Channel NewsAsiahttp://www.channelnewsasia.comChannel NewsAsia Singapore was established in March 1999 by MediaCorp, and is an English language Asian TV News channel. Positioned to Understand Asia, it reports on global developments with Asian perspectives. Channel NewsAsia brings viewers not only the latest news but also the stories behind the headlines. NewsAsiahttp://www.channelnewsasia.com129137en-usMan jailed 6 years for attempted rape of 4-year-old step-niece Local NewsMon, 25 Jul 2016 19:38:13 +0800SINGAPORE: A 22-year-old man was sentenced to six years’ jail and three strokes of the cane on Monday (Jul 25) for the attempted rape of his four-year-old step-niece in February 2012.

He had tried to have sex with the girl after becoming “sexually aroused” when she climbed onto his lap, wanting to play. The man, then 18, positioned the victim on her back, before pulling down her shorts and panties and attempting to rape her, the High Court heard.

Crime generic (2)

After a while, the girl pulled up her panties and shorts and ran, crying, to her mother, who had been busy in the kitchen. Her mother, the man’s step-sister, assumed they had just been playing and brushed off her daughter’s complaints.

However, when the girl complained of pain in her genital area in the days that followed, her mother took her to the doctor. The National University Hospital’s Children’s Emergency Department reported the case to the police in March 2012.

The teen was arrested the next day, and confessed to police that he had tried to rape his step-niece as he was feeling “horny” after the toddler straddled him.


Prosecutors urged the court to impose a seven-year jail term on the man. Although the rape was “not completed”, prosecutors pointed out the man had “gone beyond just taking a mere preparatory step”.

“(His) actions fully reflect (his) clear and sustained intention to see through the sexual assault on (the victim)”, Deputy Public Prosecutor Kavita Uthrapathy said, pointing to the fact the man had gone so far as to position the girl on her back and remove her shorts and panties.

The prosecutor also pointed out the victim was just four years old when she was assaulted by her step-uncle. “At the age of four, she was absolutely vulnerable,” DPP Uthrapathy said, and “would have suffered significant pain as the (man) attempted to (rape) her … the physical pain and absolute terror she must have endured is unimaginable”.

The impact of the attempted rape on the girl, now eight, “remains to be seen”, she added.


Defence lawyer Daniel Soo said five years’ jail would be fair, acknowledging his client had committed a “horrible crime”.

Citing the man’s low IQ and fractured family background, Mr Soo said the man “never had proper parental guidance … pornography (was his) primary source of sexual education”.

The lawyer also pointed out the man did not “complete” the rape, though he could have done so “easily”. “The girl was powerless and vulnerable,” Mr Soo said, but the man, due to his low IQ, may not have fully understood the gravity of his actions then, the lawyer added.

However, the man is not a paedophile and has a low risk of reoffending, Mr Soo said, citing a report by the Institute of Mental Health.

For attempted rape, the man could have been sentenced to up to 20 years’ jail and fined or caned. 

Buyout funds eye alliances for SABMiller's Pilsner, CEE brands: sources BusinessMon, 25 Jul 2016 19:35:10 +0800LONDON: U.S. and European buyout funds are gearing up for SABMiller's sale of its central and eastern European beer brands with some seeking to join forces to snap up assets worth up to 7 billion euros (US$7.69 billion), sources familiar with the matter said.

London-based Advent has been conducting preliminary work for several months and has emerged as one of the most determined suitors, the sources said.

A glass with beer and a bottle of Corona are seen in this picture illustration taken in Sarajevo

Mid-sized investment firms including Mid Europa Partners and Czech family office R2G are discussing their options with some bigger Western funds including U.S. buyout funds KKR and Bain Capital and European funds BC Partners and PAI Partners, the sources said.

Japan's Asahi Group Holdings has also signaled interest, they added.

AB InBev, SABMiller, Advent, KKR, BC Partners, PAI and R2G declined to comment while Bain Capital and Mid Europa Partners weren't immediately available for comment.

(Additional reporting by Jason Hovet in Prague, Martinne Geller in London, Arno Schuetze in Frankfurt, Agnieszka Barteczko in Warsaw and Ritsuko Shimizu in Tokyo; editing by Freya Berry)

Yahoo selling internet assets for US$4.8b to Verizon World BusinessMon, 25 Jul 2016 19:34:47 +0800SAN FRANCISCO: Yahoo agreed to sell its core assets to telecom giant Verizon for US$4.8 billion, ending a 20-year run by the internet pioneer as an independent company, the firms announced Monday (Jul 25).

Verizon chief executive Lowell McAdam said Yahoo would be integrated into its recently acquired AOL unit to create "a top global mobile media company, and help accelerate our revenue stream in digital advertising."

Yahoo will be integrated into its recently acquired AOL unit as core assets are sold to Verizon(Photo:AFP)

The acquisition, expected to close in early 2017, will exclude Yahoo's cash, certain patent holdings, and its big share in China's Alibaba Group and stake in Yahoo Japan. The deal will leave Yahoo as a separate investment company that will change its name after the transaction.

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, said in a statement: "Yahoo is a company that has changed the world, and will continue to do so through this combination with Verizon and AOL."

She added that the deal separates the core Yahoo business from its Asian asset equity stakes, and "is an important step in our plan to unlock shareholder value for Yahoo".

The deal comes with Yahoo, a onetime leader in the online space, struggling to keep up with rivals like Google and Facebook.

Turkey detains 42 journalists in crackdown as Europe sounds alarm, 25 Jul 2016 19:25:14 +0800ISTANBUL: Turkey ordered the detention of 42 journalists on Monday, broadcaster NTV reported, under a crackdown following a failed coup that has targeted more than 60,000 people, drawing fire from the European Union.

The arrests or suspensions of soldiers, police, judges and civil servants in response to the July 15-16 putsch have raised concerns among rights groups and Western countries, who fear President Tayyip Erdogan is capitalising on it to tighten his grip on power.

A security officer stays on the roof near the Turkey's national flag as supporters of various

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker questioned Ankara's long-standing aspiration to join the EU.

"I believe that Turkey, in its current state, is not in a position to become a member any time soon and not even over a longer period," Juncker said on French television France 2.

Juncker also said that if Turkey reintroduces the death penalty - something the government has said it must consider, responding to calls from supporters at public rallies for the coup leaders to be executed - it would stop the EU accession process immediately.

Turkey abolished capital punishment in 2004, allowing it to open EU accession talks the following year, but the negotiations have made scant progress since then.

Responding to Juncker's comments, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Haberturk TV that Europe cannot threaten Turkey regarding the death penalty.

Erdogan has declared a state of emergency, which allows him to sign new laws without prior parliamentary approval and limit rights as he deems necessary. The government has said these steps are needed to root out supporters of the coup and won't infringe on the rights of ordinary Turks.

NTV reported that among the 42 journalists subject to arrest warrants was well-known commentator and former parliamentarian Nazli Ilicak.

State-run Turkish Airlines fired more than 100 employees, including management and cabin crew, Turkish media reported.


Erdogan has accused U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has many followers in Turkey, of masterminding the coup plot. In his first decree since the state of emergency was declared, Erdogan ordered the closure of thousands of private schools, charities and foundations with suspected links to Gulen, who denies involvement in the coup.

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, says the coup may have been orchestrated by Erdogan himself.

Turkey wants the United States to extradite the cleric. Washington has said it will do so only if there is clear evidence.

Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said that ties with Washington will be affected if it fails to extradite Gulen. He said he would hold meetings with political and judiciary officials during a coming visit to the United States.

Erdogan has accused Gulen, his former ally, of attempting to build a "parallel network" of supporters within the military, police, judiciary, civil service, education and media with the aim of toppling the state.

"They are traitors," Erdogan told Reuters in an interview last week. He described Gulen's network as "like a cancer" and said he would treat them like a "separatist terrorist organisation" and root them out, wherever they may be.

Gulen denies the allegations.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Saturday that authorities had taken around 13,000 people into custody over the coup attempt, including 8,831 soldiers. He promised they would have a fair trial.

Rights group Amnesty International said it had received credible evidence of detainees being subjected to beatings and torture, including rape, since the coup attempt.

Erdogan has extended the maximum period of detention for suspects from four days to 30, a move Amnesty said increased the risk of torture or other maltreatment of detainees.

The government has said there would be no backtracking on human rights and has ruled out torture and curfews in the state of emergency.


Ankara is increasingly expressing frustration over what it says in the lack of solidarity from Western partners in the aftermath of the coup.

Western countries pledged support for democracy in Turkey, but have also expressed concern over the scale of subsequent purges of state institutions.

Last week, the minister for EU affairs chided Western countries for not sending any representatives to demonstrate their solidarity with Turkey since the failed coup.

On Sunday, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin took to the opinion pages of the New York Times to defend Turkey's actions.

"Several thousand military officers and their accomplices in law enforcement and the judiciary have been suspended or arrested for having links to the coup. Their removal from public posts makes the Turkish government stronger and more transparent," he wrote, adding that at least 1,200 rank-and-file soldiers have been released so far.

He also dismissed claims that Erdogan had orchestrated the coup in order to launch a crackdown.

"The claim that this was a fake coup is no more credible than the laughable claim that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated by the United States."

(Additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk in Istanbul; Ece Toksabay in Ankara and Geert De Clercq in Paris; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Michael Georgy and David Stamp)

Afghan teenager met Munich gunman just before attack - prosecutor, 25 Jul 2016 19:25:12 +0800MUNICH: A 16-year-old Afghan youth who was arrested on Sunday had been in contact via WhatsApp with an 18-year-old gunman who killed nine people in Munich two days earlier and also met him just before the attack, Bavarian officials said.

The youth, who was questioned after he contacted police following the shooting, is under investigation for possibly having failed to report the plans of the gunman.

Police stand in a small street following a shooting rampage at shopping mall in Munich

Thomas Steinkraus-Koch, senior public prosecutor in Munich, told a news conference on Monday the Afghan had been in contact with the gunman via WhatApp until shortly before the attack. He wiped the conversation, but officials were able to retrieve it.

"This (WhatsApp) chat and questioning of a suspect has shown that the Afghan met the gunman directly before the gun attack at what was later the scene of the crime," Steinkraus-Koch told a news conference in Munich.

The shooting was one of four attacks in Germany - three of them by migrants - since July 18 that have left 10 people dead and 34 injured, a toll that may heighten public disquiet over Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door refugee policy.

More than a million migrants have entered Germany over the past year, many fleeing war in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.

The WhatsApp chat showed the Afghan knew the German-Iranian gunman was in possession of a Glock 17 firearm, Steinkraus-Koch said. "They got to know each other last summer, in 2015, in a psychiatric clinic where they underwent treatment," he said.

"There, it also became apparent to the (Afghan) suspect that the attacker was interested in Breivik," Steinkraus-Koch added, referring to Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in back-to-back attacks in Norway in 2011.

The Afghan's decision to delete his WhatsApp chat with the gunman and their meeting just before the Munich attack led investigators to suspect he knew of the planned shooting in advance.

"We will now pursue this suspicion," Steinkraus-Koch said.

(Writing by Paul Carrel; editing by Joseph Nasr/Mark Heinrich)

RFU and Premiership Rugby agree eight-year partnership NewsMon, 25 Jul 2016 19:25:09 +0800REUTERS: The Rugby Football Union (RFU) and Premiership Rugby Limited (PRL) have agreed on an eight-year partnership to strengthen the England team and domestic rugby in the country, the organisations said on Monday.

The agreement, worth over 200 million pounds, will give head coach Eddie Jones more flexibility in squad selection and additional training time ahead of test matches.

England players who pass a minimum threshold of minutes played in the November tests and the Six Nations will have a mandatory rest period following the competitions.

"We look forward to working with Premiership Rugby over the next eight years to promote and support rugby in England," Ian Ritchie, the RFU's chief executive, said in a statement.

"Player welfare, as ever, is a priority for us all, and so further rest periods have been built into the season. This is a true partnership focused on making English rugby the best in the world for club and country."

Jones led England to the Six Nations title this year and a 3-0 test series victory in Australia after taking over as coach from Stuart Lancaster following the team's dismal performance at last year's World Cup on home soil.

(Reporting by Nivedita Shankar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

New Hong Kong election China pledge rule faces first legal challenge PacificMon, 25 Jul 2016 19:20:15 +0800HONG KONG: Three Hong Kong activists have asked the High Court to review an election commission ruling that could bar anyone who advocates independence from China from standing in an upcoming poll, the first legal challenge to a decision that was supported by Beijing's representative in the city.

For the first time, candidates for September's Legislative Council election will be required to explicitly pledge that Hong Kong is an "inalienable" part of China, the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) said on Friday. Previously, candidates only needed to pledge to uphold Hong Kong laws.

The activists - League of Social Democrats members Avery Ng Man-yuen and Chan Tak-cheung, and Hong Kong Indigenous member Edward Leung Tin-kei - have all refused to sign the new confirmation form. They filed two separate applications for judicial review dated Sunday, according to the filings, which were seen by Reuters.

Both review requests argued that the new form was illegal and that the officers tasked with determining candidates' eligibility with regard to the new form did not have the relevant authority.

Ng and Chan also said that they objected to what they saw as "unlawful political screening of candidates in an election".

Other democratic lawmakers, including Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau, have also refused to sign.

The EAC declined to comment on the judicial review requests. EAC chairman Justice Barnabas Fung Wah said last week that the new confirmation form had a sound legal basis.

Beijing's chief representative in Hong Kong, Zhang Xiaoming, said separately last week that allowing independence activists to run for office - or even use the election as a platform for their ideas - would be a breach of the "one country, two systems" framework that governs Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. It is governed by separate laws from the mainland under a "one country, two systems" framework agreed with Beijing when the British handed back the former colony in 1997.

(Reporting by Clare Baldwin; Editing by Alex Richardson)

EU working with consumer groups to pressure Volkswagen for compensation BusinessMon, 25 Jul 2016 19:20:11 +0800BRUSSELS/BERLIN: Europe's Commissioner for Justice is working with EU consumer groups to pressure Volkswagen to compensate clients in Europe as it has in the United States over the diesel emissions scandal.

The German carmaker has pledged up to US$15.3 billion to compensate 475,000 owners of VW diesel-powered cars, but has so far rejected such calls for the 8.5 million affected vehicles in Europe, where different legal rules weaken the chances of winning a pay out.

Volkswagen models Golf Cabriolet and Passat are stored at the CarTowers next to the Volkswagen plan

Instead, it is implementing a technical fix approved by regulators to remove illicit software that cheated emissions tests, saying this meant car owners in Europe would not suffer a loss of value. Most U.S. owners will get US$5,100 to US$10,000, based on the pre-scandal value of their vehicles.

Seeking to step up pressure on VW, European Commissioner Vera Jourova said in an email: "We are working with the consumer authorities to ensure EU consumers get a fair treatment."

The Commissioner sent a letter to national consumer protection authorities in the 28 member states last week to gather information on the difficulties they face and how they might coordinate their efforts, a spokesman for the EU executive Christian Wigand said in an email.

Options will be discussed when the Commission organizes a meeting with consumer groups in Brussels in September, he said.

Volkswagen declined to comment.

Despite calls from Jourova and other EU officials for VW not to discriminate against car owners in Europe, responsibility for policing, penalties and enforcement in the EU lies mainly with national authorities.

Consumer groups and lawyers in Europe lack of mechanisms to marshal complaints such as U.S.-style class-action lawsuits. Legal "wiggle room" over whether software used to switch off emissions controls contravene EU law has muddied the waters.

Consumer organizations in Belgium, Spain and Italy have launched group actions on behalf of affected consumers, the Brussels-based European Consumer Protection (BEUC) said, but such recourse is not available in other EU nations.

"The European Commission is one of the few authority which is actually trying to do something," Johannes Kleis of BEUC said.

"This political signal is necessary," Kleis added. "We know that the Commission has no enforcement power, but when they coordinate action from national consumer authorities it could help to get compensation for EU car drivers."

(Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel in Brussels and Andreas Cremer in Berlin; Editing by David Holmes)

Mongolian president clashes with new prime minister over cabinet posts PacificMon, 25 Jul 2016 19:15:25 +0800ULAANBAATAR: Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj is already at loggerheads with the new prime minister over cabinet appointments, raising the spectre of further instability as the economy slows and foreign investment declines.

In June, Elbegdorj's Democratic Party lost a landslide parliamentary election to the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) of former finance minister Jargaltulga Erdenebayar, who took over as prime minister this month.

President Elbegdorj Tsakhia of Mongolia arrives to address attendees during the 70th session of the

The dispute centres on the prime minister's appointments of two officials to oversee the mining industry and Mongolia's debt that violate a presidential order to avoid conflicts of interest by not giving ministerial posts to members of parliament.

"The new government: I can't say it's professional," Elbegdorj wrote on his official account on social media network Twitter on Monday, adding, "Money and power trump the rules."

Foreign investment, led by the giant Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine now run by Rio Tinto, powered a two-year economic boom in Mongolia from 2010, but growth has slumped because of slowing demand from neighbouring China, along with investor concerns about a surge in "resource nationalism".

The officials figuring in the clash are Tsedev Dashdorj, a former oil company engineer appointed to oversee the mining industry, which attracts most of Mongolia's foreign investment, and business tycoon and land developer Battogtokh Choijlsuren.

Nicknamed "speed" for his businesses, the latter will oversee Mongolia's growing debt, which amounted to 66.3 percent of GDP in 2015, according to Fitch Ratings.

Mongolia's legislature, the State Great Khural, worked into the early hours of Saturday before approving 11 of the prime minister's 14 appointments.

The posts for energy, health, food and agriculture and industry, however, remained vacant amid concerns about conflicts of interest.

In 2014, the president proposed to ban the "Double Deel", the practise of individuals holding multiple roles in government that is named for the traditional robes Mongolians wear, but parliament did not pass the bill.

(Reporting by Terrence Edwards; Editing by David Stanway and Clarence Fernandez)

LVMH sells loss-making Donna Karan to G-III in US$650 million deal, 25 Jul 2016 19:15:15 +0800PARIS: French luxury group LVMH is selling Donna Karan International, the parent of New York label DKNY, to U.S. clothing firm G-III Apparel Group in a deal valuing the loss-making fashion brand at US$650 million.

The sale comes just over a year after a new design team had been put in place, showing how little patience LVMH has for underperforming businesses in the current tough trading environment.

Actress Laverne Cox walks in a Donna Karan creation during a presentation of the Go Red for Women R

Analysts estimate DKNY's annual sales at US$450 million to US$500 million, meaning G-III would be paying 1-1.5 times annual revenue, less than the 1.9 times LVMH paid when it bought the brand in 2001.

"Selling DKNY is a way to get rid of a problem, at a time when the market is tough and luxury companies would be right to show less leniency with underperforming businesses," said Exane BNP Paribas analyst Luca Solca.

Founded in 1984 by Donna Karan, the label came to define the professional working woman's wardrobe with its sleek and sophisticated mix and match pieces. The designer expanded the Donna Karan New York brand by creating a less expensive clothing line for younger women called DKNY.

Over time, the Donna Karan brand lost touch with its customers as its brightly patterned African-inspired designs confused an identity based on jersey dresses, bodysuits and wrap skirts, fashion editors said.

And sister label DKNY struggled to compete with so-called accessible luxury brands Michael Kors and Tory Burch and edgier New York newcomers such as Alexander Wang.

LVMH publishes first-half figures on Tuesday, which analysts expect will provide further evidence of the slowdown affecting the global luxury goods industry, caused in part by lower tourist spending in Europe following militant attacks.


The luxury conglomerate also faces pressure to turn around

Marc Jacobs, which has seen its sales dive in the past two years. Analysts estimate Marc Jacobs makes even bigger losses than DKNY.

However, the two companies' losses have not been so material to make it a priority for the group, which owns 70 brands and generates 4 billion euros (US$4.39 billion) in annual net profit.

JP Morgan analyst Melanie Flouquet said the disposal did not herald an overhaul of LVMH's brands.

"We think it was opportunistic and that the offer from G-III came at the right time and the right price," she said. "This disposal will also free up management time to devote to other assets."

However Citi analysts said that the French group may sell its duty-free cruise line business Miami Cruise and not renew the DFS Hong Kong airport’s concession at the end of next year.

"DFS Hong Kong has suffered from significant revenue and margin pressures over the past couple of years owing to the structural changes of the Hong Kong luxury retail landscape," Citi said.

G-III owns brands such as Vilebrequin and Andrew Marc and makes clothing for Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Karl Lagerfeld among others.

It will fund the deal through new debt and US$75 million of G-III common stock to be issued to LVMH.

(US$1 = 0.9105 euros)

(Additional reporting by Pacale Denis, editing by Louise Heavens)

China internet regulator fines websites over reporting, 25 Jul 2016 19:15:10 +0800SHANGHAI: China's internet regulator has fined several websites for violating internet publication rules and ordered them to "rectify" pages that ran news stories based on their own reporting, state media reported on Monday.

Government rules prohibiting the publication of "self-edited" news and information by websites that were not set up by news entities have been widely ignored, with many websites running robust reporting operations.

A woman uses an app on a mobile phone at a cafe in Beijing

Websites run by Sina Corp, Inc, Netease Inc, Phoenix New Media Ltd's iFeng and others had engaged in "actions that seriously violated regulations and had a completely vile effect", state media reported, quoting the Beijing municipal arm of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).

The sites were ordered to "rectify" their wrongdoing and slapped with administrative fines, it said.

One report by the Beijing Times that was widely re-published, including by the websites of the state news agency Xinhua and the Communist Party's official People's Daily, said several pages on Sina, Sohu, Netease and iFeng had been shut down.

"All the (items) that were shut down or cleaned up included websites and web pages, mobile clients, public WeChat accounts and other platforms for propagation," the Beijing Times said.

The Cyberspace Administration did not reply immediately to faxed questions.

Calls to Sina were not answered and the company did not respond immediately to emailed requests for a comment. Calls to Netease and iFeng were not answered.

A Sohu spokeswoman declined to comment.

President Xi Jinping has presided over a crackdown on dissent and has sought to strengthen the Party's control over the flow of news and information.

This month, the CAC said it was launching a crackdown on the reporting of news gathered from social media, as part of what the government calls a campaign against fake news and the spreading of rumours.

(Reporting by John Ruwitch; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Florida nightclub shooting leaves two dead, up to 16 wounded, 25 Jul 2016 19:10:13 +0800REUTERS: At least two people were killed and more than a dozen others were wounded, many of them teenagers, in a shooting in the parking lot of a nightclub in Fort Myers, Florida, early on Monday, authorities said.

The shooting took place just after 12:30 a.m. (0430 GMT) outside Club Blu, where police found "several victims suffering from gunshot wounds," the Fort Myers Police Department said in a statement.

Between 14 and 16 people were wounded, with their injuries ranging from minor to life-threatening.

The club was hosting a "teen night" for people of all ages, CNN reported.

The victims arriving at Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers ranged from 12 to 27 years old, according a statement from spokeswoman Cheryl Garn.

One victim died at the hospital, she said, while three others were admitted, one of them in critical condition.

Police said three people had been detained for questioning and that the area was deemed safe, although roads in the vicinity remained closed.

Investigators were seeking to determine a motive and the identities of the two people who were killed, the statement said.

Police said shots were also fired at a nearby residence, where there was one minor injury.

Fort Myers police and the Lee County's Sheriff's Office were canvassing the area for other people who may have been involved, the statement said.

Representatives of the law enforcement agencies could not immediately be reached for further comment.

The shooting came six weeks after a massacre at a nightclub in the Florida city of Orlando, where a lone gunman who sympathized with Islamist extremist groups killed 49 people in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Fort Myers, on Florida's Gulf Coast, is about 150 miles southwest of Orlando.

(Reporting by Frank McGurty; Writing by Mary Milliken; Editing by Catherine Evans and Lisa Von Ahn)

Greece may win over tourists shunning Turkey, but could also feel impact, 25 Jul 2016 19:05:16 +0800ATHENS: Greece may win over last-minute visitors scared away from tourist rival Turkey after a failed military coup but overall growth in the sector remains fragile, according to the country’s largest tourism body.

Crisis-hit Greece is relying on its sun-drenched islands, sandy beaches and ancient monuments for an economic turnaround. Tourism accounts for about 17 percent of its 185 billion euro economic output and employs one in five people in work.

Tourists sunbathe on the Red Beach on the Greek island of Santorini, Greece

    "Turkey's share of last-minute arrivals will shrink and it will probably suffer cancellations," Andreas Andreadis, head of Greek tourism businesses association SETE, told Reuters. "Greece will gain a share, even if it is a small one."

    But Andreadis said he could not exclude a spillover effect from Turkey which could impact overall arrivals.

    "We don't like the fact that Turkey is destabilised, it could also affect Greece. We are not happy about this," he said.

Turkey's tourism industry was already suffering from a series of bomb attacks before the military coup attempt on July 15.

    Earlier this year, SETE projected a 5 percent rise in tourism revenues for 2016 to 15 billion euros on the back of 25 million tourists, up from 23.6 million last year, when Greece was on the verge of leaving the euro zone.

The estimate hinges mainly on last-minute arrivals.

    Germany and Britain are Greece's biggest tourist markets. But tourist spending patterns might be worrying; Central Bank data for May showed tourism earnings down 10.4 percent year on year as visitors reined in spending.

That tightening of the purse strings was most pronounced with a 29.2 percent drop in spending by Britons, where a see-sawing sterling, weakened by the referendum to leave the European Union, made holidays in Greece more expensive.

  Andreadis said arrivals may turn out lower than initial estimates, while revenues could grow by 1-2 percent.

    "This year's projection is a puzzle for advanced players. It's like quicksand."

(Reporting by Renee Maltezou and George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

SunEdison unit TerraForm Power adopts poison pill BusinessMon, 25 Jul 2016 19:05:10 +0800REUTERS: SunEdison Inc's unit TerraForm Power Inc said it had adopted a shareholders rights plan to prevent any sale of a significant number of Class A shares in the company by its bankrupt parent.

Brookfield Asset Management and Appaloosa said in a regulatory filing on Friday that they would jointly bid for SunEdison's stake in TerraForm Power.

The headquarters of SunEdison is shown in this aerial photo in Belmont

Separately, SunEdison said on Monday it was working collaboratively with its two yieldcos to explore "value creation options" for the companies' Class B shares held by SunEdison.

The rights plan, popularly known as "poison pill", will be triggered if a party takes 15 percent ownership of TerraForm Power.

(Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey)

Russian archery team cleared for Rio Games NewsMon, 25 Jul 2016 19:00:14 +0800REUTERS: Russia's three-member archery team for next month's Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro was cleared to take part by the World Archery Federation (WA) on Monday after the IOC opted against a blanket ban on the country for state-sponsored doping.

WA said Russia's Tuiana Dashidorzhieva, Ksenia Perova and Inna Stepanova, who formed the women's recurve team that won the world championships last year, met the requirements set down to guarantee their participation at the Rio Games starting on Aug. 5.

In the light of the findings of the McLaren report, the WA also expressed support for the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) "courageous decision" against imposing a blanket ban on Russia, which it felt would have been unfair to clean Russian athletes.

(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

Australia opt for two spinners against Sri Lanka NewsMon, 25 Jul 2016 19:00:12 +0800REUTERS: Australia will play two spinners in the first test against Sri Lanka at Pallekele on Tuesday, captain Steve Smith said as the world's top-ranked side eye a turnaround in their poor record on the slow pitches in Asia.

Smith confirmed his side on Monday with both off-spinner Nathan Lyon and left-armer Steve O'Keefe making the cut for the first match in the three-test series.

Australian bowler Nathan Lyon looks at New Zealand batsman Tom Latham, during the first cricket tes

"I think he has always improved. Each year he's played he has improved," Smith said of O'Keefe, who took 10 wickets and made an unbeaten 78 in a tour match last week.

"In the tour match he bowled beautifully. He bowled the same ball and some skidded on and some spun - quite similar to (Sri Lanka spinner) Rangana Herath, the way he bowls in these conditions."

Smith, appointed Australia's test captain after the Ashes loss in England last year, is yet to lose a test when leading the side.

However, he will have his work cut out in Asia with Australia having failed to maintain their high standards in these parts barring a series win over lowly Bangladesh in 2006.

"We'd like to turn that around," said Smith, the world's top-ranked test batsman. "I think we've won one game out of our last 15 in the subcontinent.

"It's about making sure you have a plan from ball one as soon as you get out there and each individual is different."

Left-armer Mitchell Starc will be back after a long injury layoff to lead Australia's pace attack.

Smith wants his team to put pressure on the inexperienced Sri Lankan side, who are ranked seventh in the world, struggling after the retirements of batting greats Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.

"They've lost a lot of runs in Mahela and Kumar, they were incredibly experienced players," said Smith. "They've got a pretty inexperienced line-up and we'll try to get on top of that as much as we can."

Angelo Mathews' side, who lost their last two test series in New Zealand and England, are reeling from injuries to their fast bowlers.

Dhammika Prasad and Dushmantha Chameera have been ruled out while Suranga Lakmal is also doubtful due to an ankle complaint. Shaminda Eranga was recently suspended for an illegal action.

"It has been a very frustrating few months," Mathews said, adding the team needed a bigger pool of bowlers.

"Not only one bowler, we've lost so many.

"At international level, I can't go as a captain and say we don't have bowlers. If we don't have them, we need to know how to produce them."

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Ed Osmond)

French government backs minister engulfed by row over Nice attack security, 25 Jul 2016 18:55:13 +0800PARIS: France's government closed ranks around Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve on Monday amid an intensifying dispute over allegations his staff tried to alter a report into policing on the night of the deadly Bastille Day attack in Nice.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he had full confidence in Cazeneuve, who on Sunday dismissed an assertion by the head of Nice's video surveillance that ministry staff pressured her to indicate the presence of national police force officers at certain sites where the attack unfurled.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve speaks at the ministry in Paris

"This has to stop, there can be no room for doubt in the fight against terrorism," Valls told BFM TV. "I don't have any doubts about Bernard Cazeneuve."

Valls' Socialist government is under fire for not doing enough to prevent a 31-year-old Tunisian ploughing his rented truck through a crowd of revellers on a Nice beachfront boulevard, killing 84 people. The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the attack.

The ease with which Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel reached the pedestrianised Promenade des Anglais in the 19-tonne truck, using an apparently unblocked route, has become a focus for criticism of security arrangements.

Ten months ahead of general elections, conservative politicians from Nice led by regional government president Christian Estrosi have aggressively criticised the strength of the national police force presence on the night of July 14.

Valls accused them of copying the tone of U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, whose campaign has been marked by insults and inflammatory rhetoric, and seeking to destabilise the government.

Responding to Cazeneuve's Sunday night comments, Estrosi told Europe 1: "To insult elected officials is in a way to insult the memory of the victims. We are not instrumentalising anything, we are only demanding answers.

"The state has to stop obstructing the truth."

Nice, a French Riviera city of nearly 350,000 people, is France's most heavily policed urban area and has an extensive network of surveillance cameras.

Sandra Bertin, head of the city's CCTV camera network, told the Journal Du Dimanche that she had been harassed by an interior ministry official who wanted a report that confirmed national police could be seen at two particular sites - a fact she said could not be confirmed by CCTV footage.

Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas criticised Bertin for taking her complaint to a newspaper and not the prosecutor, and insisted all necessary security measures had been taken in Nice.

"No security operation would have stopped a madman from mowing down innocent people on a promenade," he told RTL radio.

(Reporting by Sophie Louet; writing by Richard Lough)

EU says Poland's changes to constitutional court law raise concerns, 25 Jul 2016 18:50:16 +0800BRUSSELS: Poland's changes to the constitutional court law raise new concerns and may trigger a formal reaction by the European Commission, a spokesman for the EU executive said on Monday.

Poland's parliament on Friday amended the law governing the powers of the constitutional court, in a move the government said addressed concerns that the ruling party had undermined the rule of law but the opposition criticised as not going far enough.

"We know that the law on the functioning of the constitutional tribunal voted on Friday last week does not address a number of important concerns expressed (..) by the European Commission and raises some new ones," a Commission spokesman told a regular news conference in Brussels.

"The college of commissioners will revert to the matter shortly and consider in the light of all developments the appropriateness of further action under the rule of law framework," the spokesman added.

The European Commission holds its last meeting before the summer break on July 27.

The Commission earlier this year opened an investigation into whether government policies in Poland threatened the rule of law. The EU probe, which can ultimately lead to the suspension of a member state's voting rights, is still open.

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek)

Wanda Commercial says major shareholder China Life in favor of its delisting plan PacificMon, 25 Jul 2016 18:50:12 +0800HONG KONG: China's Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties Co Ltd said on Monday one of its largest shareholders intends to approve the developer's Hong Kong delisting proposal, as it aims to dispel uncertainty over whether the proposal can gain sufficient votes.

In a stock exchange filing, Wanda Commercial said China Life Insurance Co Ltd - which owns around 7.4 percent of its Hong Kong shares - has sent a letter of intent favoring the delisting.

A woman walks past China Life Insurance Co Ltd headquarters building at Beijing's Financial St

China Life is joint largest shareholder of the developer's Hong Kong shares, along with the Kuwait Investment Authority.

Wanda Commercial will seek shareholder approval on Aug. 15 for its plan to delist, after parent Dalian Wanda Group - owned by China's richest man, Wang Jianlin - offered US$4.4 billion in cash to take the developer private before relisting it in China in the hope of better valuations.

To gain approval, the proposal needs at least 75 percent of shareholder votes in favor, and no more than 10 percent of shareholders voting against it.

Analysts have questioned whether some investors such as BlackRock Inc - which is estimated to have accumulated almost 7 percent of Wanda Commercial stock at an average price of HKUS$52.44 - would be willing to vote in favor.

Timing Investment, a cornerstone investor holding around 2.5 percent, told Reuters last month it would approve the plan though the offer price is below the expected 15 percent premium to the firm's initial public offering (IPO) price.

"It's not as good as expected, but we need to approve. If the buyout gets blocked, Wanda won't be able to propose taking it private again for a year, and the share price will once again be on a downtrend," Timing's Chairman Jiang Ming said.

Dalian Wanda's buyout offer is HKUS$52.8, 10 percent higher than the IPO price of HKUS$48. Shares of Wanda Commercial closed down 0.5 percent at HKUS$47.55 on Monday, reflecting investor concern that the deal may not go through. The Hang Seng Index gained 0.1 percent.

(Reporting by Clare Jim)

Indonesia's tax chief says US$30m declared under tax amnesty so far PacificMon, 25 Jul 2016 18:49:43 +0800JAKARTA: The head of the Indonesian tax authority said on Monday (Jul 25) that taxpayers have declared nearly 400 billion rupiah (US$30.44 million) of previously concealed assets under the country's new tax amnesty programme.

"In the first week, almost 400 billion rupiah were declared. We have received penalty fees of about 6 billion rupiah from 20 taxpayers," tax office chief Ken Dwijugiasteadi told Reuters.

skyline Jakarta Indonesia(Photo:AFP logo)

Indonesia started the amnesty programme on Jul 18.

Consultants, lawyers and bankers closely involved with the Singaporean banking industry expect roughly US$30 billion to leave the city-state to Indonesia under the amnesty.

($1 = 13,140.0000 rupiah)

(Reporting by Hidayat Setiaji; Writing by Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Doping paradox rules whistleblower Stepanova out of Rio NewsMon, 25 Jul 2016 18:45:11 +0800REUTERS: Yulia Stepanova, the key whistleblower in the Russian doping scandal that almost led to her country being completely excluded from the Rio de Janeiro Games, will miss the Olympics after the runner was controversially ruled out due to her doping past.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) invited the middle-distance athlete and her husband to attend next month's Games as guests but denied her a competitive spot in Rio, arguing her doping-tainted past made her ineligible.

Athletics - European championships - Amsterdam

Stepanova, who provided evidence of doping in a series of German broadcaster ARD documentaries, has fled Russia and is living in hiding at an undisclosed location in North America, fearing for her safety.

She was cleared to compete in Rio as a neutral athlete by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and received praise for revealing one of the biggest doping scandals in decades.

However, the IOC ruled on Sunday that any Russian athlete with a doping past, including Stepanova, would not be allowed to compete in Rio.

"The executive board have appreciated that she came forward and she and her husband, who also played a very important role, are being invited to the Olympic Games as a guest of the IOC," IOC President Thomas Bach said.

Unfortunately she could not compete due to her doping background, Bach added.

This decision is a controversial one after part of the Olympic Charter blocking sanctioned athletes from future Games, known as the "Osaka rule", was struck down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in 2011.

In making its decision, CAS argued that there could not be a double punishment for already-sanctioned athletes.

"The IOC is taking a risk with this controversial decision but they know that with such limited time, any serious Russian challenge is extremely difficult," an Olympics insider with direct knowledge of the affair, told Reuters on Monday.

"The IOC also knows that the Russian athletes affected by it would have a really good case at CAS."

A similar rule by the British Olympic Association to ban the nation's drugs cheats from Olympic participation for life was also rejected by CAS ahead of the 2012 London Games, allowing sprinter Dwain Chambers to race.

The CAS decision will allow many past doping offenders from around the world, including top U.S. runners Justin Gatlin and LaShawn Merritt, to compete in Rio.

While there will be further discussions on the IOC verdict in the coming weeks, it is unlikely many Russians will take their case to CAS with only 10 days remaining before the Games open on Aug. 5.

"We don't have time enough to do such a thing," Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov said on Sunday, ruling out any CAS challenge by his organisation and dashing any lingering Olympic hopes for Stepanova.

(Editing by John O'Brien)

Handyman jailed 12.5 years for sexually assaulting 10-year-old daughter Local NewsMon, 25 Jul 2016 18:45:01 +0800SINGAPORE: A 51-year-old handyman was on Monday (Jul 25) sentenced to 12 years and six months’ jail for sexually assaulting his daughter repeatedly.

The abuse started in 2005, when he repeatedly sexually violated his daughter, who was then 10. 

Molest Reenactment

In 2014, “emboldened by his daughter’s misguided silence over the years”, the man again assaulted his daughter, who was by then 19. This time, she went to the police.

The man, who cannot be named due to a gag order, pleaded guilty on Monday to three charges, including two for molesting his biological daughter in 2005 and 2014.

The third charge is for committing carnal intercourse with his daughter in 2005, when the schoolgirl was 10 years old.

Four similar charges were taken into account during sentencing.

The High Court heard Monday that some time in October 2005, the man picked his only daughter up from school and took her home to the family’s Hougang flat. The girl’s two brothers and mother were not at home.

The man called his daughter into the bedroom before stripping himself naked and instructing the girl to squat over him. He assaulted her for two to three minutes, stopping only when the girl began to cry in pain.

Over the next few weeks, he repeatedly assaulted the 10-year-old, who asked her father one day whether all fathers did such things to their daughters. The man was shocked and regretful, Deputy Public Prosecutor Agnes Chan told the court.

However, the abuse continued.

In 2014, “emboldened by his daughter’s misguided silence over the years”, he climbed into his daughter’s bed and molested her. The teen tried unsuccessfully to push her father away, DPP Chan said. Upset, the then-19-year-old ran away from home and reported her father’s abuse to the police.


Prosecutors urged the court to impose a jail term of 12 to 14 years on the man, including 10 years for carnal intercourse, citing aggravating factors in the case, such as the young age of the victim.

DPP Chan also argued the man had “no qualms to deploy deception and emotional blackmail on the victim to justify his (abuse). In the course of her childhood, (her father) preposterously sought to manipulate his daughter into believing that his sexual conduct was appropriate and permitted,” the prosecutor said.

Now 21, the young woman said life with her father was filled with “stress and fear”. She said: “Every night before I sleep, I feared that he would come to me and molest me again.

“I felt I was not pure. I felt hopeless … The scar that my father has left me is irreversible … My mind is tortured and my perception of many things is delusional,” the woman wrote, adding that she finds it difficult to trust men for fear they would “take advantage of me”.

The man’s lawyer conceded that his client’s actions were “undeniably revolting”. He urged the court to impose 10 years’ jail on the man, including a nine-year term for carnal intercourse.

The lawyer said the man had assaulted the victim in 2005 while under a lot of stress, after his wife, the girl’s mother, left him. In 2014, the man molested the victim “in anger”, after he found explicit videos on his daughter’s phone, the lawyer said. 

For carnal intercourse, the man could have been jailed for life or for up to 10 years and fined.

For molest, he could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined or caned.

The man escaped caning because he is over 50 years old. 

China Vanke tussle is big test for new securities regulator PacificMon, 25 Jul 2016 18:40:16 +0800HONG KONG: A bitter shareholder row at China's largest property developer is a first big test for the country's new securities chief, appointed earlier this year to heal the wounds of last year's stock market meltdown and restore investor confidence.

A high-profile takeover tussle at China Vanke Co Ltd has shone a light on risky shadow lending products known as Asset Management Plans (AMPs) used by Vanke's top investor Baoneng Group to finance its stakebuilding - fuelling investor concern over the more widespread use of such products.

Journalists take photos of Liu Shiyu, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, as he

Investors and analysts want to see how China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) Chairman Liu Shiyu will handle the issue, warning that a heavy-handed response similar to last summer's market interventions could spark another stock sell-off.

Liu, who took over in February to restore the regulatory agency's reputation after it came under fire for mishandling last year's market crash, is a former central bank deputy governor. Some financial industry insiders say he is very wary of any new sources of financial market risk.

"The Vanke-Baoneng fight is a big test for the new CSRC chairman in terms of how he will address this issue within the parameters of the law and regulations without over-reacting," said Ivan Shi, head of research at consultancy Z-Ben Advisors.

Fearing a hostile takeover by Baoneng, a financial conglomerate which has built up a 25.4 percent stake, Vanke announced a US$6.9 billion 'white knight' share-asset swap with the operator of the Shanghai metro in a bid to dilute Baoneng's holding. Baoneng tried to oust Vanke's board.

In the latest salvo, Vanke has written to the CSRC asking the regulator to investigate how Baoneng funded its stakebuilding, alleging its top shareholder violated Chinese financial regulations by using AMPs.

JP Morgan has recently estimated that assets under management of AMPs - which use share as collateral and are often highly leveraged - reached 32 trillion yuan (US$4.8 trillion) in the first quarter of this year.

Vanke says Baoneng breached a number of regulations, including disclosure rules and restrictions on the structure and use of AMP investment vehicles.

Baoneng has not commented publicly on Vanke's letter to the CSRC and did not respond to requests for comment by Reuters.

The CSRC wrote to both companies last week saying they had violated disclosure rules, according to Vanke exchange filings.

On Friday, the CSRC told reporters it had launched an investigation, and criticized both Vanke and Baoneng for acting against the interests of the market and small investors. It said it would punish any violations.

The CSRC did not respond to Reuters requests for comment.


Chinese regulators, fearing an increase in systemic financial risk, have begun tightening the rules covering AMPs. In May, the CSRC proposed imposing capital requirements and leverage restrictions on AMPs issued by asset management companies, local media reported.

Liu needs to address the increase in the use of leverage in the market, but if he cracks down too hard on such products he risks more stock market volatility as investors liquidate their holdings, investors and analysts say.

That could compound a 14 percent fall in Chinese stocks since January.

"The CSRC is unlikely to rule on general AMPs" as a result of the Baoneng case, said Bai Li Tuan, counsel at DeBund Law Offices in Shanghai. "If the CSRC tightens up further on AMPs, it may trigger a next wave of (stock market) rout."


The Vanke battle has also further exposed a lack of regulatory coordination between the CSRC and its insurance and banking counterparts, as banks have used products regulated by the CSRC to skirt around China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) rules.

Insurers, regulated separately by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC), have also used these products. The CBRC and CIRC did not respond to requests for comment.

Z-Ben's Shi said the questions raised over Baoneng's financing would give further impetus to plans to merge the CSRC, CBRC and CIRC into a single authority covering banking, insurance, securities and mutual funds. Reuters first reported on these plans in November.

China is considering moving to a regulatory system similar to that in the UK, where the central bank has ultimate oversight of all financial system risks.

"Perhaps one of the systematic implications of this will be that the super-regulator, if and when it comes, may be better able to address the regulation of such privately-owned financial conglomerates," said Shi.

(Reporting by Michelle Price and Clare Jim; Editing by Lisa Jucca and Ian Geoghegan)

Ai Weiwei puts himself back in a jail cell in new Spanish show, 25 Jul 2016 18:35:17 +0800CUENCA, Spain: Artist Ai Weiwei has reproduced scenes of his incarceration for a new art installation, a series of almost life-size dioramas - encased in steel boxes - showing his life in jail.

Visitors to the exhibition, in a cathedral in central Spain, have to peer through peep-holes in the stark, grey boxes to see the 3D scenes, which show Ai watched by two uniformed guards as he eats, sleeps, showers and uses the toilet in his tiny cell.

ai weiwei S.A.C.R.E.D

Ai Weiwei's S.A.C.R.E.D cathedral

Ai, one of China's most high-profile artists and political activists, was jailed for 81 days on charges of tax evasion in 2011. China confiscated his passport, only returning it in July last year.

His installation, "S.A.C.R.E.D.", is a highlight of a series of events under the title "The Poetry of Freedom" taking place across Spain to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes.

Ai Weiwei's S.A.C.R.E.D

The Spanish writer was held as a slave in Algiers for five years in the late 16th century and spent months in jail in Spain later in life for bookkeeping discrepancies, where he is thought to have conceived the idea for his masterpiece "Don Quixote".

A quote from that novel, about a middle-aged gentleman obsessed by ideals of chivalry who travels central Spain with his loyal squire Sancho Panza, adorns the wall of the Cuenca exhibition: "Freedom, Sancho, is one of the most precious gifts that heaven has ever given man."

The exhibition, at the 12th century cathedral in the fortified medieval city of Cuenca, opens on Jul 26 and runs until Nov 6.

(Reporting by Catherine Bennett; Editing by Sonya Dowsett and Robin Pomeroy)

Swansea chairman reassures fans about further signings NewsMon, 25 Jul 2016 18:35:09 +0800REUTERS: Swansea City are looking to bolster their attacking firepower and are targeting two strikers before the new season, the Premier League club's chairman Huw Jenkins said.

Swansea have signed midfielder Leroy Fer, defender Mike van der Hoorn and goalkeeper Mark Birighitti, but striker Alberto Paloschi has joined Atalanta and uncertainty surrounds the future of Bafetimbi Gomis.

British media reported that the club have failed to match Stoke City's bid for Wales international and former Swansea midfielder Joe Allen.

"It's pretty obvious we need one, maybe two strikers and another player. Three is probably the minimum," Jenkins said.

"In the next few weeks we will bring some players in. We also have to make sure we keep the squad we've got. We've talked a lot about football and we've got a few options in mind."

Swansea open their Premier League campaign with a trip to Burnley on Aug. 13.

(Reporting by Nivedita Shankar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

Kremlin hails IOC decision to allow clean Russian athletes to compete in Rio NewsMon, 25 Jul 2016 18:20:12 +0800MOSCOW: The Kremlin said on Monday it welcomed the decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which allowed clean Russian sportspeople to compete in next month's Rio Olympics.

"Certainly, we welcome the main decision which allows the so-called clean athletes to take part in the Olympic Games, given the permission of international (sports) federations, and we believe that this is a positive decision," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with journalists.

A man walks in front of the Russian Olympic Committee headquarters building, which also houses the

The IOC's decision on Sunday followed the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) call for a blanket ban in response to the independent McLaren report that found evidence of state-sponsored doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

(Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Maria Kiselyova)

Hamilton still feels more hunter than hunted NewsMon, 25 Jul 2016 18:15:12 +0800BUDAPEST: Triple world champion Lewis Hamilton still sees himself as hunter rather than hunted in the Formula One title race despite victory in Hungary putting him in the overall lead for the first time this season.

The Briton seized the lead from Mercedes team mate and title rival Nico Rosberg after an unprecedented fifth victory at the Hungaroring on Sunday that opened up a six-point lead over the German.

Hungarian Grand Prix 2016

With half the 21-race season now completed and Germany's Hockenheim circuit next up on Sunday, Hamilton, who has often spoken of how he thrives in adversity, still sees himself in hot pursuit.

"I’m just still in the same mentality of chasing, I’m still chasing," he told reporters.

"(It's) been great to be able to come back with fewer engines, with the struggle that we had at the beginning of the year, so I’m very, very proud of that but conscious that there’s still a long way to go."

Hamilton trailed Rosberg by a massive 43 points after May’s Spanish Grand Prix following a spate of reliability problems in the early part of the season.

The 31-year-old, who singled out that Barcelona race and the collision between the Mercedes pair as the low point of his season, has hit back with a run of five wins from the last six races including victory in the last three.

His early season troubles have left him short of power unit components, however, and Hamilton knows he may have to take a grid penalty or start from the back of the grid at some point later in the year.

In order to limit the damage to his title hopes, Hamilton is aiming for maximum points with races like Silverstone two weeks ago, where he claimed a sensational win on home soil after dominating all weekend.

"I really would love to come out of the next race with another result like this so that when I do go to Spa or Monza, whichever one it is that I have to take my penalty...that it’s minimum damage," he said.

"So I need to make sure I stay on it, like Silverstone weekends, from now on."

Hockenheim is the last race before the August break, with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa and then Italy's Monza following on after that.

(Editing by Alan Baldwin)

Turkish Airlines fires personnel after failed coup - media, 25 Jul 2016 18:10:10 +0800ISTANBUL: Turkey's state-run Turkish Airlines fired more than 100 employees, including management and cabin crew, as part of a purge at state institutions to root out supporters of an abortive coup, Turkish media reported on Monday.

The dismissals at the national carrier occurred late on Sunday after it was determined the employees were linked to a religious movement President Tayyip Erdogan has said attempted to overthrow the government on July 15, Sabah newspaper said.

The logo of Turkish Airlines (THY) is pictured on the wing of a Boeing 737-900 ER aircraft as it ge

An official at Turkish Airlines, Europe's fourth-biggest carrier, declined to comment.

Other reports said the dismissals were due to "inefficiency.", a financial-news website, said about 250 cabin crew were dismissed, along with 100 management and administrative staff.

Aviation news site said that among those let go was a deputy chief executive responsible for the airline's financial affairs.

Authorities have sacked, suspended or detained some 60,000 people, mainly public-sector employees, after a failed coup by a small faction in the military. They are accused of sympathising or belonging to a religious group led by Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic preacher in self-imposed exile in the United States.

Separately, landline operator Turk Telekom, which is 30 percent state-owned, sacked 198 people on Friday in "cooperation with the security forces" and said some managers had been summoned by prosecutors for testimony in connection with the coup investigation, according to e-mailed statements.

More than 240 people were killed and 2,000 injured in violence surrounding the July 15 coup attempt.

Turkish Airlines shares were up 2.83 percent at 5.08 lira on Monday, in line with the main index. Turk Telekom outpaced the index, rising 3.59 percent to 6.06 lira.

(Reporting by Ceyda Caglayan and Seda Sezer; writing by Seda Sezer; editing by Ayla Jean Yackley/Mark Heinrich)

Rejuvenated Djokovic happy to be back on hard courts NewsMon, 25 Jul 2016 18:05:12 +0800REUTERS: World number one Novak Djokovic is looking forward to playing on his favoured hardcourt surface at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, but the Serb urged caution as he returns to action for the first time since his shock Wimbledon exit.

The 29-year-old, who was aiming to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four grand slams in a year, suffered a third-round loss to American Sam Querrey at Wimbledon.

Tennis: Rogers Cup

However, Djokovic, who has won three of the five Masters tournaments this season, is keeping his expectations in check for the Rogers Cup, which he has won three times.

"I don't expect anything. I just try to get myself ready for performing as best as I can," Djokovic told the ATP website(

"I had a bit more time because of the early loss at Wimbledon to spend some quality time with family, regroup a little bit and start training on hard court, which I enjoy the most. So I look forward to it.

"I have a wonderful history in the Rogers Cup in Toronto and Montreal. That's what goes through my mind right now. Just enjoy, play well, play singles and doubles and get as many hours in as possible."

The 12-times grand slam champion, who has a first-round bye, could meet Wimbledon finalist and home favourite Milos Raonic in the semi-finals.

"He's definitely one of the players that we're going to see a lot of in future. He works very hard. He's got John McEnroe in his team so he's really striving to get better on and off the court," Djokovic said.

Djokovic brushed aside the Wimbledon loss, which ended his grand slam winning streak at 30.

"Everything happens for a reason so obviously I didn't enjoy losing the first week of a grand slam," he said.

"On the other hand, the next day it was already behind me."

(Reporting by Nivedita Shankar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

Tour de France champion Froome to race in London NewsMon, 25 Jul 2016 18:00:11 +0800REUTERS: Tour de France champion Chris Froome will make his RideLondon-Surrey Classic debut next Sunday before heading out to the Rio Olympics, race organisers confirmed on Monday.

The 31-year-old clinched his third Tour de France victory on Sunday to become the first rider to defend his title since Spain's Miguel Indurain won the last of his five consecutive crowns in 1995. The Briton won his first Tour in 2013.

Froome will headline a Team Sky squad which includes Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard, Ben Swift, Christian Knees and Dutch sprinter Danny van Poppel in the world's richest one-day race over a 200 km route on the roads of London and Surrey.

"We are thrilled to have Tour de France champion Chris Froome riding for Team Sky at this year's RideLondon-Surrey Classic," race director Mick Bennett said in a statement.

"His performance over the last three weeks has enthralled the country and we are proud Chris has chosen the Classic as his last race before Rio."

"Now British fans have the chance to watch him in action and cheer on the man who has achieved the incredible feat of three Tour de France wins."

German sprinter Andre Greipel, who won the final stage of the Tour in Paris, Michael Matthews of Orica-Bike Exchange and Tom Boonen of Etixx-Quick Step will also participate in the race.

(Reporting by Nivedita Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien)