October 20, 2018

Do you speak Telugu? Welcome to America

Do you speak Telugu? Welcome to America Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Nina Davuluri, the first Indian-American to be crowned Miss America, has roots in Telegu-speaking Andhra Pradesh. Claim: Telugu is the fastest growing language in the US. Verdict: Yes it is, according to a study by an American think tank. The number of speakers of Telugu, a south Indian language, has grown by 86% in the last seven years. However, it is still outside the top 20 of the most widely-spoken languages other than English. Think of the most commonly-spoken languages other than English in the United States and this one from southern India may not spring to mind. The number of US residents speaking Telugu rose by 86% between 2010 and 2017, according to an online video by the World Economic Forum. The video referred to a study by the US-based Centre for Immigration, which analysed census data to look at the pace at which languages are being spoken in America. So what's behind the rise of Tel..
October 19, 2018

Australia government braced for Wentworth by-election defeat

Australia government braced for Wentworth by-election defeat Image copyright AFP/Getty Image caption Liberal Party candidate Dave Sharma faces a strong challenge from independent Kerryn Phelps People are voting in a by-election in a suburban constituency in Sydney, which could wipe out the government's one-seat parliamentary majority. PM Scott Morrison's ruling Liberal Party is fighting to hold the affluent seat of Wentworth, vacated by his predecessor Malcolm Turnbull. Mr Turnbull was ousted by Mr Morrison in an unpopular party coup in August. Australia has had six prime ministers in eight years and could face further uncertainty if the Liberals lose. The centre-right party would need to rely on independent MPs to survive confidence votes. Two of the MPs have already vowed not to back Mr Morrison. Malcolm Turnbull ousted in brutal party coup The rise of Scott Morrison, Australia's new PM Australians vent about political chaos "The events of a couple of months ago w..
October 19, 2018

Fake moon: Could China really light up the night sky?

Fake moon: Could China really light up the night sky? Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The Moon, seen over Chengdu, could be backed by a fake one - but there would be significant hurdles A Chinese company has announced ambitious plans to put a "fake moon" into space to brighten the night sky. According to the People's Daily state newspaper, officials at a private aerospace institute in Chengdu want to launch this "illumination satellite" in orbit by 2020, and say it will be bright enough to replace street lights. The straight-out-of-sci-fi news has sparked fascination, scepticism from scientists, lots of questions and outright mockery. What do we know about this project?Not much - and the little information that is available is somewhat contradictory. People's Daily first reported it last week, quoting comments made at an innovation conference by Wu Chunfeng, chairman of the neatly named Chengdu Aerospace Science Institute Microelectronics System Research Institut..
October 19, 2018

Afghanistan election: Voters cast ballots amid heavy security

Afghanistan election: Voters cast ballots amid heavy security Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionAfghan "war on terror" generation votes Voters in Afghanistan are due to cast their ballots in the long delayed parliamentary elections, amid heavy security and threats from the Taliban. More than 2,500 candidates - including many women - are vying for 250 seats. But more than 30% of polling stations are shut because of security concerns - 10 candidates have been killed in the lead up to the vote. Meanwhile voting in Kandahar province has been delayed by a week after the assassination of a top police chief. Gen Abdul Raziq was shot dead by a rogue bodyguard on Thursday. The Taliban claimed the attack, which came after a high-level security meeting. US commander Gen Scott Miller narrowly escaped unhurt. Kandahar vote delayed after Gen Raziq killed What's at stake in the parliament vote? Polling day - key numbersNearly nine million voters are entitled to cast th..
October 19, 2018

Mission to Mercury: BepiColombo spacecraft ready for launch

Mission to Mercury: BepiColombo spacecraft ready for launch Image copyright ESA Image caption The BepiColombo spacecraft will take seven years to get to Mercury Europe and Japan are set to launch their joint mission to Mercury, the planet closest to the Sun. The partners have each contributed a probe to be despatched on an Ariane rocket from French Guiana. The duo, together known as BepiColombo, are bolted to one another for the seven-year cruise to their destination, and will separate once they arrive. It's hoped their parallel observations can finally resolve some of the many puzzles about the hot, oddball planet. One of the key ones concerns the object's outsized iron core, which represents 60% of its mass. Science cannot yet explain why the planet only has a thin veneer of rocks. Bepi's high-resolution data should bring us nearer to an answer. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionMessenger compiled this exaggerated colour map of Mercury d..
October 19, 2018

Why some sexual abuse survivors will shun Australia’s apology

Why some sexual abuse survivors will shun Australia's apology Image copyright AFP Image caption Paul Auchettl has campaigned to raise awareness about sexual abuse On Monday, thousands of child sexual abuse survivors are expected to gather in Australia's capital to hear a national apology. The apology, to be given by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, follows a harrowing five-year inquiry which found tens of thousands of children had been abused in schools, churches, orphanages and other institutions. For many survivors and their families, the apology in Canberra will mark a hard-fought moment of recognition. But for others it will feel hollow. The BBC has spoken to several survivors who feel conflicted about the occasion. Show of defiance"I think apologising is easy - it doesn't do much," says Paul Auchettl, 60. He was 11 when he first was sexually abused by a paedophile priest, who later went to jail. Mr Auchettl's brother, who was preyed upon by another priest, took..
October 19, 2018

Amritsar: Many feared dead in train accident

Amritsar: Many feared dead in train accident Many people are feared to have died after a train collided with a crowd near Amritsar, in the north Indian state of Punjab. The victims were standing on the railway tracks watching celebrations for the Hindu festival of Dusshera, eyewitnesses told BBC Punjabi. They did not hear the train approach as they watched a firecracker-filled effigy of the demon king Ravana burn. Local officials told BBC Punjabi that at least 150 other people are injured.
October 19, 2018

Briton faces jail for spraying ‘Scouser Lee’ on Thai gate

Briton faces jail for spraying 'Scouser Lee' on Thai gate Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Tha Phae Gate is in the city of Chiang Mai and dates back to the 13th Century A British tourist accused of spray painting his name on a historic landmark in Thailand could face 10 years in prison. Local police said Lee Furlong, 23, from Liverpool, has admitted defacing Tha Phae Gate in the city of Chiang Mai. Video appears to show a man spraying "Scouser Lee" on the gate, part of which dates back to the 13th Century. Supt Teerasak Sriprasert said Mr Furlong would be charged with "vandalising an archaeological site". A Canadian woman, Brittney Schneider, has also been arrested and charged with vandalism for allegedly adding her first initial to graffiti on the gate. "They will face no more than 10 years' jail [and/or] a fine of no more than a million baht (about £23,555)," Supt Sriprasert said. "They admitted to the crime, saying they did it because of the thrill and they..
October 19, 2018

Afghanistan delays Kandahar vote after Gen Raziq killed

Afghanistan delays Kandahar vote after Gen Raziq killed Image copyright AFP Image caption Gen Raziq was a powerful opponent of the Taliban Parliamentary elections in the Afghan province of Kandahar have been delayed by a week after the assassination of a powerful local police chief. Gen Abdul Raziq was shot dead by a rogue bodyguard on Thursday. The Taliban claimed the attack, which came after a high-level security meeting. US commander Gen Scott Miller narrowly escaped unhurt. The local intelligence head was also killed and the governor was critically injured. Three Americans were hurt. A spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani said that voting in the province would be delayed by a week in line with the wishes of the people. Elections are due to be held across most of the rest of Afghanistan on Saturday. The Taliban have urged voters to boycott the poll.
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