World briefs

Space Japanese  Hayabusa2 spacecraft landed on a distant asteroid yesterday and collected underground samples that scientists hope will provide clues to the origin of the solar system billions of years ago, Japan’s space agency JAXA said.

China attacked a statement by 22 Western countries at the United Nations urging it to stop holding members of its Muslim population in detention centers, calling the measure necessary for national security and accusing the countries of trampling on its sovereignty. 

Japan Nine deer at a famed park in western Japan have died recently after swallowing plastic bags. Nara Park has more than 1,000 deer, and tourists can feed them special sugar-free crackers sold in shops nearby. The deer may associate the plastic with food.

ASEAN Defense ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations met yesterday in Bangkok to discuss issues including border controls, terrorism and illegal fishing. ASEAN members have varying priorities, so the ministers focus on approaches to problem solving rather than tackling divisive substantive issues.

US-Afghanistan The U.S. peace envoy to Afghanistan is in Beijing for a previously scheduled meeting, an American Embassy spokesman said, as indications grew of a new momentum in efforts to end Afghanistan’s 18-year war and push by China to boost its influence in the region.

Sri Lankas government yesterday defeated a no-confidence motion in Parliament that accused it of failing to prevent Easter Sunday bomb attacks that killed more than 250 people. The motion against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was defeated by a vote of 119 lawmakers against to 92 in favor.

Pakistan A radical cleric from Pakistan who traveled to neighboring Afghanistan to battle international forces after the 2001 U.S.-led invasion died yesterday at the age of 94. Family members say Maulana Sufi Mohammad [pictured] died in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, where a funeral will be held later in the day.

US A nationwide immigration enforcement operation targeting people who are in the United States illegally is expected to begin this weekend after it was postponed last month by President Donald Trump, according to two administration officials and immigrant activists.

Persian Gulf The British navy said it stopped three Iranian paramilitary vessels from disrupting the passage of a British oil tanker through the Strait of Hormuz in a brief but tense standoff stemming from the U.K.’s role in seizing an Iranian supertanker a week earlier. 

UK Boris Johnson, the man likely to become U.K. prime minister yesterday denied playing any role in the departure of Britain’s ambassador to Washington, who quit after coming under attack from Trump. Politicians from both government and opposition parties accused Johnson of spinelessness for failing to defend envoy Kim Darroch.

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