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International News

Naomi Osaka headed for big money with Japan, global appeal


Chinese "gait-recognition" tech IDs people by how they walk


Running on Empty? Kim Jong Un’s struggle to fuel his economy


North Indian city breaks Guinness record with Diwali lamps


From The Asian Reporter, V28, #22 (November 19, 2018), page 2.

U.N. report finds 486 million in Asia still hungry

BANGKOK (AP) — A United Nations report says some 486 million people are malnourished in Asia and the Pacific and progress in alleviating hunger is stalling. The report by the Food and Agricultural Organization said more than half of all children in the world who are malnourished live in the region. It said hunger-related stunting that causes permanent damage is being worsened by food insecurity and inadequate sanitation, even in big cities in relatively affluent countries. It said the main reason people still go hungry is poverty and unequal access to good food, clean water, and toilets. Many who go hungry work in agriculture or other informal jobs and cannot count on social services for help in times of crisis or afford to buy enough nutritious food for their children.

Wenshan curbs dog walking, bans dogs in parks, stadiums

BEIJING (AP) — A city in southwestern China has banned dog walking during the daytime and banished the pets entirely from parks, shopping centers, sports facilities, and other public spaces. The ordinance issued by the city of Wenshan in Yunnan province in late October has been called the most restrictive in a nation where dog ownership has long been subject to tight regulations. Under communist China’s founder Mao Zedong, pet ownership was considered a bourgeois affectation but it has revived over recent decades with Chinese being more affluent but having smaller families. Many cities, however, still maintain rules on what size dogs can live in what areas, with the capital of Beijing banning large dogs from the city center. Dog parks are rare and canines are almost always required to be on leash. However, Wenshan’s ban appears to go well beyond that by saying dogs can only be outside before 7:00am and after 10:00pm. It also says dog leashes cannot be longer than three feet and dogs can only be walked by adults. Despite the newfound popularity of keeping dogs, many Chinese remain wary over the presence of wild or unleashed dogs. Rabies spread by unvaccinated dogs also accounts for a substantial number of the roughly 2,000 deaths from the disease that the World Health Organization counts in China each year.

Navy warplane down in second crash from U.S. carrier

TOKYO (AP) — A warplane from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan crashed into the sea northeast of the Philippines, but its two aviators were rescued safely. The U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet said the F/A-18 Hornet had a mechanical problem during routine operations in the Philippine Sea. A rescue aircraft plucked the aviators from the water immediately and brought them back to the ship, the Navy’s statement said. They are both in good condition and the aircraft carrier has since returned to normal operations, the Navy said. The cause of the crash is under investigation. The crash was the second involving aircraft belonging to the USS Ronald Reagan in less than a month. In mid-October, a MH-60 Seahawk crashed shortly after takeoff, causing non-fatal injuries to a dozen sailors. The aircraft carrier participated in a joint exercise known as "Keen Sword" with Japan and Canada from October 29 to November 8 in waters around Japan and near Guam in the Pacific.

Hotels apologize after video shows how they clean

BEIJING (AP) — At least four major international hotel chains apologized after hidden camera video of their room cleaning practices in China was posted online. Hilton and Marriott group properties were among the 14 luxury hotels included in the video. The 11-minute video shows cleaners wiping cups and sinks with dirty towels and sponges. Some use the same towel to wipe the toilet seat. The Shangri-La Hotel in Fuzhou said the actions in the video violate its hygiene standards, while the Park Hyatt in Beijing called it an isolated occurrence. The Waldorf Astoria in Shanghai and the Sheraton in Guiyang city also apologized and said they were reviewing their procedures. An activist blogger who uses the pseudonym "Huazong" posted the video on his verified account on Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter, before Chinese media shared it. Beijing tourism authorities issued a statement requiring hotels to check and rectify their practices. It also said it asked the Beijing health commission to conduct sanitary inspections of four of the hotels in the video.

Bangladesh delays national elections to December 30

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Authorities in Bangladesh have agreed to delay snap national elections by a week because of opposition demands for more time to prepare. Chief election commissioner K.M. Nurul Huda said officials decided to shift the date to December 30 in response to proposals by the opposition parties. The new deadline for filing nominations is November 28. The ruling Awami League party, its allies, and some opposition parties welcomed the decision, but a major opposition alliance was unhappy because it wanted the elections to be deferred by a month. The alliance, called the National Oikya Front, consists of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and other parties.

Woman fights with driver, causes bus to fall in China river

BEIJING (AP) — Police say a brawl between a passenger and a bus driver was the cause of a bus plunging off a bridge in southwestern China. An eight-second surveillance video posted by Chongqing police on its social-media account showed the two got into a fight before the bus veered into the wrong lane and fell off the bridge. A police statement said a female passenger quarrelled with the driver after she missed her stop. The official Xinhua News Agency said none of the 15 aboard survived. The bus collided with an oncoming car before smashing through the guardrail and into the Yangtze River.

In factory after factory, Kim tries to grow N. Korea economy

WONSAN, North Korea (AP) — For North Korean factory managers, a visit by leader Kim Jong Un is the highest of honors and possibly the most stressful event imaginable. The chief engineer at the Songdowon General Foodstuffs Factory had looked forward to the visit for nearly a decade. His factory makes baked goods and soft drinks sold around the country. Kwon Yong Chol said Kim’s visit was the biggest thing that could have happened to the factory’s workers. "He ate our instant noodles. He said they were delicious." Not all managers have been so fortunate. Kim has embarked on dozens of such visits after promising to turn his attention from weapons development to the economy. Reflecting the gravity of his current mission, Kim has shown little patience for cadres who come up short.

Japan cabinet OKs bill to allow more foreign workers

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s cabinet has approved a draft bill that would allow more foreign blue-color workers as the country’s fast-aging population faces labor shortages. The bill, endorsed by the cabinet, is a major revision of Japan’s policy on foreign labor. The country has long resisted accepting foreign workers. The proposed legislation would create two new visa categories for foreigners employed in more than a dozen sectors. The government hopes the bill will be enacted by next April. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe denied that the relaxed policy on foreign workers means Japan is opening its doors to immigrants. Media surveys show public sentiment is divided on the issue. Opponents are concerned about crime and jobs taken away from Japanese, while proponents say foreign workers are indispensable in sectors facing labor shortages.

Woman wears wedding gown alone after fiancé died on Lion Air flight that crashed

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An Indonesian woman who was engaged to a man who died on a Lion Air flight that plunged into the sea wore her wedding dress on the day they were to have been married.

Intan Syari’s fiancé, medical doctor Rio Nanda Pratama, was among 189 people on the Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane who died when it crashed a few minutes after taking off from Jakarta on October 29.

Syari and Pratama, both 26, were to have been married not long after the plane crash. Pratama, who had attended a seminar in Jakarta and was on his way back to their hometown in Pangkal Pinang, had joked before leaving that if he were late in returning, Syari should take photos with the wedding gown and send them to him.

Pakistani woman sentenced to life for family poisonings

MULTAN, Pakistan (AP) — A Pakistani court has found a woman and her friend guilty of poisoning to death 17 family members and sentenced them each to multiple life sentences in prison. Police officer Zafar Iqbal said anti-terrorism court judge Shakir Hasan also fined Aasia Bibi and Shahid Lashari 3 million rupees ($23,000) each. The court ordered the 15 life terms to run concurrently. Bibi was married against her will in September last year to Amjad Hussain in the central city of Rajan Pur. A month later, investigators say, Bibi conspired with Lashari to poison a container of milk that was consumed by the whole family of 27. The poison killed 17 family members, but Bibi’s husband and nine others survived. Many parents in Pakistan arrange marriages for their daughters.

Hard-hitting Philippine news site faces tax evasion charge

MANILA, The Philippines (AP) — Philippine prosecutors say they will file charges of tax evasion against a news website that has been critical of President Rodrigo Duterte. The Justice Department said in a statement it found probable cause to indict Rappler Holdings Corp. and its president, journalist Maria Ressa. Rappler called it "a clear form of continuing intimidation and harassment" and an attempt to "silence reporting that does not please the administration." Duterte had already banned a Rappler reporter from news briefings after the government’s corporate watchdog found that the organization violated a constitutional prohibition on foreign ownership when it received money from an international investment firm. Rappler rejects it. Duterte has accused several independent media groups in the Philippines of biased reporting.

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