North Korean nuclear test ‘left 200 dead after tunnel collapse’, according to Japanese reports

More than 200 people are feared to have died when a tunnel caved in at North Korea’s nuclear test site after its latest detonation, a Japanese news report said on Tuesday.
A tunnel collapsed at Punggye-ri in early September, days after North Korea conducted its sixth and largest underground nuclear test on September 3, TV Asahi said, quoting unnamed North Korean sources.
Some 100 workers were involved in an initial collapse. Another cave-in occurred during rescue operations, leaving at…

Is he poor or is he rich? Thai model probed for using welfare card

By Wichit Chantanusornsiri & Online reporters A male model suspected of pretending to be poor in order to receive a welfare card is being investigated by Thailand’s Comptroller-General’s Department. The department chief, Suttirat Rattanachot, said she has obtained the name of the model, who has been subjected to criticism on social media for obtaining a welfare card despite appearing to live a life of comfort. But the man shamed on social media has come forward to…

Sea current course change could mean worse weather for Japan

The powerful current that sweeps up Japan’s east coast has made a broad turn out into the Pacific for the first time in 12 years, according to scientists, meaning that the country can expect higher tides and elevated levels of snowfall this winter.
Experts also warn that changes in the Kuroshio Current have already begun to affect fish stocks in the usually plentiful waters off the eastern seaboard, with fishermen reporting that catches of bonito and sardine fry are already significantly…

Duterte’s successor? Philippines top cop known as ‘Bato’ hints at run for presidency

The Philippines’ top police chief who oversaw a bloody war on drugs that has killed thousands of Filipinos hinted on Monday at a possible run for the presidency.
Ronald Dela Rosa, a stocky, celebrity-like general nicknamed “Bato” (Rock), who retires in 2018, has flagged his political ambitions, saying he was open to running for the Senate.
But in a speech after a flag-raising ceremony at police headquarters, Dela Rosa for the first time publicly suggested he may have his…

Funeral for late Thai King Bhumibol draws to a close

A year of official mourning for Thailand’s late King Bhumibol Adulyadej drew to an end on Sunday after a lavish five-day funeral embroidered with pageantry and religious ritual.
Bhumibol, a beloved king who died last October aged 88, was cremated on Thursday after a day charged with emotion that brought Thailand to a standstill.
At his death he was the world’s longest serving monarch, striding over seven decades of Thailand’s turbulent modern history, to depart as the kingdom…

Big turnout at Myanmar pro-army rally defies Rohingya outcry

Military songs rang out across downtown Yangon on Sunday as tens of thousands rallied in defence of Myanmar’s army, an institution accused by the global community of driving Rohingya Muslims from the country.
More than 600,000 Rohingya are said to have fled western Rakhine state to Bangladesh since late August when raids by militants from the minority group were met by ruthless army “clearance operations”.
The United Nations has led global condemnation, calling the crackdown a…

What do you get if you cross Pakistan’s Game of Thrones and China’s Belt and Road?

China’s high-stakes Belt and Road project in Pakistan has sucked it into the vortex of a power struggle between Pakistan’s elected government and its military on the one hand and an increasingly bitter geopolitical row on the other as the United States and India join forces.
While pushing the US$62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in a massive vote of confidence in its “all-weather ally”, Chinese officials have quietly encouraged their Pakistani partners…

Bangladesh planning sterilisation programme in effort to curb booming Rohingya population

The Bangladesh government says it is planning to introduce voluntary sterilisation in its overcrowded Rohingya camps, where nearly a million refugees are said to be fighting for space, after efforts to encourage birth control failed.
More than 600,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh since a military crackdown in Myanmar in August triggered an exodus. The latest arrivals have joined hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who fled in earlier waves from Myanmar’s Rakhine state,…