November 29, 2018

Benoît Quennedey: French official charged with spying for N Korea

Benoît Quennedey: French official charged with spying for N Korea Image copyright AFP Image caption Benoît Quennedey is president of the Franco-Korean Friendship Association A French civil servant has been placed under formal criminal investigation on suspicion of spying for North Korea. Benoît Quennedey is suspected of treason and "supplying information to a foreign power". He faces up to 10 years in jail if found guilty. Mr Quennedey holds a senior position in the French Senate's department of architecture, heritage and gardens. He is also president of the Franco-Korean Friendship Association, which promotes closer ties with North Korea. In recent years he has written books on the country, including North Korea's Economy: Birth of New Asian Dragon (2013). Mr Quennedey has travelled several times to Pyongyang in recent years and met officials and academics working in the architecture and construction fields, according to his association's website. Following his arrest ..
November 29, 2018

Climate change: Australian students skip school for mass protest

Climate change: Australian students skip school for mass protest Image caption Students protest in central Sydney on Friday School students across Australia have gathered for a high-profile protest to urge greater action on climate change. Thousands of students were expected to skip school on Friday to highlight what they say are inadequate policies by the Australian government. On Monday, Australian PM Scott Morrison rebuked their plans for "activism" during school hours and insisted his government was tackling climate change. Many students said his remarks had bolstered their resolve to protest. "We will be the ones suffering the consequences of the decisions they [politicians] make today," protester Jagveer Singh, 17, told the BBC. Organisers say they were inspired by Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old girl in Sweden who has undertaken similar protests. Image caption Many students urged a more rapid transition to renewable energy Australia has committed to reducing its emissions by 26-..
November 29, 2018

‘Gene-edited babies’: China halts work of He Jiankui

'Gene-edited babies': China halts work of He Jiankui Image copyright AFP Image caption Prof He says there is a potential second pregnancy China has halted the work of the scientist who claims to have created the world's first genetically edited babies, and says it will investigate. He Jiankui caused outrage earlier this week when he told a genome summit he had altered the genes of twin baby girls so they could not contract HIV. His statement has not been confirmed, but if true breaks tight rules around the use of gene editing in humans. Prof He's university said it was unaware of his experiment. The Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen said earlier in the week he had been on unpaid leave since February, and it would be investigating the claims. On Thursday, China's science ministry said it had "demanded that the relevant organisation suspend the scientific activities of relevant personnel". The National Health Commission has already said P..
November 29, 2018

Trump’s trade war: Stakes are high at G20 summit

Trump's trade war: Stakes are high at G20 summit Image copyright Getty Images Image caption US President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping are due to meet again this week The stakes are high at this week's G20 summit, where President Trump is due to meet China's President Xi Jinping. Hopes that the meeting could open the way for a deal over trade between the two countries have been undermined by recent threats by the US president. Only days before the summit in Argentina, President Trump said current tariff levels on $200bn (£157bn) of Chinese imports would rise as planned. He also threatened tariffs on $267bn of other Chinese exports to the US. The stage could now be set for a possible escalation of the trade war between the two nations. Trump talks tough on China before G20 US-China trade row: What has happened so far? Grappling with China's growing power What is likely to come out of the meeting?President Trump started the dispute with China ear..
November 29, 2018

Sabarimala: India activist held for ‘explicit’ thigh photo

Sabarimala: India activist held for 'explicit' thigh photo Image copyright Rehana Fathima Image caption The selfie Rehana Fathima posted on Facebook An Indian woman who made an unsuccessful attempt last month to enter one of Hinduism's holiest temples has been arrested and charges against her include "exposing her thigh" in a photograph she posted on Facebook while on her way to the shrine. Rehana Fathima, 32-year-old telecom technician, activist and model, was stopped by protesters from entering the Sabarimala shrine which has historically been closed to all women of "menstruating age". Hinduism regards menstruating women as unclean and bars them from participating in religious rituals. The shrine management says the ban on women is also because the temple deity Lord Ayyappa was a bachelor. In September, India's Supreme Court overturned the ban, allowing women of all ages to visit the temple. In October, Ms Fathima and a female journalist, protected by more than 1..
November 29, 2018

Simone Fraser murder: Wrong Peter Brown in Melbourne court

Simone Fraser murder: Wrong Peter Brown in Melbourne court Image copyright Alamy Image caption The case was heard at the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne The wrong man was brought to court for sentencing in a high-profile murder case in Australia, after a mix-up with a man with the same name. Peter Brown 57, convicted of murdering Simone Fraser, was due to appear in the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne. But another Peter Brown was initially brought before the judge, Justice John Champion, who was not impressed. The correct Peter Brown was eventually produced after a delay and sentenced to 30 years in prison. The judge expressed frustration and criticised representatives of the prisons service, requesting an explanation for the mix-up. "What particularly unimpresses me is I don't detect anyone here from Corrections," Justice Champion said. "They haven't had the courtesy to appear before the court, knowing the mistake had been made." Skip Twitter post by @Sharnel..
November 29, 2018

Drunk Japan Airlines pilot jailed for 10 months

Drunk Japan Airlines pilot jailed for 10 months Image copyright PA Image caption Japanese pilot Katsutoshi Jitsukawa failed a breath test 50 minutes before he was due to fly A Japanese pilot has been jailed after being caught more than nine times over the alcohol limit as he prepared to fly a passenger jet from Heathrow airport. Judge Phillip Matthews condemned Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, 42, saying the prospect of him flying the Japan Airlines (JAL) plane was "too appalling to contemplate". Jitsukawa, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to 10 months in prison at Isleworth Crown Court. He said he felt an "abject disgrace". He was arrested on 28 October at the airport after failing a breath test 50 minutes before the Japan Airlines (JAL) flight to Tokyo was due to fly with him in the cockpit. He was found to have 189mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system - the legal limit for a pilot is 20mg. The drink-drive limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 80mg per 100ml of blood. Jitsu..
November 29, 2018

G4S: Briton among six killed after Kabul compound attacked

G4S: Briton among six killed after Kabul compound attacked Image copyright STR/AFP/Getty Images Image caption Staff at Wazir Akbar Khan hospital treated the wounded A British national is among five G4S employees killed in an attack on the security firm's base in Kabul. Luke Griffin, 33, died in the attack along with four other Afghans employees working for the security firm. Gunmen stormed the compound after a car bomb was detonated outside, according to the Afghan interior ministry. A sixth person was killed, as well as four attackers, a spokesman for Afghanistan's public health ministry said. Dozens more people were injured. G4S said the victims' next of kin had been informed. The Taliban say they committed the attack. Who are the Taliban? Why Afghanistan is more dangerous than ever G4S, one of the world's largest security groups, helps guard the area around the British embassy in Kabul. Charlie Burbridge, managing director of G4S Risk Management Group, said the ..
November 29, 2018

Australia says orphanage trafficking is modern-day slavery

Australia says orphanage trafficking is modern-day slavery Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Orphans performing to raise money in Cambodia Australia has become the first country in the world to recognise so-called orphanage trafficking as a form of modern-day slavery. The legislation forms part of a wider drive to stop Australians taking part in "voluntourism" schemes which harm rather than help the children. It is estimated 80% of children living in the world's orphanages have at least one living parent. In many cases, they have been lured to the orphanages to attract volunteers. A report by ReThink Orphanages found more than 57% of Australian universities advertise orphanage placements, with 14% of Australian schools visiting, volunteering or fundraising for institutions abroad. The demand for such trips has created a problem in South East Asia, Australian Senator Linda Reynolds said earlier this year, calling orphan tourism the "perfect 21st-Century scam". Viewpoint:..
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