Weekly top 10 hot news (Dec.09-Dec.15)



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 | Iraq declares liberation of all Iraqi lands from IS

Iraq declared Saturday the liberation of all Iraqi lands from Islamic State (IS) militants after seizing the whole border areas and desert in western Iraq, the Iraqi military said.

The army forces and the paramilitary Hashd Shaabi brigades, backed by Iraqi helicopter gunships, managed to take control of the whole desert areas between the provinces of Nineveh and Anbar, Yarallah said.

The troops took control of over 90 villages and cleared 16,000 sq km in the last operation during the past 24 hours, he said. The Iraqi forces are now in control of some 183 km from the Iraq-Syrian border, Yarallah added.

Top 2 | Tillerson says U.S. ready to talk with DPRK without pre-conditions

In an apparent change of policy, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has offered to begin talks with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) without preconditions.

“Let’s just meet,” Tillerson said in a speech to Washington think tank the Atlantic Council on Tuesday.

The offer appeared to back away from US demands that the DPRK must first accept that any negotiations would have to be based on the country's denuclearization. It comes amid tough sanctions on Pyongyang and growing tensions over its nuclear weapons program, as well as harsh rhetoric between the two sides.

The new message stands in contrast to President Donald Trump’s warnings that talks have failed and that Tillerson was wasting his time in seeking to use diplomatic channels with the DPRK.

Top 3 | British lawmakers assert authority in Brexit blow to May

British lawmakers defeated Prime Minister Theresa May in a key Brexit vote on Wednesday, asserting their authority over the EU exit process by demanding a final say on the divorce deal.

Eleven members of May's Conservative party joined with opposition lawmakers to inflict the government's first defeat over the flagship EU (Withdrawal) Bill, sparking huge cheers in the House of Commons.

It passed by 309 votes to 305, with a twelfth Conservative MP effectively abstaining by voting in both camps. The government said it was "disappointed" by the vote, adding: "We will now determine whether further changes are needed to the bill to ensure it fulfils its vital purpose."

Top 4 | Philippine Congress approves Martial law to be enforced for a full year

Lawmakers from both the Philippine Senate and the House of Representatives in joint session approved President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s request for a full-year of martial rule in the southern island of Mindanao.

The vote was 240 in favor and 27 opposed to the request for extension.

The 1987 Philippine Constitution prohibits the enforcement of Martial Law beyond 60 days.

It will be recalled President Duterte declared Martial Law in Mindanao after the ISIS-inspired Maute Group seized control of Marawi City last May 23, 2017.

Top 5 | DPRK top leader Kim Jong Un asks to strengthen nuclear force

Kim Jong Un, the top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), has demanded for strengthening his country's nuclear force, the state media said on Wednesday.

According to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Kim gave the instruction in a speech delivered at the two-day 8th Conference of Munitions Industry which closed on Tuesday.

He "expressed belief that the scientists of the national defense industry and workers of munitions would bolster up the nuclear force in quality and quantity" as well as manufacture more latest weapons and equipment of the DPRK style, according to the KCNA.

The DPRK's strategic position has been put on a new high level on the basis of the powerful Juche-based defence industry, Kim noted.

Top 6 | Putin orders withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria

President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria.

He made the statement during a surprise visit to Khmeimim Air Base in Latakia Province, Syria, where he held talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and addressed Russian military servicemen.

"I order the Defense Ministry and the chief of the General Staff to begin the pullout of the Russian military group to permanent locations," Putin said.

Top 7 | New York Port Authority attack: Man held after Manhattan blast, terrorism charges filed

A man is being held after an attempted terror attack at New York City's main bus terminal.

The suspect, Akayed Ullah, a 27-year-old Bangladeshi immigrant, was injured by a "low-tech explosive device" strapped to his body, officials say. Three other people suffered minor wounds when it blew up in an underpass.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in southern New York filed federal terrorism charges on Tuesday against a bombing suspect who was accused of detonating a pipe bomb at New York City's commuter hub during rush hour Monday morning.

The suspect, 27-year-old Akayed Ullah, faces five charges ranging from using weapon of mass destruction to providing support to a terrorist organization, according to a court complaint filed on Tuesday.

Top 8 | Israel's prime minister Netanyahu: Palestinians must face reality

Israel's prime minister has said Palestinians must "get to grips with" the reality that Jerusalem is Israel's capital in order to move towards peace.

Benjamin Netanyahu said Jerusalem had been the capital of Israel for 3,000 years and had "never been the capital of any other people". He spoke amid ongoing protests in the Muslim and Arab world at a US decision recognising Jerusalem as the capital.

Violence flared near the US embassy in Lebanon and elsewhere on last Sunday.

Top 9 | China’s Xi reiterates opposition to THAAD, warns against war over DPRK

War or chaos must never be allowed on the Korean Peninsula, Chinese President Xi Jinping told his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in on Thursday, calling for a resolution of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue through dialogue and consultation.

During their talks after a welcome ceremony for Moon at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Xi reiterated China's opposition to the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) in South Korea, urging Seoul to continue to make efforts to properly handle the issue.

Moon, who is on a state visit to China from Wednesday to Saturday, said South Korea is willing to boost political trust and people-to-people friendship with China and strengthen the two countries' communication and coordination in international and regional affairs.

Top 10 | Disney to buy 21st Century Fox assets for $52.4 bn

Walt Disney Co. on Thursday agreed to buy key film and television operations of 21st Century Fox in a 52.4-billion-dollar stock deal that could reshape the media-entertainment world and step up a challenge to Netflix and emerging tech platforms.

The blockbuster transaction also vastly reduces the Fox media empire built by Rupert Murdoch, leaving the 86-year-old tycoon and his two sons with a more tightly focused group comprised of the Fox broadcast network, Fox News Channel and sports channels.

The deal will see Disney acquire the vaunted Fox Hollywood film and television studios, cable entertainment networks and international TV businesses, bringing popular entertainment properties including X-Men, Avatar, The Simpsons, FX Networks and National Geographic into Disney's portfolio.

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