Myanmar’s most isolated pray for harvest

Myanmar’s most isolated pray for harvest

Satpalaw Shaung (Myanmar) (AFP) – A haunting refrain pierces the night as the tribeswomen of the Gongwang Bonyo, among the most isolated people in Myanmar, dance around a campfire to bless the harvest ahead.The group are part of the Naga, a blanket term for dozens of tribes each with their own distinct dialect living near the Indian border, only accessible by nerve-shredding motorcycle journeys and on foot.Dressed in black and wearing orange bead necklaces and palm leaf headbands, they rotate around a fire in Satpalaw Shaung village, hands held tightly and braving the cold with bare arms.”This… (more…)

Taiwan embraces cute mascots for virus prevention campaign

Taiwan embraces cute mascots for virus prevention campaign

Taipei (AFP) – While China deploys stern communist slogans in its battle against a deadly new coronavirus, democratic Taiwan has embraced cuddly mascots and humour to ease public anxiety and educate on best practices.Images of cute animals have featured in daily social media updates from government agencies to tackle disinformation and prevent the spread of infections.The health ministry has deployed a cartoon “spokesdog” — a Shiba Inu called Zongchai — that has proved a hit with hashtags of his name going viral and posts shared hundreds of thousands of times.Recent contributions have includ… (more…)

Why is Hong Kong full of white elephant monuments and what can we do about them?

Why is Hong Kong full of white elephant monuments and what can we do about them?

By Eric WongThe landslide loss of seats by the so-called “loyalist” district councillors in November’s District Council Elections was followed by queries over whether they have faithfully served the community over the years while in power. One of the areas most criticised by the incoming councillors, and indeed the electors at large, has been how too many white elephant monuments have been erected during their rule. These objects seemed to publicise the names of these outgoing councillors and their pals in the government whilst serving dubious, if non-existent, benefits to the district at larg… (more…)

Antarctica registers record temperature of over 20 C

Antarctica registers record temperature of over 20 C

Sao Paulo (AFP) – Scientists in Antarctica have recorded a new record temperature of 20.75 degrees Celsius (69.35 Fahrenheit), breaking the barrier of 20 degrees for the first time on the continent, a researcher said Thursday.”We’d never seen a temperature this high in Antarctica,” Brazilian scientist Carlos Schaefer told AFP.He cautioned that the reading, taken at a monitoring station on an island off the continent’s northern tip on February 9, “has no meaning in terms of a climate-change trend,” because it is a one-off temperature and not part of a long-term data set.But news that the icy co… (more…)

Small businesses suffer as China virus shuts communities

Small businesses suffer as China virus shuts communities

Beijing (AFP) – Wang Li’s guesthouse sits a stone’s throw from the Great Wall, an idyllic setting for a weekend getaway. But in these uncertain times of the new coronavirus, Wang and her family are the only occupants.The 35-year-old woman now spends her days disinfecting Yingfangyuan Farmhouse and its empty restaurant near Beijing, as millions of people across the country stay home, either under government orders or out of caution.As the virus claims more lives and infects thousands of people every day, it is also taking a toll on the country’s small businesses that rely on spending from China… (more…)

A land being strangled by uniformity

A land being strangled by uniformity

A few days ago, a twitter user posted a photo of a pile of socks in the grounds of a school. The socks had allegedly failed to meet a school regulation requiring they be all-white.Most had black or grey soles. Some were also low-cut and thus considered inappropriate.The offending socks, according to the poster, were to be thrown away.In another tweet, a video clip shows a school teacher cutting the shoulder-length hair of a female student to level with her earlobes.These two incidents prompt questions about whether schools have the authority to dispose of students’ property or impose penalties… (more…)