Photo Story: Mother Teresa’s 25th death anniversary observed in Kolkata, India

Photo Story: Mother Teresa’s 25th death anniversary observed in Kolkata, India

Nuns walk to attend a mass prayer at Mother House on Mother Teresa's 25th death anniversary, in Kolkata, India, 05 September 2022. Mother Teresa, who died on 05 September 1997, at the age of 87, was popularly known as the 'Saint of the Gutter' for her extraordinary love and dedication to poor, homeless and diseased people. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Mother Teresa was canonized as a saint by Pope Francis in 2016. Via EPA-EFE/PIYAL ADHIKARY
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UPDATED: Earthquake in China’s Sichuan kills 21; Fatal earthquake in Afghanistan

UPDATED: Earthquake in China’s Sichuan kills 21; Fatal earthquake in Afghanistan

BEIJING, Sept 5 (Reuters) - A magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck China's Sichuan on Monday, the strongest to hit the region since 2017, killing at least 21 persons and shaking the provincial capital of Chengdu and other provinces. Some roads and homes near the epicentre were damaged by landslides, while communications were down in at least one area, according to state television. No damage at dam and hydropower stations within 50 km (31 miles) of the epicentre has been reported. The epicentre was at Luding, the China Earthquake Networks Centre said, a town in the mountains about 226 km southwest of…
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CanSino’s inhaled COVID-19 vaccine gets emergency use approval in China

CanSino’s inhaled COVID-19 vaccine gets emergency use approval in China

HONG KONG, Sept 4 (Reuters) - China's CanSino Biologics Inc said on Sunday that its recently developed COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the country's drug regulator for emergency use as a booster, potentially benefiting its business. The inhaled version of Cansino's adenovirus-vectored COVID-19 vaccine has obtained the green light from the National Medical Products Administration, the company said in a filing on Sunday. "The approval will have a positive impact on the company's performance if the vaccine is subsequently purchased and used by relevant government agencies," CanSino said. The company cautioned, however, that it will face fierce competition from…
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Japan plans to develop longer-range missiles to counter China, Russia

Japan plans to develop longer-range missiles to counter China, Russia

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan will develop and mass produce a cruise missile and a high-velocity ballistic missile, it said this week, as it seeks the ability to strike more distant targets as part of a military expansion aimed at meeting threats from China and Russia. The procurement plan unveiled in the Ministry of Defence's annual budget request represents a clear departure from a decades-long range limit imposed on Japan's constitutionally constrained Self Defence Forces, that meant they could only field missiles with ranges of a few hundred kilometres. "China continues to threaten to use force to unilaterally change the status…
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Indian troops join Russian military exercise despite U.S. concerns

Indian troops join Russian military exercise despite U.S. concerns

NEW DELHI, (Reuters) - Soldiers from the Indian army have landed in Russia for a week-long military exercise, India's defence ministry said , days after the United States said it had concerns about any country exercising with Russia now. The Indian government said that its forces have regularly participated in multilateral exercises in Russia, along with a number of other countries. Russia is the biggest supplier of military hardware to India. An Indian Army contingent "arrived at the exercise location and over the next seven days will undertake joint manoeuvres to include joint field training exercises, combat discussions, and firepower…
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China’s Shenzhen extends COVID curbs but stops short of full lockdown

China’s Shenzhen extends COVID curbs but stops short of full lockdown

SHENZHEN, China, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Some districts of China's southern tech hub Shenzhen extended curbs on public activities, dining out and entertainment venues on Friday, but city officials stopped short of a full lockdown as they try to rein in rising COVID cases. Restrictions in the central business district of Futian and Longhua, home to a major campus of Apple AAPL.O iPhone assembler Foxconn 2317.TW, have been extended until Sunday, while residents in several areas across the city were asked to work from home if possible. Most of Shenzhen's nearly 18 million residents are now under COVID controls amid…
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China accuses Taiwan’s ruling party of attempting to hype tensions after drone shooting

China accuses Taiwan’s ruling party of attempting to hype tensions after drone shooting

BEIJING, Sept 2 (Reuters) - China's foreign ministry on Friday said Taiwan's ruling party was attempting to hype tensions, after the self-governed island shot down an unidentified civilian drone this week. "The Democratic Progressive Party's attempt to hype-up tensions does not mean anything," spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a regular briefing, in response to a question about the shooting of the drone. Taiwan downed the drone when it buzzed a Taiwanese-controlled island off the Chinese coast on Thursday. Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang said the shooting was the most "appropriate" thing to do after repeated warnings, adding that China should exercise…
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South Pakistan braces for yet more flooding as waters flow down from north

South Pakistan braces for yet more flooding as waters flow down from north

DADU, Pakistan (Reuters) - Southern Pakistan braced for yet more flooding as a surge of water flowed down the Indus river, threatening further devastation in a country already a third inundated, in a growing disaster blamed on climate change. Record monsoon rains and melting glaciers in northern mountains have triggered floods that have killed at least 1,208 people, including 416 children, according to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Pakistan's meteorological office predicted more rains and flash flooding for the month of September. "Overall, a tendency for normal to above normal precipitation is likely over the country during September," the…
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Myanmar’s Suu Kyi found guilty of electoral fraud, jailed for 3 years with hard labour

Myanmar’s Suu Kyi found guilty of electoral fraud, jailed for 3 years with hard labour

Sept 2 (Reuters) - Myanmar's deposed former leader Aung San Suu Kyi was found guilty of electoral fraud on Friday and sentenced by a judge to three years in jail with hard labour, according to a source familiar with the proceedings. The Nobel laureate and figurehead of Myanmar's opposition to decades of military rule has been detained since a coup early last year and has already been sentenced to more than 17 years in prison. She denies all the allegations against her. On Friday, she was judged to have committed fraud in a November 2020 general election that her National…
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Malaysia’s former first lady Rosmah sentenced to 10 years in jail for corruption

Malaysia’s former first lady Rosmah sentenced to 10 years in jail for corruption

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 (Reuters) - A Malaysian court on Thursday sentenced Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former Prime Minister Najib Razak, to a decade in prison for seeking and receiving bribes in exchange for government contracts, just days after her husband was jailed for corruption. The couple have been the focus of multiple graft investigations since Najib's surprise election defeat in 2018, when voters' anger over a separate, multi-billion dollar corruption scandal ended his nine years in power. A flamboyant figure by Najib's side, Rosmah was widely scorned in Malaysia for her extravagant lifestyle and penchant for Hermes Birkin…
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Photo Story: Women take part in Rishi Panchami in Kathamndu, Nepal

Photo Story: Women take part in Rishi Panchami in Kathamndu, Nepal

A group of women take a ritual holy bath to purify themselves to mark the Rishi Panchami festival, at Bagmati River in Kathmandu, Nepal. During Rishi Panchami, Nepalese women take a ritual bath in holy rivers and worship the ancient Sapta Rishi (seven saints), who devoted their life to the welfare of the society. However, some women practice this ancient ritual to ask for forgiveness for any errors committed during the end of their menstual cycle. In the Hindu religion, menstruation is viewed as a symbol of impurity and women are not supposed to take part in religious practices and…
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Chengdu locks down 21.2 million people as Chinese cities battle COVID

Chengdu locks down 21.2 million people as Chinese cities battle COVID

SHENZHEN, China, Sept 1 (Reuters) - One of China's biggest cities, Chengdu, announced a lockdown of its 21.2 million residents as it launched four days of citywide COVID-19 testing, as some of country's most populous and economically important urban centres battle outbreaks. All residents in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, were ordered to stay largely at home from 6 p.m. on Thursday, with households allowed to send one person per day to shop for necessities, the city government said in a statement. Chengdu is the largest city to be locked down since Shanghai was shut for two months earlier…
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UPDATED: Taiwan shoots down unidentified drone in Kinmen

UPDATED: Taiwan shoots down unidentified drone in Kinmen

TAIPEI, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Taiwan's military shot down an unidentified civilian drone that entered its airspace near an islet just off the Chinese coast on Thursday, after the government vowed to take tough new measures to deal with an increase in such intrusions. Beijing, which claims Taiwan as its own against the strong objections of the Taipei government, has held military exercises around the island since early last month in reaction to a visit to Taipei by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Taiwan's government has vowed not to provoke or escalate tensions, but has been particularly angered…
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UPDATED:EU, responding to UN report, condemns rights violations in China

UPDATED:EU, responding to UN report, condemns rights violations in China

BRUSSELS, Sept 1 (Reuters) - The European Commission, responding to a U.N. report that China may have committed crimes against humanity in its Xinjiang region, said on Thursday that it strongly condemns human rights violations in the country. "We are currently assessing the content of the report and we will be issuing reaction in good time," a European Commission spokesperson told a news briefing. "But, as we have said before, the EU strongly condemns human rights violations in Xinjiang and other parts of China - in particular the persecution of the Uyghurs and other persons belonging to national or religious…
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India to commission first home-built carrier, but short of jets on deck

India to commission first home-built carrier, but short of jets on deck

NEW DELHI, Aug 31 (Reuters) - India will formally commission its first home-built aircraft carrier on Friday, the culmination of 17 years of construction and tests as the country seeks to catch up with regional rival China and its far larger naval fleet. The INS Vikrant however will not have its own fleet of fighter jets on deck and instead will rely on a few Russian-designed aircraft borrowed from India's only other carrier, the INS Vikramaditya. France's Dassault and Boeing are locked in a race to provide the Indian government with over two dozen jets earmarked for the Vikrant, a…
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UPDATED: Afghan Taliban, a year after U.S. pullout, seek world’s approval

UPDATED: Afghan Taliban, a year after U.S. pullout, seek world’s approval

KABUL, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Afghanistan's Taliban marked the first anniversary of the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces on Wednesday by calling on the international community to "learn" from the experience and accept them as the legitimate government. The withdrawal, completed a minute before midnight on Aug. 30, 2021, came as the Taliban swept to power after a 20-year insurgency against U.S.-led forces who invaded Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. "The experience of the past 20 years can be a good guide... Any kind of pressure and threats on Afghanistan’s people in the last 20…
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China sets October start for congress seen as Xi coronation

China sets October start for congress seen as Xi coronation

BEIJING  (Reuters) - China's ruling Communist Party will hold its five-yearly congress beginning on Oct. 16, with Xi Jinping poised to secure an historic third leadership term and cement his place as the country's most powerful leader since Mao Zedong. The Politburo announced the start date for the congress, which typically lasts about a week and takes place mostly behind closed doors at the Great Hall of the People on the western side of Tiananmen Square in central Beijing. Xi, 69, has steadily consolidated power since becoming party general secretary a decade ago, eliminating any known factional opposition to his…
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Taiwan vows to counterattack if China’s forces enter its territory

Taiwan vows to counterattack if China’s forces enter its territory

TAIPEI, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Taiwan said on Wednesday it would exercise its right to self defence and "counter-attack" if Chinese armed forces entered its territory, as Beijing increased military activities near the democratic island. Beijing, which claims Taiwan as its own, has held military exercises around the island this month in reaction to a visit to Taipei by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Taiwanese defence officials said China's "high intensity" military patrols near Taiwan continued and Beijing's intention of making the Taiwan Strait separating the two sides its "inner sea" would become the main source of instability…
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Cataclysmic floods in Pakistan kill 1,100, including 380 children

Cataclysmic floods in Pakistan kill 1,100, including 380 children

CHARSADDA, Pakistan, (Reuters) - Torrential rains and flooding have submerged a third of Pakistan and killed more than 1,100 people, including 380 children as the United Nations appealed for aid for what it described as an "unprecedented climate catastrophe." Army helicopters plucked stranded families and dropped food packages to inaccessible areas as the historic deluge, triggered by unusually heavy monsoon rains, destroyed homes, businesses, infrastructure and crops, impacting 33 million people, 15% of the 220 million-strong South Asian nation. The country has received nearly 190% more rain than the 30-year average in the quarter through August this year, totalling 390.7…
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Populous Chinese cities including Shenzhen ramp up COVID curbs

Populous Chinese cities including Shenzhen ramp up COVID curbs

Several big Chinese cities escalated COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday, with Shenzhen closing more businesses and Dalian locking down millions, renewing economic uncertainty and delaying the start of the school year for some. The fresh measures, scheduled to last just a few days for now, reflect China's insistence on its so-called "dynamic COVID zero" policy that aims to quash every outbreak as and when they happen. The stakes are higher for China's already wobbly national economy compared to earlier this month, when the lockdowns were mostly in smaller cities. Further major escalation or prolongation of curbs in big metropolises, such as…
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6.4 magnitude quake strikes off Indonesia’s Sumatra island

6.4 magnitude quake strikes off Indonesia’s Sumatra island

JAKARTA (Reuters) - A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia's Sumatra island, the third tremor to rattle the area since early Monday, according to the country's geophysics agency. Indonesia's meteorology and geophysics agency (BMKG) recorded the shallow quake off the Mentawai islands, off Sumatra's west coast just before 10.30 a.m. and said it did not trigger a tsunami warning. Three consecutive earthquakes struck the area with increasing intensity since the early hours of Monday, with a 5.2-magnitude tremor recorded before dawn, followed by a 5.4-magnitude quake less than an hour later. The 6.4-magnitude earthquake was felt strongly for…
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Plumes of dust as India demolishes illegal skyscrapers

Plumes of dust as India demolishes illegal skyscrapers

NOIDA, India Aug 28 (Reuters) - Indian authorities demolished two illegally constructed skyscrapers in a wide plume of dust debris on Sunday near the capital New Delhi, razing the tallest structures ever pulled down in the country in less than 10 seconds. Crowds watching the collapse from rooftops on nearby high-rise buildings cheered and clapped as the 103-metre (338-feet) tall towers collapsed from a controlled demolition and the dust enveloped the residential area. The Supreme Court last year ordered the demolition of the towers in the Noida area after a long legal battle found they violated multiple building regulations and fire safety…
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U.S. warships transit Taiwan Strait, first since Pelosi visit

U.S. warships transit Taiwan Strait, first since Pelosi visit

WASHINGTON, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Two U.S. Navy warships sailed through international waters in the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, the first such operation since a visit to Taiwan by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi enraged China which regards the island as its territory. The U.S. Navy, confirming a Reuters report, said cruisers Chancellorsville and Antietam were carrying out the ongoing operation. Such operations usually take eight to 12 hours to complete and are closely monitored by China's military. In recent years U.S. warships, and on occasion those from allied nations such as Britain and Canada, have routinely sailed through the strait, drawing…
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China says COVID has exacerbated decline in births, marriages

China says COVID has exacerbated decline in births, marriages

 (Reuters) - China's National Health Commission said COVID-19 has contributed to the decline in the country's marriage and birth rates that has accelerated in recent years due to the high costs of education and child-rearing. Many women are continuing to delay their plans to marry or have children, it said, adding that rapid economic and social developments have led to "profound changes". Young people relocating to urban areas, more time spent on education and high-pressure working environments have also played their part, it added. Demographers have also said that China's uncompromising "zero-COVID" policy of promptly stamping out any outbreaks with…
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Macau to limit numbers of gaming tables, machines for casino operators

Macau to limit numbers of gaming tables, machines for casino operators

HONG KONG, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Macau has fixed a limit of 6,000 gaming tables and 12,000 gaming machines for new casino operators early next year, as well as minimum income levels for each operator, the government in the world's biggest gambling hub said on Friday. With their contracts set to expire at the end of the year, the territory's six licensed operators, Sands China, Wynn Macau, Galaxy Entertainment, MGM China, SJM Holdings 0880.HK, Melco Resorts MPEL.O have to rebid for their spots. The government kicked off the highly anticipated bidding process in July, when it said global gaming operators…
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China customs drops some COVID reporting for international arrivals; quarantine remains

China customs drops some COVID reporting for international arrivals; quarantine remains

BEIJING, Aug 26 (Reuters) - China still requires international passengers to take pre-departure COVID-19 tests and quarantine upon arrival, the customs office said on Friday, a day after dropping some reporting requirements for travellers clearing customs. China, which has shortened the quarantine period and removed some testing and self-isolation requirements for inbound international travellers, still has some of the world's most stringent COVID-19 policies. Chinese customs on Thursday said it had removed the requirements for travellers to report COVID tests, previous infections and vaccination dates when they clear customs, to make entry more convenient. "This is not an easing of…
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UPDATED: Pope says will visit N.Korea if he receives invitation

UPDATED: Pope says will visit N.Korea if he receives invitation

SEOUL, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Pope Francis has asked for an invitation from North Korea to visit the isolated country, South Korean broadcaster KBS reported. "I will go there as soon as they invite me. I'm saying they should invite me. I will not refuse," KBS quoted the pope as saying in an interview aired on Thursday. Such a visit would be the first by a pope to the reclusive state, which does not allow priests to be permanently stationed there. Little is known about how many of its citizens are Catholic, or how they practice their faith. Former South Korean President…
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Photo Story: Prayer in in Kolkata, India to remember Mother Teresa’s birth

Photo Story: Prayer in in Kolkata, India to remember Mother Teresa’s birth

Nuns take part in a mass prayer near Mother's tomb at Mother House on Mother Teresa's 112th birth anniversary in Kolkata, India, 26 August 2022 . Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu on 26 August 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia. She began her missionary work with the poor in Kolkata in 1948, and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Mother Teresa was canonized as a saint by Pope Francis in 2016. Photo: EPA-EFE/PIYAL ADHIKARY
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Pakistan floods have affected over 30 million people

Pakistan floods have affected over 30 million people

Historic monsoon rains and flooding in Pakistan have affected more than 30 million people over the last few weeks, the country's climate change minister said, calling the situation a "climate-induced humanitarian disaster of epic proportions." Pakistan has urged the international community to help with relief efforts as it struggles to cope with the aftermath of torrential rains that have triggered massive floods since last month, killing more than 900 people. "33 million have been affected, in different ways; the final homeless figure is being assessed," Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman told Reuters in a text message. She added that the…
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Mystery flu spreading in India

Mystery flu spreading in India

An outbreak of a new viral infection referred to as tomato flu that was first detected in children in the southern Indian state of Kerala in May has spread to two other states. According to an article in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine, 82 children aged under five had been diagnosed with the virus in Kerala as of 26 July. Cases have now been reported in neighbouring Tamil Nadu state and in Odisha in the east, where children as old as nine have been infected, even though the virus usually affects under-fives. Scientists are still trying to identify exactly what this…
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Japan police chief to resign over Abe shooting, citing ‘fresh start’

Japan police chief to resign over Abe shooting, citing ‘fresh start’

TOKYO, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Japan's National Police Agency chief said on Thursday he will resign to take responsibility for the murder of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, citing the need for a "fresh start" for the organisation and its security duties. Itaru Nakamura is the most senior official to step down in connection with Abe's assassination at a campaign rally in the western city of Nara on July 8, where experts have said security was seriously flawed. "In the process of verifying our new security plan, we have come to realise that our security duties would need a fresh…
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North Korea reports unknown fever cases near China border, denies COVID

North Korea reports unknown fever cases near China border, denies COVID

SEOUL, Aug 25 (Reuters) - North Korea's state media said on Thursday that a fever outbreak of unknown origin has emerged in a region bordering China, but it was not the novel coronavirus over which the country declared victory this month. Four fever cases "suspected of being infected with malignant epidemic" were reported from Ryanggang Province near the border with China on Tuesday, prompting authorities to immediately lock down the area and mobilise medical teams, the official KCNA news agency said, citing the State Emergency Epidemic Prevention Headquarters. But a detailed analysis of the nationwide epidemic situation showed that there…
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Britain’s former Myanmar envoy detained in Yangon-sources

Britain’s former Myanmar envoy detained in Yangon-sources

Aug 25 (Reuters) - Authorities in Myanmar have detained Britain's former ambassador to the Southeast Asian nation, where a military junta seized power last year, three people with knowledge of the situation said on Thursday. Vicky Bowman, who currently runs the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB), and her husband, Htein Lin, a Burmese artist and former political prisoner, were detained on Wednesday, the sources said, asking not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue. A source with knowledge of the situation said Bowman and her husband had been charged with immigration offences. The arrest comes on…
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Taliban say they’ve not found body of al Qaeda leader

Taliban say they’ve not found body of al Qaeda leader

KABUL, Aug 25 (Reuters) - The Taliban have not found the body of Ayman al-Zawahiri and are continuing investigations, group spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said on Thursday, after the United States said they killed the al Qaeda leader in an airstrike in Kabul last month. The United States killed Zawahiri with a missile fired from a drone while he stood on a balcony at his hideout in July, U.S. officials said, in the biggest blow to al Qaeda since U.S. Navy SEALS shot dead Osama bin Laden more than a decade ago. Reporting by Mohammad Yunus Yawar; Writing by Charlotte Greenfield;…
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Taiwan proposes large rise in defence spending amid escalating China tensions

Taiwan proposes large rise in defence spending amid escalating China tensions

TAIPEI, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Taiwan proposed $19 billion in defence spending for next year on Thursday, a double-digit increase on 2022 that includes funds for new fighter jets, weeks after China staged large-scale war games around the island it views as its sovereign territory. China carried out its largest-ever military exercises around the democratically governed island after a visit this month by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The trip infuriated Beijing, which saw it as an attempt by Washington to interfere in China's internal affairs. The overall proposed defence budget by President Tsai Ing-wen's Cabinet sets a 13.9% year-on-year…
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Singapore to drop most indoor mask requirements next week

Singapore to drop most indoor mask requirements next week

SINGAPORE, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Singapore will do away with requirements to wear masks indoors starting Aug. 29, as the country sees its COVID-19 situation stabilise further, the health minister said on Wednesday. For the first time in more than two years, people in the Southeast Asian city-state will no longer be required to wear masks indoors except on public transport and in high-risk settings like healthcare facilities. The health ministry also updated rules for non-vaccinated travellers, dropping a 7-day quarantine requirement starting next week. Singapore, which is a major Asian financial and travel hub, lifted most pandemic curbs, including…
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Japan signals return to nuclear power to stabilise energy supply

Japan signals return to nuclear power to stabilise energy supply

TOKYO, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Japan will restart more idled nuclear plants and look at developing next-generation reactors, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday, setting the stage for a major policy shift on nuclear energy a decade after the Fukushima disaster. The comments from Kishida - who also said the government would look at extending the lifespan of existing reactors - highlight how the Ukraine crisis and soaring energy costs have forced both a change in public opinion and a policy rethink toward nuclear power. Japan has kept most of its nuclear plants idled in the decade since a…
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China faces heatwave havoc on power, crops and livestock

China faces heatwave havoc on power, crops and livestock

SHANGHAI, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Extreme heat in China played havoc on Wednesday despite lower temperatures in some regions, with authorities across the Yangtze river basin scrambling to limit the damage from climate change on power, crops and livestock. China's heatwave, stretching past 70 days, is its longest and most widespread on record, with around 30% of the 600 weather stations along the Yangtze recording their highest temperatures ever by last Friday. The southwestern region of Chongqing has been hit especially hard, with one resident, Zhang Ronghai, saying that both his water and his power had been cut after a…
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Thai court suspends PM Prayuth

Thai court suspends PM Prayuth

BANGKOK, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Thailand's Constitutional Court on Wednesday suspended Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha from official duties after it decided to hear a petition to review his legally mandated eight-year term limit. The court announced its decision in a statement sent to media. It was not clear when it would deliver a final ruling on the petition brought by the main opposition party arguing that Prayuth's time spent as head of a military junta should count towards his constitutionally stipulated eight-year term. Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan is expected to take over as interim leader, a government official said…
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Indonesia’s Sumatra checks for damage from 6.3 magnitude earthquake

Indonesia’s Sumatra checks for damage from 6.3 magnitude earthquake

Aug 24 (Reuters) - Indonesia's disaster agency is assessing the impact of a strong earthquake that hit off the southern coast of Sumatra island late on Tuesday, it said in a statement, noting there had been no reports of damage or casualties by near midnight. The 6.3 magnitude quake struck at 21:31 local time (1431 GMT), the country's meteorology and geophysics agency (BMKG) said, with its epicentre 80 km (50 miles) south of the town of Manna in Bengkulu province, at a depth of 52 km. Manna is about 600 km (375 miles) northwest of the capital Jakarta. The tremor…
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Malaysian ex-PM Najib goes to jail for graft after losing final appeal

Malaysian ex-PM Najib goes to jail for graft after losing final appeal

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) -Malaysia's top court ordered former prime minister Najib Razak to begin a 12-year prison sentence on Tuesday after upholding a guilty conviction on charges related to a multi-billion dollar graft scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). The Federal Court ruling caps the stunning downfall of Najib, who until four years ago governed Malaysia with an iron grip and suppressed local investigations of the 1MDB scandal that has implicated financial institutions and high-ranking officials worldwide. Prosecutors have said some $4.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB - co-founded by Najib during his first year as prime minister…
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Taiwan saw off China before and retains resolve to defend itself, president says

Taiwan saw off China before and retains resolve to defend itself, president says

Taiwan saw off China's military six decades ago when its forces bombarded offshore Taiwanese islands and that resolve to defend the homeland continues to this day, President Tsai Ing-wen told a visiting group of former U.S. officials on Tuesday. Tensions between Taiwan and China have spiked over the past month following the visit to Taipei by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. China staged war games near Taiwan to express its anger at what it saw as stepped up U.S. support for the island Beijing views as sovereign Chinese territory. Meeting a delegation of former U.S. officials now at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, Tsai referred to China's…
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Chinese censors change ending of latest ‘Minions’ movie

Chinese censors change ending of latest ‘Minions’ movie

Censors have altered the ending of the recent animated film Minions: The Rise of Gru for its domestic release in China, social media users across the country noticed over the weekend. The editing is yet another example of Chinese authorities editing a popular Hollywood film to make it more politically correct, leading some viewers to lament the changes. According to posts and screenshots from the movie shared on Weibo, a platform similar to Twitter, censors tacked on an addendum in which Wild Knuckles, a main character in the heist film, was caught by police and served 20 years in jail. Gru, a…
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Philippine children back in school as pandemic restrictions ease

Philippine children back in school as pandemic restrictions ease

MACABEBE, Philippines, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Millions of Philippine students returned to classrooms for the first time in more than two years on Monday, after the country lifted most remaining COVID-19 curbs to try and reverse learning losses. Students, all wearing face masks, queued to enter their classrooms and attended flag raising ceremonies in their schoolyards across the Southeast Asian country as the government phases out remote learning. "For two years, we longed for face-to-face classes so even if there's a flood, we will continue our lessons," said school teacher Mylene Ambrocio, 37, as she stook in ankle-deep water in…
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Japan PM Kishida’s support tumbles, hit by questions over church and COVID

Japan PM Kishida’s support tumbles, hit by questions over church and COVID

TOKYO, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Support for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's government has tumbled, battered by questions about the ruling party's ties to the Unification Church and its response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a public opinion poll. Links to the church, founded in South Korea in the 1950s and famous for its mass weddings, have become a headache for Kishida since July 8, when former premier Shinzo Abe was shot and his suspected killer said his mother was bankrupted by the church and blamed Abe for promoting it. According to a survey done at the weekend by…
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UPDATED: Indonesia’s Bali shakes after 5.5 quake

UPDATED: Indonesia’s Bali shakes after 5.5 quake

DENPASAR, Indonesia Aug 22 (Reuters) - A moderate earthquake shook Indonesia's tourist island of Bali on Monday, with no immediate reports of damages or casualties. The quake, which Indonesia's meteorology and geophysics agency (BMKG) said was a 5.6 magnitude, lasted for around a minute and led to many residents spilling from buildings on to streets, according to witnesses. It occurred at 1636 local time (0836 GMT) and was felt across the island and neighbouring Lombok, witnesses said. Officials at the local and national disaster mitigation agencies did not immediately respond to a request for comment. BMKG said no tsunami was…
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Pakistan police charge ex-PM Imran Khan under terrorism act

Pakistan police charge ex-PM Imran Khan under terrorism act

ISLAMABAD, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Hundreds of supporters of Pakistan's former prime minister, Imran Khan, gathered on Monday outside his hilltop mansion in the capital, vowing to prevent his arrest on anti-terrorism accusations, officials of his political party said. The move follows a police case filed against Khan on Saturday for threatening government officials in a public speech about the alleged police torture of one of his aides, who faces sedition charges for inciting mutiny in the powerful military. The protesters chanted slogans against the government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, which took over after Khan's ouster in a confidence…
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China’s Sichuan extends power curbs until Aug.25 as heatwave drags on

China’s Sichuan extends power curbs until Aug.25 as heatwave drags on

SHANGHAI, Aug 22 (Reuters) - China's Sichuan province will extend curbs on industrial power consumers until Aug. 25 as it tries to deal with dwindling hydropower output and surging household electricity demand following a long heatwave, financial news service Caixin said. Sichuan, a major hydropower generator, already imposed consumption restrictions on industry from Aug. 15 to Aug. 20, but extended the curbs for another five days on Sunday as temperatures continued to linger at around 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), Caixin said. It cited firms in the battery industry as saying that industrial power users in the cities of…
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Democratic allies must stand together, Taiwan leader tells U.S. official

Democratic allies must stand together, Taiwan leader tells U.S. official

TAIPEI, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Taiwan and the United States are key security and economic allies in the Indo-Pacific region and democratic allies must stand together, Tsai Ing-wen, president of the self-ruled the island, told a visiting U.S. official on Monday. Her remarks to Eric Holcomb, the governor of the U.S. state of Indiana, came on the third of this month's visits by senior U.S. officials, including U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, that have infuriated China, which views Taiwan as its own territory. China has held war games and military drills near Taiwan since Pelosi's visit. Taiwan's government rejects Beijing's…
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South Korea, U.S. begin military drills amid North Korea backlash

South Korea, U.S. begin military drills amid North Korea backlash

SEOUL, Aug 22 (Reuters) - South Korea and the United States began their annual joint military drills on Monday with a resumption of field training, officials said, as the allies seek to tighten readiness posture over North Korea's potential weapons tests. The summertime exercises, renamed Ulchi Freedom Shield this year and scheduled to end on Sept. 1, came after South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office in May, vowed to "normalise" the combined exercises and boost deterrence against the North. The drills were scaled back in recent years because of COVID-19 and as Yoon's predecessor sought to restart talks…
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U.S. business group says members see limited impact from Taiwan-China tensions

U.S. business group says members see limited impact from Taiwan-China tensions

TAIPEI, (Reuters) - Most members surveyed by the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan said they had not been significantly affected by recent Chinese military drills around the island, but had heightened concerns, the group said. China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, has been carrying out the war games and exercises since U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei this month. AmCham Taiwan said 126 of its 529 members responded to the Aug. 8-17 survey. Seventy-seven percent reported their businesses had not been significantly affected, while 17% said they had experienced disruption, including increased shipping or insurance costs,…
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Japan PM Kishida infected with COVID, recuperating

Japan PM Kishida infected with COVID, recuperating

TOKYO, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has been infected with COVID-19 and is recuperating at his official residence, his office said on Sunday. Kishida, just returned from week-long vacation, was due to restart work on Monday. He developed a cough and fever on Saturday, and took a PCR test on Sunday morning, which confirmed the positive result in the afternoon, a Cabinet spokesperson said. Japan has endured a record resurgence in coronavirus infections, hitting businesses in the world's third-biggest economy, although deaths remain relatively low and the disruptions have been milder than in some other advanced…
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Floods, landslides kill dozens as monsoon rains lash northern, eastern India

Floods, landslides kill dozens as monsoon rains lash northern, eastern India

LUCKNOW/BHUBANESHWAR, India, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Floods and landslides triggered by intense monsoon rains killed at least 50 people in northern and eastern India over the last three days, officials said on Sunday. The rains overwhelmed hundreds of villages, sweeping away houses and leaving residents stranded as rescue crews have been racing to evacuate survivors. Earlier this month the federal weather office had predicted that India was likely to receive an average amount of rain in August and September, pointing to overall good crop yields in Asia's third-biggest economy that relies on farming to boost growth and generate jobs. Farming…
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Japan considers deploying long-range missiles to counter China

Japan considers deploying long-range missiles to counter China

TOKYO, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Japan is considering the deployment of 1,000 long-range cruise missiles to boost its counterattack capability against China, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Sunday. The missiles would be existing arms modified to extend their range from 100 km (62 miles) to 1,000 km, the daily said, citing government sources. The arms, launched by ships or aircraft, would be stationed mainly around the southern Nansei islands and capable of reaching the coastal areas of North Korea and China, the Yomiuri said. Representatives from Japan's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the…
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N. Korea surged imports of Chinese masks, gloves before declaring COVID victory

N. Korea surged imports of Chinese masks, gloves before declaring COVID victory

BEIJING, Aug 20 (Reuters) - North Korea imported more than 1 million facial masks and 15,000 pairs of rubber gloves from China in July, shortly before declaring victory over COVID-19, Chinese trade showed on Saturday. Pyongyang last week declared victory over the coronavirus, ending a little-detailed fight against "fever" cases that had risen to 4.77 million. It has registered no new such cases since July 29. Still, China exported 1.23 million facial masks to North Korea in July, worth $44,307, surging from 17,000 the previous month, according to data released by Chinese customs. From January to July, the last month for which…
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Thailand saw 3.78 million tourists from January to mid-August

Thailand saw 3.78 million tourists from January to mid-August

BANGKOK, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Thailand saw 3.78 million tourist arrivals from January to Aug 17, a government official said on Friday. The arrivals, mainly from Malaysia, India and Singapore, generated revenues of 176 billion baht ($4.93 billion), said Taweesin Visanuyothin, a spokesperson for the government's COVID-19 taskforce. Thailand will extend the duration of its visa-on-arrival, which applies to nationals of India, China and Saudi Arabia, from 15 days to 30 days starting in October, said Taweesin. The measure is aimed at boosting the tourism sector as it recovers from a pandemic-induced slump. Last year, the foreign arrivals plummeted to…
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Photo Story: The Singapore Night Festival

Photo Story: The Singapore Night Festival

A visitor looks at inflatable sculptures titled ‘tobyato bird pitstop’ during a media preview for the Singapore Night Festival in Singapore. The Singapore Night Festival featuring over 55 programmes including art projection mapping installations on iconic landmarks, Night Lights installations and various performances will run from 19 to 27 August. Via EPA-EFE/HOW HWEE YOUNG
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