The US secretary of state, John Kerry, is flying into Beijing for a weekend of difficult talks with Chinese officials, likely to be dominated by escalating tensions about the South China Sea.
Washington has been very publicly contemplating a stronger response to a large-scale Chinese land reclamation project in disputed waters, which is turning submerged reefs into airstrips, and creating thousands of hectares of dry land.
China is making rapid progress in building an airstrip suitable for military use in contested territory in the South China Sea, according to new satellite images.
The facility, on reclaimed land around a reef, would be big enough for fighter jets and surveillance aircraft. IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly said images from Airbus Defence and Space, taken on 23 March, showed the runway on Fiery Cross reef in the disputed Spratly archipelago already stretched to 500m and had room to grow to six times that length. Paved sections of apron were also visible.
On a Saturday morning, about 100 people gather for mass at Thai Ha church in Hanoi. During the sermon, the priest talks about the dangers of sex before marriage and the sin of killing an unborn child. Behind the pews, on a table, sits a small coffin containing foetuses and stillborn babies collected by volunteers over the week from private clinics. Today there are 13 in the box.
“Sometimes we collect over 100,” says Tran Thi Huong, a woman in her 50s, who is among a small but growing group of anti-abortion activists in north Vietnam.
Secretary of State John Kerry told an audience in Mexico on Wednesday that temperatures in Europe and in Vietnam were “unprecedented” and broke “every record that’s ever been seen.” However, although it was hot that day, he was off the mark.
Speaking at an environmentally-friendly technology event in Mexico City, Kerry said he had just caught a CNN weather report in his hotel and “saw the temperatures around the world right now.”
As Flight MH370 left Malaysian airspace, controllers in Kuala Lumpur were expecting a simple handover to their Vietnamese counterparts.
But the switch never happened and experts believe this was the crucial moment when hijackers or the pilots could have struck and changed the Boeing 777’s course.