Asia

AIIB expands membership by 13 countries and regions

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a Chinese-led initiative to spur development in the region, on Thursday announced it had expanded its membership by 13 countries and regions to a total of 70 members.

China's Xi urges military-civilian integration, modernization

Chinese President Xi Jinping says that China's army needs to increase military-civilian integration and develop its technological innovation, state media has reported.

China reveals lowest military budget increase in decades

China's military budget will increase by 7 per cent this year to 151 billion dollars (1.044 trillion yuan), the slowest growth in more than two decades, a finance ministry official announced Monday.

Indian restaurant Gaggan in Bangkok named Asia's best for third year

Bangkok's Indian eatery Gaggan on Tuesday was named the best restaurant in Asia for the third consecutive year by Asia's 50 Best Restaurants.

China promotes rival trade deal as US exits Trans-Pacific Partnership

Just one day after President Donald Trump announced the US is withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), China on Tuesday used the opportunity to promote a rival regional trade deal.

TPP members vow to keep trade deal alive after US exit

Asia-Pacific countries hoping to create a regional trading zone as part of the largest-ever trade deal said Tuesday they would push on without the United States after President Donald Trump said the US is withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Merkel's deputy seeks economic pivot to Asia with Trump in office

German Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel has called for a new economic policy towards Asia following the inauguration of Donald Trump as US president.

HRW: Duterte's drug war, Suu Kyi's Rohingya failure mark dismal 2016

An unprecedented level of extrajudicial killings in the Philippine drug war and Mynamar's failure to address a brutal crackdown on Rohingya Muslims highlight the grim state of human rights in Asia in 2016, a Human Rights Watch report said Friday.

First tunnel linking Europe and Asia opens in Istanbul

The first transport tunnel linking Asia and Europe opened Tuesday in the Turkish metropolis Istanbul.

Scientists discover 163 new species in Asia's Mekong region

Scientists discovered 163 new species in Asia's Greater Mekong region last year, according to a report released Monday by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Study finds nearly 385 million children worldwide live in poverty

Nearly 385 million children worldwide live in extreme poverty, UNICEF and the World Bank said Monday.

Asia needs 300 billion dollars a year to uphold Paris climate goals

Developing Asia needs to shell out 300 billion dollars every year if it intends to meet the goals agreed to at the 2015 Paris climate summit, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Tuesday.

Nepal failing to stop child marriage, says Human Rights Watch

Nepal’s poverty, traditional practices, patriarchy and gender discrimination have led to the country having one of the highest rates of child marriages in Asia, a leading rights group said Thursday.

Lego see slowdown in profit growth even as sales surge 10 per cent

Danish toy company Lego on Tuesday posted a slight drop in net profit for the first half of 2016, even as turnover rose 10 per cent, lifted by strong sales growth in Europe and Asia.

Seoul: North Korea "executes vice premier"

North Korea has executed one of its vice premiers by firing squad, a South Korean government official told dpa.

Report: North Korea lays mines along DMZ as South plays up defections

North Korean soldiers have been laying fresh landmines in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating their country from South Korea in recent weeks, reported South Korean news agency Yonhap Tuesday, citing government sources.

Typhoon Mindulle batters Tokyo area, disrupting transport

A powerful typhoon accompanied by strong winds and heavy rain pounded eastern and north-eastern Japan Monday, disrupting transport in the regions.

15 illegal migrants found in cargo train in east Croatia

Railway workers found 15 illegal migrants of African and Asian background hidden in carriages of a cargo train in Slavonski Brod, eastern Croatia, and a police investigation is under way.

Chinese ships approach islets disputed with Japan

Japan lodged a protest with China Wednesday after four Chinese coast guard vessels entered what Tokyo regards as its territorial waters near a group of disputed islets in the East China Sea, Japanese authorities said.

South Korea defends plans to bolster security with missile system

South Korea's President Park Guen Hye defended plans to deploy a US missile defence system in the country on Monday, despite criticism from China and Russia.

South Korea pardons almost 5,000, including convicted business leader

South Korean President Park Geun Hye has granted amnesty to almost 5,000 convicted criminals

Japan searches for missing Chinese boat crew near disputed islets

Japanese authorities were scouring the waters near a group of disputed islets in the East China Sea on Friday for eight Chinese crew members who went missing after their fishing vessel collided with a freighter.

Seven killed, over 1.2 million hit in floods in India's Assam

Floods driven by incessant monsoon rains have killed at least seven people and affected over 1.2 million in India's north-eastern state of Assam, officials said Tuesday.

One killed, many wounded in attack on security forces in Kazakhstan

At least one police officer was killed and several wounded in an attack on security forces in Kazakhstan on Monday, according to media reports.

ADB trims growth forecast for Asia's developing economies

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has trimmed growth projection for the region’s developing economies in 2016, amid disappointing growth in the US and short-term impact from the Brexit vote.

Croatian president says Asia and Europe need trust and stability

Asia and Europe need trust and stability to continue to prosper and grow, said Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic who, at the invitation of Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, is taking part in the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Ulaanbaatar.

Japan premier’s election win paves way for constitutional change

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition and their allies won a two-thirds majority in upper house elections, paving the way for Abe to amend Japan’s pacifist constitution, local media reported Monday.

Taiwan on high alert as Typhoon Nepartak approaches

Taiwan was preparing for Super Typhoon Nepartak, expected to slam into the island late Thursday, state-run Central News Agency reported.

Japan's older people make up record 26.7 per cent of population

People aged 65 or older accounted for a record 26.7 per cent of Japan’s total population in 2015, up from 23 per cent five years earlier, the government said Wednesday.

Nikkei rebounds 2.3 per cent after rout on Brexit vote

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average soared 2.3 per cent Monday, despite the yen’s rise, after last week's global sell-off triggered by the British vote to leave the European Union

Car sharing programme up and running in tsunami-hit rural Japan

Takehiko Yoshizawa introduces a car-sharing programme in a drab north-eastern Japanese city, where tens of thousands of vehicles were swept away by a tsunami in 2011. Many volunteers and non-governmental organizations are long gone from the disaster-stricken region, but he is determined to expand the programme.

Asian markets, pound hit by Brexit referendum results

Asian financial markets and Britain's pound fell sharply Friday after initial results suggested Britain had voted to leave the European Union.

China defiant over claims to South China Sea

China firly rejected US claims that Beijing is "isolating" itself over territorial disputes in the South China Sea Sunday.

US says Chinese building "Great Wall of isolation"

The US defence chief Saturday described China's activities in the disputed South China Sea as "self-isolating," and warned that it could lead to a "Great Wall of isolation" within the region.

EU seeks to enhance security policy in South-East Asia

Maritime security, counter-terrorism and disaster management are areas in which the European Union (EU) should be more active in South-East Asia, according to an EU security policy report released Friday in Singapore.

Philippine Congress confirms Duterte won presidential election

The Philippine Congress on Friday confirmed that Rodrigo Duterte, a tough-talking mayor from a southern city, won the presidential elections earlier in the month.

South Korea fires warning shots at North Korean vessel

The South Korean navy fired warning shots at two boats from North Korea that crossed the disputed boundary in the Yellow Sea west of the peninsula, Seoul officials said Friday.

Asian economies face slowdown in 2016 and 2017, ADB says

Economic growth in Asia will slow down in the next two years amid a weak recovery in major industrial economies and lower prospects for China, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Wednesday.

Pakistan launches crackdown after deadly Easter bombing

Several raids were conducted and a number of suspects were arrested across major cities in the country's most populous province, army spokesman General Asim Bajwa said.

Pakistan mourns bombing victims

Pakistan was preparing Monday to bury the first victims of a bombing that targeted Christians at a park on the weekend, as the death toll in the attack climbed to 70.

Report: Malaysian former attorney general planned to charge premier

Malaysia's former attorney general planned to file charges against Prime Minister Najib Razak over the millions of dollars found in the premier’s bank accounts, an Australian television network said Monday.

Japan stations troops near disputed East China Sea islands

Japan stationed ground troops Monday on a remote island near a group of East China Sea islets that are disputed with China and Taiwan.

Worst smog of the year hits Beijing

The heaviest smog of the year blanketed the Chinese capital Friday on the eve of the country's annual parliament. 

Iran's reformists set to squeeze out hardliners in landmark election

Iran's reformists have won all of Tehran's 30 seats in parliament, according to preliminary results for Friday's elections, marking a major boost for President Hassan Rowhani.

Iran broadly honours nuclear deal, first IAEA report shows

Iran is meeting key obligations to curb its nuclear programme under the deal Tehran struck with six world powers, according to a first report by the International Atomic Energy Agency since the deal went into effect in January.

Crashed Nepalese passenger plane might have diverted from its route

A passenger plane that crashed in central Nepal on Wednesday killing all 23 people on board might have diverted from its usual route, Pokhara Airport chief Dipak Baral said.

Lebanese politicians attack Hezbollah over Saudi aid cut

Two prominent Lebanese politicians Saturday lashed out at Shiite movement Hezbollah and its allies over Saudi Arabia's decision to halt a 4-billion-dollar military aid programme.

India and Nepal leaders meet, signalling thaw in tensions

Leaders from India and Nepal held talks on Saturday to repair strained ties following a border blockade, as the neighbours signed nine pacts on issues such as trade and transport.

Caste protests over jobs, education turn violent in India

At least one person was killed and 10 injured in clashes and police firing when protests over caste-based quotas in jobs and education turned violent in the northern Indian state of Haryana, police and news reports said.

Protests snowball over Indian university sedition row

Protests were held in several Indian cities Thursday over the arrest of a student at a leading Indian state-run university on charges of sedition.

Valentine's Day under fire in Pakistan

Valentine's Day celebrations were slammed by authorities in Pakistan, where officials said the practice was not compatible with the country's Islamic values.

Death toll from Taiwan earthquake reaches more than 100

The confirmed death toll reached 108 people from the 6.4-magnitude earthquake that hit southern Taiwan a week ago, authorities said Saturday.

Anti-malaria drug does not increase risk to pregnancy, study finds

Anti-malaria drug artemisinin does not have a harmful effect on pregnancies in the first trimester compared with other established treatments, according to a joint study published Tuesday, possibly paving the way for the drug's use by pregnant women.

Afghan, Taliban talks expected to restart by end of February

Talks between Afghan officials and Taliban representatives are expected by the end of February, it was announced on Saturday after four-way talks involving Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the United States.

Strong earthquake topples buildings in Taiwan, killing 11

At least 11 people, including an infant, were killed and hundreds injured when a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck southern Taiwan early Saturday, authorities said.

Strong earthquake kills five in Taiwan, several injured

At least five people including an infant were killed and dozens injured when a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck southern Taiwan early Saturday, authorities said.

North Korea arrests US student for "hostile act"

North Korea said Friday it had detained a US student for carrying out a "hostile act" against the state, official media reported.

Taiwan - proud democracy in China's shadow

Taiwan has been an Asian trouble spot since the end of the civil war in China in 1949.

Polls open, Taiwanese expected to elect first female president

Taiwanese went to the polls Saturday in an election widely expected to produce the island's first female president.

Study finds under-reported disease to be endemic killer

A study has found that the bacterial disease melioidosis was responsible for the deaths of up to 89,000 people worldwide in 2015.

Report: Asian and Middle Eastern airlines are safest in the world

Asian and Middle Eastern companies dominate a ranking of the world's safest airlines, with Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific and Dubai's Emirates in first and second place, German flight safety experts said Tuesday in their annual report.

China trading stopped again amid new efforts to steady markets

A steep drop in Chinese share prices Thursday triggered an automatic halt in trading for the second time this week, as the authorities introduced new measures to restrict share sales.

Rising tensions in South China Sea risk confrontation

The territorial disputes in the South China Sea continue to evoke tensions across Asia thanks to actions by Beijing seen by many as little more than a land grab. China says the seas belongs to it, but its neighbours don’t agree. And America seems keen on testing the waters. Will the problems just percolate, or are we close to a blow-up?