Chinese businessman pays record price for Belgian racing pigeon
2013-05-21 13:06:21 GMT : (World/South East Asia)
BRUSSELS: A Chinese businessman has paid a world record 310,000 euros ($398,500) for a Belgian pigeon, highlighting Asia's huge and growing interest in racing birds.The one-year-old award-winning pigeon named Bolt was bred by Belgian pigeon fancier Leo Heremans, a well-known name to pigeon enthusiasts, who sold his entire collection of 530 birds for 4.3 million euros at an auction over the wee...
Vietnam gives green light for bad debt bank
2013-05-21 12:17:44 GMT : (World/South East Asia)
HANOI: Vietnam's government approved on Tuesday the formation of an asset management firm to buy bad debt from its troubled banks, an official said, a move that could help stimulate an ailing economy growing at its slowest pace in 13 years.The long-delayed "bad debt bank", the Vietnam Asset Management Corp (VAMC), would be run by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) and is tasked with trimming down...
Indonesia names new finance minister
2013-05-20 08:15:39 GMT : (World/South East Asia)
JAKARTA: Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Monday named the country's investment chief as the new finance minister, putting him in charge of Southeast Asia's top economy at a time of major challenges.Chatib Basri, who is taking on the role ahead of elections in 2014, replaces Hatta Rajasa, who was stand-in finance minister for a few weeks after the previous incumbent left amid ...
Second Taiwanese fighter crash within a week
2013-05-20 06:22:50 GMT : (World/South East Asia)
TAIPEI: A Taiwanese fighter jet ploughed into the sea off the island's north coast on Monday, the air force's second crash in less than a week, military officials said.The crash happened when the French-made Mirage 2000-5 fighter was conducting a regular training mission, the air force said, adding that both crew managed to parachute to safety.The cause of the incident was under investigat...
Fiji turns to Russia, China amid strained regional ties
2013-05-19 08:51:59 GMT : (World/South East Asia)
SUVA: Fiji's military ruler said on Sunday he would meet Beijing's leaders in China this month, a week after unveiling an official trip to Russia, as he looks beyond strained regional ties in the South Pacific.Voreqe Bainimarama has been banned from Australia and New Zealand since seizing control in a 2006 coup.His announcement that he would hold talks with Premier Li Keqiang and President...
Japan defends PM aide's surprise North Korea trip
2013-05-19 08:21:17 GMT : (World/South East Asia)
TOKYO: A Japanese minister on Sunday defended a surprise visit to North Korea by one of the prime minister's aides which Washington and Seoul said could not help efforts to forge a united front against Pyongyang.Akira Amari, state minister of economic revitalisation, said the four-day trip by Isao Iijima reflected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's resolve to have North Korea come clean on its ki...
South Korea slams North Korea's 'provocative' missile launches
2013-05-19 07:53:59 GMT : (World/South East Asia)
SEOUL: South Korea on Sunday condemned North Korea's latest short-range missile launches as "provocative" and again urged it to hold talks about a suspended jointly-run industrial park. The North Saturday launched three short-range guided missiles off its east coast, apparently as part of a military drill, at a time when cross-border relations remain icy after months of simmering tension. The ...
Philippines waiting for Taiwan anger to cool
2013-05-19 07:49:04 GMT : (World/South East Asia)
MANILA: The Philippines is waiting for tempers in Taiwan to cool before settling the dispute over a shot Taiwanese fisherman, the head of an office in charge of relations said Sunday.Issues like Manila's "one-China" policy and comments by Taiwanese investigators branding the incident as murder have complicated the situation, said Amadeo Perez, chairman of the Manila Economic and Cultural Offic...
China investigates North Korea boat hijack claim: official
2013-05-19 07:37:42 GMT : (World/South East Asia)
BEIJING: Chinese authorities were on Sunday investigating claims that unidentified North Koreans hijacked a Chinese fishing boat, kidnapping 16 sailors and demanding a ransom, local media and an official said.Armed North Koreans on May 6 hijacked the boat and escorted it towards North Korea while it was sailing in waters around 70 kilometres (40 miles) from North Korea's western coast, reports...
Art Basel to bring international flair to Hong Kong
2013-05-19 06:58:55 GMT : (World/South East Asia)
HONG KONG: Art lovers, collectors and gallerists will gather on Thursday for Hong Kong's inaugural edition of Art Basel, sealing the city's status as an international art hub and Asia's leading art destination.The four-day annual show is the world's premier art fair and has until now only been held in Switzerland and the United States each year. More than 2,000 international artist...
Japan's elderly not acting their age
2013-05-19 06:52:56 GMT : (World/South East Asia)
SAITAMA: When amateur actress Etsuko Shigemoto walks out in front of a Paris audience in an all-Japanese production this month she will forget about being 87 years old."I have weak hearing and poor sight. I have problems all over my body," she said. "But I am still young in spirit."Shigemoto is one of a troupe of elderly actors average age 74 under the tutelage of world-renowned director Yukio Nin...
Strong 6.1 earthquake strikes off Japan coast
2013-05-18 07:00:59 GMT : (World/South East Asia)
TOKYO: A strong 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck off the northern coast of Japan's main Honshu island on Saturday, seismologists said, but no tsunami warning was issued and there were no immediate reports of damage.The quake hit at 2:48 pm (0548 GMT) in the Pacific some 50 kilometres (31 miles) from Namie town near the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Daiichi plant, the United States Geological Survey...
British woman may face death in Indonesia for drugs
2013-05-18 05:54:17 GMT : (World/South East Asia)
JAKARTAA British woman could face the death penalty in Indonesia after being arrested for allegedly smuggling crystal methamphetamine into the country from China, an official said Saturday.The woman, identified only by her initials AR, was arrested at a hotel in the city of Surabaya, East Java province, last month with 1.47 kilograms (three pounds, four ounces) of the drug, the national narcotics ...
Japan PM says shrine visits 'natural'
2013-05-17 15:47:36 GMT : (World/South East Asia)
WASHINGTON: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe defended in an interview Friday the right of Japan's leaders to visit a controversial shrine to war dead but hit back at critics who accuse him of revisionism.Amid the latest flare-up with China and South Korea over history, Abe quoted a US scholar as comparing the Yasukuni shrine to Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, which has a section for Conf...
Taiwan leader calls for calm amid outrage at Philippines
2013-05-17 13:52:20 GMT : (World/South East Asia)
TAIPEI: Taiwan's leader on Friday called for calm and promised to protect Filipinos on the island amid widespread anger at the Philippines over the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman.Anti-Manila sentiments mounted after a 65-year-old fisherman was shot dead last week by Philippine coastguards who said his vessel intruded into Philippine waters. Taiwanese media have reported an attack on a Filipi...
Ahmadinejad to join Thai 'water summit'
2013-05-17 06:48:01 GMT : (World/South East Asia)
BANGKOK: Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will address a forum on water security in Thailand next week, an embassy official said on Friday, just weeks before he stands down from the post.His scheduled appearance in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai from Sunday comes as Iran gears up for elections and as world powers press the Islamic republic over its suspected nuclear program and suppo...
North Korea may have up to 200 mobile launchers: report
2013-05-17 04:50:13 GMT : (World/South East Asia)
SEOUL: North Korea is now thought to have around twice as many mobile missile launchers as previously estimated by Seoul, a report said Friday, quoting a state-run military analysis unit.Yonhap news agency said the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses (KIDA) had revised its figures after seeing a related Pentagon document.It now estimated that Pyongyang had up to 50 medium-range missile launchers ...
South Korea calls Japan visit to North Korea 'unhelpful'
2013-05-16 07:44:50 GMT : (World/South East Asia)
SEOUL: South Korea Thursday criticised an "unhelpful" visit to North Korea by a senior aide to Japan's prime minister, saying it weakened the united front needed to deal with Pyongyang.Isao Iijima arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday on a visit that clearly surprised both Seoul and Washington, which have been working closely with Tokyo on coordinating North Korea policy.South Korean Foreign Ministr...
Five seriously injured in Nepal plane crash
2013-05-16 06:22:34 GMT : (World/South East Asia)
KATHMANDU: A small plane carrying 18 passengers skidded off the runway of a high-altitude airport on Thursday and plunged into a river in northwestern Nepal seriously injuring five, a police spokesman said.The government-run Nepal Airlines Twin Otter aircraft crashed into Kali Gandaki river in the Annapurna mountain range, police spokesman Keshav Adhikari said, adding that all on board were injure...
FDI into China creeps up: commerce ministry
2013-05-16 04:54:43 GMT : (World/South East Asia)
BEIJING: Foreign direct investment (FDI) into China rose marginally in April, the government announced on Thursday, as investment into the giant from the rest of Asia remained largely static.Incoming FDI, which excludes financial sectors, was up a mere 0.4 percent year-on-year in April to $8.44 billion, the commerce ministry said, while the figure for the first four months of 2013 rose 1.21 percen...