Top Asian News 3:24 a.m. GMT
The military takeover in Myanmar has set its economy back years, if not decades, as political unrest and violence disrupt banking, trade and livelihoods and millions slide deeper into poverty. The Southeast Asian country was already in recession when the pandemic took hold in 2020, paralyzing its lucrative tourism sector. Political upheavals after the army ousted its civilian government on Feb. 1 have heaped further misery on its 62 million people, who are paying sharply higher prices for food and other necessities as the value of the kyat, the national currency, plummets. With no end to the political impasse in sight, the outlook for the economy is murky.
TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese princess who gave up the throne to marry her commoner college sweetheart left for New York on Sunday, as the couple pursued happiness as newlyweds and left behind a nation that has criticized their romance. The departure of Mako Komuro, the former Princess Mako, and Kei Komuro, both 30, as they boarded their plane amid a flurry of camera flashes at Haneda airport in Tokyo was carried live by major Japanese broadcasters. Kei Komuro, a graduate of Fordham University law school, has a job at a New York law firm. He has yet to pass his bar exam, another piece of news that local media have used to attack him, although it is common to pass after multiple attempts.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping will hold their much-anticipated virtual summit on Monday evening as the two sides look to dial back tensions after a rough start to the U.S.-China relationship since Biden took office earlier this year. The White House is setting low expectations for the video call between the leaders. Biden looks to stress that the two nations need to set guardrails in deepening areas of conflict in the increasingly complicated relationship between the two nations. White House officials said that no major announcements are expected to come from the meeting. “I wouldn’t set the expectation ...
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter on Saturday registered her candidacy for vice president in next year’s elections and was chosen as the running mate of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the late dictator’s son, in an alliance that has alarmed human rights activists. Sara Duterte backed out this week from her reelection bid as mayor of southern Davao city then took the place of a largely unknown vice-presidential candidate of her political party, Lakas CMD, in a maneuver that allowed her to seek the second-highest post even after a deadline lapsed for candidates in the May 9 elections.
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong authorities declined to renew a visa for a foreign journalist working for The Economist without any explanation, the magazine said. Sue-Lin Wong, who is Australian, was based in Hong Kong and covered China and the southern semi-autonomous city. “We regret their decision. ... We urge the government of Hong Kong to maintain access for the foreign press, which is vital to the territory’s standing as an international city,” Zanny Minton Beddoes, The Economist’s editor-in-chief, said in a statement Friday. Immigration authorities did not immediately respond to an email request for comment. Phone calls to the information office outside of business hours went unanswered.
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A fire at a gasoline storage at the largest oil refinery on Indonesia’s Java island near Jakarta on Saturday prompted the evacuation of at least 80 residents living nearby, the national oil company Pertamina said. Pertamina, Indonesia’s biggest state-owned enterprise and energy company, said the fire at the Cilacap refinery started at one of the 228 gasoline tanks used to accommodate crude at 7:20 p.m. It said the cause of the fire was not known. There were no casualties reported. Pertamina said it was taking efforts to extinguish the fire. The residents were evacuated to a nearby village hall and a mosque, it said.
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Almost 200 nations accepted a compromise deal Saturday aimed at keeping a key global warming target alive, but it contained a last-minute change that watered down crucial language about coal. Several countries, including small island states, said they were deeply disappointed by the change promoted by India to “phase down,” rather than “phase out” coal power, the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions. “Our fragile planet is hanging by a thread,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement. “We are still knocking on the door of climate catastrophe.” Nation after nation had complained after two weeks of U.N.
GAUHATI, India (AP) — At least five Indian soldiers and two civilians were killed Saturday in an ambush by suspected rebels in the northeastern state of Manipur bordering Myanmar, police said. The rebels ambushed a convoy of India’s paramilitary soldiers who were on their way to inspect a remote village in Churachandpur district, a police officer in the state capital Imphal said. The dead include a colonel of the Assam Rifles, a paramilitary force of the Indian army, his wife and his son. Police said the rebels opened fire with automatic weapons, killing all seven people on the spot. Security reinforcements have been rushed to the area and launched a search for the rebels.
KABUL (AP) — A bomb exploded on a mini-bus Saturday on a busy commercial street in a Kabul neighborhood mainly populated by members of Afghanistan’s minority Hazara community, emergency workers and the bus driver said. At least one person was killed and five wounded. Workers with the ambulance teams at the scene told The Associated Press that the blast appeared to have been caused by a bomb on the bus. The bus driver, speaking to the AP at the hospital, said that at one point during his route, a suspicious man got onto the bus and a few minutes later, the explosion went off at the back of the bus.
BRESCIA, Italy (AP) — A provocative exhibit by dissident Chinese artist Badiucao opened Saturday in the industrial northern Italian city of Brescia despite pressure from the Chinese embassy in Rome to cancel it. A letter from the embassy included veiled economic threats, noting Italy’s trade with China, in a bid to prevent the first solo exhibit by Badiucao — the pseudonym used by the artist whose work takes aim at China’s policies and human rights record. Brescia Mayor Emilio Del Bono “responded with delicacy and firmness,” said Elettra Stamboulis, curator of the exhibit at the city’s Museum of Santa Giulia. “Of course we are always a little worried, not so much for the artist’s safety, but because we know there are more creepy ways to silence dissident artists,” she said.