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Top Asian News 3:46 a.m. GMT

July 13, 2021 GMT

At least 8 dead in hotel collapse in eastern China

BEIJING (AP) — Authorities say at least eight people have died and nine remained missing in a hotel collapse in Suzhou city in eastern China. The hotel building collapsed Monday afternoon, the Suzhou government said. Most people in the building at the time were hotel guests. Rescuers used cranes, ladders, metal cutters and search dogs to look for survivors. Twenty-three people were trapped. Six have been rescued. More than 600 people including earthquake rescue teams and 120 vehicles have been mobilized for the operation. Suzhou city is in Jiangsu province near Shanghai.

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Japan’s gov’t sees Taiwan tensions as regional security risk

TOKYO (AP) — Japan believes rising tension surrounding Taiwan requires its attention “with a sense of crisis” as China intensifies military activities in the area and the United States steps up support for the self-governing island. Japan’s concerns about Taiwan, Beijing’s growing rivalry with the United States and China’s increasingly assertive military actions in the region were added in an annual Defense Ministry paper that was adopted Tuesday by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s Cabinet. “Stabilizing the Taiwan situation is important for Japan’s national security and stability of the international community,” the paper said. “We need to pay close attention with a sense of crisis more than ever before.” As China flexes its muscle in the Taiwan Strait and the Asia-Pacific region, Taiwan has become a regional flashpoint, as Japan, the United States and other democracies develop closer ties with the self-ruled island that Beijing regards as a renegade territory to be united by force if necessary.

Sinovac-dosed Thai health workers to get AstraZeneca booster

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BANGKOK (AP) — A nighttime curfew and other new coronavirus restrictions began Monday in Thailand’s capital and several other provinces, as health officials announced that medical workers will given booster shots of AstraZeneca vaccine after already receiving two doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine. Thailand is battling rising COVID-19 cases and deaths since April worsened by the spread of the more contagious delta variant that was first identified in India. Thailand reported 8,656 new cases and 80 deaths on Monday, bringing its total since the pandemic began last year to 345,027 confirmed cases and 2,791 deaths. More than 90% of the cases and 95% of the deaths have occurred since early April.

Explainer: How will the virus emergency affect the Olympics?

TOKYO (AP) — A virus state of emergency began Monday in Japan’s capital, as the number of new cases is climbing fast and hospital beds are starting to fill just 11 days ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. Here’s a look at the state of emergency and how it will affect the Olympics. WHAT RESTRICTIONS ARE THERE? The six-week emergency is Japan’s fourth since the pandemic began and will last until Aug. 22. The main target of the new state of emergency is alcohol served at bars and restaurants as authorities want people to stay home and watch the games on TV and not gather in public.

US cites China, Myanmar, Ethiopia in genocide report

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Monday renewed genocide allegations against China for repression of Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in its northwest Xinjiang region. It also warned Eritrea, Ethiopia, Myanmar and South Sudan of possible further sanctions for ethnic cleansing in conflicts they are involved in. The administration sent the messages in the release of the State Department’s annual report to Congress on genocide and atrocities prevention, which calls for the federal government to outline steps it is taking to prevent and halt such actions abroad. “This administration will defend and protect human rights around the world, and recognizes the prevention of atrocities is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility,” it said.

Nepal’s Supreme Court reinstates dissolved lower house

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal’s Supreme Court reinstated the House of Representatives on Monday and upheld the leader of the opposition’s claim to be the new prime minister. The 167-page court order removes Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli, who had been running a caretaker government until planned elections. In May, Oli directed the president to dissolve the House of Representatives, Parliament’s lower house, and announce new elections later this year. The decision was challenged in the Supreme Court by a coalition of opposition parties that said they had the support of a majority in Parliament to form a new government. The Supreme Court also ruled Monday that the reinstated House of Representatives should meet within a week, when the leader of the main opposition party, Sher Bahadur Deuba, is expected to call a vote of confidence.

Fujifilm finds new niches, record profits amid pandemic

TOKYO (AP) — Scores of Japanese manufacturers less well known than Toyota and Sony are linchpins in world supply chains and innovation. One such company is Fujifilm. It outlived the decline of traditional photography and has logged record profits after diversifying into a wide range of businesses, from drugs and cosmetics to advanced materials, cameras and other types of imaging machines. Leading those efforts was Shigetaka Komori, who stepped aside last month after 20 years to become an executive adviser to Fujifilm. He focused the 87-year-old company on leveraging its film making technology, boosted by strategic acquisitions, to become a leader in biopharmaceuticals.

Lawyers: Myanmar’s Suu Kyi to face more corruption charges

BANGKOK (AP) — Lawyers for ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Monday they have been informed by the military-installed government that four new charges of corruption have been filed against her. The military overthrew Suu Kyi’s elected government in February and arrested her and top members of her National League for Democracy party, including President Win Myint. Widespread popular resistance against the military takeover is continuing, despite harsh measures by the security forces to quash it. Since the takeover, the new government has filed a number of criminal charges against Suu Kyi, who is in detention, and several of her colleagues.

UN: world hunger was dramatically worse in pandemic year

ROME (AP) — The United Nations on Monday lamented a “dramatic worsening” of world hunger last year, saying much of that is likely connected to the pandemic, and it urged billions of dollars to save millions of people from starving. A report issued jointly by five U.N. agencies said hunger outpaced population growth in 2020, with nearly 10% of all people estimated to be undernourished. It said the sharpest rise in hunger came in Africa, where 21% of the people -- 282 million — are estimated to be undernourished. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the new “tragic data” shows that between 720 million and 811 million people in the world faced hunger last year -- as many as 161 million more than in 2019.

Hong Kong police arrest 5 more in alleged bomb plot

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s national security police on Monday arrested five more people in relation to an alleged bomb plot, as political tensions rise amid Beijing’s tightening control over the city. The five — four males and one female — were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to plan terrorist activities under a sweeping national security law imposed by Beijing a year ago as part of a crackdown on dissent in the former British colony, which has enjoyed freedoms not experienced on the Chinese mainland. Last week, police arrested nine people, including six students, accused of planning to manufacture and plant explosives around the city, including in courts, cross-harbor tunnels and trash cans.