April 3, 2019

Toyota to share hybrid vehicle secrets for free

Toyota to share hybrid vehicle secrets for free Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Toyota's Prius was the first mass-produced hybrid car Car manufacturer Toyota is to offer royalty-free access to its hybrid vehicle technology patents until 2030. It is part of a move to promote hybrid cars as a bridge to fully electric vehicles (EVs). It will grant licences for nearly 24,000 patented technologies relating to motors, converters and batteries. The Toyota-designed Prius was the world's first mass-produced hybrid car and the firm has sold 13 million hybrid cars since its introduction. "Based on the high volume of inquiries we receive about our vehicle electrification systems from companies that recognise a need to popularise hybrid and other electrified vehicle technologies, we believe that now is the time for co-operation," said Toyota's executive vice-president Shigeki Terashi in a statement. Chinese firms are particularly interested in the technology and have ambi..
April 3, 2019

1MDB: Superyacht linked to financial scandal sold for $126m

1MDB: Superyacht linked to financial scandal sold for $126m Image copyright Getty Images Malaysia's government has agreed to sell a seized superyacht allegedly bought with money stolen from the 1MDB state fund for $126m (£95.9m). The sale of the yacht to casino firm Genting Malaysia marks the country's largest recovery yet of 1MDB cash. Billions of dollars were allegedly embezzled from 1MDB, which was set up in 2009 to aid economic development. It comes as Malaysia's ex-PM Najib Razak faces his first trial over his role in the sweeping financial scandal. He denies any wrongdoing. US authorities say money siphoned from 1MDB was used to buy lavish assets including a private jet, paintings, real estate -and the luxury yacht, Equanimity. Businessman Low Taek Jho, a key figure in the scandal, allegedly purchased the superyacht which was confiscated by authorities in 2018. On Wednesday, a court approved its sale to Genting Malaysia for $126m. 1MDB scandal: The playboys,..
April 2, 2019

Fraser Anning: Australian MP censured for ‘appalling’ Christchurch remarks

Fraser Anning: Australian MP censured for 'appalling' Christchurch remarks Image copyright EPA Image caption Fraser Anning was condemned by the Senate for his comments about the Christchurch attacks The Australian Senate has formally censured a lawmaker who sparked outrage by blaming the New Zealand mosque attacks on Muslim migration. Senator Fraser Anning, a far-right independent, made his comments on the day of the shootings in Christchurch which killed 50 people last month. On Wednesday, lawmakers from across the political spectrum condemned his "inflammatory and divisive" remarks. Mr Anning said the censure was "an attack on free speech". The reprimand, the fifth to passed by the Senate in the past decade, stated that Mr Anning's remarks last month did not reflect the views of the parliament or the Australian people. He had said: "The real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program that allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealan..
April 2, 2019

1MDB scandal: Malaysia ex-PM Najib set to stand trial

1MDB scandal: Malaysia ex-PM Najib set to stand trial Image copyright Reuters Image caption Mr Najib denies all wrongdoing Malaysia's former Prime Minister Najib Razak is set to stand trial for his role in a financial scandal that has sent shockwaves around the world. Mr Najib is accused of pocketing $681m (£522m) from the sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. He denies any wrongdoing. The fund was meant to boost Malaysia's economy through strategic investments. Instead, money from it was allegedly used to fund lavish lifestyles, a Hollywood film and a super-yacht. Mr Najib faces several criminal cases, but this is the first major trial in the scandal. Proceedings were originally set to begin on 12 February, but were delayed for related appeals to be heard. Malaysia's government has also filed criminal charges against Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs accusing the investment bank of defrauding investors by raising money for 1MDB. The bank has denied all wrongdoing and said it wou..
April 2, 2019

Brunei implements stoning to death under new anti-LGBT laws

Brunei implements stoning to death under new anti-LGBT laws Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Homosexuality was already illegal in Brunei The tiny Southeast Asian country of Brunei is introducing strict new Islamic laws that makes gay sex an offence punishable by stoning to death. The new measures, set to begin Wednesday, also cover a range of other crimes including punishment for theft by amputation. The move has sparked international condemnation and outcry. The Bruneian gay community has expressed shock and fear at the "medieval punishments". "You wake up and realise that your neighbours, your family or even that nice old lady that sells prawn fritters by the side of the road doesn't think you're human, or is okay with stoning," one Bruneian gay man, who did not want to be identified, told the BBC. Under the new law, individuals will only be convicted of gay sex if they confess or are seen committing the act by four witnesses. Homosexuality was already illegal..
April 2, 2019

Will talks with the Taliban bring peace or chaos?

Will talks with the Taliban bring peace or chaos? Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption The Taliban now control more territory in Afghanistan than at any point since 2001 For the first time in 18 years, the US government seems serious about withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan and winding up the longest war in its history. Since October, US officials and representatives of the Taliban have held five rounds of direct talks and are about to embark on a sixth - aimed at ensuring a safe exit for the US in return for the insurgents guaranteeing that Afghan territory is not used by foreign militants and wouldn't pose a security threat to the rest of the world. A US-led military coalition overthrew the Taliban in 2001 for sheltering al-Qaeda, the militant group that Washington blamed for the 9/11 attacks. A rare consensus about resolving the conflict peacefully, both inside and outside Afghanistan, means peace has never been so close. But the US-Taliban talks in Qatar's ..
April 2, 2019

The mystery Samoan in my family tree

The mystery Samoan in my family tree Image copyright Lennard Davis When Lennard Davis received an email from a stranger who said Lennard was his closest living relative, he thought it must be a scam. Lennard is a Jewish professor from New York, and the stranger claimed to be from a line of Polynesian chieftains. It took four years and the unravelling of two family secrets to solve the puzzle. In 1979 Lennard Davis's Uncle Abie told him he had a secret - but he said he couldn't reveal it while Lennard's father, Morris, was alive. Morris was then in hospital with cancer. When he died, two years later, Lennard reminded Abie about the secret, and asked if he could now be told. Initially, Uncle Abie was reluctant - he told Lennard to forget all about it, he didn't want to tell him. But Lennard pressed him. "So, he told me," Lennard says. "He said, 'I'm your father.'" Image copyright Lennard Davis Image caption Lennard, pictured as a baby, with his elder b..
April 2, 2019

‘Asian female’ with malware arrested at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

'Asian female' with malware arrested at Trump's Mar-a-Lago Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionMar-a-Lago is a private members club as well as the Trump family's winter getaway. A woman carrying two Chinese passports and a device with computer malware allegedly lied to gain access to President Trump's Mar-a-Lago club. The woman, Yujing Zhang, 32, told security she was at the club to go to the pool, according to a criminal complaint filed in US District Court. "Due to a potential language barrier issue," staff believed she was related to a club member and let her in. Mr Trump was in Palm Beach at the time of the incident on Saturday 30 March. Image copyright AFP Image caption Mr Trump is known to make frequent trips to his Palm Beach property Ms Zhang - who was described in the affidavit as an "Asian female" - is charged with making false statements to a federal officer and illegally entering a restricted area. According to the court d..
April 2, 2019

Thalidomide scandal: How Australia’s response has ‘lagged behind’

Thalidomide scandal: How Australia's response has 'lagged behind' Image copyright Lisa McManus Image caption Thalidomide survivor Lisa McManus has been critical of Australia's response Australia has fallen behind many other countries in its response to one of the world's worst pharmaceutical scandals. That seems likely to change - but time is running out for thalidomide survivors and their parents, reports Gary Nunn in Sydney. There was a recent six-month period when Trish Jackson, 56, didn't leave her house. "The minute I step out, I'm laughed at. Stared at. People say horrid things," she says. "Add to that my constant pain - because my feet are my hands, my knees and hips need replacing - and I was in a terrible headspace." Another factor deterring her from leaving her Brisbane home was that she struggled to get her mobility scooter modified - because she needs to drive it with her feet. Who is affected?"Thalidomiders" - a term many survivors use to..
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