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Netflix to boost original series, films in and from Asia

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎29 minutes agoGo to full article
Reed Hastings, left, CEO of Netflix, poses with Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer of Netflix, during a press conference in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, June 30, 2016. Netflix plans to expand its Asian offerings to its subscribers around the world by tapping more creators in Asia. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Netflix plans to expand its Asian offerings to subscribers around the world by tapping more creators in the region, including "Snowpiercer" director Bong Joon-ho, its chiefs said Thursday.

Singapore to decide soon on $1-billion deal for military helicopters

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎32 minutes agoGo to full article
The Republic of Singapore Air Force helicopters fly past with the national flag during a Golden Jubilee celebration rehearsal in SingaporeBy Marius Zaharia SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore will decide "soon" on an estimated $1-billion purchase of new military helicopters which it had delayed after the crash of a civilian aircraft made by one of the bidders, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said on Thursday. The tiny city-state has the largest defense budget in Southeast Asia at a time when China's increasingly assertive actions in the disputed South China Sea waterway spur regional nations to step up defense spending. Singapore put on ice its plans to replace 32 ageing Super Pumas after the April 29 crash of a civilian Airbus Super Puma, whose military version had been the frontrunner to clinch the helicopter order.

Duterte, 'the punisher', sworn in as Philippines' president

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎44 minutes agoGo to full article
President Rodrigo Duterte takes his oath before Supreme Court Justice Bienvenido Reyes as his daughter Veronica holds the bible, during his inauguration as President of the Philippines at the Malacanang Palace in ManilaBy Neil Jerome Morales and Manuel Mogato MANILA (Reuters) - Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in as the Philippines' 16th president on Thursday, capping the unlikely journey of a provincial city mayor whose brash man-of-the-people style and pledges to crush crime swamped establishment rivals in last month's election. After making his pledge at the presidential palace in Manila, with one hand on the Bible, Duterte delivered a speech in which he promised a "relentless" and "sustained" fight against corruption, criminality and illegal drugs. Duterte tapped into voters' disgust with the Philippines' political elite and the failure of successive governments to tackle poverty and inequality, drawing comparisons with Donald Trump and the rise of assertive populists across the globe.

Singapore bank suspends loans for London properties after Brexit

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
United Overseas Bank, one of Singapore's three homegrown lenders, has suspended loans to anyone wanting to buy property in LondonA top Singapore bank said Thursday it has suspended loans to anyone wanting to buy property in London, citing uncertainty from Britain's vote to quit the EU and dealing a blow to investors looking to make the most of the weak pound. "We will temporarily stop receiving foreign property loan applications for London properties," it said in a statement. "As the aftermath of the UK referendum is still unfolding and given the uncertainties, we need to ensure our customers are cautious with their London property investments," it added.

Beijing slams South China Sea case as court ruling nears

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
Still image from United States Navy video purportedly shows Chinese dredging vessels in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly IslandsBy Ben Blanchard and Anthony Deutsch BEIJING/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - An international court said it would deliver a hotly anticipated ruling in the Philippines' case against China over the South China Sea on July 12, drawing an immediate rebuke from Beijing, which rejects the tribunal's jurisdiction. The United States, which is a close ally of the Philippines and is concerned about China's expansive South China Sea claims, reiterated its backing for The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration and urged a peaceful resolution of the dispute. Manila is contesting China's historical claim to about 90 percent of the South China Sea, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

Hope and fear as combative president takes over Philippines

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
In this image made from video provided by Radio Television Malacanang, new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte takes the oath during the inauguration ceremony in Malacanang Palace, Thursday, June 30, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. Duterte was sworn in Thursday as president of the Philippines, with many hoping his maverick style will energize the country, but others fearing he could undercut one of Asia's liveliest democracies amid his threats to kill criminals en masse. (Radio Television Malacanang via AP Video)MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in Thursday as president of the Philippines, with many hoping his maverick style will energize the country but others fearing he could undercut one of Asia's liveliest democracies amid his threats to kill criminals en masse.

Japan says Chinese military activity in East China Sea escalating

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
By Tim Kelly TOKYO (Reuters) - Chinese military activity is escalating in the East China Sea, Japan's top military commander said on Thursday, with Japanese emergency scrambles to counter Chinese jets almost doubling in the past three months. "It appears that Chinese activity is escalating at sea and in the air," Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano, chief of the Japanese Self-Defence Forces, said at a regular press briefing in Tokyo. Japan is embroiled in a dispute with China in the East China Sea over ownership of a group of islands which lie about 220 km (140 miles) northeast of Taiwan known as the Senkakus in Tokyo and the Diaoyu islands in Beijing.

Back on her bike, Carr targets Olympic medal for Thailand

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
In this photo taken on Thursday, June 23, 2016, BMX rider Amanda Carr poses for a photograph during a visit to Bangkok, Thailand. Four years ago, Amanda Carr was coming to terms with the disappointment of not qualifying for the United States BMX team traveling to the Olympics in London. Now she is finalizing her packing plans for Rio de Janeiro and harboring genuine medal ambitions. (AP Photo/Chris Lines)BANGKOK (AP) — Amanda Carr didn't let the disappointment of missing selection for the 2012 Olympics hold her back for long.

Asian actors too busy to fret over Hollywood 'white-washing'

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎5 hours agoGo to full article
FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2007, file photo, Japanese actress Kaori Momoi poses during the photo call for the movie "Sukiyaki Western Django" at the 64th Venice Film Festival, in Venice, Italy. The film world of Asia is too busy making movies of its own to fret much about the debate slamming Hollywood - the casting of white people in roles written for Asians. Momoi, who appeared in “Memoirs of a Geisha,” as well as Russian filmmaker Aleksandr Sokurov’s “The Sun,” suggested acting was ultimately about individual talent, not skin color or nationality. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File)TOKYO (AP) — The film world of Asia, known for producing Akira Kurosawa, Satyajit Ray, Brillante Mendoza and other greats, is too busy making movies of its own to fret much about the debate slamming Hollywood — the casting of white people in roles written for Asians.

Duterte sworn in as president of Philippines

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎6 hours agoGo to full article
New Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, and outgoing President Benigno Aquino III salute during inauguration ceremony Thursday, June 30, 2016 at Malacanang Palace grounds in Manila, Philippines. Duterte becomes the 16th President of the Philippine Republic.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in Thursday as president of the Philippines, with some hoping his maverick style will energize the country but others fearing he will undercut one of Asia's liveliest democracies amid threats to kill criminals en masse.

Islamic State suspected after suicide bombers kill 42 at Istanbul airport

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎11 hours agoGo to full article
Relatives of one of the victims of yesterday's blast at Istanbul Ataturk Airport mourn in front of a morgue in IstanbulBy Ayla Jean Yackley and Humeyra Pamuk ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey pointed the finger at Islamic State on Wednesday for a triple suicide bombing and gun attack that killed 42 people at Istanbul's main airport, and President Tayyip Erdogan called it a turning point in the global fight against terrorism. In the deadliest of a series of suicide bombings this year in Turkey, the attackers struck the busy airport, a symbol of Istanbul's role as the Muslim world's most open and cosmopolitan city, a crossroads between Europe and Asia.

London stocks wipe out post-Brexit losses as fears ease

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎12 hours agoGo to full article
Traders have been encouraged by a recovering pound but analysts warn of jitters aheadUS stocks joined a European rally for a second straight day Wednesday as fears abated about Britain's vote to exit the European Union and its impact on the global economy. London share prices surged, wiping clean post-Brexit result losses. London's benchmark FTSE 100 closed well over three percent higher and above its level on the June 23 Brexit referendum.

Hollande says Brexit won't change Channel migrant deal

‎Yesterday, ‎June ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎9:39:26 PMGo to full article
French President Francois Hollande (L) talks with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron during an EU summit meeting at the European Union headquarters in Brussels on June 28, 2016Brussels (AFP) - French President Francois Hollande said Wednesday that Britain's vote to leave the EU should not affect a deal to stop migrants crossing the Channel, which led to many being stuck at camps in Calais.

China slams South China Sea case as court set to rule

‎Yesterday, ‎June ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎7:53:53 PMGo to full article
A fisherman repairs his boat overlooking fishing boats that fish in the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, at Masinloc, Zambales, in the PhilippinesBy Ben Blanchard and Anthony Deutsch BEIJING/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - An international court said on Wednesday it would deliver a hotly anticipated ruling in the Philippines' case against China over the South China Sea on July 12, drawing an immediate rebuke from Beijing, which rejects the tribunal's jurisdiction. The United States, which is a close ally of the Philippines and is concerned about China's expansive South China Sea claims, reiterated its backing for The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration and urged a peaceful resolution of the dispute. Manila is contesting China's historical claim to about 90 percent of the South China Sea, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

Airport attack hammers Istanbul's once-lofty ambitions

‎Yesterday, ‎June ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎4:53:12 PMGo to full article
FILE- This Friday, May 6, 2016 file photo shows a view of Istanbul's skyline with the iconic Galata Tower and the Ottoman-era Sultan Ahmed Mosque, background left, better known as the Blue Mosque. The number of foreigners arriving in Turkey in May was 2.48 million, down 34.6 percent from the same month in 2015, according to government data. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)In 2012, a glistening tower of shops, offices and residences opened in Istanbul, an emblem of the brash attitude of an ancient city that prided itself as an international gateway between Asia and Europe. Those ambitions, increasingly dampened by internal conflict and spillover from the tumult in neighboring countries, were dealt another blow in the deadly assault on the city's main Ataturk Airport.

Tibetan director Pema Tseden hospitalized after scuffle

‎Yesterday, ‎June ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎2:11:02 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Aug. 11, 2009, file photo, Tibetan film director Pema Tseden poses during a photo call at the 62nd Locarno International Film Festival in Locarno, Switzerland. Tseden was detained Saturday, June 25, 2016, following a dispute over left luggage at the airport in the western city of Xining. The next morning, he was ordered held for five days of administrative detention for causing a disturbance and was taken to a hospital Monday night suffering from a headache, chest pain and other complaints, his producer said. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP, File) ** EDITORIAL USE ONLY **BEIJING (AP) — Tibetan film director Pema Tseden has been hospitalized following a scuffle at a Chinese airport, bringing an outpouring of support from fans on social media.

US, S. Korea, Japan hold first anti-N. Korea missile drill

‎Yesterday, ‎June ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎7:38:58 AMGo to full article
North Korea has this year claimed a series of major technical breakthroughs in developing what it sees as the ultimate goal of its nuclear drive: an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the US mainlandThe drill in waters off Hawaii came less than a week after North Korea flight-tested a powerful new medium-range ballistic missile that leader Kim Jong-Un hailed as a strike threat to US military bases across the Pacific. The trilateral exercise included a ballistic target tracking operation to test the Aegis anti-missile systems used by the United States and its two key Asian allies. "While there were no missiles fired, all participants strengthened interoperability, communication channels, data collection, and capabilities assessments," the US Pacific Command said in a statement.

As Duterte takes over in Philippines, police killings stir fear

‎Yesterday, ‎June ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎7:35:27 AMGo to full article
A member of the Philippine National Police stands guard as he detains people as part of the "Rid the Streets Of Drinkers and Youth" operation on a main road in Las Pinas cityBy Manuel Mogato and John Chalmers MANILA (Reuters) - Two things catch the eye in the office of Joselito Esquivel, a police colonel enforcing a national crackdown on drugs in the Philippines' most crime-ridden district: a pair of boxing gloves in a display cabinet and an M4 assault rifle lying beside him. "It's all-out war," the Quezon City officer says of a spike in killings of suspected drug dealers by police across the country since last month's election of Rodrigo Duterte, a tough-talking city mayor, as the country's president. "Duterte has already given the impetus for this massive operation." Duterte has vowed to wipe out drug crime within six months but, according to Chito Gascon, head of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), the aggressive rhetoric behind his promises has already instilled a sense of impunity among the police.

Italy, Netherlands offer to share UN council seat

‎Yesterday, ‎June ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎12:28:32 AMGo to full article
Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders (L) speaks with Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni after the fourth round of voting during the election of five non-permanent members of the Security Council at the United Nations in New York on June 28 2016Italy and the Netherlands agreed Tuesday to split their term on the UN Security Council after a tie in voting forced them to reach a compromise. In the vote for five non-permanent seats, Kazakstan was elected for the first time, joining Bolivia, Ethiopia and Sweden which won spots during the secret balloting at the 193-nation General Assembly.

London Mayor Khan demands more autonomy after Brexit vote

‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎7:06:46 PMGo to full article
By Kylie MacLellan LONDON (Reuters) - London should swiftly be granted more autonomy to help it ride out the economic uncertainty unleashed by Britain's vote to leave the European Union, Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Tuesday. While the United Kingdom voted 52 to 48 percent to leave the bloc, London voted to remain, unlike most of the rest of England. Since then, more than 175,000 people have signed an online petition calling for London to become an independent city-state.

Southeast Asian fires emitted most carbon since 1997: scientists

‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎5:47:15 PMGo to full article
By Beh Lih Yi JAKARTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Forest fires that blanketed Southeast Asia in thick haze last year released the greatest amount of climate-changing carbon since record blazes in 1997, producing emissions higher than in the whole of the European Union, scientists said on Tuesday. Singapore, Malaysia and northern Indonesia choked under a layer of toxic smog in September and October last year, caused by thousands of fires started in Indonesia to cheaply clear land for palm oil crops and for pulp and paper plantations. The study by scientists from the Netherlands, Britain and Indonesia, published in the online journal Scientific Reports recently, was the first scientific report calculating greenhouse gas emissions from the fires using measurements on the ground combined with satellite observations.

Air France to carry Paris 2024 bid logo on 10,000 flights

‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎4:09:12 PMGo to full article
PARIS (AP) — Airliner Air France will pledge its support for the Paris bid to host the 2024 Olympic Games by displaying the bid logo on 10,000 flights before next year's decision.

Image of Asia: A splash of monsoon rain in Mumbai

‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎3:55:00 PMGo to full article
A schoolgirl reacts to rainwater being splashed on her, in a flooded street in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Monsoon rains, which started off slow in the city, has picked up pace the past few days. India's monsoon season runs from June to September. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)In this photo by Rafiq Maqbool, a schoolgirl reacts to rainwater being splashed on her in a flooded street in Mumbai, India. Monsoon rains have picked up pace in the city after a slow start, bringing welcome relief after a long drought. The monsoon season runs from June to September and the next few weeks are forecast to be normal or wetter-than-normal in much of India.

Empty houses and jobless maids: Indonesia's expat exodus gathers pace

‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎12:10:17 PMGo to full article
A house guard stands in front of an empty rental house at Kemang district in JakartaBy Eveline Danubrata and Fergus Jensen JAKARTA (Reuters) - Foreign workers are leaving Indonesia at an increasing rate due to the slump in commodity prices that has forced resource companies to slash jobs at a time when the government has also introduced tighter regulations on expatriates in Southeast Asia's biggest economy. The number of temporary residential permits issued to foreigners, including renewals, has fallen for the past few years to 171,944 in 2015 from 194,162 in 2013. In the first five months of this year, there were 72,399 issued but many of those who provide services to expats say they expect a further drop over the whole of 2016 as they are seeing very few new arrivals.

South Korea cuts outlook, plans stimulus package

‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎9:59:46 AMGo to full article
Visitors walk by signs displaying foreign currency exchange rates in downtown Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, June 28, 2016. South Korea's government lowered growth outlook for Asia's fourth-largest economy and planned a supplementary budget for a second year in a row as the global economy faces heightened uncertainty. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's government lowered growth outlook for Asia's fourth-largest economy and planned a supplementary budget for a second year in a row as the global economy faces heightened uncertainty.

Baby steppes: Mongolian women face ballot box battle

‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎9:51:24 AMGo to full article
Former pop singer and parliamentary candidate Nara (C), whose full name is Munkhturiin Narantuya, takes selfies with supporters during a campaign event in Ulan Bator, ahead of electionsMongolian pop singer and single mother Nara swapped her trademark miniskirt for a traditional "deel" to campaign in tented slums for a seat in parliament, but would-be female parliamentarians face an uphill challenge as the country goes to the polls Wednesday. Women politicians have been making strides in Asia in recent years, and on some measures Mongolia fares well on gender equality, but weeks ago mostly male MPs voted to reduce a quota for female candidates. Nara, 33, whose full name is Munkhturiin Narantuya and who has a two-year-old son, aspires to "change the system, involve myself to influence how the system should work", she told AFP as she walked past open drains in Mongolia's capital Ulan Bator.

The Latest: Oakland council bans coal shipments

‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎6:31:36 AMGo to full article
Stevie Johnson holds up a pair of signs during a protest outside City Hall before a scheduled vote, Monday, June 27, 2016, to decide whether to ban rail shipments of coal over concerns it would pose a public health or safety hazard in Oakland, Calif. A yes vote Monday by the Oakland City Council could scuttle the plan to build a marine terminal that would serve as a gateway for Utah coal heading to Asia. (AP Photo/Janie Har)OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on a plan to ship coal through Oakland (all times local):

South Korea cuts growth outlook, plans stimulus package

‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎6:10:21 AMGo to full article
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's government lowered growth outlook for Asia's fourth-largest economy and planned a supplementary budget for a second year in a row as the global economy faces heightened uncertainty.

UN report: Tackle inequality to prevent children from dying

‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎2:32:20 AMGo to full article
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. children's agency warned Monday that 69 million youngsters under the age of five will die from preventable causes between now and 2030 if all countries don't accelerate action to improve health and education for the most disadvantaged.

Report links 6.5 million deaths worldwide to air pollution

‎Monday, ‎June ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎5:58:40 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2014 file photo, smoke streams from the chimneys of the E.ON coal-fired power station in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. The International Energy Agency said Monday June 27, 2016 that each year about 6.5 million deaths worldwide are linked to air pollution and warns that the number will grow unless the energy sector steps up its efforts to slash emissions. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)STOCKHOLM (AP) — Each year about 6.5 million deaths worldwide are linked to air pollution, a number that could grow in coming decades unless the energy sector steps up its efforts to slash emissions, the International Energy Agency warned Monday.

Image of Asia: Praying at Hazratbal shrine in Kashmir

‎Monday, ‎June ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎3:25:53 PMGo to full article
Kashmiri Muslim devotees pray early in the morning at the Hazratbal shrine, during special prayers to observe the Martyr Day of Hazrat Ali, cousin of the Prophet Muhammad, in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Monday, June 27, 2016. The festival coincides with the 21st day of the Islamic holy month Ramadan, when devout Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn to dusk. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)In this photo by Mukhtar Khan, Muslims pray early in the morning in observance of the Martyr Day of Hazrat Ali, cousin of the Prophet Muhammad, at the Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar, the main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir. The festival coincides with the 21st day of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month in which the devout refrain from eating, drinking and smoking during the day. The lakeside Hazratbal shrine is Islam's holiest in India's portion of the mostly Muslim region.

Duterte ready to clash with Catholic church on birth control

‎Monday, ‎June ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎1:51:24 PMGo to full article
FILE - In this April 29, 2016 file photo, presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte answers questions from the media in Manila, Philippines. The Philippine president-elect said Monday, June 27, he would aggressively promote artificial birth control in the country even at the risk of getting in a fight with the dominant Catholic church, which staunchly opposes the use of contraceptives. Duterte, who is to be sworn to the presidency on Thursday, June 30, said having many children has driven families deeper into poverty, and he reiterated his recommendation for Filipinos to have three at most. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)DAVAO, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine president-elect said Monday he would aggressively promote artificial birth control in the country even at the risk of getting in a fight with the dominant Catholic church, which staunchly opposes the use of contraceptives.

Hong Kong timetables total ban on ivory trading for first time

‎Monday, ‎June ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎1:22:32 PMGo to full article
A half-finished ivory product from government registered ivory tusk is seen inside a factory in Hong KongHong Kong has called for an end to local ivory trading within five years, a move activists hailed as significant given the financial hub's reputation as a wildlife trafficking blackspot, while calling for this ban to be speeded up. The former British colony acts an important transit and consumption hub for illegal ivory to China and the rest of Asia, due to its role as a major importer, trader and manufacturer before the trade was banned internationally in 1990. Hong Kong, a Chinese "Special Administrative Region", allows trade of "pre-convention ivory" which refers to products such as ivory carvings and crafts acquired before 1975, as long as they are accompanied by certificates.

Sterling slides as Brexit alarm spreads

‎Monday, ‎June ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎12:37:36 PMGo to full article
Sterling has crumbled to a three-decade low against the dollar after the Brexit voteLondon (AFP) - Britain battled to stop worldwide Brexit alarm Monday as sterling crumbled to a three-decade low against the dollar, while bank, airline and property shares plummeted.

Air pollution to kill millions more without energy policy change: IEA

‎Monday, ‎June ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎12:15:02 PMGo to full article
A woman wearing a protective mask makes her way in a business district on a heavily polluted day in BeijingBy Nina Chestney LONDON (Reuters) - Premature deaths from air pollution will continue to rise to 2040 unless changes are made to the way the world uses and produces energy, the International Energy Agency said on Monday. Around 6.5 million deaths globally are attributed each year to poor air quality inside and outside, making it the world's fourth-largest threat to human health, behind high blood pressure, dietary risks and smoking. Harmful pollutants such as particulate matter - which can contain acids, metals, soil and dust particles - sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides, are responsible for the most widespread effects of air pollution.

AP PHOTOS: Editor selections from the past week in Asia

‎Monday, ‎June ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎10:49:27 AMGo to full article
FILE - In this Sunday, July 26, 2016, file photo, people demonstrate a yoga pose in an indoor stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam. About 1,000 yoga practitioners participated in the mass practice to celebrate the annual International Yoga Day. (AP Photo/Hau Dinh, File)Patterns of people — performing yoga, bowing in prayer, standing at attention — grabbed the attention of AP photographers around Asia last week.

Britain scrambles to contain Brexit turmoil

‎Monday, ‎June ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎9:49:59 AMGo to full article
Commuters heading into the City of London walk across London Bridge, in front of Tower Bridge, in central London on June 27, 2016Britain's finance minister on Monday sought to calm markets after the country's shock vote to leave the EU, and insisted it would be not rushed into a break-up despite pressure from EU leaders. George Osborne said Britain's economy was "as strong as could be" to deal with the fallout of Thursday's momentous Brexit vote, which has already claimed the scalp of Prime Minister David Cameron and fuelled fears of a break-up of the United Kingdom. "Today I want to reassure the British people, and the global community, that Britain is ready to confront what the future holds for us from a position of strength," he said, minutes before the opening of European stock markets.

Panama Canal opens $5B locks, bullish despite shipping woes

‎Monday, ‎June ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎3:41:16 AMGo to full article
A worker watches as the COSCO Shipping Panama cargo ship leaves the new Cocoli Locks, part of the new Panama Canal expansion project, in Panama City, Sunday, June 26, 2016. Authorities are hosting a big bash to inaugurate newly expanded locks that will double the Canal's capacity, as the country makes a multibillion-dollar bet on a bright economic future despite tough times for international shipping. (AP Photo/Tito Herrera)PANAMA CITY (AP) — Fireworks exploded as a huge container ship made the inaugural passage through the newly expanded Panama Canal on Sunday, formally launching the Central American nation's multibillion-dollar bet on a bright economic future despite tough times for global shipping.

Air pollution to kill millions more without change of energy policy: IEA

‎Monday, ‎June ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎1:15:52 AMGo to full article
A woman wearing a protective mask makes her way in a business district on a heavily polluted day in BeijingBy Nina Chestney LONDON (Reuters) - Premature deaths from air pollution will continue to rise to 2040 unless changes are made to the way the world uses and produces energy, the International Energy Agency said on Monday. Around 6.5 million deaths globally are attributed each year to poor air quality inside and outside, making it the world's fourth-largest threat to human health, behind high blood pressure, dietary risks and smoking. Harmful pollutants such as particulate matter - which can contain acids, metals, soil and dust particles - sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides, are responsible for the most widespread effects of air pollution.

British EU vote causes alarm abroad as ripples spread

‎Monday, ‎June ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎12:53:46 AMGo to full article
A man holds up the German newspaper Bild with the titel "OUTsch!", for the camera, in BerlinBy Estelle Shirbon and Ben Blanchard LONDON/BEIJING (Reuters) - Britain plunged deeper into political crisis on Sunday after its vote to leave the European Union last Thursday, leaving EU and world officials confused about what to do next. British Finance Minister George Osborne, who had warned during the campaign that a "Brexit" would cause financial market volatility, scheduled a statement for 7 a.m. (0600 GMT) on Monday to provide reassurance about "financial and economic stability". China's finance minister said fallout from Thursday's referendum "will cast a shadow over the global economy", while a senior official in Tokyo warned of the danger of "speculative, violent moves" in currencies.

Foreign investors eye UK property after Brexit fallout

‎Sunday, ‎June ‎26, ‎2016, ‏‎8:34:42 AMGo to full article
A petition for London to have independence from the United Kingdom and make an application to join the EU has garnered more than 150,000 signaturesWith property prices in Britain predicted to plummet post-Brexit, foreign investors, especially in Asia, are already poised for a buying spree. It is an ironic twist to the shock referendum result -- many who opted to leave the European Union saw their vote as a deterrent to outsiders looking to take advantage of economic opportunities in Britain. The aftermath of Thursday's vote to leave the EU saw the resignation of British Prime Minister David Cameron and the collapse of the pound to a 31-year low.

Newly expanded Panama Canal opens for bigger business

‎Saturday, ‎June ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎10:16:37 PMGo to full article
Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal, seen on June 25, 2016Panama is preparing to officially open its canal this weekend to far bigger cargo ships after nearly a decade of expansion work aimed at boosting transit revenues and global trade. President Juan Carlos Varela will unveil the new locks and third shipping lane built into the 102-year-old canal. A Chinese-owned Neopanamax-class cargo ship will be the first vessel to officially test the new infrastructure, entering from the Atlantic and exiting into the Pacific a few hours later.

Could Brexit help migrants get to Britain? Not so fast

‎Saturday, ‎June ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎8:22:12 PMGo to full article
Migrants walk past a flag of England inside the "Jungle" camp for migrants and refugees in Calais on June 24, 2016, after Britain voted to leave the European UnionHopes that Brexit could provide a ticket to Britain for thousands of migrants languishing in squalid conditions in northern France are illusory, the French government says. The president of France's North region, Xavier Bertrand, was among several politicians who challenged a bilateral accord that is at the root of the migrants' plight within hours of Britain's vote to leave the EU. The so-called Le Touquet accord, reached in 2003, effectively moved Britain's border with France to the French side of the Channel, where migrants fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia are massed.

Putin praises 'all-embracing' partnership of Russia, China

‎Saturday, ‎June ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎1:19:40 PMGo to full article
Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, walks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Saturday, June 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)BEIJING (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday emphasized economic ties with China and praised what he called Russia's "all-embracing and strategic partnership" with its neighbor, during a visit to Beijing that takes place against the background of a drop in trade and lingering mistrust.

Chinese team confirmed in Kontinental Hockey League

‎Saturday, ‎June ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎12:22:25 PMGo to full article
MOSCOW (AP) — The Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League has confirmed that it will add a Chinese club next season as it competes against the NHL in Asian markets.

Global stocks tumble after Britain votes to leave the EU

‎Saturday, ‎June ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎12:00:37 AMGo to full article
Specialist Michael Pistillo wears Union Jack socks as he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, June 24, 2016. U.S. stocks are plunging in early trading after Britons voted to leave the European Union. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks plunged in the U.S. and worldwide Friday after Britain voted to leave the European Union. The result stunned investors, who reacted by rushing to the safety of gold and U.S. government bonds as they wondered what will come next for Britain, Europe and the global economy.

Dutch anti-immigrant party chief urges 'Nexit' referendum for Netherlands

‎Friday, ‎June ‎24, ‎2016, ‏‎10:53:26 PMGo to full article
Dutch far-right Party for Freedom leader Wilders answers questions during a Reuters interview in BudapestBy Marton Dunai BUDAPEST (Reuters) - The Netherlands should hold its own referendum on whether to leave the European Union following Britain's vote in favor of exiting the bloc, the leader of the Dutch anti-immigrant PVV party, Geert Wilders, said on Friday. Wilders' Eurosceptical party is leading opinion polls in the Netherlands, one of the six founder nations of what has become the EU, ahead of a parliamentary election expected next March. "I congratulate the British people for beating the political elite in both London and Brussels and I think we can do the same," Wilders told Reuters in an interview.

Brexit vote a victory for populist politics

‎Friday, ‎June ‎24, ‎2016, ‏‎7:35:16 PMGo to full article
Two people hold an European Union and the castle of Hardelot, the cultural center of the Entente Cordiale (the colonial-era promise of cross-channel friendship between Britain and France)in Neufchatel-Hardelot, northern FranceBritish voters' decision to leave the European Union highlighted working class dissatisfaction with the UK and Europe's ruling elite and the mass appeal of populist politics. Farage, who posed next to an anti-migrant poster emblazoned with the words "Breaking Point" during the Brexit campaign, dedicated the "Out" vote to people who have "had enough of the merchant bankers". Donald Trump's tell-it-like-it-is bluntness and disdain for both political correctness and Washington insiders has struck a chord among increasingly frustrated white working class and middle class voters in the United States.

Cheap beer but an uncertain future: Brexit as seen from Eurostar

‎Friday, ‎June ‎24, ‎2016, ‏‎7:24:23 PMGo to full article
Eurostar passengers are in turmoil at the news of Brexit, not knowing whether to rejoice or be worried for what the future holdsAboard the Eurostar (Royaume-Uni) (AFP) - Aboard the Eurostar high speed train that links the European mainland to Britain, the reality of Britain's vote to leave the EU divided passengers bound for London Friday. Among Britons returning to a very different country to the one they left, there was speculation over what the vote for Brexit would mean practically.

Finance minister says India wants more manufacturers

‎Friday, ‎June ‎24, ‎2016, ‏‎2:28:48 PMGo to full article
Finance minister says India wants more manufacturersBEIJING (AP) — India wants to attract manufacturing investment following its latest market-opening initiatives, the country's finance minister said Friday, despite business concerns about access to land, taxes and other issues.
Channel NewsAsia 



Simeone vows to stay on and improve Atletico

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎16 minutes agoGo to full article
MADRID (Reuters - Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone, a month on from a second Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in three years, has made it clear that his immediate future is with the Spanish club.

The Argentine, who has been at Atletico since 2011 and is under contract for another four years, said after the loss on penalties to Real that he wanted to explore his options. But now he says he is only concentrating on making the team better.

Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Final

"I spoke in the heat of the moment," Simeone told reporters on Wednesday in Buenos Aires. "We Argentinians are like that. Others are not at fault for beating you, I learned that a long time ago.

"To remember the pain and the suffering is necessary to better yourself."

Simeone has won the Europa League, King's Cup and La Liga in his four-and-a-half seasons at the Spanish club.

The 46-year-old says only a few teams that have "more resources" are superior to Atletico and expects his side to continue to fight for titles domestically and internationally.

"I don't believe there are many teams better than us," he said.

"We have created a strong group. To be better than Atletico is very difficult because we play as a team. Only Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are better than Atletico, no one else. We are constantly anxious to improve."

Atletico president Enrique Cerezo is looking to keep the same core of players while also bringing in reinforcements.

French forward Antoine Griezmann, who scored 32 goals in 51 appearances for Atletico this season, signed a one-year contract extension earlier this month.

Atletico have agreed to sign Argentine midfielder Nicolas Gaitan from Benfica and are looking to strengthen their attack.

"The aim is to improve from last season," Cerezo told reporters on Wednesday. "I know what Atletico needs and that is why we are working well and we will bring in players and good ones."

"We have turned down offers of millions for almost every player that we have and we will assume that financial weight in order to maintain the backbone of this team and for the important players to remain here."

(Reporting by Adriana Garcia. Editing by Adrian Warner.)


Penang Chief Minister maintains innocence following corruption charges

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎21 minutes agoGo to full article
GEORGETOWN: The chief minister of the northern Malaysian state of Penang, Lim Guan Eng, has on Thursday (Jun 30) vowed to prove his innocence after being formally charged with two counts of corruption by the High Court.

The 55-year-old said the case, which revolves around a property purchase last July, is a travesty of justice, and claims the charges were trumped up to ruin the state and his political career.

lim guan eng with supporters

Mr Lim, who is a leading opposition figure in Malaysia, is said to have bought a bungalow at below market price and granted a rezoning approval to a company linked to the seller in return. The seller, Phang Li Khoon, has also been charged.

Both pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.

Mr Lim was released after posting bail of RM 1 million (US$ 248,829).

The prosecution, led by Attorney General Mohd Apandi Ali, had earlier obtained approval to transfer the case to the High Court given the case is of public interest.

The case has caused anger in Penang. Residents are upset over what they see as political  persecution of their chief minister. They chanted for hours demanding his release and for the federal government to leave Penang alone.

"The state has been doing really well,” said Penang resident Joe Sidiq. “The people here, we don't want disarray – we just want political calmness. Put people first, politics second; the welfare of the people is far more important than politics of the country.”

The crowd later swarmed the Chief Minister as he walked from the court house in Georgetown to a nearby townhall. Traffic came to standstill and bystanders watched and cheered. 

Speaking to the media, the Chief Minister maintained his innocence. He also lashed out at the prosecutor for what he said was selective prosecution, pointing out the lack of action against scandal-plagued state fund 1MDB.

"If that's (considered) corrupt practises, why (is it that) those with billions in accounts – why are they not charged for corruption?  White has become black, black has become white; the right has become wrong, the wrong is right. That's why we have to save Malaysia,” said Mr Lim.

Mr Lim said he will continue to run the state and is confident that the charges against him will not unnerve investors in the state.

His Democratic Action Party (DAP) will be meeting to deliberate on the next course of action.


Czech coach Vrba quits national team to join Russian club

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎21 minutes agoGo to full article
PRAGUE: Czech national team manager Pavel Vrba has quit the job and signed a contract with Anzhi Makhachkala, the Czech Football Association and the Russian Premier League club said on Thursday.

The Czech team suffered two defeats and drew once at the group stage of the Euro 2016 before being eliminated from the tournament.

Czech Republic v Turkey - EURO 2016 - Group D

The result was a big disappointment for the Czech fans who had hoped for much more after the team won their qualification group which included last World Cup bronze medal winners, the Netherlands.

Vrba, 52, joined the national side in January 2014.

Vrba had successfully managed top Czech league team Viktoria Plzen, winning two titles and bringing the club twice to the group stage of the Champions League.

The Czech takes over from Ruslan Agalarov, who resigned from his position last month.

Anzhi, which narrowly avoided relegation from the Russian top flight in the last season, did not say how long Vrba's contract was.

(Reporting by Robert Muller; additional reporting by Dmitriy Rogovitskiy in Moscow; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)


First nationwide data shows stomach, colon, breast cancers most common in Japan

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎26 minutes agoGo to full article
TOKYO: Japan's National Cancer Center released the country's very first data on cancer patients on Wednesday (Jun 29) and it highlighted the most common types and where they are most prevalent.

The overall diagnosis of cancer was highest among residents living near the Sea of Japan while the most common type of cancers were stomach, colon and breast cancers.

Japan cancer screening room

Men in the northern prefecture of Akita, reported the highest ratio of stomach and colon cancer.

Breast cancer is the most common type among women and Tokyo reported the highest ratio of that cancer.

The data also showed that the lowest death rate from cancer has been reported in Nagano in central Japan where the men reportedly have the highest average life span in the country.

The Health Ministry, on its website, attributed the situation in Nagano to a government-run program to appoint residents to take turns to become healthcare assistants, host dancing lessons and attend lectures on healthy lifestyles and the health hazards of smoking. There are also campaigns calling the public to go for medical check ups. 

Cancer has been Japan's top cause of death since 1981. Half of Japanese develop cancer which is also the cause of one third of deaths. There were about 370,000 deaths from cancer in 2015 according to the National Cancer Center.

The Health Ministry next aims to create a national data base on every cancer patient. It is also studying, with a panel of experts, a system where cancer patients can return home and eventually head back to work.


Peter Bellew named CEO of Malaysia Airlines

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎30 minutes agoGo to full article
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines Berhad Chief Operating Officer Peter Bellew has been named the airline's new Chief Executive Officer from Jul 1, Malaysian investment fund Khazanah announced in a media release on Thursday (Jun 30).

Mr Bellew will also be the Group Managing Director of Malaysia Aviation Group and Malaysia Airlines, the media release stated. 

File photo of Malaysia Airlines planes(Photo:AFP)

Khazanah added that the appointment was discussed and recorded at its board of directors' meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Najib Razak on Jun 21, 2016.

"His appointment will ensure continuity and further progress of the overall restructuring effort, under the five-year 12-point MAS Recovery Plan (MRP) launched by Khazanah on Aug 29, 2014. As Group MD and CEO, Mr Bellew’s primary tasks are to successfully implement the turnaround of Malaysia Airlines, as well as develop Malaysian leadership succession at MAB," the release said. 

The airlines' former CEO Christoph Mueller, who was hired last year, launched a painful rescue plan that entailed slashing 6,000 jobs and dramatically trimming the carrier's route network.

But he announced his departure from the company on Apr 19, well before the end of his three-year contract, due to "a change in personal circumstances".

Khazanah took Malaysia Airlines private in 2014, as part of a 6.0 billion ringgit (US$1.5 billion) plan to help it return to profit. The devastating MH370 and MH17 disasters in 2014 pushed the perennially loss-making airline to the brink of bankruptcy as bookings dried up.

Flight MH370 disappeared on Mar 8 of that year, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew. Debris found in the Indian Ocean has confirmed the Boeing 777 went down but what happened remains a mystery.

Four months later, MH17 was blown from the sky by a suspected Russian-made ground-to-air missile over war-torn Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew.


Lebanon army says foils attacks on tourist spot, crowded area - state media

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎41 minutes agoGo to full article
BEIRUT: Lebanon's army said on Thursday it had foiled two planned terrorist attacks on a major tourist site and a crowded area, state media reported.

The attacks were being planned by Islamic State, and five people involved including the mastermind were arrested, an army statement quoted by the National News Agency said.

(Reporting by John Davison; Editing by Andrew Heavens)


EU antitrust regulators to probe AB InBev's Belgian beer pricing

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎41 minutes agoGo to full article
BRUSSELS: EU antitrust regulators will investigate whether brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev is illegally blocking cheaper imports of its own beer into the Belgian market, the European Commission said on Thursday.

The probe underlines the competition authority's crackdown against companies seeking to prevent "parallel trade", in which cheaper products in one country are transported for sale in another.

The logo of Anheuser-Busch InBev is pictured outside the brewer's headquarters in Leuven

"AB InBev may be pursuing a deliberate strategy to restrict so-called 'parallel trade' of its beer from less expensive countries, such as the Netherlands and France, to the more expensive Belgian market," the Commission said in a statement.

It said the investigation would focus on whether the brewer changes the packaging of beer cans or bottles to make it harder to sell them in other countries and whether it restricts non-Belgian retailers' access to rebates to prevent them from importing cheaper beer to Belgium.

AB InBev faces the risk of a fine up to 10 percent of its global turnover if found guilty of breaching EU antitrust rules.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)


'Smart' airbases on the cards as SAF taps on tech amid manpower crunch

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎46 minutes agoGo to full article
SINGAPORE: An impending manpower crunch due to Singapore's changing demographics means the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will have to tap on technology as a "critical enabler", said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Thursday (Jun 30).

Dr Ng said in an interview that come 2030, the SAF will see a reduction in its manpower by a third. "What it means to the SAF is that it has to do more with less, and that means it has to work smart, not only hard, and rely on and use technology as a critical enabler to be able to respond adequately," he said. 

GFF exercise 1

For instance, the Minister said the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) is looking to design "smart, 21st Century" airbases. There is an opportunity to do this at Changi East Airbase and Tengah Airbase, which will be expanded to accommodate the relocation of Paya Lebar Airbase, he said.

"Smart air bases means that you see more automation, for simple aspects like security of the air base; more unmanned systems," said Dr Ng. "But beyond that, you can even launch and recover the planes using automated systems. (This will affect) how you command and control, how you protect, how you have redundancy."

The RSAF is also looking to implement an enhanced Island Air Defence system to counter airborne threats more swiftly, Dr Ng said. 

"I think that is important because you know about the 9/11 (attacks). Even for Singapore, the Jemaah Islamiyah’s plot – one of the scenarios was to hijack a plane and to threaten Changi Airport, or housing estates - it was a real threat," he explained.


The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), too, is looking to completely replace its mine countermeasure fleet. The fleet can respond to mines, in periods of tension or even for terrorists looking to mine civilian harbours, he said. 

"That is not a theoretical scenario. Terrorists can well within their ability, get hold of, as they have, and bomb ships that are docked in harbours," Dr Ng pointed out.

However, he noted that mine countermeasures is very time-intensive and risky to soldier and sailors because they are basically looking for a small object that can create great harm. They will also have to traverse an entire parameter to feel that the mines are put in underneath the sea in the sea bed, he added.

The RSN, after discussions with defence engineers, decided that it is possible to move towards a completely unmanned fleet to detect, dispose or detonate mines, Dr Ng said, adding that this will improve effectiveness and efficiency.

"I will say that this is part aspiration, part delivered. Some of the modalities are in; some of it is really unmanned," Dr Ng said, pointing to the REMUS unit used to help search for the crashed AirAsia QZ8501 plane.

"But to move to a fully unmanned fleet, very few navies – I do not think there is any navy that has done that yet. We are aiming for that. I wish RSN well, I hope they achieve it," he added. 


The Defence Minister also said for cybersecurity, MINDEF is rolling out its Cyber Security Operations Centre 2.0, which will have advanced content scanning engines that can weed out inncuous emails from malware-laden ones.

"The number of network event logs from cyber intrusions on our cyber systems, on our IT systems – as I said in Parliament – do not number in the tens or hundreds or thousands, its hundreds of thousands every day," said Dr Ng. "You can write a code for it to perpetually keep circulating in the system; you just accumulate all the intrusions.

"You have to use more data analytics and the ability for security assessment tools. This is (the function of the) Cyber Security Operations Centre 2.0," he said.


New SAF unit to boost Singapore's response to terror attacks

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎46 minutes agoGo to full article
SINGAPORE: The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will form a new unit, called the Army Deployment Force (ADF), to sharpen Singapore's ability to combat terrorism, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Thursday (Jun 30).

The Army Deployment Force will be a battalion-sized unit comprising highly-trained regulars with niche capabilities, able to respond to terrorist threats in an urban setting. They are also expected to complement other SAF task forces such as the Special Operations Task Force (SOTF) and the Island Defence Task Force (IDTF), Dr Ng said in an interview. 

Heartbeat explosion at Esplanade Park

"The basic task for the Army Deployment Force is a rapid response element because speed is important in counter terrorism. It's really not quite like conventional missions where you have time. This time you have to respond in minutes," the minister said. 

The first batch will be inaugurated on Jul 12, he added.

Additionally, Dr Ng said the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) will set up the National Security Centre, and this will help coordinate counter-terrorism efforts between MINDEF and MHA.


Dr Ng illustrated a scenario where multiple terrorist attacks take place, and the ADF's role is to surround an affected area to contain the armed attackers. They will be equipped with assault weapons like the SAR 21 and the 870 MCS, as well as the Peacekeeper Protected Response Vehicles, for their mission, he said.

Meanwhile, the SOTF will close in to neutralise the attackers and rescue hostages, if any, he added.

Dr Ng said these task forces will support the Home Team agencies, which will be the first to respond in such events. 

"As we have agreed with MHA, that there may be situations where the SAF may be called in. And it may not be sequentially, it may be at the same time, because you are able to assess the threat that you have multiple areas of attack. For example, with what happened in France," he said.

Besides dealing with terrorism, the ADF has other functions such as assisting the IDTF in civil contingencies like mass evacuations and to enhance domestic security. For such operations, soldiers will be equipped with pistols and tasers as well as the Protected Light Utility Vehicle, the Defence Minister said.

The ADF can also be activated for overseas missions in areas like humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, as well as peace support operations that involve aiding in reconstruction efforts, Dr Ng noted. 

Selected National Servicemen (NS) units will be trained to operate alongside the ADF, so that they can be part of the response team, the Minister said. 

Dr Ng said setting up the ADF is part of SAF's continuing efforts to ramp up the Republic's counter-terrorism capabilities in light of the growing threat. At this year's Committee of Supply debate, he had announced that more SAF units will be trained to take on a wider range of security tasks such as conducting deterrence patrols in populous areas.


The Defence Minister also raised concerns about "lone wolf" terrorists and the Islamic State (IS). He said even if IS is neutralised, it does not mean that the threat level will go down; in fact, the threat level may worsen. 

"Why? Because you have a thousand or more foreign fighters from this region that have gone there. If IS is weakened there, they will come back. So this is a problem that will confront us easily for the next two decades," he explained. 

He added that porous borders between countries make it easy for terrorists to smuggle weapons and form small training enclaves. 

This is why the fight against terrorism requires international cooperation, Dr Ng said.

For example, Singapore and Australia have announced they are deepening military ties through initiatives such as building a training facility in Australia that is 10 times the size of Singapore. The facility will allow Singapore troops a place to train over the next 25 years, focusing on honing their capabilities in operating in an urban setting as well as counter-terrorism operations.

"It will mean many more training opportunities for NS soldiers. But we want to have realistic training and we need to have a good training facility. So, on the cards are combined arms live firing range, which means you have the ability to fire in concert to test the scenarios where both artillery, air force, Apaches, armour and infantry can fire," the Defence Minister said.

This collaboration comes under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which Singapore signed with Australia in May this year. 

Dr Ng also noted that Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia are looking to conduct joint patrols in the Sulu Sea, and Singapore will join if invited as this is also in the Republic's interest.

He added that Singapore has offered its Information Fusion Centre - an initiative started by the country's navy - as a resource for the joint patrols. 


Pre-enlistees entering NS from end-2017 may indicate vocation choice

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎46 minutes agoGo to full article
SINGAPORE: For men entering National Service (NS) from end-2017, they may indicate which vocations they are interested in joining and this will be factored in after they have been assigned to the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Singapore Police Force (SPF) or Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen has revealed.

The move aims to encourage full-time national servicemen to take ownership of their roles and responsibilities, Dr Ng said in an interview ahead of SAF Day on Jul 1.  

soldiers BMT

Currently, pre-enlistees are assigned to their vocations based on the operational needs of the SAF and Home Team agencies. However, pre-enlistees may begin to indicate which vocations they are interested in from the end of this year, if their enlistment date is from end-2017.

Their interests will be considered after they have been assigned to SAF, SPF or SCDF, and information on more than 30 vocations available will be made available on the Central Manpower Base (CMPB) website from the third quarter this year. 

"Obviously, operational requirements will come first. But if their vocations, their aptitudes, match their choices, we'll try to give as many as possible - with the caveat that the entirety of that unit, missions and capabilities must not be compromised," said Dr Ng. 


The SAF will also launch the NS Mark accreditation scheme this August, with an aim to recognise organisations that support NS through its policies and human resource practices. 

Under the scheme, organisations will be awarded either the NS Mark, or the higher tiered NS Mark (Gold). Top NS Mark (Gold) organisations will be further recognised as NS Advocates.

The two initiatives are part of the 30 recommendations made by the Committee to Strengthen National Service (CSNS), which was first set up in 2013. So far, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has implemented 24 of these.

Ahead of the 50th anniversary of NS next year, Dr Ng said Singaporeans across generations have remained strongly committed to it.

"We recognise and accept that every Singaporean must do his NS duties. Will there be defaulters? Always," said the Defence Minister. "On a global scale, we are one of the best and remaining NS systems. Other systems have failed. We have managed to maintain very high support.

"The courts have taken note of this and have handed out deterrent sentences to those who default. I think if Singaporeans feel we really ought to send a stronger signal to show defaulters that you have to do your duty, as Defence Minister I will welcome that," Dr Ng added.

He also said there is a continuous need to recognise national servicemen so that they can do their NS duties well. 


Putin may meet Obama at G20 in September - RIA

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
MOSCOW: Russia's Foreign Ministry does not rule out a bilateral meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama on the sidelines of a G20 summit in September, RIA news agency cited Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Thursday.

(Reporting by Polina Devitt; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Christian Lower)

Russian President Putin gestures as he addresses students during his visit to German Embassy school

China's Postal Savings Bank files for HK IPO, world's biggest since Alibaba

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
HONG KONG: State-owned Postal Savings Bank of China (PSBC), the country's largest bank by number of branches, has filed for a Hong Kong IPO seeking to raise up to US$10 billion, IFR reported on Thursday.

The filing of the preliminary initial public offering (IPO) prospectus sets in motion what is set to be the world's biggest new listing in about two years and would value the bank at about US$50 billion, the report said.

People walk past a sign outside a branch of Postal Savings Bank of China (PSBC) in downtown Beijing

The listing could happen as early as September, IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication IFR, said, citing sources close to the deal.

The IPO is targeting to raise between US$7 billion and US$10 billion, the report said. A spokeswoman for PSBC , declined an immediate comment on the filing.

If the IPO hits its target, it would be the biggest market debut since Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding's record US$25-billion listing in September 2014.

(This version of the story corrects paragraph 2 to say IPO to value bank at US$50 billion)

(Reporting by Fiona Lau and Ken Wang; Additional reporting by Shu Zhang in Beijing; Writing by Sumeet Chatterjee; Editing by Denny Thomas and Clarence Fernandez)


Oil falls towards US$50 on higher supply outlook, economic worries

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
LONDON: Oil fell towards US$50 a barrel on Thursday, pressured by higher Nigerian output and concern about the economic outlook following Britain's vote to leave the European Union last week.

Returning Nigerian supply will put pressure on prices, Goldman Sachs said, adding that outages caused by Canadian wildfires would virtually end by September.

Oil prices extend their gains to multi-month highs following another drop in US supplies and the(Photo:AFP)

Norwegian supply could be hit by a threatened workers' strike, however.

Brent crude was down 48 cents a barrel at US$50.13 as of 0856 GMT, having risen in the two previous sessions. U.S. crude was down 48 cents to US$49.40.

"Supply is gradually improving in Canada, although in Norway we still have some risk," said Olivier Jakob of Petromatrix, who added a weak gasoline crack was weighing on crude.

"I don't think the case is there for US$30 oil, but to go to US$60 you need to see stronger support from the products."

Brent has risen by 85 percent since reaching a 12-year low in January, supported by expectations that a glut that has been weighing on prices since 2014 would start to ease and by unplanned losses from Canada to Nigeria.

Nonetheless, the return of some of that oil and concern over a slowing economy, compounded by Britain's vote to leave the European Union, are weighing near-term, analysts said.

Adding to economic concerns, industrial output in Asia's second-largest economy, Japan, slid in May at the fastest rate in three months to its lowest level since June 2013.

On the supply front, oil production in Nigeria has risen to about 1.9 million barrels per day (bpd) from 1.6 million, due to repairs and a lack of new major attacks on pipelines in the Delta region, the state oil company said on Monday.

"Short-term supply conditions look overwhelmingly bearish," said Georgi Slavov, global head of energy, iron ore and shipping research at Marex Spectron, in a report on Wednesday.

In Norway, oil companies and trade unions began two-day wage talks in a bid to avert a strike that would initially cut the country's oil and gas output by 12 percent, the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association said.

Oil gained some support from tightening supplies in the United States.

U.S. crude stockpiles fell for a sixth consecutive week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported on Wednesday.

(Additional reporting by Henning Gloystein; editing by Jason Neely)


Football: Giggs 'set to leave' Manchester United

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
LONDON: Ryan Giggs has rejected an offer to stay at Manchester United and is ready to end his association with the club after 29 years, a British newspaper reported on Thursday.

Giggs, who played 963 times for United after joining the club as a 14-year-old, worked as a coach under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.

Crystal Palace v Manchester United - FA Cup Final

But the Daily Mail said he has decided against taking up an offer of a reduced role from new manager Jose Mourinho.

"Giggs' representatives are now in negotiations with United over a pay-off for the final year of his contract," the Mail said.

It was reported that Giggs has not spoken directly to Mourinho, who starts work at United on Monday.

Giggs is likely to be questioned about his future on British television on Thursday when he starts work as an ITV pundit ahead of the Euro 2016 quarter-final between Poland and Portugal.

The Welshman had been tipped as a future Manchester United manager but is now expected to seek a role with another club.

(Reporting by Neil Robinson. Editing by Adrian Warner.)


Jerome Sinclair joins Watford from Liverpool on 5-year deal

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
REUTERS: Watford have signed striker Jerome Sinclair from Liverpool on a five-year contract, the Premier League clubs confirmed on Thursday.

The 19-year-old has made two appearances for Liverpool last season and played one game for Wigan in the Championship during his three-month loan spell during the 2014-15 campaign.

Liverpool v West Ham United - FA Cup Fourth Round

"Watford FC is pleased to confirm it has agreed terms with Liverpool over the transfer of striker Jerome Sinclair," the club said in a statement on their website (

"The highly-rated forward has penned a five-year deal at Vicarage Road and becomes the Hornets' first new signing ahead of the 2016/17 Premier League campaign."

Watford finished 13th in the Premier League last season and reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

(Reporting by Ian Rodricks in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)


Kenya's Cheruiyot books Rio berth, Kipyego falters

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
ELDORET, Kenya: World champion Vivian Cheruiyot booked her ticket to Rio Games while Olympic silver medallist Sally Kipyego became the first major scalp in the two-day Kenyan Olympic trials which kicked off on Thursday.

Kipyego trailed in sixth position in the women's 10,000m, while Cheruiyot won the race in 31:36.40 after virtually running alone for eight laps with Betsy Saina in second (32:04.66) and Gladys Chepsir third in 32:17.13.

Elite runner Sally Kipyego of Kenya listens to questions during a news conference before the New Yo

US-based Kipyego, who won the 2012 Olympics silver, admitted she managed a below-par performance at the Kipchoge Keino Stadium in this athletics-mad North Rift Valley town, some 350km north west of the east African nation’s capital Nairobi.

"Today wasn’t the best for me. Obviously, I wanted to make the team to Rio, but I was not physically there. I don’t know what happened, and I am disappointed," said the 30-year-old nursing graduate from Texas Tech.

"That is life. Sometimes you have a good day, sometimes you have a bad day, today happens to be the bad day. Tomorrow I will do morning run and continue with life.

"I just have to change direction and redirect my energies to something else, most likely to the roads and keep working hard," she said.

Cheruiyot, popularly known as the 'Pocket Rocket', will go for the 5,000m on Friday. She won bronze in 10,000m in London four years ago and silver in 5,000m.

"I am so happy for the win and I am looking forward to Rio. It will be competitive but I leave everything to God.

"I can’t say I will win Olympic gold, even though it is the most important medal missing from my collection, but I will prepare well.

"There is still time to train and I leave everything in the hands of God. Everybody is in good shape. We will plan with Betsy (Saina) and Alice (Aprot)," she said.

(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)


Man who sexually assaulted teenage step-daughters sentenced to 29 months' jail

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
SINGAPORE: A 41-year-old lorry driver who sexually assaulted his teenage step-daughters for years was sentenced to 29 months’ jail and six strokes of the cane on Thursday (Jun 30).

The man started to prey on the girls, then aged 13 and 15, shortly after he married their mother in 2007. The teens reported the abuse to the police in March 2014 after their mother divorced him and he had ceased financially supporting the family.

Molest Reenactment

The man pleaded guilty to five charges; another four were taken into consideration during sentencing. None of the family can be named due to a gag order.

The court heard that on one occasion in September 2008, when the older girl was alone at home with her step-father, he came out of his bedroom naked and hugged her from behind for about two minutes. The teen struggled and shouted for her mother.

When the man let her go, the girl immediately called her mother and told her what her step-father had done. The man apologised, saying he “just could not control his desires”, Deputy Public Prosecutor Kavita Uthrapathy told the court.

He also preyed on the younger girl, who woke up one night in 2010 to someone touching her chest. She realised it was her step-father, but was frightened and pretended to be asleep.

The man again assaulted her in her sleep in 2011, when the girl was woken up by her step-father placing her hand on his genitals.

Besides assaulting the girls, the man also filmed them in the shower. In 2010, he showed the older girl a video of herself showering while the pair were alone in the man’s lorry.

They had been on the way home from visiting the girl’s mother, who had just given birth, in hospital. Despite being “shocked and insulted”, the girl decided to keep mum, given her mother’s situation.

In 2011, the man did the same to the younger girl. She spotted her step-father’s mobile phone he had placed at the opening of the toilet door. The girl complained to her mother, who checked her husband’s phone and found the video of her daughter in the shower.

The man apologised and promised not to do it again, persuading the girls’ mother not to report the matter to the police.

In court on Thursday, DPP Kavita called the man’s offences against his step-daughters “disgusting”. The prosecutor added the man, who admitted to watching the shower videos several times, is clearly “unremorseful and unrepentant” given that he continued to perpetrate the offences against the girls even after their mother confronted him. 

Defence lawyer Kea Cheng Han, who represented the man under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, said his client was remorseful and had written letters to the girls to apologise and seek forgiveness. “(He) is extremely repentant … (and) has learnt a harsh and painful lesson”, Mr Kea said.  


Red Bull apologises to Indonesia over offensive ad

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
JAKARTA: Red Bull has publicly apologised for shooting a commercial in which an athlete performed acrobatic stunts across one of Indonesia's ancient holy temples, an official said Thursday.

The energy drink manufacturer issued an apology in national newspapers admitting it shot the video at the ninth-century Borobudur temple "without permission from the appropriate authorities".

Parkour at Borobodur

The video, in which a parkour athlete is shown jumping between the temple's stone stupas, triggered outrage in Indonesia, where Borobudur is a revered Buddhist site and national icon.

In one scene, the athlete is seen walking past a sign clearly stating "No Climbing" in both English and Indonesian before performing acrobatics throughout the UNESCO-listed heritage site.

The video was shot secretly despite the crew having been issued a warning by temple guards, Borobudur Conservation Agency head Marsis Sutopo told AFP.

"They must have shot again while our guards were not looking," he said.

The video, uploaded online on March 18, sparked outrage within Indonesia and prompted the government to threaten a legal suit against Red Bull.

Authorities later issued a warning to the drink company after determining no physical damage had been incurred.

Red Bull met with government officials in early June and agreed to place formal apologies in national newspapers.

"We want to set an example because we painstakingly try to conserve this historical site," education ministry official Hilmar Farid told AFP.

"It was obvious as there was a "No Climbing" sign there too."

Red Bull have also been asked to shoot a new video explaining the importance of protecting holy sites, Farid added.


Turkey's position will be stronger in post-Brexit EU - Turkish EU minister

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
ANKARA: Turkey's position in the European Union will be stronger after Britain's exit from the bloc, Turkey's EU Minister, Omer Celik, said on Thursday.

Celik made the comment at a news conference in Brussels to announce the "opening" of Chapter 33, which covers budget policy, in Turkey's European Union accession process.

Finance Minister Naci Agbal told the same news conference that he does not expect any difficulties with meeting the criteria in the chapter.

The news conference was broadcast live in Turkey.

(Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz and Seda Sezer, Writing by Dasha Afanasieva; Editing by David Dolan)


Electricity tariffs for Jul to Sep 2016 to rise by 9.2%: SP Services

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
SINGAPORE: The electricity tariffs for the third quarter of 2016 will increase by an average of 9.2 per cent, or 1.59 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), compared to the previous quarter.

In a press release on Thursday (Jun 30), SP Services said that this was largely due to the cost of natural gas for electricity generation, which rose by 26 per cent compared to second quarter 2016. It was partly offset by lower non-fuel costs, notwithstanding an increase in Market Support Services fee to meet higher market system and development costs, it added.

Singapore skyline

Electricity tariff for households will increase from 17.68 to 19.27 cents per kWh for Jul 1 to Sep 30 this year, SP Services said. The average monthly bill for families living in 4-room flats is expected to increase by S$6.79.

SP Services reviews the electricity tariffs quarterly based on guidelines set by the Energy Market Authority (EMA). The new tariffs have been approved by the EMA.

Quarterly household electrical tariff


Boko Haram suicide bomber kills 11 at mosque in Cameroon

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
YAOUNDE: A suicide bomber belonging to Nigerian jihadist group Boko Haram killed at least 11 people when he blew himself up close to a mosque in Cameroon near the Nigerian border, military sources and local officials said on Thursday.

The attack, which took place late on Wednesday, occurred after the breaking of the fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

"After the prayer, the faithful gathered under a tent in Djakana," said a local official. "A suicide bomber exploded and killed 11 people. Four others were injured."

A Cameroonian army officer said the bomber was a young boy.

Since a regional offensive last year drove the insurgents from most of their strongholds, Boko Haram has been waging a guerrilla-style campaign targeting civilians. In Cameroon, teenage girls have killed dozens in suicide bombings.

More than 15,000 people have been killed and 2 million displaced in Nigeria and neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroon during Boko Haram's seven-year campaign to create an Islamic caliphate in northeast Nigeria.

The group pledged its allegiance to Islamic State last year, although the practical extent of its links with the Syria- and Iraq-based group is not known.

(Reporting by Anne Mireille Nzouankeu; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Ed Cropley)


Taliban suicide bombers kill 27 in attack on Afghan police cadets

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
KABUL: Two Taliban suicide bombers killed at least 27 people and wounded around 40 in an attack on Thursday on buses carrying recently graduated cadets on the western outskirts of Kabul, officials said.

Three buses were attacked as they approached the capital from neighbouring Wardak province, a police official said, according to preliminary information.

Afghanistan bus attack

"Initial information we have is that two suicide bombers were involved and there are many casualties," he said, declining to be identified by name.

An Interior Ministry official said at least 27 people were killed and 40 wounded.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the first attack targeted a bus carrying police cadets and their instructors. Then, as rescuers and emergency services arrived, the second bomber rammed his car, packed with explosives, into their vehicles, killing dozens.

The attacks underline the deadly threat to security in Afghanistan just over a week before a NATO summit in Warsaw where leaders are expected to discuss whether to maintain support for the Kabul government.

Under new leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, who took over last month after his predecessor, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, was killed in a U.S. drone strike, the Taliban have made clear that they will continue attacks against the Western-backed government.

The latest suicide bombings, in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, come 10 days after an attack on a bus carrying Nepali security guards working for the Canadian embassy in Kabul that killed 14 people.

In April, at least 64 people were killed in a Taliban attack on a security services facility in Kabul in the deadliest bombing of its kind in Afghanistan since 2011.

Last week, the top UN official in Afghanistan warned of the danger of a new spiral of violence following recent suicide attacks and a spate of highway kidnappings by the Taliban.

(Additional reporting by Jibran Ahmad in PESHAWAR; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Nick Macfie)


104-year-old church building to be gazetted for conservation

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎1 hour agoGo to full article
SINGAPORE: A 104-year-old church building belonging to St Joseph’s Church, Victoria Street, will be gazetted for conservation by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), St Joseph’s Church announced on Thursday (Jun 30).

Built in 1912, the Parochial House of St Joseph’s Church served as the headquarters of the Portuguese Mission till 1981, and later as the residence of the Bishop of Macau until 1999, when the Portuguese Mission ceased its presence in Singapore.

St Joseph's Church Victoria St

Parochial House St Joseph's Church 1965

The view of Parochial House along Victoria Street in 1965. (Photo: URA)

The building’s Portuguese Baroque style architecture showcases distinctive features such as pointed Gothic arches at the facade and pinnacles decorated with crockets on the roof. The building also features nine sets of Portuguese-style painted ceramic tiles, which can also be found in palaces, churches and public buildings in Portugal.

(mo) Parochial House

Portuguese-style painted ceramic tile inside the Parochial House of St Joseph's Church, along Victoria Street. (Photo: Nadia Jansen Hassan)

“It is an honour for the Church to have its Parochial House recognised and conserved for its architectural, historical and social heritage,” said Rector of St Joseph’s Church Father Alex Chua.

“We hope that this gazette will help reinforce the sense of heritage for future generations of Singapore Catholics and non-Catholics alike.“

Parochial House of St Joseph's Church

External view of the Parochial House of St Joseph's Church, located at Victoria Street. (Photo: Nadia Jansen Hassan)

The Parochial House will be conserved as part of the URA’s efforts to protect Singapore’s built heritage through its Conservation Programme.

The main church building, which was also built in 1912, was gazetted as a national monument in 2005.


Fitness trackers inaccurate? Not an issue, say users

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
SINGAPORE: For some, a fitness tracker represents the best way to keep track of progress during exercise. Then there are also those who regard it as an electronic novelty.

But are fitness trackers a credible way to track parameters such as calories expended, heart rate, as well as steps taken per day?

Fitbit Charge and Fitbit Surge fitness trackers(Photo:AFP)

In January, fitness tracker company Fitbit was hit with a class action lawsuit in the United States which claimed that Fitbit’s two devices, the Charge HR and the Surge, were significantly inaccurate.

A study done by the California State Polytechnic University in May showed that those devices got the readings wrong by up to 40 percent. A separate study by Ball Sate University on the Fitbit Flex and Jawbone UP24 showed underestimated calorie burn for sedentary activities, in addition to overestimating figures during vigorous exercise.

But despite this, some users are choosing to hold on their fitness devices.

Singapore-based expatriate Matt Baker, 31, uses Fitbit’s Charge HR to track his calorie expenditure during exercise, as well as the number of steps he makes per day.

Despite knowing about the limitations of his device, Baker has no qualms about continuing to use his Charge HR as part of his fitness goals: “It has been a great device for me so far as it really helps me keep track of my food. My daily goal is to hit 10,000 steps a day.”

The avid jiu-jitsu practitioner added: “It's quite motivating to see myself hit the numbers and see how it contributes to weight loss. I’ve lost about 5 kilogrammes since I started using it last month.”

Having managed his expectations on what the device can or cannot do, Baker insists his Fitbit works well for the level of exercise he does regularly: “I don’t mind its limitations because if I really wanted to engage in serious activities where I really needed better heart rate monitoring, I would have gotten a dedicated heart rate monitor instead.”

“The Fitbit for me has just been a motivation to watch my food intake and hit the steps I need per day," he added. “It gives me a rough gauge to keep working hard at my goals, as I can now visibly see the data from my weight loss.”

Regular road cyclist Simer Narulla uses his Fitbit to gauge when he should kick up his pace when he rides. He admits the exact figures for his cardiovascular data are not crucial. Instead, having a feel of when to speed things up, counts as one of the more important functions of his fitness tracker.

“The inaccuracies of my Fitbit are not ideal, but I work around it by looking at its data as a rough reference to track my progress.”

He added: “If my resting heart rate generally is higher than usual, I would know that something is not right. If it's too low, I’ll then know it’s time to boost my efforts.”

 There are some however, who feel that they should get what they are paying for.

“Yes, it does matter to me if the fitness tracker does not work as advertised,” said Xiaomi Band user Sheryl Koh.

“When you purchase a fitness tracker which promises something, you would trust that it will work and track the data accurately. Otherwise, what is the purpose in having it?”

She added: “But it also depends on how severe the inaccuracy is. If it is too much, then I’ll feel cheated as well.”


While inaccuracies may not matter to the average healthy person who exercises, experts cautioned those with heart problems from relying solely on fitness trackers to measure their heart rates.

A man is seen using a Jawbone UP fitness wristband and its smartphone application

Jawbone UP activity-tracking bands, held aloft, are compared to competing offerings during a briefing on Apr 14, 2015 at the company's headquarters in San Francisco. (Photo: Glenn Chapman / AFP)


According to Dr Bala S Rajaratnam from Nanyang Polytechnic’s School of Health Sciences, the body represents the best indicator of when to stop exercising.

He said that fitness trackers in general are not intended to replace a medical device: “As compared to an Electrocardiogram (ECG), (fitness trackers) measure heart rate inaccurately.”

“It should not be used by people with heart conditions or on beta-blockers medication to estimate their heart rate. They should instead get their health checked using the ECG as the diagnostic tool to measure electrical pulse activities of the heart.”

He added: “If they feel uncomfortable, they themselves should make the call to stop exercising.”

Dr Jeremy Chow, who is a Cardiogist at Gleneagles Hospital Singapore, believes having a rough guide does help in certain cases, especially during physical exertion: “No fitness tracker to date can claim that the readings obtained can be used to make any diagnosis. But heart-rate monitoring is still somewhat useful during exercise.”

“In fact, I have picked up heart rhythm issues in some of my patients who are avid runners, when their fitness tracker shows erratic heart rate."

Fitness trainer Marcus Fam believes it all boils down to what one’s goals are, when it comes to relying on fitness trackers: “What (fitness trackers) do very well is that it connects with an entire support system of apps and programs which track your lifestyle, much like a fitness dashboard.”

He added: “Psychologically it provides motivation for individuals with specific fitness goals. Add to the fact that its users have invested money into their respective devices, it does tend to lead them to commit to previously set goals.

“In terms of cardiovascular exercise, it definitely does help and is one of the better products in the market.”


Brexit campaigner Gove bids to succeed Cameron as British PM

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
LONDON: Leading Brexit campaigner and Justice Minister Michael Gove on Thursday (Jun 30) announced a surprise bid to succeed David Cameron as British prime minister, launching a sensational attack on referendum ally Boris Johnson, who is also expected to run.

"I wanted to help build a team behind Boris Johnson so that a politician who argued for leaving the European Union could lead us to a better future," said Gove.

Justice Secretary Michael Gove was one of the key figures in the campaign to leave the European(Photo:AFP)

"I have come, reluctantly, to the conclusion that Boris cannot provide the leadership or build the team for the task ahead. I have, therefore, decided to put my name forward for the leadership," he said in a statement.

The announcement is a hammer blow to the former London mayor, who is expected to announce his candidacy later Thursday.

Gove was tipped as a potential finance minister in a Johnson government, but the momentum has now swung sharply towards interior minister Theresa May, who announced her candidacy Thursday.

"I have repeatedly said that I do not want to be prime minister. That has always been my view. But events since last Thursday have weighed heavily with me," explained Gove.

The former education minister said that Thursday's sensational vote to leave the EU showed Britons wanted to "restore democratic control of immigration policy and to spend their money on national priorities such as health, education and science instead of giving it to Brussels.

"They rejected politics as usual and government as usual. They want and need a new approach to running this country," he added.

Gove is among several candidates expected to run for the top job, who will be whittled down to a final two by the party's MPs.

The party's 150,000 members will then elect the leader with the result to be announced on September 9.

Members currently favour May over Johnson by a margin of 37 per cent to 27 per cent, according to a YouGov poll published Thursday.

The justice minister was a close friend of Cameron's and his decision to defy him and campaign for a Brexit was a blow to the prime minister.

The 48-year-old former journalist presented the more sober, cerebral face of the "Leave" campaign.

His low point was comparing economic experts warning about the effects of a Brexit to the Nazis who smeared Albert Einstein in the 1930s, for which he later apologised.


Turkey sees possible foreign Islamic State link in Istanbul airport attack

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
ISTANBUL: At least one of three suspected Islamic State suicide bombers who killed 42 people at Istanbul airport is thought to be a foreigner but investigators are struggling to identify them from their limited remains, officials said on Thursday.

Police detained 13 people, three of them foreigners, in raids across Istanbul in connection with Tuesday night's gun and bomb attack on Europe's third-busiest airport, the deadliest in a series of suicide bombings in Turkey this year.

A relative of a victim of Tuesday's attack on Ataturk airport mourns at her flag-draped coffin

Counter-terrorism teams led by police special forces launched simultaneous raids at 16 locations in the city, two officials told Reuters. Turkish authorities have said they believe Islamic State was behind the airport attack.

The pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper said the bombers were from Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Dagestan in southern Russia, without naming its sources. Dagestan borders Chechnya, where Moscow has led two wars against separatists and religious militants since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

"We're looking into the possibility of foreigners being involved. It is likely that at least one of them is a foreigner, but the investigation is still underway," one of the officials said, declining to be named or to comment further because details of the investigation have not yet been released.

The Kyrgyz security service declined to comment, while the Uzbek security service could not immediately be reached.

Three bombers opened fire to create panic outside the airport in Tuesday's attack, before two of them got inside and blew themselves up. The third detonated his explosives at the entrance. A further 239 people were wounded.

A second Turkish official also said it was probable that at least one bomber was a foreign national but that the three had not yet been identified due to "extensive soft-tissue damage".

"A medical team is working around the clock to conclude the identification process," the official said.

Yeni Safak said the organiser of the attack was suspected to be a man called Akhmed Chatayev, of Chechen origin. Chatayev is identified on a United Nations sanctions list as a leader in Islamic State responsible for training Russian-speaking militants, and as wanted by Russian authorities.

The Hurriyet newspaper named one of the attackers as Osman Vadinov, also Chechen, and said he had come from Raqqa, the heart of Islamic State-controlled territory in Syria.

Turkish officials did not confirm to Reuters that either Chatayev or Vadinov were part of the investigation.


Wars in neighbouring Syria and Iraq have fostered a home-grown Islamic State network blamed for a series of suicide bombings in Turkey, including two this year targeting foreign tourists in the heart of Istanbul.

Islamic State has established a self-declared caliphate on swathes of both Syria and Iraq and declared war on all non-Muslims plus Muslims who do not accept its ultra-hardline vision of Sunni Islam. It has claimed responsibility for similar bomb and gun attacks in Belgium and France in the past year.

Turkey, a member of the NATO military alliance and part of the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State, has repeatedly fired back on the Sunni hardliners in recent months after rocket fire from northern Syria hit the border town of Kilis.

In a sign of the growing threats to Turkey, U.S. defence sources said on Wednesday that Washington was moving towards permanently banning families from accompanying U.S. military and civilian personnel deployed in the country.

Critics say Turkey woke up too late to the threat from Islamic State, focusing instead in the early part of the Syrian civil war on trying to oust President Bashar al-Assad, arguing there could be no peace without his departure.

Once a reluctant partner in the fight against Islamic State, Ankara adjusted its military rules of engagement this month to allow NATO allies to carry out more patrol flights along its border with Syria.

It has also carried out repeated raids on suspected Islamic State safe houses in Turkey.

Nine suspected militants, thought to have been in contact with Islamic State members in Syria, were detained in dawn raids in four districts of the Aegean coastal city of Izmir on Thursday, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

It said they were accused of financing, recruiting and providing logistical support to the group.

The military killed two suspected Islamic State members trying to enter Turkey illegally at the weekend, security sources said on Thursday.

One of the suspects, a Syrian national, was thought to have been plotting a suicide bomb attack in either the capital Ankara or the southern province of Adana, home to Incirlik, a major base used by U.S. and Turkish forces through which some coalition air strikes against Islamic State are carried out.

(Additional reporting by Maria Tsvetkova in Moscow, Olzhas Auyezov in Astana; Writing by Nick Tattersall; editing by David Stamp)


BMW, Intel, Mobileye team up on self-driving cars - source

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
FRANKFURT: BMW is close to unveiling a development partnership for autonomous cars with Israeli collision detection software maker Mobileye and U.S. chip maker Intel, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

On Friday, the three companies plan to hold a joint news conference, with BMW Group Chief Executive Harald Krueger, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich and Mobileye Chairman and Chief Technology Officer Amnon Shashua detailing the partnership.

The logo of German manufacturer BMW is seen in Zurich

Automakers and technology suppliers are striking new alliances to commercialise computer-based, self-driving cars after being caught off guard by aggressive moves by Silicon Valley firms like Google, Tesla and Apple into the field.

Germany's BMW is the world's largest luxury car maker by sales. Intel is the world's biggest computer chipmaker and is looking to diversify into new markets such as autos.

Mobileye is the top supplier of camera-based sensor systems used in advanced driver assistance systems available in the latest generation of vehicles. The systems are used for changing lanes and to detect other cars or pedestrians.

Analysts estimate its systems command 70 percent of the market for collision-detection systems, a key enabler for autonomous driving.

Terms of the three-way deal are not yet known, nor is it clear how the pact between Intel and Mobileye might affect the Israeli firm's long-standing partnership with French-Italian chipmaker STMicroelectronics, which manufactures Mobileye sensor systems.

A spokesman for STMicroelectronics declined to comment.

In May, Mobileye and STMicro said they had agreed to extend a 12-year-old partnership to develop a fifth-generation Mobileye system, which they said will provide fully autonomous driving features for cars due to hit the road around 2020.

These new systems will revolve around a computer chip, or central processing unit, that controls some 20 sensors throughout each vehicle, including the windshield and car bumpers, Mobileye and STMicro said.

In recent months, Volkswagen Group and General Motors agreed to use Mobileye systems in their future car fleets and Tesla Motors has committed to continue using Mobileye technology in its electric cars.

(Editing by Georgina Prodhan and Elaine Hardcastle)


Nation-wide electric car-sharing programme to begin mid-2017

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
SINGAPORE: The Republic is set to launch a nationwide electric car-sharing programme by the middle of 2017, with all HDB towns to benefit from the initiative by 2020.

BlueSG, a subsidiary of French conglomerate Bollore Group, signed an agreement with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Economic Development Board (EDB).

BlueSG cars

The programme, also named BlueSG, will see 1,000 electric vehicles being deployed progressively in Singapore, with the first batch of 125 electric cars and 250 charging points to be introduced in towns like Ang Mo Kio, Jurong East and Punggol by mid next year.

Under the agreement, BlueSG will operate the programme for 10 years and install 2,000 charging points for electric vehicles island-wide. Up to 20 per cent of these will be available for public use, LTA and EDB said. 

After this period, the Government will take over all charging points and make them available to the public, the authorities added. 

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the programme would lay a foundation for the greater use of electric vehicles in Singapore.

"The programme will promote our car-lite and green-car vision," said Mr Khaw, adding that 2,000 parking lots would be set aside for the programme in each HDB town, and the CBD and key industrial areas.

"We have embarked on this electric vehicle trial because we see some potential in more widespread adoption of electric vehicles in Singapore. However, electric vehicles are not truly emissions-free," added Mr Khaw.

"The power they consume produces emissions at the power station, but most electric vehicles are quieter than conventional vehicles, and do not have tail-pipe emissions. This makes for a better living environment, particularly in a dense city like ours."

BlueSG is the first large-scale car sharing programme of its kind that will allow users the flexibility of picking up a car at the starting point and returning it at their destination, unlike the more conventional model where users have to return the car to its original pick up location, LTA and EDB said. 

LTA chief executive Chew Men Leong said the BlueSG programme will provide commuters with an additional form of point-to- point mobility, especially for trips where taking public transport or taxis may not be as convenient. 

"It will play an important role in our efforts to create a car-lite society, as car-sharing enables more people to have occasional access to the use of a car, without having to own one. At the same time, it enables us to move towards a greener and more sustainable transport system, by laying the foundations of a nationwide EV charging infrastructure to support wider adoption of EVs," said Mr Chew. 

LTA and EDB said Bollore Group was selected out of 13 operators that responded to a request for information exercise in December 2014 based on the quality of its proposal and its strong track record.

In partnership with EDB, BlueSG will also undertake new "high-value" economic activities and create about 250 jobs in the first five years of the programme, set up a Global Innovation Centre to undertake research and development work in the areas of mobility and energy management solutions and establish its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore to oversee its e-mobility, energy management and system integration business for the region, the authorities said. 


Have met all criteria for visa-free travel to Europe - Turkey's EU minister

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
ANKARA: Turkey has met the required criteria to secure visa-free travel for its citizens to Europe, but the European Union says it has not yet met stipulations on personal data and terrorism, Turkey's EU minister said on Thursday.

Omer Celik, flanked by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, made the comments to reporters in Brussels ahead of talks to "open" Chapter 33 of its European Union accession process, which covers budget policy.

European Union and Turkish flags fly outside a hotel in Istanbul

Cavusoglu told CNN Turk that it was important for Turkey to retain momentum in EU talks. Turkey won visa-free travel for its citizens to Europe in return for agreeing to curb the flow of migrants to the bloc. However, sticking points have remained over Turkey's anti-terror laws, which some in Europe see as too broad.

The opening of Chapter 33 marks a modest step forward in Ankara's accession process to Europe.

(Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz and Seda Sezer; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Daren Butler)


Samsung C&T says received US$805 million Vietnam order from Samsung Display

‎Today, ‎June ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎2 hours agoGo to full article
SEOUL: South Korean builder Samsung C&T Corp said on Thursday it has received a 929 billion won (US$805 million) order to build a production facility in Vietnam for Samsung Display Co Ltd.

A person familiar with the matter told Reuters last year that Samsung Display, a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, planned to invest US$3 billion in Vietnam by 2020 to boost its display module production capacity in the country.

It had previously committed US$1 billion for an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display module assembly plant in Bac Ninh province.

Samsung Electronics has been boosting manufacturing capacity in Vietnam to lower production costs in response to price competition in the smartphone market.

Samsung Display supplies parent Samsung Electronics with screens for smartphones and other products.

(US$1 = 1,154.4000 won)

(Reporting by Se Young Lee)


Sterling slides as Brexit alarm spreads

‎Monday, ‎June ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎12:37:30 PMGo to full article
LONDON: Britain battled to stop worldwide Brexit alarm Monday (Jun 27) as sterling crumbled to a three-decade low against the dollar, while bank, airline and property shares plummeted.

Other world markets steadied a little after Britain's June 23 vote to abandon the European Union wiped US$2.1 trillion off international equity values Friday.

The pound has tumbled to its lowest level in almost 31 years after the Brexit vote(Photo:AFP)

Analysts warned of a volatile period ahead as global investors grappled with the financial consequences of the Brexit referendum.

"Today I want to reassure the British people, and the global community, that Britain is ready to confront what the future holds for us from a position of strength," Britain's finance minister, George Osborne, declared before European financial markets opened.

Britain's economy is "as strong as could be", the minister said.

The pound skidded to US$1.3222 in morning London trade, its lowest level against the dollar since September 1985.

London's FTSE 100 index, which boasts many international companies, fell 1.5 per cent in morning trade, masking steeper falls in key sectors likely to be affected by Brexit.


"George Osborne's comments have clearly prevented a much more dramatic decline Monday morning, but markets will remain incredibly volatile throughout the long-winded process of exiting the EU," said Interactive Investor equity strategist Lee Wild in London.

British budget airline EasyJet, which warned of a Brexit hit to sales, fell 16.0 per cent. International Airlines Group, parent of British Airways and Iberia, dropped 9.4 per cent.

Royal Bank of Scotland shares plunged 15 per cent. Lloyds Banking Group fell 8.9 per cent.

British construction group Taylor Wimpey tumbled 12.4 per cent.

One fifth of British business leaders are considering moving operations abroad after the referendum, according to a survey from leading business lobby group, the Institute of Directors.

In eurozone equity trading, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index dipped 0.9 per cent to 9,472.49 points and the CAC 40 in Paris shed 1.0 per cent to 4,067.02.

In Madrid, shares eased, frittering away early gains after the ruling conservative Popular Party emerged on top in elections Sunday and vowed to try to form a government.


Stephen Innes, senior trader at OANDA Asia Pacific, warned sterling "is extremely vulnerable" and predicted an interest rate cut in the summer.

He also said there was "a huge concern that London's status as the global financial capital will crumble" if it losses its "passporting" rights, which permit banks to locate themselves in Britain while offering products and services in the wider EU.

But on equities markets, the Nikkei in Tokyo, Shanghai and Sydney markets advanced. Hong Kong slipped, however.

There are fears the British vote will usher in another global market rout just months after a China-fuelled sell-off at the start of the year.

Morgan Stanley economist Chetan Ahya tipped a new round of monetary easing in Asia to limit the fallout.

"We think near-term focus of policymakers will be to mitigate adverse impacts on financial conditions. Specifically, we expect policymakers to introduce liquidity injections measures," he said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held an emergency meeting with top officials Monday morning to discuss how to deal with the market fallout.


"It is going to be a very tough week," predicted James Audiss, senior investment adviser at Shaw and Partners in Sydney.

"Unless an investor has a really strong view one way or the other, you'd be brave to buy in. It will be a really volatile week," he said.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Britain's departure from the EU created new uncertainties in the world economy at a time when downward pressures on China's economy are mounting.


London - FTSE 100: DOWN 1.1 per cent at 6,073.32

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.9 per cent at 4,070.01

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 1.0 per cent at 9,458.6

Madrid - IBEX 35: DOWN 0.3 per cent at 7,764.10

Sterling: DOWN at $1.3222 from $1.3670 in New York on Friday.

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.035 from $1.1112

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 101.71 yen from 102.21 yen

New York - DOW: DOWN 3.4 per cent at 17,400.75 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.1 per cent at 20,227.30 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 2.4 per cent at 15,309.21 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 1.5 per cent at 2,895.70 (close)

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3253 from $1.3670 late Friday


No informal EU talks before Britain invokes Article 50, says Germany

‎Monday, ‎June ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎12:25:24 PMGo to full article
BERLIN: There will be no informal discussions between Britain and the European Union before the British government has invoked formal divorce proceedings by making the Article 50 request, a German government spokesman said on Monday.

"One thing is clear: before Britain has sent this request there will be no informal preliminary talks about the modalities of leaving," Steffen Seibert, spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, told a regular news conference.

German Chancellor Merkel attends a session of the EU committee of the German lower house of parliam

"Only when Britain has made the request according to Article 50 will the European Council draw up guidelines in consensus for an exit agreement," he added.

(Reporting by Caroline Copley and Andrea Shalal; Editing by Michelle Martin)


Brexit heightens global uncertainty: China's Li

‎Monday, ‎June ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎12:23:23 PMGo to full article
TIANJIN, China: Britain's vote to leave the European Union has added new uncertainties to the global economy at a time when downward pressures on China are mounting, Premier Li Keqiang said Monday (Jun 27) at a World Economic Forum meeting.

Excess capacity, sluggish investment and waning demand weigh on the world's number two economy, Li said at the annual "new champions" meeting in Tianjin, a port city in northern China.

Last week's British vote had already had an impact on international financial markets, Chinese(Photo:AFP)

Last week's British vote had already had an impact on international financial markets, Li said, "adding new uncertainties to the world".

"Due to the severe and complicated international environment and long-accumulated, deep-rooted domestic problems, the foundation of a stable Chinese economy is not solid," Li went on.

"There remain rather enormous downward pressures on the economy and the difficulties cannot be underestimated."

But he also sought to reassure the audience, saying that China's recognition of the difficulties showed it had the "resolution" and "capabilities" to overcome them.

China's economy, a pillar of global trade, will not have a hard landing, he predicted.

The meeting, a Davos-like gathering of 2,000 elite business and political leaders from over 80 countries, was ostensibly focused on topics related to science and technology but the surprise Brexit vote overshadowed other topics.

A panel Sunday devoted to Brexit showed some soul-searching among the high-powered attendees, with World Economic Forum head of foundations Adrian Monck saying "we've not been good" at doing things to help ordinary people.

Panelist Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, added: "There's no question that elites in every manifestation have watched the social fabric fall apart in those advanced industrial economies and not responded to it."

The British vote was "rational behaviour" for people who felt that globalisation has failed them and that "the system is broken".

But not all were sympathetic, as Bremmer later wrote on Twitter that the most frequent Brexit reaction at the China forum was: "Look what happens when you let the mob rule through a vote."

Economist Nouriel Roubini, known for predicting the US real estate crash, said that Brexit could be "the beginning of the disintegration of the European Union", but added he did not expect a financial crisis or global recession.

Beijing wishes to see the European Union remain united and stable, Li said, and hopes for a "stable and prosperous" Britain.

Chinese analysts quoted in the country's state-run media were less sanguine. Zhang Shengjun, an international politics professor at Beijing Normal University told the Global Times newspaper: "China should learn from the Brexit referendum, in which the 4 percent winning margin negated the choice of 16 million people.

"Western democracy might appear reasonable, but it's actually ridiculous."


Ford's Indonesia dealers demand compensation after abrupt withdrawal

‎Monday, ‎June ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎12:20:11 PMGo to full article
JAKARTA: A group of Ford Motor Co's biggest dealers in Indonesia are demanding around US$75 million in compensation after the U.S. carmaker announced in January it would close all operations in Southeast Asia's biggest economy.

Six businesses which oversee 31 Ford dealerships in Indonesia have sent a second letter about possible legal action to Ford, Ford International Services and PT Ford Motor Indonesia, the businesses said in a joint statement on Monday.

A logo of Ford is pictured on a car at the 86th International Motor Show in Geneva

Ford did not provide immediate comment when contacted by Reuters.

The dealers, which said they accounted for 85 percent of Ford's total sales in Indonesia, will take the Ford companies to a Jakarta court if there is no settlement, Harry Ponto, the dealers' legal representative, told Reuters by phone.

Ford's decision to exit the archipelago came "out of the blue" for local dealers, which had made sizeable investments in showrooms and other facilities to support an expansion plan that Ford announced in 2011, Ponto said.

"This is something that was done unilaterally and was unfair for the Indonesian partners. It's an action that is beneath an international brand like Ford," Ponto said.

Ford's move could damage the confidence of Indonesian businesses in foreign investors, he said.

The automaker, which had a less than one percent market share in Indonesia, said it would exit all areas of business including sales and imports as it saw "no reasonable path to profitability" in the country.

Ford is not the only U.S. carmaker to struggle for market share in Indonesia, which is dominated by Japan's Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co Ltd . Last year, General Motors Co shut its factory near Jakarta. (

One of the Ford dealers, PT Kreasi Auto Kencana, invested more than 500 billion rupiah (US$37.5 million) on buildings, equipment and manpower over the last few years, Nugroho Suharlim, Kreasi's operation and marketing division head, told Reuters by phone.

The company now faces substantial losses, Suharlim said, adding that the contract it signed with Ford, which was renewable every two years, did not contain any clause governing what would happen if Ford were to pull out of the country.

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata and Yuddy Cahya; Editing by Christopher Cushing)


Fire breaks out at coffeeshop off Geylang Lorong 8

‎Monday, ‎June ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎12:18:53 PMGo to full article
SINGAPORE: A fire broke out at a coffeeshop off Geylang Lorong 8 on Monday evening (Jun 27). 

A Channel NewsAsia reporter on the scene said two Red Rhinos and a fire engine were there at the coffeeshop. 

geylang kopitiam fire

geylang kopitiam fire 2

A fire broke out on Monday evening (Jun 27) at a coffeeshop off Geylang Lorong 8. (Photo: Loke Kok Fai)

Smoke was seen billowing out of the coffeeshop before the blaze was put out. The smoke could be seen from more than a kilometre away. 



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