November 28, 2018

China chemical blast: Blast outside Zhangjiakou plant kills 22

China chemical blast: Blast outside Zhangjiakou plant kills 22 Image copyright AFP Image caption A line of burnt out vehicles could be seen outside the chemical plant At least 22 people have died and 22 more were injured in a blast outside a chemical factory in northern China. A vehicle carrying chemicals exploded while waiting to enter Hebei Shenghua Chemical Co plant in Zhangjiakou, north of Beijing, initial reports suggest. Photos from the scene showed dozens of burned out cars and trucks lining the street outside the plant. Zhangjiakou is set to hold some ski and snowboard events when China hosts the 2022 Winter Olympics. The blast occurred at 00:41 in Zhangjiakou, a city some 200km (124 miles) northwest of Beijing. Thirty-eight trucks and 12 vehicles were engulfed by flames, city officials said. The injured were taken to hospital. "On-site search and rescue work and investigation of the cause of the accident are still under way," the city's government said. Factory officials..
November 28, 2018

Huawei: NZ blocks Chinese firm on national security fears

Huawei: NZ blocks Chinese firm on national security fears Image copyright Getty Images New Zealand has become the latest country to block a proposal to use telecoms equipment made by from China's Huawei because of national security concerns. Spark New Zealand wanted to use Huawei equipment in its 5G mobile network. However, a government agency said the deal would "raise significant national security risks". The move is part of a growing push against the involvement of Chinese technology firms on security grounds. 5G networks are being built in several countries and will form the next significant wave of mobile infrastructure. Huawei, the world's biggest producer of telecoms equipment, has faced resistance from foreign governments over the risk that its technology could be used for espionage. Spark said it had been informed by the NZ government that using Huawei's 5G equipment in a planned network "would, if implemented, raise significant national security risks". Hu..
November 28, 2018

Didi executives ‘fined’ following deaths of two women

Didi executives 'fined' following deaths of two women Image copyright Reuters Executives at China's ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing are being fined over the deaths of two female passengers earlier this year, according to Reuters. A 21-year-old woman was killed in Zhengzhou in May after using Didi's Hitch service, which pairs up commuters heading in the same direction. Then in August, a 20-year-old woman was raped and murdered in Wenzhou while using the ride-hailing service. Both cases caused a public outcry with calls for a boycott of the service. In September, China ordered the indefinite suspension Hitch over safety concerns. China hitch service suspended indefinitely Didi suspends Hitch after passenger death China's Uber plans to take on the world As well as the fine, the size of which has not been made public, the transport ministry said the Hitch service should remain suspended, the Reuters report said. Didi Chuxing claims to be the world's top tr..
November 28, 2018

Queensland bushfires: Thousands told to flee ‘catastrophic’ threat

Queensland bushfires: Thousands told to flee 'catastrophic' threat Image copyright EPA Image caption More than 130 bushfires are burning across Queensland, officials say Thousands of Australians have been told to evacuate their homes as a powerful bushfire threatens properties in Queensland. It follows the raising of the state's fire danger warning to "catastrophic" - the highest level - for the first time. More than 130 bushfires are burning across Queensland, fuelled by strong winds, a heatwave and dry vegetation. The worst threat is for a fast-moving bushfire near the town of Gracemere, said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. "We have never, ever in this state been in this situation before," she told reporters late on Wednesday. "We have not had a catastrophic level. This is uncharted waters." Is this Australia's 'new normal'? Flash-flooding causes chaos in Sydney Several properties have been destroyed since the fires began burning on the weekend. More th..
November 28, 2018

Chinese scientist defends ‘world’s first gene-edited babies’

Chinese scientist defends 'world's first gene-edited babies' A Chinese scientist who claims to have created the world's first genetically edited babies has defended his work. Speaking at a genome summit in Hong Kong, He Jiankui, an associate professor at a Shenzhen university, said he was "proud" of his work. He said "another potential pregnancy" of a gene-edited embryo was in its early stages. His claims, which have caused widespread outrage, have yet to be independently verified. Mr He said eight couples had signed up voluntarily for the experiment, and one couple later dropped out. He added that he had initially funded the experiment by himself. China baby gene editing claim 'dubious'
November 27, 2018

Lion Air crash: Airline should improve safety culture, a report says

Lion Air crash: Airline should improve safety culture, a report says Image copyright Reuters Image caption The families of the victims visited the site of the crash to pay tribute Indonesian authorities have recommended that budget airline Lion Air improve its safety culture, in a preliminary report into last month's deadly crash. On 29 October flight JT 610 crashed into the Java Sea shortly after departing Jakarta, killing 189 people. The report is the most detailed look yet from authorities at the 11 minutes the plane was in the air. However, it does not give a definitive cause for the accident. The preliminary report by the Indonesian Transport Safety Committee said the airline should ensure the operations manual is followed "in order to improve the safety culture and to enable the pilot to make proper decision to continue the flight". It also said the carrier must ensure "all operations documents are properly filled and documented".
November 27, 2018

Sydney storms: Hundreds call for help amid flash-flooding

Sydney storms: Hundreds call for help amid flash-flooding Image copyright Reuters Image caption Sydney had one month's worth of rain in two hours, meteorologists say More than 500 Australians have called for emergency assistance after storms lashed Sydney and nearby regions, causing floods, power cuts and flight delays. Sydney had its average monthly rainfall within just two hours on Wednesday, according to meteorologists. Authorities said at least 11 people had been rescued from vehicles trapped in floods. One man died in a car accident. Images posted online showed flooded roads, houses and train stations. Skip Twitter post by @FRNSW #FRNSW firefighters had to negotiate flooded roads while responding to an alarm in Artarmon this morning. Take care if you’re travelling today and don’t enter floodwater. Like the @NSWSES says - if it’s flooded, forget it! — Fire and Rescue NSW (@FRNSW) November 27, 2018 Report End of Twitter post by @FRNSW Image copyrig..
November 27, 2018

Google urged to drop Chinese ‘Dragonfly’ project

Google urged to drop Chinese 'Dragonfly' project Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The new search app would block search terms like human rights and religion Staff at Google have called on the search giant to end work on a controversial search engine project for China. Called Dragonfly, the search engine would be a censored version developed with the aid of the Chinese government. In a letter published online, 60 employees said the project would only help state surveillance. Their call to cancel was backed by Amnesty International which said it was at odds with the company's values. 'Exploratory'Once completed, Dragonfly would "enable censorship" and help the Chinese government's disinformation campaigns, claimed the letter. China made significant use of technology to stifle freedom of expression and repress dissent, said the group. "Dragonfly in China would establish a dangerous precedent at a volatile political moment, one that would make it ..
November 27, 2018

John Allen Chau: Do missionaries help or harm?

John Allen Chau: Do missionaries help or harm? Image copyright Getty Images Image caption How should the world view missionaries? "You guys might think I'm crazy in all this... But I think it's worth it to declare Jesus to these people." These were some of the last words in the final letter John Allen Chau sent to his parents before he was killed by the people of North Sentinel Island last week. While he was not himself a missionary, Chau did say that his aim was to bring the gospel to the tribe. And his attempts to do so have brought into focus the hundreds of thousands of Christians around the world spreading their faith. But who are these missionaries? What do they hope to achieve? And are they a positive force around the world, or an unwelcome presence? What is a missionary?While other religions have sent missionaries around the world, none are more widespread or well-known than Christian missionaries. Missionaries of all Christian creeds cite a passage in the Bible, t..
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