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International News


Giant panda is no longer "endangered," experts say

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Newly crowned Miss Japan is proud of Indian roots

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Obama Legacy: Outreach to Asia still a work in progress

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From The Asian Reporter, V26, #18 (September 19, 2016), page 2.

WHO certifies Sri Lanka a malaria-free nation

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — The World Health Organization (WHO) has certified Sri Lanka as a malaria-free nation, in what it called a "truly remarkable" achievement. WHO regional director Poonam Khetrapal Singh said in a statement that Sri Lanka was among the most malaria-affected countries in the mid-20th century. WHO said Sri Lanka began an anti-malaria campaign that successfully targeted the mosquito-borne parasite that causes the disease, not just mosquitoes. Health education and effective surveillance also helped the campaign. "Sri Lanka’s achievement is truly remarkable," the WHO statement said. "The change in strategy was unorthodox, but highly effective. Mobile malaria clinics in high transmission areas meant that prompt and effective treatment could reduce the parasite reservoir and the possibility of further transmission." It said no locally transmitted cases of malaria have been recorded in the country for three-and-a-half years. To prevent parasites re-entering the country, the anti-malaria campaign is working with local and international partners to maintain surveillance and screening, it said.

Police shut 800 clothes shops for ‘inappropriate’ goods

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s state television says police have shut down more than 800 clothing stores across the country for selling "unconventional and inappropriate" attire — believed to mean western-style outfits and women’s clothing that do not meet strict Islamic requirements. The report said the raids took place over a 10-day span after authorities first sent official warnings to merchants in more than 3,600 shops. Iranian police and state TV have in recent weeks campaigned against selling secondhand clothes, which are considered "unhygienic," as well as clothes with the English language printed on them. Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution brought Islamists to power in Iran, women are required to cover from head-to-toe in loose-fitting, simple overcoats that hide the feminine shape. They are also required to cover their head with a scarf.

Samsung quick fix for the Note 7: no full recharge

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Reports say Samsung plans to issue a software update for its recalled Galaxy Note 7 smartphones that will prevent them from overheating by limiting battery recharges to under 60 percent. Yonhap News and other South Korean media reported, citing Samsung Electronics, that the company will issue a software update for any users of the Note 7 who may be disregarding its recall notice and continuing to use the smartphone. The company plans to begin issuing new Note 7s with batteries it says will not be prone to overheating beginning September 19. Earlier this month, Samsung recalled 2.5 million Note 7s, citing fire risks from the smartphone’s battery. It said the problem stemmed from a manufacturing error. Samsung did not answer e-mails and calls seeking confirmation of the reports.

Animal sacrifices turn streets into rivers of blood

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Large-scale animal sacrifices marking the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha combined with heavy rains have turned the streets of Bangladesh’s capital into rivers of blood. Authorities in Dhaka designated several places in the city where residents could slaughter animals, but heavy downpours meant few people could use those areas. Muslims traditionally mark Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, by slaughtering livestock. Usually a goat, sheep, or a cow is killed to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s test of faith. The meat of the sacrificed animals is shared among family and friends and poor people who cannot afford to sacrifice animals as a gesture of generosity to promote social harmony. Dhaka residents used parking lots, garages, and alleys to kill the animals and the blood flowed into the flooded streets, turning them into rivers of blood. Flooding is common in Dhaka, an overcrowded city of more than 10 million people, because of poor drainage systems.

China’s electric vehicle industry shaken by scandal

BEIJING (AP) — China’s electric vehicle industry, a flagship for Beijing’s technology ambitions, has been rocked by scandal after five companies were caught collecting millions of dollars in subsidies for busses they never made. The affair of the phantom busses has prompted questions about whether the ruling Communist Party’s financial support to an industry it is spending heavily to promote might be disrupted. The Finance Ministry announced that five manufacturers were fined for fraudulently collecting a total of more than 1 billion yuan ($120 million) in subsidies. Chinese news reports, citing unidentified industry sources, say as many as 20 others might be in trouble. The government gave no indication whether managers at the companies might be prosecuted. The Finance Ministry said 90 companies were investigated but didn’t identify any of the others.

Sony promises VR music video, other entertainment content

TOKYO (AP) — The head of Sony Corp.’s video game division says the Japanese electronics and entertainment company is readying not just games but also music, movies, and other kinds of entertainment for its Virtual Reality (VR) headgear, set to go on sale next month. Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Asia president Atsushi Morita appeared at a Tokyo event ahead of the opening of the Tokyo Game Show annual exhibition. The latest in video games, including VR, was on display at the show. One of the VR experiences being promised is a music video that’s a collaboration between the "Biohazard" horror game, called "Resident Evil" in the U.S., from Japanese game maker Capcom, and L’Arc-en-Ciel, a Japanese rock band, that takes advantage of VR technology’s illusion of 3-D and 360-degree surround imagery.

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