Japan has put plans to airlift goods to Baghdad's airport on hold after a deadly mortar attack highlighted security concerns for its troops, reports said yesterday. \nJapan's 200 air force personnel and three C-130 aircraft stationed in Kuwait were to begin transporting humanitarian goods into Iraq in mid-February using airports in Baghdad, Basra, Mosul and Balad. \nBut it has put off trips to Baghdad until after an investigation is completed into a mortar attack near Baghdad International Airport that killed one US soldier and wounded another Thursday, the Asahi and Nihon Keizai newspapers reported. \nDefense Agency officials could not be reached for comment. \nShigeru Ishiba, director general of the agency, told reporters Friday he would order an inquiry into the incident. \n"It could have a major impact" on the activities of Japan's Air Self-Defense Forces, Ishiba said. \nThe Japanese government's plan for using troops to provide humanitarian assistance in Iraq stipulates that it must be carried out "in areas where combat is not taking place and is not expected to take place." \nThe first group of 86 members of Japan's main contingent of ground troops is expected to roll into Iraq tomorrow from their base in Kuwait, joining an advance team of 39 troops who entered southern Iraq near Samawa last month. \nThe dispatch is Japan's first to a country where fighting is ongoing since World War II. All 600 ground troops are expected to be in place by the end of next month.
RE-EDUCATION: The ambassador to Australia told reporters that he understood there ‘might be a process for the people in Taiwan to have a correct understanding of China’ China’s ambassador to Australia yesterday said that Beijing is prepared to use “all necessary means” to prevent Taiwan from being independent, saying there can be “no compromise” on its “one China” principle. Chinese Ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian (肖千) repeatedly told the National Press Club in Canberra that the US was to blame for the recent escalation in tensions, adding that China’s decision to launch ballistic missiles in live-fire exercises in response to US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was “legitimate and justified.” Xiao said that after a “good start” with the new government of Australian Prime Minister
Newly married and with his first child on the way, auto worker Wang (王) wanted to move into the apartment he bought in Wuhan three years ago, but those hopes were dashed by China’s ballooning property crisis. Saddled with nearly US$300,000 in debt and with his unit nowhere near completion, the 34-year-old decided he had enough and stopped making mortgage payments. He is among numerous home buyers across dozens of cities in China who have boycotted payments over fears that their properties will not be completed by cash-strapped, debt-laden developers. “They said construction would resume soon,” Wang said, only giving his surname. “But
PROPAGANDA LEAFLETS: Seoul voiced ‘strong regret’ as Kim’s sister threatened to eradicate South Korean authorities for sending the virus across the border North Korean leader Kim Jong-un suffered from a “high fever” during a recent COVID-19 outbreak, his sister Kim Yo-jong said yesterday, as she vowed to “eradicate” South Korean authorities if they continued to tolerate propaganda leaflets the regime blames for spreading the virus. Kim Yo-jong blamed “South Korean puppets” for sending “dirty objects” across the border in leaflets carried by balloons, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported. The revelation of her brother’s illness marked an unusual admission for a regime that rarely comments on the leader’s health — and then only to show that he shares the struggles of
A landmark sexual harassment case in China yesterday returned to court after an earlier ruling dealt a blow to the country’s fledgling #MeToo movement. Zhou Xiaoxuan (周曉璇) stepped forward in 2018 to accuse state TV host Zhu Jun (朱軍) of forcibly kissing and groping her during her 2014 internship at the broadcaster. While the case of Zhou, now 29, inspired many others to share their experiences of sexual assault publicly and sparked a social media storm, a court ruled last year there was insufficient evidence to back her allegation. Zhou appealed, and returned to court for another hearing yesterday in Beijing. “I still feel