Seen and heard this week

Dr Emir Hrnjic, Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Centre for Asset Management Research & Investments at NUS Business School, wrote in a Channel NewsAsia commentary on 13 March that the intense debate over cryptocurrencies has veiled the fact that blockchain, the technology underpinning cryptocurrencies, is set to revolutionise the way the world does business. He also pointed out that blockchain has potential in industries beyond finance, such as supply chain logistics and food safety. However, he highlighted some challenges — immense power consumption and lack of scalability at this point in time.

Visiting Research Fellow Dr Borah Rupakjyoti from Institute of South Asian Studies at NUS highlighted in a commentary in The Straits Times on 14 March that the proposed Trump-Kim summit could prove to be worrying for Japan and its Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on several fronts. Firstly, a possible alliance between the US and North Korea (and with South Korea as well), could leave Japan out in the cold. Secondly, if North Korea retains possession of its nuclear weapons, it could use them to threaten Japan. Thirdly, with Mr Abe’s political party facing elections later this year, an inability to act decisively to further the country’s interests could strengthen some of his opponents. Finally, with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics taking place in the near future, Japan has to be particularly watchful against machinations by North Korea.

In an opinion piece in The Straits Times on 15 March, Dr Toh Tai Chong from the Tropical Marine Science Institute at NUS and NUS Science student Tham Hui Hui said that the University had embarked on a study to examine how marine civil society groups have contributed to conservation here. The number of active civil society groups focusing on marine conservation has increased from two to 17 over the past 30 years, and one of the reasons for the growth is an awareness of the fragility of the marine ecosystem and of environmental impact. They added that public outreach and education are key tenets of such groups’ core missions.

Read more about the NUS community in the news.