Asia

  • Kazakh President resigns after three decades

    Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev has abruptly announced his resignation 29 years after taking office. In a televised address on Tuesday (local time), the 78-year-old said he has made the “difficult” decision to terminate his authority as president, but did not give a specific reason for the shocking decision. “I have decided to end my duties as president,” Mr Nazarbayev said before signing a decree terminating his powers effective March 30. “This year I will have ... ► Read more

  • Putin signs off on bill banning fake news, government insults

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a controversial set of bills that make it a crime to “disrespect” the state and spread “fake news” online, Russian media reported on Monday. The bills amending existing information laws overwhelmingly passed both chambers of Russian parliament in less than two months. Observers and some lawmakers have criticised the legislation for its vague language and potential to stifle free speech. The legislation will establish punishments for spreading information that ... ► Read more

  • Australia, EU and others suspend 737 MAX 8s following Ethiopian Airlines crash

    Australia, the European Union and other jurisdictions have indefinitely banned the Boeing 737 MAX 8 airliner from their airspace, following a second fatal crash within five months. On Sunday a new Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 crashed en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, killing all 157 crew and passengers on board. Investigators are looking for similarities between the Ethiopian Airlines crash and that of a Lion Air MAX 8 that crashed in Indonesia, killing ... ► Read more

  • Over 15,000 Russians protest “sovereign internet” bill

    Thousands of people took to the streets of Moscow and two other cities on Sunday to rally against tighter internet restrictions, in some of the biggest protests in the Russian capital in years. Lawmakers last month backed tighter internet controls contained in legislation they say is necessary to prevent foreign meddling in Russia’s affairs. But some Russian media likened it to an online “iron curtain”, and critics say it can be used to stifle dissent. ... ► Read more

  • Controversy over Trump plan to bill allies for hosting American troops

    The Trump administration is preparing demands that South Korea, Germany, Japan and, eventually, other countries hosting American troops pay the full cost of the deployment and an additional 50%, according to administration officials. Under the direction of United States President Donald Trump, some countries would be asked to pay up to six times as much as they currently pay under the new approach. This move is intended to pressure the US’ NATO partners into accelerating ... ► Read more

  • Trump to be “very disappointed” if North Korea building rocket site

    United States President Donald Trump says he would be “very disappointed” if North Korea is redeveloping a missile launch site that was partially dismantled last year. Freshly released satellite images appear to show the reconstruction of the Tongchang-ri launch site near the North Korea-China border. Pyongyang started dismantling the site following last year’s historic summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Chairman Kim Jong-un. Released by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) — ... ► Read more

  • Prince Charles charity linked to Russian money laundering network

    Key points A Moscow-based investment bank called Troika Dialog managed a network of offshore companies which funnelled money across Europe and the US. Some of the offshore companies were involved in money laundering. Dirty money was mixed with legitimate money and distributed via screen companies, making it impossible to trace back to the source. End recipients most likely were not aware of any wrongdoing. A charity run by Prince Charles was one such recipient. It ... ► Read more

  • Malaysia open to resuming MH370 search if leads are “credible”

    Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke has said the Malaysian Government would consider resuming the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 if it receives viable proposals or credible leads. Flight MH370 disappeared while on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March 2014 with 239 people on board, including three Australian couples. Malaysia, China and Australia called off their $200 million underwater search in January 2017 after it yielded no results. Mr Loke ... ► Read more

  • Australia, Indonesia to sign delayed free trade deal

    Australia and Indonesia are just days away from signing a landmark free trade deal to bring new access to markets for agriculture and education. Trade Minister Simon Birmingham, accompanied by Defence Industry Minister Steven Ciobo, will sign the deal alongside his Indonesian counterpart Enggartiasto Lukita in Jakarta on Monday. “This is a good deal for Indonesia in terms of growing their economic opportunity and investment,” Senator Birmingham told reporters in Launceston on Friday. “This is ... ► Read more

  • US-NK summit: leaders disagree over abrupt ending

    United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have given conflicting explanations for why their Thursday summit in Hanoi ended abruptly. Mr Trump claims that North Korea had demanded an end to US sanctions. “It was all about the sanctions,” he told reporters. “They wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety and we couldn’t do that.” However, North Korea says it made “realistic proposals” at the summit. According to Mr Trump, Mr ... ► Read more

  • “Peace gesture”: Pakistan to release caputred Indian pilot

    Pakistan will release a captured Indian pilot as a “peace gesture” on Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said. Mr Khan revealed the decision in the National Assesmbly, saying that Pakistan was focused on de-escalation. “As a peace gesture we are releasing the Indian pilot tomorrow,” Mr Khan told Pakistani lawmakers in the National Assembly on Thursday. He also repeated his call for the de-escalation of the situation, saying that Pakistan and India “have to ... ► Read more

  • Trump-Kim summit 2.0: second day of talks to focus on denuclearisation

    Verifiable denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula is expected to dominate the second and final day of talks between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Despite positive rhetoric, little progress has been made on that and other issues since the first Trump-Kim summit in Singapore last year. Wednesday’s meetings were limited to brief questions from reporters, one-on-one talks and a “social dinner”, which included US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and ... ► Read more

  • UN Secretary General: “We need a new vision for arms control”

    United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday (local time) warned pillars of “international arms control architecture are collapsing” and called on the United States and Russia to salvage the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. During an address at the UN’s Conference on Disarmament, Mr Guterres said the world “simply cannot afford to return to the unrestrained nuclear competition of the darkest days of the Cold War”. “I will be blunt. Key components of the ... ► Read more

  • Week in Brief: 17 February – 23 February 2019

    Liberals, Nationals, Labor targeted in “sophisticated” cyber attack, says PM The Liberal, National and Labor parties were all targeted in a recent cyber attack on Federal Parliament, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday. See OPMagazine’s coverage of this story here. ABF admits “human error” contributed to Hakeem al-Araibi’s detention Australian Border Force (ABF) officials have admitted “human error” in their agency’s handling of Melbourne refugee Hakeem al-Araibi’s case, saying processes that might have prevented ... ► Read more

  • Government seeks urgent clarification on Chinese ban of Australian coal imports

    Officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) are seeking urgent clarification from China regarding reports of a ban on Australian coal. It was reported yesterday that imports of Australian coal had been banned in China’s northern port of Dalian, and that coal imports from all sources would be capped at 12 million tonnes for 2019, according to a customs official. It is now being reported that a total of five northeastern Chinese ... ► Read more

  • Kazakh President fires government

    Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev fired the Government on Thursday (local time) over what he described as its failure to improve living standards and make positive changes in the country. “In many areas of the economy, despite the adoption of many laws and government decisions, positive changes have not been achieved,” the President said. Mr Nazarbayev wrote on the presidential website that he will soon propose “a range of measures to strengthen social welfare and raise ... ► Read more

  • Russia will respond in kind if US deploys missiles in Europe, says Putin

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a stark warning to the United States during his annual address to Russia’s Federal Assembly. Mr Putin said that any US missile deployments in Europe would be considered a “serious threat”, and that Moscow would retaliate in kind by targeting Western capitals with Russia’s new weaponry. “I’m saying this clearly and openly, Russia will be forced to deploy weapons that can be used… against the decision-making centres that are ... ► Read more

  • ABF admits “human error” contributed to Hakeem al-Araibi’s detention

    Australian Border Force (ABF) officials have admitted “human error” in their agency’s handling of Melbourne refugee Hakeem al-Araibi’s case, saying processes that might have prevented him from being detained in Thailand “broke down”. Mr al-Araibi spent two months in a Bangkok prison after having an Interpol red notice issued against him, despite being recognised as a refugee. He was released last week after a decision by Thai officials not to pursue extradition proceedings. “Having reviewed ... ► Read more

  • Russia plans temporary Internet cut-off in “sovereign Internet” test

    Russia is planning to temporarily disconnect from the global Internet as part of a test of its cyber-defences. The test is to determine whether Russia has the technical capability to maintain a “sovereign Internet”, with a draft law introduced to the Russian Parliament last year calling for a domestic network that is able to operate independently. During the test, data being transmitted between Russian devices will stay within the country rather than be routed internationally. ... ► Read more

  • Corruption trial of former Malaysian PM postponed

    The corruption trial of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been postponed, after his lawyers filed an application to delay the trial. Mr Najib has been charged over his alleged involvement in the 1MDB state development fund scandal, in which more than US $4.5 billion of public money was embezzled. He is accused of receiving almost a quarter of 1MDB’s funds into his personal bank accounts, and faces 42 charges of corruption, money laundering ... ► Read more

  • Amnesty International: Myanmar military shelling villages

    Security forces in Myanmar have bombed villages and are blocking civilians from accessing food and humanitarian assistance amid a crackdown targeting rebels in the troubled Rakhine State, Amnesty International says. Citing villagers and local activists, the human rights watchdog said soldiers were also using vague and repressive laws to detain civilians as part of the offensive that began on January 4, when Arakan Army guerrillas raided police stations and killed 13 officers. At least 5200 ... ► Read more

  • Hakeem al-Araibi on Melbourne-bound flight after extradition case dismissed

    Melbourne-based refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi is headed home after his extradition case — instigated by an Interpol Red Notice issued by his native Bahrain — was dismissed by the Thai Attorney-General. Mr al-Araibi boarded a Thai Airways flight a little after midnight (local time) and is expected to land in Melbourne at about 1:00pm, where a crowd of supporters, including the Pascoe Vale Football Club and former Socceroos captain Craig Foster, will be waiting to meet him. ... ► Read more

  • Australia rejects Thailand’s claim it issued Interpol Red Notice against refugee footballer

    The Australian Embassy in Thailand has rejected a claim by the Thai Government that Canberra issued an Interpol arrest warrant for Melbourne-based refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi. Mr al-Araibi, who is wanted in his native Bahrain, was arrested by Thai authorities in November 2018 while on his honeymoon. The Thai Government said Mr al-Araibi was arrested at the request of the Australian Government, claiming that Australia alerted Thai authorities to the footballer’s travel. The Australian Embassy ... ► Read more

  • SOTU: Trump announces second North Korea summit

    United States President Donald Trump has announced a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will be held 27-28 February. In his State of the Union address on Tuesday night (local time), Mr Trump said if it were not for his election, the US and North Korea would be at war. “Our hostages have come home, nuclear testing has stopped, and there has not been a missile launch in 15 months,” he said. “If ... ► Read more

  • “Tit-for-tat”: Russian Defence Minister announces plan to create new land-based missiles

    Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announced on Tuesday that Russia plans to develop new land-based missiles, four days after Washington and Moscow suspended the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. General Shoigu said the new missiles were in response to the United States’ development of missiles banned under the INF. “[The US] are actively working on creating ground-based missiles with the range capability of over 500km, which is outside the treaty-stipulated limitations,” he said. “In this ... ► Read more

  • Thai PM breaks silence on Hakeem al-Araibi

    Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has told reporters not to “jump to conclusions” regarding the verdict of detained refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi after an extradition hearing began in Bangkok court on Monday. Breaking his silence for the first time since Mr al-Araibi was detained on November 27, the Prime Minister said Thailand was working with Australia and Bahrain to find a solution. “Do not jump to conclusions about the verdict and do not politicise this,” ... ► Read more

  • Morrison: Australia is “pushing on every door” to get Hakeem al-Araibi released

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison told 2GB on Thursday that the Government is “pushing on every door” to secure the release of Melbourne-based refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi. The Prime Minister said he had not received a reply to his letter to Thai counterpart Prayuth Chan-ocha, in which he urged Bangkok to return Mr al-Araibi to Australia. In the letter Mr Morrison reportedly pointed out that Mr al-Araibi has a permanent protection visa, stressing the thorough process ... ► Read more

  • “Time is running out”: Hakeem al-Araibi’s wife sends pleas for help to Canada, New Zealand

    The wife of Australian refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi has written to the prime ministers of Canada and New Zealand in a desperate bid for help over her husband’s detention in Thailand. In letters reported by The Guardian, she urged the Canadian and New Zealand leaders to act, warning that a decision to return him to Bahrain could mean “possible death”. Mr al-Araibi’s wife, who did not want to be named, cited the recent case of ... ► Read more

  • US announces criminal charges against tech giant Huawei

    The United States officially announced on Monday (local time) that it has laid 13 criminal charges against China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, several of its subsidiaries, and its Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Meng Wanzhou. The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has charged Huawei and Ms Meng with conspiring to violate US sanctions on Iran by using a subsidiary company to do business with Tehran. Ms Meng has denied allegations that she played a lead role ... ► Read more

  • St Petersburg marks 75th anniversary of Leningrad siege end

    Saint Petersburg marked the 75th anniversary of the lifting of the Siege of Leningrad over the weekend with a military parade in the centre of the city and commemorations of the fallen. The World War II siege, which lasted for 872 days and killed an estimated one million people, is remembered every year on January 27 — the day it was lifted by Soviet troops in 1944. The parade in Russia’s second-largest city was the ... ► Read more

  • Deloitte: China is Australia’s biggest economic risk

    An economic forecaster says China, not the local housing market downturn, could be the major swing factor for Australia’s economy in the year ahead. In its outlook for the year ahead, Deloitte Access Economics forecasts a “still growing, but slowing” scenario for the global and national economies. The business outlook report flags that global economic growth “may be pegged back to rather more pedestrian rates through the course of 2019 and 2020”, as the impact ... ► Read more

  • Australian writer charged with espionage in China

    Prominent Australian-Chinese writer Yang Hengjun has been charged with espionage “endangering China’s national security” and engaging in “criminal activities”, China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying has said at a media briefing in Beijing. “According to our understanding, the Australian national Yang Hengjun was suspected of engaging in criminal activities endangering China’s national security,” Ms Hua said. “At present, the case is being handled according to law, and Yang Hengjun’s legitimate rights and interests have been ... ► Read more

  • China confirms detention of Australian citizen

    China has confirmed to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) that it has detained prominent Chinese-Australian writer and blogger Yang Hengjun. Mr Yang had landed at Guangzhou airport after flying from New York last week when he disappeared. In a brief statement, DFAT said that on Wednesday “Chinese authorities informed the Australian Embassy in Beijing” of Mr Yang’s detention, and that the “Department is seeking to clarify the nature of this detention and ... ► Read more

  • Afghan intelligence personnel massacred in Taliban-claimed suicide bombing

    Up to 126 Afghan intelligence personnel and trainees have been killed in a suicide attack on an Afghan intelligence service training compound in Wardak Province. On Monday (local time), a suicide bomber in a captured American Humvee crashed through the entrance of the compound, followed by several other attackers. Some officials have estimated that 126 personnel were killed, while more conservative estimates put the death toll as low as 30. Mohammad Sardar Bakhtyari, deputy chief ... ► Read more

  • Australian Government concerned by death sentence for Canadian man convicted in China

    The Australian Government has deep concerns over the death sentence given by a Chinese court to a Canadian man convicted of drug smuggling. Robert Lloyd Schellenberg was sentenced to death for attempting to smuggle a quarter of a tonne of methamphetamine from China to Australia in 2014. Mr Schellenberg was initially sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, but on appeal to the Dalian Intermediate People’s Court he was sentenced to death. “We are deeply concerned with ... ► Read more

  • Australian Government providing assistance to woman detained in Bangkok

    The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is providing consular assistance to an Australian woman who has been detained by Thai authorities in Bangkok for over a week, a department spokesperson has confirmed. Claire Johnson, 46, was expected to arrive in Sydney last week after travelling the world for a year, but was detained when trying to exit Thailand. In a series of Facebook messages Ms Johnson asked her friend Juliet Potter to contact ... ► Read more

  • Sultan Muhammad V Abdicates Malaysian Throne

    Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan has abdicated from the Malaysian monarchy, effective from 6 January 2019 according to a statement from the National Palace. The ruler of the Malaysian state of Kelantan was elected the country’s 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong in 2016, and has stepped down just two years into his scheduled five year term. He is the first Malaysian monarch to have abdicated. No reason has been given for his abdication, but Sultan Muhammad, ... ► Read more

  • Indonesia tsunami: death toll rises to 222

    At least 222 people have been killed and 843 left injured on the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra when a tsunami struck areas around the Sunda Strait late on Saturday, following an undersea landslide caused by a volcano. Emergency agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the disaster was caused by “a combination of an undersea landslide resulting from volcanic activity on Anak Krakatoa and a tidal wave”. Not all the affected areas have been ... ► Read more

  • Australian Government joins allies in condemnation of Chinese cyber espionage

    Australian officials have confirmed local companies are among the global victims of an extensive campaign of cyber attacks backed by the Chinese Government, aimed at stealing commercial intellectual property. Senior intelligence sources told the ABC it is the biggest threat to Australia’s cyber security uncovered so far. The confirmation came after the US Justice Department charged two Chinese citizens, alleging they carried out hacking at the direction of Beijing’s Ministry of State Security. It is ... ► Read more

  • Government calls on Thailand to release Melbourne-based refugee

    The Australian Government is calling for the immediate release of a Melbourne-based refugee from Thai detention, amid fears he could be tortured if an extradition request made by Bahrain is carried out. Hakeem Ali AlAraibi — a Bahraini national — was detained at Bangkok Airport in November and remains in custody despite being cleared to return home after an Interpol Red Notice used to detain him was lifted. Amnesty International has joined calls for his ... ► Read more

  • Dozens of construction workers killed in Papua attacks

    Indonesian authorities are attempting to recover the bodies of 31 construction workers and a soldier killed by gunmen in the province of Papua this week. Police spokesperson Suryadi Diaz said 24 workers were killed on Sunday when gunmen stormed a government bridge construction project in a remote village in the centre of the province’s Nduga district. According to officials, the workers had been brought from Sulawesi to help build the trans-Papuan highway. The following day, ... ► Read more

  • ASX surges following US-China trade war ceasefire

    Australian markets have rebounded after China and the United States agreed to a trade ceasefire at the G20 summit over the weekend. US President Donald Trump agreed to hold off for three months until March 1 before he increases tariffs on $US250 billion worth of Chinese imports. In the meantime, negotiators from Beijing and Washington will attempt to negotiate a deal to de-escalate their trade war, which has plagued global markets for the past year. ... ► Read more

  • Uncontacted Indian tribe kills young American explorer

    Members of one of the world’s last tribes untouched by modern civilisation have killed an American who ventured illegally onto their remote island, Indian police said on Wednesday (local time). John Allen Chau, 27, was hit by a hail of arrows as he set foot on North Sentinel Island, part of the Indian Andaman Islands, last Saturday, official sources told Agence France Presse (AFP). “He was attacked by arrows but he continued walking. The fishermen ... ► Read more

  • ASX tumbles after panic-selling in US, Europe, Asia

    A wave of panic-selling across Wall Street, European and Asian markets has spread to Australia. The local ASX 200 index had lost 1.3% to 5,599 at 10:10 am (AEDT). The broader All Ordinaries index also fell by a similar level to 5,684 points. Most sectors are in the red, with energy (-2.5pc) and resources (-2.4pc) being the weakest performers. It was driven by steep losses from Origin Energy (-4.4pc), Santos (-3.4pc), Fortescue Metals (-3.9pc), BHP ... ► Read more

  • Josh Frydenberg officially rejects CKI’s bid for APA Group

    Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has officially rejected Hong Kong-based CK Infrastructure’s (CKI) $13 billion bid for Australia’s east coast gas pipeline owner APA Group, two weeks after his preliminary ruling declared the deal was contrary to the national interest. The CK Group consortium released a statement on Wednesday morning saying the takeover will not proceed, and the deal was terminated. Though national security grounds were a consideration for the Government behind the scenes, Mr Frydenberg said ... ► Read more

  • Nissan Chairman arrested for financial misconduct

    Nissan Chairman and Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn faces being fired this week after being arrested in Japan over allegations of financial misconduct, the firm said on Monday, in a stunning fall from grace for one of the world’s best-known businessmen. Mr Ghosn’s arrest and his likely dismissal from Nissan, as well as possibly from Mitsubishi and Renault, sent shockwaves through the auto industry, where he is a towering figure, credited with turning around several major ... ► Read more

  • APEC 2018: US-China divisions deepen worrying world leaders

    Deep divisions between the United States and China have derailed the APEC meeting in Port Moresby, with regional leaders failing to agree on a final communique for the first time in the summit’s history. The two superpowers clashed repeatedly over the language on trade in the final document, with Beijing angrily rejecting paragraphs that called for an overhaul of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and warned against unfair trade tactics. The Trump Administration has repeatedly ... ► Read more

  • Japanese cybersecurity minister admits he has never used a computer

    Japan’s deputy minister for cybersecurity, Yoshitaka Sakurada, has never used a computer in his professional life, the 68-year-old admitted in the country’s National Diet (parliament) on Wednesday. In response to an opposition question, Mr Sakurada said: “Since the age of 25 I have instructed my employees and secretaries, so I don’t use computers myself.” When asked whether USB drives were in use at Japanese nuclear facilities, he also appeared confused and said that it was ... ► Read more

  • Moving Australian embassy to Jerusalem could increase terror attacks, warn Indonesia and Malaysia

    Indonesian and Malaysian politicians have warned that moving the Australian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem could result in increased Islamist terror attacks against Australians. Prime Minister Scott Morrison indicated in October 2018 that the Australian Government is considering relocating its embassy from Tel Aviv to the de facto capital Jerusalem, although Jerusalem is not recognised by the United Nations. The potential policy change has caused concern regarding Australia’s relationship with Muslim-majority nations, ... ► Read more

  • Morrison Government downplays Israel embassy move amid tensions with Indonesia

    The Government is reportedly downplaying the chances it will go through with a proposal to move Australia’s embassy in Israel in its private conversations with Indonesian ministers. Canberra is still trying to finalise a highly anticipated trade deal with Indonesia, ideally this year, but is facing a backlash from Jakarta over its announcement it would “consider” a shift in Middle East policy. Fairfax Media reports the Australian side have told Indonesian ministers in Singapore, where ... ► Read more

  • China’s Xinhua unveils AI news anchors

    Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua has unveiled its new artificial intelligence (AI) news anchors which will be broadcasting across the outlet’s TV and web platforms. File footage of human anchor Zhang Zhao forms the base layer over which animated mouths and other facial features are placed to produce twin AI anchors; one Chinese-speaking and the other catering to English-speaking audiences. The AI news presenters were created in collaboration with a search engine company called Sogou. ... ► Read more

  • US Department of Justice charges Chinese and Taiwanese companies with economic espionage

    The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has charged a Chinese state-owned company, its Taiwanese partner, and three individuals for “economic espionage” related to American trade secrets. The charges come amid the ongoing trade war between the US and China, which is due in part to the Trump administration’s accusations that China has engaged in unfair trade practices, including the widespread infringement of American intellectual property. The DoJ has charged Chinese state-owned company Fujian Jinhua ... ► Read more

  • Australia ratifies CPTPP membership

    Australia has officially joined a massive trade deal that the Federal Government says will deliver a windfall to farmers and businesses. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed Australia ratified the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) on Wednesday, making it the sixth country to come on board. The step means the CPTPP will come into effect on December 30. The deal strips 98% of tariffs for 11 countries with a combined GDP of more than ... ► Read more

  • Lion Air plane with 188 passengers crashes after take off from Jakarta

    A Lion Air plane carrying at least 188 people has crashed into the ocean after taking off from Jakarta, according to Indonesia’s search and rescue agency. Authorities have found debris, including life jackets and body parts, in the sea off the north coast of Java. Divers are in the water looking for more bodies. There are no reports of survivors. Tweets from a civil servant who works at the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management ... ► Read more

  • Authorities search for survivors after bus plunges 60 metres

    Rescuers have recovered two bodies after a bus plunged nearly 60 metres into a river following a car accident on a bridge in China’s Chongqing city, state media reported. The public bus collided with a car on a four-lane bridge in the city’s Wanxian area. The bus then veered, broke through the bridge fence, and plunged into the Yangtze river. The bus sank some 80 metres under the water, state radio reported late on Sunday, ... ► Read more

  • Pope Francis open to visiting North Korea

    Pope Francis has indicated that he is open to an official visit to North Korea, a country recognised as the worst in the world for persecuting Christians. South Korean President Moon Jae-in relayed an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to the Pope during a private audience at the Vatican on Thursday. The South Korean presidential office said President Moon “conveyed [Kim’s] desire for a papal visit to North Korea”, and that a formal ... ► Read more

  • Indonesia earthquake: 5000 still missing as death toll rises to over 1700

    Officials fear at least 5,000 people may still be missing in Indonesia following a deadly earthquake and tsunami that killed 1,763 people and devastated the northern island of Sulawesi. Indonesian authorities updated the number of casualties on Sunday, with the country’s disaster agency announcing the search for survivors would end on Thursday, despite fears that scores of people still remain buried under heaps of rubble and mud. Thousands of those still missing are thought to ... ► Read more

  • Interpol president “resigns” after detention in China

    International law enforcement agency Interpol has announced it has received the resignation of its President Meng Hongwei, but says the resignation does not include an explanation or provide any information regarding his whereabouts or condition. Mr Meng, 64, who is also Vice-Minister of Public Security in China, was reported missing on Friday after travelling from France, where Interpol is based, to China. China’s National Supervisory Commission issued a statement confirming it is investigating Mr Meng ... ► Read more

  • Indonesia earthquake: death toll rises to nearly 1350

    The number of confirmed deaths in Indonesia following Friday’s earthquake and tsunami has risen to 1,347, disaster response officials say. The death toll jumped on Tuesday from a previously confirmed figure of 844. The 7.5-magnitude quake struck just off the central island of Sulawesi, setting off a tsunami that engulfed the coastal city of Palu. Police are guarding shops against looters as people desperately search for food, fuel, and water, according to the BBC. Officers ... ► Read more

  • Trump accuses China of attempting to interfere in midterm elections

    United States President Donald Trump told the United Nations Security Council that China is attempting to interfere in the 2018 midterm congressional elections. Earlier this week China placed a four-page advertising supplement in Iowa’s largest newspaper, the Des Moines Register, highlighting the impact of the US-China trade war on Iowa’s soy farmers, and calling the dispute “the fruit of a president’s folly.” President Trump told the Security Council on Wednesday that the United States has ... ► Read more

  • Bali announces crack down on “insolent” tourists

    Authorities on the Indonesian resort island of Bali will issue new rules on visiting religious sites, a Hindu leader said on Wednesday, after disrespectful behaviour by foreign tourists sparked anger among adherents. The Balinese provincial government is preparing a decree to regulate temple visits in order to preserve the sanctity of the holy sites, according to I Gusti Ngurah Sudiana, chairperson of the Bali-based Indonesian Hindu Society. A working group comprising of government representatives and ... ► Read more

  • China supports ban on Hong Kong pro-independence party

    The Chinese Government has defended Hong Kong’s decision to ban a political party that promotes independence for the Special Administrative Region (SAR), expressing “strong dissatisfaction” toward countries that criticised the move. “Certain countries and institutions have made numerous and irresponsible remarks on the Hong Kong SAR government’s move to ban the Hong Kong National Party,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang. “We express strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to this,” he said, adding that ... ► Read more

  • Myanmar command-in-chief rejects UN authority in Rohingya crisis

    Myanmar military officials have rejected the authority of the United Nations and the International Criminal Court (ICC) following a UN report on the Rohingya refugee crisis that implicated the military in the persecution of the Rohingya people. The UN report released last week identifies instances of genocide against the Rohingya people committed by high-ranking military generals, including Min Aung Hlaing, Senior General and commander-in-chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces. The Rohingya are a Muslim minority ... ► Read more

  • China blames United States for escalating trade war with “contradictory behaviour”

    The Chinese Government has accused the United States of bullying following the imposition of US $200 billion of punitive tariffs on Chinese goods, and Beijing has retaliated with US $60 billion in tariffs on American imports. China’s State Council released a white paper entitled “Facts about the China-US trade dispute and China’s stance” within hours of the tariffs coming into force, in which it blames the White House for escalating the trade war between the ... ► Read more

  • US imposes sanctions on Chinese military for purchasing Russian weapons

    The United States has imposed sanctions on China’s military for buying 10 Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 surface-to-air missiles because the purchases contravenes US sanctions on Moscow, the US State Department has announced. Under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 (CAATSA), the US is required to penalise anyone undertaking significant transactions with certain people affiliated with Russian intelligence and military services, including arms manufacturers. “Today’s actions are not intended to undermine ... ► Read more

  • China levies new tariffs in response to US tariff hike

    China has announced it will levy tariffs on about US $60 billion worth of American imports in response to the United States imposing tariffs on US $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. Currently, the Trump Administration has imposed tariffs of 25% on US $50 billion worth of Chinese imports, with a 10% tariff on US $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to begin on 24 September and set to rise to 25% by the end ... ► Read more

  • Australia considers sanctions against Myanmar over Rohingya atrocities

    The Australian Government is considering targeted sanctions against Myanmar (Burma) in response to atrocities committed against the Rohingya people. The United Nations has recommended that several of Myanmar’s senior military officials be investigated for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, after a UN fact-finding mission documented atrocities committed against ethnic minorities in the country, including the Rohingya people. “The full report of the fact-finding mission adds to a large body of evidence indicating the ... ► Read more

  • US imposes further $200 billion tariffs on Chinese imports

    United States President Donald Trump has followed through on his threat to impose a second tranche of tariffs on Chinese imports, this time applying 10% tariffs on about US $200 billion worth of products. In announcing the new tariffs, President Trump warned China against taking retaliatory action against US industry, threatening that the US “will immediately pursue phase three, which is tariffs on approximately US $267 billion of additional imports.” Collection of the 10% tariffs ... ► Read more

  • Typhoon Mangkhut strikes southern China

    Typhoon Mangkhut hit mainland China at 5:00 pm (local time) on Sunday afternoon (local time), causing landslides that authorities fear have buried dozens of people. The storm has left death and destruction in its wake, with 64 people dead after it crossed the Phillipines, a toll that is expected to rise as rescue workers attempt to locate those still missing, likely buried beneath the 51 landslides in the north of the country. 😲😭TYPHOON mankhut Aujourdui ... ► Read more

  • Australian Special Forces deployed to PNG for APEC meeting

    Australia has deployed special forces soldiers to Papua New Guinea (PNG) as part of the effort to secure Port Moresby ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit scheduled for November. Concerns that local military and police personnel are inadequate are behind the deployment. World leaders including United States Vice President Mike Pence, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison are expected to attend the two-day summit. “We ... ► Read more

  • Leaders agree to closer ties between China and Russia

    Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin met on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on Tuesday, agreeing to bolster ties between their countries to counterbalance the United States’ economic power. The leaders have now met three times in 2018, which President Xi told President Putin reflects the “uniqueness and distinction” of the countries’ relationship, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV. “Both nations have to oppose unilateralism and trade protectionism, ... ► Read more

  • Letter: Kim Jong-un suggests second meeting with Trump

    North Korea’s Chairman Kim Jong-un has written to US President Donald Trump suggesting the two hold a second meeting. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed the receipt of the letter in a news conference and described it as “very warm” and “very positive”, but said it would not be released to the public without the consent of the North Korean leader. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said President Trump received a "very warm" ... ► Read more

  • Indian Supreme Court decriminalises consensual gay sex

    The Supreme Court of India decriminalised consensual gay sex in a unanimous decision delivered in New Delhi on Thursday afternoon (local time). A five-judge bench determined that section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, which punishes “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal” with up to life imprisonment, shall no longer apply to homosexual activity. “Any discrimination on the basis of one‘s sexual orientation would entail a violation ... ► Read more

  • At least eight dead in central Japan as Typhoon Jebi makes landfall

    Typhoon Jebi struck the central Japanese cities of Kobe and Osaka on Tuesday. At least eight deaths have been reported and more than 150 people injured, as Japan responds to the most intense tropical storm to hit the country in 25 years. The typhoon made its first landfall in Tokushima Prefecture around noon (Japanese standard time), before crossing the Osaka Bay and making landfall at Kobe around 2:00pm, and passing northwards over Hyogo Prefecture into ... ► Read more

  • Scott Morrison to finalise Indonesia free trade deal

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison will leave for Indonesia on Thursday to conclude free trade talks with President Joko Widodo. Mr Morrison said the talks in Jakarta will focus on enhancing economic and security ties between the two G20 nations. “Our close collaboration across economic, security and strategic domains makes both countries stronger, safer and more prosperous,” Prime Minister Morrison said. “I look forward to working with Indonesia’s President to lay the foundation for the next ... ► Read more

  • Kerala’s devastating floods kill more than 350 people

    India’s southernmost state of Kerala is in crisis as torrential floods continue, seeing at least 350 people killed and about 800,000 displaced. The floods, which started on August 8, have ripped through the state, creating landslides, destroying houses, bridges and roads, and trapping thousands. Footage from flood-affected areas have shown the devastation that has thus far ruined around 10,000 km of road, making evacuations and transport of supplies even harder. Spokesperson for Oxfam India Basab ... ► Read more

  • China matches US tariff hike

    China will respond in kind to the United States’ decision to impose 25% tariffs on USD $16 billion (AUD $22 billion) worth of Chinese imports, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced on Wednesday. The new tariffs will take effect from 23 August — the same day the US’ tariffs take effect — and will target products including fuel, steel, cars, bicycles, medical equipment, fish meal, wood waste, paper, and scrap metal. Both the US and ... ► Read more

  • Rescue efforts continue after devastating earthquake in Indonesia

    Rescuers are pulling people alive from rubble in Indonesia’s Lombok two days after an earthquake devastated the island. Thousands have been left homeless in the worst-affected areas as they continue to wait for aid to arrive. Lombok was hit with an earthquake on Sunday night that reached a 7.0 reading on the Richter scale, causing chaos that left thousands of buildings and homes demolished, along with over 230 people seriously injured. One of the buildings ... ► Read more

  • Global trade war escalates as US threatens sanctions against trading with Iran and increases Chinese tariffs

    United States President Donald Trump has threatened to impose trade sanctions on countries that continue to trade with Iran, after the US reimposed sanctions on the Middle Eastern country this week. “Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States,” President Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday (local time). “I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!” The Iran sanctions have officially been cast. These are the most biting sanctions ... ► Read more

  • Indonesia earthquake: death toll continues to rise

    The search for survivors of the deadly earthquake that hit Indonesia’s Bali and Lombok islands last night is still underway, with the death toll just hitting 91. Authorities expect more deaths will be confirmed as search efforts continue. The disaster comes only a week after another quake in the same region killed 16 people. The earthquake, which Australian tourists visiting Indonesia said felt like “a bomb had gone off”, hit at a depth of 10.5 ... ► Read more

  • US State Dept expects DPRK to denuclearise despite reports of new ICBMs

    The US State Department expects North Korea to follow through on its commitment to denuclearisation despite reports surfacing that Pyongyang is developing new missiles. “What we are going on is the commitment that Chairman Kim [Jong-un] made to our president, and that is the commitment to denuclearise. That is something that we certainly anticipate that he will hold up his end of the bargain,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters on Tuesday (local time). Ms ... ► Read more

  • Australia and Japan join US Indo-Pacific infrastructure initiative

    Australia and Japan have formed a trilateral partnership with the United States to invest in infrastructure and development projects in the Indo-Pacific region, it was announced on Tuesday. The announcement follows months of talks regarding a joint scheme to respond to China’s Belt and Road Programme. Initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Belt and Road is a massive infrastructure investment programme across Eurasia and the Indo-Pacific, but has been criticised for spreading Chinese political influence ... ► Read more

  • Julie Bishop arrives in East Timor after five year diplomatic drought

    Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop arrived in East Timor on Sunday marking the first visit by an Australian government minister to the country in five years. Tensions between Australia and East Timor have now eased after a five year diplomatic drought. The rift between Canberra and Dili, East Timor’s capital, mostly resided in a bitter dispute over maritime boundaries. East Timor accused Australia of trying to steal a large supply of oil and gas that lies between the two ... ► Read more

  • G20 summit: no consensus over resolving trade disputes

    Despite calling for increased dialogue to resolve trade tensions, financial officials ended a two-day G20 summit without agreement as to how to handle the ongoing disputes over the United States’ tariff actions. Meeting in Buenos Aires at the weekend, finance ministers and central bankers from the world’s 20 largest economies warned that growth will be hampered due to the waves of recent tariffs, and was already becoming less synchronised, with downside risks increasing over the ... ► Read more

  • WTO: China files complaint against US, US files complaint against everyone else

    China has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against the United States, responding to the Trump Administration’s plan to impose new tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, measures that China says are protectionist and in breach of international law. In a statement on its website, China’s Ministry of Commerce announced it is pursuing remedies against the US, saying: “The slander of the US against China about gaining extra advantage through ... ► Read more

  • China threatens retaliation after US threatens tariffs

    In an escalation of their ongoing trade war, China has accused the United States of “typical bullying” and has warned it will hit back after the Trump administration threatened to impose 10% tariffs on USD $200 billion (AUD $270 billion) of Chinese imports. China’s Ministry of Commerce said it is “shocked” by the “completely unacceptable” measures and intends to complain to the World Trade Organisation. On Tuesday the US Government released a list of thousands ... ► Read more

  • China: backlash after woman who defaced poster of President disappears

    Public images of Chinese President Xi Jinping have been defaced in protest over the disappearance of a young woman who splashed ink on a poster of the leader in Shanghai. The woman livestreamed herself splashing black ink onto the poster of Xi Jingping on Twitter, influencing others to do the same. #紧急关注这位女士# 刚刚微信朋友圈看到这个视频,为这位女士担忧,担忧她的安全,这个直播视频已经在国内流传,我想知道她的名字,请上海的朋友多打听她现在的状况,拜托大家关注,不要让她无声无息地消失,“捍卫宪法,言论自由无罪!” pic.twitter.com/idwO8lxNwj — 华涌 (@HuaYong798) July 4, 2018 “I oppose Xi Jinping and his authoritarian dictatorship,” she said, denouncing the Communist Party before ... ► Read more

  • Thai soccer team all rescued, recovering in hospital

    The Thai soccer team Wild Boars, comprising of 12 boys and their coach, have finally all been rescued from the Tham Luang cave in which they were trapped for over two weeks. The rescue officially concluded at 10:00pm (local time) on Tuesday. The boys were immediately taken to hospital where doctors assessed their health, with both their physical and mental conditions given the all clear. The three SEALS and Thai doctor who went into the ... ► Read more

  • Thai cave rescue: four more boys rescued with five still waiting

    Four more boys from the soccer team trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand have been rescued after a second day of successful efforts, leaving another four boys and their assistant coach to be evacuated in the next 24 hours. The leader of the rescue operation, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said the boys were taken to hospital immediately after they were rescued by divers on Monday night (Australia time). “All four boys have arrived at hospital, all ... ► Read more

  • Japan: more than 110 dead following severe flooding and landslides

    More than 110 people have died as a result of severe flooding and landslides in southwestern Japan, while 58 others remain missing. Search and clean-up operations are underway, with 54,000 military, police, and firefighting personnel, as well as helicopters and boats dispatched in the still-risky conditions. The death toll is expected to continue rising as search efforts reach areas with limited accessibility. “There are still many people missing and others in need of help, we ... ► Read more

  • Thai soccer team: Four boys rescued from Thailand cave

    Four members of the soccer team trapped in a cave in Thailand have been rescued overnight, with eight more boys remaining. The four boys with the weakest health were the ones to be rescued first. One of the boys has been identified as Mongkol “Mark” Boonpiam, who is just 14 years old, and was reported to have been the most fragile. Another boy of the four was identified as Prajak Sutham. The leader of the ... ► Read more

  • Thai soccer team stranded in cave may have to learn to use diving gear

    The Thai soccer team, who were found alive on Tuesday nine days after they went missing in the Tham Luang cave complex, are now awaiting a strategy from rescuers to get them out of the flooded cave. A strategy is being considered that involves the group — comprising of 12 boys aged between 11 and 16, and their 25 year old coach — learning how to use diving equipment. The group could potentially be stranded in the ... ► Read more

  • Malaysian ex-PM Najib Razak charged with corruption

    Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been charged with corruption over his role in the 1MDB state development fund scandal. Following his unprecedented election loss in May, a new investigation into Mr Najib commenced. The former Prime Minister has long been accused of pocketing $700 million from 1MDB. Mr Najib was arrested by anti-corruption authorities on Tuesday and detained overnight.   He faces a maximum of 20 years imprisonment if found guilty. 1MDB, set ... ► Read more

  • Trump: ‘If not for me, we would now be at war with North Korea’

    Talks with North Korea are “going well”, US President Donald Trump wrote in a tweet, claiming that without him the United States “would now be at war with North Korea”. President Trump tweeted: Many good conversations with North Korea-it is going well! In the meantime, no Rocket Launches or Nuclear Testing in 8 months. All of Asia is thrilled. Only the Opposition Party, which includes the Fake News, is complaining. If not for me, we ... ► Read more

  • Missing Thai soccer team found alive in flooded cave after nine days

    "You have been here 10 days. 10 days." Rescuers found the Thai soccer team, trapped in an cave for more than a week. All 13 are alive! Crews are working to get them home now. #KHOU11 pic.twitter.com/aIRYAeKprD — Brandi Smith (@BrandiKHOU) July 2, 2018 A Thai soccer team, comprising of 12 boys and one assistant coach, have been found alive by rescuers inside a cave in Thailand nine days after they went missing. The boys, ... ► Read more

  • Denpasar airport closed as Bali’s Mount Agung erupts

    Flights to and from Bali have been cancelled or delayed, following another eruption of the Indonesian island’s Mount Agung volcano. Clouds of volcanic ash have spewed more than two kilometres into the air. Ngurah Rai International Airport, near Bali’s chief city of Denpasar, was closed at 3:00 am (local time), and is not due to open until at least 7:00 pm. Meteorologists and pilots continue assessing the weather conditions. Virgin Australia and AirAsia have cancelled ... ► Read more

  • Amnesty International accuses 13 Burmese officials of atrocities

    Amnesty International has accused 13 officials, including Burmese Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlang, of playing a key role in the murder, rape and deportation of Burma’s Rohingya minorities. Following a nine-month investigation into the treatment of the Rohingya in Burma’s western state of Rakhine, the human rights group says its report is the most comprehensive account of how the military forced 700,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh after 25 August 2017. The Rohingya are ... ► Read more

  • Indonesian terrorist Aman Abdurrahman sentenced to death for 2016 attack

    Aman Abdurrahman, the radical Indonesian cleric behind a 2016 attack on a Starbucks café in Jakarta, was sentenced to death on Friday. Abdurrahman ordered militants affiliated with Islamic State to carry out attacks, including the Starbucks suicide bombing that left seven dead. Considered to be Indonesia’s most dangerous terrorist, he formed the group responsible for suicide bombings in Surabaya last month, which were carried out by families, including young children. Prosecutors have called Abdurrahman a ... ► Read more

  • China’s Weibo bans John Oliver after Xi Jingpin segment

    China’s version of Twitter, Weibo, has blocked and deleted all content referring to John Oliver after the comedian criticised China for its human rights abuses and mocked its president, Xi Jinping, in a 20 minute segment on his show, Last Week Tonight. Mr Oliver took aim at China’s moves to end presidential term limits and preserve “Xi Jinping Thought” in its constitution, describing Mr Xi’s consolidation of power as being driven by a “leadership cult”. ... ► Read more

  • Trump: North Korea has returned remains of 200 US soldiers

    North Korea has repatriated the remains of 200 US soldiers killed during the Korean War on Wednesday, according to US President Donald Trump. The return of the fallen soldiers comes after it was raised at the historic US-North Korea summit in Singapore, a little over a week ago. “We got back our great fallen heroes, the remains sent back today, already 200 got sent back,” Trump told a rally in Minnesota on Wednesday. No official ... ► Read more