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Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho dies at 98

Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho dies at 98

close breaking newsHONG KONG: Macau casino king Stanley Ho, who built a business empire from scratch in the former Portuguese colony and became one of Asia's richest men, died on Tuesday (May 26) at the age of 98, his family has confirmed."My father has passed away peacefully just now at around 1 pm at Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital," Ho's daughter Pansy told reporters.Known as the "godfather" of Macau casinos, the billionaire was instrumental in turning Macau into a gambling boomtown, with gaming revenue surpassing Las Vegas.The flamboyant tycoon, who loved to dance but advised his...

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US discussed conducting its first nuclear test in decades: Report

US discussed conducting its first nuclear test in decades: Report

close breaking newsWASHINGTON: President Donald Trump's administration has discussed holding the first US nuclear test since 1992 as a potential warning to Russia and China, the Washington Post reported on Friday (May 22).Such a test would be a significant departure from US defence policy and dramatically up the ante for other nuclear-armed nations. One analyst told the newspaper that if it were to go ahead it would be seen as the "starting gun to an unprecedented nuclear arms race".The report, citing one senior administration official and two former officials, all who spoke anonymously,...

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3d ago
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Girl who pedalled injured dad across India offered national team trial

Girl who pedalled injured dad across India offered national team trial

close breaking newsDARBHANGA, India: A 15-year-old girl who pedalled her injured migrant-worker father more than a thousand kilometres across India after a coronavirus lockdown left them destitute has been invited to try out for the national cycling team. Jyoti Kumari rode a bicycle with her father, Mohan Paswan, sitting on the pillion and holding their belongings from Gurugram city, near New Delhi, to their village in the northeastern state of Bihar, local media reported.They arrived home on May 16 after covering 1,200km in seven days.Paswan, a motorised rickshaw driver, was among millions...

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3d ago
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Over 660,000 displaced during pandemic despite UN plea

Over 660,000 displaced during pandemic despite UN plea

close breaking newsPARIS: More than 660,000 people have been displaced from their homes in conflict zones around the world since March, despite a UN call for a global ceasefire during the coronavirus pandemic, a top international aid group said Friday.The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said its figures showed that armed conflict around the world had continued during the pandemic, even as much of globe went into lockdown.This was despite a call on Mar 23 by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a global ceasefire for the pandemic.The NRC said a total of 661,000 people have been...

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Calls for protest march in Hong Kong as China pushes new security laws

Calls for protest march in Hong Kong as China pushes new security laws

close breaking newsHONG KONG: Hong Kong activists on Friday (May 22) made online calls for a march against China's plans to impose national security legislation on the semi-autonomous city which many fear could erode its freedoms and international standing as a global finance hub.  The move also hit financial markets, with Hong Kong stocks selling off as China's parliament sat on Friday to discuss the new laws.A proposed march at noon in the central financial district did not materialise after online calls were heeded only by a handful of activists and as riot police made their presence...

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4d ago
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China law requires Hong Kong to enact national security rules as soon as possible

China law requires Hong Kong to enact national security rules as soon as possible

close breaking newsBEIJING: China's proposed new legislation for Hong Kong requires the territory to quickly finish enacting national security regulations under its mini-constitution, the Basic Law, according to a draft of the legislation seen by Reuters.China's parliamentary Vice Chairman Wang Chen was scheduled to give a speech explaining the new law later on Friday (May 22).  The proposal to enact the new legislation was submitted to China's legislature on Friday, state media said, a move expected to fan fresh protests in the semi-autonomous financial hub.In a state-of-the-nation speech...

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China's defence budget likely to grow despite economic cost of coronavirus

China's defence budget likely to grow despite economic cost of coronavirus

close breaking newsBEIJING: China, facing what it sees as increasing military pressure from the United States, is likely to shrug off the pall hanging over its economy from the novel coronavirus and increase its defence budget again this year.China's military spending, due to be announced at the opening of the annual meeting of parliament on Friday, is closely watched as a barometer of how aggressively it will beef up its military capabilities.China set a 7.5 per cent rise for the defence budget in 2019, outpacing what ended up as full-year gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6.1 per...

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May 18
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China's Xi says supports WHO probe, pledges US$2 billion to deal with COVID-19

China's Xi says supports WHO probe, pledges US$2 billion to deal with COVID-19

close breaking newsBEIJING: China supports a comprehensive review of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic led by the World Health Organization (WHO) after the virus that causes the disease is brought under control, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Monday (May 18).Xi's comments, made during a video speech to the World Health Assembly, come as a resolution pushed by the European Union and Australia calling for a review of the origin and spread of the novel coronavirus gathers international support. The pandemic has killed more than 310,000 people globally.China had previously...

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May 18
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South Korea calls for giving WHO teeth in face of new diseases

South Korea calls for giving WHO teeth in face of new diseases

close breaking newsGENEVA: South Korean President Moon Jae-in called on Monday (May 18) for giving the World Health Organization (WHO) more teeth to combat emerging diseases that threaten global health.Moon, in remarks to the WHO's annual ministerial assembly being held online, said: "We must update the WHO International Health Regulations and other relevant norms and augment them with binding legal force".Under the 2005 rules, WHO's 194 member states are supposed to inform the Geneva-based agency quickly of any outbreaks. But WHO currently has limited leverage and lacks the power to enter...

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May 18
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Disinfectant booths at Manila malls as COVID-19 lockdown eases

Disinfectant booths at Manila malls as COVID-19 lockdown eases

close breaking newsMANILA: Manila's malls set air conditioners to warm and switched off free Wi-Fi to stop people lingering as many of them cautiously reopened on Saturday (May 16), after a two-month lockdown that brought the sprawling hubs of community life to a halt.Just a trickle of customers showed up at the huge commercial centres in the Philippine capital, which usually attract millions of people each day and often contain churches, restaurants, gyms and event spaces."This is good for me, this is good for our economy," said Yuki Alvie Merano, 31, among the first in line to enter one...

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May 16
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COVID-19: Clowns visit Indian shelters, briefly giving stranded migrants a laugh

COVID-19: Clowns visit Indian shelters, briefly giving stranded migrants a laugh

close breaking newsNEW DELHI: Two sisters dressed up as clowns are visiting shelters packed with Indian migrants, trying to bring a moment of levity to poor families stranded in cities where they can no longer afford rent or food.Millions of workers have fled large towns and cities after losing their jobs due to India's nationwide lockdown, which is aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19. Many others have stayed put, unable to return to their native villages as trains and buses have largely ground to a halt."If staying at home we can be so unhappy or so sad and stressed, then their level...

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May 15
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South Korea’s Green New Deal ‘stunningly ambitious’ for one of region’s top polluters

South Korea’s Green New Deal ‘stunningly ambitious’ for one of region’s top polluters

close breaking newsBANGKOK: When South Korea’s Democratic Party, under the leadership of President Moon Jae-in, romped to a in national elections last month, it signalled overwhelming confidence in the incumbent government during a period of crisis.In effect, it also endorsed Moon’s newly launched climate change policy, which he has dubbed South Korea’s Green New Deal, echoing language used in Europe and the United States for a transformative agenda to shift away from damaging fossil fuels. It puts the country, which is currently the seventh biggest carbon polluter in the world, on a crash...

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May 15
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Taiwan pushes WHO participation in rare ministerial call with US

Taiwan pushes WHO participation in rare ministerial call with US

close breaking newsTAIPEI: In a rare teleconference between health ministers, Taiwan has thanked the United States for its support in pushing for the island's participation in the World Health Organization (WHO) amid the coronavirus pandemic and despite China's objections.In turn the United States thanked Taiwan for sharing its medical best practices. Taiwan has limited the coronavirus outbreak to just 429 confirmed cases and six deaths.Taiwan's lack of membership at the WHO, due to China's objections which considers the island merely one of its provinces, has infuriated Taipei, which says...

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Apr 28
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US says it would recognise Israel annexation

US says it would recognise Israel annexation

close breaking newsWASHINGTON: The United States said Monday (Apr 27) it was ready to recognise Israel's annexation of much of the West Bank but asked the new unity government also to negotiate with the Palestinians.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has reached a power-sharing deal to remain in office after three inconclusive elections, has vowed to press ahead with annexations that the Palestinians say will shut the door to a two-state solution.A Middle East "vision" unveiled in January by US President Donald Trump gave a green light to annexations, but Netanyahu's coalition deal with...

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Apr 28
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Pakistani doctors launch hunger strike over COVID-19 protection fears

Pakistani doctors launch hunger strike over COVID-19 protection fears

close breaking newsLAHORE: Dozens of Pakistani doctors and nurses have launched a hunger strike demanding adequate protective equipment for frontline staff treating COVID-19 patients, the lead organiser of the protest said on Saturday (Apr 25).Health workers have complained for weeks that the country's hospitals are suffering chronic shortages of safety gear, prompting the arrest of more than 50 doctors who called for more supplies in the city of Quetta earlier in April.Frontline staff have been left vulnerable, with more than 150 medical workers testing positive for the virus nationwide,...

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Apr 25
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China seizes more than 89 million shoddy face masks

China seizes more than 89 million shoddy face masks

close breaking newsBEIJING: China has confiscated more than 89 million poor quality face masks, a government official said on Sunday (Apr 26), as Beijing faces a slew of complaints about faulty protective gear exported worldwide.Demand for protective equipment has soared as nations across the globe battle the deadly coronavirus, which has infected nearly 2.9 million people.But a number of countries have complained about faulty masks and other products exported by China, mostly for use by medical workers and vulnerable groups.As of Friday, China's market regulators had inspected nearly 16...

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Apr 26
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Indian woman gang raped after quarantined alone in school: Police

Indian woman gang raped after quarantined alone in school: Police

close breaking newsNEW DELHI: An Indian woman was allegedly gang raped in a school in the desert state of Rajasthan where she had been quarantined for a night by the police amid the nationwide coronavirus lockdown, a police official said on Sunday (Apr 26).The incident occurred last week when the victim, a daily wage earner, sought shelter at a police station after walking alone for miles and losing the way to her native village.In the absence of a quarantine centre, local police housed her for the night in a school building, where she was allegedly raped by three men."Three local men who...

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Apr 26
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Afghan men reject social distancing for religious gathering amid coronavirus

Afghan men reject social distancing for religious gathering amid coronavirus

close breaking newsKABUL: Afghan authorities are struggling to implement lockdowns to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in a province bordering Iran where the outbreak is widening due to an influx of Afghan returnees and men refusing to adhere to social distancing.Herat, the country's third largest city and a bustling province in eastern Afghanistan, has reported a high number of coronavirus cases.The country is grappling with acute shortages of testing facilities at a time when violent clashes between government forces and the Taliban insurgents show no signs of decline.The medical and...

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Apr 26
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Daimler says China business picks up again: report

Daimler says China business picks up again: report

close breaking newsBERLIN: Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler has seen business stabilise in China after the country ended coronavirus lockdowns, a senior manager at the German carmaker told a newspaper on Sunday."In China alone, we sold around 50,000 vehicles again in March. That makes us confident,", said Markus Schaefer, managing board member for production, told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.Mercedes-Benz delivered a total of approximately 477,400 passenger cars worldwide between January and March. The report did not say how many of those went to customers in China, who bought 694,200...

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Apr 26
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Oil giant Shell vows to become carbon neutral by 2050

Oil giant Shell vows to become carbon neutral by 2050

close breaking newsLONDON: Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell pledged on Thursday (Apr 16) to become carbon neutral by 2050, matching a commitment by rival BP as climate change looms large over the energy sector."Society's expectations have shifted quickly in the debate around climate change," Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said in a statement."Shell now needs to go further with our own ambitions, which is why we aim to be a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner. Society, and our customers, expect nothing less."The company said it planned to have net zero emissions from...

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Apr 16
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Sri Lanka Catholic church forgives 2019 Easter suicide bombers

Sri Lanka Catholic church forgives 2019 Easter suicide bombers

close breaking newsCOLOMBO: Sri Lanka's Roman Catholic Church said Sunday (Apr 12) it had forgiven the suicide bombers behind the attacks that killed at least 279 people last Easter.Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith told an Easter mass - broadcast from a TV studio because of the coronavirus pandemic - that "we offered love to the enemies who tried to destroy us"."We forgave them," he said, adding that instead of retaliating, the nation's Catholic minority had contemplated Jesus' message of hope, and reduced tensions.The Apr 21 targeted three churches and three luxury hotels, killing at least 279...

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Apr 12
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China denies seeking virus praise from Germany

China denies seeking virus praise from Germany

close breaking newsBEIJING: Beijing denied on Monday (Apr 13) that it was soliciting praise for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic following a report that Chinese representatives tried to earn kudos from German officials.China has faced criticism abroad - notably in the United States - over the outbreak that first emerged in the central city of Wuhan late last year.It has sent aid to European countries in recent weeks, a move seen as a charm offensive to deflect blame for the pandemic.Citing a confidential foreign ministry document, Germany's Die Welt newspaper reported on Sunday that...

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Apr 13
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McDonald's apologises after China store bans black people

McDonald's apologises after China store bans black people

close breaking newsBEIJING: US chain McDonald's has apologised after a sign telling black people they were banned from entering a branch in southern China prompted outrage online, following reports of discriminatory treatment towards Africans in the city.Tensions have flared between police and Africans after local officials announced a cluster of COVID-19 cases in a neighbourhood with a large migrant population.As the row escalated, posts widely shared online showed a sign at fast food chain McDonald's saying black people were not allowed to enter the restaurant.The chain apologised and a...

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Apr 14
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Taiwan reports no new COVID-19 cases for first time in a month

Taiwan reports no new COVID-19 cases for first time in a month

close breaking newsTAIPEI: Taiwan on Tuesday (Apr 14) reported no new cases of the coronavirus for the first time in more than a month, in the latest sign that the island's early and effective prevention methods have paid off.Taiwan has won plaudits from health experts for how it has fought the virus, including starting as early as Dec 31 checks on passengers arriving from China's Wuhan city, where the first cases were reported late last year.Taiwan has reported 393 cases to date, and six deaths. A total of 338 were so-called imported cases, where people were suspected of getting infected...

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Apr 14
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'God is with us': Many Muslims in Pakistan flout the coronavirus ban in mosques

'God is with us': Many Muslims in Pakistan flout the coronavirus ban in mosques

close breaking newsISLAMABAD: Sabir Durrani says he offers prayers almost every day at a mosque in the central Pakistani city of Multan. He says that often a dozen or more men are in attendance: none of them wearing protective face masks.Durrani, 52, is among thousands of devout Muslims flouting Pakistan government orders issued late last month banning religious congregations of five or more people to stem the spread of the coronavirus. The disease has so far infected more than 5,300 people and killed 93 in the world's second-most populous Muslim country."Our prayer leader told us that the...

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Apr 13
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