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Vietnam backs out as hosts of 2019 Asian Games

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam quit as hosts of the 2019 Asian Games on Thursday, citing a lack of preparedness and concerns that holding the multi-sport event would not prove financially viable. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said Vietnam was suffering the effects of global recession and the state was unable to foot the bill for facilities and venues that would not be profitable in the years after the Games. (Reporting by Nguyen Phuong Linh; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Remove Russian tanks from Berlin WWII memorial: German tabloid

Germany's top-selling Bild daily launched a petition Tuesday to remove two Russian tanks from a World War II memorial in central Berlin in protest against escalating tensions in Ukraine. The tabloid-style newspaper, which sells more than two million copies each day, called on its readers to sign and mail the letter to the Bundestag lower house of parliament.

China's booming military spending belies caution

With the world's biggest military, China far outnumbers rival Japan in manpower, ships, aircraft and defence spending, but analysts say underlying weaknesses leave it still wary of a fight. The two Asian powers are embroiled in simmering territorial and historical rows, with the tensions highlighted this week in consecutive visits to each by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Search for MH370 to be most expensive in aviation history

By Jane Wardell SYDNEY (Reuters) - The hunt for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 is on track to cost hundreds of millions of dollars, becoming the most expensive search in aviation history with 26 countries contributing planes, ships, submarines and satellites to the international effort.

Vietnam suspends four officials over Japan aid graft allegations

Vietnam on Tuesday said it had suspended four railway officials following allegations a Japanese firm paid bribes to win a contract linked to a rail project for Hanoi. Japan's leading Yomiuri newspaper reported that the head of Japan Transportation Consultants (JTC) admitted his company had paid kickbacks of 130 million yen ($1.3 million) to civil servants in Vietnam, Indonesia and Uzbekistan to win work tied to projects funded by Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA).

Vietnam first quarter economic growth seen at 4.96 percent year on year: newspaper

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam's economy grew an estimated 4.96 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, the fastest quarterly pace since 2011, and above a 4.76 percent rise in the same period last year, a state-run newspaper reported on Tuesday. The annual growth in the January-March period compared with a 4.75 percent rate in the first quarter of 2012 and 5.9 percent in the same period in 2011, the Vietnam Economic Times newspaper cited government statistics as saying.

WWI shell kills two in Belgium

Two workers were killed Wednesday by the explosion of a World War I shell near the Belgian town of Ypres, site of some of the bloodiest battles in the conflict, officials said. Two other men were hurt, one left fighting for his life, after they disturbed the shell as they worked near the Ypres canal, reports said, citing local officials. The Western Front trenches ran just outside Ypres, a small medieval town completely destroyed in the war that was fought from 1914 to 1918.

As others mark World War One centenary, Germans prefer to forget

By Erik Kirschbaum BERLIN (Reuters) - A simple plaque marks the forsaken spot where the Red Baron was buried in central Berlin but hardly anyone stops to remember the flying ace shot down in 1918. For Germans, the Great War holds so little interest. The centenary of the outbreak of World War One has caught Germany off guard, while Britain, France, the United States and others mark it with battlefield tours, television programs, exhibitions and plans for ceremonies on the day, in August.

South Korea repatriates war dead to China, 60 years on

South Korea began to prepare the remains of 437 Chinese soldiers killed in the Korean War for repatriation on Monday, more than 60 years after the conflict ended. Military forensic officers placed the remains in dark brown coffins after a ceremony watched by Chinese officials and South Korean army Brigadier General Moon Sang-Gyu at a temporary charnel house in Paju just south of the border with North Korea. The move will be the first such return of Chinese soldiers' remains since the three-year war ended in 1953.

Vietnamese President Sang calls for more investment from Japan

Visiting Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang urged Japan on Monday to expand investment and business in his country, expressing expectations it will contribute to Vietnam's further development. "We want you to choose (Vietnam) as reliable destination for investment. We especially want (Japan) to help Vietnam enter a new phase of global value chain," in such fields as technology, energy, shipbuilding, automotive, information technology and agriculture, Sang said at a business forum in Tokyo.
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