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Nuclear test is SEOUL: North Korea Saturday renewed its threat to carry out a third nuclear test in the latest in a series of bellicose warnings sparked by a tightening of UN sanctions, saying it was the "demand of the people."   It came a day after Pyongyang said the sanctions adopted earlier this week amounted to a "declaration of war", threatening the South with unspecified "physical counter-measures".   "A nuclear test is the demand of the people," said the Rodong Sinmun, the official daily newspaper of the ruling communist party in a signed commentary titled "We have no other option".   "The people's demand is that we must do something even greater than a nuclear test. The United Nations Security Council has left us with no other options. We have no other ways but to push forward to the final showdown", it said.   "The greatest threat to peace and security on the Korean peninsula comes from the hostile policy ...

Singapore government faces test in by-election SINGAPORE: Voters in a Singapore suburb began casting ballots on Saturday in a by-election that tests the public mood two years after the ruling party suffered its worst ever poll performance.   At stake is a seat left vacant when former Speaker Michael Palmer stepped down and quit the People's Action Party (PAP), which has been in power for over half a century, after he confessed to an extramarital affair in December.   The campaign has been dominated by ...
China media threatens North Korea aid cut over atomic test BEIJING: North Korea's sole major ally China will decrease aid to Pyongyang if it goes ahead with a planned nuclear test, state-run media said in an unusually frank warning on Friday.   China is the North's leading energy supplier and trade partner and is seen as one of the few nations able to influence Pyongyang's behaviour, with the comments adding a distinctive edge to its typical official calls for stability and dialogue.   "If North Korea engages in further ...
Japan govt confirms 10th death in Algeria siege TOKYO: The Japanese government on Thursday confirmed the tenth death in the Algerian hostage siege, its worst toll in an act of terror since the September 2001 attacks on New York.   "We have now identified the remaining body," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters. "We have confirmed the death of a total ten people."   Seventeen Japanese had been at the desert gas plant in In Amenas when gunmen stormed the facility last Wednesday.   Seven were previously known ...
South Korea president SEOUL: A South Korean court on Thursday sentenced the elder brother of President Lee Myung-Bak to two years in jail after convicting him on corruption charges.   The Seoul Central District Court also ordered Lee Sang-Deuk, 77, to pay fines totalling 750 million won ($701,600) -- the same sum he was found guilty of taking in kickbacks from bankers and a businessman.   Lee, a six-term lawmaker, was arrested in July last year on graft charges and allegedly helping ...
Japan coastguard fired water cannon at Taiwan boat TOKYO: Japan's coastguard said on Thursday it fired water cannon at a Taiwanese boat loaded with activists and heading for Tokyo-controlled islands at the centre of a bitter international dispute.   "After entering our country's contiguous zone, the vessel with foreign activists on board continued sailing east. So our patrol boat carried out restrictions on the vessel such as blocking its path and discharging water," it said in a statement.   Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2013 ...
Taiwan TAIPEI: Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou would consider cultural agreements with China, an official said Wednesday, triggering an angry response from the island's anti-Beijing opposition.   Lin Join-sane, chairman of the quasi-official Straits Exchange Foundation became the first Taiwanese official to raise the possibility of a culture deal and said the view reflected that of Ma's.   "We won't rule out signing culture agreements with the mainland as long as they are in the interest of our country, supported by ...

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