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International News


Coca-Cola in North Korea? It’s (usually not) the Real Thing

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Smartphone app lets user ‘walk a mile in a refugee’s shoes’

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China car dilemma: Beijing wants electric, buyers want SUVs

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Myanmar bird’s eye view: Bagan’s Buddhist temples by balloon

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From The Asian Reporter, V27, #9 (May 1, 2017), pages 2 & 3.

Veteran guide who first scaled Everest 10 times hospitalized

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A Nepalese mountaineering official says a former Sherpa guide who was the first person to scale Mount Everest 10 times has been hospitalized after suffering a brain hemorrhage. Ang Tshering of the Nepal Mountaineering Association said Ang Rita was rushed to a hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, after he fell unconscious. The 68-year-old Ang Rita scaled Everest 10 times from 1983 to 1996. He quit climbing because of pressure from his family and health-related problems. Several other climbers have passed his record, but he remains one of the most famous Everest climbers.

China launches country’s first cargo spacecraft

BEIJING (AP) — Preparations are underway for the launch of China’s first unmanned cargo spacecraft on a mission to dock with the country’s space station. The Tianzhou 1 blasted off atop a new generation Long March 7 rocket from China’s latest spacecraft launch site at Wenchang on the island province of Hainan. It is programmed to conduct scientific experiments after reaching the now-crewless Tiangong 2, China’s second space station. A pair of Chinese astronauts spent 30 days on board the station last year. Since China conducted its first crewed space mission in 2003, it has staged a spacewalk and landed its Yutu rover on the moon. The two Tiangong, or "Heavenly Palace," space stations are considered stepping stones to landing a rover on Mars.

Companies not complying with Bangladesh garment plan

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — An international rights group says dozens of global clothing companies are not complying with a plan to ensure better safety in Bangladesh garment factories following the deadly collapse of a building four years ago. Human Rights Watch said in a report that only 29 out of 72 recently contacted companies are releasing information about how they source their products in Bangladesh. It said many brands have held out completely. Bangladesh’s garment industry has invested more than $1 billion in safety improvements since April 24, 2013, when the Rana Plaza garment factory complex collapsed outside Dhaka, killing more than 1,130 workers and injuring 2,500. The collapse highlighted grim conditions in the country’s garment industry, the second largest in the world with about 4,000 factories employing about 4 million workers.

Blogger found stabbed to death in the Maldives

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Police in the Maldives say they are investigating the stabbing death of a prominent blogger and social-media activist. Police said in a statement that Yameen Rasheed was found with multiple stab wounds in a house in the capital of Male. He died at a hospital. The motive for his killing was not immediately known. Rasheed was an advocate of human rights and freedom of speech. He discussed politics and other social issues on the internet, including health, migrant labor rights, and policing. He was a friend of journalist Ahmed Rilwan, who went missing in 2014 after being abducted, and has been on the forefront in the campaign to locate him. The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party called for an investigation with foreign assistance into Rasheed’s death, saying the country’s police do not have the capacity or impartiality to conduct such an investigation. It said Rasheed had recently filed a case against the police over their inaction in determining Rilwan’s fate.

Indonesian military threatens news site after coup story

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia’s military said it reported an online news site to the police after it wrote about an Intercept story alleging current and retired generals plotted to overthrow President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo. The Intercept, co-founded by Glenn Greenwald, a journalist known for his stories about the U.S. National Security Agency’s mass surveillance, had published the coup article by freelance journalist Allan Nairn. Citing intelligence documents, unnamed generals, and other figures, it alleges that huge protests in Jakarta against the capital’s minority Christian governor were a front for a movement to unseat Jokowi. Separately, amid protests in December and March, Indonesian police arrested a total of 16 people for suspected treason, including a former general and Islamic radicals. The military’s statement said an account of the Intercept story published by the Indonesian site Tirto was either "not true" or a "hoax." It said it was reporting Tirto so it could be "investigated and proceeded against in line with existing laws." On its website, Tirto said it had permission from Nairn and Intercept to translate the article and had interviewed Nairn in detail about his reporting. Decades of army rule in Indonesia ended in 1998 with the ouster of late dictator Suharto during mass protests sparked by an economic crisis. The military, however, remains one of the Muslim majority country’s most powerful and respected institutions.

Air China resumes booking flights to North Korea

BEIJING (AP) — China’s state-owned airline is resuming flights from Beijing to North Korea that had been suspended because of poor ticket sales. Tour companies in China have reported waning interest in trips to neighboring North Korea amid safety worries and tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program. Chinese state media reported April 14 that Air China was suspending its flights to North Korea’s capital beginning April 17. On April 25, the airline was offering twice-weekly bookings between Beijing and Pyongyang beginning May 5 on its website. Air China did not immediately respond to requests for comment. North Korea’s Air Koryo is the only other airline operating flights between Pyongyang and Beijing.

China launches domestically made aircraft carrier

BEIJING — China has launched its first aircraft carrier built entirely on its own in a demonstration of the growing technical sophistication of its defense industries. State media reported the launch of the 50,000-ton carrier from a shipyard in the northern port city of Dalian. That’s the same city where the hull of China’s first carrier, the Ukrainian-built Liaoning, underwent extensive refurbishing before being commissioned in 2012. The new carrier will likely be formally commissioned sometime before 2020 following the completion of sea trials and the arrival of its full air complement. Like the Liaoning, the new carrier is based on the former Soviet Union’s Kuznetsov class design, with a ski-jump-style deck for taking off and a conventional oil-fuelled steam turbine power plant.

UNICEF urges Malaysia to ban corporal punishment in schools

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The U.N. children’s agency is urging Malaysia to ban corporal punishment in schools after the death of an 11-year-old boy allegedly abused at a religious school. The boy died just days after both his legs were amputated due to a bacterial infection after he was allegedly whipped with a water hose at a private Islamic boarding school. Police have detained the assistant warden, who allegedly whipped the boy and several others as punishment. The UNICEF representative in Malaysia, Marianne Clark-Hattingh, said the boy’s death was a "stark reminder of the negative consequences of corporal punishment and violence as a form of discipline."

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