September 21, 2018

James Ricketson: Jailed Australian filmmaker granted Cambodia royal pardon

James Ricketson: Jailed Australian filmmaker granted Cambodia royal pardon Image copyright AFP Image caption James Ricketson denied all charges An Australian filmmaker who was sentenced by a Cambodian court to six years in prison on spying charges has been granted a royal pardon. James Ricketson, 69, was arrested in June 2017 while flying a camera drone over an opposition rally. Mr Ricketson, who denied the charges, has been a critic of long-standing Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. His arrest was part of a wider crackdown on dissent by the increasingly authoritarian government.
September 21, 2018

China blocks Twitch game-streaming service

China blocks Twitch game-streaming service Image copyright Zhang Peng Image caption Gaming and e-sports are hugely popular in China Video game-streaming service Twitch has been blocked in China. Since 20 September, Twitch's website has been unreachable from the country and its app has been removed from the local Apple App Store. Twitch has confirmed that it is being blocked but it has not said why the authorities have imposed the restriction. The service was cut off shortly after enjoying a significant bump in popularity among Chinese gamers. Game viewersThe streaming service has been gaining a larger following in China over the last few months. Many keen gamers flocked to it in late August to watch eSports matches being played at the Asian Games in Jakarta. The Games was not broadcast on state-run media in China, forcing many to use Twitch to see the gaming tournaments. No official statement has been released by Chinese authorities to explain why Twitch has been blocked. China..
September 21, 2018

Brecon Beacons sheep rescued by Thai cave team members

Brecon Beacons sheep rescued by Thai cave team members Image copyright SMWCRT/Hook News Image caption Rescuers Mark Morgan (left to right) Gary Evans, Dave Dunbar, Vince Alkins and Pete Hobson with the stricken sheep Members of a team which helped rescue 12 boys and their coach from a flooded cave in Thailand have rescued a sheep stuck 25ft underground for three weeks. The mission was launched after hikers reported hearing desperate bleating sounds coming from a hole in the Brecon Beacons on Sunday. A crew from the South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team was scrambled, but the weather was too poor. The crew returned on Tuesday and hauled the stricken ram from the hole. The five cavers are colleagues of the team involved in the Thai football team rescue in July. "While not on the same scale as the incident in Thailand, we're pleased to report another successful rescue operation," said farmer Mark Morgan, an SMWCRT volunteer who helped save the sheep. Media playback is unsupported on..
September 21, 2018

Texas Republicans apologise to Indians for ‘offensive’ Hindu ad

Texas Republicans apologise to Indians for 'offensive' Hindu ad The US Republican Party has apologised to Hindus after an advertisement meant to woo them ended up offending instead. The ad, published to celebrate a Hindu festival for the elephant-headed deity Ganesha, also included the political message: "Would you worship a donkey or an elephant? The choice is yours." The donkey is the political symbol for the Democrats while the elephant is the symbol for the Republicans. The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) called the ad "problematic". It asked the party's branch in Texas's Fort Bend County, which published the ad in a local newspaper, for clarification. "While we appreciate the Fort Bend County GOP's attempt to reach out to Hindus on an important Hindu festival, its ad — equating Hindus' veneration of the Lord Ganesha with choosing a political party based on its animal symbol — is problematic and offensive," said HAF Board Member Rishi Bhutada in an o..
September 21, 2018

Chinese anger at US sanctions for Russian weapons purchases

Chinese anger at US sanctions for Russian weapons purchases Image copyright Reuters Image caption The sanctions relate to China's purchase of 10 Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets China has told the US to withdraw sanctions on its military over purchases of Russian jets and missiles or "bear the consequences". The US says China has contravened US sanctions on Moscow introduced over Russian actions in Ukraine and alleged interference in US politics. China recently bought 10 Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 missiles. Beijing has not joined in the sanctions imposed on Moscow by the US and its Western allies since 2014. Its forces took part in giant Russian war games held earlier this month. Sanctions: What are they and why do countries use them?
September 21, 2018

Australian strawberries: Why would someone hide a needle in fruit?

Australian strawberries: Why would someone hide a needle in fruit? Image copyright QUEENSLAND POLICE Image caption Why are needles being inserted into strawberries? Australia is currently searching for a saboteur (or saboteurs) amid a national scare involving the hiding of sewing needles within strawberries. In one case, a consumer who swallowed a needle had to be treated in hospital. Children and others have reported narrow escapes. Since the first cases were reported last week, authorities have also stepped up warnings of copycat, prank and hoax incidents. What could compel such actions? The BBC asked criminologists and psychologists for their views. An unfamiliar fearA food crime of this kind is rare in Australia and even its concept feels very unfamiliar, experts say. Supermarket giant stops selling sewing needles"I think that's why there is such a sense of public outrage over this," says forensic psychologist Anita McGregor, from the University of New South Wales. "You pick ..
September 21, 2018

Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang dies aged 61

Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang dies aged 61 Image copyright Reuters Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang has died in a military hospital at the age of 61, state media report. Reports say he had been suffering from serious illness for several months and had received medical treatment abroad and in Vietnam. He had been sworn into office in the communist country in 2016, following his stint as head of the ministry of public security. The role of president in Vietnam is largely ceremonial.
September 21, 2018

Philippines landslide victims ‘sent texts from underneath rubble’

Philippines landslide victims 'sent texts from underneath rubble' Image copyright AFP Image caption The area had seen heavy monsoon rains A landslide in the Philippines has killed at least 21 people and left dozens missing, with some texting for help from under the rubble, say police. The slide on Thursday engulfed two villages in Naga in Cebu province. It comes days after the north of the Philippines was hit by a typhoon, killing more than 80 people. Typhoon Mangkhut did not directly hit Cebu province but lead to stronger monsoon rains, increasing the risk of landslides across the country. 'Like an earthquake'The Cebu landslide took out a whole section of hillside on which people had built their makeshift homes. "It was like an earthquake and there was this thundering, loud banging sound," resident Cristita Villarba told news agency AP. Image copyright AFP Image caption Some of the houses were completely covered by rubble "All of us ran out," she said, adding..
September 20, 2018

Australia emu video investigated for ‘horrific cruelty’

Australia emu video investigated for 'horrific cruelty' Image copyright RSPCA/FACEBOOK Image caption The video appears to show a man using his car to strike emus Animal welfare authorities in Australia are investigating a video which appears to show a motorist deliberately running over several emus. The footage has drawn widespread anger after being shared online. Authorities are treating the footage as authentic. In the video, the male driver is heard cheering as he strikes the animals on a dirt road with his car. Authorities have appealed for information, describing it as apparent evidence of "horrific cruelty". "[We] unequivocally condemn this type of behaviour, as it clearly shows a disregard for the lives of vulnerable native animals," the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) said in a statement. The unidentified motorist's face can be seen in the 41-second video. His voice is also heard. "This is great - I've got that one too, and t..
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