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every singaporean aged 21 and above will receive up to s$300 bonus, announces govt in 2018 budget

by: express web desk | new delhi | published: february 19, 2018 9:36 pm file – in this wednesday, april 20, 2016, file photo, two kayaks are dwarfed against the skyline of the marina bay area, which is home to popular hotels, and tourist attractions such as the singapore flyer, the city-state’s observation wheel seen at right, in singapore. (ap photo/wong maye-e, file)related newsthe singapore government monday announced that all singaporeans aged 21 and above will receive a one-time bonus of up to s$300 each. described as “hongbao”, the bonus will be paid according to a person’s annual income. about 2.7 singaporeans stand to benefit from the payout which will cost the government s$700 million.finance minister heng swee keat, while making the announcement in his budget speec...





syria war: pro-assad militias to enter war torn afrin- state media

by: reuters | beirut | published: february 19, 2018 4:34 pm “popular forces will arrive in afrin in the next few hours to support the steadfastness of its people in confronting the aggression which turkish regime forces have launched on the region,” state news agency sana reported, citing its correspondent in aleppo. (photo: reuters)top newsmilitias allied to the syrian government will enter the afrin region within hours, state media reported on monday, after a reported deal to help kurdish forces repel a turkish assault. turkey and allied syrian rebel groups launched an offensive in the northwestern region to drive out the kurdish ypg militia, which ankara sees as a terrorist group linked to an insurgency at home.while president bashar al-assad’s government and the ypg espouse ...





iraqi court sentences turkish woman to death for joining is

by: reuters | baghdad | updated: february 19, 2018 5:20 pm ten other women of various nationalities were sentenced to life in prison, he said. all the verdicts can be appealed.top newsan iraqi court has sentenced a turkish woman to death by hanging for joining islamic state, a spokesman for the criminal court in baghdad said in a statement on monday. ten other women of various nationalities were sentenced to life in prison, he said. all the verdicts can be appealed. “the court has issued ten verdicts of life in prison against ten women after convicting them of terrorism, and sentenced to death by hanging another terrorist who holds turkish citizenship,” said judge abdul-sattar al-birqdar.thousands of foreigners have been fighting on behalf of islamic state in iraq and syria. a ger...





donald trump slams oprah winfrey, dares her to run for prez

by: pti | washington | published: february 19, 2018 6:21 pm donald trump (l) and oprah winfrey (r). (files/agencies)related newspresident donald trump monday took a swipe at the american tv icon oprah winfrey, calling her “very insecure” and daring the billionaire talk show host to challenge him in 2020 so he can “expose and defeat” her. trump’s diatribe came after 64-year-old oprah winfrey in a tv show interviewed several michigan voters about the president’s first year in office. the talk show queen asked the voters about the president’s tax plan, his reported reference to “shithole countries” and about america’s eroding reputation around the globe.trump claimed that winfrey posed “biased and slanted” questions to the panel on the news programme. “just watc...





japan’s steel industry urges trump to make careful trade decision

by: reuters | tokyo | published: february 19, 2018 6:54 pm us president donald trump (reuters)top newsjapan’s steel industry said on monday the us commerce department proposal to president donald trump to impose curbs on steel imports violate the principles of free trade, calling for washington to make a careful and appropriate decision. the us commerce department recommended on friday that trump impose steep curbs on steel and aluminium imports from china and other countries, ranging from global and country-specific tariffs to broad import quotas. “the recommendations violate the principles of free trade, which are the foundation for development and prosperity of the global economy,” japan iron and steel federation chairman kosei shindo said in a statement.“we hope trump woul...





philippine senate probes frigate deal; rodrigo duterte aide denies meddling

by: reuters | manila | published: february 19, 2018 12:20 pm philippine president rodrigo duterte. (source-ap photo/aaron favila)top newsphilippine senators began a public inquiry on monday into the $300 million purchase of two navy frigates, to determine whether president rodrigo duterte’s closest aide had interfered in the procurement process. the inquiry was prompted by media reports that carried a leaked document with an annotation that links the president’s longtime special assistant, christopher “bong” go, to the process of procuring a combat management system for the frigates from a south korea’s hyundai heavy industries.the hearing called by the senate committee on national defence and security is looking to establish whether or not go had gone beyond his remit by g...





south korea’s moon jae-in says general motors’ factory shutdown will be a blow to regional economy

by: reuters | seoul | published: february 19, 2018 12:40 pm south korean president moon jae-in. (kim hong-ji/pool photo via ap)top newssouth korean president moon jae-in said on monday general motors’ decision to shut down a factory south of seoul will be a blow to the region and asked relevant government ministries to take measures to shore up economic activity there. gm announced last week it will shutter the plant in gunsan, in south korea’s southwest, by may and decide within weeks on the fate of the remaining three plants in the country.“especially, the decline in employment (at gm) and subcontractors will be difficult to bear for gunsan city and north jeolla province,” moon told his aides at a regular meeting. moon also asked his government to act sternly in trade talk...





sudan releases political prisoners from khartoum jails

by: reuters | khartoum (sudan) | published: february 19, 2018 2:26 pm supporters carry a released politician outside the national prison, after demonstrations in khartoum, sudan. (image source – reuters)related newssudanese authorities said on sunday they would release more than 80 political prisoners from jails in the capital khartoum, a week after the african country appointed a new security chief.a reuters reporter said he had seen about 40 prisoners released from the main prison by sunday evening and that some prominent opposition leaders were still being held there. a presidential adviser had earlier said in a statement that president omar hassan al-bashir had ordered more than 80 political detainees to be released.all of them were arrested last month after protests about high ...





mexican opposition candidates slam donald trump wall ahead of campaign

by: reuters | mexico city | published: february 19, 2018 8:16 am andres manuel lopez obrador speaks to the media after being sworn-in as presidential candidate of the national regeneration movement (morena) during the party’s convention at a hotel in mexico city, mexico february 18, 2018. (source: reuters)top newstwo mexican opposition candidates on sunday vowed to take a tougher line against us president donald trump’s border wall, at events where they were selected by their parties to seek the presidency in a july 1 election.andres manuel lopez obrador, 64, of the leftist morena party holds a double-digit lead in recent polls although right-left coalition leader ricardo anaya has recently gained traction.former finance minister jose antonio meade, 48, nominated on sunday by the ...





maldives court delays reinstating pro-opposition lawmakers

by: ap | male | updated: february 19, 2018 8:36 am the prisoners include mohamed nasheed, country’s first president elected in a free election, who could have been yameens main rival in his re-election bid. (ap photo)top newsthe supreme court of the maldives has delayed its order reinstating 12 pro-opposition lawmakers ahead of a key parliamentary sitting, the latest political turmoil to roil the island nation. opposition lawmaker ahmed mahloof said the government may call for important votes at a parliamentary sitting on monday to extend a state of emergency or dismiss two supreme court judges who have been arrested on allegations of corruption.president yameen abdul gayooms ruling party may have lost a majority in the 85-member parliament if the 12 lawmakers were to be allowed to...





two-thirds of australians want deputy prime minister to resign over sex scandal-poll

by: reuters | sydney | published: february 19, 2018 8:48 am australian deputy prime minister barnaby joyce. (source: reuters)top newstwo-thirds of australian voters want deputy prime minister barnaby joyce to resign following his extramarital affair with his former press secretary, a poll showed on monday, adding pressure on a government already fractured by the scandal. joyce, a catholic who campaigned on “family values” and who has been married for 24 years, refused to resign when it was made public he was expecting a child with his former staffer.some 65 percent of voters want joyce to step down as leader of the rural-based national party, the junior partner in the government led by the liberal party, the australian newspaper’s newspoll showed. the liberal-national coalitio...





months away from malaysian election, european union’s move stirs discontent in palm groves

by: reuters | kuala lumpur | published: february 19, 2018 9:08 am najib moved to appease felda settlers last july with cash handouts, subsidies and debt waivers totalling nearly 1.5 billion ringgit (3 million). (ap photo)top newsan eu decision to curb palm oil imports was the last thing malaysian prime minister najib razak needed ahead of a coming election, with rural voters already aggrieved over financial scandals at state-owned palm oil agency felda. around 10 percent of malaysia’s 30 million people belong to families who own smallholdings dedicated to harvesting palm oil, and they account for the majority of voters in nearly a quarter of the national assembly’s 222 seats.girding for a general election due by august, najib was given a taste of the discontent rife in the countr...





us students plan protests, washington march, to demand gun control after mass shooting

by: reuters | published: february 19, 2018 9:38 am local students, including some from marjory stoneman douglas high school, hold up their phone lights as the congregation responds at the end of a vigil for victims of the school shooting, at the church by the glades megachurch in coral springs, florida, us february 18, 2018. (source: reuters)top newsstunned by the deadliest high school shooting in us history, students mobilized across the country on sunday to organize rallies and a national walkout in support of stronger gun laws, challenging politicians they say have failed to protect them.students from marjory stoneman douglas high school, where a former student is accused of murdering 17 people on wednesday using an assault-style rifle, joined others on social media to plan the eve...





i should pay significantly higher taxes: bill gates

by: ians | new york | published: february 19, 2018 10:11 am “i need to pay higher taxes,” bill gates, who is worth over billion, said in a cnn interview on sunday. (file photo)related newsmicrosoft founder and billionaire bill gates has said that he should pay more in taxes and that the government should require other super-wealthy people like him to contribute “significantly higher” amounts.“i need to pay higher taxes,” gates, who is worth over $90 billion, said in a cnn interview on sunday. “i’ve paid more taxes, over $10 billion, than anyone else, but the government should require the people in my position to pay significantly higher taxes,” he said.gates, the second richest man in the world after amazon’s jeff bezos, did not mince his words when it came to the ...





oaxaca requests aid after strong mexico quake damages 1,000 homes

by: reuters | mexico city | published: february 19, 2018 10:18 am the coffins containing the remains of people killed in a helicopter accident are carried for burial in santiago jimitepec, oaxaca state, mexico, saturday, february 17, 2018. the military helicopter carrying officials assessing damage from the friday’s earthquake crashed killing 13 people and injuring 15, all of them on the ground. ap/ptirelated newsmexico’s southern state of oaxaca requested federal emergency funds on sunday to supply food, shelter and health services in more than 30 municipalities battered by last week’s powerful quake in a region still reeling from temblors in september.the 7.2 magnitude quake on friday, which did not cause any deaths, had its epicenter about 90 miles (145 km) from the pacific c...





air new zealand warns of flight disruptions as cyclone gita bears down

by: reuters | wellington | published: february 19, 2018 10:48 am air new zealand said it would not reimburse passengers for any costs or penalties like hotels and meals if flight schedules were disrupted. (source: reuters/file)top newsair new zealand warned on monday flights in and out of new zealand faced major disruptions this week due to cyclone gita, set to hit the country on tuesday, and encouraged passengers to defer travelling. “we are anticipating significant disruption to our domestic network as well as some international services over the coming week,” the airline said in a travel alert on its web site.air new zealand said it would not reimburse passengers for any costs or penalties like hotels and meals if flight schedules were disrupted.“any customer who chooses to ...





australia, us, india and japan in talks to establish belt and road alternative: report

by: reuters | sydney | published: february 19, 2018 11:46 am top newsaustralia, the united states, india and japan are talking about establishing a joint regional infrastructure scheme as an alternative to china’s multibillion-dollar belt and road initiative in an attempt to counter beijing’s spreading influence, the australian financial review reported on monday, citing a senior us official.the unnamed official was quoted as saying the plan involving the four regional partners was still “nascent” and “won’t be ripe enough to be announced’ during australian prime minister turnbull’s visit to the united states later this week.the official said, however, that the project was on the agenda for turnbull’s talks with us president donald trump during that trip and was bein...





five killed in attack on church in russia’s dagestan: agencies

by: reuters | moscow | updated: february 19, 2018 7:06 am dagestan (source: google maps)top newsa man in russia’s southern province of dagestan shot into a crowd leaving a church on sunday, killing five people and injuring at least five others, russian news agencies reported, citing the local health ministry.the attack occurred in the village of kizlyar in the muslim-majority republic of dagestan, agencies said. islamic state claimed responsibility for the shooting, its news agency amaq reported, but did not provide immediate evidence for the claim.the small republic in the caucasus mountains borders chechnya, where moscow has led two wars against separatists and radical religious groups since the 1991 soviet collapse and which has seen a large number of people join islamic state.ru...





donald trump says fbi missed signs on florida shooting due to russia probe, draws criticism

by: reuters | washington | published: february 19, 2018 7:14 am trump has on several occasions, however, questioned whether russia was behind efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. (ap photo)related newspresident donald trump attacked the fbi and lawmakers probing suspected russian meddling in the 2016 us presidential election, drawing sharp criticism for saying an excessive focus on russia led investigators to miss signs that could have prevented a deadly school shooting in florida. in a series of tweets over the weekend from his mar-a-lago estate in florida, trump said congressional investigations and political “hatred” showed russia had succeeded in sowing “discord, disruption and chaos” in the united states. he accused his democratic predecessor, barack obama, of fai...





syrian kurdish official: deal for syrian army to enter afrin

by: reuters | beirut | published: february 19, 2018 8:05 am the syrian government has allowed some kurdish fighters, civilians and politicians to reach afrin through its territory. (ap photo)top newssyrian kurdish forces and the damascus government have reached an agreement for the syrian army to enter the afrin region to help repel a turkish offensive, a senior kurdish official said on sunday. badran jia kurd, an adviser to the kurdish-led administration in northern syria, told reuters army troops would deploy along some border positions and could enter the region within the next two days.the deal underscores the increasingly tangled battlefield in northern syria, driven by a web of rivalries and alliances among kurdish forces, the syrian government, rebel factions, turkey, the unit...