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  • Foreigner dies of MERS in Saudi 

    Saudi medical staff and security guard stand at the gate of the emergency department as exit and entry is banned for fear of MERS at King Fahd Hospital in Jeddah on April 9, 2014A foreigner has died after she contracted MERS in the Saudi capital, the health ministry said on announced Friday, bringing the nationwide death toll to 73. The health ministry said five other people living in Riyadh were infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, two of them foreigners. Late on Thursday, the ministry reported the death of a 70-year-old Saudi woman in the western city of Jeddah where the virus has spread in recent weeks. It reported six other infections in Jeddah, among them an expat "health worker," bringing to 218 the number of MERS infections in the worst-hit country.


  • Top Asian News at 5:30 a.m. GMT MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — Fresh questions arose about whether quicker action by the captain of a doomed ferry could have saved lives, even as rescuers scrambled to find hundreds of passengers still missing Friday and feared dead. Officials also offered a rare look at their investigations, saying they were looking into whether a crewman's order to abruptly turn the ship contributed to the 6,852-ton Sewol ferry tilting severely to the side and filling with water Wednesday.
  • Top Asian News at 5:00 a.m. GMT MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — Fresh questions arose about whether quicker action by the captain of a doomed ferry could have saved lives, even as rescuers scrambled to find hundreds of passengers still missing Friday and feared dead. Officials also offered a rare look at their investigations, saying they were looking into whether a crewman's order to abruptly turn the ship contributed to the 6,852-ton Sewol ferry tilting severely to the side and filling with water Wednesday.
  • Top Asian News at 4:30 a.m. GMT MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — A doomed ferry's captain delayed evacuation for half an hour after a South Korean transportation official ordered preparations to abandon ship, raising more questions about whether quick action could have saved scores of passengers still missing Friday and feared dead, according to a transcript of the ship-to-shore exchange and interviews with a crewmember. The order by an unidentified official at the Jeju Vessel Traffic Services Center to put on lifejackets and prepare for evacuation came just five minutes after a Wednesday morning distress call by the Sewol ferry as it tilted severely to the side. The ferry, which was bound for Jeju island, replied that "it's hard for people to move."
  • Top Asian News at 4:00 a.m. GMT MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — A doomed ferry's captain delayed evacuation for half an hour after a South Korean transportation official ordered preparations to abandon ship, raising more questions about whether quick action could have saved scores of passengers still missing Friday and feared dead, according to a transcript of the ship-to-shore exchange and interviews with a crewmember. The order by an unidentified official at the Jeju Vessel Traffic Services Center to put on lifejackets and prepare for evacuation came just five minutes after a Wednesday morning distress call by the Sewol ferry as it tilted severely to the side. The ferry, which was bound for Jeju island, replied that "it's hard for people to move."
  • Top Asian News at 3:30 a.m. GMT MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — A doomed ferry's captain delayed evacuation for half an hour after a South Korean transportation official ordered preparations to abandon ship, raising more questions about whether quick action could have saved scores of passengers still missing Friday and feared dead, according to a transcript of the ship-to-shore exchange and interviews with a crewmember. The order by an unidentified official at the Jeju Vessel Traffic Services Center to put on lifejackets and prepare for evacuation came just five minutes after a Wednesday morning distress call by the Sewol ferry as it tilted severely to the side. The ferry, which was bound for Jeju island, replied that "it's hard for people to move."
  • Top Asian News at 3:00 a.m. GMT MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — The captain of a doomed ferry delayed evacuation for half an hour after a South Korean transportation official ordered preparations to abandon ship, raising more questions about whether quick action could have saved scores of passengers still missing Friday and feared dead, according to a transcript of the ship-to-shore exchange and interviews with a crewmember. The order by an unidentified official at the Jeju Vessel Traffic Services Center to put on lifejackets and prepare for evacuation came just five minutes after a Wednesday morning distress call by the Sewol ferry. The ferry, which was bound for Jeju island, replied that "it's hard for people to move."
  • Top Asian News at 2:30 a.m. GMT MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — The captain of a doomed ferry delayed evacuation for half an hour after a South Korean transportation official ordered preparations to abandon ship, raising more questions about whether quick action could have saved scores of passengers still missing Friday and feared dead, according to a transcript of the ship-to-shore exchange and interviews with a crewmember. The order by an unidentified official at the Jeju Vessel Traffic Services Center to put on lifejackets and prepare for evacuation came just five minutes after a Wednesday morning distress call by the Sewol ferry. The ferry, which was bound for Jeju island, replied that "it's hard for people to move."
  • Top Asian News at 2:00 a.m. GMT MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — The captain of a doomed ferry delayed evacuation for half an hour after a South Korean transportation official ordered preparations to abandon ship, raising more questions about whether quick action could have saved scores of passengers still missing Friday and feared dead, according to a transcript of the ship-to-shore exchange and interviews with a crewmember. The order by an unidentified official at the Jeju Vessel Traffic Services Center to put on lifejackets and prepare for evacuation came just five minutes after a Wednesday morning distress call by the Sewol ferry. The ferry, which was bound for Jeju island, replied that "it's hard for people to move."
  • Top Asian News at 1:30 a.m. GMT MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — The captain of a doomed ferry delayed evacuation for half an hour after a South Korean transportation official ordered preparations to abandon ship, raising more questions about whether quick action could have saved scores of passengers still missing Friday and feared dead, according to a transcript of the ship-to-shore exchange and interviews with a crewmember. The order by an unidentified official at the Jeju Vessel Traffic Services Center to put on lifejackets and prepare for evacuation came just five minutes after a Wednesday morning distress call by the Sewol ferry. The ferry, which was bound for Jeju island, replied that "it's hard for people to move."
  • Top Asian News at 1:00 a.m. GMT HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam has withdrawn as the host of the 2019 Asian Games, saying it lacked funds and the country's reputation could be at risk if things don't go smoothly. In a statement late Thursday, the government said hosting the event in Hanoi could "promote the country's image and position. However if the hosting is not properly and successfully prepared, it will have the opposite effect,"
  • Top Asian News at 12:30 a.m. GMT HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam has withdrawn as the host of the 2019 Asian Games, saying it lacked funds and the country's reputation could be at risk if things don't go smoothly. In a statement late Thursday, the government said hosting the event could "promote the country's image and position. However if the hosting is not properly and successfully prepared, it will have opposite effect,"
  • Top Asian News at 12:00 a.m. GMT MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — There was chaos and confusion on the bridge of a sinking ferry, with the captain first trying to stabilize the listing vessel before ordering its evacuation, a crewman said Thursday. By the time the order came, however, he said it had become impossible to help many of the passengers — although the captain and a dozen crew members survived.
  • Top Asian News at 11:30 p.m. GMT MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — There was chaos and confusion on the bridge of a sinking ferry, with the captain first trying to stabilize the listing vessel before ordering its evacuation, a crewman said Thursday. By the time the order came, however, he said it had become impossible to help many of the passengers — although the captain and a dozen crew members survived.
  • Top Asian News at 11:00 p.m. GMT MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — There was chaos and confusion on the bridge of a sinking ferry, with the captain first trying to stabilize the listing vessel before ordering its evacuation, a crewman said Thursday. By the time the order came, however, he said it had become impossible to help many of the passengers — although the captain and a dozen crew members survived.
  • Top Asian News at 10:30 p.m. GMT MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — There was chaos and confusion on the bridge of a sinking ferry, with the captain first trying to stabilize the listing vessel before ordering its evacuation, a crewman said Thursday. By the time the order came, however, he said it had become impossible to help many of the passengers — although the captain and a dozen crew members survived.
  • Top Asian News at 10:00 p.m. GMT MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — There was chaos and confusion on the bridge of a sinking ferry, with the captain first trying to stabilize the listing vessel before ordering its evacuation, a crewman said Thursday. By the time the order came, however, he said it had become impossible to help many of the passengers — although the captain and a dozen crew members survived.
  • Top Asian News at 9:30 p.m. GMT MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — There was chaos and confusion on the bridge of a sinking ferry, with the captain first trying to stabilize the listing vessel before ordering its evacuation, a crewman said Thursday. By the time the order came, however, he said it had become impossible to help many of the passengers — although the captain and a dozen crew members survived.
  • Top Asian News at 9:00 p.m. GMT MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — There was chaos and confusion on the bridge of a sinking ferry, with the captain first trying to stabilize the listing vessel before ordering its evacuation, a crewman said Thursday. By the time the order came, however, he said it had become impossible to help many of the passengers — although the captain and a dozen crew members survived.
  • Top Asian News at 8:30 p.m. GMT MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — There was chaos and confusion on the bridge of a sinking ferry, with the captain first trying to stabilize the listing vessel before ordering its evacuation, a crewman said Thursday. By the time the order came, however, he said it had become impossible to help many of the passengers — although the captain and a dozen crew members survived.
  • Top Asian News at 8:00 p.m. GMT MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — An immediate evacuation order was not issued for the ferry that sank off South Korea's southern coast, likely with scores of people trapped inside, because officers on the bridge were trying to stabilize the vessel after it started to list amid confusion and chaos, a crew member said Thursday. Meanwhile, the coast guard said it was investigating whether the ferry's captain was one of the first ones off the sinking ship.
  • Top Asian News at 7:30 p.m. GMT MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — An immediate evacuation order was not issued for the ferry that sank off South Korea's southern coast, likely with scores of people trapped inside, because officers on the bridge were trying to stabilize the vessel after it started to list amid confusion and chaos, a crew member said Thursday. Meanwhile, the coast guard said it was investigating whether the ferry's captain was one of the first ones off the sinking ship.
  • Top Asian News at 7:00 p.m. GMT MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — An immediate evacuation order was not issued for the ferry that sank off South Korea's southern coast, likely with scores of people trapped inside, because officers on the bridge were trying to stabilize the vessel after it started to list amid confusion and chaos, a crew member said Thursday. Meanwhile, the coast guard said it was investigating whether the ferry's captain was one of the first ones off the sinking ship.
  • Spate of Mideast virus infections raises concerns 

    FILE- In this Wednesday, April 16, 2014, file photo, passengers walk past the medical quarantine area showing information sheets for the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus at the arrival section of Manila's International Airport in Paranaque, south of Manila. One expert says recent outbreaks of MERS in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that led to more than 20 infections, many among health-care workers, “have put us into uncharted territory.” (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A recent spate of infections from a frequently deadly Middle East virus is raising new worries about efforts to contain the illness, with infectious disease experts urging greater vigilance in combatting its spread.


  • WWE wrestlers in Saudi Arabia for live matches 

    FILE- In this Sunday, April 6, 2014 file photo, John Cena celebrates his win during Wrestlemania XXX at the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome in New Orleans. World-famous WWE wrestlers such as John Cena, Shaemus and champion Randy Orton are in Saudi Arabia for three days of matches in the capital Riyadh. (Jonathan Bachman/AP Images for WWE, File)RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Pro wrestlers with the WWE, including John Cena and former champion Randy Orton, are in Saudi Arabia for three days of matches in the capital, Riyadh.


  • Saudi activist sentenced to 15 years in jail for protests: lawyer A judge on Thursday sentenced a Saudi blogger and activist to 15 years in jail for taking part in protests and defaming the kingdom by communicating with foreigners and through publishing articles on the Internet, his lawyer said. Fadhel al-Manasef, 26, is the latest activist to be convicted this week on charges which international human rights groups and activists in the kingdom say are part of a new drive to curb political, religious and social dissent. The Special Criminal Court in the capital Riyadh also fined Manasef 100,000 riyals ($26,700) and barred him from traveling abroad for 15 years after he completes his sentence, the lawyer, Waleed Sulais, told Reuters by email. Sulais said the court found Manasef guilty of charges that included incitement and participation in demonstrations, writing articles against state security and posting them online, signing an anti-government petition and contacting foreign judicial and media outlets without authorization and taking reporters to protests and giving them harmful information on the kingdom.
  • Obama looks to salvage Asia 'pivot' as allies fret about China 

    U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a Civil Rights Summit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act at the LBJ Presidential Library in AustinBy Matt Spetalnick and Manuel Mogato WASHINGTON/MANILA (Reuters) - When a Philippine government ship evaded a Chinese blockade in disputed waters of the South China Sea last month, a U.S. Navy plane swooped in to witness the dramatic encounter. The flyover was a vivid illustration of the expanding significance of one of Asia's most strategic regions and underscored a message that senior U.S. officials say President Barack Obama will make in Asia next week: The "pivot" of U.S. military and diplomatic assets toward the Asia-Pacific region is real. Washington's Asian allies, however, appear unconvinced. During Obama's four-nation tour of Asia that begins on April 23, his toughest challenge will be to reassure skeptical leaders that the United States intends to be more than just a casual observer and instead is genuinely committed to countering an increasingly assertive China in the region.


  • Saudi reports new MERS death, infections in Jeddah 

    A microscopic view of the MERS coronavirus, which has so far killed 88 people out of 212 confirmed infections, according to the World Health OrganisationJeddah (Saudi Arabia) (AFP) - A Saudi man has died of MERS in the western city of Jeddah, where authorities have sought to calm fears over the spreading respiratory illness, the health ministry said Wednesday. The ministry said five more people were infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, including two medics, all in Jeddah. The latest death of a 52-year-old brings to 71 the total number of people to have died from MERS, out of 205 infections in Saudi Arabia, it added. Health authorities on Tuesday reported the death of a 59-year-old, also in Jeddah, as well as four other infections in the same city, including three medics.


  • Malaysia reports first Asian death from MERS virus 

    MERS VirusKUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A Malaysian man who went on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia has become the first death in Asia from Middle East respiratory syndrome, while the Philippines has isolated a health worker who tested positive for the deadly coronavirus.


  • Syrian opposition chief meets Chinese foreign minister in Beijing China's foreign minister Wang Yi met Syria's opposition leader Ahmad Jarba this week and said Beijing supported a political settlement to the Syrian conflict, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. Wang said China continued to stay in communication and dialogue with all parties.
  • Filipino positive for MERS virus home from UAE MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A Filipino health worker who tested positive for the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus has arrived home from the United Arab Emirates, Philippine officials said Wednesday. It's the first known case of the deadly virus in the country.
  • Palestinians, Israeli police clash at Jerusalem holy site 

    A Palestinian girl reacts after her mother was involved in scuffles with Israeli policemen in Jerusalem's Old CityIsraeli riot police entered one of Jerusalem's most revered and politically sensitive religious compounds on Wednesday to disperse rock-throwing Palestinians opposed to any Jewish attempts to pray there. The confrontation erupted after Israeli police tried to escort some 20 visitors onto the plaza revered by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and by Jews as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's walled Old City. Israeli police in riot gear pushed onto the plaza and used stun grenades to disperse the demonstrators, but did not enter al Aqsa itself. Tensions at the site run high during Jewish holidays - Jews are now celebrating Passover - when Palestinians oppose having Jews try to pray on the compound.


  • Official: Iran will not discuss missile program TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Tehran will not discuss its ballistic missiles as part of ongoing talks with world powers on a final agreement to curb the Iranian nuclear program, the country's defense minister said Wednesday.
  • Israelis, Palestinians seeking to extend peace talks: US 

    Palestinian female supporters of the Islamic Jihad Movement take part in a rally to commemorate Prisoners' Day and to demand the release of Palestinian prisoners, in the al-Nuseirat refugee camp, in central Gaza Strip on April 15, 2014Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are hammering out a way to extend their faltering peace talks beyond an April 29 deadline, a US official said Tuesday, refuting calls from a leading daily to call it quits. More talks between the two sides will be held on Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, although it was not immediately clear if US lead negotiator Martin Indyk would take part. There are steps that both parties would need to take in order to improve the conditions for peace but the parties remain highly engaged," she said. The peace talks, which were kickstarted by US Secretary of State John Kerry in July after a three-year hiatus, hit a major crisis this month when both sides took what Washington has called unhelpful steps.


  • Saudi spy chief, architect of Syria policy, replaced By Angus McDowall RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the architect of Riyadh's attempts to bring down Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has been removed from his post, state media reported on Tuesday. His departure, months after he was quoted warning of a "major shift" from the United States over its Middle East policy, may help to smooth relations with Washington as Riyadh pushes for more U.S. support for Syrian rebels. Prince Bandar, who has recently spent time in the United States and Morocco for medical treatment, was replaced on an interim basis by a deputy. "Prince Bandar was relieved of his post at his own request and General Youssef al-Idrissi was asked to carry out the duties of the head of general intelligence," state news agency SPA said, citing a royal decree.
  • Saudi replaces veteran intel chief Prince Bandar 

    Prince Bandar bin Sultan is pictured in Riyadh on March 3, 2007Riyadh (AFP) - Saudi Arabia has replaced intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the kingdom's pointman on the Syrian conflict, "at his own request," the official SPA news agency announced Tuesday.


  • Media group names award after AP's Niedringhaus 

    FILE - In this April 7, 2005 file photo, Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus poses in Rome. Niedringhaus, 48, was killed and an AP reporter was wounded on April 4, 2014, when an Afghan policeman opened fire while they were sitting in their car in eastern Afghanistan. The International Women's Media Foundation announced Tuesday, April 15, 2014, that it has created a new award for courage honoring Niedringhaus. The award is funded with a $1 million gift from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, a private family foundation that seeks to improve the lives of the world’s poor and marginalized _ often the subjects of Niedringhaus’ photographs. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)NEW YORK (AP) — A women's media group has created a new award for courage honoring Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus, who was killed on assignment in Afghanistan, the group announced Tuesday.


  • Rouhani says Iran sanctions will unravel in months 

    Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks during an event to mark Nawroz, the Persian New Year, in KabulPresident Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday international sanctions on Iran would unravel in months following negotiations with world powers on its nuclear program, the official IRNA news agency reported. Some international sanctions imposed over Iran's nuclear program have been eased temporarily after a deal was reached last year with world powers, but Washington has said the lifting of sanctions can only happen "in total" after a comprehensive deal is reached. "Today we already see the sanctions unraveling," he said, according to IRNA, referring to the modest easing of sanctions in return for concessions made by Rouhani's government in nuclear talks with world powers. World powers want Iran to curb its nuclear activity, which Western nations fear is aimed at giving Tehran the capability to make a nuclear weapon.


  • Man City, PSG 'face Financial Fair Play sanctions' 

    Manchester City's Vincent Kompany (C) during their Premier League match against Liverpool at Anfield on April 13, 2014Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain both face substantial punishments for failing to comply with UEFA's Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, British newspaper the Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday. The paper said that City faced a "huge" penalty for breaching the regulations, which were introduced by European governing body UEFA to prevent clubs from spending beyond their means. According to the paper, French champions PSG will also be penalised by UEFA's Club Financial Control Body (CFCB), which was due to meet for the first time on Tuesday and Wednesday.


  • Saudi renews demand for 'stern' world action on Syria 

    Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud bin al-Faisal speaks to reporters during a joint press conference with his Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra (unseen) following their meeting in Riyadh, on April 15, 2014Saudi Arabia Tuesday urged "stern" world action against Syria after the regime's decision to hold presidential elections and its alleged use of toxic gas against civilians. Saudi Arabia is one of the main backers of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a civil war increasingly seen as a proxy battle between it and regional rival Iran. Syria's plan to hold elections is "an escalation and undermines Arab and international efforts to peacefully resolve the crisis based on the (outcomes of) the Geneva I conference," said Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal. Syrian daily Al-Watan reported Tuesday that the date for the presidential elections will be announced next week and is expected to be around June.


 

 

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