Two years on from devastating earthquake, Nepal continues to rebuild

Nepal -- April 2017 marks the second anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Nepal, which took almost 8,860 lives, injured 22,000, damaged 602,257 houses, and rendered thousands of people homeless. The government, through the NRA, has begun to make serious efforts to respond to the needs in earthquake affected areas. Are the disaster response policies delivering justice to affected people, particularly marginalized and vulnerable communities, in practice? While reconstruction needs to be a key priority for the government, it must not overshadow other crucial needs of the affected people. Despite the damage, the earthquake has created an opportunity to reconstruct private homes, but also public infrastructure that is inclusive.

April 23, 2017 16:06 UTC

Savor some unpredictability as NBA playoffs begin

Say this about the NBA playoffs: It's usually quite predictable. 8-seeded Chicago, which needed a tiebreaker to slip into the playoffs on the final night of the regular season. He may not survive the opening round, but he's doing his best to extend one of the greatest seasons in NBA history. The Pacers have been competitive in every game, but James simply doesn't lose at this stage of the postseason. The list of legitimate championship contenders should be fully intact, since it's not very long to begin with.

April 23, 2017 16:06 UTC

Abusive Nastase banned as Fed Cup boils over

By Dave James -- Romanian tennis legend Ilie Nastase was sensationally kicked out of the Fed Cup on Saturday after a foul-mouthed rant compounded his controversial racial slur over Serena Williams's unborn baby. The day before, Nastase, a former world number one and two-time Grand Slam title winner, was overheard making derogatory remarks about US superstar Serena Williams's pregnancy. he said in Romanian, remarks then reported widely internationally, including by a British female reporter who he then berated, describing her as "stupid" and "ugly." The International Tennis Federation (ITF) said that Nastase had been expelled from the tie against Britain for "serious misconduct" and hinted at further punishment. Konta broke down in tears after the abuse and the match was held up for 25 minutes before Nastase was escorted out of the venue by burly security guards.

April 23, 2017 16:06 UTC

Benches cleared as Tigers beat Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins slugger Miguel Sano punched Tigers catcher James McCann in the mask Saturday during a bench-clearing scrap in the fifth inning of Detroit's 5-4 victory over Minnesota. There was plenty of pushing and shoving near home plate as both benches and bullpens emptied, though there did not appear to be any other punches thrown. Jones took a 90 mph fastball in the mouth from Twins reliever Justin Haley in the third and left the game. Rizzo connected in the first inning against left-hander Cody Reed (1-1), who was moved into the Reds' injury-depleted rotation. Nationals 3, Mets 1 Gio Gonzalez pitched no-hit ball into the sixth inning to win again at Citi Field as Washington beat New York for its sixth straight victory.

April 23, 2017 16:06 UTC

A nuclear-free Taiwan shows Tsai's lack of foresight

This past Saturday marked Earth Day, the annual worldwide day where more than one billion people across the world celebrate by showing support for environmental protection. Taiwan-based supporters of the March for Science also organized a riverside cleanup event in Taipei in support of the campaign. Meanwhile, the U.S.' National Science Foundation, which has provided funding to more than 200 Nobel Prize winners, is expected to take a similar hit. Scientific research plays a vital role both in the economy and people's daily lives. This January and February already saw a year-over-year power supply increase of 14.13 percent and 15.27 percent, respectively.

April 23, 2017 15:56 UTC

Plight of homeless in focus ahead of Universiade

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- One of the last things that anyone would probably expect to happen to them is to lose their home and suddenly end up on the streets. While human rights activism has advanced in Taiwan over the years, Homeless of Taiwan member Kuo Ying-ching said a deep stigma is still attached to those who find themselves homeless. Their demands were to host negotiations with the city government and find suitable locations to store the belongings of the homeless. City government officials argued the cleanup was vital in order to provide an immaculate environment at Taipei Main Station ahead of the Universiade 2017 in August. These words, though perhaps not malicious in their intent, only highlight the complicated nature of the plight that faces Taiwan's homeless.

April 23, 2017 15:56 UTC

Chunghwa users to suffer a monthlong slow Internet connection

An unusual suspect may be to blame for a month of slower connection speeds to overseas websites for Chunghwa Telecom (中華電信) customers, after a possible shark attack damaged a submarine communications cable. While local media reports speculated that the jaws of a great white nuisance were to blame, Chunghwa Telecom did not clarify the cause of the disruption. Chunghwa's clients have since found that connection speeds to popular websites including YouTube, imgur, Twitch, and DMM have been affected. Interim Chunghwa spokesman Shen Fu-fu (沈馥馥) said that as there were only three companies in the world with cable-laying ships, the earliest a repair could be scheduled was May. According to tech website iThome, undersea communications cables are susceptible to damage caused by sea water, earthquakes, typhoons, and other natural disasters.

April 23, 2017 15:56 UTC

Six aspire to lead KMT

Aspirants for the leadership of the Kuomintang (KMT) hit the campaign trail in earnest on their first weekend as official candidates. Leadership frontrunner and ex-Vice President Wu Den-yih vowed to resurrect the opposition's support among young people, as he met with party representatives in Pingtung Sunday. According to leaked data, Wu submitted the highest number of signatures endorsing his campaign bid. On Sunday, he drew a strong crowd as he made a campaign stop in the southern city, with over two-thirds of the candidates for local party positions out in support for the former vice president. Pingtung County has 67 seats in KMT party central, Pingtung County Councilor Chou Tian-lun said.

April 23, 2017 15:56 UTC

Slowing down at In Between

In recent years, the line between work and personal time has gotten a bit blurry as we become an increasingly connected society. We take care of personal or family needs during work and we regularly bring work home with us. If you've experienced the changing boundaries between work and personal life too, In Between restaurant is the place for you. Using local ingredients, Lin again brings his French cooking skills to highlight the rich flavors of Taiwan black-bone chicken. The rolls are served with fried vegetables and a truffle cream sauce that further adds depth of flavor to the dish.

April 23, 2017 15:56 UTC

Celebrate an 'auspicious year'

Mandarin Oriental, Taipei (台北文華東方酒店) recently announced its annual Wedding Fair, collaborating with Jo Malone London and numerous well-known brands to offer you a dream wedding on your big day. Furthermore, those who say "I do" on the day will enjoy various benefits, plus a chance to win a two-night stay at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok. Knowing that 2017 is expected to be an "auspicious year" with many good dates for marriage on the Chinese calendar, Mandarin Oriental, Taipei has unveiled many packages for newlyweds who don't want to "break the bank." The various wedding packages on offer include "The Elegant Wedding", priced at NT$29,800 per table; "The Perfect Wedding," priced at NT$33,800 per table; "The Classic Wedding," priced at NT$38,800 per table; "The Fantastic Wedding," priced at NT$46,800 per table, and "The Royal Wedding," priced at NT$58,800 per table. Among other highlights, Mandarin Oriental, Taipei houses Taiwan's first grand wedding chapel, The Grand Salon — located on the eighth floor.

April 23, 2017 15:56 UTC

Rangers, Blues and Oilers all advance to second round

NEW YORK -- Mats Zuccarello scored twice in the second period as the New York Rangers beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 in Game 6 on Saturday night to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Rangers won three straight after falling behind 2-1 to beat Montreal for the ninth time in 16 postseason series. The Canadiens, winners of the Atlantic Division after missing the playoffs last year, were bounced from the postseason by the Rangers for the second time in four years. Blues 4, Wild 3, OT Magnus Paajarvi scored at the 9:42 mark in overtime to give the St. Louis Blues a series-clinching win over the Minnesota Wild. The Blues advanced to play Nashville in the second round.

April 23, 2017 15:56 UTC

France begins picking new president in test for populism

PARIS -- Amid heightened security, French voters began casting ballots for their next president Sunday in a first-round poll that's seen as a litmus test for the spread of populism around the world and a vote on the future of Europe. The presidential poll is the first ever to be held during a state of emergency, put in place since the Paris attacks of November 2015. During Women's Day this year, he said he wished to designate a woman as prime minister, without specifying who. Daughter of Front National founder Jean-Marie Le PenANTI-EUROPEANPlans to trigger a referendum on the country's membership of the European Union. She also wants to put the French flag on every public monument, while removing any signs of the EU.

April 23, 2017 15:56 UTC

Anti-fascists, Jews boycott Croatia memorial

JASENOVAC, Croatia -- Croatia honoured on Sunday the victims of its most brutal World War II death camp, an event again snubbed by ethnic Serbs, Jews and anti-fascists who accuse authorities of tolerating a pro-Nazi ideology. Conservative Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, several ministers and foreign diplomats attended a commemoration ceremony at the site of the Jasenovac camp which was dismantled 72 years ago. On Saturday, several thousand people including survivors of the camp, victims' relatives and foreign diplomats attended a ceremony organized by anti-fascists and ethnic Serbs. Anti-fascists, ethnic Serbs and Jews in particular are incensed by a plaque with the Ustasha slogan "For the Homeland Ready" unveiled at Jasenovac last November. Jasenovac was the largest and most notoriously brutal of Croatia's death camps, where many inmates were killed by hammers, knives and stones.

April 23, 2017 15:56 UTC

Spare a thought for war-zone kids

Amid death and destruction, the little girl managed to seek joy and happiness in a little thing like inflated surgical gloves meant to treat her wounds and scars. Like the recent gas attack earlier this month that killed 86 people, including many children in a Syrian town, neither side is claiming responsibility. Shocking footage of Syrian kids gasping for breath created a stir around the world. Satyarthi, who was jointly awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, said the video of the April 4 gas attack in Syria had prompted him to speak out. UNICEF says more than 3 million children are internally displaced in Syria, while two million more Syrian kids are refugees in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and beyond.

April 23, 2017 15:56 UTC

Finance leaders dodge conflict with Trump White House

WASHINGTON -- Global finance leaders sought to avoid conflict with the Trump administration over trade and environmental policy and welcomed signs the world economy is pulling out of the doldrums. The International Monetary Fund dropped a sharp condemnation of trade protectionism and references to climate change from a statement at the close of its spring meetings with the World Bank. Since taking office, Trump has slashed environmental regulations, and his administration has planned big cutbacks at the Environmental Protection Agency. But Lagarde and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said world governments needed to do a better job helping those being left behind economically. Otherwise, a backlash against globalization could pressure governments into adopting protectionist policies that would harm world trade and growth.

April 23, 2017 09:00 UTC

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