Weekly top 10 hot news (April 14-April 20)



Every Saturday, 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 | US and allies launch strikes on Syria chemical weapons sites

U.S. President Donald Trump approved US military strikes against Syrian chemical weapons sites, in collaboration with the UK and France. The strikes are in response to an alleged chemical attack on the Syrian town of Douma last week.

The strikes were ordered "on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities" of the Syrian government, Mr Trump said.

The US president said the purpose was "to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons".

"These are not the actions of a man, they are the crimes of a monster instead," he said of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Syria has denied carrying out the attack and Russia, warned that Western military strikes would risk starting a war.

Top 2 | Miguel Diaz-Canel elected Cuba's new president, Raul Castro expresses confidence

Miguel Diaz-Canel was elected on Thursday as the new Cuban president, as the successor of the Army General Raul Castro, who concluded two consecutive five-year terms in office.

Outgoing Cuban President Raul Castro expressed on Thursday his confidence that the new leaders of the island would continue the path of the socialist revolution begun by Fidel Castro in 1959.

Diaz-Canel, 57, an electronics engineer, is member of the Politburo of the ruling Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) and held the chair of first secretary of the PCC in the provinces of Villa Clara and Holguin.

Top 3 | Trump says CIA chief Pompeo “got along really well” with Kim Jong Un

U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that his CIA chief “got along really well” with Kim Jong Un during a secret meeting in DPRK, holding up the highly unusual talks as a reason to confirm Mike Pompeo as secretary of state.

Republican lawmakers also supported the visit, as the U.S. administration prepared for a historic summit aimed at ending DPRK’s nuclear weapons program, and pushed for Pompeo’s rapid confirmation as top diplomat. But that prospect hung in the balance as Democrats lined up against him and questioned why they weren’t briefed on the meeting.

Pompeo’s trip took place over Easter weekend, just over two weeks ago, according to White House officials. He is the most senior U.S. official to meet with a DPRK's leader since Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met with Kim’s father in Pyongyang in 2000.

Top 4 | Former US first lady Barbara Bush dead at 92: family

Former US first lady Barbara Bush died Tuesday at the age of 92, triggering an outpouring of praise for the matriarch of a Republican family once at the apex of American politics.

"A former first lady of the United States of America and relentless proponent of family literacy, Barbara Pierce Bush passed away Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at the age of 92," said a statement from the office of George H.W. Bush. They were married for 73 years.

Barbara Bush has long been considered the rock at the center of one of America's most prominent political families, as the wife of a president and the mother to another -- George W. Bush -- and to Jeb Bush, a former Florida governor and onetime presidential aspirant.

Top 5 | Syria chemical weapons visit postponed after gunfire

A visit by international chemical weapons inspectors to the location of a suspected poison gas attack in the Syrian town of Douma has been delayed after gunfire at the site during a visit by a U.N. security team on Tuesday, sources told Reuters.

The U.N. security team entered Douma to assess the situation ahead of the planned visit by inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) international watchdog, said the sources, who had been briefed on the team’s deployment.

One source told Reuters the advance team had “encountered a security issue” including gunfire which led to the delay, but could not provide additional details. Another said they had been met by protesters demanding aid, and gunfire was heard. The U.N. then left.

Top 6 | S. Korean president says dramatic change going on in Korean Peninsula

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday that a dramatic change is going on in the Korean Peninsula citing the successive summits between the two Koreas and between the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Through the upcoming inter-Korean summit, Moon said, South Korea should establish a firm milestone to open the road to the Korean Peninsula's denuclearization, the establishment of a permanent peace regime and the sustainable development of inter-Korean relations.

Moon made the remarks during a meeting with presidents of 47 local media outlets, saying the summits would be a dramatic change that nobody has ever expected, according to the presidential Blue House.

The Korean Peninsula remains technically at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in armistice, not peace treaty.

Top 7 | Russia says Trump invited Putin to US during phone call

US President Donald Trump invited his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to the United States during a phone call, and said he would be glad to see Putin in the White House, RIA news agency reported on Friday, citing the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Trump returned to the subject of an invitation a couple of times during a phone call with Putin. Trump told Putin he would be happy to make a reciprocal visit to Russia.

Lavrov also told reporters that Russia will not offer to host a meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un, the top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Top 8 | Turkey announces early elections for swift shift to executive presidency

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Wednesday that the presidential and parliamentary elections will be brought forward to June 24, 2018 from November 2019, in order to make a swift shift to an executive presidency.

The Turkish president explained the necessity of the snap elections, citing "uncertainties" in the region and "the cross-border operation in Syria."

The Turkish government has denied the speculation that it intends to abolish the post of prime minister and formally enshrine executive powers in the president's office. In its almost 16 years in power, the AKP has never called early elections.

Top 9 | China's telecom giant ZTE opposes US ban as global supply chain suspended

The US tech ban on ZTE preventing it from buying technology from American companies for allegedly violating US sanctions against the DPRK and Iran has damaged the global supply chain which no country can be completely independent of, China’s ZTE said at a press conference on Friday.

Yin reiterated that ZTE strongly opposed the US decision to deny the company export privileges that will effectively put the Chinese telecom equipment maker in a “state of shock”, causing direct damage to staff, subscribers, consumers and shareholders.

On Friday morning, ZTE made a statement expressing that the latest US ban is unacceptable, calling the decision "extremely unfair".

Top 10 | Starbucks to shut US stores for 'racial-bias education'

Starbucks will close stores and corporate offices across the United States on May 29 to conduct "racial-bias education," the company announced Tuesday, following outrage over the arrest of two black men in one of its cafes.

It was the latest bid by the behemoth coffee chain to recover from last Thursday's incident in Philadelphia, which was captured on video and went viral, viewed millions of times.

The video posted on Twitter by a Starbucks client shows uniformed police questioning and then handcuffing the two men, who offer no resistance, as a white client repeatedly asks an officer, "What'd they do? What'd they do?"

Starbucks said more than 8,000 stores would be closed on the afternoon of May 29 and training provided to nearly 175,000 employees, and incorporated going forward.

**Related: **

APD Review | Preview of upcoming Inter-Korean Summit

British, French airstrikes in Syria may harm many including themselves

APD Review | U.S. and allies punishes Syria for alleged chemical attack

ZTE blockade: US attempts to stir up ‘New Cold War’ in digital industry