September 22, 2018

Hong Kong express rail link launches amid controversy

Hong Kong express rail link launches amid controversy Image copyright Reuters Image caption The high speed rail link will open to the public on Sunday A high-speed rail link has been launched in Hong Kong, connecting the territory with mainland China. The Express Rail Link connects Hong Kong to the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou in 40 minutes - less than half the time taken by older trains. Chinese authorities will be able to operate at a joint checkpoint at the station, and on the trains. This is controversial as it marks the first time Chinese criminal law will be enforced in Hong Kong territory. Critics say this violates Hong Kong's freedoms and mini-constitution. The rail link was launched at a ceremony on Saturday, with one local lawmaker praising the first bullet train journey to Guangzhou South as "very quiet, like I was on a plane". Government officials say the rail link will boost businesses in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. How part of Hong Kong became ruled b..
September 22, 2018

China Catholic bishops: Historic deal with Vatican reached

China Catholic bishops: Historic deal with Vatican reached Image copyright Getty Images Image caption There are at least 10 million Catholics in China Pope Francis has recognised seven bishops appointed by China as part of a historic accord to improve ties between the Vatican and the communist country. The issue of who appoints bishops has been at the heart of a dispute since China first broke off diplomatic ties with the Holy See in 1951. China has some 10 million Catholics. Pope Francis hopes the deal "will allow the wounds of the past to be overcome" and bring about full Catholic unity in China, the Vatican said. China, the Vatican and a controversial deal Why many Christians in China turn to underground churches China's 'outlaw' do-it-yourself bishop Beijing has long insisted that the state must approve the appointment of bishops in China, running contrary to the Catholic Church's insistence that it is a papal decision. Currently, Catholics in China face the c..
September 22, 2018

Afghan children killed in police station bomb blast

Afghan children killed in police station bomb blast At least eight children have been killed and six wounded in a bomb blast in Afghanistan's northern Faryab province. Police in the Shirin Tagab district blamed the Taliban for planting a mine in the area, which fell into the group's control last week. The children were playing near a police station when the explosion happened, witnesses said. They are said to be aged between six and 12 years old. Who are the Taliban? Taliban 'threaten 70% of Afghanistan' Why Afghanistan is more dangerous than ever Afghan outlet Tolo News reports that two of the wounded have lost limbs. They were taken to hospital in a critical condition. There has been no comment from the Taliban.
September 21, 2018

Viewpoint: What India’s first newspaper says about democracy

Viewpoint: What India's first newspaper says about democracy Image copyright University of Heidelberg Image caption The newspaper was named after its founder, James Augustus Hicky India's first newspaper, founded in 1780, held up a mirror to British rule in India. It can also teach us about how tyrants work and how an independent press can stop them, writes journalist and historian Andrew Otis. Known as Hicky's Bengal Gazette after its intrepid founder, James Augustus Hicky, the newspaper notoriously dogged the most powerful men in India. It dug into their private lives and accused them of corruption, bribery and abuse of rights. Among many claims, it accused the then ruler of British India, Governor General Warren Hastings, of bribing the chief justice of India's Supreme Court. It alleged that Hastings and his top aides launched illegal wars of conquest, taxed the people without representation and suppressed freedom of speech. The newspaper also reported on the l..
September 21, 2018

Chinese nanny Mo Huanjing executed for arson killings

Chinese nanny Mo Huanjing executed for arson killings Image copyright VCG via Getty Images Image caption Former nanny Mo Huanjing started a fire that killed four members of a family A Chinese nanny has been executed after deliberately starting a fire that killed a mother and her three children in the eastern city of Hangzhou. Mo Huanjing, 35, was sentenced to death for arson in February. She had allegedly racked up significant gambling debts, and had hoped "saving" the family from the blaze would persuade them to lend her more money. Instead, the fire in their 18th-floor apartment killed Zhu Xiaozhen and her children, aged six, nine and 11. Lin Shengbin, her husband and the children's father, was away on business at the time of the crime in June 2017. Mo, who used a lighter to start the blaze in the living room, escaped. China alarm over public death sentences Outcry over China 'common man' execution News of the execution provoked a huge reaction on Weibo, China&#039..
September 21, 2018

India bishop accused of rape arrested in Kerala

India bishop accused of rape arrested in Kerala Image caption Bishop Franco Mulakkal denies wrongoing A bishop has been arrested in the southern Indian state of Kerala over allegations that he raped a nun 13 times times between 2014 and 2016. The 44-year-old woman registered a police complaint in June, alleging that the Catholic Church had taken no action despite repeated appeals. It led to unprecedented protests by nuns who came out in support of her. The case has shocked what is one of India's oldest Christian communities and attracted national attention. The bishop, 54-year-old Franco Mulakkal, was arrested on Friday after being questioned by police for three days, a senior police official speaking on condition of anonymity told BBC Hindi's Imran Qureshi. Bishop Mulakkal, who denies the accusations, will be brought to court on Saturday. The Vatican temporarily relieved him of his duties on Thursday. Mr Mulakkal is the bishop of a diocese in Jalandhar in the northern st..
September 21, 2018

Hayabusa-2: Japan hopes for historic asteroid landing

Hayabusa-2: Japan hopes for historic asteroid landing Image copyright JAXA Image caption Rovers 1A and 1B (left and centre), alongside Minerva II-2 (right) which will be released at a later date Japan's space agency (JAXA) believes it has successfully landed two robotic explorers on the surface of an asteroid, making history. "We don't have confirmation yet, but we are very, very hopeful," project manager Yuichi Tsuda said. On Friday, the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft despatched a pair of "rovers" to the 1km-wide space rock known as Ryugu. Rover 1A and Rover 1B will hop around in Ryugu's low gravity, capturing temperatures and images of the surface. Hayabusa-2 reached the Ryugu asteroid in June this year after a three-and-a-half-year journey. Officials hope to confirm a successful landing in a day or two, when the spaceship sends data from the rovers to Earth. Why does it matter?While the European Space Agency has previously managed to land on an icy comet, this would be the f..
September 21, 2018

James Ricketson: Jailed Australian filmmaker granted Cambodia royal pardon

James Ricketson: Jailed Australian filmmaker granted Cambodia royal pardon Image copyright AFP Image caption James Ricketson denied all charges An Australian filmmaker who was sentenced by a Cambodian court to six years in prison on spying charges has been granted a royal pardon. James Ricketson, 69, was arrested in June 2017 while flying a camera drone over an opposition rally. Mr Ricketson, who denied the charges, has been a critic of long-standing Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. His arrest was part of a wider crackdown on dissent by the increasingly authoritarian government.
September 21, 2018

China blocks Twitch game-streaming service

China blocks Twitch game-streaming service Image copyright Zhang Peng Image caption Gaming and e-sports are hugely popular in China Video game-streaming service Twitch has been blocked in China. Since 20 September, Twitch's website has been unreachable from the country and its app has been removed from the local Apple App Store. Twitch has confirmed that it is being blocked but it has not said why the authorities have imposed the restriction. The service was cut off shortly after enjoying a significant bump in popularity among Chinese gamers. Game viewersThe streaming service has been gaining a larger following in China over the last few months. Many keen gamers flocked to it in late August to watch eSports matches being played at the Asian Games in Jakarta. The Games was not broadcast on state-run media in China, forcing many to use Twitch to see the gaming tournaments. No official statement has been released by Chinese authorities to explain why Twitch has been blocked. China..
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