Category: Asia

Secret files show US knew about Indonesia purges of 1960s

by Harry Pearl Agence France-Presse JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) – The US government was fully aware of a bloody anti-communist purge by the Indonesian army in the 1960s, with one diplomat at the time describing the bloodletting as “widespread slaughter,” recently declassified documents have revealed. The 39 US embassy documents cover the period from 1964-1968, at the peak of the Cold War, and uncover new details about one of the most tumultuous periods in modern Indonesian history. […]

Rohingya man refugee again 40 years after leaving Bangladesh

by Alexandre Marchand Agence France-Presse KUTUPALONG, Bangladesh (AFP) – Nearly four decades ago Fazol Ahmed returned to his native Myanmar with his family under a Rohingya repatriation scheme. Now he is back in the teeming camps of Bangladesh with his wife and children, a refugee once again. Ahmed is among the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have crossed into Bangladesh since an upsurge in violence in neighboring Myanmar in August that the UN has said amounts […]

Xi declares ‘new era’ for China as party congress opens

by Laurent Thomet and Joanna Chiu Agence France-Presse BEIJING, China (AFP) – President Xi Jinping declared China is entering a “new era” of challenges and opportunities on Wednesday as he opened a Communist Party congress expected to enhance his already formidable power. Xi told some 2,300 delegates at the imposing Great Hall of the People that the party must “resolutely oppose” any actions that undermine its leadership as it steers a course through a high-stakes period in […]

As Xi ascends, will economic reforms finally take off?

by Julien Girault Agence France Presse BEIJING, China (AFP) — As Chinese President Xi Jinping prepares for a second five-year term, foreign investors will be watching for any sign that he finally intends to follow through on long-promised reforms to further open the world’s second-largest economy. Xi is expected to signal his future economic policies when he opens a five-yearly Communist Party congress on Wednesday that will renew his tenure as general secretary. While he […]

US, Japan discuss trade, N. Korea ahead of Trump visit

WASHINGTON, United States (Reuters) — Vice President Mike Pence underscored U.S. support for Japan on the North Korea issue on Monday (October 16), as he met with Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso to try and find common ground on thorny trade issues, during their second round of bilateral economic talks in Washington. The U.S. delegation led by Pence has said his administration hopes the talks, which kicked off in April, will lead to negotiations on […]

Abe on course for landslide win in Japan vote: poll

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is on track for a landslide win in Japan’s upcoming election, the latest survey suggested Monday, as a new party founded by Tokyo’s popular governor loses momentum. Abe’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is projected to win as many as 303 of the 465 seats up for grabs in the October 22 election, according to a poll by the Mainichi Shimbun. Its junior coalition partner Komeito is […]

Baghdad accuses Kurds of ‘declaration of war’

by Sarah Benhaida with Ahmad al-Rubaye in Taza Khurmatu Agence France Presse BAGHDAD, Iraq (AFP) — Baghdad said Sunday that foreign Kurdish forces were present in the province of Kirkuk in what amounted to a “declaration of war”, dramatically raising the stakes in its dispute with Iraq’s Kurds. Kurdish officials denied Baghdad’s claim that forces from Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were among its peshmerga fighters in an armed standoff with Iraqi troops in […]

N. Korea readies missile launch ahead of US-S. Korea drill: report

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — North Korea is believed to be preparing to launch a ballistic missile ahead of an upcoming joint naval drill by the US and South Korea, a news report said Saturday, citing a government source. The US navy said Friday that a US aircraft carrier will lead the drill in the coming week, a fresh show of force against North Korea as tensions soar over the hermit state’s weapons programme. The […]

California fire toll rises to 33, winds cause concern

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — The death toll from California’s wildfires rose to 33 on Friday as firefighters made some progress in containing the infernos but said intensifying winds were a concern. “We’re not out of this emergency, not even close,” said Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. “But we are seeing some progress in areas the fires have impacted,” Ghilarducci told a news conference. “We’ll get ahead of […]

US working to defuse Baghdad-Kurdish tensions in Iraq: Mattis

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday that Washington is working to reduce tensions between Iraqi federal and Kurdish forces, urging them to remain focused on the war against jihadists. “We are trying to tone everything down and to figure out how we go forward without losing sight of the enemy, and at the same time recognizing that we have got to find a way to move forward,” he told […]

NATO warns N. Korea military action would have ‘devastating consequences’

by Damon Wake Agence France-Presse BRUSSELS, Belgium – Military intervention against North Korea would have “devastating consequences,” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned Friday, after US President Donald Trump said diplomatic efforts had failed. Tensions over North Korea’s weapons programs have soared in recent months, with Pyongyang launching a flurry of missiles and conducting its sixth and most powerful nuclear test last month in defiance of international sanctions. Trump’s continued threats of military action against Pyongyang to tame its […]

S. Korean court extends detention of ousted former president

  SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — Ousted South Korean president Park Geun-Hye will be kept in detention for a further six months, a Seoul court ruled Friday, as she stands trial in a corruption case that toppled her from power. The sprawling scandal involving the former leader and her powerful secret confidante, Choi Soon-Sil, unleashed massive nationwide protests last year and has exposed networks of privilege among the country’s business and political elite. Park, 65, […]