Central and Eastern Asia

    • Japan population decline highest in history

      Japan population decline highest in history

      In 2018 Japan suffered its biggest natural population decline ever, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare reported last week. According to the figures presented, this year the "super-aged" nation also had a record-low birthrate, as the estimated number of babies born in 2018 dropped to 921,000 - the lowest since such statistics began in 1899. The number of newborns represents 25,000 less than a year earlier, and the figure remains under the 1 million mark for the third year running.

    • Israel's PM averts early poll threat

      Israel's PM averts early poll threat

      Israel's government appears to have averted a possible collapse after a key partner withdrew a threat to leave the coalition and force snap elections. Naftali Bennett, education minister and leader of the of the third largest party in the coalition - Jewish Home party, had signalled he would quit, but in a sharp turnaround on Monday, he retreated and decided to stay on. At least for so long as the prime minister addresses Israel's "deep security crisis".

    • Trump unites Japan, China

      Trump unites Japan, China

      China’s ceremonial welcome for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Beijing on October 26 would have been completely out of the question a few years ago. Especially since history remembers how Chinese protesters in 2012 boycotted Japanese products and smashed cars outside the Japanese Embassy over Tokyo’s move to nationalise disputed islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and as the Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea.Two years later, when Abe met Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of a regional meeting in Beijing, the atmosphere was still chilly with the two sides still being  at odds over past military confrontations and territorial disputes.

    • Two Koreas to remove weapons at border

      Two Koreas to remove weapons at border

      North and South Korea agreed on Monday to withdraw firearms and guard posts in the demilitarised zone village of Panmunjom - the "truce town" that straddles their border. The move comes shortly after troops from both sides started removing about 800,000 landmines buried along the border with the aim of reducing tension between the two countries. The announcement also comes amid expressed US concerns that the inter-Korean military initiative could undermine defense readiness.

    • Head of Interpol accused of corruption

      Head of Interpol accused of corruption

      The head of the international police agency Interpol, who last month disappeared, had resigned "with immediate effect" after China said the man was under investigation for corruption, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security said in a statement Monday. According to the information, Meng Hongwei, who was also a vice minister of public security in China, has been accused by the Chinese government of accepting bribes and committing unspecified other crimes and was “under the supervision” of an anticorruption watchdog tied to the party.

    • North Korea estimated to have up to 60 nuclear weapons

      North Korea estimated to have up to 60 nuclear weapons

      Estimates on the size of North Korea's nuclear arsenal range from 20 bombs to as many as 60. Furthermore Pyongyang is believed to have produced another 50kg of weaponised plutonium, enough for 8 bombs, the South's unification minister Cho Myoung-gyon told parliament on Monday, marking the first time Seoul has made public remarks about the size of the Pyongyang’s secretive haul of atomic weapons, citing intelligence authorities.

    • Iraqi elects Barham Salih as new president

      Iraqi elects Barham Salih as new president

      After months of deadlock in Iraq that followed an inconclusive national election in May, parliament has elected veteran Kurdish politician Barham Salih as country's eighth president. Member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Salih beat his main rival Fuad Hussein, of the Kurdistan Democratic Party's (KDP), by 219 votes to 22 routed his main rival with 219 votes to 22. "I promise to safeguard Iraq's unity and safety," Salih, 58, said during his swearing-in ceremony.