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EXPLAINER: China’s relaxed ‘Zero COVID’ brings big changes

BEIJING (AP) — In a move that surprised many, China has announced a potentially major easing of its rigid “zero-COVID” restrictions, without fully formally abandoning the policy. It’s unclear what exactly prompted the move, though it follows the biggest show of public dissent against the ruling Communist Party in more than 30 years by residents fed up with constant testing, quarantines, travel restrictions, rolling lockdowns and business closures . Here’s a look at the changes known as the “New Ten Requirements” that were announced on Wednesday. ___ WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHANGES? Among the most significant changes is one that allows people who test positive for COVID-19 but show no or only mild symptoms to recover at home instead of being forced into one of the government’s field hospitals, which have become notorious for overcrowding, lights that stay on 24 hours and poor food and hygiene.

Australia wants Indonesia to monitor released bomb maker

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – The Australian government said Thursday that it is seeking assurances from Indonesia that the man convicted of making the bombs used in the 2002 Bali terror attacks will continue after his release from be monitored by the prison. Islamic militant Hisyam bin Alizein, also known as Umar Patek, was paroled on Wednesday after serving about half of his original 20-year sentence, despite strong objections from Australia. 202 people were killed in the attacks, including 88 Australians. Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said it was a difficult day for those who lost loved ones in the bombings. He told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

China’s loose anti-COVID measures are met with relief, caution

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A day after China announced the rollback of some of its strictest COVID-19 restrictions, people across the country are greeting the news with a measure of relief but also caution as many wait for to see how the new approach will be implemented. After nationwide protests last month against China’s tough anti-pandemic policies, the government announced on Wednesday that it is easing some of the strictest measures. Among the most significant changes are that people who test positive for COVID-19 but show no symptoms, or only mild symptoms, can now stay at home instead of being forced into a government field hospital.

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South Korea truth commission to investigate foreign adoptions

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korea’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission will investigate the cases of dozens of South Korean adoptees in Europe and the United States who are suspected of having faked or concealed their origins during a child export frenzy in the mid-to-late 1900s. . The decision Thursday opens what could be South Korea’s most far-reaching investigation into foreign adoptions to date, after frustration over broken family ties and washed-up children’s statuses and identities grew and demanded government attention. The adopted South Koreans are believed to be the world’s largest diaspora of adoptees. In the past six decades, about 200,000 South Koreans – mostly girls – have been adopted overseas.

15 suspected drug smugglers killed by Thai border patrol

BANGKOK (AP) — Thai soldiers clashed with suspected drug smugglers in a forested area in the country’s north near the Myanmar border, killing 15, authorities said Thursday. Soldiers encountered the group of suspects carrying backpacks on Wednesday evening and ordered them to stop, but they instead opened fire, according to the Pha Muang Task Force, the military unit responsible for security in the northern border provinces of Thailand. A firefight ensued for about 10 minutes, the agency said. No soldiers were injured, but on Thursday morning when the military returned to inspect the scene in Chiang Mai province’s Fang district, they found 15 suspected smugglers dead and 29 backpacks packed with crystal bags, authorities said .

China eases anti-COVID measures after protests

BEIJING (AP) — China lifted rules on isolating people with COVID-19 and dropped virus testing requirements for some public places on Wednesday in a dramatic change to a strategy that has confined millions of people to their homes and protests in Demands for President Xi Jinping have triggered. to resign The move adds to earlier easing that fueled hopes that Beijing will scrap its “zero COVID” strategy, which has disrupted manufacturing and global trade. Experts warn, however, that restrictions cannot be completely lifted until at least mid-2023, as millions of elderly people still need to be vaccinated and the health system strengthened. China is the last major country still trying to contain the transmission of the virus, while many nations are switching to trying to live with it.

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Under China’s ‘Zero COVID’, uncertainty and uncertainty prevail

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — As coronavirus cases surged in Shanghai earlier this year and the city’s lockdown stretched from weeks to months, Leah Zhang’s sense of suffocation grew. Although she could walk freely around the campus, she was robbed of weekends to see concerts in the city. She couldn’t stand the cafeteria food – too sweet for her taste buds used to the spicy Sichuanese cuisine she grew up with. When her boyfriend told her he would “always trust” Shanghai’s government, she broke up with him. After censors took down a video compilation called Voices of April featuring some of the defining moments of the lockdown, including crying babies separated from their parents during quarantine, Zhang broke down.

South Korea extends back-to-work orders to striking truckers

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korea’s government extended its back-to-work order Thursday against thousands of truck drivers staging a nationwide walkout over freight pricing issues, saying a prolonged strike could “deeply scar” the Country cause economy. The “start of work” orders on steel and fuel truckers were inevitable because the strike could begin to hurt major export industries such as autos and shipbuilding if it continues, Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho told a news conference. The impact of the strike has so far been mostly limited to domestic industries such as construction. The orders, which were initially issued on November 29 for some 2,500 cement vans, were expanded to about 6,000 drivers transporting steel and 4,500 transporting fuel and chemicals.

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Murderous 1600s pirate hides in US colonies with impunity

WARWICK, R.I. (AP) — One melted silver coin at a time, the ground is yielding new evidence that in the late 1600s, one of the world’s richest pirates roamed the American colonies with impunity. Newly surfaced documents also strengthen the case that the English buccaneer Henry Every – the target of the first worldwide manhunt – hid in New England before sailing for Ireland and disappearing into the wind. “At this point, the amount of evidence is overwhelming and indisputable,” historian and metal detectorist Jim Bailey, who has devoted years to solving the mystery, told The Associated Press. “Everyone was undoubtedly on the run in the colonies.” In 2014, after uncovering an unusual coin engraved with an Arabic inscription in a pick-your-own-fruit orchard in Middletown, Rhode Island, Bailey began retracing Every’s steps.

Deep, 5.8 magnitude earthquake shakes Indonesia’s capital

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) – A strong and deep earthquake shook Indonesia’s capital and other parts of the main island of Java on Thursday, but there were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties. High-rise buildings in Jakarta, the capital, swayed for a few seconds and some ordered evacuations. The US Geological Survey said the earthquake struck with a magnitude of 5.8 at a depth of 123.7 kilometers (76.9 miles), centered 14 km (8.7 miles) northwest of Ciranjang-hilir and the province of West Java, the same province where an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.6 on the 21st Cianjur city killed at least 334 people and injured almost 600. It was the deadliest in Indonesia since a 2018 earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi killed around 4,340 people.

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