frosty@khouseafrica.com

 

 

 

K-House Africa

 

Banking Details

 

 

 

  Watch us
on YouTube

 

 

Radio 66/40

 

 

 

 Africa news

 

THE STRUGGLE FOR JERUSALEM

 

 

The Rise Of Islam

 

 

THE DECLINE OF THE USA

 

 

GLOBAL RELIGION

 

 

GLOBAL PESTILENCE

 

 

Global Government

 

 

THE RISE OF THE FAR EAST

 

 

THE RISE OF THE EUROPEAN SUPER STATE

 

 

WEAPONS PROLIFERATION

 

 

THE MAGOG INVASION

 

 

Classics

 

 

UNDERSTAND THE TIMES

 

 

 

Articles

 

DVD PRICELIST

 

Price List

 

 Kings High Way Briefing Packs

 

Topical Teachings

DVD Briefing Back

Packs

 

Audio CD

 

Audio MP3 Collections

 

DVD

 Commentaries

 

Strategic Trends

 

Verse By Verse Commentaries

 

Old Testament Study Notes

 

New Testament Study Notes

 

Personal Update

 

Donations

 

New Product Notice

 

FAQ

 

Contact US

 

K-House USA

 

Comment Line

 

Time Traveller

 

Other Links

 

DEVOTIONAL

 

Words in Red

 

Prophecy News Watch

 

The Coming Prince

 

THE WITNESS 1 Audio MP3

 

THE WITNESS 2 Audio MP3

 

hawk warrior

 

 

 

 

 

 In The News provided by Koinonia House


Best viewed with Internet Explorer.


 

 

 

 
 

 

Asia News Headlines - Yahoo! NewsAsia News Headlines - Yahoo! News

 

Feed image

 

http://news.yahoo.com/rss/asia

 

 

 

Feed image

 

China probing brokers, regulators for possible stock crimes

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎02:03:14 PMGo to full article
A man holds a child near the logo for Citic Securities in Beijing on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Employees of state-owned Citic Securities Ltd, one of China's biggest securities firms and one current and one former employee of its market regulator are under investigation on suspicion of illegal stock trading, state media reported Wednesday, amid the collapse of a stock price boom.(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)BEIJING (AP) — Employees of one of China's biggest securities firms and one current and one former employee of its market regulator are under investigation on suspicion of illegal stock trading, state media reported Wednesday, amid the collapse of a stock price boom.
 
 

Thailand destroys ivory stockpile amid junta crackdown

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎01:44:16 PMGo to full article
Thai Department of National Parks (DNP) workers display pieces of ivory during a destruction ceremony in Bangkok on August 26, 2015Thailand destroyed more than two tonnes of ivory Wednesday -- a victory for animal rights groups fighting against the trade in a country renowned for being a hub for illegal tusks. The ceremony, in which 2,155 kilograms of raw tusks and carved trinkets were fed into an industrial rock crusher before being incinerated, was presided over by the Thai junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha and is the first time the kingdom has taken steps to destroy part of its stockpile. "This is to show the Thai government's strong determination to oppose ivory trafficking and that Thailand will comply with international rules," he said during the ceremony.
 
 

Greek coast guard rescues hundreds of refugees, migrants

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎01:36:54 PMGo to full article
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's coast guard says it has rescued hundreds of refugees and migrants in operations off the coasts of eastern Aegean islands, as a wave of people fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa toward Europe continues unabated.
 

Military may have skewed IS analysis: report

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎01:24:21 PMGo to full article
The US-led bombing campaign of the Islamic State began in Iraq a year ago, and subsequently in SyriaThe Pentagon is investigating whether military officials have improperly rewritten intelligence assessments to give a more optimistic view of the US-led campaign against the Islamic State group in Iraq, the New York Times reported Wednesday. The inspector general probe began after at least one civilian analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency said he had evidence that US Central Command officials were reworking intelligence report conclusions prepared for President Barack Obama and other policymakers. Under a directive by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the 17 US intelligence agencies, analytical assessments "must not be distorted" by a particular audience, agenda or policy view.
 
 

US zoo sending endangered rhino to Indonesia to mate

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎11:41:14 AMGo to full article
Harapan, a Sumatran rhino enters his Wildlife Canyon at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015, in Cincinnati. Harapan, or "Harry" the only Sumatran rhino in the Western Hemisphere, one of three calves born at the Cincinnati Zoo will be moved to Indonesia, to breed at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary. (Cara Owsley /The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT; NO SALESCINCINNATI (AP) — A zoo that has the last Sumatran rhino in the United States on Tuesday announced plans to send him to Southeast Asia on a mission to mate and help preserve his critically endangered species.
 
 

U.S. plans more Asia-Pacific drills to counter China reclamation

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎11:32:04 AMGo to full article
Still image from United States Navy video shows a U.S. Navy crewman aboard a surveillance aircraft viewing a computer screen purportedly showing Chinese construction on the reclaimed land of Fiery Cross Reef in the disputed Spratly IslandsThe United States plans to increase the number of military and humanitarian drills it conducts in the Asia-Pacific as part of a new strategy to counter China's rapid expansion in the South China Sea, the Philippine military said on Wednesday. Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, highlighted key aspects of the Pentagon's freshly drafted Asia Pacific Maritime Security Strategy during talks with his Filipino counterpart, General Hernando Iriberri, during a visit to Manila. Colonel Restituto Padilla, a military spokesman, told journalists that the report outlined Washington's set of actions in the disputed South China Sea and East China Sea, focusing on the protection of "freedom of seas", deterring conflict and coercion, and promoting adherence to international law.
 
 

Thailand wins guarded praise for destroying ivory stockpile

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎10:36:55 AMGo to full article
Officials hold confiscated elephant tusks before destroying the ivory at the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, in BangkokWildlife officials in Thailand destroyed more than two tonnes of confiscated ivory worth around $3 million on Wednesday in what one rights group called a milestone in the fight against the illegal trade. Thailand is a top destination for African ivory smuggling in Asia and has come under increasing pressure to crack down on the trade. Animal rights campaigners have long accused successive governments of turning a blind eye to the problem.
 
 

Palestinians, Vatican could raise UN flags before pope visit

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎07:37:18 AMGo to full article
FFILE - In this Sept. 18, 2007 file photo, the flags of member nations fly outside of the United Nations headquarters. In a move likely to upset Israel's government, the Palestinians and the Vatican are seeking to raise their flags at the U.N., just in time for Pope Francis' visit in September 2015. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — In a move likely to upset Israel's government, the Palestinians and the Vatican are seeking to raise their flags at U.N. headquarters — just in time for Pope Francis' visit next month.
 
 

US stocks reverse in final hour; Dow falls 205 points

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎06:57:26 AMGo to full article
A Chinese investor monitors stock prices at a brokerage house in Beijing, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015. China's main stock market index has fallen for a fourth day, plunging 7.6 percent to an eight-month low. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)TOKYO (AP) — Asian stocks were mixed Wednesday after China's decision to cut its key interest rate failed to spark a sustained rally on Wall Street, bringing on another white-knuckle day as Chinese, Hong Kong and Japanese markets bobbed in and out of negative territory.
 
 

Air New Zealand's annual profit up 24 percent as it expands

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎02:00:30 AMGo to full article
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand's national airline on Wednesday posted a 24 percent jump in annual profit after benefiting from lower fuel costs and continuing its expansion in Asia and North America.
 

In Islamic State war, like others, heritage always a target

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎12:05:04 AMGo to full article
FILE - This undated file photo released Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015 on a social media site used by Islamic State militants, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows smoke from the detonation of the 2,000-year-old temple of Baalshamin in Syria's ancient caravan city of Palmyra. The nearly 2,000-year-old temple in the Syrian city of Palmyra this week was the latest victim in the Islamic State group’s campaign of destruction of historic sites across the territory it controls in Iraq and Syria. Arabic at bottom reads, "The moment of detonation of the pagan Baalshamin temple in the city of Palmyra." (Islamic State social media account via AP, File)CAIRO (AP) — A nearly 2,000-year-old temple in the Syrian city of Palmyra this week was the latest victim in the Islamic State group's campaign of destruction of historic sites across the territory it controls in Iraq and Syria.
 
 

Spain detects first case of mosquito-borne chikungunya virus

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎09:48:03 PMGo to full article
A lab technician studies mosquito larvae that carry the Chikungunya virus in a public health laboratory in Santo Domingo, on October 10, 2014Spain has detected its first domestic case of the painful mosquito-borne viral disease chikungunya in a 60-year-old man in the eastern province of Valencia, officials said Tuesday. The man was "most likely" infected in Gandia, a seaside Mediterranean resort, and was treated in hospital last month, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said in a statement. "This is the first chikungunya case reported from Spain without travel history to endemic areas," the statement said, as all prior reported cases involved people who caught the virus while abroad.
 
 

Surge of migrants walking through Balkans hits Hungary

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎07:18:02 PMGo to full article
Illegal migrants walk near the railway crossing at the border between Hungary and Serbia near Roszke, 180 km southeast from Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday Aug. 25, 2015. (Sandor Ujvari/MTI via AP)SUBOTICA, Serbia (AP) — Thousands of migrants, many from Syria, poured into Hungary on Tuesday as soldiers frantically tried to finish a border fence to keep them out — the latest flashpoint as Europe struggles to handle a torrent of asylum seekers.
 
 

Image of Asia: A world champion's long jump into the sand

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎03:39:24 PMGo to full article
Britain's Greg Rutherford lands in the sand as he competes in the men’s long jump final at the World Athletics Championships at the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)In this photo by Andy Wong, Britain's Greg Rutherford lands in the sand as he competes in the men's long jump final at the World Athletics Championships at the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing. The Olympic champion won his first world championship title with his season-best leap of 8.41 meters on Tuesday. Fabrice Lapierre of Australia overtook two Chinese jumpers with his fifth attempt and took silver with a mark of 8.24. Wang Jianan took bronze at 8.18, with Chinese teammates Gao Xinglong and Li Jinzhe placing fourth and fifth.
 
 

India, UN appeal for peace after 11 die in Nepal violence

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎03:09:33 PMGo to full article
Nepalese Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam pays respect to Laxman Neupane, one among the police officers killed in Monday’s clashes in western Nepal, after his body was brought to Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015. Ethnic protesters, demanding statehood, attacked police with spears and knives a day earlier in western Nepal. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — India and the United Nations appealed for all parties to seek peace in Nepal, where hundreds of security forces on Tuesday were patrolling a western town after ethnic protesters demanding statehood attacked police a day earlier, leaving 11 people dead and many injured.
 
 

Pro-statehood protesters attack police in west Nepal; 9 dead

 
‎25 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎05:50:47 AMGo to full article
KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Hundreds of security forces patrolled a west Nepal area Tuesday where ethnic protesters, demanding statehood, attacked police with spears and knives a day earlier leaving at least six officers and three protesters dead and many others injured.
 

Migrant seriously hurt in France, likely hit by train

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎07:52:35 PMGo to full article
A policeman faces migrants trying to reach the Channel Tunnel in Coquelles, near Calais, northern France, on July 29, 2015A man trying to get into Britain was seriously hurt Monday in northern France, most likely hit by a train, while the Channel Tunnel was temporarily closed after migrants flocked onto train tracks nearby. At least nine people have died this year trying to cross over into Britain, and thousands more are camped out in slum-like conditions in the northern port city of Calais, waiting for their chance to clear the Channel and get to their Eldorado. Last week, France and Britain signed a deal to tackle smuggling gangs and try and reduce daily attempts by desperate migrants and refugees from Asia, Africa or the Middle East to break into the Channel Tunnel.
 
 

Russian ruble collapses to 7-month low on weak oil prices

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎07:02:07 PMGo to full article
People walk past an exchange office sign showing the currency exchange rates of Ruble, Dollar, Euro and Ukrainian Hryvnia in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. The Russian ruble has plunged 2.3 percent to hit a seven-month low amid a further drop in oil prices, the country's key export. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian ruble plunged 2.9 percent on Monday to hit a seven-month low amid a further drop in oil prices, the country's key export.
 
 

Greece says lacks infrastructure to cope with migrant influx

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎06:31:01 PMGo to full article
Syrian refugee children look on as they wait to take a bus following their arrival onboard the Eleftherios Venizelos passenger ship at the port of Piraeus near AthensBy Michele Kambas ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece said on Monday its infrastructure was insufficient to cope with the waves of refugees flowing into the country in one of the worst humanitarian crises Europe has faced since the World War Two. International aid agencies have been scathing about Greece's response. "This is a reception country, and as such we are obliged to have infrastructure in place," Olga Gerovasili, spokeswoman for Greece's outgoing leftist Syriza government.
 
 

Image of Asia: Lighting incense at Erawan Shrine

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎04:47:31 PMGo to full article
A worshipper lights sticks of incense at the Erawan Shrine at Rajprasong intersection, the scene of last week's bombing, in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. One week after last Monday's bombing at the capital's revered Erawan Shrine, which left 20 people dead and scores injured, police appeared no closer to tracking down suspects or determining a motive for the attack. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)In this photo by Charles Dharapak, a worshipper lights incense at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok a week after the bombing that killed 20 people and injured scores. The shrine is dedicated to the Hindu god Brahma, but is extremely popular among Thailand's Buddhists as well as Chinese tourists. Throngs of tourists come to the shrine to pray, lighting incense and offering flowers purchased from sidewalk stalls. The site at the corner of a busy intersection is a hubbub of activity, with quiet worshippers sometimes flanked by Thai dancers hired by those seeking good fortune, while groups of tourists shuffle in and out.
 
 

US OPEN 2015: Cilic, Nishikori return to breakthrough site

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎04:38:14 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2014, file photo, Marin Cilic, of Croatia, right, holds the championship trophy and Kei Nishikori, of Japan, holds the runner-up trophy after Cilic defeated Nishikori in the championship match of the 2014 U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York. A year ago, Cilic and Nishikori arrived at the U.S. Open to little fanfare and without much in the way of expectations. And after two weeks of terrific tennis and breakthrough semifinal victories over Novak Djokovic (by Nishikori) and Roger Federer (by Cilic), there they were, meeting for the championship. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)A year ago, Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori arrived at the U.S. Open to little fanfare and without much in the way of expectations.
 
 

Germany starts move to ban GMO crops: ministry letter

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎03:47:04 PMGo to full article
German Agriculture Minister Schmidt looks on during the cermony of appointment at Bellevue Castle in BerlinBy Hans-Edzard Busemann BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany has initiated a move to stop the growing of genetically modified crops under new European Union rules, documents seen by Reuters showed on Monday. German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt has informed German state governments of his intention to tell the EU that Germany will make use of new "opt-out" rules to stop GMO crop cultivation even if varieties have been approved by the EU, a letter from the agriculture ministry seen by Reuters shows. A new EU law approved in March cleared the way for new GMO crops to be approved after years of previous deadlock.
 
 

A look at the latest developments in Europe's migrant crisis

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎02:58:50 PMGo to full article
A woman migrant carries a boy who is crying, as they enter into Macedonia from Greece, on the border line between the two countries near southern Macedonia's town of Gevgelija, on Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. Thousands of migrants have poured into Macedonia and boarded trains and buses that are taking them a step closer to the European Union. Police are letting the migrants pass across the border Monday, directing them to the new transit center for migrants near the border line. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)Record numbers of migrants and refugees fleeing violence and poverty in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea are trying to reach Europe, despite the risks of perilous sea crossings and the inability of countries to provide adequate humanitarian assistance. Here are the latest developments Monday:
 
 

Long lines of migrants enter Serbia en route to Europe

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎12:23:50 PMGo to full article
A woman migrant carries a boy who is crying, as they enter into Macedonia from Greece, on the border line between the two countries near southern Macedonia's town of Gevgelija, on Monday, Aug. 24, 2015. Thousands of migrants have poured into Macedonia and boarded trains and buses that are taking them a step closer to the European Union. Police are letting the migrants pass across the border Monday, directing them to the new transit center for migrants near the border line. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)By Marko Djurica MIRATOVAC, Serbia (Reuters) - Long lines of migrants, many of them refugees from Syria, snaked through southern Serbia by foot on Monday before jumping on trains and buses north to Hungary and the last leg of an increasingly desperate journey to western Europe. State authorities and aid agencies threw up tents and scrambled to supply food and water to thousands surging through the western Balkans, their numbers swelling since Greece began ferrying migrants from its overwhelmed islands to the mainland. The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, said more than 7,000 had reached Serbia from Macedonia between Saturday and Sunday, many of them having spent three desperate days on Greece’s northern border after Macedonia halted their passage saying it could take no more.

 

Channel NewsAsia   

 

 

http://flip.channelnewsasia.com/main.xml

 

 

China August official factory PMI seen shrinking to three-year low

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎02:25:26 PMGo to full article
BEIJING: Activity in China's manufacturing sector likely shrank at its fastest pace in three years in August, a Reuters poll suggested, adding to signs of deepening economic weakness which are shaking global financial markets.

The official manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) is forecast to edge down to 49.7, the weakest level since August 2012, from 50 in July, according to the median forecast of 20 economists in the poll.

An employee works on a high speed train model CRH380B at a final assembly line of China CNR's Tangshan Railway Vehicle's factory in Tangshan, Hebei province, February 11, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

A reading above 50 indicates an expansion in activity while one below that points to a contraction on a monthly basis.

A separate private survey released last week revealed that China's factory sector shrank at its fastest rate in almost 6-1/2 years in August, fanning global concerns that the world's second-largest economy may be slowing more sharply than earlier feared.

The official PMI survey is heavily weighted toward larger, state-owned firms, while the private Caixin/Markit PMI is a gauge of smaller ones.

Hit by a property downturn, factory overcapacity, weak exports and high local government debt, China's economy is headed for its slowest growth this year in a quarter of a century.

Some analysts believe current growth levels are already well below the government's official 2015 target of 7 percent.

Shockwaves from the county's collapsing stock markets and Beijing's unexpected devaluation of the yuan earlier this month have added to fears the economy could be at risk of a hard landing, though most economists believe a more gradual but protracted slowdown is more likely.

The central bank on Tuesday cut interest rates and trimmed the amount of reserves banks must hold for the second time in two months, ramping up efforts to support the economy. It has now cut interest rates five times since November, and economists predict more easing measures in coming months.

"I'm expecting to see more targeted policy steps to support the real economy," said Nie Wen, an analyst at Hwabao Trust in Shanghai.

"GDP grew 7 percent in the first half thanks to a booming services industry. But the (economic) situation will be difficult in the second half given the (poor) performance of the stock market."

The PMI factory numbers will be released on Tuesday, Sept. 1, along with official data on activity in the services sector. The Caixin/Markit manufacturing PMI (final) and services PMI will be released on the same day.

(Reporting by Kevin Yao and Winni Zhou; Editing by Kim Coghill)

- Reuters

 

Schlumberger to buy oilfield gear maker Cameron in US$14.8 billion deal

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎02:25:22 PMGo to full article
REUTERS: Oilfield services company Schlumberger Ltd agreed to buy Cameron International Corp , which makes equipment used by oilfield services providers, in a deal valued at US$14.8 billion to cut costs amid weak drilling activity.

Cameron makes products, such as blowout preventers and valves, that control pressure at oil and gas drill sites. Schlumberger provides oil and gas producers with a full array of services from surveying a site to drilling and completing wells.

The exterior of a Schlumberger Corporation building is pictured in West Houston January 16, 2015. REUTERS/Richard Carson

The two companies had combined their subsea businesses in November 2012 to create a joint venture to drill in deeper waters.

Besides cutting operating costs, the acquisition will also help Schlumberger streamline its supply chains and improve its manufacturing processes, Chief Executive Paal Kibsgaard said in a statement.

The cash-and-stock offer values Cameron at US$66.36 per share, a premium of 56.3 percent to Cameron's Tuesday close.

Cameron's shares shot up to US$62.50 in premarket trading on Wednesday. Schlumberger's shares fell 1.4 percent to US$71.50.

Oil prices have tumbled 60 percent since June last year, forcing oil and gas producers to cut back on exploration activity, which in turn has hurt demand for oilfield services.

Schlumberger has slashed 20,000 jobs this year alone and lowered its capital budget in an effort to maintain margins.

Schlumberger's rivals Halliburton Co and Baker Hughes Inc agreed in November to merge in an effort to contain costs. The deal, which will create a company with 2013 pro-forma revenue of US$51.8 billion, is yet to get all required regulatory approvals.

Schlumberger and Cameron's combined pro-forma revenue would have been US$59 billion in 2014, Schlumberger said.

Schlumberger's offer values Cameron at US$12.74 billion, based on the company's diluted shares as of June 30.

Cameron shareholders will get US$14.44 in cash and 0.716 of a Schlumberger share for each share held.

Schlumberger said it expects the deal to add to earnings by the end of the first year after closing, which is expected in the first quarter of 2016.

Goldman Sachs & Co is Schlumberger's financial adviser and Baker Botts LLP and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP are its legal counsel. Cameron's financial adviser is Credit Suisse and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP is its legal counsel.

(Reporting by Sneha Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)

- Reuters

 

Wu Bai to perform at Spring Wave Music Festival Singapore on Oct 10

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎02:21:17 PMGo to full article
SINGAPORE: Taiwan rock act Wu Bai and China Blue, which staged a concert in Singapore in January will perform in the Republic once more as part of the six-hour Spring Wave Music Festival Singapore, which will be held at Fort Canning Park on Oct 10.

Apart from Wu Bai - who is best known for his songs such as Norwegian Forest, Crying Man and Wanderer's Love Song - a host of other acts will also perform during the concert. They include Chang Chen Yue, Buddha Jump fronted by singer Penny Tai, Auntie Roxy and Luantan Ascent.

Wu Bai and China Blue. (Photo: Friendly Dog Entertainment Co)

Buddha Jump fronted by Malaysian singer-songwriter Penny Tai. (Photo: Friendly Dog Entertainment Co)

The concert, which had also been staged in Hong Kong, is a scaled-down version of the popular Spring Wave Music and Art Festival held in Taiwan since 2006.

“Singapore is the final stop in our annual festival tour as we bring Mandopop fans together in an outdoor event,” said Shen Kuang Yuan, CEO of Friendly Dog Entertainment Co, the organiser of the Singapore gig, in a media release. “This year, fans can look forward to an outstanding rock show with the icons of Taiwan’s music scene featuring their unique styles of rock.”

Tickets to the Spring Wave Music Festival Singapore cost S$138 and are available via SISTIC.

- CNA/ha

 

Merkel, in German town of Heidenau, says no tolerance for xenophobia

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎02:15:24 PMGo to full article
HEIDENAU, Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday there was no tolerance in Germany for xenophobia after she was jeered by a group of about 50 people on a visit to the eastern town where violent protests erupted over refugees at the weekend.

"There is no tolerance for those people who question the dignity of others, there is no tolerance for those who are not willing to help where legal and human help is required," Merkel said.

German Chancellor Merkel arrives for statement after visit to asylum seekers accomodation facility in Heidenau

"The more people who make that clear... the stronger we will be," she added.

(Reporting by Hans-Edzard Busemann; Writing by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Paul Carrel)

- Reuters

 

Kenyans test positive at world championships - IAAF

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎02:10:25 PMGo to full article
BEIJING: Kenyan athletes Koki Manunga and Joyce Zakary have been handed provisional bans after failing doping tests at the world championships, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said on Wednesday.

The runners from a nation famed for its middle and long-distance runners were targeted in pre-competition tests at their team hotel in Beijing on Aug. 20 and 21, the IAAF said in a statement.

Christine Day of Jamaica (L) and Joyce Zakary of Kenya compete in the women's 400 metres heats during the 15th IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing, China August 24, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The East African nation's sports body Athletics Kenya, which has been criticised by some of its own athletes for not taking the issue of doping seriously enough, said it had been told about the failed tests and had launched an investigation.

"Appropriate follow-up action will be taken in Kenya," it said in a statement, adding that the two athletes had accepted their provisional suspensions.

"Athletics Kenya will provide full support and cooperation to the IAAF during the results management process," it said.

The IAAF has spent the last month defending itself against accusations that it is soft on doping after data from thousands of blood samples were leaked to the media.

While critics of the IAAF might point to the positive tests as further evidence of widespread doping in the sport, the governing body is likely to see this as proof that their targeted testing is effective in weeding out drug cheats.

Zakary, 29, ran a Kenyan record of 50.71 seconds in the heat of the 400 metres in Beijing but failed to start the semi-final.

At Kenya's national championships last month, Zakary had wowed athletics fans when she broke a 31-year-old national record held by compatriot Rose Waithera since the 1984 Olympics.

Manunga, 21, finished sixth in her heat in the 400 hurdles last Sunday and failed to progress to the next round.

Ahead of the Beijing championships, Britain's Sunday Times newspaper and German broadcaster ARD/WDR reported they had been leaked suspicious blood results from more than 800 athletes, including 77 Kenyans.

In the last three years, 33 Kenyans have failed drugs tests but only Rita Jeptoo, winner of the Boston and Chicago Marathons, can be classed as a top runner.

Her two-year ban in January shocked Kenyans as it showed doping had risen to the top of the sport.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Beijing and Drazen Jorgic in Nairobi; Editing by John O'Brien, Amlan Chakraborty and Edmund Blair)

- Reuters

 

Kenya says investigating failed drug tests in Beijing

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎02:10:22 PMGo to full article
NAIROBI: Kenya has opened an investigation into the cases of runners Koki Manunga and Joyce Zakary who failed drugs tests at the world championships in Beijing, the east African nation's athletics body said on Wednesday.

"Athletics Kenya (AK) has already met with the IAAF and the athletes involved, and has begun investigating the situation which led to these results," AK said in a statement, adding that the two athletes had accepted provisional suspensions.

"Follow-up action will be taken in Kenya," it said.

(Reporting by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Edmund Blair/Amlan Chakraborty)

- Reuters

 

Besiktas confirm Liverpool not to offload Lucas

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎02:10:21 PMGo to full article
REUTERS: The president of Turkish side Besiktas has confirmed that Liverpool will not let Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva leave the club in the current transfer window, according to a report in the Liverpool Echo.

The 28-year-old was widely reported to be on his way out of Anfield after being left out of manager Brendan Rodgers' squad for their first two league games of the season against Stoke City and Bournemouth.

However, Lucas, who has two years to run on his contract, returned to the starting line-up for Monday's goalless draw with Arsenal following an injury to skipper Jordan Henderson and Rodgers praised his performance against the Gunners.

"Lucas is our best defensive midfield player," Rodgers said after the Arsenal game.

"There are games where I play three midfield players but not always with a defensive specific one, but when we do need that, he is the best one we have," the manager added.

"He's certainly very important to what we want to do."

Besiktas, who have been hunting for midfield reinforcements after losing Tolgay Arslan and Veli Kavlak to injury, have confirmed that Liverpool are now unwilling to sell the Brazilian.

"Liverpool do not want him to go. The transfer can only go ahead with their say so there is nothing we can do right now," the Echo quoted Besiktas president Fikret Orman as saying.

The midfielder is reportedly training with the Liverpool squad ahead of West Ham United's visit to Anfield on Saturday.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

- Reuters

 

Angry Birds maker Rovio plans deep job cuts

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎02:05:50 PMGo to full article
HELSINKI: Finland's Rovio, maker of hit mobile phone game Angry Birds, forecast a drop in earnings this year and said it planned to cut more than a third of its workforce, to focus on core businesses and help safeguard its long-term prospects.

Rovio has failed to create new hit games since the 2009 launch of Angry Birds, the No. 1 paid mobile app of all time, though it has tried to capitalise on its most successful brand by licensing its use on string of consumer products.

An image of the popular video game "Angry Birds" is displayed on an iPod Touch. (Photo: AFP/Justin Sullivan)

The company is also pinning its hopes on an Angry Birds 3D movie, due for release in May 2016 and which the company believes will yield new licensing deals.

The company said sales had been lower than expected so far this year and forecast flat sales and falling profits for the full year. It said it was cutting up to 260 jobs, or about 37 percent of the total.

"Fundamental changes are needed to ensure Rovio succeeds in its global ambitions to be the leading entertainment company with mobile games at its heart," Rovio CEO Pekka Rantala said in a statement.

Rovio spokeswoman Kaisu Karvala said the company is looking to concentrate on games, media and consumer products, and plans to divest a preschool unit which has opened Angry Birds playgrounds in China and Singapore.

Rovio, which cut 110 jobs in 2014, said however the planned reductions would apply to the whole organisation, excluding those working on the movie in the United States and Canada. Most of the cuts will hit its operations in Finland.

Last year, Rovio's total revenue fell 9 percent to €158 million, while operating profit slumped 73 percent to €10 million.

- Reuters/al

 

Turkish PM invites opposition candidates to join interim cabinet - sources

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎02:05:18 PMGo to full article
ANKARA: Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has invited 11 members of the opposition to join an interim power-sharing cabinet to lead the country to a snap election in November, sources in his office said on Wednesday.

The candidates, who include five members of the main opposition CHP and three members each from the nationalist MHP and pro-Kurdish HDP, have until 6:00 pm (1500 GMT) on Thursday to accept or decline the seats, the sources said.

The CHP and MHP have both already said they will not take part, while the HDP has said it is willing. Any seats not taken up by opposition parties will be given to independent candidates from outside parliament, according to the constitution.

Davutoglu was appointed by President Tayyip Erdogan to form the interim cabinet on Tuesday after two months of coalition talks failed to produce a working government. The ruling AK Party, founded by Erdogan, lost its majority in a June 7 election for the first time since coming to power in 2002.

Among the best-known names in the list of opposition candidates for the 26-member cabinet was Deniz Baykal, parliament's oldest deputy, who headed the CHP until 2010 and was deputy prime minister and foreign minister in the 1990s.

Nominees from the nationalist MHP included Tugrul Turkes, son of the party's founder, and Meral Aksener, a former interior minister who fell out with party leader Devlet Bahceli and lost her role as deputy speaker to another MP in the party.

(Reporting by Gulsen Solaker; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Ece Toksabay)

- Reuters

 

Hungary scrambles to confront record migrant influx

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎02:00:21 PMGo to full article
ROSZKE, Hungary: Hungary made plans on Wednesday to reinforce its southern border with helicopters, mounted police and dogs, and was also considering using the army as record numbers of migrants, many of them Syrian refugees, passed through coils of razor-wire into Europe.

Over 2,500 mainly Syrians, Afghans and Pakistanis crossed from Serbia into the European Union on Tuesday, over, under or around a razor-wire barrier into the hands of an over-stretched police force that struggled to fingerprint and process them.

Syrian migrants walk along a road after crossing the Hungarian-Serbian border into Hungary, near Roszke, August 26, 2015. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh

Unrest flared briefly at a crowded reception centre in the border region of Roszke, with tear gas fired.

Another 1,300 were detained by 9.30 a.m. (0730 GMT) on Wednesday.

More will have passed unnoticed, walking through gaps in a border fence being built by Hungary into a Europe groping for answers to its worst refugee crisis since World War Two.

In Germany, which expects to receive 800,000 asylum-seekers this year, Chancellor Angela Merkel was due in the eastern town of Heidenau, near Dresden, the scene of violent clashes over the weekend involving far-right militants protesting against the arrival of around 250 refugees, underscoring the social tensions unleashed by the influx.

With frequent attacks on refugee shelters and warnings of rising xenophobia, Merkel's cabinet agreed to double the funding this year to help towns cope with the record number of arrivals.

Hungary, which is part of Europe’s Schengen passport-free travel zone, is building a 3.5-metre high fence along its 175-km (110-mile) border with Serbia in a bid to keep them out, taking a hard line on what right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban says is a threat to European security, prosperity and identity.

FINGERPRINTS

Government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said parliament would debate next week whether to employ the army in the border effort.

“Hungary's government and national security cabinet ... has discussed the question of how the army could be used to help protect Hungary's border and the EU's border,” Kovacs said.

Authorities said over 140,000 migrants had entered Hungary from Serbia to far this year. The numbers travelling through the Balkans have soared in recent weeks, with 3,000 crossing into Macedonia daily from Greece then whisked by train and bus north to Serbia and beyond.

The chief commissioner of Hungarian police, Karoly Papp, said police were readying six special border patrol units of an initial 2,106 officers, equipped with helicopters, horses and dogs, to be sent in depending on the situation on the Serbian border.

“They don’t have and will not get an order to shoot,” Papp told a news conference.

In Roszke, the police spokesman said some 200 migrants at the reception centre where unrest flared had refused to be fingerprinted.

Almost all hope to reach the more affluent countries of northern and western Europe such as Germany and Sweden, but being fingerprinted in Hungary means that, under EU rules, they risk being returned to Budapest as their official point of entry into the 28-nation EU.

EXHAUSTED CHILDREN

“My brother is in Sweden,” said one migrant, who declined to be named. “He told me to chop my hands off rather than give my fingerprints to the Hungarians. So we’re trying to find a way to Austria without meeting the Hungarian police.”

Some spent the night in the open on the border, warming themselves around open fires and roasting corn plucked from the fields. In the morning, parents tried to rouse exhausted children.

Rabie Hajouk, a 29-year-old IT engineer who said he was from the devastated Syrian city of Homs, told Reuters: "I want a country to be part of, I want a country to belong to, I want a culture, a civilisation,"

"It's not for money or for food, it's for freedom, freedom of mind, for education. To be part of the civilised world."

Embroiled in a debilitating economic crisis, Greece has taken to ferrying mainly Syrian migrants from its overwhelmed islands to Athens. Some 50,000 hit Greek shores by boat from Turkey in July alone.

Some European leaders have complained that Greece fails to register its arrivals, meaning their first recognised point of entry is often elsewhere and Athens does not risk them being sent back.

Serbia said around 10,000 migrants were passing through the country at any time, their stay lengthening as Hungary nears completion of its border fence.

“The situation will get worse, when winter arrives. We’re getting ready to look after double that number,” Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

(Additional reporting by Krisztina Than in BUDAPEST, Matt Robinson in BELGRADE and Tina Bellon in BERLIN; Writing by Matt Robinson; Editing by Giles Elgood)

- Reuters

 

Suicide bombers attack Chad army camp - sources

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎01:55:27 PMGo to full article
N'DJAMENA: Two suicide bombers blew themselves up outside a Chadian army camp on Wednesday, according to security sources who blamed the attack on Boko Haram, the Nigerian Islamist group that Chad and other countries in the region are pursuing militarily.

"The two kamikazes tried to get into the camp but were pushed back by the guard so they detonated themselves at the entrance," said an officer at the Kaiga Ngouboua base in the Lake Chad region, adding that a suspected accomplice had been arrested. Nobody except the bombers was killed.

Chad's capital N'Djamena will host the command centre of a 8,700-strong multinational force to fight Boko Haram, military chiefs from Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Benin agreed on Saturday.

Ten people are due to go on trial in N'Djamena later on Wednesday accused of involvement in a series of deadly attacks in the city in June and July.

President Idriss Deby has said that Boko Haram, whose stronghold in northeastern Nigeria lies less than 100 km (60 miles) from N'Djamena, can be defeated by the end of the year.

(Reporting by Madjiasra Nako; Writing by Emma Farge; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

- Reuters

 

Stock futures rise but uncertainty remains

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎01:55:22 PMGo to full article
REUTERS: U.S. stock index futures were sharply higher on Wednesday, a day after a rally on Wall Street fizzled as concerns about China's economy overwhelmed a bout of bargain-hunting.

* The Dow Jones industrial average has lost 10.71 percent in the past six trading days, while the S&P 500 has dropped 11.71 percent and the Nasdaq composite 11.5 percent.

A screen displays the Dow Jones Industrial Average as a trader passes by on the floor after the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange August 25, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

* "These type of swings are typical when the market behaves in a way that is a real test of nerves and there is a lot of ongoing uncertainty," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.

* Futures extended their gains after data showed that applications for U.S. home mortgages edged up last week.

* Investors will be looking for clues on the timing of a U.S. interest rate hike when Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley speaks on the regional economy.

* Data scheduled for Wednesday includes durable goods orders at 8:30 a.m. ET, expected to have increased 0.4 percent in July, down from June's 0.9 percent rise.

* The Shanghai Composite Index ended down for the fifth straight day, underscoring fragile confidence and deep doubt over whether the Chinese central bank's cuts in interest rates and reserve ratios on Tuesday could stabilize the economy.

* China's economic downturn and global market turmoil have also created fresh uncertainty over whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin raising interest rates this year.

* The dollar index , which touched a 7-month low earlier in the week, was down 0.2 percent.

* Oil stabilized, but prices stayed near 6-1/2-year lows, with U.S. crude oil still trading below US$40 per barrel.

* Google shares were up 3 percent at US$630.71 in premarket trading after Goldman Sachs raised its rating to "buy" from "neutral" and added it to its conviction buy list.

* Cameron International soared 40.7 percent to US$59.75 after Schlumberger , the world's No.1 oilfield services company, said it would buy the oilfield equipment maker in a deal valued at US$14.8 billion. Schlumberger fell 2.1 percent to US$71.

Futures snapshot at 7:40 a.m. EDT: * S&P 500 e-minis were up 33.5 points, or 1.79 percent, with 504,139 contracts traded. * Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 77 points, or 1.91 percent, on volume of 80,359 contracts. * Dow e-minis were up 269 points, or 1.71 percent, with 52,329 contracts changing hands.

(Additional reporting by Sweta Singh; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

- Reuters

 

Syrian rebel commander wounded in attack in Turkey - Dogan news agency

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎01:50:40 PMGo to full article
ANKARA: A commander from the rebel Free Syrian Army was seriously wounded in an attack on his car in the southern Turkish province of Hatay on Wednesday, the privately owned Dogan news agency said.

Dogan named the rebel leader as Jamil Raadoun, the commander of Sukour al-Ghab, one of several groups fighting under the Free Syrian Army (FSA) banner, and said he had been hospitalised after explosives were detonated on his vehicle.

Raadoun survived a similar attack in Turkey in April.

Turkey and the United States are working on plans for joint air strikes in northern Syria in support of FSA rebels, part of an operation to push Islamic State fighters from a strip of territory running along the Turkish border.

A first group of rebels trained in Turkey by U.S. instructors has already deployed to Syria, but some of them were kidnapped within weeks by the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.

Diplomatic sources told Reuters last Friday that a second group of rebel fighters trained in Turkey by the U.S.-led coalition could be deployed to Syria within weeks as part of the strategy to push back the Islamic State.

(Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

- Reuters

 

World shares sag as China jitters persist

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎01:50:36 PMGo to full article
LONDON: World shares sagged on Wednesday as investors feared fresh rate cuts in China may not be enough to stabilize its slowing economy or halt a stocks collapse that is wreaking havoc in global markets.

Europe's main stock markets, which had surged on Tuesday after China's moves, reopened 2 percent down as the jittery mood returned and sent investors back into safe-haven German and U.S. government bonds.

A man shelters under an umbrella as he walks past the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain August 24, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

China's key share indexes had attempted to move higher several times during Asian trading only to be slapped back by waves of selling, reflecting investors' views that much more support was needed from the government and the central bank.

Despite a late struggle, the CSI300 index closed down 0.6 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index ended off 1.3 percent for fifth straight day in the red.

It followed on from a jarring finish on Wall Street where the S&P 500 slumped more than 3 percent in the last hour.

The CBOE Market Volatility Index was still elevated at 36 on Wednesday, indicating significant uncertainty, even though the "fear index" as it is known was below the previous day's 6-1/2 year peak of 53.3.

"The root of this is concern that growth in China may be a lot lower than what the market had thought," said Michael Bolliger, head of emerging market asset allocation at UBS Wealth Management in Zurich.

"They made further announcements yesterday but the market does not appear fully convinced, it has not distracted people from the fears about the economy."

There was more choppiness in currencies, with the dollar beginning to lose steam again in Europe having been on front foot for most of the Asian session.

The euro, which has taken on somewhat of a safe-haven status during the recent volatility, briefly turned higher on the day, rising to US$1.1515 . The dollar also dipped back to 119.35 yen , having been at 119.83 yen in early deals.

ILLIQUID

Fixed income markets were active with investors back in the mood for safety in government debt and cash. The yield on benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasuries eased to 2.0854 percent from 2.091 percent in late U.S. trade. It was close to 2.50 percent barely a month ago.

China's downturn and global market turmoil have also created fresh uncertainty over whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin raising interest rates this year.

German 10-year bond yields - the euro zone benchmark - also dropped 5 basis to back below 0.70 percent, though that was still a way away from Monday's 0.51 percent lows when the China fears had coursed through markets.

"Some parts of the Asian bond markets have become quite illiquid and investors are only buying high-quality paper amid this selloff," said Hayden Briscoe, fixed-income director at AllianceBernstein in Hong Kong.

Despite China's struggles, Asia had shown some signs of stabilization after its recent lurches.

Japan's Nikkei and Korea's KOPSI were among the bright spots, with the former rising 3.2 percent as the dollar pushed down the yen . The latter jumped 2.6 percent in its biggest jump in two years.

Commodity prices which have been firmly in the China firing line, hovered just above multi-year lows hit earlier in the week.

The price of copper, often considered a proxy for global economic activity because of the metal's extensive use, dropped back 1.8 percent to US$5,065 per tonne after a bounce on Tuesday.

A fall in a host of other industrial metals also kept the 19-commodity Thomson Reuters/Core Commodity CRB Index close to lows not seen since 2003.

Oil was bucking the trend. Brent crude futures last traded at US$43.50 per barrel, more than a dollar above 6 1/2-year low of US$42.23 on Monday. U.S. crude also ticked up to 39.55.

Gold , meanwhile, was one of the few traditional safe-haven assets to lose ground, as it dipped 0.3 percent at US$1,136 an ounce.

(Additional reporting by Sujata Rao in London, Saikat Chatterjee in Hong Kong; Editing by Giles Elgood)

- Reuters

 

Hurdler Merritt to have kidney transplant after worlds

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎01:50:32 PMGo to full article
BEIJING: Olympic champion and high hurdles world record holder Aries Merritt will have a kidney transplant next week after competing in the world athletics championships in Beijing, the 30-year-old American said on Wednesday.

Merritt, who was told he would never run again after being diagnosed with kidney disease in 2013, set the second fastest time behind compatriot David Oliver in the heats of the 110 metres hurdles on Wednesday.

USA's Aries Merritt poses for a photo
Action Images via Reuters / Matthew Childs
Livepic

The disease, caused by a rare genetic disorder found predominantly in African Americans, has damaged his organ to such an extent that he will receive one of his sister's kidneys in Arizona on Sept. 1.

"I'm here for mental sanity more than anything," he told reporters.

"I don't want to be sitting in my house awaiting surgery, I'd rather be out enjoying life to the fullest.

"Who knows? This could potentially be my last championship if things don't go well. But I'm optimistic that I'll be back and able to train for the Rio Olympics."

Merritt had a brilliant 2012, winning gold at the London Olympics and shattering the world record with a time of 12.80 seconds at the Brussels Diamond League meeting the following month.

It was after he finished sixth at the 2013 world championships that his illness was diagnosed.

"When they told me I'd never run again, my whole world ended in my mind," he added.

"That I am here again running shows me that I'm a fighter and that I can overcome anything if I stay with a positive mind.

"For this championships, I'm going to take it one race at a time."

Merritt ran 13.25 seconds to win his heat on Wednesday morning to qualify for Thursday's semi-finals and said he was glad to have the news about the transplant out in the open.

"Just to be keeping that secret, it felt like a weight had been lifted when I was able to share it," he said.

"The positive outreach has been amazing. I love running, I love competing, this is my life and here I am."

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

- Reuters

 

Mortgage applications inch up in latest week: MBA

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎01:48:44 PMGo to full article
NEW YORK: Applications for U.S. home mortgages edged up last week as interest rates declined, an industry group said on Wednesday.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, rose 0.2 percent in the week ended Aug. 21.

Homes are seen for sale in the northwest area of Portland, Oregon March 20, 2014. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola

The MBA's seasonally adjusted index of refinancing applications fell 1.0 percent, while the gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, rose 1.7 percent.

The refinance share of total mortgage activity fell to 55.3 percent of applications from 55.5 percent the week before.

Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 4.08 percent in the week, down 3 basis points from 4.11 percent the previous week.

The survey covers over 75 percent of U.S. retail residential mortgage applications, according to MBA.

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Chris Reese)

- Reuters

 

West Brom reject second Spurs bid for striker Berahino

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎01:36:18 PMGo to full article
REUTERS: West Bromwich Albion have rejected a second bid from Tottenham Hotspur, reportedly in the region of 22 million pounds, for unsettled English striker Saido Berahino, according to a statement on the club website.

West Brom said on Tuesday that they had rejected a written transfer request from the 22-year-old, who manager Tony Pulis dropped for the 3-2 home defeat against Chelsea on Sunday, saying he was not in the right frame of mind to play.

File photo of West Bromwich Albion's Saido Berahino during an English Premier League football match. (Photo: AP/PA, Stephen Pond)

Berahino was also left out of Pulis' squad for Tuesday's League Cup win over Port Vale.

"Our position remains unchanged. The sale of this player is not on our agenda," Baggies' chairman Jeremy Peace said in a brief statement on the club's website (www.wba.co.uk) that confirmed the rejection of the second bid from Spurs.

Tottenham's pursuit of the striker, who is contracted to West Brom until the summer of 2017 and scored 20 goals in all competitions last season, has led Pulis to criticise the transfer window being left open after the start of the season.

"I just think the transfer window should close.

"It just takes everything away from what we're here for and that's the football. So close the transfer window and let the season start and then everyone can concentrate on the season," the manager had said on Sunday.

Tottenham, who signed Cameroonian forward Clinton N'Jie from French side Lyon on Aug. 14, have been in the hunt for another striker to ease the burden on England international Harry Kane.

Spurs have sold Spaniard Roberto Soldado to Villarreal after the forward scored just seven goals in 52 league appearances since joining in 2013, and manager Mauricio Pochettino's only other striking option is the out-of-favour Emmanuel Adebayor, who has not featured for the club this season.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien)

- Reuters

 

Sentiment has turned against fumbling WP, says Lim Boon Heng

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎01:34:04 PMGo to full article
SINGAPORE: Since making history as the first Opposition party in Singapore to win a Group Representation Constituency (GRC) in a General Election in 2011, the Workers' Party “did not impress” and has "fumbled" in managing their Town Council, says former Cabinet Minister Lim Boon Heng.

The former People's Action Party (PAP) Chairman said that these missteps have led to a change in sentiment against the WP, which had seven elected representatives in the 12th session of Parliament, as well as two Non-Constituency Members of Parliament, before it was dissolved on Tuesday.

The Workers' Party at Chong Pang Market. (Photo: Kimberly Spykerman)

"Several commentators have said that this GE looks like a fight between PAP and WP. I have a different sensing," Mr Lim told Channel NewsAsia in a written response.

"In 2011, the WP looked to be the credible Opposition party, able to draw impressive talent. Since then there has been a change in sentiment. The WP talent did not impress – wasted their time in Parliament. Then they fumbled in running the Town Council, drawing harsh comments from the judge in court."

In February, the Auditor-General cited the Opposition party for several lapses in its running of the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council, including late transfers into its sinking fund, poor monitoring of Service and Conservancy Charges arrears, and a lack of governance in transactions with related parties.

Mr Lim, a former Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, said the change in ground sentiment could be felt even in Aljunied GRC, where a WP team led by Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang and Chairman Sylvia Lim beat the incumbent PAP slate with nearly 55 per cent of the vote. Earlier this month, WP indicated that it will field the same slate of five candidates in next month’s General Election.

"The mood in the Aljunied divisions has changed from unfriendly to friendly," said Mr Lim, who has been seen on the ground in Aljunied.

"Our branch chairs and activists had a difficult time post-2011 GE. But after persisting with ground work, people are now quite friendly. And increasingly those who need help come to our branches. They know our team is genuinely here to serve. I myself have been to different divisions within Aljunied, and residents encouraged us to visit more often.

"In recent months, some say that the HDB estates are dirtier than before, and sometimes maintenance is patchy. Indeed, some even openly said they hope for a change. Such sentiments give our team great encouragement, but I tell them not to hold their hopes too high."

"THINGS HAVE SETTLED DOWN IN KAKI BUKIT"

The PAP grassroots team at the Kaki Bukit ward in Aljunied was shaken at the end of July, when branch chairman Kahar Hassan stepped down after 16 months in the role. He was subsequently replaced by Mr Shamsul Kamar, a former school head of department. While the events "unsettled" some of the party activists in the ward, the change may have been for the better, said Mr Lim.

"Of course some of our activists were unsettled. We have been fortunate to be able to tap on Shamsul Kamar, who had served as a grassroots volunteer in Kaki Bukit for five years before he went to help Associate Professor Faishal Ibrahim in Nee Soon," said Mr Lim, who is also the chairman of Temasek Holdings.

"Things settled pretty quickly. Many old activists returned to help. I was in Kaki Bukit on Saturday, Aug 22, and saw for myself several residents walk up to Shamsul to shake his hand and talk to him. They also sought his help on specific problems. Then on Sunday, Aug 22, at another event, one resident made it a point to tell me that “This one is better!”

"I think people warm up to Shamsul because he is humble, and helpful."

Mr Lim said the team in Aljunied - which also includes Mr Victor Lye, Mr Chua Eng Leong, Ms Chan Hui Yeh and Mr K Muralidharan Pillai - are familiar to the residents, with most having spent years on the ground. He added: "What has come across to many residents they interacted with is that these are people who are committed and sincerely wish to serve.”

Asked if he would consider coming out of political retirement to be part of the PAP team contesting Aljunied GRC, Mr Lim - who was an MP from 1980 until he stepped down ahead of the 2011 General Election - declined to comment.

- CNA/hs

 

Angry Birds maker Rovio plans deep job cuts, profits seen falling

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎01:30:18 PMGo to full article
HELSINKI: Finland's Rovio, maker of hit mobile phone game Angry Birds, on Wednesday said it plans to cut up to 260 jobs, or about 37 percent of its workforce, and forecast falling profits for this year.

"Fundamental changes are needed to ensure Rovio succeeds in its global ambitions to be the leading entertainment company with mobile games at its heart," Rovio CEO Pekka Rantala said in a statement.

(Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by David Holmes)

- Reuters

 

FINA to consider minimum age limits for world champs

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎01:29:55 PMGo to full article
SINGAPORE: The 10-year-old Bahraini girl who competed at this month's world championships in Russia could end up holding a record that will never be beaten if swimming officials push ahead with plans to close the loophole that allowed her to race.

Despite failing to reach the minimum qualifying standards, Alzain Tareq became the youngest competitor ever to race at the championships when she competed in the heats of the women's 50-metre freestyle and 50m butterfly at Kazan earlier this month.

Ten-year-old athlete Alzain Tareq from Bahrain at the preliminary heats of the women's 50m freestyle swimming event at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan on Aug 8, 2015. (Photo: AFP/Alexander Nemenov)

She was allowed to compete because of a rule which permits each nation to have some limited representation but does not have any age restrictions.

Hopelessly out of her depth, the pint-sized Tareq finished 105th in freestyle and last in butterfly but became one of the feel-good stories of the championships, attracting international media attention.

However, swimming's world governing body FINA is now considering adding a clause on minimum ages at future world championships.

FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu told Reuters at the junior world swimming championships, currently taking place in Singapore, that the loophole could be closed before the end of the year.

"We have age rules for the juniors, and for all the other disciplines at the world championships, but in swimming we don't have limits," Marculescu said. "Now this story has come up, probably we will look at this at our next (FINA) meeting we have in November in Dubai."

Although Tareq was allowed to swim at the senior world championships, she is still too young to swim at the junior worlds because the minimum age for girls is 14.

Not everyone was taken by Tareq's participation in Russia, with FINA facing criticism for letting her swim at the sport's marquee event.

"There are some positives still there," Marculescu said. "It depends on how you want to look at it. There are two sides of the coin, do you want to look at the positive one or the negative one?"

- Reuters/al

 

India, Pakistan border chiefs to meet after peace talks collapsed

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎01:25:32 PMGo to full article
ISLAMABAD: India and Pakistan border security force chiefs will meet in New Delhi next month, Pakistani officials said on Wednesday, days after the first high-level peace talks in years between the arch rivals collapsed.

The chiefs of the Pakistan Rangers and the Indian Border Security Force will meet in New Delhi from Sept 9 to 13, according to a statement by the Pakistan Rangers.

A Pakistani Ranger (R) and an Indian Border Security Force (BSF) officer shake hands during the daily parade at the Pakistan-India joint check-post at Wagah border, on the outskirts of Lahore October 23, 2011. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza/Files

Representatives from the two paramilitary border forces held a meeting on Tuesday at the Wagah-Attari border "to coordinate modalities of (the) September meeting", the statement said.

The agenda for the meeting would include recent firing over the Line of Control, the de facto frontier in the divided Kashmir region, as well as cross-border smuggling, Pakistan Rangers spokesman Waheed Bukhari told Reuters.

Indian officials were not immediately available to confirm the meeting.

On Saturday, the first high-level peace talks in years between the two country's national security advisers were cancelled after a dispute over the agenda for those talks.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since becoming independent nations in 1947, two of them over the Himalayan region of Kashmir, which both claim in full but rule in part.

New Delhi has for years accused Pakistan of backing separatist Muslim rebels in India's part of Kashmir. Pakistan denies the allegations and blames India for fomenting unrest inside Pakistan.

In the cancelled talks, India wanted to only discuss terrorism-related issues and objected to Pakistan's intentions of meeting separatists from Kashmir. Pakistan wanted a wider agenda.

(Reporting by Asad Hashim; Additional reporting by Amjad Ali in Islamabad and Mubasher Bukhari in Lahore; Editing by Michael Perry and Nick Macfie)

- Reuters

 

Merkel backs emergency funds for German towns facing refugee influx

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎01:25:26 PMGo to full article
BERLIN: Germany's government plans to double funding this year to help towns cope with record numbers of refugees, moving to tackle an issue that is straining resources and fuelling social tensions.

With refugee shelters in the country being attacked almost daily and politicians warning of a rise in xenophobia, Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet agreed a draft law to bring forward the transfer of 500 million euros (US$575 million) originally intended for 2016.

Germany, the biggest recipient of migrants in Europe, and its European Union partners are groping for answers to the continent's worst refugee crisis since World War Two.

Ever greater numbers of migrants, most fleeing conflict or extreme poverty in Africa or the Middle East, are trying to gain access to the 28-nation bloc, testing its unity and fuelling widespread anti-immigration sentiment.

Germany alone expects the number of asylum seekers to quadruple this year to 800,000, and those towns in the front line say they are already struggling to pay for accommodation and fund medical care for the new arrivals.

Merkel will on Wednesday visit the eastern town of Heidenau where violent anti-refugee protests erupted at the weekend, underlining the urgency of the towns' request for more resources.

Total long-term funding for municipalities could rise as high as 3 billion euros if they get their way when representatives of federal authorities and Germany's 16 regional governments meet on Sept. 24.

Some of Merkel's conservatives also want to change the constitution to allow direct federal payments to municipalities. Currently they are funded at regional level.

(US$1 = 0.8715 euros)

(Writing by Tina Bellon; Editing by Madeline Chambers and John Stonestreet)

- Reuters

 

SDP unveils Jaslyn Go, Paul Tambyah as GE 2015 candidates

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎01:18:28 PMGo to full article
SINGAPORE: SINGAPORE: The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) on Wednesday (Aug 26) introduced professor of medicine Paul Ananth Tambyah and sales director Jaslyn Go Hui Leng as new candidates, who would represent the opposition party at the upcoming Sep 11 General Election.

Dr Tambyah – a professor of medicine and a senior lecturer at the National University of Singapore – was a founding member of human rights activist group MARUAH, which he has since left. He has been active with the SDP since a decade ago. Speaking to the media at the SDP headquarters in Ang Mo Kio, he said he would like to focus on healthcare financing.

SDP's Jaslyn Go and Paul Tambyah. (Photo: Calvin Hui)

"Singapore has very good healthcare. We've got very good doctors, we've got good nurses, we've got good allied health professionals, we've got excellent infrastructure. You go to our hospitals they are comparable to some of the best in the world. The trouble is that they are really, really expensive," he said.

For example, deductibles for MediShield Life are "still very high", he said, ranging from S$1,500 to S$3,000. "That covers the bulk of C-class hospitalisations. In other words, once MediShield Life kicks in, you still have to pay either out-of-pocket or through Medisave for the bulk of your hospitalisations," he claimed.

Prof Paul Tambyah (Photo: Lam Shushan)

She said she is contesting the election because she feels that Singapore needs to alter its current immigration policies. "In my generation, we were still able to make it without a paper chase. Unfortunately, I can't say the same about the younger generation. We have to compete with non-Singaporeans for a place in school and work."

Ms Jaslyn Go (Photo: Lam Shushan)

Ms Go is also championing a change to the education system. In other countries, she said, children do not have to go through major national examinations like the the Primary School Leaving Examination. "Every year, for PSLE you sometimes wonder whether parents are the one doing the exams or the children. This has to be changed."

“The education system in Singapore is really very stressful for the kids," she added. "I want our kids to grow up in an environment where they enjoy learning … And children must be given time to be children.”

A day earlier, the party had introduced its first two candidates - Chong Wai Fung and Gerous Khung Wai Yeen. The SDP has declined to reveal where these new faces will contest, but Ms Chong conducted a walkabout at Bukit Batok that same evening and Mr Khung was spotted mingling with residents at Marsiling-Yew Tee Group Representation Constituency.

- CNA/ly

 

What has worked in the past may not be a good model for Singapore's future, says Workers’ Party

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎01:18:11 PMGo to full article
SINGAPORE: Voters should consider whether it “continues to be a good model for Singapore” for political leaders to “cast a long shadow over every aspect of life, society, organisation, profession”, said Workers’ Party (WP) Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang on Wednesday (Aug 26).

Unveiling the party’s campaign slogan, “Empower your future”, Mr Low said the world today is different than it was 50 years ago. Singapore today “has many local talents compared to in the past”, he noted. “So what we have relied on to succeed in the past 50 years, may or may not be the same model and formula for us to succeed in the future.”

(From left) Dylan Ng, Koh Choon Yong, WP secretary-general Low Thia Khiang, WP chairman Sylvia Lim, Daniel Goh, Redzwan Hafidz. (Photo: Goh Chiew Tong)

He was speaking at a press conference to introduce the first four of the party’s potential candidates for the General Election on Sept 11. The party has declared that it will contest 28 seats.

Mr Low asked voters to think about “whether or not you want to continue to allow the PAP decide your future, (or to) have a say in the future you want.” Noting the start made towards “a First World Parliament” - the basis of the WP’s Manifesto in 2011, when it won six seats in Parliament – he called on voters to “entrench” the process towards a Parliament with more checks and balances, to “keep the Government on its toes” and responsive to people’s needs.

Asked about Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong’s comment earlier in the morning – where he likened the Opposition to the rooster that “goes around claiming” that its crowing causes the sun to rise -- WP chairman Sylvia Lim said: “We leave it to Singaporeans to judge whether his Government has become more responsive since 2011.”

Noting how things are run in top-down fashion in Singapore, Ms Lim said this was “unhealthy”. She pointed to the passion that some Singaporeans have for the causes they believe in. “We should let such passion to take us to the next level, we don’t need the Government appointee to be there to steer the direction,” she said, citing areas such as sports and the arts. “It’s about people being able to run things themselves. We don't see a need for Government involvement in everything.”

FEAR IS ‘BAGGAGE OF THE PAST’

One of the four candidates announced yesterday, engineer Redzwan Hafidz Abdul Razak, said it was not an easy decision to join the opposition party as his wife was a civil servant and the fear of being politically associated with one was “real”.

Acknowledging that “there is still a spectrum in society of people worrying about repercussions from political leaders”, Mr Low said this was probably due to not enough awareness and “psychological baggage inherited from the past” that should be set aside.

He added: “It’s important to build confident people, confident of themselves, confident that what they are doing is right for Singapore, rather than looking to the Government and taking the cue from Government.”

“As we reach a milestone here, what do we want for the future? Do we want as a people to continue to subject ourselves to an environment of possible fear? Possible government actions? Or do we tell ourselves we are masters of the land, we should tell the Government to serve us?” said Mr Low.

AUDIT OF AHPETC ACCOUNTS COMPLETED

As for the financial records of the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC), Ms Lim revealed: "After working very hard, we have completed our audit for FY14/15 and in the next few days we will be filing our audited accounts.”

“We can have discussion at that point,” she said, to a question about town council management. She added that the party was ready to talk about its record of running the AHPETC at the elections - emphasising that this was about more than just about financial management, but also aspects such as maintenance and cleanliness.

As for grooming the party’s next generation of leaders, Mr Low said the WP needed time. “Depending on the result of the election, you will see the younger generation slowly move forward to play a more important role, to take centrestage. But it will be a process that will take time, and I would say that we have made good progress.”

WP'S SEPARATE PATH

Asked about working with other parties, Mr Low pointed to the diversity of the Opposition. He said: “I made it very clear at the Punggol East by-election in a speech, that we have different objectives, different leadership.”

He recounted how he was under pressure in 2001 for the WP to join the newly-formed Singapore Democratic Alliance. But he felt that building a party that offered Singaporeans a credible choice was the fundamental thing he had to do first.

“We built ourselves up and today, after 20 years, we are still talking about Opposition unity. The Workers’ Party has taken its own path, and I believe that is the path on which we can build a credible party to offer Singaporeans a credible choice. And I think we will continue with that path,” said Mr Low.

- CNA/yv

 

Nadal confident of playing well at US Open

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎01:10:18 PMGo to full article
NEW YORK: Former world number one Rafa Nadal is feeling confident about his chances of competing for a third U.S. Open title when the tournament starts in New York next week.

"I hope to be ready for it. I have been playing well the last couple of weeks. I think I'm in better shape than a few months ago then arrived the competition and everything that happened," the 29-year old Spaniard told Reuters.

Rafael Nadal takes part in an event to promote the launch of Tommy Hilfiger's new line of underwear, in New York August 25, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

"But I'm confident that I can play well."

Nadal, who won the U.S. Open in 2010 and 2013 but missed last year's tournament due to illness and injury, was ousted from Wimbledon in a shock second round exit but has claimed three titles in 2015 - Hamburg, Stuttgart and Buenos Aires.

The eighth seed was speaking on the sidelines of a promotional event for a Tommy Hilfiger underwear campaign the 14-times grand slam tournament winner stars in on Tuesday.

(Reporting By Reuters Television in New York; Editing by John O'Brien)

- Reuters

 

African leaders gather in South Sudan peace deal signing

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎01:05:27 PMGo to full article
JUBA: Regional African leaders gathered in South Sudan's capital where President Salva Kiir was expected to sign a peace deal on Wednesday to end a 20-month conflict, after his decision last week to delay inking the pact.

Kiir, who has led South Sudan since it seceded from Sudan in 2011, had asked for more time for consultations last week in the Ethiopian capital, drawing threats of U.N. sanctions if he failed to sign it within a two-week deadline.

South Sudanese Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said the signing was expected to take place during the visit by African leaders to Juba but that Kiir would also list reservations about a deal that will see him sharing power with his long-time rival, rebel leader Riek Machar.

It follows months of on-off negotiations, hosted by Ethiopia, and several broken ceasefire deals.

Rebels said they had captured a town south of Juba on Wednesday and said there had been other fighting with government forces elsewhere. There was no immediate government comment.

The conflict erupted in December 2013 after a power struggle between Machar, an ethnic Nuer, and Kiir, from the dominant Dinka group. The fighting has increasingly run along ethnic lines.

Machar, who has already signed the peace agreement, was Kiir's deputy until he was sacked in 2013. Under the deal, Machar is expected to become first vice president.

Mediators said Kiir previously voiced concerns about conditions that he consult the first vice president on policy. Machar has also voiced concerns about aspects of power sharing.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn arrived in Juba earlier on Wednesday for the regional summit.

The United States has proposed a U.N. arms embargo and more targeted sanctions from Sept. 6 unless the pact was signed by the 15-day deadline given to Kiir last week.

The conflict has killed thousands of people and driven more than 2 million from their homes. Fighting has halted development in the desperately poor nation of about 11 million people that has barely any tarmac roads and where many go hungry.

(Additional reporting by Aaron Maasho in Addis Ababa; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Dominic Evans)

- Reuters

 

China sacks work safety chief after Tianjin blasts

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎12:57:24 PMGo to full article
BEIJING: China has sacked the head of its work safety regulator for suspected corruption, state news agency Xinhua said on Wednesday, following blasts that killed more than 100 people in the port city of Tianjin this month.

The ruling Communist Party's graft watchdog began an investigation into Yang Dongliang last week following the massive explosions in a warehouse storing dangerous chemicals.

Yang Dongliang, head of the State Administration of Work Safety, attends a meeting in Beijing, China, in this file photo taken on March 7, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

A total of 139 people are now confirmed to have died, while 34 remain missing.

A brief statement carried by Xinhua, citing the party's organisation department which is responsible for personnel decisions, said Yang had been stripped of his position as chief of the State Administration of Work Safety.

He is suspected of "serious breaches of discipline and the law", the report said, using the usual euphemism for corruption.

It gave no other details and it was not possible to reach Yang for comment. Officials are almost always fired soon after announcements of party graft investigations.

The government has not explicitly linked Yang's case to the Tianjin incident, but the company that operated the chemical warehouse that blew up did not have a licence to work with such dangerous materials for more than a year.

Yang was vice mayor of Tianjin, a city of 15 million people, until 2012.

China has struggled in recent years with incidents ranging from mining disasters to factory fires which have caused deep public anger, and President Xi Jinping has vowed that authorities should learn the lessons paid for with blood.

The Tianjin disaster has again raised questions about safety standards following three decades of fast economic growth. A blast at an auto parts factory killed 75 people a year ago.

The government has confirmed there were about 700 tons of deadly sodium cyanide in the warehouse that blew up. The blasts devastated a large industrial site and nearby residential areas.

Xinhua said that 11 of the 12 apartment blocks worst affected by the explosions had been officially classified as structurally safe.

On Tuesday, Xinhua said that five Chinese state-owned property developers will buy apartments hit by blasts.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard, Koh Gui Qing and Meng Meng; Editing by Nick Macfie)

- Reuters

 

Two injured in Teck Whye fire, including 8-month-old baby

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎12:45:42 PMGo to full article
SINGPORE: Two people, including an 8-month-old baby, were injured on Wednesday afternoon (Aug 26) following a blaze at Teck Whye Avenue.

The infant was sent to National University Hospital for suspected smoke inhalation, while the other person injured, a man in his fifties, was sent to the same hospital due to a cut on his left shin from falling debris.

The master bedroom in a 10th floor unit of Block 3 Teck Whye Avenue on fire. (Screengrab from a video by Helmi Rocky)

The contents of a unit's master bedroom on the 10th floor of Block 3 had caught fire, said the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). It had caused a black plume of smoke to pour from the unit’s window.

Channel NewsAsia understands that the infant was in a 12th floor unit at the time, while the man was on the ground floor of the block. Both were sent to the hospital conscious.

It is also understood that some of the floors in the block experienced a power outage following the fire.

Singapore Power, responding to a query by Channel NewsAsia, said it has received no reports of any power outages in the block. It added that the Town Council has not received any complaints.

SCDF said it was alerted to the incident at 2.42pm and sent two fire engines, two support vehicles, two ambulances and a red rhino. The fire was extinguished within half an hour using a water jet.

There was no one in the unit when SCDF arrived, SCDF added.

It is understood that about 20 residents from the block self-evacuated after the fire started.

SCDF is investigating the cause of the fire.

- CNA/ek

 

Oil catches breath near 6-1/2-year lows after falls

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎12:43:27 PMGo to full article
LONDON: Oil stabilized on Wednesday (Aug 26) after China's central bank moved to support the country's economy, but prices stayed near 6-1/2-year lows as a heavy supply glut kept the market outlook bearish.

"Oil is catching its breath a bit and seeing if markets have been oversold or not," Capital Economics commodities economist Thomas Pugh said.

(Photo: AFP/Charly Triballeau)

Brent was unchanged at US$43.21 a barrel by 0925 GMT, and US crude was up 5 cents at US$39.36 a barrel.

Oil has lost a third of its value since June on high US production, record crude pumping in the Middle East and concern about falling demand in Asian economies.

On Monday, both crude oil benchmarks saw their lowest trades since early 2009, dropping as much as 6 percent in one session after heavy falls in equity markets.

"The trend remains down, but in an erratic phase where attempts to recover are being made," PVM Oil Associates director and technical analyst Robin Bieber said.

China cut interest rates on Tuesday and lowered the reserves banks must hold in its latest move to calm fears about a severe economic slowdown in a country whose major equities index, the Shanghai Composite Index , is now 43 per cent below the June peak for the year.

ANZ said China's rate cuts had calmed commodity markets, but they remained cautious and gains would be limited as global oil oversupply is likely to persist in the short term.

Pugh at Capital Economics said he thought the oil market was "already pricing in a worst case scenario in China at the moment", adding: "I’d be surprised if we drop much further."

Several members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are producing record volumes of oil in an attempt to squeeze out competition, mainly from US shale oil producers.

Adding to the global glut, OPEC member Iran has plans to increase crude production and reclaim its lost export share after international sanctions are lifted, and Nigeria is also boosting exports. But an emergency OPEC meeting to discuss possible production cuts looks unlikely.

US crude stocks fell by 7.3 million barrels last week to 449.3 million as refinery runs increased, compared with analysts' expectations for a rise of 1 million barrels, industry data from the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday.

US government oil stockpiles data is due later on Wednesday from the Energy Information Administration.

- Reuters/al

 

Hungary moves to secure border as migrants stream in

 
‎26 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎12:40:27 PMGo to full article
ROSZKE, Hungary: Hungary made plans on Wednesday to reinforce its southern border with helicopters, mounted police and dogs, and was also considering using the army to confront a record number of migrants trekking into Europe, many fleeing war in Syria.

Unrest flared briefly at a crowded reception centre in the border region of Roszke, with a police spokesman saying tear gas had been fired.

Syrian migrants cross under a fence into Hungary at the border with Serbia, near Roszke, August 26, 2015. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh

Police said a record 2,533 migrants – most of them from Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan – were caught entering Hungary from Serbia on Tuesday. Another 1,300 were detained just by 9.30 a.m. (0730 GMT) on Wednesday.

More will have passed unnoticed, walking through gaps in an unfinished barrier to a Europe groping for answers to its worst refugee crisis since World War Two.

Hungary, which is part of Europe’s Schengen passport-free travel zone, is building a fence along its 175-km (110-mile) border with Serbia in a bid to keep them out, taking a hard line on what right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban says is a threat to European security, prosperity and identity.

Government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said parliament would debate next week whether to employ the army in the border effort.

“Hungary's government and national security cabinet ... has discussed the question of how the army could be used to help protect Hungary's border and the EU's border,” Kovacs said.

Authorities said over 140,000 migrants had entered Hungary from Serbia to far this year. The numbers travelling through the Balkans have soared in recent weeks, with 3,000 crossing into Macedonia daily from Greece then whisked by train and bus north to Serbia and beyond.

"IT'S FOR FREEDOM"

The chief commissioner of Hungarian police, Karoly Papp, said police were readying six special border patrol units of an initial 2,106 officers, equipped with helicopters, horses and dogs, to be sent in depending on the situation on the Serbian border.

“They don’t have and will not get an order to shoot,” Papp told a news conference.

In Roszke, the police spokesman said some 200 migrants at the reception centre where unrest flared had refused to be fingerprinted.

Almost all hope to reach the more affluent countries of northern and western Europe such as Germany and Sweden, but being fingerprinted in Hungary means that, under EU rules, they risk being returned to Budapest as their official point of entry into the 28-nation EU.

"I want a country to be part of, I want a country to belong to, I want a culture, a civilisation," said Rabie Hajouk, a 29-year-old IT engineer who said he was from the devastated Syrian city of Homs.

"It's not for money or for food, it's for freedom, freedom of mind, for education. To be part of the civilised world."

Embroiled in a debilitating economic crisis, Greece has taken to ferrying mainly Syrian migrants from its overwhelmed islands to Athens. Some 50,000 hit Greek shores by boat from Turkey in July alone.

Some European leaders have complained that Greece fails to register its arrivals, meaning their first recognised point of entry is often elsewhere and Athens does not risk them being sent back.

Serbia said around 10,000 migrants were passing through the country at any time, their stay lengthening as Hungary nears completion of its border fence.

“The situation will get worse, when winter arrives. We’re getting ready to look after double that number,” Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

(Reporting by Krisztina Than in BUDAPEST and Matt Robinson in BELGRADE; Writing by Matt Robinson; Editing by Giles Elgood)

- Reuters

 

 
 

 

+27 11 969 0086


frosty@khouseafrica.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Bible

DVD

+

MP3 on CD-ROM
Featured Commentaries

Learn the Bible

 in 24 hours



Old Testament


Genesis

Exodus

Leviticus

Numbers

Deuteronomy

Joshua and The Twelve Tribes

Judges

Ruth and Esther

I and II Samuel

I and II Kings

I and II Chronicles

Ezra & Nehemiah

Job

Psalms

Proverbs

Ecclesiastes

Song of Songs

Isaiah

Jeremiah

/Lamentations

Ezekiel

Daniel

Hosea

Joel and Amos

Jonah, Nahum & Obadiah

Micah

Zechariah

The Minor

Prophets

 



New Testament


Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

Acts

Romans

I & II Corinthians

Galatians

Ephesians

Philippians

Colossians and Philemon

I and II

Thessalonians

Timothy/

Titus/Philemon

Hebrews

James

I and II Peter

I, II, and III John

Jude

Revelation
 


 

 

                                               

 
?