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International News

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Investigators inspect ruined Okinawan castle for fire cause


From The Asian Reporter, V29, #21 (November 4, 2019), page 2.

Cape Town awarded 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens

TOKYO (AP) — Cape Town has been awarded the 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens, the first time the tournament will be staged in Africa. Cape Town Stadium, the 55,000-seat venue built for the 2010 soccer World Cup, will host the three-day event. It’s the same stadium which has hosted the Cape Town Sevens since 2015 on the sevens world series. South Africa won the staging rights from 10 other unions, including minor rugby outposts Germany, India, Malaysia, Qatar, and Tunisia. The event will be held in September 2022 with dates yet to be confirmed. It will follow the sevens world series and the Commonwealth Games in July 2022 in Birmingham. South Africa won the sevens world series most recently last year, but has appeared in the World Cup Sevens final only once, in 1997.

China says U.S. has "weaponized" visas

BEIJING (AP) — China is accusing the U.S. of having "weaponized" the issuing of visas following the reported inability of a top Chinese space program official to obtain permission to travel to a key conference in Washington. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters that the head of the Chinese delegation to the International Astronautical Congress wasn’t able to obtain a visa, making it difficult for Chinese representatives to attend important events at the meeting. Reports said the vice chairman of the China National Space Administration, Wu Yanhua, had planned to attend the conference. Hua said the U.S. has "weaponized" visa issues and "repeatedly defied international responsibilities and obligations and impeded normal international exchanges and cooperation." The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said it couldn’t discuss individual visa cases because of privacy issues.

Hong Kong in recession as protests slam retailers, tourism

HONG KONG (AP) — Business has plunged in Hong Kong’s shopping districts after more than four months of protests. The government announced that the city is in a technical recession after it contracted for a second straight quarter. The once-common lines of Chinese shoppers outside luxury stores are gone. Jewelry stores have no customers, and a tailor is dipping into his own pockets to pay his shop’s staff. Related businesses like transportation are also languishing. The outlook is for the economy to shrink in 2019, with no end to the turmoil in sight. At times, the protests have crippled major infrastructure, shutting down the airport, subways, main roads, and tunnels. Hong Kong’s government-owned rail operator, MTR, has even been stopping evening subway service hours earlier than usual — further reducing consumer spending.

Abominable to skip Malaysia theaters over disputed map

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The animated movie Abominable will skip Malaysian theaters after producers decided against cutting out a scene showing a map supporting Chinese claims to the disputed South China Sea. Vietnam already pulled the U.S.-Chinese production from theaters over the fleeting scene showing the so-called nine-dash line, an outline depicting much of the resource-rich waters as Chinese territory. China’s claims to the sea overlap with claims by Vietnam, Malaysia, and other Asian governments. Film distributor United International Pictures said "Universal has decided not to make the censor cut required by the Malaysian censor board and as such will not be able to release the film in Malaysia" on November 7. The scene shows a wall map of East Asia with a series of dashes on the South China Sea. An international tribunal in 2016 invalidated China’s vast claims in a case brought by the Philippines, but the ruling was rebuffed by Beijing. China has continued to assert its claims to the sea by building and staffing outposts on manmade islands and deploying ships in the area. Vietnam’s ban of the movie comes during an increasingly tense and months-long standoff between its ships and a Chinese survey vessel and escort ships in disputed Vanguard Bank off Vietnam.

Diamond stolen from Japan jewelry fair

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese police are investigating a 200 million yen ($1.84 million) diamond allegedly stolen from a three-day international jewelry exhibit near Tokyo. The 50-carat diamond was last seen sitting inside a glass showcase at 5:00pm on October 24. Police said that an hour later, just after closing time, the diamond was gone and the jewelry case was unlocked. Police suspect the alleged theft took place sometime in the final hour of the crowded exhibit at Yokohama, near Tokyo. Investigators are checking security camera footage that showed a man reaching toward a showcase during the suspected time of theft. About 410 jewelry shops from around the world and more than 10,000 visitors with tickets gathered at the fair.

Nancy Pelosi meets top officials in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani met with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a group of American lawmakers in an unannounced visit to the country. The Afghan government’s statement said Ghani thanked the delegation for the U.S.’s continued financial and political support for Afghanistan over the past 18 years. The delegation met with Ghani and chief executive Abdallah Abdallah. Pelosi on her twitter account said her visit to Afghanistan focused on security, governance, and economic development. The U.S. has approximately 14,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of a training and advising mission, and to conduct counterterrorism operations against insurgents. The delegation had visited key U.S. ally Jordan the day before. U.S. President Donald Trump’s policies in both the Mideast and Afghanistan have recently drawn bipartisan criticism in Washington.

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