SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

Malaysian election: protests called as Najib carves up constituency boundaries

Tue, 03/27/2018 - 03:30
A year of dread and foreboding in the Malaysian opposition will end this week when Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government is expected to unleash in Parliament a key weapon in its election arsenal – controversial changes to the country’s electoral map that could torpedo the other side’s best-laid plans. But lawmakers from the opposition Pakatan Harapan coalition told This Week in Asia they were planning to ‘throw in the kitchen sink’ to oppose...

China's Oppo embraces Xiaomi's flash sale gambit to grow Indian smartphone sales 

Tue, 03/27/2018 - 02:40
Chinese smartphone maker Oppo, which has ceded ground to Xiaomi in the Indian market, is looking to take a page out of its Chinese rival’s marketing playbook with plans to hold its first online flash sale in the country early next week. Oppo, which launched a new flagship smartphone on Monday in India – its biggest market outside China – plans to woo buyers with an online flash sale for the device on April 2. Similar marketing gambits and other savvy moves catapulted rival...

From catwalks to news, Pakistan’s transgender community aims to shift attitudes

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 22:06
As the first transgender news anchor in Pakistan, Marvia Malik is proud to be at the forefront of changing attitudes in her country but she says there is a long way to go. The news of her first appearance on local channel Kohenoor TV on Saturday went viral on social media and was just days after she became the first transgender model on the catwalk at the annual Pakistan Fashion Design Council fashion show. Her catapult into the spotlight came after transgender activist Zara Changezi was named...

US settles trade spat with South Korea before summit with North Korea

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 19:27
The US agreed to revise its trade deal with South Korea and spare the country from US President Donald Trump’s steel tariff, as the allies sought to resolve disputes before planned meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The two countries reached an agreement “in principle” on the bilateral free trade agreement known as Korus, South Korea’s trade ministry said in a statement on Monday. The announcement came after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday...

Rights groups have become ‘unwitting tools of drug lords’ seeking to undermine Rodrigo Duterte’s crackdown, according to his spokesman

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 12:00
Some rights groups may have become “unwitting tools” of drug lords in the Philippines to undermine the president, his spokesman said on Monday, a statement that Human Rights Watch said was “shameful” and risked provoking violence. Rights groups have denounced President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs in which thousands of people have been killed, either by police or by shadowy, unidentified gunmen. Duterte, who says he must be tough to protect the people from...

South Korea’s Moon Jae-in proposes weaker presidential powers as jail looms for ex-leaders

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 11:41
South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday proposed weakening the powers of his office and lowering the voting age in a package of constitutional reforms, while allowing the head of state to be re-elected. South Korea is a vibrant democracy but its executive presidency is extremely powerful, giving rise to a winner-takes-all politics which critics say enables corruption while reducing representation for opposition voices. In last year’s election Moon campaigned on a promise to reform...

Stolen New Zealand alpaca leaves blind brother without guide

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 11:37
By Ryan Dunlop Bambi the blind alpaca is hoping brother Charisma, who was stolen, will be found alive and wool. Police are appealing to the public to help locate Charisma, a stolen alpaca, which was taken from a Dairy Flat property, north of Auckland, under the cover of darkness on March 12. “The theft is particularly sad as his blind alpaca brother relies on him to move around the paddock and is unable to move around with his paddock-mate missing,” North Shore, Rodney and West...

Remains of Chinese troops killed in Korean war set to return home

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 09:49
A Chinese officer saluted Monday as the remains of 20 former comrades were arrayed in a South Korean military facility ahead of their return home, decades after they died in the Korean war. The brown-stained bones – including some near-complete skulls – were laid out on tables at the temporary ossuary in Incheon before being placed in identical boxes pending their repatriation Wednesday. It will be the fifth annual return under a 2013 agreement which has so far seen 569 sets of...

Chinese man, eight others convicted in Japan for biggest gold smuggling plot with ships for secret cargo transfer

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 09:05
A court on Monday convicted the last of nine men charged with smuggling 206 kilograms of gold into a southwestern Japan port in the largest-ever gold seizure case in the country. The Saga District Court handed down a 30-month prison term for Lin Yashan, a 43-year-old Chinese national, suspended for five years, and a fine of 1.5 million yen (US$14,000) for importing gold bars estimated to be worth around 930 million yen without permission into Karatsu, Saga Prefecture in May last year. The court...

Japanese first lady Akie Abe under scrutiny over sale of government land as scandal plagues prime minister

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 08:55
Japan’s first lady, Akie Abe, once known mainly for embracing progressive causes that put her at odds with her conservative spouse, is now in the hot seat as doubts resurface about a murky land sale to a nationalist school to which she had ties. The daughter of a confectionery magnate, Abe has tried to carve out a US-style public “first lady” role in a land where political wives typically stay in the shadows. But that approach comes with risks, acquaintances and experts...

Media on notice as Malaysia proposes 10 years jail for publishers of ‘fake news’

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 08:29
Malaysia’s government on Monday proposed new legislation to outlaw fake news with a 10-year jail term for offenders, a move slammed by critics as a draconian bid to crack down on dissent ahead of a general election. Prime Minister Najib Razak has been dogged by a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal involving an indebted state fund, and rights activists fear the new law could be used to criminalise reports on government misconduct and critical opinions. A general election must be held...

Australian border authority catches Malaysian carrying over 900 child porn images and videos

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 08:15
By Jonathan Loh A Malaysian man has been arrested by Australian border authorities after allegedly attempting to enter the country with a stash of over 900 images and videos of child porn. The 27-year-old had flown into the country from Kuala Lumpur and was arrested at Melbourne International Airport on March 22, said a statement from the Australian Border Force (ABF). He was apprehended after ABF officers searched the man’s belongings and reportedly found hundreds of child...

WhatsApp and Facebook are the main sources of fake news for Malaysians

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 08:08
The majority of Malaysians get fake or unverified news via WhatsApp, followed by Facebook, blogs and other sources, Malaysian’ upper house of Parliament the Dewan Negara was told. Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said, analysis conducted by the Malaysian Communications Multimedia Commission (MCMC), showed that the majority of Malaysians get fake or unverified news via WhatsApp (84 per cent), Facebook (eight per cent), while blogs and other sources...

Man charged in Singapore with unlawful possession of a gun after 38 years on the run

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 07:39
By Alfred Chua A 63-year-old man who fled Singapore for 38 years after he was found to allegedly possess a pistol has been charged. Seow Lam Seng, a Singaporean, faces one count of unlawful possession of firearms, an offence punishable with life imprisonment. The police said that, at around 2.30pm on Oct 3, 1980, Seow and his companion Lee Ah Fatt were stopped by officers along Tanjong Katong Road as they were behaving suspiciously. Court documents revealed that the incident took place at Sin...

Man gets jail term for gaining weight to avoid South Korean military duty

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 06:00
By Jung Min-ho and Jung Da-min A 21-year-old man was found guilty of trying to dodge his mandatory military service by putting on nearly 30 kilograms within six months. The Cheongju District Court handed down a suspended prison term to the man, who gained 29 kilograms deliberately in 2016 to evade his military duty. The 180-centimeter man, whose identity is being withheld, was only 87 kilograms when he graduated from high school in February but became 113.6 kilograms by the time he...

Pyongyang Style? South Korea’s government ‘wants Psy at North Korea pop show’

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 05:50
Seoul is pushing for Gangnam Style star Psy to perform in next week’s historic concerts by South Korean artists in the North’s capital, multiple reports said. A team of at least nine South Korean pop acts are set to visit North Korea next week for two concerts in Pyongyang, the first of their kind for more than a decade. The shows – part of reconciliatory moves ahead of a planned inter-Korean summit in April – feature many top stars including K-pop girl band Red Velvet....

Thai monk appeals for help in lone fight against loggers

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 05:14
By Pattanpong Sripiachai A 76-year-old Buddhist monk, the abbot and only person living at a temple in a northeast Thai forest harbouring more than a thousand precious trees that is also part of a royal project to promote conservation, is calling for help in his fight with a transnational logging gang. After receiving numerous death threats, Luang Pu Kittiphong Kittisophon, the abbot of Wat Pa Kham Sawang temple in tambon Nakham in Si Songkhram district, has formally petitioned local authorities...

Why borrowers on China’s belt and road will go from euphoria to depression

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 03:04
Until very recently, the dusty African territory of Djibouti was best known to the wider world for its inhabitants’ habit of chewing khat. Each day, as the heat of the afternoon mounts, the men of Djibouti gather in sociable groups, wad a few leaves of the East African shrub Catha edulis into their cheeks, and chew until they descend – or ascend – into a mild euphoria. Either way, no more work is done for the day. As a result, very little work ever gets done at all,...

Alibaba takes aim at Southeast Asia with plans for Thailand logistics centre

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 02:39
Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, will visit Thailand on Friday to announce the group's future investment in the Thai government's flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme, says the Industry Ministry. Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana said the Alibaba executive plans to visit Thailand to meet with government representatives. “Alibaba can confirm it [Alibaba] will invest in Chachoengsao, one of the three EEC provinces, but...

Is Malaysia ready to move on from Najib’s one-man show?

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 02:02
What good is a Malaysian prime minister who isn’t also the finance minister? It may be the norm the world over for the two prime political positions to be divvied up between separate individuals – even in Xi Jinping’s “one-man rule” China – but in Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Malaysia, the premier and finance minister are one and the same. The practice was first established by his former mentor and now rival Mahathir Mohamad, and there are no signs that...

Uber sells Southeast Asia business to Singapore-based Grab 

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 00:43
Ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc has agreed to sell its Southeast Asian business to bigger regional rival Grab, sources with knowledge of the matter said on Sunday, in what would be the U.S. company’s second retreat from Asia. The deal, which could be announced as early as Monday, marks the industry’s first big consolidation in Southeast Asia, home to about 640 million people, and puts pressure on rivals such as Indonesia’s Go-Jek, backed by Alphabet Inc’s Google...

Barack Obama says ‘disconnected’ North Korea’s isolation means less leverage in denuclearisation talks

Sun, 03/25/2018 - 16:02
Former President Barack Obama said Sunday that negotiations with North Korea on its nuclear weapons programme are difficult, partly because the country’s isolation minimises possible leverage, such as trade and travel sanctions against Pyongyang. “North Korea is an example of a country that is so far out of the international norms and so disconnected with the rest of the world,” Obama told a packed hall in Tokyo. He stressed that the effort to get North Korea to give up...

Why Marcos the dictator still inspires pride in the Philippines

Sun, 03/25/2018 - 13:01
“Here in Ilocos, there’s nothing more important than ensuring your children receive a good education.” Giving children a better future has become a lifelong vocation for Joy Fernandez, a 35-year-old elementary teacher from Laoag in Ilocos Norte, the Philippines. When she’s not teaching during school hours, the lively educator is either tutoring kids or coaching them for mathematics competitions. The rest of her spare time is dedicated to taking care of her four children...

Crackdown on Bangkok party scene sparks concerns for ‘a boring city’ as military seeks to salvage legacy

Sun, 03/25/2018 - 10:32
Thailand’s military government is crushing the spirit of Bangkok’s nightlife amid an intensifying crackdown that is forcing many bars and clubs to close early or indefinitely. With an election tentatively set for February 2019, the campaign appears to be a last-ditch attempt by the embattled government to impose social order and salvage its legacy. Since the army swept to power in a bloodless coup in 2014, it has intermittently enforced curfews and arcane regulations to rein in the...

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledges to amend pacifist constitution amid cronyism scandal

Sun, 03/25/2018 - 09:39
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed on Sunday to press on with his controversial move to amend Japan’s pacifist constitution, undeterred by a political scandal that has dented his popularity. Abe’s political capital is dwindling because of a widening scandal over the cut-price sale of government land to one of his supporters, with the opposition suggesting his wife Akie may have played a role. The scandal worsened when finance ministry bureaucrats admitted altering official records of...

Japanese student told to write essay promising not to fart in class

Sun, 03/25/2018 - 08:56
A student at a junior high school for special education in eastern Japan was instructed to write an essay promising not to fart during classes, with the composition then displayed in the classroom, school officials said Sunday. “I will fart in the restroom during recess,” wrote the student in the special needs school in northern Tochigi Prefecture. The student was told to write the essay in June last year by the teacher in charge. Personal details such as the name and gender of the...

Russia wants to build another bridge to North Korea, so trade doesn’t have to go through China

Sun, 03/25/2018 - 07:52
North Korea shares a border with three countries – South Korea, China and Russia. The one with Russia is just 18 kilometres, following the Tumen River and its estuary in the far northeast. There is one lone crossing, dubbed the “Friendship Bridge”. It opened in 1959 and offers the two nations a fairly basic rail connection. Last week, amid a period of relative calm on the oft-tense Korean Peninsula, Russian representatives travelled to North Korea to discuss an idea: they...

Helpless husbands despair in Pakistan as their Uygur wives, children vanish in China

Sun, 03/25/2018 - 06:20
Every autumn on the mountainous Karakoram Highway, part of the ancient Silk Road, groups of Pakistani merchants living in China’s far west would wave goodbye to their Chinese wives and cross the border to spend winter in their home country. As the snow piled high, the men would stay in touch with their families by phone, longing for the spring thaw that would allow them to be reunited in Xinjiang. But last year many of their calls suddenly went unanswered. Their families, they learned,...

Is this school a breeding ground for unicorns? Japan thinks so

Sun, 03/25/2018 - 06:02
A short stroll from a high street in Fukuoka, Japan’s aspiring start-up hub, stands a nearly century-old junior school building. The pupils are long gone, part of an exodus of families from the city centre who left in search of more peaceful surroundings in the suburbs. But the building is far from lifeless. It still buzzes with the creative energy that is often associated with youth – thanks to its rebirth last year as Fukuoka Growth Next, a public-private facility that serves as...

‘Say hello to my little friend’: is there a Hollywood ending to Duterte’s drug war?

Sun, 03/25/2018 - 05:30
If American director Brian De Palma’s Scarface taught viewers anything more than a few great lines of dialogue to spice up pub chatter, it was that the illegal drugs business is a violent one and even successful careers can unexpectedly end in gruesome death – often carried out by colleagues. If much of the world’s media is to be believed, there’s a modern version of the flawed masterpiece being played out right now in the Philippines that rivals the excessive violence...

The real reason a journalist’s eye-roll captivated China

Sun, 03/25/2018 - 04:45
The ever-reliable eye-roll: a go-to sign for moments of exasperation, sarcasm or general “fed-upness”. And while millions of them are rolled out every day, a deeper understanding of the facial expression’s colourful lineage across Asia is far from commonplace. The eye-roll, along with its slightly more uninhibited cousin, the eye-pop, makes headlines regularly. Indeed, “eyes rolled” or “eye-popping” are clichés in the realm of political...

South Korea’s ‘Smart City’ Songdo: not quite smart enough?

Sun, 03/25/2018 - 03:03
LOOKING wistfully around at the surroundings, a strange mix of marshland and random high-rise buildings, Shim Jong-rae shakes his head, echoing the sentiment of many residents: “It’s a ghost town.” For more than a decade, urban planners have been studying the construction of Songdo, South Korea, the world’s first Smart City. Built within 25 miles of Seoul, it was to be the antithesis of the suffocating, overpopulated capital. A new way of thinking for more than 300,000...

Promise of American dream used to lure Filipinos into hands of human traffickers, Hong Kong labour representative says

Sun, 03/25/2018 - 01:01
Filipinos’ pursuit of the American dream has been exploited by human traffickers to lure them to other countries like Russia and Turkey where they are left abandoned with their hopes quashed, according to the labour attaché at the Philippine consulate in Hong Kong. “Traffickers use the US to lure the victims. They tell them that it’s easier to get a visa to the US if they work in Russia first,” said Jalilo Dela Torre, the Philippine Department of Labour and...

Cities around the world go dark as Earth Hour global campaign kicks off

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 23:32
The Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower and Moscow’s Red Square were among the world landmarks to go dark on Saturday, part of a global campaign to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change. Earth Hour, which started in Australia in 2007, is being observed by millions of supporters in 187 countries, who are turning off their lights at 8.30pm local time in what organisers describe as the world’s “largest grass roots movement for climate change”. “It aims...

Tokyo residents protest against doomsday cult’s successor group

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 13:32
More than 200 people living near a Tokyo base of the main successor to the Aum Shinrikyo cult took to the streets on Saturday demanding the group disbands, with the execution of its guru and a number of former disciples seemingly imminent. The residents marched around the Adachi Ward compound owned by Aleph, led by Adachi Mayor Yayoi Kondo who held a banner saying, “Absolutely against Aum.” The demonstration was planned to coincide with the recent 23rd anniversary of the 1995 sarin...

In Trump’s America, immigration is bad, but trafficking Filipinos is OK?

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 13:03
When Avelino Reloj left the Philippines for a job as a hotel janitor in Missouri, United States, he felt a world of possibilities was opening up. He quit his job as a house keeper in Cebu City, borrowed 400,000 pesos (US$7,700) for the trip, and bade farewell to the clear blue water and white sand that his home country is so famous for. For Reloj, life in the Philippines had been a far cry from such idyllic postcard images – at 27, he was struggling to build a home or start a family....

Indian court jails powerful politician for embezzling funds

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 10:06
A powerful Indian politician was sentenced on Saturday to 14 years in prison for embezzling 37 million rupees (US$570,000) from a state government’s treasury while he was the state’s top elected official. Laloo Prasad Yadav was convicted of embezzling the money to buy fictitious medicine and cattle fodder while he was chief minister of Bihar state from 1990 to 1997. Eighteen former Bihar state officials, contractors and suppliers were sentenced in the case to jail terms of up to...

‘Pet’ orangutans rescued by Indonesian activists

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 08:42
Young orangutan Utu clings to one of his rescuers after he is freed from the wooden box that has been his home for five years. The tiny primate, covered in fuzzy auburn hair, is one of three Bornean orangutans saved in Indonesia over the past two weeks. Environmentalists and local officials rescued Utu and another youngster, Joy, from tiny cages where they were kept as house pets in West Kalimantan on the island of Borneo. A third orangutan named Tomang was moved from a village in the same...

Just five out of 150 short-finned pilot whales survive mass beaching in Western Australian

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 05:21
More than 150 short-finned pilot whales stranded themselves on the southwestern tip of Australia, stunning parks officials and prompting a massive rescue effort to save as many as possible. The mass beaching likely took place sometime on Wednesday night to early Thursday morning at Hamelin Bay in Western Australia, according to the state’s parks and wildlife service. Videos of the scene showed dozens of the animals piled against each other on the shore, many with their tails still...

In India’s Assam, a Rohingya-like refugee crisis in the making

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 04:00
Altaf Hossain has been distraught the past couple of months. He’s always thought he was Indian, but is now being told the country doesn’t think of him as one of its own. His name, he has learned, is missing from a new citizenship registry being drawn up by the government of his home state of Assam, where millions of people are in danger of being disenfranchised. “I am not in the first list, the authorities have supposedly found a mismatch in my family tree. My family has lived...

North Korea agrees to inter-Korean talks next week at truce village ahead of April summit

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 03:57
North Korea on Saturday agreed to hold high-level talks next week with Seoul to discuss logistics for a rare inter-Korean summit, the South’s Unification Ministry said. The two sides will each send a three-member delegation to the border truce village of Panmunjom on Thursday for talks aimed at paving the way for a summit due in late April, it said. Seoul has suggested the talks take place at the Unification Pavilion building on the northern side of Panmunjom sitting on the border. North...

The trillion-ringgit puzzle in the Malaysian election

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 02:02
It’s election season in Malaysia and it looks like this year’s political hot potato will be the national debt. National debt stands at 684 billion ringgit (US$174.31 billion), putting the country’s debt-to-gross domestic product ratio at 51 per cent. Most countries in the region have a ratio of around 41 per cent. Prime Minister Najib Razak claimed last week that if the opposition came to power on promises to abolish the goods and services tax, the national debt could reach 1....

How karaoke and Korea’s love of plastic surgery became front lines in America’s war on sex slavery

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 01:03
At the beginning of the evening, Annandale – about half an hour’s drive from Washington – seems just another unassuming town by a highway. But as night falls, it becomes clear that even though this is America, there is something quite foreign about this strip of land. Once all the neon lights come on, Annandale – a small city in Fairfax County, Northern Virginia – transforms into a Koreatown, with restaurants and karaoke bars spread out between vast intersections...

North Korea sanctions not on agenda for Japan’s foreign minister Taro Kono during Hong Kong visit

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 00:32
Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono begins a two-day visit to Hong Kong on Saturday, but North Korean sanctions will not be on the agenda for discussion after the city’s leader rejected the idea, according to a source. Kono had intended to discuss the city’s implementation of sanctions imposed on North Korea, including ways of stepping up inspection of ships, among other issues, but the Hong Kong government source told the Post that Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor had...

Donald Trump should demand denuclearisation in North Korea meeting, new security adviser John Bolton says

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 23:49
John Bolton, US President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser, said Trump should insist that any meeting he holds with North Korea’s leader must be focused squarely on how to eliminate that country’s nuclear weapons program as quickly as possible. Bolton, a hawk who Trump named on Thursday to replace H.R. McMaster in the key security role, told Radio Free Asia on Monday that discussions at the proposed summit with Kim Jong Un should be similar to those that led to...

Camels, swordsmen and China-funded jets: Pakistan flexes military might at flamboyant parade

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 20:35
It is the nuclear-armed adversary of next-door India and a mistrusted anti-terror partner of the United States. It sucks up huge chunks of the national budget, while millions of children receive next to no education or health care. But nobody puts on a parade like Pakistan’s military. Friday morning’s extravaganza before a cheering, carefully screened crowd of 70,000 at a pristine field in the capital was no exception. The occasion was Pakistan Day – March 23, 1940...

At least 13 killed, dozens injured in Vietnam condo inferno

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 11:10
Residents startled awake by loud noise and smoke signalled for help with lit mobile phones and crawled onto cranes from their balconies to escape a fire early on Friday at a large condominium complex in southern Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City. At least 13 people were killed and 28 injured, with police saying it was unclear whether anyone was missing. State media quoted the city’s police and fire service as saying police rescued more than 100 people while more than 1,000 escaped the fire...

Asia in 3 minutes: Don’t dress ‘sexy’ for Thailand’s Songkran water festival – or grow old in Japan

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 10:32
Songkran festival is no time to dress sexy, Thailand warns women Authorities in Thailand are telling women to avoid dressing in “sexy” outfits in an effort to prevent sexual harassment and sex assault cases during next month’s Songkran festival. Sutthipong Chulcharoen, director general of the Department of Local Administration, said local bodies would arrange alcohol-free zones for revellers and launch campaigns to encourage tourists, particularly women, to dress appropriately...

Mahathir resurrects ‘remote takeover’ theory in MH370 mystery

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 09:32
Malaysia’s veteran former leader Mahathir Mohamad said on Friday that missing flight MH370 might have been taken over remotely in a bid to foil a hijack, reviving one of the many conspiracy theories surrounding its disappearance. The Malaysia Airlines plane disappeared in March 2014 with 239 people – mostly from China – on board while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. No sign of the Boeing 777 jet was found in a vast search of the southern Indian Ocean and the Australian...

Scientists from Singapore and Indonesia set sail to explore marine life in West Java

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 08:27
By Neo Chai-chin It is not your typical “cruise”, but that is what one professor is calling it. A team of 30 researchers and support crew from Singapore and Indonesia is setting off on a quest to find out what crabs, prawns, fishes and other marine life dwell in the seas off western and southern Java. Over 14 days on board the Indonesian research vessel Baruna Jaya VIII, the team will use dredges, beam trawls and other gadgets to sample the range of organisms at depths of 500 metres...

Over 90 per cent of people’s woes solved, Thai Prime Minister claims

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 08:08
The government has solved more than 90 per cent of the complaints lodged with the administration, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has claimed. Gen Prayuth was speaking to villagers, who came to greet him during his visit to tambon Hua Na of Nong Bua Lam Phu’s Muang district. “The government has accepted all the complaints,” said Gen Prayuth, adding 4,000-5,000 complaints on various issues in general, including graft, were lodged with the administration every month. “We...

Record number of US Marines to train in Australia in symbolic challenge to China

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 07:09
The United States will deploy a record number of Marines to train in Australia, the Australian defence minister said on Friday, as Washington seeks to counter what it describes as Chinese aggression in the region. Payne said 1,587 US Marines will spend six months training in Australia’s remote north, an increase of nearly 27 per cent on its 2017 rotation for the programme known as the Force Posture Initiatives. “The US military plays a vital role in underwriting security and...

She wanted to watch someone die: life sentence upheld for Japanese student who killed elder with axe

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 06:14
A Japanese high court has upheld a lower-court ruling that sentenced a 22-year-old former student of Nagoya University to life in prison for the 2014 murder of an elderly woman and attempts two years earlier to kill two of her school classmates. The Nagoya High Court on Friday said the former student can be held liable for the crimes, dismissing her defence counsel’s view that she was not mentally competent. At her first trial at a district court, the ex-student said she had “wanted...

‘I’m not senile yet’: Mahathir Mohamad gatecrashes forum debating whether he’s too old to lead Malaysia

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 05:27
Sick of people sniping about his advancing years, Malaysia’s 92-year-old former leader Mahathir Mohamad gatecrashed a forum where voters were discussing whether he was too old to return as prime minister. “I am here guys. Say it to my face,” tweeted a defiant Mahathir, who is seeking the top job again as the opposition’s candidate in looming polls, with a picture of himself at the discussion late on Thursday. Mahathir, who was premier for 22 years, has returned to...

New Zealand’s only gender surgeon not performing sex-change surgeries

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 05:23
By Sarah Harris The only surgeon in New Zealand who can do sex-change surgeries is not employed to do them - frustrating the trans community who are currently waiting up to 40 years for a procedure. Dr Rita Yang started work with Counties Manukau District Health Board in January this year as a plastic surgeon. At the time her appointment gave the transgender community hope that access to gender confirmation surgeries would be sped up. But an Official Information Act response showed that is not...

AirAsia CEOs post personal apologies over luggage hurling video

Fri, 03/23/2018 - 04:47
By Jessica Lin Rough handling of luggage at airports is not uncommon. But it is rare that the top honcho of an airline would step forward to personally address a single case of baggage mishandling. AirAsia’s Group CEO earned some points for personally addressing an online video showing AirAsia ramp staff hurling passengers’ luggage from a conveyor belt. The 27-second video uploaded on Facebook on March 21 quickly went viral and garnered more than 3.1 million views in two days....

Trump to exempt metal tariffs for US allies and trading partners

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 18:33
The European Union, Australia, Argentina, Brazil and South Korea are among the nations that will get an initial exemption from looming steel and aluminium tariffs from the Trump administration, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Thursday. US President Donald Trump is planning to impose tariffs of 25 per cent on imported steel and 10 per cent on aluminium - trade penalties aimed at China for flooding the world with cheap steel and aluminium. China facing US$50b in punitive tariffs...

Arrest warranted reportedly issued for former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak on corruption charges

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 16:09
A South Korea court issued an arrest warrant for former president Lee Myung-bak on corruption charges on Thursday, Yonhap news agency reported, days after he faced a marathon interrogation by prosecutors. The 76-year-old, who served from 2008 to 2013, is the latest of several ex-leaders to be embroiled in a criminal inquiry and is being investigated for multiple cases of bribery amounting to millions of dollars. Prosecutors had raised fears he may destroy evidence if not detained. Yonhap...

Maldives President Abdulla Yameen lifts state of emergency but enemies vow to fight on

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 15:17
Maldives President Abdulla Yameen lifted a 45-day state of emergency on Thursday, a day after senior political opponents were charged with trying to topple him last month. Attorney General Mohamed Anil said Yameen had decided not to extend the draconian laws he invoked on February 5 following a Supreme Court ruling that threatened to lead to his impeachment. “The President has decided to end the emergency at midnight,” Anil said. Yameen initially declared the state of emergency for...

Can Philippine storm survivors hold major companies responsible for contributing to climate change?

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 15:04
Veronica Cabe still remembers every minute of the more than 12 hours she and her family spent huddled on the roof of their two-storey home in Manila in 2009, as floodwaters swept past, carrying dead bodies, animal carcasses and coffins. Typhoon Ketsana, which killed about 500 people, was the most devastating typhoon to hit the Philippine capital in decades. As the frequency and intensity of storms increased, Cabe began to speak up about holding someone responsible. In 2015, she became a...

‘Singapore’s laws to stop fake news could backfire,’ according to Google and Facebook

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 13:31
Internet giants Facebook and Google on Thursday testified before a parliamentary committee in Singapore as they warned the city state against introducing new laws to combat “fake news”, saying that existing legislation is adequate to address the problem. Their warnings were made to a parliamentary committee which is examining possible measures, including legislation, to tackle false online information which the government says could threaten national security. Executives from...

Malaysian police deny scapegoating Kim Jong-nam’s accused killers after failing to catch North Korean plotters

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 13:11
A Malaysian police investigator said on Thursday the absence of four North Korean suspects believed to have orchestrated the killing of their leader’s half-brother didn’t cause prejudice against the two women who are on trial. Defence lawyers say Doan Thi Huong of Vietnam and Siti Aisyah of Indonesia are scapegoats in the death of Kim Jong-nam at Kuala Lumpur’s airport on February 13 last year. Prosecutors say four North Korean suspects recruited the women and provided them...

Philippine police kill 13 suspects, arrest 100 in 24 hours of drug raids in Bulacan province

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 12:07
Philippine police said they killed 13 drug suspects and arrested more than 100 suspected dealers and criminals in 24 hours of raids in a province with a record of bloody crackdowns. The suspects were killed in gun battles with police in a city and eight towns in Bulacan province just north of Manila, said police Senior Superintendent Romeo Caramat Jnr. More than 70 raids were launched in Bulacan on Wednesday, leading to the arrests of 109 people, including 92 suspected drug dealers and users,...

Two foreign tourists killed in helicopter crash on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 10:42
A helicopter carrying American tourists crashed at a coral-viewing site on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, killing two passengers from Hawaii and injuring two others from Colorado, police said. The helicopter pilot pulled one passenger from the wreckage after Wednesday’s crash but desperate attempts to revive the 65-year-old woman failed, Police Inspector Ian Haughton said Thursday. A 79-year-old man also died despite bystanders’ attempts to resuscitate him, Haughton said. A...

Commonwealth Games abandons data mining after Facebook scandal, choosing to take ‘a cautious approach’

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 09:57
A plan to mine data from Commonwealth Games visitors who use free and fast Wi-fi in Australia was abandoned on Thursday as a privacy scandal swirls around social media giant Facebook. The local Gold Coast council is offering a service up to 10 times normal speed after laying new fibre cables to coincide with the multi-sport event next month, which is contested between nations that are members of the Commonwealth. But there was a catch. To use it, they wanted people to log on through a Facebook...

45 countries urge Cambodia to conduct free election, release opposition leader Kem Sokha

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 09:16
Forty-five countries called on Cambodia on Wednesday to reinstate the main opposition party, release its jailed leader and ensure a July general election is free and fair. A statement on the human rights situation in Cambodia read by New Zealand on behalf of 45 of the council’s 47 countries, including the United States, Germany, Australia and United Kingdom, said previous optimism had been “replaced by deep concern” regarding a decline in civil and political rights in Cambodia...

Chinese among 13 holiday hikers rescued from snowy Tokyo mountain after overnight ordeal

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 07:50
Thirteen holiday hikers, including Chinese citizens, have been rescued after getting trapped overnight on a snowy Tokyo mountain trail. They spent the night on one of the mountains in the Okutama region, Tokyo’s popular hiking area. The group included teens and people in their 40s. They made an emergency call from a mobile phone at about 7:45pm Wednesday. Tokyo police and disaster officials said Thursday that seven of them who couldn’t walk were airlifted. Six others hiked down...

‘Dog paparazzi’ rule delayed indefinitely in South Korea

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 07:44
By Kwak Yeon-soo The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said Thursday it will implement stricter rules and enforce heavier fines against owners who walk around without putting a leash on their dogs. This comes after growing calls for stricter animal laws sparked by a series of fatal dog bites, including the death of a woman who was bitten by a French bulldog owned by K-pop idol Choi Si-won of Super Junior. Those who do not put a leash on their dogs in public could be fined up to...

Cheap air fares blamed for school attendance falling to new low in New Zealand

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 07:25
By Simon Collins School principals in New Zealand are blaming record-low school attendance rates on cheap air fares tempting families into taking more holidays in term time. The Education Ministry says only 63 per cent of all school students attended school “regularly” - defined as at least 90 per cent of the half-days - in the second term last year, down from a previous low of 66 per cent in the same term of 2013. For the first time the Maori attendance rate dropped to just 50 per...

India, the world’s cheapest space explorer, plans to build structures on the moon

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 07:10
India, which sent an orbiter to Mars at about 1/10th the cost of Nasa’s Maven probe, is examining how to build habitations on the moon. “ISRO, along with academic institutions, is doing experimentation on potential structures for lunar habitation,” Jitendra Singh, the junior minister for space, told lawmakers on Wednesday, referring to the Indian Space Research Organisation. “Various options are being studied about the requirements and complexities of habitats.”...

Food, shopping, photo weddings: Japan is in love with big spending Hong Kong tourists

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 06:51
With trips to Japan being so popular among people from Hong Kong, Tokyo sees the city as a testing ground for trying out various initiatives and analysing behavioural patterns as it seeks to attract more foreign tourists. A record 2.2 million Hongkongers visited Japan in 2017, up 21.3 per cent from the previous year, according to the Japan National Tourism Organisation. This means that more than one in three people from Hong Kong have visited Japan, and almost 21 per cent of them have done so...

Sridevi the dancing bear was rescued from streets of Nepal, but died after being put on display in a squalid zoo cage

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 05:30
One of Nepal’s last known dancing bears that was recently rescued has died after being transferred to a zoo, an animal-rights activist said Wednesday, blaming the death on “negligence”. The two sloth bears were rescued in southern Nepal in December last year from a pair of itinerant street performers who used the animals for entertainment. Soon after their rescue, the bears – 19-year-old male Rangila and Sridevi, a 17-year-old female – were transferred to a zoo...

To avoid sexual assault, don’t be sexy, says Thai government

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 05:29
By Gregory Morrissey and Penchan Charoensuthipan Authorities in Thailand are telling women to avoid dressing in ‘sexy’ outfits as they try to prevent sexual harassment or sex assault cases during next month’s Songkran festival. Department of Local Administration department director-general Sutthipong Chulcharoen said local bodies would arrange alcohol-free zones for revellers and launch campaigns to encourage tourists, particularly women, to dress appropriately so they do not...

At least 17 killed in Thailand after double decker bus crashes into tree

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 04:56
At least 17 people were killed and dozens of others wounded when a bus travelling in northeastern Thailand veered off the road and smashed into a tree, authorities said Thursday. The accident occurred Wednesday evening in Thailand’s Nakhon Ratchasima province with the double decker bus carrying around 50 people returning home from a holiday. “The current death toll is 17, and 33 are injured,” an official from the Nakhon Ratchasima provincial emergency medical service said....

Singapore has ‘world’s best airport’ for sixth year in a row

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 04:15
By Andrew Wong Singapore’s Changi Airport has been named “world’s best airport” for the sixth consecutive year — as regional rival Hong Kong came in fourth place. The 2018 iteration of the annual World Airport Awards from research group Skytrax was based on 13.73 million survey questionnaires across more than 500 airports worldwide, taking place from August 2017 to February 2018, the firm said. “To be voted the World’s Best Airport for the sixth...

Japanese ‘serial killer’ to be served with 10th arrest warrant in murder of nine people

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 21:46
Police are set to serve another arrest warrant on a 27-year-old man over the murder of a high schoolgirl last year, the 10th arrest warrant served on the suspect who has admitted to killing and dismembering nine people at his flat near Tokyo, investigative sources said on Wednesday. Natsumi Kubo, a 17-year-old from Saitama Prefecture near Tokyo, is the last of the nine victims Takahiro Shiraishi has admitted to murdering. No charges have yet been brought against Shiraishi. The police are...

Japan’s hi-tech condoms likely to be in demand at Tokyo Olympics as manufacturers sense marketing coup

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 13:23
Japanese condom makers are ramping up preparations ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, seeing a golden opportunity to showcase their world-record ultra-thin products. For years, hundreds of thousands of condoms have been distributed for free to competitors at Olympic Games in a bid to encourage safe sex among the world’s fittest athletes. The tradition provides prophylactic producers with a potentially unrivalled marketing opportunity. In Japan, condom makers are hoping the Olympics...

Singapore passes media blackout law that blocks electronic communication after terror attack, raising concerns about crackdown on press

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 10:26
Singapore’s parliament on Wednesday passed a controversial law giving authorities the power to block all electronic communications at the scene of a terror attack, despite protests it will erode media freedom. The law allows police to stop anyone within the vicinity of what they deem to be a “serious incident”, including a terror attack, from taking photos and video or communicating about police operations through text and audio messages. The government claims the affluent...

More trouble in paradise as Maldives ex-dictator is charged with terrorism

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 08:55
Maldives authorities have charged former strongman Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and several senior judges with “terrorism” for attempting to topple President Abdulla Yameen, the government said Wednesday. Eighty-year-old Gayoom and 10 others – including the sacked chief justice Abdulla Saeed – were charged under state of emergency laws imposed in the paradise tourist island last month. Yameen declared the draconian laws in February in a bid to prevent himself from being...

Thais spend one-tenth of their day watching YouTube

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 08:55
By Nanat Suchiva Thai people spend an average of 2.4 hours watching YouTube each day, reflecting opportunities for brands and advertisers, says YouTube Thailand. YouTube Thailand, an affiliate company of the world’s top video streaming platform, reports that 46 million Thais watch YouTube. People in urban areas average 2.4 hours a day and spend 70 minutes per visit, while those in rural areas spend 2.1 hours a day and 60 minutes per visit. Ben King, Google Thailand’s country...

‘Disregard for human life’: US police officer charged with murder of unarmed Australian woman Justine Damond

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 08:24
A police officer in the US state of Minnesota who shot dead an unarmed Australian woman last July was charged on Tuesday with murder, in a case that sparked an international outcry. Mohamed Noor shot Justine Damond, a resident of the city of Minneapolis, after she called to report a possible rape in the evening hours, and approached the police car that had arrived to investigate. “From the short time between when Ms Damond Ruszczyk approached the squad car, to the time that Officer Noor...

South Korea to investigate employers of migrant workers as part of sex crime prevention

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 06:46
By Jung Min-ho and Kang Aa-young The South Korean government will carry out a month-long inspection of employers of migrant workers. As part of an effort to better protect female workers from sex crimes amid the #MeToo movement, the country’s Ministry of Employment and Labour said Monday it will check more than 500 workplaces across the country between March 20 and April 27. “The main targets of our inspection this time are the workplaces where the ratio of female workers is high,...

Porn plays on large billboard near busy Manila motorway

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 06:35
The mayor of the major financial hub in the Philippines said on Wednesday she was investigating after a pornographic video appeared briefly on a prominent billboard, startling motorists on one of the bustling city’s major roadways. The video appeared for about half a minute on an electronic billboard at a busy intersection on the main road through Makati City, the central business district of the sprawling capital, Manila, on Tuesday afternoon. Makati Mayor Abigail Binay immediately...

Myanmar president resigns to ‘take rest’ from duties

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 06:18
Myanmar’s civilian president, Htin Kyaw, has resigned with immediate effect “in order to take rest from the current duties and responsibilities”, his office said in a statement posted on Facebook on Wednesday. Htin Kyaw, whose post is largely ceremonial, has been a close ally of the country’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. He was hand-picked by the Nobel Peace Prize laureate to become president because a constitution drafted by the country’s former junta bars...

North Korea breaks silence as South’s leader Moon Jae-in floats three-way summit with US

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 05:44
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said a three-way summit with North Korea and the United States was possible as Pyongyang broke its silence on the recent diplomatic thaw. Moon is planning a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un next month after a flurry of diplomatic activity in Asia, Europe and the United States. US President Donald Trump has also said he would meet Kim by the end of May. “A North Korea-US summit would be a historic event in itself following an inter-Korean...

19 dead in Philippines as bus plunges off cliff

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 04:54
Nineteen people were killed and 21 others injured when a passenger bus lost control and plunged off a cliff in the central Philippines, police said Wednesday. The bus, which was heading to the capital Manila, skidded off a mountain road on Mindoro island late Tuesday, said regional police spokeswoman Imelda Tolentino. Rescuers were pulling the dead and injured from the vehicle, which landed at the bottom of a wooded ravine, she added. “Police are investigating why the driver lost control...

Woman in New Zealand faked a baby shower and wore a pregnant suit before kidnapping a newborn

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 04:10
By Sam Hurley A hoax baby shower, fake pregnancy suit and an adoption claim preceded a newborn’s kidnapping in New Zealand as a young woman’s infatuation with being pregnant grew. Nadene Faye Manukau-Togiavalu was working as a nanny for a family with a baby girl at their Epsom home in Auckland. Her pregnancy delusion culminated with the kidnapping of the newborn. Today, details of Manukau-Togiavalu’s offending were heard in the High Court at Auckland as her co-offender and 18-...

Shock as Australian casino mogul James Packer quits empire over ‘mental health issues’

Wed, 03/21/2018 - 01:25
Australian tycoon James Packer Wednesday quit as director of his gaming empire Crown Resorts as he battles “mental health issues”, stepping back from all commitments, his company said in a stunning and unexpected announcement. The billionaire mogul has been in the spotlight for personal reasons in recent years following his high-profile engagement and subsequent split from US diva Mariah Carey. He was also questioned by police in December over a corruption probe involving Israeli...

Japan, China and South Korea summit eyed for early May

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 20:44
Japan, China and South Korea have agreed in principle to hold a trilateral summit in early May, possibly on May 8 to 9, several diplomatic sources said on Tuesday. The three-way summit was last held in November 2015 in Seoul. At the meeting to be chaired by Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are expected to discuss steps to boost cooperation in the fields of economy, environment and culture. The meeting will take place in the...

Malaysia’s Najib denies using Cambridge Analytica, accuses Mahathir’s son

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 13:12
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Tuesday denied claims his government had ever engaged the tainted data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, and instead accused his rival Mahathir Mohamad’s son as the person who had used the company’s controversial services before he crossed aisles to join the opposition. Speculation about Cambridge Analytica’s involvement in Malaysia has been swirling since one of the company’s senior executives was secretly recorded by Britain...

South Korea to send K-pop singers to perform in Pyongyang as nuclear tensions ease

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 10:30
A group of South Korea’s K-pop singers will visit Pyongyang from March 31, the South said on Tuesday, a reciprocal visit after North Korea sent performers to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. The South Koreans, numbering about 160, will visit North Korea until April 3, the South’s Ministry of Unification said in a statement, for the first such performances in more than a decade. The group will include K-pop girl group Red Velvet and music industry veterans Cho Yong-pil and Lee Sun-...

Drug abuser in Singapore gets five years in jail and six strokes of the cane for drug offences and holding toddler hostage

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 10:24
By Faris Mokhtar A drug abuser who kidnapped and held his girlfriend’s two-year-old son hostage for 17 hours in 2016 was sentenced to five years’ jail and six strokes of the cane on Tuesday (March 20). Muhammad Iskandah Suhaimi, 40, was convicted of four charges last year for kidnapping the toddler, possessing and consuming methamphetamine, as well as for illegally possessing a knuckleduster. The court heard that at about 4pm on September 27, 2016, just seconds after his girlfriend...

Indian real estate firm partnering with Trump Organisation accused of cheating investors out of US$150 million

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 10:15
An Indian company that is partnering with the Trump Organisation on an office tower project has been accused of running an elaborate real estate swindle that cheated investors out of nearly US$150 million, according to complaints filed with Indian authorities. Ramesh Sanka, the former CEO of the real estate firm IREO, said in the documents he saw “various acts of cheating, fraud and misappropriation of money” at his one-time employer that created “huge wrongful gains...

Australian court told of fresh abuse allegations against George Pell, the Vatican’s finance chief

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 09:29
Fresh allegations have been made against Vatican finance chief Cardinal George Pell, an Australian court was told on Tuesday during a hearing to determine if he should stand trial on historical sexual offence charges. The 76-year-old, who is a top adviser to Pope Francis, is on leave and returned to Australia to fight the allegations which relate to incidents that allegedly occurred long ago. The exact details and nature of the accusations have not been made public, other than they involve...

Japanese cherry blossom season is here but trees could be wiped out by foreign species of beetle

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 08:45
After a long and cold winter, the much anticipated announcement that cherry blossom season has finally arrived in eastern Japan has been greeted with enthusiasm. That excitement has been curbed, however, by the warning an invasion by a foreign species of beetle from mainland Asia could decimate the nation’s cherry trees in just a few years. Few things are as quintessentially Japanese as cherry blossoms – the delicate pink flowers rank alongside the profile of Mount Fuji and...

The drug lord known as ‘Mr X’ escapes death, but is jailed for life by a Thailand court for smuggling tonnes of meth

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 07:41
A major Laos drug lord dubbed ‘Mr X’ was jailed for life on Tuesday by a Bangkok court, as Thailand battles record meth trafficking through its borders. Xaysana Keopimpha, a swaggering Laotian who before his arrest paraded his celebrity links and penchant for sports cars on social media, was picked up at Bangkok’s main airport in January last year. He was accused of being a kingpin in a meth smuggling ring that funnelled tonnes of Myanmar made ‘yaba’ pills and ice...

Cambodia jails British man for unintentionally producing pornography at ‘dirty dancing’ party

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 07:00
A Cambodian court on Tuesday suspended 10 months of a one-year jail term it handed to a British man found guilty of producing pornography in connection with a party in the town of Siem Reap, home to the ruins of Angkor Wat. Cambodia, a conservative Buddhist country, is frequented by young tourists backpacking through Southeast Asia. Daniel Jones, who was tried on Thursday in the Siem Reap provincial court, was among 10 foreigners the police detained in a January 25 raid on the event, called...

Biometric payments are attractive for Singaporeans who just want to forget PINs and passwords

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 06:39
By Jessica Lin When it comes to ensuring secure transactions, Singaporeans are keen on using biometric identification methods, a new survey has found. In a study conducted by Visa, 97 per cent of 500 Singapore consumers said they were interested in using biometric methods to verify their identity, while 96 per cent said they would like to use such methods for making payments. For most, biometric methods represent the elimination of passwords and PINs. As many as 41 per cent also said that...

Video of New Zealand criminal offenders’ ‘special treats’ and birthday cakes blasted by victims

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 06:11
By Anna Leask A video posted by the Waitemata District Health Board explaining how patients in a forensic mental health facility – many referred there for horrendous criminal offending – get birthday cakes, special Easter treats and movie nights has upset and infuriated victims’ families. They are appalled that the DHB is flaunting staff “going above and beyond” to celebrate milestones that their loved ones will forever miss out on and say the video is...

Japan marks anniversary of Tokyo subway gas attack as 13 cult members brace for word they’ll be sent to the gallows

Tue, 03/20/2018 - 05:54
Japan on Tuesday marked the 23rd anniversary of a deadly sarin attack on the Tokyo metro, as speculation grows that members of the cult behind it could soon be executed. At a solemn ceremony at Kasumigaseki station, one of the targets of the 1995 attacks which is surrounded by key government buildings, Tokyo subway staff gathered to observe a moment of silence and offer flowers. Thirteen people were killed and thousands more injured when members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult dumped bags of sarin on...

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