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18 killed in Pakistan suicide bomb attack at religious shrine

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 20:00
A suicide bombing at a shrine in southwest Pakistan killed 18 people and wounded more than 30 on Thursday in the latest sectarian attack in Balochistan province, authorities said. Minority Islamic groups in the province are routinely attacked by militant outfits including Islamic State, which has claimed responsibility for several bombings. A police officer apprehended the bomber at the entrance to the Sufi shrine and was among those killed, but his heroic action reduced the number of...

Talks to form New Zealand coalition kick off, but no decision until after final count

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 16:45
New Zealand First Party leader Winston Peters began talks on Thursday with the governing National Party and opposition Labour Party aimed at forming a coalition government after last month’s inconclusive election. Peters, whose nationalist party holds the balance of power, has said no decision will be made until after a final vote count is released on Saturday. “It’s like being between the devil and the deep blue sea here,” Peters said, according to The New Zealand...

Japan’s punishing work culture back under the spotlight as broadcaster reveals woman died after 159 hours of overtime

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 16:30
Japan has again been forced to confront its work culture after labour inspectors ruled that the death of a 31-year-old employee of the country’s public broadcaster, NHK, had been caused by overwork. Miwa Sado, who worked at the broadcaster’s headquarters in Tokyo, logged 159 hours of overtime and took only two days off in the month leading up to her death from heart failure in July 2013. A labour standards office in Tokyo later attributed her death to karoshi (death from overwork)...

Philippines chief justice facing impeachment after lawmakers agree to proceed with complaint

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 12:31
A Philippine congressional committee on Thursday allowed an impeachment complaint against the country’s chief justice to proceed a day after President Rodrigo Duterte said he wanted to submit further charges against her and an anticorruption official. The House justice committee, dominated by Duterte’s allies, voted 25 to 2 to find sufficient grounds to allow more extensive discussion of the complaint filed by a lawyer against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. The...

Marcos son ‘Bongbong’ confident of being declared Duterte’s vice-president after Philippines vote recount

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 12:30
The son and namesake of late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared Thursday he was confident of ousting the current vice-president in a legal challenge, which would place him a heartbeat away from leading his country. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jnr also confirmed his family was in talks with President Rodrigo Duterte, a political ally, to end the government’s three-decade hunt for billions of dollars worth of national assets allegedly stolen by his father and...

‘Still our number one ally’: Philippines hails US, welcomes war games after Duterte vows closer ties

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 11:44
The Philippines’ military chief hailed the United States as his nation’s “number one ally” and announced a return of regular war games, following President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for warmer ties. Duterte last week vowed to be “friendly” with the US, signalling an end to relentless criticism that included a pledge to end all joint military exercises and calling then president Barack Obama a “son of a whore”. Military chief General Eduardo Ano...

Malaysia’s central bank deciding if cryptocurrencies should be banned

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 11:10
Bank Negara Malay­sia (BNM) is still deciding if cryptocurrencies should be banned altogether in Malay­sia. When asked if there were any plans to ban cryptocurrencies similar to what has been done by China’s government, BNM governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim said: “it is something that we will be deciding by the end of the year.” Muhammad said that the guidelines that will be issued by the end of the year will tell how would the country approach cryptocurrencies....

Golden jubilee: Brunei celebrates 50 years at throne for sultan of bling

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 10:09
Brunei’s all-powerful and fabulously wealthy sultan marked 50 years on the throne in spectacular style Thursday, travelling in a gilded chariot through the streets and holding a tradition-filled ceremony at his golden-domed palace. Tens of thousands of well-wishers waving the country’s flag lined the streets and cheered as Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the world’s second-longest reigning monarch, passed by in a chariot pulled by dozens of his subjects. Marching bands took part in...

Former medal winning New Zealand Olympian targeted in alleged cheque fraud

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 09:30
By Sam Hurley A New Zealand Olympic great and politician was the target of an alleged bank fraud scheme. Dick Quax has been named in court documents alongside his wife Roxanne Bakke as the complainants in a criminal case currently before the Manukau District Court. The silver medal-winning Olympic runner confirmed to the Herald he has been in contact with investigating police after an electrician was charged with using bank cheques in Quax and Bakke’s names. James Alexander...

Poison VX found on clothes of women accused of Kim Jong-nam murder

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 09:00
Traces of a nerve agent used to murder the half-brother of North Korea’s leader were found on the clothes of two women on trial for assassinating him, a chemist testified Thursday. His testimony is the first evidence directly linking the women to the poison VX which was used to kill Kim Jong-nam as he waited at a crowded airport in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong are accused of smearing VX on Kim’s face in February in a...

Animal activists rescue 46 cats from Malaysia apartment

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 08:23
Forty-six cats neglected were rescued by a police team from an apartment in Bandar Baru Sentul, Kuala Lumpur following a complaint lodged by animal rights activists. The chairman of Sahabat Kucing Jalanan, Mohd Rosli Mohd Ariffin said he and a group of netizens had suspected that an unemployed man had exploited the cats to make money. The man was said to have used his Facebook account to solicit financial contributions, purportedly to buy cat food and for the treatment of his sick cats....

Nine interesting facts about the October funeral of Thailand's late King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 08:19
The funeral of Thailand’s late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was known as Rama IX, will take place over five days in October with hundreds of thousands of mourners expected to attend. For many Thais it will be their first experience of a royal funeral of a monarch. King Bhumibol ruled Thailand for more than seven decades and was widely regarded as the nation’s moral compass during decades of on-off political unrest. King Bhumibol, 88, died on October 13, 2016. The country has been in...

US and South Korea agree to renegotiate ‘job killer’ free trade pact

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 05:18
The United States and South Korea effectively agreed Wednesday to renegotiate a five-year-old bilateral free trade agreement after US President Donald Trump’s administration blamed the deal for widening the US trade deficit. The agreement was reached during talks in Washington between US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and South Korean trade minister Kim Hyun-chong, according to South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. The two countries shared an understanding of...

US, North Korea balk at using back channels to discuss a halt to Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 00:59
The US and North Korea have three direct back-channels to talk about American prisoners and broad bilateral relations, but have not used them for formal negotiations on Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme, analysts say. The channels include Pyongyang’s representative at the United Nations in New York, informal dialogue between US civilian experts and North Korean diplomats in a third country, and the Swedish embassy’s representing the US’s interests in Pyongyang....

Brunei’s sultan to mark 50 years on throne with lavish festivities in his golden palace

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 00:13
Brunei’s all-powerful sultan will mark 50 years on the throne on Thursday with lavish celebrations including a glittering procession, a 21-gun salute and a ceremony at his vast, golden-domed palace. The festivities for Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah – which will include the monarch being carried past huge crowds of well-wishers in a chariot – are the centrepiece of events to mark his golden jubilee. The 71-year-old, the world’s second-longest reigning monarch, ascended to the...

City of Oxford to strip Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi of award over treatment of Rohingya

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 11:31
Aung San Suu Kyi will be stripped of the Freedom of the City of Oxford, where she studied as an undergraduate, over her response to the Rohingya crisis. Oxford city council voted unanimously to support a cross-party motion that said it was “no longer appropriate” to celebrate the de facto leader of Myanmar. The council is to hold a special meeting to confirm the honour’s removal on November 27. The council leader, Bob Price, supported the motion, reportedly calling it an...

Thai Brothers caught with 400kg of crystal meth

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 11:30
Two men in Thailand were arrested and 400 kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine seized by police after two vehicles were stopped at night on a back road near the border in Chiang Mai province. The suspects were identified as Niranddon Raothao, 29, and Santi Raothao, 23, who are brothers living in Mae Wang district of Chiang Mai, Thai media reported. They were detained at a narcotics suppression checkpoint set up about 11.30pm on Sunday on a road in Chiang Mai’s Mae Suay district...

Mongolia’s macho new PM is nicknamed ‘Fist’ – and he’s an admirer of Putin

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 11:17
Mongolia named a new prime minister Wednesday, weeks after the previous leader and his cabinet were voted out over corruption allegations. Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh – a former deputy PM known for his macho image, having posed shirtless Putin-style with a hunting gun – was selected by the ruling Mongolia People’s Party (MPP), which took power in a landslide election victory a little over a year ago. Ex-premier Jargaltulgiin Erdenebat was ousted in early September by legislators who...

Malaysian magistrate allows mother to decide sentence on son

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 11:00
In a move rarely seen in Malaysian courts, a magistrate today gave a mother the opportunity to decide the sentence on her son for threatening her life with a pair of scissors. Magistrate Nik Habri Muhamad allowed Rahimah Abdul Rahman, 52, to sentence her son, Adam Abdullah, 28, who committed the offence at Lot 2606 Kampung Terap Banggu at 9.30am on June 19. Adam was charged under Section 506 of the Penal Code which provides for jail sentence of two years’ or fine or both upon...

UN maritime tribunal elects South Korean as president, triggering concerns in Japan over disputed sea

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 10:54
The appointment of a South Korean legal expert to the United Nations tribunal that oversees maritime disputes has caused concern in Japan over whether he will use the position to push Seoul’s agenda on a long-contested stretch of water between the two nations. Paik Jin-hyun was on Monday elected as president of The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), which handles global maritime issues under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, for a period of three years. South...

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