Global Headlines to Start Your Day
(See below: Today’s Big Stories)
Korea’s financial authorities are considering drawing up contingency plans to cope with the negative impact of a possible financial crisis in emerging Asian countries, industry sources said on Wednesday.
The move by the financial policymakers comes after news that India, Indonesia and Thailand have recently undergone a drop in their currency value and equity prices, which were reportedly affected by the U.S. exit strategy to retrieve its investment in emerging countries.
The policymakers also appeared to be concerned over the possibility that foreign investors may dump Korean stocks in the coming weeks or months due to the possible crisis and over reports of how the Fed pulling back from quantitative easing may affect the Korean markets. …
2. New Zealand: Auckland’s begging ban bylaw passes
Beggars who are deemed intimidating or causing a nuisance will be banished from Auckland’s streets under a bylaw, passed today by Auckland Council.
The bylaw was passed without amendment. …
Rome—Wines from ancient Rome are enjoying a rebirth in Sicily, thanks to experiments being organized by the University of Catania.
Researchers from Catania, located in eastern Sicily, are following instructions from classic Roman texts in their experiments conducted for the National Research Council. …
4. Scotland: Attacks on Scottish firefighters in decline
Scotland: Official figures have been published showing a decline in the number of attacks on firefighters in Scotland.
Scotland’s Chief Statistician found that 80 incidents were recorded in the year 2012-13.
That represented a decline of 32 incidents, or 32%, on the previous year.
Community Safety Minister Roseanna Cunningham welcomed the reduction, but said the figure of 80 incidents was “still far too high”. …
A new law in Panama that makes it easier to identify owners of bearer shares and the conclusion by the Cayman Islands government of negotiations with the United States on the sharing of tax information under the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) have sounded the death knell for secrecy in the region’s tax havens.
Panama’s move to abolish anonymity for bearer share holders combined with recent double taxation and tax information exchange agreements have put the country’s secretive tax haven status at risk following concerted pressure from the OECD and G20. …
Thirty-four people have reported symptoms of foodborne illness after eating at the Canadian National Exhibition, which has prompted an investigation and the precautionary closure of a vendor that had been selling cronut burgers at the annual fair.
Dr. Lisa Berger, an associate medical officer of health, told reporters Wednesday that Toronto Public Health was initially notified Tuesday night that paramedics were responding to “a number of people who became ill on site with foodborne illness.” …
The Thai Embassy in Malaysia has alerted immigration authorities in both countries after hundreds of visa stamps went missing, saying that they could be used for illegal purposes, Thai Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Jakkrit Srivali said Thursday.
The Malaysian police have been notified about the missing stamps and the embassy is seeking legal action against five local staff for their alleged involvement in the incident.
The ministry had known about the theft for quite some time but kept it out of the media to facilitate the investigation, Jakkrit said, adding the neither side wanted those who used the stolen stamps to escape across the border. …
Today’s Big Stories
1. Ousted China politician, Bo Xilai, denies corruption charges. Standing trial Thursday in China’s biggest scandal in decades, ousted Chinese politician Bo Xilai defended himself against allegations that he took bribes, saying he was coerced into making a confession and hoped that the court will judge his case fairly. But the crimes Bo is being charged with—“bribery, corruption, and abuse of power”—are only a portion of the things he got up to. Organ harvesting, corpse peddling, and a coup attempt are among Bo’s other alleged activities, but they will not be featured as part of the carefully stage-managed trial.
2. NSA reveals more secrets after court order. The Obama administration has given up more of its surveillance secrets, acknowledging that it was ordered to stop scooping up thousands of Internet communications from Americans with no connection to terrorism—a practice it says was an unintended consequence when it gathered bundles of Internet traffic connected to terror suspects. One of the documents that intelligence officials released Wednesday came because a court ordered the National Security Agency to do so. But it’s also part of the administration’s response to the leaks by analyst-turned-fugitive Edward Snowden, who revealed that the NSA’s spying programs went further and gathered millions more communications than most Americans realized.
3. Egypt’s Mubarak to leave prison, put under house arrest. Egypt’s deposed autocrat Hosni Mubarak is expected to be freed from prison and placed under house arrest on Thursday after being ordered released the previous day, following more than two years in detention. The development is a new twist in the saga of the long-time president, toppled in Egypt’s popular uprising in 2011, and could potentially stoke tensions in the deeply divided nation. It could also amplify the anger against the military-backed government and Islamist allegations that last month’s military coup against Mubarak’s successor, Mohammed Morsi, was a step toward restoring the old regime.
4. Obama to unveil proposed new system for rating colleges. President Barack Obama today will unveil a sweeping new plan for rating colleges based in part on affordability, with the goal of eventually linking those ratings to federal financial aid awards. The new rating system, which the president wants implemented before the 2015 school year, would evaluate colleges on a series of measures, including average tuition and student loan debt, graduation rates, and the average earning of graduates. Obama will unveil the proposals Thursday as he opens a two-day bus tour through New York and Pennsylvania.
5. Hannah Anderson’s first television interview airs. The first television interview given by 16-year-old Hannah Anderson, who was kidnapped by the man who allegedly killed her mother and brother, is set to air on NBC’s “Today” show Thursday morning. “In the beginning I was a victim, but now knowing everyone out there is helping me, I consider myself a survivor instead,” she told NBC News. “My mom raised me to be strong.”
6. Ichiro Suzuki gets 4,000th hit between MLB and Japan. Ichiro Suzuki stood near first base after lining a single for his 4,000th hit, hugging his teammates one by one, basking in the resounding cheers of an adoring Yankee Stadium crowd. In that moment it did not matter that his name would not be listed in Major League Baseball’s record book next to Ty Cobb and Pete Rose, the only two players to reach the milestone solely in the major leagues.
7. Deal reached to resolve San Diego mayor harassment suit. A deal was reached Wednesday night to resolve a sexual harassment suit against San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, but the details of the settlement will not be disclosed until it is presented to City Council Friday. As it will be presented in a closed session, even then the details may not immediately be revealed to the public, reports NBC.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.