Malaysia urged to ban child marriages as older man weds teen

Primary school students waited for parents after school session in outskirt Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, July 2, 2018. (AP)
Updated 19 September 2018
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Malaysia urged to ban child marriages as older man weds teen

  • Muslim girls under the minimum legal marriage age of 16 can wed with the consent of the Shariah court and their parents

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Malaysia’s government has come under renewed pressure to outlaw child marriages after another case of a child bride surfaced in a rural state, the second in two months.
The New Straits Times newspaper reported that a 15-year-old teenager became the second wife of a 44-year-old Muslim man in northeast Kelantan state. It says the union was approved by the Shariah court with her parents’ consent. The case came two months after a Kelantan rubber trader married an 11-year-old girl as his third wife.
Muslim girls under the minimum legal marriage age of 16 can wed with the consent of the Shariah court and their parents.
The case has sparked outrage among rights groups. UNICEF in a statement received Wednesday urged Malaysia to bring legislative change to ban the practice.


S. Korea’s last polar bear dies ahead of British retirement

Updated 18 October 2018
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S. Korea’s last polar bear dies ahead of British retirement

  • Tongki — a 23-year-old male named after a Japanese cartoon character of the 1980s — lived in a 330-square-meter (3,500-square-foot) concrete enclosure at the Everland theme park outside Seoul
  • The autopsy results suggested that Tongki appeared to have died of old age

SEOUL: The last polar bear kept in South Korea has died of old age only weeks before his planned departure to better living conditions in Britain, zoo officials said Thursday.
Tongki — a 23-year-old male named after a Japanese cartoon character of the 1980s — lived in a 330-square-meter (3,500-square-foot) concrete enclosure at the Everland theme park outside Seoul.
The zoo had planned to move him to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park next month to allow him to enjoy his final days in more appropriate surroundings — the facility in northern England has a 40,000 square meter polar reserve — and had thrown him a farewell party in June.
But Tongki was found dead on Wednesday night and autopsy results suggested that he appeared to have died of old age, the zoo said in a statement, adding it plans to conduct more tests to determine the exact reason for his death.
The average life span of polar bears is around 25 years and Tongki was the equivalent of around 80 in human terms.
“We have designated this week as a period of mourning for Tongki and decorated his living space so visitors can say farewell,” a zoo official told AFP.
Born in captivity at a zoo in the southern city of Masan, Tongki was the only polar bear still living in South Korea and had been alone at Everland since the last fellow resident of his species died three years ago.
Everland said Tongki will not be replaced, and other South Korean zoos have no plans to import the animals, which are classed as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of endangered species.