*Asian equities higher, ASX up 0.3%, Nikkei adds 0.5%, Kospi flat*

*Asian equities higher, ASX up 0.3%, Nikkei adds 0.5%, Kospi flat*

Asian shares were in positive territory on Wednesday morning, amid concerns over North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test which landed in the Sea of Japan.

The U.S. military and South Korea’s Yonhap reported that the reclusive North Korea launched a medium-range ballistic missile from a land-based facility, ahead of a summit between U.S. and Chinese leaders on Thursday and Friday.

A senior White House official said Tuesday evening U.S. time that the meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen as the first step in a “results-oriented relationship and that the U.S. president wants fair economic ties. The official added that Trump sees North Korea as a test for the U.S.-Chinese relationship.

The ASX 200 was trading up 0.25 percent in early trade, supported by the materials sub-index, which jumped 1.05 percent.

Japan’s benchmark index opened up 0.48 percent.

*MEDIA PICKS*

*==HOME FRONT==*

* Goa mulls approaching SC over liquor ban, says Manohar Parrikar (PTI)

* Keep getting threat calls, says man behind SC ban on liquor vends (PTI)

* Gujarat’s first woman DGP is cop who probed Sohrabuddin fake encounter (HT)

* Irresponsible of Arvind Kejriwal to question EVMs, says Yogendra Yadav (PTI)

* 11 Indians to be part of juries at Cannes (ET)

* Expats stressed as Aadhaar becomes mandatory for tax returns (ET)

* Key rules of 2012 RTI Act unchanged, Cong criticism motivated, says govt(ET)

* Congress, TMC – friends in Delhi, foes in Kolkata (ET)

* China stays firm, but other countries may back India’s NSG bid (ToI)

* Stop supporting militancy in Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti tells Pakistan (IE)

* In Kolkata, woman dies of post surgery wounds, kin ransack hospital (IE)

* Sri Lanka repatriates 38 Indian fishermen (IANS)

*==FOREIGN AFFAIRS==*

* N Korea fires missile into Sea of Japan ahead of Trump-Jinping meet (RTR)

* St Petersburg metro bomb suspect Muslim born in central Asia (RTR)

* India ‘using Dalai Lama’s Tawang visit’ to upset China, says media (PTI)

* Scores reported killed in gas attack on Syrian rebel area (RTR)

* Syria chemical attack perpetrators must be held to account, says UK (AFP)

* Trump blames Assad, Obama for chemical attack in Syria (AP)

* Iraq reopens hot springs spa amid Mosul war chaos (RTR)

*==BUSINESS AND ECONOMY==*

*INDIA-RELATED*

* GST a great achievement, but weaknesses remain, says Arvind Subramanian (BS)

* Govt FY17 tax collection 17.1 trln rupees, exceeds target (Cogencis)

* OVL to invest over $3 bln in Iran gas block; submits revised plan (PTI)

* SoftBank fails to convince Jasper board on Snapdeal sale to Flipkart (BS)

* Post Brexit, UK wants to deepen trade ties with India (PTI)

* US intensifies H-1B visas scrutiny, heat on freshers (BS)

* Nasscom shrugs soff H-1B visa curbs, sees little impact on tech firms (PTI)

* UK to start investing into India-UK sub-fund fund this year (Cogencis)

* Aditya Birla Group gets RBI licence to start payments bank (Mint)

* Uttar Pradesh 20-bln-rupee soft loans to sugar mills in state (FE)

* RBI likely to start printing 200-rupee notes in June after government nod (BS)

* Nitin Gadkari announces 400-bln-rupee expressway project in northeast (PTI)

* Yogi Adityanath holds Cabinet meet, waives 363.6-bln-rupee farm loans (PTI)

* Madras HC orders Tamil Nadu government to waive off farmers’ loans (IE)

* Post note ban, cash withdrawal seeing rapid decline, says report (PTI)

* NBFC arm of Federal Bank, aims to raise 3 bln rupees from PE investors (ET)

* Alibaba, Tencent, Wanda eye Prime Focus control (ET)

* Adani Ports to go green, focus on logistics business (ET)

* Medwell Ventures raises $11 mln in Series B funding (FE)

* UK minister says Vijay Mallya matter sub-judice, declines to comment (PTI)

* Man held in Chennai for using shell companies to launder 780 mln ruees (HT)

* India-Dhaka to hold strategic talks, sign 33 MoUs when PM Hasina visits(var)

*FROM OVERSEAS*

* US February trade deficit falls from two-year high on weak imports (RTR)

* Exxon in talks to expand into Brazil (WSJ)

* Commerzbank to cut 7,800 jobs in Germany (RTR)

* WhatsApp mulls foray into digital payments with India launch (RTR)

* Toshiba forced to buy 40% of UK’s nuclear energy company (BBC)

* Oath is new name for AOL-Yahoo combined company (BBC)

* RBS plan faces European Commission investigation (BBC)

* 59.6-carat ‘Pink Star’ diamond fetches record $71.2 mln in auction (AFP)

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