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Photo: NZ Broadcasting and Media Minister Kris Faafoi's ambition is to “reflect the cultural diversity of New Zealand”. Credit: Samuel Rillstone/RNZ

By Sri Krishnamurthi

The author wrote this article for the IDN partner Asia-Pacific Report on October 13.

WELLINGTON (IDN) — The announcement in February of a new $55 million, three-year Public Interest Journalism Fund (PIJF) by Minister for Broadcasting and Media Kris Faafoi suggested a revitalisation of tired old traditional media models.

Since then it has been viewed suspiciously by journalists with right-leaning tendencies and denizens of the dark who contend the government is attempting to curry favour with this bauble.

Clollage of pictures: (left) Shuttered massage parlours in Pratunam area and Rachanee: With massage business down, Rachanee sells BBQ pork in the pavement outside her apartment. Credit: Pattama Vilailert.

By Pattama Vilailert

BANGKOK(IDN) — Thailand’s famous tourist industry has been synonymous with its traditional massage parlours and treatment centres. But the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns are having a serious impact on the industry and may force foreign takeovers. The continuous lockdowns have impacted savagely on the spa and massage business.

Photo: Prime Minister of Fiji addressing the UN General Assembly virtually on September 25, 2021. Source: PM's official Website.

By Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama

Fiji Islands Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama is the current Chair of the 18-member Pacific Islands Forum. Addressing the UN General Assembly virtually on September 25, he called on the global community to embrace Fiji's vision of a better, greener, bluer and safer future for humanity.

SUVA (IDN) — The United Nations report to the UN General Assembly this year is titled “Our multilateral challenges: UN 2:0” a Common Agenda the blueprint for a future that is better, greener, and safer—and I would humbly add, “bluer”.

Photo: Dr. Firdausi Qadri. Credit: Dhaka Tribune

By Amitava Chowdhury

KOLKATTA (IDN) — One of 2021 Ramon Magsaysay Awards—known as ‘Asia’s Nobel Prize’—has been awarded to the Bangladeshi scientist Dr Firdausi Qadri who has played a “key role” in creating more affordable vaccines to combat cholera and typhoid, the Manila-based award foundation said in a statement on August 31.

The 70-year-old female scientist has dedicated a lifetime to help the poor overcome sickness and disease with her research at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research (ICDDR) at Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka.

Photo: Covid testing queue. Source: CIDRAP | Michael Coghlan / Flickr cc

By Kalinga Seneviratne

SYDNEY (IDN) — Last year, Australia was among the first countries to successfully battle the Covid-19 pandemic with lockdowns and efficient contact tracing, but, with the rapid transmission of the Delta variant, especially in Sydney and Melbourne, the politicians' fetish for lockdowns is now being questioned with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and some state leaders arguing for "opening up" after a certain threshold is reached in vaccinating the population.

Photo: Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Fijian Minister for Foreign Affairs Inia Seruiratu in Beijing, capital of China, June 11, 2019. (Xinhua/Ding Haitao)

By Denghua Zhang, ANU and Shivan, University of Fiji

While Denghua Zhang is a Research Fellow at the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, The Australian National University (ANU), Shivani is Lecturer in the School of Law at the University of Fiji.

CANBERRA | SUVA (IDN) — As strategic mistrust between the United States and China continues to deepen, Pacific Island countries have taken varying approaches. With the resurgence of COVID-19, Fiji once again sees itself at the centre of great power rivalry as assistance arrives from the two big donors.

Photo: ADB data show the impact of Covid-19 on government finance in developing Asia. Source: ADB

By Kalinga Seneviratne

SYDNEY (IDN) — A new report released by the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) says that an estimated 75 to 80 million people in the developing regions of Asia have been pushed back into poverty last year threatening to derail the region’s progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Photo: Ms. Shefali Ghosh from Savar, near Dhaka, teaches her daugher in the kitchen. Credit: The World Bank

By Kalinga Seneviratne

SYDNEY (IDN) — In the Asia-Pacific region which is home to about 60 percent of the global population, some 1.6 billion people primarily rely on open fires or simple stoves fueled by kerosene, coal, or biomass such as wood, dung and agricultural residues for their daily cooking needs, that impacts on climatic change and health hazards.

Photo: Prime minister Yoshihide Suga. Source:

Viewpoint by Corey Wallace

The writer is Assistant Professor at Kanagawa University.

YOKOHAMA, Japan (IDN | East Asia Forum) — Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Tokyo Olympics have cast a shadow over Japan’s COVID-19 response. Critics—including a former Japanese prime minister—questioned whether the government’s lacklustre early response to the outbreak and its ‘risky’ cluster-based strategy were a product of political considerations concerning the Games. A former health minister even asked whether under testing and ageing Japan’s more than 90,000 annual pneumonia deaths conveniently obscured the true impact of COVID-19.

Photo: Fiji's Health Secretary Dr James Fong. Credit: Fiji govt/Fiji Times/File

By Josefa Babitu*

SUVA (IDN) — A 15-year-old girl has become Fiji’s youngest death due to the covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, taking the total of deaths due to the virus to 58.

Health Secretary Dr James Fong has confirmed this after an investigation by medical personnel classified the case as another covid-19 death.

The girl from Colo-I-Suva was declared dead on arrival by the attending medical officer at the Raiwaqa Health Centre last week.


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