APD | Weekly top 10 hot news (Dec 24- Dec 30)



Every weekend, Asia Pacific Daily will provide you with a run-down of the latest hot news.

This week, the following hot news you should know:

Top 1 | Putin bans oil exports to countries that imposed price cap


President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday delivered Russia's long-awaited response to a Western price cap, signing a decree that bans the supply of oil and oil products to nations participating in the cap from February 1 for five months.

The Group of Seven major powers, the European Union and Australia agreed this month to a $60-per-barrel price cap on Russian seaborne crude oil effective from Dec. 5 over Moscow's "special military operation" in Ukraine.

The Kremlin's decree stated: "This...comes into force on February 1, 2023, and applies until July 1, 2023."

Top 2 | Ukrainian FM aims for February peace summit: AP


Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Monday said that his government is aiming to have a peace summit by the end of February, preferably at the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as a possible mediator.

"The United Nations could be the best venue for holding this summit, because this is not about making a favor to a certain country," he said in an exclusive interview with the Associated Press.

About Guterres' role, Kuleba said: "He has proven himself to be an efficient mediator and an efficient negotiator, and most importantly, as a man of principle and integrity. So we would welcome his active participation."

Top 3 | UN chief calls for restoration peace to lives, homes and world in 2023

e5bcf496d56b483badc387e4b41ee006.pngUN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called for the restoration of peace in 2023, urging conflicts to be solved through dialogue in his New Year message.

"Every New Year is a moment of rebirth," he said in the video message, which was published on the UN website. "In 2023, we need peace, now more than ever."

According to the UN chief, millions "swept out the ashes" of 2022 with over 100 million fleeing violence, natural disasters and poverty. He mentioned the conflicts in Ukraine, Afghanistan and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), urging ending conflicts through dialogues.

Top 4 | Israel's Netanyahu seals coalition deals with allied parties

5154f7d6ae81496594dcb8fdbadb0288.pngIsraeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu finalized coalition deals with allied parties, their spokespeople said on Wednesday.

Netanyahu, whose bloc won a clear election victory last month, is expected to swear his new government in on Thursday after his Likud party finalizes two remaining deals.

The coalition deals with Religious Zionism and ultra-Orthodox UTJ have yet to be formally published.

Top 5 | Incoming Israeli PM Netanyahu to advance West Bank annexation


Israel's incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to advance annexation of the West Bank according to a coalition deal that was made public on Thursday.

Netanyahu, who signed a series of coalition deals on Wednesday and Thursday, announced that he had succeeded in forming a coalition government with religious and far-right coalition partners that is set to bring him back to power as the leader of the most right-wing government in Israeli history.

"In light of our belief in the aforementioned right, the prime minister will lead the formulation and advancement of policies within the framework of applying sovereignty in Judea and Samaria," the relevant clause in the coalition deal signed with the Religious Zionism states. Judea and Samaria is the Biblical name for the West Bank.

Top 6 | Natasa Pirc Musar becomes Slovenia's first female president


Natasa Pirc Musar, 54, took the oath of office during a ceremonial session of Slovenia's National Assembly on Thursday. She is the country's fifth, and first female, president.

Musar, who ran as an independent, replaces Borut Pahor, who held the post for the past 10 years.

In her first speech as president, she addressed Slovenia's citizens: "We have to take care of our country ... defend it, protect it and love it because it is ours and because of the future generations."

She said she supported a multilateral world order and a strong Europe, and that she saw climate change as the main challenge of our time.

Top 7 | More NGOs suspend Afghanistan operations as Taliban orders women to stop working


Christian Aid and ActionAid have become the latest foreign aid groups to suspend operations in Afghanistan after the country's Taliban rulers ordered all NGOs to stop women staff from working.

Announcements by the two groups take to six the number of bodies who have paused their operations in the country.

Christian Aid was "rapidly seeking clarity... and urging the authorities to reverse the ban", head of global programmes Ray Hasan said in a statement.

Top 8 | Japan's Minister for Reconstruction Kenya Akiba submits resignation


Japan's Minister for Reconstruction, Kenya Akiba, submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday, marking the fourth minister to leave since Kishida reshuffled his cabinet in August.

Three other ministers have quit in close succession due to scandals, some involving funding and ties with the Unification Church.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party's close links with the religious group were revealed after the killing of former premier Shinzo Abe and have been cited by public opinion poll respondents as a reason behind Kishida's low approval ratings.

Top 9 | Slovak president dissolves PM Heger's minority government


At least 32 people died due to heavy rains and resulting flooding over the weekend in the Philippines, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said in an update on Thursday.

Eleven were injured while 24 were still missing, the agency said.

Top 10 | Japan's new security strategy eclipses pacifism, raises concern


The Japanese government has approved three updated documents on its security and defense policies, vowing to acquire the military power to actively attack its enemy and largely increase its military expenditure for the next five years.

Analysts said the release of the documents marks a fundamental shift in Japan's post-war security ideology and defense policy, in complete violation of its exclusively defense-oriented policy and pacifism embodied in the Constitution of Japan.

Japan, by retaking the path as a major military power amid further integration with U.S. forces, will pose new threats to regional peace and stability.