Journey home begins for Christchurch’s foreign victims

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The body of Ansi Alibava, who was killed during the New Zealand mosque attacks, is carried upon arrival at Cochin International Airport in Kochi on March 25, 2019. (AFP)
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A man pedals his bicycle past a poster of Anzi Ali Bhava, who was killed in Friday's mosque attacks in New Zealand, in Kodungalloor town in the southern state of Kerala, India, March 17, 2019. (REUTERS)
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A tribute of a victim of mosque shooting, Ansi Alibava, hangs on a wall at the Botanical Gardens in Christchurch, New Zealand, Thursday, March 21, 2019. (AP)
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People attend a vigil in memory of the twin mosque massacre victims in Christchurch on March 24, 2019. (AFP)
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Members of the local Muslim community enter the Al Noor mosque after is was reopened in Christchurch on March 23, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 25 March 2019
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Journey home begins for Christchurch’s foreign victims

  • The bodies of foreigners killed by an Australian white supremacist gunman in the South Island city on March 15 are only now beginning to arrive back home

WELLINGTON: The bodies of two Christchurch shooting victims arrived in India as the repatriation process gets underway for foreign nationals killed in the mosque massacre that claimed 50 lives, officials said Monday.
The Indian High Commission in Wellington said the bodies of the two had arrived in their homeland and a third was expected later Monday.
The relatives of another two Indian victims opted to have their loved ones buried in New Zealand, a consulate spokesman said.
The bodies of foreigners killed by an Australian white supremacist gunman in the South Island city on March 15 are only now beginning to arrive back home after delays stemming from the police investigation into the massacre.
The victims, who came from across the Muslim world, were gathered for Friday prayers at two Christchurch mosques when the killing spree took place.
Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old motivated by the white extremist belief that Muslims were “invading” Western countries, was arrested within minutes of the massacre and has been charged with murder.
The bodies of the Indian victims are believed to be among the first to be repatriated.
“I’m not sure about the status of bodies from other nationalities but I can say we went through the process as quickly as possible,” a spokesman for the Indian High Commission in Wellington said.
“We completed the procedure within a couple of days of the bodies being released.”
The two repatriated Indian victims are Ansi Karippakulam Alibava, 23, a masters student from Kerala, and Ozair Kadir, 24, an aspiring commercial pilot from Hyderabad city.
The remains of Mahboob Khokhar, a 65-year-old retiree who was visiting his son in Christchurch when he was killed, are en route to India and should arrive about 10:00 p.m. (0300 Tuesday GMT).
The Indians buried in New Zealand are father and son Asif and Ramiz Vora, originally from Gujarat, who had celebrated the birth of Ramiz’s daughter just days before the attack.


Asian stocks rise on hopes for US-China trade talks

Updated 55 min 28 sec ago
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Asian stocks rise on hopes for US-China trade talks

  • Traders have focused on signs of movement toward a settlement of the US-China tariff war over Beijing’s technology ambitions
  • Beijing has said it supports nuclear nonproliferation efforts but rejects unilateral US sanctions

BEIJING: Asian stock markets rose Tuesday on optimism over possible new US-China talks despite concerns about rising Middle East tensions. Benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney all climbed.

Traders were encouraged by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s suggestion last week that trade envoys might meet in person following two rounds of phone conversations. Mnuchin gave no timeline, but his comments helped to temper anxiety over US-Iranian tensions.

Traders have focused on signs of movement toward a settlement of the US-China tariff war over Beijing’s technology ambitions.They were reassured by an agreement in June by Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping to resume stalled talks. That is despite warnings the truce is likely to be fragile because the two sides are divided by the same array of disagreements that caused negotiations to collapse in May.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4% to 2,898.20 and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 climbed 1% to 21,620.88. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.3% to 28,450.32 and Seoul’s Kospi was 0.4% higher at 2,101.45. India’s Sensex edged up 0.1% to 38,065.10.

Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.5% to 6,724.60. New Zealand and Taiwan climbed while Southeast Asian markets retreated. Investors also looked ahead to this week’s meeting of European Central Bank and the US Federal Reserve next week.

“Reports of the US and China resuming trade negotiations next week are positive for risk sentiment, but escalating tensions in the Middle East pushing oil higher are negative,” said ING in a report. “We anticipate wait and watch sentiment” ahead of the ECB and Fed meetings.

On Wall Street, the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.3% to 2,985.03. The index is back within 1% of its record, set a week earlier. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.1% to 21,171.90. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.7% to 8,204.14.

Apple, Intel and several chip makers jumped more than 2% and technology stocks in the S&P 500 climbed 1.2%. But the other 10 sectors that make up the index were evenly split between gainers and losers, and none moved by more than 0.5%.

Earnings reports are due over the next two weeks from about three-fifths of S&P 500 companies. Expectations are generally modest. Slowing global economic growth and rising costs are weighing on companies. Many investors are more interested in what CEOs say about how Trump’s trade war will affect profits than in their results for the spring.

Markets also are watching tensions over Iran’s nuclear program. Washington announced sanctions this week on a Chinese oil company, Zhuhai Zhenrong, that it said violated controls on transporting Iranian crude. Beijing has said it supports nuclear nonproliferation efforts but rejects unilateral US sanctions.

“This simultaneously turns US pressure up on Iran and also stresses the already strained US-China relations,” Mizuho Bank said in a report. There is a “significant risk of a longer-term shift toward a more hawkish stance on the Iran issue” if Boris Johnson becomes the British prime minister as expected, Stephen Innes of Vanguard Markets said in a report.

“The US administration will waste little time pressuring the new UK PM to toe a stricter line on the nuclear accord.”
ENERGY: Benchmark US crude gained 20 cents to $56.42 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 46 cents on Wednesday to close at $56.22. Brent crude, used to price international oils, advanced 30 cents to $63.56 in London. It gained 79 cents the previous session to $63.26.

CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 108.16 yen from Wednesday’s 107.86 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1190 from $1.1209.