October 16, 2018

India guru Rampal sentenced to life in jail for murder

India guru Rampal sentenced to life in jail for murder Image copyright www.jagatgururampalji.org Image caption Rampal claims to have tens of thousands of followers across India A self-styled Indian guru and 14 others have been sentenced to life in prison for murdering four women and an 18-month-old baby in 2014. The court in Haryana state convicted Rampal last week. He was also found guilty of another murder and will be sentenced in that case on Wednesday. He suffocated the victims during a bloody standoff between his supporters and police in 2014, the court said. The guru claims tens of thousands of followers and has ashrams across India.
October 16, 2018

‘Anti-white’ racism: Australia senators blame ‘error’ for vote

'Anti-white' racism: Australia senators blame 'error' for vote Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Critics say the motion by Senator Pauline Hanson was a publicity stunt The Australian government has said that an "administrative error" prompted 23 of its senators to vote for a motion which stated "it is OK to be white". The motion by Pauline Hanson, leader of the anti-Islam One Nation party, also condemned "anti-white racism". It was defeated 31-28 in a vote on Monday. Critics noted that the phrase "it's OK to be white" has been associated with trolls and white supremacist groups. PM Scott Morrison said the level of government support was "regrettable". Responding to a backlash on Tuesday, the government said its senators had misunderstood the motion due to an internal "process failure". A senior minister, Christian Porter, blamed an "early email" sent by his staff without his knowledge. It had told senators to support the motion. "The associations of t..
October 16, 2018

Xinjiang governor praises Uighur Muslim ‘education camps’

Xinjiang governor praises Uighur Muslim 'education camps' Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Uighurs make up about 45% of the population in Xinjiang The governor of China's Xinjiang region has given the most detailed description yet of the alleged use of internment camps for Uighur Muslims. In an interview with state media, Shohrat Zakir said the "vocational education" centres were proving effective in staving off terrorism. He said "trainees" were grateful for the opportunity to change their ways and make their lives more "colourful". China's massive security crackdown in Xinjiang has sparked widespread alarm. Rights groups say Muslims are being detained indefinitely without charge for infractions like refusing to give a DNA sample, speaking in a minority language or arguing with officials. Officials have denied allegations that up to a million Muslim Uighurs and other minority groups are being detained and insist that action is necessary to prevent terro..
October 16, 2018

Sundar Pichai: Google ‘exploring’ censored China search app

Sundar Pichai: Google 'exploring' censored China search app Image copyright Getty Images Google chief executive Sundar Pichai has said a censored search app in China could serve over "99% of queries," in rare public comments about the controversial proposal. Mr Pichai told a conference in San Francisco the plan was in the "very early" stages and may not progress. Google's possible return to China - a market it abandoned over censorship concerns - was first leaked in August. The proposal has drawn criticism from employees and human rights advocates. On Monday, Mr Pichai did not commit to the launch, saying that the plan was still in an exploratory stage. "We wanted to learn what it would look like if Google were in China, so that's what we built internally," Mr Pichai said at the Wired conference in San Francisco. "It's very early, we don't know whether we would or could do this in China but we felt like it was important for us to explore. I think it&..
October 15, 2018

Australia considers following US on Jerusalem embassy

Australia considers following US on Jerusalem embassy Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The US moved its embassy to Jerusalem in May Australia will consider recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving its embassy there from Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says. If acted upon, the move would follow a recent policy shift by the US that has drawn criticism internationally. Mr Morrison said Australia remained committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Political opponents said Mr Morrison's comments were a "deceitful" ploy for votes ahead of a crucial by-election. The status of Jerusalem is one of the most contested issues between Israel and the Palestinians. US President Donald Trump drew international criticism last year when he reversed decades of American foreign policy by recognising the ancient city as Israel's capital. The US embassy was relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May. Why Trump and Jerusalem was not a..
October 15, 2018

The Indian women abandoned because of mental illness

The Indian women abandoned because of mental illness Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Nearly 14% of Indians are mentally ill and at least 10% of those need immediate intervention. Mental illness is often neglected in India because of stigma and poor care. But women are the worst affected and are mostly abandoned by their families, writes Raksha Kumar. Ramaa (whose name was changed upon request) turned 45 on 20 August 2018. Her birthday is one of the few details she remembers from what she calls "her past life" - when she lived with her husband and two sons in the western city of Mumbai. "When people say they love their families and cannot live away from them, I just don't understand it," she says. Her marriage, she explains, was tumultuous and her sons were not very affectionate towards her. The forgotten women in an Indian mental health wardA few days before she turned 30, Ramaa's husband brought her to the Regional Mental Hospital in Thane, a suburb of Mumbai. ..
October 15, 2018

How New Zealand is trying to take on child poverty

How New Zealand is trying to take on child poverty Image copyright Getty Images Image caption It's home to glaciers, national parks and vineyards, but there's also a darker side to New Zealand It's a mountainous wonderland decorated with ancient glaciers, breathtaking national parks and sumptuous vineyards, but behind its glossy image New Zealand is failing many of its children. Rates of disadvantage have stayed stubbornly high and they are a stain that Jacinda Ardern, who became New Zealand's youngest female prime minister a year ago, is determined to cleanse. She has promised to halve child poverty over the next 10 years, insisting that her South Pacific nation should "aspire to be the best place in the world to be a child". It's a monumental task, but advocacy groups have been encouraged by what they've seen in the first year of the Ardern administration - a left-leaning, three-party coalition. "It is a bit of a shock and revelation to all of us as ..
October 15, 2018

Bryan Adams concert photograph shows off Delhi pollution

Bryan Adams concert photograph shows off Delhi pollution Image Copyright bryanadams bryanadams Report Canadian singer-songwriter Bryan Adams showed his love for his Indian fans on Sunday in a social media post that also brought attention to the country's pollution problem. He shared an image on Instagram of his shadow eerily cast into the dusty and smoky air above a concert crowd. The post said the music veteran had "never seen" the phenomenon before, describing it as "magical". Indian cities dominate global pollution rankings for poor air quality. The Indian capital is the sixth worst place in the world for pollution, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) data. Conditions in and around Delhi have deteriorated this week and are currently categorised as "poor". Delhi residents choke as dust blankets capital Delhi's air pollution is triggering a health crisis The Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), an emergency government initiative to try and improve conditions, has..
October 15, 2018

‘It’s OK to be white’ bill defeated in Australian Senate

'It's OK to be white' bill defeated in Australian Senate Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Critics say the motion by Pauline Hanson, pictured in 2017, was a publicity stunt Australia's Senate has narrowly defeated a motion condemning "anti-white racism", by just three votes. Pauline Hanson, the leader of Australia's far-right One Nation party, wanted backing for her motion which stated "it is OK to be white". It also spoke of the "deplorable rise of anti-white racism and attacks on Western civilisation". Critics have dismissed it as another stunt by Ms Hanson, who last year hit the headlines for wearing a burka. Yet a number of ruling party politicians backed the motion. Among the 23 people who voted in favour was Australia's first parliamentarian of black African descent, Kenyan-born Lucy Gichuhi of the governing coalition. Others in government who supported the motion were the Deputy Senate Leader and Trade Minister Simon Birmingham, Indigenous..
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