File photograph of North Koreans  and a pile of coal close to the border with China, viewed from the Chinese city of Dandong. China has banned coal imports from its neighbour. Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty

Tension grows between cold war allies after China bans coal imports from Pyongyang

Kim Jong-nam was seen rubbing   his eyes and stumbling as he entered an airport clinic. File photograph: Shizuo Kambayashi/AP

VX listed on UN weapons of mass destruction was smeared on Kim’s face at airport

Former Hong Kong chief executive Donald Tsang and his wife Selina arrive the High Court in Hong Kong. Photograph: Reuters

‘Never in my judicial career have I seen a man falling from such a height,’ says judge

Kim Jong-nam, half-brother of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, was murdered in Kuala Lumpur airport. Photograph: Shizuo Kambayashi/AP

Malaysian police suspect eight North Koreans of killing Kim Jong-un’s half-brother

Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar (left) demonstrates how a suspected assasin is believed to have poisioned  Kim Jong-nam. Photograph: EPA

Women suspected of poisoning brother of N Korean leader were trained killers, police say

Kim Jong-nam (left), the late, estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photograph: Shizuo Kambayashi/AP

Pyongyang’s isolation grows over killing of North Korean leader’s estranged brother

 Royal Malaysian Police deputy inspector-general Noor Rashid Ibrahim speaks (L) during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday. Photograph: EPA

Estranged half-brother of North Korean leader murdered in Kuala Lumpur last week

An advertisement  in a showroom of Trump Toilet products, manufactured by Shenzhen Trump Industrial, in Shanghai in November 2016. Photograph: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

Future of ‘Trump toilets’ and ‘Trump condoms’ uncertain after case suddenly resolved

On Thursday, North Korea celebrated the 75th birthday of Kim Jong-il, known as the Day of the Shining Star. Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty Images

Details of the killing emerge as two women and one man are detained

Kim Jong-nam, son of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, and his half-brother, current North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Top spy says North Korea had been trying to assassinate Kim Jong-nam for five years

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte: widely questioned about whether his abuse of the pain relief drug fentanyl following a motorcycle accident  constitutes an addiction. Photograph: Ezra Acayan/Reuters

President who has led bloody anti-drugs campaign a regular user of powerful painkiller

Kim Jong-Nam, the eldest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il,  in Macau in 2010. The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has been assassinated in Malaysia, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Son of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il attacked by agents at airport, reports say

  North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un with    Korean People’s Army troops after the launch of a surface-to-surface medium long-range ballistic missile Pukguksong-2 at an undisclosed location. Photograph:  KCNA/KNS/AFP/Getty

Beijing repeats call for calm but regional powers want more pressure on Pyongyang

Chinese soldier Wang Qi (77), who has lived in India for more than five decades, arrives at Xi’an Xianyang International Airport to return to his hometown. Photograph: VCG via Getty Images

Man reunited with family after accidentally wandering into India following the 1962 war

John Russell (4th from left) with his wife Lizzie Russell (nee Goulding) (far right)

A visit to brewery’s archives in Dublin brings Clifford Coonan’s great-grandfather to life

US defence secretary James Mattis: says  all diplomatic efforts should be made. Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters

‘Unsafe’ encounter of military aircraft took place over contested Scarborough Shoal

US president Donald Trump spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping on the phone overnight. Photograph: EPA

White House confirms phone call between two leaders was ‘extremely cordial’

US President Donald Trump has sent a letter to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping saying he looked forward to a ‘constructive relationship’. File photograph: Ruben Sprich/Reuters

Still no plans for phonecall between two leaders as US keen to improve relations

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi: forging closer links with   Australia. Photograph: Mark Graham/AFP/Getty

Wang Yi warns US administration to ‘brush up’ on history of South China Sea dispute

 Huang Jiefu has addressed a meeting on organ harvesting in the Vatican. Photograph: Reuters/File Photo

Meeting in the Vatican hears prisoners’ organs still being harvested in some cases

South Korean Defence Minister Han Min-koo talking to US Defence Secretary James Mattis over the phone on Tuesday. Photograph: EPA

US defence secretary James Mattis stresses their close relationship in phonecall

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has suspended his controversial anti-drugs campaign and pledged to clean up the police force. Photograph: Ezra Acayan/Reuters

President Duterte ‘embarrassed’ by police murder of South Korean businessman

The EU is aware of recent information regarding the serious mistreatment of detained human rights lawyers. Photograph:  Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images)

Human rights lawyers have been held since nationwide crackdown in July 2015

Artist Lee Ku-young looks at his painting,   “Dirty Sleep”, which was defaced by supporters of impeached South Korean president Park Geun-hye, at the National Assembly in Seoul on Tuesday. Photograph:  Son Hyung-ju/News1 via Reuters

Park Geun-hye awaits constitutional court decision on her impeachment

Donald Trump rooster statue in Taiyuan, Shaanxi province: The advent of the new US president has been a huge conversation topic, especially as there are fears about what direction the Chinese economy is headed in.  Photograph: Jon Woo/Reuters

Beijing letter: While most still leave the city for Chinese New Year, traditions are shifting

 Chinese warships taking part in a drill in the South China Sea earlier this year.    China has angered its neighbours by its aggressive claims to the maritime region, through which €4.75 trillion in trade is shipped every year. Photograph: Getty Images

Chinese government claims the disputed islands are its ‘irrefutable’ sovereign territory

 Genzon Golf Club  in Shenzhen: Long known as “green opium” in China the Communist Party has had a love-hate relationship with golf over the years. Photograph:  Lintao Zhang/Getty

Preserving precious water and arable land behind campaign against ‘decadent’ sport

Newspapers in Shanghai on Saturday. The People’s Daily said  punitive tariffs and labelling China a “currency manipulator” would  lead only to retaliation. Photograph: Reuters

Trade tensions between US and China inevitable in next four years, warns state media

China’s pesident Xi Jinping: “Whether you like it or not, the global economy is the big ocean that you cannot escape from.” Photograph: Denis Balibouse/EPA

Beijing could emerge as globalisation defender and entrench its power in Asia

China’s president, Xi Jinping, is expected to use more stimulus to keep the economy simmering to ensure political stability. Photograph: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

Growth exceeds predictions as state stimulus and robust property market buoy data

Leung Kwok-hung, known as “Long Hair”, brings a cut-out of a monkey bearing the likeness of Hong Kong’s chief executive CY Leung  into the chamber before Mr Leung’s final policy address to the legislative council on Wednesday. Photograph: Isaac Lawrence/AFP/Getty Images

Panel of just 1,200 will elect new chief executive in March as CY Leung steps down

Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Photograph: US Navy/Handout via Reuters

US Secretary of state nominee said China would ‘not be allowed’ to access territories

Chinese police have destroyed an army of fake terracotta warriors in northern China. Photograph: Getty Images

Fake army discovered at copycat resort close to mausoleum housing real sculptures

Donald Trump: spent much of s election campaign calling China a cheat, promising to name China a currency manipulator on his first day in office and to impose high tariffs on Chinese goods. Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA

World’s second-largest economy struggles in face of weak global demand

Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in a still image from video taken by a US surveillance aircraft, in May 2015. Photograph: US Navy/Handout via Reuters

Trump nominee proposes blocking China from artificial islands in contested region

People visit a Beijing war museum. Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Officials make ‘correction’ to war dates to boost ‘patriotic education’ in schools

Chinese J-15 fighter jets being launched from the deck of the “Liaoning” aircraft carrier during military drills in the South China Sea on January 2nd. China claims nearly all of the  disputed waters. Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty Images

Trump’s one-China remarks contribute to fraying nerves in South China Sea

Hong Kong politician Joshua Wong: says an assault on him and fellow rights activist Nathan Law at Hong Kong’s airport was a co-ordinated attack by pro-Beijing elements. Photograph: Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty

Joshua Wong and colleagues attacked while travelling for pro-independence talks

A pedestrian walks on a street wearing a smog mask in Beijing, China, in the first week of 2017: since the start of the new year, the air in its 16 districts has seen some of the worst smog on record.  Photograph: Reuters

Chinese capital’s acting mayor vows to step up anti-pollution measures amid concern

Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen during a “transit stop” in Houston, Texas, where she met senior Republicans en route to Central America. Photograph: James Nielsen/Reuters

China livid over Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen's meeting with senior US Republicans

Politics will  play a major role in China’s economic future this  year when president Xi Jinping will name the new Standing Committee of the Politburo.

With political changes ahead, Xi Jinping will want to keep the economy steady

People dance to exercise in a park in smog-enveloped in Beijing on Wednesday. Photograph: Reuters

Pollution readings in Beijing off the chart as alert around capital held at ‘orange’ status

A number of women’s rights activists became international figures after their arrest early last year for their social advocacy. Far left,  Li Maizi.  Photograph: Free Chinese Feminists page, Facebook

Despite progress, feminism is still seen as a threat to traditional family values

China announced the end of its  controversial one-child policy from January 1st, 2016, with the official Xinhua news agency saying that all couples would be allowed two children. Photograph: Frederic J Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Despite removal of one-child policy, parents reluctant to have more children

At matchmaking markets in China  parents post profiles of their daughters in the hope of finding a suitable  suitor. Photograph: Getty Images

The second in a four-part depth series reveals how women are pressurised to marry early

Female pilot Yu Xu (30), one of the first Chinese female fighter jet pilots, who died in an accident during  flight training in November. Some women  are excelling and breaking out of traditional gender norms.(Photograph:  VCG)

The first in a four part series reviews how political power is out of reach for China’s women

Oscar’s team-mate at Shanghai SIPG is compatriot Hulk, who had already broken the Chinese transfer record with his €49 million fee. Photograph:  VCG via Getty Images

Grand plan launched to make China one of the world’s top soccer nations by 2050

Ireland is the 18th jurisdiction granted access to China’s capital markets under what are seen as the more flexible of the country’s two main licences for foreign institutional investors.

RQFII programme allows foreign institutions to invest in Chinese capital markets

The oceanographic survey ship, USNS Bowditch, which deployed the underwater drone seized by a Chinese navy warship in the South China Sea last week. Photograph: US navy/Reuters

State newspaper editorial in Beijing accuses US of being serial spying offender

The People’s Republic of China flag and the US Stars and Stripes fly on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington during a visit by then Chinese president Hu Jintao in 2011. Photograph: Hyungwon Kang/Reuters

Hard-line approach taken after US president-elect questions ‘One China Policy’

US president-elect Donald Trump has dismissed the CIA claim Russian hackers leaked emails about the DNC. Photograph: Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Senate leader says he supports probe into allegations of Kremlin-backed hacks of DNC

A magazine featuring US President-elect Donald Trump is seen at a bookstore in Beijing. The headline reads “How will businessman Trump change the world”. Photograph: Getty Images

Beijing says stable Sino-US relationship ‘out of the question’ without ‘one China’ policy

Hong Kong’s unpopular leader  Leung Chun-ying said that he would not run again for office. The decision comes as Chinese Communist Party leaders have expressed anger at growing support for parties calling for independence and self-determination in the former British colony. Photograph: Anthony Wallace/AFP

Chinese-backed chief executive cites family reasons for decision not to stand

South Korean president Park Geun-Hye bows during an address to the nation on 29th November 2016. Photograph:  Jeon Heon-Kyun/EPA

Move, which follows influence peddling scandal, suspends all the president’s powers

A protester shouts slogans in front of a caricature of Park Geun-Hye during a rally urging  impeachment  on December 7th. Photograph: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Gety Images

For motion to pass 28 parliamentarians from president’s own party must vote against her

 Members of the Korean Confederation of Trade carry an effigy of president Park Geun-Hye Park Geun-hye as they march during a protest against her. Photograph: Jeon Heon-Kyun/EPA

President’s friend has been accused of currying favour with her to gain influence

Donald Trump: “Did China ask us if it was OK to to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don’t think so!” Photograph: Paco Anselmi/PA Wire

US president-elect takes aim at currency and South China Sea in inflammatory tweet

US president-elect Donald Trump and Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen: On Friday Trump took a congratulatory phone call from Tsai, a move guaranteed to annoy China. Photographs: AP Photo/Evan Vucci; Chinag Ying-ying

Threat to vital trade ties between US and China highlighted by Taipei’s ‘petty gesture’

US president-elect Donald Trump speaking during a “USA Thank You” tour event in Cincinatti on Thursday and  Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen. Trump spoke on Friday with Tsai, a move that will be sure to anger China. Photograph: AP

President-elect’s conversation with president is first contact at such a high level since 1979

South Korean president Park Geun-hye makes a live televised address in Seoul, on Tuesday. Photograph: AP

Park Geun-hye has asked parliament to decide how and when she can give up power

A demonstator holds candle with placard reading ‘Park Geun-Hye Out’ during a rally on Thursday. Photograph: EPA

Park Geun-hye’s approval plummets to 4 per cent as scandal threatens administration

Nearly half of Apec chief executives expect growth to be up to 5-6 per cent annually for the next three years. Photograph: iStock

More than half of chief executives plan to increase their investments over the next year

Workers search through the remains of a collapsed platform in a cooling tower at a power station at Fengcheng, in China’s Jiangxi province. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Two workers rescued alive after power plant’s cooling tower collapsed in eastern China

South Koreans set up tents with slogans reading ‘Park Geun-hye – Out, Arrest and Imprisonment’ in front of the main gate to the royal Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul. Photograph: Jeon Heon-kyun/EPA

Park Geun-hye’s office says bulk purchase of Viagra was for altitude sickness

China’s president Xi Jinping has instituted a popular anti-corruption campaign that has seen the demise of key rivals. Photograph: Guillermo Gutierrez/Bloomberg

Beijing Letter: Exhibitions, operas and films celebrate Mao Zedong’s crowning glory

China’s president Xi Jinping  with  Barack Obama at the Apec summit in Lima, Peru, on Sunday. Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty Images

State-owned ‘Global Times’ asks if China is ‘ready to overtake US to lead the world’

“This type of foreigner is earning money in China while insulting the Chinese people, and hating China from  bottom of their hearts.”

One injured as man used pepper spray and called Chinese ‘bastards’, newspaper reports

 Protesters wearing cut-outs of South Korean president park Geun-hye (R) and Choi Soon-sil attend a protest denouncing Park over a recent influence-peddling scandal in central Seoul, South Korea last month. Photograph: Reuters

Embattled president has immunity but impeachment calls grow

The main sources of pollution in Beijing, China,  are coal-fired power plants  and vehicle exhaust emissions. Photograph:  Greg Baker/AFP/Getty

Officials warn of formidable task despite significant progress on ‘persistent affliction’

Posters promoting local elections in Beijing, which took place this week. Photograph: Gilles Sabrie/New York Times

Some 900 million can vote but official committees choose candidates

Pro-independence lawmakers Yau Wai-ching (left) and Sixtus “Baggio” Leung:  court in Hong Kong ruled to disqualify them from parliament. Photograph: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty

Youngspiration ‘localists’ barred after controversy during swearing-in ceremony

The China Daily has said president-elect Donald Trump should consider supporting a Beijing-backed free trade deal in the Asia-Pacific. Photograph: Al Drago/The New York Times

China to seek support for two trade models seen as competitors to TPP at Peru summit

Protesters  demand the resignation of South Korea’s president Park Geun-Hye  in Seoul on Saturday. Photograph:  Michael Heiman/Getty Images

Largest anti-government rally ever in South Korea increases pressure on Park Geun-hye

Chinese President Xi Jinping offered his congratulations to Donald Trump. Photograph: Fred Dufour/Getty Images

‘Mutual respect’ established as China congratulates Donald Trump on election win

President Higgins and his wife Sabina visit the Project Renew  Mine Action Visitor Centre in Dong Ha. Photograph: Maxwell

Ireland helping worst-hit region to remove unexploded munitions 40 years after war

Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. “We have 60 Irish companies doing business in this region, 15 of them have a presence here, so it’s massive to bring the President and the Minister in terms of developing new relationships”

Enterprise Ireland says country offers ‘fantastic opportunities’

Kung fu master Li Liangui at his home in Beijing. “This kind of kung fu is passed from generation to generation,” he says. Photograph: Clifford Coonan

Suogugong, or body shrinking, is one of the most challenging forms of kung fu

President  Michael D Higgins with his wife Sabina (second left) and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan (centre right) as they visit Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam, Vietnam’s first national university. Photograph: Maxwell’s/PA Wire

President visits Mine Action Visitor Centre, observes cluster munition survey demonstration

Enda Kenny  previously criticised Mr Trump for using “racist and dangerous” comments. File photograph: Eric Luke

Taoiseach pressed in Dáil on criticisms of Trump’s ‘racist and dangerous’ comments

Lisa Orsi’s father Dennis and her sister Shannon organised for a group of young people from GAA clubs in the north west to attend the Asian Games in Shanghai over the weekend, through the Live Life Lisa Orsi Foundation. Photograph: Clifford Coonan

22-year-old physiotherapist was living in Singapore when she died of altitude sickness

Michael D Higgins speaks at the Vietnam National University in Hanoi at the start of his State visit to Vietnam. Photograph: Maxwell’s

President highlights ‘harmful experience of colonisation’ common to both nations

President Michael D. Higgins in the Presidential Palace with president of Vietnam Tran Dai Quang as they give press statements watched over by the bust of Ho Chi Minh in the city of Hanoi. Photograph: Maxwell’s

Michael D Higgins says he supports peaceful solution using international law

Shan Lu and Ian Lahiffe married this summer. Photograph: Clifford Coonan

Players gathered for the GAA Asian Games in Shanghai are settling down in the region

President Michael D Higgins: “I think one of the great challenges facing both countries, here in Ireland and in Vietnam, is to get an economic model that will benefit all the people.” Photograph: Paul Sharp

Higgins says Irish impressed by Vietnam’s defeat of several imperialist aggressors

Germany’s minister for economic affairs Sigmar Gabriel, centre,  and his delegation arrive  at the airport in Beijing, China, on Tuesday. Photograph: EPA/Bernd Von Jutrczenka

As Germany benefits from openness, it fears China’s supply chain will devour its technology

Dr Samuel Qi of the Shanghai Zijin Entrepreneurs Club: “We are keen to invite Irish companies that are planning to tackle the China market to make contact with us to discuss possible co-operation and investment.”

Shanghai Zijin Entrepreneurs Club to assist Irish firms transplanting business models

Protesters wear masks of South Korea’s president Park Geun-hye, right, and Choi Soon-sil, left, at a rally calling for Ms Park to step down in Seoul on Wednesday. Photograph: AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

Police seek warrant to arrest Park’s confidante in influence-peddling scandal

Malaysia’s prime minister, Najib Razak (left), and China’s premier, Li Keqiang, attend a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters

Prime minister Najib Razak criticises West and signs major defence deals with Beijing

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un with his wife, Ri Sol-ju, at a concert in Pyongyang in 2012. She has not been seen at public events for over seven months. Photograph: AP/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service

South Korea reckons disappearance could be linked to Kim Jong-un’s sister

 Choi Soon-sil, who is alleged of having meddled in state affairs and peddled influence on various state projects by exploiting her friendship with South Korean president Park Geun-hye,  arrives for questioning in Seoul, South Korea. Photograph: Jung Ui-chel/EPA

Links to ‘shamanistic’ cults and siphoned off donations could topple Park government

Believers take part in a weekend Mass at an underground Catholic church in Tianjin, China:  these churches are considered illegal by Chinese government. Photograph:  Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Holy See is the only western jurisdiction with no diplomatic relations with China

President Xi Jinping has achieved “core” leader status on a par with  Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters/File photo

Conclave promises to crack down harder on graft, and weeping cadres act as a warning

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte: ‘I promised God to not to express slang, cuss words.’ Photograph: Lean Daval Jr/Reuters

Rodrigo Duterte who called Pope Francis a ‘son of a bitch’ says God spoke to him during a flight

A communique at the end of the Communist Party plenum puts China’s president, Xi Jinping, in a strong position ahead of next year’s reshuffle of the politburo standing committee. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters

Move puts president in strong position ahead of key congress in second half of 2017

China’s favourite app, WeChat, is “like  Facebook and Twitter rolled into one, with WhatsApp, Uber, Yelp and Tinder thrown in for good measure.”

806 million people use smartphone multipurpose app but Beijing monitors content

A  souvenir featuring portraits of former Chinese leaders Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and current president Xi Jinping  is sold on Tiananmen Square on the second day of plenary sessions. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters

Speculation abounds on whether President Xi Jinping will try for a third term

People walk past a poster  featuring  president Xi Jinping on the second day of plenary sessions of  the Communist Party of China  in Beijing. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters

Speculation abounds on whether President Xi Jinping will try for a third term

Chinese president Xi Jinping is seeking to entrench his supreme authority and hopes the top cadres will endorse him as “core leader” of the party. Photograph: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

Amid rumours of power struggle, plenum focuses on discipline and next generation

Xi Jinping: The Chinese president and Communist Party general secretary could now be officially endorsed as the “core” leader of the party. Photograph: Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images

‘Xi Jinping has been prepared to flaunt established party practices on sharing power’

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