BEIRUT -- At least 472 civilians, including 137 children, have been killed in the past month of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in Syria, a monitoring group said Friday. This is the highest monthly toll from coalition bombardment since September 2014, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The deaths were mainly from the provinces of Deir al-Zour and al-Raqqa, where Islamic State extremists are active, it added. The observatory's head, Rami Abdel-Rahman, said the fatalities included 222 civilians in Deir al-Zour in eastern Syria and 250 others in the north-eastern province of al-Raqqa, Islamic State's de facto capital. "This is the highest civilian death toll in the US alliance airstrikes since they (the coalition) began bombing in the country on Sept. 23, 2014," Abdel-Rahman said.
Postage stamps for domestic mail are set to increase in August for the first time in 26 years. The price for a standard letter will increase from NT$5 to NT$8, while postcard prices will double from NT$2.5 to NT$5. The Transport Ministry said Friday that the adjustments reflected service cost increases and made unit prices more convenient for customers. The ministry added that it would supervise the postal service's use of the increased revenue for infrastructure upgrades to ensure service efficiency and quality. It added that it would request the postal service fulfill its corporate social responsibility requirements by helping to promote government senior care policies by deepening the attention it gives to older people.
LONDON — The Metropolitan Police are considering manslaughter charges over the devastating fire that killed at least 79 people at west London's Grenfell Tower, Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack said Friday. "We will identify and investigate any criminal offence and, of course, given the deaths of so many people we are considering manslaughter, as well as criminal offences and breaches of legislation and regulations," McCormack told reporters. "We have been told the speed it spread at was unexpected, so importantly we will establish why this happened." Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday said tests had found more tower blocks with "combustible" cladding similar to the type used on Grenfell Tower. The London Borough of Camden said it would remove unsafe cladding found on five towers on its Chalcots Estate in northwest London.
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan's young adults are facing stagnant wages in an increasingly competitive labor market. According 1111 Job Bank survey data released today, 41 percent of 562 people surveyed owed at least NT$200,000 (US$6,589) in student debt, with 17 percent owing NT$310,000 or more. Student loans are becoming increasingly common, and the debt burden of Taiwan's young workforce is becoming greater. Job bank deputy CEO Lee Ta-hua said that 63 percent of those interviewed were interested in seeking jobs abroad, with 25.9 percent of those seeking full-time jobs. The survey was conducted from June 7 to 21 on seniors graduating from university this year.
Former Khmer Rouge leader Khieu Samphan was defiant as he addressed the closing session of Cambodia's genocide tribunal in Phnom Penh on Friday, denying accusations that his former government was involved in genocide. "The Communist Party of Kampuchea leaders did not exterminate our people," he said, calling such claims "Vietnamese propaganda." Samphan argued that the regime's infamous collective farms and worksites were a means to "urgently" rebuild a damaged country facing famine. The wish of the Communist Party of Kampuchea at the time was not to subject the population to slavery for the sole benefit of Pol Pot," he told the court. Vietnam's overthrow of the Khmer Rouge in 1979 remains a point of contention in Cambodia.
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taking care of a little one is hard enough. Doing it in a foreign city, even an international one like Taipei, adds a load of other problems, from deciphering bus routes to finding some appropriate weekend fun. But we have some good news: There's a blog for that. A Toddler in Taipei was started by expat mom Sarah to give English speakers ideas about where to go and what to do with their tot around the capital. The blog, which has a super-practical Facebook page, shares stuff like this:It's a very resource-rich site.
The motor club focuses on environmentally friendly mobility, which includes cargo bikes. They're great for heavy loads, says von Rauch, adding: "There's no longer any reason to take a car to the store." Cargo bikes are not only environmentally friendly and carbon-neutral, they also often help you save on time. The logistics company DPD has confirmed the increase in productivity that cargo bikes bring compared with conventional delivery vehicles. Manufacturers have embraced the cargo bike trend and are coming up with a range of new models.
AFP, MOSCOWRussia’s state communications watchdog on Friday threatened to ban the Telegram messaging app, saying the company behind the service had failed to submit company details for registration. In a message on its Web site, the Roskomnadzor agency warned that “time is running out” for Telegram to comply with the law. The free instant messaging app lets people exchange messages, photos and videos in groups of up to 5,000 people. The 32-year-old had previously created Russia’s popular VKontakte social media site before founding Telegram in the US. The app is one of several targeted in a legal crackdown by Russian authorities on the Internet and on social media sites in particular.
June 23, 2017 21:22 UTC
Reuters, HALLE, GermanyTop seed Roger Federer on Thursday beat Germany’s Mischa Zverev 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 to advance to the last eight of the Gerry Weber Open as the 18-time Grand Slam champion sharpens his grass-court game ahead of Wimbledon. He persisted and carved out two more, winning the tiebreak by whipping a crosscourt backhand winner on his fourth set point. 90, failed to follow up his huge upset of the top-ranked Murray in straight sets on Tuesday, losing to the US’ Sam Querrey 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 6-3. Kokkinakis, who dispatched Raonic — last year’s runner-up at Wimbledon and Queen’s — also in straight sets, was beaten by Daniil Medvedev of Russia 6-2, 6-2. Feliciano Lopez was the last player through to the quarter-finals after beating Jeremy Chardy 6-1, 7-6 (7/4).
June 23, 2017 16:03 UTC
AFP, KAZAN, RussiaArsenal’s Alexis Sanchez became Chile’s all-time top scorer with his 38th international goal in Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Germany at the Confederations Cup. Lars Stindl netted his second goal of the tournament to equalize for the world champions just before the break. Germany are tomorrow to play Cameroon in Sochi, Russia, while Chile face the Socceroos in Moscow. After their opening 2-0 win over Cameroon, Chile took the lead with just six minutes gone. It was Stindl’s second goal in Russia, after he opened the scoring against Australia, to make it 1-1 at the break.
June 23, 2017 16:03 UTC
AFP, HONG KONGChinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is to visit Hong Kong next week to mark 20 years since the territory was handed back to China by Britain, local media said, in a visit that will be incendiary to pro-democracy advocates in the territory. Although widely expected, officials have not said whether Xi will make the trip, his first to Hong Kong since becoming president in 2013. His itinerary includes touring the Chinese People’s Liberation Army garrison in central Hong Kong, as well as visiting an infrastructure project, the newspaper said. However, a number of incidents, including the disqualification from the Hong Kong Legislative Council of two pro-independence lawmakers and the alleged abduction of five Hong Kong booksellers, have raised fears that Beijing is trampling the agreement. “The fact that the head of the [Chinese Communist] party and the army is in Hong Kong I think will enhance people’s impression that Beijing really means business,” said Lam, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Staff writer, with CNATaiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday urged passengers to arrive at the airport earlier, use automatic check-in systems and double-check their luggage to avoid long lines, as a spike in passenger volume is expected in the coming months. People are advised to take public transportation, such as the MRT Airport Line, to make sure they arrive early enough. China Airlines, EVA Airways, Mandarin Airlines and UNI Airways passengers can check in luggage at the MRT’s Taipei Main Station, the airport said. People are also asked to take advantage of check-in kiosks and the automated e-Gate system to speed up passenger processing. Taoyuan airport estimates it will handle 7.6 million visits next month and in August, with an average daily travel volume of 123,000 people.
Staff writer, with CNAThe air force confirmed another missile glitch during a military drill in Pingtung County yesterday, a day after two MIM-23 Hawk missiles veered off course after they were launched at the same annual military exercise to test precision weapons. The days-long exercise concluded at 11:20am yesterday at the Jioupeng Military Base (九鵬基地), the air force said in a statement. “The air force will conduct a thorough review, as soon as possible, on all problems identified during the drill,” it said. The two missiles were fired as part of an annual precision weapons drill conducted jointly by the army, navy and air force. Due to fuel combustion problems, the missiles veered off course shortly after being launched and exploded within a restricted area, the air force said.
CPC plans to build its third liquefied natural gas terminal on yet-to-be reclaimed land off Datan adjacent to Kuantang Industrial Park. The company said algae reefs in Datan are sparse compared with the adjacent Kuanhsin (觀新) conservation area. Chen said he found the coral also exists in Datan’s algae reefs after he analyzed samples from a field survey on June 8. Taiwan Power Corp already operates a power plant in Datan, which has sufficient supply of natural gas, she said. “Is it really necessary to build another natural gas terminal there?” she asked.
The average overtime pay per month from January to April climbed to NT$1,693 from a year earlier, the agency said. In April alone, the average overtime pay rose 5.27 percent from a year earlier and 1.54 percent from March to NT$1,719, the agency added. Pan Ning-hsin (潘寧馨), the deputy director of the agency’s census department, said that the new work hour regulations had boosted overtime pay. Employers are required to pay overtime for work on the flexible day off. In April, overtime work hours averaged 8.1 hours, up 0.1 hours from a month earlier, but down 0.4 hours from a year earlier, the DGBAS said.