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International News


Myanmar town wants the secret out: George Orwell slept here

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Designers breathe new life into China’s dying folk crafts

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From The Asian Reporter, V26, #24 (December 19, 2016), page 2.

Watchdog urges P.I. to remove barriers to condom access

MANILA, The Philippines (AP) — A human-rights watchdog says the Philippines has one of the fastest growing epidemics of HIV in the Asia Pacific which may worsen unless the government changes its approach and removes barriers to condom use by men who have sex with men. Human Rights Watch said in a recent report that HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men has increased tenfold in the last five years, but the government has failed to adequately target prevention measures within that population. It says HIV prevention education in Philippine schools is woefully inadequate, commercial marketing of condoms is nonexistent, and barriers to condom access and HIV testing — particularly for those below age 18 who are required by law to have parental consent — have contributed to the worsening epidemic.

FIFA urges greater vigilance to prevent abuse in soccer

SINGAPORE (AP) — Soccer must be more vigilant in protecting young players as allegations of sexual abuse mount across the British game, according to Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) president Gianni Infantino. Police in London have become the latest force to open an investigation into allegations of "non-recent" abuse at clubs, which were not named. More than 20 forces are looking into potential crimes by coaches from the 1970s after about 500 people approached police. FIFA has braced for reports of abuse beyond British soccer. "In football, we need to look into that with more care and attention to prevent any child abuse in the future," Infantino said after a meeting of soccer associations in Singapore. "Those who have been guilty of abusing children need to be punished very seriously. They have to be out of football — that is without question — but also on the criminal side they need to be punished."

Medtronic fined $17 million for anti-monopoly charges

BEIJING (AP) — Medical device maker Medtronic has been fined $17 million by Chinese anti-monopoly regulators in the latest effort by Beijing to force down what it sees as unreasonably high prices. Regulators concluded Medtronic, which supplies cardiovascular-, restorative-, and diabetes-related medical devices, suppressed competition by enforcing minimum prices its distributors were required to charge, the government has said. Foreign automakers, milk suppliers, and other companies have faced similar penalties. Setting minimum prices is a common tactic in other markets, but lawyers say Beijing appears to see them as a barrier to competition. "Competition in China’s high-value consumables and implantable medical equipment market is inadequate," said a statement by the cabinet’s planning agency. It said preventing market forces from setting prices "increases the burden on patients and damages the interests of consumers." Business groups welcomed the passage of China’s first anti-monopoly law in 2008 as a step toward clarifying operating conditions. Since then, they have said it is enforced more actively against foreign companies than against their Chinese rivals. There have been few court rulings to clarify the application of the 2008 law. That has fed uncertainty about how it will apply to global companies that are eager to expand in the world’s second-largest economy.

New spy agency chief appointed in military reshuffle

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s military has announced a major reshuffle in its senior posts, including appointing a new chief for the country’s top spy agency. A statement said Lt. Gen. Naveed Mukhtar will replace Lt. Gen. Rizwan Akhtar as the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief. ISI has often been criticized of cultivating ties with militant groups and interfering in domestic politics. The appointment came days after Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa was named the new army chief. His predecessor, Gen. Raheel Sharif, retired on November 29. The reshuffle involves a total of 11 new appointments, including that of spymaster and Lt. Gen. Bilal Akbar, who is taking over as chief of the army general staff. Pakistan’s powerful army has ruled the country for most of its history since independence from Britain in 1947.

Japan, Chinese clash over "jamming shells"

TOKYO (AP) — Japan has protested to China about what it says are groundless accusations that Japanese fighter jets had fired "jamming shells" as six Chinese military planes flew over waters between Japan’s southern Okinawa and Miyako islands. "It is extremely regrettable that the Chinese military is making announcements that are clearly factually wrong," chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters. "It also hurts the effort to improve our relations, so we lodged a strong protest." Japan scrambled fighters as Chinese planes flew over the Miyako Strait. Taiwan’s defense ministry said four Chinese planes also flew over the nearby Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines. The waterways and airspace are two of the connections between the contested South and East China seas and the Pacific Ocean. China said two Japanese fighters launched "jamming shells" that endangered the safety of Chinese aircraft and crew. Such decoy flares are typically used by a pilot to draw away an incoming missile. Suga denied the Japan did anything that posed a danger to the Chinese. Japan regularly scrambles jets to track Chinese military planes entering the area. Separately, three Chinese ships patrolled waters around disputed islands in the East China Sea. The uninhabited Senkaku islands are controlled by Japan but also claimed by China, which calls them the Diaoyu. The Chinese exercises came shortly after the Taiwanese president spoke to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in a call strongly denounced by China, which considers Taiwan to be a Chinese territory.

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