Indonesia MPs reappoint scandal-hit Speaker
JAKARTA • Indonesia's Parliament yesterday reappointed Mr Setya Novanto as its Speaker, reinstating him despite a scandal last year when he was accused of trying to extort US$1.8 billion (S$2.6 billion)worth of shares from the local unit of US mining giant Freeport McMoran.
Mr Novanto resigned as Speaker in December after an inquiry was launched when the head of Freeport Indonesia Maroef Sjamsoeddin told parliament's ethics panel he secretly recorded a meeting with Mr Novanto and alleged the speaker asked for a 20 per cent stake in the company.
Mr Novanto denied the allegations.
Women flock to Mumbai mosque after legal victory
MUMBAI • Hundreds of women poured into the inner sanctum of the iconic Haji Ali Dargah mosque in Mumbai on Tuesday after a Supreme Court order granted them equal access, sparking hope for other cases of discrimination against women.
The lengthy legal battle for women to enter the heart of Haji Ali Dargah is one of many cases for equal access in places of worship in India.
Cambodian lute needs 'urgent safeguarding'
PHNOM PENH • Chapei Dang Veng, a Cambodian long-necked, two-stringed lute, was inscribed on the Unesco's list of intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding yesterday, according to a Unesco press release.
The inscription was made during the eleventh session of the Inter-governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia.
New bird flu cases in South Korea
SEOUL • South Korea yesterday revealed new cases of a deadly strain of bird flu as authorities said they had slaughtered two million chickens and ducks in a bid to control the outbreak.
The H5N6 virus was first confirmed on Nov 18 at a farm in central South Korea and it has since spread to farms around the country, with the total number of cases now standing at 46.
The authorities have stepped up quarantine measures, culling birds and restricting animal movements which are feared to spread the virus.
China reconstructing Titanic experience
DAYING COUNTY (Sichuan) • You too may soon be able to feel what it was like to hit an iceberg on the Titanic.
Construction of a life-size replica of the doomed passenger ship began in China's south-western Sichuan province yesterday with a keel-laying ceremony and fireworks to mark the occasion.
It is part of Star Energy Investment Group's plans for a tourist resort by the Qijiang River in Sichuan's Daying County. It will eventually come with a simulation of the iceberg collision that sank the original ship in the North Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 1912.