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Top Asian News 2:03 a.m. GMT

January 6, 2023 GMT

Beds run out at Beijing hospital as COVID-19 spreads

BEIJING (AP) — Mostly older men and women wearing masks rested on cots in hallways, while others slept upright in crowded waiting rooms with numbered chairs. Many received fluids intravenously, while others were given oxygen. The sound of people coughing — and of new patients arriving on gurneys — was steady. At the Chuiyangliu hospital in the east of Beijing on Thursday, signs of the COVID-19 outbreak stretching public health facilities in the world’s most populous nation were on full display. Beds ran out by midmorning at the packed hospital, even as ambulances brought more people in. Hard-pressed nurses and doctors rushed to take information and triage the most urgent cases.

Hong Kong to start reopening border with China on Sunday

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong will start to reopen its border with mainland China on Sunday and allow tens of thousands of people to cross from each side every day without quarantine, the city’s leader said. The city’s land and sea border checkpoints with the mainland have been largely closed for almost three years under China’s “zero-COVID” strategy, which has restricted entry to the country, isolated infected people and locked down areas with outbreaks. The reopening is expected to provide a much-needed boost to Hong Kong’s economy. Thursday’s announcement came as China is easing some of the world’s toughest anti-virus controls.


Seoul: Kim’s daughter reveal hints at prolonged family rule

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s disclosure of his daughter in recent public events was likely an attempt to show his people that one of his children would one day inherit his power in what would be the country’s third hereditary power transfer, South Korea’s spy service told lawmakers Thursday. Kim publicly took his daughter to three events in the past few months: a missile launch site, a photo session with weapons scientists and a touring of a missile facility. State news media called her Kim’s “most beloved child,” sparking outside debate over whether she’s being groomed as his heir apparent, though she’s believed to be around 9 or 10 years old.

Philippine police chief offers to quit over drug-linked cops


MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine national police chief said Thursday he has tendered his resignation to encourage nearly a thousand other ranking police officials to do the same to regain public trust after some enforcers were arrested due to illegal drugs, further tainting the police force’s notorious image. Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. on Wednesday appealed to all police generals and colonels to submit their “courtesy resignations” in a drastic move to improve the police force’s image after law enforcers in the frontlines of the drug crackdown were caught engaging in drug dealing. Police Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. told a televised news conference that those who would submit their “courtesy resignations” — offers to voluntarily resign from the force — would stay in their jobs unless President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.


Australian boy, 10, remains in coma after helicopter crash

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — A 10-year-old Australian boy remained in a coma Friday following a collision earlier this week between two helicopters that killed four people, including the boy’s mother. Meanwhile, another boy, aged 9, who was hospitalized in critical condition after the crash awoke Thursday after suffering brain trauma, according to health authorities. The 9-year-old boy’s mother remained hospitalized in stable condition. Another three people who were injured in the collision were discharged from hospitals on Thursday, according to Queensland Health. Police said one helicopter was taking off and the other landing when they collided Monday afternoon near the Sea World theme park on Queensland state’s Gold Coast.

Afghan Taliban kill 8 in raids of IS hideouts in Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban killed eight Islamic State militants and arrested nine others in a series of raids targeting key figures in a spate of attacks in Kabul, a senior Taliban government spokesman said Thursday. Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Taliban government, said the raids in the capital city and western Nimroz province on Wednesday targeted IS militants who organized recent attacks on Kabul’s Longan Hotel, Pakistan’s embassy and the military airport. Eight IS fighters, including foreign nationals, were killed and seven others arrested in Kabul, while a separate operation in western Nimroz province resulted in two more IS arrests, Mujahid said.


Nate Thayer, reporter who interviewed Pol Pot, dies

Nate Thayer, a fearless reporter who survived several brushes with death over decades covering conflict in Southeast Asia and was the last western journalist to interview Pol Pot, the leader of the murderous Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, has died. Thayer was found dead at his Falmouth, Massachusetts home on Tuesday by a friend, his brother, Rob Thayer, said Thursday. He was 62. He had been suffering with multiple ailments for several months, and the cause of death was listed as natural causes, Rob Thayer said, adding that he had last spent time with his brother on Sunday. Thayer at various times worked for The Associated Press, Jane’s Defence Weekly, the Phnom Penh Post, The Washington Post, Agence France Presse and Soldier of Fortune Magazine, but it was while working as a correspondent for the Hong Kong-based Far Eastern Economic Review that he scored the Pol Pot interview published in October 1997.


AP Week in Pictures: Asia

Dec. 30, 2022-Jan. 6, 2023 This photo gallery highlights some of the most compelling images made or published by Associated Press photographers in Asia and Pacific. The gallery was curated by AP photo editor Wally Santana in Bangkok. Follow AP visual journalism: Instagram: AP Images on Twitter: AP Images blog:

Australia to buy US-made HIMARS in boost to defense systems

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia announced Thursday it will boost its defense capabilities by spending more than 1 billion Australian dollars ($700 million) on new advanced missile and rocket systems, including U.S.-made HIMARS which have been successfully used by Ukraine’s military. In Ukraine, the mobile, truck-mounted HIMARS have proved crucial in enabling Ukrainian forces to hit key targets, including a recent strike on a single building that killed at least 89 Russian soldiers. The Australian government said the HIMARS it was buying included launchers, missiles and training rockets and would be in use by 2026. It said the system had a current range of 300 kilometers (186 miles), which was expected to increase with technological advances.

Attackers wound 5 Pakistani policemen guarding polio workers

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Attackers armed with guns and hand grenades ambushed a police van assigned to guard polio workers in northwestern Pakistan, wounding five policemen, authorities said. Police returned fire after coming under attack near a bridge in Dera Ismail Khan, a district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, according to local police chief Aman Ullah. The police chief, who was traveling with the convoy to a nearby vaccination site, said between six to eight suspected militants ambushed them, opened fire and threw hand grenades at the police van. No group claimed responsibility for the attack but Islamic militants often target polio teams and police protecting them, falsely claiming the vaccination campaigns are a Western conspiracy to sterilize children.