Kim Jong-un pledges to launch more North Korean missiles into Pacific, to ‘contain’ US territory of Guam

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has called for more weapons tests targeting the Pacific Ocean, Pyongyang announced Wednesday, a day after his nation flew a ballistic missile designed to carry a nuclear payload over Japan.
Tuesday’s aggressive missile launch – likely the longest ever from North Korea – over the territory of a close US ally sends a clear message of defiance as Washington and Seoul conduct war games nearby.
Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency…

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Kim Jong-un’s latest provocation may strengthen Shinzo Abe’s hand at home because ‘it looks like he’s doing something’

Kim Jong-un might have done Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a little favour. The North Korean leader’s move to fire a ballistic missile over Japan’s northern Hokkaido Island on Tuesday put the spotlight on Abe, whose popularity has slumped after a series of scandals. Abe quickly adopted a hardline stance, calling the launch an “unprecedented, grave and serious threat” and requesting an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.
Watch: North Korea fires missile over…

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Sri Lankan ambassador to Latin America accused of war crimes during final stages of civil war

Human rights groups in South America are alleging war crimes violations in lawsuits filed against a former Sri Lankan general who is now his nation’s ambassador to Brazil and five other countries in Latin America.
The suits against Jagath Jayasuriya are based on his role as a commander in the final phase of Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2009. They allege Jayasuriya oversaw military units that attacked hospitals and killed, disappeared and tortured thousands of people.
Jayasuriya has…

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Interpol issues ‘Red Notice’ arrest request for fugitive Thai Red Bull heir

Interpol has issued an international request for the arrest of the billionaire heir to the Red Bull energy drink fortune, stepping up of the hunt for the fugitive Thai playboy wanted in a 2012 hit-and-run incident that left a traffic policeman dead in Bangkok.
Thai police spokesman Colonel Krissana Pattanacharoen said Monday that his department had been notified by the international police network of the “Red Notice’ a worldwide request to find and provisionally arrest an individual…

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Philippine leader Duterte feasts on chicken and duck to allay public fears after large bird flu outbreak

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ate grilled chicken, duck and eggs with other officials on Monday to help allay fears caused by the country’s first large outbreak of avian flu.
Accompanied by his health and agriculture secretaries and other officials, Duterte travelled to northern Pampanga province and feasted with his bare hands on the poultry, spread on banana leaves in a traditional feast in front of journalists and TV cameras.
“If it’s really your time, it doesn…

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‘I am not crazy’: Thai PM denies paving way for former leader Yingluck to flee before verdict

Thai premier Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday denied media reports his government helped former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra flee the country before the verdict in her trial over a controversial rice subsidy scheme.
Prayut said he did not allow Yingluck to escape to avoid any political tension that may have arisen in the event she was sentenced to prison.
“I am not crazy to do that. Please have confidence in me,” Prayut said in Chonburi province, eastern Thailand, where he attended…

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Transgender Singaporean and friend jailed in UAE for ‘dressing feminine’ have prison sentences dropped

A transgender Singaporean and her friend who are facing one year in prison in the United Arab Emirates for dressing in a feminine manner had their sentences reduced to a fine and deportation, an official said on Monday.
Nur Qistina Fitriah Ibrahim, a transgender woman who has not undergone a sex-change operation, and her friend, freelance fashion photographer Muhammad Fadli Bin Abdul Rahman, will pay a fine of 10,000 dirhams – about US$2,270 – and be immediately deported, the…

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Pakistan’s foreign minister to discuss Trump’s Afghan plans with Russia and China

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry on Friday said that Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif will soon visit China and Russia for consultations over the new US policy for Afghanistan and South Asia.
Nafess Zakari, a spokesman for the ministry, told a weekly briefing that no date has been fixed for the visits.
“You have already seen the emergence of our new partnership,” he said, referring to Islamabad’s tilt toward Moscow and its strategic partnership with China under the China-…

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United States urges non-violent response from Myanmar forces after clashes with Rohingya militants leave 89 dead

The United States has urged Myanmar authorities to avoid a response that would inflame tensions after an attack by Rohingya militants left 12 security personnel and 77 Rohingya Muslims dead.
The office of the country’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, said on Friday that military and border police responded to the attacks by launching “clearance operations”.
Police fought off groups of as many as 100 Rohingya attackers who were armed with guns, machetes and home-made grenades. The…

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Indian guru convicted of rape has millions of devoted followers – and a Bollywood franchise where he saves the world

The millions of followers of the flashy Indian guru consider him the embodiment of God on Earth.
So when he was convicted of rape on Friday, tens of thousands of supporters responded with fury, setting off riots that left more than two dozen dead and buses, trains and buildings set on fire. Police said calm was restored on Saturday.
When he appears in a “darshan,” or audience, once a week at his ashram in Haryana state’s Sirsa town, the guru of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, who…

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South Korean court sentences Samsung heir to five years for bribing former president

A South Korean court has sentenced the billionaire Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong to five years in prison after finding him guilty of offering bribes to the country’s former president and other crimes.

It said Lee was also guilty of embezzlement, hiding assets overseas, concealing profit from criminal acts and perjury.

Prosecutors had sought a 12-year prison term for the 49-year-old Lee.

The court said Lee hoped bribes for former president Park Geun-hye and her close friend Choi…

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Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recalls predecessor Tony Abbott being too drunk to attend parliament

Australia’s prime minister confirmed on Friday that his predecessor and intra-party rival Tony Abbott had once been too drunk to vote in Parliament, an incident that’s been a poorly kept secret in political circles for eight years.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told Melbourne Radio 3AW on Friday that he was opposition leader in 2009 when Abbott was incapable of voting against government legislation to massively increase economic stimulus spending.
Abbott replaced Turnbull as…

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Thai lawyer drops criminal defamation suit against BBC reporter who featured him in story about foreigners being scammed

A Thai lawyer has withdrawn a criminal defamation case against a British BBC journalist involving a report on foreigners being defrauded of property, the BBC said.
The case against Jonathan Head, BBC’s Southeast Asia correspondent, had begun Wednesday and has been criticised as an example of how Thailand’s harsh criminal defamation laws can be used to intimidate journalists.
“The plaintiff has withdrawn his case against BBC journalist Jonathan Head, but as the trial of his co-…

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North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un orders production of more rocket engines and ICBM nose cones

North Korea’s state media released photos Wednesday that appear to show the designs of one or possibly two new missiles.
Concept diagrams of the missiles were seen hanging on a wall near leader Kim Jong-un while he visited a plant that makes solid-fuel engines for the country’s ballistic-missile programme.
One of the photos clearly showed a diagram for a missile called “Pukguksong-3” which appears to be the latest in its Pukguksong, or Polaris, series. The other was…

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Cambodia Daily vows to keep publishing amid threat of closure from sudden US$6 million demand in ‘back taxes’

One of Cambodia’s two English-language daily newspapers said it would continue to publish in the face of a reported deadline by tax officials to pay more than US$6 million in taxes or get shut down.
The Ministry of Economy and Finance earlier this month told the Cambodia Daily newspaper it owed the government back taxes and interest dating back 10 years. The letter was part of a crackdown on delinquent taxpayers that prominently targeted media and civic organisations critical of the…

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US destroyer in Singapore collision was named after Senator McCain’s father, grandfather

The US warship involved in the collision off Singapore before dawn on Monday has a name many Americans recognise – but not for its father-and-son namesakes.
Most know Senator John S. McCain III, the Vietnam war hero who ran for president in 2000 and 2008. But it was his father and grandfather – both naval commanders who served during the second world war – who inspired the naming of the 154-metre guided-missile destroyer.
The USS John S. McCain was damaged in a collision with…

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Train derailment in India kills 23

At least 23 people were killed and 40 others were injured when several cars of a passenger train derailed in northern India Saturday, police said.
The Utkal Express was travelling from the eastern seaside town of Puri to the northern hill town of Haridwar when the train derailed at 5:46 p.m. local time near the town of Khatauli in Uttar Pradesh.
The injured were taken to nearby hospitals and several were in critical condition, IANS news agency reported.

Cranes were deployed to lift the coaches…

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North Korea slams next week’s US-South Korea military exercises

North Korea’s official media sharply criticised South Korea and the United States for pressing ahead with joint military exercises next week amid heightened tensions on the peninsula.
North Korea has long criticised the annual military exercises the US conducts with South Korea, regarding them as a rehearsal for an invasion of the North.
North’s Korea’s Central News Agency said the joint exercises would “further drive the situation on the Korean Peninsula into a…

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‘Guns and butter’: the real revolution in North Korea may be the rise of consumer culture

Like all North Korean adults, Song Un-pyol wears the faces of leader Kim Jong-un’s father and grandfather pinned neatly to her left lapel, above her heart. But on her right glitters a diamond-and-gold brooch.
Song, who manages a state-run supermarket with freezers stocked full of pork and beef and rows of dairy, bakery and canned goods, is part of a paradigm shift within North Korea. Three generations into the Kim family’s ruling dynasty, markets have blossomed and a consumer…

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US and Japan bolster alliance and vow to pressure North Korea

Japan and the United States on Thursday pledged to continue applying pressure on North Korea while ensuring a firmer bilateral alliance to better respond to the increased threat posed by Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes.

The two countries’ foreign and defence ministers called on the international community to “comprehensively and thoroughly implement” UN Security Council sanctions on North Korea so as to compel it to change course, they said in a joint…

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