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From The Asian Reporter, V27, #12 (June 19, 2017), page 2.

Pole banned from Nepal mountains after illegal entry

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A Pole who illegally traversed Mount Everest has been banned from climbing in Nepal for 10 years and faces deportation, according to an official. Janusz Adam Adamski, 49, had scaled Everest from the Chinese side in May and descended on Nepal’s side, said Durga Dutta Dhakal, an official with Nepal’s Mountaineering Department. Adamski had no visa to enter Nepal or permit to scale Everest, he said. Dhakal said the Mountaineering Department imposed the ban and handed him over to the Immigration Department, which is likely to deport him. Adamski is the second climber who was banned this year, after South African Ryan Sean Davy was caught attempting to scale Everest without a permit. Hundreds of climbers and their guides scaled Everest during the spring mountaineering season from both the Nepal and Chinese sides of the peak. Climbers must pay the $11,000 fee to obtain a permit from Nepalese authorities.

Cambodia charges Australian with spying for using drone

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — An Australian filmmaker in Cambodia has been charged with espionage after being arrested for flying a camera drone over an opposition party campaign rally. James Ricketson was charged with collecting information prejudicial to national defense, which is punishable by five to 10 years in prison, Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesman Ly Sophana said. Ricketson, 68, was arrested on June 3 after filming the last day of campaigning for local elections a day earlier. The ruling party of long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen won a majority of the commune council seats. It had been unclear whether Ricketson was arrested for flying a drone without official permission, breaking immigration laws, or violating the national security statute. The article under which he was charged defines his offense as "receiving or collecting information, processes, objects, documents, computerized data, or files, with a view to supplying them to a foreign state or its agents which are liable to prejudice the national defense." The government has been critical of media it considers sympathetic to the opposition, and Ricketson was known for filming the activities of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party.

Elephant in Sri Lankan Buddhist procession kills monk

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — An elephant that was part of a Sri Lankan Buddhist procession has attacked and killed a monk, according to police. Police spokesman Priyantha Jayakody said three elephants were walking in the procession when one suddenly went on a rampage and attacked the monk in the coastal town of Kochchikade, about 26 miles north of Colombo. The 25-year-old monk died at a hospital. Colorfully decorated elephants are an important part of Buddhist religious processions and festivals. Temples and wealthy families often own the animals and rent them out for such events. However, animal-rights activists say the elephants are often kept in inhumane conditions and receive insufficient food. Authorities say there are about 127 tamed elephants that are used for processions and other religious ceremonies by Sinhalese Buddhists, who make up 70 percent of the island’s 20 million people. Having an elephant in the backyard has long been a sign of wealth, privilege, and power. For hundreds of years, elephants have been used for such religious activities as well as for battles by ancient kings. Sri Lanka has about 6,000 elephants, but those in the wild are threatened by habitat loss and degradation. An estimated 200 elephants are killed every year, mainly by farmers trying to protect their crops. In the 19th century, there were believed to be up to 14,000 elephants.

Police say Filipino casino attacker was indebted gambler

MANILA, The Philippines (AP) — The lone suspect behind a deadly attack on a casino and shopping complex in Manila was a heavily indebted Filipino gambling addict, according to police, bolstering their claim that the assault was not related to terrorism. The man’s immediate family confirmed his identity as Jessie Carlos — a married father of three and former finance department employee who owed more than $80,000. The revelations confirm that "this is not an act of terrorism," Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde told a news conference. "This incident is confined to the act of one man alone as we have always said." The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack on Resorts World Manila, where 37 patrons and employees died, mostly from smoke inhalation as they tried to hide in one of the casino’s VIP rooms on the second floor. Authorities have rejected the claim of the militants, saying there is no evidence to back it and pointing out the assailant shot no civilians during the two-hour ordeal despite being heavily armed. They also used video footage of the attack to bolster the argument that it was a botched robbery attempt by one man with no known link to terrorism.

Singapore police arrest first female Islamic State suspect

SINGAPORE (AP) — Police in Singapore have detained a preschool assistant who shared pro-Islamic State materials online and intended to travel to Syria, their first arrest of a female alleged sympathizer of the radical group. The Home Affairs Ministry said in a statement that 22-year-old Syaikhah Izzah Zahrah Al Ansari was arrested in early June under the country’s Internal Security Act, which allows for indefinite detention without trial. The statement said she had been radicalized in 2013 by online propaganda related to the Islamic State and in turn posted materials on social media supporting the group. It said she had expressed a willingness to go to Syria, take military training, and marry an Islamic State member. Singaporean authorities have detained 14 male suspected Islamic State sympathizers since 2015.

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