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Tag: ASIA

Philippines President vows not to ease the world’s longest lockdown

Philippines President vows not to ease the world’s longest lockdown

CORONAVIRUS
Jeepneys, with their cheerfully gaudy exteriors and packed-in seats, are a national symbol of the Philippines, a form of public transport known affectionately as 'kings of the road'.  But almost all of them have been forced off the roads by possibly the world's longest and strictest coronavirus lockdown. The situation has left many of the drivers destitute and desperate, with fellow citizens stepping in to raise money for them via Facebook groups. Jowel Palaña, 41, a jeepney driver in Manila, told the Telegraph: "Every single day has been a struggle."  He has not been able to work as a driver since March 15, when the lockdown began. Instead, he swept the streets in exchange for food from his local district leaders. He was unable to travel to see his wife, three ...
Exams begin at China’s university after virus delay

Exams begin at China’s university after virus delay

INTERNATIONAL
BEIJING — Almost 11 million students began taking China’s university entrance exam Tuesday after a delay as the country worked to bring down coronavirus infections. The grueling two-day university entrance exam can be a key determinant of a student’s future and was pushed back weeks from its scheduled date. The exam is believed to be the first mass gathering event since the virus outbreak and administrators are enforcing strict rules to prevent infections, including proof of wellness, social distancing and the wearing of masks. All of the new infections China reported Tuesday were people returning from overseas. Shanghai authorities say the two cases confirmed there in the past 24 hours were students who had returned from schools in Britain and the United States. The student who...
Israel successfully launch a new spy satellite in orbit

Israel successfully launch a new spy satellite in orbit

TECHNOLOGY
JERUSALEM — Israel’s Defense Ministry announced the successful launch of a new spy satellite early on Monday that would help the country monitor Iran’s nuclear activity as its foreign minister hinted that Israel may have been behind a fire that damaged an Iranian nuclear site last week. The “Ofek 16” satellite gives Israel what officials described as an additional tool in keeping tabs on many threats from across the region, joining a fleet of Israeli spy satellites that have been launched over the past two decades. While officials did not identify specific threats, arch-enemy Iran, which Israel accuses of trying to develop nuclear weapons, is first among them. The launch came a day after Iran finally acknowledged that a mysterious fire last week damaged a new centrifuge assembly ce...
Tokyo governor on the verge of winning reelection for handling virus

Tokyo governor on the verge of winning reelection for handling virus

INTERNATIONAL
TOKYO — Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike is poised to be reelected in Sunday’s polls, buoyed by public support for her coronavirus handling despite a recent rise in infections that has raised concerns of a resurgence of the disease. The first woman to head the Japanese capital, Koike. 67, is also viewed as a potential candidate to succeed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when his term ends in September 2021. For now, she says she’s focused on protecting the lives of the 14 million people in Tokyo, a megacity with a $1 trillion economy. Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike “Fighting against the coronavirus for the residents of Tokyo is my first and foremost responsibility,” she said on the eve of the election. In her campaign message online, Koike pledged to balance disease prevention and the economy under To...
India: Eight policemen killed in clash with gang members

India: Eight policemen killed in clash with gang members

INTERNATIONAL
Eight Indian policemen have been killed, and seven more injured, in an encounter with gang members, reports say. The officers were fired upon during a raid in search of a notorious local gangster in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. The gangster, Vikas Dubey, is accused in 60 criminal cases for various offences, including attempted murder. At least one of the injured police officers is believed to be critical. The incident took place early on Friday morning in a village in Kanpur district. Police told ANI news agency that the gang members escaped, but two of the men were killed in a separate shootout when officers pursued them. Two policemen were also injured in the second incident. A deputy superintendent, three sub-inspectors and four constables were among the offic...
Philippine President pleads for calm after police fatally shoot troops

Philippine President pleads for calm after police fatally shoot troops

INTERNATIONAL
ZAMBOANGA, Philippines — The Philippine president flew to the country’s volatile south on Friday to plead with military forces not to retaliate following the fatal police shootings of four soldiers, including two officers, in violence the army chief called “a rubout.” President Rodrigo Duterte pledged an impartial government investigation of Monday’s violence in southern Jolo town and promised in a late-night address to military commanders, including army generals, that anyone found guilty will be punished. “Do you want to kill five to six policemen there in the station? What good will it do?” said the blunt-speaking Duterte, who wore a face mask to protect against the coronavirus. Duterte asked commanders to ensure their forces remain calm and added that police, like government...
Top Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan dies at 71

Top Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan dies at 71

Entertainment
NEW DELHI — Saroj Khan, a top Bollywood choreographer, died of cardiac arrest in a Mumbai hospital early Friday, her family said. She was 71. The three-time National Award winner was hospitalized last Saturday after she complained of breathlessness. She tested negative for COVID-19, the Press Trust of India news agency said. Khan choreographed more than 2,000 songs in her career spanning more than 40 years. Leading actresses including Madhuri Dixit and Sridevi danced to some of the most popular songs Khan had produced. Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar said she made dance look easy, almost like anybody can do it. “A huge loss for the industry,” Kumar tweeted. In this Sept. 19, 2019, file photo, Indian choreographer Saroj Khan is presented a special award during the 20th Internation...
India opens vast railway network to private players

India opens vast railway network to private players

INTERNATIONAL
India has opened up its vast railway sector to private companies, allowing firms to operate trains on certain routes, in a bid to boost its stuttering, virus-hit economy. The 167-year-old train network carries 20 million passengers daily but is plagued by deadly accidents, rickety infrastructure, lack of modern amenities and poor investment. In an announcement late Wednesday, the railway ministry said it would now permit businesses to run trains along 109 routes, inviting bids from firms weeks after New Delhi opened up coal mining to the private sector. "This is the first initiative of private investment for running passenger trains over Indian Railways network," the ministry said in a statement. "The objective of this initiative is to introduce modern technology rolling stock...
Iran journalist who fueled 2017 protests sentenced to death

Iran journalist who fueled 2017 protests sentenced to death

INTERNATIONAL
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran sentenced a once-exiled journalist to death over his online work that helped inspire nationwide economic protests that began at the end of 2017, authorities said Tuesday. Ruhollah Zam's website and a channel he created on the popular messaging app Telegram had spread the timings of the protests and embarrassing information about officials that directly challenged Iran's Shiite theocracy. Those demonstrations represented the biggest challenge to Iran since the 2009 Green Movement protests and set the stage for similar mass unrest last November. The details of his arrest still remain unclear. Though he was based in Paris, Zam somehow returned to Iran and found himself detained by intelligence officials. A series of a televised confessions have aired in recent mont...
Thailand eases lockdown, lets in some foreigners, opens schools

Thailand eases lockdown, lets in some foreigners, opens schools

INTERNATIONAL
BANGKOK — Thailand has begun a fifth phase of relaxations of COVID-19 restrictions, allowing the reopening of schools and high-risk entertainment venues such as pubs and massage parlors that had been shut since mid-March. It also is allowing in foreign visitors on a controlled basis, limiting entry to those with existing family or work ties to the country, students, technical experts for businesses, investors and specially invited VIPs. Scheduled passenger flights to Thailand were suspended in early April. The number of foreign visitors allowed into the country each day is limited to 200, and they are supposed to travel on repatriation flights bringing Thai citizens home. All returnees, foreign and Thai, will be subject to varying degrees of quarantine. All confirmed coronavirus...
Police in Hong Kong make first arrest under new security law

Police in Hong Kong make first arrest under new security law

INTERNATIONAL
HONG KONG — Hong Kong police made their first arrest under a new national security law imposed by China’s central government, arresting a protester Wednesday for carrying a flag calling for Hong Kong’s independence. The man was arrested after police had issued multiple warnings to the crowd at a protest in the city’s Causeway Bay shopping district that they might be in violation of the law, according to a police statement on Twitter. The law, imposed by China after last year’s anti-government protests in the semi-autonomous territory, took effect Tuesday at 11 p.m. (1500 GMT). The law makes secessionist, subversive, or terrorist activities illegal, as well as foreign intervention in the city’s internal affairs. Any person taking part in secessionist activities, such as shouti...
HEALTH: New Agreements to Expand Access to 20 Lifesaving Cancer Medicines for Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia

HEALTH: New Agreements to Expand Access to 20 Lifesaving Cancer Medicines for Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia

AFRICA, ASIA, HEALTH
Cancer Access Partnership is expected to result in a 59 percent savings on procured cancer medicinesBASEL, Switzerland, June 29, 2020/ -- The American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) today announced agreements with pharmaceutical companies Pfizer, Novartis, and Mylan to expand access to 20 lifesaving cancer treatments in 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Purchasers are expected to save an average of 59 percent for medicines procured through the agreements.“With the rapidly growing burden of cancer in Africa, it is crucial that we improve and expand access to high-quality, affordable treatment. These agreements build on those announced in 2017 that have already delivered substantial savings and increased treatment availability in several coun...
South Korean police raid office of anti-North activist

South Korean police raid office of anti-North activist

INTERNATIONAL
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea police on Friday raided the office of an activist whose anti-North Korea leafleting campaign has intensified tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Police said officers visited the Seoul office of Park Sang-hak to confiscate leaflets, account books and other related materials. The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said that Park will be summoned soon for an investigation. Park, a North Korean refugee who has launched balloons carrying propaganda leaflets toward North Korea for years, has been in the spotlight after North Korea abruptly used his campaign as a justification for a series of provocative steps against South Korea. Among them was blowing up an empty liaison office built by South Korea on the North’s territory. South Korean officials later de...
North Korea threatens  to punish South Korea

North Korea threatens to punish South Korea

INTERNATIONAL
As tensions ratchet up between the two nations, North Korea is preparing to flood the South with "mountain-high" piles of propaganda leaflets denouncing the South Korean president and North Korean defectors, state media in the country reported Saturday. Many of the leaflets will feature the face of South Korean President Moon Jae-in smeared with cigarette butts, an insult insinuating he is trash, the KCNA news agency reported, adding that they were being prepared by university students from the North. Although North Korea has distributed propaganda leaflets across the border in the past, the practice is more commonly undertaken by North Korean defector groups in the South who fly balloons or send bottles by river filled with flyers, rice and money. "...
Drone strike kills 2 al-Qaida commanders in NorthWest Syria

Drone strike kills 2 al-Qaida commanders in NorthWest Syria

INTERNATIONAL
BEIRUT — A drone strike in northwestern Syria on Sunday killed two senior commanders with an al-Qaida-linked group, opposition activists said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said the strike was believed to have been carried out by the U.S.-led coalition, which has been targeting extremists in Syria for years. The drone strike hit a vehicle carrying the two commanders — a Jordanian and a Yemeni — in the northwestern province of Idlib, the last remaining rebel stronghold in war-torn Syria. Idlib is dominated by al-Qaida-linked militants, and is also home to 3 million civilians. The Observatory said the men killed were with the al-Qaida-linked Horas al-Din group, Arabic for “Guardians of Religion.” Horas al-Din are hardcore al-Qaid...
Tokyo focuses on nightlife districts as coronavirus cases surge

Tokyo focuses on nightlife districts as coronavirus cases surge

INTERNATIONAL
TOKYO, JAPAN --- Authorities in Tokyo say 47 people tested positive for the coronavirus Sunday. It was the first day in six weeks the number of new infections in the capital topped 40. 32 of them were traced to nightlife entertainment establishments. Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko met on Sunday with the head of Shinjuku ward and the minister in charge of the government's coronavirus response, Nishimura Yasutoshi. They confirmed they'll work more closely together to prevent infections in nightlife areas. Special emphasis will be put on making sure guidelines to prevent infections are followed. And they'll urge bars and nightclubs to get their workers tested. Governor Koike said her government will set up a taskforce on Monday to discuss more measures.These could include new ben...
Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka faces backlash after speaking out for Black Lives Matter

Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka faces backlash after speaking out for Black Lives Matter

Sports
TOKYO — Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka is under online attack in her birthplace after speaking out about racial injustice and encouraging people to join a Black Lives Matter march. Hundreds of people turned out here in the Japanese capital and in the western city of Osaka over the weekend to express support for the movement and to protest racial injustice in the United States — as well as racism in Japan. The protesters also took aim at Japanese police for allegedly targeting foreigners, after a Kurdish man claimed to have been stopped by police for no reason and shoved to the ground. FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, file photo, Japan's Naomi Osaka reacts after defeating China's Zheng Saisai in their second round singles match at the Australian Open tennis championship ...
International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation Signs COVID-19 Emergency Food Package Relief Program for Republic of Kyrgyzstan

International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation Signs COVID-19 Emergency Food Package Relief Program for Republic of Kyrgyzstan

INTERNATIONAL
JEDDAH, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 1, 2020/ -- The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), has signed an agreement to support the provision of a food relief program for the most vulnerable people in Kyrgyzstan during the outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19). The agreement, which has been agreed in coordination with of the Kyrgyzstan Government, will allow the ITFC partner, Micro Credit Company M Bulak of Kyrgyzstan, to implement the humanitarian intervention. The support will provide immediate relief to around 2,000 families who are most affected by the health and economic consequences of the pandemic and is the latest in a series of ITFC interventions, in alignment with the Islamic Development Bank Group ‘3Rs Response Package’. Commenting on the g...
ASIA: China eyes US-Oz sea defense moves

ASIA: China eyes US-Oz sea defense moves

ASIA, FEATURE STORIES
China has stepped up its surveillance of strategic sea routes in the western Pacific only weeks after Australia announced a major upgrade of its northern air defenses that will help the United States to project more force into the region, including in the South China Sea. Australia’s Defense Department confirmed it had been tracking a Chinese oceanographic ship for the past two months as it conducted deepwater surveys on a course from eastern China to the coast of Western Australia. The route, which took the vessel through the Java Sea in the Indonesian archipelago to waters near the Australian territory of Christmas Island, is used regularly by Australian submarines transiting to the South China Sea.       “Beijing is keen to know as much a...
HEALTH: Indian hangs himself after mistakenly believing he had coronavirus.

HEALTH: Indian hangs himself after mistakenly believing he had coronavirus.

ASIA, CORONAVIRUS, HEALTH
A 50-year-old man in India who mistakenly thought he had contracted the coronavirus hung himself to protect his family, a news report said. K. Bala Krishna was treated by doctors in Tirupati for a viral fever but was assured he did not have the deadly disease that has killed more than 1,350 worldwide, according to the Times of India. Despite the doctors’ assurances, Krishna began watching videos on the virus on his mobile phone and became convinced that he had been infected, the newspaper said. He feared he would put his family in harm’s way. “My father watched coronavirus-related videos the whole day on Monday and kept saying he had similar symptoms,” his son, Bala Murali, told the Times. “He attacked us when we tried to tell him that he did not suffer from the deadly...