker

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New York Times
TAIPEI, Taiwan — The calls come at night, when Taiwan’s vice president, Chen Chien-jen, is usually at home in his pajamas. Scientists seek his advice on the development of antiviral medications. Health officials ask for guidance as they investigate an outbreak of the coronavirus on a navy ship.

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Press Trust of India
Beijing: China on Monday reacted guardedly to the recent clashes between the Chinese and Indian soldiers, saying its troops remained committed to uphold peace and tranquillity at the border areas. Both the countries should properly handle and manage their differences, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here when asked about the recent clashes.

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Reuters
BEIJING – Chinese direct investment in the United States dropped to the lowest level since 2009 last year amid bilateral tensions, and the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to weigh on investment flows between the world’s two biggest economies, according to a report.

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South China Morning Post
Policies include incentives aimed at those most at risk – graduates, migrant workers and the small business sector

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Financial Times ($)
Investments across borders within the Asia Pacific region have shifted in emphasis over the past decade, away from China. You only have to look at the changing skyline of Ho Chi Minh City, for instance, to see where some of the money has gone to.

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UPI
SEOUL — Officials in South Korea said Wednesday several new nightclub-related cases of COVID-19 have emerged and thousands of potentially exposed people have yet to be tested.

Editor’s Note: Opening up means taking every new COVID case and trying to trace it back to where it came from. Here UPI reports on an outbreak around the Itaewon entertainment district. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Radio Free Asia
This year’s record drop in carbon emissions due to the COVID-19 crisis has renewed questions about China’s continued push for coal-fired power as the government pursues economic recovery.

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