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International News

U.S.-born Bei Bei settles into new home at Chinese panda base


Sumatran rhino is extinct in Malaysia as lone survivor dies


LGBT activists in China seek to change marriage civil code


From The Asian Reporter, V29, #23 (December 2, 2019), page 2.

Pakistani man killed journalist wife for not quitting job

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — An international trade association says a Pakistani female journalist was shot and killed by her husband in the eastern city of Lahore after he demanded she quit her job. In a statement, the International Federation of Journalists urged Pakistan to conduct a probe into the murder of Urooj Iqbal, who was a reporter at a local newspaper. It says Iqbal was killed by Dilawar Ali on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Iqbal’s family says she had alerted police that her husband was harassing her, but no action was taken. Police have arrested Ali and charged him with murder. Pakistani women often face harassment at the workplace, but many offenders escape punishment as victims don’t report such incidents to avoid further social stigma.

Tibetans say the Dalai Lama should choose his successor

DHARMSALA, India (AP) — More than 150 Tibetan religious leaders say their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, should have the sole authority to choose his successor. A resolution adopted by the leaders at a conference says the Tibetan people will not recognize a candidate chosen by the Chinese government for political ends. The spat over the Dalai Lama’s successor — and its implications for who will lead Tibetan Buddhism — is one of the biggest points of contention in the long-running feud between the exiled spiritual leader and Beijing. The 84-year-old Dalai Lama fled to India during a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. He has been living in Dharmsala in northern India. The Dalai Lama’s successor is traditionally located by senior monastic disciples, based on spiritual signs and visions.

Huawei sells folding smartphone with no Google after ban

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese tech giant Huawei is selling a folding smartphone without Google apps or U.S.-made processor chips following sanctions imposed by Washington. The Mate X went on sale on Huawei’s online store in China priced at 16,999 yuan ($2,422) and competes with Samsung’s Galaxy Fold which launched in September. Huawei Technologies Ltd. is scrambling to preserve its business following U.S. controls imposed in May on sales of American components and technology to the company, which Washington says is a security risk. The Mate X uses Huawei’s Kirin 980 and Balong 5000 chipset and Chinese alternatives to Google music, maps, and other services. Huawei has yet to announce plans for sales outside China.

22 farmers arrested in India for causing air pollution

LUCKNOW, India (AP) — A government official says 22 farmers in northern India have been arrested for burning stubbles and causing some of the worst air pollution in the country. Spokesman Awanish Awasthi says those arrested in Uttar Pradesh state’s Pilibhit district face charges of disobeying a ban on stubble burning and making the atmosphere noxious. India’s Supreme Court ordered a fine of up to 100,000 rupees ($1,420) for those polluting air. Air pollution in northern India peaks in the winter due to smoke from agricultural fires. The smoke mixes with vehicle emissions and construction dust. The air quality index in New Delhi exceeded 500, about 10 times the recommended maximum, but strong winds ended up bringing the level down to 250.

Malaysian court frees Australian grandmother in drug case

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s top appeals court has acquitted an Australian grandmother who faced the death penalty in a drug case, her lawyer said. Defense lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said Australian national Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto was immediately taken into immigration custody because her visa had expired. Exposto was first exonerated by the High Court in 2017 on grounds that she didn’t know there were 3.3 pounds of crystal methamphetamine in her bag when she was arrested in December 2014 at Kuala Lumpur’s international airport. But the appeals court last year overturned the court’s acquittal. Her lawyer said he is now applying for her release and will fight plans to deport her. Her defense lawyers said that Exposto, a 54-year-old mother of four from Sydney and also a grandmother, was the victim of an internet romance scam. Exposto has said that she went to Shanghai to meet a U.S. serviceman with whom she had an online romance and had been asked to carry a bag full of clothes. She said she was unaware that the bag also contained drugs. Exposto arrived from Shanghai and was to catch a connecting flight to the Australian city of Melbourne when she was detained in Malaysia. Malaysia has a mandatory death sentence for anyone found guilty of carrying more than 50 grams of a prohibited drug. Three Australians have been hanged for drug offenses in Malaysia since 1986.

Cambodian leader sings praises of U.S. after Trump letter

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sun has signalled he would welcome better relations with the United States after a conciliatory letter from President Donald Trump and a meeting with Washington’s new envoy. Hun Sen posted on his Facebook page a summary of the November 1 letter from Trump, along with an account of how he told ambassador Patrick Murphy of Cambodia’s goodwill toward the United States. Washington has long been critical of Hun Sen’s poor record on human rights and democracy. Trump’s letter assured Hun Sen that the United States does not seek regime change but counselled that he should "put Cambodia back on the path of democratic governance." He suggested reevaluating decisions that could threaten Cambodia’s "long-term sovereignty, stability, and economic development."

Taiwanese-Canadian model-actor Godfrey Gao dies on set

HONG KONG (AP) — Taiwanese-Canadian model-actor Godfrey Gao has died after suffering an apparent heart attack while on set in China. Gao was filming a sports reality show in the eastern Chinese city of Ningbo when he died. His agency, JetStar Entertainment, confirmed his death on its official Facebook page. The 35-year-old was filming Chase Me, a Chinese variety series, when he reportedly fell while running. He was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to his agency. The Taiwan-born Gao initially rose to fame by becoming the first Asian male model for the luxury brand Louis Vuitton. He acted in numerous television dramas and movies, including a role in the Hollywood film The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. His body is being transported to Taipei, Taiwan’s capital.

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