Biden vows funds, tech alliance as democracy summit takes on backsliding

President Joe Biden has committed nearly $700 million to counter global democratic backsliding and form an alliance against surveillance technology at his second, largely virtual "Summit for Democracy." The summit will work on holding Russia accountable for its war against Ukraine and show that democracies are strong and resolved. Biden will also announce a joint effort with around 10 partners to counter the misuse and proliferation of spyware. Close US partners who failed to make the cut include Bangladesh, Singapore and Thailand, while leaders such as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban were excluded over concern on their records.

Saudi agrees to partner with China-led security bloc

Saudi Arabia has agreed to become a "dialogue partner" with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a political, economic, and security organization that includes China, India, Pakistan, Russia, and four central Asian countries. This move follows a recent reconciliation deal brokered by China between Saudi Arabia and Iran to restore full diplomatic relations.

China vows to ‘fight back’ if Taiwan leader meets US speaker

China warns it will take "resolute measures" if Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen meets US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy during her visit to the United States. Beijing claims Taiwan as part of its territory and opposes official ties with both Taipei and Beijing. Tsai is visiting Guatemala and Belize to strengthen diplomatic alliances before stopping in California on her way back to Taiwan. The US has called for calm, with a senior administration official stating that the stopover does not represent a change in US policy towards China.

Jho Low sentenced to 10 years in prison by Kuwaiti court in absentia

Malaysian business Jho Low, a key figure in the 1MDB scandal, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for money laundering in Kuwait. He remains on the run. The case involves the largest case of crime of money laundering involving Chinese currency equivalent to RMB 343 million and 700 thousand Kuwaiti dinars.

Taiwan president heads to US, Central America to shore up ties

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen is set to visit the US to strengthen ties with Guatemala and Belize after China took another of the island's few diplomatic allies. Analysts suggest the trip comes at a critical moment, with Beijing increasing diplomatic, military, and economic pressure since Tsai took office in 2016, poaching nine of Taiwan's diplomatic allies since then. The United States remains Taiwan's most crucial international ally, and its most significant arms supplier, despite switching its own diplomatic recognition to Beijing in 1979.


North Korea says it tested new underwater nuclear attack ‘drone’

North Korea claims it has tested an underwater nuclear attack drone capable of creating a "radioactive tsunami" to destroy enemy naval groups and operational ports. Analysts, however, have cast doubt on the regime's claims, with some suggesting it could be an attempt at deception or a psychological operation. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the tests, which come after the US and South Korea carried out their largest joint military drills in five years. Pyongyang views such exercises as rehearsals for invasion and has threatened "overwhelming" action in response.

Arrest warrant suspended for ex-Pakistan PM Khan

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan's arrest warrant was suspended, allowing him to leave his residence after days of violent clashes between his supporters and the police. Khan faces legal cases as he campaigns for early elections and a return to the office. The arrest warrant relates to his non-appearance in an Islamabad court for a case brought by the Election Commission of Pakistan for not declaring gifts received during his time as premier.

Civic space in Singapore still rated as ‘repressed’ as new report highlights increasing crackdown...

A new CIVICUS Monitor report reveals that restrictions and attacks on activists and civil society persist across Asia. Out of 26 countries, seven are rated 'closed,' eight 'repressed,' and seven 'obstructed.' In Singapore, freedom of expression and assembly continue to be stifled. The study highlights that 28% of the global population, around 2 billion people, experience extreme levels of repression.

Pakistan ex-PM Khan defies arrest as supporters clash with police

Supporters of former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan clashed with police overnight as he remained holed up in his Lahore residence defying attempts to arrest him. He was ousted from office by a no-confidence vote last year and has been campaigning for early elections and a return to office. Police fought pitched battles with his supporters near his residence, firing teargas and dodging rocks thrown by angry crowds.

Michelle Yeoh makes history as first Asian to win best actress Oscar

Michelle Yeoh makes history as the first Asian woman to win the Best Actress Oscar for her role in "Everything Everywhere All at Once," beating out strong performances from Cate Blanchett, Michelle Williams, Andrea Riseborough, and Ana de Armas. Yeoh's win is seen as a beacon of hope and possibility for little boys and girls who look like her and a shattering of the glass ceiling for more Asian representation in Hollywood. Yeoh has a busy upcoming slate, including three new installments of "Avatar" and the movie adaptation of the musical "Wicked."


Abandoned his wife and daughter and illegally immigrated to US for 32 years, 76-year-old...

A 76-year-old man from Shanghai named Liu Yusheng who illegally immigrated to the United States and abandoned his wife and daughter for 32 years. A member of the Association of Fellow Shanghainese in the US encountered Liu wandering on the street and helped him return to China with the help of donations. However, when Liu returned to his hometown in China, he allegedly demanded that his wife and daughter split their million RMB property with him, which ignited the anger of Chinese netizens. Liu denied the allegation and claimed that he had never thought of asserting his rights over the property.

Honduras orders Taiwan to vacate embassy within 30 days as it establishes ties with...

Honduras has ordered Taiwan to vacate its embassy within 30 days following President Xiomara Castro's decision to sever ties with Taiwan and establish formal diplomatic relations with China. This move aims to attract more investment and jobs from the Asian giant. Taiwanese students with scholarships in Honduras will be able to transfer their studies to China, while Taiwan has terminated diplomatic relations with Honduras. China considers Taiwan as a part of its territory to be retaken one day, while Taiwan maintains a similar policy of cutting ties with countries that switch recognition to Beijing.

Chinese military says ‘warned’ US warship to leave South China Sea

China's military tracked and warned a US warship to leave waters claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea, despite overlapping claims by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei. The US sends naval vessels through the region to assert freedom of navigation in international waters, while China has built artificial islands with military facilities and runways.

Prominent Hong Kong union leader arrested by national security police

Hong Kong union leader Elizabeth Tang Yin-ngor was arrested on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces to endanger national security, with the offence carrying a life sentence. She and her husband have advocated for labour rights and democracy in the city for four decades.

Raccoon dog data sparks new debate about COVID origins

New genetic evidence of raccoon dogs present at the Wuhan market has reignited debate over the origin of COVID-19. The researchers who found the genetic data say it supports the theory that the virus may have originated in animals and then jumped to humans at the market. However, this is still uncertain, and the virus's origin continues to be a divisive issue for the scientific community. Some believe it leaked from a Wuhan lab, while others argue it likely originated in animals. The WHO has called for more data to shed light on the start of the pandemic.