November 23, 2018

Taiwan same-sex vote: Polls open in elections

Taiwan same-sex vote: Polls open in elections Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionWang Tien-ming and Ho Hsiang have been together for 33 years Taiwan is voting on whether to become the first place in Asia to legalise gay marriage. The vote comes after Taiwan's top court ruled in favour of same-sex marriage, giving parliament two years to amend existing laws or pass new ones. However, surveys released in the last week suggest the country will vote against the change. The issue is one of 10 voters are being asked to consider, including one which is inflaming tensions with China. Voters are being asked what they want to be called at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics: Taiwan, or Chinese Taipei. What's behind the China-Taiwan divide? Taiwan profile Currently, Taiwan competes as Chinese Taipei, the name agreed with China in the 1980s. This is because Taiwan's status is sensitive. The island has been self-ruling since 1949 but China regards it as a breakaway provi..
November 23, 2018

Punjab’s drug menace: ‘I wanted my son to die’

Punjab's drug menace: 'I wanted my son to die' Image caption Lakshmi Devi's son died due to a drug overdose The northern Indian state of Punjab has witnessed a sharp increase in the number of drug-related deaths this year. BBC Punjabi's Arvind Chhabra investigates why the drug menace has become worse in the state. "He was my only son, but I had started wishing that he would die… And now, I cry the whole night with his photograph in my hand," says 55-year-old Lakshmi Devi. Her son, Ricky Lahoria, recently died of a drug overdose. He was 25. His was one of 60 deaths linked to drug abuse in Punjab between January and June 2018, according to official estimates. In comparison, 30 people died in drug-related incidents in all of 2017. Police officials say that the number is likely to increase when they release data for the second half of 2018. Drugs have been a scourge in Punjab for years now - once a transit point on the drug route, the state has now become a ma..
November 23, 2018

Driver jailed for Thai tourist taxi scam

Paris driver jailed for taxi scam against Thai tourists Image copyright charkrid th/youtube Image caption The passengers' alarm was obvious in a YouTube video they posted after the scam A Paris court has jailed a fake taxi driver for eight months for demanding that a Thai couple pay €247 (£219; $281) for a trip from the airport. The tourists' video of their argument with him went viral on YouTube. A ride from Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport to central Paris usually costs €45-55. The couple offered to pay him €200 provided he let them out. Identified only as Enock C, the driver was found guilty of fraud and extortion involving threats. In the video he claimed to be working for a private taxi service - known as VTC in French - called Chauffeur Privé. As he insisted on payment of €247 the Thai couple urged him to unlock the rear doors and let them out at a police station. 'Pay me!'When the Thai man, Charkrid Thanhachartyothin, asked to see his licence the driver s..
November 23, 2018

Afghan army mosque blast leaves many dead

Afghan army mosque blast leaves many dead Image copyright EPA Image caption Soldiers were caught in the mosque attack during Fridays prayers (file picture) At least 10 people have died after an explosion tore through a mosque in Afghanistan's eastern Khost province. The building was inside an Afghan army base in Mandozai district, where soldiers were offering Friday prayers. A spokesman for the 2nd Regiment of the Afghan National Army said 15 people had been wounded at around 13:30 Kabul time (09:00 GMT). Reuters reports that the dead may number at least 26 and the injured more than 50, citing officials. The blast comes just three days after a suicide attack on religious scholars killed at least 50 people and wounded at least 83 in the Afghan capital. No group has yet said it was behind the latest bloodshed.
November 23, 2018

British brothers held in Thailand over suspected drug offences

British brothers held in Thailand over suspected drug offences Image copyright Thailand Police Image caption Thai immigration police arrested the brothers on 17 November, it has emerged Two brothers wanted by police in Merseyside over suspected drug trafficking offences have been arrested in Thailand. Joseph and Gregory Mulhare from Wirral were detained on 17 November in Pattaya by Thai immigration police, it emerged. The pair, aged 43 and 38, are being held under warrants from the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit. They are suspected of trafficking cocaine, ecstasy and methamphetamine in the UK. Image copyright Merseyside Police Image caption The brothers were wanted by police in Merseyside for suspected drug offences Merseyside Police issued an appeal to speak to the brothers on 14 November. The Foreign Office said: "We are providing assistance to two British men following their arrest and detention in Thailand." Latest news and updates from the North West of England
November 23, 2018

Modified Boeing 737 used to fight wildfire for first time

Modified Boeing 737 used to fight wildfire for first time Image copyright NSW RURAL FIRE SERVICE Image caption The modified plane was used to fight a fire in New South Wales A modified Boeing 737 has been used to fight a wildfire for the first time, Australian authorities say. The former passenger jet was deployed as a water-bombing aircraft in New South Wales on Thursday and Friday. It can carry more than 15,000 litres (4,000 gallons) of water and fire retardant - a powerful volume, but less than some other water-bombing planes. However, officials say it offers greater flexibility because it can hold up to 63 firefighters in addition. The plane dropped several loads of retardant on a fire that has threatened houses at Port Stephens, 150km (90 miles) north of Sydney. Late on Friday local time, the blaze was not considered an immediate threat to lives. It had burnt through about 1,500 hectares. Image copyright TROY GRANT Image caption The fire has threatened houses and damaged sheds ..
November 23, 2018

Gunfire and blast heard near Chinese consulate in Karachi -reports

Gunfire and blast heard near Chinese consulate in Karachi -reports A blast has been heard and shots fired near the Chinese consulate in Karachi, media reports say. An attack still seems to be under way, according to initial reports from eyewitnesses. Security forces have been deployed and the area has been cordoned off, according to Pakistan's Geo TV. This is a breaking news story - more to follow.
November 22, 2018

Why do billions of people still lack basic sanitation?

Why do billions of people still lack basic sanitation? Image copyright WSUP Image caption Dhaka, Bangladesh: Community leader Nasima shows off her village's new community toilet Hi-tech loos that use little or no water and can recycle waste products safely and sustainably promise to give billions of people around the world access to much-needed sanitation. So why do so many still lack this basic amenity? About 2.3 billion people still lack basic toilets, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). And 4.5 billion don't have safely managed sanitation, with waste disposed in a way that won't contaminate drinking water. Each year contaminated water kills half a million children under five through diarrhoeal diseases, the WHO says. So many inventors, entrepreneurs and research institutions around the world have been working on hi-tech loos that can function without the need for expensive mains sewerage systems. Image copyright WSUP Image caption Millions of people liv..
November 22, 2018

D&G: China shopping sites pull products in ad backlash

D&G: China shopping sites pull products in ad backlash Image copyright Getty Images Dolce & Gabbana products have been pulled from Chinese e-commerce sites as the backlash against a controversial ad campaign grows. The firm posted videos this week showing a Chinese model struggling to eat pasta with chopsticks. The brand also apologised for social media posts criticising Chinese people, saying it had been hacked. The controversy risks alienating D&G from one of the world's biggest luxury markets. The Italian firm cancelled its fashion show in Shanghai earlier this week over the issue. D&G cancels show amid racism accusationsIt later said co-founder Stefano Gabbana's accounts were hacked and used to criticise Chinese people. "We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China," the apology message read. But the backlash continued as retailers in China retreated from the brand. E-commerce group Secoo Holding said it had pulled Dolce & Gabanna products, while Chi..
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