September 13, 2018

Why Afghanistan is more dangerous than ever

Why Afghanistan is more dangerous than ever Image copyright AFP Image caption The Taliban have mounted several recent high-profile attacks, including a brief takeover of strategic Ghazni city Huge death tolls that would once have made headlines are becoming commonplace in Afghanistan, as the Taliban and other militant groups flex their muscles daily against a US-backed military struggling to cope. There remains no clear end in sight for a war that has turned into a bloody stalemate, as the BBC World Service's Dawood Azami explains. Is the violence getting worse?Since the US-led invasion in 2001, Afghanistan has never been as insecure as it is now. The Taliban control more territory than at any point since the removal of their regime 17 years ago. The Afghan war has already become the longest war in US history. With the passage of time, the conflict has not only become more intense - it has also become more complicated. The attacks are becoming bigger, more frequent, more widesprea..
September 13, 2018

K-pop: HyunA and E’Dawn relationship causes controversy

K-pop: HyunA and E'Dawn relationship causes controversy Image copyright Cube Entertainment Image caption E'Dawn (left) and HyunA (middle) formed K-pop band Triple H with Hui (right) The head of a major music label in South Korea has denied reports HyunA and E'Dawn, two members of the pop trio Triple H, have been sacked after revealing their relationship. Cube Entertainment CEO Shin Dae-Nam released a statement after 720,000 tweets in 10 hours mentioned the K-pop stars' supposed sacking. "We've yet to make an official decision on the rumour that HyunA and E'Dawn would be ousted," reads the statement on Naver, a major South Korean website. "We are still discussing it, it is not a confirmed decision. Since the opinions of the artists are also important, this should be deliberately decided through the process of collecting opinions." Many K-pop artists - often known as "idols" - are not allowed to enter into any form of romantic relationship while under contr..
September 13, 2018

Australia’s anthem: Why the words ‘young and free’ sparked protests

Australia's anthem: Why the words 'young and free' sparked protests Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The Australian national anthem does not unify everyone, some argue On Wednesday, a nine-year-old girl reignited debate about Australia's national anthem by explaining why she had refused to rise for it at a school assembly. Harper Nielsen, from Brisbane, argued the lyrics of "Advance Australia Fair" disregarded the country's indigenous history. That led some lawmakers to criticise her for "disrespect", but other Australians praised her for taking a stand (or, in this case, a seat). The song was written in the 19th Century but only adopted as Australia's anthem in 1984, replacing God Save the Queen. The anthem, for various reasons, has never been regarded as particularly popular. Does Harper's assertion have much support? 'Not a young country'The main controversy in the two-verse song is the opening line: "Australians all let us rej..
September 13, 2018

Fans removed from Dua Lipa concert in China

Fans removed from Dua Lipa concert in China Image copyright EPA Fans have been forcefully removed from a Dua Lipa concert in Shanghai. Videos posted on social media show security workers pulling people out of their seats. Heavy-handed crowd control isn't that unusual in China and many are saying people were ejected for standing up or waving pro-gay rights flags. Visibly upset, Dua told the crowd: "I want to create a really safe environment for us all to have fun." "I want us all to dance. I want us all to sing, I want us all to just have a really good time." Close to tears, she added: "I would love in these last few songs for us to really, really, really enjoy ourselves. How about that?" Image Copyright @imneo_ @imneo_ Report Image Copyright @imneo_ @imneo_ Report Some social media users have said people were forcibly removed because they were dancing. Others have also said that it was because they were waving pro-gay rights flags. Homosexuality isn't illegal in China, al..
September 13, 2018

Typhoon Mangkhut: Millions in Philippines braced for storm

Typhoon Mangkhut: Millions in Philippines braced for storm Image copyright EPA Image caption Soldiers and emergency workers have been holding drills in readiness for the storm Thousands of people have begun evacuating coastal areas of the Philippines as a super typhoon heads towards the country. Typhoon Mangkhut, packing winds of 255km/h (160mph), is due to make landfall on the northern tip of the main island of Luzon by the weekend. Schools and offices are being closed and farmers are racing to save crops. Ten million people are in the path of the storm, along with millions more in coastal areas of southern China. The Philippines is hit by about 20 typhoons and storms a year. Forecasters say Mangkhut is the strongest so far in 2018 - 900km in diameter, with sustained winds of 205 km/h. Image copyright AFP Image caption Typhoon Mangkhut is about 900km wide Authorities in the Philippines say they expect storm surges of up to 7m (23 feet) and are warning that heavy rains could trigger l..
September 13, 2018

Restaurant loses $190m in value after dead rat found in soup

Restaurant loses $190m in value after dead rat found in soup Image copyright Weibo Image caption The dead rat was fished out a pot of boiling broth A popular Chinese restaurant chain has lost around $190m (£145m) in market value after a pregnant woman found a dead rat in her soup. Hotpot restaurant Xiabu Xiabu's stock hit its lowest level in almost a year, after photos of the dead rat being fished out of the broth with a pair of chopsticks quickly spread online. The outlet in Shandong province has now been temporarily suspended. The outlet reportedly offered her 5,000 yuan (£559, $729) as compensation. According to local news outlet Kankan News who spoke to her husband - identified as Mr Ma - he declined the offer, as he wanted his wife to undergo a full body check-up before deciding on a compensation amount. Crayfish removes claw to escape hotpot China uncovers fake jellyfish 'scam' Hong Kong's hot pot obsession The pregnant woman who had been out for hotpot wi..
September 13, 2018

World’s largest dairy exporter posts first annual loss

World's largest dairy exporter posts first annual loss Image copyright Getty Images New Zealand's Fonterra, the world's largest dairy exporter, has posted its first annual loss as higher costs and heavy one-off charges hit earnings. The firm said it would carry out a major review as a result, starting with its investment in China's Beingmate. Fonterra saw a large writedown earlier this year on the back of its stake in the Chinese infant formula producer. The company also said its forecasts were too optimistic. Fonterra is a co-operative that buys dairy products from New Zealand farmers and sells them on to foreign companies. The farmer-owned collective posted a net loss after tax of NZ$196m ($128.5m; £98.5m) for the year ending in July. "There's no two ways about it, these results don't meet the standards we need to live up to," Fonterra's interim chief executive Miles Hurrell said. Fonterra suffered a writedown of more than NZ$400 million from its..
September 13, 2018

Aung San Suu Kyi defends verdict against Reuters journalists

Aung San Suu Kyi defends verdict against Reuters journalists Image copyright EPA Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi has defended the jailing of two Reuters journalists, despite international condemnation. She said Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo had broken the law and their conviction had "nothing to do with freedom of expression at all". The two were sentenced for possession of police documents while investigating the killing of Rohingya Muslims. Ms Suu Kyi also said the army crackdown against the Rohingya could in hindsight have been handled differently. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate - who is not Myanmar's elected president but is almost universally viewed as such - had been under intense pressure to comment on both the Rohingya crisis and more recently the journalists. This week, a UN rights body accused Myanmar of "waging a campaign against journalists". Has Suu Kyi turned her back on free press? The country where Facebook posts whipped up hate Ms Suu Kyi broke her silence on the i..
September 12, 2018

Wedge-tailed eagle ‘mass poisoning’ prompts Australia arrest

Wedge-tailed eagle 'mass poisoning' prompts Australia arrest Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The wedge-tailed eagle is Australia's largest bird of prey A man has been charged following the deaths of at least 137 wedge-tailed eagles in Victoria, Australia. Authorities found the animals - Australia's largest bird of prey and a protected species - in April, prompting raids on several properties. The man is alleged to have used poisoned baits to kill eagles since October 2016. State officials described it as the largest case of suspected wedge-tailed eagle killings they had ever seen. Authorities have previously said that the true number of dead birds may be even bigger. Under the state's Wildlife Act, killing a wedge-tailed eagle carries a fine of up to A$7,928 (£4,350; $5,700) and a maximum six-year jail term. Additional killings carry a fine of A$792 each. Image copyright DELWP Image caption The birds were allegedly poisoned with bait The carcasses ..
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