BBC News
Voting has closed in Japan's parliamentary election, with exit polls suggesting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will increase his majority. About half the seats in the upper house of parliament were up for grabs. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is hoping for backing for his economic policies. If he can achieve a two-thirds majority in the upper house, to match...

BBC News
New Zealand has revealed plans to turn an area of the South Pacific about the size of France into a marine reserve. The Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary lies north of the mainland and includes a chain of islands and underwater volcanoes. Prime Minister John Key made the announcement at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Fishing and mining...

BBC News
High prices and surging demand have sparked a spate of avocado thefts in New Zealand. Hundreds have been stolen in bulk from orchards, with thieves using rakes to drag fruit straight from the tree before selling them on. The fruits themselves are immature this time of year so consumers buying them will have a "very bad eating experience", an...

BBC News
Earlier this year, a two-year-old Thai girl became the youngest person to be cryogenically frozen, preserving her brain moments after death in the hope that she will one day be brought back to life. The BBC's Jonathan Head visited her family outside Bangkok to ask why they chose to grieve this way. The room where Matheryn Naovaratpong spent...

BBC News
PM Najib Razak's office has said Malaysia will "fully co-operate" with any investigation into state fund 1MDB after the US said it "defrauded" Malaysians. US authorities moved Wednesday to seize more than $1bn (£761m) in assets from the fund set up by Mr Najib. Mr Najib is not named but "Malaysia official 1" is identifiable as someone whose account...

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A Filipino priest has been suspended by diocese authorities, after video of him gliding around church on a hoverboard during Christmas Eve mass went viral. The priest, who has not been named, can be seen sailing up and down aisles as churchgoers in Laguna province applaud. "That was wrong," the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Pablo said...

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A doomed Japanese satellite managed to capture a view of a galaxy cluster 250 million light years away just before it died, scientists have revealed. Launched in February, the Hitomi X-ray satellite began tumbling out of control in March when contact was finally lost. Just before its demise, scientists managed to extract data measuring X-ray activity in the Perseus...

BBC News
A Bangladeshi blogger known for his atheist views has been hacked to death by a gang armed with machetes in the capital Dhaka, police say. Niloy Neel was attacked at his home in the city's Goran area. He is the fourth secularist blogger to have been killed this year by suspected Islamist militants in Bangladesh. Imran H Sarkar, head...

BBC News
Much of the world is already consumed by Pokemon Go fever, but in Japan, the birthplace of Pokemon, desperate fans are still awaiting their turn. There are rumours the game will launch there soon, alongside a sponsorship deal with McDonald's turning restaurants in to "Pokestops" or "gyms", where players can battle against each other or find new monsters. Until...

BBC News
Nintendo's Pokemon Go has finally launched in Japan, the birthplace of the little virtual monsters. Amid a flurry of social media excitement, Niantic Labs, the software company behind the game, announced it was "finally broadcasting" in Japan. First released in the US, Australia and New Zealand on 6 July and now available in more than 30 countries, the...

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