APD | Weekly top 10 hot news (Apr.9- Apr.15)



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 | Nationwide humanitarian cease-fire in Ukraine not possible: UN chief

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday that a nationwide humanitarian cease-fire in Ukraine seems to be out of reach at the moment.

Guterres on March 28 launched an initiative for a humanitarian cease-fire in Ukraine and sent Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths to Moscow and Kyiv to explore the possibilities of a humanitarian cease-fire.

Asked about his message to Russian President Vladimir Putin if he gets him on the phone, Guterres said, "The most important message is that we need to silence the guns, and we need to have a serious negotiation to achieve peace."

Top 2 | WHO: Despite decline in infections, deaths, COVID-19 pandemic still far from over

Despite the decline in global COVID-19 infections and fatalities, the pandemic is still far from over, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom.

The WHO chief made the remarks on Tuesday in his remarks at the public hearing regarding a new international instrument on pandemic preparedness and response.

Noting that COVID-19 has exposed serious gaps in the global health security architecture, the WHO chief said the world needs to learn from the current pandemic to prepare for any future health crises that may arise.

Top 3 | Philippines landslide death toll hits 123, frantic searches for survivors

Eighty six of the casualties were in Baybay, a mountainous area prone to landslides in Leyte province, where 236 people were also injured, the city government said in a report.

Three others drowned in different provinces, while six people were still missing, the national disaster agency said.

Aerial photographs and video from the local government showed collapsed slopes, burying coconut plantations and houses in dirt and mud. In one area, rescuers had to use rubber boats to reach a landslide.

Top 4 | South Korean president-elect nominates four-term lawmaker as new FM

South Korea's incoming President Yoon Suk-yeol has nominated four-term lawmaker Park Jin as foreign minister, Yonhap news agency reported on Wednesday, citing unidentified sources.

Park recently led a team of Yoon's foreign policy and security advisers to the United States for talks with Washington officials to discuss a response to threats from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea as it steps up weapons testing.

He is a member of the parliament's unification and foreign affairs committee and was previously its chairman.

Top 5 | Biden announces rule on 'ghost guns, new ATF nominee

President Joe Biden, in conjunction with the Department of Justice, announced a new measure Monday to crack down on what law enforcement says is the growing problem "ghost guns" and called on Congress to pass universal background checks.

The new rule essentially expands the definition of a "firearm," as established by the Gun Control Act, to cover "buy build shoot" kits that people can buy online or from a firearm dealer and assemble themselves. It will make these kits subject to the same federal laws that currently apply to other firearms.

The goal, officials said, is to keep untraceable guns off of the streets and out of the hands of those who are prohibited by law from possessing a firearm.

Top 6 | Zelenskyy braces for 'hard battle,' Johnson visits Kyiv and offers aid

Ukraine is ready for a tough battle with Russian forces amassing in the east of the country, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Saturday as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered fresh financial and military support during a surprise visit to Kyiv.

At a meeting in the Ukrainian capital, Johnson told Zelenskyy that Britain would provide armored vehicles and anti-ship missile systems, along with additional support for World Bank loans.

Britain will also continue to ratchet up its sanctions on Russia and move away from using Russian hydrocarbons, he said.

Top 7 | Macron to face far-right Le Pen in French poll run-off: projections

French President Emmanuel Macron and far-right wing candidate Marine Le Pen are the top two leaders of the first round of the 2022 presidential election with 28.2 percent and 23.4 percent of the votes, respectively, according to a preliminary exit poll carried out Sunday by Elabe and released by French television BFMTV.

Thanking his supporters, Macron vowed to "implement the project of progress, of French and European openness and independence we have advocated for."

The presidential run-off in the next two weeks will be "decisive" for France and for Europe, Macron said.

Top 8 | Russia relaxes rules on foreign exchange buying as ruble rallies

Russia will relax temporary capital control measures aimed at limiting a drop in the ruble by allowing individuals to buy cash foreign currency and will also scrap commission for buying forex through brokerages, the central bank said on Friday.

The ruble has rebounded on the Moscow Exchange from record lows in March to levels seen before February 24 when Russia started "a special military operation" in Ukraine, as capital control measures suffocated demand for forex.

The central bank said banks will be allowed to sell cash foreign currency to individuals from April 18 but only the notes they have received no earlier than on April 9.

The central bank is also scrapping its requirement for banks to limit the gap between prices at which they offer to buy and sell foreign exchange. But it recommended banks sell forex to import-focused companies at a rate of no more than two rubles above the market rate.

Top 9 | Pakistani PM Khan faces boot after court orders parliament restoration

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan faces being booted from office on the weekend after the Supreme Court ruled (on Thursday) that the parliament had been illegally dissolved and a no-confidence vote on his government must go ahead.

Khan's coalition lost its majority in the national assembly last week, but he avoided being dismissed when the deputy speaker blocked a no-confidence motion against him and the president dissolved parliament and ordered fresh elections.

The court's judgement was broader than expected after the chief justice said earlier this week they would only rule on the legality of the no-confidence motion being blocked.

Top 10 | Kremlin: Russia hopes to end operation in Ukraine 'in foreseeable future'

Russia hopes that its special military operation in Ukraine will end "in the foreseeable future," Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.

The operation is continuing and Russia's goals are being achieved, while substantive work is being carried out both in the military sphere and at the negotiation table, Peskov said at a daily briefing.

In an interview with the Sky News, Peskov said that "our military are doing their best to bring an end to that operation."

Moscow and Kiev have conducted several rounds of peace talks to seek a political settlement to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, which has intensified over the past month.