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International News

Once-reviled scavenger bird now the pride of its Indian home


Hong Kong ivory trade faces uncertain future as bans loom


Elephant habitats shrink in India as encroachments increase


North Korea says sanctions aim to hinder sports activities


Malaysia seizes pig-hair brushes after Muslims complain


From The Asian Reporter, V27, #4 (February 20, 2017), page 2.

China to start fingerprinting foreign visitors

BEIJING (AP) — Millions of foreigners visiting China each year will now have their fingerprints collected. The country’s Ministry of Public Security said in a statement that it will begin taking the fingerprints of visitors as they enter and exit the country. The requirement will apply to most people between the ages of 14 and 70. The policy will go into effect starting in Shenzhen, the southern Chinese city bordering Hong Kong. Chinese authorities counted more than 76 million entries and exits by foreigners last year. The visitors were primarily from South Korea, Japan, the United States, and Russia. The ministry said the new requirement is "an important measure to strengthen entry and exit management" that matches policies in other countries. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has fingerprinted most foreign visitors since 2004.

Palm oil workers killed orangutan for meat

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An Indonesian lawmaker says palm oil plantation workers killed and ate a critically endangered orangutan on the island of Borneo and police should investigate. Daniel Johan said the workers shot the great ape after it ventured onto a plantation in a remote area of Central Kalimantan province, probably looking for crops to eat. "It’s a blatant offense against Indonesia’s conservation laws," said Johan. "Police have to investigate." Johan said a witness provided him photos of the butchered primate. Last July, the International Union for Conservation of Nature classified Borneo’s orangutans as critically endangered. The animals are often killed for their meat but punishment is rare. The forest habitat of the apes has shrunk dramatically to make way for plantations.

Vietnam allows betting on international soccer matches

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnamese gamblers will soon be allowed to place bets on international soccer competitions under a pilot project. Under the decree signed by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc that will take effect by the end of March, Vietnamese older than 21 years of age will be allowed to place bets of up to $44 per day, with a minimum bet of 44 cents. The government will allow only one company to do this business during the five-year trial period and the company must have an investment capital of at least 1 trillion dong ($44 million). After the five-year period, the government will decide whether to continue the arrangement. The decree also allows betting on local horse and dog races. In January, the government issued a decree allowing local people into casinos, which had been open only to foreigners. Vietnam has long banned most types of gambling, but Vietnamese are passionate about soccer and bets on European soccer games are very common. There are no official figures on how much money is placed on illegal soccer bets, but police nationwide have busted multiple illegal soccer betting rings in recent years.

China’s first large homemade passenger jet to fly in 2017

BEIJING (AP) — After years of delays, China’s first large homemade passenger jetliner will take to the air for its maiden flight in the first half of this year, according to state media. State-owned aircraft maker Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China Ltd., or Comac, based in Shanghai, has nearly completed work on the 175-passenger C919, the ruling Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily reported. The C919 was originally due to fly in 2015, but has been beset by delays blamed on manufacturing problems. It is now scheduled to enter service in 2019, aimed at competing with the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737, along with the Russian Irkut MC-21. Airbus and Boeing say the market for new aircraft will be worth more than $5 trillion over the next 20 years. Industry experts say China faces a tough slog capturing a significant share of that market, even with government support. Comac says it has 517 orders for the C919. The C919 is part of China’s efforts to develop a homegrown aviation industry in one of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing air travel markets. China currently relies heavily on foreign-made aircraft. Last June, the ARJ21-700, China’s first homemade regional jet, made its debut flight carrying 70 passengers. The jet is one of a series of initiatives launched by the party to transform China from the world’s low-cost factory into a creator of profitable technology in aviation, clean energy, and other fields. The ARJ21, also made by Comac, is a rival to aircraft made by Bombardier Inc. of Canada and Brazil’s Embraer SA.

Cambodian PM bans Taiwan flag, cites ‘One-China’ policy

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia’s prime minister says raising Taiwan’s flag is banned because Cambodia follows the "One-China" policy promoted by Beijing. Hun Sen, in a speech to the Cambodian-Chinese Association posted on Facebook, said he welcomes investment from Taiwanese businesspeople, but that respecting Chinese sovereignty means acknowledging Taiwan is a province of China. He said in his remarks that Taiwan’s flag should not be raised on its national day. Hun Sen, who has led his country for three decades, said this has always been his policy. He has in the past rebuffed Taiwanese efforts to open an official representative office in Cambodia, and reaffirmed that position in his speech. He also told his audience that Cambodia holds the same policy toward Tibet, recognizing China’s sovereignty against claims for independence of what China calls the Tibet Autonomous Region. China is impoverished Cambodia’s key ally and economic partner. It has provided millions of dollars in aid and investment over the past decade, granted tariff-free status on hundreds of trade items, and written off debt. In return, Cambodia supports China in international forums, including in Beijing’s ongoing territorial disputes with other Southeast Asian countries in the South China Sea.

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