October 14, 2018

The countries that still execute convicts

Death penalty: How many countries still have it? Image copyright Getty Images Claim: Some 170 States have either abolished the death penalty or introduced a moratorium on its use. Verdict: According to Amnesty International in 2017, 142 countries had abolished the death penalty in law or practice. The UN Secretary General António Guterres marked the World Day Against the Death Penalty by praising the efforts of countries to end the practice. He said "170 States have either abolished the death penalty or introduced a moratorium on its use." A moratorium is an agreement to suspend a policy or action. So, is he right? The UN Secretary General's report on the death penalty presented to the Human Rights Council in September this year says that "some 170 States have abolished or introduced a moratorium on the death penalty either in law or in practice, or have suspended executions for more than 10 years." As the UN has 193 members, this implies that 23 states carried out at least..
October 14, 2018

Harry and Meghan arrive in Australia on first official tour

Harry and Meghan arrive in Australia on first official tour Image copyright ABC Image caption The pair's arrival in Sydney on Monday attracted much attention The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have arrived in Sydney to begin an official visit to Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. It is the couple's first official royal tour since getting married in May. The 16-day trip coincides with the fourth Invictus Games, beginning in Sydney on Saturday, and includes dozens of official events. Prince Harry and Meghan were met by a large media and security presence at the airport on Monday. They were driven to Admiralty House, the Sydney Harbour residence of Governor-General Peter Cosgrove - who is the Queen's representative in Australia. The couple follow in the footsteps of Prince Harry's parents - Charles and Diana - whose first royal tour was to Australia and New Zealand. Image copyright EPA Image caption They travelled by motorcade to a residence on Sydney Harbour They w..
October 14, 2018

Kangaroo launches savage attack on family in Queensland

Kangaroo launches savage attack on family in Queensland Image copyright Facebook Image caption Linda Smith has been caring for animals for 15 years An Australian wildlife carer has suffered a punctured lung as she and her family fought off a savage attack by a kangaroo at their property. Linda Smith, 64, and her husband Jim were feeding kangaroos hit by drought conditions in Queensland when the 6ft (1.82m) grey turned on Jim. The couple and their son fought off the attack, said by wildlife officials to be rare, with a broom and a shovel. The animal hopped off into the bush before emergency services arrived. The incident occurred in Millmerran, about 80km (50 miles) south-west of Toowoomba in Queensland. Speaking from hospital, where the couple are both being treated, Mrs Smith told the Brisbane Times that some 30 kangaroos and wallabies usually arrive each night to be fed because of the drought, and are given grain and chaff. 'Panicked' kangaroo smashes way into Australian..
October 14, 2018

Pakistan’s war on street crime: ‘The police killed our precious daughter’

Pakistan's war on street crime: 'The police killed our precious daughter' Image caption Amal (right) was in the backseat of her parents' car when she was hit by a policeman's bullet Amal Umer, a 10-year-old Pakistani girl, was shot in the head on 13 August by a police officer who was targeting an armed robber at a busy Karachi intersection. Her parents have mounted a campaign to change what they say is a broken and unaccountable system - and they are starting to see results, as BBC Urdu's Saher Baloch writes. It would have been easy for Beenish Umer and her husband Umer Adil to be overwhelmed by grief. A joyous family trip to an orchestral concert on the eve of Pakistan's independence day turned into a nightmare when their car was caught in the cross-fire of a confrontation between police and a street mugger. But the couple are not allowing their sorrow to keep them silent. They do not want Amal's death to be forgotten and to be seen by authorit..
October 13, 2018

Anwar Ibrahim returns to Malaysian politics with by-election win

Anwar Ibrahim returns to Malaysian politics with by-election win Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Anwar Ibrahim was in good spirits in Port Dickson on Saturday Malaysian ex-deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has won a parliamentary seat, sealing his return to front-line politics. The 71-year-old won a by-election in the town of Port Dickson on Saturday. The king granted him a full pardon in May, three years after he was jailed for sodomy. Mr Anwar's former rival and current Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad - who is 93 - has promised to hand over power to him in two years' time. The pair shocked many by joining forces to oust the previous ruling coalition in May's general election. Anwar Ibrahim: Malaysia's leader-in-waiting A political drama worthy of Shakespeare Profile: Mahathir Mohamad Mr Anwar's parliamentary win was considered a sure win, after a member of the current coalition stepped down to allow for his accession. Greeted by supporters at ..
October 13, 2018

Indonesia flash flooding kills at least 21 on Sumatra island

Indonesia flash flooding kills at least 21 on Sumatra island Image copyright AFP Image caption Flood devastation at Muara Saladi, which saw the highest death toll Landslides and flash flooding following heavy rainfall on the Indonesian island of Sumatra have left at least 21 people dead, officials say. Eleven of the dead were children buried when mud and water engulfed their classroom in the village of Muara Saladi in North Sumatra province. Another 10 people are missing at the site. More than 500 homes in the provinces of North and West Sumatra have been damaged. The deadliest incident was at the Islamic village school in Muara Saladi in Mandailing Natal district, which borders West Sumatra province. Children were studying on Friday afternoon when a nearby river overflowed and brought down their classroom wall. "The victims were buried in a torrent of mud and wall debris," said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for disaster mitigation agency BNPB. Rescuers found the bodies of 11 chi..
October 13, 2018

Australia to stop religious schools rejecting gay students

Australia to stop religious schools rejecting gay students Image copyright EPA Image caption Prime Minister Scott Morrison clarified his policy on religious schools amid fierce debate Australia's prime minister has promised to ban religious schools from discriminating against gay students. Scott Morrison said new legislation would "make it clear that no student of a non-state school should be expelled on the basis of their sexuality". Some Australian states allow such schools to turn away gay students. The issue has been hotly debated in the country after recommendations of a report on religious freedom were leaked earlier this week. The report, commissioned after same-sex marriage was made legal last year, suggested that procedures for non-state schools to reject gay students should be made consistent nationwide, raising the possibility of allowing such rejections across Australia. On Wednesday Mr Morrison, who leads the centre-right Liberal-National coalition, said the proposa..
October 13, 2018

Nepal storm kills several climbers in Himalayas

Nepal storm kills several climbers in Himalayas Image copyright Frank Bienewald/Getty Image caption Nepal is home to eight of the world's 14 highest peaks Nine climbers are feared dead after a violent snowstorm destroyed their camp on a Himalayan peak in western Nepal. A five-member South Korean expedition team and four Nepali guides were at the base camp of Mount Gurja when the storm struck, police said on Saturday. A rescue helicopter at the scene confirmed seeing eight bodies in the ruins of the camp, but was unable to stay due to bad conditions. A ninth climber has yet to be found. Local media report that South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho, the fastest person to summit the world's 14 highest mountains without using supplemental oxygen, is among the dead. "We assume the incident happened because of a snowstorm because trees are broken and the tents. Even the dead bodies are scattered," police spokesman Sailesh Thapa told AFP. Expedition organisers raised the alarm after lo..
October 13, 2018

The two men who make a living impersonating Kim Jong-un

The two men who make a living impersonating Kim Jong-un Image copyright David Cox Image caption Howard and Minyong Kim Jong-un has had his fair share of headlines in 2018, be it for threatening nuclear Armageddon, jousting verbally with Donald Trump, or signing peace agreements. But every time he makes the news, two very unlikely beneficiaries prepare for their phones to start ringing, writes David Cox. Howard X, a political satirist living in Hong Kong, and Seoul-based Minyong Kim - who goes by the professional name of Dragon Kim - are the sole members of what they call the Kim Jong-un Impersonators Union. For the past six years, the duo have each been cashing in on their uncanny resemblance to the North Korean leader - earning up to £10,000 a day, they say, for jobs ranging from starring in video games, opening shopping malls, and entertaining guests at billionaires' birthday parties. "Whenever Kim Jong-un does something like firing off a missile or calling Trump a 'dotar..
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