- - Thursday, April 19, 2012

ASIA

SHANGHAI — The 2 billion women in Asia are still paid less than men for similar work and are extremely underrepresented in top leadership positions, according to a report that estimates limits on female employment cost the region $89 billion a year in lost productivity.

The Asia Society survey on women’s status in health, education, economic activity and political leadership urges improvements to ensure the region benefits fully from its underused pool of human talent.

Though the status of women varies widely from country to country and from one category to the next, “to continue in this direction would put in peril Asia’s many achievements,” said the report, compiled by Astrid S. Tuminez, a professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore.

Overall, the gender gap was narrowest and women’s leadership strongest in New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Mongolia. The gap was widest in Pakistan, Nepal, India, South Korea and Cambodia.

MYANMAR

EU to suspend sanctions for 1 year

BRUSSELS — The European Union will suspend most sanctions against Myanmar for a year while it assesses the country’s progress toward democracy, officials said Thursday.

The officials said that while the decision would be formally taken by the EU’s 27 foreign ministers when they meet Monday in Luxembourg, it already has been agreed in principle. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to divulge information not yet officially announced.

The sanctions will be suspended for a year, with the possibility of a review in six months, the officials said. The sanctions currently target more than 800 companies and nearly 500 people and include the suspension of some development aid.

An embargo on arms and equipment that can be used for internal repression will remain in place.

SOUTH KOREA

Chinese captain sentenced to 30 years

SEOUL — A court in South Korea issued a 30-year prison term Thursday to a Chinese fisherman for fatally stabbing a South Korean coast guard officer in December. China immediately protested the ruling.

The stabbing occurred after South Korean officers boarded a Chinese boat over suspicions of illegal fishing in the Yellow Sea. The incident prompted anger in both countries and led their presidents to agree to work toward preventing more clashes.

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