September 27, 2018

Bookworms’ paradise away from Beijing bustle

Bookworms’ paradise away from Beijing bustle Image copyright FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images Deep in the heart of a rocky valley on the outskirts of Beijing, a wooden library sits seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Every weekend, hundreds of bookworms flock to Liyuan Library in Jiaojiehe village, a book sanctuary surrounded by chestnut, walnut and peach trees whose branches were used to decorate the building. Image copyright FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images The library, which opened in 2012, draws hundreds of visitors every weekend, many of whom are attracted by the design. Image copyright FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images With space for just 40 people at a time, visitors queue to enter the library, which only opens on weekends. Image copyright FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images Image copyright FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images Bookshelves line the reading area, as readers lounge on the floor and elevated platforms. Image copyright FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images "We have now banned taking pictures inside,..
September 27, 2018

Pakistan auctions off ex-PM Nawaz Sharif’s buffaloes

Pakistan auctions off ex-PM Nawaz Sharif's buffaloes Image copyright AFP Image caption The auction was attended by many supporters of the former prime minister Imran Khan's government has continued its efforts to refill the Pakistani government's coffers - by selling off eight highly-prized buffaloes. The animals had been kept at Prime Minister House, where they reportedly provided milk for Nawaz Sharif, Mr Khan's predecessor, and his family. However, Mr Khan decided they should be sold off as part of the government's so-called "austerity auctions". The new prime minister was elected on a platform of anti-corruption reforms. He has since made much of his so-called austerity drive - although critics say it has been more style than substance so far. The former cricketer was mocked in August when it emerged he was using a helicopter to travel to work - a journey of some 9.3 miles (15km), as the crow flies. 'Clarified butter'The buffalo auction, which ra..
September 27, 2018

China #MeToo: Why one woman is being sued by the TV star she accused

China #MeToo: Why one woman is being sued by the TV star she accused Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The #MeToo phenomenon is slowly but surely taking off in China - but it isn't without its struggles Just a few months ago, China was hit by a string of #MeToo accusations that emerged from arenas as diverse as temples, universities and television talk shows. Now, one case is set to go before China's civil courts but it is the accuser, not the accused, who is on trial. In July, China's entertainment world was faced with the allegation that one of the country's biggest and most beloved TV stars had forcibly groped and kissed an intern after she took a basket of fruit to his room. Zhu Jun, known for hosting national television extravaganzas such as the Spring Festival Gala, immediately denied the accusation and proceeded to sue her for damaging his reputation and mental wellbeing. The woman, known by her online moniker Xianzi, was finally told on Tuesday t..
September 27, 2018

Abhilash Tomy: Rescued Indian sailor speaks of ocean ordeal

Abhilash Tomy: Rescued Indian sailor speaks of ocean ordeal Image copyright Twitter Image caption He is currently being treated at a hospital on an island in the Indian Ocean Indian solo yachtsman Abhilash Tomy who was rescued from the middle of the Indian Ocean on Monday has said that he survived because of his "sailing skills" and "naval training". Mr Tomy was stranded 3,200km (2,000 miles) off the coast of Western Australia after his boat was badly damaged during a storm on 21 September. He is reportedly undergoing treatment at a medical facility. The Indian Navy tweeted on behalf of Mr Tomy on Wednesday. Skip Twitter post by @indiannavy The sea was unbelievably rough. Me & my boat Thuriya were pitched against the nature's might. I survived because of my sailing skills, the soldier bit in me and my Naval training cut-in for that fight - Cdr Abhilash Tomy. Very thankful to #IndianNavy & all who rescued me pic.twitter.com/vNhZN2fJjj — SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) September 26..
September 27, 2018

Adultery no longer a crime in India

Adultery no longer a crime in India Image copyright Reuters Image caption Under the law the woman could not be punished as an abettor - the man was considered to be a seducer India's top court has ruled adultery is no longer a criminal offence. The Supreme Court overturned a 158-year-old law which said any man who had sex with a married woman, without the permission of her husband, was guilty of the criminal act of adultery. It is not clear how many men have been prosecuted under the law since its inception - there is no data available. A petitioner had challenged the law saying it was arbitrary and discriminated against men and women. While reading out the judgement, Chief Justice Dipak Misra said "adultery can be ground for civil issues including dissolution of marriage but it cannot be a criminal offence". He added that the law discriminated against women, saying "treating women with indignity or discrimination invites the wrath of the constitution".
September 26, 2018

ABC chair resigns over Australian political interference claims

ABC chair resigns over Australian political interference claims Image copyright EPA The chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has resigned following allegations of political interference. Justin Milne resigned from the national broadcaster amid reports he had asked for journalists to be fired because their reporting was disliked by the Australian government. The government has denied pressuring the broadcaster over its staff. ABC's managing director Michelle Guthrie was fired on Monday. Mr Milne said there had been no interference from Canberra, and he was stepping aside to "provide a release valve" from the public pressure. "Nobody from the Government has ever rung me and told me what to do in relation to the ABC," he said. The allegations against Mr Milne had prompted protests from ABC staff on Wednesday about protecting the broadcaster's editorial independence.
September 26, 2018

Viewpoint: World’s biggest ID scheme Aadhaar still poses risks

Viewpoint: World's biggest ID scheme Aadhaar still poses risks Image copyright AFP Image caption More than a billion Indians enrolled by giving their fingerprints and retina scans India's Supreme Court has ruled that Aadhaar - the world's largest and most controversial biometrics-based identity database - has sufficient legal grounds to exist. But the sole dissenting opinion expressed by one of the five judges holds valuable lessons, argue Ronald Abraham and Elizabeth S Bennett. More than 1.2 billion Indian residents, or one-sixth of humanity, have an Aadhaar number. The government has promoted - and indeed mandated - the use of Aadhaar for many services. However, India's civil society resisted, citing four main objections: legality, privacy, data security and efficacy. So, is the Aadhaar Act legal?India's parliament passed the Aadhaar act in 2016, seven years after the programme's inception and after more than a billion people had enrolled by giving th..
September 26, 2018

Trugo: A bizarre sport unique to Melbourne

Trugo: A bizarre sport unique to Melbourne Image caption John McMahon, 89, demonstrates trugo's distinctive hitting action Not many people have heard of trugo: a mix of croquet, golf, lawn bowls and the hammer. But, as James Bartlett writes, the unusual game that sprung from Melbourne's railway yards is trying to attract new fans. I'm very much a part-time member of the Yarraville Trugo club, and I haven't played an official game for them yet. I probably never will, as I live nearly 13,000km (8,000 miles) from the ground. Even so, I wear my canary-yellow team shirt with pride as I arrive. Training has begun for the upcoming season, and there's a good turnout of players old and new. Club captain John McMahon, 89, has already set up, and when I appear he asks "How ya going?" and offers me a cup of tea. He's a former world (yes, world) champion at a sport that's also around 90 years old, yet it's unknown anywhere else in the world - and is even a..
September 26, 2018

Western Australia police investigate ‘sickening’ kangaroo killings

Western Australia police investigate 'sickening' kangaroo killings Image caption The two videos of the attacks on kangaroos were shot in May and June Western Australia police are investigating footage of two kangaroos being "tortured and killed". The animals were reportedly stabbed and punched with knuckledusters in two attacks filmed in May and June. Local media say police refuse to release the footage, deeming it too graphic. Authorities released images of three men on Wednesday wanted in connection with the case. A fourth man has already been identified. Local newspaper The Western Australian reports he is helping the police with the investigation, and has not been charged. Animal cruelty cases hit four-year high Are we tough enough on animal cruelty? The paper quotes detectives working on the case as saying it was "one of the most horrific and sickening instances of animal cruelty they had ever seen". Image Copyright @brandilmelb @brandilmelb Report Image Copyright @..
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