Update: Taiwan transport minister resigns over train crash

The 2 April crash was caused by a railway maintenance truck that slid down an embankment and onto the track moments before a high-speed train passed by. The accident, which left more than 200 injured, plunged Taiwan into mourning. Transport minister Lin Chia-lung offered his resignation the day after the crash but the government did not accept it, saying he was needed to concentrate on the rescue effort and subsequent investigation. However, that changed on Thursday with Premier Su Tseng-chang agreeing to let Lin step down. “The premier approved his resignation yesterday which will take effect on April 20,” cabinet spokesman Lo … Continue reading Update: Taiwan transport minister resigns over train crash

Clock stopped by earthquake restarts 10 years on

An 100-year-old Japanese clock that stopped working after the 2011 earthquake has started ticking again – after another quake struck this year. The clock, stored in a Buddhist temple, was submerged by the tsunami on Japan’s north-eastern coast that followed the devastating earthquake, which killed more than 18,000 people in March 2011. Its owner, Bunshun Sakano, then tried to fix the clock, without success. But when a smaller quake hit 10 years later, he says it began working again. According to the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper, the spring-driven clock was stored in the Fumonji Temple in Yamamoto, in Japan’s Miyagi region. Miyagi … Continue reading Clock stopped by earthquake restarts 10 years on

Record number of China jets enter Taiwan’s airspace

Taiwan has said a record number of Chinese military jets flew into its airspace on Monday, the defence ministry said 25 aircraft including fighters and nuclear-capable bombers entered its so-called air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on Monday. The incursion is the largest in a year and comes as the US warns against an “increasingly aggressive China”. Beijing views Taiwan as a breakaway province, however, democratic Taiwan sees itself as a sovereign state. The latest Chinese mission involved 18 fighter jets, as well as four bombers, which can carry nuclear weapons, two anti-submarine aircraft and an early warning aircraft, Taiwan said. … Continue reading Record number of China jets enter Taiwan’s airspace

Sriwijaya Air plane’s voice recorder recovered in Indonesia

Indonesian search teams have retrieved the missing voice recorder from the Sriwijaya Air plane that crashed into the Java Sea in January, killing all 62 people on board. Officials said it was found under 1m (3.3ft) of mud and that it would take up to a week to retrieve the recording. The authorities hope that data from the “black box” can give vital clues on the possible cause of the tragedy. Flight SJ182 had crashed minutes after taking off from Jakarta. Days after the crash, salvage crews located the recorder which stores the flight data, but could not find sufficient clues … Continue reading Sriwijaya Air plane’s voice recorder recovered in Indonesia

Update: India Manipur state reverses order turning away Myanmar refugees

India’s border state of Manipur has withdrawn an earlier order that told officials to “politely turn away” refugees crossing over from Myanmar. The state home ministry, which had issued the first order, said its instructions had been “misconstrued”. The earlier order was issued amid reports of refugees from Myanmar entering Manipur in India’s northeast. Many of them are fleeing in the wake of a military coup last month that overthrew a democratic government. On Tuesday, the home ministry issued a second order saying the state government was taking “all humanitarian steps” and “continues to provide all aid”, including treating any … Continue reading Update: India Manipur state reverses order turning away Myanmar refugees

Myanmar Coup: Thailand sends back ethnic Karen people fleeing Myanmar, despite airstrikes

Soldiers in Thailand began to send back people fleeing from Myanmar after airstrikes shook that country over the weekend, people familiar with the situation told the Associated Press on Monday. Protesters wearing protective equipment sit on a makeshift barricade meant to deter security forces during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon’s Hlaing Tharyar township in Myanmar. Increasing violence has raised questions internationally about how countries might respond to the coup that ousted the pro-democracy government of State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi. Ethnic Karen people are among those displaced by the violence that has increased in severity since the … Continue reading Myanmar Coup: Thailand sends back ethnic Karen people fleeing Myanmar, despite airstrikes

Massive blaze erupts at oil refinery in Indonesia

Firefighters in Indonesia are working to put out a massive fire that has broken out at one of the country’s largest oil refineries. The fire broke out at the Balongan refinery, run by state oil firm Pertamina, at 00:45 local time on Monday (17:45 GMT Sunday). At least five people are injured and around 950 residents have been evacuated to safety. A handful of people have been reported missing. The cause of the fire remains unclear, TV footage and videos on social media showed the fire still raging on Monday morning with a plume of smoke rising high above the … Continue reading Massive blaze erupts at oil refinery in Indonesia

Myanmar coup: Generals celebrated amid global fury over massacre

The killing of more than 100 anti-coup protesters in Myanmar has drawn global outrage, with defence ministers of 12 nations condemning the military. The US accused the security forces of a “reign of terror” on Saturday, the deadliest day since last month’s coup. Coup leader Min Aung Hlaing and his generals still threw a lavish party that night for Armed Forces Day. On Sunday, funerals were held, with some reports the military had tried to intervene in the mourning. More than 400 people have now been killed in the suppression of protests in Myanmar since the 1 February coup. The … Continue reading Myanmar coup: Generals celebrated amid global fury over massacre

Update: North Korea claims ‘new tactical guided’ missiles launched

North Korea has claimed the missiles it launched Thursday were a “new-type tactical guided projectile”, in its first statement since the test. It was the country’s first ballistic launch in almost a year and the first since Joe Biden became US President. Mr Biden has said the US will “respond accordingly”. The US, Japan and South Korea have condemned the tests. Under UN Security Council resolutions, Pyongyang is banned from testing ballistic missiles. North Korea’s Friday statement says the two weapons struck a test target 600km (373 miles) off North Korea’s east coast, disputing Japanese assessments that they flew just … Continue reading Update: North Korea claims ‘new tactical guided’ missiles launched

Tragic: Seven-year-old girl killed by security forces in Myanmar

A seven-year-old girl has been shot dead by security forces in Myanmar, becoming the youngest known victim in the crackdown following last month’s military coup, local residents say. Family members said the girl was killed at her home in the city of Mandalay. Myanmar has been gripped by protests since the military seized control on 1 February. Rights group Save the Children says more than 20 children are among dozens of people who have been killed. In total, the military says 164 people have been killed in protests, while the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) activist group puts the … Continue reading Tragic: Seven-year-old girl killed by security forces in Myanmar

China returns eight Hong Kong ‘speedboat fugitives’

Eight Hong Kongers who were part of a group of democracy activists that failed to flee the city by speedboat last year were handed back to authorities on Monday after serving jail sentences in mainland China. Dubbed by supporters as “The Hong Kong 12”, the group was picked up by Chinese coast guard last August as they tried to make a break for nearby Taiwan. Those on board were being prosecuted for actions linked to 2019’s huge and often violent democracy protests. The charges they faced ranged from rioting and attempted arson to possession of offensive weapons and making explosives.  … Continue reading China returns eight Hong Kong ‘speedboat fugitives’

Japan court finds same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

A district court in Japan has in a landmark decision ruled that the country’s failure to recognise same-sex marriage is “unconstitutional”. Japan’s constitution defines marriage as one between “both sexes”. But a Sapporo court ruled that this denied the couples constitutionally-guaranteed equality, in what is seen as a symbolic victory for LGBTQ activists. Japan is the only country in the G7 group of developed nations that does not allow same-sex marriage. The case was one of several brought to district courts in various parts of Japan by a group of same-sex couples who are seeking damages for mental suffering. The Sapporo … Continue reading Japan court finds same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional