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Missing Chinese student found days after being kidnapped in Canada

(CNN)A Chinese student who was attacked with a stun gun and kidnapped in Canada has been found unharmed, police said. “Investigators have been in close contact with Mr. Lu’s family and have provided them with the updated information,” the statement said. Lu and a female friend were exiting his car in an underground parking lot on Saturday night in the Ontario city of Markham when four masked men grabbed him, police said. One was carrying a taser, and used it on Lu as he attempted to resist. Lu’s friend was…

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Running among the ruins: seeing Cambodia at a trot

A dawn jog around the magnificent temples of Angkor is the perfect way to meet an ancient country with deep roots Temple Run is a relentlessly addictive computer game. The concept is simple enough. Youve stolen a cursed idol from an ancient crumbling temple and now you have to run for your life to escape the evil monkeys gnashing at your heels. The temple run I am doing, however, is much slower, far less frantic and it only features a handful of snoozing macaques. But it is so infinitely more…

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Odds and Ends 

Skymind raises $11.5M to bring deep learning to more enterprises

Skymind, a Y Combinator-incubated AI platform that aims to make deep learning more accessible to enterprises, today announced that it has raised an $11.5 million Series A round led by TransLink Capital, with participation from ServiceNow, Sumitomo’s Presidio Ventures, UpHonest Capital and GovTech Fund. Early investors Y Combinator, Tencent, Mandra Capital, Hemi Ventures, and GMO Ventures, also joined the round/ With this, the company has now raised a total of $17.9 million in funding. The inclusion of TransLink Capital gives a hint as to how the company is planning to…

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Xinjiang human rights activist Serikzhan Bilash arrested by Kazakhstan police, lawyer says

(CNN)A prominent human rights activist and China critic based in Kazakhstan, has been arrested by Kazakh police and charged with inciting ethnic strife, according to his lawyer. Kazakhstan authorities could not be reached for comment. According to the US State Department, citing reports from international rights groups, scholars, and media organizations, as many as 800,000 to 1.1 million individuals have been detained in camps in Xinjiang since around April 2017. Bilash and other critics argue the facilities are re-education camps for political indoctrination and are an attempt to erase any…

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Toxic moonshine kills at least 94 in India and lands 150 in the hospital

New Delhi, India (CNN)At least 94 people have died and more than 150 have been hospitalized after consuming tainted alcohol in India, officials said. “It is a case of alcohol poisoning, and it has affected a few tea gardens and villages surrounding them in this district,” Saikia said. People are still arriving at Jorhat hospital for treatment, with extra medical staff called in to help handle patients, Baruah told CNN. “Doctors from nearby districts and other medical colleges have been rushed in to deal with the crisis,” Assam Health Minister…

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20 killed, dozens wounded in Philippines church bombings

(CNN)Two bombs tore through a Roman Catholic cathedral in southern Philippines on Sunday, killing at least 20 people and leaving dozens wounded, authorities said. ISIS did not provide evidence for its claim, nor can CNN independently verify it. The nation’s military and the police are securing the area and all casualties were immediately evacuated, regional officials said. In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana condemned the bombing and said he has directed troops to “heighten their alert level” and secure places of worship and public spaces. “As we convey…

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Headlines 

One dead after multiple explosions in Chinese apartment building

Beijing (CNN)A man has been killed after a series of explosions at an apartment building in the northeastern Chinese city of Changchun Friday, local authorities said in a statement. A car had exploded in the parking lot in an underground car park at the Wanda Plaza apartment building on Hongqi Street, the statement said. Just minutes later, a second explosion in an office on the 30th floor of the building sprayed smoke and glass onto the ground below. “After the incident, provincial leaders immediately ordered rescue work to be carried…

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Thais to vote in elections nearly five years after military coup

Bangkok, Thailand (CNN)Thailand’s long-awaited election will be held on March 24, the country’s Election Commission announced Wednesday, after almost five years of military rule. Following the royal decree, the Election Commission had five days to set a date, which is final and official. A statement from the Prime Minister’s office on Wednesday said that the House of Representatives and a new government would both be in place “by the middle of this year.” Former army Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha seized power in a military coup in 2014, following six months of…

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Headlines 

China’s censors face a major test in 2019. But they’ve spent three decades getting ready

Hong Kong (CNN)The internet blackout began with no warning. In response to a day or so of protests and riots in one city, the whole of Xinjiang — a region of more than 617,700 square miles (1.6 million square kilometers) and 20 million people in 2009 — was cut off from the internet for almost 10 months. Businesses dependent on the web, like internet cafes or travel agencies, quickly went under, while others had to send staff on the 620-mile (1,000-kilometer) journey to the neighboring province of Gansu to get…

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Are the wheels coming off China’s Belt and Road megaproject?

Hong Kong (CNN)Kenya is the latest country where China is frantically defusing a public relations storm over President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road megaproject. Despite Beijing and Nairobi’s vehement denials, concerns over the loans speak to a growing fear in many developing countries that their governments, in rushing to cash in on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), have left themselves overextended, with Chinese state-owned companies ready to snap up ports, railways and other key infrastructure across the globe should debtors default. Five years into the BRI, the sheen…

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Headlines 

Man in Pakistan guns down five family members before killing himself

(CNN)A young man in Peshawar, Pakistan, killed five of his family members early Wednesday night before taking his own life, police said. The father died immediately, along with all three of Abdullah’s brothers, whose ages ranged from 12 and 18, police said. While on the run, Abdullah then killed his uncle before killing himself, police said. The case is still under investigation. Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/26/asia/peshawar-murder-suicide/index.html

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Headlines 

Can Japanese tech ease traffic jams in India’s Silicon Valley?

(CNN)It’s one of India’s top IT hubs, but Bangalore is looking to Japan rather than homegrown talent for a groundbreaking solution to its notorious congestion problem. Cameras and sensors will be laced across the city, and GPS devices placed on public buses to enable traffic busters to monitor congestion levels. That data will be fed into a traffic control center, which will then divert traffic away from hotspots. Tarun Rambha, an assistant professor at the India Institute of Science’s Department of Civil Engineering, however, says Bangalore has the benefit of…

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Headlines 

‘We are at the mercy of men’: Reports of rape and sexual abuse in North Korea

Seoul, South Korea (CNN)Harrowing accounts of widespread sexual abuse allegedly carried out by North Korean officials against ordinary women have been laid out in a new report, that details evidence of a culture where officials commit acts with near total impunity. Harrowing accounts Of all the sexual assault survivors interviewed for the report, only one said she had tried to report it. None of the others report the assault they suffered because “they did not trust the police and did not believe police would be willing to take action,” the…

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Thai cave boys surprised by their hero Zlatan on US talk show ‘Ellen’

(CNN)The Thai soccer team whose escape from a waterlogged cave transfixed the world appeared on the US talk show “Ellen” on Monday, where they had a surprise meeting with their hero soccer player Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Amid excited smiles from the Thai team, Ibrahimovic high-fived all the players before complimenting them on their bravery. “I thought I was brave, but these kids, this team, is more braver than me … This is probably the best team in the world,” he said. Speaking through a Thai translator, the boys and their coach…

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Taiwan’s president calls on Beijing to not be a ‘source of conflict’ worldwide

(CNN)Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen called on China to be a “responsible” country on the world stage rather than provoking unnecessary conflict, amid worsening relations between Beijing and the island it considers a renegade province. Tsai said she would work to strengthen the island’s national security in response to the increasing threats from Beijing, which she said had been exerting growing pressure on the island. In September, the US approved a $330 million arms sale to Taiwan, primarily spare parts for the island’s air force. Tsai’s speech echoes strong comments made…

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