Girl barred from chess competition over ‘seductive’ dress

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP): A 12-year-old girl was barred from a Malaysian chess tournament over her “seductive” dress, her coach has claimed, igniting public outrage against the organisers of the competition in the Muslim-majority nation. The Malaysian Chess Federation on Tuesday said it would investigate and denied that religious sensitivities had prompted the decision to exclude the young player, as it seeks to curb the public backlash. In a widely-shared Facebook post, trainer Kaushal Khandhar said his pupil felt “harassed and humiliated” after being forced to withdraw in the middle of the the National Scholastic Chess Championship on April 14.

The girl had been told her knee-length dress was “seductive and a temptation from a certain angle far, far away”, he said in the post on Thursday, demanding an apology from the organisers.

His remarks sparked a flurry of furious responses on social media, with commenters expressing indignation at the incident and questioning how organisers could have deemed the clothing inappropriate.

Malaysia is generally regarded as a moderate Muslim country, but fears have grown in recent years that it is becoming increasingly conservative.

“I am shocked and disturbed that her dress is a problem,” Sieh Kok Chi, former secretary-general of the Olympic Council of Malaysia told AFP.

“She is just 12 years old. No one has the right to impose self-made rules. The chess officials should resign,” he said.

The executive secretary of the chess body, Nik Hishamuddin Nik Mustapa, told AFP that the dress code had been implemented because the competition was played in a public school, which has stricter dress codes than other venues.

“We will call for a meeting of all the parties involved to resolve the matter amicably,” he added. “We lack chess talent in Malaysia. We want to see the emergence of good players.”




‘Extremely lucky’ surfer found after 32 hours in sea


BELFAST (BBC): An “extremely lucky” surfer has been found by a coastguard helicopter after 32 hours in the sea. Matthew Bryce, 22, from Glasgow, had not been seen since he set off to go surfing off the Argyll coast at 09:00 on Sunday. Belfast Coastguard said he had been in the water since 11:30 on Sunday and was found at 19:30 on Monday.A spokeswoman said Mr Bryce, who was wearing a wetsuit, was hypothermic and had been taken to hospital in Belfast.

His condition was described as stable.

Dawn Petrie, from the coastguard, said: “He was extremely lucky.

“Hope was fading of finding the surfer safe and well after such a long period in the water and with nightfall approaching we were gravely concerned but at 7.30pm tonight, the crew on the coastguard rescue helicopter were delighted when they located the man still with his surf board and 13 miles off the coast.

“He was kitted out with all the right clothing including a thick neoprene suit and this must have helped him to survive for so long at sea. He is hypothermic but conscious and has been flown to hospital in Belfast.”

She told BBC Radio: “He did the right thing by staying with his surfboard and that certainly aided his survival.”

Belfast Coastguard co-ordinated the search for Mr Bryce who left to go surfing from Machrihanish beach near Campbeltown.

A large area of sea and shore line was combed after the alarm was raised at lunchtime on Monday.

It involved RNLI lifeboats from Campbeltown, Islay and Red Bay and Coastguard rescue teams from Campbeltown, Southend, Gigha, Tarbert and Port Ellen as well as the Coastguard rescue helicopter based at Prestwick.

Mr Bryce had last been seen in the St Catherines area of Argyll.




Ivanka Trump publishes women’s self-help book

NEW YORK(AFP): US First Daughter Ivanka Trump revived ethics concerns Tuesday by publishing a self-help book for working women, albeit peppered with anecdotes likely to jar on those outside the moneyed elite. “Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success” was released simultaneously in hardback, ebook, 497-minute audio download and CD, Donald Trump’s favorite child sitting on the cover in a dark frock. The millionaire mother of three, assistant to the president and wife of White House advisor Jared Kushner, says she wrote the tome, published by Penguin business imprint Portfolio.


, before her father’s shock election.

She took leave from the family real estate business and her eponymous clothing line in January. She is now an unpaid federal employee, with an office in the West Wing, who fulfills duties traditionally carried out by a first lady.

The purpose of the book, she writes, is to empower others with skills she has learned in matters as diverse as starting companies, negotiating, maximizing your influence at work and “helping change the system to make it better for women.”

The text is peppered with quotations from the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, business leaders Jeff Bezos, Sheryl Sandberg and Richard Branson, even former secretary of state Colin Powell and her venture capitalist brother-in-law.

Among other women she cites as inspirations are Umber Ahmad, an entrepreneur from a Pakistani family who spent a decade on Wall Street before setting up a bakery.

The volume offers a glimpse into the gilded world of a 35-year-old woman thought - with her husband - to still hold investments worth up to $740 million, beyond the daily struggles facing millions of middle- or working-class working women.

Despite several acknowledgements recognizing her privilege, she makes only fleeting reference to a nanny.

For many an aspiring fashionista, there is the galling revelation that Anna Wintour, the legendary editor of Vogue, telephoned her in person to offer her a job while she was still at university - a job she turned down.

At extremely busy times, such as her father’s presidential campaign, she admits: “I wasn’t treating myself to a massage or making much time for self-care,” writing there was time only for work and family.

She references her joy at spending weekends “at our country home in New Jersey,” her love of transcendental meditation and shares tips on treating your children to a “spa bath:” run the shower for steam, play rain forest music and lower the lights.

Trump, whose glossy family photographs on social media showcase a carefully curated image, reveals that she shared the first picture of her daughter only after being snapped by paparazzi because she did not want the first one “to be sold to the press.”

She justified sharing a photograph of herself digging in the garden, “hair in a messy ponytail, dirt on my cheek” thinking it “might be helpful” to “debunk the superwoman myth.”

Trump was pre-paid an advance for the book, but has tried to fend off concerns that she is profiting from public office by promising to donate further profits to charity and announcing that she would not go on a promotional tour.

“In light of government ethics rules, I want to be clear that this book is a personal project. I wrote it at a different time in my life,” she wrote on Facebook.

She did nevertheless reference the book and her charitable grants in a post to her 3.7 million Twitter followers on Tuesday, as well as on her Facebook page.

The book closes with her often-stated desire for the United States to enshrine paid leave and affordable high-quality childcare, but without any concrete blueprint on how that might be introduced.

It remains unclear how the book will sell. Her clothing line was dumped by some department stores under pressure from political opponents of her father demanding a boycott of Trump products.

Her first book “The Trump Card,” published in 2009, was a bestseller.




Ticket to ride Japanese luxury sleeper train a mere $10k


TOKYO (Reuters): A Japanese railway company has launched a new luxury sleeper train with sky views, bathtubs and dark wood interiors, joining the race for well-heeled tourists. The top suite on the 10-car “Train Suite Shiki-shima” sells for $10,000 per person for a four-day trip from Tokyo to Hokkaido, East Japan Railway Co said. The train, which left with 33 passengers on its maiden voyage from Tokyo on Monday, features traditional tatami rice straw mats and bathtubs made from hiroki cypress wood in its executive suites.

Glass ceilings and walls are built into two observatory coaches at the front and rear of the train for the passengers to watch the scenery pass by.

The journey includes stops in the northeast Tohoku region, which was hit by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

“We also want to empower the disaster-hit northern Japan for their recovery effort through the operation of Shiki-shima,” East Japan Railway Chief Executive Tetsuro Tomita said at the launch.

The train is fully booked until March 2018.

Demand for high-end train travel is growing in Japan, with several railway companies introducing new services.

Kyushu Railway Co launched its Seven Star luxury coach four years ago, and JR West is set to launch its Twilight Express Mizukaze in June.