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From The Asian Reporter, V27, #11 (June 5, 2017), page 2.
Albino orangutan named "Alba" after worldwide appeal
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A conservation group says a rare albino orangutan rescued in Indonesia was named "Alba" after thousands of suggestions were sent from around the world. The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation said the name means "white" in Latin and "dawn" in Spanish. It hopes the animal will be an ambassador for the critically endangered species. The five-year-old female was rescued after being captured by villagers in Indonesia’s part of Borneo island April 29. It was the first albino orangutan to be encountered by the foundation in its 25 years of conservation work. The foundation is collecting information on albinism in great apes to help decide the primate’s future. Its CEO, Jamartin Sihite, said, "We can’t simply place Alba in a forest area, nor in a sanctuary, without thoroughly examining all possibilities."
China’s fondness for pirated software raises risks in attack
BEIJING (AP) — Security researchers say China’s fondness for pirated software left it especially vulnerable to the latest global cyberattack. Beijing has tolerated rampant use of unlicensed software copies despite repeated promises to crack down and warnings by industry groups that China is leaving itself open to being hurt by malicious code. BSA The Software Alliance, an industry group, says some 70 percent of computers in China run unlicensed software, the highest level among large countries. Rates for the United States, Japan, Germany, and Britain range from 18 to 22 percent. Experts say that has left millions of Chinese computers without security support and made China among the countries most affected by the WannaCry ransomware that hit more than 150 countries.
Western Indian city launches air quality monitoring system
AHMADABAD, India (AP) — The western Indian city of Ahmadabad has launched its first air quality monitoring system that will be used to send out pollution alerts. The system, which started functioning in May, also informs city residents of the health risks of high pollution. For the last few years, discussions about India’s soaring air pollution levels have focused largely on the abysmal quality of the air in the country’s capital, New Delhi. But experts have long warned that other cities aren’t likely any better and just don’t have monitoring mechanisms to measure how their pollution levels compare. The new air quality index and pollution alert system in Ahmadabad was set up by the city’s municipal corporation with help from several health and environmental advocacy groups.
Dangal is China’s biggest non-Hollywood foreign film
BEIJING (AP) — The Aamir Khan film Dangal, about an Indian man training his daughters to become wrestlers, has become China’s biggest-grossing non-Hollywood foreign movie. The Indian film, whose name translates as Let’s Wrestle, Dad, was released in China on May 5. The previous top-performing non-Hollywood foreign film was the 2016 Your Name, a Japanese fantasy drama. Media and online commentary say Dangal, which is based on a true story, impressed audiences with its message of giving girls opportunities in a male-centric society and has prompted discussions over how strict parents should or should not be when raising their children. Actor and producer Khan had already built up a following in China following the success of his previous films, 3 Idiots and PK. The Bollywood star has garnered more than 650,000 followers on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo since opening an account in early April.
Hong Kong police arrest 21 Uber drivers in crackdown
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong police have launched a fresh crackdown on Uber, arresting 21 drivers suspected of working for the ride-hailing giant in the Asian financial center. Police said the drivers were arrested in an undercover operation on suspicion of carrying passengers for hire and not having third-party insurance for their cars. The police said the 20 men and one woman were taken into custody and their vehicles impounded. They said they were continuing their enforcement action and couldn’t rule out further arrests. Police did not specifically mention Uber, but company representatives said they planned to issue a statement. In March, five Uber drivers were convicted on similar charges in a Hong Kong court. In 2015, police searched Uber’s offices and confiscated computers and documents.
U.S delivers six coastal patrol boats to Vietnam coast guard
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — The United States has delivered six coastal patrol boats to Vietnam’s coast guard in a move that expands the two nation’s security cooperation amid tension in the disputed South China Sea. The six 45-foot Metal Shark patrol boats were officially handed over by U.S. ambassador Ted Osius to the coast guard in the central province of Quang Nam. The embassy said in a statement that the handover represented deepening cooperation in maritime law enforcement and humanitarian assistance in Vietnam’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zone. "Vietnam’s future prosperity depends upon a stable and peaceful maritime environment," Osius was quoted in the statement as saying at the handover ceremony. "The United States and the rest of the international community also benefit from regional stability, which is why we are here today, and it is why we are very pleased to be working together with the Vietnam Coast Guard." The patrols boats will assist the coast guard in inter- coastal patrols and law enforcement of smuggling, illicit trafficking, piracy, and armed robbery against ships, as well as illegal fishing. Vietnam and China, along with the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Taiwan, claim all or parts of the Spratly islands in the South China Sea believed to sit on natural resources.
Philippines arrests 25 Koreans over alleged internet fraud
MANILA, The Philippines (AP) — Philippine authorities have arrested 25 South Koreans for alleged internet fraud and illegal online gambling. The Bureau of Immigration said 12 of them are wanted back home for allegedly operating an online business scam duping their compatriots into investing money in bogus real estate projects in the Philippines. Their arrests in a posh condominium in the capital of Manila followed the apprehension of four other South Koreans for alleged internet fraud. The National Bureau of Investigation also presented to the media five South Korean nationals arrested for suspected online gambling operations. It said four South Korean women operating a secret online casino inside a mall were also apprehended.
China conducts demolitions at Tibetan Buddhist study site
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities in southwestern Sichuan province have evicted followers and razed hundreds of homes at one of the world’s largest centers of Tibetan Buddhist learning in a months-long operation that has drawn protests from Tibetans in exile. Local officials in Garze prefecture say they are carrying out demolitions to prevent overcrowding and to renovate Larung Gar, a sprawling, mountainside settlement that housed more than 10,000 monks and nuns who stayed and studied for months at a time. Authorities are reportedly seeking to cut the population by half, to 5,000.
Overseas Tibetan groups say the forced evictions and demolitions are meant to put a damper on the practice and spread of Tibetan Buddhism. Larung Gar’s academy has increasingly attracted large numbers of disciples from China’s Han ethnic majority as well as foreign visitors. Earlier this year, a video circulated on social media that purportedly showed young Tibetan nuns from the monastery being directed to sing about their Chinese-ness and pledge patriotic loyalty inside a government building. Several United Nations special rapporteurs wrote to the Chinese government in November to express concern about "serious repression" of Buddhist Tibetan cultural and religious practices in the region.
Japan launches rocket with satellite to build its own GPS
TOKYO (AP) — Japan is building its own GPS in hopes of reducing location errors for drivers, drone operators, and other users. A rocket launched from southern Japan is carrying a satellite that will form part of a Japanese GPS. An initial satellite was launched in 2010, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries plan to launch two more satellites by next spring to complete the "Michibiki" system. Michibiki is the Japanese word for guidance. Japan currently relies on an American GPS. Having its own system is expected to reduce location errors in Japan to a few inches from as much as 30 feet by some estimates. Three satellites will be visible at all times from the Asia-Pacific region, and the Japanese system could be integrated with the American one, enabling highly precise positioning, the Japanese government says. The more accurate information could be used for both driving and drone deliveries. Japanese media report it also may enhance the country’s defense capabilities. Japan is considering adding three more satellites to the system in the future, as mountains and tall buildings will still affect the positioning under the four-satellite system.
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