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VS gets closer to Chinese women

 
‎Yesterday, ‎March ‎28, ‎2017, ‏‎6:01:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - Iconic pink glass faandccedil;ade. Dimly-lit den of mirrors and marble. A crystal-encrusted staircase. Enough to attract hordes of fashion-conscious, modern-minded women consumers into shopping for intimate bralettes.
 

French company to help manufacturing

 
‎Yesterday, ‎March ‎28, ‎2017, ‏‎6:01:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - French electric equipment and automation company Schneider Electric SA has committed to stepping up efforts to boost the digital and intelligent transformation of China's manufacturing industry.
 

Jilin group sets goal of putting 60 satellites in orbit by 2020

 
‎Yesterday, ‎March ‎28, ‎2017, ‏‎6:01:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - A private company in Jilin province-Chang Guang Satellite Technology Co-aims to launch 60 satellites into orbit by 2020. This is part of the province's push to renovate its manufacturing industry and transform itself into an aerospace technology hub.
 

Local lingerie brands seek to fill gaps in market, meet needs

 
‎Yesterday, ‎March ‎28, ‎2017, ‏‎6:01:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - When Victoria's Secret opened its Shanghai store recently, its model, Xi Mengyao, 28, a local, said she didn't really know where to buy inner wear until the famous US lingerie brand set up shop in her hometown. Her peers took Xi's confession with a pinch of salt though.
 

American Airlines buys stake in China Southern Airlines

 
‎Yesterday, ‎March ‎28, ‎2017, ‏‎6:53:00 AMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - American Airlines has agreed to pay $200 million for a stake in China Southern Airlines, one of China's three major state-owned carriers, in a bid for a bigger share of the country's growing travel market.
 

Young investors take a shine to online products

 
‎Monday, ‎March ‎27, ‎2017, ‏‎6:01:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - The online wealth management products are growing in appeal for younger retail investors, filling a gap in financial services created by the inadequacy of traditional banks and stock markets in certain respects, experts said.
 

Bike plants ride sharing boom well

 
‎Monday, ‎March ‎27, ‎2017, ‏‎6:01:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - In 1999, when he was still 18, Ruan Hongming found employment in a bike factory in Shenzhen. But the worker from Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region left the job in 2002 as he didn't forsee bright prospects for the industry. Fifteen years on, he has rejoined the business.
 

Road is turning bumpy

 
‎Monday, ‎March ‎27, ‎2017, ‏‎6:01:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - The battle of colorful bicycles in China's bike-sharing market has turned fiercer.
 

Mobike's secret to leading the bicycle pack

 
‎Monday, ‎March ‎27, ‎2017, ‏‎6:01:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - Bike-sharing service provider Mobike has rolled out a series of tweaks to make its bicycles lighter and more comfortable to ride.
 

HK to arrest leaders of democracy protests

 
‎Monday, ‎March ‎27, ‎2017, ‏‎6:01:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - A day after Hong Kong picked a new pro-Beijing leader, police are planning to arrest student leaders and other prominent figures involved with the huge 2014 “Umbrella Movement” pro-democracy protests, activists said Monday.
 

China's Premier Li arrives in New Zealand for talks

 
‎Monday, ‎March ‎27, ‎2017, ‏‎12:59:00 AMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - China's premier has arrived in New Zealand for high-level talks at a time that both countries are pushing to expand free trade.
 

Beijing-backed Lam chosen as HK's leader

 
‎Sunday, ‎March ‎26, ‎2017, ‏‎6:05:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - Carrie Lam (pictured holding bouquet in center of photo), the candidate favored by China's Communist leadership was chosen as Hong Kong's first-ever female leader on Sunday, in the first such vote since huge pro-democracy protests erupted over the semiautonomous Chinese city's election system in 2014.
 

No surprise: Beijing's pick Lam chosen as Hong Kong leader

 
‎Sunday, ‎March ‎26, ‎2017, ‏‎7:36:00 AMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - Hong Kong election panel picks Carrie Lam, Beijing's favored candidate, to be city's next leader.
 

Hong Kong set to get new leader as anointed by Beijing

 
‎Sunday, ‎March ‎26, ‎2017, ‏‎5:10:00 AMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - A committee dominated by pro-Beijing elites is casting ballots Sunday to choose Hong Kong's next leader in the first such vote since 2014's huge pro-democracy protests.
 

Hainan to build all-in transport system

 
‎Friday, ‎March ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎6:03:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - Hainan will build a multi-model transportation system, with seamless connections and zero transfers, announced a top official of the Hainan provincial government on Thursday.
 

Report: China's digital edge export-worthy

 
‎Friday, ‎March ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎6:03:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - China is in a strong position to export its internet financial services and standards to economies along the Belt and Road Initiative, as the country maintains an "obvious" edge in the booming sector, a key report said on Thursday.
 

Chinese investors move in, take large slice of Latin American pie

 
‎Friday, ‎March ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎6:03:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - Chinese companies are forming the mainstay of foreign direct investment in Latin American and African markets as globalization suffers setbacks elsewhere, an international law firm has said.
 

Mobike, Bluegogo unveil new bikes to win customers

 
‎Friday, ‎March ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎6:03:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - Chinese bike-sharing companies are using new technologies to better balance supply and demand for commuters, in a bid to gain the knockout advantage in the booming bike-sharing market.
 

Beijing property curbs to cool preowned market

 
‎Thursday, ‎March ‎23, ‎2017, ‏‎6:03:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - The newly released property purchasing policy in Beijing is likely to cause terminations on existing contracts and help cool down the capital's property market, according to industry insiders.
 

Aussie hotelier banks on Belt and Road

 
‎Thursday, ‎March ‎23, ‎2017, ‏‎6:03:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - For Australian entrepreneur Kevin Zhang, the Belt and Road Initiative means huge potential for the expansion of his hotel business in China.
 

Sinopec nails acquisition of Chevron African assets

 
‎Thursday, ‎March ‎23, ‎2017, ‏‎6:03:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - Asia's biggest oil refiner China Petrochemical Corp, known as Sinopec, said on Wednesday it had nailed an agreement to acquire a refinery and key assets of Chevron South Africa and Chevron Botswana for about $900 million.
 

Report says China's sharing economy to grow 40% annually

 
‎Thursday, ‎March ‎23, ‎2017, ‏‎6:03:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - China's sharing economy will maintain a high 40 percent annual growth rate in the coming years, according to estimates in a report released by the State Information Center.
 

Canon's China push focuses on new segmen

 
‎Wednesday, ‎March ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎6:02:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - Japanese camera maker Canon Inc said it is stepping up its efforts to expand into the medical equipment, video surveillance and the commercial printing sector in China this year, as the Chinese market has become an important engine for the company's growth.
 

European Investment Bank to fund more eco-projects in China

 
‎Wednesday, ‎March ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎6:02:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - The European Investment Bank is aiming to provide 500 million euros ($540 million) of financing in environmental and climate-related projects in China this year ...
 

Bosch to set up new plants in country this year

 
‎Wednesday, ‎March ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎6:02:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - The chairman of Robert Bosch GmbH, the German mobility, industry and software conglomerate, said on Monday that his group would develop solutions for all spheres of the internet of things in China amid the country's consumption upgrading boom-including further investing in new plants this year.
 

Asia's finest

 
‎Wednesday, ‎March ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎6:02:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - Chinese actress Fan Bingbing and Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano pose after winning the Best Actor and Actress Awards of the Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong on Tuesday, March 21.
 

HK leadership contenders square off at debate

 
‎Tuesday, ‎March ‎21, ‎2017, ‏‎6:01:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - The three candidates vying to be Hong Kong's next leader squared off in a feisty debate in front of hundreds of voters who peppered them with questions.
 

Distraught Hong Kong villagers battle to save their homes

 
‎Tuesday, ‎March ‎21, ‎2017, ‏‎6:01:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - Ko Oi-sum's simple village home on the northwestern edge of Hong Kong is surrounded by trees planted by her mother — she dries the leaves to make tea, espousing their health benefits.
 

Nuclear companies take a step closer to joining forces

 
‎Tuesday, ‎March ‎21, ‎2017, ‏‎6:01:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - China moved one step closer to merging two of its nuclear power developers, as the country drives through consolidation in many of its State-owned enterprises, including the railways, shipping, nonferrous metals, construction materials and steel sectors.
 

Daimler in mainland RandD push

 
‎Tuesday, ‎March ‎21, ‎2017, ‏‎6:01:00 PMGo to full article
(ChinaPost.com.tw) - German automaker Daimler AG will continue to invest in research and development in China, to develop a new generation of electric vehicles, the company chairman said.

 

 

 

 

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Christie associates to be sentenced for New Jersey bridge scandal

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎6 minutes agoGo to full article
REUTERS: Two former associates of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie are scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday for their roles in the "Bridgegate" lane closure scandal that eventually torpedoed the Republican's White House ambitions.

Bridget Kelly, 44, a former deputy chief of staff to Christie, and Bill Baroni, 45, the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, were found guilty in November of orchestrating the shutdown of access lanes at the George Washington Bridge in 2013.

File Photo: New Jersey Governor Christie reacts to a question during a news conference in Trenton

Prosecutors said the resulting traffic gridlock was intended to punish a local mayor for refusing to back Christie's re-election bid, as the governor's aides tried to burnish his bipartisan credentials in advance of his run for president.

Christie, who was not charged, has denied any involvement. But the scandal's lasting fallout dampened enthusiasm for Christie when he sought the Republican nomination for president in 2016 and later helped cost him a position in President Donald Trump's administration.

Federal prosecutors have asked U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton in Newark to sentence Kelly and Baroni to about three years in prison, saying in court papers that a stiff punishment is needed to reflect the seriousness of government corruption.

Lawyers for the defendants, meanwhile, have asked for probation or community service instead.

In court filings seeking a light sentence, Kelly's lawyers noted she did not profit from the plot and that she is a single mother of four. Baroni's lawyers, meanwhile, emphasized his "exemplary life of public service, generosity and charity."

But U.S. prosecutors told Wigenton the defendants "committed a monumental betrayal of the public trust" and should be punished accordingly.

Kelly and Baroni testified at trial they believed the lane realignment was part of a legitimate traffic study based on what they had been told by David Wildstein, another Port Authority executive. But Wildstein, who pleaded guilty and appeared as the government's star witness, told jurors the defendants were fully aware he invented the traffic study as a cover story.

In seeking prison terms, prosecutors accused Kelly and Baroni of committing perjury at trial.

Both defendants are expected to appeal their convictions. Wigenton denied their request for a new trial earlier this month.

No other officials have been charged in connection with the Bridgegate plot, though prosecutors introduced evidence at trial suggesting that Christie himself and numerous members of his inner circle knew about the scandal earlier than they publicly acknowledged.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Matthew Lewis)

 

Abu Dhabi fund loses crisis-related arbitration against Citigroup

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎6 minutes agoGo to full article
REUTERS: Citigroup Inc has prevailed in the latest arbitration pursued by Abu Dhabi Investment Authority over the sovereign wealth fund's US$7.5 billion investment in 2007 to shore up the then-struggling bank during the subprime mortgage meltdown.

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority said on Wednesday it was disappointed by the outcome of the arbitration.

A green traffic light is pictured in front of a sign board of Citibank in Hanoi

Documents in the case were unsealed on March 20 in Manhattan federal court, where Citigroup filed a petition earlier in the month to have a federal judge confirm a decision an arbitration panel issued in December.

In their December ruling, arbitrators ruled that a contractual clause the investment authority said the bank had breached "does not impose continuing obligations on Citigroup regarding the commercial reasonableness of its decision making."

The panel also awarded Citigroup nearly US$9.5 million in legal fees and expenses, the documents said.

Citigroup said in a statement on Tuesday that Abu Dhabi Investment Authority's investment "was a testament to the strength of that relationship, and we regret that the investment led to this outcome."

The investment authority, headquartered in the United Arab Emirates' capital, said in a statement on Wednesday that "although we are disappointed with the outcome of the arbitration, we are pleased that at least one of the arbitrators had a dissenting view and would have found in ADIA's favor.”

In court papers, it said it disagreed with the ruling but would not challenge it.

The arbitration arose from Citigroup's efforts to shore up its capital base after announcing in November 2007 that it had US$55 million in exposure to subprime mortgages.

Anticipating US$8 billion to US$11 billion in losses due to write-downs, Citigroup reached a deal in which the Abu Dhabi fund invested US$7.5 billion in exchange for a 4.9 percent stake in the bank.

The investment authority also received securities that could be converted to common stock at US$31.83 to US$37.24 from March 2010 to September 2011.

As the U.S. financial crisis deepened, Citigroup had to take two government bailouts.

The investment authority filed for arbitration in 2009, accusing Citigroup of fraudulently inducing its investment, in part by issuing preferred shares to other investors that diluted its stake.

A panel of the International Centre for Dispute Resolution of the American Arbitration Association rejected the claims in 2011, and federal courts in New York upheld that ruling.

But in 2013, the investment authority sought a second arbitration, raising two claims, including breach of contract.

Citigroup sued to block the case, which the bank said sought more than US$2 billion or to rescind the investment. But in 2015, a federal appeals court declined to block the case.

The case is Citigroup Inc v. Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 17-01528.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Additional reporting by Tom Arnold in Dubai; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Louise Heavens)

 

Toshiba CEO says chips stake sale will likely avert negative shareholder equity

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎7 minutes agoGo to full article
TOKYO: Toshiba Corp's CEO said on Wednesday that offers received so far for a stake in its NAND flash memory business are high enough for the Japanese company to avoid falling into negative shareholder equity.

"We expect the chip unit valuation will be at least 2 trillion yen (US$18 billion), Satoshi Tsunakawa said at a news briefing in Tokyo after the company's U.S. Westinghouse nuclear unit filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors.

FILE PHOTO: Logo of Toshiba Corp is seen outside an electronics retail store in Tokyo

Tsunakawa will seek approval for the sale of more than half the business at a gathering of shareholders in Tokyo on Thursday.

(US$1 = 110.9600 yen)

(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Writing by Tim Kelly; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

 

Soros-founded university says new law would force it out of Hungary

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎7 minutes agoGo to full article
BUDAPEST: A draft law tightening Hungary's rules on foreign universities would force the closure of Budapest's Central European University, founded by billionaire financier and philanthropist George Soros, the institution said in a statement.

Hungary's right-wing populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban has sharply criticised civil society organisations funded by Soros, accusing them of opposing his migration policies.

The exterior facade of the Central European University, a school founded by billionaire philanthrop

Orban, who has toughened his anti-migration rhetoric ahead of 2018 parliamentary elections, also says the NGOs receive funding from abroad, represent foreign interests and meddle in Hungarian affairs.

Under the bill submitted to parliament on Tuesday, foreign universities must have a campus in Budapest and in their home country. CEU currently only operates in Hungary's capital Budapest.

"The amendments would require CEU to open an additional campus in the state of New York. Forcing CEU to do so would have no educational benefit and would incur needless financial and human resource costs," the university said in its statement.

"The proposed legislation targets CEU directly and is therefore discriminatory and unacceptable," it said, calling for the bill to be scrapped.

Asked if the government intended to close CEU, spokesman Zoltan Kovacs told Reuters: "The aim of the government is to keep the law and make everybody keep the law... The legal amendments apply to everyone, and thus CEU also has to comply with them."

Under the terms of the draft law, universities must comply with the new law by Feb. 15, 2018.

CEU, founded in 1991 following the collapse of communism, has 1,400 students, and staff from more than 130 countries.

Open Society Foundations have been active in Hungary for three decades and Soros has financed foreign scholarships for several Fidesz politicians, including Orban at the time when communism collapsed in Hungary.

But in recent times the Hungarian-American businessman has become the target of increased criticism by Orban and other leaders in former communist eastern and central Europe.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's crackdown on foreign-funded charities drove Soros's foundation out of Russia two years ago.

(Reporting by Krisztina Than)

 

No whitewashing? Ghost in the Shell director Rupert Sanders defends his film

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎12 minutes agoGo to full article
SEOUL: When it was first announced that Scarlett Johansson was going to play Major Motoko Kusanagi in director Rupert Sanders’ live-action adaption of Ghost In The Shell, there was outrage. Fans of Masamune Shirow’s seminal manga series argued that it was yet another example of “whitewashing” by Hollywood, where a Caucasian actor was cast in a role originally written as an Asian character.

While the casting of Johansson has been widely criticised, Sanders told Channel NewsAsia he stands by his decision to give her the role as he believes she is a “conduit”.

Ghost In The Shell Movie Still 2

“I think there are a lot of people who are stoking controversy that isn’t really there,” he said when asked about the biggest misconception about his film. “I think people who know the manga will also understand these are themes and ideas that come from the manga.”

The film, based on the Japanese pop-culture property of the same name, began as a manga series written by Masamune Shirow in 1989, before branching out into an animated TV series and the 1995 animated film directed by Mamoru Oshii. Considered to be one of the cornerstones of the cyberpunk genre, the iconic postmodern franchise explores globalisation, identity and consciousness through the lens of technology.

“I am so proud of the work that Scarlett’s done. I think she - out of anyone in the world - will bring a huge audience to Ghost In The Shell. What’s important to me, is that she is a conduit … she’s going to open the door to so much of that aspect of Japanese culture,” continued Sanders.

He explained that while people love and cherish manga and anime in places like Singapore and Japan, “globally, it’s still relatively uncharted territory”.

“I think this will be a portal through to manga, to anime, to see Oshii’s work, to read Shirow’s manga and all the way through into others,” he shared.

"THIS FILM REALLY STANDS ON ITS OWN"

For Johansson, the biggest misconception is that people may think the film offers something familiar.

"This is really something else that nobody has really seen before,” she told Channel NewsAsia. “I think fans of the original animation will be really happy with the look of the film."
 

She explained that the live-action version of Ghost In The Shell pays homage to the original animation, but urged people to not think that it would be exactly like the original.
 

"We are not making the animation come to life. It’s a standalone film and I think in itself, people kind of look at the title and try to imagine in their mind how it could be brought to life knowing the material that they’re familiar with.
 

"I think this film really stands on its own," she said.
 

Directly addressing the controversial casting, Johansson said in an earlier interview that she never wanted to take the role away from an Asian actor and wouldn’t have accepted the role if that were the case.

“I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person. Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive,” she said.

Indeed, even the revered director of the original animated film Oshii has spoken out about the whitewashing claims, saying there’s no real issue with the casting because the character is a cyborg.

He told website IGN in an email interview: “The Major is a cyborg and her physical form is an entirely assumed one. The name Motoko Kusanagi and her current body are not her original name and body, so there is no basis for saying that an Asian actress must portray her. Even if her original body (presuming such a thing existed) were a Japanese one, that would still apply …”

Like Sanders, Oshii has gone on record to say he believes Johansson playing the character “was the best possible casting for this movie.”

“I can only sense a political motive from the people opposing it, and I believe artistic expression must be free from politics,” he said.

So in keeping with artistic expression, could there be sequels where the Major will be played by actresses of different races and ages? Perhaps something in the vein of the British cult TV series Doctor Who, where the lead character has been played by countless different people?

“Yes, we talked and joked about it with Scarlett,” shared Sanders with a laugh. “Because it was a hard film to make and it was challenging, Scarlett was like ‘Great, well at the end of this one, I can die and someone else can just continue with my brain inside them and I can just come and do the voice or whatever!’”

He continued: “Yes, I think that thematically and metaphorically, there is an existential question of identity and of what are we as our exterior shell. There’s so much in that title ‘Ghost In The Shell’ you know? You know, ‘ghost’ to me is everything that is spirit, that is soul, that is fire, that is water, that is organic. And the shell is everything that is hard, that is machinate, that is digital ... so there’s a lot in that title.

“I hope people leave at the end with a resonance and a philosophical question. Not many films do that. Not many films have a strong female lead in a global franchise that would actually make you think.”

 

South Korea’s Black Eagles perform fly-by over Kuala Lumpur

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎12 minutes agoGo to full article
KUALA LUMPUR: The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) aerobatic team, Black Eagles, put up a stunning show in the heart of the Malaysian capital on Thursday (Mar 29).

The 15-minute fly-by over the Petronas Twin Towers was performed by nine KAI-TB50 fighter jets, which at one point formed a yin-yang, in the nod to the South Korean flag.

Black Eagle fly-by

Spectators whom Channel NewsAsia spoke with said they thought the aerial display was South Korea’s way of showing solidarity with Malaysia as it is locked in a bitter row with North Korea over the assassination of Kim Jong Nam last month at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Malaysia is still negotiating for the release of nine Malaysians stranded in Pyongyang for three weeks and counting, after they were barred from leaving.

The Black Eagles had last week put up a show at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2017 (LIMA'17), which was held from Mar 20 to 25. Other aerobatic teams that joined in the event include the Russian Knights from the Russia Air Force (RAF) and Jupiter of the Indonesian Air Force (AU-TNI).   

 

Jordan's King Abdullah says two-state solution basis of Middle East peace

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎17 minutes agoGo to full article
DEAD SEA, Jordan: Jordan's King Abdullah said peace would not be attained in the Middle East without the creation of a Palestinian state under a two-state solution that would be the basis of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace deal.

In a speech at the start of an Arab summit held beside the Dead Sea, King Abdullah said the kingdom's western neighbour Israel was wrecking the chances of peace by accelerating settlement building in occupied Palestinian territory.

FILE PHOTO: King Abdullah speaks during the opening of the third ordinary session of the 17th Parli

(Writing by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Catherine Evans)

 

Ford warns Brexit deal must include tariff-free access to customs union

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎27 minutes agoGo to full article
LONDON: U.S. carmaker Ford said on Wednesday that Britain must secure a Brexit deal which includes full tariff-free access to the entire customs union of European countries, not just the 27 other members of the European Union.

Ford builds vans in Turkey, which is not part of the EU but is in the EU customs union.

The logo of Ford is seen during the 87th International Motor Show at Palexpo in Geneva

"Any deal must include securing tariff-free trade with the wider Customs Union and not just the EU27, whilst retaining access to the best talent and resources," a spokesman said ahead of the formal triggering of divorce talks.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Stephen Addison)

 

Rugby - Warburton will be happy just to make Lions squad for NZ

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎27 minutes agoGo to full article
REUTERS: Wales loose forward Sam Warburton will be happy just to earn selection for the British and Irish Lions side heading to New Zealand this year and has no concerns over his chances of being named as captain for a second time.

"I'd love to be in that (Lions) squad and I can't look past further than that. There's so much competition in the squad," Warburton told British media.

Wales' Sam Warburton during the match

"I would love to go on tour and I've always respected the players who have gone on multiple Lions tours and that's something I'd love and try and do."

The New Zealand tour includes a total of 10 fixtures to be played from June 3 to July 8, including three tests against the All Blacks and five matches against New Zealand Super Rugby teams.

Warburton became the first Welsh captain for the Lions since 1977 when he led the side to Australia in 2013, a series won 2-1 by the visitors despite his absence from the final test through injury.

The squad for the New Zealand tour will be announced on April 19 and Warburton, who captained Wales for a record 49 games, is reportedly among the favourites to become skipper.

"Fans, pundits, media are all talking about it but I haven't had a single conversation about that," he added.

"You just know that's part and parcel of playing international rugby. It's a compliment but it's something I'm not thinking about."

(Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru)

 

Four suspected al Qaeda members killed in Yemen drone strike - residents

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎37 minutes agoGo to full article
ADEN: At least four suspected al Qaeda members were killed in an apparent U.S. drone strike on a vehicle in central Yemen, residents said on Wednesday, part of an escalating campaign against the Islamist militant group.

They said the attack in Amqoz in the Moudiya district of Abyan province took place around midnight on Tuesday. Their vehicle was completely burned and the four bodies inside badly charred, they added.

Residents also reported hearing missile strikes on a suspected al Qaeda outpost in Wadi al-Naseel area, also in Abyan province, but said the number of casualties was unknown.

Abyan is one of several provinces in central and southern Yemen where Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and its local affiliate Ansar al-Sahria operate.

The United States has repeatedly attacked AQAP, the Yemeni arm of the militant group, in strikes this month from aircraft and unmanned drones in what U.S officials says is a campaign to degrade the group's ability to coordinate militant attacks abroad.

AQAP has exploited nearly two years of civil war in Yemen to recruit followers and cement its dominance in central and southern parts of the Arab country.

The Pentagon said this month that a March 2 strike against AQAP killed Yasir al Silmi, also know as Mohammed Tahar, a former detainee from the U.S. detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

(Reporting Mohammed Mukkashaf; Writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

 

India's crackdown on abattoirs spreads, causing Muslim unease

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎37 minutes agoGo to full article
MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: A crackdown on unlicensed abattoirs in India's most populous state has spread to other states ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party, as Hindu hardliners press a political agenda that risks alienating the country's Muslim minority.

The latest crackdown started after Modi appointed Yogi Adityanath as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh state following the Bharatiya Janata Party's landslide victory in elections there earlier this month.

The demands by right-wing Hindu groups to stop the slaughter of cows, considered holy in Hinduism, could stoke communal tensions with Muslims, who dominate the meat industry and make up 14 percent of India's 1.3 billion people. Most of the beef produced in India comes from buffalo rather than cattle.

Adityanath ordered closure of abattoirs operating without licenses soon after taking over as chief minister on March 18.

"If it is legal, nobody has a right to stop it. But if it is illegal, why should this be allowed to function? We believe in the rule of the land,” said Rajiv Tuli, media coordinator of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological parent of the BJP.

A senior BJP official also defended the action, saying it was part of the party's election manifesto in Uttar Pradesh, and followed through on the stand taken by Modi during 2014 general election campaign, when he spoke out against India increasing meat exports.

"Even Modiji vowed to put an end to pink revolution during the 2014 election campaign, so there is nothing wrong in shutting down illegal shops," the official said, referring to the modernisation of meat and poultry processing units and growth of the meat industry.

Several other BJP-ruled states, including Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, have followed suit, ordering closures of abattoirs operating without licences, according to media reports and local officials.

"The order has been issued keeping overall issues of public health, hygiene, and safety in mind. We will not allow any illegal abattoirs to operate," K G Rahate, a senior Jharkhand government official told Reuters.

Raghubar Das, chief minister of Jharkhand, also issued advertisements in local papers to appeal to meat sellers to follow his government's instruction.

In Rajasthan, 16 illegal slaughterhouses were shut down last week, a government official said.

The closures have led to fears of meat shortages and disruption of exports of buffalo beef and other meat products.

India is one of the largest exporters of buffalo meat, selling US$4 billion worth of beef in the 2015/16 fiscal year. Its biggest buyers included Vietnam, Malaysia and Egypt.

Uttar Pradesh is the biggest producer of buffalo meat in the country, and exporters said the latest crackdown will hurt business.

"Right now everyone is very scared because they don't know whether what they are doing will be termed as legal or illegal," said Priya Sud, partner at Al Noor Exports, which operates slaughter houses in Uttar Pradesh.

Muslims working in the meat industry are fearful for their jobs and meat sellers in Uttar Pradesh have gone on strike in protest.

"Supply of all kinds of meat has been disrupted due to the new rules. Restaurants don't have enough meat to serve," said Iqbal Qureshi, president of the Meat Murga Vyapar Kalyan Samiti, a meat sellers' body in Uttar Pradesh.

(Additional reporting by Jatindra Dash in BHUBANESWAR, Rupam Nair and Krishna Das in NEW DELHI; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

 

Philippines, China to hold direct talks on sea row: Manila

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎38 minutes agoGo to full article
MANILA: China and the Philippines will hold direct talks on their maritime dispute in May, Filipino officials said on Wednesday (Mar 29), as President Rodrigo Duterte seeks stronger economic ties with Beijing.

Last year a United Nations-backed international tribunal rejected Beijing's claims to most of the South China Sea, including disputed areas close to the coasts of its neighbours.

A Philippine soldier patrols a beach in the Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea(Photo:AFP)

But Duterte, elected last year, has played down that ruling and pushed for rapprochement with China as he seeks billions of dollars in trade and investment from it.

China this week offered to host a meeting in May of a "bilateral consultation mechanism" to tackle issues related to the sea row, the Philippine foreign department said.

"This is a new proposal, a bilateral consultation mechanism specifically on the South China Sea," spokesman Charles Jose told reporters.

China rejects the tribunal's ruling and asserts sovereignty over almost all of the South China Sea, despite partial counter-claims from Brunei, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

It has extensively reclaimed reefs and installed military and other facilities including airstrips on some outcrops.

China has always favoured bilateral talks with each rival claimant instead of negotiations involving all six, as was previously favoured by the Philippines.

Analysts say direct talks with smaller neighbours would allow China to exert its massive economic and political leverage in a region dependent on Chinese trade.

Jose said the Chinese invitation for the May bilateral talks set no preconditions. "What is important is we have a peaceful means (to resolve the dispute)," he added.

Duterte, 72, has repeatedly said he does not want to go to war with Beijing over the sea row. After his election he pivoted his nation's foreign policy away from traditional ally the United States towards China.

Jose said the direct talks would be the "platform" where the Philippines could raise issues like China's construction of artificial islands. Both nations were still finalising the agenda, dates and level of representation, he added.

Duterte's spokesman hailed the proposed meeting. "Through this bilateral mechanism, mutual trust and maritime cooperation will be forged and misunderstandings will be avoided," Ernesto Abella said.

Duterte last week heaped praise on China for improving trade relations and for supposedly committing not to build on another disputed shoal that lies even closer to the Philippines than the reclaimed reefs.

"China has a word of honour," Duterte said. "Whatever China says, in good stead, it will really do."

 

Man’s death ruled an ‘unlawful killing’ by coroner, assailant a wanted man

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎49 minutes agoGo to full article
SINGAPORE: The deadly assault of Mr Tay Eng Soon on Jul 8, 2015 was captured on CCTV. Footage clearly shows his assailant grabbing him by the neck and punching him twice on the face.

Mr Tay collapsed, unconscious, and could not be revived. He was pronounced dead early next morning.

Armed policemen stand guard in Singapore, on July 18, 2012(Photo:AFP)

The “scene, forensic and documentary evidence” is “clear and unequivocal” – Mr Tay’s death was an unlawful killing, State Coroner Marvin Bay said on Wednesday (Mar 29).

However the assailant, named as Lim Keow Chye, has not been charged with the crime. He left the country shortly after the killing and his whereabouts are unknown, although he is believed to have fled to Malaysia, Assistant Superintendent Arun Guruswany said.

ASP Arun told the coroner's inquiry a warrant for Mr Lim’s arrest has been issued, and the authorities have sought the help of Malaysian police to catch him, but that “there have been no credible leads thus far”.

CCTV FOOTAGE CAPTURES ATTACK 

Mr Tay, a catering safety officer and father of two, was drinking with his wife and two friends at a coffee shop at Block 303 Anchorvale Link on the evening of Jul 8.

Mr Lim was at the same coffee shop having drinks with his sister and two friends.

An argument broke out between Mr Lim and one of Mr Tay’s friends at about 10.09pm. CCTV footage showed the men gesticulating, visibly agitated.

Mr Lim then grabbed Mr Tay by the neck and punched him twice on the face. Mr Tay appeared disoriented, his arms flailing, before he collapsed.

Mr Lim was pulled away, but managed to return and kick Mr Tay, who was lying unconscious on the ground, in the stomach.

CCTV footage showed Mr Lim walking away from the coffee shop minutes later.

Mr Tay could not be revived by paramedics at the scene or at the hospital, and he was pronounced dead at 12.46am on Jul 9.

ONGOING DISPUTE OVER MONEY

ASP Arun said investigations revealed there had been an “ongoing dispute” between the men over a sum of money Mr Lim’s mother had donated to a temple in Thailand through Mr Tay’s wife.

Although Mr Tay’s wife had issued her with a receipt, Mr Lim’s mother believed the money had been used for other purposes.

Mr Tay’s wife denies this.

According to an autopsy report, Mr Tay died from a traumatic subarachnoid haemorrhage, or bleeding in the brain. He also suffered multiple facial bruises.

The evidence shows “a direct, causal link” between Mr Lim’s actions and Mr Tay’s death, the coroner said.

“Mr Lim has inflicted an injury which consequently proved fatal … and has therefore perpetrated the unlawful killing of Mr Tay Eng Soon.”

 

Iraqi forces battle towards landmark Mosul mosque

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎52 minutes agoGo to full article
MOSUL: Iraqi special forces and police fought Islamic State militants to edge closer to the al-Nuri mosque in western Mosul on Wednesday, tightening their control around the landmark site in the battle to recapture Iraq's second city, military commanders said.

The close-quarters fighting is focused on the Old City surrounding the mosque where Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a caliphate nearly three years ago across territory controlled by the group in both Iraq and Syria.

Smoke rises from the old city during a battle against Islamic State militants, in Mosul

Thousands of residents have fled from IS-held areas inside Mosul, the militants' biggest remaining stronghold in Iraq. But tens of thousands more are still trapped inside homes, caught in the fighting, shelling and air strikes as Iraqi forces backed by a U.S.-led coalition advance in the west.

Helicopters circling west Mosul strafed Islamic State positions beyond the city train station, the site of heavy back-and-forth fighting in recent days, and thick black smoke rose into the sky, Reuters reporters on the ground said.

Heavy sustained gunfire could be heard from the Old City area, where militants are hiding among residents and using the alleyways, traditional family homes and snaking narrow roads to their advantage, fleeing residents say.

"Federal police forces have imposed full control over the Qadheeb al-Ban area and the al-Malab sports stadium in the western wing of Old Mosul and are besieging militants around the al-Nuri mosque," federal police chief Lieutenant General Raed Shaker Jawdat said in a statement.

Rapid Response elite interior ministry troops were advancing on the edge of the Old City, clambering over garden walls. Islamic State responded with rocket fire, streaking the sky with white smoke plumes.

"There are teams going into the Old City since yesterday," said Rapid Response official Abd al-Amir.

Iraqi troops shot down at least one suspected Islamic State drone. The militants have been using small commercial models to spy and drop munitions on Iraqi military positions.

With the battle entering the densely populated areas of western Mosul, civilian casualties are becoming more of a risk. The United Nations says several hundred civilians have been killed in the last month, and residents say Islamic State militants are using them as human shields.

The senior U.S. commander in Iraq acknowledged on Tuesday that the U.S.-led coalition probably had a role in an explosion in Mosul believed to have killed scores of civilians, but said Islamic State could also be to blame.

As investigators probe the March 17 blast, Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend said increases in casualties were to be expected as the war against the insurgents entered its deadliest phase in the cramped, narrow streets of Mosul's Old City.

Local officials and eyewitnesses say as many as 240 people may have been killed in the Al-Jadida district when a huge blast caused a building to collapse, burying families inside. Rescue workers are still pulling bodies out of the site.

HUGE BLAST

What exactly happened on March 17 is still unclear and there have been conflicting accounts of how many people died.

Iraqi military command has said one line of investigation is whether Islamic State rigged explosives that ultimately caused the blast that destroyed buildings. Iraqi military said there was no indication the building was hit directly by the strike.

Eyewitnesses have said a strike may have hit a massive truck bomb parked by the building. Others say families were either sheltering in a basement or had been forced inside.

"My initial assessment is that we probably had a role in these casualties," Townsend, the senior coalition commander in Iraq, told a Pentagon news briefing.

"What I don't know is were they (the civilians) gathered there by the enemy? We still have some assessments to do. ... I would say this, that it sure looks like they were."

The incident has heightened fears for the safety of civilians - an important concern for Iraq's Shi'ite-led government as it tries to avoid alienating Mosul's mostly Sunni population.

The United Nations rights chief said on Tuesday at least 307 civilians had been killed and 273 wounded in western Mosul since Feb. 17, saying Islamic State was herding residents into booby-trapped buildings as human shields and firing on those who tried to flee.

(Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

 

Deutsche Boerse, LSE merger plans rejected by EU regulators

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎52 minutes agoGo to full article
BRUSSELS: EU antitrust regulators vetoed the proposed 29-billion-euro (US$31.3 billion) merger of Deutsche Boerse and the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday, derailing the companies' latest attempt to create Europe's biggest stock exchange.

The European Commission said the fifth attempt, three public and two informal, by the companies to merge would have created a de facto monopoly in the markets for clearing fixed income instruments.

EU Competition Commissioner Vestager holds a news conference in Brussels

The EU antitrust enforcer said the exchanges did not offer sufficient concessions to allay its concerns.

"As the parties failed to offer the remedies required to address our competition concerns, the Commission has decided to prohibit the merger," European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

The Commission said it could not determine whether LSE's offer to sell the Paris arm of its clearing house LCH.Clearnet to rival Euronext would have created a viable competitor in fixed income clearing.

However selling LSE' MTS Italian trading platform would have removed its concerns. LSE, however, declined to do so.

The EU rejection comes on the day the British government kicks off the process for exiting the European Union. The deal's failure also comes as U.S. and Asian rivals flex their muscles and expand their market presence.

The planned deal has been plagued by problems since Britain voted to leave the EU last June, among them a demand from German financial regulators that the head office of the merged entity be based in Frankfurt rather than London.

(This online version of the story has been refiled to say "Wednesay" instead of "Thursday" in paragraph one)

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek/Philip Blenkinsop)

 

Goldman Sachs reassures staff over Brexit in voicemail

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎52 minutes agoGo to full article
LONDON: Goldman Sachs sought to reassure London-based staff over potential disruption to its business as Britain prepares to leave the European Union, in a voicemail to staff sent by the Wall Street firm's Europe CEO.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger formal EU divorce proceedings on Wednesday, launching two years of negotiations that will shape the future of Britain and Europe as well as London's place as a global financial center.

FILE PHOTO - The Goldman Sachs stall on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

The move will also mark the point when investment banks, whose priority will be to ensure they can continue servicing their clients across Europe after March 29, 2019, begin taking concrete steps to prepare for Britain being outside the bloc.

Those steps could involve moving London-based staff to outposts on the continent or paying them off and hiring employees locally.

Richard Gnodde, CEO of the European arm of Goldman Sachs, said last week it would begin by moving hundreds of people out of London as part of its "contingency plans" for the first phase.

In a voicemail sent to all London employees' phones on Friday, Gnodde sought to reassure staff that despite "intensively" preparing for a range of possible outcomes, no big changes were imminent.

"All of this work leads us to conclude that although Brexit may well bring some changes to our footprint, a lot will continue to operate as it does today."

Gnodde said that the Wall Street firm would only be able to make long-term decisions on its future footprint once negotiations between Britain and the EU were complete.

"We also understand that you will have many questions regarding the implications of Brexit," Gnodde said in the voicemail.

"We are sensitive to those concerns, and want you to know that we will share any information on changes that will impact our European footprint as quickly as we can."

Banks are treading carefully, enacting two-stage contingency plans, to avoid losing nervous London-based staff as they work out how many jobs will have to move to continental Europe as Britain exits the European Union.

This first phase involves relatively small numbers to make sure the requisite licenses, technology and infrastructure are in place, while the next requires longer-term thinking on what their European business will look like in the future, which is when bigger moves might take place.

(Reporting By Anjuli Davies; Editing by Susan Fenton)

 

Muslim groups plan march against Jakarta's Christian governor

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎57 minutes agoGo to full article
JAKARTA: Indonesian Muslims led by hardline groups plan to march to the presidential palace in the capital Jakarta on Friday, calling for the city's Christian governor to be sacked for suspected blasphemy.

Religious and political tensions have been running high ahead of a second and final round of the Jakarta governor election on April 19. Incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who is on trial for blasphemy, is running against a Muslim candidate.

Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama take pictures with residents during his campaign at Jatineg

The rally is expected to be the biggest demonstration since mass prayers in the grand mosque just days before the election's first round on Feb. 15, and the latest in a series of protests that have tested religious and ethnic tolerance in the world's largest Muslim-majority nation.

"An estimated 20,000 people from various groups, including students, will participate," said national police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar.

"They will gather at the Istiqlal mosque (grand mosque) and the plan is to march to the presidential palace."

Many Muslims in the city of more than 10 million believe Purnama, Jakarta's first Christian and ethnic Chinese governor, insulted Islam when he made comments last year about his opponents' use of the Koran in political campaigning.

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims took part in a series of rallies in Jakarta late last year and Purnama was put on trial for blasphemy. He has apologised for his comments but denied wrongdoing.

"We ask the government to imprison Ahok soon and relieve him of his official duties," said Novel Bakmukmin, a member of the hardline Islamic Defenders Front, using Purnama's popular nickname.

"This is not just about the Jakarta election any more. We want people who commit blasphemy against religion to be dealt with firmly."

Purnama remains popular for his efforts to cut red tape and ease Jakarta's chronic traffic congestion and flooding, but he faces a tight race with his rival, Anies Baswedan, a former education minister.

Purnama secured 43 percent of the vote in the first round in February and Baswedan got 40 percent. A candidate needs a simple majority to win the run-off election on April 19.

Most Indonesian Muslims adhere to moderate Sunni beliefs, and the country recognises six religions including Hinduism, Catholicism and Buddhism, but minorities, even within Islam, have faced rising intolerance in recent years.

(Reporting by Agustinus Beo Da Costa; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Ed Davies and Nick Macfie)

 

Cricket - Good cricket mixed with bad blood makes for fine series

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎57 minutes agoGo to full article
DHARAMSALA, India: As India celebrate the return of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy from previous holders Australia, the overriding consensus is that the hosts maintained order between the sport's top two test sides in a series that had everything.

Seldom has a tour been dragged deep into the gutter through tit-for-tat accusations of cheating and foul play only for it to rise magnificently in the wake of some quality cricket by the bitterest of antagonists.

"It was a magnificent series, one of the best I've been part of," Australia captain Steve Smith, a key protagonist in the series, said after his team finally succumbed to a 2-1 loss in the fourth and final test on Tuesday.

Given their history, it seemed inevitable that tempers would flare between sides that endorse an identical brand of aggressive cricket when they met in Pune for the opener, which passed without incident barring a surprise win for the visitors.

The veneer cracked in the second test, however, when all hell broke loose after Smith gestured to his dressing room whether to review an lbw decision against him during a tense but fruitless run chase in Bengaluru.

The "brain fade" drew a predictable reaction from his feisty Indian counterpart Virat Kohli, who claimed it was but one of several similar breaches by the tourists, an allegation Australia summarily dismissed.

The incident quickly snowballed into a major crisis with both boards springing to the defence of their respective captains.

BITTERNESS RETURNS

The game's governing body moved quickly to douse the flames with a lenient view of the episode, which must have felt like deja vu for India coach Anil Kumble.

Kumble was captain of the Indian team who threatened to abandon their 2008 tour of Australia after Harbhajan Singh was found guilty of racially abusing Andrew Symonds, a conviction that was later overturned.

Match referee Richie Richardson sat Kohli and Smith down before the third test, reminding them of their duty to uphold the spirit of the game.

The draw in Ranchi stood out for Cheteshwar Pujara's dogged resistance and Pat Cummins' successful return to test cricket but the bitterness returned when Glenn Maxwell mocked Kohli for an injury that would keep him out of the series decider.

India prevailed in Dharamsala, the third new test venue unveiled in the series, after some fine individual performances pushed the balance in the home side's favour, but there was little let up in the acrimony.

Ravindra Jadeja exchanged heated words with Matthew Wade and Smith was caught on camera mouthing abuse towards Murali Vijay after he claimed a clean catch that was overturned by the TV umpire.

"I have sort of been very intense in my own little bubble, and at times I have let my emotions and actions just falter a little bit throughout this series and I apologise for that," added Smith, the top scorer in the series.

Kohli, who endured a poor run with the bat, made no such conciliatory attempt, saying he was no longer friends with the Australian cricketers, many of whom he would be meeting in the Indian Premier League (IPL) next month.

(Editing by John O'Brien)

 

Asian markets and dollar push higher, pound weak on Brexit

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎58 minutes agoGo to full article
HONG KONG: Asian markets extended the previous day's rally on Wednesday (Mar 29) while the dollar also built on its New York gains that came after a strong US consumer confidence survey reinforced the view of a strong economy.

The greenback was given fresh impetus against the pound and euro as Prime Minister Theresa May prepares to officially fire the gun to start Britain's exit from the European Union.

Japan markets

After more than a week of negativity, US traders finally saw a broad advance across equities and in the greenback as figures showed American shoppers were growing increasingly upbeat.

News that the consumer confidence index had hit a 16-year high helped soothe worries that President Donald Trump's economy-boosting agenda could have been thrown off the rails by the collapse of his healthcare bill owing to splits in his Republican party.

Friday's debacle over repealing Obamacare hammered world markets on speculation the tycoon would not be able to ram through promised tax cuts and infrastructure spending.

But Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader, noted the US reading "goes a long way to support the notion that the US economy is doing well".

He added: "It's not just about the hope of change via president Trump's policies. It's about actual improvement in data flow and a real sense that the globe is reflating."

The Dow on Wall Street ended in the black for the first time after an eight-day losing streak, with a bounce in oil prices also providing support. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also posted healthy gains.

POUND VOLATILITY
 

The dollar, which has been hammered since the Federal Reserve this month signalled a slower pace of interest rate hikes than expected, also moved higher.

It was at ¥111.20, well up from ¥111.08 in New York and 110.60 yen in Tokyo on Tuesday.

The euro and pound were also well down from a day ago, hit by May's official signal to leave the European Union, with her letter due to be delivered to Brussels later in the day.

"The pound is likely to remain quite volatile throughout (Wednesday's) session," said OANDA senior market analyst Craig Erlam in a note.

On equities markets Hong Kong edged up 0.2 per cent while Tokyo gained 0.1 per cent, Sydney closed 0.9 per cent higher, Seoul added 0.2 per cent and Singapore jumped 0.9 per cent. Wellington rallied one per cent while Jakarta and Bangkok also advanced.

But Shanghai slipped 0.4 per cent.

In early European trade London, Paris and Frankfurt each rose 0.4 per cent.

Energy firms were among the big winners as an outage in Libya wiped 250,000 barrels a day out of the global market, easing worries about a supply glut, while a US stockpiles reading came in on target.

Both main crude contracts rose more than one per cent on Tuesday and extended the gains in Asia.

In Hong Kong, CNOOC put on 0.4 per cent, while Tokyo-listed Inpex was up more than two per cent and Woodside Petroleum in Sydney jumped one per cent.

- Key figures around 0810 GMT -
 

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 per cent at 19,217.48 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.2 per cent at 24,392.05 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.4 per cent at 3,241.31 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.4 per cent at 7,372.79

Euro/dollar: DOWN at US$1.0785 from US$1.0813

Pound/dollar: DOWN at US$1.2400 from US$1.2457

Dollar/yen: UP at ¥111.20 from ¥111.08
 

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP 25 cents at US$48.62 per barrel
 

Oil - Brent North Sea: UP 22 cents at US$51.55
 

New York - Dow: UP 0.7 per cent at 20,701.50 (close) 

 

Rugby - Sale winger Solomona set sights on England call-up

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
REUTERS: Sale Sharks' Denny Solomona says he is open to playing for England should the opportunity arise after he qualified to represent the country under rugby's three-year residency rule earlier this month.

The Auckland-born winger has been drawing rave reviews in England's Premiership since switching from rugby league in December and has scored 11 tries in as many games, including a first-half hat-trick against Wasps last month.

Sale Sharks' Denny Solomona

"Yes, 100 percent, if the opportunity presents itself, I'll take it with both hands," Solomona, a former Samoa rugby league international, told the Times. "At the moment, I'm just focussing on the now and playing well for Sale. If it comes, it comes."

Speculation has been growing in the British media that Solomona is primed for a call-up even though World Rugby will vote in May to extend the residency rule to five years in an attempt to counter the growing problem of nationality swapping.

England had four New Zealand-born players - captain Dylan Hartley, prop Mako Vunipola, flanker Teimana Harrison and centre Ben Te'o - in this year's Six Nations squad.

"I've bought a house here, I'm engaged to marry an English girl, I'm well and truly inside the English culture now. Circumstances change," the 23-year-old Solomona added.

"I've been here (in England) three years and that's the choice I want to make."

Solomona has also been tipped for a place on this year's British and Irish Lions' tour to New Zealand by former England back Austin Healey.

(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

 

Pulis urges West Brom's youngsters to step up ahead of hectic week

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
REUTERS: West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis has urged the club's academy players to raise their game as he plans to make changes to his squad in order to cope with their packed Premier League schedule.

West Brom, who are eighth in the table, play three games in a week, starting with two away games against Manchester United on Saturday and Watford three days later, before a home match against Southampton on April 8.

West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis

"We have the younger players and they can play bit parts from now until the end of the season. But we do need them to step up to the mark for the final eight or nine games," Pulis told the club's website (www.wba.co.uk).

"We will move the players around because each opposition will present different challenges to us."

Pulis was uncertain about the inclusion of midfielders James McClean and Nacer Chadli as well as striker Salomon Rondon for the clash at Old Trafford as they had yet to return from international duty.

The manager was also doubtful about midfielder Matt Phillips' return from a hamstring injury that he sustained against West Ham United in February.

"We're disappointed he's not fit but what began as a muscle injury is now a slight tendon problem. It's been a long time," Pulis added.

(Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

 

Thai junta seeks law to bring more order to Buddhism

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
BANGKOK: Thailand's military government is working on a law to help regulate Buddhism, officials say, giving the junta far more say over a pillar of Thai society that has so far eluded its control.

The proposed bill, which has not been made public, would appear to significantly reduce the say of the Sangha Supreme Council, Buddhism's governing body in Thailand.

Buddhist monks from Dhammakaya temple confront Thai soldiers at a gate of Dhammakaya temple in Path

A source within the government who did not wish to be named said the bill would set up a new committee that would set policies to "support and protect Buddhism," though it wouldn't touch on religious practices.

The bill would give monks chosen by the Sangha Council only three of the 27 seats on the committee. Other seats would go to the prime minister, police chief, a number of other senior officials as well as experts on Buddhism, members of Buddhist universities and representatives of Buddhist groups chosen by the prime minister, the source said.

"The bill does not 'support', but forces monks to obey and stay under state governance, which is inappropriate," Phra Metha Winairos, deputy dean of Mahamakut Buddhist University, told Reuters. "This state interference will downgrade religion."

The proposed law comes amid a swirl of controversies around a religion professed by 95 percent of Thais, and with most opposition to army rule neutralised since a 2014 coup.

While police have lifted a three-week siege of the giant Dhammakaya temple north of Bangkok, the temple's defiance of attempts to arrest its former abbot in a money laundering case has highlighted the limit of state authority over monks.

The draft of the new bill is being reviewed by the Sangha Supreme Council, said the head of the National Office of Buddhism.

No member of the council of elder monks was available for comment.

"This bill will benefit monks and help spread Buddhism," said Pongporn Pramsaneh, the recently appointed former detective who now heads the government office that handles Buddhist affairs. He declined to give details about the bill.

WANING INFLUENCE

There are already indications the Sangha Council's influence has been weakened.

Last year, the junta rejected the name put forward by the council to be the new Supreme Patriarch of Buddhism, an abbot who had ties with the Dhammakaya temple and who had been under investigation over a scam involving luxury cars.

The military-appointed parliament then granted new King Maha Vajiralongkorn the power to pick a chief monk himself.

Pongporn at the Buddhist affairs office said the renewed push on the bill had nothing to do with the Dhammakaya temple, which frustrated an attempt by thousands of police this month to search for its former abbot, Phra Dhammachayo.

Critics of the temple say it is sympathetic to the "red shirt" movement of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, which the temple denies.

Paiboon Nititawan, a former junta advisor who wants even greater regulation of Buddhism, said if the bill was enacted, "problems like Dhammakaya will be suppressed."

"Monks looking to violate monastic codes or wrongly exploit religion will be suppressed," he said.

VOW OF OBEDIENCE?

Religious scandal is nothing new in Thailand, which has 40,000 temples and more than 300,000 monks. Reports of sex, drugs and improper financial dealings are frequent.

The proposed committee under the new bill would set policies to improve secular affairs - though not Buddhist religious practices.

That could potentially help the Sangha tackle persistent problems, said Buddhism expert Montree Sirarojananan from Thammasat University in Bangkok. But he said a committee dominated by government officials could also be abused.

"A knife in the hands of a military government tends to be used as a weapon," he said.

The bill did not include any measures for state control over the finances of temples which, according to a 2014 study, get an estimated US$3.5 billion a year in donations, the government source said.

The bill would still need approval from the cabinet and the legislative assembly.

It would also need to be signed off by King Vajiralongkorn. After appointing a conservative as Supreme Patriarch in February, the king then approved the junta's request to strip the Dhammakaya temple's former abbot of his monastic titles.

Aomsin Cheewapruek, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, said the government would enact the bill before the next general election, which is not expected until well into 2018.

(Editing by Matthew Tostevin and Bill Tarrant)

 

Duo sentenced to 25 years' jail for Movida nightclub attack

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
KUALA LUMPUR: A high court judge in Malaysia on Wednesday (Mar 29) sentenced two people to 25 years' jail each over the grenade attack at Movida nightclub in Puchong last year that left eight people injured.

Imam Wahyudin, 21, and Jonius Indie, 24, were also given additional 10-year sentences each for supporting Islamic State (IS). The judge allowed both sentences to run concurrently from the date of arrest.

Puchong Movida

The maximum jail term was handed down to serve as a deterrent, the high court judge said. "May the message be loud and clear to their IS friends and supporters - despite their young age and background, Jonius and Iman committed a terror act by hurling hand grenades and created havoc in the city."

 


 

 

The blast at the nightclub in Puchong, Selangor, was the first terrorist attack in Malaysia to be linked to Islamic State.
 

The incident occurred at Movida nightclub at around 2.30am when about 20 patrons in the restaurant were watching Italy play Spain in the Euro 2016. The impact of the blast was so strong that a car located 30m from the nightspot was damaged as well.

 

Manchester City focused for tough Arsenal and Chelsea tests: Garcia

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
REUTERS: The international break has allowed Manchester City players to recuperate and refocus ahead of their Premier League trips to Arsenal and Chelsea, midfielder Aleix Garcia has said.

Garcia said City, who are third in the league, needed time to recover after a spell of four games in 11 days across tournaments before the two-week break from club football.

Manchester City Training

City's last match was a 1-1 draw at home against fourth-placed Liverpool and the Spaniard said their next league fixtures will define their season.

"Some players can rest and others can just take their minds off to come back as strong as possible to keep fighting for our goals until the end of the season," the 19-year-old, who made his City debut last September, told the club website.

"We face lots of games – lots of very important games in a few days that will define our season.

"I expect games like the one against Liverpool - tough games."

With City knocked out of the Champions League earlier this month and trailing league leaders Chelsea by 12 points, Garcia believes the FA Cup has taken increased importance in manager Pep Guardiola's first season at the club.

"Winning the Premier League is difficult and we are out of the Champions League, so the FA Cup is probably the best chance we have this season," Garcia added.

"The team is ready to win it and this is what we want. We will fight to win it."

Following Sunday's trip to the Emirates, Man City visit Chelsea, who have lost just once at Stamford Bridge this season, three days later.

City will also face Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on April 23.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

 

Running in marathons can cause short-term kidney injury: Study

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
NEW HAVEN: Running in marathons can harm your kidneys, scientists have warned, after a new study found that the majority of runners studied showed signs of acute kidney injury after a race.

Led by researchers from Yale, the study published on Tuesday (Mar 28) by the American Journal of Kidney Disease studied a group of participants in the 2015 Hartford Marathon and found that 82 per cent of the runners studied showed Stage 1 Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) after the race.
 

shoe runner file

The team collected blood and urine samples before and after the race and analysed a variety of markers of kidney injury, Yale News reported.
 

Lead researcher, Dr Chirag Parikh told Yale News that marathon runners' kidneys responded in a similar way to those of hospitalised patients who had undergone surgery.
 

“The kidney responds to the physical stress of marathon running as if it’s injured, in a way that’s similar to what happens in hospitalised patients when the kidney is affected by medical and surgical complications,” said Dr Parikh.
 

He added that though measured kidney injury resolves within two days after the marathon, the findings still raised questions about the effects of repeated strenuous activity over time, especially in warm climates.

Researchers said that marathon-related kidney injury could be caused by a sustained rise in core body temperature, dehydration, or decreased blood flow to the kidneys, according to Yale News.

“We need to investigate this further,” Yale News reported Parikh as saying. “Research has shown there are also changes in heart function associated with marathon running. Our study adds to the story - even the kidney responds to marathon-related stress.”

 

Two men arrested for Coldplay concert tickets scam

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
SINGAPORE: Two men were arrested on suspicion that they scammed victims by touting Coldplay concert tickets, police said on Wednesday (Mar 29). 

Police received several reports between Mar 10 and 23 from victims who had been cheated after buying the tickets on Carousell. They saw a Carousell listing selling the tickets at a discounted price, but did not receive the tickets after transferring the money to the seller, the police said in a press release.

Chris Martin, lead singer of Coldplay, performs during the half-time show at the NFL's Super B

The seller also could not be reached after, they added. The British band is scheduled to perform here on Mar 31 and Apr 1.  

Following investigations, officers arrested the two men, aged 22 and 27, on Monday, police said. 

Anyone found guilty for the offence of cheating could be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

 

FDA silence on generic Advair may be good news for GSK

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
LONDON: GlaxoSmithKline shares gained on Wednesday as lack of news about U.S. approval of a generic copy of its blockbuster inhaled lung drug Advair buoyed speculation that a threat to profits might be delayed.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had been due to decide by March 28 whether to approve the first substitutable generic copy of the two-part drug for asthma and chronic lung disease, made by generics firm Mylan.

Signage for GlaxoSmithKline is seen on it's offices in London, Britain

In the event, neither the FDA nor Mylan made any statement.

"It is possible Mylan might still make an announcement when the U.S. market opens, but I don't think anybody would be surprised if the review period for their product is extended," said Deutsche Bank analyst Richard Parkes.

GSK shares were 0.5 percent higher by 0755 GMT, outperforming a flat European drugs sector.

Options trading in Mylan had been busy on Tuesday, although many investors appeared to believe Mylan was unlikely to win a green light this week.

Mylan's version of Advair would be the first complex inhaled combination generic product to be approved by the U.S. agency and a number of analysts believe the likelihood of an on-time approval is therefore quite low.

"With such a commercially important decision it was always likely that the approval process wasn't going to be straightforward," said Trinity Delta analyst Mick Cooper.

A second generic version of Advair from Hikma Pharmaceuticals is also awaiting an FDA approval decision by May 10. Hikma shares fell around 1 percent.

Dealing with the threat of competition to Advair, which has generated more than US$1 billion in annual sales since 2001, is the first big challenge facing GSK's new chief executive, Emma Walmsley, who takes over at the end of this month.

GSK has told the market that core earnings per share, in constant currencies, will be flat to slightly lower in 2017, if substitutable Advair generics arrive in the United States by mid-year. If they don't launch, EPS should rise between 5 and 7 percent.

If generics do arrive by mid-2017, the company has forecast Advair's U.S. sales will be around 1 billion pounds (US$1.24 billion), down from 1.83 billion in 2016.

GSK is not alone in worrying about generic Advair. Novartis' generics unit Sandoz, which is further behind in developing its form of Advair, has also tried to stall generics by taking issue with FDA rules governing such copies.

(Editing by Louise Heavens)

 

Bangladesh Bank heist was 'state-sponsored': US official

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
MANILA: The heist of US$81 million from the Bangladesh central bank's account at the New York Federal Reserve last year was "state-sponsored," an FBI officer in the Philippines, who has been involved in the investigations, said on Wednesday.

Lamont Siller, the legal attache at the U.S. embassy, did not elaborate but his comments in a speech in Manila are a strong signal that authorities in the United States are close to naming who carried out one of the world's biggest cyber heists.

Commuters pass by the front of the Bangladesh central bank building in Dhaka

Last week, officials in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity, blamed North Korea.

"We all know the Bangladesh Bank heist, this is just one example of a state-sponsored attack that was done on the banking sector," Siller told a cyber security forum.

An official briefed on the probe told Reuters in Washington last week that the FBI believes North Korea was responsible for the heist. The official did not give details.

The Wall Street Journal reported U.S. prosecutors were building potential cases that would accuse North Korea of directing the heist, and would charge alleged Chinese middlemen.

The FBI has been leading an international investigation into the February 2016 heist, in which hackers breached Bangladesh Bank's systems and used the SWIFT messaging network to order the transfer of nearly US$1 billion from its account at the New York Fed.

The U.S. central bank rejected most of the requests but filled some of them, resulting in US$81 million being transferred to bank accounts in the Philippines. The money was quickly withdrawn and later disappeared in the huge casino industry in the country.

There have been no arrests in the case.

A Chinese casino owner in the Philippines told that Senate inquiry he took millions of dollars from two Chinese high-rollers in February. He said the two men were responsible for transferring the stolen money from Dhaka to Manila.

Philippine investigators have filed criminal charges against several individuals and a remittance company for money laundering in connection with the heist at the country's Department of Justice (DOJ).

None of these cases have yet been filed in court, however.

Siller said the FBI was working closely with the Philippines government "to ensure those responsible for the attack do not go unpunished."

"So for us in the FBI, it is never over. We are going to bring these individuals to justice so that we can show others, that you maybe be able to muster such attacks, even state-sponsored, but you will not get away with it in the end."

(Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

 

Malaysia inspects North Korean coal ship for possible UN sanctions breach

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia briefly prevented a North Korean ship carrying coal from entering its port in Penang because of a suspected breach of United Nations sanctions, a port worker and Malaysian maritime officials told Reuters on Wednesday

The KUM YA, was carrying 6,300 metric tonnes of anthracite coal, according to a worker at Penang Port who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity. It was later allowed to dock, where an inspection team accompanied by an armed escort boarded the ship.

A car passes through Penang port in Butterworth(Photo:AFP)

A December 2016 UN Security Council resolution placed a cap on exports of North Korean coal, and urged member states to apply extra scrutiny on North Korean ships.

Production of coal in North Korea is state-controlled and its exports are a key source of hard currency for the isolated country's banned nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

Relations between North Korea and Malaysia, which have been friendly for decades, have soured following the February assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

The North Korean ship had been initially prevented from entering Penang Port due to a possible breach of UN sanctions, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) deputy director-general of operations Zulkifli Abu Bakar, told Reuters without offering further details.

It was unclear what the inspectors were checking on.

The United Nations in its annual reports on how members have complied with sanctions have cited a number of instances over the past decade in which North Korean missile parts and coal connected to sanctioned entities were trans-shipped through Malaysia.

Malaysia is one of the few countries in the world which buys North Korean coal, with China by far the biggest importer.

LUCKY STAR

The KUM YA was recently re-flagged as a North Korean ship, changing its name from Lucky Star 7 in November last year, according to the Equasis shipping database.

It was registered on Feb 13 to North Korean shipping company Sonchonggang Water Transport, according to copies of the ship's registration documents, which were issued by North Korea's Maritime Administration, and seen by Reuters.

The ship was carrying 20 crew members, and was scheduled to sail onto Singapore, the port worker said.

The ship listed its port of origin as Busan, South Korea. However, shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon shows the cargo was loaded at the Huaneng Shandong Power Station Weihai, a coal-fired power plant. It then sailed to Penang through the South China Sea and the Malacca Strait, the data shows. 

China halted all coal imports from North Korea starting on Feb 26, amid growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula following one of a series of Pyongyang's missile tests.

Malaysia's foreign ministry told officials at Penang Port not to let the ship dock before an inspection team had it "declared safe," the port worker said.

The MMEA confirmed the ship had been stopped following instructions from Malaysia's foreign ministry, which did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"Many North Korean ships call on our ports and we never had problems. Just over the recent months, there have been problems," the port worker told Reuters. "We have never received directives to stop North Korean ships before."

NOT CONFISCATED

The KUM YA was first stopped at sea before being allowed to dock in port where it was immediately cordoned off, the port worker said.

"Minerals and Geoscience Department officials were then called to inspect the cargo on board. The department officers were told to confirm it was indeed coal on board," the port worker said.

The coal was being unloaded on Wednesday afternoon and has not been confiscated, the port worker said.

Since 2011, Malaysia has imported over 2 million metric tonnes of coal a year, according to government statistics, which are not broken down by country of origin.

The KUM YA shipment was handled by Malaysian freight forwarding company Alim Maritime Sdn Bhd, the port worker said. An Alim Maritime official reached by telephone declined to comment.

The KUM YA can hold up to 6,843 metric tonnes of cargo, according to Equasis, meaning it was 92 per cent full when it arrived in Penang.

(Additional reporting by Emily Chow in KUALA LUMPUR and Henning Gloystein in SINGAPORE; Editing by Bill Tarrant)

 

China still committed to Paris climate change deal - foreign ministry

 
‎Today, ‎March ‎29, ‎2017, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
BEIJING: China is still committed to the Paris climate change accord agreed in 2015, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Wednesday after U.S. President Donald Trump signed overnight an order to dismantle Obama-era climate change regulations.

"We still uphold that all sides should move with the times, grasp the opportunities, fulfill their promises and earnestly take proactive steps to jointly push the enforcement of (the Paris) agreement," he said at a briefing.

"No matter how other countries' policies on climate change change, as a responsible large developing country China's resolve, aims and policy moves in dealing with climate change will not change."

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; writing by Josephine Mason; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

 

Partizan Belgrade European ban lifted after CAS appeal

 
‎Yesterday, ‎March ‎28, ‎2017, ‏‎12:35:31 PMGo to full article
REUTERS: Partizan Belgrade's European ban over unpaid debts was lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Tuesday after the Serbian club provided evidence that they had cleared overdue payments to various parties.

UEFA said in January that Partizan had outstanding debts with other clubs, employees, and local social security and tax authorities, which is in breach of European club competition licensing regulations.

European football's governing body opted to exclude the club from participating in the next UEFA club competition it would otherwise qualify over the next three seasons, a decision Partizan appealed against with the sports tribunal organisation.

Partizan gave evidence to clarify their position with the tax authorities and that they had made a "timely payment" of their debt with the other parties involved.

"Taking into account the fact that FK Partizan has satisfied this condition, the club will be eligible to compete in future UEFA club competitions," CAS said in a statement.

(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru)

 

Noble son or killer? China court case prompts debate

 
‎Yesterday, ‎March ‎28, ‎2017, ‏‎12:33:42 PMGo to full article
BEIJING: A virtuous son or a vigilante murderer: the case of a man who killed a debt collector in defence of his mother has sparked heated debate in China, as an appeal court decides whether to uphold his life sentence.

Social media erupted after 22-year-old Yu Huan was convicted for stabbing to death a man who had beaten and humiliated his parent.

Yu Huan is appealing against his life sentence for the kiling of a debt collector he says attacked(Photo:AFP)

In a country where law enforcement is weak and frequently seen as corrupt, some web users saw his actions as a proportionate and justified response when police failed to step in.

Others have insisted that "the law is the law" and Yu should serve his full term. The public fury has reached such a fever pitch that the Supreme People's Procuratorate, China's highest investigation agency, has opened a rare probe into the incident.

'DON'T USE YOUR FISTS'
 

Court documents reveal that Yu Huan's mother, Su Yinxia had borrowed more than one million yuan (US$145,000) for her auto parts manufacturing company from a local real estate developer.

Little by little, she told police, she had paid him back 1.5 million yuan. But the 10 per cent monthly interest payments kept piling up, making it difficult for her to get out from under her debt.

The developer, Wu Xuezhan - who has reportedly been detained by police for connections to organised crime - sent a gang of loan collectors to Su's factory in April 2015, where, Su says, they began yelling at her and her son.

Yu says a man named Du Zhihao then exposed himself.

A police officer arrived on the scene a short time later, witnesses claim, but rather than stepping in to stop the abuse, he issued a mild warning: "If you're here to settle debts don't fight, don't use your fists - just talk it out."

After the officer left, a fracas erupted.

Su insists the debt collectors started the violence. But Yu finished it, pulling out a fruit knife and stabbing four of the men, including Du, who died from blood loss. The debt collectors deny Su and Yu's claims that they had hit and humiliated them.

Yu was convicted of intentionally causing harm that resulted in death, and sentenced to life. Wu has since been arrested for gang-related activities, according to local media.

'WHAT IS THE LAW FOR?'
 

Much of the discussion on social media has centred on whether the country's rule of law has deteriorated to the extent that children need to step in to protect their parents when authorities fail to help.

"If the law doesn't bring justice to this kind of person, what is the law for, anyway?" asked one user on the Weibo social network. "If anyone dared do that to my mom, I'd kill them right away," wrote another.

It is a sticky issue for the government, which has strongly promoted filial piety - even passing laws requiring children to visit their parents - as part of a nation-wide push to promote traditional values.

In an unusual critique of law enforcement, the nationalistic Global Times on Sunday called for Yu to receive a fair sentence.

"We welcome the Supreme People's Procuratorate's probe into whether Yu was legitimately acting in self-defence and whether the police officers' behaviour can be considered a dereliction of duty," the column said.

Yu's lawyer, Yin Qingli, told AFP he was hopeful his client would be shown leniency by the Shandong Higher People's Court when it hears the appeal. "Under the present circumstances, I believe there is a very high chance that Yu Huan's sentence will be changed," Yin said.

 

Riots in Paris after Chinese man shot dead

 
‎Yesterday, ‎March ‎28, ‎2017, ‏‎12:20:50 PMGo to full article
PARIS/BEIJING: French police said on Tuesday they opened an inquiry after a Chinese man was shot dead by police at his Paris home, triggering riots in the French capital by members of the Chinese community and a diplomatic protest by Beijing.

The shooting on Sunday, which led China's foreign ministry to call in a French diplomat, brought about a 100 members of the French-Chinese community on to the streets in Paris's main Chinatown district on Monday night.

Some protesters threw projectiles outside the district's police headquarters and a number of vehicles were torched in a confrontation with riot police.

Media reports said a 56-year-old man of Chinese origin was shot dead at his home on Sunday night in front of his family after police were called to investigate an altercation with a neighbour.

Police said the man attacked police with scissors, adding that an inquiry had been opened. The man's family, according to media reports, denied this and some media said he was holding scissors because he had been cutting fish.

Police said they questioned 35 people after Monday's street protests and three members of the police had been treated for slight injuries, they said.

In Beijing, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday it had summoned a French diplomat to explain events. It also sought a thorough investigation by French authorities and steps to be ensure the safety of Chinese citizens in France.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Simon Carraud; Writing by Richard Balmforth)

 

Initial public offerings in Britain hit five-year low ahead of Brexit

 
‎Yesterday, ‎March ‎28, ‎2017, ‏‎12:15:47 PMGo to full article
LONDON: Initial public offerings (IPOs) by companies based in Britain have raised US$1.53 billion so far in 2017, a 28 percent decline on last year and the lowest year-to-date total since 2012 as Britain prepares to leave the EU, Thomson Reuters data shows.

With London set to begin the process of leaving the European Union on Wednesday, and elections in France and Germany later this year, the number of suitable windows to launch IPOs in Britain and Europe is expected to be limited.

Rain clouds pass over Canary Wharf financial financial district in London

South Africa's Brait SE suspended plans to list on the London Stock Exchange on March 24, citing uncertainty over Brexit.

The caution in Britain contrasts sharply with the rest of the world where proceeds from IPOs have more than doubled, year-to-date, compared with 2016, to total US$29.4 billion, including the floatation of messaging app Snap Inc , which raised US$3.4 billion in March.

In 2016, equity raising globally fell by more than a quarter, Thomson Reuters data showed, hit by geopolitical shocks and a string of failed IPOs, and bankers said the outlook for 2017 looked shaky.

But there have been more fresh stock market listings so far this year globally than any other year-to-date period since 2000, with 302 offerings priced.

However, so far this year only eight British companies have gone public, the slowest start since 2013, the data showed.

Since Britain voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, the value of IPOs has declined 54 percent and the number of deals has fallen by 30 percent, the data showed.

(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

 

Vietnamese complained of pain before death in Japan detention centre, detainees say

 
‎Yesterday, ‎March ‎28, ‎2017, ‏‎12:15:34 PMGo to full article
TOKYO: A Vietnamese man who died in a solitary cell at a Japanese immigration detention centre complained of pain throughout his detention for a week before his death, fellow detainees said.

The death was the 13th in Japan's detention system since 2006, a toll that has provoked sustained criticism from activists and a watchdog overseeing the centres about conditions prevailing there.

In a handwritten note seen by Reuters on Tuesday, six detainees said the man, Nguyen The Hung repeatedly told guards he was suffering from pain after his arrival at the East Japan Immigration Center in mid-March.

Nguyen complained of pains in his neck and head, the detainees added.

An official at the centre northeast of Tokyo, the capital, declined to comment, beyond a statement on Monday that a Vietnamese man in his forties had been found unconscious there on Saturday and later pronounced dead.

A Vietnamese nun, citing information from the Vietnamese embassy in Tokyo, told Reuters Nguyen had killed himself at the facility in the prefecture of Ibaraki.

The embassy did not immediately reply to telephone and email requests for comment.

Nguyen was prescribed painkillers by a doctor at the centre on Wednesday, the detainees said in their letter, only for guards to ignore his later complaints of pain and admonish him to be quiet.

A Reuters investigation into the death of a Sri Lankan held in a solitary cell at a Tokyo detention centre revealed serious gaps in medical care and monitoring of people held in Japan's immigration detention system.

The cause of Nguyen's death has not been announced. The centre and the country's Justice Ministry, which oversees detention centres, have said the authorities would perform an autopsy.

The East Japan Immigration Center held 297 detainees at the end of last year, according to the Justice Ministry.

(Reporting by Thomas Wilson; Editing by William Mallard and Clarence Fernandez)

 

 

 

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