A woman TV journalist in Bangladesh has been hacked to death by some unidentified assailants at her home, media reports said. Subarna Nodi, 32, was a correspondent of private news channel Ananda TV and also worked for the Daily Jagroto Bangla newspaper. She lived in Pabna district, some 150 km from Dhaka. Suborna, who is survived by a nine-year-old daughter, was awaiting divorce from her husband, the report said. Around 10 to 12 assailants came riding motorcycles and rang the doorbell. When she opened the door, they attacked her with sharp weapons and fled. Some locals rushed her to the hospital where she was declared brought dead. Police have launched a hunt to nab the culprits.
China pulls out of $1.2-billion Nepal project
China’s Three Gorges International has decided to pull out from the $1.2 West Seti Hydro project in Nepal, six years after it signed the MoU to build it. A high-level team of the CTGI, a subsidiary of the China Three Gorges, conveyed to the Nepal government that the project is not cost-effective. The 750-MW project, the first reservoir project in Nepal, was to be completed by next year as per the CTGI’s earliest commitment, but its pull-out without even beginning construction may have an adverse impact on China’s credibility. According to sources, Nepal had offered to lower the capacity to 600 MW from 750 MW at the same cost and extend the power purchase agreement to 12 years from 10 years. But China insisted the resettlement and rehabilitation of the displaced people and the transmission cost would be too high.
Singapore, Malaysia fight over street food honour
Singapore's bid to get UN recognition for its street food has sparked a cross-border culinary clash, with angry chefs in neighbouring Malaysia pouring cold water on the idea. The city-state is home to many open-air food courts where vendors, known as "hawkers", serve dishes such as chicken and rice, noodles and meat skewers at relatively cheap prices. Some hawkers have even been awarded Michelin stars by the culinary bible, which has had a Singapore edition since 2016. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced last week that Singapore will nominate its hawker culture to UNESCO's list of intangible cultural heritage. But the move sparked anger in Malaysia, whose citizens have long claimed their own street food - which shares many similarities with Singapore's - is far superior to anything in their tiny neighbour. Malaysian celebrity chef Redzuawan Ismail, commonly known as Chef Wan, said that Singapore's bid was "rubbish".
Former Aussie PM resigns from parliament, govt loses majority
Australia's former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull resigned from parliament, a source familiar with the matter said, stripping the government of its one-seat parliamentary majority. Turnbull last week said he would resign from parliament after he was ousted from office in a bitter party-room contest which ushered in the country's sixth leader in the last decade. "The speaker of the house of parliament received a resignation letter from Malcolm Turnbull," said a source familiar with the matter. The source declined to give more details. Until a by-election can be contested, Australia's new Prime Minister Scott Morrison is left relying on the support of independent lawmakers to pass legislation, inhibiting the government's agenda just eight months out from an election. Besides no longer having a majority in the lower house of parliament, the government does not control the upper house Senate. According to the latest opinion polls Australia's ruling Liberal-National coalition will struggle to be re-elected in a poll due by May 2019.
Norway’s minister steps down for wife’s career
Norway’s transport minister said he was stepping down to allow his wife to further her medical career, in a move welcomed as a win for gender equality. “It’s been fantastic to be a minister and, in fact, I could have continued all my life,” said Ketil Solvik-Olsen, a member of the right-wing Progress party who served in the post since 2013. “But I’ve come to a crossroads in my life where it’s my wife’s turn to pursue her dream. It’s a deal we’ve had in place for a number of years,” he said, adding that he intends to return to frontline politics at some stage. His wife, Tone Solvik-Olsen, has accepted a posting in a children’s hospital in the United States for a year, he added. Social media users in Norway reacted positively to Solvik-Olsen’s decision, calling the move “respectable” and “a great example.”
US rabbi to pay $14m to women he filmed bathing
Victims of a prominent Washington rabbi who for years secretly videotaped women as they used a ritual bath reached a $14.25 million settlement with four Jewish organisations, their lawyer has confirmed. The settlement covers over 150 women filmed by Bernard “Barry” Freundel, along with other women who undressed where the hidden camera was located even if they were not taped, attorney Alexandra Harwin said. Freundel was sentenced to six and a half years in prison in 2015, after his voyeurism went undetected for years. A rabbi at the Kesher Israel synagogue in Washington’s upscale Georgetown neighborhood, he placed his secret camera near the mikveh, a bath used to achieve ritual purity in Judaism.
Pak supports Iran stand on N-deal
Pakistan said that it supported Iran’s stance regarding its nuclear agreement with major world powers after the US withdrew from the deal. Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also told his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif in Islamabad that he hoped other signatories would continue to stick to its terms. Zarif's visit to Pakistan comes as both Tehran and Islamabad are struggling with fraught relationships with Washington, which withdrew from the 2015 nuclear accord, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and re-imposed sanctions on Iran. “As regards JCPOA, while supporting Iran’s principled stance, Qureshi expressed the hope that remaining parties to the agreement would uphold their commitments in letter and spirit,” the Pakistan foreign office said. The two leaders also discussed regional issues, including the situation in Afghanistan. Both countries underlined the need to promote bilateral relations in all areas of cooperation.
Woman tricked into marrying a stranger during job interview
A 21-year-old Hong Kong woman has been duped into marrying a stranger from mainland China during a job interview. The victim, who remains anonymous, told journalists she applied for makeup artist apprenticeship in May, but was later persuaded to apply for wedding planning job instead for a higher salary. As part of her application, she was required to sign a marriage certificate and act out the role of a bride in a supposedly fake ceremony with a man from mainland China, she said. When she realised the marriage was real, she approached the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (FTU), who said they believed she was one of many victims of the scam.
Anne & Frank bakery forced to change name after outcry
A bakery in Amsterdam named after Anne Frank has been forced to change its name as a result of public outcry. The owner of the Anne & Frank bakery was castigated for the “tasteless” choice of name on Twitter. The owner of the bakery, who identified himself only as Roberto, told Dutch media “it seemed like a nice name”. He said Anne Frank, who died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945, is “a heroine for many people and for me too”. He said: “Because my business is close to the Anne Frank Huis (House), it seemed like a nice name. She’s obviously world famous.” The Anne Frank House was where Anne and her family hid from the Nazis during the Second World War. Roberto told local media he had not decided on a new name for his bakery.
Snake bites dog: S Korea cops to honour dead canine
A long-serving South Korean police dog killed in the line of duty - by a snake - will be honoured with a rare ceremony next month in a country where a million of his fellow canines are estimated to be eaten every year. Larry, a seven-year-old German shepherd, was searching for a missing person when the reptile bit him on his left hind leg in July. He is the first police dog to die “in the line of duty” anywhere in the country, the Daegu Metropolitan Police Agency said. Larry helped officers with 39 felony cases and took part in searches for over 170 missing people since first being deployed in 2012.
India, China working on hotline for their defence ministries
Beijing: India and China are holding talks to set up a hotline between their defence ministries and update a 12-year-old defence agreement as part of the confidence-building measures, a top Chinese defence ministry official said. During Chinese Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi last week, the two sides held in-depth discussions on how to further implement the important consensus reached between Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, defence ministry spokesman Colonel Wu Qian said. Modi and Xi, during their informal summit in Wuhan in April, reached a consensus on managing various aspects of India-China relations, including the two militaries, especially in the backdrop of the Doklam standoff. The hotline between the two militaries was regarded as a major confidence building measure, as it would enable both the headquarters to intensify communication to avert tensions between border patrols and to avoid standoffs such as Doklam.