US-Japan military drills go on despite virus, with eye on China

TOKYO — The coronavirus pandemic has not stopped the U.S. and Japan from holding joint military exercises, as the allies keep watch on China’s increasingly assertive maritime maneuvers.

Two U.S. Air Force B-1 bombers and 16 F-15 and F-2 fighters from Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force held joint drills over the Sea of Japan and around Okinawa on Wednesday.

“These are very important as we further strengthen the deterrence and capabilities of Japan and the U.S. acting jointly,” said Gen. Yoshinari Marumo, chief of staff for the Air Self-Defense Force.

The latest joint exercise was the third since April.

“This mission

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Asia’s lead in virus recovery not showing in stock markets

HONG KONG/TOKYO — Asia’s head start over the rest of the world in reopening its coronavirus-hit economies is not reflected in the region’s share indexes, with recoveries lagging those in developed markets.

The MSCI gauge of Asian equities ex Japan has risen 15% since March 23 compared with a gain of more than 30% for the S&P 500 index of U.S. stocks and the MSCI All World Index, which represents performances across 23 developed markets.

Retail investors have poured into Asian stocks in search of bargains, signing up to trade in record numbers. But market participants say long-term capital is

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Casino losses mount as virus hits Asia’s entertainment palaces

MANILA/HONG KONG — For the last two months, Manila’s Entertainment City — where Las Vegas razzmatazz meets the coquettish glitz of the Philippines — has had all the showiness of a ghost town.

Shut since mid-March to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, the roads surrounding Manila’s four integrated casino resorts — Bloomberry’s Solaire, City of Dreams, Okada and Resorts World — are empty.

Steel barricades have replaced the inviting smiles of the greeters. Even the bomb-sniffer dogs appear lethargic and forlorn.

“As everybody else, they are losing money,” gaming industry champion Andrea Domingo, who heads the Philippine Amusement

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Singapore adds $23bn of virus relief after flagging 4-7% GDP fall

SINGAPORE — Singapore on Tuesday downgraded its growth projection for this year to a range of -7% to -4%, from the previous forecast of -4% to -1%, suggesting prolonged economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic despite the phased business resumption starting next week.

The city-state the same day reported a 0.7% decline in its first-quarter gross domestic product. Later, the government announced additional support for affected businesses worth 33 billion Singapore dollars ($23 billion).

“Outward-oriented sectors such as manufacturing, wholesale trade, and transportation and storage will be adversely affected by the sharper-than-expected slowdown in many of Singapore’s key markets, as

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