World briefs

SINGAPORE The outbreak of a SARS-like virus that’s killed at least 17 people appeared in the Asian financial hub of Singapore, as Chinese health officials scrambled to halt its spread. Travel was halted in Wuhan, China, where the virus was first detected, nearby municipalities restricted the use of transport and public sites, and schools in surrounding Hubei province delayed the opening of spring terms.

MYANMAR A top United Nations official who deals with human rights in Myanmar said yesterday that the international community must continue to put pressure on the Southeast Asian nation to follow any decision by the International Court of Justice regarding its treatment of minority Rohingya Muslims. In a unanimous decision, the court added that its order for so-called provisional measures intended to protect the Rohingya is binding “and creates international legal obligations” on Myanmar.

JAPAN Shelters made of cardboard start popping up in the basement of Tokyo’s Shinjuku train station right before the shutters come down at 11 p.m., in corridors where “salarymen” rushing home and couples on late-night dates have just passed by.

CYPRUS The government spokesman backpedaled yesterday on a claim that Turkey may have stolen technical data to pinpoint a target for gas drilling in waters where the island nation has exclusive economic rights. Government spokesman Kyriakos Koushos told The Associated Press that no such data theft had occurred and his use of the word “stolen” in a Wednesday broadcast by Greece’s state broadcaster was a mistaken “a slip of the tongue.”

ISRAEL Dozens of world leaders gathered yesterday in Jerusalem for the largest-ever gathering focused on commemorating the Holocaust and combating rising modern-day anti-Semitism — a politically charged event that has been clouded by rival national interpretations of the genocide.

RUSSIA Lawmakers yesterday quickly gave preliminary approval to a slew of constitutional changes widely seen as an attempt by President Vladimir Putin to remain in charge after his current term ends in 2024. Kremlin critics have described the amendments as an attempt by Putin to secure his rule over Russia for life, but still it remains unclear how exactly the changes allow him to do that.

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