October 19, 2018

Australian admits kidnap and rape of Briton in outback ordeal

Australian admits kidnap and rape of Briton in outback ordeal Image copyright ABC Image caption The woman was rescued after police pulled over a 4x4 A man has pleaded guilty to repeatedly raping a British backpacker during a weeks-long kidnapping ordeal in Australia. The woman, from Liverpool, was rescued by police in Queensland last year after they stopped a 4x4 she was driving. Her attacker, local man Marcus Martin, then aged 22, was found hiding in the back of the vehicle. On Friday, Mr Martin pleaded guilty to three charges of rape and one of deprivation of liberty. He had previously pleaded guilty to other charges, including assault occasioning bodily harm, wilful damage, and strangulation or choking. Last year, police said that Mr Martin had met the 22-year-old woman at a party in Cairns in late January 2017. The pair agreed to start a road trip through Queensland, but Mr Martin then began to hold the woman against her will. He subjected her to a "horrific and terrifying" experi..
October 18, 2018

China’s third quarter growth misses expectations at 6.5%

China's third quarter growth misses expectations at 6.5% Image copyright Getty Images China has reported its slowest quarterly growth rate since the global financial crisis. The growth figure for the July to September quarter was 6.5% from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said. The result fell short of analyst forecasts of 6.6%. Policymakers have moved to support the cooling economy in recent months. China faces rising economic challenges including high debt levels and an intensifying trade battle with the US. The impact of the trade dispute with the US is expected to weigh on growth figures in the coming months. Reuters analysts had forecast growth at 6.6% in the three months to September from a year earlier, the weakest pace since the first quarter of 2009. The numbers were still in line with the government's full-year target of about 6.5%. A 'war on two fronts' Analysis: Karishma Vaswani, Asia business correspondent As one China observer to..
October 18, 2018

Sabarimala: The Indian god who bars women from his temple

Sabarimala: The Indian god who bars women from his temple Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Not a single woman was able to enter the temple because of the protesters The Sabarimala temple in the south Indian state of Kerala opened its doors to women of all ages for the first time on Wednesday after a historic Supreme Court ruling. However violent protesters ensured women devotees were turned away. Several people including an old woman were injured as crowds threw stones at vehicles and attacked police officers near the temple. The protesters have also included many women - they have participated in rallies, blocked roads and checked vehicles heading towards the temple to see if any women of a "menstruating age" - roughly those between 10 and 50 years - were trying to enter the temple. The temple attracts millions of devotees from across the country. Why are protesters so angry? Image copyright Reuters Part of the violent opposition to the Supreme Court order to reverse the t..
October 18, 2018

Australian woman ‘who faked cancer for cash’ is charged

Australian woman 'who faked cancer for cash' is charged Image copyright Google Image caption Ms Wieland was granted bail after appearing at Townsville Magistrates Court in Queensland A woman in Australia has been charged for allegedly gaining A$55,000 ($39,000; £30,000) from a fundraising site after faking a cancer diagnosis. Lucy Wieland, 27, used social media to document a fraudulent journey through ovarian cancer treatment, a court in Townsville, Queensland, was told. Ms Wieland set up a GoFundMe account to appeal for financial help in a breach of public trust, police said. She was arrested after a tip-off from a member of the public, they added. Images posted to her Instagram account earlier this year include photos of Ms Wieland with what appears to be medical equipment such as oxygen masks and walking aids. Image Copyright lu_wieland lu_wieland Report Image Copyright lu_wieland lu_wieland Report Others appear to show her receiving treatment through intravenous medicati..
October 18, 2018

Afghanistan election: What’s at stake in the parliament vote?

Afghanistan election: What's at stake in the parliament vote? Image copyright Reuters Image caption Election posters on a main road in Kabul, where over 800 candidates are vying for 33 seats Afghans are once again set to defy threats, insecurity and fears over electoral fraud as they prepare to vote in parliamentary elections on 20 October. The poll is long overdue. Bitter wrangling over electoral reform since the stalemate of the 2014 presidential poll has delayed it by three-and-a-half years. So what's at stake for Afghans and their fledgling democracy, four years since most Nato troops left the country? Why do the elections matter? Image copyright EPA Image caption A woman in a camp for internally displaced people in Kabul holds an election pamphlet Most Afghans are desperate for a better life, jobs, education and an end to the war with the Taliban. For the country's foreign partners, seeing a flourishing democracy would be the return they're seeking after many..
October 18, 2018

Royal tour: Harry and Meghan brighten up Bondi Beach

Royal tour: Harry and Meghan brighten up Bondi Beach Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The duke and duchess were greeted by colourful outfits at Bondi Beach It may be a grey day in Sydney but hundreds of people have brought colour to Bondi Beach to meet the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Harry and Meghan are meeting members of One Wave, a surfing community group, as they take part in "Fluro Friday". It means there is a lot of neon and colourful garlands being worn at the session, which encourages the discussion of mental health issues. The royals kicked off their shoes to walk on the sand at the beach. The couple were greeted by cheers and screams as they arrived at Bondi, the latest stop on their Australian tour, just before 08:30 local time on Friday morning. Skip Twitter post by @KensingtonRoyal 🏄‍♀️🏄‍♂️ Good morning Bondi Beach! The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are joining a OneWave Fluro Friday Sunrise session #OneRoyalFluroWave #RoyalVisitAustralia pic.twitter.com/ln5lDjAxkV..
October 18, 2018

US commander survives Afghan gun attack in which police chief dies

US commander survives Afghan gun attack in which police chief dies Image copyright Reuters Image caption US General Scott Miller was unharmed in the attack, Nato said A senior US commander has narrowly escaped a gun attack in which top Afghan security officials were killed. The gunman, reported to be acting as a bodyguard, opened fire as officials left a meeting in Kandahar province. Provincial police chief Gen Abdul Raziq died, as did the head of the NDS intelligence service, reports said. The Kandahar governor was badly wounded. US commander Gen Scott Miller escaped unhurt but two other US citizens were injured, Nato said. Initial reports say the attacker was killed. The Taliban said they carried out the attack. In a statement, the group referred to Gen Raziq as a "brutal police chief". Violence in Afghanistan has been escalating ahead of Saturday's elections. Afghan and international security officials said Gen Raziq had been shot in the back as he left the meeting and di..
October 17, 2018

Mother Mushroom: Vietnam releases well-known dissident into US exile

Mother Mushroom: Vietnam releases well-known dissident into US exile Image copyright Vietnam Bloggers Network Image caption Mother Mushroom was allowed to take her family along to the US The high-profile Vietnamese dissident and writer known as Mother Mushroom has been released from prison and is on her way to the United States with her two children and mother. Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh left Vietnam on Wednesday for Taipei and then Houston, Texas after an early morning release. In 2017, she was sentenced to 10 years in jail for distributing propaganda against the state. Vietnam's one-party communist regime frequently jails its critics. News that Ms Quynh had been released emerged soon after US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis left Vietnam after a short visit. It is unclear if he pressed for her release and the Pentagon is yet to comment. Rights groups widely welcomed the activist's release but warned that freedom of speech in the country remained severely limited. Vietnam blogger..
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..
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