Thu, Dec 18, 2014 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

CHINA

Ex-Nanjing mayor indicted

A former Nanjing mayor was indicted yesterday on corruption charges amid a widening antigraft crackdown. Ji Jianye (季建業) faces charges of using his Chinese Communist Party and government positions to take massive bribes in return for favors, the state prosecutors’ office said in a statement. His former position is equivalent to that of a vice minister, making him one of the highest-ranking officials to be pulled in by the anti-corruption drive launched after President Xi Jinping (習近平) was installed as party boss two years ago.

PHILIPPINES

Navy purchases announced

The country aims to buy two frigates, two helicopters and three gunboats for deployment in the South China Sea, where a territorial dispute with China has lent urgency to the need to bolster forces, a navy officer said yesterday. The confrontation between the country and China has been particularly tense since June 2012, when China seized a rocky outcrop known as the Scarborough Shoal (Huangyan Island, 黃岩島), which is believed to be rich in oil and natural gas, as well as fisheries resources. “The events in the West Philippine Sea actually gave some urgency on the acquisition,” Rear Admiral Caesar Taccad, head of the navy’s weapons system, told reporters. The country has embarked on a 15-year, 90 billion peso (US$2 billion) modernization program to improve its capability to defend its maritime borders. The procurement list announced yesterday will be bought with 39 billon pesos from that budget.

UNITED NATIONS

US backs UN rights meeting

US Ambassador Samantha Power says the US fully supports the Security Council’s first-ever meeting on Monday on human rights violations in North Korea, which she calls “among the worst in the world.” Power said in a statement on Tuesday that the council will address “the profound impact this man-made tragedy has on regional and international peace and security.” A commission of inquiry early this year reported widespread rights abuses in the country and warned that leader Kim Jong-un could be held accountable. A draft General Assembly resolution calls on the Security Council to refer the North’s rights situation to the International Criminal Court.

JAPAN

McDonald’s rations fries

Only small fries with that? McDonald’s has begun limiting the serving size of fries in the country as stocks of spuds run short due to labor disruptions on the US west coast. McDonald’s began rationing its fries yesterday morning. It said prolonged labor negotiations with US port workers have made it difficult to meet demand despite an emergency airlift of 907 tonnes of spuds and an extra shipment from the US east coast by sea. Frozen french fries — ready for the deep-fryer — are a leading US export. The powerful dockworkers union and multinational shipping lines have been negotiating a new contract for about 20,000 west coast workers. In the meantime, labor disruptions have slowed shipments and driven costs higher. Local consumers devour more than 272,100 tonnes of french fries a year, mostly at fast-food restaurants, and largely sourced from imports of frozen, processed potatoes from the US, according to US figures. Shipments this month are expected to be just over half the normal level, local newspapers reported. However, demand is rising as convenience stores are increasingly also selling fries. McDonald’s has 3,100 outlets in in the nation. It cut prices for set meals to compensate for including only small fries.

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