Sun, 16 May 2021

NEW DELHI -- Three employees of India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Limited were abducted by unidentified gunmen on Wednesday in the country's northeastern state of Assam, the company confirmed.

The abductees included two Junior Engineer Assistants (Production) and one Junior Technician (Production). They were abducted from a site of the ONGC in Lakwa field of Sivasagar district in Assam. (India-ONGC-Abduction)

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NEW DELHI -- India recorded 295,041 new COVID-19 cases and 2,023 more deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the caseload to 15,616,130 and the death toll to 182,553, according to data released by the health ministry on Wednesday.

There are still 2,157,538 active cases in the country, with an increase of 125,561 through Tuesday, while 13,276,039 people have been cured and discharged from hospitals. (India-COVID-19-Tally)

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SUVA -- Samoa's ruling Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) led by incumbent Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and the Faatuatua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi party (FAST) led by former HRPP member and former deputy prime minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa have now been tied with 26 seats each in the parliament, after a newly elected independent parliament member decided on Wednesday to join the FAST.

According to Samoa's English daily newspaper the Samoa Observer, Tuala Tevaga Iosefo Ponifasio, the independent member of parliament, revealed his decision to side with the FAST during an official meeting with his constituency on Wednesday morning. The constituency will formally present Tuala to the FAST on Friday. (Samoa-Parliament-Seats)

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TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga sent a ritual offering on Wednesday to the notorious Yasukuni shrine, seen as a symbol of Japan's past militarism, on the occasion of its spring festival.

Suga will not, however, visit the controversial shrine in person during the two-day festival through Thursday. (Japan-Suga-Yasukuni Shrine)

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SEOUL -- South Korea reported 731 more cases of COVID-19 as of midnight Tuesday compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 115,926.

The daily caseload was up from 549 the previous day, rising above 700 in seven days. (S. Korea-COVID-19-Tally)

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