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Philippines vows to stand its ground at shoal disputed with China

The Philippines said Friday it will defy China's call to remove a stranded vessel that serves as an outpost for Philippine troops on disputed Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea. Tension rose at the shoal last Sunday when Chinese coast guard ships blocked two Philippine navy chartered ships sent there "to undertake rotation and resupply operations," forcing the military to airdrop supply to the troops there and prompting Manila to lodge a diplomatic protest with Beijing.

Exclusive: Radar data suggests missing Malaysia plane flown deliberately toward Andamans - sources

By Niluksi Koswanage and Siva Govindasamy KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Military radar-tracking evidence suggests a Malaysia Airlines jetliner missing for nearly a week was deliberately flown across the Malay peninsula towards the Andaman Islands, sources familiar with the investigation told Reuters on Friday.

Top Kashmir separatist flies to Delhi for treatment

One of Indian Kashmir's best-known separatist leaders, Sayed Ali Geelani, is battling an acute respiratory infection and has been flown to New Delhi for hospital treatment, a party spokesman said Thursday. Geelani, 84, has for years suffered from multiple health ailments including a heart condition that requires a pacemaker and serious kidney problems. The leader, who describes India's rule of disputed Kashmir as a "military occupation" and who has been a vehement campaigner for the territory's right to self-determination, fell seriously ill March 5.

Israel's parliament toughens referendum-on-peace law

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel's parliament on Wednesday toughened a law requiring a public referendum on potential land-for-peace deals involving withdrawals from land annexed by Israel. The law turns legislation already passed in 2010 into a constitutional amendment that would require an absolute majority of 61 of the Israeli Knesset's 120 lawmakers to rescind.

India's coastguard joins search for missing Malaysia plane

India's coastguard joined the aerial search Wednesday for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 239 people off the remote Andaman and Nicobar islands, a senior officer told AFP. A Dornier aircraft belonging to the coastguard set off mid-afternoon local time to scour the eastern side of the Andaman islands on orders from the Indian government, the inspector general of the coastguard service said.

Avalanches kill six in Indian Kashmir

Avalanches triggered by unusually heavy snowfall killed at least six people in Indian Kashmir, as flimsy buildings caved in across the Himalayan valley, police said Wednesday. The dead included two soldiers who were crushed by snow in Kargil, a mountainous area of the remote Ladakh region, while four others were killed by avalanches in the south of the state, according to Superintendent Imtiyaz Hussain.

Israel says regrets killing of Jordanian judge

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel expressed its regret on Tuesday over the killing of a Jordanian judge, who was shot by Israeli soldiers at a border crossing, and promised Jordan to carry out a joint investigation into his death. The Israeli military had earlier denounced Judge Raed Zeiter as a "terrorist", saying he was shot dead on Monday after he had attacked soldiers at the Allenby Bridge crossing while making his way to the occupied West Bank.

4 Chinese naval vessels sail just outside Japanese waters near Okinawa

A missile-fitted destroyer and three other Chinese naval vessels sailed just outside Japanese territorial waters Monday near Okinawa Prefecture in the first such operation since Oct. 29, the Defense Ministry said. The destroyer, two frigates and a logistical supply ship sailed through the "contiguous" zone between Okinawa's Yonaguni and Iriomote islands for about three hours but remained outside the territorial waters, the ministry said.

Japan scrambles jets against Chinese plane

Japan scrambled military jets Sunday to counter three Chinese military planes that flew near Japanese airspace, defence officials said. One Y-8 information gathering plane and two H-6 bombers flew over the East China Sea, travelling in international airspace between southern Japanese islands and went to the Pacific Ocean before returning towards China on the same route Sunday morning, according to a spokesman at the Joint Staff of the Ministry of Defence.

Indian police drop sedition charge against cricket fans

Police in northern India said Friday they had dropped sedition charges against a group of Kashmiri students who cheered on Pakistan in a recent cricket match, but they could still face prosecution over the incident. A group of 60 students were suspended from the Swami Vivekanand Subharti University (SVSU) in the town of Meerut and escorted from the campus over what the vice chancellor called "unacceptable" behaviour after the match last Sunday.
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