‘Dirty dancing’ Westerners deported from Cambodia

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Seven Westerners arrested last month for allegedly posting pornographic photos on social media of themselves engaged in sexually suggestive dancing have been deported from Cambodia, a court official said on Monday.

Yim Srang, a court spokesman in the northwestern province of Siem Reap, said the court decided that the seven – who were freed on bail last week – could no longer stay in Cambodia.

Ten young Westerners – five from Britain, two from Canada, and one each from Norway, the Netherlands and New Zealand – were detained when police raided a commercially organised party at a rented villa in Siem Reap town and found people dancing by a swimming pool at an event described as a pub crawl. Siem Reap is near the famous Angkor Wat temple complex. Three of the 10 considered organisers of the event were denied bail.

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Police said those caught in the raid had been “dancing pornographically” and offended Cambodian standards of morality. Offenders face a year in jail if convicted of posting allegedly pornographic photos.

Ouch Sopheaktra, one of the group’s lawyers, said the seven Westerners left Cambodia last week. He said no money had been deposited for their release on bail and the charges against them remain.

“The seven have been ordered to leave Cambodia temporarily and now they have already arrived in their home countries,” Ouch Sopheaktra said.

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The only women among the 10 detained people, Canadians Eden Kazoleas and Jessica Drolet, arrived by plane in Toronto on Friday night and spoke briefly to the press.

“I’m very happy to be home, I’m grateful to be in Canada,” said Kazoleas, a 19-year-old from Alberta.

She thanked Cambodian authorities for their “understanding” during the incident.

“I did not know, nor did I think attending a pool party would be offensive in Cambodian culture,” Kazoleas said. “I apologise to anyone who thinks it was, but … when I attended the party I was not taking part in any pornographic dancing or anything the media suggests I was doing and I am very disappointed in the way I was represented.”

Drolet, a 26-year-old from Ontario, expressed similar sentiments.

The two women said they were happy to have each other’s company during the ordeal.

“I was lucky to have Jessica in there with me,” Kazoleas said. “As much as I wish she didn’t have to go through it, I couldn’t have done it without her.”

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Asian Markets Mostly Higher After Wall Street Rebound


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( – Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Monday, attempting to recover from the sharp losses recorded last week, following the rally on Wall Street and as oil prices rebounded in Asian trades after falling on Friday. Nevertheless, investors braced for volatility amid lingering concerns about the outlook for interest rates. The Japanese market is closed for a public holiday.

The Australian market is declining despite the rally on Wall Street, as weak gold and oil prices weighed on resources stocks. Investors are also cautious as they digested earnings results of major local companies.

In late-morning trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is declining 31.20 points or 0.53 percent to 5,806.80, off a low of 5,791.30 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 31.90 points or 0.54 percent to 5,905.60. Australian shares lost ground on Friday following the weak cues from Wall Street and other regional markets.

In the oil sector, Santos and Woodside Petroleum are losing more than 1 percent each, while Oil Search is declining almost 2 percent after crude oil prices fell on Friday and entered correction mode.

Among the big four banks, ANZ Banking, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and National Australia Bank are lower in a range of 0.7 percent to 1.1 percent.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining is declining more than 1 percent and Evolution Mining is losing more than 2 percent after gold prices edged lower on Friday.

Bucking the trend, the major miners are mostly higher. Rio Tinto is rising 0.6 percent and BHP Billiton is adding 0.7 percent, while Fortescue Metals is down more than 1 percent.

Aurizon Holdings reported a 52 percent increase in profit for the first half compared to last year, when results were weighed by impairments and one-off items. The rail freight operator’s shares are rising more than 3 percent.

Shares of Amcor are advancing more than 1 percent after the global packaging company reported a 15 percent increase in its half-year profit.

JB Hi-Fi said its first-half profit grew 37 percent and revenue rose 41 percent after a health performance in the Christmas period. However, the home electronics and entertainment retailer’s shares are losing almost 8 percent.

On the economic front, Australia will see December data for credit card purchases and balances today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar rebounded above the $0.78 level on Monday. The local unit was quoted at US$0.7815, up from US$0.7776 on Friday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai and New Zealand are also edging lower, while South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan are all higher. The markets in Japan are closed on Monday for the National Foundation Day holiday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed notably higher on Friday in a volatile session, partly due to bargain hunting after the steep losses seen in the previous session. Traders may also have reacted positively to news that lawmakers managed to end a brief government shutdown with a bill raising spending caps and funding the government until March 23rd.

The Dow surged up 330.44 points or 1.4 percent to 24,190.90, the Nasdaq jumped 97.33 points or 1.4 percent to 6,874.49 and the S&P 500 shot up 38.55 points 1.5 percent to 2,619.55.

The major European markets showed notable moves to the downside on Friday. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slumped 1.1 percent, while the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index tumbled by 1.3 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

Crude oil futures plunged Friday, entering correction mode along with U.S. stocks. March WTI oil fell $1.95 or 3.2 percent to settle at $59.20 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since December 22.

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Airbus drone set to deliver parcels throughout a Singapore university campus


By Uptin Saiidi

Airbus completed its first flight demonstration of an air vehicle which will eventually deliver parcels to stations around a university campus in Singapore.

Unmanned drones will begin flying between parcel stations on campus by the middle of the year. The drones will land on roofs of stations, where a robotic arm will retrieve a package and place it in an individual locker. Customers can then pick up their package at any hour from the lockers.

CNBC attended the initial flight demonstration at the National University of Singapore campus where the drone appeared quite large and carried a packaged shirt inside.

The drone can carry between two to four kilogrammes, under nine pounds. The machine weighs approximately 25 kilogrammes, which is about 55 pounds.

A representative from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said the eventual plan is to roll out the drone parcel delivery system across the city-state, so long as it’s done in phases.

Airbus is joining the race to dominate the highways of the sky against competition from tech giants Google and Amazon.

Read the original article at CNBC

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Japanese Olympics speed skater Kei Saito fails doping test

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Kei Saito, a member of the Japanese short-track speedskating team at the Pyeongchang Olympics, has failed a drug test, multiple sources told Kyodo News late Monday.

Saito, 21, a reserve on the Japanese men’s 5,000-meter relay team, failed an out-of-competition test in the lead-up to the games, the sources said.

The positive test is the first ever returned by a Japanese athlete at a Winter Olympics.

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The skater, whose sister Hitomi is also competing in South Korea, was a member of Japan’s 3,000-meter relay team, which finished third at the 2014 world juniors.

Saito, a human biology student, also participated in the Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012, when he placed fifth in the 500m, fourth in 1,000m and seventh in Relay X.

He ranks 60th in the World Cup for the 2017/18 season, and his best performance this season put him in sixth place in the 5,000m relay in Seoul.

The Japan Olympic Committee is scheduled to hold a press conference on Tuesday to address Saito’s adverse finding.

According to the official PyeongChang 2018 site, Saito was persuaded to take up speed-skating by his siblings, who have both taken part in the sport.

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“His sister Hitomi has competed in short track and was part of the Japan team that finished eighth in the 3000m relay at the 2014 World Championships in Montreal, QC, Canada,” the site said.

“His brother Yu has also competed in the sport at an elite level.”

Japan has a relatively clean record when it comes to sports doping, but this case is the latest in a recent spate of infringements.

The most notable case of Japanese athletes breaking doping rules came at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles when members of the Japanese men’s volleyball team tested positive for a stimulant.

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El Paso Zoo to open carousel, new exhibits


The El Paso Zoo doesn’t monkey around when it comes to innovation and top-notch upgrades. The 35- acre park houses more than 220 species of creatures from around the globe, and zoo staff is always on the lookout for ways to improve both the animals’ and visitors’ experiences. This year, the zoo is planning several expansions and upgrades, along with the Zoological Society’s exciting, family-friendly fundraising events.

Below are some things to look forward to:

Asian Getaway and Carousel

The Asian entrance of the park will be revamped. Themed landscaping and lighting will compliment a magnificent bird’s eye view of the zoo’s brand new, 36-foot carousel and shade structure. The carousel will highlight a huge array of endangered species, along with a bird’s nest spinning tub and wheelchair-accessible swan chariot.

Chihuahuan Desert Exhibit

The zoo’s signature project, the Chihuahuan Desert Exhibit, gets underway this month. It will feature our continent’s most biologically, ecologically diverse desert, which encompasses El Paso and northern Mexico. The desert-dwelling critters that inhabit our arid landscape will be highlighted. Guests can experience the mystique of creatures like wild turkeys, jack rabbits, peccaries and thick-billed parrots.

Giraffe shade

The zoo is currently adding shade cloths for our long-legged friends before the impending heat of the spring and summer.


Updates to the South American Pavilion are underway, with a projected completion by this summer. New fish tanks and an improved sea lion viewing area are in the works.

El Paso Zoo and Zoological Society events:

Spring into some Easter fun at the zoo’s EggstravaganZoo event March 31 and April 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Families are invited to check out candy stations, food, live entertainment, inflatables, arts and crafts and other activities and games.

The zoo recognizes Earth Day with Party for the Planet April 21 and 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Khaleesi, the baby orangutan, will also celebrate her third birthday. The party includes presentations on how to be more ecofriendly, arts, crafts, food, live entertainment and games.

The El Paso Zoological Society also invites you to go green April 22 from 1 to 3 p.m. as they celebrate Mother Earth at the Alamo Drafthouse for a special screening of the Disney film, “Earth.” Guests will enjoy educational animal encounters, a silent auction, a candy of their choice, a fountain drink and a complementary group photo. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for kids ages 3 to 12.

The El Paso Zoological Society honors May 4 with its May the Fourth be with Zoo bash from 5 to 10 p.m. The Star Wars-themed event features a costume contest, music, animal viewing and much more.

The Society supports the local LGBTQ community with Hear Me Roar, May 30 from 6-10 p.m. The event will feature wildlife from Africa, Asia and the Americas, live music and a variety of food and beverages. This is a family-friendly event.

Reptilia, taking over the zoo June 3 and 4 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., showcases our creepy, crawly friends. As the name indicates, the event features the zoo’s reptilian inhabitants at the Reptile House, which is the world’s largest Texas tortoise-shaped structure. The event will feature reptile presentations and encounters, and other slithery-delightful activities.

This June 23 to 24, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., help celebrate the Carousel Grand Opening. The Hunt Family Endangered Species Carousel features 30 hand-painted endangered species from around the world, including the Mexican grey wolf and the Asian elephant.

Enjoy extended hours at the zoo at After Howlers, July 21 and Aug. 18 from 3-8:30 p.m. This event is family friendly and will include live entertainment, arts, crafts, games and other activities.

The El Paso Zoological Society Gala, is August 25, 5-10 p.m. The annual fundraiser will highlight the New Asia Gateway and Carousel. A VIP ticket includes a bird show and an Asian-themed dinner, wine and entertainment in the African Event Pavilion. For more details see the events at the El Paso Zoological Society’s Facebook page at

The El Paso Zoological Society hosts Zoospecto Patronum, Nov. 10 from 5 to 10 p.m. What Harry Potter-themed bash is complete without Platform 9 3/4, a jaunt on the Hogwarts Express and a Horcrux scavenger hunt? You can take in a Quiditch match, try your luck in the Triwizard Tournament Obstacle Course or brave the Forbidden Forest. VIPs can get dinner in the Great Hall, after being sorted into the correct house of course. Screenings of “The Deathly Hallows Part 2” and “Fantastic Beasts” will take place in the Wildlife Theatre. All ages are welcome, and the first 1,000 receive a commemorative butter beer mug. Alcohol-free butter beer will be available for all ages.

Boo at the Zoo, happens Oct. 27 to 28 from 10 a.m-6 p.m. Fill your wild weekend with frightfully fun tricks, treats, candy stations, games, animal encounters and other family friendly events. The park will observe extended hours that weekend.

Santa Claus is coming to … the zoo! Santa at the Zoo happens December 8-9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Santa will spread some holiday cheer and even some snow from the North Pole. Make holiday crafts and enjoy the carolers belting out your favorite Christmas classics.

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India says Pakistan ‘will pay’ after Kashmir army camp attack

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Pakistan “will pay” for an attack on an army base in Indian-administered Kashmir that killed nine, including five soldiers and a civilian, India’s defence minister said on Monday.

A firefight erupted on Saturday when heavily armed militants stormed the base in Jammu, the second-largest city in the disputed Himalayan region bordering Pakistan.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who visited the injured in hospital, said that counterterror operations at the camp had been called off on Monday.

“Our intelligence inputs indicate that these terrorists were being controlled by their handlers from across the border,” she told reporters.

“Pakistan is expanding the arc of terror … resorting to ceasefire violations (on the border) to assist infiltration. Pakistan will pay for this misadventure,” she said.

In disputed Kashmir, Pakistan and India are racing to tap the Himalayas

Sitharaman also corrected the earlier death toll given by police, who said 10 including four attackers had been killed in the attack.

“The terrorists have been eliminated although there was information of four terrorists in the area … likely that the fourth (attacker) was a guide and didn’t enter the premises,” the minister said, putting the overall toll at nine.

The intruders took positions inside a residential complex meant for soldiers’ families as the army launched a counteroffensive to drive them out.

Hindu-majority Jammu, located in the foothills of the mountainous region, is relatively peaceful but has repeatedly seen militant assaults on military bases close to the frontier with Pakistan.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their independence from Britain in 1947. Both claim the territory in full and have fought two wars over the region.

Saturday’s attack comes 18 years after a similar militant attack on the base in 2003 that killed 12 soldiers.

In late 2016, India said its soldiers destroyed militant bases inside Pakistan-administered Kashmir after 19 soldiers were killed in an assault on an army base.

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He's the first Asian American dancer in 'Magic Mike Live' and his fans are proud of him


There’s a moment in the middle of “Magic Mike Live” when a spotlight shines offstage to a reveal a dapper man sitting on the railing of the balcony. He’s dressed in a velvety-red, sleeveless suit and holding a single red rose, which he begins to suggestively stroke, before giving a playful wink and respectfully distributing the rest of his flowers to women in the audience.

“Magic Mike Live,” based on the popular Channing Tatum films about male strippers, bills itself as a tongue-in-cheek, female-empowerment alternative to the more salacious all-male dance revues the Las Vegas Strip is known for. Patrick Packing, the man in the red suit, is the first Asian American dancer to join the cast since it debuted in April 2017.

“The guys on the show have told me that the women were always asking, ‘Why isn’t there an Asian guy?’” says Packing. “They were like, ‘Don’t worry. He’s coming.’”

Packing, who also works as a barber, filmed his audition tape over a year ago. He’s only a month into his latest gig, but he has quickly been swept up in the fast-paced whirlwind of Vegas. He only had four days to learn the entire routine: dancing up and down staircases, emulating the film’s hip gyrations to Ginuwine’s “Pony,” donning a sailor outfit for a scene and interacting with often-handsy audience members all around the venue when he’s not onstage.

The dancers perform 10 shows a week at the Hard Rock Hotel, in addition to holding meet-and-greets for VIP ticket holders. He’s still caught off guard by the intensity and enthusiasm of Asian audience members who come and cheer for him.

“I’d say eight out of 10 times, I get them standing up, just clapping in my face, saying, ‘I’m proud of you! Thank you!’” he says, laughing. “It’s honestly really cool. I’m happy I can be that person and live it up for them.”

Packing, who was born in the Philippines but grew up Southern California, has been going to Vegas regularly since he was a kid. First he went for family trips, then he partied with his friends. Once he became a professional dancer, he went for work. In 2017, he danced in the Vietnamese variety show “Paris By Night” at Planet Hollywood.

More: For Vietnamese, ‘Paris By Night’ is a mix of Vegas, nostalgia and pre-war culture

Now that he lives in Las Vegas, he joins a community of Asian American residents who are the fastest growing demographic in the county. And though the Chinese were the first Asian settlers to come to Nevada in the early 19th century, nowadays the majority of the Asian Americans in Vegas are Filipino; they make up more than triple the number of ethnic Chinese in the city.

Rozita Lee, a former commissioner of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, says Asian Americans are more welcome in the entertainment scene these days as well, especially as the community’s buying power grows. Asian Americans’ buying power in Nevada is projected to increase to $12.6 billion by 2019, according to a 2015 census study by Asian Americans Advancing Justice (PDF).

Lee moved to Las Vegas from Hawaii in 1979. At the time, the first Filipino entertainers she remembers seeing were The Reycards, the Filipino singing comic duo of Rey Ramirez and Carding Castro, who performed in Vegas from the ‘60s until the ‘90s, when Ramirez passed away.

“I remember talking to [Castro] at the funeral, and he talked about the difficulties,” says Lee. “Even though they were on stage making people laugh, they knew they weren’t really accepted as true comedians. They weren’t getting paid the way that [white entertainers] were paid, and he was telling me that it was so hard to get the contracts that they just took whatever was given to them.”

This was also a recurring issue she had with her own show, “Rozita Lee’s Drums of the Islands,” which ran from 1992 to 2000 — the longest running Polynesian dance show in Vegas.

“These casino and hotel owners I had to deal with, if they could just pay one penny, that’s what they would pay,” says Lee. “But now more than ever, they understand the value of Asian talent, and that you have to pay for the talent. It’s about education, because some people still don’t realize that we have the numbers. And I always tell people that you should always stand firm for what you believe you are worth, because you are worth a whole lot.”

Also: What it’s like to be the butt of the joke. One of the kids at the Oscars speaks out.

Lee is proud of the many Filipino-led acts that have come through over 40 years. Jonathan Potenciano and his band Jonathan and Music Magic, known as JAMM, have been regular performers on the Vegas circuit for more than 25 years. A long-running variety troupe, Society of Seven, expanded to Vegas in the 2000s and got some attention from a new generation of fans when “American Idol” finalist Jasmine Trias started performing with them in 2009. And since 2010, JabbaWocKeeZ, the first dance crew to headline a show in Vegas, have had shows at the Monte Carlo, Luxor, and their current home at the MGM Grand. And Edwin San Juan is currently the resident comedian at Planet Hollywood.

But Lee says the locals get the most excited when big names from the Philippines visit.

This April, Filipino pop superstar Sarah Geronimo will perform at the Cannery Casino Hotel in North Las Vegas. She will be joined by Sam Concepcion, the G Force Dancers and Mark Bautista, who was the first runner-up when Geronimo won the reality singing competition “Star For a Night” 16 years ago.

But locals also know these big-name entertainers often fly in and out of Vegas for just a day or two. It’s the DJs at the nightclubs, the bands that play by the casino pools and the everyday entertainers who make up the core of the glamorous Vegas entertainment experience.

And it’s folks like Ron Cabildo, founder of the agency Deftal, who build the foundations to support these artists by getting them work in the biggest casinos.

Cabildo came to Vegas from Chicago in 2004 to compete in the Battle of the Bands competition. He was with a band called In10ct (pronounced Intensity). They won the grand prize, a $250,000, year-long contract to perform in Vegas, so he moved, knowing that he wanted to build his booking agency.

“It’s very competitive in Vegas, so in order for me to penetrate the market, I had to specialize in the Latino and Asian markets,” says Cabildo. “Asian artistry has become more acceptable now, but we are still considered a niche market, and we have to embrace what makes us different from the mainstream, share the culture that makes us unique.”

One of the projects he’s most proud of is “Hot Manila Nights,” a recurring event launched last year that tries to replicate the experience of Manila nightlife.

“A requirement for bands to perform there was that they had to learn the full repertoire of music that you’d experience in Manila. “Bands that might normally play new songs or Top 40 music had to learn how to play Original Pilipino Music,” says Cabildo, referring to a genre of pop songs and ballads that began to take hold in the late ’70s. “The reason it was successful was because it brought together Filipinos of all generations, all having a good time.”

Cabildo’s business started small, recruiting the Michito Sanchez Salsa Orchestra for South Point Casino for Salsa Nights on Tuesdays, which led to handling the Prince tribute band Purple Rain on Fridays and the classic rock band Phoenix on Saturdays. Ten years later, he’s worked with almost every casino on the Strip. He’s looking for opportunities to place his entertainers in sports stadiums and cruise ships. And he’s opened a studio called, a hub to rehearse and make music, but also to educate up-and-coming artists about the inner workings of the business.

Packing says dancers are always thinking about “leveling up.” As a teenager, he was more interested in playing basketball, but his late, older brother introduced him to Michael Jackson DVDs and asked him to be a background dancer for one of his performances. Even when Packing watched “Magic Mike,” he never imagined he’d ever be a part of this pop culture phenomenon.

“I’m doing it for us, for both me and him, and taking it as far as we can take it,” Packing says about his brother. “My goal is to just live it and keep pushing forward. Keep leveling up.”

Need more Patrick Packing? Here he is, in the dance crew with Channing Tatum on Jimmy Kimmel Live:

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Thousands protest jailing of Bangladesh opposition leader

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Thousands of Bangladeshi opposition supporters staged rallies across the country on Monday demanding the release of their jailed leader Khaleda Zia and free and fair elections.

Zia, twice president in the Muslim-majority nation of 160 million, was imprisoned for five years last week for embezzlement, sparking riots from supporters who rejected the verdict as politically motivated.

The leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is expected to appeal but the conviction may affect her ability to stand in a general election slated for December.

Thousands of BNP activists in cities across Bangladesh joined hands in a march calling for Zia’s immediate release from a prison in Dhaka.

“We want her immediate release and a free and fair election,” BNP secretary general Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said outside the national press club in Dhaka where more than 5,000 people gathered.

Zia, 72, is expected to be freed on bail once the appeal has been lodged but her supporters fear Bangladesh’s ruling party will try and keep her detained on other charges.

She is accused of dozens of other criminal violations including corruption and violence.

One of her lawyers, Zainul Abedin, said authorities were trying on Monday to hold Zia in connection with an arson attack in 2015.

Alamgir said at least 4,300 opposition officials had been arrested in the past fortnight as police sought to offset resistance before Zia’s sentencing. A party vice-chairman and two former ministers were among those detained, he said.

Police have not commented on the arrests.

Zia is a former ally-turned-arch-rival of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The BNP boycotted the general election in 2014 that saw Hasina return to power, but Zia is expected to contest the next poll in December.

Her son Tarique Rahman, who lives in exile in London, has been named acting opposition chief, despite being convicted and jailed in absentia for 10 years on the same charges as Zia.

Last month prosecutors sought the death penalty for his alleged role in a deadly 2004 grenade attack that injured Hasina.

Zia and her son were detained by an army-backed government in 2007 and spent a year and a half in detention pending trials for alleged corruption.

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Galaxy Ent announces discretionary bonus for employees; pledges to increase communications


Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd (SEHK: 00027) reportedly announced on Friday that on Feb. 13 prior to the Chinese New Year holiday the company’s eligible employees at senior manager grade and below would receive a discretionary bonus equal to one month of salary.

GGRAsia reports that the Friday announcement read that employees who joined the Hong Kong-listed firm between Jan. 2, 2017 and Oct. 3, 2017 will reportedly receive the bonus on a pro-rata basis per the total number of service days accrued.

“With the development projects of [Galaxy Macau] Phase 3 and 4, Galaxy Entertainment looks forward to team members’ continued dedication, focus and commitment in delivering ‘Asian Heart’ services and products, improving operational efficiencies, and strengthening collaboration that will set Galaxy Entertainment firmly for greater success in the years ahead,” Galaxy Entertainment reportedly wrote in the announcement Friday.

The company’s statement has also reportedly cited a pledge that in order to improve the well-being of its employees it would “increase communications” with them.

According to GGRAsia, when representatives of Galaxy Entertainment were approached regarding whether or not the firm planned to additionally award its workers a raise in salary for this year, the company said, “The 2018 annual salary review will be communicated separately soon.”

Galaxy Entertainment’s latest announced bonus payment is reportedly in addition to the company’s special “annual discretionary bonus” that was announced in September. The first part of the special bonus was to be received by eligible employees along with their Sept. 2017 salary, with the remaining part to be part this month in advance of the Chinese New Year, the company said at the time of the announcement last September.

Galaxy Entertainment is the fifth of the autonomous region’s six casino licensees having announced a bonus payment for their employees.

Macau market rivals SJM Holdings, Wynn Macau Ltd, Sands China Ltd and MGM China Holdings Ltd have all announced publically their respective plans for bonus payments for their employees in 2018.

SJM Holdings Executive Director Angela Leong On Kei told reporters on Jan. 2 that its employees had already been awarded a bonus for 2018, which the firm referred to as a “living subsidy.”

Meanwhile, a Thursday press release by Wynn Macau Ltd stated that with the exception of senior management, effective March 1 all eligible employees, which is reportedly nearly 98% of its workforce of 13,100, will receive a salary increase.

Last month, the Macau-headquartered company announced that it intended to reward all of its eligible non-executive employees with a ‘winter bonus’ worth up to one month’s gross earnings. The company’s press release on Thursday reportedly noted that the aforementioned annual bonus had been given to employees “in advance of the Chinese New Year Holiday”.

Galaxy Ent announces discretionary bonus for employees; pledges to increase communications was last modified: February 12th, 2018 by K Morrison

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Indonesian militant linked to IS imprisoned for seven years

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A court sentenced the leader of an Islamic State group-affiliated militant network in Indonesia to seven years in prison on Monday for involvement in smuggling guns from the southern Philippines.

Presiding Judge Siti Jamzanah said it had been proved that Zainal Anshori committed a criminal act of terrorism. She said the 43-year-old, his brother Zainal Hasan, who on Monday was sentenced to five years prison, and another militant travelled to a town in northern Sulawesi closest to the Indonesian border with the southern Philippines to collect a cache of weapons including automatic rifles.

Court documents said Anshori also attempted to set up a jihadist training camp in eastern Indonesia.

Anshori was arrested in April, sparking a failed reprisal attack against police in East Java province which ended with six militants killed in a gun battle.

The network Anshori led, Jamaah Anshorut Daulah, is believed responsible for a 2016 attack in Jakarta that killed eight people including the four attackers. The US last year designated it as a global terrorist organisation.

Indonesia still faces a significant risk of terror attacks despite a sustained crackdown on militants following the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people. The crackdown reduced the Jemaah Islamiah network behind the Bali bombings to remnants but a new generation of would-be jihadists has coalesced behind the IS banner. Though their capacity to launch large-scale attacks is limited, experts say it could be enhanced if Indonesians who fought with IS in Syria and Iraq return home.

Anshori, after a brief discussion with his lawyers, accepted the verdict and will not appeal, the lawyers said. He refused to comment to reporters.

Jamaah Anshorut Daulah is made up of about two dozen extremist groups and was conceived in prison by radical cleric Aman Abdurrahman, his cell mate Iwan Darmawan, also known as Rois, who is on death row for his role in a 2004 Australian embassy car bombing in Jakarta, and four regular visitors including Anshori.

Anshori became leader in 2015 after two other founders joined IS in Syria.

Court documents said Anshori received US$20,000 in cash to collect the rifles and pistols bought by Mas’ud, a militant who was sentenced to 10 years in prison last week.

Anshori told the court that he failed to collect the weapons after his two followers changed their mind and returned home to Lamongan, an area in Java known as the hometown of several of the Bali bombers.

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