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Bathe naked with strangers? Welcome to a Japanese bathhouse


From The Asian Reporter, V28, #12 (June 18, 2018), page 2.

Samsung commits to using only renewable energy by 2020

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Samsung Electronics, the world’s biggest smartphone maker, has pledged to convert its operations in the United States, Europe, and China to using only solar and other renewable energy by 2020. With its announcement, the tech giant joins Apple and other Silicon Valley companies in making such a commitment, but it faces bigger challenges due to its vast factory network, while other companies use outside contractors for manufacturing. Samsung, also a major producer of computer chips, said its plans include installing 420,000 square feet of solar panels this year at its headquarters in Suwon, South Korea. South Korea received six percent of its energy from renewable sources, relying on coal and nuclear power for the rest.

"Dead" husband returns after police send wrong body

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese wife has told police that the body she thought was her missing husband belonged to a stranger after her spouse turned up alive a year later. Tokyo police acknowledged that the body found in a river in eastern Tokyo in June 2017 was of another man reported missing at around the same time. Police apologized for the mix-up and said the remains would be returned to the correct family. Police initially believed the body was of a man in his early 40s reported missing by his family three days earlier and handed it over to them after positive identification by the wife and two relatives. The body was then cremated by the family. The family notified police that the man came home alive in May. The body, of another missing man in his late 30s, might have been misidentified because both men were about the same height and age, Tokyo’s metropolitan police said. Bodies that are deemed unrelated to crime are usually returned to the families after visual inspections and without additional tests. The metropolitan police said they regretted the mistake and promised to take preventive measures.

U.S. broadcaster loses Myanmar outlet over use of name

BANGKOK (AP) — A U.S. government-affiliated broadcaster is losing its local partner in Myanmar after refusing demands that it stop using the term "Rohingya" to describe an embattled Muslim minority. Radio Free Asia (RFA) spokesman Rohit Mahajan said June 11 was the last day the DVB Media Group’s network would carry its television broadcasts. He said RFA told Myanmar authorities that it was unwilling to bow to their pressure to use a term other than Rohingya. About 700,000 Rohingya have fled to neighboring Bangladesh since the government launched a violent counterinsurgency campaign last August in western Myanmar, where most live. Many people in Myanmar call the Rohingya "Bengali" to reflect their contention that they are illegal migrants from Bangladesh rather than natives.

Nearly half of Afghan children are not in school

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Nearly half of Afghanistan’s children are not attending school because of war, poverty, and other factors, a new report shows. The study, released by the Education Ministry and the U.N. children’s agency, said that 3.7 million, or 44 percent, of all school-age children are not attending school. It marks the first time since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 that the rate of attendance has declined, following years of steady gains in education for boys as well as girls, who were banned from attending school under the Taliban. The survey says girls account for 60 percent of those being denied an education. The Taliban have seized several districts across the country in recent years, as the U.S.-backed government has struggled to combat the insurgency. A long-running financial crisis, exacerbated by widespread corruption, has further hindered government efforts to expand access to education. Widespread poverty forces many families to push their daughters into early marriages, often with much older men. The legal age for marriage in Afghanistan is 18, but the law is poorly enforced, particularly in conservative, rural areas. Educating girls is still frowned upon in much of the conservative Muslim country and is banned in the steadily expanding areas controlled by the Taliban.

South surveying war-split kin for planned Korean reunions

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea says it is surveying South Koreans who would be willing to meet their war-separated relatives in North Korea for temporary reunions planned between the rivals as reconciliatory steps. Seoul’s Unification Ministry said the surveys — conducted through home visits, phone calls, and letters — will continue through August 10. South Korea lobbied hard for the recent summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Seoul says improved inter-Korean relations are important because Pyongyang wouldn’t be willing to give up its nuclear weapons unless it feels its security has been assured.

Philippine police arrest nearly 500 in alleged online fraud

MANILA, The Philippines (AP) — Philippine police say they have arrested nearly 500 people, including eight Israeli nationals, who they say are involved in an online financial fraud that victimized people overseas in such countries as Australia and South Africa. In one of the Philippines’ biggest anti-cybercrime busts in years, police chief Oscar Albayalde said 474 Filipino employees and the Israelis were taken into custody following the raid on three buildings in Clark Freeport, a former U.S. Air Force base north of Manila, where the alleged online fraud was committed. Police chief superintendent Marni Marcos said the suspects lured victims into investing in foreign stocks in a flourishing London-based company then took their money through an online app after obtaining their bank account and credit card details.

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