China’s top journo jailed for 7 yrs for leaking state secrets

Beijing: A 71-year-old veteran Chinese journalist, known for her hard-hitting reports on elite politics, was on Friday sentenced to seven years in jail for revealing state secrets, in what is seen as a crackdown on government critics. Gao Yu, one of China’s most prominent journalists well known for her articles critical of government leaders, was handed down the judgement by the Beijing No. 3 [Full Article...]

Iraqi forces recapture 2 towns from IS near crucial refinery

Baghdad: A senior Iraqi military official with the Salahuddin Command Center says Iraqi security forces have gained full control over a contested area south of the country’s largest oil refinery. General Ayad al-Lahabi tells The Associated Press that the military, backed by divisions of the Popular Mobilisation Forces and coalition airstrikes, gained control today of the towns of al-Malha and al-Mazraah, located 3 kilometers [Full Article...]

China building runway in disputed South China Sea

Beijing/Washington: China is stealthily and rapidly building its first airstrip on an artificial island in disputed South China Sea (SCS) waters capable of landing large military aircraft, new satellite images show, a move likely to escalate regional tensions over the vexed issue. Satellite imagery captured on March 23 shows a paved section of runway 503 metres by 53 metres on reclaimed parts in the [Full Article...]

Pak SC orders KP govt to get Hindu temple restored

Islamabad: Pakistan’s Supreme Court has ordered the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to get a Hindu temple restored and reconstructed after it was ‘dismantled’ in 1997 and later occupied by a cleric. Lawmaker Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, patron of the Pakistan Hindu Council, had asked the court to intervene into the frequent desecration of Hindu temples, including occupation of Shri Paramhans Ji Maharaj’s Samadhi in Teri [Full Article...]

NKorea warns US envoy of ‘bigger mishap’ than a knife attack

SEOUL: A North Korean propaganda unit said the US ambassador to South Korea could face a “bigger mishap” than the knife attack to his face last month if he does not stop insulting North Korea with “laughable” accusations. US envoy Mark Lippert said in a speech on Wednesday that if North Korea improves its human rights record and takes steps to end its nuclear [Full Article...]

Modi pitches for Canadian investment

Toronto: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday pitched for investments for India as he met Canadian bankers and pension fund managers, winding up his three-nation tour before flying back home on Friday. The Canadian businesspeople conveyed to Modi that demand to do business with India has gone up exponentially and India was now on top of their list. Canada is the last leg of [Full Article...]

Indonesia cracks down on alcohol sales

Jakarta: Indonesia on Thursday banned small retailers from selling beer, despite an outcry from the booze industry and in tourism hotspots over the Muslim-majority country’s latest offensive against drinking. The ban restricts the sale of beer and pre-mixed drinks — such as spirits with soft drinks — to large supermarkets only, outlawing sales in the country’s 16,000 minimarts and 55,000 other small shops. Hotels, [Full Article...]

UN peace envoy to Yemen resigns

UNITED NATIONS: The UN peace envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, has resigned, a UN official said on Wednesday, after losing support from Gulf countries for his mission in the conflict-riven nation. The Moroccan diplomat had been UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon’s special envoy for Yemen since 2012. Benomar has “indicated his willingness to leave his post” as Yemen envoy, a UN official told AFP [Full Article...]