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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s nine state sultans have issued a rare statement expressing concern about “divisive actions” in the name of Islam, as fears grow of rising intolerance in the multi-ethnic country. Referring to a controversy last month over laundrettes in two states which banned non-Muslim customers, the revered sultans urged…

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SINGAPORE: Singapore’s reforms to its use of the death penalty are flawed, with some low-level drug offenders still being denied leniency and sent to the gallows, Amnesty International said on Wednesday. After years of criticism from rights groups, the city-state in 2013 eased the requirement for mandatory death sentences in…

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: US President Donald Trump will host Singapore’s prime minister in Washington later this month, the White House said Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila), with North Korea likely topping the agenda. In a statement announcing Lee Hsien Loong’s October 23 White House visit, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the…

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TOKYO: Mount Shinmoedake in southern Japan erupted for the first time in six years Wednesday, shooting a plume of ash several hundred meters into the air and sparking warnings to local residents. People were ordered to stay away from the volcano after it rumbled to life at 5:34 a.m. (2034…

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UNITED NATIONS, United States: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for an end to the death penalty Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila), insisting it has “no place in the 21st century.” He urged member states that still execute convicts to join the 170 countries that have halted or abolished the practice,…

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BARCELONA: Spain’s government prepared to hold crisis talks on Wednesday after Catalan leaders signed a suspended declaration of independence and called for dialogue with Madrid. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will chair an emergency cabinet meeting in response to Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont’s announcement on Tuesday that he had accepted “the…

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Donald Trump’s feud with top diplomat Rex Tillerson burst back into the open Tuesday, after the US president joked that he and his Secretary of State should compare IQ scores. Having loudly dismissed reports that Tillerson had once called him a “moron,” Trump refused to let the controversy…

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PARIS: The world had 10 times as many obese children and teenagers last year than in 1975, but underweight kids still outnumbered them, a study said on Wednesday. Warning of a “double burden” of malnutrition, researchers said the rate of increase in obesity far outstripped the decline in under-nutrition. “If…

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LOS ANGELES: Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein faced claims Tuesday he raped an Italian film star and two other women, in a widening scandal that has drawn condemnation from across the film industry as well as America’s liberal political elite. The women’s allegations against the 65-year-old movie mogul were made…

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