TOKYO: Across Japan's capital, delicate pink and white cherry blossoms are emerging, but the famed blooms are facing a potentially mortal enemy, experts say: an invasive foreign beetle. In January, Japan's environment ministry officially designated the beetle an invasive alien species, meaning its import and transfer are banned. "And I understand people feel it's a loss to cut down cherry trees, but it's important to take action before the damage spreads to other trees," she added. Tokyo's cherry blossom season officially started last week as forecasters watching trees at Yasukuni Shrine announced that the city's first blossoms had appeared. The appearance of cherry blossoms is hotly anticipated each year, with forecasters publishing updated maps weeks in advance.
March 22, 2018 10:30 UTC
KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has proposed that the minimum wage for skilled Malaysian workers be raised to RM3,500. The Deputy Prime Minister said that at the moment, the minimum wage for local skilled workers is RM1,200. This, he said, is in stark contrast to the minimum wage set for foreign skilled workers, which is RM3,500, as per the Immigration Department regulations. He said the government has targeted the minimum wage for skilled workers to reach RM5,000 by 2030. Present at the TVET Malaysia Expo 2018 launch were Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem, Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, and Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.
March 22, 2018 10:18 UTC
DETROIT: The fatal accident involving an Uber self-driving car cranks up pressure on the self-driving vehicle industry to prove its software and sensors are safe in the absence of strong government standards, experts in the field said. California, for example, requires manufacturers to report instances when an autonomous vehicle system disengages. He has called for the self-driving vehicle industry to develop "provable safety assurances". She was pushing a bicycle across the street from left lane into the right lane where the Uber vehicle was driving. Americans were wary of autonomous vehicle technology even before Sunday's fatality.
March 22, 2018 09:56 UTC
KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd has approved VS Industry Bhd 's proposed bonus shares, warrants and new shares to be issued arising from the conversion of the warrants.It said on Thursday the approval was for up to 397.46 million bonus shares, 46.29 million additional warrants-A and up to 46.29 million new shares to be issued arising from the conversion.The bonus issue will be on the basis of one new share for every four held on an entitlement date to be determined and announced later.VS is a leading integrated electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider in the region. It also undertake the manufacturing needs of global brand names for office and household electrical and electronic products.
March 22, 2018 09:56 UTC
KUALA LUMPUR: Khazanah Nasional Bhd is buying a 100% stake in the Prince Court Medical Centre from Petroleum Nasional Bhd for an undisclosed sum as it seeks to build up the healthcare services sector in Malaysia.The sovereign wealth fund said on Thursday it had signed a share sale and purchase agreement with the national oil corporation to acquire the private healthcare hospital at an agreed price comparable to market assessment, payable upon completion of the transaction.“Khazanah anticipates the transaction to be completed by end of Q2 2018,” it said.Khazanah will also rope in IHH Healthcare Bhd to provide shared services support and operational improvement initiatives at the 270-bed hospital under a collaboration agreement.“IHH will be given a right of first offer to acquire Prince Court Medical Centre during a pre-agreed period,” it said.Khazanah said this strategic acquisition marks another milestone for Khazanah in its mission to build up the healthcare services sector in Malaysia.“Khazanah will leverage all of its experience and expertise to transform Prince Court Medical Centre into a world-class medical tourism focused hospital, and work towards turning Kuala Lumpur into a destination of choice for quality healthcare in the region,” it said.Khazanah managing director, Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said: “We are delighted with this rare opportunity to acquire Prince Court Medical Centre .“We invested in Pantai Holdings Berhad back in 2006, and transformed this platform into what is now known as IHH Healthcare Berhad, the largest emerging markets listed hospitals operator with over 10,000 beds in 10 countries.“Working together with IHH, we aim to elevate Prince Court Medical Centre into a leading hospital that delivers world-class healthcare for medical tourists.”Meanwhile, Petronas president and group CEO Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin said: “Petronas is pleased to witness Prince Court Medical Centre's recent transformation in becoming a self-sustaining and profitable organisation with strengthened financials and solid operational foundation.“Petronas believes Prince Court Medical Centre is ready for its next phase of growth and we are confident this transaction will position Prince Court Medical Centre to realise its aspiration of becoming the leading healthcare provider in Asia.”
March 22, 2018 09:47 UTC
The new EU rules in place from May 25 will enable national regulators to “impose much higher sanctions, which cannot be applied in this current case, because there’s no retro-activity possible,” Jourova said. Fining powers currently vary from state to state, with possible sanctions in the UK, where the regulator is investigating, capped at £500,000 (RM2.76mil). The new rules can lead to fines as much as 4% of global annual sales. Vast swathesRegulators are examining whether vast swathes of data was illegally held by Cambridge Analytica after it was obtained from a researcher who shared the data without the social network’s permission. New rulesThis will only change at the end of May, when the new EU privacy rules kick in across all member nations.
March 22, 2018 09:45 UTC
Immigration Department director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said checks showed that she had not left the country. “We went to the respondent’s (Rozita) house in Damansara and her family home in Melaka, but no one was at either address. (File pix) Immigration Department director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali at an event in Kuala Lumpur recently. The accused pleaded guilty to the lesser charge and Mokhzani sentenced her to be bound over for five years on a good behaviour bond of RM20,000. The petition claims that Rozita’s actions against Suyanti should have resulted in a “stricter punishment” instead of a mere good behaviour bond.
March 22, 2018 09:22 UTC
KUALA LUMPUR: Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali (pic) wants voters to reject any party election manifesto that promises to abolish the Sedition Act and champions equality and meritocracy. He said the Sedition Act 1948 is a preventive measure to ensure national security that the country cannot afford to lose. "The Sedition Act needs to be preserved as it has been proven effective in protecting our national security," he said, adding that Perkasa will continue to fight against its abolishment. Pakatan's GE14 manifesto promises to abolish a series of laws including the Sedition Act and the National Security Council. If they are unhappy and hold demonstrations, it may threaten our national security and economic stability," he said.
March 22, 2018 09:16 UTC
SINGAPORE: Facebook admitted it should have told users earlier about a breach of its policies, when its Asia-Pacific vice president of public policy appeared before Singapore's Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods on Thursday (March 22). Milner had previously told British MPs on a select committee inquiry into fake news, chaired by MP Damian Collins, that Cambridge Analytica did not have Facebook data. Facebook was one of four technology companies, including Twitter and Google, that appeared before Singapore's Select Committee on Thursday. In their written submissions to the committee, Facebook and Twitter expressed concerns about a possible move by Singapore to introduce new legislation to deal with the problem of fake news. Tan also noted that Facebook is making efforts to remove fake accounts and introduce transparency in advertising, among other measures.
March 22, 2018 09:11 UTC
MIRI: Some 260 residents of Tudan Desaras phase 6 are now able to pay for water to be connected to their houses via an instalment plan. Piasau assemblyman Datuk Sebastian Ting helped the residents by issuing each applicant a letter of undertaking which guaranteed payment to the Northern Region Water Board (LAKU). Ting added that the next plan was to ensure supply of electricity in the area in addition to improving the drainage. LAKU set up a booth to help residents register and make payment. Tudan Desaras phase 6 is home to resettled former squatter families from Kampung Api-api, Kampung Merikan and Kampung Pasir.
March 22, 2018 09:00 UTC
SINGAPORE: Global tech giants including Facebook and Twitter on March 22 expressed concern about a possible Singapore plan to bring in a new law to tackle the threat of fake news, saying sufficient rules are already in place. They were among 79 people asked to speak in parliament over the eight days set for the hearing. "Singapore already has a variety of existing laws and regulations which address hate speech, defamation and the spreading of false news." Singapore ranks 151 among 180 countries rated in the World Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders, a non-government group that promotes freedom of information. Many of the examples of fake news, cited in a Singapore government paper on deliberate online falsehoods published in January, came from abroad.
March 22, 2018 08:48 UTC
PARIS: Harmful carbon emissions from energy rose in 2017 for the first time in three years, the International Energy Agency said Thursday, proof that the world's efforts to fight climate change are falling short. Strong economic growth pushed global energy demand up by 2.1 percent last year, the Paris-based IEA said in a report. Some 70 percent of those additional needs were met by fossil fuels oil, gas and coal, pushing global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions up by 1.4 percent, after three years of remaining flat. "The significant growth in global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2017 tells us that current efforts to combat climate change are far from sufficient," IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in a statement. The 29-nation IEA provides analysis on global energy markets and advocates policies enhancing the reliability, affordability and sustainability of energy.- AFP
March 22, 2018 08:37 UTC
KAJANG: Police are on the hunt for a vehicle theft gang which has been targeting Toyota Hilux pickup trucks in the Kajang area. The gang of four men has been responsible for at least five related cases since the end of February in Sungai Long and Bandar Mahkota Cheras. Kajang OCPD Asst Comm Ahmad Dzaffir Mohd Yussof said that the gang will attack the drivers of the Hilux at petrol stations and or when they stop at the side of the road. The police have received reports of one Hilux theft and four attempted thefts between the end of February and March 21. ACP Ahmad Dzaffir also urged anyone with information to contact Kajang CID officer Asst Supt Mohd Irwan at 017-3168097.
March 22, 2018 08:18 UTC
PETALING JAYA: BDO Capital Consultants Sdn Bhd, the independent adviser to Iskandar Waterfront City Bhd ’s (IWC) minority shareholders, has advised them to accept the takeover offer from Ekovest Bhd at RM1.50 per share.Last December, Ekovest said it has proposed to undertake a conditional voluntary general offer to acquire all the offer shares in IWC at RM1.50 per share. The consideration of the offer shares will be satisfied via cash or share exchange options.In a circular to minority shareholders filed with Bursa Malaysia Thursday, BDO had advised and recommended that shareholders to accept the offer.“Based on our evaluation, we are of the opinion that the cash option is not fair but reasonable whilst the share exchange option is fair and reasonable to the holders,” BDO said in the circular.The independent adviser said the share exchange option was more favourable due to the exchange ratio of more than one ranging from 1.26 to 1.33.An exchanging ratio of more than one indicates that the holders are effectively receiving Ekovest shares which are higher in terms of a fair value than IWC shares to be surrendered, BDO said.“The IWC shares have not traded above the offer price for the past three years prior to the March 15, 2018 (LPD), except during the Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH) proposed merger scheme period,“Additionally, the offer price represents a premium of approximately 7 sen, or 4.9% over the closing price of IWC shares as at LPD,” BDO said.It noted that the average daily volume traded of Ekovest shares as a percentage over free float of about 43.72% for the past 12 months is higher than the average daily volume traded of IWC shares for the same period of about 13.79%.
March 22, 2018 08:03 UTC
(Reuters) - Southampton striker Charlie Austin is eager to return to action after a lengthy injury lay-off and help the club in their fight to avoid relegation from the Premier League. Austin hit top form at the end of last year, scoring five goals in seven league games across November and December, before sustaining a hamstring injury in Southampton's 1-1 draw with Huddersfield Town. Southampton have won just one of their 11 league games in Austin's absence to drop into the bottom three with eight matches left in the season. It wasn't like being out for two weeks -- it's been 14 weeks now," Austin told the club's website. Southampton are under immense pressure to rescue their season under new manager Mark Hughes and Austin says the team must embrace it.
March 22, 2018 07:52 UTC