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Experts say more North Korea nuclear tests likely as satellite images show increased tunnelling activity

Fri, 01/12/2018 - 04:52
North Korea has stepped up tunnelling at its main nuclear test site, a US think tank said, even as tensions cool on the peninsula following the resumption of long-stalled inter-Korean dialogue. Satellite images showed increased activity at the Punggye-ri site, with mining carts and personnel frequently visible, and excavation waste piles growing, the respected 38North website said late on Thursday. “These activities underscore North Korea’s continued efforts to maintain the Punggye-...

US deployed B-2 stealth bombers to Guam as sensitive talks between North and South Korea began

Fri, 01/12/2018 - 02:15
The US Air Force quietly deployed three stealth B-2 Spirit bombers to Guam this week as discussions between the North and South Koreans involving the Winter Olympics were about to commence, a move that the service says was scheduled in advance but came at a particularly sensitive time. The bat-winged B-2s and 200 airmen deployed to Andersen Air Force Base on the US island territory from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. They are part of what the US military characterised as a short-term...

‘A mad scramble’: how Trump tweet declaring end to Pakistan aid blindsided US officials

Fri, 01/12/2018 - 01:01
A surprise New Year’s Day tweet by US President Donald Trump in which he appeared to decree an end to US aid for Pakistan sent American officials scrambling to suspend security assistance without even knowing how much aid they were freezing, four US officials said. The decision to freeze up to about US$2 billion in security aid, according to a later estimate by US officials, to a nuclear-armed ally is the latest example of how, nearly a year into Trump’s presidency, US officials...

Japan confirms bird flu has been found in livestock and now will cull 91,000 chickens

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 18:15
An outbreak of highly pathogenic bird flu was confirmed on Thursday at a poultry farm in western Japan’s Kagawa Prefecture, according to the prefectural government, making it the first bird flu case affecting livestock in Japan this season. The Kagawa prefectural government plans to cull around 91,000 chickens at a farm in the city of Sanuki, after genetic tests showed that they had become infected. The farm notified the prefectural government of a suspected bird flu case on Wednesday,...

YouTube punishes US blogger Logan Paul over Japanese suicide video – but he’s still worth US$15m

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 18:08
YouTube has punished star US blogger Logan Paul over a video that appeared to show him giggling after discovering a dead body in a Japanese forest notorious for suicides. The company said in a statement that it has removed Paul’s channels from the Google Preferred advertising system and will not feature him in the new season of the web series “Foursome.” It said his new video blogs are also on hold. Paul, who has a net worth of US$15m (HK$117m) according to Forbes, earlier...

Bali’s ‘highly intense’ volcano erupts again, spewing ash 2.5km into the sky

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 17:26
Bali’s Mount Agung erupted again on Thursday, sending thick ash and smoke up to 2.5km (1.5 miles) into the sky, according to Indonesian authorities. The danger zone around the volcano remains at a radius of 6km (3.7 miles) from the crater, according to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia’s Disaster Mitigation Agency. The zone was reduced from a radius of 10km (6.2 miles) last week. Nugroho said the volcano still shows a high intensity of volcanic activity, despite the...

‘Police are not cooperating with us’: protests intensify as Pakistanis demand justice for murdered girl

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 15:16
Hundreds of protesters enraged over the murder of a young girl threw stones at government buildings in a Pakistani city near the Indian border for a second day on Thursday, amid growing outrage over the killing. The demonstrators hurled projectiles at a hospital, attacked the home of at least one local politician, and complained of police inaction in the city of Kasur in Punjab province, a day after two protesters were killed when the rallies turned violent. The outrage has spilled over in...

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will not act on ‘comfort women’ statue despite Japan’s objection

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 13:10
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will not act on an objection by Japan to a new statue in Manila that commemorates the Filipino “comfort women” who worked in Japanese military brothels during the second world war, his spokesman said on Thursday. Relations between the two countries remains “very strong”, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque told reporters, playing down concern that the statue could hurt relations with Japan, a major source of aid and investment. About 1...

Samsung sued by rights groups over alleged use of child labour in its Chinese factories

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 10:01
Two French campaign groups filed a legal case against Samsung in France on Thursday, alleging the Korean electronics giant was responsible for the use of child labour and other abuses in its Chinese plants. Using a new French law that makes a company potentially liable for working conditions elsewhere in the world, the NGOs Peuples Solidaires and Sherpa lodged a complaint in Paris against the Samsung’s French subsidiary and international parent company. Using research from the China Labor...

Dead zones: How our oceans are losing their breath

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 09:54
By Jamie Morton They’re called “dead zones” - patches of our ocean where oxygen plummets to levels so low that many animals passing through them suffocate and die. In just the past 50 years, the amount of water in the open ocean with zero oxygen has quadrupled, while low-oxygen sites closer to coasts have increased tenfold. The picture could only worsen if the world doesn’t rein in climate change and nutrient pollution. And, despite its relative isolation on the planet,...

Thailand’s digital ministry plans cybersecurity agency

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 09:30
By Lamonphet Apisitniran Thailand’s Digital Economy and Society (DE) Ministry plans to set up a cybersecurity agency and hacker training centre to serve Thailand’s digital economy, says DE Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj. The government is focusing on digital and IT security because it is very important for the country’s protection, he said. “Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is interested in and wants Thailand to set up these centres for the future, as many countries have...

Thai police arrest Japanese man accused of yakuza murder in 2003, identified by tattoos and missing finger

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 09:13
A retired Japanese crime boss has been arrested in Thailand ending more than 14 years on the run after photos of his ‘Yakuza’ tattoos and a missing little finger went viral. The fugitive, Shigeharu Shirai, 72, was arrested by a Swat team on Wednesday in the sleepy central Thai market town of Lopburi while he was out shopping. Japanese authorities have called for his arrest over an alleged role in the shooting of a rival in Japan in 2003, after which he fled to Thailand, married a...

Yakuza boss arrested in Thailand

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 08:59
By Gregory Morrissey A Japanese yakuza boss has been arrested for the murder of a rival criminal gangster in Muang district in the Thai city of Lop Buri, after 14 years on the run. A combined team of Interpol, Thai and immigration police detained Shineharu Shirai, 74, in tambon Tha Hin of Muang district on Wednesday while he was out walking to buy food. Mr Shirai is a fugitive wanted by Japanese authorities for colluding with seven other gang members in the murder of a key member of a rival...

Thai street food chef propelled to new culinary heights by Michelin star – she wonders what took them so long

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 08:30
After spending more than three decades cooking in an unassuming outdoor kitchen, a wok-wielding, goggles-wearing Thai chef has been propelled to international culinary stardom by having her restaurant awarded a Michelin star. Supinya Jansuta, better known as “Jay Fai”, was among 17 Bangkok-based chefs whose venues received the coveted honour from Michelin in a guidebook released last month – its first foray into the country. Jay Fai, as her restaurant is also known, is often...

South Korean government may delay ban on teaching English to preschoolers

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 07:58
By Jung Min-ho The government may put off its plan to ban English education for preschoolers due to fierce opposition from teachers and parents. The Ministry of Education told The Korea Times Wednesday that it is considering putting off the implementation of the policy until the beginning of next year. This move came after many people protested against the policy over the past few weeks. On the Cheong Wa Dae website, more than 7,000 people signed a petition; some have criticised the ministry by...

Suicide of Australian Akubra hat ad star ‘Dolly’ sparks cyberbullying campaign

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 07:41
The father of a teenager who starred in adverts for a well-known Australian hat brand and killed herself after being bullied online has vowed her life “will not be wasted” as a campaign against cyberbullying gains traction. A memorial for 14-year-old Amy Everett, known as Dolly, who was once the face of the wide-brimmed Akubra hat, is being held Friday following her suicide on January 3 after constant harassment. Her family launched the #stopbullyingnow campaign, which has rapidly...

For first time, Myanmar military admits troops murdered Rohingya found in mass grave

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 06:09
Myanmar’s military said its soldiers had murdered 10 captured Muslim “terrorists” during insurgent attacks at the beginning of September, after Buddhist villagers had forced the captured men into a grave they had dug. “Villagers and members of the security forces have confessed that they committed murder,” the military said in a statement on Wednesday. It was a rare admission of wrongdoing by the Myanmar military during its operations in the western state of...

PM Shinzo Abe reveals ‘national secret’ to Miss Universe Japan … his best golf score

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 05:41
Japan’s golf-mad prime minister has finally revealed the “national secret” of his best score – in a good-natured brag to his country’s Miss Universe representative. A relaxed and beaming Shinzo Abe received a courtesy call at his office from Momoko Abe, 23, who told the prime minister that her best round was an impressive 68 and that she had tried to turn pro. “That’s amazing,” said the prime minister, asking her whether this was for a full 18...

North Korea: Donald Trump doesn’t expect war after top US general predicts ‘big fight’

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 05:04
US President Donald Trump predicted the crisis between the US and North Korea would be resolved without war after one of his top generals predicted “a big-ass fight”. Trump brushed aside fears of an armed conflict at a White House news conference with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Wednesday. A Norwegian reporter asked about Marine Corps Commandant General Robert Neller’s remarks to Marines in Norway last month in which the general predicted “a big-ass fight,...

North Korean cheerleaders: ‘army of beauties’ set to invade South for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 04:34
With their good looks and sharp moves, North Korea’s female cheerleaders are a marked contrast to the regime’s menacing nuclear ambitions. Dubbed the “army of beauties” in South Korea, the young North Korean women – mostly in their late teens or early 20s – have attracted huge publicity whenever they have been sent to the South. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s future wife Ri Sol-ju was among the group who attended the 2005 Asian Athletics...

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