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From The Asian Reporter, V27, #20 (October 16, 2017), page 2.
Russia’s dog-loving leader gets another puppy as gift
MOSCOW (AP) — Another summit, another dog. Russian President Vladimir Putin has added a puppy to the litter of canine companions he’s received as gifts. This one is a Central Asian Shepherd bestowed by the president of the ex-Soviet nation of Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov presented Putin with the puppy as a birthday gift. Putin, an avid dog lover, recently turned 65. Putin cuddled Verny, which is Russian for "loyal," and kissed the pup on the head during a meeting in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. Putin previously received a Bulgarian shepherd named Buffy from Bulgaria’s premier in 2010 and an Akita named Yume from a Japanese official in 2012. Konnie, a black Labrador of Putin’s who was famous for terrifying German Chancellor Angela Merkel, died a few years ago. Putin received Konnie as a gift from a Russian official in 1999. The Russian leader also has been given horses and even a tiger.
S. Korean lawmaker says N. Korea hacked war plans
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean media are quoting a lawmaker as saying that North Korean hackers may have stolen highly classified military documents, including U.S.-South Korean wartime "decapitation strike" plans against the North. Democratic Party representative Lee Cheol-hee cited unidentified defense officials as saying the hackers stole the plans last year. Neither Lee nor Defense Ministry officials responded to attempts to seek comment. If confirmed, such a hack would be a major blow for South Korea at a time when its relations with North Korea are at a low point. The South has taken an increasingly aggressive stance toward the North’s belligerence amid back-and-forth threats of war between North Korea and the U.S. Lee was quoted as saying the plans included blueprints for attacks to eliminate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
At party meeting, Kim Jong Un’s sister gets promotion
TOKYO (AP) — Kim Jong Un has promoted his younger sister to a new post within North Korea’s ruling party. The promotion of Kim Yo Jong came at a meeting of senior party members as North Korea marked the 20th anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s acceptance of the title of general secretary of the ruling Worker’s Party of Korea. Kim Yo Jong was made an alternate member of the decision- making political bureau of the party’s central committee. The late Kim Jong Il, North Korea’s "eternal general secretary," is the father of Kim Jong Un and Kim Yo Jong. Thousands of people, mostly students, packed Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang to dance and watch fireworks to mark the anniversary. Earlier in the day, North Korean state media announced that the country’s top leadership had gathered the day before, headed by current leader Kim Jong Un. Kim repeated Pyongyang’s defiance of the U.S. and its determination to push forward its nuclear program, while bringing a "fresh upswing" in the country’s economy to show its strength despite the international trade sanctions and isolation the nuclear program has generated. Kim’s younger sister, believed to be either 28 or 30 years old, was elected as an alternate member of the political bureau of the party’s central committee, according to a report by the Korean Central News Agency. She is believed to be one of Kim Jong Un’s closest confidants. They were born to the same mother, Ko Yong Hui.
China to allow some drugs based on foreign approvals
BEIJING (AP) — China’s government says it will allow use of some drugs and medical devices based on approval by foreign regulators in a move that could help ease access to its healthcare market. The step is one of a series announced to improve access to medical treatments and streamline an approval process that foreign suppliers complain is too slow and complex. The China Food and Drug Administration said some drugs and medical devices that already are approved for use abroad would be allowed in China with unspecified conditions attached. The communist government is in the midst of a marathon effort to expand access to healthcare for China’s 1.4 billion people. At the same time, it faces pressure from trading partners to open its markets for medical technology.
Thais mark one year since king’s death
BANGKOK (AP) — Thais marked one year since the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej with formal ceremonies and acts of personal devotion. Formal ceremonies to commemorate Bhumibol were organized at Bangkok’s Siriraj Hospital, where he died, and at Government House and the ornate royal palace. But many ordinary people showed their respects on the streets and at neighborhood markets and temples, kneeling before orange-robed monks to perform a Buddhist merit-making ritual. Many Thais were profoundly saddened by Bhumibol’s death after a reign of 70 years. He was adored as a symbol of stability in a nation frequently rocked by political turmoil.
Sands woos Japan with vision of top sports, concert venues
TOKYO (AP) — Casino and resorts operator Las Vegas Sands has deployed David Beckham and other top sports, music, and entertainment figures in its effort to woo Japan as it prepares to issue licenses for casinos. Japan’s large and wealthy market is luring big-name casino operators who are sweetening bids with promises of ultra-modern "integrated resorts." Las Vegas Sands told reporters in Tokyo its plans include top-class concert and sports venues to lure tourists and revive the country’s leisure industry. Japan’s parliament last year approved a law on "integrated resorts" that is the first major hurdle in allowing casinos to set up shop. Further enabling legislation is expected to take several more years. Tokyo, Osaka, and Yokohama are among the hopeful licensees.
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