Asia

Fifteen countries including China signed a major trade deal after years of tricky negotiations, creating a regional bloc that covers around a third of global economic output and extends Beijing’s influence.

China and 14 other Asia-Pacific nations aim to sign a trade deal this weekend that will knit their economies closer together—the second pact covering large swaths of the region whose signatories don’t include the U.S.

Myanmar’s ruling party led by Aung San Suu Kyi has won enough seats in parliament to form the next government, giving it five more years to shape the country’s transition to democracy that turned rocky in its first term.

Taiwan hasn’t recorded a locally transmitted coronavirus infection in about seven months but has been blocked from participating in a virtual gathering this week of the 194-member World Health Assembly.

Taiwan hasn’t had a local Covid-19 infection in months, and Vietnam hasn’t in weeks. Australia touched zero over the weekend. China, Thailand and New Zealand rarely have outbreaks.

A disbanded Hong Kong pro-democracy organization said national security police had arrested a former organizer of the group near the U.S. diplomatic mission in the city.

Thailand lifted an emergency decree issued last week that banned public gatherings, a reversal that embattled Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said was a good-faith gesture aimed at defusing protests against his administration.

Demonstrators defied a government ban on large gatherings for the fourth consecutive day to call for the prime minister’s resignation.

Australia is “working through normal diplomatic channels” to clarify reports in two trade publications that Chinese authorities have told several state-owned steelmakers and power plants to stop importing Australian coal.

The failure in India’s financial hub was seen as an embarrassment for the country as it seeks to attract international investment and lure manufacturing away from China.

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