TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will visit Pearl Harbor with President Barack Obama on Tuesday, wasn't even born when Japan's former leader Shigeru Yoshida went there just six years after the country's World War II surrender, by himself and feeling awkward. Yoshida is best remembered for signing the San Francisco peace treaty with the U.S. and others in 1951, allowing Japan back into international society after its war defeat. His Pearl Harbor visit, which he made on his way home from San Francisco, was largely eclipsed by the historic treaty. Archival writings and photos unearthed by The Associated Press reconstruct Yoshida's visit, from his aim to win U.S.
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A typhoon that spoiled Christmas Day in parts of the Philippines weakened slightly on Monday as it roared toward a congested region near the country's capital, officials said. They said Typhoon Nock-Ten killed at least one person and cut power to five provinces as well as displacing thousands of villagers and travelers in Asia's Catholic bastion. A farmer died after being pinned by a fallen tree in Quezon province southeast of Manila a few hours after the typhoon slammed into the country Sunday night. It then blew westward across mountainous and island provinces, damaging homes, uprooting trees and knocking down communications, according to officials and local news reports.
BANGKOK (AP) — A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves: ___ EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a weekly look at the latest developments in the South China Sea, home to several territorial conflicts that have raised tensions in the region. ___ PHILIPPINES TO PUT BOTH U.S. AND CHINA ON NOTICE OVER GLIDER INCIDENT After China returned an underwater glider it seized from the U.S. Navy off the coast of the Philippines, the Philippine defense secretary said his government would put both Washington and Beijing on notice against what he called their unauthorized presence in the country's 200-mile exclusive economic zone.
Thick, gray smog fell over Beijing last week, choking China's capital in a haze that spurred authorities to cancel flights and close some highways in emergency measures to cut down on air pollution. Beijing and much of industrial northern China issued a "red alert," the highest level in China's four-tiered pollution warning system. China has long faced some of the worst air pollution in the world, blamed on its reliance of coal for energy and factory production, as well as a surplus of older, less efficient cars on its roads. In other images from the Asia-Pacific region last week, a South Korean special prosecutor summoned Choi Soon-sil, the jailed friend of impeached President Park Geun-hye who allegedly exploited her connections with Park to extort money and favors from the country's largest companies and manipulate government affairs.
BEIJING (AP) — China's first aircraft carrier has set off for the Western Pacific for an open-sea training exercise, the Defense Ministry said. State media said Sunday that it is the first time that the Liaoning, which was commissioned by the Chinese navy in 2012, has headed to "distant sea waters." The Western Pacific region stretches from China to New Zealand and encompasses countries in the Pacific, Oceania and parts of Asia. The statement said a navy formation including the Liaoning set off Saturday for training in the Western Pacific, without elaborating on the location, as part of an annual training plan.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka unveiled a towering Christmas tree, claiming to have surpassed the world record despite constructions delays and a shorter-than-planned finished product. The 73-meter (238-foot) artificial tree in capital Colombo is 18 meters (59 feet) taller than the current record holder, organizers said. The tree's steel-and-wire frame is covered with a plastic net decorated with more than 1 million natural pine cones painted red, gold, green and silver, 600,000 LED bulbs and topped by a 6-meter (20-foot)-tall shining star. The tree costs $80,000 and was criticized by the Catholic Church as a "waste of money." The church suggested that the funds better be spent on helping the poor.
NEW DELHI (AP) — A woman and a teenager believed to be linked to a banned Islamist militant group blew themselves up during a police raid on a two-story house in Bangladesh's capital on Saturday, a government minister said. The woman died after detonating explosives attached to her body during the raid, while the teenage boy's bloodied body was found inside an apartment on the ground floor of the building in Dhaka's Ashkona area, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said. Both were tied to the Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh group, or JMB, he said. A 7-year-old girl sustained splinter injuries when the woman blew herself up and was being treated at a hospital in Dhaka, Khan said.
CHICAGO (AP) — A teenage blogger from Singapore whose supporters say is seeking asylum is in custody after being detained last week at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, U.S. immigration officials said Saturday. Amos Yee, 18, was detained Dec. 16 and remains in custody "pending federal immigration court proceedings," U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Gail Montenegro said in a written statement. Separately, Marilu Cabrera with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which handles some asylum requests, said the agency "cannot confirm or deny" details of any asylum case. The Human Rights Watch deputy director for Asia, Phil Robertson, called on the U.S.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An Afghan official says that at least two Afghan civilians were killed by a roadside bomb in eastern Laghman province. Sarhadi Zwak, spokesman for the Laghman provincial governor, said the attack took place early Sunday morning near a shrine in Mihterlam, the provincial capital. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, but Taliban insurgents routinely use roadside bombs to target Afghan security forces and government officials — with civilians frequently caught in the crossfire.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A South Korean special prosecutor on Saturday summoned the jailed friend of impeached President Park Geun-hye who allegedly exploited her connections with Park to extort money and favors from the country's largest companies and manipulate government affairs. In handcuffs, white prison clothes and a surgical mask, Choi Soon-sil was escorted into a southern Seoul office where investigators have been widening their inquiry into the scandal. Millions of protesters have taken to the streets before the country's opposition-controlled parliament on Dec. 9 voted to impeach Park. Lee Kyu Chul, an official from the investigation team led by special prosecutor Park Young-soo, said without elaborating that Choi would be "broadly" questioned on charges that were included in indictments and also on newer allegations.