KFC faces boycott in China over meal toy promotion

A top Chinese consumer group has called for a boycott of a KFC meal promotion, saying it encourages food waste. The China Consumers Association (CCA) says the promotion sent some customers into a buying frenzy. KFC launched the promotion last week with Pop Mart, a Chinese toy maker known for its mystery boxes. Customers are able to collect limited edition versions of large-eyed and round-faced Dimoo dolls when buying certain KFC set meals. KFC “used limited-edition blind box sales to induce and condone consumers’ irrational and excessive purchase of meal sets, which goes against public order, good customs and the … Continue reading KFC faces boycott in China over meal toy promotion

Update: North Korea claims new hypersonic missile launch under watch of Kim Jong-un

North Korea says it has conducted another hypersonic missile test, under the watch of its leader Kim Jong-un. State news agency KCNA said the missile fired on Tuesday had “precisely hit” a target some 1,000km (621 miles) away. It marks North Korea’s third reported test of a hypersonic missile, which can avoid detection for longer than ballistic missiles. Two of the tests have happened within a week, after Mr Kim vowed in a New Year speech to bolster Pyongyang’s defences. South Korea and Japan both detected Tuesday’s launch, saying a missile had been fired from North Korea towards the sea. … Continue reading Update: North Korea claims new hypersonic missile launch under watch of Kim Jong-un

North Korea fires second suspected missile in six days

North Korea has fired a suspected ballistic missile, less than a week after it launched what it claimed was a hypersonic missile. South Korea said it detected the launch at 07:27 local time on Tuesday (22:27 GMT on Monday). Japan’s coast guard also reported the launch, saying North Korea had fired a “ballistic missile-like object”. It comes shortly after six countries issued a statement urging the North to cease its “destabilising actions”. “Our military detected a suspected ballistic missile fired by North Korea from land towards the East Sea,” South Korea’s Joint Chief of Staff (JCS) said, adding that intelligence … Continue reading North Korea fires second suspected missile in six days

Ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi jailed for another four years

A court in Myanmar has sentenced ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to four more years in prison, in the latest of a series of trials. She was convicted for the illegal possession and import of walkie-talkies and breaking Covid-19 rules. Ms Suu Kyi was first convicted in December, and given a reduced jail sentence of two years. She has been detained since a military coup last February and faces about a dozen charges, all of which she denies. They have been widely condemned as unjust. It is believed that Monday’s charges stem from when soldiers searched her house on the … Continue reading Ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi jailed for another four years

Kazakhstan government calls for Russian help over protest

Russian-led military troops will be deployed to help “stabilize” Kazakhstan amid anti-government demonstrations. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev called for support from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) as nationwide unrest escalates. The protests were first sparked by rising fuel prices, but have broadened to include other political grievances. President Tokayev claimed the unrest was the work of foreign-trained “terrorist gangs”. However, Kate Mallinson, an expert on Central Asia at the foreign affairs think tank Chatham House in London, said the protests are “symptomatic of very deep-seated and simmering anger and resentment at the failure of the Kazhak government to modernise their … Continue reading Kazakhstan government calls for Russian help over protest

North Korea launches ‘unidentified projectile’ into sea

North Korea has fired what has been described as an unidentified projectile into the sea, said South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). The Japanese coast guard, which first reported the launch, said it could potentially be a ballistic missile, but no confirmation has yet been given. The UN prohibits North Korea from ballistic and nuclear weapons tests. If confirmed, this would be the first such launch carried by Pyongyang this year. “South Korean and US intelligence are closely analyzing for further detail,” the JCS said in a statement. Japan’s defence minister Nobuo Kishi said the suspected ballistic missile had … Continue reading North Korea launches ‘unidentified projectile’ into sea

Update: S Korea says man who crossed back to North is gymnast defector

South Korea’s military suspects a man who crossed the heavily fortified border into the North on New Year’s Day previously defected to the South. Officials believe he is a gymnast who jumped the barbed wire fence into South Korea in 2020. It is not clear why he made the perilous return crossing, or if he is alive or dead. North Korea has implemented a shoot-on-sight policy at the border to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Thousands of North Koreans have resettled in South Korea, but crossings through the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), which separates the two countries, are rare. Most make … Continue reading Update: S Korea says man who crossed back to North is gymnast defector

South Korean crosses DMZ in rare defection to North Korea

A South Korean citizen has crossed the heavily fortified border into North Korea in an apparent defection, South Korea’s military says. The person was able to evade detection for several hours despite a search operation by South Korean troops. Military chiefs in Seoul said they did not know if the person was still alive, but had sent a message to the North asking for them to be protected. North Korea has implemented a shoot-on-sight policy during the pandemic. The person was detected in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), which separates the two Koreas, at a point on the east coast at … Continue reading South Korean crosses DMZ in rare defection to North Korea

Myanmar celebrity gets three years jail for mass protests

One of Myanmar’s most popular celebrities has been jailed for three years for taking part in mass protests that rocked Myanmar following a military coup last February. Paing Takhon, a model and actor with millions of fans, took part in anti-coup protests and had also been vocal in condemning the government online. Myanmar’s military seized power after claims of election fraud. Since then, it has engaged in a brutal campaign of repression. Takhon was arrested in April by around 50 soldiers who arrived in eight military trucks at 05:00 local time, according to a Facebook post by his sister. His … Continue reading Myanmar celebrity gets three years jail for mass protests

South Korea’s ex-president granted government pardon

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has pardoned former President Park Geun-hye, who was serving a 22-year prison term for a vast corruption scandal. The 69-year-old was convicted of abuse of power and coercion in 2018 after she was impeached the previous year. She was her country’s first democratically-elected leader to be forced from office. Park has been hospitalised three times this year due to chronic shoulder and lower back pain. Local news outlet Yonhap said Park, who was among the beneficiaries of Mr Moon’s special amnesty for the new year, had been placed on the list due in part to … Continue reading South Korea’s ex-president granted government pardon

Thousands flee homes as typhoon lashes Philippines

A local tourist arrives to take shelter at a sports complex in Dapa town, Siargao island Thousands of people in the Philippines have fled their homes and beachfront resorts as a powerful typhoon lashed the archipelago Thursday, with authorities warning of destructive winds and torrential rain.The path of Typhoon Rai as it heads past the Philippines towards China on December 16 Typhoon Rai was packing maximum sustained winds of 165 kilometres (102 miles) an hour as it barrelled towards central and southern regions of the vast archipelago, the state weather agency said.  But it warned wind speeds could intensify to … Continue reading Thousands flee homes as typhoon lashes Philippines

Philippines scales down mass vaccinations as typhoon approaches

Healthcare workers in the Philippines take booster shots against covid-19 An incoming typhoon has forced the Philippines to delay covid-19 vaccinations of millions of people living in the path of the storm, as authorities hastened preparations in anticipation of its arrival this week. Typhoon Rai is expected to hit land on Thursday, bringing strong winds and rain in the central Philippines in what would be the 15th typhoon, and one of the strongest, to hit the Southeast Asian archipelago this year. Thousands have been preemptively evacuated. The Philippines kicked off its second three-day vaccination drive on Wednesday targeting seven million … Continue reading Philippines scales down mass vaccinations as typhoon approaches