Sunni militants attack Iraq’s Baiji refinery

(Reuters) – Sunni militants attacked Iraq’s largest oil refinery, located in Baiji in northern Iraq, with machine-gun fire and mortars on Wednesday, Iraqi security sources and refinery employees said. The attack started at 4 am (0100 GMT) from outside two of the three main entrances to the sprawling facility, the sources said. One mortar hit a spare-parts warehouse and smoke billowed from the building, the sources said. On Tuesday, foreigners were evacuated from the refinery […]

Japan eases visa requirements

The Japanese government is set to implement a substantial relaxation of visa requirements for Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines – an initiative that is a part of their visa-free policy that aims to promote Japan as a tourism-friendly country.

Thai junta unfazed by serial hunger striker’s “win-win” fast

(Reuters) – For more than three decades, Chalad Vorachat’s hunger strikes have drawn crowds. Once, he even helped topple a government. But this time, the veteran Thai anti-coup campaigner says he’s contemplating a very different outcome: wasting away unnoticed on a Bangkok pavement. He wants to see Thailand’s military, which took power in a bloodless coup last month, set a date for a new general election to usher in a democratically elected government. “If it […]

U.S. captures suspected ringleader of Benghazi attack

The United States says it has captured a suspected ringleader of the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, a raid that killed four Americans including the U.S. ambassador. The 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi killed four Americans including the U.S. ambassador, and ignited a political firestorm in Washington. Now, the Pentagon press secretary says they’ve captured a suspected ringleader. Ahmed Abu Khatallah was captured in Libya Sunday, with […]

Top China diplomat meets Vietnam officials amid tensions over oil rig

(Reuters) – China’s top diplomat began a round of meetings with Vietnamese officials in Hanoi on Wednesday as the two countries try to repair a rupture in ties over China’s positioning of an oil rig in disputed waters early last month. But many obstacles remain to resolving one of the worst breakdowns in Sino-Vietnamese relations since the neighbors fought a brief border war in 1979. Among the challenges likely to come up in talks: The […]

Boat sinks off western Malaysia, 66 Indonesians feared drowned

(Reuters) – Sixty-six people are feared to have drowned after an overloaded wooden boat carrying 97 illegal immigrants from Indonesia sank off Malaysia’s western coast, Malaysian officials said on Wednesday. The passengers included women and children and the boat was not fit for a sea voyage, said Muhammad Zuri, an official with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency. “This was an illegal boat and all the passengers were Indonesian,” Zuri told Reuters. Zuri had earlier said […]

Migrant workers stream across Thailand’s border to Cambodia on crackdown fears

  Cambodian workers streamed across the border in Sa Kaew province on Tuesday (June 17), after rumours of a crackdown on illegal immigrants by the new military government. Around 170,000 Cambodian workers have already headed home over the past week, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said, although the exodus is now slowing. IOM Spokesman, Joe Lowry said many are likely to return to Thailand. “The next thing that will happen is people will go […]

Obama tells Congress U.S. deploying up to 275 troops to Iraq

The United States is deploying up to 275 military personnel to Iraq. President Barack Obama made the announcement to the U.S. Congress on Monday in a letter to lawmakers. He said he was notifying Congress under the War Powers Resolution. Obama said the forces are for securing the safety of American personnel in Iraq as well as the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. The move comes as militants seize control of the north of Iraq. They […]

Top China diplomat to visit Vietnam in possible thaw over oil rig

(Reuters) – China’s top diplomat will visit Vietnam on Wednesday in a sign the two countries want to ease tensions over China’s deployment of an oil rig in the disputed South China Sea, but experts said there were many obstacles to healing the ruptured relationship. The visit by State Councilor Yang Jiechi, who outranks the foreign minister, will be the highest level direct contact between Beijing and Hanoi since a Chinese state oil company parked […]