Japan growth data may lead to sales tax hike
TOKYO • After months of speculation that Japan's government could postpone an impending sales tax hike to avoid damaging the economy, Tokyo appeared set to go ahead with the move thanks to stronger-than-expected growth data released yesterday.
The data showed gross domestic product expanded by 0.5 per cent in the first quarter, and while the recovery was soft and economists expressed concern over weak consumption, the data is likely to boost the case for the sales tax to finally go ahead.
Assange's detention sought in rape probe
STOCKHOLM • The Swedish prosecutor heading an investigation into a rape allegation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange filed a request with a local court yesterday for him to be detained in absentia.
If granted, the court order would be the first step in a process to have Assange extradited from Britain, where he is serving a 50-week sentence for skipping bail.
Sweden last week reopened the rape investigation, which was dropped in 2017, after Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. Assange, who denies the accusation, was arrested in London last month after spending seven years inside the embassy.
Scoot flight makes emergency landing
SINGAPORE • A Scoot flight made an emergency landing in Chennai, India yesterday after pilots were alerted to a possible fire in the cargo area.
Flight TR567 was en route from Tiruchirappalli to Singapore when the cargo smoke warning trigger was activated more than an hour into the flight, which departed at about 1.30am local time (4am Singapore time).
Confirming the incident, a Scoot spokesman told The Straits Times that the Airbus A-320 was carrying 165 passengers and six crew.
The pilots declared an emergency and the flight was diverted to Chennai, where it landed safely at about 3.40am.
"The aircraft has been grounded for investigations and preliminary assessment indicates a false warning," the spokesman said.