Fri, Jul 22, 2016 - Page 7 News List

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MALI

State of emergency declared

The government yesterday declared a state of emergency, a day after an attack in the center of the nation left 17 soldiers dead and 35 wounded. The government said the state of emergency would last “for a duration of 10 days,” following the attack at an army base in Nampala on Tuesday. It also said a period of national mourning would begin yesterday “in homage to the victims of the terrorist attack.”

MYANMAR

Census data released

Muslims make up just over 2 percent of the nation’s population, government census figures showed yesterday, undercutting claims by Buddhist hardliners that Islam poses a threat to the dominance of their faith. Full details from the 2014 count, the first of its kind in decades, was withheld for almost a year to avoid stirring tensions in the Buddhist-majority nation ahead of elections in November last year. The new data shows that Buddhists make up 90 percent of the population of 51.48 million, followed by Christians (6.3 percent) and Muslims (2.3 percent). However, the survey does not include the 1 million strong Rohingya Muslim minority, who were banned from self-identifying during the census taking. If they were included, Muslims would account for about 4 percent of the population, an estimate that has been in circulation since the last census in 1983.

PHILIPPINES

Duterte not ‘excellency’

President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday told his government not to call him “your excellency.” Duterte, 71, in a statement from his office, said he wanted to be referred to simply as “president” in all official communications. “In keeping with his populist presidential style, he encourages less ‘ceremonial’ communications,” Duterte’s spokesman Ernie Abella said. He also ordered that his Cabinet members be called “secretary” instead of “honourable,” as previously was the practice.

CHINA

Group wins lawsuit

An environmental group has won a landmark public interest lawsuit against a glass manufacturer, with the firm fined more than US$3 million for excessive pollution, a court said. Jinghua Group Zhenhua Decoration Glass Limited Co, based in Dezhou, Shandong Province, was ordered to pay nearly 22 million yuan (US$3.3 million) for its surplus emission of pollutants and told to make a public apology, the Intermediate People’s Court said. The suit was filed by the government-affiliated All-China Environment Federation in March of last year. The company had emitted hundreds more tonnes of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and smoke dust than the maximums stipulated by regulations, the court said in its ruling on Wednesday.

BANGLADESH

Zia’s son sentenced

The High Court yesterday sentenced a son of former prime minister Khaleda Zia to seven years in jail in a money laundering case, overturning an acquittal by a lower court. Tarique Rahman, senior vice chairman of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, lives in exile. Defense lawyer Zainul Abedin said the court also fined Rahman 200 million takas (US$2.54 million). A Dhaka trial court in 2013 acquitted Rahman of charges that he and a businessman friend siphoned off 204.1 million takas to Singapore between 2003 and 2007. However, the court upheld a seven-year jail term for Rahman’s friend, Giasuddin al-Mamun, given in 2013. He is in prison.

ARGENTINA

Nuns under investigation

The Catholic Church is launching an investigation into whether a group of nuns helped a former government official who allegedly tried to hide US$9 million in cash at their convent. The four nuns will be investigated “to determine if there was a canonical crime and help the actions of the civil justice,” the Reverend Tom O’Donnell, a leading member of the probe, told local radio on Wednesday. Jose Lopez, a former public works secretary, was arrested last month at the convent on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. Police discovered wads of US dollars and three other currencies. Local media recently aired closed-circuit TV footage showing Lopez carrying a rifle and cash in through the convent’s main entrance aided by two nuns.

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