SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

DMZ, Geneva, Beijing: search is on for the best summit site for Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un

Sun, 03/11/2018 - 09:24
Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev chose Reykjavik, Iceland. Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin huddled at Yalta. Dwight Eisenhower and Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev will always have Paris. So where should US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un meet up for the first face-to-face talks between a US and North Korean president? The demilitarised zone between North and South Korea is one possibility. Sweden has offered to help. And there’s always neutral Geneva,...

S. Korea’s Moon Jae-in: the master tactician who could be bringing Trump and Kim to the summit table

Sun, 03/11/2018 - 09:05
If anything comes of the remarkable agreement by Donald Trump to meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un some time in May, it will be to Trump’s eternal credit. But perhaps more than anything, it will be due to the unwavering lifetime vision and unconventional tactics of Moon Jae-in, the 65-year-old human rights lawyer who became South Korean’s Democratic Party president less than a year ago. So much has happened since the slanging matches between Trump and Kim from September last...

What an unlimited Xi presidency in China means for India

Sun, 03/11/2018 - 05:02
What does the removal of term limits for the Xi Jinping presidency in China mean for the developing world and, in particular, for South Asia? One possibility is there could be a demonstration effect. China’s decades-long rapid economic growth has been a source of envy and inspiration for many countries in the developing world. Some like Vietnam, for instance, have used China as a model in launching its own opening up and reforms process. Other countries, including many in South Asia, have...

Donald Trump hopes for ‘greatest deal’ with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un as he praises helpful China

Sun, 03/11/2018 - 03:27
US President Donald Trump said his planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could fizzle without an agreement or it could result in “the greatest deal for the world” to ease nuclear tensions between the two countries. “I may leave fast” if progress does not seem possible, Trump said at a campaign rally Saturday for Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone in western Pennsylvania. Trump said he believes North Korea wants to make peace and that, “I...

In Bangalore, India’s Silicon Valley, issues related to city’s unbridled growth froth up

Sun, 03/11/2018 - 03:01
What do you do when water catches fire? That’s exactly what Bangaloreans are scratching their heads over – the water in their lakes is catching fire, and nobody knows how exactly to put the flames out. For a city that once boasted close to a thousand lakes, this is something of a problem. Bangalore or Bengaluru, India’s Garden City, a quiet backwater once known as “The City of Lakes”, has been losing perspective lately. It’s once beautiful, temperate, lake-...

What’s behind Malaysia’s election apathy?

Sun, 03/11/2018 - 02:01
Lunar New Year has come and gone. Malaysia’s 14th general election, or GE14, could take place by the end of this month. In most normal countries, you’d look to the newspapers and television to get a sense of public sentiment. That won’t help you much in Malaysia. With the government clamping down on all forms of expression – sometimes in the name of fighting “fake news”– trying to get a sense of how Malaysians feel isn’t easy. Even online media...

Why is Najib pushing fake news laws before Malaysia election?

Sun, 03/11/2018 - 00:00
In Malaysia, where the mere act of caricaturing Prime Minister Najib Razak as a clown could get you thrown in jail, plans for a new law to stamp out “fake news” before a landmark election have set alarm bells ringing among the opposition and free speech proponents. The government for months has been floating trial balloons about the law, and this week confirmed a bill was in the works and could be passed before the polls, which are likely to be held in April or May. In a speech...

Rights activists fear trumped-up charges as Philippines’ Duterte gives police subpoena powers to speed up investigations

Sat, 03/10/2018 - 14:32
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a bill giving the police chief and two other senior police officials the power to issue subpoenas to hasten the investigation of crimes, his spokesman said on Saturday. The law “will add more teeth to their mandate to enhance the law and find solutions to criminal cases”, spokesman Harry Roque told a news briefing. Human rights activists expressed concern about the new law, saying the Philippine police force was notorious for...

Japan’s finance ministry to admit altering documents for cut-price land sale linked to Abe cronyism scandal

Sat, 03/10/2018 - 12:31
Japan’s Finance Ministry will admit altering documents pertaining to a state-owned land sale at the centre of favouritism allegations against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, government sources said on Saturday. The ministry plans to tell the Diet as soon as Monday that it has found several instances where content present in the original versions of the documents was removed later, the sources said. The admission of the allegations, which were reported earlier this month by a major daily...

Wild boars are taking over Japan’s small towns and residents are either too old or too few to scare them away

Sat, 03/10/2018 - 10:32
Rapidly shrinking towns and cities across Japan are experiencing a population explosion, but not of humans – of wild boars. Across the country, wild boars are moving in as Japan’s ageing population either dies or moves out. The boars come for the untended rice paddies and stay for the abandoned shelters. “Thirty years ago, crows were the biggest problem around here,” said Hideo Numata, 67, a farmer in Hiraizumi, which has a human population 7,803. “But now we have...

Sri Lanka to investigate law and order breakdown after four days of deadly anti-Muslim riots in Kandy

Sat, 03/10/2018 - 09:44
An investigation into anti-Muslim riots that spread in central Sri Lanka prompting the authorities to declare a nationwide state of emergency was announced on Saturday by President Maithripala Sirisena. A panel of three retired judges will look into the breakdown of law and order in the picturesque hill resort of Kandy, Sirisena’s office said in a statement. Three people died, 20 others were wounded and more than 200 Muslim-owned businesses and homes were destroyed in four days of rioting...

French President Macron greeted with PM Modi’s bear hug on first day of India visit

Sat, 03/10/2018 - 09:24
French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday said he wanted his country to be India’s best partner in Europe as he started a three-day trip to the country aimed at ratcheting up security and energy ties. Macron, who was welcomed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his traditional bear hug on his arrival late on Friday, also said “collective security” will be on top of the agenda during talks later Saturday. “France is the entry point to Europe. We want to be...

Fears tobacco giants will use TPP to sue Australia over plain packaging as secrecy shrouds legal costs in Philip Morris case

Sat, 03/10/2018 - 08:47
The Australian government is fighting to keep secret the amount it paid to fight a legal battle with the tobacco industry over its plain packaging laws. Philip Morris, a tobacco multinational, used a clause in a Hong Kong-Australia trade deal to sue the Australian government over its Gillard-era plain packaging laws. It eventually lost the case, but the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) political party has since attempted to find out how much Australia paid to fight the case in The Hague. NXT is...

Will insulting Robert Kuok cost Najib and Barisan Nasional the Malaysia election?

Sat, 03/10/2018 - 05:05
Just how much clout does the Hong Kong-based billionaire Robert Kuok have in the eyes of his fellow Malaysian Chinese after being away from home for more than four decades? The Barisan Nasional, Malaysia’s ruling coalition, could be poised to find that out the hard way after one of its stalwarts launched a blistering verbal attack against the 94-year-old with a general election just around the corner. Observers are warning the coalition’s already weak support from the minority...

Trump is meeting Kim, so what? We may be headed for nuclear war

Sat, 03/10/2018 - 04:04
The line separating nuclear war in northeast Asia and a Nobel Peace Prize for the reunification of the Koreas has undoubtedly become very thin under US President Donald Trump. But does this logic still ring true in light of recent, apparently warm meetings between the North’s supreme leader and Seoul officials, the prospect of both Korean heads of state attending a summit in April, and news that President Trump has agreed to meet Kim Jong-un in person soon after? The answer: most...

Why are ethnic Chinese still being denied land in Indonesia?

Sat, 03/10/2018 - 03:03
When bicycle seller Willie Sebastian was offered a plot of land by the Indonesian government, little could he have known it was the start of a long and humiliating process that would eventually leave him not only empty-handed but feeling like a second-class citizen in the country of his birth. As part of a drive to beautify the area around the Prambanan temple complex in Yogyakarta – a site that has welcomed such foreign dignitaries as Barack Obama – the state government had...

What could go wrong for Najib when Malaysia goes to the polls?

Sat, 03/10/2018 - 01:00
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is a tease. With just over 100 days before his government’s five-year term ends, only he seems to hold the answer to the date of the general election. In parliament this week – the legislature’s last meeting before the June 24 deadline – the premier displayed his trademark coyness over the timing of the vote. Walking past a gaggle of journalists, he drew hoots of faux exasperation when he stopped in his tracks, his face breaking into...

Vietnamese crowned queen in Thai transgender beauty pageant

Sat, 03/10/2018 - 00:52
Vietnam’s Nguyen Huong Giang was crowned “Miss International Queen” in Thailand on Friday at one of the world’s top beauty pageants for transgender women. The red-dressed winner fended off 26 competitors, from countries spanning Mongolia to Mexico, to clinch the coveted crown in the seaside town of Pattaya, where the popular contest has been running since 2004. While the competition is fierce, contestants say the pageant also offers an opportunity for camaraderie among...

7 years later, why hasn’t Japan learned from Fukushima?

Sat, 03/10/2018 - 00:01
Seven years after the worst natural disaster to strike Japan in living memory, a handful of people whose homes, schools and livelihoods were in villages that were directly beneath the plume of radioactivity that escaped from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant were this week permitted to return briefly to their communities. Media coverage has shown families picking through the interiors of their abandoned homes and collecting keepsakes to remind them of their lives before March 11, 2011, when a...

SOS carved into Indonesian palm oil plantation to highlight damage from deforestation

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 20:26
A Lithuanian artist has carved a giant SOS message into an Indonesian palm oil plantation to draw attention to the damage done by deforestation. Ernest Zacharevic curated the ‘Save our Souls’ project as part of a campaign on the impact palm oil plantations have on tribal communities and endangered species such as the orangutan. “We, as consumers, are so detached from the source of our commodities that we are no longer able to see the consequences of our daily choices,”...

Monsoon floods and landslides threaten 100,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 19:01
The Rohingya refugees who live in shacks clinging to these steep, denuded hills in southern Bangladesh pray that the sandbags fortifying the slopes will survive the upcoming monsoon. “They make it safer, but they won’t hold if the rain is really heavy,” said Mohammed Hares, 18. Cracks have already formed in the packed mud on which his shack is built. Nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since last August to escape a military crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar...

Soju diplomacy: how Pyongyang dinner eased path towards Kim-Trump May summit

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 18:04
Kim Jong-un held court at tables of hotpot and cold noodles, where bottles of wine, ginseng liquor and soju seemed bottomless. He joked about himself and his “rocket man” reputation, but also made a serious overture: he was willing to give up his nuclear weapons and he wanted to meet Donald Trump. Kim attempted to soothe his guests, a South Korean delegation, saying the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, could rest easy now that he had decided to place a moratorium on missile...

US, Norway help Philippines catch child sex video suspect

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 11:00
Norwegian and US authorities have helped the Philippines capture a man they say exploited children by having them join sex videos which he then showed to paying foreign clients online, officials said on Friday. National Bureau of Investigation Director Dante Gierran said law enforcers from Norway and the US joined Filipino authorities in a raid on Thursday that led to the arrest of the suspect, Anselmo Ico Jnr, and the rescue of five minor – his alleged victims – in a poor village...

Asia in 3 minutes: bad week for Genghis Khan, Thailand’s reputation, shape-shifting Sumatran tigers

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 10:02
Land of a Thousand insults: Thailand angry at Gambia for sex tourism label Gambia has apologised to Thailand after its foreign minister said the country was a haven for sex tourists, sparking a strongly worded protest from Bangkok. Hamat Bah said on state television in January that Gambia, a sunny beach destination favoured by Western tourists especially from Scandinavia, was losing out to nearby Cabo Verde after gaining a reputation as a sex haven. “The fact is that this country’s...

South Korean actor Jo Min-ki found dead after string of sexual assault accusations

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 09:58
A South Korean actor accused of sexual assault in a spiralling wave of #MeToo accusations in the country was found dead Friday, Yonhap news agency reported. Jo Min-ki, who had been accused of sexually molesting at least eight victims, was found dead at his home in Seoul, Yonhap cited police as saying, adding suicide was suspected. Most of his victims were drama students at a provincial university where he taught, it said, adding the 52-year-old had been forced out of his professorship over the...

Former Sikh militant sorry for Canadian PM Trudeau’s embarrassment in India

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 09:33
A former Sikh militant apologised on Thursday for causing embarrassment to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his trip to India. Jaspal Atwal, who was part of a movement that supported an independent Sikh nation in the 1980s and went to prison for the attempted murder of a visiting Indian minister in 1986, was invited to a dinner with Trudeau in New Delhi causing consternation among his hosts. Trudeau’s visit to India had already been dogged by suspicions that Canada was soft...

Official linked to PM Shinzo Abe’s cronyism scandal found dead, Japanese media reports

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 09:19
A Japanese finance ministry official at the centre of cronyism allegations linked to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been found dead, local media said on Friday. A second key official will step down over the scandal, local media also reported. Police are investigating the death of the official in Kobe in western Japan and suspect he committed suicide, with some media reporting a suicide note had been found. A police spokesman could not confirm the reports. The unidentified official, who was found...

How a masturbating monk and ‘Korea’s Obama’ drove Seoul to say ‘Me Too’

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 09:01
The Me Too movement in South Korea has exploded in little more than a month, inspiring many with the hope that this society – notoriously male dominated, yet also famously adaptable – will follow last year’s political revolution with a feminist one. “I have done nothing that might bring shame on me or my wife,” the poet Ko Un said on Monday, breaking a month-long silence after being accused of masturbating in public and using his literary influence to coerce young...

Ultra-nationalist Myanmar Buddhist monk freed from prison

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 07:32
An ultra-nationalist Myanmar monk was released from prison on Friday after serving time for inciting unrest in an anti-Rohingya protest in 2016, a rare punishment handed to one of the country’s hardline Buddhist clergymen. Parmaukkha, who was handed a three-month jail term, has helped peddle a fiery brand of Buddhist nationalism and Islamophobia in Myanmar, a country accused of waging an ethnic cleansing campaign against Rohingya Muslims. The monk was arrested in November over a rally he...

For Trump and Kim, the real games have only just begun

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 07:20
The president of the United States plans to meet the North Korean leader by May, a meeting with no precedent that leaves little sense of what to expect. The North Korea nuclear crisis has long been a storm full of wave after wave of recycled headlines, but it has finally reached the shore of an undiscovered country. Where does it go from here? The Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games have almost allowed people to forget the world is at the brink of nuclear war, a state of affairs brought on by...

Happy feat: these penguins found a camera in Antarctica and captured an excellent selfie

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 07:07
The selfie-snapping animals are at it again. Two emperor penguins in Antarctica captured a short video of themselves after coming across a camera left on the ice by a human. The Australian Antarctic Division posted the comical, 38-second clip to its social media channels Thursday. One of the group’s members, Eddie Gault, had placed the camera on the ground near the Auster Rookery – home to a large emperor penguin colony – while visiting the nearby Mawson research station. #...

‘There’s homework to be done’: Washington unsure Trump’s team can pull off talks with Kim

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 05:19
US President Donald Trump’s high-wire gambit to accept a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sets off a scramble among US officials to assemble a team capable of supporting a historic summit of long-time adversaries and determine a viable engagement strategy. State Department officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, were downplaying the immediacy of talks in the hours before the White House rolled out the South Korean national security adviser, who made the surprise...

Timeline: 16 key North Korea events that marked rocky road to Kim-Trump summit

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 05:06
The following is a chronology of recent events concerning North and South Korea, and the United States. July 4, 2017: North Korea succeeds for first time in test-firing intercontinental ballistic missile. July 28: North Korea launches its second ICBM, unusually late at night. September 3: North Korea conducts its sixth nuclear test. September 15: North Korea fires intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan into the Pacific with flight distance of 3,700 kilometres, the longest yet, putting...

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un offers to meet Trump and halt nuclear testing

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 01:13
South Korea’s national security adviser has announced at the White House that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was inviting US President Donald Trump to meet with him. The South Korean national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, delivered by hand a letter from Kim to Trump. Chung headed a delegation that met Kim at a historic meeting in Pyongyang late Monday, Kim’s first with South Korean officials. Chung praised Trump’s “leadership and maximum pressure strategy”. He...

Sri Lanka arrests 10 in wave of anti-Muslim attacks

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 22:28
Police in Sri Lanka said on Thursday it had arrested the suspected leader and nine others suspects behind a wave of anti-Muslim attacks by Sinhalese Buddhist hardliners in a central highlands region this week. Sri Lanka’s Kandy district has been rocked by communal clashes since Sunday following attacks on members of the minority Muslim community by nationalist crowds from the Sinhalese majority. At least two people have been killed. President Maithripala Sirisena decreed a state of...

11 nations sign Trans-Pacific trade pact as US plans tariffs

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 20:36
Trade ministers from 11 Pacific Rim countries signed a sweeping free trade agreement Thursday to streamline trade and slash tariffs on the same day that President Donald Trump was expected to formalise new tariffs on aluminium and steel to protect US producers. Trump withdrew the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) last year, causing fears that it would not prosper without its most influential country. But the remaining 11 members pressed ahead, saying they were showing resolve against...

2 foreign men go missing at ski resort in Japan’s central Hokkaido

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 20:13
Two foreign nationals, possibly French, have gone missing at a ski resort in central Hokkaido, local police said on Thursday, adding they could not find the men at ski run areas. The two, who are in their 40s, have been staying at the Sahoro ski resort in the town of Shintoku from Sunday with family members. But the two went skiing without companions. The wife of one of the men told the hotel she lost contact with her husband, prompting the hotel to report the situation to the police. The...

Philippines seeks to slap ‘terrorist’ tag for 600 alleged communist guerillas

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 18:22
A UN special rapporteur, a former Philippine lawmaker and four former Catholic priests are among more than 600 alleged communist guerillas the Philippines wants declared “terrorists”, according to a government petition filed in court. The justice ministry last month said it wanted a Manila court to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), “terrorist” bodies, but made no mention of individuals it would...

‘Duterte the No 1 terrorist’: president’s rival hits back after petition to tag 600 alleged rebels on terror list

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 18:15
A UN special rapporteur, a former Philippine lawmaker and four former Catholic priests are among more than 600 alleged communist guerillas the Philippines wants declared “terrorists”, according to a government petition filed in court. By declaring the groups and individuals terrorists, the government would be able to monitor them more closely, track finances and curb access to resources, among other measures. The petition included Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, appointed in 2014 as UN...

‘Series of missteps’ led to sudden turn that caused deadly crash between US warship and tanker, Singapore says

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 14:38
A US guided missile destroyer’s deadly collision with an oil tanker near Singapore in 2017 was caused by “a sudden turn” made by the warship that put it in the path of the commercial vessel, said a report by the Singapore government on Thursday. The collision on August 21, which killed 10 sailors and was one of a handful of incidents in the Asia-Pacific region involving US Navy warships, raised questions about Navy training and led to the removal of a number of officers....

Indonesian universities move to ban niqab face veils over fundamentalism fears

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 14:07
A pair of Indonesian Islamic universities are pushing female students to ditch niqab face veils – with one threatening expulsion for non-compliance – as concerns grow over rising fundamentalism in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation. Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University said it issued the edict this week to more than three dozen niqab-wearing students, who will be booted from school if they refuse. Although niqabs are common in ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia and...

South Korean writers, artists accused of abuse to be erased from textbooks as country gets behind #MeToo

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 10:51
Three prominent South Korean writers and artists who have been accused of sex abuse will have their works and almost all mentions of their names removed from school textbooks, the government said Thursday, as the country’s nascent #MeToo campaign spreads. A growing number of women have spoken out about abuses they suffered at the hands of powerful figures in multiple fields, making headlines in a country that remains socially patriarchal despite economic and technological advances. Those...

South Korea probes secret plan for military crackdown on candlelit protests against Park Geun-hye

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 08:38
South Korea will investigate allegations that ousted president Park Geun-hye planned to send military troops to quash the candlelit protests that culminated in her impeachment last year, the defence ministry said Thursday. Activist group the Centre for Military Human Rights Korea (CMHRK), citing multiple leaks, said top military leaders had studied plans to crack down on demonstrators calling for Park’s resignation over a corruption scandal. South Korea was ruled by military dictators for...

Philippines’ top judge vows to fight ‘bullying’ as President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies push for her ouster

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 07:52
The Philippine Supreme Court chief justice vowed to fight “bullying” and save judicial independence as President Rodrigo Duterte’s congressional allies launched an impeachment process Thursday to remove her from office. Voting 38-2, the House of Representatives justice committee said there was “probable cause” to impeach Maria Lourdes Sereno, in a move critics allege is part of wider efforts by Duterte to destroy foes and usher in one-man rule. A US-style...

Alone and having a heart attack, man self-medicates and saves life in true MacGyver-like fashion

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 05:24
Alone at a health clinic in a small, remote seaside settlement in Australia, a 44-year-old nurse sensed he was having a heart attack and sprang into action, saving his own life, a report said. The man, whose name was withheld for privacy reasons, experienced severe chest pain and dizziness while he was the sole medical professional on duty at a nursing post in Coral Bay, more than 1,000 kilometres from Perth, the capital of Western Australia, said the account published in the New England...

Diver films shocking underwater video of plastic garbage wasteland in Bali

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 04:12
Millions of tourists are drawn to Bali’s palm-fringed scenery and rich marine life, but a British diver has released stark footage highlighting a growing problem in its famously crystal-clear waters: plastic rubbish. An underwater video shot by Rich Horner this week showing a sea overflowing with plastic and other garbage at Manta Point, a well-known diving site near Bali’s main island, has already been viewed about a million times. “The ocean currents brought us in a lovely...

French President Emmanuel Macron heads to India after Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s blunder-filled trip

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 03:44
Two weeks after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau returned from a blunder-struck trip to India, Emmanuel Macron arrives in New Delhi hoping to avoid the missteps of his ally. Trudeau and Macron are often compared internationally because of their broadly similar political views, as well as youth and good looks. But the French leader will be eager to make a different impression on his Indian hosts. Trudeau, already facing suspicions in India that Canada was too soft on Sikh separatists back...

Low-cost housing pioneer Balkrishna Doshi is first Indian architect to win prestigious Pritzker Prize

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 03:15
Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi, a pioneer of low-cost housing design, won the prestigious Pritzker Prize on Wednesday, considered architecture’s Nobel equivalent. The 90-year-old Doshi – one of the last living architects to have apprenticed with the Franco-Swiss trailblazer Le Corbusier – distinguished his work by committing to sustainable architecture and inexpensive housing, bringing modernist design to an India rooted in traditionalism. He is the 45th Pritzker laureate...

Coca-Cola to launch its first alcoholic drink in Japan

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 22:02
Coca-Cola plans to launch its first ever alcoholic drink in Japan, in a surprising departure for a US company identified with cola and other non-alcoholic beverages. While Coca-Cola dabbled in the wine business in the 1970s, the Japanese experiment is “unique” in the company’s 125-year history, said Coca-Cola Japan president Jorge Garduno. The new offering will be in Japan’s growing “Chu-Hi” category of beverages, Garduno said in a recent interview posted to...

Coca-Cola to launch its first alcoholic drink in Japan

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 22:00
Coca-Cola plans to launch its first ever alcoholic drink in Japan, in a surprising departure for a US company identified with cola and other non-alcoholic beverages. While Coca-Cola dabbled in the wine business in the 1970s, the Japanese experiment is “unique” in the company’s 125-year history, said Coca-Cola Japan president Jorge Garduno. The new offering will be in Japan’s growing “Chu-Hi” category of beverages, Garduno said in a recent interview...

Kim Jong-un’s sister could be sent to US to launch talks on ending nuclear crisis

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 20:45
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may propose sending his sister to the US as part of efforts to launch direct talks between Washington and Pyongyang, according to a South Korean diplomatic source. That may be one of a number of possible messages South Korean envoy Chung Eui-yong will deliver to US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster in Washington this week, the source told the South China Morning Post, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “Kim Jong-un has a certain message...

US Holocaust Museum revokes Aung San Suu Kyi’s human rights award over Rohingya crisis

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 20:21
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has rescinded its top award to Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi because of her failure to condemn and stop military attacks on her country’s minority Rohingya Muslims, the museum said on Wednesday. The Washington museum’s rescission of its Elie Wiesel Award to Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner, is the latest honour to be retracted over her silence about widespread abuses against the Rohingya. Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy have...

UN rights chief attacks US over Dreamers as ‘apocalypse’ unfolds in Syria and Myanmar covers up possible genocide

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 15:36
The UN human rights chief on Wednesday took aim at repressive policies being pursued in the United States and Europe, and increasingly harsh treatment of migrants, while warning of crimes against humanity in Venezuela, apocalyptic attacks in Syria and possible “acts of genocide” in Myanmar. In an annual report to the UN Human Rights Council, High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein also took democracies to task for failing to respect basic rights. “In the...

Sri Lanka blocks Facebook, Instagram, Viber and WhatsApp as anti-Muslim riots flare up

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 13:50
Anti-Muslim rioting flared anew on Wednesday in the hills of central Sri Lanka despite a state of emergency, residents said, as the government ordered popular social media networks blocked to stop the violence from spreading. The police also ordered a curfew across much of the region for a third straight day, trying to calm the situation. An area resident, who spoke on condition fearing reprisal attacks, said two mosques and some Muslim-owned shops were attacked by Buddhist mobs in two towns in...

Germany charges Vietnam man over cold war-style kidnapping of oil executive

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 13:11
German prosecutors on Wednesday laid charges against a suspected Vietnamese agent over last year’s cold war-style kidnapping of a fugitive state company official in Berlin which has badly strained bilateral ties. The 47-year-old man – identified only as Long N.H. in keeping with German privacy rules in judicial cases – was charged with working for a foreign intelligence service and aiding in an abduction. The charges each carry up to 10 years’ prison. No trial date has...

Philippines’ Duterte says ‘not in a million years’ does ICC have right to try him

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 11:53
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said there is no chance of him going on trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC), because “not in a million years” would it have jurisdiction to indict him. The fiery tempered leader is the subject of a Philippine lawyer’s complaint to the ICC accusing him of making killing “best practice” in his ferocious 19-month-old war on drugs. The ICC last month said it had started a preliminary examination to establish whether...

Sanctions on N Korea to stay as South’s leader Moon urges cautious optimism about talks

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 10:48
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said on Wednesday sanctions on North Korea will not be eased for the sake of a summit with Pyongyang, as China urged both sides to “seize the current opportunity” to promote the denuclearisation of the peninsula. In the first meeting of its kind, South Korean officials who met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Monday said he expressed his willingness to denuclearise the Korean peninsula if his country’s security is assured. Next month...

Actress accuses top South Korean director Kim Ki-duk and male star of rape

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 08:41
A South Korean actress has accused award-winning film director Kim Ki-duk and a top actor of rape, as the country’s nascent #MeToo movement begins to spiral. The fresh allegations against Kim come after his presence at this year’s Berlin Film Festival caused controversy following a fine for physically assaulting a different actress. In the latest case an actress, who refused to be named, said that Kim repeatedly tried to enter her hotel room when they were shooting a movie in a...

Japan demands US immediately report military aircraft mishaps after F-15 jet lost piece mid-air … but found out six days later

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 08:03
Japan’s government said Wednesday it has asked the US military to swiftly report mishaps after it took six days for it to be notified that an F-15 fighter jet stationed in Okinawa had lost a part during a flight. “It is truly regrettable that it was not reported immediately,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, adding the government has asked the US military to report such incidents promptly, investigate the cause and prevent a recurrence. A part resembling an antenna...

Gambia apologises to Thailand for saying it was a tourist ‘sex destination’

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 07:10
Gambia has apologised to Thailand after its foreign minister said the Asian country was a haven for sex tourists, sparking a strongly worded protest from Bangkok. Hamat Bah said on state television in January that Gambia, a sunny beach destination favoured by Western tourists especially from Scandinavia, was losing out to the nearby archipelago nation of Cabo Verde after gaining a reputation as a sex haven. “The fact is that this country’s image has been battered heavily … I...

‘Wolf of Wall Street’ producers to pay US$60m to settle 1MDB lawsuit in Malaysia scandal

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 06:37
The company behind the 2013 film, The Wolf of Wall Street, agreed to pay the United States government US$60 million to settle a civil lawsuit that sought to seize assets allegedly bought with money stolen from a Malaysian state fund. The film’s producer, Red Granite Pictures, co-founded by the Malaysian prime minister’s stepson, announced last September that it had “reached a settlement in principle” with the US government, but did not reveal any sum at the time....

Japan’s Mount Shimmoe volcano cakes city in ash day after first explosive eruption in seven years

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 06:06
Powerful volcanic eruptions continued at Japan’s Mount Shimmoe on Wednesday, a day after its first explosive eruption in seven years, with smoke reaching up to 3,000 meters. Local authorities around the 1,421-metre volcano that straddles Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures on the southwestern Japan main island of Kyushu remained cautious against further large-scale eruptions. Ash spewed from the volcano continued to disrupt flights at the Kagoshima airport while the Japan Meteorological...

Is North Korea’s offer to halt nuclear and missile tests too good to be true?

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 04:31
US President Donald Trump appears to have got what he wanted from North Korea: a willingness to suspend nuclear testing and a promise to put its entire arsenal of atomic weapons on the negotiating table. But is it too good to be true? After a year of threatening “fire and fury” and ridiculing North Korea’s young leader Kim Jong-un, Trump is now touting diplomatic progress between the rival Koreas. He even says he thinks North Korea, under intense sanctions pressure, is “...

Donald Trump calls North Korea ‘terrific’ and suggests progress is being made on  nuclear crisis

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 22:54
President Donald Trump called North Korea “terrific” in a shower of praise for Pyongyang’s participation in the Olympic Games and a suggestion that more progress in defusing the nuclear stand-off in Northeast Asia was around the corner. “I thought North Korea was terrific. They went in to the Olympics. They went in with good spirit. They did well,” Trump said. “I think we’re having very good dialogue. You’re going to certainly find out very soon...

Bezos tops Forbes world’s richest list as Trump’s wealth drops

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 20:21
Amazon chief Jeff Bezos is now the world’s richest person, having snatched the top spot from Microsoft founder Bill Gates who slips to second place, according to Forbes Magazine’s annual billionaires list published on Tuesday. US President Donald Trump’s ranking on the list fell to 766th place from 544th in the last edition, his wealth now being estimated at US$3.1 billion, $400 million less than a year ago. Thanks to a 59 per cent rise in Amazon shares over the past 12...

Hungry elephants kill 10 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 18:30
Elephants searching for food have trampled 10 Rohingya refugees to death in multiple incidents, the UN said on Tuesday, announcing a new plan to foster “safe coexistence” between animals and sprawling refugee settlements. Some 700,000 people from Myanmar’s Rohingya community have fled over the border to Bangladesh since August, following an army crackdown that the UN has said amounts to an ongoing campaign of “ethnic cleansing”. Refugee camps have shot up in...

30 killed after truck carrying wedding guests in India swerves into riverbed

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 17:16
At least 30 people were killed and several more injured on Tuesday when a low loader carrying members of a wedding party veered into a dry riverbed in the western Indian state of Gujarat, officials said. Police said that the wedding guests from the district of Bhavnagar were travelling to the ceremony in a nearby village when the driver tried to pass a car on a narrow bridge and lost control of the vehicle. Many of the injured were trapped under the twisted wreckage and had to be extracted by...

North Korea will denuclearise if security guaranteed, says South

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 12:54
North Korea said it was willing to abandon its nuclear weapons if the security of its government is guaranteed, Seoul’s envoy said on Tuesday after meeting with the North’s leader Kim Jong-un. “The North made clear its willingness for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, and made clear that there is no reason to own nuclear [programmes] if military threats towards the North are cleared and the security of its government is guaranteed,” said Chung Eui-yong,...

Kobe Steel CEO quits following fake data scandal

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 12:38
The head of scandal-hit Japanese steelmaker Kobe Steel announced his resignation on Tuesday after the firm submitted false strength and quality data for products shipped to hundreds of clients worldwide. Hiroya Kawasaki’s resignation was a new blow to Japan’s reputation after similar quality-control scandals hit industrial titans ranging from carmaker Nissan to Mitsubishi Materials. Following a deep and prolonged bow in apology, Kawasaki told reporters: “As I think it’s...

Shipments of protected African species to Asia soar, study finds

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 11:47
Shipments of protected African species including tortoises, pythons and parrots to Asia have soared since 2006 as demand grows for exotic pets, meats and other animal products, a new study warned on Tuesday. Wildlife imports of leopard tortoises, African spurred tortoises and ball pythons into Asia increased nearly tenfold in a decade, the report by monitoring network Traffic said, while trade in animal skins including seals also rose. Although much of the trade is legal, all of the species in...

Kandy clash: Sri Lanka declares state of emergency, deploys commandos after Buddhist-Muslim riots in popular tourist spot

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 11:02
Sri Lanka Tuesday declared a nationwide state of emergency to quell anti-Muslim riots that have killed at least two people and damaged dozens of mosques and homes. “The cabinet of ministers decided on tough measures, including a 10-day nationwide state of emergency,” Minister of City Planning Rauff Hakeem said as police imposed a curfew in the riot-hit central district of Kandy. The government deployed heavily-armed police commandos in the hill station region, which is popular with...

Former South Korean leader Lee Myung-bak to be questioned over bribery claims

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 10:58
South Korean prosecutors on Tuesday summoned conservative former president Lee Myung-bak for questioning as a criminal suspect in a bribery scandal, the country’s latest former head of state to be investigated. “We need to investigate former president Lee to find the truth in a transparent and effective manner,” Yonhap news agency quoted an unidentified Seoul prosecutor as saying. Allegations of corruption involving the 76-year-old’s relatives and aides during his 2008-...

World’s oldest message in a bottle found on Australian beach after 132 years

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 10:26
The world’s oldest message in a bottle has been found on a beach in Western Australia by a couple who thought it might “look good on a bookshelf”. Tonya Illman found the 132-year-old gin bottle in the dunes near Wedge Island in January. Her husband, Kym Illman, said she initially thought it was rubbish but picked it up because it had distinct, raised lettering and would be at home on their bookshelf. Inside, she found a roll of paper printed in German and dated to 12 June 1886...

Australia, East Timor to sign treaty at UN that could unlock billions for impoverished nation

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 09:58
Australia and East Timor will on Tuesday sign a treaty at the United Nations to end a dispute over their maritime border and potentially unlock billions of dollars in revenue from offshore oil and gas. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will preside over the signing ceremony to be attended by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Deputy Prime Minister Agio Pereira of East Timor, Asia’s youngest nation which joined the United Nations in 2002. The treaty could provide a major...

‘Lack of transparency’: US snipes at China’s defence budget boost

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 09:58
“Lack of transparency”. That was the oblique buzz phrase on the lips of a top US naval officer on Tuesday when pressed on whether China’s largest defence spending increase in three years was of concern. Accompanying the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson’s highly symbolic visit to Vietnam, Vice Admiral Phillip Sawyer, commander of the Asia-based Seventh Fleet, used the term repeatedly to respond to questions about China, including Monday’s revelation that Beijing was...

Myanmar’s ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Rohingya Muslims continues, UN rights official claims

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 09:30
Myanmar’s “ethnic cleansing” of Rohingya Muslims is still going on, a senior UN human rights official claimed on Tuesday, more than six months after insurgent attacks sparked a security response that has driven nearly 700,000 people into Bangladesh. Andrew Gilmour, the UN assistant secretary general for human rights, made the claim after a four-day visit to the Cox’s Bazar district in neighbouring Bangladesh, where he met people who fled Myanmar recently. “I don...

Malaysian pro-democracy leader Maria Chin Abdullah launches election bid in boost for opposition against PM Najib Razak

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 09:22
The leader of Malaysia’s biggest pro-democracy group said on Tuesday she will stand for parliament in a general election under the banner of an opposition alliance aiming to throw Prime Minister Najib Razak out of office. Maria Chin Abdullah is chairwoman of the activist group Bersih, which means “clean” in the Malay language, and which has for years led anti-government protests against Najib who has been dogged by a scandal over huge losses at a state fund. She is standing as...

Superstitious villagers feared endangered Sumatran tiger was a shape-shifter, so they gutted it and hung it from a ceiling

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 07:35
A Sumatran tiger hangs, dead and disembowelled, from a ceiling in a public hall in a remote village in northern Indonesia. A photograph shows the lifeless animal strapped to a wooden plank – and dozens of villagers crowded around to see it. It’s not certain exactly why the critically endangered animal was slain Sunday in a village in North Sumatra, Indonesia, but local news reports say it had mauled at least one or two residents who had followed it to its lair – to determine...

Japan puts first stealth jet on back burner as costs soar, technical problems mount

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 06:47
Japan is to drop plans to develop a new stealth fighter jet as a result of soaring costs and the technical hurdles that need to be overcome, with analysts suggesting that Tokyo will instead replace obsolescent fighters with foreign-built aircraft bought “off the shelf”. Tasked with replacing the domestically developed F-2 fighter, which is expected to be phased out of service from around 2030, the Defence Ministry initially had three options. The preferred option has until now been...

#MeToo fallout: South Korean presidential hopeful quits after secretary accuses him of rape on TV show

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 05:35
A promising politician who had ambitions of becoming South Korea’s next president resigned Tuesday after his secretary accused him of raping her. Ahn Hee-jung, 52, the governor of South Chungcheong province who last year was runner-up against Moon Jae-in to become the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, has become the latest high-profile figure to fall in the #MeToo movement quickly spreading across the male-dominated society. His dramatic fall came a day after the...

Asia’s record shows rulers can outperform democrats, but what if they get the wrong ideas?

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 03:57
Ever since China’s Communist Party revealed that it would scrap term limits on the presidency -- meaning the post’s current occupant, Xi Jinping, can now serve for life -- there has been much hand-wringing over what one-man rule could mean for the Chinese economy. Autocracies, we’re told, never end well, leaving economists and the business community concerned that the reforms the economy requires to return to solid footing, already slow in coming, may never be implemented....

After Losing China, Jeff Bezos Really Wants to Win in India

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 01:47
Having forfeited China to Alibaba and JD.com, Jeff Bezos is determined to win in India, a market of 1.3 billion people who at long last are discovering the pleasures of shopping. Amazon.com Inc.’s chief has committed $5.5 billion to India and selected Amit Agarwal to spend it wisely. A trusted lieutenant who grew up in Mumbai and admires his boss and Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan with near-equal fervor, Agarwal, 44, is furiously adapting Amazon to local conditions. The company has set...

Kim Jong-un spends hours with South Korean officials, agrees to summit with president, in historic first meeting

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 01:17
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un spent more than four hours with South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s special envoys late Monday in his first meeting with officials from south of the border since he took power in late 2011. The envoys delivered Moon’s intention to hold a summit with Kim, and the two Koreas made a “satisfactory agreement” at the meeting that took place in a “compatriotic and sincere atmosphere,” North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News...

China holds up US bid for UN ban of ships circumventing North Korea sanctions

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 18:28
China has put a hold on a US request at the United Nations to ban 33 ships from ports worldwide and blacklist 27 shipping firms for helping North Korea circumvent sanctions, according to a document on Monday. The United States presented the request on February 23 to a UN sanctions committee as part of a crackdown on smuggling of North Korean commodities, in violation of UN sanctions resolutions. China on Friday “placed a hold on the proposals” from the United States, said the Dutch...

Gangs exploit refugee crisis to profit from US$150 billion a year slavery trade, Nobel laureate Satyarthi says

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 17:10
The refugee crisis has exacerbated human trafficking and modern slavery. Global action is needed to tackle the criminal gangs now selling people as well as firearms and drugs, Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi urged on Monday. Ahead of a summit of global leaders and Nobel laureates in Jordan this month on children’s rights, Satyarthi said organised gangs involved in other crimes had moved in to profit from slavery which is estimated to generate US$150 billion a year. Trafficked girls raped...

Winter is going? Talks in Pyongyang signal significant thaw in ties between North and South Korea

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 14:04
Reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hosted a South Korean presidential delegation for dinner in Pyongyang on Monday, the latest surprising development in the thaw between the estranged neighbours aided by the Winter Olympics. This is the first time the 34-year-old North Korean leader is known to have met any South Korean officials. He has not met any heads of state – including the presidents of historical allies like China and Russia – since he took over the totalitarian state...

Asian arms race is on, stoked by China’s booming defence budget, Japanese analysts say

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 11:09
China’s announcement that it would increase its military spending by more than 8 per cent this year has caused concern in Japan, with analysts suggesting that other nations in the region that are locked in territorial disputes with Beijing or concerned at its growing might now have no choice but to raise their own defence outlays. The stepped-up spending on the Chinese military was announced on Monday at the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing. Premier Li Keqiang...

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to skip Asean summit in Australia amid backlash over human rights record

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 09:18
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is skipping a regional summit in Australia this month, his spokesman said Monday, as he faces international censure for Manila’s deadly drug war. Duterte’s decision to snub the meeting comes after he said he would not cooperate with United Nations investigators looking into alleged extrajudicial killings during the narcotics crackdown, which has left thousands dead. His spokesman Harry Roque confirmed that the outspoken leader would not join...

US aircraft carrier arrives in Vietnam for historic visit as China ties are put to the test

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 06:13
A US aircraft carrier arrived on Monday in Vietnam for the first time since the end of the Vietnam war, dramatically underscoring the growing strategic ties between the former foes at a time when China’s regional influence is rising. The grey and imposing silhouette of the USS Carl Vinson could be seen on Monday morning from the cliff tops just outside the central Vietnamese city of Da Nang, where the 103,000-tonne carrier and two other US ships begin a five-day visit. The arrival of the...

Unofficial death toll from PNG quake hits 67 as aftershocks rock homes in remote regions

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 04:53
At least 67 people were killed by a major earthquake that devastated Papua New Guinea’s remote highlands last week, the Red Cross said Monday, with thousands homeless and without food and clean water. The recovery effort has been slow as aid workers grapple with blocked roads and power outages to reach cut-off villages after the 7.5-magnitude quake struck on February 26 in the Pacific nation’s mountainous interior. Terrified locals in the Southern Highlands, Western, Enga and Hela...

Vatican finance chief Cardinal George Pell faces Australian court on historical sex abuse charges

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 02:52
Wearing his clerical collar, the most senior Vatican official ever charged in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis appeared in an Australian court Monday for a hearing to determine whether prosecutors have sufficient evidence to put him on trial. Australian Cardinal George Pell’s committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court before Magistrate Belinda Wallington is expected to take up to a month, with testimony of alleged victims to be suppressed from publication. Pell arrived by...

In historic first, a Hindu woman has been elected to the senate in Pakistan

Sun, 03/04/2018 - 10:43
A woman from Pakistan’s marginalised Hindu minority has been elected to the senate for the first time ever in an election over the weekend in which a Taliban-linked cleric was defeated. Krishna Kumari, a member of the Pakistan People’s Party, hails from the so-called untouchables, the lowest rung of the caste system that still prevails in Pakistan and neighbouring India. Lawmakers in national and four provincial assemblies on Saturday elected half of the 104-member Senate to six-...

‘If I wasn’t, I’d still go through with it’: ex-deputy PM raises then rejects doubt about whether he’s father of mistress’s baby

Sun, 03/04/2018 - 09:41
An affair that led to the resignation of Australia’s deputy prime minister took a bizarre twist on Sunday after he questioned the paternity of the baby carried by his partner and former aide. Barnaby Joyce quit and moved to the backbenches last month after his affair with the younger ex-member of staff made headlines for weeks and raised questions about whether he had breached ministerial rules. The scandal led Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to impose a ban on sex between ministers and...

Modi’s nationalist BJP ends 25-year communist party rule in northern state election

Sun, 03/04/2018 - 09:04
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party on Saturday ended the 25-year uninterrupted rule of a communist party in a northeastern state and consolidated its position in two other states in key provincial elections. An impressive win is expected to boost the prospects of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party when it seeks a second term in national elections next year. The BJP has been riding a wave of rising Hindu nationalism in the country. With results announced for...

Top Bangladesh sci-fi writer stabbed in head at seminar because he’s an ‘enemy of Islam’

Sun, 03/04/2018 - 08:12
Bangladeshi investigators said Sunday that a young man accused of stabbing a bestselling science fiction writer at a seminar had targeted him as “an enemy of Islam”. Saturday’s attack on Zafar Iqbal in the northern city of Sylhet was just the latest in a series of stabbings of secular or atheist authors and bloggers in Muslim-majority Bangladesh. Iqbal, a long-standing champion of free speech and secularism, remains in stable condition in hospital where he is being treated for...

This man cleaned up a City of Pigs. But for Indonesian voters, he needs to be pious, too

Sun, 03/04/2018 - 06:31
When Ridwan Kamil took over as mayor of Bandung in September 2013, bureaucrats like Tammi Lasmini, who would be responsible for executing plans to rebuild the city centre and spruce up its parks, admitted to having their doubts. Just a month earlier Kamil’s predecessor, Dada Rosada, had been arrested on suspicion of bribing judges – charges that ultimately led to a 10-year prison sentence. A Dutch colonial hill top town and capital of Indonesia’s West Java province, Bandung...

South Korea’s spy chief to visit North as special envoy after Olympics olive branch

Sun, 03/04/2018 - 06:18
South Korea’s spy chief will visit North Korea as a special envoy of President Moon Jae-in, a report said Sunday, the latest in the Olympics-driven detente between the two Koreas. An intense rapprochement saw the two Koreas march together at the South’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics that ended February 25, with the North’s leader Kim Jong-un sending his sister as a special envoy to the event. Kim Yo-jong’s appearance at the Games’ opening ceremony made global...

Moon struck gold at Pyeongchang Olympics, but can he medal on the economy?

Sun, 03/04/2018 - 04:31
A major U-turn by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who this week labelled a free-trade agreement between Seoul and Washington as “unfair”, has only deepened concerns over his economic policy. On Thursday, the future of the Korean economy began to look darker still when US President Donald Trump said he would impose 25 per cent tariffs on all imported steel. While this is less than the 53 per cent Korea was initially facing, it still spells trouble for US-Korea trade relations. As...

Hong Kong slow to act on suspected money laundering scheme that duped Filipino maids, legal experts say

Sun, 03/04/2018 - 02:00
Hundreds of Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong duped into paying for bogus jobs in Canada and Britain may have been fraud victims as well as unwitting contributors to a money-laundering scheme that authorities have ignored, legal experts claim. They also warned the city was fast becoming a “hotbed” for scams preying on migrant workers. According to documents seen by the Post, people linked to a maid agency under scrutiny used international banks locally to repeatedly transfer...

‘It’s going to mean a lot more’: 2018 Sydney Mardi Gras marks major milestones

Sat, 03/03/2018 - 15:01
Last year, the theme was about protesting for marriage equality. This year, Griff – who spent the afternoon in Surry Hills making a giant silver shoe – heard somebody was going to get married at Taylor Square. A lot can happen in a year. But that is just one reason this year will be special for the thousands of people gathering today at the foot of Oxford Street for the 2018 Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. It is of course also the 40th anniversary of the inaugural march: a night of...

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