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Thursday, April, 2018 

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From The Asian Reporter, V28, #1 (January 1, 2018), page 2.

Nut rage executive to avoid jail time

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Local media reports say the former Korean Air executive whose onboard "nut rage" tantrum delayed a flight in 2014 will avoid jail as South Korea’s top court upheld her suspended prison term. Yonhap news agency said South Korea’s Supreme Court made the ruling on Cho Hyun-ah, who is the daughter of the company’s chairman. The court couldn’t immediately confirm the report, but previously said the ruling would be final and could not be appealed. Cho achieved notoriety after she had an onboard tantrum after a first-class flight attendant served her nuts in a bag instead of on a dish. Cho was the head of the airline’s cabin service at the time. The plane was forced to return to the gate at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport.

Toyota planning 10 purely electric vehicles by 2020s

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota plans to offer more than 10 purely electric vehicle (EV) models in its lineup by the early 2020s, marking the Japanese automaker’s commitment to that growing technology sector. Toyota Motor Corp. now offers no purely electric vehicles, although it leads in hybrid models, which switch between an electric motor and a gas engine. Executive vice president Shigeki Terashi said Toyota’s EVs will be first offered in China, a nation that’s encouraging electric vehicles with subsidies and other policies, and is expected to drive massive growth in that technology. Terashi says Toyota’s EVs will also later be offered in Japan, India, the U.S., and Europe. The company says that by about 2025, every model it sells will have some kind of "electrified" version, such as hybrid, electric, or fuel cell.

Nest of endangered giant softshell turtle found

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Conservationists have found a nest of the endangered Asian giant softshell turtle on a sandbar along the Mekong River in northeastern Cambodia, while 115 new species of various other animal and plant life were discovered in the greater Mekong region by scientists. The New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) said the nest of Asian giant softshell turtles was found on the Mekong between Kratie and Stung Treng provinces by conservationists from Cambodia’s fisheries administration, WCS, and local communities. It said it was the first spotting of such a nest so far this season. WCS said the area is the only remaining location in Cambodia where the huge turtles still breed.

North Korea to retaliate over WannaCry ransomware

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea says a U.S. accusation that it was behind a major ransomware attack was a "grave political provocation" and vowed to retaliate. Homeland security adviser Tom Bossert wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that North Korea will be held accountable for May’s WannaCry ransomware attack that infected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide and crippled parts of Britain’s National Health Service. In remarks carried by state media, the North’s Foreign Ministry repeated it had nothing to do with the attack. It said it will never tolerate such "reckless" U.S. claims but didn’t say how it would respond. It’s not unusual for Pyongyang to issue harsh rhetoric against Washington and Seoul. The warning came amid heightened animosities following the North’s test launch of its most powerful missile. South Korea and U.S. officials have accused North Korea of launching a slew of cyberattacks in recent years. Among them is a U.S. accusation that it hacked Sony Pictures Entertainment over the movie The Interview, a satirical film about a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The North denies those accusations.

Popular South Korean band member dies

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The lead singer of popular South Korean boy band SHINee has died, police said, in a possible suicide. Kim Jong-hyun, better known by the stage name Jonghyun, was found unconscious at a residence hotel in Seoul and was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, Seoul police said. Police said Kim’s sister told them the singer sent her text messages such as "Final farewell" and "I’ve had difficulties" before his death. The Yonhap news agency said authorities found burned coal briquettes, which produce carbon monoxide, in a frying pan in Kim’s hotel room. Kim debuted in 2008 as the main singer of SHINee then cultivated a career as both a group member and a solo singer-song writer. His last public appearance was at a solo concert titled "Inspired" on December 9 and 10 in Seoul, and he was scheduled to hold concerts with SHINee members in Tokyo and Osaka in February, Yonhap said. South Korea has one of the highest suicide rates among developed countries. A string of high-profile figures, including a former president and business executives, have killed themselves in recent years.

Conservation group says Japan aiding in illegal ivory trade

TOKYO (AP) — A conservation group says Japan’s lax controls over its domestic stock of ivory are encouraging illegal exports to other countries and undermining efforts to end trafficking in elephant tusks. A recently released report compiled with support of the World Wildlife Fund says researchers found antique dealers are buying a large number of elephant tusks that are not registered as required by law. It said hundreds of ivory items are sold each year by e-commerce sites, often to visitors from other Asian countries such as China. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, bans international trade in ivory in principle to protect endangered African elephants. It has called for closing domestic ivory markets in all member states.

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