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From The Asian Reporter, V28, #6 (March 19, 2018), page 2.
Nepal’s president elected to second term
KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal’s president, Bidhya Devi Bhandari, was elected to a second term in voting by national and provincial lawmakers. The Election Commission said Bhandari received a large majority of the ballots. Bhandari, who was first elected in 2015, is the Himalayan nation’s first female president, a largely ceremonial role. She has the backing of the Communist alliance government that dominated recent parliamentary and provincial assembly elections. Bhandari has had a long political career. Before becoming president, she was a powerful leader of the Communist Party of Nepal Unified Marxist-Leninist.
China shrinking steel industry, but too slowly for west
BEIJING (AP) — China’s steel mills, a target of U.S. President Donald Trump’s ire, are their industry’s 800-pound gorilla: They supply half of world output, so every move they make has a global impact. Trump responded with a blanket tariff hike on steel and aluminum, another metal China’s trading partners complain it oversupplies. The steel industry swelled over the past decade to support a history-making Chinese construction boom. Once that tailed off, the country was left with a glut of half-idle, money-losing mills. Beijing has closed mills and eliminated 1 million jobs, but is moving too slowly to defuse American and European anger at a flood of low-cost exports that is double the volume of second-place Japan. China says it shut down 30 million tons of capacity last year.
Duterte withdrawing Philippines from Int’l Criminal Court
MANILA, The Philippines (AP) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says his country is withdrawing its ratification of a world treaty that created the International Criminal Court (ICC), where he’s facing a possible complaint for crimes against humanity. An ICC prosecutor announced in February that she was opening a preliminary examination into alleged extrajudicial killings stemming from Duterte’s anti-drug crackdown. Duterte said the international court cannot acquire jurisdiction over him. He said the Rome Statute that established the tribunal for heinous leaders cannot be enforced in the Philippines because it has not been made public as required by law after Filipino senators ratified it in 2011. Thousands of mostly poor drug suspects have been killed under Duterte’s crackdown, but he has argued that the killings do not amount to crimes against humanity or genocide.
Macron hopes to sell jets, submarines to India
VARANASI, India (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron says he hopes his country can sell more fighter jets and submarines to India. In a recent news conference, Macron said France and India want to "be able to continue with new volumes and production in line with what has already been signed." He was referring to India’s purchase of six conventionally powered Scorpene submarines in 2005 and 36 Rafale fighter jets in 2016. Macron took a boat ride with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the River Ganges in Varanasi in northeast India. During the three-day visit by the French leader, Macron and Modi highlighted a strong alliance and cooperation in defense, security, technology, space, and counterterrorism.
Information indicates Myanmar is cleansing Rohingyas
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. adviser on preventing genocide says all information he has received indicates the Myanmar government intended to cleanse Rohingya Muslims from Rakhine state and possibly even destroy them "which, if proven, would constitute the crime of genocide." Adama Dieng recently visited Bangladesh to assess the situation of the Rohingyas and said what he heard and witnessed "is a human tragedy with the fingerprints of the Myanmar government and of the international community." He said "the scorched earth campaign carried out by Myanmar security forces since August 2017 against the Rohingya population was predictable and preventable." Despite his numerous warnings of the risk of "atrocity crimes," Dieng said the international community "buried its head in the sand," which has cost Rohingyas their lives, homes, and dignity.
Company cancels blue diamond initial coin offering
SINGAPORE (AP) — The Singapore-based organizer of a $2-million initial coin offering linked to a promotion involving a 2.08-carat blue diamond ring and luxury dinner raffle has cancelled the plan, leaving thousands of investors from dozens of countries in need of refunds. Singapore-registered V Diamonds began selling tokens backed by the blue diamond ring in November, promising a one-millionth stake in the ring, set in 18-karat rose gold-plated platinum, for as little as $2. Ville Oehman, the Finnish founder of V Diamonds, agreed to buy the ring and dinner from the Russia-based World of Diamonds Group as part of a wider promotion. In November, he began selling the tokens for $2 or more. Investors also stood a chance to win an "ultimate dinner experience" in Singapore with a three-hour yacht cruise, gold-plated chopsticks, and an 18-course Michelin star meal on a private jet, according to the presale website. No reason was given for the cancellation. Karan Tilani, director of the World of Diamonds Group, said its dining promotion will be launched again, with an option to pay in crypto-currency. Part of the proceeds will be donated to charity, he said. Initial coin offerings have been banned in China and South Korea due to worries over possible financial scams. The Monetary Authority of Singapore has urged "extreme caution" regarding investments in crypto-currencies that are not covered by regulatory protection.
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