Apple shrugs off reports of exploding iPhones in China

Apple has blamed “external physical damage” for causing a handful of iPhones to explode or catch fire in China and insisted that its handsets posed no safety problem. Fresh on the heels of Samsung’s worldwide Galaxy Note 7 safety fiasco, a Shanghai consumer watchdog said last Friday it had received eight recent reports of iPhones that spontaneously combusted while being used or charged. The watchdog’s report quoted one woman as saying her iPhone 6s Plus exploded in August, shattering the screen and leaving the battery and back of the phone blackened. The council said it had received a sixfold surge in complaints against Apple in the past two months.

WHAT NEXT? The US tech giant said it had retrieved units for analysis and conducted thorough tests on phones which had experienced “thermal events”, but brushed off safety concerns. “We treat safety as a top priority and have found no cause for concern with these products,” Apple said.

U.N. urges Suu Kyi to act over claims of military violence against Rohingya

The UN has urged Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi to visit the country’s divided northwest to reassure civilians they will be protected amid accusations that soldiers have raped Rohingya Muslim women, burnt houses and killed civilians. Soldiers have poured into the area along Myanmar’s frontier with Bangladesh, responding to coordinated attacks on three border posts on October 9 that killed nine police officers. “The refusal by the Myanmar authorities to take a strong stance against hardliners, and the adoption of a generally defensive rather than proactive approach to providing security to the local population, have caused frustration locally and disappointment internationally,” Vijay Nambiar, special adviser to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said.

WHAT NEXT? Suu Kyi last Friday accused “the international community” of stoking resentment between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar’s northwest. The army crackdown in Rakhine State has killed at least 86 people and sent 10,000 fleeing over the border to Bangladesh.

Taxi driver arrested in Hong Kong over photos of breastfeeding mother

Police officers arrested a taxi driver who had posted a picture online of a breastfeeding passenger, following a public outcry. They intercepted the 48-year-old man at the junction of Tai Po Road and Pei Ho Street, near his home in Sham Shui Po, on Thursday.

WHAT NEXT? The posting of the photo, apparently taken by a device on the dashboard, drew criticism from breastfeeding advocates, political parties and government officials. Health minster Ko Wing-man on Sunday urged people to show respect for breastfeeding mothers, and slammed the act for its intrusion on privacy.

Philippine police ‘murdered’ town mayor in jail: investigators

Philippine police murdered a town mayor while he was helpless in a jail cell, according to justice department investigators, contradicting claims by the accused and President Rodrigo Duterte that he was killed in a gun battle. The accusations by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) deepened concerns that police were carrying out summary executions as part of Duterte’s controversial war on drugs, which has claimed more than 5,100 lives in just over five months. The NBI, equivalent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States, said police shot dead mayor Rolando Espinosa and his cellmate Raul Yap, as they were defenceless in a provincial jail cell last month.

WHAT NEXT? Duterte defended the crackdown and repeated his warning that drug traffickers faced death if they continued to defy law enforcers and fight back. He said at least 58 policemen and 54 military personnel had died in the crackdown and more than 230 others had been wounded, asking: “If it’s extrajudicial killings, why would I allow my men to die?”

Get a moo-ve on: green light for one of world’s biggest cattle estates

Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart and a Chinese consortium won final approval on Friday to buy one of the world’s biggest cattle estates, ending a lengthy and fraught sale process. The green light came more than a year after Treasurer Scott Morrison blocked an all-Chinese offer by Shanghai Pengxin for S. Kidman and Co Ltd, Australia’s biggest private land owner, as being against national interest. He also knocked back a joint bid by Chinese-owned Dakang Australia Holding and Australian Rural Capital for the same reasons, with part of the land in a weapons-testing area. There has been growing concern in Australia about the purchase of local infrastructure and land by foreign interests.

WHAT NEXT? Australia’s richest woman Rinehart then entered the fray with Chinese property developer Shanghai CRED, offering A$386.5 million (HK$2,241million), but with the tycoon’s Hancock Prospecting holding a majority interest. Under the approved proposal, a neighbouring farming family will acquire the largest of the 10 stations in the Kidman group, Anna Creek, which is next to a sensitive rocket-testing range.

Serial hair-snipper busted in Japan after attack on rush-hour train

A suspected serial hair-snipper has been arrested in Japan after being accused of stealing tresses from unsuspecting women on rush-hour trains. Police charged Akiya Yoshida, a 23-year-old graduate student, with assault on Monday after he admitted cutting the hair of a woman on a packed morning train in Nagoya, a city west of Tokyo. The woman did not notice she had lost about 35cm of hair because the train was packed with commuters. Yoshida said he had planned on selling his ill-gotten merchandise online.

WHAT NEXT? Yoshida is being investigated for possible involvement in about 30 other cases over several years. Local police stepped up patrols after receiving complaints from other women whose hair or skirts had been cut on trains.

Compiled by Thomas Sturrock