Wed, Jun 12, 2019 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

PHILIPPINES

Foreign work rules tightened

Manila has tightened rules for foreign workers as more Chinese nationals enter the nation to take up jobs. Along with a permit from the Department of Labor, foreign workers now also need a working visa and a tax number, President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement yesterday. Agencies agreed to the new requirements at a meeting with Duterte on Monday night, Panelo said. More than half of the 45,000 work permits issued by the department in 2017 were given to Chinese nationals, department figures showed. The number of Chinese workers who secured permits doubled in 2016 to 18,000 when Duterte assumed the presidency and fostered friendlier ties with Beijing.

IRAN

US resident to be released

Tehran has agreed to hand over a US permanent resident imprisoned for years to Lebanese officials, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said yesterday. It is the first official confirmation that Nizar Zakka would be sent back to Lebanon, years after his internationally criticized spying conviction. State TV on Monday said that Zakka was to be released “only because of the respect and dignity” Tehran has for the leader of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. A top Lebanese security official is in Tehran to secure Zakka’s release, which has been anticipated. The Revolutionary Guard detained Zakka in 2015 after he attended a conference in Tehran on the invitation of one of Iranian nation’s vice presidents. He was convicted of spying and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

IRAN

Toddler stuck in well dies

A two-year-old boy stuck in a narrow well for more than four days was yesterday pulled out dead, triggering protests over delays in reaching the toddler. The case of Fatehveer Singh captured national attention after he fell into the 33m-deep well in Punjab’s Sangrur District while playing on Thursday. The disused well was just 23cm wide, complicating desperate efforts by dozens of rescue workers and volunteers as locals and television cameras looked on. The toddler, who had oxygen supplies, but no food or water, was flown in an air ambulance to a hospital in the capital, Chandigarh, where he was declared dead. Authorities had dug a hole parallel to the well and inserted a 0.9m-wide pipe into it, in an attempt to reach the trapped toddler. The rescue operation was “delayed due to lack of required technical assistance,” resident Kultar Singh was quoted as saying by local media. The borewell was dug by the child’s family in 1984. They used to draw water from it to irrigate the fields but stopped using it after 1991.

SAMOA

Gay ‘Rocketman’ banned

The government has banned the Elton John biopic Rocketman because of its depictions of homosexuality. About 97 percent of Samoans identify as Christian and society is generally considered conservative and traditional. Under the 2013 Crimes Act, sodomy is deemed an offense that is punishable by up to seven years in prison, even if both parties consent. Principal censor Leiataua Niuapu Faaui yesterday told the Samoa Observer that the homosexual activity depicted on screen violated laws and did not sit well with the country’s cultural and Christian beliefs. The censor did concede to the newspaper that “it’s a good story, in that it’s about an individual trying to move on in life.” The movie examines John’s sexuality and relationship with then-manager John Reid.

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