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Thailand gives green light to growing cannabis at home



BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's narcotics board on Tuesday said it would remove cannabis from its drugs list, paving the way for households to grow the plant.

Thailand became the first Southeast Asian country to legalise marijuana https://reut.rs/32vKNRz in 2018 for medical use and research.

Under the new rule, people can grow cannabis plants at home after notifying their local government, but the cannabis cannot be used for commercial purposes without further licenses, Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told reporters.

The rule must be published in the official Royal Gazette and 120 days must pass before home cannabis plants will become legal.

Meanwhile, the health ministry will this week present to parliament a separate draft bill which provi

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Other Sports: Olympics-At Beijing Games, hugs discouraged but condoms available



BEIJING (Reuters) - Beijing Olympics organisers are keeping up with the tradition of making condoms available to athletes, despite detailed social distancing guidelines intended to curb the spread of COVID-19 within the "closed loop" in which the Games will take place.

"All Olympic-related units will provide appropriate quantities of condoms for free at the appropriate time to people who've checked in to stay inside the loop," organisers told Reuters by email on Tuesday.

The Games are set to take place from Feb. 4-20 in Beijing and the nearby city of Zhangjiakou inside a bubble that strictly separates athletes and other Games personnel from the public.

Journalists who checked into the Guizhou Hotel, which is inside the closed loop, found five individu

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Sg Petani boy gains Internet fame with his slick reporting style



SUNGAI PETANI: A young lad is earning praise on social media for his sterling live reporting skills after he and his friends found a large python while cleaning a neighbourhood mosque near here.

Holding the phone in front of him, Muhammad Haziq Mohd Asyraf, 12, went live and delivered a dramatic, energy-packed account of his encounter with the reptile.

His spoken Bahasa Malaysia was crisp and grammatically accurate.

Malaysians praised his parents and teachers for guiding him well, many saying that Muhammad Haziq has what it takes to be a top quality reporter.

Subsequently, a TV news crew from Astro Awani went to his village in Bukit Selambau near here to interview him on Tuesday (Jan 25).

They handed him the mike and he began to inte

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Russia adds Putin critic Navalny to list of ‘terrorists and extremists’



MOSCOW (Reuters) - Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and a handful of his allies were added on Tuesday to an official list of "terrorists and extremists", the latest in a series of moves by Russian authorities to stamp out their opposition to President Vladimir Putin.

News agencies reported separately that the federal prison service had demanded that Navalny's brother Oleg be given a real jail term in place of a one-year suspended sentence handed to him last year.

Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner and a thorn in Putin's side for the past decade, survived being poisoned with a nerve agent in 2020 and was jailed last year on parole violations related to an earlier fraud case he says was trumped up. His political network was banned as "extremist" last

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FMM: Critical to develop foreign worker recruitment policy and system



KUALA LUMPUR: The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) opined that it is critical and expeditious for Malaysia to have a foreign worker recruitment policy based on a system that supports sector- and company-demand based requirements in order to accelerate business and economic recovery.

The policy must be supported by "a credible, consistent and transparent system”, FMM said in a statement today.

While FMM is supportive of the removal of the special quota for foreign workers to certain parties, which could be open to "possible misuse and abuse” resulting in excessive entry and the possibility of foreign worker human trafficking issues, business operations have been hampered by acute manpower challenges in the unskilled manpower positions.

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JPMorgan agrees to acquire 49% stake in Greek fintech Viva Wallet



ATHENS (Reuters) - JPMorgan said on Tuesday it had agreed to acquire an around 49% stake in Athens-based payments fintech Viva Wallet, subject to regulatory approvals.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but sources close to the deal told Reuters Viva Wallet was valued at more than $2.0 billion.

JPMorgan's investment will top $1.15 billion, including a capital increase in Viva Wallet which will not dilute its founders' majority stake of 51.5%, said the sources, who declined to be named.

Cloud-based Viva Wallet, which operates in 23 countries across Europe, provides card acceptance services through its POS application, add-on Google play devices and advanced payment systems in online stores.

"We are very excited to make a strat

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Football: Soccer-Deadly Yaounde toll follows long list of African stadium disasters


(Reuters) - Rioting and stampedes at African stadiums have taken a deadly toll over the decades with a recurring pattern of incidents, culminating in the latest disaster in Cameroon on Monday.

At least eight people were killed in a stampede as spectators – many suspected to be without tickets – avoided slack controls in attempting to enter Yaounde's Olembe Stadium to watch the home team in the Africa Cup of Nations.

It is the first such disaster at the tournament, Africa’s biggest sports event which has suffered another blow its already tatty reputation for organisation.

Africa’s worst disaster was in Ghana in 2001 when 127 people died in a deadly stampede at the Accra Sports Stadium after police fired tear gas into the stands to quell rowdy fans at a high-profile league match.

One year earlier Zimbabwe police had done m

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