Vote shuts down largest TV network in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine lawmakers voted Friday to reject the license renewal of the country’s largest TV network, shutting down a major news provider that had been repeatedly threatened by the president over its critical coverage.

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Franchises voted 70-11 to reject a new 25-year license for ABS-CBN Corp. The National Telecommunications Commission had ordered the broadcaster to shut down in May after its old franchise expired. It halted broadcasting then, but the vote takes it off the air permanently.

Only the House of Representatives, which is dominated by President Rodrigo Duterte’s allies, can grant such franchises and the chance of any reversal of Friday’s vote is extremely low, lawmakers said.

The network, which used to be viewed by millions of Filipinos on free TV, has been able to continue broadcasting some of its TV and radio news programs over paid cable channels, but with a small fraction of its former viewership.

Sudan ratifies law banning female genital mutilation

CAIRO — Sudan’s ruling body ratified a law banning the widespread practice of female genital mutilation, the justice ministry announced Friday, handing the movement for women’s rights in the African country a long-sought victory.

The Sovereign Council passed a set of sweeping amendments to the country’s criminal code late Thursday, including one that criminalized the deep-rooted practice. The draft law had been approved by the transitional government that took over last year following the ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

A U.N.-backed survey in 2014 estimated 87% of Sudanese women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 have been subjected to the procedure.

—Compiled From Tribune Wire Services

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES

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