02072016Sun
Last update: Sun, 07 Feb 2016 01am

South Asia

World - South Asia

Facebook in India row over Internet access for the poor NEW DELHI: Facebook went on the offensive Wednesday in an escalating row with Indian authorities over a controversial initiative which the social network says is aimed at widening online access in the developing world.The social media giant took out billboards and full-page newspaper adverts and sent SMSs to defend its Free Basics service, which offers people without the Internet free access to a handful of websites through mobile phones.Free Basics is "at risk of being banned" in India, Facebook said in the adverts, adding that the service aims to help a billion unconnected Indians -- mostly living in poor rural areas -- to get online.It follows fierce criticism from net neutrality activists who say it violates the principle that the whole Internet should be available to all, unrestricted by any one company.Earlier this month the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India ordered Reliance Communications, the sole mobile operator for the service, ...

World - South Asia

Iran trims next year's budget plan 2.6 percent as oil price slumps DUBAI: Iran has drafted a state budget for next fiscal year that is 2.6 percent smaller than the plan for this year, as low oil prices put pressure on the country's finances.The budget for the year starting on March 20 has been tentatively set at 2.670 trillion rials, government spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA on Tuesday.That compares with an original plan for this year of 2.740 trillion ...

World - South Asia

Waste spill buries buildings in southern China, 85 missing SHENZHEN: At least 85 people were missing in China on Monday a day after a giant flow of mud and construction waste spewed out of an overfull dump in a boomtown and buried 33 buildings in its latest industrial disaster.The site should have been closed in February, but workers said mud and waste had continued to be dumped there, a news portal run by authorities in the southern city of Shenzhen said.Premier Li Keqiang ordered ...

World - South Asia

China pledges policy support to economy, reform in 2016 BEIJING: China will make its monetary policy more flexible and expand its budget deficit in 2016 to support a slowing economy, state media said on Monday, citing top leaders who wrapped up an important meeting and vowed to push forward "supply-side reform".The annual Central Economic Work Conference is keenly watched by investors for clues on policy priorities and main economic targets for the year ahead."The pro-active fiscal policy needs to be more forceful and the ...

World - South Asia

Bangladesh court orders mass arrests over factory disaster DHAKA: A Bangladesh court on Monday ordered the arrest of 24 people and seizure of their assets after they failed to turn up to face murder charges over the collapse of a garment factory that killed more than 1,100 people. Senior judicial magistrate Mohammad Al Amin issued the warrants after his court accepted the murder charges against the 24 fugitives for the collapse in April 2013, one of the world's worst industrial disasters. "The court ...

World - South Asia

Afghan official warns Helmand province may fall to Taliban KABUL: Afghanistan's Helmand province could fall to the Taliban after months of heavy fighting, with 90 members of the security forces killed over the past two days, the deputy governor of the volatile southern province warned on Sunday.Mohammad Jan Rasulyar said unless President Ashraf Ghani took urgent action, the province, a centre of opium production and a Taliban heartland that British and American troops struggled to control for years, would be lost. "Your Excellency, Helmand ...

World - South Asia

China's Shenzhen hit by landslide, 22 missing BEIJING: A landslide hit the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen in Guangdong province on Sunday, burying 22 buildings and leaving 22 people missing, with hundreds of rescuers searching for survivors, state media reported.The landslide struck Shenzhen's Liuxi Industrial Park in the city's northwestern Guangming New District in the morning, said the official Xinhua news agency, citing rescuers. Four people have been rescued from the debris, with three sustaining minor injuries, it said.As of 0900 GMT, ...