June 20, 2019

Asia

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Commentary: Beijing stockpiles on gold to hedge against potential economic downturn

Asia
BEIJING: China has been snapping up gold over the last few months, raising eyebrows among market watchers.Its central bank has increased gold holdings to US$79.8 billion with purchases of almost 16 tonnes of bullion last month alone, a three-year record high for the country.Many believe the People’s Bank of China’s (PBOC) move to build up vast gold reserves is a power play that signals a first step in the eventual demise of the US dollar as the world’s most dominant currency. Under this theory, China has capitalised on historically low prices of gold over the past year to stockpile the precious metal. Its ultimate aim is to acquire enough to back the Chinese yuan and create a new international monetary system based on the yuan as the currency of exchange....
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Christchurch attack: Brenton Tarrant pleads not guilty to all charges

Asia
The main suspect in the Christchurch attacks in March, has pleaded not guilty to all charges.Brenton Tarrant is charged with the murder of 51 people, 40 counts of attempted murder and one terrorism charge in New Zealand's deadliest peace time mass shooting.Appearing via video link from prison, the 29-year-old sat in silence as his lawyer read out his plea.The 15 March attack saw a gunman opened fire on Muslims during Friday prayers.This is the first time a terrorism charge has been brought in New Zealand.A number of the survivors of the attack and relatives of the victims were in court for the hearing, the BBC's Sydney correspondent Hywel Griffith reported.As lawyer Shane Tait read out his client's not guilty pleas, a number of them gasped and became tearful....
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Ghazni's ancient tower collapses in Afghanistan

Asia
An ancient tower in the Afghan city of Ghazni has collapsed, raising questions over the government's ability to protect the country's artefacts. Footage uploaded to social media shows a fort in the old city crumbling.The tower was one of dozens already destroyed in the city. Officials blamed heavy rain, but some critics accuse the government of negligence. Ghazni's Islamic and pre-Islamic architecture is widely admired although war has taken its toll. Mohammad Saber Mohmand, a spokesman for the ministry of information and culture, told Tolo News the fort was "vulnerable to rainfall and mostly damaged by rain". "The main highway is located near the fort, which affects the towers," he added.Ghazni was a thriving Buddhist centre up until the 7th Century. But in 683 AD, Arab armies brought Islam to the region. In the 13th Century it was destroyed by the Mongol armies of Genghis Khan, led by his son Ogedei Khan....
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Indian teenager shot dead by relative while they posed for TikTok video

Asia
NEW DELHI: An Indian teenager was shot dead by a relative as they posed with a homemade gun to record a clip for the TikTok video sharing app, police said Thursday (Jun 13).The 17-year-old man and four of his family members - including an 11-year-old cousin - were in a hotel room in western Maharashtra state when one of them accidentally pulled the trigger, police said."We have arrested two of the accused and charged them with murder and attempted murder," police officer Anil Katke told AFP."Two others are on the run", he said, adding an investigation had been launched.He said the four panicked and threatened the hotel staff with the pistol before fleeing.India briefly banned the video sharing app TikTok in April, but reinstated it after a court challenge....
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Virat Kohli on India v Pakistan after New Zealand game abandoned

Asia
India captain Virat Kohli's focus turned to Pakistan immediately after his side's match against New Zealand was abandoned without a ball being bowled on Thursday.India face Pakistan at Old Trafford on Sunday in a match which is likely to draw a global television audience of one billion."It's an opportunity to create excitement," said Kohli, 30."It's a marquee event all over the world."The two countries rarely play outside of major tournaments, with India winning their last two meetings in the Asia Cup in 2018, while Pakistan beat their arch-rivals in the final of the Champions Trophy in England in 2017.India have started well in the World Cup, winning their opening two matches against South Africa and Australia, before their match against New Zealand at Trent Bridge was abandoned....
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China agriculture ministry says no proof natural compound prevents swine fever

Asia
BEIJING: China's ministry of agriculture said on Thursday a company which claimed a natural compound was effective in preventing African swine fever did not have government approval to research the virus and its assertions were not scientifically sound.Shopping mall operator Guangdong Highsun Group Co was questioned by the Shenzhen Stock Exchange earlier on Thursday after this week announcing it was backing development of an African swine fever vaccine.Beijing strictly regulates research on, and handling of, the virus.Highsun said on Tuesday it would spend 900 million yuan (US$130.09 million), or 26per cent of its 2018 net assets, on supporting research into a natural compound it said had been shown to prevent the disease which is deadly to pigs and ravaging herds across Asia....
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Eight bodies, remains found in Kelantan as village is cordoned off after Orang Asli deaths

Asia
GUA MUSANG: Malaysian authorities on Thursday (Jun 13) found four more bodies at an Orang Asli settlement in Kelantan after 14 people died of an illness that has yet to be identified by authorities.The search was initiated as part of an operation to track down the remains of 12 individuals, according to Mr P Waytha Moorthy, the minister in the prime minister’s department. At least eight sets of remains have already been found.It comes after 14 people were reported to have died in the village of Kuala Koh since May. Two of the bodies were examined by authorities, who said the deaths were caused by pneumonia.It is yet unclear what caused the other deaths, with investigations ongoing.Dozens of Orang Asli are being treated at the Raja Perempuan Zainab II Hospital in Kota Bharu. They include three-year-old Nasri Rosli, who is in a critical but stable condition.  ...
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India sends second team to find missing climbers

Asia
NEW DELHI: A second team of mountaineers set off Thursday (Jun 13) to look for eight climbers, seven of them foreigners, feared killed on the country's second-highest mountain, officials said.The 10-strong group of highly trained climbers from the paramilitary Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) set off from Pithoragarh for the base camp of Nanda Devi East peak in the Himalayas.From there they will try to reach the site where on Jun 3 a helicopter spotted five bodies and climbing equipment in the snow, at a height of about 5,000m.On Monday a separate team from the Indian Mountaineering Federation set off on a different route.The four Britons, two Americans, one Indian and one Australian have not been heard from since May 26, a day before heavy snow fell and massive avalanches started....
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Sri Lanka law chief orders swift resolution of cold cases

Asia
COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's attorney-general ordered police Thursday (Jun 13) to speed up investigations into several high-profile criminal cases, including the 2006 massacre of 17 French charity workers that remains unresolved.Dappula de Livera singled out four cases, saying that the delays had caused public distress, and ordered acting police chief Chandana Wickramaratne to report on progress.The August 2006 killing of 17 workers of Action Against Hunger (ACF) in the eastern town of Muttur, the January 2009 assassination of newspaper editor Lasantha Wickrematunge were the two top cases.The other two relate to the killing of 11 young men by a navy intelligence unit between 2008 and 2009, and the slaying of rugby player Wasim Thajudeen in May 2012....
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How Hong Kong demonstrators organised

Asia
Tens of thousands of protesters have taken to Hong Kong's streets in opposition to a bill that would allow extradition to mainland China.The demonstrators have said they are not operating in a planned movement, but have been cooperating on the ground as they have come under pressure to disperse from security forces....
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'Hong Kong' searches surge behind China's Great Firewall

Asia
BEIJING: Chinese censors are working hard to erase or block news of the Hong Kong protests on social media and search platforms amid a surge in interest from mainland internet users.Reports and images of clashes this week between Hong Kong police and demonstrators protesting against an extradition law with mainland China have circulated world wide.At the same time, Beijing has been working to keep the news away from people on the mainland or at least filter the content."People are very curious, and there is a lot of discussion on this event," said one person who works as a content censor at Weibo Corp, which operates the Weibo platform.Tencent Holdings's WeChat, the country's most popular social media app, showed searches for "Hong Kong" peaked at 32.4 million on Wednesday, up from roughly 12 million a week before....
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Hong Kong protests: Extradition Bill meeting postponed again

Asia
HONG KONG: Hong Kong lawmakers have again postponed a meeting to discuss the extradition Bill, as protestors persevered with their demonstration against the controversial law."The President of the Legislative Council has decided that the Council meeting originally scheduled for June 12 will not be held tomorrow (June 14)," the Legislative Council Secretariat said in a statement."Announcement will be made once the President determines the time of the meeting," the statement continued.This is the worst political unrest since Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997.Protests around the city's legislature on Wednesday had forced the postponement of the debate on the extradition bill, which many people in Hong Kong fear will undermine freedoms and confidence in the commercial hub....
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Surveillance-savvy Hong Kong protesters go digitally dark

Asia
HONG KONG: Hong Kong's tech-savvy protesters are going digitally dark as they try to avoid surveillance and potential future prosecutions, disabling location tracking on their phones, buying train tickets with cash and purging their social media conversations.Police used rubber bullets and tear gas to break up crowds opposed to a China extradition law on Wednesday (Jul 13), in the worst unrest the city has witnessed in decades.Many of those on the streets are predominantly young and have grown up in a digital world, but they are all too aware of the dangers of surveillance and leaving online footprints.Ben, a masked office worker at the protests, said he feared the extradition law would have a devastating impact on freedoms....
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China calls sinking of Philippines boat an 'ordinary maritime accident'

Asia
BEIJING: The sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a suspected Chinese trawler in disputed waters was described by Beijing on Thursday (Jun 13) as an ordinary maritime accident, after Manila accused the alleged Chinese crew of cowardice for fleeing the scene.The Philippine defence department said on Wednesday a suspected Chinese boat had collided with a Filipino craft anchored near Reed Bank in the South China Sea, causing it to sink and leaving 22 crewmen to their fate.Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's office said the abandonment of the Filipino crew was "barbaric", while Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana condemned the Chinese trawler's "cowardly action".Neither Beijing nor Manila have officially confirmed the boat involved in the hit-and-run incident was Chinese-registered....
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Beijing blames Canada for deteriorating ties

Asia
BEIJING: Canada should take the "entire responsibility" for a spiralling diplomatic row, China said on Thursday (Jun 13), after Ottawa said Beijing had spurned a request for dialogue.Relations between the two countries have deteriorated since December when police in Vancouver detained Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on a US arrest warrant.Days later China arrested two Canadians - former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor - in what is widely seen as a tit-for-tat move.Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office said Wednesday that China had ignored a request made in January for a call with Premier Li Keqiang to "personally advocate" for the immediate release of the two Canadians, and for clemency in the case of another citizen sentenced to death for drug trafficking....
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UBS global chief economist grilled in China for comment on pigs

Asia
BEIJING: A flippant reference to pigs in an inflation analysis by UBS Group AG's global chief economist has caused a furore in China, with some in the financial community rejecting UBS's apology and calling for a boycott.Paul Donovan, global chief economist of the Swiss bank's wealth management department since 2016, said in a podcast that higher consumer prices due to sickness among pigs would matter to a Chinese pig."Does it matter? It matters if you are a Chinese pig. It matters if you like eating pork in China," he said in the podcast on Wednesday, the transcript of which was posted on UBS's official website and later taken down.His comments caused a stir among Chinese finance professionals, who said they were "distasteful and racist"....
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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets Iranian leadership, tries to ease tensions with United States

Asia
Iran promised not to ‘produce, possess or use nuclear weapons’ during the talks, but refused to exchange messages with the United States via Shinzo Abe.
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Back to the Hanfu-ture: Young Chinese revive ancient fashion

Asia
BEIJING: Dressed in a flowing long robe adorned with beaded floral embroidery from a bygone era, stylist Xiao Hang looks like she surfaced from a time machine as she strides across the bustling Beijing metro, attracting curious glances and inquisitive questions.China has embraced Western fashion and futuristic technology as its economy boomed in recent decades, but a growing number of young people like Xiao are looking to the past for their sartorial choices and donning traditional "hanfu", or "Han clothing".These historic costumes of the Han ethnic majority are enjoying a renaissance in part because the government is promoting traditional culture in a bid to boost patriotism and national identity....
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'I'm sorry I didn't deliver an Olympic gold': Lee Chong Wei apologises to country, fans

Asia
SINGAPORE: Malaysian badminton star Lee Chong Wei apologised to his country and fans on social media on Thursday (Jun 13) for letting them down and failing to deliver an Olympic gold, shortly after announcing his retirement earlier in the day."I'm sorry that I couldn’t make it to Tokyo this time around. And I’m sorry I didn’t deliver an Olympic gold," said the three-time Olympic silver medallist on Twitter."But I know I’ve no regrets as I’ve tried my best. My very best. Thank you very much to all of you. Lee Chong Wei signing out," he continued.The 36-year-old, who finished second in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Games, was aiming to clinch Malaysia's first Olympic gold.He was diagnosed with early-stage nose cancer last year, and resumed training in January after intensive treatment in Taiwan....
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Nearly 1,000 Kazakhs detained over protests

Asia
NUR-SULTAN: Kazakh authorities said on Thursday (Jun 13) they had detained nearly 1,000 people for taking part in protests over last weekend's presidential election that was won by veteran leader Nursultan Nazarbayev's hand-picked successor.The biggest wave of public protests in years has become the first challenge for President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev as he takes over the oil-rich nation of 18 million. Fears of violent clashes brought life to a standstill in Almaty, Kazakhstan's biggest city, on Wednesday, when the latest protest took place.The protesters accuse the government of running a staged vote in which Tokayev faced no real competition. Some, including Western observers, have also disputed the ballot count which gave Tokayev almost 71 per cent of the vote....
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Lee Chong Wei: Former badminton world number one retires after cancer treatment

Asia
Former world number one Lee Chong Wei has retired from badminton with "no regrets", after struggling to return to full fitness following a nose cancer diagnosis last year.The three-time Olympic silver-medallist returned to training in January, but opted to retire on doctors' advice."It was a very heavy decision for me because I really love this sport," a tearful Lee said at a news conference.The Malaysian said he "tried his very best" but his health was his priority.He took a break from competition in September to receive treatment, but returned to training to work towards his "dream" of achieving Malaysia's maiden gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.The Commonwealth champion said: "When I started playing badminton, all I wanted to do is to represent Malaysia. And I believe I did it with pride and honour."...
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China says UN rights chief 'always' welcome in Xinjiang

Asia
GENEVA: China said Thursday (Jun 13) that the UN human rights chief had an open invitation to visit Xinjiang, a region where some one million mostly Muslim minorities are held in internment camps.Beijing's new ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Chen Xu, reiterated the government's denial of the existence of camps there, insisting the region had "vocational education training", especially for youth vulnerable to extremism.Chen added that he hoped the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, would "pay a visit" to the region."Seeing is believing," Chen told reporters. "The invitation to the high commissioner is always there and we hope that we can find a time which is convenient to both sides."...
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Indonesia benefiting as China’s shoemakers shift production as US trade war worsens, central bank official says

Asia
The Southeast Asian nation’s footwear exports to the United States have grown 6.7 per cent at the start of 2019, compared with a 4.7 per cent rise in 2018.
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Sri Lanka attacks: India arrests man 'linked to Easter Sunday bomber'

Asia
Indian anti-terrorism investigators have arrested a man with alleged links to the suicide bomber who planned Sri Lanka's deadly Easter Sunday attacks. Investigators said Mohammad Azharuddin, 32, was friends on Facebook with Zahran Hashim, the alleged ringleader of the attacks, claimed by Islamic State (IS). The arrest followed raids on a suspected IS militant cell in the southern Indian city of Coimbatore. The Sri Lanka bombings killed more than 250 people and wounded 500 others.Five other men have been detained for questioning, said India's National Investigative Agency (NIA), which conducted the raids and made the arrest. It registered a case against Mr Azharuddin and the others on 30 May, according to a press statement. ...
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Winds, rain batter western India as cyclone veers away

Asia
AHMEDABAD: High winds and heavy rains pounded western India on Thursday (Jun 13) as a major cyclone expected to hit the coast veered away instead into the Arabian Sea.Vayu, classified as a very severe cyclonic storm, moved north-northwestwards in the night over the Arabian Sea, and was around 110 kilometres (70 miles) from the coast of Gujarat state.It was "very likely" to keep moving in the same direction, but still skirt the coast, packing winds of 135-145 kilometres (84-90 miles) per hour and gusts of 160 kilometres (100 miles) per hour, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said."The threat of surge in wind, dust storm and rainfall remains very much. The centre of the storm - known as the eye - has slightly moved away from the Gujarat coast, but its diameter is well over 900 kilometres (560 miles)," an IMD official told local media....
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Hong Kong police arrest 11, Beijing voices support for action against 'riots'

Asia
HONG KONG/BEIJING: Beijing on Thursday (Jun 13) described the mass protests against Hong Kong's extradition bill as "riots", and said it supported the local government's response.Hong Kong police said that 11 people have been arrested.Police used rubber bullets and tear gas to break up crowds Wednesday after demonstrators - angry over legislation they say would leave people vulnerable to China's opaque justice system - blocked roads and brought the city to a standstill.Videos of Hong Kong police beating protesters have also sparked accusations of brutality.Wednesday's violence left 79 people hurt, with two in serious condition, in the worst political unrest since Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997....
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Taiwan's Tsai to seek re-election after defeating party challenger

Asia
TAIPEI: Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen is set to seek a second term after she successfully saw off a primary challenge on Thursday (Jun 13) from within her own party to stand as their candidate.The island goes to the polls in January to elect a new president, in a contest set to be dominated by relations with China.The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) - which Beijing loathes - announced that Tsai had comfortably beaten former premier William Lai in a primary decided by opinion polls."My most important responsibility now is to unite all forces ... to protect Taiwan's democracy, to defend the fruits of reforms and to solidify our national sovereignty," Tsai told reporters.Tsai was elected in 2016 as the island's first female leader, defeating the China-friendly Kuomintang (KMT) party which oversaw an unprecedented thaw in cross-strait ties but began to unnerve many voters with its perceived cosiness to the mainland....
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Malaysian minister Azmin Ali says he only knows man who made sexual allegations 'from afar'

Asia
SHAH ALAM: Malaysian Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali on Thursday (Jun 13) said he is not close to the man who alleged he had participated in a sexual act with him, adding that his primary concerns are his portfolio and delivering results for the people.  His public appearance came a day after he issued a strongly worded statement to deny allegations that he was involved in a gay sex video, which went viral on Tuesday.Mr Haziq Aziz – a principal private secretary to a deputy minister – had admitted in a Facebook video that he was the man in the sex video, and alleged that Mr Azmin was the other.Speaking to reporters at a Hari Raya open house on Thursday, Mr Azmin said Mr Haziq was known to have switched allegiance from one party to another....
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Carrie Lam: Hong Kong's divisive, pro-Beijing leader

Asia
HONG KONG: Carrie Lam vowed to heal divisions and listen to the city's youth when she became Hong Kong's leader, promises that lie in tatters after tear gas and pepper spray sent them running for cover when they dared raise their voice.The 62-year-old devout Catholic took over in March 2017 when a committee stacked with Beijing loyalists voted her into office - the first time a woman had been elevated to the international finance hub's top job.In her acceptance speech she vowed to be more responsive to the city's youngsters, a restless demographic at the forefront of recent calls for greater democratic freedoms and measures to combat rising inequality."Hong Kong, our home, is suffering from quite a serious divisiveness and has accumulated a lot of frustrations," she said in her acceptance speech. "My priority will be to heal the divide."...
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China blasts EU's 'irresponsible' remarks on Hong Kong

Asia
BEIJING: China on Thursday (Jun 13) hit out at the European Union for making "irresponsible and erroneous" remarks about Hong Kong's controversial extradition bill, which sparked violent protests in the semi-autonomous city. The city government is facing international pressure over the divisive legislation - which would allow extraditions to mainland China - as well as police use Wednesday of rubber bullets and tear gas to break up demonstrations."I have said many times that Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs. No country, organisation or individual has the right to intervene in them," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing."China expresses its strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to the irresponsible and erroneous remarks made by the EU" on the proposed extradition law, he added....
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Who is Zakir Naik, the Islamic televangelist India’s chasing, and Malaysia’s loathe to give up?

Asia
The colourful cleric is accused of using his satellite television channel Peace TV to encourage terrorism – and has been linked to the perpetrators of the 2016 Dhaka cafe attack.
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Japanese driver ploughs into preschoolers, injuring two

Asia
TOKYO: An elderly driver drove her vehicle into a group of children in western Japan Thursday (Jun 13), police said, the latest in a string of similar, often fatal, car accidents caused by old drivers.Two children were injured when 69-year-old Rieko Ueda ploughed her car into a group of kids from a local nursery facility in Nishinomiya city shortly before 10am, a police spokesman told AFP.A six-year-old girl was conscious when she was taken to a hospital, but the scale of her injury was not immediately available, the spokesman said.Local media said she had broken her shoulder bone.A five-year-old girl was also taken to a hospital for a minor injury, the spokesman added."The cause of the accident is under investigation," he said, adding that police had arrested the driver....
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Football: Lippi eyes Brazilian strikeforce as China pursue quick fix

Asia
SHANGHAI: Marcello Lippi's China side could soon boast an all-Brazilian attack as the ambitious country ramps up efforts to reach the World Cup for just a second time.Lippi last week gave a debut to former England youth international Nico Yennaris, the London-born midfielder making a piece of history as China's first naturalised footballer.But China, who under football-fan President Xi Jinping have grand designs of hosting and even winning the World Cup, are not done with drafting in players from other countries.Shanghai SIPG's Brazilian striker Elkeson is expected to gain Chinese citizenship in time to play in the autumn qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, the Beijing News said on Thursday....
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Telegram boss links cyber attack during HK protests to China

Asia
Telegram's founder Pavel Durov has said a massive cyber attack on his messaging service originated from China. On Wednesday, the firm confirmed it suffered a "powerful" Distributed Denial of Service attack which disrupted services for about an hour.In a DDos attack, hackers overwhelm a target's servers with junk requests. It came as protestors in Hong Kong used Telegram to coordinate demonstrations over a plan to allow extradition to China.In a post on Twitter, Telegram said the disruption affected users in the Americas and "other countries". Mr Durov later tweeted the IP addresses involved in the attack mostly came from China. China's Cyberspace Administration, which oversees the country's cyber policy, has yet to comment. ...
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Malaysia’s Azmin Ali sex scandal: minister’s aide asked me to lie, says Haziq Abdul Aziz, who claims he is the other man in viral video

Asia
People’s Justice Party member Haziq claims the economic affairs minister sent his political secretary Hilman Idham to ask him to help cover up the scandal. But Hilman has reported the explosive allegations to Islamic authorities on behalf of Azmin, claiming his boss is a victim of false accusations.
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Lee Chong Wei, badminton's modern great

Asia
PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia: Quiet and unassuming, Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei rose to become a modern badminton great, beloved by his fans despite his tantalising failures to bring home the biggest trophies of all.The sinewy Lee, blessed with lightning reflexes, retired on Thursday (Jun 13) after a 19-year career with a plot like a soap opera, including a doping ban and a frightening brush with cancer.Lee's decision to walk away at the age of 36 robs badminton of one of its biggest draws and ends his rivalry with China's Lin Dan, his nemesis in four world and Olympic finals.Lee, who spent 348 weeks as world number one and once held the record for the fastest smash, retired after failing to regain full fitness following his successful treatment for nose cancer last year....
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G20 to tackle ocean plastic waste as petrochemical producers expand in Asia

Asia
TOKYO: Japan wants to make reducing the glut of plastic waste in the oceans a priority at the Group of 20 summit it is hosting this month as governments around the world crack down on such pollution.Images of plastic debris-strewn beaches and dead animals with stomachs full of plastic have sparked outrage, with many countries, including more than two dozen in Africa, banning plastic bags outright.The EU has voted to outlaw 10 single-use plastic items, including straws, forks and knives, by 2021. It has also set targets for all plastic packaging, the top source of plastic waste, to be recyclable by 2030.Such moves are setting up a showdown with the oil industry, which is pouring billions into new facilities to produce more plastic and other petrochemical products, particularly in Asia....
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Police face mounting brutality claims after Hong Kong clashes

Asia
HONG KONG: Their motto has been "Asia's Finest" since colonial times, but videos of Hong Kong police beating unarmed protesters have fuelled public anger and sparked accusations of brutality.Tens of thousands of demonstrators occupying city streets scattered when police used tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and bean bag rounds on Wednesday (Jun 12).Police insisted the force was necessary to fend off protesters throwing bricks and metal bars.But critics said officers used localised violence by small groups of hardcore activists to launch an unprecedented operation against the much larger mass of peaceful protesters who had taken over parts of the city on Wednesday. Criticism of police tactics poured in Thursday as videos of the clashes went viral....
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Cyclone veers away from Indian coast

Asia
AHMEDABAD, India: A cyclone that had been heading for western India has veered away, forecasters said Thursday (Jun 13), although costal areas were still expected to be hit by winds gusting up to 160 kph.Vayu, classified as a very severe cyclonic storm, moved north-northwestwards in the night over the Arabian Sea, and was around 110km from the coast of Gujarat state.It was "very likely" to keep moving in the same direction, but still skirt the coast with winds of between 135-145 kph and gusts of 160 kph, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.On Wednesday forecasters said they expected the system to hit Gujarat with full force.Authorities in Gujarat evacuated more than 285,000 people as a precaution. Schools have been closed, with officials fearing major damage to houses, crops, power lines and communications....
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Commentary: Sex videos a weapon of choice in Malaysian politics that distract from other issues

Asia
SINGAPORE: Mudslinging in politics is an old and commonly practised way of maliciously slandering opponents and destroying their careers.   In Malaysia, this takes various forms, from planting fake stories, to doctoring videos and pictures, and spreading rumours and innuendos.What has been extremely popular in recent decades is the employment of sex scandals.Many later turned out to be fake but the initial uncertainty in these episodes seeded huge doubt about the integrity of targeted leaders and sullied their reputations.Such allegations, even when they are proven to be false and defamatory, seem to resurface.Part of this phenomenon reflects the power of social media, especially instant messaging platforms like Whatsapp, where rumours and innuendos can spread quickly. People love salacious drama and all too easily lap it up....
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Thai captain of shipwrecked Rohingya boat charged with smuggling

Asia
BANGKOK: A Thai boat captain has been charged with smuggling 65 Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, police said Thursday (Jun 13), after their vessel was shipwrecked off Thailand's southern coast.The same area was the hub of multi-million-dollar trafficking route, which unravelled in 2015 after the discovery of mass graves of Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants along the border with Malaysia.Police said the boat, which was carrying the stateless Rohingya minority and was found on Tuesday on an island off the coast of Satun province, was captained by Sangkhom Paphan, a Thai from nearby Ranong province.Police said he was hired to transport the Rohingya to Malaysia and has been "charged with smuggling in illegal immigrants", according to police general Suchart Theerasawat of the National Police Office....
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Thousands of Hong Kong protesters gather, govt offices shut after violent protests

Asia
HONG KONG: Thousands of protesters readied in Hong Kong on Thursday (Jun 13) for more potential clashes with police over a planned extradition law with mainland China, a day after police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at unarmed demonstrators.Small scuffles broke out between police and demonstrators around the city's legislature, the epicentre of the violence, while some protesters rushed to stop police from removing supplies of face masks and food.Uniformed police with helmets and shields blocked overhead walkways, while a long row of police vans was parked nearby. Plainclothes police officers checked commuters' identity papers. Schoolchildren joined the steadily growing crowd, which swelled to a few thousand by midday, from around 20 early in the day. ...
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'Don't drink and drone,' say Japanese MPs

Asia
TOKYO: People in Japan operating drones under the influence could face up to a year in prison under new laws passed Thursday (Jun 13) that aim to control the increasingly popular devices.Drunkenly flying a drone weighing more than 200g could also result in a fine of up to 300,000 yen (US$2,750) after the lower house of parliament passed the new legislation following a string of accidents.Performing dangerous stunts with drones such as sharp plunges will also be subject to fines of up to 500,000 yen."We believe operating drones after consuming alcohol is as serious as (drink) driving," a transport ministry official told AFP.The rules come as Japan sees a rising amount of drone usage as well as related accidents....
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Philippines lodges diplomatic protest with Beijing over South China Sea ‘hit and run’ that sunk fishing vessel

Asia
Philippine officials say Reed Bank is within the country’s exclusive economic zone, an internationally recognised stretch of water where coastal states have exclusive rights to fish, undersea oil and gas deposits and other resources.
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Huawei: What you need to know

Asia
Here's the essential lowdown on China’s controversial tech giant and its founder, Ren Zhengfei.
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Huawei: UK warned over sending 'bad signal' to China

Asia
China's ambassador to the UK has warned that excluding Huawei from Britain's 5G network "sends a very bad signal". Speaking to BBC's Newsnight, Liu Xiaoming said Chinese businesses planning to invest in Britain may be put off dealing with the UK if Huawei's equipment is not used for the network.It comes after Britain's mobile operators urged the government for clarity on the issue. The US is already boycotting the company, due to concerns over security.It put the company on an Entity List, which is a list of foreign parties that the US Department of Commerce has judged to pose a potential national security or foreign policy threat. Mr Liu defended Huawei when speaking to Newsnight's Mark Urban, calling it a "good company". ...
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Adani mine: Australia approves controversial coal project

Asia
Australia has given the final approval for construction to begin on a controversial coal mine to be built by Indian company Adani.The mine, in Queensland's Galilee Basin, has been the subject of years of hold-ups over environmental approvals. But it was given the go-ahead by the state government on Thursday, after earlier receiving federal approval.Critics say the project's true environmental impact remains unclear.Initially, Adani promised the mine would be one of the biggest in the world and create 10,000 jobs.But the project has been scaled back significantly and it is now expected to employ closer to 1,000 people.Environmental campaigners fear that the approval could pave the way for six other mines to be approved in the area. ...
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Telegram hit by cyberattack; CEO points to HK protests, China

Asia
BEIJING: Encrypted messaging service Telegram suffered a major cyber-attack that appeared to originate from China, the company's CEO said Thursday (Jun 13), linking it to the ongoing political unrest in Hong Kong.Many protesters in the city have used Telegram to evade electronic surveillance and coordinate their demonstrations against a controversial Beijing-backed plan that would allow extraditions from the semi-autonomous territory to the mainland. Demonstrations descended into violence Wednesday as police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters who tried to storm the city's parliament - the worst political crisis Hong Kong has seen since its 1997 handover from Britain to China....
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Pressure grows on Hong Kong over extradition Bill

Asia
HONG KONG: Hong Kong was facing growing international pressure Thursday (Jun 13) over a controversial extradition Bill that has prompted violent street protests.Police used rubber bullets and tear gas to break up crowds Wednesday after demonstrators - angry over legislation they say would leave people vulnerable to China's politicised justice system - blocked roads and brought the city to a standstill.The European Union became the latest grouping to add its voice to a growing chorus of criticism over the Bill. The EU "shares many of the concerns raised by citizens of Hong Kong regarding the government's proposed extradition reforms", it said, calling for the rights of Hong Kongers to be respected....
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Sex videos allegedly linked to Malaysian minister politically motivated: PM Mahathir

Asia
SHAH ALAM: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Wednesday (Jun 12) described the spreading of sex videos allegedly linked to a minister as politically motivated. He said that the authenticity of the clips are questionable, as many are good in editing and producing similar pictures and videos. "I don't think (the videos and pictures) are real. This is put up by somebody with a political agenda. If you are going to lose and you see others likely to win, you put up pornographic pictures." "After this, you will see my pictures. Don't do these dirty things. Keep politics a little bit cleaner," he told reporters after attending the Malam Sejuta Kenangan event organised by Bersatu leaders at the Setia City Convention Centre. ...
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Hong Kong authorities shut government offices due to protests

Asia
HONG KONG: Hong Kong authorities were shutting government offices in the city's financial district for the rest of the week after a day of violence over an extradition Bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial.Early on Thursday just a handful of protesters remained milling about as a widespread cleanup around the city's legislature took place.Police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray in a series of skirmishes on Wednesday to clear demonstrators from the city's legislature.  It was some of the worst violence in Hong Kong since Britain handed it back to Chinese rule in 1997.The Hong Kong Hospital Authority said 72 people had been hospitalised by 10pm on Wednesday....
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China state media blames Hong Kong protests on 'lawlessness'

Asia
SHANGHAI: Protests in Hong Kong over planned new extradition laws with China are "hammering" the city's reputation, with outbreaks of "lawlessness" undermining rule of law, Chinese state media said in editorials published on Thursday (Jun 12). Hong Kong riot police and protesters braced for possible further clashes on Thursday after a day of violence over the extradition Bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial. Police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray in a series of skirmishes to clear demonstrators from around the city's legislature. It was some of the worst violence in Hong Kong since Britain handed it back to Chinese rule in 1997.The Hong Kong Hospital Authority said 72 people had been hospitalised by 10pm on Wednesday....
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Hong Kong extradition protests leaves city in shock

Asia
Authorities have shut some government offices in Hong Kong's financial district after the worst violence the city has seen in decades.By Thursday morning the crowds had largely dispersed around government headquarters - where police and protesters had pitched battles on Wednesday.The protesters are angry about plans to allow extradition to mainland China.Despite the widespread opposition, the government has not backed down.Police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray at crowds which numbered in the tens of thousands along key roads near the Legislative Council Complex on Wednesday.Seventy-two people aged between 15 and 66 were injured in the violence, including two men who were in critical condition....
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Indian police conduct raids against Islamic State supporters

Asia
NEW DELHI: Indian anti-terrorism officers conducted raids against Islamic State group supporters in seven locations in the country's south on Wednesday (Jun 12) and were questioning several alleged backers of the militant organization, police said.The searches in the city of Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, came after the arrest in April of an Indian national who allegedly followed Zahran Hashim, the mastermind of Apr 21 bombings in Sri Lanka that killed 253 people.India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) said in a statement that the "prime accused" in the Coimbatore case, Mohammed Azarudeen, 32, "has been a Facebook friend" of Hashim.It named five others aside from Coimbatore who, it alleged, were also "propagating the ideology of proscribed terrorist organization ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria)/Daesh on social media with the intention of recruiting vulnerable youth ... for carrying out terrorist attacks in South India especially in Kerala and Tamil Nadu".  ...
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China snubbed Trudeau request for talks about detained Canadians

Asia
OTTAWA: China ignored Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's personal request for dialogue to end a spiralling diplomatic row, his office revealed Wednesday (Jun 13). Trudeau requested the call in January with Premier Li Keqiang so he could "personally advocate" for the immediate release of two Canadians detained a month earlier and for clemency in the case of another Canadian who would later be sentenced to death for drug trafficking, his spokeswoman Chantal Gagnon said in a statement."Our appeal for clemency (in the drug case) was also made directly to senior Chinese officials," she added.The disclosure comes amid growing domestic calls for Trudeau to step up pressure on China to release the two Canadians, whom his government has said were arbitrarily detained....
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Crossing Divides: The Sri Lankan civil war enemies who fell in love

Asia
To watch Gauri Malar and Roshan Jayathilake playing with their 11-month-old daughter, you'd never guess that just 10 years ago they were mortal enemies.Gauri, 26, was a child soldier for the separatist Tamil Tigers, fighting what they saw as an oppressive regime propped up by people like Roshan."I had not seen Sinhalese or spoken to them," she says. "We thought they were bad people and would kill us." To Roshan, the rebels were a hated foe whose bombing campaign during a 26-year civil war robbed innocent people of their lives."We looked at each other as enemies," the 29-year-old told the BBC's Crossing Divides season, which is about people coming together in a fragmented world. "But now we are happily married. Our daughter is the symbol of our love."...
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Commentary: There's no appetite for a Cold War in Asia

Asia
CANBERRA: Amid the escalating US–China trade war, all eyes were on US Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe at the recent Shangri-La Dialogue. Those hoping for fireworks would have been disappointed. Shanahan offered a mild restatement of the Trump administration’s "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" strategy, while Wei gave a robust but unsurprising rehearsal of China’s long-held core interests — particularly on the question of Taiwan.More significant was the language and behaviour of regional states who made it clear that there is no appetite in the region for a "new Cold War" between the United States and China. Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong captured the mood best when he spoke of the 200 years of great power competition that had been fought — often violently — in Southeast Asia, and that the dangerous hardening of US and Chinese postures could lead to a similar future. ...
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US college student killed Chinese scholar, his lawyer admits at trial

Asia
CHICAGO: A visiting Chinese scholar at a US university was kidnapped and killed by one of the school's graduate student teachers, the man's lawyer admitted in court on Wednesday (Jun 12).The revelation came during opening statements in the trial of Brendt Christensen, as attorneys on both sides of the closely-watched case revealed for the first time the gruesome details of his crime.Christensen's attorney acknowledged the 29-year-old's guilt in the disappearance of Zhang Yingying and said the crux of the defence argument would be to spare him the death penalty."Brendt Christensen is responsible for the death of Yingying Zhang," defence attorney George Taseff said in court, according to US media....
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Donald Trump expresses confidence that despite massive protests over extradition bill, Hong Kong and Beijing can ‘work it out’

Asia
But asked whether the demonstrators were sending a message to the Chinese government, the US president said: ‘I don’t know what they’re sending.’
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US accuses North Korea of breaching UN fuel cap

Asia
UNITED NATIONS: The United States has accused North Korea of breaching a UN-imposed ceiling on fuel imports by carrying out dozens of ship-to-ship transfers this year, according to a report obtained by AFP on Wednesday (Jun 12).In the document, the United States asked a UN sanctions committee to rule that the annual cap of 500,000 barrels had been exceeded and demand that countries immediately halt fuel deliveries to North Korea."The United States and its partners remain gravely concerned about the degree of UN Security Council resolution violations that are occurring in relation to North Korea's import of refined petroleum products," said the report sent to the committee on Tuesday.On that same day, President Donald Trump said he had received another "beautiful letter" from Kim Jong Un and indicated he was willing to hold a third summit with the North Korean leader....
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Ex-UN chief tells nuclear powers to get serious about disarmament

Asia
UNITED NATIONS: Former UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday (Jun 12) urged nuclear powers to "get serious" about disarmament, warning of a "very real risk" that decades of work on international arms control could collapse.Ban told a Security Council meeting that the US pullout of the Iran nuclear deal sends the wrong signal to North Korea, where President Donald Trump is hoping to persuade Pyongyang to scrap its nuclear programme."There is also the very real risk that the whole architecture of arms control and nuclear non-proliferation that was built up during the decades of superpower confrontation may collapse, through a combination of neglect, hubris and ill-founded threat analysis," Ban said....
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Tensions simmer between Hong Kong police and protesters after day of violence, 72 injured

Asia
HONG KONG: Hong Kong riot police and protesters braced early on Thursday (Jun 13) for possible further clashes across the city's financial district after a day of violence over an extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial.As of 10.00pm on Wednesday evening, 72 people had been hospitalised, including two classed as serious, according to the Hong Kong Hospital Authority. An uneasy calm had settled over the city after police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray in a series of skirmishes to clear demonstrators from the city's legislature. It marked some of the worst violence to rock the financial hub since Britain handed it back to Chinese rule in 1997 with a guarantee of extensive autonomy and freedoms, including a separate legal system and freedom of speech. ...
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Trump hopes Hong Kong protesters 'work it out' with China

Asia
WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said on Wednesday (Jun 12) he understands Hong Kong protesters who have risen up against plans to allow extraditions to China, but hopes they can "work it out" with Beijing."I hope they're going to be able to work it out with China," Trump told reporters at the White House, as Hong Kong was rocked by the worst political violence since its handover to China."I understand the reason for the demonstration," he said. "I hope it all works out for China and for Hong Kong."Trump's cautious response to what he said were "massive" demonstrations came as Washington and Beijing try to pick up the pieces of their collapsed talks on resolving a trade war."We're doing very well with respect to China," Trump said, referring to huge trade tariffs imposed on Chinese imports....
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Hong Kong extradition protests: Lam criticises 'organised riots'

Asia
Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam criticised protests against a proposed bill that would allow extradition to China, calling them "organised riots".She said the clashes between protesters and police were "unacceptable for any civilised societies".Seventy-two people aged between 15 and 66 were injured in violence, including two men who were in critical condition.The bill's critics cite the alleged use of torture, arbitrary detentions and forced confessions in mainland China.They also fear that the law could be used to target political opponents of the Chinese state in Hong Kong. Ms Lam's government has backed the bill, which is also supported by China. The Hong Kong government has said there will be legally binding human rights safeguards....
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World Cup table and stats - who's on course for semis?

Asia
Top four go through to the semi-finals, after each team has played each other once.Next match: India v New Zealand, Thursday 13 June, 10:30 BST - watch in-play clips, listen to Test Match Special and read live text commentary on the BBC Sport website.Full scheduleTable and statistics updated after every match; Where bowlers have the same number of wickets, average is used to determine who makes the top five...
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China extradition clashes plunge Hong Kong into historic violence, 22 injured

Asia
HONG KONG: Hong Kong was rocked on Wednesday (Jun 12) by the worst political unrest since its handover to China, as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters who tried to storm parliament and blocked roads in the financial hub.The violent protests were the latest expression of widespread public anger over the government's controversial Beijing-backed plan to allow extraditions to China.Clashes broke out hours after tens of thousands of people seized key arteries in the morning rush hour and surrounded the city's parliament, forcing lawmakers to postpone a debate on the proposed law. Authorities said 22 people were injured, with wounded police and protesters seen being carried away. ...
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Warner's century sees Australia beat Pakistan

Asia
Media playback is not supported on this device David Warner scored his first international century since serving a year-long ban for his part in the ball-tampering scandal in Australia's tense 41-run World Cup victory over Pakistan. Warner, transformed from the man who struggled in Sunday's defeat by India, busied his way to 107. With captain Aaron Finch also clubbing 82, Australia should have posted more than their 307 all out, only to lose their last six wickets for 30 runs thanks mainly to Mohammad Amir's 5-30. Facing a more reachable target than they would have once feared, Pakistan were well placed at 136-2 when their own collapse of 4-24 sucked the life from the chase. Hassan Ali hammered 32 from 15 balls and Wahab Riaz 45 from 39 balls to revive their vociferous fans, but after Wahab was given out caught behind on review off Mitchell Starc, Pakistan were bowled out for 266. ...
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Indian man imprisoned for life after fake plane hijack

Asia
An Indian businessman has been jailed for life after planting a fake hijacking letter in the toilet of a Jet Airways flight from Delhi to Mumbai.Birju Salla said he had hoped the air carrier would close its Delhi operations and his girlfriend - a Jet Airways air stewardess - would have to move to live with him in Mumbai.He was also fined 50 million rupees ($720,725; £650,877).Salla is the first person to be tried under India's new anti-hijacking laws.The legislation carries a minimum sentence of life imprisonment, and a death sentence at its most severe.The businessman confessed to writing and printing the threat note in his Mumbai office before catching the flight in October 2017. It said 12 hijackers and several explosives were onboard, and demanded that the flight be diverted into Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir....
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Bob Hawke: Why Chinese Australians are mourning a 'tender-hearted' PM

Asia
On Friday, Australians will honour beloved former leader Bob Hawke in a memorial service at the Sydney Opera House. Among them will be many Chinese Australians - including my parents - whose lives changed forever when Mr Hawke offered them asylum after the Tiananmen Square massacre.In June 1989, Chinese troops used guns and tanks to suppress protesters calling for democracy in Beijing, killing an unknown number of people.Half a world away in Australia, my father Cong Hui Mao watched in horror as the crackdown unfolded on his television set.He had recently moved to Sydney, aged 30, on a one-year student visa. In Australia he found a vast nation with the kind of political freedoms that protesters in China had been calling for. The Tiananmen demonstrations had given him hope, and for weeks he closely followed the "promising flickers" of a new China....
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5G sign-ups outpace 4G's launch in South Korea

Asia
More than one million people have subscribed to a 5G mobile contact in South Korea, meaning demand for the high-speed technology has easily outpaced the country's adoption of 4G.The government has said it took 69 days for the landmark to be reached. That is much faster than the 80 days it took the last-generation, 4G, service to hit the same figure, in 2011.The country's networks claim to be the world's first to have commercially launched 5G mobile phone networks.However, US network Verizon has disputed this, claiming it managed to switch on its system in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis hours earlier on 3 April.Switzerland, Bahrain and the United Kingdom have all followed in the weeks since....
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More baby pandas, tiger cubs planned as KL’s Zoo Negara seeks to revive fortunes

Asia
KUALA LUMPUR: The giant panda enclosure at Kuala Lumpur’s Zoo Negara provided visitors a cooling respite from the hot and humid weather.On Tuesday morning (Jun 11), the zoo’s biggest attraction, a one-year-old giant panda cub, was enjoying the air-conditioned comfort as it lay sprawled on a wooden platform.The fluffy female cub, the second offspring of a pair of giant pandas Liang Liang and Xing Xing on loan from China, seemed oblivious that a tourist on the visitor platform, Mr Khaled Jafar from the United Arab Emirates, was trying to snap a close-up picture on his camera phone.“It’s so adorable and well worth the zoo entrance fee to be so close to a baby panda,” Mr Khaled told CNA. “I also appreciate that I don’t have to jostle with crowds and can take my own time to appreciate them.”...
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China launches new internet cleanup campaign; more websites blocked

Asia
BEIJING: China has launched a campaign to clean up its internet, state media said on Wednesday, amid a fresh wave of apparent censorship by authorities that has blocked more foreign media websites and shut down domestic accounts on social media.The "rectification" effort was launched in May by the cyberspace administration, the information technology ministry, the public security bureau and the markets regulator and will run until the end of the year, the official Xinhua news agency said.The campaign will punish and expose websites for "illegal and criminal actions", failing to "fulfil their obligation" to take safety measures or the theft of personal information, it added.The campaign follows a series of shutdowns and blockages of certain websites and social media accounts....
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Indian police clash with Modi supporters in Kolkata

Asia
KOLKATA: Thousands of supporters of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi clashed with police Wednesday (Jun 12) as they marched in Kolkata to protest against weeks of political violence that has claimed at least 12 lives.Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Trinamool Congress - which runs West Bengal state - have accused each other of instigating weeks of violence during and since India's recent election.Police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse more than 20,000 BJP demonstrators as they attempted to march to police headquarters in Kolkata, the state capital.The BJP supporters waved party flags and chanted Hindu slogans as they went through the cramped streets of the British colonial-era city....
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Vietnam jails shipbuilding executive in graft crackdown

Asia
HANOI: A Vietnam shipbuilding magnate has been sentenced to 13 years in jail for embezzlement, according to state media, the latest victim of an unprecedented anti-corruption drive in the communist country.Scores of bankers, businessmen and current and former officials have been jailed in the crackdown that has gathered steam since 2016 when a conservative administration came to power vowing to stamp out graft.Endemic corruption is rampant in Vietnam - one of Southeast Asia's fastest growing economies - with graft cascading from everyday business deals to the upper echelons of government.The current administration has widened its drive to target mismanagement in the oil industry, the security services and the banking sector....
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Shikhar Dhawan likely to miss three games in Cricket World Cup with injury

Asia
India opener Shikhar Dhawan is likely to miss the next three games of the World Cup with a thumb injury.The left-hander was struck by a delivery from Australia pace bowler Pat Cummins during his 117 off 109 balls in the 36-run win at The Oval on Sunday.He did not field during the Australia innings and will be given "10-12 days to recover".Dhawan will miss matches against New Zealand and Pakistan and is a doubt for the Afghanistan game on 22 June. "We don't want to rule out a precious player like Shikhar so in around 10 or 12 days we'll be taking a call," said India assistant coach Sanjay Bangar. KL Rahul, who batted at four and six in India's opening two games, will open with Rohit Sharma against New Zealand....
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Hong Kong leader calls extradition law protests an 'organised riot'

Asia
HONG KONG: Hong Kong's leader hit out at protesters who battled police Wednesday (Jun 12) calling the clashes "organised riots" in her first comments since violence broke out over her government's unpopular plan to allow extraditions to China. "The rioting actions that damage peaceful society, ignoring law and discipline is unacceptable for any civilised societies," chief executive Carrie Lam said in a video statement, her first comments since the clashes erupted."Its obvious that these are not peaceful rallies, but openly organised riots," she added.In a brief evening televised address, Lam "strongly condemned" the violence and urged the city to return to normal as soon as possible.In a separate interview recorded earlier on Wednesday before the worst of the violence, she repeatedly stood by the introduction of the bill, and said the time was right for it to be debated....
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UK calls for calm in Hong Kong, urges government to listen to public concerns

Asia
LONDON: Former colonial ruler Britain urged the Hong Kong government to "listen to the concerns of its people" amid violent protests on Wednesday (Jun 12) against plans to allow extraditions to mainland China."The ongoing protests in Hong Kong are a clear sign of significant public concern about the proposed changes to extradition laws. I call on all sides to remain calm and peaceful," Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a statement."I urge the Hong Kong government to listen to the concerns of its people and its friends in the international community and to pause and reflect on these controversial measures."It is essential that the authorities engage in meaningful dialogue and take steps to preserve Hong Kong's rights and freedoms and high degree of autonomy, which underpin its international reputation....
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Cyclone Vayu: India on high alert for 'severe cyclone'

Asia
Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated along parts of India's western coast as the region braces itself for a powerful cyclone. Cyclone Vayu, which has been classified as "very severe", is expected to make landfall early on Thursday.Forecasters warned of heavy rains and high winds of up to 170 km/h (105 mph).Schools and colleges in Gujarat state and Union Territory of Daman and Diu will remain closed until 13 June. The port at the Gulf of Cambay in Gujarat has suspended all operations. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed teams along the coastal areas of Saurashtra and Kutch for rescue and relief work.Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tweeted wishing for the safety of those who are in the path of the storm. ...
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Why are there protests in Hong Kong? All the context you need

Asia
Demonstrators in Hong Kong have again blocked key roads and government buildings, with police firing tear gas and rubber bullets in response.On the surface, these protests are about plans that would allow extradition from Hong Kong to mainland China (we've explained those plans - and just why they rankle - here). But this is not all happening in a vacuum. There's a lot of important context - some of it stretching back decades - that helps explain what is going on.It's important to remember that Hong Kong is significantly different from other Chinese cities. To understand this, you need to look at its history.It was a British colony for more than 150 years - part of it, Hong Kong island, was ceded to the UK after a war in 1842. Later, China also leased the rest of Hong Kong - the New Territories - to the British for 99 years....
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Love-struck Indian jailed for life over mock hijack

Asia
AHMEDABAD, India: A businessman who mockingly threatened to hijack a plane to persuade his lover to quit her airline job and settle with him has been sentenced to life by an Indian anti-terrorism court.The court in Ahmedabad found Birju Salla guilty Tuesday (Jun 11) of planting a threat letter in the toilet of a Jet Airways flight between Mumbai and Delhi in October 2017.The note claimed hijackers and bombs were on board and demanded that the plane be diverted to Pakistan-administered Kashmir.Pilots landed the plane in Ahmedabad in western India where the 38-year-old, a regular business class customer with the now-defunct Jet Airlines, was detained.He was the first person to be convicted under new stringent anti-hijacking laws that carries a minimum of life in prison and a maximum penalty of death....
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Philippines slams suspected Chinese vessel for ‘contemptible’ sinking of fishing boat

Asia
A Filipino craft anchored near Recto Bank – claimed by both Manila and Beijing – sank on Sunday leaving 22 crewmen ‘to the mercy of the elements’, according to the Philippines’ defence secretary.
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Modi to avoid Pakistan airspace despite getting permission

Asia
NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will avoid flying over Pakistan during an official trip to central Asia on Thursday (Jun 12), the foreign ministry said, even though Pakistan has granted overflight access.Pakistan closed its airspace in February after a suicide attack by a Pakistan-based militant group in Indian-controlled Kashmir led to aerial bombing missions on each other’s soil and a fighter dogfight over Kashmir.Commercial and cargo airlines using Indian airspace have been forced to take costly and time-consuming detours because they cannot fly over Pakistan.But Pakistan had cleared Modi's flight to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit beginning on Thursday, Indian and Pakistan sources said....
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Philippines blasts 'cowardly Chinese boat' over sinking

Asia
MANILA: The Philippines on Wednesday (Jun 12) condemned the "cowardly action" of a suspected Chinese fishing vessel accused of abandoning a Filipino fishing crew after a collision in the disputed South China Sea.The boat on Sunday hit a Filipino craft anchored near Reed Bank - claimed by both Manila and Beijing - causing it to sink and leaving 22 crewmen "to the mercy of the elements", said defence secretary Delfin Lorenzana.Although Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has largely set aside the bitter dispute with Beijing over the resource-rich waterway, Manila does sometimes protest against Chinese action."We condemn in the strongest terms the cowardly action of the suspected Chinese fishing vessel and its crew for abandoning the Filipino crew," Lorenzana said in a statement....
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Easter bombers on Sri Lanka payroll: Former governor

Asia
COLOMBO: The extremists behind Sri Lanka's deadly Easter bombings received funding from state intelligence services, a former governor told a parliamentary investigation.The comments by Azath Salley, who quit last week as governor of Western Province, added to evidence of massive security failings before the Apr 21 attacks that killed 258 people.The bombings were led by Zahran Hashim, a radical who broke away from the Sri Lanka Thowheeth Jama'ath (SLTJ) to form an extremist group, the National Thowheeth Jama'ath (NTJ).Salley told the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) that he repeatedly told President Maithripala Sirisena to take action against the group."The defence ministry paid the Thowheeth Jama'ath. The police worked closely with the Thowheeth Jama'ath," Salley said, according to a transcript of his remarks....
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Sister of North Korean leader pays respects at Panmunjom meeting

Asia
SEOUL: The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday (Jun 12) delivered a condolence message at a funeral service for former South Korean first lady Lee He-ho, the first high-level contact between the two countries in months.Kim Yo Jong, who holds a powerful position in the reclusive state, delivered the message, and flowers, on her brother's behalf at a meeting with South Korean officials at Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone.The meeting lasted about 15 minutes, said Chung Eui-yong, South Korea's top national security advisor."Kim commented we should continue co-operation in honour of Lee's efforts for inter-Korean harmony," he said, according to broadcaster YTN.Lee, a lifelong companion of late president Kim Dae-jung, died on Monday aged 96....

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