Weekly News Summary – June 3

A look at the headlines making news this week from around Asia.

ASIAWATCH — Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan survived a no-confidence motion brought by dissatisfied MPs critical of his handling of March’s earthquake and tsunami disaster.

In exchange for further time in the top job, Kan compromised with the rebellion of senior party members and agreed to step down once the crises were under control.

Also in Japan, a hacker group claimed it had successfully infiltrated Sony’s security system. The global electronic corporation is investigating claims that the hackers stole more than one million passwords and email addresses.

In April, Sony had to apologise after its PlayStation Network was attacked and hackers stole data from more than 77 million accounts. It resulted in a USD170 million hit to its operating profit.

Meanwhile Google has again hit out at China, indirectly accusing it of a cyber-spying campaign targeting the Google email accounts of top US officials, military personnel and journalists.

China quickly rejected the allegations, which it described as “unacceptable”.

In Singapore this week, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates reassured China that it is not trying to hold it down or block it as a global power.

Gates described US-China relations as being “in a pretty good place” but said that continuing dialogue was essential. Amongst his audience was China’s Defence Minister, Liang Guanglie.

South Korea has agreed to tell its army training units to stop using photographs of North Korea’s ruling family for target practice.

Military units had admitted using pictures of Kim Jong-il, his youngest son and the leader’s late father as targets during firing drills.

The Pakistani intelligence service issued a rare public statement denying any involvement in the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad.

The 40-year-old vanished last weekend and his body was discovered on Tuesday. A senior newspaper executive insisted Shahzad received death threats on at least three occasions, leading to speculation of state involvement.

The intelligence service’s staunch defence, however, is likely also a result of an agreement announced this week between Islamabad and Washington.

The US and Pakistan will establish a joint intelligence team to go after top terrorist suspects.

Officials describe it as a fledgling step to restoring trust blown by the killing of Osama bin Laden by US forces during a top secret raid last month.

In Sri Lanka, thousands of factory workers have demonstrated against the killing of a co-worker during violent clashes with police earlier this week.

Eyewitnesses say the 22 year-old man was shot dead in clashes between demonstrators and police. The government later apologised and the police chief resigned as a result of the incident.

And in perhaps the quirkiest piece of news this week, police in southern Bangladesh say a woman cut off a neighbour’s penis during an alleged attempt to rape her.

The married mother of three then brought the appendage to the local police station in a polythene bag.

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Luke Hunt is a foreign correspondent, author and occasional photographer who has covered much of Asia fr the last 30 years.

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