Asia Pacific Headlines

  • Philippines: Duterte faces first serious dip in popularity ratings

    Tax policy has raised price of food and affected support from president’s usual base His domestic reputation has survived a brutal drug war that took thousands of lives, an attack on God as “stupid”, jokes about rape and a barrage of misogynistic comments. But now the Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, faces the first serious dip in his popularity ratings amid soaring inflation, which has caused the price of some everyday items such as rice, bread and fuel to double. Continue reading...

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  • Aerial footage of the world's longest sea bridge – video

    The $20bn Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau sea bridge, the world’s longest, has been officially opened. Critics say the 34 mile (55km) construction, connecting Hong Kong and Macau to the Chinese mainland, is an attempt to integrate Hong Kong into China as fears grow that the city’s cherished freedoms are being eroded'Yawn cams' and heart monitors: five key facts about the world's longest sea bridge Continue reading...

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  • Dyson to build electric cars in Singapore, with launch planned for 2021

    British firm chose site of plant because of proximity to ‘high-growth markets’ in Asia Dyson will build its new electric car in Singapore, the manufacturer announced on Tuesday, as it steps up plans to take on big US rivals in automotive technology. The British firm chose Singapore because of its proximity to “high-growth markets” in Asia, the chief executive, Jim Rowan, said in a memo to staff. The plant will be completed in 2020, with the car to be launched in 2021. Continue reading...

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  • Morrison rejects Labor offer on Nauru asylum seekers as 'horse-trading'

    Labor proposes amendments to New Zealand resettlement bill it earlier opposed Scott Morrison has shot down an overture by Labor aimed at breaking the political deadlock over Nauru, declaring “you don’t horse-trade on border protection”. Labor on Tuesday proposed three amendments to government legislation designed to close off re-entry to Australia for any asylum seekers resettled in New Zealand – legislation the opposition has previously rejected outright, and the shift was welcomed by several...

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  • Bong arm of the law: South Korea says it will arrest citizens who smoke weed in Canada

    Seoul reminds 23,000 South Korean students in Canada that domestic law applies to them no matter where they are For South Koreans in Canada, the police in their home country have no problem harshing their mellow. Canada became the second country in the world to legalise recreational marijuana last week, but for South Koreans hoping to try the drug, their hopes have just gone up in smoke. Police in South Korea have repeatedly told their citizens not to partake in this newfound freedom, with the...

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  • Taiwan train travelling twice speed limit before crash that killed 18

    Driver allegedly disabled the automatic train protection system that would have caused it to brake The driver of a train which derailed in Taiwan killing 18 people is under investigation after an inquiry found the train entered a turn at 140km/h (87mph), almost twice the speed limit for the section. The driver of the train is also being investigated for negligence for allegedly disabling the automatic train protection system that would have caused it to brake, reported the official Central News...

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  • Five things you need to know about the world's longest sea bridge

    The $20bn Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge is one of the world’s most unusual roadways The world’s longest sea bridge, connecting Hong Kong and Macau to the Chinese mainland has been officially opened, in a ceremony in Zhuhai attended by Chinese president Xi Jinping and Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam. In a short address Xi declared the bridge open, as digital fireworks exploded on a screen behind him. The bridge will open to traffic on Wednesday. Continue reading...

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  • 'Watching our mates drop dead': New Zealand's synthetic cannabis crisis

    Neighbourhoods being ‘swallowed up’ by the drug, with health officials calling for urgent action Daniel started using synthetic cannabis when it was legal. He remembers a mild to mid-range high that was short acting. “It was fantastic,” he says. That was before the drug was banned by the government four years ago and bootleg batches began to surface on the streets of Auckland. Now, taking synthetic cannabis in New Zealand can be deadly. “It wasn’t anything like this stuff you see now. We are...

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  • Guns and guards to be removed from Korean 'truce village' of Panmunjom

    Demilitarisation will happen within days after talks between South Korea, North Korea and UN Command The two Koreas and the US-led United Nations Command have agreed to demilitarise a section of the heavily fortified border dividing the peninsula by Thursday this week, as a diplomatic thaw gathers pace. Seoul’s defence ministry said in a statement that, following trilateral talks on Monday, agreement had been reached to withdraw firearms and guard posts from the Joint Security Area (JSA), also...

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  • Labor says it's prepared to agree to NZ travel ban to get children off Nauru

    Shadow immigration minister says ALP will support Coalition’s bill if government guarantees relocation of all children and families Labor has outlined its conditions for supporting the Morrison government’s legislation imposing a ban on resettled asylum seekers ever coming to Australia, in an effort to break the current political deadlock and to get children and their families removed from Nauru. With pressure intensifying from the crossbench for the Coalition and Labor to strike a deal to end...

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  • China's stock market surges on stimulus hopes – business live

    Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news, as the Shanghai stock market leaps by over 4%Chinese president has pledged to protect companiesStocks on track for best day since 2016Italy was downgraded on Friday night 8.03am BST Craig Erlam of foreign exchange firm OANDA says Chinese traders have welcomed Beijing’s pledge to protect the corporate sector: President Xi added his name to the list of those vowing to support private firms over the weekend, giving investors reason to...

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  • Carriages strewn after train derailment in Taiwan – video

    Carriages are strewn at angles across and away from the track, some on their side, in this aerial footage of the scene after an express train was derailed in Taiwan.  Eighteen people died and more than 170 were injured when the Puyuma service, carrying more than 366 passengers from a Taipei suburb toward Taitung, was derailed Continue reading...

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  • World's longest sea bridge to open ... but only to drivers with a special permit

    Chinese project is one of the most criticised initiatives in Hong Kong, where the bridge is seen as another way for Beijing to extend its control The world’s longest sea bridge is set to open this week, linking the cities of Hong Kong and Macau to the Chinese mainland as part of a broader contentious plan to integrate the special administrative regions into China. The $20bn Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge officially opens on Tuesday in a ceremony that Chinese president Xi Jinping is reportedly...

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  • New Zealand ban on foreign home buyers begins amid doubts it will ease crisis

    Critics say the policy is unlikely to make housing – which has soared 60% in price in 10 years – more affordable for locals A ban on foreigners buying homes in New Zealand has come into force, as the Labour-led government fulfils an election promise that critics say could be a popular but won’t solve the lack of affordable housing. Housing became a major campaign issue for an election last year that ended the National Party government’s near decade in power and landed Jacinda Ardern the...

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  • From denial to pride: how China changed its language on Xinjiang's camps

    Beijing now proudly parades ‘humane management and care’ at internment camps, after denying their existence for months China’s state broadcaster CCTV last week offered a look inside Xinjiang’s controversial internment camps. In the 15-minute segment journalists visit the Hotan City Vocational Skills Education and Training Centre where they teach students Mandarin, China’s various legal codes, and job-relevant skills, according to a city official, reciting almost verbatim a description...

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  • Eighteen people killed in Taiwan train derailment

    At least 160 people injured after Puyuma express service came off tracks on a bend Eighteen people have been killed and at least 160 injured in Taiwan after an express train derailed on a popular weekend route, officials said. The Puyuma service was carrying more than 366 passengers from a suburb of Taipei toward Taitung, a city on Taiwan’s south-east coast, when it came off the tracks at a curve at about 4.50pm local time. Continue reading...

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  • Ardern's first year: New Zealand grapples with hangover from Jacindamania

    In her first speech, the PM hailed a new beginning but 12 months later transformative change is yet to be seen “We believe capitalism must regain its human face, and that conviction deeply influenced our decision.” So said Winston Peters, the kingmaker politician who lent his support a year ago to Labour’s rising star, Jacinda Ardern, after a decade of conservative National party government. “For too many New Zealanders capitalism has not been their friend but their foe,” he said. Continue...

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  • Risk-taking artists defy Thai taboos at Bangkok Art Biennale

    Inaugural event tackles often-censored topics such as sex work and Thailand’s war-torn south Standing in a massage parlour in the seedy glow of red strip lighting, Pueng turns to the camera. “I have a dream, to build a new house for my family,” she says. “Then I can open a small grocery shop”. It is a simple aspiration – the extraordinary aspect of it is that, as one of Thailand’s hundreds of thousands of sex workers, she has been given a public platform to speak at all. Alongside 17 other sex...

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  • Phelps backs getting children off Nauru, as Wentworth vote narrows

    Phelps gives tacit support for refugee resettlement in New Zealand as margin between candidates drops to less than 900 votes The incoming member for Wentworth Kerryn Phelps says the Morrison government should run a full term unless there are “exceptional circumstances” – and she has nominated getting children off Nauru as “the first order of business”. While giving the government breathing room as the ongoing count in Wentworth on Sunday morning shows the Liberal Dave Sharma clawing back...

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  • ‘Not happy’: Australia must act on climate, says former Kiribati leader

    Anote Tong, allegedly insulted by Australian minister, says inaction means Canberra risks losing its status in Pacific region Anote Tong has had quite a week. The former president of Kiribati has been in Australia to advocate for more robust action on climate change, which threatens to wipe out his Pacific home within a matter of decades as sea levels rise. But on Wednesday he got caught up in controversy when reports emerged that Australia’s environment minister, Melissa Price, allegedly told...

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  • China moves quickly in bid to counter sharp slowdown in economy

    Vice-premier and central bank governor intervene as GDP grows at lowest rate since 2009 Chinese officials have reacted quickly to a sharp slowdown in growth at the world’s second largest economy, promising that it remained strong despite an escalating trade war with the US. The intervention on Friday by the vice-premier, Liu He, and the central bank governor gave China’s leading stock market a brief respite from six months of tumbling shares that have sliced more than a third from the value of...

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  • Epic scenes: the biggest arts venue on Earth lands in Taiwan

    Kaohsiung, TaiwanBoasting the largest organ in Asia and four theatres, this enormous performing arts venue invites people to exercise, nap and even break into song Looking like the colossal love child of a container ship and a whale, writhing above the treetops of Weiwuying park in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung, the world’s largest performing arts centre has a suitably immense presence. By turns galumphing and graceful, the roughly £260m hulk contains an opera house, concert hall,...

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  • Interpol ex-chief may be dead, wife fears, after capture by Chinese

    Grace Meng speaks out about ‘cruel, dirty’ Chinese authorities after disappearance of France-based Meng Hongwei The wife of Meng Hongwei, incumbent president of Interpol who has been detained in secret by China, says she is not sure her husband is alive after he disappeared mysteriously last month, to turn up under investigation in China. In an emotional interview with the BBC, Grace Meng said she and her children have been waiting for news of Meng Hongwei, who has not been seen or heard from...

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  • Indonesia warns it will 'adjust' policies if Australia moves Israel embassy

    Threat joins backlash from Middle East over possible move of embassy to Jerusalem Indonesian officials have threatened to “adjust” policies towards Australia if the Morrison government decides to move Australia’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The warnings from officials in the Indonesian foreign ministry and ministry of defence – first reported by ABC’s AM – add to a growing backlash from 13 Middle Eastern and north African nations and the Palestinian National Authority against...

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