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From The Asian Reporter, V32, #5 (May 2, 2022), page 2.

Female ref officiates first Asian Champions League match

PATHUM THANI, Thailand (AP) — The first female referee to officiate an Asian Champions League game saw Melbourne City defeat Jeonnam Dragons of South Korea 2-1. Yoshimi Yamashita and assistant referees Makoto Bozono and Naomi Teshirogi — all of Japan — comprised the first all-female trio to officiate an Asian Champions League match, having been appointed by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). "Their selection reinforces the AFC’s commitment to strengthen and develop the women’s game at all levels as well as in ensuring the AFC’s women match officials continue to receive the highest standards of quality education and expert guidance to scale the biggest stages in world football," the confederation said in a statement. Lee Kyu-hyuk scored for Jeonnam after 16 minutes to cancel out Carl Jenkinson’s early opener at Pathum Thani Stadium just north of Bangkok. Andrew Nabbout scored what turned out to be the winning goal for the Australian team just six minutes later.

China promotes coal in setback for efforts to cut emissions

BEIJING (AP) — China is promoting coal-fired power as the ruling Communist Party tries to revive a sluggish economy, prompting warnings Beijing is setting back efforts to cut climate-changing carbon emissions from the biggest global source. Official plans call for boosting coal production capacity by 300 million tons this year, according to news reports. That is equal to 7% of last year’s output of 4.1 billion tons, which was an increase of 5.7% over 2020. China is one of the biggest investors in wind and solar, but jittery leaders called for more coal-fired power after economic growth plunged last year and shortages caused blackouts and factory shutdowns.

3 critically endangered Sumatran tigers lost to animal traps

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) — Three critically endangered Sumatran tigers were found dead after being caught in traps on Indonesia’s Sumatra island in the latest setback for a species whose numbers are estimated to have dwindled to about 400, according to authorities. A female and a male tiger were found dead with leg injuries caused by a snare trap near a palm oil plantation in the East Aceh district of Aceh province, local police chief Hendra Sukmana said. The body of another female tiger was found hours later about 550 yards away with a snare still embedded in her almost-severed neck and legs, he said.

China sending up next space station crew in June

BEIJING (AP) — China will launch three more astronauts to its newest space station in June after the latest crew returned following a six-month stay in orbit, according to an official. The crew of Shenzhou 14 will spend six months on the Tiangong to add two modules to the station, Hao Chun, director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office, told a news conference. China’s ambitious space program launched its first astronaut into orbit in 2003, landed robot rovers on the moon in 2013, and on Mars last year. Officials have discussed a possible crewed mission to the moon. The core module of the Tiangong, or Heavenly Palace, was launched in April 2021. Plans call for completing construction this year. The Wentian module will be launched in July and the Mengtian module in October, Hao said. The crew of Shenzhou 13 landed in the Gobi desert in the northern region of Inner Mongolia in April. During the mission, astronaut Wang Yaping carried out the first spacewalk by a Chinese woman. Wang, commander Zhai Zhigang, and crewmate Ye Guangfu also beamed back physics lessons for high school students. China was the third nation to launch an astronaut into space on its own after the former Soviet Union and the United States. Tiangong is China’s third space station following predecessors launched in 2011 and 2016. The government announced in 2020 that China’s first reusable spacecraft had landed following a test flight but no photos or details have been released. China is excluded from the International Space Station due to U.S. unease that its space program is run by the ruling Communist Party’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army.

South Korea’s top court overturns convictions of gay soldiers

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s Supreme Court has thrown out a military court ruling that convicted two gay soldiers for having sex outside their military facilities, saying it stretched the reading of the country’s widely criticized military sodomy law. The court’s decision to send the case back to the High Court for Armed Forces was welcomed by human rights advocates, who have long protested the country’s 1962 Military Criminal Act’s Article 92-6, which prohibits same-sex conduct among soldiers in the country’s predominantly male military. The article prescribes a maximum prison term of two years for "anal intercourse" and "any other indecent acts" between military personnel. Following the Supreme Court’s full panel deliberation of its 13 justices, chief justice Kim Myeong-su said they concluded the provisions should not be applied to consensual sex between male service members that takes place outside military facilities during off-duty hours. "The specific ideas of what constitutes as indecency has changed accordingly with the changes in time and society," Kim said in a decision that was broadcast online. "The view that sexual activity between people of the same sex is a source of sexual humiliation and disgust for objective regular people and goes against decent moral sense can hardly be accepted as a universal and proper moral standard for our times." The court later said in a press release that the decision was meaningful as a "declaration that consensual same-sex sexual activity (among military service members) could no longer be considered as punishable in itself." The two defendants — an army lieutenant and sergeant from different units — were charged by military prosecutors in 2017 for having sex during off-duty hours at a residence outside their bases in 2016.

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