WORLD IN BRIEF

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NO NEW H7N9 CASES IN CHINA FOR A WEEK
BEIJING: No new human cases of the H7N9 virus have been recorded in China for a week, national health authorities said, for the first time since the outbreak began in March. One previously infected patient died in the week beginning May 13, the National Health and Family Planning Commission said in a statement late Monday, taking the total number of fatalities from the virus to 36. But the number of confirmed cases was unchanged at 130. Of those, 72 have recovered and been discharged from hospital, it said, adding that no evidence of human-to-human transmission had been detected so far.

CHINA’S LI TO PAY TRIBUTE TO HEROIC INDIAN DOCTOR
MUMBAI: China’s premier Li Keqiang will pay his respects to the family of an Indian doctor who died treating Chinese troops more than 70 years ago, becoming a rare symbol of friendship between the two nations. Li will meet relatives of Dwarkanath Kotnis, who provided emergency medical aid for four years during the Sino-Japanese war of 1937-1945.

INDONESIA ARRESTS KEY PEOPLE-SMUGGLER
SYDNEY: Indonesian authorities have arrested an Iranian-born Australian resident who they suspect headed a people-smuggling network that spanned the country, a report said on Tuesday. Mohammad Abdi, 36, was detained at an apartment in Jakarta on Monday along with two other Iranians, The Australian newspaper said, citing Indonesian police’s anti-people-smuggling taskforce.

Australia hits out over lengthy UAE court case
SYDNEY: Foreign Minister Bob Carr has blasted as “indefensible” the length of time the legal process took in the United Arab Emirates after an Australian man was jailed for 10 years for property fraud. The businessman Matthew Joyce was sentenced on Monday, four years after being arrested, and reportedly fined Aus$25 million ($24.5 million) after being convicted over a collapsed land deal involving a property development company.

AUSTRALIAN ZOO: WHITE RHINO BIRTH ‘SIGN OF HOPE’
SYDNEY: An Australian zoo said on Tuesday the birth of a southern white rhinoceros was a “sign of hope” for the species given the escalation of poaching in Africa. Taronga Western Plains Zoo said the yet-to-be-named male calf was born to first-time mother Mopani in the safari-style animal park in Dubbo, 400 kilometers west of Sydney, on May 14. Taronga said every birth was important given unprecedented poaching in Africa, with close to 2,000 rhinos estimated to have been slaughtered since 2006, resulting in population growth slumping to some of the lowest levels in decades.

S. KOREAN TROOPS GUILTY OF SEX ABUSE – JAPAN MAYOR
TOKYO: South Korean soldiers were guilty of abusing women in wartime, Osaka’s mayor said in comments reported on Tuesday, days after provoking a storm by labeling sex slaves a military necessity. In a remark likely to fuel outrage and further stoke tensions in an already uneasy relationship, Toru Hashimoto said the South Korean military used women for sex to keep servicemen’s frustration in check in Vietnam.

OBAMA TO TAKE FIRST AFRICA TRIP IN LATE JUNE
WASHINGTON, D.C.: President Barack Obama will leave on a first African tour next month, visiting Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa, but his itinerary released on Monday bypasses Kenya, an ancestral homeland. The White House said the long-awaited visit was intended to underscore Obama’s “commitment to broadening and deepening cooperation between the United States and the people of sub-Saharan Africa” to advance peace and prosperity.

KERRY TO HELP INK $2.1B DEFENSE DEAL WITH OMAN
SHANNON, IRELAND: US Secretary of State John Kerry will help ink an estimated $2.1-billion proposed deal for Oman to buy a US-made air defense system during a trip to the Gulf state, American officials said on Tuesday. One of the main focuses of Kerry’s trip to Muscat was to applaud the signing of a letter of intent between Oman and US manufacturer Raytheon ahead of talks on the final contract, they told reporters traveling with him to Oman.

IRAN TO LIST APPROVED PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES
TEHRAN: Iran’s June 14 presidential election steps up a gear on Tuesday when the Guardians Council releases the approved list of candidates who have passed muster under the vetting process. The unelected council, controlled by religious conservatives appointed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, must ensure that all candidates meet certain conditions before being allowed to stand. These conditions include being faithful to the principles of the Islamic republic and its official religion.

6.0 QUAKE OFF RUSSIA’S KAMCHATKA COASTLINE
MOSCOW: A 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula early Tuesday followed by a series of strong after-shocks, the US Geological Survey said. The earthquake did not cause any casualties.

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