July 16, 2018

Chinese whispers around Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal

The 'great-grandmother of all scandals' comes to China Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak arrives in court in Kuala Lumpur, following his arrest in connection with a corruption probe There is a new twist in the multi-billion-dollar financial scandal surrounding the Malaysian investment fund 1MDB - possible Chinese involvement. Malaysia's new government - which took office only in May - has suspended three major construction projects with Chinese firms. A senior ministry official told the BBC that it believes that two of the contracts, for pipelines, were used to launder money for Malaysia's previous administration, led by the former Prime Minister, Najib Razak. These allegations open a new front in the inquiries into 1MDB, which is already being investigated in the US, Switzerland and Singapore. The finance ministry's accusations also represent a sharp change in mood in Malaysia towards China since Mr Najib l..
July 16, 2018

Pakistan mourns 149 dead in country’s second deadliest terror attack

Pakistan mourns 149 dead in country's second deadliest terror attack Image copyright AFP/Getty Image caption Pakistani cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan (c) prays with relatives of a local candidate who was killed Pakistan is mourning the deaths of 149 people, including nine children, in the country's second deadliest militant attack since its independence. A suicide bomber hit a campaign rally in Mastung, in the south-western province of Balochistan, on Friday. More than 180 were injured. A local candidate was among the dead, police say. So-called Islamic State (IS) claimed the attack. The attack comes ahead of a general election on 25 July. The poll has been marred by violence and what observers say is a crackdown on political activists, journalists and critics of the powerful military. Earlier on Friday, a bomb attack on a similar rally in the northern town of Bannu killed at least four people. Some 70 people are still in hospital following the attacks, government ..
July 16, 2018

British caver ‘could sue’ Elon Musk over Twitter attack

British caver 'could sue' Elon Musk over Twitter attack Image caption Vern Unsworth (right) helped bring top international cave rescuers to the mission, including Rob Harper (left) A British cave diver who helped rescue 12 Thai boys from deep within a cave has said he is considering suing tech entrepreneur Elon Musk. In now-deleted tweets, Mr Musk had called Vern Unsworth a "pedo guy" after the cave expert ridiculed a mini-submarine built by the Tesla CEO for the rescue effort as a "PR stunt". Mr Unsworth told reporters on Monday that he was considering legal action. "It's not finished," he told Australian network Channel 7. Thailand-based Mr Unsworth's knowledge of the cave complex is said to have played a key role in the rescue effort. He travelled into the caves in the first days after the boys went missing and helped bring in top international cave rescue experts for the mission. Mr Unsworth had earlier said that the mini-sub built by Mr Musk's team and f..
July 16, 2018

Singapore’s first Premier League recruit must first do national service

Singapore's first Premier League recruit must first do national service Image copyright JoseRaymond/SPIN Image caption Benjamin currently plays with Fulham FC's under-18 team The first Singaporean footballer to sign a professional contract with an English Premier League club has been denied the chance to defer mandatory military service. Benjamin Davis, 17, who has a two-year deal with Fulham FC, had applied to defer from national service (NS). Authorities said that he did not "meet the criteria for deferment". But Davis's father said it was "unrealistic" that he would be expected to take two years out of football. All Singaporean men over 18 have to serve in either the armed forces, the police or the civil defence force for two years as part of their NS requirements. Benjamin turns 18 this November. "As all male Singaporeans liable for full-time NS put aside personal pursuits to dutifully enlist... it would not be fair to approve applications for deferment for indivi..
July 16, 2018

Indonesia mob slaughters nearly 300 crocodiles in revenge killing

Indonesia mob slaughters nearly 300 crocodiles in revenge killing Image copyright Reuters Image caption The crocodiles ranged from full grown to young animals A mob of angry villagers has killed nearly 300 crocodiles at a sanctuary for the animals in the Indonesian province of West Papua. The slaughter was in retaliation for a local man thought to have been killed by one animal from the site. Officials and police said they were not able to stop the attack and may now press charges. The killing of a protected species is a crime that carries a fine or imprisonment in Indonesia. The local villager was killed on Friday morning while gathering vegetables on the crocodile farm's breeding sanctuary. Iceland accused of killing rare whale The model bitten by a shark while posing Can we save the Lord of the Rings toad? "An employee heard someone screaming for help, quickly went there and saw a crocodile attacking someone," the head of Indonesia's Natural Resources Conservation Age..
July 15, 2018

China’s second quarter growth meets expectations at 6.7%

China's second quarter growth meets expectations at 6.7% Image copyright Getty Images China's economy grew at an annual pace of 6.7% in the three months to June, official data showed, meeting forecasts for the period. That marked a slight slowdown from a 6.8% expansion recorded in the previous quarter. The data comes as the government fights to contain ballooning debt and as trade tensions with the US escalate. The US raised the stakes in a trade war last week, listing another $200bn worth of Chinese goods to be hit by tariffs. Analysts had forecast China's economy would expand 6.7% during the second quarter. "We expect growth in [the second half of the year] to be challenged by the slow credit growth and softer real estate activity. Also, the intensifying trade conflict with the US will start to weigh on growth," Oxford Economics said in a research note.
July 15, 2018

North Korean restaurant staff defection was forced, manager says

North Korean restaurant staff defection was forced, manager says Image copyright Getty Images Image caption North Korea is thought to operate dozens of restaurants abroad, such as this one in Dubai A group of 13 North Korean restaurant staff who moved to the South in 2016 were forced to defect by South Korean intelligence, their manager says. Ho Kang-il told South Korea's Yonhap news agency he had been blackmailed and that his 12 female employees did not know where they were being taken to when they left for Seoul. The UN has called for a "thorough" investigation into the case. South Korea had previously said that the group defected voluntarily. The restaurant employees were working at a state-run North Korean establishment in the Chinese city of Ningbo in 2016 when they left for the South. At the time, a government official in Seoul said the group had started to distrust North Korean propaganda after watching South Korean television dramas. The North Koreans longing for home Th..
July 15, 2018

Thai cave rescue: Thai boys’ tears for lost rescue diver Saman

Thai cave rescue: Thai boys' tears for lost rescue diver Saman Image copyright Reuters Image caption The 12 boys and their coach pictured with a drawing of Saman Gunan (also spelled Kunan), who died working to rescue them The 12 young footballers who were saved from a Thai cave after an international rescue effort are mourning a former Navy Seal who died in the operation. Volunteer diver Saman Gunan lost his life on 6 July while installing oxygen tanks in the flooded cave complex. He has since been hailed as a hero around the world. The boys and their 25-year-old coach were told of his sacrifice only on Saturday, when doctors decided they were strong enough to process the news. The full story of Thailand’s extraordinary cave rescue The heroes who saved the Wild Boars The doctor who chose to stay in the cave "All cried and expressed their condolences by writing messages on a drawing of Lieutenant Commander Saman and observed one minute of silence for him," said Jedsada Chokdamron..
July 15, 2018

Five boys drown in Bangladesh river after football match

Five boys drown in Bangladesh river after football match Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The bodies of the boys were recovered from the Matamuhuri river late on Saturday Five teenage students have drowned in a river in Bangladesh moments after playing a football match, police say. The boys, from a school in the south-eastern Cox's Bazar district, went to bathe after a friendly game between supporters of Argentina and Brazil. They were then swept away by the strong current of the Matamuhuri river. Police recovered the bodies on Saturday evening, some six hours after the boys drowned. Tens of thousands of people attended their funeral on Sunday. Local police chief Bakhtiar Uddin Chowdhury said that 22 schoolboys played a friendly football match on Saturday after dividing themselves between supporters of the two South American teams. He said that, following the game, six boys went to the river. The area near the Matamuhuri Bridge where they had chosen to swim was "very de..
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