October 17, 2018

Cherry blossoms bloom unexpectedly in Japan

Cherry blossoms bloom unexpectedly in Japan Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Many people come from across the world to see Japan's famous cherry blossoms Some of Japan's famed cherry blossoms, also known as sakura, have bloomed unexpectedly this fall. The famous pink and white flowers are typically visible for about two weeks in the spring- a phenomenon tourists from around the world come to witness. But more than 300 people have reported cherry blossoms in their neighbourhood in October, according to meteorological company Weathernews. Experts say a series of typhoons could have contributed to the phenomenon. "This has happened in the past, but I don't remember seeing something of this scale," Hiroyuki Wada, a tree doctor at the Flower Association of Japan told local outlet NHK. Cherry blossoms around the world Chasing Japan's cherry blossom season Mr Wada said that the cherry trees' leaves usually release a hormone that stops the floral buds from g..
October 17, 2018

Sri Lanka’s Sirisena calls India over ‘murder plot’

Sri Lanka's Sirisena calls India over 'murder plot' Image copyright Reuters Image caption Sri Lanka's president (R) told India's PM (2nd L) that reports of him saying India was trying to kill him were untrue Sri Lanka's president has called India's prime minister to deny a report that quoted him as saying the Indian secret service was plotting to kill him. Maithripala Sirisena told Narendra Modi he "categorically rejected" the report, carried in The Hindu newspaper. It said Mr Sirisena had made the statement at a cabinet meeting to the "shock" of assembled ministers. Embarrassing headlines have dogged Mr Sirisena in recent weeks. Last month, he raged at the country's national airline for serving him some cashew nuts "which were not fit for human consumption". Within a week he was in the headlines again after recalling the country's Austrian ambassador and his entire staff for not answering the official embassy phones. He said he had made ..
October 17, 2018

Tasmania penguin deaths: Dozens killed in suspected dog attack

Tasmania penguin deaths: Dozens killed in suspected dog attack Image copyright Auscape/Getty Image caption The little penguins, which grow to around 30cm, were returning for breeding season Wildlife officials are investigating a suspected dog attack in Tasmania, after 58 penguins were found mauled to death. A member of the public alerted rangers to the dozens of penguin bodies strewn across a beach on the north coast of Australia's island state. This is the second dog attack in months on local little penguins - the smallest penguin species - according to reports. Authorities said dog owners must take responsibility for their pets and earlier warned of hefty fines. "We would like to remind dog owners of the need to take responsibility for their animals at all times as dogs have the capacity to do a lot of damage to penguin colonies in a short period of time," Tasmania's department of parks, water and environment said in a statement. It said all reports of alleged unlawful ha..
October 17, 2018

Chinese firm fined $1.3bn for illegal production of rabies vaccine

Chinese firm fined $1.3bn for illegal production of rabies vaccine Image copyright Getty Images Image caption This is not the first time substandard vaccines have been produced in China A Chinese vaccination firm has been fined $1.3bn (£988m) after it was found to have illegally produced the human rabies vaccine. Changchun Changsheng had blended different batches of vaccine fluid and used expired fluid to produce some of the batches, according to state news agency Xinhua. The company also falsified production data for the vaccine. This is not the first major vaccine scandal to hit China. Changchun Changsheng's pharmaceutical production licence has also been revoked and its illegally produced vaccines have been confiscated. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption It was revealed earlier in July that Changchun Changsheng had falsified production data Some of the company's executives may also face criminal charges. "This is the most stringent administrative penalty on reco..
October 17, 2018

Sabarimala: Protesters block women from entering Hindu shrine

Sabarimala: Protesters block women from entering Hindu shrine Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Many of the protesters against women entering the temple are women themselves Thousands in India's southern state of Kerala are protesting against women of all ages entering one of Hinduism's holiest temples for the first time. The Sabarimala temple barred women of "menstruating age" - roughly between 10 and 50 - until the Supreme Court lifted the ban last month. But protesters attacked vehicles carrying female reporters and stopped a woman from entering the temple. Tensions may rise as more women are expected to attempt entry. Hinduism regards menstruating women as unclean and bars them from participating in religious rituals. The Sabarimala temple was due to open its doors to all women on Wednesday at 17:00 IST (11:30 GMT). Enough is enough: India women fight to enter templesSecurity forces have been deployed and they have already stopped many Hindu groups from preve..
October 17, 2018

MJ Akbar: India minister quits after #MeToo allegations

MJ Akbar: India minister quits after #MeToo allegations Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Mr Akbar has not responded to the allegations against him India's junior foreign minister MJ Akbar has resigned after numerous women accused him of sexual harassment and assault, officials have confirmed. The former prominent newspaper editor is the most high profile figure to be named in what is being called India's #MeToo movement. The charges range from "predatory behaviour" to sexual assault. Mr Akbar had earlier filed a criminal defamation case against the female journalist who first named him. He said in a statement that since he had decided to challenge the "false accusations" against him in his "personal capacity", he felt it was appropriate to step down from office. Mr Akbar's resignation came as pressure grew on the government to respond to the allegations being made against him. One of India's most influential editors, he has edited leading English-languag..
October 17, 2018

Chinese woman kills herself and children after husband fakes death

Chinese woman kills herself and children after husband fakes death Image copyright Weibo Image caption The man's alleged plan to claim an insurance payout went tragically wrong A Chinese man who allegedly faked his own death for an insurance payout has surrendered to police after his wife killed herself and their two children. The 34-year-old was presumed dead after his car was found in a river, though his body was never recovered. He did not tell his wife about his alleged plan and she believed he had died. She later jumped into a pond with their children after writing an online suicide note. The man, who police said was surnamed He, surrendered himself to police in Xinhua county in Hunan province last Friday. He has been detained on charges of insurance fraud and intentional damage to property, Xinhua police said in a statement on WeChat - a social media platform. 'Why we had to fake my murder' Ukraine reporter fake killer details plot The MP who faked his death In ..
October 17, 2018

Charlie Condell: UK teenager in record attempt has bike stolen

Charlie Condell: UK teenager in record attempt has bike stolen Image copyright CHARLIE CONDELL Image caption Charlie Condell has ridden through 17 countries so far A British teenager who is trying to become the youngest person to cycle solo around the world has had his bike stolen in Australia. Charlie Condell, 18, has already ridden through Europe and Asia since embarking on an eight-month journey in July. However he woke up in a hostel in Townsville, Queensland, on Tuesday to discover his bike was missing. Mr Condell, from Bristol, said his passport, camping gear and other cycling equipment had also been taken. He is already more than 100 days into his attempt to cycle unassisted through 21 countries around the world - a 18,000-mile (30,000km) journey. Of losing his bike, he said: "You can never quite believe it - I thought maybe someone had moved it at first. "But then I came to the sinking realisation that it was gone and I just had on my shirt and my board shorts and one bag." I..
October 17, 2018

Pakistan Zainab murder: Imran Ali executed in jail

Pakistan Zainab murder: Imran Ali executed in jail Image copyright European Photopress Agency Image caption Zainab was abducted on 4 January Pakistan has hanged a man convicted for the rape and murder of six-year-old Zainab in January. Imran Ali, who was arrested after her body was found in a garbage dump, was executed in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat prison early on Wednesday, police said. Zainab's father and other relatives were present. The case, the most heinous in a string of similar child murders in the city of Kasur, had sparked outrage and protests in the country. Zainab disappeared on 4 January and her body was found five days later. On 23 January, after widespread protests complaining of police incompetence, Imran Ali was arrested though a DNA match. He was sentenced to death in February for Zainab's rape and murder. His appeals against the verdict failed and earlier this month President Arif Alvi rejected a plea for clemency.
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