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International News


Two Sherpa guides scale Everest, set new records

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Water mismanagement leaves India’s Silicon Valley parched

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From The Asian Reporter, V28, #10 (May 21, 2018), page 2.

Snoopy joining Sony? Music unit buying stake in Peanuts

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese electronics maker Sony Corp.’s music unit is buying a stake in Peanuts Holdings, the company behind Snoopy and Charlie Brown. Sony Music Entertainment said it signed a deal with DHX Media, based in Nova Scotia, Canada, to acquire 49 percent of the 80 percent stake DHX holds in Peanuts. Under the deal, Sony Music will own 39 percent and DHX 41 percent. Charles Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, will continue to own 20 percent of Peanuts. The parties hope to complete the acquisition on or about June 30, according to Tokyo-based Sony. Sony said it sees Peanuts as "world class," and hopes to use its character business expertise to strengthen the brand. Sony has under its wing a range of characters, including those from its PlayStation video games.

Gap apologizes for China map t-shirt that omitted Taiwan

HONG KONG (AP) — U.S. clothing retailer Gap has apologized for selling t-shirts with a map of China that didn’t include self-ruled Taiwan, the latest example of corporate kowtowing to Beijing. "Upon the realization that one of our t-shirts sold in some overseas markets mistakenly failed to reflect the correct map of China, we urgently launched an internal investigation across the group and have decided to immediately pull back this t-shirt from all the concerned global markets," the company said in a statement, adding that the shirts had already been pulled from Chinese shelves and destroyed. The company took action after photos began circulating on Chinese social media of a t-shirt showing a map that didn’t include Taiwan, a self-ruled island that Beijing regards as Chinese territory. The map also appeared to leave out southern Tibet and the disputed South China Sea, the state-owned Global Times said, adding that it drew hundreds of complaints on China’s Weibo microblogging platform. The photos were taken at a Gap shop in Canada’s Niagara region, Global Times said. The shirt could not be found on Gap websites and it wasn’t clear whether it was still being sold in shops in some countries.

Americans freed one hour before flight out of Pyongyang

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — After months of anticipation and drama, North Korea’s release of three American detainees played out amid high-stakes diplomacy and was only sealed about an hour before the top U.S. diplomat was wheels-up from Pyongyang. The three men — Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song, and Tony Kim — walked on their own from a van and onto the plane of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the end of his daylong visit to North Korea. After meeting leader Kim Jong Un, Pompeo had given a fingers-crossed sign when asked if there was good news. A North Korean emissary came to the hotel shortly after to say the detainees were being freed. The three men finally left custody at 7:45pm local time, and by 8:42pm they were flying home.

Indonesia’s most active volcano erupts, spews ash into sky

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia’s most active volcano, Mount Merapi, erupted May 11, spewing sand and pyroclastic material and sending an ash column as high as 18,045 feet into the sky. The sudden eruption was accompanied by a rumbling sound with medium to strong pressure, Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said. People living within 3.1 miles of the crater evacuated to barracks set up for the displaced or left for other safe places. There were no immediate reports of casualties. Nugroho said Adi Sucipto airport in Yogyakarta was closed for about one hour due to the spread of volcanic ash. The eruption, however, did not raise the alert status of Merapi, which was at a normal level with no eruption expected in the foreseeable future. The 9,737-foot mountain between Yogyakarta and Central Java provinces is the most active of 500 Indonesian volcanoes. Its last major eruption in 2010 killed 347 people and caused the evacuation of 20,000 villagers. Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 250 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity because it sits along the Pacific "Ring of Fire," a horseshoe-shaped series of fault lines.

Chinese tourists spark anger in Vietnam over map on shirts

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — A group of Chinese tourists wearing t-shirts depicting the country’s territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea has sparked anger in Vietnam. The tourists arrived at the Cam Ranh international airport and after going through immigration, took off their coats to reveal t-shirts featuring the so-called "nine-dash line" demarcating Beijing’s claims to nearly the entire South China Sea. Vietnam is one of the rival claimants. State-run Tuoi Tre newspaper reported that Vietnamese authorities confiscated the shirts. Some readers commenting on the newspaper’s website called for the deportation of the Chinese tourists. "Deport them immediately, put them on the blacklist, and ban them from entering in the future," reader Huynh Tan Dat wrote. More than 4 million Chinese arrived in Vietnam last year, accounting for about 30 percent of total foreign arrivals in the Southeast Asian country. It was not the first time the Vietnamese were enraged over the controversial maps. In 2016, a border agent at the Ho Chi Minh City airport defaced a Chinese passport with the words "f— you" scribbled twice over maps of the contested South China Sea. China issued new passports starting in 2012 with revised maps to include the "nine-dash line." Some Vietnamese border agents have begun to issue separate visas rather than stamp Chinese passports to demonstrate that they do not recognize the new map. China and Vietnam have had long-running territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Other claimants include the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan.

New Singapore anti-terror law can order media blackout

SINGAPORE (AP) — Singapore has introduced a law that gives the police special powers during terrorist attacks, including widely banning journalists and members of the public from reporting on the scene. The law has the power to block all communications on-site ranging from photographs to videos, text and audio messages, for up to a month, if authorities feel security operations could be compromised. The Ministry of Home Affairs said the law would make the police more effective in responding to terrorist threats. It cited previous attacks in Mumbai and Paris, where live broadcasts allegedly allowed terrorists to anticipate the next move of security forces. Individuals who flout the communications stop order face a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a fine of 20,000 Singapore dollars ($14,891).

Cambodia makes first arrest on charges of insulting monarchy

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — A Cambodian school director has become the first person to be arrested on charges of insulting the monarchy after posting comments on Facebook critical of the authoritarian government. The law protecting the monarchy was passed in February. Critics say it further erodes freedom of speech and political activities, already under stress from Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government. Police said Khieng Navy was arrested at his home and could face five years in prison if convicted. He is accused of posting comments online that allegedly insulted King Norodom Sihamoni by suggesting he was behind the November court decision to disband the main opposition party to benefit Cambodia’s enemies. Sihamoni is a constitutional monarch with a minimal role in public affairs, while Hun Sen exercises almost absolute control over politics. The Kampong Thom provincial court formally charged Khieng Navy with "insulting of the monarch," said a statement released by the investigating judge, Khorn Kosal. Offenders of the law on lese majeste, or insulting the monarch, could be punished by one to five years in prison with a fine of up to $2,500.

Man imprisoned for post on Facebook

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — A court in Vietnam has sentenced a Facebook user to 4 1/2 years in jail for posts the court said distorted the political situation in the country and opposed the ruling Communist Party and the state. A state-run newspaper said Bui Hieu Vo, 56, was convicted of conducting anti-state propaganda at the one-day trial in the People’s Court in Ho Chi Minh City. Tuoi Tre newspaper said authorities found 57 posts on Vo’s Facebook page that opposed the Communist Party and instigated people to engage in terrorist activities. He was arrested in March last year. The newspaper also reported that police in the northern province of Thanh Hoa had detained Nguyen Duy Son for Facebook posts that defamed the country’s leaders.

New owner of Cambodian newspaper begins by firing editor

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — The new owner of a newspaper considered the sole remaining independent media voice in Cambodia has fired its editor for publishing a story about the publication’s sale and the purchaser’s links to the government, bolstering doubts it will continue to perform the watchdog function of a free press. The dismissal day of Kay Kimsong, editor-in-chief of the English and Khmer language editions of the Phnom Penh Post, was followed by the resignations of at least four senior editorial personnel. The newspaper’s sale by Australian businessman Bill Clough to Sivakumar Ganapathy, a public relations executive in Malaysia, was announced in early May. The Post reported that his PR company had done business for the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen, which has curtailed press freedom ahead of a July general election.

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