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Cock of the walk: Trump to thrive in Year of the Rooster

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎18 minutes agoGo to full article
Feng shui masters such as Thierry Chow say the year of the rooster will be marked by arguments and aggressionUS president Donald Trump will strut through the Year of the Rooster, thriving as Hong Kong geomancers predict 2017 will be marked by the arguments and aggression -- characteristics attributed to the animal. With Trump at the top of the pecking order, the volatile traits of the rooster -- combined with the year's signature element of fire -- mean rocky times ahead, particularly in the western world, feng shui masters say. "The rooster likes to pick fights, loves to have verbal arguments and is combative," Hong Kong soothsayer Thierry Chow told AFP.
 
 

Global stock indexes mixed as Trump uncertainties mount

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
A woman is reflected on an electronic stock indicator of a securities firm in Tokyo, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. Asian shares were mixed Tuesday as uncertainty mounted over U.S. President Donald Trump's trade and regulatory policies. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)TOKYO (AP) — Global financial markets were mixed Tuesday as uncertainty mounted over President Donald Trump's trade and regulatory policies.
 
 

Thai court muzzles media as trafficking defence begins

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
Some of the dozens of people arrested in a crackdown on human trafficking arrive in court to present their defenceDozens of people including a general arrested in Thailand's crackdown on human trafficking appeared in court on Tuesday to begin presenting their defence but journalists were barred from reporting trial proceedings. The kingdom has long been a major hub for human trafficking and people-smuggling, with officials accused of turning a blind eye and even of complicity. Thailand's junta launched a belated crackdown in 2015, a move that uncovered grim camps on the Thai-Malaysia border and led to dozens of arrests.
 
 

Women's fights a strong part of ONE's expansion plans

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
In this May 6, 2016, photo, mixed martial arts ONE Women's Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee of Singapore, left, fights Mei Yamaguchi of Japan. The head of ONE Championship, Asia's leading mixed martial arts promoter, is aiming to almost triple the current number of events per year as it chases an ambitious expansion agenda. (ONE Championship via AP) ​​BANGKOK (AP) — The head of ONE Championship, Asia's leading mixed martial arts promoter, is aiming to almost triple the current number of events per year as it chases an ambitious expansion agenda.
 
 

If Trump ends America's world leadership, who will step up?

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎10 hours agoGo to full article
President Donald Trump signs an executive order to withdraw the U.S. from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact agreed to under the Obama administration, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's pursuit of an "America first" foreign policy is raising questions about who, if anyone, will fill the void if the U.S. relinquishes its traditional global leadership role. China and Russia are among the aspirants for greater economic and military influence, while an ambivalent Germany could emerge as the West's moral compass.
 
 

Trump White House vows to stop China taking South China Sea islands

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎11 hours agoGo to full article
President Trump signs executive orders at the White House in WashingtonBy David Brunnstrom and Matt Spetalnick WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The new U.S. administration of President Donald Trump vowed on Monday that the United States would prevent China from taking over territory in international waters in the South China Sea, something Chinese state media has warned would require Washington to "wage war." The comments at a briefing from White House spokesman Sean Spicer signaled a sharp departure from years of cautious U.S. handling of China's assertive pursuit of territory claims in Asia, just days after Trump took office on Friday. "The U.S. is going to make sure that we protect our interests there," Spicer said when asked if Trump agreed with comments by his Secretary of State nominee, Rex Tillerson, on Jan. 11 that China should not be allowed access to islands it has built in the contested South China Sea.
 
 

France's Hollande says EU to talk trade with Pacific Alliance

 
‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎23, ‎2017, ‏‎11:12:16 PMGo to full article
France's President Hollande and his Colombian counterpart Santos talk during a welcome ceremony for Hollande outside the presidential palace in BogotaFrench President Francois Hollande said on Monday that he would seek to bolster trade and investment with the Pacific Alliance trade bloc in joint negotiations with the European Union. The Pacific Alliance, which includes Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru, is a vehicle aimed at increasing regional exports and attract investment from Asia. "France and Europe want to have a commercial relationship with the Pacific Alliance," Hollande said in a statement after signing agreements on tourism, education and security with his Colombia counterpart Juan Manuel Santos.
 
 

Glad to see Obama go, Gulf Arabs expect Trump to counter Iran

 
‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎23, ‎2017, ‏‎7:24:54 PMGo to full article
Former president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle board Special Air Mission 28000, a Boeing 747 which serves as Air Force One, at Joint Base Andrews, MarylandBy William Maclean DUBAI (Reuters) - Gulf Arab states are quietly applauding the arrival in the White House of a hawkish leader opposed to their adversary Iran, even if they suspect Donald Trump's short temper and abrasive Tweets may at times heighten tensions in the combustible Middle East. While many countries around the world listened with concern to his protectionist inaugural address, Gulf Arab officials appear optimistic. In Gulf Arab eyes, that involves above all checking what they see as a surge of Iranian support for paramilitary allies in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon and for fellow Shi'ite Muslims in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia's oil-producing Eastern Province.
 
 

Erdogan asks Tanzania to act against Gulen network

 
‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎23, ‎2017, ‏‎5:23:34 PMGo to full article
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Tanzanian counterpart John Pombe Magufuli arrive at State House in Dar es Salaam on January 23, 2017Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday asked his Tanzanian counterpart John Magufuli to take action against the network of an exiled cleric he blames for last year's failed coup. The Hizmet movement run by US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, is linked to a network of schools across the world, including in Africa, and the Turkish president is rallying leaders on the continent to help him fight the influence of his longtime rival. "The party that wants to overthrow me isn't only in Turkey... I am convinced that Tanzania will from now on take measures against this terrorist organisation," Erdogan said after meeting Magufuli.
 
 

Swiss asylum requests plunge 31 percent in 2016

 
‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎23, ‎2017, ‏‎4:55:40 PMGo to full article
Migrants from Eritrea wait for their meal at the former Auberge du Chalet-a-Gobet in LausanneRequests for asylum in Switzerland plunged by nearly a third to around 27,200 last year after authorities closed the Balkan land route used by thousands to flee hot spots in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, the SEM migration agency said on Monday. In December alone, requests for asylum fell 64 percent from a year earlier, bringing the full-year drop to 31 percent after the Balkan route was interrupted in March and Swiss authorities took a tough line on the border with Italy last summer. Neutral and landlocked Switzerland got just a fraction of the roughly 1.3 million requests for asylum across Europe last year as countries continued to process the wave of people that arrived in 2015, SEM said in a statement.
 
 

Recent developments surrounding the South China Sea

 
‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎23, ‎2017, ‏‎3:29:02 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Jan. 12, 2017 file photo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, shakes hands with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte following their joint statement at the Malacanang Palace in Manila during his two-day official visit to the Philippines. China is not happy with Abe’s high-profile visits to the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam over concerns that he may be trying to pull the rug under Beijing’s efforts to pacify its neighbors in and around the South China Sea. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)BANGKOK (AP) — A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves:
 
 

Panel's report support letting Japan's emperor abdicate

 
‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎23, ‎2017, ‏‎3:05:11 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 file photo, Japan's Emperor Akihito reads a statement to formally open the ordinary Diet session at the upper house of parliament in Tokyo. A Japanese government panel studying a possible abdication of the emperor is set to release Monday, Jan. 23, an interim report that supports enacting special legislation that is applicable only to him. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)TOKYO (AP) — A government panel studying a possible abdication of Japanese Emperor Akihito released an interim report Monday in favor of enacting special legislation that would apply to him but not to future monarchs.
 
 

Philippines tells outsiders not to use ASEAN as 'proxy' for rivalry

 
‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎23, ‎2017, ‏‎2:46:13 PMGo to full article
The Philippines told countries outside Southeast Asia on Monday not to use the region as "a proxy for their rivalry" as it wanted to preserve unity and establish a mechanism to resolve disputes in the South China Sea. The Philippines is chairman of the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) this year and will host its annual meetings, some of which are joined by outside powers including China and the United States. The issue of territorial disputes in the South China Sea pitting China against several Southeast Asian countries has in recent years emerged as a source of friction in the bloc.
 

Gulf-backed Yemeni forces push into Red Sea coast city: officials

 
‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎23, ‎2017, ‏‎1:50:46 PMGo to full article
Members of the Yemeni army ride on the back of military trucks near the Red Sea coast city of al-MokhaYemeni army forces backed by Gulf Arabs fought their way into the Red Sea coast city of al-Mokha on Monday, military officials said, pushing out Iran-allied Houthi militia. A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen's civil war nearly two years ago to back President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after he was ousted from the capital Sanaa by Houthi forces. The so-called National Army loyal to Hadi entered the port area on Mokha's southwestern edge, an army official said.
 
 

Global stocks slip amid concern over Trump policies on trade

 
‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎23, ‎2017, ‏‎1:45:20 PMGo to full article
A man looks at an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. Japanese stocks tumbled Monday after Donald Trump took office as U.S. president and promised “American first” policies, prompting concern about possible protectionism. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)BEIJING (AP) — Major global stock markets mostly fell on Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump promised "America first" policies, adding to concern about possible trade protectionism.
 
 

Correction: Pushing Asia's Buttons story

 
‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎23, ‎2017, ‏‎1:11:24 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Nov. 10, 2016, file photo, a TV screen shows images of then U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, right, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea takes offense first, and most regularly, with Japan, largely over disputes stemming from Tokyo’s 35-year colonization of the Korean Peninsula in the early 20th century. But President Trump has proven surprisingly good at pushing buttons in Seoul in recent months. During his campaign, Trump suggested that the United States would let South Korea defend itself from North Korean aggression if Seoul didn’t pay more for the stationing of 28,500 American troops in the country. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)In a story Jan. 23 about sensitive subjects for Asian countries, The Associated Press reported erroneously that communications giant Huawei has been kept out of the U.S. market. It does sell products in the U.S.
 
 

AP PHOTOS: Editor selections from the past week in Asia

 
‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎23, ‎2017, ‏‎12:49:47 PMGo to full article
In this Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 photo, protesters burn a mock U.S. flag during a rally in front of the U.S. Embassy to coincide with the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States, in Manila, Philippines. Left-wing and Muslim activists have asked President Rodrigo Duterte in a noisy protest to keep his promise of charting a foreign policy independent of America by staying away from Trump. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)The inauguration of President Donald Trump drove many in Asia to the streets, with Filipino protesters burning a mock U.S. flag bearing Trump's image and thousands of Australians joining in a march in Sydney.
 
 

China urges Trump administration to grasp importance of 'one China'

 
‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎23, ‎2017, ‏‎12:48:46 PMGo to full article
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the Inaugural Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders Reception in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington.The new U.S. administration must fully understand the importance of the "one China" policy and appreciate that the issue of Taiwan is highly sensitive for the Beijing government, China said on Monday. U.S. President Donald Trump, who was inaugurated on Friday, said in December the United States did not necessarily have to stick to its long-standing position that Taiwan is part of "one China". Earlier, Trump broke with decades of precedent by taking a telephone call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.
 
 

Recent developments surrounding the South China Sea

 
‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎23, ‎2017, ‏‎5:34:27 AMGo to full article
FILE - In this Jan. 12, 2017 file photo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, shakes hands with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte following their joint statement at the Malacanang Palace in Manila during his two-day official visit to the Philippines. China is not happy with Abe’s high-profile visits to the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam over concerns that he may be trying to pull the rug under Beijing’s efforts to pacify its neighbors in and around the South China Sea. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)BANGKOK (AP) — A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves:
 
 

Heart-throb Grigor Dimitrov says love matches delayed rise

 
‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎23, ‎2017, ‏‎2:29:53 AMGo to full article
Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov celebrates his win against Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin in the fourth round of the Australian Open in Melbourne on January 23, 2017Maria Sharapova's ex-boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov admitted his relationships may have delayed his emergence as a top player as he extended his hot streak at the Australian Open on Monday. The Bulgarian heart-throb has long been touted as one of tennis's next big things, but he reached only his third major quarter-final with his win over giant-killer Denis Istomin.
 
 

Erdogan visits Africa eyeing action on nemesis' network

 
‎Sunday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎5:21:07 PMGo to full article
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech at the Presidential complex in Ankara, on January 19, 2017Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan flew to Tanzania Sunday to start a three-nation east Africa tour seeking action against the network of an exiled cleric he blames for last year's failed coup. At issue is an international network of charities and schools affiliated with a movement run by US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, Erdogan's nemesis, which has been routinely accused by Ankara of coordinating "terrorist activities". "We will raise the issue of FETO's activities in African countries like Tanzania, Mozambique and others," Erdogan told reporters, referring to Gulen's network which he dubs the Fethullah Terror Organisation (FETO).
 
 

Women lead unprecedented worldwide mass protests against Trump

 
‎Sunday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎3:44:05 PMGo to full article
Hundreds of thousands march down Pennsylvania Avenue during the Women's March in WashingtonHundreds of thousands of women filled the streets of major American cities to lead an unprecedented wave of international protests against President Donald Trump, mocking and denouncing the new U.S. leader the day after his inauguration. Women activists, outraged by Trump's campaign rhetoric and behavior they found to be especially misogynistic, spearheaded scores of marches in the United States and sympathy rallies around the world on Saturday. Organizers said they drew nearly 5 million protesters in all, far surpassing crowd expectations.
 
 

Indonesian authorities detain 17 nationals returning from Syria

 
‎Sunday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎1:54:04 PMGo to full article
Indonesian authorities have detained 17 nationals returning from Syria, including children, suspected of being involved in radical activity, officials told Reuters on Sunday. Immigration office spokesman Agung Sampurno said the people, including a two year-old girl and a three year-old boy, were arrested at Soekarno-Hatta airport upon disembarking an Istanbul-Jakarta Turkish Airline flight on Saturday. If not, they will be handed over to their families," the chief of Densus 88, police's anti-terrorism unit, Eddy Hartono told Reuters.
 

Ugandan engineers invent 'smart jacket' to diagnose pneumonia

 
‎Sunday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎11:48:35 AMGo to full article
The "Mama-Ope" (Mother's Hope) kit, invented by Ugandan engineers, is a biomedical smart jacket and a mobile phone app that diagnoses pneumonia faster than a doctorA team of Ugandan engineers has invented a "smart jacket" that diagnoses pneumonia faster than a doctor, offering hope against a disease which kills more children worldwide than any other. The idea came to Olivia Koburongo, 26, after her grandmother fell ill, and was moved from hospital to hospital before being properly diagnosed with pneumonia. "It was now too late to save her," said Koburongo.
 
 

In challenge to Trump, women protesters swarm streets across U.S.

 
‎Sunday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎7:12:21 AMGo to full article
Madonna performs at the Women's March in WashingtonHundreds of thousands of women, many with husbands, boyfriends and children in tow, filled the streets of several major U.S. cities on Saturday in an unprecedented wave of mass protests against President Donald Trump the day after his inauguration. Women activists, galvanized by Trump campaign rhetoric and behavior they found to be especially misogynistic, spearheaded scores of U.S. marches and sympathy rallies around the world that organizers said drew nearly 5 million protesters in all. The demonstrations, far surpassing crowd expectations, highlighted strong discontent over Trump's comments and policy positions toward a wide range of groups, including Mexican immigrants, Muslims, the disabled and environmentalists.
 
 

India turns to AI as cyber warfare threats grow

 
‎Sunday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎5:52:37 AMGo to full article
Tech start-up Innefu is developing AI systems for use by Indian intelligence-gathering agenciesIn the darkened offices of a tech start-up, a handful of computer engineers sifts through a mountain of intelligence data that would normally be the work of a small army of Indian security agents. "We use artificial intelligence (AI) to look for patterns in the past to predict future behaviour," says Tarun Wig as he explains why he hopes his company Innefu can do more business with India's government. While other countries have long relied on AI to gather intelligence, India -- sometimes seemingly addicted to paperwork -- has continued to use agents to eyeball reams of data gathered over the years.
 
 

Myanmar's remote Wa State suffers as fewer Chinese come to party

 
‎Sunday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎4:25:18 AMGo to full article
Students write in books during a Chinese language lesson in a school at Namtit, Wa territory in northeast MyanmarBy Yimou Lee and Antoni Slodkowski PANGSAN, Myanmar (Reuters) - In a remote casino in northeastern Myanmar, China's pervasive campaign against graft has taken its toll. Hundreds of local traders and farmers place petty bets as low as 10 cents, outnumbering a few Chinese who were once the VIPs of a gambling hall decorated with chandeliers and Renaissance-style paintings. "The business has been really bad since Chinese tourists stopped coming," said casino waitress Ling Ling who was considering leaving Pangsan, capital of the self-proclaimed Wa State that borders China, to look for better paying jobs.
 
 

In challenge to Trump, women protesters swarm streets across U.S.

 
‎Sunday, ‎January ‎22, ‎2017, ‏‎12:16:29 AMGo to full article
Madonna performs at the Women's March in WashingtonBy Emily Stephenson and Scott Malone WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Women took to the streets in unexpectedly large numbers in major U.S. cities on Saturday to stage mass protests against U.S. President Donald Trump, in an early indication of the strong public opposition the Republican may face in office. Hundreds of thousands of women -- many wearing pink knit hats -- fanned out through downtown Washington around the White House and other landmarks, and also thronged parts of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston to rebuke Trump on his first full day in office. Trump has angered many liberal Americans with comments seen as demeaning to women, Mexicans and Muslims, and worried some abroad with his inaugural vow on Friday to put "America First" in his decision making.
 
 

World jittery about Trump's 'America first' inaugural speech

 
‎Saturday, ‎January ‎21, ‎2017, ‏‎8:00:29 PMGo to full article
A private security tries to prevent the media from taking pictures as protesters picket the Trump Tower hours after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, in the financial district of Makati city east Manila, Philippines. Pledging emphatically to empower America's "forgotten men and women," Donald Trump was sworn in as President of the United States on Friday, taking command of a riven nation facing an unpredictable era under his assertive but untested leadership. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)President Donald Trump's inaugural speech promised "America first" policy led by a forceful executive, in contrast to the coalition building and international conferences which have featured strongly in past administrations.
 
 

Women protest against Trump on streets of Europe's capitals

 
‎Saturday, ‎January ‎21, ‎2017, ‏‎4:29:04 PMGo to full article
A protester takes part in the Women's March on London, as they walk from the American Embassy to Trafalgar Square, in central LondonBy Stephen Addison and Shadia Nasralla LONDON/VIENNA (Reuters) - Thousands of women took to the streets of European capitals to join "sister marches" in Asia against newly installed U.S. President Trump ahead of a major rally in Washington expected to draw nearly a quarter of a million people. Waving banners with slogans like "Special relationship, just say no" and "Nasty women unite," the demonstrators gathered outside the American embassy in Grosvenor Square before heading to a rally in central Trafalgar Square. Worldwide some 670 marches were planned, according to the organizers' website which says more than two million marchers are expected to protest against Trump, who was sworn in as the 45th U.S. president on Friday.
 
 

Scott joint leader as storm disrupts Singapore Open golf

 
‎Saturday, ‎January ‎21, ‎2017, ‏‎3:13:14 PMGo to full article
Australian Adam Scott, playing in the final group at the Singapore Open, was on the 14th hole when play was abandoned for the day in drizzling rainAustralia’s Adam Scott was among four players tied for the lead at the Singapore Open on Saturday when a tropical storm and fading light forced the suspension of the third round. Already behind schedule after Southeast Asia's fickle weather disrupted the opening day, the storm left Asian Tour officials scrambling to finish the US$1million tournament on time. Organisers face the possibility of a Monday finish after heavy rain resulted in more long delays at the Sentosa Golf Club.
 
 

President Trump acts swiftly at dawn of new era

 
‎Saturday, ‎January ‎21, ‎2017, ‏‎12:04:03 PMGo to full article
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump dance at the Liberty Ball at the Washington DC Convention CenterPresident Donald Trump assumed power with a fiercely nationalistic vow to put "America first," taking a stinging swipe at the legacy of his predecessor hours after reciting the oath of office. "From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land," Trump said, promising an end to business-as-usual in Washington. Adhering to his vow to immediately start dismantling the healthcare reforms passed by outgoing president Barack Obama, Trump signed his first executive order in the Oval Office, targeting Obamacare.
 
 

World reacts to Trump's 'America first' inaugural speech

 
‎Saturday, ‎January ‎21, ‎2017, ‏‎6:48:20 AMGo to full article
A private security tries to prevent the media from taking pictures as protesters picket the Trump Tower hours after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, in the financial district of Makati city east Manila, Philippines. Pledging emphatically to empower America's "forgotten men and women," Donald Trump was sworn in as President of the United States on Friday, taking command of a riven nation facing an unpredictable era under his assertive but untested leadership. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)President Donald Trump's inaugural speech promised "America first" policy, but offered no specifics about America's place in the world.
 
 

Germany must prepare for 'rough ride' under Trump: Vice Chancellor

 
‎Saturday, ‎January ‎21, ‎2017, ‏‎1:51:11 AMGo to full article
German Economy Minister Gabriel addresses a news conference in Berlin GermanyBy Joseph Nasr BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany will need a new economic strategy geared toward Asia should the new U.S. administration start a trade war with China, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said on Friday, warning against protectionism hours after President Donald Trump was sworn in. "I think we have to prepare for a rough ride," Gabriel said in an interview with the public broadcaster ZDF, in the first official German reaction to Trump's inauguration.
 
 

British protesters tell Trump from Tower Bridge: 'Build bridges not walls'

 
‎Friday, ‎January ‎20, ‎2017, ‏‎10:22:17 PMGo to full article
Demonstrators hang a banner from Tower Bridge during a protest against the inauguration of Donald Trump as U.S. President, in LondonBy Alistair Smout and Luke Bridges LONDON (Reuters) - A banner reading "Build bridges not walls" was draped across London's Tower Bridge as part of several protests in Europe and Asia on Friday against the inauguration of Donald Trump as U.S. president. There were also demonstrations in Japan, the Philippines and Belgium, where hundreds of people held a minute's silence, lighting candles in Friday evening's bitter cold and holding signs defending women's rights. In the Scottish capital, banners on Edinburgh's North Bridge read "Women rise up" and "There is no Planet B" - a reference to Trump's perceived lack of interest in combating climate change.
 
 

Donald Trump set to be sworn in as US president

 
‎Friday, ‎January ‎20, ‎2017, ‏‎6:23:31 PMGo to full article
Barack Obama (right) pictured with Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, DC on January 20, 2017Donald Trump was on the cusp of taking power as the 45th president of the United States Friday -- ushering in a new political era that has been cheered and feared in equal measure. "Mr President-elect, how are you?" Obama asked his successor, after having deposited a letter in the Resolute desk and left the Oval Office for the last time. After morning tea, Trump, Obama and their wives Melania and Michelle traveled the 2.5 miles (four kilometers) down Pennsylvania Avenue to the swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol.
 
 

Pakistan orders shutdown of rights groups over 'anti-state' activities

 
‎Friday, ‎January ‎20, ‎2017, ‏‎3:48:51 PMGo to full article
By Saad Sayeed ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Authorities in Pakistan's largest province have ordered several women's and human rights groups to shut down, accusing them of unspecified "anti-state" activities, an official of a human rights group said. Pakistan has toughened its stance against local and international non-government bodies in recent years, accusing some of using their work as a cover for espionage. "They are shutting up people by harassment," I.A. Rehman, an official of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, told Reuters on Thursday.
 

Former head of southern fleet appointed to lead China's navy

 
‎Friday, ‎January ‎20, ‎2017, ‏‎12:19:19 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, file photo, Chinese Navy officials stand in front of the ship Daqing, in San Diego. China has appointed the former head of its southern fleet as the new commander of its increasingly powerful navy. Vice Adm. Shen Jinlong takes command of a sprawling force that is growing in both size and modernity as China seeks to assert its regional maritime claims and project strength far from its shores. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)BEIJING (AP) — China's increasingly powerful navy received a new commander on Friday with the appointment of the former head of the southern fleet responsible for securing the disputed South China Sea.
 
 

Global shares steady ahead of Trump's inauguration

 
‎Friday, ‎January ‎20, ‎2017, ‏‎11:12:52 AMGo to full article
FILE - This July 15, 2013, file photo, shows the New York Stock Exchange. World stocks were mostly lower Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, ahead of comments from the European Central Bank's president and after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signaled more interest rate increases in the months to come. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Global shares were steady in cautious trading Friday ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. China's report that its economy grew at a 6.8 percent pace in October-December was in line with expectations.
 
 

Freed Myanmar farmers renew fight against army over land

 
‎Friday, ‎January ‎20, ‎2017, ‏‎9:57:24 AMGo to full article
Maw Maw Oo, 45, talks to reporters during a Reuters interview outside Yebu village in Shwenyaung township, Shan state, MyanmarBy Wa Lone YANGON (Reuters) - Farmers locked in a land dispute with Myanmar's armed forces pledged to renew their fight after being released from jail on Friday, in a case testing leader Aung San Suu Kyi's resolve to challenge the military's economic interests. Maw Maw Oo, a leader among the 55 villagers released, said they would seek government help to resolve the dispute in Ye Bu, a village in eastern Myanmar's Shan State. Suu Kyi's ruling National League for Democracy came to power in April after an election victory in part driven by rural anger over land seizures under military rule.
 
 

Japan PM pledges 'unchanging' allegiance to US under Trump

 
‎Friday, ‎January ‎20, ‎2017, ‏‎9:42:35 AMGo to full article
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers his policy speech during a Diet session at the lower house of parliament in Tokyo, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. Abe said Friday that he plans to visit the U.S. as soon as possible to meet with President-elect Donald Trump. Speaking on the eve of Trump's inauguration, he called the U.S.-Japan alliance an "unchanging principle" for his country's foreign and security policy.(AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday that he plans to visit the U.S. as soon as possible to meet with incoming U.S. President Donald Trump.
 
 

Japan PM aims to strengthen U.S. alliance under President Trump

 
‎Friday, ‎January ‎20, ‎2017, ‏‎9:39:09 AMGo to full article
Japan's PM Abe and DPM and Finance Minister Aso attend the ordinary session of parliament in TokyoBy Kiyoshi Takenaka TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaking in parliament hours before U.S. President-elect Donald Trump takes office, said on Friday he wanted to further strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance. Trump sparked worries in Tokyo and the rest of the Asia-Pacific with campaign comments which included a pledge to make allies pay more for the security provided by U.S. forces and opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. This is an immutable principle," Abe said in his policy speech at the start of the regular parliament session.
 
 

Guzman extradition opens door to new cartel

 
‎Friday, ‎January ‎20, ‎2017, ‏‎8:31:07 AMGo to full article
Joaquin Guzman aka "El Chapo" (C) is escorted by Mexican police during his extradition to the United States on January 19, 2017, in Ciudad JuarezMexican drug baron Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's powerful Sinaloa cartel will likely survive his extradition to the United States, but a well-armed rival gang could intensify a war to seize his empire. Analysts often compare the Sinaloa cartel -- with its multi-billion-dollar drug business spanning the globe -- to an international corporation strong enough to withstand the loss of its CEO. Thursday's extradition "is a great moral victory, but it's not going to have any impact on the Sinaloa cartel," Mike Vigil, a former senior US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) official, told AFP.
 
 

Mexico extradites drug lord 'El Chapo' to U.S. on eve of Trump inauguration

 
‎Friday, ‎January ‎20, ‎2017, ‏‎7:50:09 AMGo to full article
Drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted by soldiers during a presentation in Mexico CityCIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Mexico extradited its drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to New York on Thursday, likely ending a decades-long criminal career that included two jail breaks and a lead role in a national drug war, the day before Donald Trump assumes the U.S. presidency. Mexican officials said the timing of the move was both a last-minute gift to outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama and an olive branch to Trump, who has regularly insulted Mexico and threatened to tear up the NAFTA trade agreement that underpins its economy. Guzman, 59, arrived in a small jet at Long Island's MacArthur Airport after nightfall and left in a column of vehicles.
 
 

Mexico's 'Chapo': From selling candy to selling drugs

 
‎Friday, ‎January ‎20, ‎2017, ‏‎2:05:21 AMGo to full article
Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin Guzman Loera aka "el Chapo Guzman" escorted by marines in Mexico CityJoaquin Guzman has recounted that he had humble beginnings, selling oranges and candy when he was a child in his hometown in Mexico's northwestern mountains. The man nicknamed "El Chapo," or Shorty for his small stature, eventually graduated to the more lucrative fields of marijuana and opium poppies, growing into the world's most wanted drug lord. After two legendary prison breaks, Guzman was finally corralled by Mexican marines in January 2016 and extradited to the United States on Thursday, ending his decades-long cat-and-mouse game with the authorities.
 
 

US stocks, dollar fall ahead of Trump inauguration

 
‎Friday, ‎January ‎20, ‎2017, ‏‎12:44:21 AMGo to full article
The Dow Jones index fell 0.2 percent to 19,773.46 points ahead of US President-elect Donald Trump's inaugurationUS stocks retreated and the dollar fell against most currencies Thursday in the final session before the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. Equities elsewhere were mixed, with Japan's Nikkei climbing on a weaker yen, while European equities fell modestly after the European Central Bank kept interest rates low and adopted a generally dovish stance on monetary policy. Some analysts described heightened uncertainty about Trump among investors in the US, including over his comments this week that the US dollar was too high.
 
 

May vows 'open' Britain as banks shift jobs from London

 
‎Thursday, ‎January ‎19, ‎2017, ‏‎8:21:01 PMGo to full article
British Prime Minister Theresa May addresses the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on January 19, 2017Prime Minister Theresa May told the world's elite on Thursday that Britain would become a champion for business and free trade despite Brexit, even as major banks said they planned to shift jobs out of London. May, speaking on the eve of Donald Trump's inauguration as US president, sought to reassure the World Economic Forum in Davos that Britain's vote to quit the European Union did not signal a retreat into protectionism. May added that Britain will "seek the freedom to strike new trade deals with old friends and new allies right around the world".
 
 

$460-mn vaccine push to 'outsmart' viruses

 
‎Thursday, ‎January ‎19, ‎2017, ‏‎7:09:16 PMGo to full article
About 11,300 people died in a 2013-16 Ebola epidemic in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone -- the worst outbreak by far in the disease's 40-year historyWith the world still reeling from outbreaks of deadly Ebola and baby-deforming Zika, governments and charities launched a $460-million (431 million-euro) initiative Thursday to "outsmart" infectious epidemics. The goal is to develop vaccines with which to contain outbreaks before they become global health emergencies, the creators of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos. "We know that epidemics are among the significant threats we face to life, health and prosperity," said Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, a health research charity which backs the project.
 
 

Wenger concerned Chinese wages become benchmark for players

 
‎Thursday, ‎January ‎19, ‎2017, ‏‎5:57:17 PMGo to full article
Arsenal's Mesut Ozil, right, Swansea City's Nathan Dyer battle for the ball during the English Premier League soccer match between Swansea City and Arsenal at the Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017.(Nick Potts/PA via AP)LONDON (AP) — Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is hoping the high quality of competition in Europe will keep players from leaving for the financial gain in China.
 
 

London mayor warns Asia, New York will win out from Brexit

 
‎Thursday, ‎January ‎19, ‎2017, ‏‎4:25:29 PMGo to full article
London Mayor Sadiq KhanThe ultimate winners of banks deserting Brexit-bound London will not be rival financial hubs in Europe but New York and Asia, the British capital's mayor warned Thursday. Sadiq Khan spoke to AFP at the World Economic Forum shortly after Prime Minister Theresa May told the meeting in Davos that Britain would remain open for business, even as some banks start shifting jobs from London to Europe. While May insists that Britain will abandon the EU's common market, Khan said she should press still in Brexit negotiations for "privileged access" to the trading area and for London to have the ability to hire the right talent from abroad.

 

 

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China says it will not back down on South China Sea: Official

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎6 minutes agoGo to full article
BEIJING: China warned Washington Tuesday (Jan 24) that it would not back down over its claims in the disputed South China Sea, following vows by the Trump administration to defend US and international interests there.

Comments by White House spokesman Sean Spicer about China's artificial islands in the Sea, some capable of military use, have upped the ante in the dispute.

A Chinese navy formation, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning (C), in the South China Sea(Photo:AFP)

"China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing, adding that the country is "firm in safeguarding our rights and interests."

"The United States is not a party to the South China Sea issue."

Spicer said Monday that the US "is going to make sure we protect our interests" in the Sea.

"If those islands are, in fact, in international waters and not part of China proper, yeah, we'll make sure we defend international interests from being taken over by one country," he said.

Trump's nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, said last week China's access to the islands might be blocked - raising the prospect of a military confrontation.

China lays claim to a vast swathe of the South China Sea within a so-called "nine dash line," including waters claimed by several of its neighbours.

Under President Barack Obama's administration, Washington insisted it was neutral on the question of sovereignty over the islets, reefs and shoals.

But, while calling for the dispute to be resolved under international law, the US supported freedom of navigation by sending naval patrols through Chinese-claimed waters.

Hua said China "firmly upholds freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea in accordance with international law" and urged the US to "fully respect the efforts of regional countries to safeguard peace and stability".

 

Toshiba board to approve plans to split off chip business on Friday: source

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎10 minutes agoGo to full article
TOKYO: Toshiba Corp's board will meet on Friday to approve plans to make its chip business a separate company and hopes to raise more than 200 billion yen (US$1.8 billion) by selling a 20 percent stake in it, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The drastic measures are part of its efforts to offset an upcoming multibillion dollar writedown for its U.S. nuclear business.

The logo of Toshiba Corp is seen behind trees at its headquarters in Tokyo

Toshiba Chief Executive Satoshi Tsunakawa told its main creditors of the plans when visiting them earlier on Tuesday, said the person, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and declined to be identified.

The laptops-to-nuclear conglomerate estimates the value of its chip business at 1 trillion yen to 1.5 trillion yen (US$8.8 billion to US$13.2 billion), the person said, adding that it was also looking at selling other businesses.

Toshiba is finalizing the amount of writedown for its U.S. nuclear business, which could exceed 500 billion yen, separate sources have said. Domestic media have reported that the writedown could be as much as 700 billion yen.

Toshiba officials declined to comment.

(Reporting by Taro Fuse; Writing by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

 

New bird flu virus type confirmed on German turkey farm

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎10 minutes agoGo to full article
HAMBURG: A bird flu outbreak in north Germany this week was of a new subtype called H5N5, the first time the strain has been confirmed on a German farm, the country's national animal disease center said on Tuesday.

The H5N5 strain was found on a turkey farm in Germany in Steinburg in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, the Friedrich Loeffler Institute said..

The H5N5 strain has been found previously in wild birds in the Netherlands, Italy, Montenegro and Italy and Croatia, the institute said. It has also been found in wild birds in Germany this week.

The institute is not changing its bird flu risk assessment, it said. There have been no recorded cases of H5N5 spreading to humans, it added.

The contagious H5N8 bird flu strain has been found in hundreds of wild birds in Germany in recent weeks and isolated outbreaks on farms have been occurring despite tougher hygiene rules and orders to keep poultry indoors in high-risk areas.

But German outbreaks are at a much lower level than in France, where a mass culling of around 800,000 ducks was undertaken after bird flu hit southwest France, the country's main foie gras producing region.

A series of European countries as well as Israel have found cases of H5N8 bird flu in the past few weeks and some ordered poultry flocks be kept indoors to prevent the disease spreading.

Different bird flu strains have also spread in Asia in recent weeks leading to the slaughter of millions of birds in South Korea and Japan, and some human infections in China.

(Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by Louise Heavens)

 

UK parliament must approve start of Brexit process: Supreme Court

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎11 minutes agoGo to full article
LONDON: Britain's Supreme Court ruled Tuesday (Jan 24) that the government must obtain the approval of parliament before starting the Brexit process, in a defeat for Prime Minister Theresa May.

"Today, by a majority of eight to three, the Supreme Court rules that the government cannot trigger Article 50 without an Act of Parliament authorising it to do so," said Lord David Neuberger, the president of the court.

 

Brexit(Photo:AFP)
 

Afghan vice-president's bodyguards face arrest over abuse case

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎15 minutes agoGo to full article
KABUL: Afghan authorities ordered the arrest of nine bodyguards of Vice President Rashid Dostum on Tuesday, over allegations of sexual violence and torture of a political rival in a case that has caused deep alarm among Western allies of the Kabul government.

Dostum has proved a difficult and unpredictable ally for President Ashraf Ghani, who brought the ethnic Uzbek into the national unity government after the disputed 2014 election, despite longstanding accusations of human rights abuses.

Dostum faces allegations of ordering his men to detain Ahmad Ischi, a former ally, who says he was severely beaten and threatened with sexual violence over several days.

Ghani has promised a thorough investigation of the case, which has caused deep unease among allies of the Western-backed government in Kabul, including the United States, which issued a statement last month expressing its concern.

Officials from the attorney general's office confirmed the arrest order had been issued against the men after repeated attempts to question them as part of the investigation.

"We sent several letters telling them to come and answer questions regarding the allegations, but nobody showed up, so the investigating team issued an arrest warrant against nine bodyguards who are directly involved," said Jamshed Rasooli, the spokesman for the attorney general's office.

No comment was immediately available from a spokesman for Dostum.

The case has caused severe embarrassment for Ghani, whose relations with Dostum, a veteran of decades of Afghan politics, have long been under strain.

His standing within the ethnic Uzbek community, estimated to make up about 9 percent of the population, has made it tough for Ghani to replace him, despite the concerns of foreign allies.

(Reporting by Mirwais Harooni; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

 

Germany's AfD may expel state leader over Holocaust Memorial comment

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎15 minutes agoGo to full article
BERLIN: The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has not yet decided whether to expel one of its state leaders for criticising Berlin's Holocaust Memorial, its co-leader said on Tuesday.

Bjoern Hoecke, AfD head in the eastern state of Thuringia, described the memorial as a "monument of shame" in a speech in Dresden last week.

FILE PHOTO - Hoecke of the right-wing AFD addresses supporters at the party's final elections

The comment stirred anger across Germany but was cheered by some far-right AfD supporters.

Hoecke said on Monday the party had dropped plans to throw him out, but co-leader Frauke Petry told German broadcaster MDR on Tuesday that was not the case, adding the comment had damaged the party's reputation.

The AfD's anti-immigrant rhetoric has won support among Germans worried about the influx of more than a million migrants in the past two years, though other major parties have rejected it as a potential coalition partner.

It is expected to win seats in national elections on Sept. 2, and a poll released Tuesday by Insa for the Bild newspaper gave it 14.5 percent support, up one percentage point from a survey conducted last week.

Petry told MDR the party's executive committee viewed disciplinary action against Hoecke as necessary, but officials were still assessing his speech and how it compared to the party's views.

"We are simply taking the time to do a thorough assessment in such a serious case," Petry said.

Petry said that, while the AfD wanted to see a more "differentiated approach to history", nothing in its programme called for a radical change in Germany's approach to commemorating the genocide of Jews and others during the Nazi era.

Hoecke said the party's debate about his remarks reflected a power struggle.

In the Insa poll, Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats dropped one percentage point to 32.5 percent while the Social Democrats, junior partner in the ruling coalition, remained unchanged at 21 percent.

The Holocaust Memorial, located near the Brandenburg Gate in the heart of Berlin, comprises 2,711 tombstone-like slabs of granite of varying heights, arranged in a grid pattern.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; editing by John Stonestreet)

 

Five-time Olympian Jo Pavey to run London Marathon

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎15 minutes agoGo to full article
REUTERS: Britain's Jo Pavey will run the London Marathon in April, organisers announced on Tuesday, with the five-time Olympian aiming to set a personal best as well as qualify for the World Championships in August.

Pavey, 43, who ran the event in 2011 setting a personal best of two hours 28 minutes and 24 seconds, became the first British female track athlete to compete at five Olympic Games when she ran the 10,000 metres in Rio de Janeiro last summer.

Pavey of Britain celebrates as crosses finish line to win women's 10,000 metres race during Eu

"I'm always looking for a new challenge," she said.

"I wanted to be sure I was injury-free and could crack on with my training before committing which I am and I'm really excited about the challenge."

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

 

Golf - Tokyo venue under fire for barring female members

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎25 minutes agoGo to full article
TOKYO: A Japanese nonprofit group has demanded the golf tournament of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics be shifted from the Kasumigaseki Country Club which does not accept women as full members.

The Japan Golf Council, unaffiliated with the sport's domestic governing body, the Japan Golf Association - said on Tuesday that it had sent a letter to International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach proposing an alternative venue.

The membership policy "is quite contrary to the spirit of the Olympic Games," said Eiko Ohya, chairwoman of the council.

The Kasumigaseki Country Club, a private club in neighbouring Saitama prefecture, lets women play Monday through Saturday but bars them from becoming full members and from playing on Sundays.

The council has not received a response from the IOC but feels it is making headway after Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike recently criticised the policy.

The council wants the venue to be moved to Wakasu Golf Links, a public course on Tokyo Bay located much closer to the Olympic Village.

Beyond the membership issue, the council believes Wakasu would be more cost-effective due to its proximity to central Tokyo and have greater legacy value for the people because it is a public course.

The uproar adds to a list of troubles for Japanese organisers, who had recently been considering moving three other venues because of soaring costs before sticking to their planned locations at a lower price.

In a statement, the Tokyo 2020 organising committee noted that Kasumigaseki had hosted various national competitions, including the 1999 Japan Women's Open, and that it fully met the requirements for hosting Olympic-level golf competitions.

But the committee added that it "would continue studying the club owner's policy on the membership eligibility and responses to the public discussion."

Hiroshi Imaizumi, general manager at the Kasumigaseki Country Club, told Reuters that the club had about 215 female Monday-Saturday members. He said the club was not considering changing its membership system now but would think about it if it were contacted by the IOC.

Several notable country clubs have changed their policies to allow female members in recent years.

In 2014, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews decided to allow women to join after 260 years of exclusion, and Augusta National, home of the U.S. Masters, ended its men-only membership in 2012.

(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

 

LG Electronics posts 2016 operating profit of US$1.2 billion

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎30 minutes agoGo to full article
SEOUL: South Korea's LG Electronics Inc reported on Tuesday a 2016 operating profit of 1.34 trillion won (US$1.15 billion), up 12 percent from the previous year.

In the fourth quarter, the company swung to an operating loss of 35 billion won, according to Reuters calculations, in line with its guidance earlier this month.

FILE PHOTO - A man looks at LG Electronics' TV sets, which are made with LG Display flat scre

(US$1 = 1,166.1000 won)

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Writing by Joyce Lee; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

 

Prosthetics maker Ottobock draws private equity interest

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎35 minutes agoGo to full article
FRANKFURT: Germany's Ottobock, the world's largest maker of artificial limbs, has attracted interest from private equity groups including KKR and CVC for a 20 percent stake in its core business, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

The suitors for the stake in its core healthcare division also include buyout firms BC Partners and Advent, the people told Reuters.

A prosthetic foot is seen on a work table in the Ottobock workshop at the Athlete's Village in

The privately held company, owned by the founder's grandson Hans Georg Naeder, said on Friday it was targeting private equity firms, affluent families and technology funds as potential buyers in a deal to be completed by the end of June, ahead of an initial public offering at a later stage.

Ottobock, which started in 1919 as a maker of prosthetics for World War One veterans, said it was currently valued at about 3 billion euros (US$3.2 billion) and that it was being advised by J.P. Morgan in the planned stake sale.

Ottobock, an official partner of the International Paralympic Committee, is seeking financial backing to develop more bionic devices; prosthetic limbs and orthotic braces closely modeled on natural mechanisms.

The deal would help it to pursue "even quicker profitable growth and groundbreaking innovations for the people suffering a handicap", Naeder said in the statement.

The valuation would equate to a multiple of 12 times its expected 2017 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of 250 million euros, a discount to some rivals as the business includes its lower-margin wheelchair business, one of the people said.

Peer Iceland's Ossur trades at 14.7 times its expected core earnings.

The investment firms and Ottobock declined to comment.

The company said last October it was considering the sale for up to 240 million euros of its Ottobock Kunststoff division, a maker of engineering foams, to focus on healthcare.

Ottobock reported sales of 1.031 billion euros for 2015, of which 847.7 million euros came from its main healthcare unit.

The company said in July 2015 it wanted to go public in 2017, possibly floating a stake of 25 percent with Naeder staying in control. It declined to provide a more specific timeline for the IPO on Monday.

(US$1 = 0.9310 euros)

(Writing by Ludwig Burger; Additional reporting by Alexander Huebner; Editing by Susan Thomas/Keith Weir)

 

Japan launches first military communications satellite

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎35 minutes agoGo to full article
TOKYO: Japan on Tuesday launched its first military communications satellite to boost the broadband capacity of its Self Defence Forces as they reinforce an island chain stretching along the southern edge of the East China Sea.

Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the military is operating further from Japan's home islands as it takes on a bigger role to counter growing Chinese military activity in the region.

The satellite lifted off from Japan's Tanegashima space port aboard an H-IIA rocket at 0744 GMT and successfully entered orbit, said a spokesman for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which builds the launcher.

The satellites is one of three planned so-called X-band satellites, that will quadruple broadband capacity, unify a fractured and overburdened communications network and allow communications across more territory.

Japan and China are locked in a territorial dispute in the East China Sea over a group of uninhabited islands known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. The two countries are also at odds over the exploitation of gas fields that straddle exclusive economic zones claimed by both.

Japan, the main U.S. ally in Asia, is concerned that a recent increase in Chinese military activity in the area is a sign it is looking to extend its military influence from the neighboring South China Sea as a challenge to U.S. maritime dominance.

In the nine months from April to December, Japan scrambled fighter jets to counter Chinese aircraft approaching Japanese airspace 644 times, almost double the 373 times a year earlier, Japan's Ministry of Defence announced on Friday.

In December, China's first aircraft carrier, the Soviet-built Liaoning, accompanied by several warships, sailed through the passage between the Japanese Southwestern islands of Mikado and Okinawa and into the Pacific for what China described as routine exercises.

The Tuesday launch marks the successful resumption of a programme that was halted last year by an embarrassing mishap.

The first of the three satellites, which was meant to go into space from Europe's Space port in French Guiana, was crushed during a flight from Japan after a blue tarpaulin covering its transport box blocked valves meant to equalize the internal air pressure as the cargo aircraft descended.

The accident damaged sensitive antennas, government sources told Reuters in July.

(Reporting by Tim Kelly and Nobuhiro Kubo; Editing by Lincoln Feast, Robert Birsel)

 

Singapore to pursue other trade agreements after US pullout from TPP

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎39 minutes agoGo to full article
SINGAPORE: Singapore will continue to participate in other regional trade integrations initiatives, after the United States indicated it will put out of the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), its Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said on Tuesday (Jan 24).

On Monday, newly installed US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to remove the country from the trade pact, making good on a pledge to scrap a deal he denounced as a "job killer" and a "rape" of US interests.

The United States negotiated the TPP with 11 Pacific Rim countries, but the agreement's(Photo:AFP)

The TPP trade pact was promoted by Mr Trump's predecessor and the agreement was signed in 2015 by participating countries - Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Brunei - but it had not been ratified.
 

"Singapore is committed to pursuing a rules-based trading system and greater regional integration. The agreement that the TPP parties has negotiated is one such pathway to achieve stronger trade linkages that will promote growth opportunities and job creation in all the member countries," MTI said.

Commenting on Monday's development, an MTI spokesperson said on Tuesday that without the participation of the US, the TPP agreement as signed cannot come into effect.
 

However, there are other regional integration initiatives still ongoing, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the proposal for a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, the ministry added.
 

"Singapore will continue to participate in these initiatives," the spokesperson said. 

 

 

Chinese tourists feared dead after falling into water at California beach

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎41 minutes agoGo to full article
SINGAPORE: A married couple from China is missing after falling off rocks into rough waters at Pebble Beach in California on Saturday (Jan 21), according to US reports. 

Rescue officials responded to the area of 17 Mile Drive and Bird Rock, said local news channel Kion. They said one person had fallen into the surf and others had entered the water to rescue the person. Two in total were unaccounted for and Coast Guard helicopters, as well as fire crew were deployed to search the area. 

Pebble Beach waves

On Monday, KSBW reported that the two were tourists who had been sightseeing around the Monterey Peninsula on a tour bus with their son. It cited an eyewitness as saying that the couple had been taking photographs near the water when rogue waves crashed onto the rocks. 

According to firefighters, one victim fell into the waves and the second jumped into the water in a rescue bid, but both were swept out to sea, said KSBW, adding that rescue efforts have since been called off. Their son is reportedly safe. 

 

Italy avalanche death toll rises to 14

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎55 minutes agoGo to full article
FARINDOLA, Italy: Rescuers working through the night pulled five more bodies from the wreck of a hotel in central Italy that was razed by an avalanche last week, bringing the death toll to 14, the national fire brigade said on Tuesday.

The latest bodies - three men and two women - were recovered hours before families of victims were due to hold the first funerals of those killed in the avalanche.

A still image taken from a video shows Italian firefighters working to rescue survivors, at the Hot

Eleven people so far have been rescued from in and around the hotel in the Gran Sasso national park, some of them surviving for two days under ice and rubble.

But 15 people are still missing after a wall of snow crashed into the four-storey building last Wednesday, hours after earthquakes shook the region.

Prosecutors in nearby Pescara have opened an investigation into the avalanche.

(Reporting by Sasa Kavic and Roberto Mignucci in Farindola and Isla Binnie in Rome; Editing by Philip Pullella and Hugh Lawson)

 

SIAS appoints Magnus Bocker as honorary chairman

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
SINGAPORE: The Securities Investors Association, Singapore (SIAS) has appointed Mr Magnus Bocker as its honorary chairman.
 

This takes effect from Feb 1, announced SIAS in a statement on Tuesday (Jan 24).
 

Magnus Bocker

The former CEO of the Singapore Exchange will be SIAS' fourth honorary chairman, taking over from Mrs Lim Hwee Hua who is stepping down after three years, during which SIAS "became a charity and an institution of public character," said the statement.

According to SIAS, the role of the honorary chairman is to provide the check and balance within the association. He will be independent and non-executive.
 

He will also have the power to intervene when he is of the view that the president and/or the committee has acted in breach of the association’s constitution or not acting in the interest of the association.

Mr Bocker has more than three decade of experience in the financial industry. He was the CEO of the Singapore Exchange (SGX) from 2009 to 2015 and previously the president of NASDAQ.

“(Mr Bocker’s) vast experience in developing capital markets both in and out of Singapore will be an advantage to SIAS and its members,” said the founder, president and CEO of SIAS David Gerald. “We look forward to Mr Bocker’s valuable contributions in furthering our objectives to benefit the retail constituency.”

 

A year on, Hong Kongers reflect on the Mong Kok riot

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
HONG KONG: The scenes in Mong Kok on the night of Chinese New Year 2016 were as absurd as they were unforgettable.

In downtown Hong Kong, one of the most densely populated urban areas on earth, protesters set fires and tore up the sidewalk, hurling the bricks at police as two rounds of warning shots were fired.
 

HK riot police advance

For a city that had just witnessed the largely peaceful Umbrella Movement the year before, what came to be known as the Mong Kok riot was quite a shock.
 

One year on, the sidewalk has been fixed, with bricks glued to the ground. But occasionally they come loose, something that worries district councillor Hui Tak Leung.
 

“The brick can be easily removed again, this is really not a solution," Hui said.
 

Having grown up in the neighbourhood, Hui has served as Mong Kok’s district councillor for 14 years. He said that although Mong Kok had been one of Hong Kong’s rougher neighborhoods, known for gang crimes and its red light district, it has been quickly gentrifying after the advent of a mega shopping mall brought in more tourists.
 

That might just be what rubbed the protesters the wrong way. Initially dubbed the "fishball revolution" on Twitter, the protest on Chinese New Year’s Day centered around the message to "take back Hong Kong", as localist protesters who seek to limit Beijing's influence on the city set out to defend unlicensed hawkers selling snacks such as fishballs.
 

The hawker markets around the festive season was not entirely legal, but the government had always turned a blind eye to them since many restaurants close during the period. Last year though, rumours circulated online that the government was planning a clampdown, something which in politically charged Hong Kong quickly became a flashpoint.
 

In its aftermath, more than 90 people have been charged, but so far only four have been convicted and sentenced. Edward Leung and Ray Wong, leaders of localist group Hong Kong Indigenous accused of instigating the riot, will not have their day in court for another year.
 

AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE

Hui said his neighborhood paid a heavy price for the episode. Even though most of the shops were closed when the riot happened, many small businesses worry about the lasting impact.
 

“It's really better if things like that don't happen again,” one vegetable vendor told Hui as he surveyed the wet market. “Business is already bad after Occupy. No one comes here after five o'clock.”
 

That point was not lost on pro-democracy political commentators.
 

"Violent demonstrations cannot secure the support of the society, cannot secure even the support of the mainstream pro-democracy movement. I think it's counterproductive," said political analyst Joseph Cheng.
 

He said that is partly why he thinks the Chinese New Year violence last year will not repeat itself just yet. Also, despite vows to fight to the end, both Leung and Wong will soon leave the city to pursue studies abroad.
 

"Their actual behaviour has actually caused a lot of disappointment among their supporters, and became a kind of focal point of criticism and jokes among the critics," added Cheng.
 

In contrast, the Hong Kong police has undergone its biggest manpower boost in a decade, and is in the process of hiring an additional 900 officers.
 

A surprise announcement by the unpopular Chief Executive CY Leung not to seek reelection has also removed a potential flashpoint.
 

But Hui stressed that the root cause of the riot remains unaddressed. Once a student activist himself, he said he can relate to the youth of today.
 

"They have nothing. No apartment, no decent job. They are a bit disillusioned, and that makes them angry at the society and the government," he said. 

 

Toure criticises players who swap top leagues for China cash

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
REUTERS: Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has criticised fellow footballers who have traded Europe for China, saying he would prefer to follow Manchester United forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic's example and stay in a competitive league.

Chinese Super League clubs have made a number of high-profile recent signings recently, with Shanghai SIPG buying Brazil midfielder Oscar from Chelsea for 60 million euros (US$64.46 million).

Manchester City's Yaya Toure celebrates scoring their first goal

Their rivals Shanghai Shenhua signed Argentine striker Carlos Tevez for a reported 84 million euros, but Toure said money was not everything to him.

"Do you play football because you love football or do you play because you want to make money? Me, I just want to play football because I enjoy it," he told British media.

"Some people have the mentality that they want to do that (go to China) – to try something different. But for me, my feeling is that I want to play more football.

"Look at my friend Ibrahimovic. He's 35 and he's going to play for maybe three more years? He's got the same mentality as me. He's a big player, a champion who loves football. It's football first. Anything after that is a bonus."

Toure, who is out of contract in June, was frozen out of City's squad earlier this season following a spat between the manager Pep Guardiola and the player's agent, but returned to the team in November after making a public apology.

He has featured regularly ever since, but there is no official word yet on whether he will be offered a new contract at City. His agent revealed last week that he had turned down a 520,000 pounds a week offer to play in China.

"I want to play in Europe, especially in England. I want to continue doing that for a few years yet. I always say that if I went to China I would end up feeling angry there," the 33-year-old added.

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

 

Motorists urged to exercise caution, maintain vehicles during current wet weather

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
SINGAPORE: Authorities and motoring experts are urging drivers to stay alert and ensure their vehicles are properly maintained to make their journeys safer in the current wet weather that is expected to last until the end of the month.
 

During a sustained period of heavy rain on Monday morning (Jan 23), accidents occurred on many expressways, including the PIE, AYE and TPE, with widespread traffic congestion also reported.

rain singapore

The Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) Twitter page was a flurry of activity, informing commuters of accidents and obstacles on expressways and arterial roads. This continued into Tuesday, when accidents and congestion were reported on the PIE, TPE, AYE and BKE.

President of the Automobile Association of Singapore Bernard Tay said that part of the problem during wet weather is that vehicles tend to breakdown more often. Common issues include water seeping into the engine or vehicles overheating after being stuck in a traffic jam.

His association sees the number of motorists requiring assistance increase drastically during wet weather, compared to dry days. “In fact, we are over-stretched.  Instead of 45 minutes, those requiring assistance may have to wait between one-and-a-half to two hours (for assistance to reach them),” said Mr Tay.
 

He said it is difficult to determine how many accidents occur on rainy days, when road conditions are slippery and visibility is low, compared to dry days. That is because the Traffic Police does not collate such statistics, he said, although media reports do suggest an increase.

KEEP YOUR VEHICLE IN GOOD CONDITION
 

But Mr Tay, who is also chairman of the Singapore Road Safety Council, said keeping one's vehicle in good condition would help reduce such incidents. 

"On rainy days, before you get into the car, make sure the water containers are filled so wipers can be used efficiently. You also need to switch on your demisters and headlights, because on such days visibility is low and other drivers may not be able to see you." he said.
 

Mr Tay said older vehicles should also be serviced regularly to ensure the battery is working, and tyre pressure and tyre treads are up to scratch. 

In an advisory, the Police also urged motorists to be alert when travelling, and observe road safety at all times. This includes keeping a safe distance between vehicles in front, and reduce their speed. 

Ultimately, experts say accidents happen because of drivers who do not obey the law. "If people engage in reckless behaviour such as zig-zag driving or tailgating, accidents will happen regardless of wet or dry weather," said Mr Poh Ah Kiong, a private driving instructor for more than 30 years. 

Mr Poh said when teaching his students to drive in wet conditions, he tells them to keep a following distance of more than two seconds. This is the rule of thumb adopted to ensure a safe distance at any speed on a good day. 

Driving instructor at Bukit Batok Driving Centre Tham Kok Choon agreed, saying he advises his students to keep to a four-second rule when teaching them to drive in wet weather conditions.
 

He said drivers may get into accidents because they either do not know the limitations of their vehicles or overestimate their abilities to react to environmental factors such as heavy rain. "Speeding on wet roads could result in the vehicle skidding when making a turn for example. To counter this, I tell students to drive at a lower speed," said Mr Tham. 

 

Philippine Secretary of National Defense makes introductory visit to Singapore

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
SINGAPORE: Philippine Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana has reaffirmed the "warm and friendly" defence relationship with Singapore during his introductory visit here.
 

Mr Lorenzana, who arrived in Singapore on Monday (Jan 23), inspected a Guard of Honour at the Ministry of Defence on Tuesday morning before calling on Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen.

Delfin Lorenzana with Ng Eng Hen

Both ministers discussed ways to enhance cooperation on regional and international security issues, including counter-terrorism and cyber security, according to a news release by Singapore's Ministry of Defence (MINDEF). 

Dr Ng also expressed Singapore's support for the Philippines' chairmanship of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) this year, as well as its co-chairmanship of the ADMM-Plus Experts’ Working Group on Cyber Security with New Zealand. 

As part of his three-day visit, Mr Lorenzana delivered a special address at the delegates’ dinner for the Shangri-La dialogue Sherpa Meeting on Monday night.

He is scheduled to call on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he will be visiting the Changi Command and Control Centre to tour the Information Fusion Centre and to witness the inaugural Exercise Coordinated Response.
 

The exercise will be the first multinational Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise jointly organised by the Changi Regional HADR Coordination Centre (RHCC), the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the United States’ Centre for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance.

"Secretary Lorenzana’s visit underscores the warm and friendly defence relations between Singapore and the Philippines," said MINDEF. "Both countries' armed forces interact regularly through visits, professional exchanges, cross-attendance of courses, and multilateral exercises such as the ADMM-Plus Maritime Security and Counter-Terrorism Exercise in May 2016."

Mr Lorenzana will be in Singapore till Jan 25.

 

Activists, TV crew detained at anti-logging blockade in Kelantan

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
SINGAPORE: Forestry officials in the Malaysian state of Kelantan on Tuesday (Jan 24) arrested 16 Orang Asli activists as well as a freelance television producer working for Channel NewsAsia and his cameraman at a tribal reserve in Gua Musang.

The detentions were carried out by “the Kelantan Forestry Department over anti-logging blockades in the interiors of Gua Musang”, Malaysiakini reported.
 

Members of the orang asli community in Kelantan

The news portal reported that the incident took place at 9am, before tweeting an update at 12.14pm that the “activists were released but the journalists are arrested”. 

In a statement, Mediacorp said that Jules Ong is a Malaysian freelance television producer who was engaged by Channel NewsAsia to produce a documentary on deforestation in Kelantan.

"Channel NewsAsia came to know of his arrest and that of his cameraman from Malaysian media reports. Channel NewsAsia, which operates across the whole of Asia, will co-operate fully with any official investigation,” it said.

Members of the Orang Asli tribal group had erected a blockade in Pos Bihai in Kelantan’s Gua Musang district in August 2016 to keep out loggers from the forest reserve which the indigenous community had been living on, the Malay Mail reported.

The newspaper added the “blockade and huts at Simpang Petei and the entry route to Pos Bihai” was dismantled in November by the Kelantan Forestry Department – but it was rebuilt at Pos Bihai by the Orang Asli in December.

 

Roadside bomb kills at least 4 soldiers in Somalia town - officials

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
MOGADISHU: At least four soldiers were killed and five wounded on Tuesday when a roadside bomb that Islamist insurgents said they planted exploded outside a military camp in a town near Mogadishu, officials said.

The blast in Afgoye, about 30 km (18 miles) southwest of the capital, took place a day after the al Shabaab group carried out a raid in the same town that was repulsed by government troops, Major Osman Abdulle, a police officer, told Reuters.

"Last night, we repulsed the militants who attacked us. They must have planted the bomb," he said.

Al Shabaab, which has been waging an insurgency across Somalia, claimed responsibility for the bombing. The group is fighting to topple the Western-backed government in Mogadishu.

"We planted the bomb last night. At least seven soldiers died," Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group's military operations spokesman, told Reuters.

(Reporting by Abdi Sheikh and Feisal Omar; Writing by Aaron Maasho; editing by John Stonestreet)

 

AirAsia X cleared for US flights, 1st Asian budget carrier to get nod

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's AirAsia X Bhd said it had become Asia's first low-cost carrier to receive approval to operate scheduled passenger flights to any destination within the United States.

The long-haul airline in a statement said it gained approval from the United States' Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and that it was considering flights to several U.S. states, including Hawaii.

AirAsia planes sit on the tarmac at Kuala Lumpur International Airport

"Our expansion up until now has concentrated on Asia, Australasia and the Middle East, and we are excited about our first foray into an entirely new market as we look beyond Asia Pacific," Group Chief Executive Officer Kamarudin Meranun said in the statement on Tuesday.

The announcement comes a day after Emirates Airline , the world's largest long-haul carrier, said it would add a U.S. route. A U.S. airline lobby group said that move amounted to unfair competition because Gulf carriers received government subsidies.

Gulf carriers deny receiving subsidies.

AirAsia X also said it was mulling the resumption of flights on its London route. The airline suspended its London flights in March 2012 due to high taxes, but has held on to hopes of continuing the route since.

"At the moment we are looking at resuming our London routes and are working towards the necessary approvals," a spokesman told Reuters in an email.

(Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

 

Toshiba to unveil extent of US nuclear business writedown on February 14

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
TOKYO: Japan's Toshiba Corp said it will unveil the extent of the writedown on its U.S. nuclear business on Feb. 14 when it reports its results for the quarter ended Dec. 31.

The laptops-to-engineering conglomerate, still recovering from a US$1.3 billion accounting scandal two years ago, shocked investors in December by announcing major cost overruns at the U.S. nuclear business it bought in 2015.

Pedestrians walk past a logo of Toshiba Corp outside an electronics retailer in Tokyo

"We will explain the reasons why this occurred in the nuclear business and offer measures to prevent a repeat," Toshiba said on Tuesday in a press release through the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Last week, media reported the troubled Japanese firm may unveil a writedown of as much as 700 billion yen (US$6.18 billion)for its U.S. nuclear business.

To cope with its financial crunch, Toshiba has said it plans to sell part of its core chip business. The firm ranks second after Samsung Electronics in the global market for flash memory chips that are used in smartphones.

Separately, rating agency Standard and Poor's downgraded Toshiba's debt to CCC+, or vulnerable to nonpayment, from B- and put the company's credit watch on negative.

(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

 

Etihad Airways chief Hogan to step down

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways said Tuesday (Jan 24) its chief executive officer James Hogan will step down in the second half of 2017 after leading the fast-growing Gulf carrier for more than 10 years.

The government-owned carrier said the move is part of a "transition process" initiated by its board and Hogan last year.

Etihad Airways chief executive James Hogan leaves following a press conference in Rome(Photo:AFP)

Australian Hogan became head of Etihad in 2006.

"I am very proud of what we have built together at Etihad and of the company's substantial contribution to the UAE and to the development of Abu Dhabi," Hogan said in the Etihad statement.

The carrier that was launched in 2003 now has a fleet of 120 planes with 178 others on order. It serves 112 destinations.

Etihad has expanded rapidly and bought minority stakes in carriers around the world as it increased its share of global travel along with larger Gulf rivals Emirates and Qatar Airways.

Etihad owns 49 per cent of Alitalia, 29 per cent of Air Berlin, 40 per cent of Air Seychelles, 19.9 per cent of Virgin Australia and three per cent of Irish carrier Aer Lingus.

It also has a 24 per cent stake in India's Jet Airways.

 

China tourism body backs boycott of Japanese hotel group APA

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
SHANGHAI: China's tourism administration has urged tour operators to sever ties with a Japanese hotel chain after an escalating row over the hotelier's denial of the 1937 massacre by Japanese troops in the Chinese city of Nanjing.

A furore erupted this month over books by Toshio Motoya, president of Tokyo-based hotel and real estate developer APA Group, that air his revisionist views and are placed in every room of the firm's more than 400 hotels.

Motoya, using the pen name Seiji Fuji, wrote that stories of the Nanjing massacre were "impossible": "These acts were all said to be committed by the Japanese army, but this is not true."

The China National Tourism Administration is firmly opposed to APA Group's "provocation" of Chinese tourists, spokesman Zhang Lizhong said on Tuesday.

"We demand that all operators with international tours and online platforms completely stop all cooperation with this hotel," Zhang said in a statement on the body's website.

"We call on Chinese groups and the many tourists that visit Japan to resist APA's wrong approach and avoid spending money at this hotel."

APA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Official support for a boycott of the Japanese chain escalates calls that had circulated online and in some of China's state-run media.

The official Xinhua news agency added its voice on Tuesday, calling the incident "only the tip of the iceberg of Japan's ultra-right wing's efforts to revise the nation's war history."

Japan's wartime occupation of Nanjing, and the resulting massacre is a highly contentious issue between the uneasy neighbours.

China says Japanese troops killed 300,000 people in the city. A post-war Allied tribunal put the death toll at about half that. To the fury of China, some conservative Japanese politicians and academics deny the massacre took place, or they put the death toll much lower.

Japan's Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda downplayed the incident on Tuesday, saying China and Japan should work together on common issues facing the international community, rather than focussing too much on the "unhappy past".

Japan attracted about 6.3 million tourists from China last year, the largest such bloc of visitors, up nearly 28 percent from 2015. Their spending helped buoy the sluggish economy, in areas from hotels to cosmetics.

APA President Motoya previously told Reuters Chinese tourists only made up 5 percent of the chain's customers in Japan and that he did not expect the row to affect the hotel.

(Reporting by Adam Jourdan in SHANGHAI; Additional reporting by Kaori Kaneko in TOKYO; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

 

Turkey will not hand over al-Bab to Syrian government forces - deputy PM

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
ISTANBUL: Claims that Turkey will hand over the Syrian town of al-Bab to President Bashar al-Assad's forces after driving out Islamic State are not true, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told the state-run Anadolu agency on Tuesday.

Syrian rebels, backed by Turkish special forces, tanks and warplanes, have been besieging al-Bab since December. Kurtulmus said the U.S.-led coalition had failed to give sufficient support to Turkey's operation to seize the town.

Smoke rises from Al-Bab as rebels advance towards the town, in Syria

(Reporting by Daren Butler; Writing by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Nick Tattersall)

 

China urges US to act and speak cautiously on South China Sea

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
BEIJING: China urged the United States on Tuesday to act and speak cautiously on the South China Sea, saying China has irrefutable sovereignty over the Spratly Islands.

China's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the comments at a daily press briefing in Beijing after the new U.S. administration of President Donald Trump vowed on Monday that the United States would prevent China from taking over territory in international waters in the South China Sea.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Writing by Christian Shepherd; Editing by Robert Birsel)

 

Wawrinka wins testy Tsonga clash to reach semis

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
MELBOURNE: Former champion Stan Wawrinka engaged in a war of words with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga before winning the only argument that mattered on Tuesday, storming into the Australian Open semi-finals with a 7-6(2) 6-4 6-3 win over the Frenchman.

Wawrinka bickered heatedly with the 12th seed during a change of ends after the first set before putting his aggression to better use, wrapping up the one-sided match in two hours and 15 minutes on a sun-bathed Rod Laver Arena.

Fourth seed Wawrinka will battle either compatriot Roger Federer or German giant-killer Mischa Zverev, who face off in the late quarter-final, for a place in the final.

Wawrinka, the 2014 champion, put in his most complete performance of the tournament against Tsonga, sending 41 sweetly struck winners whistling past the out-of-sorts Frenchman, a former finalist but a shadow of his usual energetic self.

Tsonga put up some stout resistance early in the match but that crumbled in the first set tiebreak when he elected not to play at a blazing backhand pass.

It landed flush in the corner, giving Wawrinka four set points and Tsonga folded on the first of them.

The pair retired to their chairs between sets and suddenly began sniping at each other.

"What did you say? You're the one looking at me and talking to me. What are you looking for?" Wawrinka barked at Tsonga in French. "Come on, let it go. Did I look at you once?"

Tsonga's best response came in the second set when he broke Wawrinka in the seventh game after the Swiss botched a simple volley and hammered another unforced error.

But after Tsonga handed serve straight back, broken to love, tension threatened to boil over again as Wawrinka came forward to smash a winner directly at the Frenchman.

The Swiss waved an apology but Tsonga walked away.

Wawrinka stormed on relentlessly, breaking Tsonga twice more with a display of pure power hitting to take the second set.

Tsonga went a break down quickly in the third but had one last chance to rally when Wawrinka gave up a break point at 4-2.

The Swiss slammed the door shut, however, nervelessly crushing a forehand deep into the corner and then rushing forward to put away the volley.

Within minutes he had three match points, and his third semi-final at Melbourne Park sewn up when Tsonga pushed a defensive lob over the baseline.

While a semi-final against Federer would hold no fear for Wawrinka, he said he was fully aware his compatriot would be the crowd favourite as he bids for an 18th grand slam title.

"It's going to be tough to have some fans, but hopefully a few will cheer for me," he said in a court-side interview.

(Additional reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly/Peter Rutherford)

 

Scandal, gaffes mar ex-UN chief's presidential prospects in South Korea

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
SEOUL: It has been an inauspicious return to crisis-plagued South Korea for former U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon, once the odds-on favourite to be the next president, who has been ensnared in a family corruption scandal and struggled with a sceptical press.

Ban, 72, has been unable to capitalise on his much-anticipated homecoming after a decade as secretary-general of the United Nations in New York. Since his return on Jan. 12, he has cut a sometimes-irritable figure in public and been pilloried for a series of perceived PR gaffes - all without announcing any intention to run for president.

Former U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon feeds a eldery woman at a social welfare facility in Eums

Now the United States has asked South Korea to arrest his brother, Ban Ki-sang, on charges that he engaged in a bribery scheme to carry out the sale of a Vietnamese building complex.

The timing of the case could hardly be worse for Ban, whose high international profile and clean image were expected to be assets as he returned to a nation reeling from a presidential corruption scandal. President Park Geun-hye has been impeached by parliament and stripped of her powers while a court decides her fate.

Ban Ki-moon apologised on Saturday for family members who had caused public concern. "I have absolutely no knowledge of this case," he said in a statement.

However, a Realmeter poll released on Monday showed Ban's support slipping from 22.2 percent last week to 19.8 percent, compared with 29.1 percent for Moon Jae-in of the opposition Democratic Party.

The poll numbers are volatile and analysts say it is too early to count out Ban. However, if Moon holds his lead, he would become the first liberal to be elected president in nearly a decade.

Ban has yet to affiliate himself with a party but had been expected to run as a conservative.

If the impeachment vote against Park is upheld by the Constitutional Court, she will have to quit and an election would be held two months later. A ruling is expected as soon as next month.

Ban has a team of politicians and former diplomats supporting him and has made several campaign-style appearances around the country since his return, pitching him in the full glare of the media spotlight.

SLIP-UPS

On his arrival in Seoul, Ban took the airport express train instead of a limo, but didn't know how to buy a ticket. He was pictured trying to insert two 10,000 won bills into the machine at the same time for a 7,500 won ticket.

"Couldn't you have treated it as something cute from a person who'd been in New York for a long time?" he protested at a meeting with voters and reporters in the southern city of Daegu. "I really wish they wouldn't act with malice."

Two days later, Ban visited a care home where he fed porridge to an old woman. He was criticized for wearing a bib when the old woman was not - and for feeding someone lying flat on their back.

He also dressed head to toe in protective gear to try out a disinfectant spray when all those around him wore ordinary clothes, media said. And he was criticised for picking up a bottle of Evian mineral water from a convenience store before being told by an aide he should buy a local product.

A cartoon in the left-leaning Hankyoreh newspaper managed to combine the gaffes - Ban in protective gear and bib trying to feed a hospital patient with two 10,000 won notes with a giant bottle of Evian on his back.

Until recently, Ban had been tipped to run as a member of Park's conservative Saenuri party.

But being a Saenuri candidate looks far less attractive now because of the corruption scandal and he has been seen as likely to join a new breakaway group from the conservative bloc, the Barun Party, which has been weighing several potential candidates for president.

However, a party, funds and political machinery to support Ban could come together quickly if and when he announces he will run for president.

Kookmin University political science professor Hong Sung-gul said Ban must be disappointed by his reception.

"That's what happens when there are high expectations and you don't come in with a clear and specific message," he told Reuters.

"But it is too early to write off his campaign as being in serious trouble."

Ban himself admitted on Monday to some "clumsy moments" and irritability since his return.

"I was impatient and had passion for wanting to go and meet the people as soon as I could, so there were little mistakes," he told reporters.

"I'll take it as a tough lesson learned and try to be better prepared."

(Additional reporting by Jack Kim; Editing by Tony Munroe and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

 

Van Dijk doubtful for Southampton's League Cup semi-final

 
‎Today, ‎January ‎24, ‎2017, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
REUTERS: Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk could miss Wednesday's League Cup semi-final second leg against Liverpool at Anfield after injuring his ankle in Sunday's 3-0 Premier League win over Leicester City, manager Claude Puel has said.

Southampton hold a one-goal advantage going into the tie, but the loss of former captain Jose Fonte, who has moved to West Ham United, coupled with the injury to Van Dijk, could leave them short of experienced cover in the heart of defence.

Southampton's Virgil van Dijk receives medical attention as referee Michael Oliver looks on

"Van Dijk, he is having a scan and I am waiting for the results at the moment," Puel told the club website (www.southamptonfc.com).

"It's not serious, but I don't know if he can participate in this game. We will see in the next days before the game."

Midfielder Steven Davis, who has been injured since Southampton beat Liverpool 1-0 in the semi-final first leg on Jan. 11, could return in time for Wednesday's match after stepping up his recovery.

"It's better for Davis," Puel added. "We will see in the training session if he can participate in this game or not."

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

 

China jails former top parliament body official for graft

 
‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎23, ‎2017, ‏‎11:40:18 AMGo to full article
BEIJING: A Chinese court on Monday jailed for life for corruption a former vice-chairman of the top parliamentary advisory body, the latest senior official to fall foul of President Xi Jinping's sweeping campaign against graft.

China's campaign against deep-rooted official corruption has intensified since Xi took power four years ago, with dozens of senior government figures and state company executives having been jailed.

Su Rong had been one of the 23 vice-chairmen of the largely ceremonial but high-profile Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference until authorities began an investigation into him in 2014.

Su previously served as Communist Party boss for the poor inland provinces of Jiangxi and Gansu.

In a short statement, the court in the northern city of Jinan said Su was guilty of bribery, abuse of power and being unable to explain the source of a "massive amount" of assets.

Su took bribes worth 116 million yuan (US$16.92 million) between 2002 and 2014, the court said.

Su said he accepted the verdict and would not appeal, the court added.

It was not possible to reach a legal representative for comment.

The ruling Communist Party's anti-corruption watchdog had previously accused him of selling "ranks and titles".

Separately, the watchdog said courts had jailed two former officials for corruption who had fled abroad to try and avoid justice. Both had returned to China.

China has vowed to pursue an overseas search dubbed Operation "Fox Hunt" for corrupt officials and business executives, and their assets, part of Xi's war on deep-seated corruption.

China has been keen to get international support for its fight against corruption, but many Western countries have been reluctant to help, wary of China's poor legal safeguards for suspects and concerns about mistreatment.

Last week, China pledged to banish abuse in graft investigations and urged foreign diplomats to help "weave a cooperative network against corruption".

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Michael Perry, Robert Birsel)

 

China urges Trump administration to grasp importance of 'one China'

 
‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎23, ‎2017, ‏‎11:35:20 AMGo to full article
BEIJING: The new U.S. administration must fully understand the importance of the "one China" policy and appreciate that the issue of Taiwan is highly sensitive for the Beijing government, China said on Monday.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who was inaugurated on Friday, said in December the United States did not necessarily have to stick to its long-standing position that Taiwan is part of "one China".

Earlier, Trump broke with decades of precedent by taking a telephone call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.

According to Beijing's one China principle, Taiwan and mainland China are inalienable parts of a single "China". Beijing views Taiwan as a wayward province, to be brought under its control by force if necessary.

However, proudly democratic Taiwan shows not interest in being ruled by Beijing.

"We urge the new administration to fully understand the high sensitivity of the Taiwan issue and to continue pursuing the one China policy," Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing in Beijing.

Hua called the policy the "political foundation" of future relations between the United States and China.

She said any U.S. government had the obligation to stand by the promises made by both main U.S. political parties and "strictly" maintain non-diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

Hua also reiterated China's position on the South China Sea, saying the United States should not meddle in issues of China's sovereign territory.

Both "history and reality" prove good relations between China and the United States were positive for the Asia-Pacific region, she said.

China claims most of the energy-rich South China Sea through which about US$5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. Neighbours Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

U.S. Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson has previously suggested that China would not be allowed access to islands in the region, prompting Chinese state media to say the United States would need to "wage war" to cut off China's access.

(Reporting by Christian Shepherd; Writing by John Ruwitch in SHANGHAI; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Robert Birsel)

 

Allardyce predicts Palace survival bid will go down to the wire

 
‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎23, ‎2017, ‏‎11:30:15 AMGo to full article
REUTERS: Crystal Palace's latest Premier League setback has led newly installed manager Sam Allardyce to predict that the struggling club's bid to avoid relegation will come down to the last two weeks of the season.

Allardyce replaced Alan Pardew as manager on Dec. 23, but has won just one point in five Premier League games since his appointment and watched the team slip into the bottom three following Saturday's 1-0 defeat by Everton.

Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce

"It's a process of adjusting to my methods which can't happen overnight," Allardyce, who has never been relegated during his managerial career, told British media.

"I will try and continue to grow the players to get better, and try and say: 'I've been here before, I know what it takes to get out of this particular predicament, and I can only do that if you respond to what we do.'

"That is a day-to-day process that's ever relenting from now until the end of the season. If we get safe it'll be the last two weeks, if we're lucky."

Allardyce, who steered Sunderland to safety last season before leaving the club for an ill-fated stint as England manager, felt Palace's survival would come down to the last few games of the season.

"It was the same at Sunderland," he added. "It was two games to go before we got safe, it'll be the same for us all down there.

"We'll have our ups, we'll have our downs; we'll have to put something like four or five wins on the trot together, which can happen, if you get the right belief going quickly."

Palace, who are 18th in the standings, host Manchester City in the FA Cup on Saturday, before visiting 12th-placed Bournemouth in the Premier League on Jan. 31.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

 

Nine bodies found after boat capsizes in Malaysia

 
‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎23, ‎2017, ‏‎11:22:02 AMGo to full article
KUALA LUMPUR: Nine people are confirmed drowned and several others missing after a boat believed to be carrying illegal immigrants capsized off Malaysia's east coast, officials said Monday.

The bodies of six women and three men were washed ashore at a beach near the town of Mersing earlier Monday, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency said.

Mersing boat capsized

"We believe there were about 40 Indonesians on the boat and we believe they were illegal immigrants," an agency spokesman said.

The boat was headed from Indonesia to Malaysia when it capsized. A search is underway for the remaining passengers.

No further details were provided but such capsizes are common.

Last November a speedboat believed to be carrying illegal Indonesian migrant workers returning from Malaysia sank near Batam Island, south of Singapore. More than 40 people were missing.
 

 

Police charge driver in Australia rampage with five counts of murder

 
‎Yesterday, ‎January ‎23, ‎2017, ‏‎11:20:33 AMGo to full article
SYDNEY: A man who authorities say drove into a crowd of pedestrians, killing five and injuring more than 20 in the centre of Melbourne, has been charged with five counts of murder, Australian police said on Monday.

Police alleged the 26-year-old acted deliberately and said he had been remanded to appear in court in August and faced additional charges.

The wreckage of a car is seen as police cordoned off Bourke Street mall, after a car hit pedestrian

On Sunday, a baby boy became the fifth person to die after the 26-year-old smashed into a crowd of pedestrians on a busy street in Australia's second-biggest city, according to police.

The police rammed his car and the driver was shot in the arm before being dragged from the vehicle. Taken to hospital for treatment, he was released to appear before a judge on Monday.

Police have said the incident was not terrorism related.

In the wake of the incident, the government of the state of Victoria, where Melbourne is located, said it would set up a night court to hear after-hours bail requests after it emerged the alleged driver was out on bail when he drove into the crowd.

The accused killer was recently freed by a bail judge despite police opposition, over an alleged assault, according to the Police Association of Victoria.

"If changes are needed to be made, based on the facts, they will be made," said the state's premier and top politician, Daniel Andrews. "Resources will not be an issue, expense will not be an issue."

Melbourne's Bourke Street Mall, near the site of the incident, has become a makeshift shrine for the victims and was adorned with flowers on Monday. Thousands also gathered at Melbourne's Federation Square to pay tribute to the victims.

(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

 

 

 

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