October 16, 2018

Ian Kiernan: ‘Clean Up the World’ environmentalist dies

Ian Kiernan: 'Clean Up the World' environmentalist dies Image copyright Fairfax Media/Getty Images Image caption Ian Kiernan founded a global anti-litter campaign Prominent environmentalist Ian Kiernan, the founder of an iconic Australian anti-litter campaign that expanded into a global success, has died aged 78. The round-the-world yachtsman began the Clean Up Australia and Clean Up the World campaigns after being appalled by levels of ocean rubbish in the 1980s. In 1994, he famously helped come to the rescue of Prince Charles when a protester rushed at him, firing a starting pistol, on a stage in Sydney. Mr Kiernan had been enduring cancer. "While we will deeply miss Ian's guidance and humour, it was his greatest wish that the work he inspired continues," Clean Up Australia said in a statement on Wednesday. His first clean-up event took place around Sydney Harbour in 1989, with more than 40,000 volunteers clearing rubbish from the shoreline. It has since grown into a ..
October 16, 2018

Afghan drought ‘displacing more people than Taliban’

Afghan drought 'displacing more people than Taliban' Image caption The UN estimates that 260,000 Afghans have fled their homes this year due to drought A deadly drought in Afghanistan is causing a humanitarian crisis that has displaced more people this year than the war between the government and the Taliban. The BBC's Secunder Kermani reports from Herat. Shadi Mohammed, 70, wells up with tears as he walks through the makeshift camp on the outskirts of the western city of Herat, where he lives with his family. "We are thirsty and hungry. We took what little we could with us, but lost most of it on the way. Now we have nothing. Eight of us live in this small tent," he says. "My wife and my brother died. Half of our children are here. The other half were left behind." Mr Mohammed is one of an estimated 260,000 people who have been forced from their homes in northern and western Afghanistan because of a severe drought in the region. Protecting reporters on Afghanistan&#03..
October 16, 2018

China disappearances show Beijing sets its own rules

China disappearances show Beijing sets its own rules Image copyright AFP Image caption China's biggest film star and the president of Interpol both recently vanished - before turning up in detention The recent disappearances of two high-profile Chinese citizens have once again focused international attention on China's legal system and its use of secret detentions. First to vanish was A-list actress Fan Bingbing, who appeared in the X-Men and Iron Man film franchises. She was not seen in public for months over the summer and went silent on social media, before turning up in early October with a grovelling apology for evading taxes. Two days after she re-appeared, it emerged that the president of global policing agency Interpol, Meng Hongwei, had disappeared on a trip to China. His wife says his last communication with her was a text with a knife emoji, which she took to mean he was in danger. On 8 October, Chinese authorities announced he was being investigated for bribe-tak..
October 16, 2018

Pakistani pop star Fakhr-e-Alam begins Asia leg of round-world flight

Pakistani pop star Fakhr-e-Alam begins Asia leg of round-world flight Image copyright @falamb3/Twitter Image caption Fakhr-e-Alam began his journey in the US state of Florida on 10 October A former pop star aiming to be the first Pakistani to fly around the world in a light aircraft has landed in Karachi, six days after take-off. Sporting a khaki jumpsuit, Fakhr-e-Alam is piloting a single-engine plane emblazoned with his name. But he is travelling with an instructor, as he has less than 100 hours of flight experience. Alam has so far flown to cities in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. He now begins the Asia leg of his tour. He aims to end his trip, which he has named #MissionParwaaz, in Florida, where he took off from, next month. Carol Vorderman completes 'historic' solo flight The female pilot teaching African women to fly Alam has been posting frequent updates, photos and videos on his Twitter timeline. These have included details of the food he is eating, people h..
October 16, 2018

India guru Rampal sentenced to life in jail for murder

India guru Rampal sentenced to life in jail for murder Image copyright www.jagatgururampalji.org Image caption Rampal claims to have tens of thousands of followers across India A self-styled Indian guru and 14 others have been sentenced to life in prison for murdering four women and an 18-month-old baby in 2014. The court in Haryana state convicted Rampal last week. He was also found guilty of another murder and will be sentenced in that case on Wednesday. He suffocated the victims during a bloody standoff between his supporters and police in 2014, the court said. The guru claims tens of thousands of followers and has ashrams across India.
October 16, 2018

‘Anti-white’ racism: Australia senators blame ‘error’ for vote

'Anti-white' racism: Australia senators blame 'error' for vote Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Critics say the motion by Senator Pauline Hanson was a publicity stunt The Australian government has said that an "administrative error" prompted 23 of its senators to vote for a motion which stated "it is OK to be white". The motion by Pauline Hanson, leader of the anti-Islam One Nation party, also condemned "anti-white racism". It was defeated 31-28 in a vote on Monday. Critics noted that the phrase "it's OK to be white" has been associated with trolls and white supremacist groups. PM Scott Morrison said the level of government support was "regrettable". Responding to a backlash on Tuesday, the government said its senators had misunderstood the motion due to an internal "process failure". A senior minister, Christian Porter, blamed an "early email" sent by his staff without his knowledge. It had told senators to support the motion. "The associations of t..
October 16, 2018

Xinjiang governor praises Uighur Muslim ‘education camps’

Xinjiang governor praises Uighur Muslim 'education camps' Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Uighurs make up about 45% of the population in Xinjiang The governor of China's Xinjiang region has given the most detailed description yet of the alleged use of internment camps for Uighur Muslims. In an interview with state media, Shohrat Zakir said the "vocational education" centres were proving effective in staving off terrorism. He said "trainees" were grateful for the opportunity to change their ways and make their lives more "colourful". China's massive security crackdown in Xinjiang has sparked widespread alarm. Rights groups say Muslims are being detained indefinitely without charge for infractions like refusing to give a DNA sample, speaking in a minority language or arguing with officials. Officials have denied allegations that up to a million Muslim Uighurs and other minority groups are being detained and insist that action is necessary to prevent terro..
October 16, 2018

Sundar Pichai: Google ‘exploring’ censored China search app

Sundar Pichai: Google 'exploring' censored China search app Image copyright Getty Images Google chief executive Sundar Pichai has said a censored search app in China could serve over "99% of queries," in rare public comments about the controversial proposal. Mr Pichai told a conference in San Francisco the plan was in the "very early" stages and may not progress. Google's possible return to China - a market it abandoned over censorship concerns - was first leaked in August. The proposal has drawn criticism from employees and human rights advocates. On Monday, Mr Pichai did not commit to the launch, saying that the plan was still in an exploratory stage. "We wanted to learn what it would look like if Google were in China, so that's what we built internally," Mr Pichai said at the Wired conference in San Francisco. "It's very early, we don't know whether we would or could do this in China but we felt like it was important for us to explore. I think it&..
October 15, 2018

Australia considers following US on Jerusalem embassy

Australia considers following US on Jerusalem embassy Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The US moved its embassy to Jerusalem in May Australia will consider recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving its embassy there from Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says. If acted upon, the move would follow a recent policy shift by the US that has drawn criticism internationally. Mr Morrison said Australia remained committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Political opponents said Mr Morrison's comments were a "deceitful" ploy for votes ahead of a crucial by-election. The status of Jerusalem is one of the most contested issues between Israel and the Palestinians. US President Donald Trump drew international criticism last year when he reversed decades of American foreign policy by recognising the ancient city as Israel's capital. The US embassy was relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May. Why Trump and Jerusalem was not a..
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