• Pakistan says hasn't promised to join Saudi coalition in Yemen

    Reuters - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    By Amjad Ali ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan has made no decision on whether to give military support to a Saudi-led coalition intervening in Yemen, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said on Friday, while pledging to defend Saudi Arabia against any threat to its solidarity. Pakistan's Foreign Office said on Thursday it was considering a request from Saudi Arabia to send troops to Yemen. We have not promised any military support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen," Asif told parliament. More »Pakistan says hasn't promised to join Saudi coalition in Yemen

  • BRIEF-Hualan Biological Engineering's 2014 net profit up 13.3 pct

    Reuters - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    March 27 (Reuters) - Hualan Biological Engineering Inc * Says 2014 net profit up 13.3 percent y/y at 538.4 millionyuan ($86.64 million) Source text in Chinese: http://bit.ly/1HQMjeg Further company coverage: ($1 = 6.2145 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Hong Kong and Singapore newsrooms) More »BRIEF-Hualan Biological Engineering's 2014 net profit up 13.3 pct

  • Photo of Myanmar’s reclusive former dictator surfaces on Facebook

    Reuters - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    By Jared Ferrie YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar’s reclusive former military dictator, Than Shwe, appears to have surfaced in public for the first time in almost four years in a photograph on Facebook showing him being taught to use an iPad by a young girl. On Thursday, Than Shwe’s grandson, Nay Shwe Thwe Aung, posted an undated photograph of the 82-year-old sitting in an opulent room looking intently at an iPad as a young girl, identified in local media as his granddaughter, points to the screen. "Senior General Than Shwe and his iPad coach," reads the caption, followed by three emoticons of yellow smiley faces with sunglasses. The photograph cannot be authenticated by Reuters and Nay Shwe Thwe Aung did not respond to a message requesting comment. More »Photo of Myanmar’s reclusive former dictator surfaces on Facebook

  • EU clears German scheme to exempt pharma groups from price freezes

    Reuters - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission on Friday cleared a German scheme that allowed exceptions to be made for pharmaceutical groups whose medicines were subject to price freezes. Germany introduced price freezes in the form of rebates granted by the producers of certain prescription medicines but also allowed for exemptions if companies could prove that this would put an unacceptable financial burden on them. ... More »EU clears German scheme to exempt pharma groups from price freezes

  • BRIEF-Jiangsu Sihuan Bioengineering's unit to acquire plants assets for 320 mln yuan

    Reuters - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    March 27 (Reuters) - Jiangsu Sihuan Bioengineering Co Ltd * Says unit plans to acquire plants assets for a combined320 million yuan ($51.49 million) Source text in Chinese: http://bit.ly/1Ma2KWd;http://bit.ly/1HQENQv Further company coverage: ($1 = 6.2145 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Hong Kong and Singapore newsrooms) More »BRIEF-Jiangsu Sihuan Bioengineering's unit to acquire plants assets for 320 mln yuan

  • Saudi says gradually resumes flights at southern airports

    Reuters - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia said on Friday it had gradually resumed flights at its southern airports one day after suspending all traffic as it launched air strikes against Houthi fighters in Yemen. International and domestic flights to and from five airports in the south including Jizan and Wadi al-Dawaser had resumed at dawn on Friday, the official Saudi press agency said quoting a statement by the General Authority of Civil Aviation. ... More »Saudi says gradually resumes flights at southern airports

  • Woman charged with scamming Boston bombing victims fund

    Reuters - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    (Reuters) - A Boston woman has been indicted with fraudulently obtaining $8,000 from the fund set up for victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and thousands more from other fundraising, officials said on Thursday. Investigators found that Joanna Leigh, 41, was at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 when two bombs exploded, killing three people and injuring more than 260, but they argued that she was not injured, the Boston Police Department said in a statement. Leigh was indicted earlier this month by a Suffolk County grand jury on five larceny counts and a charge of making a false claim to the government, the police department said. It said Leigh received $8,000 from The One Fund Boston, which raised nearly $80 million in the aftermath of the attack. More »Woman charged with scamming Boston bombing victims fund

  • Guitarist John Renbourn, of '60s folk-jazz band Pentangle, dies at 70

    Reuters - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    Acclaimed guitarist John Renbourn, founding member of 1960s progressive folk group Pentangle, has died at age 70, British media reported on Friday. Best known for his collaborations with fellow guitarist Bert Jansch, who died in 2011, Renbourn helped create a new form of folk music, mixing it with jazz, blues and rock and in some incarnations incorporating Indian instruments such as tabla drums. Renbourn was one of the five original members of Pentangle, along with Jansch, singer Jacqui McShee, bassist Danny Thompson and drummer Terry Cox. After leaving Pentangle in the early 1970s, Renbourn had a successful career as a solo artist, working with others and with his band The John Renbourn Group. More »Guitarist John Renbourn, of '60s folk-jazz band Pentangle, dies at 70

  • Greenland HK seeks banking, e-commerce partners for new finance arm

    Reuters - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    Greenland Hong Kong Holdings Ltd on Monday said it is looking for banking and e-commerce partners to grow its nascent finance division, as the property developer works to diversify its business. The subsidiary of China's second-largest developer, the state-backed Greenland Group, is moving into financing to help offset narrowing profit margins in a property development industry beset with expensive land and falling housing prices. Greenland HK has set up an online platform that connects property developers and investors with financing and investment opportunities. "There is a lot of room for refinancing in the future." The company said that it is in talks with potential partners including banks and e-commerce firms such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd regarding its real estate finance platform. More »Greenland HK seeks banking, e-commerce partners for new finance arm

  • Chasing Chinese tourists, Samsonite launches multi-brand airport shops

    Reuters - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    Samsonite International <1910.HK>, the world's biggest luggage maker, attributed its record China sales last year to the company's wide range of brands aimed at travelers with varying budgets and tastes. The Hong Kong-listed company reported $227 million in China sales last year after opening hundreds of stores in not just major urban centers on the prosperous coast, but up-and-coming cities in the interior such as Chengdu, which has non-stop flights to destinations as far away as London and San Francisco. China accounted for a quarter of sales in Asia, which was Samsonite's biggest regional market. Apart from its flagship Samonite brand, the company also sells Lipault travel bags, high-end Hartmann suitcases, American Tourister luggage, and High Sierra and Gregory backpacks. More »Chasing Chinese tourists, Samsonite launches multi-brand airport shops

  • German pilot said to have suffered from depression, anxiety

    Reuters - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    By Kirsti Knolle MONTABAUR, Germany (Reuters) - The German pilot believed to have deliberately crashed a plane in the French Alps killing 150 people broke off his training six years ago due to depression and spent over a year in psychiatric treatment, a German newspaper reported on Friday. The story in German tabloid Bild came a day after French prosecutors said they believed Andreas Lubitz, a 27-year-old co-pilot at Lufthansa's budget airline Germanwings, had locked the captain out of the cockpit and steered the Airbus A320 airliner into its fatal descent. Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr acknowledged at a news conference on Thursday that Lubitz had broken off his training in 2009 but did not explain why. More »German pilot said to have suffered from depression, anxiety

  • Post-election unrest could hamper aid efforts in Nigeria

    Reuters - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    By Kieran Guilbert LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Escalating violence in northeast Nigeria in recent months has uprooted hundreds of thousands and led to a "humanitarian crisis", aid agencies said on Thursday, amid fears that post-election unrest could hamper aid efforts. More than 1.2 million people have been displaced within Nigeria, while almost 200,000 have fled to neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon since the Islamic militant group Boko Haram launched an uprising in 2009, according to the United Nations. Daniel Bolanos, Africa disaster management coordinator at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said thousands of people had been killed, injured and affected by violence this year. "This is a humanitarian crisis which is not just affecting Nigeria but surrounding countries as well," Bolanos said. More »Post-election unrest could hamper aid efforts in Nigeria

  • Indonesia prepares to transfer Philippines drug convict for execution

    Reuters - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    Indonesia is preparing to move a Filipina death row inmate for execution after she lost her appeal in the Supreme Court earlier this week, the attorney general's spokesman said on Friday. The planned executions of Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso and nine other mostly foreign drug traffickers has drawn international criticism after repeated pleas for mercy from the United Nations and various governments have gone unheeded by President Joko Widodo. Veloso will be moved from the city of Yogyakarta to the maximum security prison on Nusakambangan Island in Central Java, where the rest of the group awaits execution by firing squad. More »Indonesia prepares to transfer Philippines drug convict for execution

  • BRIEF-Zhejiang Nhu sees Q1 net profit down 50-70 pct

    Reuters - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    March 27 (Reuters) - Zhejiang Nhu Co Ltd * Says expects Q1 net profit to fall 50-70 percent y/y at61-101.8 million yuan ($9.82-16.38 million) Source text in Chinese: http://bit.ly/19p6mBp Further company coverage: ($1 = 6.2145 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Hong Kong and Singapore newsrooms) More »BRIEF-Zhejiang Nhu sees Q1 net profit down 50-70 pct

  • No sure way to prevent pilot 'suicides' - psychologists

    Reuters - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    By Siva Govindasamy and Swati Pandey SINGAPORE/SYDNEY, March 27 (Reuters) - As investigators probe why a young German pilot deliberately crashed an Airbus A320 passenger jet into the French Alps on Tuesday, pilots and psychologists warn there is no foolproof way to prevent similar incidents in the future. All 150 people on board Germanwings flight 4U9525 died after 27-year-old first officer Andreas Lubitz locked the cockpit door, took control of the plane and veered it down from cruising altitude at 3,000 feet per minute. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the U.N. body that sets global aviation standards, recommends that someone with depression should not fly a plane. Asian airlines including Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Qantas Airways and Singapore Airlines said potential pilots undergo a rigorous medical that includes a psychological test. More »No sure way to prevent pilot 'suicides' - psychologists

  • BRIEF-Tianjin Zhongxin Pharma gets regulatory approval for share private placement

    Reuters - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    March 27 (Reuters) - Tianjin Zhongxin Pharmaceutical GroupCorp Ltd * Says gets securities regulator's approval to issue sharesin private placement Source text in Chinese: http://bit.ly/1BtxndG Further company coverage: (Reporting by Hong Kong and Singapore newsrooms) More »BRIEF-Tianjin Zhongxin Pharma gets regulatory approval for share private placement

  • Two experimental Ebola vaccines appear safe says US agency

    AFP - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    Two experimental Ebola vaccines, tested in Liberia on more than 600 people in a phase 2 clinical trial appear to be safe, the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said Thursday. More »Two experimental Ebola vaccines appear safe says US agency

  • Motor racing-Pirelli hoping for more stops in rising Sepang heat

    Reuters - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    By John O'Brien SEPANG, Malaysia, March 27 (Reuters) - Formula One tyre supplier Pirelli are predicting a possible three-stop strategy for the Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend after track temperatures soared to around 60 degrees Celsius in the first two free practice sessions on Friday. World champion Lewis Hamilton overcame some early engine issues to clock the fastest time of the day around the 5.543 km Sepang International Circuit but several drivers struggled for grip on the faster medium tyres in the sweltering Malaysian heat. "Today's conditions were the hottest we have seen anywhere for sometime, hotter than last year," Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery told reporters. More »Motor racing-Pirelli hoping for more stops in rising Sepang heat

  • Manila's Aquino urges Congress to push ahead with Muslim autonomous region

    Reuters - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Friday urged lawmakers to resume debating a proposed law on an autonomous territory in the Muslim south, in a bid to end a 45-year conflict that has killed 120,000 people. The two-chamber Congress suspended deliberations on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law that will grant self-rule to the Moro minority after 44 police commandos died in a clash with Muslim rebels on Jan. 25. What we are pursuing is a genuine peace that truly addresses the roots of the problems that led to violence." Aquino has called for a national peace summit comprising community leaders including Manila's Roman Catholic archbishop, a retired judge, and a wealthy businessman to "dissect the proposed law in a calm and reasonable manner". Last year, Manila promised to allow the country's largest Muslim rebel group, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a one-year transition period to rule a Bangsamoro area before elections in May 2016. More »Manila's Aquino urges Congress to push ahead with Muslim autonomous region

  • IndiGo heads for up to $400 million IPO amid travel boom - sources

    Reuters - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    By Abhishek Vishnoi and Tommy Wilkes MUMBAI/NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's biggest airline by market share, IndiGo, is preparing to file a draft prospectus by May for a stock listing to raise $300 million to $400 million, two people with knowledge of the plans said, aiming to cash in on a boom in budget air travel. While the draft prospectus is due to be filed in the next two months, the timing of the initial public offering has not been set, another person said, and will depend on market conditions. IndiGo, owned by hospitality and travel company InterGlobe Enterprises, has built a profitable base helped by its low-cost model using a single type of narrow-body planes. By contrast, rivals like SpiceJet and Air India are losing money - even as millions more Indians travel each year - due to high operating costs and tough competition that has kept fares among the lowest in the world. More »IndiGo heads for up to $400 million IPO amid travel boom - sources

  • Thailand keeps suspected Uighurs in custody amid Turkey-China tug-of-war

    Reuters - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    By Amy Sawitta Lefevre BANGKOK (Reuters) - A family of 17 suspected Uighur Muslims at the centre of a diplomatic tug-of-war between Turkey and China will remain in custody after a Thai court on Friday rejected their argument that their prolonged detention was illegal. Turkey and China both claim the detainees as nationals in a dispute with potential implications for hundreds of other suspected Uighur detainees and to where they should be repatriated. Thai police detained the group, all from the same family, in March 2014 after they illegally entered Thailand overland from Cambodia. The family claimed to be Turkish and, while still in detention, were issued with passports by the Turkish Embassy and granted permission to travel to Turkey. More »Thailand keeps suspected Uighurs in custody amid Turkey-China tug-of-war

  • The 9 at 9: Friday

    TheJournal.ie - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    It’s Friday! Here’s everything you need to know as we head towards the weekend. More »The 9 at 9: Friday

  • Mahathir saddened by Lee Kuan Yew's death despite their clashes

    Reuters - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    Malaysia's former leader Mahathir Mohamad, one of Lee Kuan Yew's greatest rivals, said on Friday he was saddened by the death of Singapore's founding father although the two Southeast Asian strongmen often clashed and seldom agreed on issues. "I cannot say I was a close friend of Kuan Yew. Lee died on Monday, aged 91. Mahathir said he first met Lee when he was a member of Parliament in 1964 after Singapore joined Malaysia in 1963. More »Mahathir saddened by Lee Kuan Yew's death despite their clashes

  • Swimming - Tearful Park apologises for failed doping test

    Reuters - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    By Peter Rutherford SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's Olympic swimming champion Park Tae-hwan choked back the tears on Friday as he apologised for a failed doping test that led to an 18-month ban from the sport and said he wished he could turn back time and do things differently. Swimming's governing body FINA handed out the ban on Monday at a hearing in Switzerland after the 25-year-old had tested positive for testosterone ahead of the Asian Games in September. Park, one of South Korea's most popular athletes and the face of a host of advertising campaigns, tested positive after he was given a shot at a clinic and said he should have taken more care to find out what the doctor was injecting him with. More »Swimming - Tearful Park apologises for failed doping test

  • Sheriff describes 'horrific' scene where brothers were shot

    Associated Press - Fri, Mar 27, 2015

    HUDSON, Fla. (AP) — When a Florida sheriff's deputy responded to a 911 call of a shooting at a mobile home, he heard a chilling sound, a young, high-pitched voice screaming: "I've been shot. I've been shot." More »Sheriff describes 'horrific' scene where brothers were shot

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