Wed, Mar 25, 2015 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

AUSTRALIA

Watchdog pans airline tie-up

The nation’s competition watchdog yesterday said it was leaning toward blocking a tie-up between Qantas Airways and China Eastern Airlines because it could increase fares on the popular Sydney-Shanghai route. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission issued a draft decision to deny authorization for Qantas and China Eastern to coordinate their operations between Australia and China under an agreement proposed in November last year. The watchdog said in a statement that the tie-up could result in “significant public detriment” by giving Qantas and China Eastern increased ability and incentive to limit capacity and increase airfares on the Sydney-Shanghai route. Commission chairman Rod Sims said the regulator understands the commercial reasons for the alliance, as Qantas wants to establish a gateway to northeast Asia, but is concerned the two airlines have chosen to do so with their main competitor on the route.

MYANMAR

Police reject monks’ lawsuit

Police in the northwest have rejected a lawsuit filed by two Buddhist monks against the nation’s Minister of Home Affairs Ko Ko and national police chief Police Major General Zaw Win, saying that they are protected by law. In declining to accept a first information report, which is needed for a lawsuit to proceed, police officials said no lawsuit can be brought against any officer who carries out acts in good faith. Human rights lawyer Aung Thein yesterday said that the two Buddhist monks, among scores seriously burned during a 2012 police crackdown on protests at a Chinese-backed copper mine, registered the first information report at the Hsalingyi police station. Aung Thein, who works with the Justice Trust, said a letter was also sent to Burmese President Thein Sein asking that the lawsuit proceed against government ministers. He said the purpose of the lawsuit was “to fight for justice and to highlight human rights violations and the lack of rule of law in Myanmar.”

ALGERIA

Threat spurs evacuation

Authorities temporarily evacuated about 100 Turkish construction workers from a roadway project east of Algiers as a precaution after a threat from militants affiliated with the Islamic State group, security sources said on Monday. The measure underscores growing concern over militant attacks in North Africa following last week’s National Bardo Museum massacre of foreign tourists in Tunisia and the Islamic State group’s growing presence in neighboring Libya. The Turkish workers were evacuated for 24 hours as a “preventative measure,” but returned to the Kabilye region east of the capital on Monday. A French tourist was kidnapped and beheaded in the area by Islamic State extremists last year.

RUSSIA

Human rights group fined

A Moscow court on Monday fined the prominent Sakharov Centre, a human rights group seeking to preserve the legacy of a Nobel Prize-winning Soviet-era dissident, for failing to declare itself as a “foreign agent.” The organization was slapped with a 300,000 ruble (US$5,100) fine for not registering under a controversial law signed by President Vladimir Putin in 2012 as part of a broader crackdown on rights activism. The law forces non-governmental groups who receive funding from abroad and carry out political activities to use the “foreign agent” tag on all their paperwork and to undergo more intrusive checks.

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