Sun, 16 May 2021

MANILA -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has lifted the nine-year moratorium on new mining agreements to maximize the country's benefit from the industry, the presidential office said on Thursday.

"The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) may continue to grant and issue exploration permits under existing laws, rules, and guidelines," according to an executive order (EO) signed by Duterte on Wednesday. (Philippines-Mining-Moratorium)

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NEW DELHI -- A weekend curfew was imposed in India's capital New Delhi following a steep rise in COVID-19 cases over the past few days, local Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday.

As many as 17,282 new confirmed cases and 104 deaths from the coronavirus epidemic were reported in Delhi on Wednesday, the highest number of daily cases so far in the national capital. (India-Delhi-Curfew)

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CANBERRA -- Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Thursday that the country's remaining troops in Afghanistan will be withdrawn in September.

Morrison said Australia would follow the United States in ending its military presence in Afghanistan after 20 years in the country. (Australia-Afghanistan-Troop withdrawal)

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NEW DELHI -- The ongoing Kumbh Mela congregation in India's northern state of Uttarakhand will continue as per schedule until April 30 and there has been no discussion to cut it short despite the rising COVID-19 infections, officials said Thursday.

"It (Kumbh Mela) has been notified from April 1 and its validity is until April 30. I don't have any information that it is being curtailed or it has been cancelled," Deepak Rawat, Kumbh Mela officer, told the media. (India-Kumbh Mela-COVID-19)

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TOKYO -- Secretary-General of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Toshihiro Nikai said Thursday that cancelling the Tokyo Olympics this summer could be an option if the COVID-19 situation continues to worsen.

Nikai, the No. 2 leader of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's ruling party, said during the recording of a TV show that cancelling the Games may be an option if the spread of coronavirus infections forces organizers to think it would be difficult to hold the event. (Japan-Olympics-COVID-19)

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