China to step up checks on US imports
BEIJING • China's main ports will step up quarantine checks on imports of apples and logs from the United States, and shipments found carrying disease or rot could be returned or destroyed, China's Customs agency said yesterday.
Last week, China's main ports of entry reportedly ramped up checks on fresh fruit imports from the US, which could delay shipments from US growers already dealing with higher tariffs as China-US trade ties sour.
Poverty rate worsens in Afghanistan
KABUL • Afghanistan's poverty rate has worsened sharply over the past five years as the economy has stalled and the Taleban insurgency has spread, with more than half the population living on less than a dollar a day, a survey published yesterday showed.
The Afghanistan Living Conditions Survey showed the national poverty rate rising to 55 per cent in 2016-17 from 38 per cent in 2011-12.
The report underlines the problems facing the Western-backed government in Kabul which needs economic growth to help replace foreign aid and to provide jobs for its fast-growing population.
Viet exec withdraws appeal against life term
HANOI • A Vietnamese state oil executive who Germany says was kidnapped from a Berlin park in scenes reminiscent of the Cold War has withdrawn an appeal against a Hanoi court's decision to imprison him for life, his lawyer said yesterday.
Trinh Xuan Thanh, a former executive at a unit of state oil company PetroVietnam, had sought political asylum in Germany but returned to Vietnam in January and was sentenced to life in prison for violating state regulations and embezzlement.
In a letter to the appeals court on May 2, Thanh said he would not attend the trial because of "health conditions", the Communist Party of Vietnam said on its website yesterday.