Thu, Mar 28, 2019 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

SINGAPORE

Hundreds flee hotel fire

About 500 people yesterday were evacuated after a fire at a luxury hotel, but there were no injuries, emergency services officials said. Footage showed thick, black smoke billowing from the Grand Hyatt Hotel near the Orchard Road shopping district, but the Singapore Civil Defence Force said the fire was quickly put out. The blaze involved a kitchen stove and an exhaust duct in a restaurant on the second floor, it said, adding that the blaze was extinguished by water sprinklers before firefighters arrived. “The smoke was really terrible... It got into my throat. I think it was quite thick,” Nadiah Yayoh, 40, who works at a boutique in the hotel, told reporters.

AUTRALIA

‘Keyboard warrior’ disrupts IS

A young female graduate recruit successfully impersonated a senior male Islamic State (IS) commander online to convince a young radicalized man to abandon his quest for jihad. The covert operation by one of Canberra’s so-called “keyboard warriors,” described as a yoga-loving scientist, was part of the Australian Signals Directorate’s broader efforts to fight IS, which included the disruption of communications and the spread of propaganda.

THAILAND

New party changing things up

Dynamized by a telegenic billionaire, staffed by trendy graduates and powered by the millennial vote, the Future Forward Party has emerged as a new force in politics, with a mission to restructure an unequal economy and take an axe to the army’s influence. At the party’s headquarters in Bangkok the euphoria was barely concealed as early results from Sunday’s election showed it on track to win 30 lower house seats, with a proportional party list system likely to reward their 5 million ballots with dozens more. If the results play out, the party would become the third-largest party, barely a year after being formed. Its agenda is radical: rewriting the constitution to excise the military from politics, slashing the defense budget, ending conscription and addressing chasmic inequality.

CHINA

Freddie Mercury censored

The government has scrubbed at least 10 scenes with gay references from the Oscar-winning biopic Bohemian Rhapsody about British rock star Freddie Mercury, incensing some domestic viewers who said that authorities were overreacting. The film about the lead singer of the band Queen, idolized by gay Western fans, has earned more than 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) in box office revenue since opening in arthouse theaters on Friday, Alibaba Pictures said. However, at least three minutes of scenes, from a close-up of Mercury’s gyrating crotch as he performs, to a kiss with a male guest and the spanking of a female guest at a party, are missing. “In effect, it feels like the whole movie has been cut,” one commentator on Sina Weibo said.

NEPAL

Scientists collect Everest data

A team of US scientists has flown to the Mount Everest region to study how pollution has affected the Himalayan mountains and glaciers that are melting due to global warming. The team led by John All of Western Washington University plans to spend the next two months in the region and climb the world’s highest peak in May as they collect samples and study the ice, snow and vegetation. The team plans to bring the samples and data, and study with local university and government agencies.

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