Wed, Mar 23, 2016 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

INDONESIA

Woman killed for witchcraft

A 70-year-old woman has been hacked to death in the remote east of the country by machete-wielding men who suspected her of performing witchcraft, police said on Monday. Three men attacked Nuryan Umanahu early on Sunday in the village of Buya, in the Sula Islands, after one of them became suspicious she had cast a spell on his wife. “While she was sick, the wife often felt possessed and said that the old woman had cast a spell on her,” local police official Arifin La Ode Buri said. “Her husband believed this and took his friends to search for the old woman.” The husband was accompanied by a large mob of villagers to the old lady’s house, but only three went inside and carried out the killing, Buri said. Three men have been arrested on suspicion of murder, he added. Many people still believe in black magic in the Muslim-majority nation.

INDIA

Gay marriage bureau opens

An entrepreneur has set up what is claimed to be the nation’s first gay marriage bureau, seeking to arrange matches for homosexual couples. Benhur Samson, who previously helped foreign gay couples use surrogacy services, said he founded the agency in response to interest from clients. “I was surprised to see the response from the gay people whom I came in touch with while counseling them on the surrogacy issue,” Samson said. “This is how I came upon the idea of a marriage bureau for gay men and women who want to settle down with a partner.” Samson, who lives in the US, has enlisted the help of Manvendrasingh Gohil, an openly gay Indian prince, to help sort out immigration issues. “Several gay people of Indian origin wanted an arranged marriage and were looking for partners from India,” he said. “We already got over 200 inquiries and nearly two dozen people have enrolled with us. We are now in the process of identifying the right match for them.” Enrollment costs US$5,000, an unthinkably high sum for most Indians, although the fee is refundable if no match is found. The agency conducts background checks, visits prospective partners at home and at work, and provides counseling, Samson said. Gay marriage and gay sex are both illegal in the conservative nation.

AUSTRALIA

SBS plans Eurovision Asia

Asia-Pacific nations could soon have the chance to compete in their own version of the Eurovision Song Contest, pitting K-pop and Bollywood talent against Mandopop stars. Australian broadcaster SBS said in a statement on Monday it had secured an exclusive option to bring the concept to the region, with an inaugural event in Australia possible as early as next year. If finalized, Eurovision Asia would bring together songwriters and performers from 20 nations and would be hosted in other competitor nations following its Australian debut. SBS Eurovision production partners Blink TV, who would help develop Eurovision Asia for broadcast, said the show could reach an Asian audience of more than 1 billion. The existing competition is watched every year by about 200 million. “Asia has an astonishing set of musical and visual cultures, and it will make for brilliant television,” Blink TV director Paul Clark said. “Imagine — the musical virtuosity of Bollywood, the cutting edge of K-pop, and the excitement of Chinese and Japanese artists — now the biggest music consumers in the world... it’s a thrilling idea.” In November last year, Australia said it would compete at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest for the second time, following its wild-card entry last year. It was shown in China for the first time last year.

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