August 26, 2018

North Korea grants humanitarian release to Japanese tourist

North Korea grants humanitarian release to Japanese tourist Image copyright AFP Image caption Tourists visiting North Korea are closely monitored at all times North Korea has said it is freeing a detained Japanese tourist on humanitarian grounds. There is very little information available on Tomoyuki Sugimoto, but he was known to have been arrested earlier this month. North Korea has not said why he was arrested, only that he was breaking the law. Japanese media said he could have been filming a military facility. Tourists visiting North Korea are strictly monitored at all times. The secretive country has often jailed tourists before - sometimes for arbitrary reasons - and used them as bargaining tools in its negotiations with their home states. Among the most noted recent detainees was Otto Warmbier, a US student who was jailed for stealing a hotel sign. He was also released on humanitarian grounds, but arrived home critically ill and died a few days later. Will we ever know wha..
August 26, 2018

Myanmar Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo await verdict

Myanmar Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo await verdict Image copyright Reuters Two Reuters journalists who documented a massacre of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar are due to hear whether they will be jailed for violating a state secrets act. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested in December while carrying secret official documents they had just been given by police officers. The men face up to 14 years in jail if found guilty. They deny the charges. Their lawyer said they would be freed "if the judiciary is free and fair". Wa Lone has said their work followed all media ethics. "We tried to tell the truth based on the real situation," he said previously. The verdict comes a year after the long-running crisis in Rakhine state came to a head when a previously unknown Rohingya militant group staged deadly attacks on police posts. Myanmar's 'drastic' arrest of journalists Is refugee crisis 'textbook ethnic cleansing'? The military responded with a large-..
August 26, 2018

Sri Lanka mass grave: Dozens of skeletons found in Mannar

Sri Lanka mass grave: Dozens of skeletons found in Mannar Image caption Forensic archaeologists were brought in after building workers unearthed human remains Experts in northern Sri Lanka are trying to identify the remains of dozens of bodies in a mass grave in the country's former war zone. So far the skeletal remains of more than 90 people have been unearthed in the north-western town of Mannar. The mass grave is the second biggest found in the north since the end of the conflict in 2009. The 26-year war between troops and separatist Tamil rebels left at least 100,000 people dead, and many missing. A court ordered detailed excavations at the site - a former co-operative wholesale depot near the main bus terminus - after human remains were found by workers digging foundations for a new building earlier this year. "The entire area can be divided into two parts. In one segment we have a proper cemetery. In the second part, you have a collection of human skeletons which have be..
August 26, 2018

Australia: Illegal boat runs aground in Queensland crocodile swamp

Australia: Illegal boat runs aground in Queensland crocodile swamp Image copyright PA Image caption The local mayor said those on board were "putting themselves at risk in known crocodile habitat" An illegal fishing boat has run aground and been found abandoned in crocodile-infested waters in northern Queensland, Australia. Authorities have found 11 people and think more are hiding in mangroves near Daintree, north of Cairns. It is unknown if those on board were illegally fishing or if they are refugees, but border force officers are on the scene. About 40 people are thought to have been on board, reports say. The Department of Home Affairs said the first priority was to confirm all those on the boat were safe. Queensland state MP Michael Healy told ABC News that the situation was unclear but officers were at the scene. "We don't know whether these are illegal refugees or we don't know if these are fishermen who were maybe fishing illegally and have ended up in Australian w..
August 26, 2018

Afghanistan Islamic State leader ‘killed in air strike’

Afghanistan Islamic State leader 'killed in air strike' Image copyright Reuters Image caption About 150 members of the group surrendered in north-western Afghanistan this month The leader of the Islamic State (IS) group in Afghanistan was killed in an air strike on Saturday, Afghan officials say. Abu Saad Erhabi and 10 other members are said to have died in an operation in the eastern province of Nangarhar, near the border with Pakistan. He is the fourth Afghan leader of the group to be killed in recent years. The IS affiliate has been active there since 2014, claiming a number of deadly recent attacks. It is sometimes known as Islamic State Khorasan after a historic name for Afghanistan and surrounding areas. How successful has IS been in Afghanistan? Afghanistan country profile The National Directorate of Security in Kabul said the strikes that killed Erhabi were part of a joint air and ground operation conducted alongside US-led coalition forces. US officials did not con..
August 26, 2018

Didi Chuxing suspends carpool service after woman killed

Didi Chuxing suspends carpool service after woman killed Image copyright Reuters Image caption This is the latest instance of violence against Didi passengers China's ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing has suspended its carpool service after police said a driver raped and killed a female passenger. A company statement said the incident showed there were deficiencies in its processes, and so it would suspend its Hitch system for re-evaluation. Authorities said the 20-year-old woman hailed the ride Friday in the eastern city of Wenzhou. A similar incident happened just months ago. In May the company suspended and changed Didi Hitch, which pairs car owners and passengers, after a 21-year-old flight attendant died after using the service in Zhengzhou. China car app plans change after murder Women switch gender on China taxi app after murder China's Uber says it's time to go global In the latest incident, police said the woman got into the taxi at 1300 local time (0500 GMT) an..
August 25, 2018

Julie Bishop ‘to resign as foreign minister’

Julie Bishop 'to resign as foreign minister' Image copyright Reuters Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is planning to resign, according to media reports. The reports come as new Prime Minister Scott Morrison prepares to announce his new cabinet after winning a bruising leadership contest on Friday. Ms Bishop is also expected to announce that she will not stand at the next general election, due in 2019. She had sought the prime minister's job after Malcolm Turnbull stood aside, but was eliminated in the first round. The leadership fight also ended her 11-year tenure as deputy leader of the Liberal Party. The 62-year-old from Western Australia has been a federal politician for two decades. A PM felled by revolts and revenge"Who needs Game of Thrones?" - Australians react to political chaosLast week's leadership crisis arose after Mr Turnbull came under pressure from poor polling and what he described as an "insurgency" by conservative MPs. How did Tur..
August 25, 2018

Where men cut their skin to resemble crocodiles

Why some men in Papua New Guinea cut their skin to resemble crocodiles In Papua New Guinea, on the western half of the world's second-biggest island, 80% of people live in rural villages - and many in the most remote and isolated regions have little contact with the outside world at all. Here, as Mark Stratton found, traditional rituals still survive. The dappled light, cast through the worn thatched roof of the men's spirit house in Parambei village, reveals the rippling scars across the chests of several male initiates. The spirit houses - or Haus Tambaran - along the Sepik river in northern Papua New Guinea are the focal points for a regional belief system which reveres spirits manifesting as animals. These houses are richly decorated with murals and carvings of all manner of creatures - from pigs and cassowaries to snakes and eagles. Yet it is the crocodile that truly embodies animist power along the Sepik. In one of the world's most extreme initiation ceremonies,..
August 25, 2018

Asian Games: India’s elderly bridge players aim for glory

Asian Games: India's elderly bridge players aim for glory Image copyright AFP Image caption It's the first time bridge has been featured as a sport in the Asian Games For the first time, the card game bridge has been featured as a sport at the Asian Games. The BBC's Vandana Vijay speaks to two elderly women representing India. Until her 50s, Hema Deora was busy taking care of her sons in Delhi, or touring the country with her politician husband Murli Deora, a former petroleum minister. Now at the age of 67, she is representing India in a sport she often played with her friends at home every Saturday. Her teammate Rita Choksi is 79 and one of the oldest competitors at the Games, which began in Jakarta on 18 August and will end on 2 September. Ms Deora and Ms Choksi never thought they would play bridge at the Asian Games, let alone represent their country. Their dreams came true after the organisers of the Asian Games recognised bridge as a sport in 2018. Bridge and che..
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