October 10, 2018

Countdown on for world’s longest non-stop flight

Countdown on for world's longest non-stop flight Image copyright SIA The battle to offer the world's longest non-stop flight steps up a gear on Thursday, when a new Singapore-to-New York service takes off. Singapore Airlines is relaunching the service five years after it withdrew because it had become too expensive. It will cover more than 15,000km and is scheduled to take just under 19 hours. Qantas launched a 17-hour non-stop service from Perth to London earlier this year, while Qatar runs a 17.5-hour service between Auckland and Doha. Have passengers been snapping up the tickets?The flight from Changi Airport to Newark's international airport will be taking off amid much fanfare and with barely a seat to spare. Singapore Airlines said there was demand for customers for non-stop services which help cut travelling times compared with flights which have a stopover. The airline told the BBC that business class seats for the flight were fully booked. However, there were..
October 10, 2018

Chinese man charged with US aviation ‘espionage’

Chinese man charged with US aviation 'espionage' Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The indictment identifies GE Aviation as a a target of the operation The US justice department has announced charges of economic espionage against a suspected Chinese intelligence officer. Officials say Yanjun Xu tried to steal trade secrets from US aviation and aerospace companies on behalf of China. He was arrested in Belgium earlier this year and on Tuesday extradited to the US. A senior justice department official said the case was "part of an overall economic policy of developing China at American expense". "We cannot tolerate a nation's stealing our firepower and the fruits of our brainpower," Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers added, Will Trump's tariffs stop Chinese espionage? Trump administration seeks to block China Mobile Beijing offers hefty cash reward for spy tip-offs Prosecutors say Mr Xu is a senior officer with China's ministry..
October 10, 2018

Nepal busts chimp smugglers after BBC investigation

Nepal busts chimp smugglers after BBC investigation Image caption The chimps were discovered by Nepal police in a specially adapted crate A BBC investigation exposing the scale of chimpanzee trafficking last year has helped police in Nepal uncover a smuggling operation, as Sam Piranty in Kathmandu reports. Even to a hardened detective the discovery was shocking: two baby chimpanzees, exhausted and hungry, and sucking their thumbs. The tiny animals had been captured in the wild in Nigeria and then flown thousands of miles to Nepal. "They were just like small babies," says the Nepalese police officer in charge, Anupam Rana. Drugged and hidden inside a packing case, they were victims of a network of wildlife traffickers spanning half a dozen countries. Although chimps are endangered, the babies are wanted as pets and these two were on the black market for $12,500 each (nearly £9,500). This is one of many examples of an illegal trade worth billions of dollars every year that is being ..
October 10, 2018

China Uighurs: Xinjiang ‘legalises’ Muslim internment camps

China Uighurs: Xinjiang 'legalises' Muslim internment camps Image copyright Reuters Image caption Some reports say a million Uighurs have been detained China's western Xinjiang region has written internment camps for Muslim Uighurs into law amid growing international concern over large-scale disappearances there. Xinjiang says the camps will tackle extremism through "ideological transformation". Rights groups say detainees are made to swear loyalty to President Xi Jinping and criticise or renounce their faith. In August, China denied allegations that it had locked up a million people. But officials attending a UN human rights meeting admitted that Uighurs "deceived by religious extremism" were undergoing re-education and resettlement. China's Muslim 'crackdown' explained Uighurs dig their way out of Thai jail Xinjiang has seen cycles of violence and crackdowns for years. China accuses Islamist militants and separatists of orchestrating the trouble. What ..
October 10, 2018

Row over Australia plan to let faith schools reject gay students

Row over Australia plan to let faith schools reject gay students Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Gay marriage became legal in Australia last year Australia's prime minister has defended leaked proposals to let religious schools discriminate against gay students. Scott Morrison said the proposals were already "existing law". Schools in some states can already reject staff if they are gay. The new proposals would apply nationwide. They are contained in a report into religious freedom that was commissioned after same-sex marriage was made legal last year. Was Australia's marriage poll worth it? Australia's heated same-sex marriage debate Fairfax Media, which obtained a copy of the report, said it proposed that religious schools would be guaranteed the right to turn away gay students and teachers. Religious schools would also be allowed to discriminate on the basis of gender identity and relationship status. "There is a wide variety of religious schools in Austr..
October 10, 2018

MJ Akbar: India minister under scrutiny over #MeToo allegations

MJ Akbar: India minister under scrutiny over #MeToo allegations Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Mr Akbar has not responded to the allegations against him A former prominent newspaper editor who is now a junior foreign minister is the latest to be named in what is being called India's #MeToo movement. MJ Akbar is accused of predatory behaviour, including inviting young women to hotel rooms for "meetings". Neither Mr Akbar nor the foreign ministry have responded to the allegations against him. But another minister, Maneka Gandhi, said all allegations, including those against politicians, must be probed. He is the most senior person so far to be named in the flurry of allegations that have been made against comedians, journalists, authors, actors and filmmakers in the last few days. Read more about India's #MeToo firestormOne of India's most influential editors, Mr Akbar has edited leading English-language newspapers such as The Telegraph and The Asian Age. H..
October 10, 2018

Bangladesh to hang 19 for deadly attack on 2004 rally

Bangladesh to hang 19 for deadly attack on 2004 rally Image copyright Getty Images Image caption More than 20 people died and hundreds were injured in the attack A court in Bangladesh has sentenced 19 people to death for their role in a deadly grenade attack on a 2004 political rally in the capital Dhaka. Those to hang include a former minister and deputy minister, both leaders of the BNP party which was then in power. The party's current acting head, Tarique Rehman, was convicted to life in jail in absentia. The grenade attack left 24 people dead at the Awami League rally. Its leader Sheikh Hasina is now prime minister. Hundreds more were injured in the 21 August 2004 blast as Sheikh Hasina was about to finish a speech in front of thousands of supporters. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Sheikh Hasina has been prime minister since 2009 Former state minister for home affairs Lutfozzaman Babar is the most prominent of those sentenced to hang. The BNP says the case was po..
October 9, 2018

Vaginal mesh implants: Australia apologises for ‘decades of pain’

Vaginal mesh implants: Australia apologises for 'decades of pain' Image caption The health scandal has affected women around the world The Australian government has issued a national apology to women affected by a vaginal mesh scandal, acknowledging decades of "agony and pain". Mesh implants are at the centre of health scandal affecting women around the world, prompting lawsuits in the UK, US, Canada and Australia. Earlier this year, an Australian inquiry acknowledged that the devices had ruined the lives of many women. It also found that some patients had been ignored when they reported pain. More than 700 women in Australia have joined a class action against one manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, but lawyers say up to 8,000 women may have been affected. Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Wednesday: "On behalf of the Australian government, I say sorry to all of those women with the historic agony and pain that has come from mesh implantation which have led to horrific outcomes..
October 9, 2018

BTS: How to be the perfect K-pop fan

BTS: How to be the perfect K-pop fan They're the Beatles for the 21st Century, a global pop sensation that generates mania and devotion in equal measure, and they've sold out London's O2 Arena. BTS, the South Korean seven-member boyband and pin-up stars of the K-pop genre, are performing in the UK for two nights only. And their fans, who call themselves the Army, are over the Moon. We headed for the queues to find out what makes the perfect K-pop fan. 1. The chants Image caption K-pop is like going down a rabbit-hole into Korean culture, says Najma Akther, pictured right Don't know the chants? Then, jog on. Before the boys put a boxfresh trainer-clad foot on to the stage, the Army will be in full swing with their chants. Queue buddies Bianca, 16, from Poland, and Ella, 17, from Ipswich, shyly give us a demonstration, and it's oddly mesmerising. It's a synchronised list of the boys' names, surnames included. Fans talk about how regularly listening t..
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