Asia

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A new agreement between China and the United States to reduce carbon emissions will send strong signals to the global community, according to a Wesleyan professor who has studied climate change for the Obama administration.

President Obama says the U.S. will sharply cut its emissions of greenhouse gases, announcing a new approach to climate change alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping. The plan also includes China's agreement to cap its emissions.

The two leaders' pledges are being called dramatic and ambitious — for the U.S., because Obama's earlier plans had called for a smaller cut in emissions, and for China, because the country had previously resisted calls for it to consider capping its emissions as it grows and modernizes.

On Wednesday, the U.S. will begin offering Chinese tourists and business people multiple-entry visas valid for up to 10 years. The change, announced by President Obama in Beijing, is designed to help the American economy and build goodwill in China. China's Foreign Ministry says it will reciprocate.

The first impression most Chinese have of the U.S. government comes when they apply for a visa. For years, they've dreaded the process.

The U.S. and China are easing visa rules for each other's citizens, in a reciprocal agreement that President Obama says will "benefit everyone from students, to tourists, to businesses large and small." Starting his eight-day visit to East Asia, the president also said "good progress" has recently been made for a free-trade agreement among Pacific Rim countries.

Obama and other leaders are visiting China for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, where the president announced the U.S. and China have agreed to expand their visas beyond the current one-year term.

Updated at 4:45 a.m. ET Sunday

Americans Kenneth Bae and Matthew Todd Miller, held for months in North Korea, received a joyful homecoming Saturday as their plane set down at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, south of Seattle.

Bae, 45, a Korean-American missionary and tour guide from Lynnwood, Wash., thanked family and supporters for not forgetting about him during his detention.

Activists in Hong Kong, angered by what they perceive as little progress in talks on democratic reforms with the government, marched to the home of the territory's chief executive to demand his ouster.

Updated at 1:35 p.m. ET

Jeffrey Fowle, one of three Americans held by North Korea, has been released, the White House says.

Fowle, 56, who was detained in June, allegedly for leaving a Bible in his hotel room in North Korea, was home today after negotiators secured his release.

At least a dozen trekkers have been killed in unseasonable blizzards and an avalanche in the foothills of Nepal's Himalayan mountain range.

NPR's Julie McCarthy, reporting from New Delhi, says locals and international tourists are among the dead. Rescuers say those killed include four Canadians, two Poles, an Israeli, an Indian and a Nepali.

The Wall Street Journal says:

After 40 days of seclusion, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has made a public appearance, an outing that could help quell rumors about his health and status. Kim visited a new housing complex, according to state media that released photos of the event — but without attaching a specific date to it.

North Korea has confirmed only that Kim has been in "discomfort." The newly released photos show Kim using a cane, possibly confirming theories that he underwent ankle surgery. More than a month ago, he was seen limping as he walked.

The number of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong has dwindled today after a weekend that saw dozens of arrests and an angry backlash from business owners whose shops were shut down amid the demonstrations.

The South China Morning Post says: "Protest sites are quiet on Monday as some demonstrators leave for work, others remain and authorities keep their distance."

Hong Kong media are providing wall-to-wall coverage of the protests calling for the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, but in mainland China there has been little to no mention of the unrest.

The contrast is an illustration of the "one country, two systems" policy that has been in place since the former British colony reverted to Chinese rule in 1997.

Updated at 8:30 a.m. ET

Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying is appealing to pro-democracy demonstrators who've brought parts of the Asian financial hub to a standstill in recent days to halt their campaign "immediately" because, he says, Beijing won't accede to their demands. But protesters have promised to announce a new phase of civil disobedience if reforms aren't forthcoming.

Saying his country is prepared to resume peace talks with Pakistan, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the U.N. General Assembly Saturday that the discussion must take place "without the shadow of terrorism."

The Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba is poised this week for what could be one of the biggest IPOs in Wall Street history. One reason Alibaba has been so dominant in China is its business-to-consumer platform, Taobao, a sort of Chinese eBay.

Last year, Taobao and Alibaba's brand-name retail site, Tmall, drove nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in transactions.

Along the way, Taobao has even transformed village economies.

In August, monsoon rains brought flooding and landslides to Nepal on a massive scale.

Three days of constant rains inundated valleys and huge swaths of land came tumbling down mountainsides in the western part of the country.

Sgt. 1st Class Tom Albert is with the Army's 2nd Engineers at the massive Bagram Air Field north of Kabul, and he's overseeing operation Clean Sweep here. It's a huge job, because American troops and equipment are scheduled to be out of Bagram and other bases by the end of the year.

The U.S. and Afghanistan are still trying to work out a deal that would allow nearly 10,000 military personnel to stay, but even that would be just a fraction of the force that's been here for the past 13 years.

The Afghan soldier who fatally shot a U.S. major general on Tuesday had no sympathy for the Taliban, and his motives for the shooting are far from clear, according to his fellow soldiers.

Afghan officials have identified the attacker as Rafiqullah, who, like many Afghans, goes by one name. He opened fire on a delegation of NATO officials who were visiting the Marshal Fahim Military Academy outside Kabul. He killed Maj. Gen. Harold Greene and wounded 15 other NATO service members who were visiting the compound. Four Afghans were also wounded.

Need time off from work to watch the World Cup? If you're in China, no problem. Online stores there are providing fake doctor's notes — even extensive falsified medical records — to get you days of sick leave so you can enjoy your favorite teams.

The service may be particularly appealing, given the time difference with World Cup host Brazil. China is 11 hours ahead of Rio. So if you want to catch opening matches, you have to start watching at midnight, Shanghai time.

Japan, which earlier this year said it would scale back what it has described as "research whaling," is signaling that it wants to go back to a larger hunt.

"I want to aim for the resumption of commercial whaling by conducting whaling research," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.

Japan, which is a signatory to a 1986 International Whaling Commission moratorium, has nonetheless continued to hunt cetaceans using a loophole in the ban that allows taking some whales for scientific purposes.

One day after it was the scene of a terrorist assault that left at least 23 people dead, the largest airport in Pakistan reopened for business Monday afternoon.

Gunmen who were reportedly disguised as security guards attacked Karachi's international airport in the middle of the night Sunday, and several explosions were heard in the fighting that followed.

The 10 attackers are among the dead at Jinnah International Airport, officials say. Several airport workers and at least 10 members of the security force also were killed, according to Pakistani media.

North Korea Says It Has Detained Another U.S. Tourist

Jun 6, 2014

North Korea said Friday that it has detained an American tourist, which if confirmed would bring the number of U.S. citizens known to be held there to three.

A dispatch from the official Korean Central News Agency states that Jeffrey Edward Fowle entered the country on April 29, according to the South Korean news agency Yonhap.

Hour after hour passed as Chen Guang stood, gun trembling in his hands, behind the doors of Beijing's Great Hall of the people, waiting for the order to clear Tiananmen Square of its student protesters.

It was 1989, and Chen was a 17-year-old soldier from a small town whose life was changed by his role in the bloody crackdown. His account offers a sharply different perspective of the events of June 3 and 4, 1989, when martial law troops fought their way into the center of Beijing, killing hundreds of people, mainly on approach roads into the square.

Thailand's army is now running the country. Two days after declaring martial law — and saying it wasn't staging a coup — the military has changed its mind, Thailand's army chief says.

A coordinated attack on an outdoor market in northwest China has left 31 people dead and dozens wounded, prompting promises of a vigorous government response. Bombs and cars were used to inflict damage on people at the market.

The Chinese government called the early morning attack in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region, a "serious violent terrorist incident of a particularly vile nature," according to The Associated Press. Previous violent attacks have been blamed on the area's Muslim Uighur minority.

Thailand's army has declared martial law less than two weeks after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was thrown out of office by the country's Constitutional Court.

The Associated Press reports:

"The army said in a statement that it had taken the action to 'keep peace and order,' and soldiers entered several private television stations that are sympathetic to protesters.

Rewind to the year 1888: The 202-foot SS City of Chester, departing San Francisco harbor in thick fog, is nearly cut in two by the much larger liner Oceanic, arriving from Hong Kong. Within six minutes, the smaller ship disappears under the turbulent current near the site of the present-day Golden Gate Bridge, claiming 16 lives.

The United States is urging North Korea to refrain from a new nuclear test amid indications of "heightened activity" at Pyongyang's Punggye-ri test site.

"We have certainly seen the press reports ... regarding possible increased activity in North Korea's nuclear test site," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. "We are closely monitoring the situation on the Korean peninsula."

Reuters says:

Cowardice comes in many forms, but there's a special sense of shame reserved for captains who abandon ship.

South Korean authorities have arrested Capt. Lee Jun-Seok, who was one of the first to flee from the ferry as it sank on Wednesday.

"I can't lift my face before the passengers and family members of those missing," Lee told reporters.

Japan says it will kill fewer whales when its seasonal Pacific hunt begins next week and will only observe whales in the Antarctic, after a U.N. court ordered it to stop taking the marine mammals from the Southern Ocean.

At least 12 Sherpa guides died Friday on Nepal's side of Mount Everest when an avalanche buried them on the world's tallest mountain.

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