World

Myanmar crisis sounds death knell for garment industry, jobs and hope
World

Myanmar crisis sounds death knell for garment industry, jobs and hope

Two years after opening his garment factory in Myanmar, Li Dongliang is on the verge of closing down and laying off his 800 remaining workers. Business had been struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but after a Feb. 1 coup that sparked mass protests and a deadly crackdown, during which his factory was set alight amid a surge of anti-Chinese sentiment, orders stopped. His story is emblematic of the perilous situation facing a sector critical to Myanmar's economy, which accounts for a third of its exports and employs 700,000 low-income workers, according to U.N. data. "We would have no choice but to give up on Myanmar if there are no new orders in the next few months," said Li, adding he has been operating at about 20% capacity, surviving only on orders placed before the coup, and ...
Lebanon’s protesters back on streets as currency hits new low
World

Lebanon’s protesters back on streets as currency hits new low

BEIRUT: Protesters burned tyres and blocked roads in Beirut on Tuesday as the Lebanese currency crashed past a new milestone. Market dealers said the Lebanese pound was trading at around 15,000 to the dollar, having lost a third of its value in the last two week to stand at barely a 10th of what it was worth in late 2019, when Lebanon's economic and financial crisis erupted. Banks have blocked access to dollar deposits, and poverty is spreading - but fractious politicians have yet to launch a rescue plan that could unlock foreign aid. "Let them wake up now. Please have mercy on us, we're begging you!" said one protester, Hussein Makieh. "Look at us, we're starving. We're dying. The middle class is gone. There's 3% of the country, the thieves, living off it." Parliamentary committee...
Myanmar protesters clap to denounce junta as region focuses on crisis
World

Myanmar protesters clap to denounce junta as region focuses on crisis

Protesters in Myanmar clapped together on Monday (Apr 5) in the latest show of dissent against the military junta, as a regional bloc prepared for talks on the crisis that has killed nearly 600 people. Clapping began in various parts of the main city Yangon at 5pm (6.30pm, Singapore time) in response to a call by protest organisers, residents said. The gesture would honour "Ethnic Armed Organisations and Gen Z defence youths from Myanmar including Yangon who are fighting in the revolution ... on behalf of us," Ei Thinzar Maung, a protest leader, wrote on Facebook. Despite the killing of at least 564 people by the security forces since the Feb 1 coup, protesters have been coming out every day, often in small groups in small towns, to voice opposition to the overthrow of an elected go...
After failed takeover, Air Transat seeks help as debt crunch looms
World

After failed takeover, Air Transat seeks help as debt crunch looms

Struggling tour operator Air Transat is in talks with the federal government on aid but may not reach a deal by an April debt deadline, a source close to the situation said, putting pressure on Quebec to ride to the rescue of another troubled aerospace brand in the province. OTTAWA/MONTREAL: Struggling tour operator Air Transat is in talks with the federal government on aid but may not reach a deal by an April debt deadline, a source close to the situation said, putting pressure on Quebec to ride to the rescue of another troubled aerospace brand in the province. Air Canada dropped its merger plans with Transat on Friday, saying European regulators had signaled it was unlikely to pass antitrust concerns. Canada’s largest carrier first bid for Transat in 2019 and discounted its offer ...
China, World

Leading Japan’s ketchup company and many others halted tomato import over China’s behaviour with Uyghur Muslim

NAGOYA, Japan - after the reports against the chinese behaviour with the Uyghur Muslims, the Leading Japanese ketchup producer Kagome and many others have stopped sourcing and importing totatos from China's Xinjiang region.  Kagome halted import of Xinjiang-grown tomato paste used in some of its sauce products last year. Tomatoes that have already been imported will be used up by the end of this year.Along with costs and quality, "human rights problems have become a factor in making decisions," said a Kagome representative.Kagome is believed to be the first major Japanese corporation to stop doing business with the region over the Uyghur issue. A host of popular Western brands, including H&M and Nike, have stopped buying materials made in the region, which in turn spurred a backlash f...
China, World

To maintain foreign exchange, Sri Lanka took loan from China.

COLOMBO: AS Sri Lanka’s local currency hit a record low, it took load from china of  US$500 million in a hope to shore up its foreign exchange.The Sri Lankan embassy in Beijing said the loan agreement with the China Development Bank will "infuse vitally required foreign exchange" into the island's pandemic-battered economy.It is the second Chinese loan made in less than three weeks.Last month, the People's Bank of China granted a US$1.5 billion currency swap to finance imports from China, a key supplier of manufactured goods to the island which is struggling to pay for imports.Sri Lanka's rupee hit a record low of 202.73 to the US dollar, as the country's foreign reserves fell to US$4.05 billion at the end of March, the lowest in 12 years.The country's economy contracted by a record 3.9 p...
US stocks end higher after Powell projects stronger economy
World

US stocks end higher after Powell projects stronger economy

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq dropped on Wednesday as U.S. bond yields spiked ahead of the Federal Reserve's policy statement which could provide hints on whether the central bank would raise interest rates sooner than expected. REUTERS: Wall Street ended higher on Wednesday after the Fed predicted a fast economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and said it would maintain its interest rate at close to zero. In its statement following its two-day policy meeting, the Federal Reserve projected a rapid jump in U.S. economic growth and inflation this year as the COVID-19 crisis winds down, and repeated its pledge to keep its target interest rate near zero for years to come. Wall Street extended gains after Fed Chair Jerome Powell said during a news conference that it is too early to ...
Myanmar anti-coup protesters throw red paint in the streets as death toll mounts
World

Myanmar anti-coup protesters throw red paint in the streets as death toll mounts

YANGON: Anti-coup protesters in Myanmar sloshed red paint in the streets on Wednesday (Apr 14) to symbolise the blood spilled and more than 700 lives lost in a brutal military crackdown. The country is barely functioning, and the economy has stalled since the military seized power from civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb 1. The military junta has sought to quell mass protests with lethal force, and a local monitoring group has verified at least 714 civilian deaths but warns the toll is likely to be even higher. The military junta has sought to quell mass protests with lethal force, and a local monitoring group has verified at least 714 civilian deaths. (Photo: AFP/Handout) This week is Myanmar's New Year festival of Thingyan, but normal holiday festivities such as public water ...
Godzilla vs. Kong heads for monster box office opening weekend in China
World

Godzilla vs. Kong heads for monster box office opening weekend in China

A still from Warner Bros.' "Godzilla vs. Kong." Source: Warner Bros. "Godzilla vs. Kong" is headed for a monster opening weekend at the Chinese box office, which is welcome news for an industry battered by the Coronavirus pandemic. According to early estimates, the flick, which pits two of cinemas most iconic monsters against each other, has already secured around $21.5 million during its opening day in the country. The sequel is currently pacing just ahead of its predecessor "Godzilla: King of the Monsters," which earned around $18 million in 2019 during its first day in theaters in China. It ultimately garnered $66.7 million for the full weekend. The film is being released internationally this weekend, but will be available in North American theaters and on HBO Max on March 31. "Godzill...
Bangladeshi returnees from jobs overseas sink into debt amid glut of workers
World

Bangladeshi returnees from jobs overseas sink into debt amid glut of workers

When Hamida Parvin returned home to Bangladesh last February for a holiday from her job as a nanny in Qatar, she was excited to see her 17-year-old son after a year apart. But as the COVID-19 crisis suddenly escalated flights were canceled, and Parvin’s joy soon became a nightmare “scramble for survival” as she scoured for ways to provide for her family. “I went mad looking for jobs … nobody was hiring,” the 35-year-old said at a small cafe in the capital, Dhaka, where she works as a chef. That job is the family’s main source of income, as her diabetic husband is often unwell. “My savings went down to zero. Despite working for so many years, I am not sure if I can even pay the 7,000 taka ($83) fee that my son needs to sit for his upcoming school exams.” In the cafe in the corner of a t...