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  • Fiscal woes Down Under

    Australian budget struck by falling commodity prices

    SYDNEY -- Plunging commodity prices and weak growth are taking a severe toll on the Australian government's budget, which has ballooned into a deficit of 40.4 billion Australian dollars ($33.2 billion). Despite its vow to restore the budget to h

    December 19, 2014 07:00 pm JST
  • Security in Asia-Pacific

    Japan, Australia, US start new era with F-35 service agreement

    TOKYO -- The U.S. decision for Japan and Australia to host the Asia-Pacific service hubs for the F-35 stealth jets marks a new phase in their trilateral cooperation on military equipment and maintenance. "This is a meaningful development when co

    December 19, 2014 04:14 am JST
  • U.S. announces major shift in Cuba policy, to start normalization talks

    WASHINGTON (Kyodo) -- President Barack Obama said Wednesday the United States is set for talks with Cuba to normalize bilateral ties that have been severed since 1961 as a major step toward a drastic overhaul of its policy since the Cold War era.

    December 18, 2014 09:30 am JST
  • BHP hopes productivity push can offset price slump

    SHANGHAI -- As the global commodities cycle crashes with a reverberating thud, undercapitalized mining and energy companies are collapsing, mines are being closed to shore up cash flows and startup projects are being put on indefinite hold. Afte

    December 18, 2014 12:00 am JST
  • Sydney hostage tragedy

    Gunman turned on country that gave him asylum

    SYDNEY -- Police are growing convinced that a hostage crisis that ended in deadly gunfire Tuesday was the work of an isolated Iranian refugee -- the type of lone wolf attack that can defy authorities' best efforts at prevention. The apparent per

    December 17, 2014 03:06 am JST
  • Lynas pitches to customers in Japan

    Rare earths producers outside China turn to long-term contracts

    TOKYO -- Australian and U.S. rare-earth metals producers are asking buyers to sign long-term contracts with higher prices in exchange for guaranteed supplies. Prices for rare earths prices spiked in 2011 when China, the world's largest producer,

    December 16, 2014 07:00 pm JST
  • Police storm Sydney cafe to end hostage siege, three dead

    SYDNEY (Reuters) - Heavily armed Australian police stormed a Sydney cafe early on Tuesday morning and freed terrified hostages being held there at gunpoint, in a dramatic end to a 16-hour siege in which two captives and the attacker were killed.

    December 16, 2014 10:29 am JST
  • Immigration and assimilation

    Sydney siege highlights Australia's ethnic tensions

    SYDNEY -- The hostage siege here has shaken the core of Australian society, raising concerns about growing cultural and economic fissures between the native-born population and recent immigrants. An armed man took control of the Lindt cafe downt

    December 16, 2014 07:04 am JST
  • Ripple effect

    Aussie currency seen sinking with others

    TOKYO -- The Australian dollar will weaken as the softening of oil producers' currencies spreads to countries that mine other natural resources, market players predict. The Australian dollar traded at 96.98 yen on Monday, the lowest since Nov. 1

    December 16, 2014 02:47 am JST
  • 5 people flee Sydney cafe where gunman is holding hostages

    SYDNEY (Kyodo) -- Five people have fled from a cafe in central Sydney hours after a gunman holed himself up in the store Monday morning and took a number of people hostage, forcing them to display an Islamic flag at the windows, officials and news r

    December 15, 2014 06:10 pm JST
  • Brahma Chellaney

    From a nonaligned to multialigned India?

    When a country hosts Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama in rapid succession for bilateral meetings, it demonstrates its ability to forge partnerships with rival powers and broker cooperativ

    December 15, 2014 05:30 pm JST
  • UN talks agree building blocks for new-style climate deal in 2015

    LIMA (Reuters) -- About 190 nations agreed on Sunday the building blocks of a new-style global deal due in 2015 to combat climate change amid warnings that far tougher action will be needed to limit increases in global temperatures. Under the de

    December 14, 2014 06:18 pm JST
  • Super Rugby comes to Asia

    Japan ready to take its bruises in top league

    TOKYO -- Japan is preparing to raise its game -- its rugby game, that is. The country will join Super Rugby, the Southern Hemisphere's top league, in 2016. For the Japanese players, it is going to be a grueling and bruising but potentially rewar

    December 14, 2014 01:00 pm JST
  • High global supply

    Japan cheese lovers benefit from falling import prices

    TOKYO -- Shoppers in Japan will continue to benefit from lower import prices for cheese, thanks to strong supplies and lower demand from China and Russia. For the first six months of 2015, trading companies and Oceania cheese producers have agre

    December 13, 2014 06:02 am JST
  • Asia-Pacific cities

    Tokyo tops poll in sightseeing, food culture

    TOKYO -- Japan's capital came in No. 1 among eight major Asia-Pacific cities in 10 categories, including sightseeing and food culture, in a survey this summer by Constituency Management Group, a U.S. public relations consultancy better known as Webe

    December 12, 2014 01:30 pm JST
  • Asia steel crossroads

    Increased controls, competition spell trouble for Japan producers

    TOKYO -- Anti-dumping measures, bolstered quality controls and the advances of Chinese manufacturers are creating a tough climate for Japanese steelmakers. Australia conducted anti-dumping investigations for H-beams and other imported steel prod

    December 12, 2014 02:32 am JST
  • Foreign exchange

    New Zealand dollar jumps versus yen on rate hike hint

    TOKYO -- New Zealand's currency, popular among yield-hungry Japanese retail investors, surged against the yen Thursday after the country's central bank governor surprised the market by signaling a rate rise ahead. The New Zealand dollar touched

    December 12, 2014 01:10 am JST
  • Iron ore

    BHP says price to stay below $100 for foreseeable future

    SHANGHAI -- Australia's BHP Billiton, one of the world's biggest mining companies, expects the price of iron ore to stay below $100 per metric ton for the foreseeable future, following a fall of nearly 50% this year. Mike Henry, the company's ma

    December 11, 2014 11:40 pm JST
  • Stewart Firth: Xi makes splash in South Pacific

    When Chinese President Xi Jinping flew into Fiji on Nov. 21, the government rolled out the red carpet and extended him a traditional welcome at Nadi Airport. After all, Xi came bearing gifts: better visa arrangements for the first Pacific island sta

    December 11, 2014 12:00 am JST
  • Takashi Shiraishi: The shape of Asia 25 years after the Cold War

    How has the world changed over the quarter century since the end of the Cold War, and what should Japan do to meet these changes? In pondering these questions, we should first look at shifts in the global and regional distribution of wealth and powe

    December 11, 2014 12:00 am JST