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Oil shares pull Asian stocks higher; yen slips

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
Businessmen stand in front of electronic boards showing the exchange rate between Japanese yen against the U.S. dollar outside a brokerage in TokyoHONG KONG (Reuters) - Oil shares pulled regional stock markets higher on Thursday after OPEC members agreed to curb output in a surprise deal, though investors were wary of chasing markets higher as the U.S. presidential election neared.

African wax prints tackle rivals for place in the sun

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
A man checks a piece of cloth in a production line at the Uniwax factory in AbidjanIn a bustling market in Abidjan, women browse through a bewildering array of intricately patterned wax-print fabrics, each of which has a unique and sometimes quirky name. Another bale of this brightly coloured fabric is labelled "jealousy". The name often reflects a key element in the pattern and those attached to the most popular styles often spread quickly as rumours and jokes around Adjame market in Ivory Coast's economic capital.

Energy shares lead Asian stocks higher on OPEC output deal

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, file photo, trader Leon Montana works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. U.S. stock markets opened slightly higher Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, as energy companies are rising with the price of oil. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)HONG KONG (AP) — Energy companies led a rally in Asian stock markets Thursday as investors welcomed news that OPEC nations planned to cut oil production for the first time in eight years in an effort to reduce a global glut.

Indonesia extradites alleged people smuggler to Australia

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — An Iranian national extradited from Indonesia was to appear in a Sydney court on Thursday charged with people smuggling offenses, the government said.

Prosecutors work on global sex trafficking cases in Hawaii

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎8 hours agoGo to full article
Michael Ramos, district attorney for San Bernardino County and president of the National District Attorneys Association, speaks at a summit on sex trafficking at the Sheraton Waikiki on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, in Honolulu. Prosecutors are calling the scourge of sex trafficking a form of modern-day slavery that touches every state in the nation, and they're working to draw connections between active investigations around the globe at a summit in the Waikiki neighborhood in Honolulu, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Cathy Bussewitz)HONOLULU (AP) — Prosecutors are calling the scourge of sex trafficking a form of modern-day slavery that touches every state in the nation, and they're working to draw connections between active investigations around the globe at a summit in Hawaii.

Duterte declares upcoming Philippines-U.S. war games 'the last one'

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎11 hours agoGo to full article
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrives at Camp Tecson to talk to soldiers in San Miguel, Bulacan in northern PhilippinesBy Martin Petty HANOI (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte plunged one of the United States' most important Asian alliances deeper into uncertainty on Wednesday by declaring upcoming U.S.-Philippines military exercises "the last," and ruling out any joint navy patrols. The firebrand Duterte pledged to honor a longstanding security treaty with the United States, but said China opposed joint marine drills in the Philippines starting next week and there would be no more war games with Washington after that. "I am serving notice now to the Americans, this will be the last military exercise," Duterte said during a visit to Vietnam.

Bulgaria replaces candidate for the United Nations' top job

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎11 hours agoGo to full article
FILE - In this Wednesday, May 27, 2016 file photo, European Commissioner for Budget Kristalina Georgieva speaks during a media conference on the EU 2016 budget at EU headquarters in Brussels. Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov announced Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016 that the government is nominating its European commissioner, Kristalina Georgieva, as candidate to be United Nations Secretary-General, replacing its previous candidate, UNESCO chief Irina Bokova. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov announced Wednesday that the government is nominating its European commissioner, Kristalina Georgieva, as a candidate to be United Nations Secretary-General, replacing its previous candidate, UNESCO chief Irina Bokova.

Saudi Arabia has ways to hit back at 9/11 lawsuit effort

‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎11:44:08 PMGo to full article
FILE- In this Jan. 27, 2015 file photo, President Barack Obama participates in a receiving line with the Saudi Arabian King, Salman bin Abdul Aziz, at Erga Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia and its allies are warning that legislation allowing the kingdom to be sued for the 9/11 attacks will have negative repercussions. The kingdom maintains an arsenal of tools to retaliate with, including curtailing official contacts, pulling billions of dollars from the U.S. economy, and enlisting its lockstep Gulf allies to scale back counterterrorism cooperation, investments and U.S. access to important regional air bases. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia and its allies are warning that U.S. legislation allowing the kingdom to be sued for the 9/11 attacks will have negative repercussions.

Kerry says TPP rejection would hurt US national security

‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎8:27:50 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2016 file photo, Secretary of State John Kerry speaks in New York. Kerry is threatening to cut off all contacts with Moscow over Syria, unless Russian and Syrian government attacks on Aleppo end. The State Department says Kerry issued the ultimatum in a Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, telephone call to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.(AP Photo/Jason DeCrow, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry urged Congress on Wednesday to adopt a landmark 12-nation Asia-Pacific trade deal, arguing that rejection would badly damage U.S. credibility and national security.

Trump's stance on nuclear restraint is ambiguous

‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎8:08:36 PMGo to full article
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Polish National Alliance, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, in Chicago. Trump’s ambiguous answer to a debate question on nuclear restraint raised doubts about his understanding of the issue. On the other hand, his words actually mirror the nub of a policy argument inside the Obama administration. (AP Photo/John Locher)WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump's ambiguous answer to a debate question on nuclear restraint raised doubts about his understanding of the issue. On the other hand, his words — by design or coincidence — mirror the nub of a policy argument the administration is wrestling with in the final months of Barack Obama's presidency.

U.S. says probing more China firms for North Korea sanctions breaches

‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎7:48:37 PMGo to full article
By David Brunnstrom WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is investigating a number of Chinese companies for suspected breaches of sanctions on North Korea, and Chinese banks and firms should understand that dealing with North Korea is "risky," a senior U.S. official said on Wednesday. China said it opposed any country using its own laws for "long-arm jurisdiction," after the United States on Monday sanctioned China's Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Co for using front companies to evade sanctions on North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

South Asia summit uncertain as India, others pull out in snub to Pakistan

‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎7:33:31 PMGo to full article
A summit of South Asian leaders set for Islamabad in November may be called off as several countries have decided not to attend amid rising tension between arch-rivals India and Pakistan, officials said on Wednesday. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan and India have expressed their "inability" to attend the summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), a senior foreign ministry official in Nepal said. India's foreign ministry on Tuesday announced its decision to skip the meeting, saying "increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in the region and growing interference in the internal affairs of member states by one country" had created an environment that was not conducive.

US looks to restrict China coal imports from North Korea

‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎7:07:45 PMGo to full article
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is negotiating at the U.N. Security Council to address a provision in U.N. sanctions that allows China to import coal and iron ore from North Korea, Obama administration officials said Wednesday.

U.S. indicates more Chinese firms being probed for North Korea sanctions breaches

‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎5:55:58 PMGo to full article
The coordinator for U.S. sanctions policy indicated on Wednesday that more Chinese firms were under U.S. investigation for suspected breaches of sanctions on North Korea and Chinese banks and firms should understand that dealing with North Korea was "risky." Asked at a congressional hearing if other Chinese firms were under investigation after the United States imposed sanctions on a Chinese industrial machinery wholesale firm on Monday, Daniel Fried, coordinator for sanctions policy at the U.S. State Department, said he "wouldn't argue" with the suggestion. China said on Tuesday it was opposed to any country using its own laws to carry out "long arm jurisdiction," after the United States sanctioned Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Co and four of its executives under U.S. regulations targeting proliferators of weapons of mass destruction.

Japan PM promotes Shinkansen 'bullet' train to Singapore

‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎5:37:29 PMGo to full article
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, right, shakes hands with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe before their meeting at the state guest house in Tokyo, Japan, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016. (Franck Robichon/Pool Photo via AP)TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe used a meeting with his Singaporean counterpart on Wednesday to promote Japan's Shinkansen "bullet" train technology for use in a planned high-speed railway linking Singapore and Malaysia.

EU probes Deutsche Boerse-LSE megamerger

‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎5:34:33 PMGo to full article
Under the agreed terms, Deutsche Boerse shareholders will end up with 54.4 percent of the new holding company's capital, and LSE shareholders with 45.6 percentThe EU on Wednesday launched an in-depth investigation into whether the blockbuster attempt by the Frankfurt stock exchange to merge with its London exchange rival harms competition. The LSE and Deutsche Boerse tie-up would create a financial markets behemoth competing with the likes of the Chicago exchange and ICE in the United States as well as the Hong Kong stock exchange in Asia. The EU team, led by the hardened Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, has 90 days to assess the merger which has already hit turbulence after the shock decision by Britain to quit the European Union.

Global wildlife meeting approves ban on trade in pangolins

‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎4:58:13 PMGo to full article
In this photo taken on September 20th, 2016, a Chinese pangolin rests on a tree branch at the Save Vietnam's Wildlife rescue center in Cuc Phuong National Park, Ninh Binh province, Vietnam. On Wednesday in Johannesburg, South Africa, delegates at a U.N. wildlife conference have voted to ban trade in all four species of Asian pangolins. The small, ant-eating mammal is heavily poached for its meat and scales that are used in traditional medicine in parts of Asia. (AP Photo/Hau Dinh)JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The pangolin is described as the most heavily trafficked mammal in the world. The nocturnal, ant-eating animal got a much-needed boost Wednesday at a U.N. wildlife conference that approved a ban on trade in all eight species of Asian and African pangolins.

No more trade in endangered pangolins, U.N. meeting decides

‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎4:40:38 PMGo to full article
By Tanisha Heiberg JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The United Nations on Wednesday banned global trade in highly endangered pangolins, a scaly animal with the dubious distinction of being the world's most poached mammal. Member states of the U.N.'s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, known as CITES, voted to place the eight species of pangolin on the convention's "Appendix I," which prohibits any cross-border movement in the animals or their body parts for commercial purposes. "Giving pangolins full protection under CITES will eliminate any question about legality of trade, making it harder for criminals to traffic them and increasing the consequences for those who do," said Ginette Hemley of conservation group WWF.

Bangladesh withdraws from regional summit in Islamabad

‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎3:32:54 PMGo to full article
NEW DELHI (AP) — Bangladesh announced Wednesday that it will not participate in a meeting of South Asian nations in Pakistan in November, following the withdrawal of India, the largest member of the regional bloc, a day earlier.

Thais probe babies with microcephaly for Zika link

‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎3:05:14 PMGo to full article
A city worker sprays chemicals with a fumigator to kill mosquitoes in an effort to control the spread of the Zika virus at a school in Bangkok in September 2016Thai doctors are running tests to see whether Zika was the cause of microcephaly in two babies whose mothers are infected with the mosquito-borne virus, a health official said Wednesday. If the remaining pair are found to be linked, they could be the first case of Zika-related microcephaly in Southeast Asia, according to the World Health Organisation. "It is too early to conclude if (the other two) had Zika, we need more information," said Apichai Mongkol, director general of the Department of Medical Sciences.

Amnesty's Thailand torture allegations spark arrest threat

‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎2:19:25 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Saturday, July 16, 2016, file photo, Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha waves as he arrives for a group photo of leaders at the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Prayuth defended the military detention of "so-called political prisoners," saying they are given good housing and food, but that they sometimes complain about things like the quality of air conditioning. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)BANGKOK (AP) — Thai authorities threatened to arrest Amnesty International speakers who were set to hold a news conference Wednesday to release a report detailing allegations of torture at the hands of the military and police, causing the rights group to cancel the event.

Image of Asia: Celebrating birth of Confucius in Beijing

‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎1:14:42 PMGo to full article
Participants in traditional dress stand near an oversized portrait of Confucius during a ceremony to observe the 2567th anniversary of his birth in Beijing, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016. Confucius, a famed thinker and philosopher in Chinese history, has his birth celebrated on Sept. 28. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)In this photo by Mark Schiefelbein, participants in traditional dress stand near an oversized portrait of Confucius during a ceremony in Beijing to observe the 2,567th birth anniversary of the famed Chinese philosopher. Ceremonies were held across China on Wednesday, including in Confucius' eastern hometown, Qufu. Most of the participants at the event in Beijing were students and faculty at a private school that teaches students classic works by Confucius and other sages, calligraphy, and Chinese medicine, among other subjects. Confucius and his teachings were widely criticized by the founding father of Communist China, Mao Zedong, who railed against traditional culture and what he called "feudal thinking." However, the sage's image has been rehabilitated in recent years as the government pushes his message of harmonious social order and deference to authority. Confucius' teachings emphasized duty to family, respect for learning and obedience of individuals to the state.

Live stream child sex abuse among rising cybercrime: Europol

‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎11:18:13 AMGo to full article
and so-called "revenge porn" is on the rise on the internet, Europe's police agency warnedLive streaming of child sexual abuse and so-called "revenge porn" is on the rise on the internet, Europe's police agency warned Wednesday, saying vulnerable children are increasingly falling victim to sexual predators. "Live distant child abuse is... being reported as a growing threat," Europol said in its latest annual cyber organised crime threat assessment, released at its headquarters in The Hague. Live streaming of child sex abuse "involves a perpetrator directing the live abuse of children on a (pre-arranged) specific time-frame through video sharing platforms," Europol said in the 72-page report.

Canada approves $36 bn LNG project, eyes Asia

‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎8:46:53 AMGo to full article
Canada approved a Can$36bn ($27bn US) pipeline project by Malaysia's Petronas, the first deal by the Liberal government that goes against environmentalistsCanada approved a massive Can$36 billion ($27 billion USD) project by Malaysia's Petronas to build a liquefied natural gas pipeline along its Pacific Northwest coast, targeting Asian markets. The project is the first deal by Canada's year-old Liberal government that goes against environmentalists in the name of the country's economic interests. Environmental activists and indigenous groups have opposed the plans.

Ancient Roman coins unearthed at Japan castle

‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎7:55:00 AMGo to full article
A 4th-century copper coin from ancient Rome has been unearthed in Japan's Okinawa island by researchers excavating Katsuren castleJapanese archaeologists said Wednesday they have for the first time unearthed ancient Roman coins at the ruins of an old castle. The discovery of 10 bronze and copper coins -- the oldest dating from about 300-400 AD -- in southern Okinawa caught researchers by surprise. It was the first time Roman Empire coins have been discovered in Japan, thousands of kilometres from where they were likely minted.

U.S., Japan, South Korea consider more steps against North Korea: U.S.

‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎10:06:21 PMGo to full article
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during a visit to the Taedonggang Syringe FactoryThe United States, Japan and South Korea have been working to cut off North Korean revenue streams from coal and overseas workers and are considering further joint action after Pyongyang's latest nuclear test, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday. Daniel Russel, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asia, said the three countries had been making progress in key areas, including disrupting North Korea's arms trade and de-flagging North Korean ships. "We're focusing our efforts on cutting off sources of revenue for the regime's unlawful nuclear and ballistic weapons programs, including revenue generated through the coal trade and overseas by North Korean workers," Russel said in prepared testimony for a congressional hearing.

India to not participate in regional summit in Pakistan

‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎8:40:37 PMGo to full article
NEW DELHI (AP) — New Delhi will not participate in a meeting of South Asian nations to be held in Islamabad in November, its foreign ministry said in a statement late Tuesday.

Zika's origin and global spread

‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎7:52:07 PMGo to full article
The following timeline charts the origin and spread of the Zika virus from its discovery nearly 70 years ago: 1947: Scientists researching yellow fever in Uganda's Zika Forest identify the virus in a rhesus monkey 1948: Virus recovered from Aedes africanus mosquito in Zika Forest 1952: First human cases detected in Uganda and Tanzania 1960s-80s: Zika detected in mosquitoes and monkeys across equatorial Africa 1960s–80s: Zika found in equatorial Asia, including India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan 2007: Zika spreads from Africa and Asia, first large outbreak on Pacific island of Yap 2012: ...

India's Modi scraps planned visit to Pakistan for regional summit

‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎6:53:01 PMGo to full article
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at the ASEAN Summit in VientianeIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not attend a regional summit of South Asian leaders in Pakistan in November because of increasing cross-border attacks in the region, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday. India blames Pakistan for a deadly assault on an army base in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir this month that has escalated tensions between the rivals. India says a group of militants sneaked across the de facto border that separates the countries and killed 18 soldiers on Sept. 18, the biggest loss of life for Indian security forces in the region for 14 years.

Iraq opens new antiquities museum in Basra

‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎6:51:48 PMGo to full article
An invited guest from British Museum, right, and an official from Iraq Museum look at antiquities on display at a newly opened museum in the southern city of Basra, Iraq, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. Iraq inaugurated the new antiquities museum in Basra on Tuesday, with pottery, statues, coins and other artifacts dating back more than 2,000 years. Only one hall was opened due to a shortage of funds. The museum is housed in one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces, which had briefly served as a mess hall for British troops after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that overthrew him. It will showcase artifacts dating back to 400 B.C. that tell the history of the oil-rich city on the Persian Gulf. (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani)BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq opened a new antiquities museum in the southern city of Basra on Tuesday with pottery, coins and other artifacts dating back more than 2,000 years.

Asian congress scrapped after 20 minutes in FIFA protest

‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎6:28:57 PMGo to full article
Asian delegates nearly all voted against the agenda after FIFA barred Qatar Football Association vice-president Saoud Al-Mohannadi from standing for one of the council seatsAn Asian football congress was scrapped after just 20 minutes on Tuesday as members overwhelmingly rejected its agenda in protest at FIFA barring a candidate from elections to its powerful new council. Asian Football Confederation (AFC) delegates flew from all over the region to a luxury hotel in Goa, India to elect three new members to the FIFA Council, only for the meeting to be declared closed when it had barely got underway. The 42-1 vote against adopting the extraordinary congress's agenda will be seen as a rebuke to the world body's president Gianni Infantino, who was among those present at the short-lived gathering.

WHO: Excessive air pollution affects 92 percent of people

‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎6:07:05 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Dec. 20, 2015 file photo, a woman wearing a mask for protection against pollution walks on a pedestrian overhead bridge as office buildings are shrouded with smog in Beijing. More than nine out of 10 people worldwide live in areas with excessive air pollution, contributing to problems like strokes, heart disease and lung cancer, the World Health Organization said Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. The U.N. health agency said in a new report that 92 percent of people live in areas where air quality exceeds WHO limits, with southeast Asia, eastern Mediterranean and western Pacific regions hardest hit. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)GENEVA (AP) — More than nine out of 10 people worldwide live in areas with excessive air pollution, contributing to problems like strokes, heart disease and lung cancer, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.

Asian leaders rebel, postpone election for FIFA Council

‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎3:23:39 PMGo to full article
GOA, India (AP) — Asian soccer leaders rebelled against FIFA on Tuesday, calling off their extraordinary congress and postponing the election of three representatives to the new FIFA Council.

Paris climate targets to cost Asia $300 billion a year, but will help save lives: research

‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎1:42:19 PMGo to full article
By Beh Lih Yi JAKARTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Developing economies in Asia will have to spend $300 billion a year until 2050 to meet targets set by the Paris climate deal, but can expect to save thousands of lives and avoid worsening poverty if they shift to low-carbon growth, research showed on Tuesday. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said the economic returns of spending on the Paris climate targets far outweighed the costs in the developing region - one of the most vulnerable to climate change and disasters like typhoons and flooding. The Manila-based bank's definition of developing Asia comprises 45 of the ADB's member countries in Asia Pacific including Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Kerber beats Mladenovic in 1st match as women's world No. 1

‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎1:41:45 PMGo to full article
Angelique Kerber of Germany hits a return while playing against Kristina Mladenovic of France during the WTA Wuhan Open in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. (Chinatopix via AP)WUHAN, China (AP) — Playing her first match as the No. 1-ranked player in women's tennis, Angelique Kerber dropped the first set before recovering to beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-4 on Tuesday to reach the third round of the Wuhan Open.

500 days to go: Pyeongchang Olympic organizers optimistic

‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎12:26:08 PMGo to full article
Security personnel stands by a logo of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games before an event to mark the start of the 500-day countdown in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. With 500 days until the Olympic cauldron is ignited in Pyeongchang, organizers of the 2018 Winter Games say 90 percent of construction on new venues is complete and the focus of preparations is on test events. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Marking the 500-day countdown to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, organizers said Tuesday that 90 percent of construction of new venues is complete and the focus is now on preparing for test events.

Factbox: Philippines recommends suspending 20 more mines after audit

‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎12:19:26 PMGo to full article
MANILA (Reuters) - Thirty mines in the Philippines, including 18 nickel producers, have either been suspended or recommended for suspension for environmental violations in an unprecedented crackdown that has shaken the industry and the global nickel market. The Southeast Asian country, the world's top supplier of nickel ore, on Tuesday recommended that 20 more mines be suspended until the operators address lapses. The government has given them seven days to explain any violations of mining and environmental laws. ...

Iran says not ready for oil output freeze in Algiers

‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎12:15:07 PMGo to full article
Most oil states have been supportive of a price cap, but pre-forum talks between OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and Iran have been less productiveIran is not ready to agree to an oil output freeze in Algiers, its Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Tuesday on the eve of an informal OPEC meeting in Algeria's capital. Zanganeh said an agreement on a freeze to stabilise oil prices could be struck at the November 30 meeting in Vienna of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Cartel members are to meet with key non-OPEC producer Russia on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum in the Algerian capital.

Philippines to suspend 20 more mines, boosting nickel price

‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎11:41:27 AMGo to full article
Philippines Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lopez speaks during a news conference at the department's headquarters in Quezon city, Metro ManilaBy Enrico Dela Cruz and Manolo Serapio Jr MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines has ordered the suspension of 20 more mines for environmental violations, as the world's top supplier of nickel ore vowed to pursue stricter standards than in global mining centers such as Canada and Australia. Most of the mines were nickel producers and the news sent global prices up more than 1 percent on Tuesday, helping the metal recover from earlier losses amid worries over disruption of supply to the important Chinese market. President Rodrigo Duterte has warned that the Philippines could survive without a mining industry and 10 mines have already been shuttered as part of an audit completed last month.

ADB says developing Asian economies are holding steady

‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎9:34:14 AMGo to full article
FILE - In this Sept. 2, 2016 file photo, a man on a motorbike and a pedestrian pass by a construction site wall depicting the skyline of the Chinese capital in Beijing. Developing economies in Asia are holding steady and will grow at the earlier forecast rate of 5.7 percent this year and next, buoyed by resilience in the region's two largest economies, China and India, the Asian Development Bank said Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Developing economies in Asia are holding steady and will grow at the earlier forecast rate of 5.7 percent this year and next, buoyed by resilience in the region's two largest economies, China and India, the Asian Development Bank said Tuesday.

Asian stocks mixed as traders follow US debate

‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎6:03:09 AMGo to full article
A man walks past an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. Asian stock markets were mixed Tuesday as traders followed the U.S. presidential debate between candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed Tuesday as traders followed the U.S. presidential debate between candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

U.S. sanctions Chinese firm tied to North Korea's nuclear program

‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎3:23:42 AMGo to full article
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets scientists and technicians in the field of research into nuclear weaponsBy David Brunnstrom WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States said on Monday it had sanctioned a Chinese industrial machinery and equipment wholesaler, a new step in tightening the financial noose around North Korea's nuclear program after its fifth nuclear test this month. The U.S. Treasury said it was sanctioning Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Co (DHID) and four of its executives, including the firm's founder, Ma Xiaohong, under U.S. regulations targeting proliferators of weapons of mass destruction. It accused the firm of acting on behalf of North Korea's Korea Kwangson Banking Corp (KKBC), which has been under U.S. and U.N. sanctions for supporting proliferation of such weapons.

China aiming for increased influence on FIFA

‎Monday, ‎September ‎26, ‎2016, ‏‎11:04:34 PMGo to full article
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The influence of China in world soccer could increase on Tuesday if high-ranking Chinese official Zhang Jian is elected onto the FIFA Council in elections to be held in Goa, India.

Philippines' Duterte wants to 'open alliances' with Russia, China

‎Monday, ‎September ‎26, ‎2016, ‏‎10:47:30 PMGo to full article
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrives at Camp Tecson to talk to soldiers in San Miguel, Bulacan in northern PhilippinesPhilippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday he would visit Russia and China this year to chart an independent foreign policy and "open alliances" with two powers with historic rivalries with the United States. Duterte said the Philippines was at the "point of no return" in relations with former colonial ruler the United States, so he wanted to strengthen ties with others, and picked two global powers that have been sparring with Washington on the international political stage. Last week, he last declared he would visit China, with which ties remain frosty over a South China Sea arbitration ruling won by the Philippines in July.

Philippines' Duterte to forge closer ties with China, Russia

‎Monday, ‎September ‎26, ‎2016, ‏‎10:01:34 PMGo to full article
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday he has decided to "cross the Rubicon" in his ties with the United States and will open trade alliances and offer long-term land leases to "the other side of the ideological barrier," China and Russia.

Japan navy chief urges resumption of China port visits

‎Monday, ‎September ‎26, ‎2016, ‏‎9:12:06 PMGo to full article
By David Brunnstrom WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of Japan's navy on Monday repeated criticisms of China's pursuit of territorial claims in Asia but called for a resumption of port and personnel visits suspended for several years amid rising tensions between the two Asian powers. Admiral Tomohisa Takei said exchange visits by senior naval personnel and warships were effective in improving relationships between armed forces. "Our door is open."While criticizing China's for its actions in the East China Sea, where Tokyo and Beijing have competing territorial claims, and in the South China Sea, where China has rival claims with other Asian countries, Takei sought to play down remarks by Japan's Defense Minister Tomomi Inada last week on plans to step up cooperation with the U.S. Navy.

India says Pakistan believes terror will bring territory

‎Monday, ‎September ‎26, ‎2016, ‏‎8:31:15 PMGo to full article
Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs for India, speaks during the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Pakistan continues to believe terrorist attacks will allow it to obtain territory it covets in Jammu and Kashmir, India's foreign minister said Monday.

Rights group says Pakistan's police commit widespread abuse

‎Monday, ‎September ‎26, ‎2016, ‏‎6:46:34 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Friday, Sept, 21, 2012 file photo, Pakistani police officers beat a protestor during clashes in Islamabad, Pakistan. Human Rights Watch says Pakistan's corrupt and ill-equipped police system encourages serious rights violations, including arbitrary arrests, torture and "encounter killings" in which police stage shootouts to kill individuals in custody. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed, File)ISLAMABAD (AP) — Human Rights Watch said Monday that Pakistan's corrupt and ill-equipped police system encouraged serious rights violations, including arbitrary arrests, torture and "encounter killings," in which police stage shootouts to kill individuals in custody.

Diplomats: Portugal's Guterres tops fifth poll for UN chief

‎Monday, ‎September ‎26, ‎2016, ‏‎6:45:56 PMGo to full article
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Portugal's former Prime Minister Antonio Guterres kept his spot as the first choice to succeed Ban Ki-moon as the next U.N. secretary-general, and was the only candidate to get the minimum nine required "yes" votes in the Security Council's fifth informal poll on Monday, U.N. diplomats said.

Calais migrant camp demolition raises child trafficking fears, U.N. says

‎Monday, ‎September ‎26, ‎2016, ‏‎6:27:48 PMGo to full article
By Lin Taylor LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Lone children living in the shanty town near Calais are likely to go missing or risk being trafficked when France dismantles the migrant camp, the United Nations said on Monday, urging authorities to speed up the reunion of children with families in Britain. The U.N. children's agency, UNICEF, said it was concerned for the safety and future of unaccompanied minors living in the so-called "jungle" camp, on the outskirts of the northern French port town. "Before the bulldozers arrive, there must be robust plans to safeguard the hundreds of unaccompanied children currently stranded in the camp," said Lily Caprani, UNICEF UK's Deputy Executive Director.


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Tajik opposition accuses government of violent attacks

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎7 minutes agoGo to full article
ALMATY: Opposition politicians and activists in Tajikistan have accused the government of orchestrating lynch mob-style attacks on their families as part of a broader crackdown on dissent by President Imomali Rakhmon.

The Dushanbe government has denied directing the attacks and said it would investigate them.

Tajik authorities last year outlawed the opposition group, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT), and have since jailed most of its senior officials on charges of staging a failed September 2015 coup.

Now, politicians say, their families are being targeted by mobs acting with impunity.

"Threats, pogroms, arsons and stone-throwing attacks have begun against the homes of the relatives of opposition members and those who have spoken at this conference," Mukhiddin Kabiri, the leader in exile of IRPT, told a conference of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Warsaw on Wednesday.

Kabiri, who addressed the conference by Skype, said there had been at least six such attacks across the Central Asian state over the preceding three days, including those against his relatives.

U.S.-based rights group Human Rights Watch also cited several cases of mob attacks, in one of which the crowd assaulted a 10-year-old niece of a political activist, hitting and kicking her.

Circumstances "suggest that the attacks were orchestrated and coordinated by Tajik authorities", the group said.

"Tajikistan is in the midst of the worst political and religious crackdown since the end of the country’s 1992-1997 civil war."

The official Tajik delegation had walked out of the same conference on September 23, protesting that the OSCE had allowed opposition activists to take part and describing them as criminals.

Tajikistan's Interior Ministry said on Thursday it had not received any requests from the alleged victims of the attacks but would investigate them.

President Rakhmon enjoys sweeping powers amid a flourishing personality cult, and strengthened his position even further this year through a referendum that amended the constitution, allowing him to run for an unlimited number of terms.

Mostly Muslim Tajikistan, which borders volatile Afghanistan, is the poorest former Soviet republic with per capita gross domestic product of just US$2,780, according to World Bank data. Almost one-third of the population officially lives in poverty.

(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Richasrd Balmforth)


Perez keen to confirm 2017 seat in coming week

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎7 minutes agoGo to full article
SEPANG, Malaysia: Force India's Sergio Perez hopes to shed some light on where he will be driving in 2017 by the end of next week, with the Mexican conducting negotiations that he described as key to his Formula One career.

"I believe that next week is crucial to sort out my future," Perez told reporters at the Sepang circuit on Thursday as he prepares for this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix.

Hungarian Grand Prix 2016

"I really hope that by next weekend we will all know."

Perez's future has been the subject of speculation for some time with Force India team principal Vijay Mallya saying in July that both the Mexican and his German team mate Nico Hulkenberg would be staying at the team next season.

Shortly after, Hulkenberg confirmed he would remain with the Silverstone-based team in 2017 but Perez's situation has been complicated by the commercial deals his sponsors have to strike as part of any agreement for him to drive.

"My deals are quite complicated," said the 26-year-old, who is strongly supported by Mexican telecoms billionaire Carlos Slim Domit.

"Obviously my sponsors have to do the deals first, etc, so we must make sure that everything is in place and hopefully they can come into an agreement soon."

Perez has finished third twice this season and has been linked in the media with a move to the Renault factory team, who currently field Briton Jolyon Palmer and Dane Kevin Magnussen as their two drivers.

The Mexican, who has rebuilt his career at Force India after being dropped by McLaren in 2013, had also been mentioned as a possible Ferrari target but the Italian outfit opted to retain 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen for another season.

On Thursday, Perez, eighth in the overall standings and 20 points ahead of Hulkenberg, said he was negotiating with only one team.

"There are some other options on the table, quite interesting options but at the moment I hope that it works out with one team," he said.

"And if it doesn't by next week, obviously we will have to look (at) something else."

Perez made his Formula One breakthrough in Malaysia when he drove his Sauber to a second-place finish behind Ferrari's Fernando Alonso in 2012.

(Editing by John O'Brien)


Spotify launches Japan streaming with karaoke twist

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎10 minutes agoGo to full article
TOKYO: Online music giant Spotify said Thursday (Sep 29) it is launching a streaming service in Japan with a karaoke twist, the world's second-biggest music market but one still dominated by compact discs.

Sweden-based Spotify said it will offer a free service with advertising and an ad-free 980 yen (US$9.70)-per-month version with around 40 million song titles.

After launching in Indonesia in March, Swedish streaming music giant Spotify is now present in 59(Photo:AFP)

"The Japanese market is very different" from other markets, and "we want to make sure Spotify here is long-lasting," the company's CEO Daniel Ek said at a launch event in Tokyo.

Spotify - which earlier this month said it had surpassed 40 million paying subscribers - said the new service would also be available on Sony's PlayStation consoles.

In a nod to Japan's love for karaoke, it will feature lyrics to go along with its soundtracks.

Last year, Google launched its music streaming service in Japan, featuring more than 35 million tunes available at a cost of 980 yen a month, while Apple and Line have also stepped into the country.

Japan's music market is estimated to be worth about US$3 billion - second in the world after the US$7 billion US market.

But packaged media such as CDs account for about 80 per cent of Japanese music sales, contrasting sharply with the US where digital downloads are soaring.

Many Japanese production companies have focused on established retail channels for CDs, while issues over licencing have also hampered growth in the streaming business.

Sony and Japanese games giant DeNA have terminated their music streaming services in recent years.

Some industry experts have also blamed free sites, such as YouTube, for discouraging consumers from paying for digital music.


Russia says US Syria statement shows Washington supports terrorism

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎12 minutes agoGo to full article
MOSCOW: Russia is outraged by the threatening tone of the latest U.S. statement on Syria, viewing it as tantamount to supporting terrorism, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday, according to Russian news agencies.

Ryabkov was referring to a statement made by U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby who said on Wednesday that Russia had an interest in stopping the violence in Syria because extremists could exploit the vacuum there and launch attacks "against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities."

Medics inspect the damage outside a field hospital after an airstrike in the rebel-held al-Maadi ne

"We cannot interpret this as anything else apart from the current U.S. administration's de facto support for terrorism," Ryabkov was quoted as saying.

"These thinly disguised invitations to use terrorism as a weapon against Russia show the political depths the current U.S. administration has stooped to in its approach to the Middle East and specifically to Syria."

U.S. officials said on Wednesday that Obama administration officials had begun considering tougher responses to the Russian-backed Syrian government assault on Aleppo, including military options, as rising tensions with Moscow diminish hopes for a diplomatic solution.

Ryabkov was quoted as saying that Moscow saw no alternative to an original U.S.-Russia plan to try to get a ceasefire in Syria and that Washington should focus on implementing it.

He said a seven-day ceasefire plan proposed by the United States was unacceptable however and that Moscow was proposing a 48-hour "humanitarian pause" in Aleppo instead.

(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Andrew Osborn)


FTSE buoyed by oil shares after OPEC agrees supply curbs

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎17 minutes agoGo to full article
LONDON: Britain's top share index rose near a 1-1/2 year high on Thursday, boosted by a rise in its heavyweight energy sector as a decision by OPEC to curb output for the first time since 2008 lifted oil prices.

Energy stocks added 47 points to the FTSE 100 , contributing more than half of its rise.

A worker shelters from the rain as he passes the London Stock Exchange in the City of London

The index was up 75.15 points, or 1.1 percent, at 6,924.53 at 0827 GMT, 0.4 percent away from its 2016 high. That peak, hit in August, was the index's highest level since April 2015.

Heavyweight oil firms such as Royal Dutch Shell and BP were up 5.6 and 4.5 percent respectively.

While Brent crude came off highs overnight, it closed up 6 percent on Wednesday after the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries struck a deal to limit crude output at its policy meeting in November.

Although details on the deal were scarce, traders were encouraged by the first move from the group to support prices since 2008.

"This tentative move by OPEC could be a game changer and as a result we’re seeing oil stocks moving up quite nicely," said Manoj Ladwa, head of trading at TJM Partners.

"At some point they needed to change it up a little bit, there's been an oversupply in crude oil for a number of years now, hence the ultra low prices."

He said that other commodity-related stocks with oil in its portfolio, such as BHP Billiton , would benefit.

BHP Billiton was up 4.9 percent, and other miners also rose, with the FTSE 350 mining index up 3.5 percent.

The stand-out faller on the FTSE 100 was Capita , down 30 percent in its biggest ever one-day fall after a profit warning. It cut its profit outlook for the full-year by as much as 13 percent.

It said that the British vote to leave the European Union had led to delays in its clients' decisions.

"We fear that there may be more negative news to come in due course and place our "hold" stance under review," analysts at Shore Capital said in a note, saying the effects of the uncertainty from the vote could linger for several quarters.

The dramatic drop hit its peers, with Babcock the index's second biggest faller. Among mid-caps, fellow outsourcers Serco , G4S and Mitie were down 1.2-2.6 percent.

Merlin Entertainment fell 4.6 percent, down after it said its major London attractions were struggling despite a fall in sterling after Britain's Brexit referendum in June.

(Additional reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Angus MacSwan)


School security guard gunned down in tense Thai south

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎21 minutes agoGo to full article
BANGKOK: A security volunteer was gunned down by suspected rebels while guarding a primary school in Thailand's insurgency-plagued south, police said Thursday (Sep 29).

Morning lessons were underway at the school in Narathiwat province when ten militants swept in on motorcycles and opened fire on a group of security officers.

Thai security forces patrol on a highway in Thailand's restive southern province of Narathiwat(Photo:AFP)

"One was shot and killed instantly and two others were wounded," said Chanawut Khaudsai, a police officer based near the school.

The attack comes weeks after a bomb explosion killed a four-year-old girl and her father as they arrived at a different school in the province.

Ethnic Malay Muslim militants have targeted schools and teachers for years, perceiving them as collaborators with Thailand's Buddhist-majority state.

The rebels have launched hundreds of attacks on state-run schools, killing nearly 200 teachers, despite widespread revulsion at the assaults on soft civilian targets.

More than 6,600 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since the conflict flared up in 2004.

The victims of Thursday's attack were village defence volunteers, a network of civilians armed and trained by the state to assist the tens of thousands of soldiers spread across the kingdom's three violence-plagued provinces bordering Malaysia.

Security convoys routinely accompany teachers and children to and from schools in the region's most dangerous "red zones".

In a separate incident Thursday, a gas station attendant was killed in a shooting and grenade attack that wounded six people in neighbouring Pattani province, police said.

"Four attackers came on two motorcycles," an officer from Khok Pho station told AFP, adding that the victim was a 37-year-old Thai Buddhist woman.

Since its 2014 power grab, Thailand's military government has failed to make progress in peace talks with the shadowy insurgent network, whose members rarely claim their attacks.

Experts believe a rebel faction was behind an unprecedented string of bombings in resort towns outside the conflict zone last month.

But Thai authorities have avoided linking the August attacks - which hit the country's vital tourism sector - to the insurgency.


US Congress passes spending bill, avoiding shutdown

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎23 minutes agoGo to full article
WASHINGTON: The US Congress passed a spending bill late Wednesday (Sep 28) and staved off a government shutdown, after reaching agreement on funding for a tainted water crisis in Flint, Michigan that had bedeviled earlier proposals.

The fiscal year ends on Sep 30. Had Congress failed to pass a bill approving federal spending - or in this case, extending existing spending levels until Dec 9 - by midnight Friday, some government offices and operations could have been forced to close.

File photo of the top of the Flint Water Plant tower is seen in Flint, Michigan

"In addition to keeping the government open, this bill provides funding to train and equip our military, and improve care for our veterans. It also provides needed resources to fight the spread of the Zika virus in the United States and Puerto Rico," House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement.

"I thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for getting this responsible legislation done and urge the president to sign it into law."

The bill passed the Senate 72-26 and then the House 342-85.

It provides US$1.1 billion for efforts to fight the Zika virus, and US$500 million for disaster recovery in flood-hit Louisiana and other states.

Lawmakers had been split on how to fund the ongoing crisis in Flint, Michigan, where the drinking water is contaminated with lead.

Several Democrats voted against an earlier bill apparently because it provided money for Louisiana emergency flood relief without providing any infrastructure funding for Flint.

The impasse was broken after leaders from both parties agreed to provide funding for Flint in a separate water infrastructure bill, US media reported.

With Republicans in control of both the Senate and House of Representatives, a government shutdown could have dented the party's image just as Americans prepare to choose between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump in the November 8 presidential election.

The spending bill's passage allows lawmakers to return home to campaign in the final stretch before election day. Congress is not scheduled to return to Washington until the week after the election. 


33 missing after China landslides

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎29 minutes agoGo to full article
BEIJING: At least 33 people are missing a day after landslides swept through two east China villages, state media reported Thursday (Sep 29), as rescuers combed through rubble for survivors.

Heavy wind and rains brought by Typhoon Megi triggered the landslides around 5.30pm on Wednesday, which struck the villages of Sucun and Baofeng in eastern Zhejiang province, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

An aerial photo taken on September 29, 2016 shows landslide damage in the village of Sucun in(Photo:AFP)

Thirteen people had been rescued by early Thursday and 33 remain missing, it said.

Video footage on local media showed torrents of water and rock pouring down a mountain towards houses in the valley below while terrified onlookers scream.

Twenty houses were destroyed and 17 flooded by roughly 400,000 cubic metres of debris, Xinhua cited a county official saying.

The government has relocated almost 1,500 residents and dispatched 1,200 rescuers to the scene with pumps and excavators, but roaring floodwaters have hampered their efforts, it said, adding that smaller landslides are "likely" to be triggered.

"Our work now is to save people, survivors above all, and at the same time prevent further secondary disasters occurring," the Suichang County Armed Forces chief said on state broadcaster CCTV.

Heavy rains poured on rescue workers in Sucun village Thursday, a day after Megi made landfall with winds of around 120kmh. The typhoon has dumped more than 30 centimetres of precipitation in several areas and killed at least one person in Fujian, who died after a flash flood tore through his home, according to local media reports.

Images on the state broadcaster showed parked cars on the streets of the coastal city of Xiamen submerged up to their windshields in floodwater.

The typhoon had smashed into Taiwan earlier in the week, wreaking a trail of destruction and killing seven as it raked across the island.

It also caused an estimated Tw$1.31 billion (US$42 million) in agricultural damage and left more than four million households without power, with around 170,000 still without power as of Thursday.


England 'ultimate job' but Howe committed to Bournemouth

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎32 minutes agoGo to full article
LONDON: Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe is delighted to be in the mix for the "ultimate job" of managing England but remains committed to his Premier League club.

England caretaker manager Gareth Southgate, Steve Bruce, Alan Pardew and Howe have been linked to the role in the media after Sam Allardyce was sacked on Tuesday.

AFC Bournemouth v Everton - Premier League

Allardyce was deemed to have behaved "inappropriately" when seeking a lucrative sideline role while talking to undercover reporters, bringing a crushing end to his dream job after one match and 67 days in charge.

"I've said in many interviews that the England job is the ultimate job, but I've signed players here and pledged a future to them," Howe was quoted as saying by Sky Sports ahead of this weekend's clash with Watford at Vicarage Road.

"But, and this is all hypothetically speaking, I couldn't turn my back on this club and the loyalty shown to me. I have to show it in return.

"I'm absolutely committed here. I love the job and have a lot more work to do here first," the 38-year-old added.

In his second stint with the club, Howe has led Bournemouth from League Two to Premier League in six years and is determined to improve on last season's 16th place finish.

"It's very nice for them to say (that they think I'm the man) but it has no bearing on my thoughts. My aim is to lead this club forward in the Premier League and improve on last season - that's my only thought," he added.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O'Brien)


Peugeot targets 150,000 vehicle sales in Iran in second half

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎42 minutes agoGo to full article
PARIS: PSA Peugeot Citroen said it plans to sell more than 150,000 Peugeot vehicles in Iran in the second half of this year as the French carmaker seeks to reclaim the leading position it once enjoyed in the country.

Peugeot, the biggest-selling European automaker in pre-sanctions Iran, suspended sales in 2012 when an international boycott due to Iran's nuclear program was extended to cars. Most sanctions were lifted in January.

A logo of Peugeot car maker is seen at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris

The French carmaker's sales peaked at 458,000 vehicles before its withdrawal, nearly 30 percent of the Iranian market, but it now faces stiff competition from Chinese carmakers that have grabbed more business during the sanction years, as well as from western rivals such as Renault , who are also flocking back with newer models.

Iran's Minister for Industry Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh will visit PSA's Velizy research center near Paris on Thursday to discuss cooperation with the carmaker, CEO Carlos Tavares told reporters at the Paris autoshow.

"This is the kick-off for the implementation of the deals we have signed," said Tavares, who will travel to Iran next week. Tavares wants to sell 300,000 Peugeot vehicles in Iran in 2017.

The Paris-based carmaker in July struck a framework deal with Iranian counterpart SAIPA to invest 300 million euros (US$337 million) in the development and production of three Citroen models through a new joint venture.

The deal with SAIPA, Citroen's partner since 1966, follows a joint venture deal inked in June between stablemate Peugeot and state-owned Iran Khodro. PSA's smaller DS premium badge has also clinched a distribution agreement in the country.

(US$1 = 0.8913 euros)

(Reporting by Gilles Guillaume; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Alexander Smith)


Samsung to resume S Korea sales of new Note 7 phones

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎44 minutes agoGo to full article
SEOUL: Samsung said Thursday (Sep 29) it would resume sales of new Galaxy Note 7 smartphones in South Korea this week, hoping to turn the page on the troubled device after an ongoing global recall prompted by battery explosions.

The company on September 2 suspended sales of the oversized "phablet" and recalled 2.5 million units shipped worldwide after faulty batteries caused the phones to explode while charging.

The Note 7 was meant to underpin growth this year as Samsung struggles to boost sales(Photo:AFP)

With the recall underway in 10 nations where the device had been launched, 60 percent of users in Samsung's key market, the US, had swapped their handsets for replacements provided by the company, as of Tuesday.

Eighty percent of Note 7 customers are expected to complete the exchange this week in South Korea, where sales of new phones equipped with fault-free batteries will resume on Saturday, Samsung said in a statement.

The new Note 7 will gradually hit stores in other markets, including some European countries on October 28, the company said.

The unprecedented recall, the first involving Samsung's flagship smartphone, has dealt a blow to the reputation of the South Korean electronics giant -- also the world's largest smartphone maker.

With photos of charred phones flooding social media, Samsung is desperate to avoid a full-blown disaster that could cost billions and damage its image further.

But customers have reportedly complained that the replacement devices were overheating during calls and its batteries draining too quickly, a sign that the company's troubles are not over yet.

A Samsung spokeswoman acknowledged the concerns but said they only amounted to "a few individual cases".

"We would like to reassure everyone that new Note 7 phones are operating properly and pose no safety concerns," she said, adding the firm was working to address the complaints.

The Note 7 was meant to kick start growth this year as Samsung struggles to boost sales, squeezed by Apple in the high-end sector and Chinese rivals in the low-end market.

But the recall has piled more pressure on the company, sparking alarm among global air carriers and safety regulators, which banned the device on flights.

Samsung is also facing a class-action lawsuit in the US state of New Jersey over complaints that some of its washing machines had exploded in their owners' homes.

The company said Wednesday it was in discussions with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission to address the concerns of affected customers.


UBS CEO says clients remained risk averse in third-quarter

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎52 minutes agoGo to full article
ZURICH: UBS Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti said on Thursday political uncertainty and concerns over global growth meant clients remained cautious about the market in the third quarter.

"With respect to what we have experienced so far in the third quarter, normal seasonality, underlying macroeconomic uncertainty and heightened geopolitical tensions continue to contribute to client risk aversion and generally low transaction volumes," Ermotti said at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch conference in London.

The logo of Swiss bank UBS on a building in Zurich

"In some businesses and regions in which our IB (investment bank) operates, conditions have remained challenging through the third quarter," Ermotti added. UBS is the world's biggest wealth manager.

(Reporting by Joshua Franklin; Editing by Michael Shields)


Lingard targets improved consistency to keep United place

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
REUTERS: Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard has said he needs to show greater consistency to cement his place in manager Jose Mourinho's starting side this season.

Lingard enjoyed a strong start to the campaign, scoring a superb solo opener in United's win over league champions Leicester City in the Community Shield last month.

Manchester United Press Conference

After getting hauled off at halftime in United's Premier League defeat by Manchester City earlier this month, the 23-year-old produced an improved performance in their 4-1 victory against Leicester on Saturday.

"I think it's about finding the right consistency. That's been a downfall and this season my main focus is to stay in the team, find that consistency and help the team any way I can," Lingard told British media.

"To stay in the team and keep that consistency week in, week out is the main thing this season. We've got to take it game by game and hopefully I can do that."

United, who suffered a surprising 1-0 loss to Dutch side Feyenoord in their opening Europa League group game, take on Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk in the competition on Thursday.

(Reporting by Ian Rodricks in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien)


Ryder Cup: Tiger serves up the food

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
CHASKA, United States: Tiger Woods has endured two tough runner-up finishes in majors at Hazeltine, but he could be reduced even further, to sandwich delivery man, at the Ryder Cup here this week.

Woods, the 14-time major winner who is set to return next month after more than a year off due to a back injury, is serving as an assistant to US captain Davis Love at this week's 41st edition of the US-Europe team golf showdown.

Team USA vice-captain Tiger Woods(Photo:AFP)

"We're dividing responsibilities," Love said of himself and his assistants. "I'm in charge and I've given (the assistants) their charge. Tiger was giving me a hard time a couple weeks ago. He said, 'You're giving me way too much to do.'"

Former world number one Woods could find himself with some unusual duties given Love's desire to make sure his players have anything and everything they need to help them win.

"We're all having fun and just supporting the team," Love said. "If that means we run back and get a sweater, I'll go get a sweater.

"My son and I just delivered turkey sandwiches to the group ahead. I said, 'Very important here. If we don't get the turkey sandwiches to these guys, they're not going to be happy.' All six of us are doing whatever we can to help out."

Just the notion of having Woods, one of the greatest players ever at his peak, bringing him a sandwich was a wild notion for the newest major champion, US player Jimmy Walker, who won the PGA Championship in July.

"I hope guys are asking him to run and go get stuff for them, even if they don't want it. I think that's just great," Walker said.

Long-hitting teammate J.B. Holmes said he thought Woods was prepared to come through in whatever way needed.

"Well, he's a team player, and if that's what needed to be done at the time, I'm sure he'd make sure it gets done," Holmes said. "It's great to have him out here, with all the experience that he's had. An icon. It's amazing to have him in the team room. It's just the right atmosphere. It has been a lot of fun."

Woods birdied the last four holes but lost by one stroke at the 2002 PGA Championship at Hazeltine to unheralded compatriot Rich Beem.

Seven years later, the same event was back at Hazeltine and Woods was going for a wire-to-wire victory and a 15th major title. But for the first time as a 54-hole leader, Woods lost a major, shooting a 75 and falling by three shots to South Korean Yang Yong-Eun, the first Asian man to win a major crown.

This week, Woods strolled the 18th with Walker in a more casual manner.

"We've hung out, we talked walking up the 18th the other day," Walker said. "We just talked golf. He was into the equipment and what's going on and what I was hitting and the shots I was hitting. We were just golf nerds. We just kept talking about golf the whole time.

"I think he's enjoying it, I really do. He looks like he's having a great time. He has been having a great time at night. I think he's happy to be here and happy to be a part of it."

US teammate Matt Kuchar, the Rio Olympic bronze medalist, is happy to have Woods around as well.

"I've become good friends with Tiger, played a number of practice rounds and enjoyed the time where I get to pick his brain," Kuchar said. "I've tried to see what sort of help, advice, knowledge, he could pass on, and he's always been very helpful. Always been very giving. Here is a guy who is willing to help out if I have any sort of questions on anything."


Italy's Renzi says Britons cannot expect more rights than other non-EU citizens

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
LONDON: Britons cannot end up with more rights than citizens from other non-EU countries after Brexit and the issue of limiting freedom of movement with the bloc will not be discussed until formal talks are launched, Italy's prime minister said on Thursday.

Matteo Renzi, who is struggling to boost his popularity ahead of a December referendum on constitutional reform on which he has staked his career, also criticised former Prime Minister David Cameron for holding the vote to placate his party.

Italian Prime Minister Renzi speaks during a news conference at Palazzo Chigi in Rome

In a sign of Italy's increased importance following Britain's vote to leave the EU, Renzi held talks with Germany's Angela Merkel and France's Francois Hollande in Italy last month as the bloc tries to unite following the June 23 referendum.

Renzi said that he respected the decision by 52 percent of Britons to back Brexit but told the BBC that any deal could not give Britons a preferential status compared to those from other non-European Union nations.

"It will be impossible to give to British people more rights than the other people out of the EU," he said.

Although Britain has yet to formally set out its demands as part of any Brexit deal, many in government are hoping to limit freedom of movement, a key reason why millions of Britons backed Brexit in a bid to reduce immigration, whilst maintaining business access to the single market.

Asked about whether he was willing to be flexible, Renzi said the issue would be discussed once formal divorce talks begin.

"This debate will be a debate about the concept of rules in the EU but when the UK will decide to open article 50, we will discuss it," he said.

Britain is not expected to trigger Article 50, beginning a two-year period of official talks, until early next year.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)


Ryder Cup: Team USA out to stop European streak with 'best ever' team

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
CHASKA, United States: A revamped American squad that US captain Davis Love called the best ever assembled faces a Europe team that has dominated them for two decades when the 41st Ryder Cup opens Friday (Sep 30).

As players on both teams at Hazeltine mourn the death of legend Arnold Palmer, holders Europe seek an unprecedented fourth consecutive victory over their US hosts, who have dropped six of the past seven meetings and eight of the past 10.

Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson and vice-captain Tiger Woods(Photo:AFP)

"We are very determined to keep the Ryder Cup and keep this streak going," British Open champion Henrik Stenson said.

US Open champion Dustin Johnson, PGA Championship winner Jimmy Walker and five-time major winner Phil Mickelson, making his 11th Ryder Cup appearance to match Nick Faldo's record, lead an American squad hungry to reclaim the Cup.

"We're just tired of being told we haven't won in a while," said two-time major winner Jordan Spieth. "We want this one."

Swiping a page from Europe's playbook, the US team assembled a committee to manage details and focus upon Ryder Cup issues, ending last-minute hurried pairings that often failed for unanticipated problems.

"It's very much like the model that the Europeans have done with tremendous success in bringing out their best golf," said Mickelson. "When you get together as a team and work together, you can achieve much greater success than you ever can as an individual. It's exciting to be part of the groundwork and the foundation of the US side trying to do that now going forward."

Olympic champion Justin Rose, US PGA FedExCup playoff champion Rory McIlroy and Stenson spark Europe, but a changing of the guard has six Ryder Cup newcomers on the roster, including Masters champion Danny Willett, who has already had to apologize for insults to US fans by his brother Pete.

If enough US supporters were angered by the comments in an European online column, the Heckling at Hazeltine might join the Battle of Brookline, War at the Shore and Miracle at Medinah in Ryder Cup lore.

But that's not the spirit Palmer would want to see at an event where he will be honored after his death last Sunday at age 87 from heart problems.

"I hope he inspires this Ryder Cup to be all about good teamwork, fair play, good fun, camaraderie amongst both teams and all the fans -- because that's what Arnie stood for," Rose said. "He was such a gentleman and he would love to see it continued to be played in that way."

The Americans, who lead the overall rivalry 25-13 with two drawn, suffered the greatest last-day collapse in Ryder Cup history in 2012 with Love as captain, Europe winning eight singles matches and halving another for a 14 1/2-13 1/2 victory.

"Certainly Medinah was a hard loss for us," US veteran and Olympic bronze medalist Matt Kuchar said. "But when it comes down to it, we all still feel the pain and there's probably some left over.

"I know a lot of us, we've been on a lot of losing teams, but sure would be nice to feel the joy of winning one of these Cups. I think we're all hoping to taste that feeling this week."

Europe star Rose dismisses favored and unfancied tags in favor of preparation ahead of Friday's first tee shots.

"We've got players who can step up and deliver," Rose said. "To win this week, you're going to have to step up and deliver.

"I don't look at us as six players who have played the Ryder Cup and six rookies. I look at us as a 12-man team and it's just about going out and playing good golf. That's what's going to take care of business."

Each team will compete in four alternate shot foursomes matches on Friday and Saturday mornings and four four-ball matches in the afternoons, sitting out four players from each session. On Sunday, there will be 12 concluding singles matches.

Captains will each submit their lineups, allowing no chance to guarantee specific matchups. But some of the ones that could happen are quite interesting.

Two-time major champion Jordan Spieth, who collapsed on the back nine to squander the Sunday lead at the Masters, could meet Willett, the man upon whose shoulders he placed the green jacket at Augusta National in an uncomfortable ceremony.

Stenson, who won his first major this year at Royal Troon with a 72-hole major record 264, could be matched up against Mickelson, who battled him throughout the final round last July.

And in pairs, a likely combination that went 3-0 in 2014 at Gleneagles is Stenson and Rose, who staged an epic fight in Rio for the first Olympic title since 1904.  


60 more locations to get CCTVs to deter illegal parking: LTA

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
SINGAPORE: From Oct 6, closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras will gradually be deployed at 60 more locations to deter illegal parking, and improve traffic conditions and road safety, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Thursday (Sep 29).

This is in addition to some 70 locations islandwide that are already being monitored by CCTV cameras.

CCTV signage 3

By the end of 2017, CCTV will be used to enforce parking offences at a total of 130 locations islandwide, said LTA, noting that the cameras have proven effective in enforcing parking offences along roads where traffic was previously impeded by rampant illegal parking.

In a news release, LTA gave details of seven locations where CCTVs will be operational from Oct 6: 

1. Benoi Road (both directions, near Fairprice Hub);

2. Joo Koon Circle (Joo Koon MRT, near Fairprice Hub);

3. Lim Teck Kim Road (opposite Genting Centre);

4. Sengkang East Way (near Compass One) and Sengkang Square (near Kopitiam Square & Sengkang MRT/LRT);

5. Woodlands Avenue 3 (Marsiling MRT, both directions);

6. Woodlands Centre Road (before Woodlands Train Checkpoint); and

7. Yishun Central Service Road (both sides)

LTA noted that since it began implementing CCTVs in April 2014, the daily average number of summonses per location has declined by 90 per cent, from an initial 30 summonses per day to just three summonses per location in end-2015.

Traffic conditions have improved at many CCTV spots, including Collyer Quay, Jalan Pelepah, Selegie Road and Worcester Road, LTA said.

Collyer Quay before and after CCTVs

Traffic conditions at Collyer Quay (access road next to OUE Bayfront) before and after CCTV implementation (Photo: LTA)

Jalan Pelepah before and after CCTVs

Traffic conditions at Jalan Pelepah before and after CCTV implementation (Photo: LTA)

Selegie Road before and after CCTV

Traffic conditions at Selegie Road (near Parklane Shopping Mall) before and after CCTV implementation (Photo: LTA)

Worcester Road before and after CCTVs

Traffic conditions at Worcester Road (towards Owen Road) before and after CCTV implementation (Photo: LTA)

Bus commuters travelling on these routes have also benefited from the improved traffic conditions, it said.

CCTV monitoring zones can be identified by the lamp posts and sign posts within the zones, which are painted with a bright orange vertical strip.

CCTV signage 3

CCTV monitoring zone

(Photos: LTA)

"No waiting" signs are also installed at passenger pick-up points with CCTV cameras, such as those near Bishan and Clementi MRT stations, to remind motorists that they are not allowed to wait at these pick-up locations.


Willett sibling stirs ill-will ahead of Ryder Cup tee-off

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
CHASKA, United States: A controversial commentary insulting US Ryder Cup supporters written by the brother of Masters champion Danny Willett prompted an apology Wednesday (Sep 28) from the Englishman making his Europe team debut.

Pete Willett, writing for the website, described American fans as "those fat, stupid, greedy, classless bastards."

Danny Willett(Photo:Reuters)

Another section under the sub-heading "Bastards" alluded to "the type of golfer that's a vice-captain for Team USA."

Calling US supporters a "baying mob of imbeciles" and "a giggling group of reprobates," he added, "Team Europe needs to shut those groupies up.

"They need to silence the pudgy, basement-dwelling irritants, stuffed on cookie dough and pissy beer, pausing between mouthfuls of hotdog so they can scream 'Baba booey' until their jelly faces turn red.

"They need to stun the angry, unwashed, Make America Great Again swarm, desperately gripping their concealed-carry compensators and belting out a mini-erection inducing 'mashed potato,' hoping to impress their cousin.

"They need to smash the obnoxious dads, with their shiny teeth, Lego man hair, medicated ex-wives, and resentful children. Squeezed into their cargo shorts and boating shoes, they'll bellow 'get in the hole' whilst high-fiving all the other members of the Dentists' Big Game Hunt Society."

After the venom flowed, it was Willett the major winner who was hailed last April at Augusta National, becoming his brother's peacekeeper.

"I would just like to apologize obviously to everyone involved for what has been said. It's obviously not the thoughts of myself and of the team," Willett said. "I spoke to (Pete) on the phone after I was made aware of what was said. And I said to Pete that I was obviously disappointed in what was said and written about the American fans that obviously took me under their wing fantastically back in April."

Willett met with US captain Davis Love after his practice round to apologize.

"Me and Davis had a chat for a few minutes about it all and he took it very well." Danny Willett said. "I think he's drawn a line under it obviously for himself and for the team. So hopefully everyone else can do the same and we can get on and have a great tournament."

It will be the reactions of US spectators, beer and hot dog fueling optional, in their actions toward Willett and his teammates that determine the fallout from the mess.

"Everyone that plays in this team plays in America most weeks," Willett said. "It was tough then to kind of get your head around everything. You wanted to get off the golf course and hopefully get it sorted, draw a line under it and get back to what we're doing."

US captain Davis Love said he "ignored the noise" by not reading the story.

"If I read it, I'm just going to get mad," Love said. "So I just try to ignore it."

He noted US crowds have been loud already, saying, "It's four holes into a practice round and they are cheering and screaming. Just wait till Friday when it's for real."

Europe captain Darren Clarke called Pete Willett's comments "bitterly disappointing."

"It is not what Danny thinks. It is not what I think. It is not what Team Europe stands for," Clarke said. "The article was beyond our control."

Spectators that Clarke has praised for days could turn 18 holes into a nightmare gauntlet for Europe.

"That's not the way that we view things," Clarke said. "The fans could not have been nicer and better to us this week, and hopefully that continues."

Gamesmanship and other issues arose as well Wednesday, with Love and Clarke having settled some. Pin placements are done by the PGA of America.

"We were going to get out of the business of the home team setting the pins and the other team not knowing," Love said. "It has been a more fair way to handle it."

As for mental moves between match rivals, Love said, "Letting a guy putt out a couple times, things like that, that's part of match play and a lot of it's done with a wink and a jab. We play golf together all the time. We're friends and we compete against each other.

"It will be hard-fought but fairly fought."


Senior German lawmaker says no more aid for ailing banks

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
BERLIN: Germany will not grant any more state aid for ailing banks, a senior lawmaker in Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc said on Thursday, a day after the government denied it was working on a rescue plan for Deutsche Bank, its biggest lender.

Deutsche is disputing a fine of up to US$14 billion from the U.S. Department of Justice. Concern about the bank's financial health sent its shares to a record low on Tuesday.

A Deutsche Bank logo adorns a wall at the company's headquarters in Frankfurt

Referring to the state rescue of banks on the brink of collapse after the 2008 global financial crisis, Hans Michelbach, a financial expert in Bavaria's Christian Social Union (CSU), told Deutschlandfunk radio: "I cannot imagine that the state will repeat something like that."

The German finance ministry on Wednesday brushed off a report that a rescue plan was being prepared in case Deutsche was unable to raise capital to pay legal bills.

Michelbach, and head of the conservatives in the parliamentary financial committee, also reiterated his criticism of the European Central Bank's low interest rates policy and bond buying program after ECB President Mario Draghi came to Berlin to address a group of lawmakers.

Draghi meets Merkel later on Thursday.

"The policy has failed," Michelbach said, noting that Draghi had given no signal when and how the low interest rate policy would come to an end. He said cheap money was stopping countries from implementing reforms.

"We want, quite clearly, to end the low interest rate phase," he said.

(Writing by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Louise Ireland)


Palmer memorial announced as Ryder Cuppers mourn his passing

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
CHASKA, United States: Details of Arnold Palmer's public memorial service next week were unveiled Wednesday as grieving golfers at the Ryder Cup continued to share stories and sadness with one another.

The iconic figure died of heart issues last Sunday at age 87 and will have a public ceremony Tuesday (Oct 4) in his hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

Golf great Arnold Palmer(Photo:AFP)

"A Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Arnold Palmer" will be staged at 11 a.m. (1500 GMT) at the Saint Vincent College Basilica. Seating will be limited with indoor overflow seating locations on campus with feeds of the ceremony, to be shown live on the Golf Channel, a network Palmer co-founded to boost the sport's profile.

Palmer's family asked that in lieu of sending flowers, people should visit the website to share stories about Palmer.

Sharing stories has been a way for golfers at the Ryder Cup, many of whom were inspired by Palmer personally, to cope with the sorrow felt at his passing.

"We all talked about it when we got here," US player Brandt Snedeker said. "Arnie is the Godfather of modern golf. He was the guy, the flagbearer of what we know as the PGA Tour and sports in general.

"The game of golf is grieving. We as fans are grieving. We as people that knew him well are grieving. And we grieve together and honor him and show how much he was appreciated."

While a legion of fans known as "Arnie's Army" mourn the Palmer they knew from a distance for his attacking golf style and kindly manner as both pitchman and personality, the Ryder Cup stars knew him intimately as an elder statesman, legend and role model as a player and a man.

"The passing of Arnold is a hole in the game that is not going to be replaced," US five-time major winner Phil Mickelson said. "He brought the game to this level, to this prominence. He brought people to television and drew people in with his charisma.

"He was just really something special. When we walked away from Arnold Palmer, he left us feeling good about ourselves."

A moment of silence will be staged at Thursday's opening ceremony, where a video presentation will be shown. Players are expected to wear some sort of tribute to Palmer, a six-time Ryder Cup winner as a player whose 22 match victories remains the US record.

"Being able to play the Ryder Cup this week, it means a lot to the US team," said Mickelson. "It brings an emotional element and appreciation for what he has done."

It's not just the Americans. Europe star Justin Rose, who won Olympic gold last month in Rio, said he hopes the event will hold dear to Palmer's values this week.

"He's certainly a universal figure," Rose said. "I hope he inspires this Ryder Cup to be all about good teamwork, fair play, good fun, good camaraderie amongst both teams, amongst all the fans because that's what Arnie stood for."

Matt Kuchar, third in Rio, said players still are trying to sort their feelings.

"Everybody is moved, touched. It's really a sad day," Kuchar said. "I think we're all trying to figure out how to best honor Arnie and his legacy."

Snedeker already does.

"There's a reason I sign my autograph the way I do, why I take my hat off when I go into a clubhouse, a reason I try to write thank you notes -- it's because Arnie does it. He taught me it's how you're supposed to act," said Snedeker.

"He will never be forgotten. He will never be lost. He is a part of us in every way, shape and form."


US drugmaker AbbVie opens S$400m manufacturing facility in Tuas

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
SINGAPORE: US pharmaceutical company AbbVie on Thursday (Sep 29) opened a new S$400 million manufacturing facility in Tuas Biomedical Park, its first manufacturing plant in Asia.

The Chicago-based firm is expected to hire more than 250 employees for the 120,000-sqm plant, which comprises AbbVie's small molecule active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) facility and a biologics manufacturing facility. 

AbbVie Singapore

The company chose to set up a base in Singapore because of its "robust infrastructure" and "highly educated and skilled workforce", as well as its supportive environment for manufacturing, said AbbVie site director Marc O'Donoghue.

"Our presence in Singapore established AbbVie's footprint in Asia and provides geographic balance in AbbVie's manufacturing network to ensure continuity of supply," he added.

AbbVie opening

The API facility has begun operations, while the biologics facility is expected to be fully operational by 2018. 

Speaking at the launch, Trade and Industry Minister (Industry) S Iswaran reiterated the importance of the healthcare industry as a growth sector for Singapore.

"To support the continued growth of our biopharmaceutical manufacturing sector, the Government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy. It focuses on catalysing innovation in manufacturing technologies, developing infrastructural solutions, and building a strong talent pool," he said. 


Thousands of Indonesian workers protest against tax amnesty

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
JAKARTA: Thousands of Indonesian union workers marched to the heart of Jakarta on Thursday (Sep 29) to protest against a government tax amnesty scheme, which is meant to plug a large budget deficit but which they say unfairly pardons wealthy tax dodgers.

The amnesty programme, under which Indonesians are encouraged to repatriate previously undeclared overseas assets to avoid increasing penalties, was launched in July and is a top priority for President Joko Widodo.

An officer assists a tax amnesty participant at a help desk inside the country's tax headquart

Almost US$200 billion (153.65 billion pounds) of assets have been declared so far under the programme, which is also meant to broaden Indonesia's tax base, according to finance ministry data.

However, a rising number of blue-collar workers, who make up the bulk of Indonesia's workforce, consider it unconstitutional because they say it forgives the past crimes of rich taxpayers.

Some of Indonesia's wealthiest individuals, including tycoon-politician Aburizal Bakrie, Lippo Group chief executive James Riady, and Hutomo Mandala Putra - a son of the late authoritarian president Suharto - are among more than 100,000 who have signed up.

"We workers have diligently paid our taxes but these rich people and big corporations are being pardoned after not paying their taxes," Said Iqbal, president of the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Union, told reporters before a peaceful march to the presidential palace.

"These funds coming in could be from trafficking, drugs or corruption, and will all become legalised when declared through the tax amnesty," he added.

Iqbal said there could be further protests, including work stoppages, if the government continued with the amnesty.

His union, along with three other groups, have filed legal action against the amnesty law in Indonesia's Constitutional Court. That has created some uncertainty over its future, with a court ruling not expected for weeks.

Government officials have vigorously defended the programme.

"We want people to understand that the tax amnesty is for Indonesia, to build Indonesia," Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati told reporters on Thursday.

"We will make efforts to ensure people that putting their money in Indonesia is a good and rational option."

The government is banking on the amnesty to bring in 165 trillion rupiah (US$12.6 billion) in 2016 to help keep the budget deficit from breaching a legal limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product.

Friday marks the end of the amnesty's first phase, during which the lowest penalties for registering previously unreported assets applied. The penalty rates will rise after September under the programme, which lasts until March 2017.


Novo Nordisk to ax 1,000 jobs in cost-cutting drive

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
COPENHAGEN: The world's largest insulin maker, Novo Nordisk, is cutting 1,000 jobs as a part of a plan to reduce costs as it faces a challenging environment in 2017, especially in the large U.S. market, the company said on Thursday.

The Danish company, which has a global workforce of 42,300, said about 500 of the lay-offs would be in Denmark. The headcount reduction and associated costs would not change the financial outlook for 2016, it said.

Employees stand in the insulin production plant of Danish multinational pharmaceutical company Novo

"We have concluded that it is needed in order for us to have a sustainable balance between income and costs," Chief Executive Lars Rebien Sorensen said in a statement.

Novo gets about half its revenue from the United States where there are some 30 million diabetics but prices have been squeezed by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) who administer drug benefits for employers and health plans.

At its half-year results in August Novo cut its full-year profit forecast, primarily due to the challenging U.S. market, knocking 8 percent of its Copenhagen-listed shares on the day.

Novo said the job cuts would affect research and development (R&D) units and headquarter staff functions, as well as positions in the global commercial organization.

"That they cut hard in R&D poses a risk in the long term, as in whether they can keep momentum going. They are messing with their life-blood which means that there isn't much fat left to cut off," Alm. Brand analyst Michael Friis Jorgensen said.

Jorgensen said he estimated the cuts would save Novo about 700 million to 1 billion crowns (US$105-150 million), equivalent to 2-3 percent of next year's earnings before interest and tax.

The job reductions come at a time of significant change at Novo, which announced four weeks ago that long-serving CEO Sorensen would step down in January. He will be succeeded by Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen, who is now executive vice president and head of corporate development.

(US$1 = 6.6417 Danish crowns)

(Additional reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard; editing by Ben Hirschler and David Clarke)


Ryder Cup: Team Europe comes first for Olympic champion Rose

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
CHASKA, United States: Justin Rose will draw inspiration from his late father Ken's memory as well as his Rio Olympic gold medal when the Ryder Cup tees off Friday (Sep 30) at Hazeltine.

The 36-year-old Englishman has been a stalwart for Europe against the Americans in the biennial team golf showdown, going 9-3 with 2 halved over three starts.

Justin Rose of Europe(Photo:AFP)

Rose was looking out over the layout and pondering a photograph of his father from 2002, one showing Ken Rose on the back nine at Hazeltine less than a month before he died of cancer at age 57.

"I was out on the golf course and I gazed off into the distance," Rose said. "There are some nice open views on this golf course, but with some wooded trees. And I definitely have a memory."

The photo was given to Rose's mom by a family friend.

"It's a picture of my dad under some of those trees on the back nine and it has a title -- 'Happy Days,' Obviously that was a fond memory and something that actually hit me," Rose said.

"There's definitely inspiration I can draw from that. I do think about my dad a lot, especially when it comes to moments like this, because these are moments he would have loved to have been a part of. It's a nice source of energy for me this week."

There are plenty for Rose to pull from, like his 2013 US Open victory, looking up to the sky on the last green at Merion in a gesture to his dad, or his triumph at Rio, where he outdueled Swede Henrik Stenson -- his teammate this week -- for gold as golf returned to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.

While Rose has pulled it out at times, the gold medal is absent this week, along with other trappings of individual success by British Open champion Stenson, Masters winner Danny Willett of England and Northern Ireland star Rory McIlroy.

"It's not something that I'm touting around, not at all," Rose said. "Danny doesn't have the green jacket in the team room, Rory doesn't have the FedExCup in the team room. I think this is about The Ryder Cup and that little gold trophy, and that's enough for us all this week.

"It's nice to have belief in your teammates that they can stand up to pressure and they can deliver on the big stage and I think that's what the gold medal and the green jacket and the FedExCup and Henrik's Claret Jug, that's what they represent.

"We're guys that can play the best golf when it counts, but we are after that little gold trophy. We are not after anything else this week. We are not about any of the other victories that the team had enjoyed all year long."

Europe unites seeking an unprecedented fourth win in a row over the Americans, what would be a seventh in eight tries and ninth in 11 outings.

In Europe's 2014 romp at Gleneagles, Rose partnered with Stenson for two four-ball wins and an alternate-shot foursomes victory, then halved alongside Martin Kaymer in foursomes and against Hunter Mahan in singles.

"A successful Ryder Cup campaign doesn't always have to be about how many points you put on the board," Rose said.

"That's the team mentality. You need to do whatever is right for the team on the week. But from my own personal performance at Gleneagles, it was more about making putts that was my overriding memory."

Rose said there is some carryover from the British Olympic team feeling to the Ryder Cup team atmosphere.

"When I got to Rio, it really hit me that I was part of something bigger than my individual sport," Rose said. "The wider goal of the team and the medal tally very inspiring. It made you want to bring your best. From that point of view, it's very similar to this week. You really want to give 100 percent." 


Olympics: Tokyo eyeing drastic overhaul as costs surge

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
Tokyo - Tokyo could be forced to downsize or relocate three venues for the 2020 Olympic Games in drastic cost-slashing measures, the city's new governor said Thursday.

A group of academics and business leaders submitted a proposal to governor Yuriko Koike which included plans to overhaul the swimming, volleyball and kayak facilities, currently estimated at some $1.5 billion.

Japanese medallists of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games attend a flag-raising ceremony at the Tokyo(Photo:AFP)

It comes after a series of embarrassing problems for Tokyo organisers, including the scrapping of plans for the Olympic stadium and a French probe into alleged corruption.

Koike swept into office in July, immediately ordering officials to rein in ballooning Olympics costs, which one expert predicted could surpass 3 trillion yen ($29.5 billion).

"I take this report seriously," Koike told reporters.

"After discussing it with the people in charge (of the Games), I will make a decision as soon as possible.

"We can't pass this burden on to Tokyoites."

Professor Shinichi Ueyama of Keio University, who was on the panel, warned the initial Games cost of 734 billion yen would skyrocket past 3 trillion yen.

"Surprisingly there is no chief executive, and no chief financial officer" to control the budget, he said.

The 97-page report noted that the 49 billion yen Sea Forest Waterway rowing and kayaking venue was opposed by some athletes over access and wind concerns, and that there was "no concrete financial plan for its use after the Olympics".

An existing venue in Miyagi prefecture, some 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of Tokyo, could be used as a potential alternative location, it said.

Experts also proposed using an existing swimming pool in Tokyo rather than build a new Olympic aquatics centre at an estimated cost of 68.3 billion yen.

"In theory there must be a number of alternative venues other than a (new) aquatics centre. It is a big problem that no consideration about such alternatives has taken place."

The group also questioned whether it was necessary to spend a further 40 billion yen on a new volleyball venue.

It called plans for using Olympic venues beyond 2020 "without focus and very abstract".

The report comes after Rome mayor Virginia Raggi slammed her city's bid to host the 2024 Games as "irresponsible" and refused to give it her support.

Tokyo's preparations for the 2020 Games have been plagued by controversy since beating out Madrid and Istanbul in the bidding race three years ago.

Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe tore up initial plans for the Olympic stadium amid public anger over its $2 billion price tag.

Tokyo organisers then had to scrap the original Games logo after accusations of plagiarism.

Most worryingly, French prosecutors launched an investigation into $2 million in payments they suspect were made to help Tokyo secure the Olympics.

Japanese Olympic officials have strenuously denied any wrongdoing.


Japan's new passenger plane completes US flight

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
TOKYO: Japan's problem-plagued new passenger jet on Thursday (Sep 29) completed a flight to the United States for testing, its maker said, after aborting two earlier attempts.

The Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) touched down at Grant County international airport in Washington state after flying from Anchorage.

The Mitsubishi Regional Jet passes over Moses Lake on September 28, 2016 in the US state of(Photo:AFP)

The first domestically made passenger jet, which left Nagoya airport on Monday, also stopped in Japan's northernmost Hokkaido, Russia and Alaska for fueling.

The plane's maker Mitsubishi Heavy said it will carry out multiple flight tests in the US to get a certificate necessary for starting commercial flights in 2018.

Mitsubishi added that about 2,500 flying hours would be needed to land the registration. It is planning three more "ferry" flights to the US, where it said it can accelerate its testing schedule.

Last month, the jet turned back twice due to air conditioning problems detected after take off.

The development of the MRJ, Japan's first domestically produced passenger jet for over half a century, has suffered a series of delays.

In December Mitsubishi Heavy said it was postponing delivery of the planes by one year to the second quarter of 2018 for system software upgrades and other design changes.

The twin-engine MRJ marks a new chapter in the country's aviation sector, which last built a commercial airliner in 1962 - the YS-11 turboprop that was discontinued about a decade later.

After being barred from developing aircraft following World War II, Japan - and its MRJ jet - is competing with other regional passenger jet manufacturers such as Brazil's Embraer and Canada's Bombardier.

Mitsubishi Heavy unveiled the jet - which is about 35 metres (115-feet) long and seats about 80 passengers - in October last year and has received more than 400 orders.


Kurdish militants kill three Turkish militia members - sources

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
DIYARBAKIR, Turkey: Kurdish militants killed three members of a state-backed militia in a firefight in southeastern Turkey on Thursday, security sources said.

Members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fired on a "village guard" unit patrolling a rural area of Hakkari province, which borders Iraq and Iran, the sources said.

Village guards are local residents who are armed and funded by the state and sometimes fight alongside security forces in their battle against the autonomy-seeking PKK, which took up arms in 1984.

A ceasefire in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast collapsed last year, and thousand of rebels, soldiers and police and civilians have died in the ensuing violence.

(Writing by Ayla Jean Yackley)


Mundine backs anthem boycott at Australian finals

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
SYDNEY: Former rugby league player Anthony Mundine has urged Australians to follow the lead set by NFL players in the United States and boycott the national anthem in the grand finals of two local competitions at the weekend.

The AFL's Australian Rules grand final is due to be held in Melbourne on Saturday before the National Rugby League (NRL) grand final is held in Sydney on Sunday. Both are considered marquee sporting events in Australia.

A campaign to boycott the anthems at both matches has been launched by Australian pop culture website Junkee and Mundine used social media on Thursday to promote the campaign and raise awareness of the treatment of indigenous Australians.

"Been saying this for years!," Mundine wrote on his Facebook page. "All players aboriginal & non aboriginal should boycott the anthem & start changing Australia's ignorant mentality.

"Lets move forward together yo."

The protest follows the movement sparked by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began kneeling during the anthem ahead of games in protest against the treatment of African Americans.

His protest has spread to other players and sports in North America.

Former rugby league players, Larry Corowa and Joe Williams last week also urged indigenous players in the NRL final to not stand for the anthem.

"Imagine if a couple of guys did it on grand final day - what a powerful message it would send to white Australia," Williams told Rugby League Week.

"It would bring all the racism that's in the closet to the surface - the racism we have to put up with every day. The way we are treated in shops, the way people look at us on the street and the way the government treats us.

"It's time it stopped. And our footballers are role models and the ideal ones to bring about change."

Australian Rules has battled the booing and racist abuse of indigenous players, with the now retired Sydney Swans utility Adam Goodes at the forefront of the recent stand against the behaviour.

He once had a 13-year-old girl ejected from the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground during a match in 2013 after she called him an "ape".

Goodes upset conservatives with his vocal campaigning for indigenous Australians, who lag the mainstream in basic human indicators, and was constantly booed during his last season in 2015, though fellow players, clubs and the AFL publicly supported his stance.

(Editing by John O'Brien)


VW brand CEO expects 2016 auto sales to grow year-over-year

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
PARIS: Volkswagen expects sales of its VW-branded cars to rise this year, brand chief Herbert Diess said on Thursday at the Paris car show.

"‎VW is getting back on track. We are dealing with the current challenges," Diess said at a press conference.

A Volkswagen logo is pictured at Volkswagen's headquarters in Wolfsburg

(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Writing by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Christoph Steitz)


Southgate undaunted by step up to senior England role

‎Today, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
REUTERS: England caretaker manager Gareth Southgate is confident his familiarity with the players will help him adapt quickly to a role he landed at short notice following Sam Allardyce's sacking on Tuesday.

Southgate, coach of the under-21 side, will take charge of the senior team for the next four matches, including 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Malta on Oct. 8 and in Slovenia three days later, and is due to name his first squad this weekend.

England v Norway - UEFA European Under 21 Championship Qualifying Group Nine

Allardyce was sacked by the Football Association (FA) after just one game in charge for behaving "inappropriately" as he sought a lucrative sideline role in an undercover sting set up by the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"It's obviously been a difficult situation for the FA but it was important that there was some stability and continuity for everybody," Southgate told the FA's website (

"So, from my point of view, it was important to step forward and give us the best possible chance to win these games.

"With my experience with the under-21s in international football, and having worked with so many of the players who have moved up to the seniors as well, I think we are in a good position to prepare for these games."

The former England centre-half ruled himself out of the running to take charge of the senior side in July when Roy Hodgson resigned following England's dismal Euro 2016 campaign but Southgate is looking forward to the challenge ahead.

"I was very proud to have played more than 50 times for my country and to have worn the armband, so to manage England will be a huge responsibility and a huge honour for me," the 46-year-old added.

"It's a difficult circumstance for me, because we've lost two senior coaches in the last few months who have both been very good to me, so that complicates my feelings. I certainly wish them both all the best for the future."

Southgate will also lead England against Scotland in a third World Cup qualifier in November and in an international friendly against Spain.

(Reporting by Ian Rodricks in Bengaluru)


Singapore film selected for 2016 Golden Horse Film Project Promotion

‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎8:53:35 AMGo to full article
SINGAPORE: Flying the Singapore flag at this year’s Golden Horse Film Project Promotion (FPP) will be filmmaker Yong Mun Chee, whose project Badass has been selected out of 141 submissions worldwide. The FPP which will be held in Taipei from Nov 22 to 24 is one of the major highlights of the prestigious Golden Horse Awards, which is often dubbed as the Oscars of Chinese-language cinema. 

Set up in 2006 as a Chinese-language films-matching platform to promote collaboration between filmmakers, investors and distributors, as well as to link regional industry professionals to the international film community, this 10th anniversary edition of FPP saw international submissions from Taiwan, China and Japan to France, United States, Canada, and United Kingdom.

Yong Mun Chee Golden Horse

Yong’s Badass is the only Singaporean project out of the 29 chosen for the 2016 FPP, which sees first time appearances from Vietnam, Poland, and Serbia. 

All 29 selected projects were picked based on quality, creativity and market viability and the respective filmmakers are then invited to a closed three-day conference for a chance to meet with potential co-production partners and sales agents in one-on-one pitching sessions.

Yong’s story about a young thug's conviction to follow in his hero's footsteps being put to test will be up for the FPP grand prize of US$30,000, awarded by a jury who will be evaluating all entries based on the written and audio-visual materials provided, as well as on the progress of the pitching sessions during the event.

Yong told Channel NewsAsia that Badass - which dramatizes the legendary gangs of the Andaman Sea - was completely inspired by the location.

“When I first saw it, I knew immediately I wanted to tell a story there” she said. “I’m very happy that our project is selected,” she continued. “It's my first Chinese-language film, and I'm working hard developing it. Getting selected by Golden Horse FPP is a very good start!”

Yong also revealed that acclaimed producer Terence Chang - best known for working with director John Woo on classics such as the Killer, Face/Off and Red Cliff - will be executive producing Badass.

The Chinese language crime-drama-action set in the Andaman Sea will be Yong’s first movie-making effort in Asia. Her previous work includes co-creating Extraordinary People which won an Asian Television Award for Best Documentary Series, becoming the first Singaporean to win a Directors Guild of America Student Film Award for her thesis short film, 9:30 and making her directorial feature debut with Where The Road Meets the Sun based in Los Angeles.

Many past participants of the FPP have exhibited a strong track record on the international festival circuit.  Ilo Ilo by Singapore’s own critically lauded Anthony Chen was a past FFP project. It went on to make history by scoring over 40 awards internationally, including the coveted Cannes Film Festival Camera d’Or and four Golden Horse Awards.


South Korea to widen Takata air bag recall by 110,000 vehicles

‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎8:50:12 AMGo to full article
SEOUL: South Korea said on Wednesday that 13 automakers will recall some 110,000 vehicles equipped with Takata Corp's defective air bags, the latest development in a long-running safety crisis involving the Japanese company.

The United States in May announced a new round of recall of Takata's air bag inflators which have been linked to at least 14 deaths and more than 100 injuries and triggered the largest-ever auto recall. Since then, other countries have been announcing their own national recalls.

A sign with the TAKATA logo is seen outside the Takata Corporation building in Auburn Hills, Michig

South Korea's transport ministry said a total of 221,870 vehicles made by 17 automakers have faulty Takata air bags. While 13 companies including Honda Motor , Toyota Motor , BMW and Audi plan to recall some 110,000 of them, four others including General Motors and Mercedes-Benz have not decided on their global recall plans.

The ministry said those companies could face a fine or a 10-year prison sentence should they delay recalls.

In 2013, South Korea started recalls of some 50,000 vehicles with defective Takata airbags, with nearly 45 percent of the models having replacement airbags by June this year.

A number of global automakers are working to replace as many as 100 million defective air bag inflators worldwide. Takata airbag inflators can explode with too much force and spray metal shrapnel into vehicle passenger compartments.

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Additional reporting by Naomi Tajitsu in TOKYO; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)


Thailand rules out Zika link in 2 microcephaly cases; investigating 2 others

‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎8:45:37 AMGo to full article
BANGKOK: Thailand ruled out on Wednesday Zika as the cause of two cases of microcephaly but is investigating two other cases that could be the first linked to Zika in Southeast Asia of the condition that results in babies being born with small heads.

Microcephaly is a rare birth defect that has been linked, in Brazil in particular, to the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which is spreading in Southeast Asia.

Microcephaly is a rare neurological disorder that causes a baby's head to be smaller than(Photo:AFP)

Thai health authorities said on Tuesday they were investigating four suspected cases of Zika-related microcephaly in three babies and a 36-week old unborn baby.

But on Wednesday, Apichai Mongkol, director-general of the ministry's Department of Medical Sciences, said Zika had been ruled out as the cause in two of the cases.

"The test results showed that two did not have the Zika virus but it is still unclear with the other two because we found three flavivirus which means it could be dengue, Zika or meningitis," Apichai told Reuters.

"To be sure which of the three they contracted we need to investigate further."

There are no specific tests to determine if a baby will be born with microcephaly but ultrasound scans in the third trimester of pregnancy can identify the problem, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

It was not clear which of the four cases had been ruled out as having a link to Zika.

Zika has been linked to more than 1,800 confirmed cases of microcephaly in Brazil but there have been no confirmed cases of Zika causing the condition in Southeast Asia, according to the WHO.

Microcephaly has several potential causes including various infections, exposure to toxins and malnutrition, the WHO says.

Health authorities in Southeast Asia have reported a rising number of Zika cases with Thailand confirming 349 since January, including 33 pregnant women. Singapore has recorded 393, including 16 pregnant women.

The Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam have also reported Zika cases.

Thailand's public health ministry said earlier the four suspected microcephaly cases were not in Bangkok but it declined to say where they were found.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Authority said on Wednesday officials had confirmed 26 Zika cases in the city this month.

The director-general of the Disease Control Department, Amnuay Gajeena, said out of 33 cases of pregnant women with Zika, eight had given birth without complications.

There is no vaccine or treatment for Zika. An estimated 80 percent of people infected have no symptoms, making it difficult for pregnant women to know whether they have been infected.

Zika was first identified in Uganda in 1947 and was first isolated in Asia in the 1960s. It was unknown in the Americas until 2014.


Pochettino hails prodigious Son after winning strike

‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎8:45:15 AMGo to full article
REUTERS: Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has praised Son Heung-min for stepping up in Harry Kane's absence, adding that the forward "is on fire" after scoring the winner in Tuesday's 1-0 Champions League victory at CSKA Moscow.

Kane was the club's top scorer in the last two seasons and has netted twice in five league appearances this campaign but the England striker sustained an ankle injury earlier this month.

CSKA Moscow v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Champions League Group Stage - Group E

Meanwhile, South Korea international Son has scored five goals in all competitions for Spurs this season, including a brace in Saturday's 2-1 Premier League win at Middlesbrough.

"I think it is key. It is very important that not only Harry, who was good before his injury and scored, that now another player has scored and that is very important for the team," Pochettino told reporters.

"I feel very pleased for Sonny. He is on fire and to keep this form is very important for us."

Pochettino also explained the reasoning behind his decision to replace striker Vincent Janssen, top scorer in the Dutch league last season, with winger Georges-Kevin N'Koudou a few minutes before Son scored the winning goal in Moscow.

"We tried to find more mobility in our offensive position. It is for that reason we changed Vincent for N'Koudou, to have more pace down the sides," he added.

"First touch we find the link and it was fantastic the goal. Sometimes when you change, it goes well and sometimes no."

(Reporting by Ian Rodricks in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien)


PM Lee 'saddened' by passing of former Israeli President Shimon Peres

‎Yesterday, ‎September ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎8:26:11 AMGo to full article
SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he was "saddened" by the passing of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, in a Facebook post on Wednesday (Sep 28).

PM Lee paid tribute to the former Israeli President, calling him a "visionary who served his country tirelessly all his life".

Lee Hsien Loong and Shimon Peres

They last met in April at the Peres Centre of Peace in Tel Aviv, PM Lee said.

"He received me graciously. Then 92, he was focussed on the young and the future. He told me why he was convinced that science and education were the way to foster greater understanding between peoples."

Mr Lee added that Mr Peres was "the last of the founding generation of Israeli leaders. As defence minister in 1976, he advocated the brilliant Entebbe hostage rescue operation. He was the only Israeli statesman to have served both as President and Prime Minister.

"Mr Peres passionately believed in peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 for his efforts to promote peace in the Middle East," Mr Lee said in the post.



Mr Peres died early on Wednesday some two weeks after suffering a major stroke.




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