• Maldives jails ex-defense minister for 11 years

    Updated: Thu, Mar 26, 2015

    MALE, Maldives (AP) — A court in Maldives on Thursday sentenced a former defense minister to 11 years in prison for importing and possessing a firearm. A criminal court in Male, the capital island of this Indian Ocean archipelago state, passed the sentence against Mohamed Nazim. The same court earlier this month sentenced the country's former president Mohamed Nasheed to 13 years in prison after a disputed trial over the arrest of a senior judge while he was in power three years ago. Nazim was sacked from President Yameen Abdul Gayoom's cabinet in January after police raided his home and found a pistol and some bullets. Possession or import of firearms by private persons is illegal.

  • Guam employer to pay nearly $400K for underpaying workers

    Updated: Thu, Mar 26, 2015

    HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — A Guam employer is agreeing to pay nearly $400,000 in damages and back pay for paying workers from China less than minimum wage. According to a proposed judgment filed Thursday in U.S. District Court of Guam, Acme Universal Inc., which does business as Guam Tile Center, will be permanently barred from hiring foreign workers. The 16 Chinese workers were hired for residential construction work under the H-2B visa program. The U.S. Department of Labor sued the company and president in 2012, alleging they failed to pay workers the federal minimum wage and for overtime work. The proposed judgment, signed by Acme and federal labor representatives, is still subject to court approval.

  • Russian, American ready for a year in space

    Updated: Thu, Mar 26, 2015

    BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (AP) — The Russian astronaut heading off for a year in space says he'll miss the natural landscapes on Earth. His American counterpart jokes he won't miss his twin brother. Russians Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka and American Scott Kelly are to launch early Saturday aboard a Soyuz space capsule for the International Space Station. Kelly and Kornienko are to stay there until March 2016, while Padalka will be on a six-month mission. At a news conference Thursday at the Russian manned-space facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Kornienko said "we will be missing nature, we will be missing landscapes, woods.

  • Australia's Gotsis an anchor for Georgia Tech defense

    Updated: Thu, Mar 26, 2015

    ATLANTA (AP) — Adam Gotsis wasn't on any of the recruiting lists when the Australian signed with Georgia Tech three years ago in what looked like a strange experiment. Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson believed he'd landed a five-star talent. He said on that signing day in 2012, "I will match him up against almost anybody. He's 6-foot-5, 300 pounds and can run." Johnson was right. Gotsis is preparing for his third year as a starter on the Yellow Jackets' defensive front. After spending much of his youth playing Australian Rules Football, he was a major part of an improved defense that helped Georgia Tech win 11 games, including the Orange Bowl, last season. "It's been a journey," Gotsis said.

  • Lioness kept as pet in Pakistan gives birth to 5 cubs

    Updated: Thu, Mar 26, 2015

    MULTAN, Pakistan (AP) — It's a baby boom for the owner of a pet lioness in central Pakistan. The African lioness named Queen has given birth to five healthy cubs — double the usual two-to-three-cub litters among lions. Owner Malik Fazal Abbas said he has had 4-year-old Queen since she was 2 months old. She mated with a male lion that Abbas also keeps at his home in the city of Multan. The pair has already had a litter of two cubs, now nine months old. Abbas, a cotton and mango grower, says he has a license from the Pakistani Wildlife Department to keep lions as pets — a dream he has since he was a boy. And he is not the only exotic pet owner in Pakistan.

  • Americans' trial in Indonesia delayed after baby gets sick

    Updated: Thu, Mar 26, 2015

    BALI, Indonesia (AP) — The trial of an American couple accused of killing the woman's mother in Indonesia adjourned after their newborn baby fell ill in prison, a prosecutor and a doctor said Thursday. Heather Mack, 19, gave birth to a daughter, Stella, last week and returned with the baby to prison after several days' stay in the hospital. She brought the 9-day-old baby to the prison clinic on Wednesday morning when she noticed the baby's skin was yellow, Anak Agung Gede Hartawan, a doctor at Kerobokan Penitentiary, told The Associated Press. "The baby is suffering jaundice, we are conducting observations now," Hartawan said. "Her condition improved and (she) had no fever, but she will be taken to hospital for furthe

  • Envoy says Indonesia leader too busy to take Australia call

    Updated: Thu, Mar 26, 2015

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Indonesian President Joko Widodo has been too busy during the past three weeks to accept a phone call from the Australian prime minister to plead for the lives of two death row prisoners, an Indonesian envoy said Thursday. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters on March 5 that he had requested a telephone conversation with Widodo on the impending executions of Australian heroin traffickers Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 33. Indonesian Ambassador to Australia Nadjib Riphat Kesoema on Thursday brushed off suggestions of a diplomatic snub. "The president was so busy," Kesoema told reporters in the Australian capital, Canberra.

  • Indian police arrest 2 suspects in gang rape of elderly nun

    Updated: Thu, Mar 26, 2015

    KOLKATA, India (AP) — Police arrested two suspects Thursday in the gang rape of an elderly nun in a Catholic missionary school this month in a crime that focused attention on the scourge of sexual violence in India despite tough anti-rape laws introduced two years ago. The suspects were arrested after a nationwide hunt, one of them was found hiding in the western city of Mumbai and the second from West Bengal state, said a police officer said who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to reporters. The nun, in her 70s, was hospitalized in serious condition. She has since recovered and left the hospital.

  • Vietnam orders quick probe after scaffolding fall kills 13

    Updated: Thu, Mar 26, 2015

    HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam's prime minister on Thursday ordered a swift investigation into a scaffolding collapse that killed 13 workers and injured dozens, while a unit of South Korea's Samsung Group involved in the construction project offered initial assistance to victims' families. All the victims were Vietnamese subcontractors working on a seaport breakwater project in the Vung Ang economic zone in central Vietnam, about 400 kilometers (248 miles) south of the capital, Hanoi. More than 40 workers were on the scaffolding for nearly an hour Wednesday when it shook twice, sending them running to an elevator before someone stopped them saying there was no problem, laborer Dinh Ninh Dan, 27, told The Associated Press by

  • Philippines says China rushing construction in disputed sea

    Updated: Thu, Mar 26, 2015

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines' top diplomat said Thursday that China has been rushing construction projects, including massive land reclamation, in the disputed South China Sea in hopes of forestalling any legal moves against its vast territorial claims. Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said the Chinese construction is aimed at bolstering its claims to virtually the entire South China Sea. He called Beijing's claims "invalid and excessive and in violation of international law.

  • Image of Asia: Australia leaps into Cricket World Cup final

    Updated: Thu, Mar 26, 2015

    In this photo by Rob Griffith, Australia's Mitchell Johnson leaps in the air as he celebrates after taking the wicket of India's Rohit Sharma during the Cricket World Cup semifinal. Australia posted a 95-run victory over defending champion India and will play unbeaten tournament co-host New Zealand in Sunday's title match in Melbourne.

  • Bakery pulls Lee Kuan Yew bun after social media roasting

    Updated: Thu, Mar 26, 2015

    SINGAPORE (AP) — A bakery chain apologized for a bun commemorating Singapore's long-time leader Lee Kuan Yew and pulled it from stores after being accused of poor taste. BreadTalk said on its Facebook page that its bun was intended to show respect for Lee but it now understands it was an insensitive way to remember his legacy. The death of Lee at age 91 on Monday has been met with an outpouring of grief in Singapore. Lee was Singapore's prime minister for 31 years until 1990 and is regarded by Singaporeans as the architect of the city-state's economic success. "We would like to convey our deepest apologies with regard to the commemorative bun," the company said in the Facebook post dated Wednesday.

  • Myanmar increases civil servant pay to raise living standard

    Updated: Thu, Mar 26, 2015

    YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar is increasing the salaries of its government employees — doubling some of them — as of next month. The announcement by Finance Minister Win Shein was relayed Thursday on state-run television. The increases were aimed at slightly raising the standard of living of approximately 1.5 million government servants, from post office employees and teachers to director generals. The new pay scale takes effect with the beginning of the new fiscal year on April 1. Civil servants with the lowest pay of 75,000 kyats ($75) per month now will get 120,000 kyats ($120) under the new scale. Those who receive the highest pay of 250,000 kyats ($250) will get 500,000 kyats ($500) per month.

  • Alonso has "zero concerns" ahead of Malaysian GP return

    Updated: Thu, Mar 26, 2015

    SEPANG, Malaysia (AP) — McLaren driver Fernando Alonso says he has "zero doubts and zero concerns" about returning to the car at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix after the preseason testing crash that ruled him out of the Formula One season opener. Alonso was passed fit for Sunday's race after undergoing more medical tests on Thursday, and then faced a media conference to try to explain the mystery about his testing accident which resulted in a concussion and forced him to sit out the Australian Grand Prix. Alonso said his car suffered a steering lock which sent it off the track at a slow-speed corner and into a wall, but said a review of data did not explain what caused it.

  • Cambodia inaugurates memorial at Khmer Rouge genocide museum

    Updated: Thu, Mar 26, 2015

    PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodian officials have inaugurated a memorial at the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum to remember at least 12,000 people tortured and killed at the site when it was a Khmer Rouge prison. Buddhist monks chanted prayers at Thursday's ceremony, attended by Cambodia's deputy prime minister and representatives from the United Nations and the Khmer Rouge tribunal. The museum, formerly a high school in Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh, was turned into S-21 prison after the Khmer Rouge took power in 1975. Of the estimated 16,000 men, women and children who passed through its gates, only a handful survived. An estimated 1.7 million people died as a resulted of the Khmer Rouge radical polices from 1975 to

  • Japan uses climate cash for coal plants in India, Bangladesh

    Updated: Thu, Mar 26, 2015

    MUTTAGI, India (AP) — Despite mounting protests, Japan continues to finance the building of coal-fired power plants with money earmarked for fighting climate change, with two new projects underway in India and Bangladesh, The Associated Press has found. The AP reported in December that Japan had counted $1 billion in loans for coal plants in Indonesia as climate finance, angering critics who say such financing should be going to clean energy like solar and wind power. Japanese officials now say they are also counting $630 million in loans for coal plants in Kudgi, India, and Matarbari, Bangladesh, as climate finance. The Kudgi project has been marred by violent clashes between police and local farmers who fear the plant wil

  • America's Cup organizers want smaller, cheaper boats

    Updated: Wed, Mar 25, 2015

    SAN DIEGO (AP) — In another sign that billionaire Larry Ellison's vision for the America's Cup is too expensive, organizers say they want to reduce the size of the boats to be sailed in the 2017 regatta in Bermuda. While intended to help some struggling syndicates, the unprecedented move would also reduce the status and prestige of sailing's marquee regatta, not to mention the sizzle generated when the 2013 America's Cup was sailed in cutting-edge, 72-foot catamarans. And it could be troublesome. Not all teams are believed to be in favor of going from plans to sail the 2017 America's Cup in 62-foot catamarans to apparently sailing it in 45-foot catamarans.

  • 14 killed in scaffolding collapse in central Vietnam

    Updated: Wed, Mar 25, 2015

    HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — At least 14 people were killed and 28 others were injured when scaffolding collapsed at a construction site in central Vietnam. The deputy police chief in Ha Tinh province, Bui Dinh Quang, said Thursday that all the victims were Vietnamese subcontractors hired to work on a seaport breakwater project. He said it was not known if any other workers were trapped in the rubble. Police and rescue workers are still searching through the rubble from the Wednesday night accident. Dinh Ninh Dan, 27, one of the survivors, said the workers were cleaning a frame for a giant concrete block for the breakwater when the scaffolding collapsed. There were more than 40 workers on the scaffolding at the time of the a

  • US: Thailand must end slavery in its fishing fleets

    Updated: Wed, Mar 25, 2015

    The U.S. government and major business leaders are renewing their call on the Thai government to crack down on slavery in its fishing fleets, and to punish people who force migrant workers to catch seafood that can end up in the United States. The State Department, the U.S. seafood and retail industries and a member of Congress reacted swiftly Wednesday to an Associated Press investigation published this week that found slave-caught fish clouds the supply networks of major supermarkets, restaurants and even pet stores in the United States. The AP reported that hundreds of men were trapped on the remote Indonesian island of Benjina, and tracked seafood they caught to Thai exporters who then sell to the U.S.

  • Germany salvages 2-2 draw with Australia in friendly

    Updated: Wed, Mar 25, 2015

    KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany (AP) — Germany substitute Lukas Podolski scored late to rescue a 2-2 draw for the World Cup holders against Australia in a friendly on Wednesday. Podolski was left free at the far post to sweep in a cross from fellow substitute Andre Schuerrle in the 81st minute, eight minutes after coming on. Germany had looked like it was headed for a second successive 2-1 home defeat to Australia, after goals from James Troisi and Mile Jedinak either side of halftime cancelled out Marco Reus' 17th-minute opener. Troisi and Mathew Leckie missed good chances to make it 3-1 to Australia, as Germany again looked vulnerable in defense after failing to impress in recent games.




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