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US diplomats in China down with mystery illness

WASHINGTON: The U.S. State Department has brought a group of diplomats home from Guangzhou, China, over concerns they were suffering from a mysterious malady that resembles a brain injury and has already affected U.S. personnel in Cuba, its spokeswoman said on Wednesday. After confirming one government employee had “suffered a medical incident” in the southern Chinese city, the department deployed a team to screen employees and family members at its consulate there, spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. “As a…

Govt employees face shortage of housing in Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: The housing shortage for federal employees, who are waiting for official accommodation, is reaching alarming proportions as the figure of people on the waiting list has reached 22,709. This shortfall is attributed mainly to the ban on construction of new government housing units since 1995. Currently, the Estate Office has only 17,497 government-owned accommodations in the federal capital. “As many as 6,807 federal government employees have applied for allotment of government accommodation since June…

Asian telecom stocks face minimal 5G risks: JP Morgan

Shares of Asian telecom players have already priced in the impact of investments for setting up fifth generation (5G) mobile networks and potential monetization uncertainty, J P Morgan Securities analysts said on Monday. The Asian telecom sector has underperformed the broader market by 18 percent in the past 12 months due to investor concerns stemming from uncertainties related to 5th Generation spending and potential monetization, JP Morgan analysts said. They, however, believe it is now time to revisit the sector,…

China growth beats forecasts in face of trade row, financial risk

BEIJING: China's economy grew more than expected in the first quarter as it withstood headwinds from Beijing's fight against financial risk and pollution, and trade tensions with the United States. While acknowledging the potential negative impact of a US trade war officials on Tuesday warned the country faced greater downside risk at home, citing the need for reforms. The world's number two economy expanded 6.8 percent in January-March, better than the 6.7 percent tipped in an AFP survey of economists and the same as…

May, Macron face lawmakers angry over Syria strikes

LONDON/PARIS: British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday faced anger from lawmakers for conducting air strikes with the United States in Syria in their first major military action since coming to power. May was due to address MPs after proceeding with the joint strikes without prior parliamentary approval -- a sensitive subject in Britain where memories of participation in the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 are still raw. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party,…

Families of Chinese activists face house arrest, harassment from ‘smiling tigers’

BEIJING: When a team of Chinese state security agents picked up Li Wenzu and then prevented her from leaving her own home last week, she was scared but not surprised. She was detained on the seventh day of a protest march she organized in an attempt to get the authorities to explain what has happened to her husband, Wang Quanzhang, a lawyer who has been missing since August 2015 during a sweeping crackdown on rights activists. Li was initially barricaded in her home by dozens of people, including plainclothes security…

UK police release ‘big-mouthed’ suspect sketch and it goes viral

LONDON: A British police department has released a computer-generated sketch of a robbery suspect and it is now going viral – because of the face's unrealistic proportions. Warwickshire Police tweeted a sketch of a man believed to have been involved in a distraction burglary in Stratford, England, in February. We've issued an efit for of a suspect in a distraction burglary in Stratford in February. If you have any information please contact us. https://t.co/NipFniL1ed pic.twitter.com/oGiYfxIi2e — Warwickshire Police…

A real ‘wolf man’ has a message for people in his story

SAN BERNARDINO, California: A man whose body and face are covered with abnormal amount of hair asks people to look beyond appearances. Larry Gomez is looking to inspire others through his story to be confident in their own skin. He is suffering from an incredibly rare condition called hypertrichosis, also known as 'werewolf syndrome'. The genetic disorder, that's affecting less than 100 people worldwide including three of his family members, caused him to be bullied as a child, ostracizing him for his…

App developer access to iPhone X face data spooks some privacy experts

SAN FRANCISCO: Apple won accolades from privacy experts in September for assuring that facial data used to unlock its new iPhone X would be securely stored on the phone itself. But Apple’s privacy promises do not extend to the thousands of app developers who will gain access to facial data in order to build entertainment features for iPhone X customers, such as pinning a three-dimensional mask to their face for a selfie or letting a video game character mirror the player’s real-world facial expressions. Apple allows…

Pablo Escobar’s widow and son face money laundering probe

BUENOS AIRES: The widow and son of late Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar are facing scrutiny as part of an investigation into money laundering in Argentina, judicial sources said Friday. Investigators suspect Maria Isabel Santos and Sebastian Marroquin's involvement when their names appeared on papers seized in raids on a property owned by Mateo Corvo -- a real estate entrepreneur in Buenos Aires' exclusive Pilar district who is accused of laundering drug money. Previously known as Victoria Henao and Juan Pablo…