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International News


"Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen" and the U.N. have a new rhyme

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Kim’s North Korea gains a little economically, a lot militarily

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From The Asian Reporter, V27, #14 (July 17, 2017), page 2.

Vietnam buffalo fight suspended after animal kills owner

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Authorities in northern Vietnam suspended a traditional water buffalo fight after an animal attacked and killed its owner. Do Van Viet, a local official in the resort town of Do Son, where the fight took place, said the buffalo was killed and samples were taken to determine whether it had been given a stimulant. Traditional buffalo fighting was halted during the Vietnam War and resumed 27 years ago. Viet said several buffalo have died in the fights that pit the animals against each other, but the death was the first human fatality since the fights resumed. Viet said the buffalo at first chased the owner of the second animal, but failed to catch him, then turned on its owner, who died several hours later from multiple wounds.

China rocket failure likely to set back next space missions

BEIJING (AP) — The failure of China’s Long March 5 rocket deals a rare setback to China’s highly successful space program, one that will almost certainly delay plans to send a spacecraft to bring back samples from the moon later this year, along with other upcoming missions. Experts say the still unexplained mishap shows that for all its triumphs, China’s systematic approach to space exploration is not immune to the vast difficulties and risks involved in working with such cutting-edge technology. Authorities say the Long March-5 Y2 launch had an abnormality during the flight after what appeared to be a successful liftoff from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in the southern island province of Hainan. The Long March-5 Y2 is China’s most powerful launch vehicle.

Populist business tycoon is new president of Mongolia

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia (AP) — A populist business tycoon and ex-judo star has been inaugurated as Mongolia’s new president, pledging greater benefits for the county’s 3 million people from their landlocked Asian nation’s vast mineral wealth. Khaltmaa Battulga of the Democratic Party won a runoff against his establishment opponent, Miyegombo Enkhbold, of the Mongolian People’s Party. Battulga told The Associated Press he wanted a "win-win situation for everyone" when it came to foreign investment, which has slumped in recent years following weaker commodity prices and high-profile disputes between the government and large investors, including mining giant Rio Tinto. Mongolia’s economy grew just one percent last year, down from 17.5 percent in 2011. It now has $23 billion in debt, more than double the size of its economy.

Vietnam capital to ban motorbikes in metro areas by 2030

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam’s capital will ban motorbikes in metropolitan districts by 2030 to ease traffic congestion and pollution, according to a new resolution. Past discussions about banning motorbikes in Hanoi were met with strong opposition by people who said they could not do without motorbikes, their main means of transportation and livelihoods, in the absence of sufficient public transportation. Hanoi’s People’s Committee said on its website the measure was part of a resolution that also calls for improved public transport services. The city of 7.5 million people has more than 5 million motorbikes and 500,000 cars, with both modes of transportation growing fast over the past five years. Hanoi has 10 metropolitan districts and 19 suburban districts. Two urban train lines are under construction and expected to begin operation in the next few years.

NHK sorry over Hitler t-shirt worn by talk show guest

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, has apologized over a cartoon with Adolph Hitler’s face that was printed on a t-shirt worn by a talk show guest. The black t-shirt worn by entrepreneur Takafumi Horie also carried a "No War" message on one side and a peace symbol on a lapel. Horie was a guest on NHK’s "Afternoon Live" daily talk show. The t-shirt prompted complaints from viewers. During the program, the NHK announcer and the show’s co-host apologized. Responding to a tweet asking about the Hitler cartoon, Horie said it was meant to be an anti-war message.

Missiles & music: For Kim Jong Un, they go together

TOKYO (AP) — North Korea’s successful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch is now music to its leader’s ears — quite literally. Kim Jong Un was feted at a concert replete with pop music and thunderous applause marking the successful launch of his country’s first ICBM. Among the numbers performed were "Song of Hwasong Rocket" and "Make Others Envy Us," the North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported. Leading the bill at the concert was the Moranbong Band, an all-female ensemble that was handpicked by Kim and serves as something of the "soft" face of his regime. Pyongyang has been the scene of a slew of special events to mark the July 4 launch of Hwasong-14, which is believed to be capable of reaching most of Alaska and possibly farther. The launch is being treated as a major national milestone in North Korea, with the government and media touting it as a technological breakthrough few other nations have achieved. The concert, which took place before a packed crowd, many in uniform, also featured dancing. Clips of the concert shown on North Korean television showed the crowd repeatedly cheering and applauding for Kim. Along with the Moranbong Band, the concert had North Korea’s other top headliners — a similar pop ensemble called the Chongbong Band, the uniformed State Merited Chorus, and the Wangjaesan Art Troupe.

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