SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

Singapore promises not to cane suspected bank robber if UK sends him back to face trial

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 12:51
Singapore has agreed not to cane a man accused of carrying out a rare bank robbery in the city state if Britain extradites him to face charges, officials said on Tuesday. David Roach, a Canadian citizen, is wanted in Singapore for allegedly stealing Sg$30,000 (US$22,700) from a Standard Chartered bank branch in 2016 after strolling in and presenting a threatening note. He fled to Bangkok, where he was jailed on charges related to bringing the stolen cash into Thailand but authorities refused to...

‘Everything will be evaluated’: Indonesia suspends infrastructure projects after string of accidents

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 11:55
Indonesia has suspended the construction of elevated infrastructure projects, including rail and roads, after a series of accidents raised questions about the safety of a government drive to upgrade transport networks. Minister of Public Works and Housing Basuki Hadimuljono, who is in charge of infrastructure construction, on Tuesday said the government would suspend all construction of elevated infrastructure. “Design, equipment and standard operating procedures will be evaluated....

Fukushima operator Tepco told to compensate for suicide of 102-year-old

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 11:22
A Japanese court on Tuesday ordered the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant to compensate relatives of a 102-year-old man who killed himself at the prospect of fleeing his home. The Fukushima District Court ordered Tokyo Electric Co (TEPCO) to pay 15.2 million yen (US$143,400) in damages to the family of Fumio Okubo, according to their lawyer Yukio Yasuda. Okubo was the oldest resident of Iitate village, 40km (25 miles) from the tsunami-hit Fukushima Daiichi plant on Japan’s...

Lynch mob drags two men from police station in India, beats them to death for rape and murder of young girl

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 11:20
Two men suspected of raping and murdering a five-year-old girl in a remote northeast Indian state were dragged from a police station and lynched by an enraged mob, police said Tuesday. The girl’s disappearance from Lohit district of Arunachal Pradesh state, and the discovery of her badly disfigured body, sparked widespread anger. The accused, both plantation workers from neighbouring Assam state, were being questioned by police in a town called Tezu, when a hundreds-strong mob carrying...

Malaysian artist jailed for clown face caricature of PM Najib Razak that went viral

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 10:48
A Malaysian artist was jailed for a month Tuesday for publishing a caricature of scandal-plagued Prime Minister Najib Razak looking like a clown, the latest government critic to be imprisoned. Fahmi Reza’s picture of the premier wearing powder-white clown make-up, with evilly arched eyebrows and blood-red lips, went viral and the image was widely used in demonstrations against Najib. His lawyer Syahredzan Johan said Fahmi, 40, was jailed and fined 30,000 ringgit (US$7,700) by a court in...

World's tallest wooden skyscraper planned in Tokyo

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 09:57
By Holly Ellyatt A Japanese company is planning to build the world's tallest wooden skyscraper with 90 per cent of the building made of wood. Sumitomo Forestry says its wooden high-rise — dubbed the W350 — will be 350 meters tall and the planned structure will be a hybrid of mostly wood and steel. The 70-storey building, expected to be built in Tokyo, will comprise of stores, offices, hotels and private homes, the company noted in plans released earlier in February...

‘Rare union’: Nepal’s ruling Communist Party merges with Maoists for super bloc

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 09:28
Nepal’s ruling party has merged with a former Maoist rebel group to form a super bloc that experts say will reshape politics after years of turbulence in the Himalayan nation. Officials said Tuesday the new alliance, the Nepal Communist Party, was formally signed into agreement following late-night negotiations between the two sides Monday. They forged a political alliance to trounce the incumbent party in last year’s landmark general elections, but this formal merger creates a...

Battleground Malaysia: China extends crackdown on Uygurs across borders

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 09:11
Malaysia has emerged as the latest battleground pitting Chinese efforts to export its security notions against principles of the rule of law. The Malaysian Bar Association warned in a pithy statement last week that granting a Chinese demand for the extradition of 11 Uygurs from Malaysia would constitute a violation of international law. If Malaysia’s past record is anything to go by, prospects for the Uygurs who face certain detention in China are not good. “The Malaysian government...

‘Trump is here. Are you invited?’ US president’s son in India to sell luxury flats

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 08:24
The eldest son of US President Donald Trump has arrived in India to help sell luxury flats and lavish attention on wealthy Indians who have already bought units in Trump-branded developments. Donald Trump Jnr posed for photos Tuesday morning with Indian developers, who are building the complexes in four cities. Later in the week, he is expected to make a speech about Indo-Pacific relations at a New Delhi business summit, sharing the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Trump...

US F-16 fighter jet drops fuel tanks in Japan lake after engine catches fire

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 07:25
Japan’s defence ministry demanded explanations Tuesday from the US military after a fighter jet experiencing an engine fire dropped two fuel tanks into a lake in the country’s north. The incident, which caused no injuries, is the latest in a string of accidents involving the US military that have prompted concern from Japanese officials and renewed criticism of the US military presence in the country. “We are asking the US side to explain what happened and its cause, and we...

Religious teacher blames WeChat for LGBT movement in Malaysia and proposes a North Korea-esque approach

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 07:19
By Jonathan Loh An Islamic religious teacher has called for a near dictatorial level of control by the government over online media access to support the suppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) sentiment among the Malaysian community  Ustaz Hanafiah Abd Malek said in a report by The Malay Mail Online that the Malaysian government should adopt North Korea’s strict control of the internet to handle the LGBT community.  Hanafiah cited examples of North Korea...

Lagging e-commerce spending inches up in Thailand

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 06:58
By Suchit Leesa-Nguansuk E-commerce spending in Thailand has inched higher, but is still lower than the global average. Thailand’s average e-commerce spending per user for consumer goods is US$248 (7,782 baht), compared with the global median of US$833 (26,141 baht), according to a study by social media management platform Hootsuite and global agency We Are Social. Some 52 per cent of the Thai population who buy items online do so via mobile phone (m-commerce), behind only South Korea at...

Family of murdered Cambodian government critic Kem Ley arrive in Australia as refugees after fleeing country in fear

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 06:51
The family of murdered Cambodian government critic Kem Ley, whose 2016 death sparked major street protests against Prime Minister Hun Sen, has been granted a special humanitarian refugee visa by Australia and landed in the country. Kem’s Ley wife Bou Rachana and her five children arrived in the southern Australian city of Melbourne on Saturday, the office of Victorian state MP Hong Lim said Tuesday. “They were granted a Special Humanitarian Visa on 14 February 2018 … We are...

Controversial Australian fitness blogger Ashy Bines launches new programme targeting babies

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 06:18
Controversial Australian fitness blogger Ashy Bines is making headlines again, this time for her newly launched programme aimed at babies and children. The personal trainer and Instagram star from the Gold Coast has launched an "edu-tainment programme" that is aimed at children as young as 12 months old.  "Ashy and Friends" is an animated DVD series described as "a fun-packed music, fitness and education show for 1 to 6-year-olds". The show...

Latvia’s ABLV Bank in crisis after US accuses it of helping North Korea bust sanctions

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 06:08
Latvia’s ABLV Bank sought emergency support on Monday after US officials accused it of helping breach North Korean sanctions while the country’s central bank chief faced bribery allegations, turning up the spotlight on its financial system. The Baltic country, which is a member of the euro zone and shares a border with Russia, has come under increasing scrutiny recently as a conduit for illicit financial activities. Last year, two Latvian banks were fined more than 2.8 million euros...

Bangkok court gives Japanese man who lived in Hong Kong custody of 13 children born to Thai surrogate mothers

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 05:10
A Bangkok court on Tuesday granted a Japanese man “sole parent” rights to 13 babies fathered through Thai surrogate mothers, a ruling that paves the way for him to take custody of the children. “For the happiness and opportunities of the 13 children … the court rules that all who were born from surrogacy to be legal children of the plaintiff,” Bangkok’s Central Juvenile Court said in a statement. Mitsutoki Shigeta was deemed the “sole parent” of...

My bar crawl with Kim Jong-un (the Hong Kong-born one)

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 04:37
It is a rare night when you find yourself on a chilly street corner waiting for a car to arrive for a rendezvous with Kim Jong-un. Rarer still when Kim decides tonight is the night to go on a bar crawl. Two things are not as they seem, though. The first is that Kim is a teetotaller, making a the bar trip a potentially fruitless exercise. The second is that Kim is not Kim – he’s a Hong-Kong born Australian called Howard. Howard hit the headlines last week when he attempted to...

Maldives president seeks to extend state of emergency amid strife over opposition arrests

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 17:00
Maldives President Abdulla Yameen on Monday sought parliamentary approval to extend a state of emergency for 15 days in the Indian Ocean archipelago as “the situation has not changed”, a top parliamentary official said. Yameen imposed the emergency on February 5 for 15 days to annul a Supreme Court ruling that quashed convictions against nine opposition leaders and ordered his government to free those held in prison. The state of emergency was to end on Tuesday. Deputy...

Rodrigo Duterte says Chinese military bases are to oppose US, not Philippines

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 16:36
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte tried to allay fears over China’s construction of military bases on man-made islands in the South China Sea, saying they are a defence against the US, not made to attack Asian states. “It’s not intended for us,” he said in a speech to Chinese-Filipino businessmen on Monday. “The contending ideological powers of the world or the geopolitics has greatly changed. “It’s really intended against those who the Chinese think...

Singapore to raise GST for first time in decade despite surplus – but taxpayers won’t feel pain for at least three years

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 13:49
Singapore will hike its goods and services tax by two percentage points, the finance minister said on Monday, the first such move in a decade as the cash-rich government cited the need to pre-emptively increase revenue amid surging health care, security and infrastructure spending. The decision to raise the GST to 9 per cent was widely expected, but the curveball announcement that the change would be stayed until “sometime” between 2021 and 2025 drew praise from observers for being...

Philippine forces arrest ‘Egyptian ex-Islamic State commander’ after raid on Manila flat

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 13:39
Philippine police and army troops have arrested an Arab man they believe was a former commander of Islamic State along the Syria and Turkey border in a raid on a Manila flat, where they found bomb-making materials and an IS-style flag, the national police chief said on Monday. Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa said Fehmi Lassoued, who is reportedly from Egypt, and his Filipino companion, Anabel Moncera Salipada, were arrested last week based on intelligence provided by foreign...

Troops drink cobra blood in US-Thailand war games

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:55
US and Thai marines slurped snake blood and ate scorpions in a jungle survival programme on Monday as part of the two nations’ annual Cobra Gold war games. Now in its 37th year, Cobra Gold is one of the largest military exercises in Asia, bringing thousands of troops from the United States, Thailand and other countries for 10 days of field training on Thai shores. On Monday, several dozen US and Thai marines took park in an annual jungle survival drill on a Thai navy base in Chonburi...

Nepal leader vows to revive Chinese dam project, open to review pact over Nepalese soldiers in India

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:30
Nepal’s new communist prime minister will restart a Chinese-led US$2.5 billion hydropower project that was pulled by the previous government considered friendly towards India, and wants to increase infrastructure connectivity with Beijing to ease the country’s reliance on New Delhi. He also wants to “update” relations with India “in keeping with the times” and favours a review of all special provisions of Indo-Nepal relations, including the long-established...

Cambodia court drops pornography charges against nine foreigners for ‘sexy dancing’ at pool party

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 10:32
A Cambodian court has dropped pornography charges against nine of the 10 foreigners arrested last month at a pool party in the tourist town of Siem Reap, an official said Monday. The group was detained for around two weeks on charges of producing pornographic materials to promote the event at a private villa in the city flanking Cambodia’s famous Angkor Wat temple ruins. Police, who broke up the party on January 25, initially accused the foreigners of “singing and dancing...

Australian politician under fire for posting gun range photo on Facebook

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 10:25
A conservative Australian politician who posted a photo of himself on Facebook holding a gun in a dig at environmentalists was reported to police and accused of being insensitive after a mass shooting at a US school. George Christensen put up the image on Saturday showing him at a shooting range with the comment: “You gotta ask yourself, do you feel lucky, greenie punks?” He said it was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the “Dirty Harry” films starring Clint Eastwood who...

Plane with flaming engine makes emergency landing in Thailand with 84 passengers on board

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 09:52
By Pratuan Kajonwuthinan A NokAir plane made an emergency landing at Sakon airport in Thailand after flames were seen coming from one of its two engines and the propeller stopped turning shortly after take-off. Flight DD9407,  a Bombardier Q400 carrying 84 passengers, left Sakon Nakhon airport about 3.10pm yesterday, due to arrive at Don Mueang airport at 4.35pm. A few minutes later it suddenly turned back to Sakon Nakhon airport and made an emergency landing. Some passengers were...

Indonesians arrested for shooting an orangutan 130 times

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 09:22
Four Indonesian men have been arrested over the killing of an orangutan shot some 130 times with an air rifle, police said on Monday, in the latest fatal attack on a critically endangered species. The suspects, farmers from the island of Borneo, admitted killing the animal, saying it ruined their crops at a pineapple and palm oil plantation, according to authorities. “They meant to shoo [it] away but their actions instead killed the orangutan,” said Teddy Ristiawan, district police...

GPS trackers, soiled stuff animals and stabbings: the perils of being a Japanese pop star

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 08:59
Infatuated fans of Japan’s stage stars are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their efforts to get closer to the objects of their desire. The management of all-boy dance troupe Anatashia has been forced to issue a statement through the group’s official Twitter account saying the six dancers will no longer accept soft toys from fans after what appeared to be a tracking device was found inside a stuffed animal given to one of them at a recent event. “We are sad to have to...

No one is applauding a Malaysian political party’s promise of ‘free plastic bags’

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 08:53
By Jonathan Loh The right-wing Barisan Nasional party in Malaysia has promised to bring back free plastic bags if it should recapture Selangor in the upcoming 14th general election. According to Malaysiakini, Selangor BN information chief Mohamed Satim Diman said at a dialogue on February 18: “This is part of the BN manifesto, if BN gets back the Selangor government, no more payments for plastic bags. Do you want this?” The ruling federal coalition will also cease the practice of...

Are Malaysian theme parks safe? Issue highlighted after Phillipine star Ruffa Gutierrez’s daughters allegedly harassed

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 08:39
By Jessica Lin You mess with them, you mess with me @loringabriella @venicebektas ️ @sweet.escape #rcmemories #rcpartner A post shared by RUFFA GUTIERREZ (@iloveruffag) on Feb 15, 2018 at 3:50am PST Family-centred theme parks are meant to be safe, comfortable zones for people of all ages to be in, right? Unfortunately, family trips don’t always work out the way we expect them to. A Filipino star with more than a million followers on Instagram recently highlighted a bad...

Imran Khan’s new bride wears full veil in wedding photos as former Pakistan cricketer marries for third time

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 08:26
Pakistani politician and former playboy cricketer Imran Khan has married a woman described as his spiritual adviser, party officials said, the third wedding for the World Cup champion once touted as Pakistan’s most eligible bachelor. Khan, 65, married Bushra Wattoo in a private ceremony attended by relatives and friends in the eastern city of Lahore on Sunday, his Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) party announced on Twitter. Pictures of the ceremony, showing the bride in a full veil, were...

South Korean airline chairman apologises over sexual harassment accusations

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 08:08
By Jung Min-ho and Kang Aa-young Kumho Asiana Chairman Park Sam-koo has apologised over allegations that he sexually harassed the company’s flight attendants. In a statement released February 12, Park, 72, said he was sorry for those who “felt uncomfortable” with what he did. But he gave no details of what he did, nor did he admit that he physically touched them against their will. Park had been accused of forcing some flight attendants to hug him or hold his hand when he...

Malaysian rapper Namewee probed over ‘offensive’ Lunar New Year dog video with suggestive sex moves

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 07:46
A rapper in Muslim-majority Malaysia is under police investigation for allegedly insulting Islam with a Lunar New Year video that features dancers wearing dog masks and performing suggestive moves. The video features controversial rapper Wee Meng Chee, known by his stage name Namewee, sitting on a chair in front of a domed building and mimicking barks of canines from around the world. Several black-clad dancers wearing masks of dogs – an animal considered unclean in Islam – gyrate...

Controversial Malaysian rapper Namewee under police probe for ‘Like A Dog’ music video

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 07:34
By Sujin Thomas The Malaysian authorities have launched an investigation into controversial rapper Namewee over his recent Chinese New Year-themed music video call Like A Dog. Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the police are working with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to probe the clip. According to The Star, he told reporters: “The investigation paper has been opened.” “We also know that currently he is overseas.” On...

‘Red notice’ warning for airlines as Indonesia’s Sinabung volcano unleashes towering column of ash

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 07:11
Rumbling Mount Sinabung on the Indonesian island of Sumatra has shot billowing columns of ash more than 5,000 metres (16,400 feet) into the atmosphere and hot clouds down its slopes. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said there were no fatalities or injuries from Monday morning’s eruption. The volcano, one of three currently erupting in Indonesia, was dormant for four centuries before exploding in 2010, killing two people. Another eruption in 2014 killed 16 people, while seven died...

Abuse or unemployment: Philippine domestic helpers face stark choice in Kuwait as stories of exploitation by horrible bosses emerge

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 04:56
After the murder of a Philippine maid in Kuwait, domestic helpers are streaming back to Manila with tales of abusive employers – but many are still prepared to take their chances overseas again. For them, the sometimes brutal conditions and the hide-and-seek with Kuwaiti police are outweighed by the need to provide for their families at home. “The mother of my boss, she would hurt me, she would hit me with a shoe with a thick sole. My body was bruised but I would not (go home),...

Australia, US, India and Japan in talks to establish ‘alternative’ to China’s Belt and Road (just don’t call it a rival)

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 04:02
Australia, the United States, India and Japan are talking about establishing a joint regional infrastructure scheme as an alternative to China’s multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative in an attempt to counter Beijing’s spreading influence, the Australian Financial Review reported on Monday, citing a senior US official. The unnamed official was quoted as saying the plan involving the four regional partners was still “nascent” and “won’t be ripe enough to...

Racial politics, a Malaysian disease?

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 01:35
I am sipping tea in an electrically decorated, hipster-style cafe in Penang. The place – a restored old shophouse – is packed. Tourists from Singapore to China mix with yuppie Malaysians eating cheesecake. Nearby, hordes of backpackers throng the alleys of Georgetown, filling up bars and taking selfies with street art. Since 2008, Penang has transformed itself from a local food haven to a global tourist magnet. The state has, for better or for worse, seen rapid development....

The Philippine lawyer who wants to put Duterte in the dock

Sun, 02/18/2018 - 15:34
Philippine lawyer Jude Sabio says he has not been home for a year, steers clear of public events and is always looking over his shoulder after accusing President Rodrigo Duterte of crimes against humanity. Sabio, a stocky 51-year-old, says he lives in constant fear of reprisals after filing a complaint at the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the wildly popular Duterte, whose administration Filipinos rate as the best performing since opinion polls started in the 1980s. A little-known...

Thai officials discover smelly clue in tycoon poaching case

Sun, 02/18/2018 - 12:30
Thai officials will test human faeces found at a campsite in a wildlife sanctuary to try to prove their case against a tycoon accused of poaching a leopard. Construction magnate Premchai Karnasuta has denied poaching charges against him and three others. They were arrested earlier this month in the sanctuary in western Thailand where rangers stumbled upon their camp and found guns and animal carcasses. Rich and influential Thais have a habit of avoiding justice. The government is on the back...

Death toll from gas explosion at Indian wedding rises to 18

Sun, 02/18/2018 - 12:06
Rescuers discovered nine more bodies on Sunday beneath the ruins of an Indian hotel, bringing the known death toll from an explosion which tore through a wedding party to 18, an official said. A gas cylinder exploded late on Friday at the hotel in the city of Beawar, in the western state of Rajasthan, reducing the venue to ruins and sparking a huge fire. By Saturday evening officials said nine bodies had been found. But the figure rose sharply Sunday as rescue teams, aided by the army, found...

Violent brawls transform South Pacific trip into ‘cruise from hell’

Sun, 02/18/2018 - 10:17
People holidaying on a Carnival cruise ship this week in the South Pacific had their trip turned upside down thanks to a series of violent brawls that seemed to transform the ship from a paradise into a fight club. Passengers have described the trip as the “cruise from hell”. The Carnival Legend was forced to escort several guests off the ship and place them on a smaller boat before the boat docked in Australia on Saturday. Several fights broke out over the 10-day cruise, including...

Palmreader? Introducing the ‘second skin’ health monitor and messaging system

Sun, 02/18/2018 - 09:12
Palmreading could take on a whole new meaning thanks to a new invention from Japan: an ultra-thin display and monitor that can be stuck directly onto the body. The sticking plaster-like device is just one millimetre thick and can monitor important health data as well as send and receive messages, including emoji. Takao Someya, the University of Tokyo professor who developed the device, envisions it as a boon for medical professionals with bedridden or far-flung patients, as well as family...

South Korean director rejects sex abuse claims at Berlin film fest

Sun, 02/18/2018 - 08:49
A South Korean director defiantly rejected abuse accusations against him at the Berlin film festival on Saturday, saying he ensures no one “suffers” on the sets of his ultraviolent, sexually explicit art films. Acclaimed filmmaker Kim Ki-duk, who has picked up prizes at the Cannes, Venice and Berlinale festivals, faced a barrage of questions from reporters about allegations of physical and sexual abuse by an actress he worked with in 2013. His invitation to Berlinale prompted the...

Mother wants public execution for Pakistan serial killer sentenced to death for rape and murder of her 7-year-old daughter

Sun, 02/18/2018 - 05:12
A Pakistani court has handed four death sentences to a man charged with raping and murdering a six-year-old girl, in a case that shocked the country and sparked major riots in his home district. Imran Ali, 24, was on trial for killing Zainab Ansari in the eastern city of Kasur last month. He faces further charges in the cases of at least seven other children attacked in the Punjab city – five of whom were murdered – in a spate of assaults that had stoked fears a serial child killer...

The museums behind the murmurs of a Southeast Asian renaissance

Sun, 02/18/2018 - 04:04
Museums have always been both window and mirror: they provide a lens into our society while also functioning as a way to reflect upon our own lives. They have played an outsize role in shaping culture, often with political purpose; the National Palace Museum in Taipei forms part of Taiwan’s claim that it is the “real China”, while the Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts presents what it considers to be works exhibiting the “national character” of the country. In...

Can Indonesia’s new cybercrime unit win its war on fake news?

Sun, 02/18/2018 - 01:01
Indonesia has unleashed a new cyber and encryption agency as a weapon in its long war on cybercrime, online radicalism and fake news, but the Southeast Asian nation still needs to define the office’s scope of authority to prevent bureaucratic overlap and to shake off privacy concerns. A plan to establish the National Cyber and Encryption Agency (BSSN) was put forth four years ago when President Joko Widodo took office, but the agency only started work in January after Major General Djoko...

25 arrested after protest demanding Maldive president's detention

Sat, 02/17/2018 - 21:56
Maldives police arrested 25 people under a state of emergency, opposition legislators said on Saturday, after thousands of protesters gathered a day earlier to call for the detention of the president and release of opposition leaders. The tiny Indian Ocean archipelago, best known for its luxury hotels and dive resorts, imposed a 15-day state of emergency on February 5 to annul a Supreme Court ruling ordering the release of nine leading opposition figures. Shortly after imposing the state of...

Will Japan’s casino plan create big business for yakuza?

Sat, 02/17/2018 - 13:02
The Japanese government has outlined a scheme by which it intends to prevent excessive gambling becoming a social problem after the country’s first casinos open for business, although critics say it will be relatively easy to circumvent the safeguards. They also warn that Japan’s organised crime groups are looking on with increasing interest as legislation makes its way through the Diet to allow casinos to operate as part of larger “integrated resorts” that bring...

May pleads for ‘urgent’ post-Brexit EU security deal

Sat, 02/17/2018 - 13:01
British Prime Minister Theresa May pleaded on Saturday for an urgent deal with the European Union on post-Brexit security cooperation, claiming peoples’ lives were at stake. In a speech at the Munich Security Conference, she acknowledged that no deal currently exists between the EU and a third country “that captures the full depth and breadth of our existing relationship”. But she said there was no reason both sides could not come up with practical ways to create a “deep...

India cancels passport of jeweller to the stars Nirav Modi over massive bank scam

Sat, 02/17/2018 - 11:28
Indian investigators have arrested three people who allegedly helped a billionaire jeweller obtain fake documents for overseas loans in one of the country’s biggest bank scams, an official said on Saturday. Investigators are looking into allegations that Nirav Modi and his business partner Mehul Choksi were involved in defrauding India’s second-largest state-run lender the Punjab National Bank (PNB) of 2.8 billion rupees (US$43.8 million). The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)...

US urges Malaysia to protect minority Muslims wanted by China

Sat, 02/17/2018 - 10:46
The United States urged Malaysia on Friday to offer temporary protection to 11 Uygur Muslims whose extradition is being sought by China. The US State Department said it had called on Malaysia to allow the UN refugee agency access to the Uygurs – among a group of 20 originally from China who escaped from Thailand last year – to determine their eligibility for international protection and eventual resettlement in a third country. “We urge the Malaysian authorities to conduct a...

Malcolm Turnbull and Barnaby Joyce meet to resolve row

Sat, 02/17/2018 - 10:21
Barnaby Joyce and Malcolm Turnbull met face-to-face in Sydney on Saturday to try to resolve the damaging public crisis engulfing the coalition government. The pair are understood to have met at about midday for more than an hour. The meeting came as the internal rift in the coalition took a turn for the worse. Liberal senator Ian Macdonald appeared on ABC and called on Joyce to resign to the backbench. Macdonald said that by staying on as deputy prime minister, Joyce was giving Bill Shorten a...

Call for justice as body of Filipino beaten to death and stuffed in a freezer returns home from Kuwait

Sat, 02/17/2018 - 09:53
More than 100 relatives and supporters of a Filipino maid whose body was found stuffed in a freezer in Kuwait brandished banners demanding justice as her coffin was returned home on Saturday. The family of Joanna Demafelis openly wept as the white casket was unloaded at an airport cargo terminal in the central city of Iloilo. “Justice for Joanna D. Demafelis,” was written on signs and T-shirts worn by the crowd which included a congressman and local officials expressing anger over...

Was Kim Jong-un’s ‘historic’ missile recycled Russian weapon technology?

Sat, 02/17/2018 - 09:21
The powerful intercontinental missile tested by North Korea late last year is “highly likely” to have been built with foreign blueprints or parts, according to a new technical analysis that describes several similarities between Pyongyang’s new missile and ones built by the Soviet Union decades ago. The alleged foreign help – the nature of which is unclear – could explain why North Korea apparently was able to skip months or even years of preliminary testing...

Planned ‘pharma city’ to pump out cheap Indian drugs is making villagers sick with anger

Sat, 02/17/2018 - 04:30
Driving up the motorway from the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, smooth all-weather roads become wider. In the crisp February morning, factory chimneys raise their heads above the green landscape and roadsides are lined with cotton crops, waiting to be harvested. Saraswati, a landowner of the Medipally village in Telangana province, of which Hyderabad is the capital, shudders to think that all this would soon be replaced by miles and miles of concrete factories manufacturing pharmaceuticals...

US-South Korea military drills to go on despite Pyongyang’s charm offensive: former CIA officer

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 20:00
South Korean government officials have offered assurances that their joint military exercises with the US, which were pre-empted by the Winter Olympic Games, will proceed despite North Korea’s recent efforts to rebuild ties with Seoul by inviting President Moon Jae-in to Pyongyang. “In the near term, the US will be wary about how far President Moon will go, but when I was in Seoul recently all of the officials assured us that the military exercises would go on as they need to,...

‘A real trip is a hassle’: Japan firm taking wishful travellers on virtual reality first class flights to Paris

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 09:50
Fasten your seat belts for a flight departing to Paris, and never leave the ground. That is exactly what 12 passengers did at First Airlines in central Tokyo this week, where they relaxed in first and business-class seats and were served four-course dinners, before immersing themselves in 360-degree virtual reality (VR) tours of the City of Light’s sights. “A real trip is a hassle to prepare for, and expensive, and takes time. So I think it is good that we can enjoy all this hassle...

Borneo’s orangutan population plunged by 100,000 since 1999, new study finds

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 09:04
The most comprehensive study of Borneo’s orangutans estimates their numbers have plummeted by more than 100,000 since 1999, as the palm oil and paper industries shrink their jungle habitat and fatal conflicts with people increase. The finding, which is to be published in the journal Current Biology, is in line with the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s 2016 designation of Borneo’s orangutans as critically endangered. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for...

Senior US Navy officials in Japan fired after one was found drunk, naked and wandering in the woods

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 08:42
The US Navy said on Friday it had removed three senior officers deployed in Japan for “personal misconduct”, after one was reportedly found wandering the base drunk and naked. The navy did not disclose the details of the February 12 incident, but the Navy Times reported that Lieutenant Commander Jason Gabbard was relieved of duty after “being discovered in the woods wearing only his boots”. He was “found intoxicated and walking naked in the woods on Camp Shields...

A young Chinese Indonesian straddles modernity and tradition in Jakarta

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 08:18
Arifin Kurniawan towers over his 55-year-old father’s prostrate figure. With his hand placed firmly on the older man’s head, the blonde-haired son barks out instructions in Hokkien. Only moments before, the 21-year-old Chinese-Indonesian had cut his tongue deliberately with a sword – using the blood to write Chinese characters on rice paper. Bathed in an eerie red light, with statues of countless deities lining the walls and the air filled with chanting, the Fat Cu Kung shrine...

Can North Korea cover up its brutal regime with lipstick diplomacy?

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 07:34
North Korea’s rebranding campaign has gained purchase on the Olympic stage and won lavish media attention, but to bear the kind of fruit that really matters Pyongyang will have to do more than just smile and bat its eyes. On Wednesday, Seoul approved a US$2.6 million budget to cover the cost of food, lodging, transport and more for North Korea’s 229 cheerleaders, its 30 taekwondo performers and all 140 members of its Samjiyon Orchestra. The announcement came a day after North Korean...

Malaysian government mocked for featuring barking rooster in Chinese ‘Year of the Dog’ ad cock-up

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 06:32
Malaysia has apologised after a government ad in Chinese-language newspapers featuring a picture of a barking rooster to mark the Year of the Dog sparked a flood of mockery. The full-page advert by the domestic trade, co-operatives and consumerism ministry showed a rooster emitting the word “wang”, used to represent a dog’s bark in Mandarin. The advert, printed in Chinese-language newspapers in the multi-ethnic country on Thursday, also carried a message welcoming a “...

Australia’s government in turmoil as PM Malcolm Turnbull and deputy Barnaby Joyce trade barbs over sex scandal

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 06:01
The Australian government was thrown into turmoil on Friday after Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce hit out at Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, calling the prime minister’s criticism of his extramarital affair with a former staffer “inept” and “unnecessary.” The rare public dispute between the two top government officials followed Turnbull taking the extraordinary step of banning sexual relations between ministers and their staff on Thursday. Joyce, who is also...

‘Falling behind’: US admiral warns of China dominance in hypersonic missile race

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 05:25
Even as the Pentagon hustles to ensure that its defences keep pace with North Korea’s fast-growing rocket programme, US officials increasingly are turning attention to a new generation of missile threat. These weapons under development by China and Russia – as well as by the United States – can fly at many times the speed of sound and are designed to beat regular anti-missile defence systems. The hypersonic missiles could change the face of future warfare, as they can switch...

Bank of Japan’s ‘bazooka-wielding’ chief Haruhiko Kuroda nominated for second five-year term

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 04:34
Japan’s government nominated Haruhiko Kuroda for a second term as central bank governor on Friday, handing the veteran finance chief more time to battle deflation and kick-start the world’s number-three economy. Kuroda’s nomination was among those submitted to the parliament in a document seen by reporters, and had been widely expected. Hand-picked by Shinzo Abe to steer the former economic powerhouse out of a dangerous cycle of falling prices, Kuroda has guided the key...

‘I’m possessed by ancient Chinese spirits’: The Indonesian model turned medium

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 04:03
Arifin Kurniawan towers over his 55-year-old father’s prostrate figure. With his hand placed firmly on the older man’s head, the blond-haired son barks out instructions in Hokkien. Only moments before, the Chinese-Indonesian, 21, had cut his tongue deliberately with a sword – using the blood to write Chinese characters on rice paper. Bathed in an eerie red light, with statues of countless deities lining the walls and the air filled with chanting, the Fat Cu Kung shrine is...

‘We did not see his record’: Indonesian police defend award to Philippine chief leading war on drugs

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 13:05
Indonesian police on Thursday defended bestowing their highest honour on the Philippine police chief, who has been criticised for spearheading the war on drugs that has left thousands of suspects dead. Ronald dela Rosa was among five neighbouring police chiefs who were presented with the award by Indonesian police chief General Tito Karnavian on Wednesday. New York-based Human Rights Watch said the Indonesian government debased the rule of law by awarding dela Rosa its highest honour. “...

China-friendly communist K.P. Sharma Oli appointed Nepal’s new prime minister after landmark polls

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 08:50
Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari on Thursday appointed moderate communist K.P. Sharma Oli, who led an alliance with former Maoist rebels to a sweeping victory in recent elections, as prime minister. A presidential spokesman said Oli, who spent 14 years in jail for opposing the now-abolished monarchy in the 1970s and 1980s, was named prime minister hours after Sher Bahadur Deuba, whose party suffered a landslide defeat in the polls, resigned. Oli was also prime minister from 2015 to 2016,...

Indonesian cleric charged with masterminding deadly 2016 Jakarta terror attack goes on trial

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 08:47
A jailed Indonesian cleric accused of being the mastermind of a deadly 2016 terror attack in Jakarta went on trial on Thursday and faces a possible death sentence if convicted. Aman Abdurrahman is charged with terrorism related offences over the attack, claimed by Islamic State, that killed four bystanders in a busy downtown neighbourhood. Four militants died after they were shot or blew themselves up. The handcuffed cleric arrived at a Jakarta court in an orange vest worn by criminal suspects...

‘US presence matters’: admiral aboard USS Carl Vinson says carrier brings stability to South China Sea

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 08:20
With a deafening roar the fighter jets catapulted off the US aircraft carrier and soared above the disputed South China Sea, as its admiral vowed that the mighty ship’s presence was proof America still had regional clout. “US presence matters,” Rear Admiral John Fuller told reporters on board the USS Carl Vinson. “I think it’s very clear that we are in the South China Sea. We are operating.” The Carl Vinson, one of the US Navy’s longest-serving active...

More Singaporean men turning to service providers to plan a marriage proposal

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 08:15
By Cynthia Choo For his marriage proposal, Mr Kevin Goh, 26, spent S$3,500 (US$2,667) to set up a romantic evening for his girlfriend, by hiring a planner to organise the occasion. He and his fiancee, Ms Marissa Fuad, 24, first enjoyed dinner at a restaurant atop the Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay, followed by a walk in the garden, during which they would chance upon an “inconspicuous display” of present boxes. Inside, there were four annual calendars — with every page...

Is Chinese carmaker Geely being anti-Malay in cost cutting drive at Malaysia’s Proton?

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 08:10
Proton, the long-ailing Malaysian carmaker partly-acquired by China’s Geely last year, is under fresh scrutiny after Malay car dealers this week accused the company’s new management of being tone-deaf to affirmative action policies favouring the majority ethnic group. The criticism prompted a key government minister to vow to intercede amid concerns the troubled carmaker could become a lightning rod for discontent against Prime Minister Najib Razak’s ruling coalition in...

Australia’s scandal-hit deputy PM Barnaby Joyce to take leave after admitting extramarital affair with pregnant ex-staffer

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 07:23
Australia’s scandal-hit deputy prime minister will take leave next week, it was announced Thursday, avoiding him assuming the role of acting leader while Malcolm Turnbull is in the United States. Barnaby Joyce has been under immense pressure over an affair with a younger former staffer, who is now pregnant with their child, and allegations that he breached ministerial rules. The crisis has dominated the front pages and parliament question time for a week, with calls mounting for him to...

Chinese relationships bearing fruit for Australian winemakers, but how long will it last?

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 07:14
Wang Zhe, a wealthy Chinese businessman from the southern city of Guangzhou, liked his glass of decade-old Chardonnay at an Australian winery so much he wanted more. So he asked to buy the entire vintage. It was the sort of offer, made over roast lamb and vegetables at a dinner in Wang’s honour, that sent Australian wine exports to China soaring by 63 per cent to A$848 million (US$668 million) last year. And Col Peterson, the winemaker behind the Chardonnay, said Wang was the kind of...

South Korean police put US$4,600 bounty on Jeju guesthouse murder suspect

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 07:05
By Park Si-soo Police in South Korea have made public photos and private details of a prime suspect in the guesthouse murder on Jeju Island. The suspect, Han Jung-min, 34, is believed to be hiding on the mainland after choking a female guest at his Gujwa-eup guesthouse to death last week and abandoning her body nearby. Han is 175-80 centimetres tall, with an athletic body. Police confirmed he was accused of raping a drunken woman in July and was supposed to stand the second round of trial on...

President Rodrigo Duterte offers US$500 kill bounty for Philippines communist rebels after he told troops to shoot female fighters in genitals

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 06:02
The Philippine president has offered a nearly US$500 bounty for each communist rebel killed by government forces to save on anti-insurgency costs and says insurgents are easier to hit than birds because they have bigger heads. President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest crass remarks came after human rights groups condemned him this week for saying troops should shoot female communist guerillas in the genitals to render them “useless”. “Tell the soldiers. There’s a new...

Singapore is replacing an abandoned parking lot with a stunning skyscraper containing thousands of plants

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 04:50
By Leanna Garfield In an effort to raise employee productivity and happiness, a growing number of companies are incorporating greenery into their workplace designs. In Singapore, a new office tower that will feature thousands of plants follows the trend. Architects from Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) are billing the 51-story skyscraper as “the office of the future” due to its focus on flora. The tower, which broke ground this week,...

Abe, Trump agree to keep pressure on North Korea

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 18:37
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he and US President Donald Trump agreed in telephone talks on Wednesday night to continue to put pressure on North Korea over its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programmes. Abe told reporters after the conversation lasting more than an hour that he and Trump affirmed they will maintain the pressure until North Korea seeks dialogue on the basis it will give up its nuclear programme. “Dialogue for the sake of dialogue would be meaningless,” Abe...

Regional powers China, India battle for Bangladesh bourse

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 18:09
India and China have launched rival bids for a large stake in Bangladesh’s stock exchange, officials said on Thursday, as the Asian powers jostle for strategic influence in the region. Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) chief executive Majedur Rahman confirmed India’s National Stock Exchange had offered 15 taka ($0.18) per share during a tender process this month for a 25 per cent stake in the bourse’s 1.8 billion shares. China’s Shanghai and Shenzen stock exchanges made a joint...

Deposed Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra chose to come to Hong Kong as it has no extradition treaty with Thailand

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 16:42
Former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, on the run after fleeing her country last year, arrived in Hong Kong on Tuesday as it has no extradition treaty with Thailand, a source said. The Hong Kong government source said Yingluck was believed to have chosen the city as it had not yet signed the Mutual Legal Assistance and Surrender of Fugitive Offenders agreements with Thailand. Fugitive ex-Thai leader Yingluck Shinawatra headed for Hong Kong after Japan visit The Post also learned that...

Philippines police promise less bloodshed and violence in President Duterte’s drug war with training and body cameras

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 15:02
Philippine police said on Wednesday they have adopted special measures, including body cameras, to reduce violence in anti-narcotics operations as the International Criminal Court investigates allegations of thousands of extrajudicial killings in President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war. Five days after the ICC launched a preliminary examination of the alleged murders, authorities said the number of suspects shot dead by law enforcement personnel had risen to more than 4,000. Critics allege...

‘Families have waited too long for answers’: rights groups slam Nepal’s failure to probe wartime abuses

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 11:28
Rights groups have criticised Nepal for failing to prosecute wartime rights abuses, saying the government appeared more interested in protecting perpetrators than ensuring justice. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists said in a statement on Tuesday the government had deliberately hamstrung two commissions tasked with probing crimes committed during the country’s brutal 10-year civil war by failing to allocate adequate funds and manpower....

Australian deputy PM Barnaby Joyce facing pressure from own Nationals party to resign over affair

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 11:16
Australia’s deputy prime minister was under mounting pressure on Wednesday to resign as his party’s leader over revelations of a relationship with a former staffer. Newspapers revealed last week that Barnaby Joyce and his former media adviser are expecting a baby together, and the scandal has angered many within Joyce’s conservative, rural-based Nationals party. As leader of the junior party in the governing coalition, Joyce is both the deputy prime minister and acting prime...

Philippines objects to China’s naming of undersea features in Benham Rise

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 10:57
The Philippine government on Wednesday rejected Chinese names given to some undersea features in a vast offshore region where the Southeast Asian country holds undisputed sovereign rights. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jnr said the Philippines had raised its concern with China over the names it proposed for the undersea features in Benham Rise in 2015 and 2017. He said the government may also officially notify the international hydrographic body, which lists such records, of its objection...

Amorous and passionate couples hunted down in Indonesia as cities ban Valentine’s Day

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 10:46
Valentine’s Day was banned in some Indonesian cities Wednesday as police rounded up amorous couples, giving the official kiss-off to a tradition which critics say doesn’t deserve any love in the Muslim-majority nation. The prohibitions come amid concerns that traditionally tolerant Indonesia is taking a sharp fundamentalist turn, by pushing to make pre-marital sex – including gay sex – illegal and punishable with jail time. On Wednesday authorities in the country’s...

Apple Music unveils streaming service for Malaysian university students

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 10:15
By Izwan Ismail Malaysian university students now have an additional source of music to nod their heads to – Apple Music. A music and video streaming service which allows users to stream tracks on demand; or listen to existing curated playlists, Apple Music also features the Internet radio station Beats 1, which broadcasts live to over 100 countries, 24 hours a day. Now, Malaysian undergraduates and post-graduate students at participating higher learning institutions can join Apple Music...

Japan concerned by China’s plan to build ‘polar Silk Road’ in Arctic

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 09:48
Beijing is planning to exert “territorial control” over parts of the Arctic Ocean and could send more warships into waters off Japan in a move analysts say is reminiscent of its seizure of disputed islands in the South China Sea. The Chinese government in January issued its first ever white paper detailing plans for the Arctic and announcing intentions to play a significant role in matters that affect the region as a “near-Arctic state”. The white paper emphasises how...

Thailand to axe water bottle seals by end of year

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 09:13
By Apinya Wipatayotin Thailand’s Pollution Control Department (PCD) has set a target of eradicating plastic cap seals on drinking water bottles by the end of this year. A cap seal is the small plastic strip attached to the cap that must be peeled off before the bottle can be opened. Studies have found that bottles without them pose no greater risk to hygiene. The PCD has received firm commitments from five big players in the commercial bottled water sector that they will cease using cap...

Japanese lawmaker wants North Korea kept ‘under siege’ despite charm offensive at Winter Olympics

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 07:31
South Korea must stay in line with US and Japanese plans to keep North Korea “under siege”, the chairman of Japan’s lower house committee on foreign affairs said, referring to the policy of maintaining maximum pressure on Kim Jong-un’s regime. Just days after Kim’s smiling sister invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in to a summit with her brother in Pyongyang – an overture he’s yet to formally accept, Yasuhide Nakayama attacked Seoul’s...

‘They are like the military, I pity them’: North Korean cheerleaders highlight the deep divide between neighbours

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 06:51
North Korea’s red-clad “army of beauties” cheerleaders are a key weapon in Pyongyang’s arsenal for its Winter Olympics charm offensive – but to some Southerners they illustrate the cultural divide across the demilitarised zone. The 200-strong group – all in their late teens or early 20s and said to be hand-picked from elite universities after strict background checks – chant “Cheer up” at events, clap and wave in unison, and sing traditional...

Reason behind the capitalized ‘C’ in PyeongChang

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 05:56
By Kim Hyun-bin The name PyeongChang has been inscribed on billboards, vehicles and sweatshirts all over the country to promote the ongoing 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Even though the capital C in PyeongChang is part of the county’s official name, many foreign publications have not followed that rule. The unusual capitalisation is not there because of history or for better marketing appeal. The C is used to help prevent visitors from mixing up the city with Pyongyang - the world...

Malaysian badminton star Lee Chong Wei denies featuring in viral sex video

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 05:04
Malaysian badminton ace Lee Chong Wei has denied featuring in a sex video that has gone viral and has lodged a police report over what he described as “malicious” allegations. The world number two, who is married with two children, slammed the video as an attempt to “slander, malign and defame my good name and character”. There had been speculation on social media in recent days that Lee featured in the video, which showed a naked man and woman together. “I...

Donald Trump vows to revise ‘disaster’ South Korea trade deal

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 18:23
President Donald Trump vowed Tuesday to revise a US trade deal with South Korea to secure more favorable terms, while also threatening retaliatory trade sanctions against China. “The Korea deal was a disaster,” Trump told reporters as he hosted a White House meeting on trade, vowing the United States would negotiate a “fair deal” or scrap it altogether. Charging that the US steel and aluminum industries were being “decimated” by dumping, Trump said he was...

Fugitive ex-Thai leader Yingluck Shinawatra headed for Hong Kong after Japan visit

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 11:17
Thailand’s former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her brother Thaksin Shinawatra, both fugitives forced to live overseas, left for Hong Kong on Tuesday, sources close to them said. They had stayed in Japan since Saturday, according to the sources. Yingluck was last year sentenced in absentia by Thailand’s Supreme Court to five years in prison for negligence in handling a rice subsidy project that resulted in massive losses to state coffers. She fled the country last August...

Coincheck resumes yen withdrawals after cryptocurrency theft

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 10:18
Digital currency exchange operator Coincheck resumed yen withdrawals for its users on Tuesday, following weeks of suspension triggered by the theft of 58 billion yen (US$533 million) worth of digital money. Coincheck had been trying to confirm the safety of its platform following the theft in late January that forced it to suspend cryptocurrency trading. Japan’s regulator has conducted on-site inspections to see if the Tokyo-based exchange operator has a proper risk management system in...

Japan confident US is still holding firm on North Korea despite Vice-President Pence’s dialogue offer

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 09:54
Senior Japanese officials said on Tuesday Japan and the United States continue to share the same stance on North Korea even after US Vice-President Mike Pence expressed readiness to talk with Pyongyang without preconditions in a newspaper interview. The Washington Post quoted Pence on Monday as saying on his way home from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea that while the United States will continue to maximise diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea, if you want to talk, we...

Singaporean study links genetic diversity of tumours with resistance to treatment in Asian lung cancer patients

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 08:55
By Cynthia Choo Researchers’ findings could pave the way for more precise and tailored treatments for lung cancer patients, as a new study in Singapore found that the genetic diversity of lung cancer tumours among Asian patients affects their response to treatment. According to a study by scientists from A*STAR’s Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) and medical oncologists from the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), lung cancer tumours in Asian patients contain much higher...

Ex-South Korean leader’s confident Choi Soon-sil jailed for 20 years

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 08:30
Choi Soon-sil, the woman at the centre of the influence-peddling scandal that saw South Korea’s president impeached, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. Prosecutors were seeking a 25-year prison term for Choi, who was tried on abuse of power and eight other charges. The ruling may give hints about the penalty former president Park Geun-hye could face if she is convicted. Park, who was impeached and jailed in March last year, is on trial for more than a dozen charges. In Choi’s...

Crimson Star, Singapore’s first original comic book superhero bursts forth in action-packed debut

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 08:20
By Jonathan Loh With Marvel and Detective Comics (DC) relentlessly expanding their comic book and movie empires, it is a Sisyphean undertaking for any fresh superhero not conceived from these franchises to gain any sort of traction – much less garner any fanfare. Given the significant number of die-hard Marvel and/or DC fans in Singapore, many might baulk at the notion of a newcomer superhero who originates from the island country. Well, that may soon change as a new true blue Singaporean...

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