Weekly top 10 hot news (March 23 - March 30)



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

This week, the following hot news you need to know:

Top 1 | S.Korean court issues warrant to arrest ex-president Lee Myung-bak

A Seoul court issued an arrest warrant Thursday for former President Lee Myung-bak on bribery, embezzlement, tax evasion and other charges.

Lee is set to be taken to a Seoul detention center, becoming the nation's fourth former president to be arrested for corruption.The 77-year-old former conservative leader faces at least 12 charges, including taking more than 11 billion won (US$10.2 million) in bribes from the state spy agency and businesses.

He is also suspected of embezzling about 35 billion won from a company, which he is said to secretly owns, and of evading related taxes.Other charges include abuse of power, breach of trust, illegally stashing presidential documents and a violation of election law.

Top 2 | Russia faces wave of diplomatic expulsions

The United States and its European allies are expelling dozens of Russian diplomats in a co-ordinated response to the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the UK.

It is said to be the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in history.

More than 20 countries have aligned with the UK, expelling more than 100 diplomats.Russia vowed to retaliate to the "provocative gesture".

Russia denies any role in the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, southern England. The pair remain in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

Top 3 | Xi Jinping, Kim Jong Un hold talks in Beijing

At the invitation of Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Chinese president, Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) and chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), paid an unofficial visit to China from Sunday to Wednesday.

During the visit, Xi held talks with Kim at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan held a welcoming banquet for Kim and his wife Ri Sol Ju and watched an art performance together.

Li Keqiang, Chinese premier and member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, Wang Huning, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee, and Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan attended related activities, respectively.

Top 4 | Facebook to introduce new privacy controls in wake of data scandal

Facebook, embroiled in a huge data scandal which has wiped off over 100 billion US dollars in its market value, on Wednesday announced a series of privacy changes it was making to give users more control over their data.

Ahead of the entry into force of a landmark European Union data protection law in May, the social network will add a new “Privacy Shortcuts” menu which will let users review what they’ve shared and delete it, as well as features enabling them to download their data and move it to another service.

“The last week showed how much more work we need to do to enforce our policies, and to help people understand how Facebook works and the choices they have over their data,” Erin Egan, VP and Chief Privacy Officer, and Ashlie Beringer, VP and Deputy General Counsel at Facebook, wrote in a blog post.

“So in addition to Mark’s announcements last week – cracking down on abuse of the Facebook platform, strengthening our policies, and making it easier for people to revoke apps’ ability to use your data – we’re taking additional steps in the coming weeks to put people in more control over their privacy.”

Top 5 | Death toll in Russian shopping mall fire reaches 64: minister

The death toll from a fire at a shopping mall in the Russian city of Kemerovo has reached 64 people, Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said on Monday.

Identification of victims is still underway, and search and rescue operation is ongoing.

At least 48 others were injured in the blaze and 12 remain in hospital, according to the Russian broadcaster.

The fire broke out on an upper floor of the "Winter Cherry" complex, which boasts cinemas, shops and restaurants in Russia's Kemerovo city in western Siberia at around 17:00 local time (1000 GMT).

Top 6 | Trump ousts Veterans Affairs chief, taps WH doctor to replace him

US President Donald Trump shook up his cabinet once again on Wednesday, sacking embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and nominating White House doctor Ronny Jackson as his successor.

"I am pleased to announce that I intend to nominate highly respected Admiral Ronny L. Jackson, MD, as the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs," said Trump, who has also replaced his secretary of state and national security advisor in the last month. "I am thankful for Dr. David Shulkin's service to our country and to our GREAT VETERANS!" he said on Twitter.

Pentagon official Robert Wilkie would serve as interim department chief until Jackson receives Congressional approval, the president added.

Top 7 | At least 68 dead in riot, fire at Venezuela police station

A fire at a police station in the Venezuelan city of Valencia, in Carabobo state, has left 68 people dead, government officials say.

The blaze reportedly started after prisoners set fire to mattresses in an attempt to break out on Wednesday.

Police used tear gas to disperse relatives who surrounded the station after news of the fire broke.Chief state prosecutor Tarek Saab said an investigation into what had happened would begin immediately.

State official Jesus Santander said the situation had now been been brought under control. He said the state of Carabobo was in mourning.

Top 8 | Trump announces $60 billion trade sanctions and tariffs on China

Citing a systemic, state-sponsored system of intellectual property theft, the Trump Administration has begun investigating whether to impose about $60 billion worth of sanctions on China.

The action is sparking fears of an intensifying trade war.

A Senior Trump Administration Official accused China of imposing unfair restrictions and regulations on foreign companies seeking to do business in China.

According to the official, U.S. companies are routinely required to transfer technology and intellectual property to Chinese companies in order to do business in China. The official also accused China of placing “substantial restrictions” on U.S. investment in China.

Top 9 | S.Korea, DPRK agree to hold summit on April 27 in Panmunjom

South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Thursday agreed to hold a summit on April 27 in the truce village of Panmunjom, the first meeting between the leaders of the two sides in 11 years.

The agreement was reached during a high-level dialogue between the two sides, which were held earlier in the day at Tongilgak, a DPRK building in Panmunjom.

A joint statement from the high-level talks said Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to hold their third summit on April 27 at Peace House, a South Korean building in Panmunjom.

Top 10 | France pays tribute to victims of jihadist attack

Mourners packed a church in a rural French town rocked by a deadly Islamist attack for a Sunday service in tribute to the victims, who included a policeman hailed as a hero for offering himself in place of a hostage.

Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame, 44, was shot and stabbed after taking the place of a woman whom Radouane Lakdim had been using as a human shield during his attack Friday at a supermarket in the town of Trebes.

The sleepy town of 5,000, located on the picturesque Canal du Midi, is just eight kilometres (five miles) from the famed medieval walled city of Carcassone, where a silent march is planned next Saturday, the eve of Easter Day.

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