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10.09.21 - 16.09.21 Sup SEAkers!






Former prime ministers (clockwise from left) Muhyiddin Yassin, Najib Razak and Mahathir Mohamad will be in attendance. PHOTOS: REUTERS, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK





This Week's News Spotlight:

Thais testing device that can detect Covid-19 infection through armpit sweat - ST| US, Philippines to resume defence projects under military pact - ST | Indonesia in talks with WHO to become global vaccine hub - ST | Laos pushes into crypto as it authorises mining and trading - FT | China gifts new $200 million national stadium to Cambodia- ST | At least three killed, dozens injured as shallow quake hits China’s Sichuan province - ST


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Thais testing device that can detect Covid-19 infection through armpit sweat - ST





The research team from Chulalongkorn University’s chemistry department collecting sweat samples from market vendors on Sept 8, 2021.PHOTO: AFP


Thai researchers are developing a sweat-based mobile virus detector, and road-tested it on shopkeepers at a Bangkok food market this week.


"From the samples, we found that people infected with Covid-19 secrete very distinct chemicals," said Dr Chadin Kulsing from Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University.


"We used this finding to develop a device to detect the specific odours produced by certain bacteria in the sweat of Covid-19 patients."


Dr Chadin - who said the test was 95 per cent accurate - hopes it might be rolled out as an affordable alternative to more expensive swab tests that require laboratory processing.





US, Philippines to resume defence projects under military pact - ST





Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (left) met with his US counterpart Lloyd Austin in Washington on Sept 10, 2021. PHOTO: AFP


The US and the Philippines will resume defence projects after the South-east Asian nation agreed to keep a military pact that President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to scrap, allowing both sides to boost longstanding alliance in the region.


Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana met with his US counterpart Lloyd Austin in Washington on Sept 10 where the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to further enhance relations after Mr Duterte in July agreed to keep the Visiting Forces Agreement, according to a statement on Saturday (Sept 11).





Indonesia in talks with WHO to become global vaccine hub - ST





Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin says Indonesia is keen to build expertise in mRNA vaccines.PHOTO: REUTERS


Indonesia is in talks with the World Health Organisation (WHO) as well as six drug companies to become a global hub for manufacturing vaccines, its health minister told Reuters.


Detailing the ambitious strategy for the first time, Mr Budi Gunadi Sadikin said in an interview that Indonesia would kick-start the initiative by prioritising purchases of Covid-19 vaccines from companies that shared technology and set up facilities in Indonesia.


"We are working with WHO to be one of the global manufacturing hubs for mRNA," he said, adding he had directly lobbied WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on a trip earlier this month (September) to Europe.





Laos pushes into crypto as it authorises mining and trading - FT




Food stalls on the banks of the Mekong river in Vientiane. Analysts say the use of hydropower to mine crypto might allow Laos to pitch the industry as ‘carbon neutral’ © Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty


Laos has authorised the mining and trading of cryptocurrencies, in a policy shift by the debt-laden south-east Asian nation that positions it to profit from the crackdown on digital currency mining in China.


Analysts said the move was a logical step for the landlocked, communist-ruled country of 7m, which produces a surplus of hydroelectric power, but some warned that criminal gangs could seek to profit from the trade.


The crypto push marks an about-face after the country’s central bank last month warned banks, companies and people against using cryptocurrencies.





China gifts new $200 million national stadium to Cambodia- ST




The US$150 million stadium represented China's largest grant to Cambodia for an infrastructure project.PHOTO: AFP


China handed over to Cambodia a US$150 million (S$201 million) stadium in Phnom Penh, with officials saying on Sunday (Sept 12) it is the result of Beijing's biggest infrastructure grant to the country.


The 60,000-capacity venue is the latest project under China's trillion-dollar Belt and Road initiative, a plan to fund infrastructure projects and increase its sway overseas.


Located in Cambodia's capital, the Morodok Techo National Stadium resembles a sailing ship, symbolising the two nations' long-standing friendship as Chinese people used to travel to Cambodia by boat, officials said.


It is surrounded by a moat that echoes the body of water encompassing the Angkor Wat temple complex.





At least three killed, dozens injured as shallow quake hits China’s Sichuan province - ST





A damaged wall is seen after a 5.4 earthquake that killed two and injured a dozen in Luzhou on Sept 16, 2021.PHOTO: AFP


At least three people were killed and dozens injured when a shallow earthquake struck south-western China in the early hours of Thursday (Sept 14), triggering the second-highest level of emergency response by rescuers in Sichuan province, state media said.


The United States Geological Survey (USGS) put the magnitude of the quake at 5.4 but the China Earthquake Networks Centre measured it at magnitude 6.0. Both put it at a shallow depth of 10km.


It struck Luxian county around 120km south-west of the sprawling megacity of Chongqing, which along with its surrounding area is home to around 30 million people.

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