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The United States and its Pacific ally Australia warned China on Tuesday that they remain committed to freedom of navigation in the waters of the South China Sea.

Vietnam on Wednesday slammed mainland China over its construction of two lighthouses in the disputed South China Sea, saying the move violates Vietnam's sovereignty and escalates tensions.
Vietnam slams mainland over the construction of lighthouses on Spratlys


China has started operating two lighthouses on a reef on a disputed island chain in the South China Sea, a state news agency reported, amid rising concerns among the U.S. and China's neighbors about Beijing's maritime ambitions.

International help to assist Indonesia in combating forest and agricultural fires cloaking Southeast Asia in haze has begun to arrive on Sumatra island, an official said Saturday.
International help arrives to tackle Indonesia fires


The removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers and better connectivity will boost intra-regional trade in South Asia more than 3.5 times over the next five years, according to a World Bank (WB) study.

Beijing expressed "serious concern" Thursday about a reported U.S. plan to challenge China's South China Sea territorial claims by sailing a Navy ship near one of its newly built artificial islands.

Mainland China has arrested two Japanese citizens on spying allegations, officials said Wednesday.
China holding 2 Japanese citizens for espionage


More than 2,000 fishermen have been rescued this year from brutal conditions at sea, liberated as a result of an Associated Press investigation into seafood brought to the U.S. from a slave island in eastern Indonesia.
2,000 fishermen slaves rescued in 6 months


Beijing will never give up its claims to South China Sea islands, its foreign minister insisted Wednesday ahead of a state visit to the U.S. by Chinese leader Xi Jinping, after a Washington think-tank said it may be building its third airstrip in the area.

Drawn by its Communist past and a visa-free regime, mainland Chinese tourists are flocking to Russia in droves as it develops new routes touting "red tourism."

A U.N. agency is mounting a worldwide campaign for equal pay for women, who get 24 percent less than men on global average and around 30 percent less for those in Asia.

Beijing must offer more than hollow promises if it wishes to secure peace in the disputed South China Sea and beyond, a spokesman for the Philippine defense department said Sunday.

Japan and Iran will start talks next week to negotiate a bilateral investment treaty, as Washington moves to ease sanctions against Tehran and Tokyo looks to step up its interests in the resource rich nation.

French investigators have formally identified a washed-up piece of airplane debris found in July on a remote island in the Indian Ocean as part of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777 that disappeared more than a year ago with 239 people aboard.
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