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Top Asian News 4:14 a.m. GMT

June 22, 2020 GMT

S Korea urges North not to send leaflets amid high tensions

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea on Monday urged North Korea to scrap a plan to launch propaganda leaflets across the border, after the North said it’s ready to float 12 million leaflets in what would be the largest such psychological campaign against its southern rival. Animosities on the Korean Peninsula rose sharply last week, after North Korea destroyed an inter-Korean liaison office on its territory in anger over South Korean civilian leafleting against it. North Korea said it will fly propaganda leaflets and take other steps to nullify 2018 deals that were meant to ease military tensions at the border.

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Asia Today: South Korea’s new virus cases dropping

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea has reported 17 new cases of COVID-19, the first time its daily jump came down to the teens in nearly a month, as health authorities scramble to contain a resurgence of the virus centered around the capital. The figures released by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday brought the national caseload to 12,438 cases, including 280 deaths. The country over the past two weeks have been reporting 40 to 50 new cases per day amid increased public activity and eased attitudes on social distancing. There has also been an uptick in imported cases, mostly from passengers arriving from southwest Asia, prompting authorities to halt providing new visas for travelers from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

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8 young children drown in river in southwestern Chinese city

BEIJING (AP) — Eight children drowned in a river in southwestern China after one fell in and the others jumped in to help, state media said Monday. The children, described as elementary-school age, had gone to play at a beach Sunday on the Fu River, according to state broadcaster CCTV. Their bodies were recovered by Monday morning. They came from Mixin, a town near Sichuan province on the outskirts of the sprawling metropolis of Chongqing. No further details were immediately available. Heavy rain had been forecast for the area, but it wasn’t clear if the weather was a factor.

WHO reports largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases

GENEVA (AP) — The World Health Organization on Sunday reported the largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases by its count, at more than 183,000 new cases in the latest 24 hours. The UN health agency said Brazil led the way with 54,771 cases tallied and the U.S. next at 36,617. Over 15,400 came in in India. Experts said rising case counts can reflect multiple factors including more widespread testing as well as broader infection. Overall in the pandemic, WHO reported 8,708,008 cases — 183,020 in the last 24 hours — with 461,715 deaths worldwide, with a daily increase of 4,743. More than two-thirds of those new deaths were reported in the Americas.

Solar eclipse wows stargazers in Africa, Asia, Middle East

DUBAI (AP) — Stargazers in Africa, Asia and parts of the Middle East looked to the skies this weekend to witness a partial solar eclipse. It was known as a “ring of fire” because the moon covered most, but not all, of the sun. It started at at 11:45 p.m. EDT Saturday and went until 5:34 a.m. EDT Sunday. Millions from Dubai to Taiwan to Japan to India watched the solar spectacle. In Dubai, people could see over 85 percent of the sun covered by the moon, with photographers taking stunning photos of the eclipse over the iconic Burj Khalifa building.

China may enact Hong Kong security law at end of June

BEIJING (AP) — China’s top lawmaking body has announced a three-day session for the end of this month, a move that raises the possibility of the enactment of a national security law for Hong Kong that has stirred debate and fears in the semi-autonomous territory. The official Xinhua News Agency said Sunday that the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress would meet from June 28 to 30 in Beijing. The brief report did not mention the Hong Kong security law among several possible discussion items, but it could still be on the agenda or added at the meeting. China released some details of the legislation late Saturday, heightening fears that the central government is tightening its grip on Hong Kong after months of anti-government protests last year.

Asia Today: South Korea confirms new cases outside Seoul

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea has reported 48 new cases of COVID-19 as health authorities struggle to contain a resurgence that’s erasing some of the country’s hard-won gains against the virus. Health authorities said 24 of the new cases came from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, which have been the center of the country’s outbreak since late May. Ten others were reported in the central city of Daejeon, indicating that the virus was beginning to spread more broadly, apparently as a result of increased public activity and complacency in social distancing. Nearly 200 infections so far have been linked to employees at a door-to-door sales company in Seoul, which mostly hired people over 60.

UN says Afghan health workers facing deliberate attacks

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The United Nations on Sunday released a special report expressing concerns over what it called recent “deliberate attacks” against health care workers and facilities in Afghanistan during the coronavirus pandemic. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, or UNAMA, said it had documented 12 deliberate acts of violence between March 11 to May 23, and that these attacks constitute war crimes. The report said eight of the attacks were carried out by Taliban insurgents, while three were attributed to Afghan security forces. The most horrific attack, on a maternity ward at a Kabul hospital that killed 24 people last month, remains unsolved.

Indian fire kills Pakistani girl, wounds family in Kashmir

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Indian troops backed by artillery and long-range guns fired on villages along the border in the Pakistani-administered side of the Kashmir region, killing a 13-year-old-girl and wounding her mother and brother, local officials and Pakistan’s military said Sunday. In a statement, the military blamed the Indian army for initiating Saturday night’s “unprovoked ceasefire violation” in the villages of Hajipir and Bedori. It said Pakistani troops “effectively responded” to the Indian fire, without elaborating. Mortars fired by Indian troops also damaged several homes, according to local media reports and government officials. In neighboring India, the local police blamed Pakistani troops for initiating the fire, saying Pakistani mortar shelling wounded five Indian civilians on their side of Kashmir, which is divided between the two countries and claimed by both in its entirety.

The Latest: New Zealand reports 2 new coronavirus cases

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