Indonesia earthquake: Heavy rain hampers search for survivors

Indonesian officials say heavy rain is hampering the search for survivors following a powerful earthquake on Sulawesi island on Friday, the death toll has now risen to 78, including five members of one family. Thousands of people left homeless are living in makeshift shelters, and there are fears of a Covid outbreak there. In recent days Indonesia has endured deadly landslides, the loss of a Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737 with 62 people on board, and a volcanic eruption. The epicentre of Friday’s 6.2-magnitude tremor was six kilometres (3.7 miles) north-east of Majene city at a depth of 10km. Excavators, cranes and other heavy-lifting … Continue reading Indonesia earthquake: Heavy rain hampers search for survivors

Rescuers buried as they help victims of Indonesia landslide

Rescuers searching for victims of a landslide in Indonesia were buried by a second mudslide just hours later, officials say. The first landslide, in Cihanjuang village, West Java, was triggered by torrential rain. Another struck as survivors were still being evacuated, at least 12 people died and dozens more are missing. Landslides are common in Indonesia during rainy season, and often blamed on deforestation. The latest disasters hit the villagers in Sumedang regency, about 150km (95 miles) southeast of the capital Jakarta, three and a half hours apart on Saturday, the first happened at 16:00 (09:00 GMT) and the second … Continue reading Rescuers buried as they help victims of Indonesia landslide

South Korea court orders Japan to compensate former sex slaves

A South Korean court ordered Japan on Friday to compensate 12 women who were forced to work as sex slaves in wartime Japanese brothels, in a ruling that could rekindle diplomatic and history feuds between the two countries. The Seoul Central District Court ruled that Japan should pay 100 million won ($91,000) to each of the victims. “Evidence, relevant materials and testimonies show that the victims suffered from extreme, unimaginable mental and physical pain due to the illegal acts by the accused. But no compensation has been made for their suffering” the court said in its verdict. It is the … Continue reading South Korea court orders Japan to compensate former sex slaves

Kim Jong-un says North Korea’s economic plan failed

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has admitted his five-year economic plan for the isolated country failed to meet its targets in “almost every sector”. He was speaking at the opening of a rare congress of his ruling Workers’ Party – only the eighth in its history. North Korea closed its borders last January to prevent the spread of Covid-19, despite claiming to have no cases of the virus, that has left it cut off from its neighbour and ally, China. Trade between the two has plummeted by about 80%. Typhoons and floods have devastated homes and crops in North Korea, … Continue reading Kim Jong-un says North Korea’s economic plan failed

Alarm as South Korea sees more deaths than births

South Korea recorded more deaths than births in 2020 for the first time ever, raising fresh alarm in the country which already has the world’s lowest birth rate. Only 275,800 babies were born last year, down 10% from 2019. Around 307,764 died. The figures prompted the interior ministry to call for “fundamental changes” to its policies, a declining population puts immense strain on a country. Apart from increased pressure on public spending as demand for healthcare systems and pensions rise, a declining youth population also leads to labour shortages that have a direct impact on the economy. Last month, President … Continue reading Alarm as South Korea sees more deaths than births

Man held after entering Japan emperor’s residence

A 29-year-old man has been arrested after allegedly breaking into the Tokyo residence of Emperor Naruhito, where he reportedly spent two hours before being discovered, local media said Sunday.© Emperor Naruhito (L) and his wife Empress Masako The man, who has not been named, entered the usually heavily guarded Akasaka residential complex for imperial family members through the adjacent guesthouse on Saturday night, Fuji News Network (FNN) said. He was caught by the Imperial Guard near the residence of Princess Yuriko, the great-aunt of Emperor Naruhito, about two hours after he broke in, the broadcaster said, quoting police officials. FNN … Continue reading Man held after entering Japan emperor’s residence

Chinese games billionaire dies after poisoning

A Chinese tycoon who died on Christmas Day was poisoned, Shanghai police say, Lin Qi, 39, was the chairman and chief executive of games developer Yoozoo, best known for the Game of Thrones: Winter Is Coming strategy game. The Shanghai police statement pointed to one of Mr Lin’s colleagues – identified only by his surname Xu – as the main suspect. Mr Lin was believed to have a net worth of around 6.8bn yuan (US$1bn, £780m), according to the Hurun China Rich List, many employees and ex-employees gathered outside Yoozoo’s office on Friday to mourn his death. The company also … Continue reading Chinese games billionaire dies after poisoning

Macau gambles on tech for its Covid-19 recovery

Macau is betting that technology will help the gambling hub recover from its Covid-19 induced economic slump, the territory has been badly affected by travel bans because its economy is heavily reliant on gambling. Next June, the city plans to host ‘Beyond’, a technology event loosely modelled on the massive CES trade show in Las Vegas, the event would also showcase Macau as an alternative to Hong Kong as a gateway to China, said its organiser. However, the date of the tech trade show could be pushed back to October if Covid-19 isn’t under control in time. “Macau has very … Continue reading Macau gambles on tech for its Covid-19 recovery

Couple holds 10,000 people drive-thru wedding in Malaysia

The coronavirus pandemic has put paid to many couples’ dreams of a large wedding, but one Malaysian duo has managed to dodge restrictions which would have limited the guest list to 20 and welcomed a reported 10,000 people to their nuptials, all in a Covid-19 secure manner. Can’t be done, you might say, But it can, if you make your wedding a drive-thru event. On Sunday morning, the newly-weds were seated outside a grand government building in Putrajaya, south of the capital Kuala Lumpur, while guests slowly drove past in their cars. The windows had to remain rolled up and … Continue reading Couple holds 10,000 people drive-thru wedding in Malaysia

Snow in Japan traps 1,000 drivers in frozen traffic jam

Rescuers are trying to free more than 1,000 vehicles which have been stranded on a highway for two days after a heavy snow storm struck Japan. Authorities have distributed food, fuel and blankets to the drivers on the Kanetsu expressway, which connects the capital Tokyo to Niigata, in the north. The snow, which began on Wednesday evening, has caused multiple traffic jams along the road, it has also left more than 10,000 homes in the north and west without power. A Kyodo News report said that there were multiple reports of congestion at different points of the Kanetsu expressway. The … Continue reading Snow in Japan traps 1,000 drivers in frozen traffic jam

Covid-19: Virus ‘success’ Taiwan to keep restrictions despite vaccine

Authorities in Taiwan have warned that even as vaccinations begin, the world should remain extremely vigilant against the virus, health minister Chen Shih-chung said scientific data on the vaccines’ lasting effect was still insufficient. “During the first vaccination periods, people should continue with the safety measures,” he told the BBC. Taiwan has been one of the most successful places in the world in dealing with Covid-19. So far, it has had only 724 confirmed cases and seven deaths and has never had to go into lockdown. The health minister does not question the vaccines’ safety or whether they provide immunity … Continue reading Covid-19: Virus ‘success’ Taiwan to keep restrictions despite vaccine

China bans 105 apps including TripAdvisor

China has removed 105 apps from it’s app stores as part of a campaign to get rid of content related to pornography, prostitution, gambling and violence, most of the banned apps are Chinese but US travel app TripAdvisor is also included on the list. According to the Cyberspace Administration of China, all apps violated one of three cyber-laws, although it did not provide details, it comes as a second US court rules against the planned ban on TikTok. US district judge Carl Nichols said President Trump over-stepped his authority when attempting to ban the Chinese video-sharing app on security grounds, … Continue reading China bans 105 apps including TripAdvisor