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International News


Indians gather for Holi celebrations as virus cases surge

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One Good Thing: An artist preserves Wuhan’s COVID memories

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One Good Thing: A Singapore skyline view for migrant workers

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Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama gets vaccine shot

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Tsunami scars linger a decade later in Japan

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From The Asian Reporter, V31, #4 (April 5, 2021), page 2.

China vaccinating entire city in 5 days after outbreak

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese border city hit by a fresh outbreak of COVID-19 began a five-day drive on April 2 to vaccinate its entire population of 300,000 people. State broadcaster CCTV showed people lining up and getting vaccinated in Ruili, where 16 cases were confirmed in just days. Twelve are Chinese and the other four are nationals of Myanmar, which lies across the border. A city Communist Party official told CCTV the previous day that 159,000 doses of vaccine had arrived in the city. Television footage showed vacant streets as officials ordered people to home quarantine and closed non-essential businesses. The city has also said it would tighten controls around the porous border to try to stop anyone crossing illegally from Myanmar. China has largely eradicated local transmission of COVID-19 and quickly rolls out strict measures whenever a new cluster emerges. This is the first time China has tried to vaccinate an entire city in response to a new outbreak. The move comes as the government is ramping up a nationwide vaccination drive.

Indonesia’s Merapi volcano spews ash, debris

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia’s most volatile volcano erupted again, releasing plumes of ash high into the air and sending streams of lava and debris down its slopes. No casualties were reported. An avalanche of rocks spilled down Mount Merapi’s slopes before dawn and clouds of hot ash shot 656 feet into the air as the mountain groaned and rumbled, said Hanik Humaida, the head of Yogyakarta’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center. The volcano unleashed hot clouds of ash as well as a series of pyroclastic flows — a mixture of rock, debris, lava, and gasses — that reached nearly 1.2 miles down its slopes, Humaida said. The 9,737-foot-high volcano is on densely populated Java island near the ancient city of Yogyakarta. It is the most active of dozens of Indonesian volcanoes and has repeatedly erupted recently. Indonesia’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center advised villagers living on Merapi’s slopes to stay 3.1 miles from its crater and be aware of the peril of lava. Merapi’s last major eruption in 2010 killed 347 people. Indonesia, an archipelago of 270 million people, sits along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a horseshoe-shaped area along the edge of the ocean that is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity.

Japan’s Toyota, Isuzu, Hino join in truck technology tie up

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese automakers Toyota, Isuzu, and Hino say they are setting up a partnership in commercial vehicles to work together in electric, hydrogen, connected, and autonomous driving technologies. Under the deal, Toyota Motor Corp., Japan’s top automaker, and truckmaker Isuzu Motors will each take a 4.6% stake in each other, the three companies said in a joint statement. Hino Motors is Toyota’s truck division and had been Isuzu’s rival. The 39 million shares of Isuzu common stock that Toyota is acquiring are worth 42.8 billion yen, or about $400 million. Isuzu will acquire Toyota shares worth the same value, they said. The three companies combined control 80% of the Japanese truck market. Toyota, which makes the Camry sedan, Prius hybrid, and Lexus luxury models, sold off in 2018 a 5.9% stake in Isuzu it had bought in 2006. Earlier, Isuzu had a capital tie-up with U.S. automaker General Motors. The cooperation among Toyota, Isuzu, and Hino is designed to reduce emissions by building hydrogen infrastructure, and to help solve the nation’s shortage of drivers by sharing information online and making deliveries more efficient.

Philippine Supreme Court slams killings of lawyers, judges

MANILA, The Philippines (AP) — The Philippine Supreme Court has condemned the alarming number of killings and threats against lawyers and judges. One legal group has said the attacks are considerably higher under President Rodrigo Duterte compared to the past 50 years under six former presidents. The 15-member high court asked lower courts, law enforcement agencies and lawyers, and judges’ groups to provide information about such attacks in the last 10 years, in order for the court to take preemptive steps. The attacks, it said, endanger the rule of law in an Asian bastion of democracy. "To threaten our judges and our lawyers is no less than an assault on the judiciary. To assault the judiciary is to shake the very bedrock on which the rule of law stands," the high court said in a rare, strongly-worded censure of the attacks. "This cannot be allowed in a civilized society like ours." The court said it would not "tolerate such acts that only perverse justice, defeat the rule of law, undermine the most basic of constitutional principles, and speculate on the worth of human lives."

China denounces U.S.-Taiwan coast guard agreement

BEIJING (AP) — China last month denounced an agreement between the U.S. and Taiwanese coast guards that underscores growing ties between Washington and the self-governing island democracy. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the pact violated U.S. commitments to China and called on the U.S. to "be cautious with its words and actions on Taiwan-related issues." Hua also attacked support in congress for a bill calling on Taiwan to be given status at the World Health Organization. Taiwan’s seat at the U.N. was handed to China in 1971. "We urge the U.S. side to ... refrain from sending any wrong signals to Taiwan independence forces, and refrain from encouraging and inciting Taiwan to expand its so-called international space," Hua told reporters at a daily briefing. The U.S. switched diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China in 1979 but maintains robust economic, political, and military ties with the island. Those have grown stronger in recent years as China has upped its threats to use its massive military to annex the island of 24 million.

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