Wed, 21 Apr 2021

TOKYO -- A senior public relations official for the cabinet of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has resigned, the government said Monday, amid a scandal involving multiple bureaucrats being wined and dined by Suga's son, in potential violation of the country's ethics law.

Makiko Yamada, cabinet public relations secretary, informed the government of her intention to resign the previous day, saying she could no longer fulfill her duties owing to health issues, Japan's top government spokesperson said. (Japan-Scandal-Resignation)

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BANGKOK -- About 6,700 hotel rooms in five tourist hotspots of Thailand have been prepared for use as an area quarantine for inoculated foreigners, Thai Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said Monday.

The area quarantine program, which shortens the compulsory quarantine from 14 days to three days, allows foreign visitors to spend time in the hotel's premises after three days of self-isolation in their rooms, Phiphat said. (Thailand-Area Quarantine-Tourism)

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MANILA -- Philippine soldiers have clashed with suspected terrorists in the southern Philippines, leaving four dead and two others wounded, a military spokesman said on Monday.

Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Baldomar said the fighting broke out around 2:00 a.m. local time on Sunday between army forces and suspected members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in a remote village in Maguindanao province. (Philippines-Terrorists-Clash)

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JAKARTA -- The COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 6,680 within one day to 1,341,314, with the death toll adding by 159 to 36,325, the Health Ministry said on Monday.

According to the ministry, 9,212 more people were discharged from hospitals, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 1,151,915.

Within the past 24 hours, Jakarta recorded 2,058 new cases, West Java 1,662, Central Java 657, East Kalimantan 437 and East Java 341. (Indonesia-COVID-19)

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MANILA -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte thanked China again for donating a batch of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine CoronaVac to the Philippines.

"From the bottom of my heart and with immense gratitude, I thank you, the Chinese people and government, for being so generous," Duterte said during a televised public address on Monday night. (Philippines-China-Vaccine)

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