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China says it wants closer ties with Singapore, but Taiwan may be a sticking point

China says it wants closer ties with Singapore, but Taiwan may be a sticking point

Japan
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (left) shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping on Sept. 20 before a meeting at The Great Hall Of The People in Beijing. Xi welcomed Lee to Beijing as the two sides seek to patch up relations following months of tensions over China's claims in the South China Sea and relations with the U.S. | AP BEIJING – China wants to improve its military relationship with Singapore, but is resolutely opposed to any country having defense ties with self-ruled Taiwan, China’s Defence Ministry said on Thursday, obliquely criticizing Singapore’s Taiwan links. China is suspicious of the city state’s good military relations both with the United States and Taiwan, claimed by China as its own. Singaporean troops train in Taiwan, despite a lack of formal di
Japan’s domestic auto output rises 6% on year in August

Japan’s domestic auto output rises 6% on year in August

Japan
The combined domestic production of eight major Japanese automakers in August rose 6.0 percent from a year earlier to 658,876 vehicles, as six companies increasing their output to meet robust sales in new models, data showed Thursday. Daihatsu Motor Co. saw solid sales in new models of mini cars, boosting its domestic production to 63,460 units, the highest for the month and up 22.1 percent from a year before. Nissan Motor Co., the country’s second-largest carmaker by volume, also said its domestic output jumped 26.6 percent to 79,300 vehicles after starting the production of sport utility vehicles for North America. Good consumer response to the Delica D:5 minivan improved Mitsubishi Motors Corp.’s domestic output, which surged 27.5 percent to 40,114 vehicles. However, Toyota
Tokyo study may have found oldest evidence of life on Earth, with fossil dating back 3.95 billion years

Tokyo study may have found oldest evidence of life on Earth, with fossil dating back 3.95 billion years

Japan
Fossil evidence, grains of graphite and forms of carbon are seen within ancient rocks in this photo. The researcher who made the find claims it is the oldest fossil evidence for life. | TSUYOSHI KOMIYA / VIA KYODO PARIS – Rudimentary life may have existed on Earth 3.95 billion years ago at a time when our infant planet was being bombarded by comets and had hardly any oxygen, researchers said Wednesday. A team presented what they say is the oldest-known fossil evidence for life on the Blue Planet — grains of graphite, a form of carbon, wedged into ancient sedimentary rocks in Labrador, Canada. The previous most ancient life traces were reported in March, from a site in Quebec estimated at between 3.8 billion and 4.3 billion years old, though an author of the new study called that d
‘Flying doctors’ unveil special aircraft that can reach disaster areas in Japan and nearby countries

‘Flying doctors’ unveil special aircraft that can reach disaster areas in Japan and nearby countries

Japan
Members of a team of 'flying doctors,' which provides emergency relief in disaster zones, attend a ceremony at Saga airport on Thursday where a special aircraft was unveiled. | KYODO SAGA – A team of “flying doctors” providing emergency care in disaster areas showed off its specially adapted aircraft on Thursday at Saga airport. The team, made up of doctors from Saga University Hospital and pilots, is on standby around the clock, according to the Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management Japan, the operator of the unit. The group had its start in late August following a series of natural disasters in and around Japan. A private medical team which can simultaneously offer both medical assistance and disaster relief by air is rare around the world, the team said. The aircraft
Democratic Party effectively disbands, throwing support behind Koike’s party for Lower House poll

Democratic Party effectively disbands, throwing support behind Koike’s party for Lower House poll

Japan
In a dramatic move sure to change the landscape of the nation’s politics, the center-left Democratic Party decided Thursday to effectively disband its Lower House caucus and join Kibo no To (Party of Hope), a new conservative party led by Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike. The effective sudden death of the nation’s largest opposition force could turn the Oct. 22 Lower House election into a two-way race between conservative forces: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and Kibo no To. Public support for the DP has been dwindling for months, and the party was widely predicted to suffer a crushing defeat in the upcoming vote. The proposal to shift allegiance to Koike’s movement, made by party president Seiji Maehara, was unanimously approved at a general meeting of DP lawmak
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