Fast Internet service for disputed isles
MOSCOW • Russia has established high-speed Internet service on a chain of Pacific islands off its far eastern coast, state-run telecoms operator Rostelecom said yesterday, despite a decades-old dispute with Japan over the territory.
Rostelecom said an 815km fibre optic cable line had been laid between Russia's offshore Sakhalin island and the island chain to introduce fast Internet connection in four towns and villages on the islands of Iturup, Kunashir and Shikotan.
Chinese county halts shale gas mining
SHANGHAI • A county in Sichuan province in south-western China has halted shale gas mining amid fears it may have helped cause a magnitude 4.9 quake in the area that killed two people on Monday, state news agency Xinhua reported.
PetroChina, which operates in the area, said in an e-mail to Reuters that "due to safety reasons and production safety requirements, the shale gas development enterprises have suspended their operations upon communication with PetroChina Southwest Oil and Gas Field Branch."
Thai PM will not join election debate
BANGKOK • Thai Prime Minister and junta leader Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday he will not join a public debate with his fellow prime ministerial candidates ahead of the March 24 general election.
"I'm not afraid. I just don't think it's necessary," Mr Prayut, 64, told a press briefing at Government House.
UN brings food aid to Yemen front lines
GENEVA • The United Nations said yesterday it had reached food-aid warehouses on the front lines in Yemen, holding enough supplies to feed millions of people, for the first time since September.
The mission follows an agreement struck in Sweden on Feb 17, in which the sides in Yemen's conflicts agreed to redeploy their fighters outside the ports, which are in the rebel Houthi-held west, and away from areas that are key to the humanitarian relief effort in the country.