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International News

37 spotted seal pups rescued from China traffickers released


Sherpa climber scales Mount Everest for record 23rd time


Pakistani waiter finds fame as "Game of Thrones" lookalike


From The Asian Reporter, V29, #10 (May 20, 2019), page 2.

Indian company buys famous U.K. toy retailer Hamleys

LONDON (AP) — An Indian company says it has agreed to take over the famous toy retailer Hamleys. Reliance Brands in Mumbai said in a statement that it would buy Hamleys Global Holdings, the owner of the Hamleys brand, from C Banner International of Hong Kong for an undisclosed sum. The deal would include the flagship Hamleys store on London’s Regent Street, which opened in 1881 and remains a tourist attraction in the British capital. Hamleys was founded in 1760 and has 167 stores in 18 countries. Reliance Brands already had the franchise for 88 Hamleys stores in India. Reliance Brands chief executive Darshan Mehta said the acquisition places the company in the "forefront of global retail." It is part of Reliance Industries, whose chairman is Indian tycoon Mukesh Ambani.

Malaysia cuts interest rate for first time in three years

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s central bank has cut interest rates for the first time in nearly three years to help support growth and counter risks from a global slowdown, trade tensions, and extended weakness in commodity prices. Bank Negara Malaysia said it decided to reduce its overnight policy rate, used by banks to calculate interest rates, to 3.0 percent from 3.25. The rate was last cut by a quarter-basis point to 3.0 percent in July 2016, but was raised back to 3.25 percent in January 2018. The central bank forecast the economy will expand between 4.3 and 4.8 percent this year. It said in a statement that there are signs of tightening of financial conditions and that the rate adjustment was to "preserve the degree of monetary accommodativeness."

World’s biggest beer maker looks to list shares in Asia

BRUSSELS (AP) — AB Inbev, the world’s biggest brewer and the owner of brands like Bud and Stella Artois, is considering listing some of the shares of its Asian business on the Hong Kong stock exchange. The company, which is based in the Belgian town of Leuven, said the move would lower its high debt levels and allow it to consider more acquisitions in the region. AB Inbev is worth about $172 billion and its Asian operations are reportedly worth as much as a third of that. It owns massive brands like Bud from its takeover of Anheuser-Busch in 2008, as well as Corona, Becks, and Fosters. It further established its dominance in the market in 2015 when it bought it next biggest rival, SABMiller.

Perdue barbecues to sell Japan on buying more U.S. beef

TOKYO (AP) — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has picked up his barbeque tongs to convey his message to Japan: Buy more American beef. Perdue said that as a top consumer of U.S. beef, Japan should treat the U.S. fairly. He said he hoped U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will strike a trade deal during his boss’s visit to Japan. Japan’s limits on imports of meat and other farm products have been a recurring issue in years-long trade talks with the U.S. The Trump administration worries that Japan will buy more from other nations that have signed trade deals with Japan in recent years, such as Australia and Europe. Japan, a country of 126 million, is the fourth largest market for U.S. agricultural products.

Philippines recalls envoys in Canada over trash shipments

MANILA, The Philippines (AP) — The Philippine foreign secretary says the ambassador and consuls in Canada are being recalled over Ottawa’s failure to take back truckloads of garbage that Filipino officials say were illegally shipped to the Philippines years ago. President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to forcibly ship the containers of garbage back to Canada and dump some at its embassy in Manila. More than 100 containers of household trash, including plastic bottles and bags, newspapers, and used adult diapers, were shipped from 2013 to 2014.

Malaysian PM says no timetable for handing over power

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia (AP) — A year after his election victory, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has defended his government’s record but gave no timetable for handing over power to his successor, Anwar Ibrahim. Mahathir says there were hiccups in pushing through some reforms because of insufficient support in parliament for the required constitutional changes. The 93-year-old Mahathir has said he needed two years to fix the country’s problems after ousting a scandal-plagued government. Uncertainties over the timing of the handover rattled some investors who fear it could disrupt the economy. Mahathir told foreign journalists that he is an "interim prime minister," but there was no fixed period for him to leave. He said the transition will be smooth as any changes by Anwar will "not be radical."

Two climbers die, one missing on Mount Kanchenjunga

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Two Indian climbers on Nepal’s Mount Kanchenjunga fell sick and died during attempts to rescue them while a Chilean climber is missing, according to an expedition organizer. Pasang Sherpa of Peak Promotion in Kathmandu said one of the Indian climbers had scaled the world’s third tallest peak while the other was on the way up but fell sick and died. They were believed to be suffering from high altitude sickness and had frostbites, he said. The climbers identified as Biplab Baidya, 48, and Kuntal Kanrar, 46, fell ill just below the 8,586-meter (28,160-foot) summit. Other details were not available but Sherpa said attempts would be made to bring their bodies down — a difficult and exhausting task because of the steep icy slope and low levels of oxygen. Chilean Rodrigo Vivanco was also reported missing around the same area. Sherpa said they are searching for him. Hundreds of foreign climbers and their guides attempt to scale high Himalayan peaks during the popular spring climbing season in Nepal that begins around March and ends this month.

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