Weekly top 10 hot news (Dec.31—Jan. 6)



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 | Fireworks, food and prayers: New year celebrated around the world

New year celebrations in Russia were hampered by technical difficulties as Palace Square in St Petersburg was temporarily evacuated and a 25-metre (80ft) Christmas tree in the east of the country went up in flames. Meanwhile, in Moscow, the weather was less than festive.

Usually festooned with snow on New Year’s Eve, the Russian capital this year is enduring a long spell of intermittent rain and constant grey skies, but that did not stop the spectacular firework display from going ahead as planned above Red Square.

Messages are projected on the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest building, on New Year’s Eve.

Top 2 | Champion footballer George Weah wins Liberia’s presidential election

Football superstar George Weah has scored again. As the only African footballer to have been awarded both FIFA’s World Player of the Year and France’s Ballon d’Or, Mr Weah, a Liberian, is used to winning. However, one prize had evaded him—until this year.

On December 26th the former Chelsea, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain player triumphed in the second round of Liberia’s presidential election. Mr Weah defeated the current vice-president, Joseph Boakai, with 62% of the vote. He won all but one of Liberia’s 15 counties.

Football icon George Weah has won an insurmountable 61.5 percent in the Liberian presidential run-off

Top 3 | US suspends security aid to Pakistan until action taken against terror

The US said on Thursday it was suspending security assistance to Pakistan until Islamabad takes action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.

The US State Department announced the decision, saying it reflected the Trump administration's frustration that Pakistan has not done more against the two groups, which have long used sanctuaries in Pakistan to launch attacks in neighboring Afghanistan that have killed US, Afghan and other forces.

Top 4 | Ex-aide Bannon has lost his mind: Said Trump

Former White House aide Steve Bannon "lost his mind" after he lost his job at the White House, US President Donald Trump has said.

The president disavowed Mr Bannon after he was quoted in a new book describing a meeting between Mr Trump's son and a group of Russians as "treasonous".

"Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind," Mr Trump said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party," he continued.

The Russians had offered Donald Trump Jr damaging information on Hillary Clinton at the June 2016 meeting.

Top 5 | Australian diplomat’s tip a factor in FBI’s Russia probe

An Australian diplomat’s tip appears to have helped persuade the FBI to investigate Russian meddling in the U.S. election and possible coordination with the Trump campaign, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos told the diplomat, Alexander Downer, during a meeting in London in May 2016 that Russia had thousands of emails that would embarrass Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, the report said. Downer, a former foreign minister, is Australia’s top diplomat in Britain.

Alexander Downer, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Australia.

Top 6 | Kim Jong Un to U.S.: ‘The button for nuclear weapons is on my table’

The leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Un said on Monday that the United States will never be able to start a war against the DPRK now that his country has developed the capability to hit all of the US mainland with its nuclear weapons.

The DPRK tested intercontinental ballistic missiles and conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test in September in defiance of international warnings and sanctions, raising fears of a new conflict on the Korean Peninsula.

Kim said it is imperative to lower military tensions on the Korean Peninsula and improve ties with the South, adding the path to dialogue was open.

Kim said he will consider sending a delegation to the Winter Olympics Games to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February.

Top 7 | Tensions rises as US vows to withhold $255 million in aid to Pakistan

In a sign of escalating tensions between the United States and Pakistan, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley accused Pakistan of playing "a double game for years" and confirmed the administration will withhold $255 million in aid to the country.

"They work with us at times, and they also harbor the terrorists that attack our troops in Afghanistan," Haley said Tuesday at a news conference. "That game is not acceptable to this administration."

Her remarks came a day after President Donald Trump accused Pakistan of lying to and deceiving the US despite receiving billions in foreign aid.

The Pakistani government said earlier Tuesday that recent comments from US leaders were "completely incomprehensible" and could damage the trust between the countries.

Top 8 | Trump tries to block release of 'libelous ' book

President Donald Trump tried to counter one-two blows of betrayal and scandal Thursday, punching back at a bare-knuckle book that portrayed his White House as a fetid stew of backbiting, incompetence and dysfunction.

Trump's lawyers moved to prevent the release of "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" -- an exposé by author and political muck spreader Michael Wolff -- which quotes key Trump aides raising questions about his fitness for office.

The book -- which paints Trump as craven, unstable and far out of his depth in the Oval Office -- extensively quotes his former ally and chief strategist Steve Bannon, who also received a "cease and desist" order from Trump's attorneys.

** Top 9 | DPRK continues contact with ROK via border hotline**

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Thursday continued its contact with the Republic of Korea (ROK) through a reopened cross-border communications channel.

Thursday's first hotline call was made at 9:30 a.m. local time (8:30 a.m. BJT) to examine the communication lines, said ROK's Ministry of Unification.

The cross-border hotline linking the two countries, which had been out of action for two years, was reopened on Wednesday.

Through the hotlines, the two countries reportedly discussed the possible bilateral talks.

** Top 10 | Egypt attack: Twelve die as gunmen hit Coptic Christians**

welve people have died in twin attacks on Coptic Christians in the Helwan area south of Cairo, officials say.

Ten people died when gunmen tried to storm a church south of Cairo, but were intercepted by police.

About an hour later, a Coptic-owned shop in the same area was attacked, leaving two dead.

More than 100 Christians have been killed in Egypt in the past year - most attacks claimed by the local branch of the so-called Islamic State group.

Security forces have put checkpoints in place around the capital in response to the attacks.

They announced plans earlier this week to protect festivities around the New Year and Coptic Christmas.

They include the deployment of rapid-reaction forces and jamming equipment.


Trump tries to block release of 'libelous ' book

DPRK continues contact with ROK via border hotline

Ex-aide Bannon has lost his mind: Said Trump