October 3, 2018

How India avoided its ‘Lehman Brothers moment’

How India avoided its 'Lehman Brothers moment' Image copyright Press trust of india Image caption The default of IL&FS has spooked investors India's government has taken over a major private infrastructure financing and construction group after it began to default on its $13bn (£10bn) debt repayment - and the news sparked panic in the financial market. Devina Gupta and Pooja Agarwal explain the reasons behind this crisis. Many are calling it India's "too big to fail" moment, referring to big financial firms so large that their collapse could spark economic chaos. On Monday, India took over the beleaguered IL&FS, an acronym for Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services - a major non-banking financial institution, or a shadow bank. The firm's six directors have been dismissed and the new board is now led by a top banker, Uday Kotak. The default spooked the markets and raised fears of a Lehman-like crisis, referring to the collapse of the US investment bank Le..
October 3, 2018

‘Tampon tax’ scrapped in Australia after 18-year controversy

'Tampon tax' scrapped in Australia after 18-year controversy Image caption Women campaigning for an end to the tax in 2015 Australia will remove a controversial tax on female sanitary products following years of campaigning by women's groups. Currently, tampons and sanitary pads are sold with a 10% goods and services tax (GST) because they are categorised as non-essential items. Women have argued it is an unfair classification, noting items such as condoms and sunscreen are exempt. Federal and state governments agreed on Wednesday to remove the levy. "We're really delighted that everyone's come on board to scrap what is an unfair tax," Minister for Women Kelly O'Dwyer told Sky News Australia. "Millions of women right across the nation will be very thankful for it." Widely known as the "tampon tax", the levy on sanitary products has drawn protests since the GST was introduced in 2000. Many women, including long-time campaigners, celebrated the change on We..
October 2, 2018

Fan Bingbing: Top Chinese actress fined for tax evasion

Fan Bingbing: Top Chinese actress fined for tax evasion Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Fan Bingbing is one of the world's highest paid actors Chinese actress Fan Bingbing has been fined hundreds of millions of yuan for tax evasion and other offences, authorities said Wednesday. It comes nearly three months after the star disappeared from the public eye. Ms Fan, who is one of the world's highest paid actors, will escape criminal charges if the fines are paid on time, said state news agency Xinhua. The actress had been linked to a government probe into how celebrities reported earnings in their contracts. Some film stars were alleged to have used so-called "yin-yang contracts" - a practice where one contract sets out an actor's real earnings, and another details a lower figure, with the latter submitted to the tax authorities. Ms Fan's agent has been detained by the police for further investigation. Her studio had previously said the star never signed "..
October 2, 2018

China’s Tencent Music applies to list in the US

China's Tencent Music applies to list in the US Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Tencent Music is seeking a valuation of about $25bn, according to reports China's Tencent Music has filed a much-anticipated request to list its shares in the US, in what could be one of the biggest US initial public offerings by a Chinese company. Tencent Music's parent firm is China's tech giant Tencent Holdings. Other shareholders include Spotify. It includes digital streaming apps QQ Music, Kugou and karaoke app WeSing. The request to list comes amid growth in the online music industry, despite some ongoing problems with piracy. More listeners, particularly those without access to a personal computer, are streaming music through smartphone apps like Spotify and Tencent Music. Tencent Music is seeking a valuation of about $25bn (£19.2bn), according to reports. It has requested to trade under the symbol TME. Is Spotify really worth $23bn? Spotify shares dip on first day o..
October 2, 2018

Cervical cancer: Australia ‘to be first to eliminate disease’

Cervical cancer: Australia 'to be first to eliminate disease' Image copyright CANCER COUNCIL AUSTRALIA Image caption Cervical cancer is being successfully reduced by prevention schemes Australia will become the first country to effectively eliminate cervical cancer if vaccination and screening rates are maintained, researchers say. The disease could be eradicated as a public health issue nationally within 20 years, according to new modelling. It is predicted to be classified as a "rare cancer" in Australia by 2022, when it should drop to less than six cases per 100,000 people. Scientists attribute the progress to national prevention programmes. In 2007, Australia became one of the first countries to introduce a Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination scheme for girls. The programme was later extended to boys. It complemented a national screening programme that began in 1991. The new modelling was published by the Cancer Council New South Wales (NSW), a charity, in The Lancet..
October 2, 2018

Hayabusa 2: Japan probe to send lander to asteroid

Hayabusa 2: Japan probe to send lander to asteroid Image copyright DLR Image caption Artwork: Hayabusa-2 should release Mascot in the early hours of Wednesday Japan's space agency (Jaxa) is about to send a 10kg lander to the surface of an asteroid. The Hayabusa-2 spacecraft will release the German-French Mascot lander onto the asteroid 162173 Ryugu on Wednesday. Mascot will then analyse the asteroid's surface properties, including its mineral composition and magnetic field. Hayabusa-2 reached the asteroid Ryugu in June this year after a three-and-a-half-year journey. On 21 September, Jaxa celebrated a first, as its "mothership" deployed two robot explorers to the surface of Ryugu. Now, it's the turn of the Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (Mascot), which has been built by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the French Space Agency (Cnes). Image copyright DLR Image caption Artwork: Mascot will be ejected once its "mothership", reaches an altitude of about 56m Hayabusa-2 ..
October 2, 2018

Why Sulawesi’s tsunami is puzzling scientists

Why Sulawesi's tsunami is puzzling scientists Image copyright AFP Image caption The quake was large - but not of the type normally associated with a big tsunami event Friday's catastrophic tsunami event on Sulawesi Island is a puzzle. As the emergency response gathers pace, scientists are scratching their heads to understand why it generated such big waves. The magnitude 7.5 quake was certainly large - one of the biggest recorded anywhere on the globe this year. But it was what geophysicists call a strike-slip event, where the ground breaks horizontally. In this instance, the rock to the east of the fault running up through the island moved northwards relative to the rock to the west. Strike-slip quakes can cause tsunami events but the 6m-tall waves that crashed ashore at Palu city surprised everyone. Remember that to make the series of waves you need a big displacement of the sea-floor - a vertical movement that disturbs the entire water column, which then moves away in all..
October 2, 2018

Kerala flood aftermath: Battling snakes and sewage to clean a city

Kerala flood aftermath: Battling snakes and sewage to clean a city Image copyright Reuters In the wake of devastating floods in the southern Indian state of Kerala, local volunteers played an integral part clearing the mud and debris. BBC Tamil's Pramila Krishnan spoke to one woman who spent weeks helping clean up her city. On 23 August, Sandhini Gopakumar, a 34-year-old housewife, returned to her home in the flood-ravaged city of Cochin with her husband and two children. They had been forced to spend five days in three different emergency relief camps. "On my way back home, I saw the bloated bodies of cattle floating in stagnant water," recalls Sandhini. "How were we going to clean this up? I thought. How many days would we need?" Why the Kerala floods proved so deadlyThe floods were the worst to hit Kerala in a century. Hundreds were killed and more than a million displaced. Like Sandhini and her family, many took shelter in relief camps spread across the state. By the end of ..
October 2, 2018

State TV reporter praised in China after ‘slapping Tory’

State TV reporter praised in China after ‘slapping Tory' Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionThe CCTV reporter allegedly slapped a young Tory activist A Chinese reporter has received praise in mainland China after disrupting a UK event discussing political freedoms in Hong Kong. State TV reporter Kong Linlin is alleged to have slapped a young Conservative Party activist, Enoch Lieu, at the party's annual conference in Birmingham. Tens of thousands of users have praised her for defending Chinese sovereignty over Hong Kong. However, many of these comments appear to have been left by government-paid propagandists. Ms Kong was held by West Midlands Police overnight on Sunday and they confirmed her release on Monday, as investigations continue. The BBC has contacted Ms Kong for comment on the allegations. What happened?On 1 October, a spokesperson for West Midlands police said officers were called to the party conference on Sunday afternoon "after reports ..
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