SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

Myanmar’s Suu Kyi to skip Asean summit in Singapore

3 hours 37 min ago
Myanmar’s unofficial leader Aung San Suu Kyi will not attend this weekend’s Asean summit in Singapore, a government spokesman said on Monday, which would make it the first time for her to skip one since her party came to power in 2016. Instead, President Win Myint, who was sworn-in last month, will represent Myanmar at Saturday’s summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, presidential spokesman Zaw Htay said. He did not explain why Suu Kyi, who has dual roles of...

Threatened Cambodia river dolphins making comeback

6 hours 41 min ago
The population of Cambodia’s critically endangered river dolphin is growing for the first time in decades, conservationists said on Monday, hailing a major turnaround for the freshwater species. The Irrawaddy dolphins, known for their bulging foreheads and short beaks, once swam through much of the Mekong river but in recent decades have been limited to a 190km (118 mile) stretch from central Cambodia to its northern border with Laos. The population has been in steady decline since the...

Malaysia releases images of suspects in murder of Palestinian

8 hours 47 min ago
Malaysian police on Monday released computer generated images of two men suspected of gunning down a Palestinian man in Kuala Lumpur, adding that alerts have been put out for them at all the country’s exit points. Two men on a motorcycle fired at least 14 shots at Fadi al-Batsh, an engineering lecturer, in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, killing him on the spot. Hamas, an Islamist political group that rules the Gaza Strip, accused Israel’s Mossad spy agency of assassinating Batsh, who...

How burnout drove an entrepreneur to help 30,000 people across Southeast Asia

8 hours 54 min ago
By Karen Gilchrist David Pong was travelling in Australia when a bout of exhaustion stopped him in his tracks and prompted him to reconsider his direction in life. He was just 23 at the time, but juggling two jobs and a start-up alongside his business degree studies had left him in need of a change. “I was always thinking about my greater purpose, but the turning point came when I was feeling really burnt out,” Pong told CNBC Make It , recalling how he’d succumbed to...

Porsche officials have been charged with doctoring emissions results to make cars meet South Korea’s environment standards

10 hours 14 min ago
By Tara Francis Chan Three officials from Porsche AG in South Korea have been charged with falsifying gas emissions documents. The charges relate to the doctoring of gas emission test results on Porsche cars so as to receive local government certification between 2014 and 2015. Porsche, which is owned by the Volkswagen Group, sold 2,000 units of those models up until February 2017, according to Yonhap. The officials were also charged with violation of environmental laws and obstruction of...

How billions of dollars are being misspent in earthquake-ravaged Nepal, building new homes instead of restoring old ones

11 hours 55 min ago
Billions of dollars poured into Nepal after a powerful earthquake devastated the country three years ago is being misdirected towards building unnecessary new homes where old ones could have been salvaged, experts warn. Survivors of the 7.8-magnitude quake that killed nearly 9,000 people in April 2015 are being pushed to construct new buildings they do not need, casting doubt on the efficacy of the government’s US$9 billion reconstruction effort. “It is proposing the wrong solution...

Chinese millionaires snub Australia’s US$3.8m ‘golden ticket’ visas, after rules are tightened amid fraud fears

12 hours 2 min ago
Australia’s controversial significant investor visa – the so-called “golden ticket” visa aimed at Chinese investors who invest AU$5 million (US$3.8 million) in Australia – is being snubbed by wealthy migrants, with applications at their lowest levels. A Productivity Commission report in 2016 said the programme should be scrapped, suggesting it was prone to fraud and money laundering, and brought little benefit to Australia. Australia’s financial intelligence...

Single mother of three in New Zealand told her benefits were cut because she went on Tinder dates

12 hours 24 min ago
A single New Zealand mother of three whose benefit was cut was told it was because she had been on two Tinder dates. The unnamed woman said she told her case worker about the dates in order to be up front, Radio New Zealand reported. The man had paid for dinner and a movie, the woman said. Her case worker reportedly responded that it was considered a dependent relationship by Work and Income. The Ministry of Social Development has since apologised, saying the case manager had made a mistake...

G-7 will never accept nuclear-armed North Korea, says Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono

12 hours 51 min ago
Group of Seven foreign ministers affirmed Sunday they will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea and pledged to maintain “maximum pressure” on Pyongyang until it rids itself of nuclear weapons, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said. “We fully agreed that we will never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea,” Kono said on the first day of a two-day meeting in Toronto, Canada, suggesting Pyongyang’s announcement that it will suspend nuclear tests and long-range...

South Korean taekwondo enthusiasts take aim at Guinness record

13 hours 29 min ago
By Ko Dong-hwan More than 8,000 taekwondo martial artists hope they have rewritten the Guinness World Records with their performance in front of South Korea’ National Assembly. Professional taekwondo artists, enlistees from the Army, Navy and Air Force, policemen and civilians from across the nation demonstrated “poomsae,” a defined pattern of defence-and-attack motions, on the front lawn. Guinness judges recognised their simultaneous display as a taekwondo poomsae...

Measles outbreak in Japan puts travel plans for Hong Kong tour groups on hold

14 hours 20 min ago
A measles outbreak in Okinawa has forced a Hong Kong travel agent to cancel several trips it had planned to the area. Nearly 70 people in the popular tourist destination have contracted the highly infectious disease, local government officials said. In response, travel agent WWPKG has cancelled the plans of eight tour groups, who were supposed to leave for Japan between April 26 and May 19. Some 150 travellers have been effected by the move, and all will be offered the opportunity to visit...

How India’s tide of fake news has stirred unrest following rape and murder of eight-year-old girl

14 hours 20 min ago
As grief and outrage over the rape and murder of an eight-year-old crescendoed in India last week, a wrenching video of the supposed victim singing “her last song” lit up phones across the country. But it was a hoax. The clip was nearly a year old and the girl someone entirely different, a lie that was discovered by a team of fact checkers who debunk the “fake news” shared by millions of Indians every day. It is a herculean task exposing fake news before it spreads like...

South Korea halts propaganda broadcasts across border with North to ‘to create a peaceful climate’

14 hours 54 min ago
South Korea’s military on Monday switched off giant loudspeakers blasting messages towards the North’s soldiers at the border, in a conciliatory gesture ahead of Friday’s historic inter-Korea summit. The South has long broadcast a mix of news, music and propaganda messages urging the North’s soldiers to defect through huge speakers along the heavily fortified border, with operations varying depending on the swings of volatile inter-Korea ties. The North plays propaganda...

Korea summit: is Kim Jong-un sincere? Here’s how to tell

15 hours 24 min ago
As South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un head into a historic summit this week, the big question is how sincere Pyongyang is in efforts to achieve lasting peace. Here’s what to look out for in testing Kim’s sincerity. First, and most simply, form matters. The South already achieved a victory of sorts in persuading Kim to come to the South (or more technically to the southern part of the demilitarised zone or DMZ) for the meeting rather than...

Forget China: Hong Kong, Singapore are new kids on the blockchain

17 hours 21 min ago
SINGAPORE and Hong Kong have become the up-and-coming destination for companies that want to raise funds using blockchain technology, as Beijing’s recent crackdown on digital currencies sends investors to speculate elsewhere. The number of companies launching initial coin offerings (ICO) in Singapore and Hong Kong has rocketed in recent months, according to fintech businesses, lawyers and industry groups. “We cannot say Singapore has become an ICO hub yet, as more work needs to be...

South Korea pushes ahead with plans for denuclearisation talks but will North Korea keep its word?

Sun, 04/22/2018 - 15:05
South Korea’s preparations for its first summit with North Korea in more than a decade are in full swing this week, officials said on Sunday, a day after the North’s pledge to end its nuclear tests raised hopes but also scepticism. Although the North’s announcement is quite dramatic, it’s natural for the world to be extra sensitive to every word spoken by Kim Nam Sung-wook, Korea University North Korea said on Saturday it was suspending nuclear and missile tests and...

Pakistan’s Pashtun activists defy crackdown to demand an end to extrajudicial killings, issuing rare challenge to powerful security forces

Sun, 04/22/2018 - 11:17
Leaders of Pakistan’s Pashtun Protection Movement (PTM) vowed to defy a ban and go ahead with a mass protest in the eastern city of Lahore on Sunday, just hours after officials cracked down on the group. Since launching three months ago, the PTM has rattled the powerful military with a nationwide campaign calling for an end to extrajudicial killings, “disappearances” and other abuses by police and troops. Despite a far-reaching media blackout the movement has drawn tens of...

Indian authorities cut internet to curb unrest as protests over rape and murder of girl highlight divisions

Sun, 04/22/2018 - 11:06
The internet is being cut for hours on end in Jammu as authorities try to halt protests that have grown in the Kashmir winter capital since the rape-murder of an eight-year-old girl opened a new front in India’s Hindu-Muslim divide. With near daily protests held across the country over the brutal killing, Jammu police say the digital clampdown is to halt the spread of “rumours” that inflame tensions. Much damage has already been done in the city. Eight Hindu men are on trial...

Explainer: the connections between Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Cambridge Analytica

Sun, 04/22/2018 - 11:03
What we know so far On April 8 the South China Morning Post published a photo showing Cambridge Analytica’s suspended CEO Alexander Nix dining at the National Press Club Manila in May 2015 with four men. Two of the men later played key roles in Rodrigo Duterte’s 2016 presidential campaign: Jose Gabriel “Pompee” La Viña as social media director, and Peter Tiu Laviña as spokesman. La Viña recently said both were ”guests” the day they...

Israel denies Palestinian professor’s killing in Kuala Lumpur was Mossad hit

Sun, 04/22/2018 - 10:35
An autopsy was being carried out Sunday on the body of a Palestinian professor who was gunned down in what his family claim was an assassination by Israel’s Mossad spy agency. Israel’s defence minister said the man was a rocket expert and “no saint”, but dismissed suggestions Israel spies killed him. Fadi Mohammad al-Batsh, 35, was killed in a drive-by shooting on Saturday, according to Malaysian authorities. He was walking from his high-rise flat to dawn prayers at a...

Indonesia’s health scheme dwarfs Obamacare. But there is a problem

Sun, 04/22/2018 - 08:45
When Dr Selvy Anggeraini took over as the head of one of Jakarta’s busier government health clinics, she had a budget of 1 billion rupiah (US$72,500) to treat the 350 or so patients that came daily to seek care from one of her 14 doctors. Four years later, after the introduction of a generous universal health insurance programme, her caseload has doubled, even though her budget has barely moved. “The care is mostly free so now more people come,” says Anggeraini, whose district...

Suicide and hunger strike revive concerns about Japan immigration detention

Sun, 04/22/2018 - 08:34
The suicide of an Indian man being held at an immigration detention centre in Japan has sparked a hunger strike among detainees and revived concerns about conditions. Deepak Kumar was found dead on April 13 after apparently hanging himself in the shower at the Ushiku facility, northeast of Tokyo. At least eight detainees, including Kumar, have died in immigration detention facilities since 2010, according to the Japan Association for Refugees (JAR). Kumar’s death prompted a hunger strike...

World’s oldest person – Japan’s Nabi Tajima – dies aged 117

Sun, 04/22/2018 - 07:51
The world’s oldest person, a 117-year-old Japanese woman, has died. Nabi Tajima died of old age on Saturday evening in a hospital in the town of Kikai, southern Japan, according to an official from the town, Susumu Yoshiyuki. Tajima had been in hospital since January. Born on August 4, 1900, Tajima was the last known person born in the 19th century. She reportedly had more than 160 descendants, including great-great-great grandchildren. Her town of Kikai is in Kagoshima prefecture on...

When North meets South: what’s at stake as two Koreas sit down?

Sun, 04/22/2018 - 07:16
President Donald Trump has said he will walk out of the room if things do not go well with North Korea. South Korean President Moon Jae-in wishes he had that option in his own summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un this week. “I think Moon’s whole career is focused on trying to transform the environment from one of conflict to peace and this summit is critical to that,” said Bruce W. Bennett, an expert in Northeast Asian military issues with the RAND Corporation. Moon has...

Does surge in anonymous Twitter users mean Asia has been hit by ‘botmageddon’?

Sun, 04/22/2018 - 06:35
It has been being jokingly referred to as “botmageddon”. But a surge in new, anonymous Twitter accounts across swathes of Southeast and East Asia has deepened fears the region is in the throes of US-style mass social media manipulation. Maya Gilliss-Chapman, a Cambodian tech entrepreneur currently working in Silicon Valley, noticed something odd was happening in early April. Her Twitter account @MayaGC was being swamped by a daily deluge of follows from new users. “I acquired...

As Kim talks peace, silent rage of Japanese abductees’ families

Sun, 04/22/2018 - 06:03
Nearly 40 years after his younger sister was abducted by North Korean agents, Shigeo Iizuka holds out the faintest glimmer of hope that Pyongyang’s apparent willingness to build bridges with the rest of the world might mean she can come home. But he admits that outcome is still unlikely. On the same day that Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared after talks in Florida that he had convinced US President Donald Trump to raise the matter of the fate of the abductees when he meets...

Five years after Rana Plaza disaster, are Asia’s sweatshops a thing of the past?

Sun, 04/22/2018 - 04:00
Asian garment factories are struggling to keep up with the relentless global appetite for cheap clothes, but Tuomo Poutiainen is convinced that sweatshops will soon be a thing of the past. “In 10 years, the time of sweatshops will be over,” says Poutiainen, a United Nations expert on the industry. “There is so much attention and visibility on this subject. Transparency means there’s no space for sweatshops and substandard conditions, there’s plenty of eyes to...

George Soros who? Why Singapore is no Hungary

Sun, 04/22/2018 - 03:01
Hungary and Singapore may be thousands of kilometres apart, but over the last fortnight public debate in both countries has centred on the same question: should foreigners be allowed to fund local political activity? In both cases, the key protagonist was the Open Society Foundations (OSF). Funded by the US billionaire financier George Soros, the organisation backs pro-democracy initiatives around the world. The contrast in public reaction in the two countries to official curbs against OSF...

Domestic helper agency in Hong Kong places more than 2,000 Filipino maids without charging them fees

Sat, 04/21/2018 - 14:04
The co-founder of the Fair Employment Agency believes that Hong Kong is on the right track to eradicate the exploitation of domestic workers by 2024, noting his organisation has placed more than 2,000 Filipino helpers at no cost to them. Studies have shown that indebtedness arising from excessive agency fees is a major reason why the workers remain vulnerable to abuse in a city that has no anti-human trafficking laws and where forced labour is technically not a crime. More employment agencies...

India prescribes death penalty for rape of children under 12 as fury mounts over string of brutal rapes

Sat, 04/21/2018 - 13:29
India’s government on Saturday prescribed the death penalty for people convicted of raping children under 12 to help combat an increase in violent crime against women. An ordinance was approved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet and was being sent to the president for approval, the Press Trust of India news agency reported. The ordinance will require the approval of Parliament within six months to become law. But in the meantime, suspects can be prosecuted using the ordinance...

‘Assassinated by the hand of treachery’: Hamas says man gunned down in Malaysia was important member

Sat, 04/21/2018 - 12:39
Gaza’s ruling Hamas militant group said Saturday that a man who was gunned down in Malaysia was an important member of the organisation, raising suspicions that Israel was behind the brazen killing. Hamas said Palestinian engineer Fadi al-Batsh was a “loyal” member and a “scientist of Palestine’s youth scholars”. It gave no further details on his scientific accomplishments but said he had made “important contributions” and took part in...

Japan PM Shinzo Abe sends a sacred tree to contentious war shrine to avoid upsetting China and South Korea

Sat, 04/21/2018 - 12:04
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine on Saturday but has no plans to visit it to avoid tensions ahead of a three-way meeting with China and South Korea, officials and local media said. Abe sent a sacred “masakaki” tree bearing his name to the shrine as it started a three-day spring festival, a shrine spokeswoman said. On the eve of the festival, more than 70 lawmakers made a pilgrimage to the shrine, which China and South...

Kim Jong-un says he’s stopped testing nukes, but can South Koreans trust anything the North says?

Sat, 04/21/2018 - 11:04
North Korea’s announcement of a halt in its nuclear and missile tests was met with scepticism by many South Koreans on Saturday, highlighting political risk for the South’s president as he embarks on the latest push for peace on the peninsula. North Korea will immediately suspend nuclear and missile tests and scrap its nuclear test site, instead pursuing economic growth and peace, the North’s state media said. But in South Korea, which is still technically in a state of war...

Dozens of Rohingya refugees rescued in Indonesia after drifting at sea for nine days

Sat, 04/21/2018 - 10:39
A Rohingya Muslim man among the group of 76 rescued in Indonesian waters in a wooden boat says they were at sea for nine days after leaving Myanmar, where the minority group faces intense persecution, and were hoping to reach Malaysia. The eight children, 25 women and 43 men were taken ashore on Friday afternoon at Bireuen in Aceh province on the island of Sumatra, the third known attempt by members of the ethnic minority group to escape Myanmar by sea this month. Several required medical...

Australian dog honoured by police for protecting lost child

Sat, 04/21/2018 - 10:08
A deaf and partially blind dog that kept a lost three-year-old girl safe in Australian bushland overnight was awarded police honours on Saturday after leading rescuers to the child. Emergency services began a search on foot and from the air for Aurora on Friday after the young girl wandered off into bushland on a rural property in Queensland state. Seventeen-year-old blue heeler Max stayed with the child through a rainy night before leading family and rescuers to her on Saturday morning after...

Did ancient Hindus surf the Web?

Sat, 04/21/2018 - 07:16
Among the many ailments inflicted upon India by the Hindu-chauvinist ruling party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the most cringe-inducing (in a rather long list) must be its leaders’ boastfully ignorant atavism. Not only do they claim credit, on behalf of their ancient Hindu forebears, for every invention of the modern era, but they assert their point of view with a certitude that is immune to ridicule, or even common sense. The latest offender is the newly elected chief minister of the...

How chance discovery of a Philippine child-sex ring helped FBI close book on Backpage.com

Sat, 04/21/2018 - 06:18
One of the world’s most notorious sex ads websites was shut down last week by US authorities, bringing to a head a years-long fight by anti-human trafficking activists to close the online classifieds network. But the seizure of Backpage, which formed far-reaching links across Asia using an illicit call centre business in the Philippines, marks only a minor win in the war against trafficking networks. Now subject to an FBI seizure notice, the website, which the US Justice Department has...

The one thing that won’t be discussed at the Korea summit

Sat, 04/21/2018 - 03:18
When Lee Ka-yeon reca lls growing up in North Korea in the 1990s, she remembers meals of wild grasses and tree bark that her mother would boil to make thin soups. At the time, she believed her hardship would be temporary, and that it was caused by North Korea’s outside enemies. The conditions of her life were starkly at odds with the propaganda stories she read in school, which depicted North Korea as a land of abundance that was the envy of the world. Lee grew up at a time of economic...

What’s the ‘dirty secret’ of Western academics who self-censor work on China?

Sat, 04/21/2018 - 02:00
Australian academic James Leibold was looking forward to having his work published in a special edition of The China Quarterly. His study of the impact of the Belt and Road Initiative on ethnic minorities in China had taken him two long years, but he was confident his paper – which argued state surveillance in Xinjiang was at odds with the aims of Beijing’s trade initiative – was finally ready for public consumption. But then Leibold found two fellow academics from European...

North Korea’s Kim suspends nuclear and missile tests

Sat, 04/21/2018 - 01:10
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has declared he will suspend nuclear and missile tests starting Saturday, and that he will shut down the site where the previous six nuclear tests were conducted. “I solemnly declare that we have accomplished credible weaponization of nuclear forces,” Kim was quoted as saying at a Friday party meeting. “Our decision to suspend nuclear tests is part of the world’s important steps for nuclear disarmament and our republic will join global...

Reconnected: North and South Korean leaders get new hotline as stage is set for historic summit

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 15:24
A hotline between the leaders of North and South Korea went live on Friday, a week before they are due to hold a historic summit on the border that has separated their countries for more than six decades. As preparations for the meeting gathered pace, South Korean media reported that the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, would talk over the phone before they meet next Friday. The summit will take place on the southern side of the demilitarised zone...

Mahathir’s wife urges Malaysian women to be ‘queenmakers’ in May’s general election

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 13:45
The wife of former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad urged women on Friday to support the opposition coalition in next month’s general election for a better future. Women are nearly half of the nearly 15 million people eligible to vote in the May 9 polls that will pit Prime Minister Najib Razak’s long-ruling coalition against an opposition coalition lead by his former mentor Mahathir, one of Asia’s longest serving premier for 22 years until his retirement in 2003. Siti Hasmah...

New Philippine police chief vows to continue drug war

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 13:09
The new top police commander of the Philippines pledged on Friday to keep up President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug war despite fresh international condemnation over the killings. Director General Oscar Albayalde, who was sworn in Thursday, will now lead the narcotics crackdown that has killed thousands since Duterte came to power just under two years ago. “How to sustain the drug war? In order to sustain it, we will not change anything,” Albayalde told reporters at his first...

Asia in 3 minutes: Malaysian shaman to Russian sex guru – the week Asian politics got weird

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 12:25
Would you elect someone who looked for a plane with a ‘magic’ carpet? A shaman who drew ridicule by trying to locate the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 with coconuts and a “magic” carpet announced this week he will run in next month’s elections. Ibrahim Mat Zin – known as “Raja Bomoh”, which translates as “King of Shamans” – will contest a parliamentary seat in the northern state of Perak. After MH370 disappeared in 2014...

How a rape exposes the conflict between two visions of India

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 11:11
In recent years, India has witnessed a disturbingly high volume of sex crimes – so much so that when the rape and murder of Asifa, an eight-year-old girl from a Muslim nomadic community in Kathua, in the restive Jammu and Kashmir province, came to light three months ago, it was not a major news story right away. Asifa’s family was too poor to matter. The perpetrators belonged to the dominant Hindu community and had political and bureaucratic backing. Her being a Muslim in a region...

#MeToo movement hits Pakistan as allegations mount against popular singer and actor Ali Zafar

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 09:50
Pressure mounted on Friday against Pakistani singer Ali Zafar after he was hit with a sexual harassment allegation by a leading actress in the first high profile “#metoo” accusation in the staunchly patriarchal country. The allegations were trending across social media in Pakistan after popular actress Meesha Shafi posted a lengthy message on Twitter, accusing Zafar of physically harassing her on “more than one occasion”. “This happened to me despite the fact I am...

Amorous couples and sex workers whipped publicly in Indonesia’s Aceh

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 09:31
A group of amorous couples and alleged sex workers were publicly whipped for breaking Islamic law in Indonesia’s Aceh on Friday, just a week after the province pledged to move the widely condemned practice indoors. More than a thousand people, including dozens of tourists from neighbouring Malaysia, jeered and screamed abuse at the group as they were flogged outside a mosque in the capital Banda Aceh. The three men and five women – who included several college students – were...

Noodles are pushing rice off the South Korean dining table

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 08:55
By Kang Hyun-kyung Over the past four decades, there has been an outstanding change in Koreans’ dietary patterns ― noodles have been gradually replacing rice. Koreans’ per capita rice consumption in 2016 was 61.9 kilos, less than 50 per cent of the 1980 level. Koreans’ noodle consumption, however, has grown fast. Korea’s per capita instant noodle consumption is the highest worldwide, and consumption of other noodles, such as noodle soups, is also on the rise. The...

Singapore Civil Defence Force personnel show some impressive talents in new music video

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 07:00
By Jonathan Loh Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) personnel made a surprising reveal of their singing, dancing and acting talents in an unexpectedly entertaining workplan video posted on SCDF’s Facebook page. The video – titled “Standing in Unity” – is produced in musical form for the first time, complete with an original score and features SCDF’s very own choreography, actors, lyricist and vocalists, wrote SCDF. Starting on a grim and solemn mood, the...

National treasures: how the rest of the world fell in love with Japan’s famous Akita dogs

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 06:06
Hollywood actor Richard Gere, French film star Alain Delon and Russia’s figure skating sensation Alina Zagitova have one thing in common: They adore Japan’s Akita dogs. And they’re not alone. In recent years, foreign ownership of one of Japan’s most famous indigenous breeds has skyrocketed, outstripping domestic demand for the fluffy, perky-eared pooches. Earlier this year, the trend hit the headlines when Zagitova proclaimed her love for Akitas after spotting them while...

Asian governments claim they are cracking down on ‘fake news’ but is it merely an excuse to stifle dissent?

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 05:11
Inflammatory stories masquerading as real news pose a particularly toxic threat in Asian countries with long-standing religious and ethnic divides, but promises by some regional leaders to tackle the problem carry equal menace. Borrowing from US President Donald Trump’s political playbook, government heads with an authoritarian streak are using the mantra of “fake news” to shield themselves from negative media coverage, and push legislation that critics say is aimed more at...

Non-partisan Japanese lawmakers visit controversial Yasukuni war shrine

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 01:56
A group of non-partisan Japanese lawmakers on Friday visited the controversial war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo ahead of its annual spring festival. The shrine has been a source of friction with Asian countries that suffered from Japan’s militarism during World War II as it honours Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals along with millions of war dead. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected forgo a visit to the Shinto shrine in person during the three-day festival from...

North Korea wants total denuclearisation, says Seoul

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 21:30
North Korea has expressed a desire for the “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean peninsula without attaching preconditions such as the withdrawal of US troops, the South Korean president has said. The statement, unconfirmed by North Korea, comes before a summit between the leaders of the two countries on April 27, to be followed in May or June by a meeting between Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, and Donald Trump. The US president on Wednesday pledged to meet Kim “in...

Truce village or European capital? Possible Trump-Kim summit venues

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 18:50
US President Donald Trump says that five locations are under consideration for his expected meeting with Kim Jong-un, the leader of nuclear-armed North Korea. But he gave no clues as to what they might be, and speculation is rife as to the possibilities – with many contenders suggested. Here are some of the options: Panmunjom – The truce village in the demilitarised zone that divides the two Koreas will host a summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in next week. It...

What will happen to the Japanese abducted by North Korea in the 1970s, and why does it matter?

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 15:51
The recent whirlwind of diplomacy over North Korea has sparked hopes in Japan of a breakthrough in the painful decades-long issue of citizens kidnapped by Pyongyang. US President Donald Trump pledged after a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to work “very, very hard” to “try and bring these folks back.” Trump also met relatives of the abductees during his last visit to Tokyo, the emotional high point of his trip as grieving families clutched pictures of...

Trump-Abe summit: US could bail on meeting with North Korea’s Kim while Japan fails to avoid tariffs

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 15:09
President Donald Trump pledged to go through with a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un but said he could still pull out if he feels it’s “not going to be fruitful”. Speaking alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday, amid stormy negotiations on US-Japan trade where both expressed opposition to China’s steel overproduction and alleged intellectual property theft, Trump said CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Kim had “got along really well”...

Alibaba backs free trade with smart digital hub in Thailand

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 15:02
Alibaba’s plans for a new digital free-trade zone in Thailand signal it will press on in championing global free trade despite the looming threat of a US-China trade war, the Chinese e-commerce giant’s founder Jack Ma said on Thursday. Speaking in Bangkok at a signing ceremony for the new Alibaba-led “smart digital hub” in Thailand – the second such initiative in Southeast Asia – Ma once again warned all parties to step back from the precipice of an all-out...

South Korean leader Moon says peace treaty with the North ‘must be pursued’

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 13:10
A peace treaty to formally end the Korean war “must be pursued”, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday, ahead of a summit next week with Kim Jong-un, leader of the nuclear-armed North. “The armistice that has dragged on for 65 years must come to an end,” Moon told media company representatives at the presidential Blue House, adding: “The signing of a peace treaty must be pursued after an end to the war is declared.” The 1950-53 Korean war ended in...

North Korean leader Kim’s wife gets a status boost as country’s new ‘first lady’

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 11:45
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has given his young, stylish wife the title of first lady in what analysts say is a major boost to her status ahead of back-to-back summits with South Korea and the United States. Ri Sol-ju has often accompanied Kim to official events but made her first solo public appearance last weekend at a ballet performance by a visiting Chinese troupe. The North’s state media reported the outing, referring to her as the “respected first lady” – the...

Google Home can understand Singaporean English, but does it know Singlish?

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 11:19
By Jonathan Loh Finally, the Google Home and Home Mini have officially landed in Singapore, priced at S$189 (US$144.38) and S$79 respectively on the Google Store. Singaporeans will be glad to know that Google Home and Home Mini devices sold here are fitted with the tech giant’s “Singaporean English” voice command support, which was first introduced in November last year. According to Google, this means that made-in-Singapore terms such as “kopitiam”, Paya Lebar and...

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s days may be numbered as popularity dips and political rivals circle

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 11:07
Rivals are jockeying to replace Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as the embattled Japanese leader struggles with sinking support, but so far none have offered detailed policy alternatives to his “strong defence, strong economy” platform. Battered by scandals involving suspected cronyism, Abe’s ratings have slid near or below 30 per cent, dampening his chances of gaining a third three-year term as Liberal Democratic Party leader in a September vote, and sparking talk he might step...

South Korea’s government embraces insects to feed on mounds of food waste

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 10:37
By Ko Dong-hwan The South Korean government has embraced a rare yet effective, eco-friendly method of disposing of food waste, vowing to expand infrastructure for “ptecticus tenebrifer,” a flying insect that feeds on waste when in a larva state. The Rural Development Administration set up new policies to introduce technological and legal bases for breeding the insects’ larvae, the arm of the Ministry of Environment. So far the policies’ absence has limited the government...

‘Lesbianism’ diagnosis bewilders New Zealand woman

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 08:57
By Melissa Nightingale A woman in the New Zealand capital of Wellington is bemused after discovering her doctor had listed “lesbianism” as a diagnosed condition in her medical records. Charlotte, who is in a relationship with another woman, has laughed off the diagnosis, saying she is not the type of person to “get up in arms” about such things. “I’ve never heard the term ‘lesbianism’ used before,” she said. “If I were sensitive about...

Scene set at Joint Security Area as hopes rise for North and South Korea to strike reconciliatory note

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 08:40
The building that sits at the fortified border between the two Koreas is undergoing renovation for a landmark summit that may pave the way for an end to their hostility. It remains unknown how North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will travel to the Peace House – on the South Korean side of the Joint Security Area (JSA), in the border village of Panmunjom – for the talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, but officials are making preparations for him to walk across the border, which...

US, Japan ‘aligned’ on Chinese steel, intellectual property rights

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 08:12
China’s steel overproduction and alleged intellectual property theft were discussed at the just concluded US-Japan summit, though bilateral trade and North Korea’s nuclear threat dominated the agenda, Washington’s envoy in Tokyo said on Thursday. Joint concerns about these issues showed the strengthening “alignment” between US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, ambassador William Hagerty said. “I think the role of China is on...

One third of Great Barrier Reef corals killed in marine heatwave in 2016

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 07:20
High water temperatures off the east Australian coast in 2016 bleached and “cooked” large sections of the Great Barrier Reef, according to a new scientific study released on Thursday. The study, published in the journal Nature, showed 29 per cent of the almost 4,000 reefs that make up the Great Barrier Reef lost at least two-thirds of their corals over a nine-month period, affecting their ability to support diverse ecosystems. “When corals bleach from a heatwave, they can...

‘Regrettable and mortifying’: Japanese mayor vows to overhaul men-only rule in sumo wrestling

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 05:32
A female mayor at the centre of a fierce debate over allowing women into the sumo ring vowed on Thursday never to back down as she prepared to lodge a formal protest. “I won’t give up this time around … I’m determined to make a petition every six months,” Tomoko Nakagawa said before taking her case to the sumo authorities in Tokyo. “I want them never to leave this issue vague. I want the association to hear this voice clearly and start a debate on a review...

Three former US soldiers convicted of contract killing in Philippines were paid US$35,000 each by international crime boss

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 04:28
A former US Army sniper and two other former American soldiers were convicted Wednesday in the contract killing of a real estate agent in the Philippines for an international crime boss who thought the woman had cheated him on a land deal. Joseph Hunter, a one-time sergeant from Kentucky with a Special Forces background, Adam Samia and Carl David Stillwell were found guilty of murder-for-hire and other charges. All three had denied they planned the 2012 execution-style hit – a case that...

Watch Donald Trump and Shinzo Abe’s speech following their two-day meeting on live stream

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 00:21
US President Donald Trump is to give a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday, following two days of discussions at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Trump began his speech by giving his condolences to the family of former first lady Barbara Bush, and reiterating the righteousness of US and ally air strikes on Syria. He then promised a “bright path” for North Korea when it achieves “verifiable” and “irreversible”...

Angry protesters confront Indian Prime Minister Modi in London over spate of sexual violence and brutal rapes

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 15:54
Hundreds of noisy protesters greeted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he arrived in London on Wednesday, demonstrating over a rising tide of sexual violence at home including two particularly brutal rapes. Holding placards reading “Modi go home” and “we stand against Modi’s agenda of hate and greed,” they gathered outside Downing Street and parliament as Modi arrived for talks with Prime Minister Theresa May. Sexual violence against women is a highly...

Philippines' Duterte says he ordered investigation of Australian nun

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 14:04
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday he ordered the investigation into a 71-year-old Australian nun for “disorderly conduct”, justifying it as a legal move against “undesirable” foreigners. Sister Patricia Fox, a coordinator of a Philippine congregation of Catholic nuns called Notre Dame de Sion, was taken from her house this week and detained at the immigration bureau in Manila for almost 24 hours. She was released on Tuesday pending further...

Top Japan finance official quits to clear his name after harassment claims surface in local magazine

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 13:08
The top bureaucrat at Japan’s finance minister quit on Wednesday following allegations he sexually harassed female reporters, saying he wanted to clear his name. Junichi Fukuda has denied a magazine report he harassed several women, but calls for him to step aside have grown in recent days. Finance Minister Taro Aso announced the resignation late on Wednesday, saying Fukuda told him he wanted to “clear his name”. “I thought it would be difficult to fulfil my job...

Donald Trump and Japan PM Shinzo Abe talk trade and North Korea at Florida resort

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 11:12
Seeking to reassure Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of their close alliance ahead of planned talks with North Korea, the Trump administration has signalled it was open to considering exempting Japan from new steel and aluminium tariffs that Abe opposes. Hosting Abe at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, US President Donald Trump said the tariffs could be a topic during the visit, which comes as Trump prepares for a historic summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. Trump also gave Abe a...

‘I want my life back’: victims of Japan’s long-running sterilisation programme demand justice

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 10:59
Junko Iizuka remembers clearly the day she was taken to a hospital as a teenager and forcibly sterilised under a Japanese government programme. Her foster mother gave her a rice ball as they stood by a river, and then took her without explanation to a doctor. Sometime afterwards, Iizuka, who requested a pseudonym to describe her experience, woke up in a hospital bed with a huge vertical scar across her stomach. Iizuka, now in her seventies, is one of thousands of men and women forcibly...

India: 21 killed in horror road crash on way to wedding

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 09:39
At least 21 revellers were killed en route to a wedding when their truck flew off a bridge, police said Wednesday, the latest horrific crash on India’s accident-prone roads. The truck, carrying more than 40 passengers, smashed through a protective railing in central Madhya Pradesh state late Tuesday and plunged nearly 20 metres to a dry riverbed below. Police in Sidhi district said 21 people were injured, most of them critically, in the accident some 560 kilometres (350 miles) from the...

Indonesia arrests home-brew booze kingpin after dozens die

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 08:31
Police have arrested the main suspect in a spate of bootleg alcohol poisonings thought to have killed dozens across Indonesia, authorities said Wednesday, with the booze kingpin facing life behind bars if he is convicted. Samsudin Simbolon was caught early Wednesday on a palm oil plantation in Sumatra, ending a nationwide search for a man whose bootleg operation allegedly killed as many as 50 people in neighbouring West Java. “We will fly him to Jakarta tonight and then to Bandung,...

Stolen car in New Zealand driven by 13-year-old found with eight more children inside

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 07:32
A stolen car being driven by a 13-year-old also had eight other children inside when it was stopped by New Zealand police in the early hours of this morning. About 12.30am local time police received a complaint about the theft of a motor vehicle from a Paraparaumu Beach address. An hour later, the vehicle, a small Suzuki Swift, was found travelling south on Manly St, Paraparaumu. Police tried to stop the vehicle, however the driver tried to get away before stopping a short time later. On...

Thailand wants tourists to help it fight human trafficking

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 06:29
At Bangkok’s main Suvarnabhumi airport, a video repeats scenes of tourists visiting Thailand’s sunny beaches and its vibrant nightlife, but at the end comes a warning. “Human trafficking and slavery are against the law in Thailand. Perpetrators will be severely punished,” it says, followed by a hotline number for people to report cases. From airports to shopping malls, Thailand is ramping up a campaign targeting tourists in its latest effort to keep the country free from...

Air Busan flight attendant ridicules passengers’ hairstyles as broccoli

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 06:19
By Kang Aa-young A flight attendant of Air Busan, a low-cost carrier in South Korea, apologised Tuesday for disrespectful comments and photos posted by one of its flight attendants on Instagram. The flight attendant, on a Busan-Jeju flight on Saturday, took photos of the passengers from behind and posted them with comments such as “looking all the same” and “broccoli farm.” It was an obvious reference to the hairstyle of the middle-aged married women or “ajumma...

Singapore and Indonesia researchers uncover at least 12 new deep sea species off Java

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 05:35
By Neo Chai Chin Scientists from Singapore and Indonesia have found at least 12 species of hermit crabs, prawns, lobsters and crabs that are new to science in the deep sea off western and southern Java. The South Java Deep Sea Biodiversity Expedition 2018 (SJADES 2018), the first such expedition jointly organised by both countries, also yielded more than 40 species that are new records for Indonesia. The figures may be the tip of the iceberg as the researchers now go through the 12,000...

CIA chief Pompeo met Kim Jong-un during secret visit to North Korea over Easter weekend

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 02:33
CIA Director Mike Pompeo made a top-secret visit to North Korea over Easter weekend as an envoy for President Donald Trump to meet with that country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, according to two people with direct knowledge of the trip. The extraordinary meeting between one of Trump’s most trusted emmisaries and the authoritarian head of a rogue state was part of an effort to lay the groundwork for direct talks between Trump and Kim about North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme,...

More pressure needed on Myanmar to take back Rohingya, says Bangladeshi PM

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 21:31
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said on Tuesday more international pressure was needed on Myanmar to take back Muslim Rohingya refugees. “The international community needs to put more pressure on Myanmar so that they take back their own people and ensure their security,” she told an audience in London. “Myanmar says they are ready to take back the Rohingya, but they are not taking the initiative.” UN officials say nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled into...

Japan, US, and South Korea eye denuclearisation of North Korea by 2020

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 20:54
A plan being floated among Japan, the United States and South Korea is aimed at the complete denuclearisation of North Korea by the summer of 2020, diplomatic sources said on Tuesday, in a rejection of Pyongyang’s “phased, synchronised” approach in exchange for benefits. The three countries are seeking an early end to Pyongyang’s development of nuclear weapons and missiles after past attempts allowed North Korea incremental incentives to halt its nuclear programme and...

South and North Korea ‘may announce an end to their 68-year-long war next week’

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 17:54
South and North Korea are discussing plans to announce an official end to the military conflict that has existed between the two countries since 1950, the South Korean Munhwa Ilbo newspaper reported, citing an unidentified South Korean official. At next week’s summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the two neighbours may release a joint statement saying they will seek to ease military tension and to end confrontation, according to the...

Donald Trump, Shinzo Abe to talk at Mar-a-Lago about North Korea, China  

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 17:47
US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will seek common ground on how to deal with North Korea’s nuclear challenge on Tuesday amid fears in Tokyo that Trump might be prone to make too many concessions. Abe is expected to arrive at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida, for two days of talks dominated by North Korea but also expected to cover trade, relations with China and other issues. Both leaders could use a successful summit to give...

Indonesian court orders release of US$250 million luxury yacht linked to 1MDB scandal

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 15:36
A luxury yacht linked to allegations that US$4.5 billion was looted from Malaysia’s state investment fund 1MDB must be returned to its wealthy owner, an Indonesian court ruled on Tuesday, citing missteps by police in seizing the vessel. The decision comes about six weeks after Indonesian authorities, acting on a request from the FBI, seized the Cayman Islands-registered Equanimity, reportedly worth some US$250 million, which was moored off the Indonesian tourist island of Bali. Its three...

Malaysian shaman who tried to find missing plane MH370 with coconuts and a ‘magic’ carpet to contest election

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 12:47
A Malaysian shaman who drew widespread ridicule by trying to locate flight MH370 using coconuts and a “magic” carpet announced Tuesday he will run in elections next month. Ibrahim Mat Zin – known by his nickname “Raja Bomoh”, which translates as “King of Shamans” – will contest a parliamentary seat in northern Perak state as an independent candidate. After Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared in 2014 with 239 people aboard, Ibrahim launched...

Vietnam and Indonesia vow to settle fishing violations in South China Sea

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 11:54
Vietnam and Indonesia have pledged to work together to resolve fishing violations in the South China Sea as the two countries seek to boost their bilateral trade. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, speaking to reporters on Tuesday at a joint briefing with his Vietnamese counterpart, said the two countries would strengthen their partnership, cooperating particularly on fishing and other maritime issues. “In maritime and fishing cooperation, we agreed on how to conclude the ongoing...

Japan minister says sorry as 6,600 police join manhunt for fugitive thief

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 10:51
A Japanese minister apologised on Tuesday over the escape of a “model” inmate who fled an open prison more than a week ago, as the number of police hunting him passed 6,000. About 6,600 police officers are now engaged in a fruitless manhunt for 27-year-old Tatsuma Hirao, who was serving time for multiple thefts, according to officials. The case is making headline news in Japan with television channels picking over the manhunt in minute detail. Hirao gave guards the slip on April 8,...

Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University to have driverless bus shuttle service running campuswide by 2019

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 10:35
By Low Youjin By the end of next year, the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore will have an autonomous shuttle service serving the entire campus. The fully automated Group Rapid Transit (GRT) will operate a minibus service route that connects the halls of residences with the main academic areas, and it is targeted to serve 200 to 300 passengers daily. The shuttle service, which is on trial for the moment, is expected to be tested further in phases from the last quarter of this...

‘We will not go back to Russia’: ‘Sex coaches’ arrested in Thailand request US help in exchange for Trump secrets

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 10:18
A Belarusian model and Russian “sex coach” pleaded for US help as they arrived for a court hearing in Thailand on Tuesday, in a case that has grabbed widespread attention after the model claimed to have revelations about alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election. Anastasia Vashukevich, known by her pen name Nastya Rybka, and self-styled sex guru Alexander Kirillov have been detained since they and eight other foreigners were arrested in February by Thai police who raided...

Philippines to deploy hundreds of riot police to Boracay to keep tourists away during six-month closure

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 10:17
The Philippines is set to deploy hundreds of riot police to top holiday island Boracay to keep travellers out and head off potential protests ahead of its six-month closure to tourists, the government said Tuesday. President Rodrigo Duterte has branded the tiny central island and its world-famous white-sand beach a “cesspool”. He has ordered visitors be kept away from April 26 so facilities to treat raw sewage can be set up and illegal structures torn down. On Tuesday, authorities...

Singapore tutor guilty of helping Chinese students cheat in exams using Apple FaceTime and wireless earpieces

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 10:02
A Singaporean private tutor has been convicted over an elaborate scheme to help Chinese secondary school students cheat in an exam using mobile phones and wireless devices, prosecutors said Tuesday. Tan Jia Yan, 32, pleaded guilty on Monday to her part in the plot in which answers to O-Level exams were relayed to at least six students via mobile phones concealed under their clothing and connected wirelessly to skin-coloured earpieces, they said. Tan, who will be sentenced next month, faces a...

Dozens of detainees go on hunger strike at Japan immigration centre after Indian man’s suicide

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 08:13
Dozens of foreigners held at an immigration facility near Tokyo are staging a hunger strike to protest their protracted detention. The hunger strike comes just days after an Indian man at the East Japan Immigration Centre in Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture, committed suicide. The incident is the latest in a string of deaths in Japanese immigration facilities that have been long criticised for their poor medical services and lengthy detention periods. According to supporters, more than 40 detainees...

Myanmar frees more than 8,000 prisoners in amnesty – but not Reuters pair held for possessing ‘state secrets’

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 07:25
Myanmar’s new president said on Tuesday over 8,000 prisoners will be freed in an amnesty, a move the government said would bring about humanitarian support amid the country’s political reforms after decades of military rule. The presidential pardon, signed by newly-elected President Win Myint, said the move was aimed to bring peace as part of celebrations of the Myanmar new year. It did not specify when the amnesty would take place. “To bring peace and pleasure to people...

Nobel laureate Jose Ramos-Horta blasts East Timor’s ‘total failure’ against extreme poverty

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 05:59
Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former East Timorese president Jose Ramos-Horta has waded back into the young country’s politics ahead of parliamentary elections next month, calling the government a total failure in the past decade in crucial areas such as reducing child malnutrition and providing clean water. Ramos-Horta, joint recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize for efforts to bring independence and peace to East Timor, is not a candidate in the elections but has declared support for the...

Search for parents after horrific discovery of dead baby girl, flushed down a toilet in India

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 04:29
It was supposed to be a routine call, just a clogged toilet in need of repair. Instead, plumbers at a clinic in the Indian state of Kerala on Friday made a ghastly discovery: a two-day-old baby had been flushed down the toilet, with her placenta still intact. Abdul Rehman, a doctor who runs the clinic, told local reporters that he called for help when the toilet stopped working. The plumbers got to work, uncovering something that looked like a ball. When they tried to pull it out, the head of...

South Korean actress Choi Eun-hee, who was abducted by North Korea’s Kim Jong-il with her ex-husband, dies aged 91

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 19:00
South Korean actress Choi Eun-hee, who once escaped North Korea with her film-director ex-husband Shin Sang-ok after the pair were kidnapped on the orders of Kim Jong-il in 1978, has died aged 91 after an illness, according to local media. Choi was born in Gyeonggi Province in 1926 and made her stage debut in 1942. Five years later she made her screen debut before going on to become one of the country’s biggest film stars in the 1960s. Unfortunately, her celebrity caught the attention of...

Philippine maid taken to hospital after Saudi boss ‘made her drink bleach’

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 17:02
A Philippine domestic worker has been taken to hospital in Saudi Arabia after her employer allegedly forced her to drink household bleach, Manila’s foreign ministry said on Monday. Domestic worker Agnes Mancilla underwent emergency abdominal surgery after she was taken, unconscious, to a hospital in Saudi’s southwestern Jizan city on April 2, the ministry said. “We are working closely with authorities in Jizan to make sure that justice will be given to Agnes Mancilla,”...

Jailed former South Korean president Park Geun-hye will not appeal 24-year sentence

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 14:32
South Korea’s disgraced former president Park Geun-hye will not appeal her 24-year prison sentence for corruption, reports said on Monday. Park, 66, who was removed from office over a massive corruption scandal last year, was convicted of multiple criminal charges including bribery and abuse of power at a trial earlier this month. She has boycotted all court hearings since October, claiming unfair treatment. On Monday Park submitted an appeal waiver to the Seoul Central District Court to...

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