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Tokyo stocks close at 7-month high after Wall St gains

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Tokyo stocks open lower on worries over global economy

TOKYO: Stocks here rose to a seven-month high today, backed by a weaker yen and gains on Wall Street, as traders took comfort in more conciliatory messages on US-China trade battles.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 1.20 percent or 273.35 points to end at 23,094.67, its highest close since February 2. The broader Topix index added 1.09 percent or 18.59 points to 1,728.61. “Concerns over US-China trade issues took a breather and US shares rose. The Nikkei also reacted positively to a cheaper yen against the dollar,” Yoshihiro Ito, chief strategist at Okasan Online Securities, said in a commentary.
Wall Street forged higher on Thursday, driven by reports of possible US-China trade talks as well as tame consumer inflation data, which reduced fears the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates faster than it has indicated. Risk appetite has also risen as Turkey’s central bank surprised markets with a bigger-than-expected rate hike to battle soaring inflation, easing investor concerns about emerging markets, SBI Securities said in a note.
The dollar was trading at 111.89 yen compared with 111.94 yen in New York Thursday afternoon, up from the mid-111 yen range seen when Tokyo closed Thursday. The cheaper yen lifted major exporters, with Honda up 1.22 percent at 3,217 yen and Canon up 1.55 percent at 3,459 yen. Sony soared 3.69 percent to 6,630 yen while Uniqlo chain operator Fast Retailing jumped 2.14 percent to 58,090 yen.

 

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PM expresses grief over the loss of lives in Kabul blast

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'Few signs of progress' in Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday expressed his grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives in a blast in Kabul, targeting a religious gathering.
He strongly condemned the cowardly act of terrorism and said being the biggest victims of terrorism; he could feel the pain of their Afghan brethren who continued to pay the price of war that was brought to their region.
“Our people and the two countries have paid the heaviest toll, both in terms of human lives as well as material losses, but we stand firm and unshaken,” the PM Office Media Wing in a press release quoted the Prime Minister as saying.
The prime minister also condoled with the bereaved families, saying “Our heart goes out to the bereaved families at this hour of grief.”

 

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Bangladesh photographer freed

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DHAKA: Award-winning Bangladeshi photographer and activist Shahidul Alam was released from prison Tuesday after more than 100 days behind bars, in a closely watched freedom of speech case.
The 63-year-old Alam was arrested on 5th August for making “false” and “provocative” statements on Al Jazeera television and Facebook during student protests.
He was freed from Dhaka’s main jail Tuesday after being granted bail last week, his wife Rahnuma Ahmad told the Media. 
“He is now heading home,” she said.
He was being held under controversial internet laws which critics say have been wielded by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to stifle dissent and harass journalists.
Alam spoke briefly to reporters after he came out of prison to describe conditions inside the jail, Alam’s close associate Rezaur Rahman told the Media.
The photographer had previously said he was badly beaten while in custody.
Although Alam was granted bail for his release on Thursday last week, he had to wait another five days to be set free as the prosecution moved to appeal against the bail order.
He had earlier applied unsuccessfully for bail four times.
Alam, whose work has appeared widely in global media and who founded the renowned Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, faces a maximum 14 years in jail if convicted.
His lawyers have argued Alam’s continued detention was “a clear violation” of his fundamental rights under Bangladesh’s constitution.
The photographer’s arrest triggered international protests – with rights groups, Nobel laureates and academics calling for his release – and came after a series of mass rallies this summer after two teenagers were killed by a speeding bus.
The massive rallies evolved into broader demonstrations against Hasina, who will seek a third consecutive term next month, and her Awami League party.
Alam told Al Jazeera at the time that the protests were the result of pent-up anger at corruption and an “unelected government… clinging on by brute force”.
He was arrested the same day, with many other protesters held on similar charges as authorities cracked down on demonstrators.
Human Rights Watch accused Bangladesh of targeting activists and journalists in the wake of the protests instead of prosecuting those who attacked students with fists and rods.
Michelle Bachelet used her first statement as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to raise the issue of attacks on journalists in Bangladesh.
In recent weeks, Hasina has been accused of stifling dissent further by ratifying a controversial new digital-security law.
And a prominent critic of the government was arrested for defamation last month, days after he helped form an opposition coalition.

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Imran Khan reaches Kuala Lumpur

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KUALA LUMPUR: Imran Khan reached here today on a two-day official visit of Malaysia. It would be the first state visit by any foreign leader since Dr. Mahathir Mohamad assumed office in May.

A relevant piece published earlier: 

Imran Khan leaves for Kuala Lumpur

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