October 10, 2018

Row over Australia plan to let faith schools reject gay students

Row over Australia plan to let faith schools reject gay students Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Gay marriage became legal in Australia last year Australia's prime minister has defended leaked proposals to let religious schools discriminate against gay students. Scott Morrison said the proposals were already "existing law". Schools in some states can already reject staff if they are gay. The new proposals would apply nationwide. They are contained in a report into religious freedom that was commissioned after same-sex marriage was made legal last year. Was Australia's marriage poll worth it? Australia's heated same-sex marriage debate Fairfax Media, which obtained a copy of the report, said it proposed that religious schools would be guaranteed the right to turn away gay students and teachers. Religious schools would also be allowed to discriminate on the basis of gender identity and relationship status. "There is a wide variety of religious schools in Austr..
October 10, 2018

MJ Akbar: India minister under scrutiny over #MeToo allegations

MJ Akbar: India minister under scrutiny over #MeToo allegations Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Mr Akbar has not responded to the allegations against him A former prominent newspaper editor who is now a junior foreign minister is the latest to be named in what is being called India's #MeToo movement. MJ Akbar is accused of predatory behaviour, including inviting young women to hotel rooms for "meetings". Neither Mr Akbar nor the foreign ministry have responded to the allegations against him. But another minister, Maneka Gandhi, said all allegations, including those against politicians, must be probed. He is the most senior person so far to be named in the flurry of allegations that have been made against comedians, journalists, authors, actors and filmmakers in the last few days. Read more about India's #MeToo firestormOne of India's most influential editors, Mr Akbar has edited leading English-language newspapers such as The Telegraph and The Asian Age. H..
October 10, 2018

Bangladesh to hang 19 for deadly attack on 2004 rally

Bangladesh to hang 19 for deadly attack on 2004 rally Image copyright Getty Images Image caption More than 20 people died and hundreds were injured in the attack A court in Bangladesh has sentenced 19 people to death for their role in a deadly grenade attack on a 2004 political rally in the capital Dhaka. Those to hang include a former minister and deputy minister, both leaders of the BNP party which was then in power. The party's current acting head, Tarique Rehman, was convicted to life in jail in absentia. The grenade attack left 24 people dead at the Awami League rally. Its leader Sheikh Hasina is now prime minister. Hundreds more were injured in the 21 August 2004 blast as Sheikh Hasina was about to finish a speech in front of thousands of supporters. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Sheikh Hasina has been prime minister since 2009 Former state minister for home affairs Lutfozzaman Babar is the most prominent of those sentenced to hang. The BNP says the case was po..
October 9, 2018

Vaginal mesh implants: Australia apologises for ‘decades of pain’

Vaginal mesh implants: Australia apologises for 'decades of pain' Image caption The health scandal has affected women around the world The Australian government has issued a national apology to women affected by a vaginal mesh scandal, acknowledging decades of "agony and pain". Mesh implants are at the centre of health scandal affecting women around the world, prompting lawsuits in the UK, US, Canada and Australia. Earlier this year, an Australian inquiry acknowledged that the devices had ruined the lives of many women. It also found that some patients had been ignored when they reported pain. More than 700 women in Australia have joined a class action against one manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, but lawyers say up to 8,000 women may have been affected. Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Wednesday: "On behalf of the Australian government, I say sorry to all of those women with the historic agony and pain that has come from mesh implantation which have led to horrific outcomes..
October 9, 2018

BTS: How to be the perfect K-pop fan

BTS: How to be the perfect K-pop fan They're the Beatles for the 21st Century, a global pop sensation that generates mania and devotion in equal measure, and they've sold out London's O2 Arena. BTS, the South Korean seven-member boyband and pin-up stars of the K-pop genre, are performing in the UK for two nights only. And their fans, who call themselves the Army, are over the Moon. We headed for the queues to find out what makes the perfect K-pop fan. 1. The chants Image caption K-pop is like going down a rabbit-hole into Korean culture, says Najma Akther, pictured right Don't know the chants? Then, jog on. Before the boys put a boxfresh trainer-clad foot on to the stage, the Army will be in full swing with their chants. Queue buddies Bianca, 16, from Poland, and Ella, 17, from Ipswich, shyly give us a demonstration, and it's oddly mesmerising. It's a synchronised list of the boys' names, surnames included. Fans talk about how regularly listening t..
October 9, 2018

The Dalai Lama: Intimate portrait of a spiritual leader

The Dalai Lama: Intimate portrait of a spiritual leader Image copyright Raghu Rai Image caption The Dalai Lama watching the TV series, Mahabharata A new book by acclaimed Indian photographer Raghu Rai offers an unprecedented glimpse into the life of one of the world's leading religious figures. A God In Exile is the result of a photographer's decades-long insight into his muse. Rai took his first picture of the iconic Tibetan spiritual leader in 1975. He recalled being stopped by the Dalai Lama's security. "I somehow managed to make eye contact with His Holiness and asked him if I could take some photos of him. He smiled and said yes," Rai told the BBC. Profile: The Dalai LamaOver the years, he has photographed the Dalai Lama many times and has cultivated a "deep friendship". In March 1959, as Chinese troops crushed an attempted uprising in Tibet, the 14th Dalai Lama, who was born Tenzin Gyatso, fled into India. He was then a young man in his mid-20s. Image copyright Ra..
October 9, 2018

Australia defies climate warning to back coal

Australia defies climate warning to back coal Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Coal provides about 60% of Australia's electricity The Australian government has backed coal-fired power, despite the recommendations of a major report on climate change. Phasing out coal is considered crucial to limiting global warming to within 1.5C, as set out in the UN report released yesterday. Australia's deputy prime minister has said the country should "absolutely" continue to use and exploit its coal. But China remains the world's biggest coal consumer. In addition, China has restarted work at hundreds of coal-fired power stations, according to an analysis of satellite imagery. The Guardian reports that Michael McCormack, Australia's Deputy PM, said his government would not change policy "just because somebody might suggest that some sort of report is the way we need to follow and everything that we should do". He added that coal provided 60% of Australia's electr..
October 9, 2018

Afghanistan candidate, 32, among eight killed in Helmand attack

Afghanistan candidate, 32, among eight killed in Helmand attack Image caption Thirty-two-year old Salem Mohammad Achakzai was campaigning on a platform for "positive change" A young Afghan parliamentary candidate was among eight people killed in a suicide attack in the southern province of Helmand, officials say. The bomber blew himself up inside Salem Mohammad Achakzai's office in Lashkar Gah city. Eleven others were injured. It was the second suicide blast targeting a parliamentary candidate during the campaign for the 20 October election. Both the Taliban and the Islamic State group have urged a boycott of the vote. No group has, however, said it carried out the latest bombing, which President Ashraf Ghani has blamed on "terrorists", news agency AFP reports. Helmand has long been a stronghold for the Taliban, who were removed from power in a US-led invasion in 2001. Why Afghanistan is more dangerous than ever Afghan election rally hit by suicide bomber Who are the Taliban? O..
October 9, 2018

Indian airport police told to cut down on smiling

Indian airport police told to cut down on smiling Image copyright AFP Image caption Indian authorities fear excessive friendliness could lead to attacks amid "lax security". Airport police in India are being instructed to smile less. This is over concerns cheerfulness could lead to a perception of lax security and a threat of terror attacks. The country's Central Industrial Security Force, which is in charge of aviation safety, wants its staff to be "more vigilant than friendly". They will move from a "broad smile system" to a "sufficient smile system", the Indian Express says. Officials are said to believe that excessive friendliness puts airports at risk of terrorist attacks. You may also be interested in: #MeToo firestorm consumes Bollywood and media White tiger kills zookeeper in Japan Monkey takes the wheel of Indian bus The organisation's director general, Rajesh Ranjan even said the 9/11 attacks had taken place because of "an excessive reliance on passenger-friendly f..
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