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Last update: Wed, 31 Aug 2016 09am

South East Asia

World - South East Asia

North Korea 'Kim badges' found in South: report SEOUL: South Korean police launched an investigation Thursday after 200 badges featuring the portrait of late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il were found at a hotel near the country's main airport, Yonhap news agency reported.Police found the badges scattered on a flowerbed at the Grand Hyatt near Incheon International Airport and have launched a joint probe with the National Intelligence Service (NIS) into the source of the pins, South Korea's Yonhap said.Police officials and the NIS both declined to comment on the matter to AFP.All North Korean adults are required to wear a pin that bears the image of founder Kim Il-Sung or his son, Kim Jong-Il -- or both -- as a token of their loyalty to the leadership.In South Korea, wearing or even possessing such a badge would be illegal since praising the North in public is punishable by law with up to seven years in jail.The badges ...

World - South East Asia

PM Abe's plan for $265bn stimulus puts pressure on BOJ to ease TOKYO: Japan's prime minister unveiled a surprisingly large $265 billion stimulus package on Wednesday to reflate the world's third-largest economy, adding pressure on the central bank to match the measures with monetary stimulus later this week.The earlier-than-expected announcement to boost the flagging economy sent Japanese and other Asian stock markets higher while it weighed on the safe-haven yen, but lacked crucial details on how much of the package would be direct government spending.The size of ...

World - South East Asia

Iran announces May 19 presidential election TEHRAN: Iran's Guardian Council announced Wednesday that next year's presidential election will take place on May 19 with embattled incumbent Hassan Rouhani expected to run for a second term.Rouhani, a moderate who oversaw a deal with world powers to end sanctions in exchange for curbing Iran's nuclear programme, faces mounting pressure from conservatives who want to limit rapprochement with the West. Hardliners argue the nuclear deal has brought few economic benefits to struggling Iranians, and ...

World - South East Asia

Susan Rice urges 'candour and openness' on Beijing visit BEIJING: National Security Advisor Susan Rice called for "candour and openness" before talks with Chinese leaders Monday during the highest-level US visit to Beijing since an international tribunal rejected China's vast maritime claims.Rice's trip is intended to prepare for a visit by President Barack Obama to a G20 summit in the city of Hangzhou in September.Before meeting State Councillor Yang Jiechi, Rice spoke positively about US-China cooperation on climate change, global health issues and nonproliferation.But, ...

World - South East Asia

Chinese anger as journalists forced to leave India NEW DELHI: India has refused to renew the visas of a group of journalists from China's state-run Xinhua news agency, government sources said Monday, after they reportedly made unauthorised visits to Tibetan refugee camps.As Beijing's official media condemned what it called a "petty" decision, a senior official in New Delhi confirmed three journalists would have to leave India within the week at the security services' instigation."They had come to the adverse attention of the security ...

World - South East Asia

Afghan civilian casualties at record high in first half of 2016: UN KABUL: Civilian casualties in Afghanistan touched a record high in the first half of 2016, the UN said Monday, with children in particular paying a heavy price as insurgent groups step up fighting."Between January and June this year, the UN documented 1,601 civilian deaths and 3,565 injured civilians. This represents an increase of four percent in the total number of casualties compared to the first six months of 2015," the United Nations Assistance Mission in ...

World - South East Asia

China says South Korea damaged 'mutual trust' SEOUL: China has blamed South Korea for damaging "mutual trust" with its planned deployment of an advanced US missile defence system in the face of Beijing's opposition, Yonhap news agency said on Monday.Seoul and Washington announced earlier this month their decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system in the South following recent North Korean missile and nuclear tests.The plan to deploy the powerful system, which fires projectiles to smash into enemy ...