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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Cambodian medic jailed after infecting more than 100 people with HIV

An unlicensed Cambodian medical practitioner who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for infecting more than 100 villagers with HIV on Thursday acknowledged his mistake in reusing syringes and told an appeal court that he only sought to provide health care for his community. A court in the northwestern province of Battambang in December 2015 found Yem Chrin guilty of cruel behaviour resulting in death, intentionally spreading HIV and practising medicine without a license. He is seeking a...
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How the super-rich Thai family that co-founded Red Bull conceals its wealth, using offshore companies

The Bangkok billionaire family that co-founded Red Bull, the world’s leading energy drink, uses offshore companies to cloak purchases of jets and luxury properties, including the posh London home where the clan’s fugitive son was last seen. The Yoovidhya family’s efforts to hide assets show how easily major global financial players can routinely – and, usually, legally – move billions of dollars with little or no oversight. The family’s confidential...
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Indonesian President Joko Widodo vows to protect diversity and confront inequality

Indonesia’s president on Wednesday vowed a fairer distribution of the nation’s wealth and a renewed commitment to protecting diversity after volatile months in which the country’s reputation for tolerance was undermined by religious tensions and attacks on minorities. Joko Widodo repeated familiar themes in his annual address to parliament that comes a day before celebrations of the 72nd anniversary of Indonesia’s independence from Dutch colonial rule. Widodo, the first...
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Forever at the battlefield: how a US veteran ended one Japanese family’s wartime limbo with return of fallen brother’s flag

The former US marine knew the calligraphy-covered flag he took from a fallen Japanese soldier 73 years ago was more than a keepsake of the second world war. When Marvin Strombo finally handed the flag back to Sadao Yasue’s younger brother and sisters on Tuesday, he understood what it really meant to them. Younger brother Tatsuya Yasue buried his face into the flag and smelled it, then he held Strombo’s hands and kissed them. His elder sister Sayoko Furuta, sitting in her wheelchair...
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Taiwan’s museum for ‘comfort women’ launches campaign for compensation

A museum dedicated to Taiwanese women forced to work in Japan’s wartime military brothels has launched a campaign to press the Japanese government to apologise and compensate the so-called “comfort women.” The Ama Museum has begun providing cards for visitors to write a short message to the Japanese government, with all the cards to be forwarded on August 31 to the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, Japan’s de facto embassy in Taiwan, museum director Kang Shu-hua said....
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Pastor freed from North Korean prison arrives back in Canada

A Canadian pastor who was imprisoned for more than two years in North Korea arrived back home Saturday. Hyeon Soo Lim was serving a life sentence of hard labour in North Korea for alleged anti-state activities, but was released last week on what the North Korean government described as sick bail. His son, James Lim, said it was surreal to see him again after living in fear over what might happen to him. James Lim said his dad was extremely grateful to the Canadian government. He said his father...
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Japan PM Abe pledges to protect people and property, deploys missile interceptors to bring down N Korean rockets

Japan deployed its Patriot missile defence system on Saturday after North Korea threatened to fire ballistic missiles over the country towards the US Pacific territory of Guam, local officials and reports said. Regional tensions are mounting as Washington and Pyongyang ratchet up their war of words, with President Donald Trump warning Pyongyang would “truly regret” any hostile action against the US. Japan has in the past vowed to shoot down North Korean missiles or rockets that...
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‘Do not look at the flash’: Guam flier offers advice in case of nuclear attack amid North Korea crisis

If an attack warning is issued, Guam residents should take cover quickly – in a concrete structure, preferably underground – and stay there until instructed otherwise, according to a fact sheet titled “Preparing for an Imminent Missile Threat.” Guam’s Office of Civil Defence began disseminating fact sheets on Friday to help residents prepare for a missile attack from North Korea. The guidance includes tips on building an emergency kit, advice on staying put in...
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US and South Korea prepare for massive war games after North threatens attack on Guam

US and South Korean military officials plan to move ahead with large-scale exercises later this month that North Korea, now finalising plans to launch a salvo of missiles towards Guam, claims are a rehearsal for war. The exercises are an annual event, but come as Pyongyang says it is readying a plan to fire off four “Hwasong-12” missiles towards the US colony and major military hub. The plan would be sent to leader Kim Jong-un for approval just before or as the US-South Korea...
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New Zealand politician resigns after admitting welfare fraud more than 20 years ago

The co-leader of New Zealand’s Green Party resigned Wednesday, three weeks after confessing she committed welfare fraud as a struggling young mother more than 20 years ago. Metiria Turei said the scrutiny on her family following her disclosure had become unbearable and she worried she was hindering her party’s chances six weeks ahead of an election. Polls indicate support for the Green Party has dropped significantly since Turei’s confession and the appointment last week of...
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Guam residents fear attack after North Korea threat

Residents of the US territory Guam say they are afraid after being caught in the middle of rising tensions between President Donald Trump and North Korea, but Governor Eddie Calvo reassured his constituents that there is no threat to the island. The North Korean army said Wednesday it’s examining operational plans for attacking the island, a military hub about 2,400km south of Tokyo in the Pacific Ocean. “An attack or threat to Guam is a threat or attack on the United States,...
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Anniversary of Nagasaki atomic bombing acts as a warning amid US-North Korea tension

Amid growing tension between Washington and North Korea, the mayor of Nagasaki said on Wednesday that the fear of another nuclear bomb attack is growing at a ceremony marking the 72nd anniversary of the US atomic bombing of his city. Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue urged nuclear states to abandon such weapons and criticised Japan’s government for not taking part in the global effort toward a nuclear ban. The bombing anniversary comes just as Pyongyang and Washington are trading escalating...
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Haruo Nakajima, actor who played original Godzilla in a monster rubber suit, dies at 88

Haruo Nakajima, the actor who stomped in a rubber suit to portray the original 1954 Godzilla, helping to make the Japanese monster an iconic symbol of the nuclear era, has died. He was 88. Nakajima’s daughter Sonoe Nakajimasaid that he had been hospitalised last month and died of pneumonia Monday. Haruo Nakajima was a stunt actor in samurai films when he was approached to take the role of Godzilla, which may be Japan’s most successful cultural export. Some fans prefer Nakajima...
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North Korea says nuclear and ballistic missile tests not up for negotiation despite Asia-Pacific ministers’ ‘grave concern’

Asia-Pacific foreign ministers made plain to North Korea on Monday it is time that it stop taking actions posing threats to regional peace. But North Korea’s foreign minister, who attended an annual security meeting in Manila with them, staunchly defended his country’s missile nuclear programme as legitimate and self-defensive in nature. “We will, under no circumstances, put the nuclear and ballistic missiles on the negotiating table...unless the hostile policy and the nuclear...
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Students find refugee hanging at Australian detention camp on Papua New Guinea

A refugee being held in an Australian immigration camp on the Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea was found dead in an apparent suicide, sparking outrage over officials’ alleged failure to treat the man who had a long history of mental illness. Hamed Shamshiripou, a 28-year-old refugee from Iran, was found hanging from a tree branch near an elementary school by students on Monday morning, Papua New Guinea police said in a statement. The school is in the Manus Island town of Lorengau...
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