In today's bulletin: Could a coronavirus vaccine be out soon? Hopes go up, based on early test results from 3 research efforts; Malaysia & Singapore to sign agreement on Rapid Transit System link; Internet giant Naver opts to shift data centre from Hong Kong to Singapore; Australia extends wage support scheme; US military exercises in Asia; and more.
Reading this on the web or know someone who might enjoy receiving Asian Insider? Our sign-up page is here.
HOPES GO UP FOR A CORONAVIRUS VACCINE
Early trial results of three potential Covid-19 vaccines released late on Monday raised hopes of a safe and effective vaccine to fight coronavirus. But researchers said more tests are needed.
Two potential vaccines to protect human beings against the novel coronavirus induced immune responses in healthy volunteers without causing dangerous side effects, according to studies published in the Lancet. Scientists at Oxford University and AstraZeneca, and a separate group at China's CanSino Biologics, are developing these vaccines.
A third vaccine is being developed by Pfizer Inc and German biotech BioNTech.
More in depth studies on a larger group of people are, however, needed to prove that these vaccines are safe and effective, researchers said. The latest announcements followed publication last week of results of Moderna Inc's vaccine trial, showing similarly promising early results.
Five takeaways from Monday's data on experimental coronavirus vaccines
Possible but not certain vaccine can be rolled out this year, says Oxford developer
MALAYSIA & SINGAPORE TO INK AGREEMENT ON RAPID TRANSIT SYSTEM ON JULY 30
Malaysia and Singapore have concluded discussions to resume work on a much delayed cross-border rail project, that will make travel much faster between both countries.
Malaysia's Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong said three agreements for the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link project will be signed on July 30.
The project was first announced in 2010. Construction work for the RTS Link is slated to commence in January next year, said Mr Wee, and the rail link is expected to begin operations at end-2026.
Bilateral agreement deadline for JB-Singapore RTS project extended by 3 months to July 31
Malaysia to proceed with JB-S'pore RTS rail project, says Mahathir; estimated cost cut by 36% to $1.03b
INTERNET GIANT NAVER SHIFTS DATA CENTRE FROM HONG KONG TO SINGAPORE
South Korea's internet giant Naver Corp became the latest tech firm to move backup servers storing its users' personal data in Hong Kong to Singapore.
This follows the enactment of the new national security law in Hong Kong although Naver said it had not received any requests to hand over its data. Naver did not mention the law as a reason for its decision to relocate its backup servers.
In recent weeks, US tech giants including Facebook, Alphabet's Google and Twitter suspended processing government requests for user data in Hong Kong following China's imposition of the national security law in Hong Kong.
In other news developments today...
China threatens 'consequences' over British extradition treaty decision
China threatens democratic Taiwan's toehold in Hong Kong
Global Affairs Correspondent Benjamin Kang Lim: A harbour for Hong Kong in the storm
Tech start-ups begin to leave Hong Kong because of new security law
AUSTRALIA EXTENDS JOBS SUPPORT AMID NEW CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAKS
Australia announced it will extend job support for about a million workers, with a surge in new coronavirus infections in the country threatening to extend its growth slowdown.
Addressing one of the most significant issues in these pandemic times, Canberra said it will spend A$16.8 billion (S$16.3 billion) to extend wage subsidies for businesses hit by the pandemic.
This would allay fears for several people till about March next year, with Australia's original A$70 billion jobs support scheme applicable till Sept 30.
Hong Kong's jobless rates climbs to its highest level in more than 15 years
Malaysia is mulling compulsory face masks in public with PM Muhyiddin worried that lax attitudes could derail his stimulus efforts to save 2.75 million jobs.
Associate Editor Vikram Khanna: Tackling the looming crisis in jobs in Singapore
US TROOPS LAND IN SOUTH KOREA FOR ANNUAL MILITARY EXERCISES, WITH THE VIRUS
Coronavirus is threatening to mar the schedule of the annual military exercises between South Korea and the United States and this is raising much concern.
Nearly 50 cases of coronavirus infections were reported among troops, employees and families of the US Forces Korea (UKFK) in the past three weeks. Almost all were confirmed on arrival or during the mandatory two-week quarantine, says a report.
IN OTHER NEWS
INDIA-US MARITIME EXERCISES: Indian navy ships held joint exercises with US aircraft carrier Nimitz in the Indian Ocean, in a sign of growing cooperation between the two countries. This takes place as their ties with China are strained at the moment. The drills were carried out near India's Andaman and Nicobar islands which sits near the Melaka Straits, one of the world's busiest shipping routes for trade and fuel, an Indian source said.
TEMASEK PORTFOLIO VALUE DIPS 2.2%: Temasek Holdings announced today a preliminary net portfolio value (NPV) of $306 billion in the year to March 31, a 2.2 per cent decline from the record $313 billion achieved a year ago. Its one-year total shareholder return (TSR) dropped to minus 2.3 per cent, from 1.49 per cent previously, amid fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.
That's it for today. Stay safe and we'll be back with you tomorrow.