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US pays Philippines compensation for warship reef damage MANILA: The United States has paid nearly $2 million compensation to the Philippines for the damage a US warship caused to a protected reef, Manila said Wednesday.The minesweeper USS Guardian became stranded on the Tubbataha Reef in January 2013 after visiting a Philippine port, and had to be cut to pieces to avoid further damage to the World Heritage site in a salvage operation that took 10 weeks.The ship damaged 2,345 square metres (25,240 square feet) of the coral reef that investigators said would take a generation to re-grow. The incident stirred nationalist anger against the United States, a former colonial ruler of the Philippines that remains the Southeast Asian nation's most important military ally.Washington promptly apologised for the mishap and issued a report five months later that blamed the captain and three other officers.The vessel, which was en route to Indonesia after visiting a northern Philippine port, was found ...

Taiwan seeks to export nuclear waste overseas TAIPEI: Taiwan has unveiled a Tw$11.25 billion ($356 million) plan to process nuclear waste overseas for the first time as its power plants approach capacity, sparking criticism from environmental groups.The state-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) opened bidding on Tuesday for 1,200 used fuel rods used in the island's first and second nuclear plants to be processed abroad. The two plants, which currently store the spent fuel rods, were launched in 1978 and 1981 and will ...
Singapore PM discharged after prostate cancer surgery SINGAPORE: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was discharged from hospital Wednesday after undergoing surgery for prostate cancer and his doctor said he should make a full recovery.Lee, 63, posted a photo of the view from his hospital window on his Facebook page with the caption: "Day 3 -- Sunrise over the city. Met the doctors just now. I am going home this morning!"His office later issued a statement saying he was discharged from the ...
Australia PM uses tsunami aid to pressure Indonesia over executions SYDNEY: Prime Minister Tony Abbott urged Indonesia Wednesday to remember Canberra's significant help in dealing with the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami as he ramped up pressure to spare two Australians on death row.Indonesian authorities have confirmed that Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 33, ringleaders of the so-called Bali Nine heroin trafficking group, will be among the next set of prisoners to face the firing squad.But they have been tight-lipped about when the executions ...
China man gets $189,000 for six years on death row BEIJING: A Chinese man who was freed after six years on death row following a wrongful murder conviction was paid $189,000 in compensation, state media said Tuesday, amid anger at the flawed legal system.Nian Bin, a former food-stall owner who was convicted of poisoning two children and condemned to death in 2008, was finally freed after a court quashed his conviction last August.A court awarded him 1.14 million yuan ($189,000) for loss of personal freedom ...
Minor tsunami hits Japan after undersea quake TOKYO: A minor tsunami hit northern Japan Tuesday after a strong undersea earthquake struck off the coast, in the same area that was devastated by a killer tsunami in 2011.A wave of 20 centimetres (eight inches) was recorded in Kuji, eastern Iwate, at 9:07 am (0007 GMT), way below the possible one metre (3.3 feet) tsunami that the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) warned could hit.The agency warned waters were still rising slightly in Kuji, although ...
Philippine military seeks to quell coup rumours MANILA: The Philippine military insisted Monday it remained loyal to President Benigno Aquino, responding coup rumours that have swirled since a bungled security operation left 44 police commandos dead.Aquino is facing the biggest crisis of his nearly five years in office over last month's assault in which the special forces killed a top militant but also unexpectedly came under heavy fire from rebels."If there are officials who are trying to persuade us into joining coup ...

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