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US affirms vow to defend Philippines

US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter on Wednesday told Philippine Secretary of Defense Voltaire Gazmin that Washington’s pledge to defend the Pacific nation remains “ironclad” and called for an end to land reclamation in the South China Sea, officials said. In talks with Gazmin in Hawaii,FULL STORY

China’s most-wanted fugitive in US custody

China’s most-wanted fugitive, an official accused of embezzling more than US$40 million, is in US custody, according to the Chinese Communist Party’s anti-graft agency. Yang Xiuzhu (楊秀珠), who fled China in 2003, was detained after entering the US using a fake Dutch passport last year, accordingFULL STORY

FEATURE: Bride and prejudice: Xinjiang’s intermarriages

It was not until late on her wedding day that Aygul told her parents she was even in a relationship. And they were furious. A year later, her Uighur father was still so angry she had chosen a Han husband he beat her up in aFULL STORY

Malaysia believes 139 bodies are in campsite graves

Malaysia yesterday said it believes 139 people are buried in graves at remote detention camps used by people-smugglers on the Thai border that were discovered on the weekend. “Based on the size of the graves, and after the area was cleared ... we have a clearerFULL STORY

Chinese plans for cybersecurity aim to protect secrets

China plans to prepare a five-year cybersecurity plan to protect state secrets and data, the China Daily newspaper said yesterday, citing a senior official at the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Such a plan could add to the challenges of foreign technology firms doingFULL STORY

G7 officials meet over global growth

The finance ministers and central bank governors of the G7 yesterday gathered in Dresden, Germany, to discuss the global economy and tax evasion, but the Greek crisis was also high on everyone’s minds. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and his counterparts from Britain, Canada, France,FULL STORY

IS ‘executes’ 20 men in Palmyra

The Islamic State (IS) group on Wednesday “executed” 20 men in front of a crowd in the UNESCO-listed Roman theater of Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra, a monitor said. Across the border the militants claimed to have abolished when they proclaimed their “caliphate” last year,FULL STORY

B.B. King honored with processional

A Dixieland jazz band walked ahead of a slow black hearse and a crowd of thousands followed as the city of Memphis said farewell on Wednesday to blues legend B.B. King with a tribute and processional down Beale Street. The street whose name is virtually synonymousFULL STORY

Racist trolling casts pall over top US spelling bee

Racist trolling on social media is casting an ugly pall over, of all things, the world’s foremost spelling bee. For seven years in a row, and for 11 of the past 15 years, the US$30,000 Scripps National Spelling Bee championship has been won by AmericanFULL STORY

Ethiopian fossil find indicates new forerunner of humans, study says

A fossil find adds another twig to the human evolutionary tree, giving further evidence that the well-known “Lucy” species had company in what is now Ethiopia, a new study says. A lower jaw, plus jaw fragments and teeth, dated at 3.3 million to 3.5 millionFULL STORY

Prehistoric skull could be world’s first murder mystery

Scientists have pieced together the world’s earliest murder mystery, showing that an ancient human appears to have met their end after being bludgeoned to death and thrown down a cave shaft. The skull, which has two holes above the left eye, belonged to an early humanFULL STORY

World News Quick Take

CHINA Artist detained over Xi photo The wife of an artist says authorities have detained him after he posted a humorous portrait of President Xi Jinping (習近平) online. Judy Zhu yesterday said that police are accusing artist Dai Jianyong (戴建勇) of creating a disturbance after detaining himFULL STORY

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