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Hong Kong democracy activists urge West to speak out WASHINGTON: Two prominent Hong Kong democracy campaigners on Wednesday urged Western powers to speak out against what they described as Beijing's growing interference in the semi-autonomous financial hub.On a visit to Washington, Martin Lee, a founder of the opposition Democratic Party, recalled that the United States and other nations had tried to reassure Hong Kong residents by throwing their support behind the deal in which Britain returned the city to China in 1997."Every government that supported the joint declaration and continues to support it owes a moral obligation to the people of Hong Kong to speak out when something like today is going terribly wrong," Lee said at the US-funded National Endowment for Democracy."All we are asking for is fair play. After all, China promised democracy to Hong Kong."China has promised to allow direct elections for Hong Kong's chief executive in 2017 but critics question the credibility of the vote ...

Japan PM Abe says will abide by whaling ban TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday he will abide by the court ruling that banned the nation's controversial Antarctic whale hunt.The conservative leader told Japan's chief whaling negotiator that he would respect the judgement issued this week by the International Court of Justice."It is a pity and I am deeply disappointed," Abe was quoted as saying by Japan's chief negotiator Koji Tsuruoka during a meeting at his office."But I will follow the ruling," ...
Seoul says crashed 'drone' likely from North Korea SEOUL: South Korea said on Wednesday it had evidence suggesting an unidentified drone that crashed last month near the northern city of Paju was of North Korean origin.Korean words on batteries recovered from the unsophisticated unmanned aerial vehicle were of a type only used north of the border, a defence ministry spokesman said."So we suspect the vehicle was sent by North Korea," the spokesman said, adding that the drone was of an extremely "rudimentary" design.The ...
Sub joins MH370 hunt ahead of Malaysian PM visit to Perth PERTH: The protracted search for missing Flight MH370 was boosted Wednesday with the arrival of a British nuclear submarine in the Indian Ocean, ahead of a visit to Australia by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. The personal jet of Oscar-winning New Zealand movie director Peter Jackson is also now reportedly being used in the multinational hunt for the plane that vanished on March 8 with 239 people on board.Despite extensive scouring of remote Indian Ocean ...
Malaysia releases MH370 transcript, says nothing 'abnormal' KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian authorities on Tuesday released the transcript of communications between the cockpit crew of missing Flight MH370 and air traffic controllers, saying the exchanges showed nothing untoward."There is no indication of anything abnormal in the transcript," a statement by Defence and Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014 ...
Australia warns MH370 search could take 'long time' PERTH: Australia warned Tuesday the hunt for missing Flight MH370 could be long and frustrating as a vessel equipped with a specialised "black box" locator raced against the clock to reach the Indian Ocean search area.Despite an extensive multinational search southwest of Perth, no wreckage has been identified since the Malaysia Airlines plane vanished on March 8, with objects retrieved from the desolate seas turning out to be fishing gear or flotsam.Retired Australian air chief ...
Japan lifts own blanket arms export ban TOKYO: Japan on Tuesday lifted a self-imposed ban on weapons exports, introducing new rules covering the arms trade in a move supporters say will boost Tokyo's global role, but which could unnerve China.The cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approved a new plan that replaces the 1967 blanket ban, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.Under the policy, arms sales are banned to conflict-plagued countries or nations that could undermine international peace and security, the ...

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Foreign Debt $60.9bn
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