September 7, 2018

Fears grow for Japan quake survivors as death toll rises

Fears grow for Japan quake survivors as death toll rises Image copyright Reuters Image caption Emergency crews are racing against the clock to find survivors Rescuers continued to search for survivors of a powerful earthquake on Japan's island of Hokkaido, as the death toll rose to 16. Dozens are still missing with many feared buried under rubble after the quake triggered landslides. Some 1.6 million residents across Hokkaido remain without power. The quake is the second disaster to hit Japan this week, after a deadly typhoon lashed the country's west coast. The earthquake struck early on Thursday and thousands of people spent the night in evacuation centres. 'I thought I would die'The village of Atsuma was among the hardest hit, where roads and houses collapsed after huge landslides. "We've heard there are people still stuck under the mud, so we've been working around the clock but it's been difficult to rescue them," a rescue worker in Atsuma t..
September 6, 2018

Japan’s push to resume whaling for profit

Japan's push to resume whaling for profit Image copyright Barcroft Media Image caption Whales are known to be intelligent and sociable animals Few conservation issues generate as emotional a response as whaling. Commercial whaling has been effectively banned for more than 30 years, after whales were driven almost to extinction. But the International Whaling Committee (IWC) is currently meeting in Brazil and next week will give its verdict on a proposal from Japan to end the ban. Could countries soon be allowed to kill whales for profit again? Don't the Japanese already kill whales?Yes, they do - but it's complicated. IWC members agreed to a moratorium on hunting in 1986, to allow populations to recover. Pro-whaling nations expected the moratorium to be temporary, until consensus could be reached on sustainable catch quotas. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Japan used a clause allowing scientific whaling to continue its hunt Instead, it became a quasi-perman..
September 6, 2018

What it means to be gay in rural India

What it means to be gay in rural India The Supreme Court's decision to make gay sex legal in India has been hailed as historic. LGBT groups in cities across the country have been celebrating the ruling as the "beginning of a new era". But the reality for members of the LGBT community in rural India is different. They believe it will take a long time to change regressive attitudes towards them. Here three gay people from rural India tell their stories. Arun Kumar, 28, northern state of Uttar PradeshI am really happy with the court's decision. It will help people in cities express themselves without fearing the law. But sadly, it's different for people like me who live in villages. It's not the law that we fear - what troubles us is people's perception. I hope that the media's coverage of the verdict will help people understand that homosexuality is normal. But LGBT people have a long battle ahead of them before they can live without fear. I have lived m..
September 6, 2018

Facebook chooses Singapore for $1bn data centre

Facebook chooses Singapore for $1bn data centre Image copyright Facebook Image caption The new data centre design is taller than many others and so will take up less space on the ground Facebook has chosen Singapore for the location of its new data centre, which is expected to open in 2022. The new facility will cost more than $1bn (£773m) and be located in the west of the country. It has been designed as an 11-floor structure, in an attempt to conserve space in the crowded nation, according to Facebook. One analyst told the BBC it was another sign of the country's popularity with large technology companies. The new, 170,000-sq-m (1.8-million-sq-ft) data centre will support "hundreds" of local jobs. 'Snub' to IndiaFacebook said it expected the building to be powered by 100% renewable energy and noted that it would feature a liquid cooling system that minimised water and power use. "According to our testing, [the system] can reduce the amount of peak water used by 20% in..
September 6, 2018

British navy’s HMS Albion warned over South China Sea ‘provocation’

British navy's HMS Albion warned over South China Sea 'provocation' Image copyright Royal Navy Image caption The HMS Albion was conducting a freedom of navigation exercise China has accused the UK of "provocative actions", after a British warship sailed close to disputed islands in the South China Sea. HMS Albion was told to leave and warned it had "violated Chinese law" by entering waters around the Paracel Islands on Friday without permission. The Royal Navy said it was conducting a freedom of navigation exercise "in full compliance with international law". The Paracels are controlled by China but also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan. The BBC understands both parties spoke on the radio. Details of the challenge have not been made public, but both sides are said to have remained calm during the encounter on 31 August. The HMS Albion, an 18,000 tonne amphibious warship carrying a contingent of Royal Marines, later docked at Ho Chi Minh City, in Vietnam, on Monday. Why ..
September 6, 2018

State data to be used to limit child gamers in China

State data to be used to limit child gamers in China Image copyright Reuters Image caption Honour of Kings is popular with children and is China's top grossing mobile game Chinese technology giant Tencent is introducing tough new rules to identify under-age gamers, amid a crackdown on gaming addiction in the country. From mid-September it will introduce a real-name registration system for its Honour of Kings games, which will be linked to China's public security database. It will identify children and restrict the time they spend on the game. The move is the first of its kind in the world's largest gaming market. Tencent, which also operates the Chinese social network WeChat, posted its first profit decline since 2005 this summer, blaming the drop on tighter regulation, specifically around the approval of licences that allow companies to make money from new mobile games. Honour of Kings is a hugely popular multi-player role-playing battle game based on Chinese historica..
September 6, 2018

Kenya to deport Chinese man over ‘racist rant’

Kenya to deport Chinese man over 'racist rant' Image copyright YouTube Image caption Liu Jiaqi said he was only in Kenya to make money A Chinese man will be deported after a video emerged of him making racist comments, Kenya's immigration department says. The man, indentified as Liu Jiaqi, was captured in a video calling all Kenyans, including President Uhuru Kenyatta, "monkeys". Mr Liu and his representatives have yet to comment on the situation. The authorities have revoked his work permit and say he will be deported on "racism grounds". Africa Live: More updates on this and other stories The Chinese making a new life in Africa Should Africa be wary of Chinese debt? Xi denies funding African vanity projects An employee filmed Mr Liu, who is a motorcycle trader, saying that he disliked Kenya because it "smells bad and [its people are] poor, foolish and black". When the employee asked why he wanted to stay in the country, the trader said he was only there to make mo..
September 6, 2018

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un says faith in Trump ‘unchanged’

North Korea's Kim Jong-un says faith in Trump 'unchanged' Image copyright Reuters Image caption Mr Kim says he wants the region to be a 'cradle of peace' North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's faith in Donald Trump remains "unchanged" and he wants to denuclearise the Korean peninsula during the US president's first term, South officials say. Mr Kim made his comments to envoys from Seoul who were in the North to arrange a new leaders' summit later this month. Relations between the North and the US have soured since the historic Trump-Kim summit in Singapore in June. Most observers warn the North has taken no meaningful steps to denuclearise. The summit being planned will be the first time in more than a decade that a South Korean leader has visited the North Korean capital. The BBC's Laura Bicker in Seoul said it was hoped that President Moon Jae-in could act as an intermediary and rekindle the stalled talks between the United States and North K..
September 6, 2018

Formaldehyde emerges as new risk in China’s housing boom

Formaldehyde emerges as new risk in China's housing boom Image copyright Getty Images The recent death of a flat-dweller in Beijing has flagged up concerns about formaldehyde, a carcinogenic substance widely used in construction. The man, identified only as Mr Wang, died of leukaemia in July, three months after moving into a new apartment. His wife is suing the rental app that advertised the property, alleging that it made him ill. Formaldehyde is used in some paints, varnishes and disinfectants. It is also found in manufactured wooden products like cabinets and laminate flooring. A state-owned newspaper has said that, in the rush to keep up with demand for new housing, finished flats are being marketed before the formaldehyde has been given the appropriate time to disperse. Other newspapers say tenants are being asked to sign non-disclosure agreements to keep the apparent health risks under wraps. Concerns about the safety of renovations in public and private buildings have spi..
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