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From The Asian Reporter, V27, #6 (March 20, 2017), page 2.

Sushi in Pyongyang: Japanese chef opens rare restaurant

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — A Japanese chef famous for working for North Korea’s late leader Kim Jong Il has returned to Pyongyang to open a sushi restaurant. According to Canadian consultant Michael Spavor, who met Kenji Fujimoto last year, the restaurant — a rarity in the North Korean capital — is a hit with foreign diplomats, U.N. workers, and business people. It’s uncommon to find a Japanese business openly operating in North Korea because of strained relations between the two countries. But Fujimoto is a special case. After Kim’s death in 2011, he met with his son, the new leader Kim Jong Un, and the restaurant opened early this year. Prices are high by Pyongyang standards, starting at $50 for a sushi set, and running to more than $100.

China cutting 500,000 heavy industry jobs

BEIJING (AP) — China’s labor minister says Beijing will cut another 500,000 jobs this year from steel, coal, and other heavy industries to reduce excess production capacity that’s flooding markets and depressing global prices. Yin Weimin said the government will provide support for the laid-off workers to transfer to other jobs, start their own companies, or retire. China is in the midst of a multi-year effort to shrink bloated industries including steel, coal, aluminum, cement, and glass in which production exceeds demand. Some companies are trying to export their surplus output, prompting complaints by the United States, Europe, and other trading partners that they’re threatening thousands of jobs. At a news conference, Yin said the government provided similar aid last year to 726,000 workers whose jobs in coal and steel were eliminated.

Families aim to raise $50 million to search for Flight 370

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The families of those onboard missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 launched an effort to raise at least $50 million to fund a private search while also marking the third anniversary of the plane’s disappearance. The nearly three-year search in the southern Indian Ocean was suspended January 17 with no trace of the plane, which disappeared March 8, 2014 while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. Jacquita Gomes, whose husband was a flight attendant on the plane, said families have no choice but to take matters into their own hands. She said Flight 370 "should not go down in history books as a mystery." Transport minister Liow Tiong Lai said a final report on the plane’s disappearance will be released this year.

Philippine police face first lawsuit over drug killings

MANILA, The Philippines (AP) — Relatives of a father and son who were killed last year by Philippine policemen in an anti-drug raid have filed murder complaints against eight officers in what lawyers said will be the first of many lawsuits against enforcers of the president’s bloody crackdown. Lawyer Maria Kristina Conti said the murder complaints filed by Mary Ann Domingo against the policemen are the start of a campaign to help families of poor victims of alleged extrajudicial killings under President Rodrigo Duterte’s crackdown fight back through the courts. Domingo’s husband and son were gunned down in their house in what police say was a gunbattle with drug suspects, but Conti said was a rubout.

Indonesia says cruise ship must pay for coral damage

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia’s government says a British-owned cruise ship must pay compensation for the destruction of coral reefs in a popular tourist area known for its extensive marine biodiversity. The 4,200-ton cruise ship M.V. Caledonian Sky ran aground in the waters of Raja Ampat in West Papua province, causing extensive damage to the coral reefs. Vice president Jusuf Kalla said the ship must pay for the damage it caused. Brahmantya Satyamurti Poerwadi, a senior official at the Ministry of Maritime and Fisheries, said the government will soon file lawsuits against the ship and its captain, Keith Michael Taylor. He added that the ship, which is now in the Philippines, could be summoned for an investigation. Poerwadi said the ship violated both the 2004 Law on Fisheries and the 2009 Law on Environment Protection. Each law carries jail terms of up to three years for negligence that leads to destruction. The ministry described the damage to the reefs as irreparable. A preliminary investigation found that about 17,200 square feet of coral in the heart of the islands was destroyed. Poerwadi said a team was investigating the full extent of the destruction. Raja Ampat is an archipelago with more than 1,500 small islands, cays, and shoals and is known as a center of marine biodiversity.

Restive Chinese region offers reward to recruit more police

BEIJING (AP) — Authorities in China’s western region of Xinjiang are offering high salaries and other benefits to recruit police in the restive area, which has seen bloody attacks blamed on separatists. A notice on the website of the government of Kashgar city in Xinjiang said 3,000 male officers are being offered monthly salaries beginning at 5,000 yuan ($724), well above the regional average. The recruitment drive is the latest step to ramp up security in the area, where members of the native Uighur (WEE-gur) ethnic group have been blamed for deadly attacks on government targets and migrants from other parts of China. In a recent reported incident, eight people were killed, including three knife-wielding assailants, in Pishan county in southern Xinjiang. Like in Kashgar, Uighurs form the majority in Pishan.

Malaysia says it has consent to decide on Kim’s body

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A senior Malaysian police official says the family of Kim Jong Nam, who was killed last month, has given consent to Malaysia to decide what to do with his body. Officials say police confirmed Kim’s identity using the DNA of one of his children. Kim was holding a diplomatic passport by the name of Kim Chol when he was attacked February 13 at Kuala Lumpur’s airport by two women who smeared the banned VX nerve agent on his face. He died within 20 minutes. Deputy national police chief Noor Rashid Ibrahim said Kim’s family will let the government decide what to do with his body. Noor Rashid said any decision will be subject to negotiations between the two countries amid a diplomatic standoff over the killing.

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