Taiwan President Tsai calls for stability in China relations
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen called for stability in relations with China in her inaugural address Wednesday but said she would not accept Beijing’s political terms that would “downgrade Taiwan and undermine the cross-strait status quo.” Reelected by a landslide late last year, Tsai said relations with Beijing had reached a “historical turning point” and that “peace, parity, democracy, and dialogue” should form the basis for contacts between the sides as a means to prevent intensifying antagonisms and differences. Tsai said Taiwan would also work to increase its participation in international society, even as Beijing seeks to shut it out and poach allies away from the self-governing island democracy it claims as its own territory.
AP PHOTOS: Business almost as usual amid Japan virus actions
TOKYO (AP) — The popular “scramble” intersection in Tokyo’s downtown Shibuya district looks uncrowded, but eateries and pubs on backstreets are busy. Meanwhile, narrow suburban shopping streets are jammed on weekends, with families strolling and heading to lunch. Some bars and restaurants are open past a requested 8 p.m. closing time. While Tokyo is still under a coronavirus state of emergency, the pandemic is pitting those willing to follow requests for self-restraint against a sizable minority resisting the calls to stay home. With signs of the infections slowing, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the state of emergency in all but eight of the 47 Japanese prefectures on May 14, two weeks ahead of schedule.
Asia Today: S Korean students return to class; 32 new cases
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean students began returning to classes Wednesday even as the country counted another 32 new coronavirus cases. It was the first time in nine days the daily increase in cases is above 30. South Korea relaxed much of its social distancing rules in early May, but then saw a spike in new infections linked to nightclubs in Seoul. Hundreds of thousands of high school seniors were allowed to return to classes under new rules: temperature checks before entering school and masks at all times. Some schools installed plastic partitions at each desk. The Education Ministry said lower-level students are set to go back in phases in coming weeks.
Cyclone dumps rain on India, Bangladesh, 2M head to shelters
NEW DELHI (AP) — A powerful cyclone began dumping rain on coastal India and Bangladesh early Wednesday as more than 2 million people were being moved to shelters before the storm hits land in the afternoon. Cyclone Amphan slowed slightly as it reached cooler waters near the coast. But with wind speeds ranging between 160 and 170 kilometers per hour (100 and 105 miles per hour), the storm could cause extensive damage: winds and heavy rain battering flimsy houses, a storm surge that may push seawater 25 kilometers (15 miles) inland and the possibility of flooding in crowded cities like Kolkata.
South Koreans return to school amid virus outbreak
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean students began returning to schools Wednesday as their country prepares for a new normal amid the coronavirus pandemic. In a reminder that returning to normalcy won't be easy, students in some schools near Seoul were quickly asked to leave and return home after their classmates were found to have contracted the virus. South Korean health authorities on Wednesday reported 32 new cases over a 24-hour period, the first time the daily jump has been above 30 in more than a week. Hundreds of thousands of high school seniors entered their schools after having their temperatures checked and rubbing their hands with sanitizers on Wednesday morning.
Trump's use of malaria drug likely to be welcomed in India
NEW DELHI (AP) — President Donald Trump’s declaration that he was taking a malaria drug of dubious effectiveness to help fend off the coronavirus will likely be welcomed in India. Trump's previous endorsement of hydroxychloroquine catalyzed a tremendous shift in the South Asian country, spurring the world’s largest producer of the drug to make much more of it, prescribe it for front-line health workers treating the virus and deploy it as a diplomatic tool, despite mounting evidence against using the drug for COVID-19. Trump said Monday that he was taking hydroxychloroquine as a measure of protection against the virus. The U.S.
States accused of fudging or bungling COVID-19 testing data
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Public health officials in some states are accused of bungling coronavirus infection statistics or even using a little sleight of hand to deliberately make things look better than they are. The risk is that politicians, business owners and ordinary Americans who are making decisions about lockdowns, reopenings and other day-to-day matters could be left with the impression that the virus is under more control than it actually is. In Virginia, Texas and Vermont, for example, officials said they have been combining the results of viral tests, which show an active infection, with antibody tests, which show a past infection.
Indian troops kill rebel commander in Kashmir's main city
SRINAGAR, India (AP) — A rebel commander and his aide were killed in a gunbattle with government forces in Kashmir's main city on Tuesday, officials said, triggering anti-India protests and clashes in the disputed region. Scores of counterinsurgency police and paramilitary soldiers cordoned off a congested neighborhood in Srinagar's old quarters on a tip that some militants were hiding there, said Pankaj Singh, a paramilitary spokesman. An exchange of gunfire began as troops scoured the area looking for militants, he said. The gunbattle, the first in the city in two years, lasted about 12 hours and ended with the killing of Junaid Ashraf Sehrai, a militant commander with Kashmir’s largest rebel group, Hizbul Mujahideen, and his aide.
AP PHOTOS: Recovered Filipino doctor back helping patients
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Uncertainties over the coronavirus remain, but there have been heartwarming anecdotes too, like the acts of courage and sacrifice of people helping deal with the unprecedented crisis at their life’s peril. In the Philippines, 41-year-old anesthesiologist Manuel Sotelo III knew the risks but kept working in a hospital in a Manila coronavirus hotspot. He has to live apart from his family as an agonizing safeguard. As he feared, he got infected. Although he didn’t show any of the dreadful symptoms, death was constantly on his mind and he struggled with isolation in an apartment. At one point while on quarantine, Sotelo recorded a farewell video for his daughter and wife.
UN: Civilian casualties by Taliban, Afghan forces rising
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The United Nations on Tuesday called for an immediate reduction of violence in Afghanistan, warning that civilian casualties at the hands of both the Taliban and Afghan security forces are on the increase. The U.N. mission also expressed concern about stepped-up attacks and brutality of the Islamic State group. A horrific attack last week at a maternity hospital in the Afghan capital has not been claimed by any group, but the United States said it bears all the hallmarks of Afghanistan’s IS affiliate — targeting the country’s minority Shiites in a neighborhood of Kabul that IS militants have repeatedly attacked in the past.