Technology • Internet & Web
Spotify expands international footprint across 80+ new markets
Spotify expands international footprint across 80+ new markets
Credit: Sara Kurfeß

Over the next few days, Spotify will launch its service in 85 new markets across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, as announced at its online event, "Stream On". The company will also add support to 36 new languages on the platform.

The streaming platform stated, "Our dedication to international artists and listeners is unwavering. Working closely with local creators and partners, we’ll deliver a Spotify experience that meets the unique needs of each market, with scaled language translations and specialized payment formats. These 80+ markets represent more than 1 billion people—potential Spotify listeners who have yet to tap into the power of our platform."

Tse Chi Lop, the alleged Chinese-Canadian drug kingpin, is arrested in Amsterdam

One of the world's most-wanted fugitives, the 56-year old billionaire Tse Chi Lop, was arrested at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, police announced on Saturday. Tse Chi Lop is the alleged leader of a vast Asian drug syndicate responsible for up to 70% of all narcotics entering Australia.

He was arrested at the request of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) without incident during a stop-over on a flight from Taiwan to Canada.

Regional News • Europe
WHO envoy warns of third Coronaivurs wave in Europe if governments don't build necessary infrastructure

David Nabarro, a World Health Organization special Coronavirus envoy, has told the Swiss newspaper Solothurner Zeitung that Europe could face a third wave next year if governments "don’t build the necessary infrastructure."

He praised Asian countries such as South Korea: “People are fully engaged, they take on behaviors that make it difficult for the virus. They keep their distance, wear masks, isolate when they’re sick, wash hands and surfaces. They protect the most endangered groups.”

“Another element that is very clear in East Asia is that once you have brought down the case numbers … you don’t relax the measures,” he said. “You wait until the case numbers are low and stay low. You have to prepare the necessary measures to stop future outbreaks.”

Business • Economy
New World's largest trades bloc created

15 countries have formed the world's largest trading bloc.

It is named 'RCEP', short for 'Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership'. The countries involved include 10 Southeastern Asian companies, South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

The long road to this point started back in 2012. The US was excluded from the deal after pulling out of a rival Asia-Pacific deal in 2017.

The deal was confirmed by each individual country signing copies of the trade agreement, and then showing it to a camera in a virtual ceremony.

Business • Markets
Tencent's profit jumps 89% in the third quarter
Tencent's profit jumps 89% in the third quarter
Credit: Tencent Holdings Ltd.

The Chinese gaming giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. reported its net profit for the third quarter surged 89%, thanks to continued strength in its gaming revenue and better cost-efficiency. The Chinese group has a solid pipeline of new games waiting to be released, including a testing launch of a mobile version of League of Legends in Asia last month.

"I think Tencent's fintech focus has been on payment business, and it is quite prudent on lending; the stance is more in compliance with regulations (than rivals)," said Alex Liu, an analyst with China Renaissance.

Gender discrimination becomes illegal in the Philippines
Gender discrimination becomes illegal in the Philippines
Credit: Ramon FVelasquez / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Manila's mayor Francisco Domagoso signs a decree making discrimination based on sexual identity or sexual orientation a criminal offence. In addition, the capital of the Philippines is working to establish gender-neutral toilets and will soon decide on same-sex marriages. The Philippines is the largest Catholic-influenced region in Asia, so these decisions are expected to have a pulling effect.

A new study suggests that dengue may provide immunity against Covid-19
Miguel Nicolelis
Miguel Nicolelis Credit: Fronteiras do Pensamento (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The not yet published study led by Miguel Nicolelis, a professor at Duke University, suggests the possibility that vaccines approved or under development for dengue may result in some form of protection against the new coronavirus.

The study points out that places where a large part of the population contracted dengue last year and earlier this year took longer to have exponential community transmission of Covid-19 and recorded fewer numbers of cases and deaths caused by the new coronavirus, indicating a possible immunological interaction between the two viruses.

To validate the observation made in Brazil, Nicolelis expanded the analysis of the correlation between dengue and Covid-19 to 15 other countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia, and the behaviour was repeated, according to him.

Lifestyle • Travel
All Asia Disney parks have reopened after 4-month closure
Entrance of Disneyland Tokyo, Japan
Entrance of Disneyland Tokyo, Japan Credit:éo A.

With the reopening of the Disney Resort in Tokyo, all of Disney's Asian parks have reopened as of July 1. Disneyland in Shanghai has opened its doors for visitors in May and Disneyland Hong Kong welcomed visitors back in June. Visitors have to follow social distancing rules and wear masks at all times. Disneyland Tokyo and Japan's DisneySea parks have introduced further safety guidelines such as mandatory temperature checks, advanced ticket bookings and no physical interaction with actors.

Science • Space
"Ring of Fire" solar eclipse to happen on June 21
Annular eclipse in New Mexico, 2012
Annular eclipse in New Mexico, 2012 Credit: Kevin Baird / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

On June 21, an annular "ring of fire" solar eclipse can be seen in parts of Africa and Asia, while a partial eclipse will be visible in Europe and northern Australia. A "ring of fire" eclipse happens when the moon covers the view of the Sun partially, leaving a glowing ring around the moon.

Science • Space
2020 Strawberry Moon lunar eclipse occurs today
Full moon, so called "Strawberry moon" viewed  from Tochigi prefecture, eastern Japan.
Full moon, so called "Strawberry moon" viewed from Tochigi prefecture, eastern Japan. Credit: On-chan (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Today's lunar eclipse that begins at 17:45(UTC) and lasts until 21:04(UTC) will be a "penumbral eclipse," which occurs when the outer ring of Earth's shadow just grazes the moon.

This subtle lunar eclipse will be entirely visible for observers in eastern Africa, the Middle East, southern Asia and Australia. It will start at moonrise for those on the eastern coast of South America, western Africa and Europe, and at moonset for skywatchers in Japan and New Zealand.

The full moon in June is called a Strawberry Moon because it coincides with the strawberry harvest. In Europe, an old name for this full Moon is the Mead Moon or the Honey Moon.