On North Korea, Trump declares ‘talking is not the answer’ – but his defence chief Mattis swiftly disagrees

President Donald Trump on Wednesday declared “talking is not the answer” to the tense stand-off with North Korea over its nuclear missile development, but his defence chief swiftly asserted that diplomatic options remain and Russia demanded US restraint.
Trump’s comment, a day after Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile over Japan that drew UN and other international condemnation, renewed his tough rhetoric toward reclusive, nuclear-armed and increasingly isolated North Korea….

Thousands of Rohingya flee Myanmar as Rakhine unrest rages

At least 18,500 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh since fighting erupted in Myanmar’s neighbouring Rakhine state six days ago, the International Organisation for Migration said on Wednesday.
Plumes of smoke billowed from several burning villages in the worst-hit section of the state, according to a reporter on a government-led trip to the area, as the violence showed little sign of abating despite security sweeps by Myanmar’s police and troops. The streets of Maungdaw –…

Kim Jong-un pledges to launch more North Korean missiles into Pacific, to ‘contain’ US territory of Guam

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has called for more weapons tests targeting the Pacific Ocean, Pyongyang announced Wednesday, a day after his nation flew a ballistic missile designed to carry a nuclear payload over Japan.
Tuesday’s aggressive missile launch — likely the longest ever from North Korea — over the territory of a close US ally sends a clear message of defiance as Washington and Seoul conduct war games nearby.
Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency…

Thai prime minister ‘preparing to receive’ Rohingya fleeing Myanmar violence but human rights groups remain sceptical

Thailand is preparing to receive people fleeing fighting in Myanmar and send them back “when they are ready”, the prime minister said on Tuesday, following a series of attacks by Rohingya Muslim insurgents on Myanmar security forces last week.
Thailand was once a popular transit route for Rohingya escaping troubled Rakhine state in northwest Myanmar across the Andaman Sea. Others came by land.
But a 2015 Thai police crackdown on human-trafficking syndicates led to ships with…

With casinos on the cards, study shows Japan must first deal with its pachinko gambling addiction

As many as 900,000 Japanese people may be addicted to “pachinko” gambling or slot machines, according to a new study, raising concerns as the government continues to push forward with legalising casinos.
The nationwide survey of 9,000 men and women between the ages of 18 and 79 was conducted by universities and support groups for people with addiction to pachinko – a form of pinball played on upright boards in vast halls and accompanied by flashing lights and loud music.

Road accident in Thailand saves 88 pangolins

By Supapong Chaolan An accident at traffic lights in Thailand’s Kanchanadit district has proved the salvation of 88 protected pangolins probably intended for use in traditional medicines, and by restaurants, in China. Kanchanadit police station received a report a crash involving three vehicles at traffic lights, with the driver at fault quickly fleeing the scene.  The drivers of the other two vehicles, a pickup truck and a sedan, said they had stopped at the…