All posts tagged BangkokPost

Scientist’s family seeks US Congress, Thai expert’s help

Published พฤษภาคม 24, 2013 by SoClaimon

Published: 23 May 2013 at 20.49

The parents of a US scientist found hanged in Singapore last year said Thursday they will seek a US congressional inquiry and tap a celebrity Thai pathologist to prove their son was murdered.

Rick Todd and his wife Mary leave the Subordinate courthouse in Singapore, on May 21, 2013. The parents of a US scientist found hanged in Singapore last year say they will seek a US congressional inquiry and tap a celebrity Thai pathologist to prove their son was murdered.

Mary Todd, mother of the late researcher Shane Todd whose death in June 2012 was ruled a suicide by the Singapore police, indicated the family did not expect the US government to intervene because of its interests in Asia.

“We don’t know, we don’t know what the US government will do,” she told AFP in an interview at Singapore’s Changi Airport before she, her husband Rick and two sons boarded a flight back to the United States.

“We’ve got so much evidence backing up what we have claimed that our son was involved with,” she said, adding that the US government “is very tentative because of their relationship with Singapore and China.

“I think they’d rather have us go away. But we’re not going away.”

Asked if the campaign will include pressing for a US congressional investigation, she said “yes”.

The family says that before he died, Shane Todd feared he was being made to compromise US national security in a secret project involving a Singapore institute and a Chinese telecom firm accused of international espionage.

The Todds stormed out of a Singapore coroner’s inquest on Tuesday, saying they had lost faith in the process, after a succession of witnesses gave evidence that he hanged himself in his apartment.

Their case was further undermined on Wednesday when two senior US medical examiners backed Singapore’s suicide report and rejected a murder scenario put forward by another American pathologist who had been engaged by the Todds.

In the interview, Mary Todd distanced the family from the theory of their pathologist witness, Edward Adelstein, who said their son may have been disabled with a stun gun and killed with an arm lock before being hanged on his bathroom door.

“No. We have another pathologist in Thailand who said she believes he was strangled and then hung on the door. And that’s what we believe.”

The head of the Todds’ Singaporean legal team, Gloria James-Civetta, said the mother was referring to Porntip Rojanasunan, a flamboyant Thai pathologist involved in a number of high-profile cases.

Porntip told AFP in Bangkok that a Todd family lawyer had approached her and showed her some photos, but it was not an “official consultation”.

Asked whether she had said it was a strangling, she said: “I did not make such a comment, I said there are suspicious points that need to be explained and answered.”

The two firms implicated by the family — Todd’s former employer, Singapore’s state-linked Institute of Microelectronics, and China’s Huawei Technologies — say they only held preliminary talks on a project with commercial applications.

A US congressional committee last year labelled Huawei and ZTE, another Chinese telecom firm, as potential security threats that should be excluded from US government contracts and barred from acquiring US firms.

The Todds have vowed to shift their campaign to the “court of public opinion” and Mary Todd said they hope to produce enough evidence to at least force Singapore’s state coroner to render an “undetermined” verdict.

“There is new evidence every day. It’s crazy.”

“What we are hoping is that the (Singapore) judge has been put in a position where he feels that he has to look at all the evidence,” she said as the family waited for their flight home.

“So if he looks at the evidence, he’ll come up with, we’re hoping at least, ‘undetermined'”.

Hearings are scheduled to end on Tuesday and the state coroner’s verdict is expected by late June. It will only deal with the cause of death and cannot be appealed.

Psy impersonator fools Cannes

Published พฤษภาคม 24, 2013 by SoClaimon

Published: 23 May 2013 at 20.49

A man from rural France impersonated South Korean “Gangnam Style” entertainer Psy at the Cannes Film Festival, eating, drinking and partying with the stars in Cannes for two days, press reports said on Thursday.

The real Psy arrives at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes for the NRJ Music Awards in January. A man impersonating South Korean entertainer Psy — famed for his dance song “Gangnam Style” — ate, drank and partied with the stars in Cannes for two days, The Hollywood Reporter said on Thursday.

Psy “was spotted all over town, attending festival parties and events and posing for photos with festgoers and other celebrities,” The Hollywood Reporter said.

“But it turns out that the man was not Psy at all, but rather an imposter using his name and fame to get access to the festival.”

The double was dressed exactly like Psy, with his trademark jackets and round sunglasses. He spent a day at the top-ranked Martinez beach restaurant and partied at night at the A-listers’ Carlton hotel.

Those who fell victim to the con included “Skyfall” actress Naomie Harris, who tweeted an image of herself posing with him at a party thrown by luxury jewellers Chopard.

Who was the trickster?

According to La Montagne, a daily newspaper in France’s remote Auvergne region, it was a 34-year-old Psy lookalike from Clermont-Ferrand called Denis Carre.

Carre, born in the small town of Blanzat, said he got hooked on Psy-chology last September when he was in a club in Dublin with his girlfriend, La Montagne reported.

“A crowd of people gathered around me, and the situation got totally out of control. We were only able to get out with the help of the bouncers. Then it happened again and again, to the point that the resemblance (with Psy) was causing problems in my private life,” he said.

The original Psy appears to have been unfazed by the identity theft. He tweeted: “Seems like there’s another ME at cannes… say Hi to him.”

Crane error blacks out one third of Vietnam

Published พฤษภาคม 24, 2013 by SoClaimon

Published: 23 May 2013 at 19.49

Over a third of Vietnam as well as the capital of neighbouring Cambodia suffered a blackout this week after a crane operator knocked a tree onto a key power line, electricity officials said Thursday.

Workers on a construction site in Ho Chi Minh City, on April 22, 2009. Vietnam’s inflation rate, which rocketed to 23 percent last year, could drop to just 6 percent this year as the global economic crisis hits demand, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said. AFP PHOTO/HOANG DINH Nam

Twenty-two of Vietnam’s southern provinces — out of a nationwide total of 63 — lost power for a few hours on Wednesday afternoon including the southern commercial centre of Ho Chi Minh City, according to the state electricity provider.

“The whole southern region suffered from a blackout,” Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) said in a statement posted online.

The crane operator’s error took out one of the country’s main north-south power lines, causing a shortfall of some 9,400 megawatts in the south, EVN said.

The line was down for two hours and the system has since been restored, it added.

The Cambodian capital Phnom Penh was hit hardest with power only restored in the late evening after several hours of darkness, an official from Cambodia’s state electricity provider said, adding the kingdom buys much of its power from Vietnam.

Millions of people were affected in Vietnam, where offices and factories across the south were forced to close and traffic lights failed, causing chaos in larger cities, according to reports in state media and online.

Vietnam, which derives much of its electricity from hydropower dams, is currently in the dry season when power shortages become a major problem.

Rolling blackouts are a common feature of daily life in parts of the country of some 89 million people.

India PM pledges to clean up defence sector

Published พฤษภาคม 24, 2013 by SoClaimon

Published: 23 May 2013 at 18.49

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pledged on Thursday to crack down on corruption in the defence sector after a string of recent graft scandals left his government facing renewed calls to step down.

In this handout photograph released by the Press Information Bureau (PIB), Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh delivers his address during a ceremony at the Indian National Defence University in Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi, on May 23, 2013.

The premier said he was committed to making the process of buying arms and other military hardware more “transparent, smooth, efficient and less vulnerable to unethical practices”.

“Adequate defence preparedness is critically dependent on sound defence acquisition policies,” Singh said in Gurgaon, a satellite city of New Delhi, where he laid the foundation stone for India’s first defence university.

“We have paid close attention to this and have continually reformed those policies,” he said. “We will continue to seek the highest standards of probity in defence acquisition.”

The government said in March it planned to draft new arms procurement procedures in the wake of a corruption scandal involving a contract to buy Italian helicopters.

Public anger over alleged bribes paid by Italian company Finmeccanica to secure a $748 million contract for 12 helicopters forced New Delhi in February to order an investigation and stall the defence deal.

The probe into the huge chopper deal has already seen police raid the home of the former air force chief and a “preliminary enquiry” report has linked four firms, four Westerners and seven Indians to the bribery allegations.

Italian prosecutors suspect that kickbacks worth around 50 million euros ($64 million) were paid to Indian officials to ensure Finmeccanica’s British unit AgustaWestland won the contract, according to Italian media reports.

New Delhi put payments to Finmeccanica on hold and threatened to cancel the deal if any wrongdoing was uncovered. India has already received three of the choppers. The rest were to be delivered by the end of 2014.

The Congress party, up for re-election in May next year, has been hit by a string of scandals. Two ministers resigned this month, after one was accused of interfering in a graft probe and another linked to a bribery allegation.

The defence scandal erupted at a time when the government was already fighting off the national auditor’s charges that its cut-price sale of telecom spectrum and allocation of coalfields cost the exchequer billions of dollars.

The controversy paralysed parliament and derailed measures to further open up the heavily state-controlled economy, as growth plunged to a decade-low of five percent in the last financial year.

An opinion poll by the CNN-IBN television network released on Wednesday showed 67 percent of respondents saying the government had lost its credibility due to multiple corruption scandals and 61 percent saying Singh should exit.

Japanese eye Thai train contracts

Published พฤษภาคม 24, 2013 by SoClaimon

Published: 23 May 2013 at 16.13

Japanese investors are said to be keen on investing in Thailand’s high-speed train project, one of the flagship schemes under Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s government.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, left, is welcomed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prior to their meeting at the latter’s official residence in Tokyo on Thursday. (AFP photo)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed interest in the train project in talks with Ms Yingluck in Tokyo on Thursday, Suranand Vejjajiva, the prime minister’s secretary-general said.

Thailand plans to build four high-speed train lines – from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, to Nong Khai, to Rayong and  to Padang Besar on the Malaysian  border. They will be built in phases, with only the route to Rayong via Pattaya likely to be constructed in one stage.

Ms Yingluck welcomed Japan’s interest in joining the bidding for the project, which is part of the massive 2-trillion-baht scheme to improve the country’s infrastructure, Mr Suranand said.

The prime minister also sought support  for the Dawei deep sea port development in Myanmar and Thailand’s 350-billion-baht water management scheme, he added.

The project in Dawei, which includes a deep-sea port and an industrial complex, would benefit Japanese investment  as its location would facilitate links with markets in South Asia, the Middle East and Europe, he quoted Ms Yingluck as saying.

Thailand also supported peaceful means to solve conflicts in the South China Sea and welcomed talks to bring about peace in the Korean Peninsula, which should be nuclear free, Mr Suranand said.

Thailand is the coordinator between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and China this year. China, Taiwan and four Asean members – the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei – claim total or partial sovereignty over the Spratlys and other islands in disputed territorial waters in the South China Sea.

Ms Yingluck is on a four-day official visit to Japan ending on Saturday.

She told NHK in an interview that she was trying to end political divisions in Thailand and supported the democratic process as she moved the country forward, government spokesman Teerat Ratanasevi said.

Ask about the role of her brother Thaksin, she said she is administering the country on her own but admitted that she has not abandoned his policies due to their popularity, the spokesman added.

Myanmar’s ‘goldrush’ luring foreigners in droves

Published พฤษภาคม 24, 2013 by SoClaimon

Published: 23 May 2013 at 14.49

From seasoned investors to recent graduates armed with little more than hastily-made business cards and dreams of striking it rich, foreigners are pouring into Myanmar to stake a claim as it opens up.

American entrepreneur Tom Bergreen, who has moved to Yangon to open an ice cream parlour and restaurant, is seen shopping at a supermarket in Yangon, on May 21, 2013. From seasoned investors to recent graduates armed with little more than a hastily-made business card and dreams of striking it rich, foreigners are pouring into Myanmar to stake a claim as it opens.

It is an expat “goldrush” driven by the promise of an economic boom after the rollback of many sanctions following the end of decades of junta rule.

But some, at least, are also drawn by a commitment to help rebuild the impoverished nation.

The once-empty western bars of central Rangoon are now doing a roaring trade, hotels are fully booked and networking nights thrum with the chatter of new arrivals hungry for contacts in the city.

Every day hotel lobbies teem with foreigners hunched over laptops as they talk via Skype with overseas companies eager to hire boots on the ground.

“Once I graduate I’ll move here for sure,” Peter Morris, a 34-year-old American law student based in Hong Kong, said breezily during a recent week-long reccy for jobs.

But the flurry of arrivals are not universally welcomed.

Some older Myanmar hands grumble about a type of cocky newcomer all too keen to hand out business cards and discuss pie-in-the-sky plans for the future, despite having little knowledge of the country.

“There are a hell of a lot of sharks in Rangoon right now… people looking to take advantage of any opportunities they can and often not for any benefit to the Burmese people,” laments one long-time expat resident requesting anonymity.

“(There are) lots of opportunists with jumped up job titles that often don’t exist and ideas that will never come to fruition.”

Despite that, akin to frontier markets the world over, the lure of riches and adventure is proving irresistible.

Telecom, automobile, oil and gas, and even cigarette firms are rolling into Myanmar, responding to the end of many sanctions and the introduction of business-friendly reforms by President Thein Sein’s two-year-old government.

While many are bringing their own senior staff and hiring skilled Myanmar citizens, many of whom are returning after years abroad, a lack of modern business acumen among locals educated within the country’s threadbare school system presents openings for enterprising foreigners.

Some have years of Myanmar academic, business or field experience — particularly for the legion of non-governmental organisations — while others are following their noses for the opportunity to spot an opening.

“It hit me that there were all these areas where there was nothing… I could quickly identify niches to work in,” says Swedish entrepreneur and consultant Andreas Sigurdsson of his decision to swap a successful banking career in glitzy Shanghai for Rangoon’s shabby charm.

Within weeks of his arrival last year the 31-year-old had launched his first venture — listings website — turning an idea “that came up over a beer” into a reality a few days later.

Sigurdsson says he is driven by making an “impact” in a poor nation with bags of potential but limited capacity and experience.

“Building new business, training employees, providing jobs and skills… that’s one way to make an impact,” he said.

Goodwill generated by the nation’s freedom struggle, embodied by Nobel Laureate and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, has also drawn many to the Asian nation.

Designer Karta Healy is bringing his bamboo products business to Myanmar, hoping for a repeat of its successful launch in China.

“After 10 years of watching China consume itself, I’m ready for somewhere I can get more involved, explore my design work and give back to somewhere I love at the same time,” he said.

Using community-based workshops to make everything from bamboo furniture to bicycles, he hopes the business will quickly gain ground among a population skilled in working with the material.

“Global isolation has forced Myanmar’s people to be the most ‘eco’ (friendly) by default. My dream for Myanmar is that it will become the greenest… wasteless society in Asia, if not the world.”

The enthusiasm appears — at least for now — to be working both ways, with many of Myanmar’s people glad to learn from foreign expertise after years of isolation.

“I welcome them… we all should,” says Aung Soe Minn, owner of a gallery popular with expats.

“Our country had been left behind for a long time… we should work with foreigners to gain experience,” he said.”

That welcome, coupled with the nation’s possibilities, explains why many Rangoon expats choose to stay, despite the challenges of living in a city beset by electricity blackouts, slow internet, high rents and stifling bureaucracy.

Things are improving, says Tom Bergreen, 49, an American who has moved to the city to open an ice cream parlour and restaurant, but poor infrastructure remains the “most frustrating aspect of living and trying to do business here”.

“But I’m extraordinarily fond of the people and culture. Life in Myanmar is never, ever boring.”

Outrage grows over scandal-tainted Malaysia state boss

Published พฤษภาคม 24, 2013 by SoClaimon

Published: 23 May 2013 at 13.49

Despite earning a civil servant’s salary for three decades, Taib Mahmud, the powerful chief minister of Malaysia’s Sarawak state, is reputed by critics to be one of Asia’s richest men.

Taib Mahmud (C), pictured as he arrives at the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly in Kuching, the capital city of Sarawak state, on May 21, 2013. Despite earning a civil servant’s salary for three decades, Taib is reputed by critics to be one of Asia’s richest men.

Taib, 77, and his family are accused of massive corruption and running Malaysia’s largest state like a family business, controlling its biggest companies with stakes in hundreds of corporations in Malaysia and abroad.

A Rolls Royce and flashy jet cover his transportation, while a vast war chest has kept his political authority unrivalled in 32 years in charge of the resource-rich Borneo island state, which remains one of Malaysia’s poorest.

“The amount of control he has is astounding. He has been able to dominate politics and society here for nearly four decades,” said Faisal Hazis, a political scientist with Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.

But pressure is rising both at home and abroad for action against a man referred to by his harshest critics as the “thief minister” and viewed as the prime example of a culture of corruption fueling public disgust.

Swiss-based activists Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), citing financial records, last year estimated the 77-year-old’s worth at $15 billion, which would make him Malaysia’s richest person.

Such revelations are hugely embarrassing for Prime Minister Najib Razak, who faces a slide in support due in part to corruption blamed for bleeding the country of billions of dollars annually.

But Taib, a member of Malaysia’s 56-year-old ruling coalition, is widely considered untouchable because the Sarawak parliamentary bloc he controls helps keep the coalition in power.

“We don’t see the political will to address grand corruption like this and it could destroy the country” by crippling economic development, said Josie Fernandez, Transparency International’s Malaysia director.

A 2008 US State Department cable revealed by WikiLeaks called Taib “highly corrupt” and “unchallenged”, saying Taib-linked companies dominate Sarawak’s emerging economy.

He and his family are accused of routinely taking kickbacks for lucrative government contracts or awarding the projects to companies they control.

A prime example dominates the languid capital Kuching — the state-assembly building whose swooping, golden roof gleams like a crown in the tropical sun.

A Taib-linked company won the $98 million contract to build the structure, which opened in 2009 and is home to a legislature he controls. A similar story surrounds a futuristic convention centre nearby.

Taib’s office declined repeated interview requests.

A member of the Melanau tribe, supporters see him as defender of the autonomy of Sarawak — which is marked by Christian and tribal groups — against the Muslim Malay-dominated federal coalition based on mainland Malaysia.

Taib denies wrongdoing, saying Sarawak must be developed for its 2.4 million people. His critics spout “a web of lies and half-truths wrapped around ignorance and twisted logic”, he fumed last year.

But pressure grows, including in the rugged interior where Taib is blamed for decimating vast rainforests through logging and dam projects and evicting tribes from ancestral lands, sparking protests.

Philip Jau travelled for two days by road with dozens of his Kayan tribesmen to protest this week in Kuching against a mega-dam pushed by Taib on the remote Baram river despite local opposition.

“The dam is a curse from hell,” said Jau, wearing a feather-strewn traditional woven cap. “Taib will benefit, but he is killing the people.”

Jau fears the dam will destroy a river ecosystem the Kayan rely on, noting that tribes near the already-completed Bakun dam, Malaysia’s largest, say that has happened there.

BMF head Lukas Strauman said Taib and his family are the “chief culprits in destroying one of the world’s last great rainforest areas.”

In December, Swiss parliamentarians called for a freeze on any Taib assets there, saying he had abused office “in a spectacular way”. Swiss authorities are yet to respond.

Malaysia’s anti-graft agency launched an investigation in 2011, but it is widely accused of foot-dragging.

Faisal said action is highly unlikely as Sarawak seats proved crucial to the federal coalition winning May 5 elections, showing Taib is “more important than ever” to the government. Premier Najib’s office declined to comment.

Taib has gotten even richer since the polls.

Shares of Taib-linked CMS — Sarawak’s largest conglomerate — have soared 65 percent following the ruling-coalition win, and the compliant state assembly tripled Taib’s pay to nearly $400,000 on Tuesday — his birthday.

China offers 500 troops to UN Mali force: envoys

Published พฤษภาคม 24, 2013 by SoClaimon

Published: 23 May 2013 at 13.49

China has offered to send more than 500 soldiers to the UN force seeking to contain Islamist militants in Mali in what would be its biggest contribution to UN peacekeeping, diplomats said Wednesday.

Illustration shows Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers in a UN peacekeeping unit. China has offered to send more than 500 soldiers to the UN force seeking to contain Islamist militants in Mali in what would be its biggest contribution to UN peacekeeping, diplomats said.

The move could be a bid to overcome tensions with the West over the Syria conflict and to strengthen its relations in Africa, where it is a major buyer of oil and other resources, diplomats and experts said.

France, which intervened in the west African nation in January, hopes to hand over to UN peacekeepers in July. More than 6,500 African troops are already in the country but the UN is looking for at least 3,000 more to bolster the force.

The final number of Chinese troops who will take part has not yet been decided, diplomats said.

“China has offered between 500 and 600 soldiers,” said one senior diplomat. “We don’t have detail yet on what kind of troops they would be providing.”

“It is a significant move by China,” said another UN diplomat confirming the numbers. Both diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity as talks between UN leaders and China are not yet completed.

At least 155 of the Chinese troops are expected to be engineers, according to a UN official who confirmed talks are underway.

China rejected UN peacekeeping missions as an unwarranted interference when it joined the United Nations in 1971. It contributed its first peacekeepers in 1992 and has since stepped up its presence though they have not taken part in military operations.

It currently has about 2,000 troops in missions around the world. Though most are in engineering, medical and other logistics positions, it has more troops in UN forces than the other four permanent UN Security Council members, the United States, Russia, Britain and France.

China’s UN mission did not immediately answer calls seeking a comment on the Mali mission talks. But Chinese ambassador Li Baodong has signalled support for the battle against extremists in Africa.

The UN force in Mali, to be known under the acronym MINUSMA, will take over from French troops who halted an advance by Islamist guerrillas who had controlled the northern half of the country for 10 months. The guerrillas are now staging attacks from desert and mountain hideouts.

“The fight against terrorism in Africa should in no way have to be fought by African countries alone,” Li told a UN Security Council debate this month on conflict in Africa.

“The security turmoil in certain parts of Africa provides a hotbed for terrorism,” he added.

The international community should “adopt swift, effective and coordinated actions and integrated policies” that help African countries “in their fight against terrorism and thoroughly eliminating the breeding grounds of the scourge,” Li said.

“We will continue to do what we can to provide support and assistance to African countries to jointly address the threat that terrorism has brought,” Li said.

“China has not played a major role in diplomacy over Mali. Its deployment of peacekeepers may be a goodwill gesture to France and other Western powers to soothe some of the tensions over Syria,” said Richard Gowan of New York University’s Center on International Cooperation.

Russia and China have vetoed three Security Council resolutions that sought to step up pressure on Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

“China is also always keen to maintain good relations with the African bloc at the UN, and this deployment is a positive signal to Nigeria and other regional powers,” added Gowan.

But diplomats said China would probably be reluctant to put troops in the firing line in Mali. The UN has acknowledged that the peacekeeping force will probably face attacks.

“Mali is a high-risk mission,” said Gowan. “There’s a high chance of attacks on UN forces by Islamist rebels. How will China react if its personnel are targeted? If it takes losses, this could alter its positive attitude to UN operations.”

Japan man, 80, scales Everest, sets record

Published พฤษภาคม 24, 2013 by SoClaimon

Published: 23 May 2013 at 12.49

An 80-year-old Japanese man who underwent heart surgery in January reached the summit of Mount Everest on Thursday, becoming the oldest person to scale the world’s highest mountain.

Japanese adventurer Yuichiro Miura, 80, and his son Gota (L) pose for a picture as they leave the Camp 4 to ascent to the summit of Mount Everest in Nepal, May 22, 2013. Miura has become the oldest person to reach the roof of the world

Yuichiro Miura and his party, including his second son Gouta, arrived at the summit at around 9 am local time (0315 GMT), according to Miura’s website, besting the previous age record by four years.

But he may not have his name on the title very long: Nepal’s Min Bahadur Sherchan, the former record holder who turns 82 on June 20, is on the mountain again and bidding to reach the summit.

“I feel like the happiest person in the world,” Miura said in a satellite telephone conversation with his office in Tokyo. “I’ve never been more exhausted than this but I can keep on going even at the age of 80.

“I can see the Himalayas below me and it’s beautiful. I have stayed strong, strong and strong to be here,” he said.

His wife Tomoko, 80, told the adventurer: “You’d better come home soon.”

“I’m not sure if I am happy or not to have a husband who has so many dreams,” she told reporters. “He is the kind of person who does whatever he believes in, no matter what other people say.”

His daughter Emiri, 52, said: “I believe he will keep on going even when he turns 90 or 100.”

Miura was on his way back down the mountain Thursday, a Nepalese tourism official said, confirming the successful ascent.

“He reached the summit this morning and is currently descending to Camp Four,” the official, Gyanendra Shrestha, told AFP from Everest Base Camp.

Banner headlines in Japanese evening papers proclaimed the elderly adventurer’s success and television news carried extensive coverage of the feat, which was widely celebrated in a nation increasingly dominated by older people.

It was Miura’s third conquest of the 8,848-metre (29,028-foot) peak.

He previously reached the summit in 2003 and 2008 when he was 70, claiming the oldest summiteer record, and 75 respectively.

His 2003 record was broken in 2007 when fellow Japanese Katsusuke Yanagisawa reached the top at the age of 71.

His second conquest of Everest was made in May 2008 but he was beaten to the summit by Sherchan, who had got there just one day earlier at the age of 76.

Until Thursday morning the Nepalese had been the world record holder, according to Guinness World Records.

Sherchan is at base camp and preparing to make his ascent, Nepalese official Shrestha told AFP, adding time was not on his side since the fair weather summit season is drawing to a close.

Miura underwent surgery to correct recurring arrhythmia last November and again in January this year, as he did before the 2008 expedition. He was undeterred by a skiing accident in 2009 that left him with a broken pelvis and fractured thigh.

As a seasoned adventurer, he came to worldwide attention in 1970 when he became the first person to ski down Everest.

His parachute-aided descent was documented in the 1975 film “The Man Who Skied Down Everest”, which won an Academy Award for Best Documentary.

High-octane endeavours are in his blood — his father Keizo skied down Mont Blanc at the age of 99.

More than 3,000 people have successfully scaled Everest but more than 300 have died on the mountain since it was first conquered by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.

Underlining the hostility of the area, five climbers were reported missing, feared dead on the treacherous Kanchenjunga mountain, tourism officials said Thursday.

The climbers — two from Hungary, two from Nepal and one from South Korea — went missing on Monday afternoon as they attempted to climb the 8,586-metre (28,169-foot) peak, the officials said.

Samsung Galaxy S4 sales top 10m

Published พฤษภาคม 24, 2013 by SoClaimon

Published: 23 May 2013 at 11.49

SEOUL – South Korea’s Samsung Electronics said Thursday that global sales of its latest flagship Galaxy smartphone had topped 10 million units less than a month after its debut.

The Samsung Galaxy S4.

A company statement said the Galaxy S4 had already topped the 10-million sales mark worldwide following its April 26 launch. Its predecessor, the S3, had taken 50 days to pass the same threshold.

The world’s top handset maker hopes the S4 will expand its presence in high-end markets in the United States and elsewhere, and crowd out archrival Apple and its iconic iPhone.

Unexpectedly strong pre-orders for the S4 led some US mobile carriers to temporarily delay scheduled sales in late April.

Samsung is believed to have sold about 60 million units of the popular S3 model since its debut in May 2012.

The S4, featuring a high-definition, five-inch (12.7-centimetre) screen and enhanced picture-taking capabilities, comes with a faster chip and is thinner and lighter than its predecessor.

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