Weekly top 10 hot news (March 10 - March 16)



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 | Trump fires Tillerson; replaces him with hawkish CIA Chief Pompeo

U.S. President Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday after a series of public rifts over policy on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea(DPRK), Russia and Iran, replacing his chief diplomat with loyalist CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

The biggest shakeup of Trump’s Cabinet since he took office in January 2017 was announced by the president on Twitter as his administration works toward a potential meeting with DPRK's leader Kim Jong Un after months of harsh rhetoric and rising tensions on Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

The rare firing of the United States’ top diplomat capped months of friction between the Republican president and the 65-year-old former Exxon Mobil Corp chief executive. The tensions peaked last fall amid reports Tillerson had called Trump a “moron” and considered resigning. Tillerson never denied using the word.

Critics expressed dismay at the decision to swap out top diplomats so soon before the unprecedented meeting and worried that Pompeo would encourage Trump to scrap the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and be hawkish on DPRK.

**Top 2 | Physicist Stephen Hawking dies aged 76 **

World renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76.

He died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday, his family said.

The Briton was known for his work with black holes and relativity, and wrote several popular science books including A Brief History of Time.

At the age of 22 Prof Hawking was given only a few years to live after being diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease. The illness left him wheelchair-bound and largely unable to speak except through a voice synthesiser.

Top 3 | S. Korean ex-president Lee admits taking $100,000 from spy agency

Former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak has admitted receiving 100,000 US dollars from the state spy agency while still in office, reports said Thursday, after he faced a marathon interrogation by prosecutors over corruption allegations.

Lee returned home Thursday after lengthy questioning as he became the last of the country's living ex-leaders to be embroiled in a criminal inquiry.

He denied most corruption charges but admitted taking the off-book funds from the National Intelligence Service (NIS) via a presidential aide, Yonhap news agency said Thursday, citing a prosecution official.

Top 4 | I was illegally removed from power, says Ex-Zimbabwe leader Mugabe

Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe described his departure from office in November as a "coup d'etat" that "we must undo" in his first TV interviews since then, aired on Thursday.

Mugabe, 94, spoke slowly but clearly to South Africa's SABC broadcaster from an office in Harare, dressed in a grey suit, sitting in front of a portrait of himself and his wife Grace.

"I say it was a coup d'etat -- some people have refused to call it a coup d'etat," said Mugabe referring to the brief army takeover which led to Emmerson Mnangagwa assuming power after Mugabe's resignation.

"We must undo this disgrace which we have imposed on ourselves, we don't deserve it... Zimbabwe doesn't deserve it."

Top 5 | Billionaire tycoon Li Ka-shing retires, hands control of empire to son

Li Ka-shing, whose life journey from humble beginnings to Asia’s biggest business fortunes became the epitome of entrepreneurship that inspired generations of Hongkongers, has announced his retirement after almost seven decades at the pinnacle of one of the world’s largest corporate conglomerates.

He will serve as senior advisor of both companies.

Also known as superman to many, Li, who turns 90 in July, will hand over the chairmanships of his two flagship companies to his elder son Victor.

Top 6 | Japan PM, wife and finance minister under fire over cronyism scandal

Japan’s finance ministry on Monday acknowledged that documents in a suspected cronyism scandal had been doctored, said a senior ruling party official, as pressure mounts on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ally Finance Minister Taro Aso over the case.

References to Abe, his wife and Aso were removed from the documents related to the scandal, according to Reuters. Abe, now in his sixth year in office, had tried to put behind him questions over the sale of state-owned land at a huge discount to a school operator with ties to his wife, Akie. His ratings had rebounded from a slump last year, but recently doubts have resurfaced with a series of fresh revelations.

Abe has repeatedly denied he or his wife did favors for school operator Moritomo Gakuen, which bought the land, and has said he would resign if evidence were found that they had. The issue last year sharply eroded Abe’s popularity.

Top 7 | Theresa May says Russia highly likely behind ex-spy poisoning attack, Russia says accusations "unacceptable"

Former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned by a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia, Theresa May has told MPs. The PM said it was "highly likely" Russia was responsible for the Salisbury attack.

All 29 NATO countries urged Russia Wednesday to answer Britain's questions over the poisoning of an ex-spy in what they called the first ever offensive use of a nerve agent on the alliance's territory.

Russian ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said Wednesday that Britain's allegations that Moscow was responsible for a nerve attack were "completely unacceptable."

Top 8 | Saudi king orders to form anti-corruption units in public prosecution

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud ordered on Sunday the creation of specialized anti-corruption units in the public prosecution, Al Arabiya local news reported.

The units specialized in investigating and prosecuting corruption-related cases, which will be directly linked to the Attorney-General.

The new departments come within the framework of the king's concern to combat corruption in all its forms and with the aim of protecting the country and its resources, said the Attorney-General Sheikh Saud Bin Abdullah.

Top 9 | 49 confirmed dead in US Bangla passenger plane crash, flight data recorder found

At least 49 people have died when a passenger plane of the US-Bangla Airlines crashed at Nepal's Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) Monday afternoon, police have confirmed.

Investigators have retrieved the flight data recorder from the wreckage of the Bangladeshi airliner crash, officials said on Tuesday.

The airline and airport authorities in Kathmandu have blamed each other in the aftermath of Monday’s aviation disaster, the Himalayan nation’s worst since the 1992 crash of a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) aircraft killed 167.

Top 10 | Broadcom officially ends bid for Qualcomm after Trump blocks the deal

Broadcom's bid for Qualcomm is officially dead.

The company said Wednesday that it had withdrawn its $117 billion offer to buy Qualcomm two days after President Trump stopped the deal, citing national security concerns. Broadcom also pulled its proposed nominees to Qualcomm's board of directors.

On Monday, US President Donald Trump issued a rare order blocking the deal saying there is credible evidence such a deal "threatens to impair the national security of the United States," according to a White House statement.


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