Kim signals North Korea to keep border closed

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned against the “hasty” relaxation of anti-coronavirus measures, state media reported Friday, indicating the country will keep its borders closed for the forseeable future. The nuclear-armed North closed its borders in late January as the virus spread in neighboring China and imposed tough restrictions that put thousands of its people into isolation. Pyongyang insists it has not had a single case of COVID-19, the […]

India greenlights purchase of 33 Russian fighter jets

NEW DELHI, India (AFP) — India’s defence ministry Thursday signed off on the purchase of 33 Russian fighter jets and upgrades to 59 others worth $2.4 billion, amid rising tensions with nuclear-armed neighbour China. The purchase of 21 MiG-29 and 12 SU-30 MKI, as well as upgrades to 59 existing MiG-29s, was to “augment” the Indian Air Force’s combat squadrons, the ministry of defence said. New and additional missile systems to be manufactured in India […]

More than 160 dead in Myanmar jade mine landslide

HPAKANT, Myanmar (AFP) — The battered bodies of more than 160 jade miners were pulled from a sea of mud after a landslide in northern Myanmar on Thursday, after one of the worst-ever accidents to hit the treacherous industry. Scores die each year while working in the country’s lucrative but poorly regulated jade trade, which uses low-paid migrant workers to scrape out a gem highly coveted in China. The disaster struck after heavy rainfall pounded […]

Kim hails NKorea’s ‘shining success’ against COVID-19: KCNA

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has praised what he described as his country’s “shining success” in holding off the new coronavirus, according to state-run KCNA news agency Friday. The head of the hermetic totalitarian state spoke at a Worker’s Party politburo meeting on Thursday discussing the impact of the virus, six months after North Korea closed borders and put thousands in to isolation. KCNA reported that after reviewing efforts, Kim […]

Japan seeks extradition of two who helped Nissan chief Ghosn escape

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Japan has formally asked the United States to extradite two men who helped former Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn escape the country to avoid prosecution, a court filing showed Thursday. The men — security contractor and former US special forces member Michael Taylor and his son Peter — were taken into custody on May 20 after they were named earlier in a Japanese arrest warrant for participating in Ghosn’s dramatic escape. […]

UPDATED: More than 100 dead in Myanmar jade mine landslide

YANGON, Myanmar (AFP) — The bodies of at least 100 jade miners were pulled from the mud after a landslide in northern Myanmar on Thursday, in one of the worst ever accidents to hit the perilous industry. Scores die each year while working in the country’s lucrative but poorly regulated jade industry, which uses low-paid migrant workers to scrape out a gem highly coveted in China. The disaster struck after an early bout of heavy […]

Beijing lifts some lockdowns as virus cases drop

BEIJING, China (AFP) — Beijing lifted several lockdowns imposed to control a fresh coronavirus outbreak and reported just three new cases in the city on Wednesday, raising hopes that the cluster had been brought under control. The Chinese capital had closed off dozens of residential compounds and carried out mass testing last month after hundreds of infections raised fears of a virus resurgence. But five residential communities that have had no new virus cases during […]

Powerful explosion kills 19 in Iran capital

TEHRAN, Iran (AFP) — A powerful explosion at a clinic in northern Tehran killed at least 19 people on Tuesday, Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency reported. The blast at Sina At’har health center caused damage to buildings in the vicinity and sent a plume of thick black smoke into the night sky, state television reported. “An explosion was reported at 20:56 (1626 GMT) followed by a fire at Sina At’har clinic. Medical units were dispatched […]

TikTok denies sharing Indian user data with Chinese govt

by Bhuvan BAGGA NEW DELHI, India (AFP) — TikTok denied Tuesday sharing Indian users’ data with the Chinese government, after New Delhi banned the wildly popular app in a sharp deterioration of relations with Beijing two weeks after a deadly border clash. “TikTok continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and have not shared any information of our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese government,” […]

Jailed ex-Kyrgyz leader ‘hospitalized with pneumonia’

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AFP) — Ex-Soviet Kyrgyzstan’s former president Almazbek Atambayev has been hospitalized with pneumonia but tested negative for the coronavirus, the Central Asian country’s security committee said Tuesday. Atambayev, 63, was last week sentenced to over 11 years in jail for his role in allowing a crime boss early release from incarceration and faces a host of other charges including murder. While noting that Atambayev’s coronavirus test had come back negative, the State National […]

China passes feared Hong Kong security law

by Jerome TAYLOR / Yan ZHAO HONG KONG, China (AFP) — China passed a sweeping national security law for Hong Kong on Tuesday, a historic move that critics and many western governments fear will smother the finance hub’s freedoms and hollow out its autonomy. The legislation was unanimously approved by China’s rubber-stamp parliament, little more than six weeks after it was first unveiled, sending shockwaves through semi-autonomous Hong Kong and beyond. The United States, Britain, […]

Iran asks Interpol to help arrest Trump for killing general

TEHRAN, Iran (AFP) — Iran said Monday it has called for Interpol to help arrest President Donald Trump and 35 other US officials for the January killing of its top general in an American drone strike. Tehran prosecutor Ali Qasi Mehr, quoted by state news agency IRNA, said 36 US political and military officials “involved in the assassination” of General Qasem Soleimani “have been investigated and were ordered to be arrested through Interpol”. “These people […]