October 16, 2018

Jamal Khashoggi: Saudi crown prince ‘denies knowledge’ of missing critic

Jamal Khashoggi: Saudi crown prince 'denies knowledge' of missing critic Image copyright AFP Image caption The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, met the crown prince in Riyadh on Tuesday Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has denied knowing what happened to the missing Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, according to President Donald Trump. Saudi Arabia being blamed was a case of "guilty until proven innocent", Mr Trump told the AP news agency. Unnamed Turkish officials say a search of the Istanbul Saudi consulate gave more evidence Mr Khashoggi was killed. The issue has put Saudi Arabia under pressure from close allies. The journalist, a critic of the Saudi leadership, was last seen alive entering the consulate on 2 October. Saudi Arabia has denied killing him and initially said he left the building unharmed. What has Prince Mohammed said?The Saudi heir apparent wields considerable power in the kingdom and is being held responsible by many outside for whatever happened to Mr Khashoggi. Mr Trump tweeted that Prince Mohammed had spoken to him on the phone and he "totally denied any knowledge of what took place in their Turkish Consulate". The president said he "told me that he has already started, and will rapidly expand, a full and complete investigation into this matter. Answers will be forthcoming shortly". The phone call coincided with a visit to Saudi Arabia by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, sent there by Mr Trump to deal with the crisis in relations. Did Apple Watch record Khashoggi killing? Why Saudi Arabia matters to the West More firms pull out of Saudi business conference On Monday, Mr Trump speculated that "rogue killers" may have been behind the journalist's disappearance. In a further sign of disquiet within the US, a leading Republican senator and defender of US-Saudi links, Lindsey Graham, has been highly critical of the Saudi crown prince. "This guy's gotta go," he said on Tuesday morning o..
October 16, 2018

Canada becomes second country to legalise recreational marijuana

Canada becomes second country to legalise recreational marijuana Image copyright Getty Images Canada has become the second country after Uruguay to legalise possession and use of recreational cannabis. The nationwide market for cannabis opened Wednesday at midnight amid lingering questions about the impact on health, the law and public safety. Preparations included mailings to 15m households detailing the new cannabis laws and public awareness campaigns. But there remain concerns, including about the readiness for police forces to tackle drug impaired driving. Canadian provinces and municipalities have been preparing for months for the end of cannabis prohibition. Provinces and territories are responsible for setting out many of the details for where cannabis can be bought and consumed within their jurisdictions. This has created a patchwork of legislation across the country as jurisdictions choose more or less restrictive frameworks for selling and using cannabis. Shops in the province of Newfoundland, the most easterly time zone in Canada, opened as midnight struck for the first legal sales of cannabis in the country. How ready is Canada for cannabis?There remain unanswered questions on some key issues around how legal cannabis will work in Canada. A number of analysts are predicting a shortage of recreational marijuana in the first year of legalisation as production and licensing continues to ramp up to meet demand. And the marketplace itself is still in its infancy. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Unauthorised dispensaries have cropped up in cities across Canada in the run up to legalisation Ontario, Canada's most populous province, will only begin opening retail stores next spring, though residents will be able to order cannabis online. British Columbia, one of the provinces with the highest rates of cannabis use, will only have one legal store open on Wednesday. Until retail locations are more widely available, some unlicensed cannabis reta..
October 16, 2018

US moves to negotiate trade deals with Japan, UK, EU

US moves to negotiate trade deals with Japan, UK, EU Image copyright Getty Images The US has said it intends to negotiate three separate trade agreements with Japan, the UK and the EU. It could take several months before the negotiations begin, it said. The move is part of US President Donald Trump's efforts to reshape trade policies to support his "America First" agenda. It comes as the US has been fighting a trade war with China, the world's second largest economy. "We will continue to expand U.S. trade and investment by negotiating trade agreements with Japan, the EU and the United Kingdom," US trade representative Robert Lighthizer said. "We are committed to concluding these negotiations with timely and substantive results for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses." 'America First' tariffs: What will Trump's policy do? US and Canada agree new trade deal 'Dangerous undercurrents' in global economy The US plans to start negotiation..
October 16, 2018

Ian Kiernan: ‘Clean Up the World’ environmentalist dies

Ian Kiernan: 'Clean Up the World' environmentalist dies Image copyright Fairfax Media/Getty Images Image caption Ian Kiernan founded a global anti-litter campaign Prominent environmentalist Ian Kiernan, the founder of an iconic Australian anti-litter campaign that expanded into a global success, has died aged 78. The round-the-world yachtsman began the Clean Up Australia and Clean Up the World campaigns after being appalled by levels of ocean rubbish in the 1980s. In 1994, he famously helped come to the rescue of Prince Charles when a protester rushed at him, firing a starting pistol, on a stage in Sydney. Mr Kiernan had been enduring cancer. "While we will deeply miss Ian's guidance and humour, it was his greatest wish that the work he inspired continues," Clean Up Australia said in a statement on Wednesday. His first clean-up event took place around Sydney Harbour in 1989, with more than 40,000 volunteers clearing rubbish from the shoreline. It has since grown into a ..
October 16, 2018

Afghan drought ‘displacing more people than Taliban’

Afghan drought 'displacing more people than Taliban' Image caption The UN estimates that 260,000 Afghans have fled their homes this year due to drought A deadly drought in Afghanistan is causing a humanitarian crisis that has displaced more people this year than the war between the government and the Taliban. The BBC's Secunder Kermani reports from Herat. Shadi Mohammed, 70, wells up with tears as he walks through the makeshift camp on the outskirts of the western city of Herat, where he lives with his family. "We are thirsty and hungry. We took what little we could with us, but lost most of it on the way. Now we have nothing. Eight of us live in this small tent," he says. "My wife and my brother died. Half of our children are here. The other half were left behind." Mr Mohammed is one of an estimated 260,000 people who have been forced from their homes in northern and western Afghanistan because of a severe drought in the region. Protecting reporters on Afghanistan&#03..
October 16, 2018

The Facebook cleaners: ‘I’ve seen hundreds of beheadings’

October 16, 2018

China disappearances show Beijing sets its own rules

China disappearances show Beijing sets its own rules Image copyright AFP Image caption China's biggest film star and the president of Interpol both recently vanished - before turning up in detention The recent disappearances of two high-profile Chinese citizens have once again focused international attention on China's legal system and its use of secret detentions. First to vanish was A-list actress Fan Bingbing, who appeared in the X-Men and Iron Man film franchises. She was not seen in public for months over the summer and went silent on social media, before turning up in early October with a grovelling apology for evading taxes. Two days after she re-appeared, it emerged that the president of global policing agency Interpol, Meng Hongwei, had disappeared on a trip to China. His wife says his last communication with her was a text with a knife emoji, which she took to mean he was in danger. On 8 October, Chinese authorities announced he was being investigated for bribe-tak..
October 16, 2018

Legal cannabis in Canada: Should pot convicts get amnesty?

October 16, 2018

How California is changing the US

How California is changing the US Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A wave of new laws in California is shaping national debate. In privacy law, minimum wage and other ways, California is shaping national debate. The US, long a laggard when it comes to online privacy, is finally taking a serious look at creating national rules to protect consumer data. But the impetus driving the talks in Washington isn't what you might think. Yes, lawmakers are responding to an outcry over the exposure of information held by giants such as Facebook, Google and Equifax. They are also looking over their shoulders at Europe, where a new privacy law went into effect in May. But there's another, bigger factor pushing people to the table - California. In June, the Golden State passed a sweeping privacy law, which gave consumers the right to sue over data breaches, among other changes. Now, worried that other states will follow suit, companies and some politicians that opposed previous regulatory efforts have come out in favour of national rules. And data privacy is not the the only area where California is driving the national debate. In recent years, the state has passed a slew of progressive laws concerning everything from marijuana to the minimum wage, inspiring lawmakers in other states. Frederick Boehmke, a professor of political science at the University of Iowa, has studied the adoption of more than 700 policies across the states over many decades. He says California stands out, both for its willingness to adopt new ideas and for its influence over other states. That role has also increased over time. "It's pretty clearly the overall leader," he says. "They are shaping the national agenda." Image copyright Getty Images Image caption California Governor Jerry Brown has made climate policies a signature issue, saying California is not "turning back" The Golden State has a long history of presenting Americans with an alternative path. In the 19th Century, th..
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