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Top Asian News 2:27 a.m. GMT

August 1, 2021 GMT

Si, Oui, Hai: Interpreting joy and heartbreak at Tokyo Games

TOKYO (AP) — Ask him how many languages he speaks, and Alexandre Ponomarev replies: “If you mean to make myself understood, I’ve lost count.” Count ’em. Ponomarev speaks Russian, Ukranian, English, German, Spanish, French and Danish. And gets by in Swedish, Portuguese, Italian and Norwegian. Ahh, but how about your Japanese? “Muzukashi,” replied Ponomarev, which means “difficult” in Japanese, and can be interpreted to mean he doesn’t speak much. OK, nobody’s perfect. Ponomarev is the chief interpreter for the Tokyo Games, overseeing a staff of almost 100 interpreters who render Olympic joy and Olympic heartbreak into a calibrated cacophony of 11 languages: Japanese, English, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Italian, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, and Portuguese.


Malaysian PM postpones Parliament, avoids no-confidence vote

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s embattled prime minister postponed a critical parliamentary session set for Monday, citing COVID-19 infections and allowing him to avoid a no-confidence vote amid growing calls for him to resign. A circular sent to lawmakers Saturday said the session will be held at a later date, after the Health Ministry deemed Parliament a high-risk venue. Eleven cases were detected Thursday among staff and others. Malaysia’s political crisis deepened when the king rebuked the government for misleading Parliament on the status of ordinances it issued during the coronavirus state of emergency. The opposition, which has filed a motion of no-confidence against Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, slammed the postponement as an excuse for him to stay in office.

Indian, Chinese army officers meet to defuse border standoff


NEW DELHI (AP) — Top Indian and Chinese army commanders met Saturday after a gap of three months to discuss the expeditious disengagement of thousands of forces in a bid to ease the 15-month border tensions and clashes. Indian army spokesman Col. Sudhir Chamoli said the meeting started on Saturday on the Chinese side of the border in the eastern Ladakh region but gave no other details. The meeting was expected to end later Saturday and both sides were likely to issue statements on Sunday. The 12th round of army-level talks appears to have been pushed by a meeting of the foreign ministers of India and China in Tajikistan on July 15.

Hong Kong police arrest man for booing national anthem

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Hong Kong police have arrested a man accused of booing the Chinese national anthem while watching an Olympic event at a mall. The 40-year-old man was allegedly waving colonial-era Hong Kong flags and booing, while urging others to join him in insulting the national anthem, according to a police statement posted on Facebook. Hong Kong passed a law in June last year that criminalized any actions that insult the national anthem. Violating the law can mean a fine of up to $6,400 (50,000 Hong Kong dollars), and up to nine years in prison. China’s central government criminalized actions that insult the national flag and emblem in amendments to the law last October, which is also applicable to Hong Kong, a former British colony.

Hospital bombed in southern Afghanistan as battles rage

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The owner of a private hospital in Afghanistan said the Afghan air force bombed the facility on Saturday, killing one person and injuring three others. He said the hospital was targeted because the military erroneously believed Taliban fighters were being treated there. Dr Mohammad Din Narewal, the owner of the 20-bed Afghan Ariana Specialty Hospital, told The Associated Press that provincial government officials informed him his hospital in Lashkar Gah was targeted based on the information from the defense ministry. “But there were no Taliban in the hospital,” said Narewal. The defense ministry did not immediately respond to multiple attempts by the AP to contact them.

Chinese-Canadian pop star detained on suspicion of rape

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu has been detained by Beijing police on suspicion of rape, police announced Saturday, following an accusation the former member of the Korean boy band EXO lured young women into sexual relationships. Wu, 30, earlier was accused by a teenager of having sex with her while she was drunk. Wu denied the accusation. The teenager said seven other women contacted her to say Wu seduced them with promises of jobs and other opportunities. She said some were under 18 but gave no indication whether they were younger than China’s age of consent of 14.

China, India miss UN deadline to update emissions targets

BERLIN (AP) — China and India have missed a U.N. deadline to submit fresh plans for cutting their greenhouse gas emissions in time for the global body to include their pledges in a report for governments at this year’s global climate summit, officials said Saturday. The world’s two most populous countries are among dozens that failed to provide an update on their targets for curbing the release of planet-warming gases to the U.N. climate change agency by July 31. China is the country with the world’s highest emissions, while India is third. The United States, which submitted its new target in April, is the second-biggest global emitter.

GLIMPSES: Up, up and away on Olympic trampolines

TOKYO (AP) — You know those epic cutaways in movies and on TV that show long shots of Superman flying to the rescue, or taking off immediately after saving the day? That’s what Associated Press photographer Ashley Landis’ photos of trampoline events at the Tokyo Olympics evoke. Athletes soar past lights and pop from dark backdrops as the trajectory of bounces catapults them through the air. It is, as British bronze medalize Bryony Page put it last week, “like driving your own roller coaster.” Trampoline competition, which ended Saturday, is an athletic solution to the question so many humans have asked for thousands of years: What if I could fly?

At 46, African skateboarder finally wows mom at Tokyo Games

TOKYO (AP) — At age 46, the second-oldest skateboarder at the Tokyo Games is hoping to not have a heart attack and have mounds of fun. Should be no problem. Fun has been a life’s work for Dallas Oberholzer. “I have never had a real job. I have never applied for a job,” he says. “My whole life has just been skateboarding. I am just hooked.” Skateboarding’s young guns, with their endorsements and boards bearing their names, have bigger tricks and bigger Instagram followings than the grizzled South African with a salt-and-pepper beard. Oberholzer isn’t expecting to beat them when they go wheel-to-wheel this week in Tokyo’s huge purpose-built Olympic skate bowl.

As China absorbs Hong Kong, why do both get Olympic teams?

TOKYO (AP) — Two teams, from two Chinese cities, confronting each other on a badminton court, thwacking the shuttlecock back and forth. Nothing unusual there. In China, teams play each other all the time. For the mixed doubles pairing from Beijing that emerged victorious, the match this week had the banality of any other domestic competition. “Because we know each other so well,” said the woman on the winning team, Huang Yaqiong. “There’s nothing different.” Except this was an Olympic semifinal at the Tokyo Games. And for China, the rare privilege of being able to field two distinct teams — one from the Chinese mainland, in bright communist red, the other from its city of Hong Kong, in a royal blue — was essentially giving it two bites at the Olympic cherry.