China conducts air drills near Taiwan
BEIJING • Chinese air force bombers and fighter jets conducted aerial manoeuvres in the airspace around Taiwan yesterday in a new show of force.
The Defence Ministry said the drills were directed at "independence forces" on the self-ruled island.
H-6K bombers, early-warning aircraft, reconnaissance planes and several types of fighter jets took off from multiple airports for "combat drills", the air force said in a statement on its official microblog.
It added that the H-6K bombers have completed several drills that involved circling Taiwan since April 18 "to strengthen its capacity to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity".
Abe denies thinking of calling snap polls
TOKYO • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday denied he was thinking of calling a snap election, a day after a ruling party official told reporters that it was an option.
Mr Abe's public support has been dragged to fresh lows by a series of scandals that the opposition has used to delay legislative debate in Parliament.
While no Lower House election needs to be held for about three years, a renewed mandate would potentially be a way for Mr Abe to restore control over the political agenda.
It would also bolster his chances of winning a ruling party leadership election in September.
Pakistan minister loses Parliament seat
ISLAMABAD • A Pakistani court disqualified Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif from Parliament yesterday.
The ruling is another blow to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party ahead of a general election that is due in a few months.
The Islamabad High Court verdict against Mr Asif is one of several judicial setbacks for the PML-N since the Supreme Court removed party founder Nawaz Sharif as prime minister last July.
Mr Asif said he would challenge the decision in the Supreme Court. It was not clear if he would have to relinquish control of the Foreign Ministry.