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Last update: Mon, 23 Jan 2017 05am

South East Asia

World - South East Asia

Japan plans to have new emperor in 2019 TOKYO: Japan is planning for Emperor Akihito to retire and be replaced by his eldest son on January 1, 2019, reports said Wednesday, as the country works on a legal framework for its first abdication in 200 years. Akihito, 83, expressed a desire in August to abdicate after nearly three decades on the Chrysanthemum Throne, citing his advancing age and weakening health. Major national newspapers -- the Yomiuri, Asahi, Mainichi and Nikkei -- cited unnamed sources as saying Crown Prince Naruhito, 56, would succeed his father on New Year's Day 2019.Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga declined to comment on the reports at his regular news conference on Wednesday.After Akihito's announcement last year, the government established a panel of experts to help decide how best to proceed on an issue fraught with historical and legal challenges.Though abdications have occurred in Japan's long imperial history there has not been one for 200 ...

World - South East Asia

North Korea has plutonium for 10 nuclear bombs SEOUL: North Korea now has enough plutonium to make 10 nuclear bombs, South Korea said Wednesday, a week after leader Kim Jong-Un said it was close to test-launching an intercontinental ballistic missile.The isolated communist state, which has carried out five nuclear tests and numerous missile launches, is thought to be planning a nuclear push in 2017 as it seeks to develop a weapons system capable of hitting the US mainland.Analysts are divided over how close ...

World - South East Asia

Vietnam arrests 7 bankers for $21 million graft HANOI: Vietnamese police have arrested seven ex-bankers accused of approving illegal loans that led to $21 million in losses, state media reported Wednesday, the latest scandal to hit the country's financial sector.Those arrested by anti-corruption police late Tuesday include former chairman Hoang Van Toan and CEO Tran Son Nam of TrustBank, the state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper said.Under their management the bank approved two loans that "caused a loss of 21 million dollars to TrustBank", the ...

World - South East Asia

Thousands throng Iran's Rafsanjani funeral TEHRAN: Tens of thousands of mourners led by Iran's supreme leader gathered at Tehran University early on Tuesday for the funeral of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.State television showed people pouring on to the streets around the campus where Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will lead the eulogies for Rafsanjani despite their "differences".The heavyweight politician, who died on Sunday at the age of 82, will be buried inside the crypt of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of ...

World - South East Asia

North Korea says can test-launch ICBM at any time SEOUL: North Korea said on Sunday it can test launch an intercontinental ballistic missile at any time from any location set by leader Kim Jong Un, saying the United States' hostile policy is to blame for its arms development. Kim said on Jan. 1 that his nuclear-capable country was close to test-launching an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). "The ICBM will be launched anytime and anywhere determined by the supreme headquarters of the DPRK," an unnamed ...

World - South East Asia

Taiwan president heads to US as Beijing watches TAIPEI: Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen left for the United States Saturday on her way to Central America, a trip that will be scrutinised by China, incensed by her congratulatory call to Donald Trump.While the focus of the nine-day trip is to bolster relations with Taiwan's Central American allies, Tsai's US stopovers will be closely watched amid speculation she may make contact with the president-elect and his team.She is to transit in Houston this weekend and ...

World - South East Asia

Thai New Year road deaths hit 480, defying junta get-tough vow BANGKOK: Nearly 480 people died on Thailand's roads over the New Year holiday, official figures showed Thursday, a 25 percent rise over the so-called "seven dangerous days" despite the junta's tough talk on drink driving.The kingdom has some of the world's most lethal roads, with the carnage spiking over the New Year as millions of city workers return to their country homes. Thailand's junta government has launched repeated crackdowns on drink driving since its 2014 ...