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Australia pledges $704 million to save Great Barrier Reef

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - The Australian government on Friday pledged to spend another 1 billion Australian dollars ($704 million) over nine years on improving the health of the Great Barrier Reef after stalling a UNESCO decision on downgrading the natural wonder's World Heritage status.

Executive overseeing investments leaves Japan's SoftBank

TOKYO (AP) - Marcelo Claure, who joined SoftBank Group after turning around one of its key investments, office-sharing business WeWork, is leaving, the Japanese technology company said Friday.

Google to invest $1 billion to push India's digitalization

NEW DELHI (AP) - Google will invest up to $1 billion in partnership with India's Airtel to provide affordable access to smartphones to over a billion Indians and speed up use of cloud-based computing for business, the two companies said on Friday.

S. Korea plans to add small hospitals as COVID cases surge

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korea plans next month to add hundreds of small neighborhood hospitals and clinics to treat the thousands more people expected to get COVID-19 during a developing omicron surge.

Toyota heading to moon with cruiser, robotic arms, dreams

TOKYO (AP) - Toyota is working with Japan's space agency on a vehicle to explore the lunar surface, with ambitions to help people live on the moon by 2040 and then go live on Mars, company officials said Friday.

Hong Kong cuts foreign arrival quarantine from 21 to 14 days

HONG KONG (AP) - Hong Kong is cutting the length of mandatory quarantine for people arriving from overseas from 21 to 14 days, even as the southern Chinese city battles a new surge in COVID-19 cases.

N. Korea confirms missile tests as Kim visits munitions site

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea said Friday its two latest rounds of weapons tests this week were successful while vowing to bolster its nuclear "war deterrent" and speed up the development of more powerful warheads.

N. Korea, after harsh 2-year lockdown, slowly reopens border

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - After spending two years in a strict lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic, North Korea may finally be opening up - slowly. The reason could reflect a growing sense of recognition by the leadership that the nation badly needs to win outside economic relief.

Staffers complain of racism, abuse by WHO leader in Asia

Current and former staffers have accused the top director of the World Health Organization in the Western Pacific of racist, unethical and abusive behavior that has undermined the U.N. health agency's efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic.

Pakistani army says 10 soldiers killed in militant raid

QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) - Militants attacked a security post in a remote area of southwest Pakistan, triggering a firefight that killed 10 soldiers and an assailant, the military said Thursday.

India, Central Asian leaders discuss aid to Afghanistan

NEW DELHI (AP) - India and five central Asian countries on Thursday decided to set up a joint working group for providing aid to Afghanistan to tackle the humanitarian crisis and the issue of recognition of the Taliban, an Indian official said.

Reports: 6 wounded in Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border clash

MOSCOW (AP) - Fighting between the border guards services of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan has wounded at least six people, local news reports said Thursday.

Filipino dictator's son loses 1 of 3 votes on elections bid

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - One of three Philippine election commissioners handling petitions to disqualify late dictator Ferdinand Marcos' son from the May presidential polls said Thursday that she voted in favor of the petitions and suspected there were efforts to nullify her vote against the leading candidate criticized by human rights groups.

In freezing Afghanistan, aid workers rush to save millions

PUL-E-ALAM, Afghanistan (AP) - A flickering flame of paper, rags and random twigs is the only heat Gulnaz has to keep her 18-month-old son warm, barely visible beneath his icy blanket as she begs on a bitterly cold highway on the road to Kabul.

Entering Beijing's Olympics bubble is a surreal experience

BEIJING (AP) - For the thousands of athletes, journalists and others descending on Beijing for the Winter Olympics, China's strict pandemic measures are creating a surreal and at times anxious experience.

Tata group regains control of debt-laden Air India

NEW DELHI (AP) - Tata Sons, India's oldest and largest conglomerate, has regained ownership of Air India, the country's debt-laden national carrier.

Japan's Mitsubishi, energy body join Gates' nuclear project

TOKYO (AP) - Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency have signed an agreement to participate in a next-generation nuclear energy project with TerraPower, a company started by Bill Gates.

Thailand deploys more assets as oil slick threatens beaches

BANGKOK (AP) - An aircraft from a company specializing in recoveries from oil spills arrived Thursday from Malaysia to join an urgent effort to clean up an oil slick before it could hit beaches in eastern Thailand, officials said.

6 cancer patients sue utility over Fukushima radiation

TOKYO (AP) - Six people who were children living in Fukushima at the time of the 2011 nuclear disaster and have since developed thyroid cancer filed a lawsuit Thursday demanding a utility pay compensation for their illnesses, which they say were triggered by massive radiation.

S. Korea expert defends use of rapid tests as omicron surges

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korea's top infectious disease expert defended the move to expand the use of rapid testing despite accuracy concerns, as the country broke its daily coronavirus record for the third straight day.

Ex-cop's trial for Taylor raid offers new chance for justice

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Louisville Metro Police Department shows Officer Brett Hankison. Attorneys for Hankison, a former police officer involved in the Breonna Taylor raid, want to ban news outlets from part of the jury selection process. Hankison is set to go on trial on wanton endangerment charges, with jury selection set to begin on Feb. 1, 2022. (Courtesy of Louisville Metro Police Department via AP, File)

How many times can I reuse my N95 mask?

How many times can I reuse my N95 mask? (AP Illustration/Peter Hamlin)

Man executed for 1996 killing after Supreme Court clears way

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Alabama Department of Corrections shows death row inmate Matthew Reeves. Late Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for the state of Alabama to execute Reeves, an inmate who contended that an intellectual disability combined with the state's inattention cost him a chance to avoid lethal injection and choose a new method. Reeves was condemned for killing a man during a robbery in 1996. (Alabama Department of Corrections via AP, File)

NYC gives final salute to slain NYPD officer

Police officers stand in line outside St. Patricks Cathedral to pay their respects during the wake of New York City Police Officer Jason Rivera, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, in New York.  Rivera was fatally shot Friday, Jan. 21, while answering a call about an argument between a woman and her adult son.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

US judge may suspend mustang roundup in Nevada; suit pending

FILE - A livestock helicopter pilot rounds up wild horses from the Fox & Lake Herd Management Area on July 13, 2008, in Washoe County, Nev., near the town on Empire, Nev. A federal judge is considering temporarily suspending the capture of wild horses in Nevada where their advocates say the federal government is

In north Iraq, Chinese language school projects soft power

Chinese lecturer, Zhiwei Hu, left, teachers and officials of the Chinese Language Department stand in front of Chinese language books intended for students in Salahaddin University in Irbil, Iraq, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2021. The Chinese language school in northern Iraq is attracting students who hope to land jobs with a growing number of Chinese companies in the oil, infrastructure, construction, and telecommunications sectors in the region. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Autopsy says violence caused death of detained Palestinian

FILE - Mourners pray by the body of 78-year-old Omar Asaad, a Palestinian who has U.S. citizenship, during his funeral at a mosque, in the West Bank village of Jiljiliya, north of Ramallah, Jan. 13, 2022. An autopsy, undertaken by three Palestinian doctors, confirmed that Asaad,  who was pronounced dead shortly after being detained by Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank, died of a heart attack caused by

Dozens of armed militants still hold corner of Syria prison

US attack helicopter shoots flares in Hassakeh, northeast Syria, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. Dozens of armed Islamic State militants remained holed up in the last occupied section of a Syrian prison, U.S.-backed Kurdish-led forces said Thursday. The two sides clashed a day after the Syrian Democratic Forces announced they had regained full control of the facility. (AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad)

Saudi-led coalition says it's probing deadly prison strike

People search the rubble of a prison facility hit by a Saudi-led coalition airstrike that killed at least 87 people, in a stronghold of Houthi rebels on the border with Saudi Arabia, in the northern Saada province of Yemen, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022. Internet access remained largely down on Sunday after another Saudi-led coalition airstrike hit a telecommunications center Friday at the Red Sea port city of Hodeida. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

Group warns of potential catastrophe on old tanker off Yemen

This satellite image provided by Planet Labs PBC shows FSO Safer in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen, Jan. 9, 2022. A 42-page Greenpeace report warned Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, of a potential major oil leak or explosion on the aging oil tanker. The rusting, neglected Japanese-built tanker has been moored in its location 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) away from Yemen's western Red Sea port of Ras Issa since the 1980s, when it was sold to the Yemeni government. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)

AP Week in Pictures: Europe and Africa

Ukrainian servicemen carry water supplies for an advanced position on the front line in the Luhansk area, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022. The U.S. rejection of Russia's main demands to resolve the crisis over Ukraine left

Old grievances haunt Portugal's vote: low pay, stagnation

Portuguese Prime Minister and Socialist Party Secretary General Antonio Costa, center, waves during an election campaign event in the outskirts of Lisbon, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022. Portugal holds a general election on Jan. 30. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

Kim Jones back on runway as Fendi channels celestial Rome

A model wears a creation for the Fendi Spring-Summer 2022 Haute Couture fashion collection, in Paris, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Family clarifies no 'Picasso NFT' is set to be sold online

FILE - Marina Picasso, right, granddaughter of artist Pablo Picasso, and her son Florian Picasso, left, pose for a photo during an interview with the Associated Press in Cologny near in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022. The pair told The Associated Press that they planned to sell 1,010 digital art pieces of one of his ceramic works that has never before seen publicly but a lawyer for the late artist says no sale of digital Picasso art has not been permitted and no digital Picasso artwork would be sold. (AP Photo/Boris Heger, File)

Danish troops to leave Mali after call from country's rulers

FILE - Denmark's Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod attends a press conference in Belgrade, Serbia, on Aug. 31, 2021. Denmark's foreign minister says the country will pull its small military force out of northern Mali after the West African country's transitional government said no permission had been given for them to deploy there. The government in Bamako, under coup leader Col. Assimi Goita, on Wednesday told Denmark to withdraw its 90-person contingent that arrived in Mali just a week earlier for a one-year deployment under a European counterterrorism operation.  Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod announced the pullout Thursday, following a briefing of parliament's foreign policy committee. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, File)