January 27, 2019

Trevor the Duck: Niue mourns ‘world’s loneliest duck’

Trevor the Duck: Niue mourns 'world's loneliest duck' Image copyright Trevor the duck/Facebook Image caption Trevor passed away after being attacked by dogs Trevor, once dubbed the world's loneliest duck, has died after being attacked by dogs on the remote Pacific island he called home. Trevor was something of a local celebrity in the tiny nation of Niue for being the only bird of his kind living on the island. He had arrived there in 2018 - it's unclear how he got there. He lived in a roadside puddle during his short life, where he was regularly fed and taken care of by locals. "He showed up in Niue in January last year after a big storm, we think he flew or blew here," said Rae Findlay, Niue's Chamber of Commerce chief and the person behind Trevor's Facebook page. "It's assumed he came from New Zealand but it's also possible he came from Tonga or another Pacific island. "He was a mallard duck so we called him Trevor Mallard after a loca..
January 27, 2019

Duke University professor removed over ‘Speak English’ email

Duke University professor removed over ‘Speak English’ email Image copyright Duke University Image caption The course attracts students from a wide range of backgrounds A US university professor has been removed as director of a graduate programme, amid a furore over an email she sent urging students not to speak Chinese. Megan Neely, an assistant professor at Duke University in North Carolina, said in an email to students that two unnamed faculty members of the biostatistics Masters programme had complained to her about students speaking Chinese in public areas in the department. She said that not speaking English could lead to "unintended consequences" for international students. Her email went viral on Twitter and Chinese social media, while Duke's medical faculty has promised to review its biostatistics programme. Many have criticised Dr Neely's email as racist or insensitive, and raised concerns that faculty members were discriminating against international students. Ho..
January 27, 2019

Taliban talks: Will negotiations lead to peace in Afghanistan?

Taliban talks: Will negotiations lead to peace in Afghanistan? Image copyright Reuters Image caption The Taliban say they will talk with Afghan officials after the US sets a withdrawal date The "significant progress" said to have been made during six days of talks between US officials and the Afghan Taliban suggests that both sides are serious about trying to find a peaceful solution to a 17-year conflict that has scarred Afghanistan. But with the Taliban currently refusing to hold direct talks with Afghan officials, and negotiations relating to "unsolved matters" still to continue, what has actually been agreed during the meetings in Qatar? Secunder Kermani, the BBC's Afghanistan correspondent, and senior Afghan journalist Sami Yousafzai, look at what we know so far about the talks, and what it could mean for the future of the country and the foreign forces operating there. Who are the Taliban? Why Afghanistan is so dangerous How significant were the talks?Both the Taliban and U..
January 27, 2019

Thai girl band BNK48 sorry for Nazi T-shirt controversy

Thai girl band BNK48 sorry for Nazi T-shirt controversy Image copyright Twitter/ShapiraSmadar Image caption The singer and the band CEO visited the Israeli embassy on Sunday to apologise One of Thailand's most popular pop bands has apologised, after a member wore a T-shirt with a Nazi swastika on stage during a televised rehearsal. Photos of BNK48 singer Pichayapa "Namsai" Natha with the shirt went viral this weekend, causing the Israeli embassy to express "shock and dismay". The CEO of BNK48, and the 19-year-old singer, have met the Israeli ambassador and apologised. Many Thais say they are unaware of the history of the Nazis in World War Two. Skip Twitter post by @KhaosodEnglish Breaking: #Thai Idol Group #BNK48 Member Wears Nazi Flag on Stage https://t.co/xystVvWNmA #BNK48SpaceMission — Khaosod English (@KhaosodEnglish) January 26, 2019 Report End of Twitter post by @KhaosodEnglish After photos of the rehearsal, Israel's deputy ambassador to Thailand Smadar Shapira, said..
January 27, 2019

Jolo church attack: Many killed in Philippines

Jolo church attack: Many killed in Philippines A twin-bomb attack at a church in southern Philippines has killed at least 19 people and injured 42 others, officials say. The first blast happened as Sunday Mass was celebrated at a Roman Catholic cathedral on Jolo island. As soldiers responded, a second device was detonated in the parking lot. The attack happens after a predominantly Muslim area in the region voted for greater autonomy in a referendum last week. Jolo has long been a base for Islamist militants, including those of the Abu Sayyaf group. Philippines country profileThe first blast happened at 08:45 local time (00:45 GMT) at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which has been hit by bombs in the past. The victims included civilians and soldiers but initial numbers were conflicting. Images posted on social media showed the main road leading to the church sealed off by soldiers in armoured personnel carriers. Last week, voters approved the creation of the Bangsamoro Aut..
January 26, 2019

The enduring appeal of violent jihad

The enduring appeal of violent jihad Image copyright Getty Images The Islamic State group (IS) has lost its short-lived caliphate in the Middle East, with hundreds - possibly thousands - of would-be international jihadists stuck in limbo, and tempted to return home despite fears of arrest and imprisonment. Yet the scourge of violent jihad - where extremists attack those they perceive to be enemies of Islam - has not gone away. The hotel attack in Nairobi two weeks ago by the al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group al-Shabab was an uncomfortable reminder. Large swathes of north-west Africa are now vulnerable to attack by marauding jihadists. Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan remain ideal refuges for jihadists. So just what is the enduring appeal of violent jihad for certain people around the world? After the caliphate: Has IS been defeated? The victims of the Kenya hotel attack Peer pressureThe decision to leave behind a normal, law-abiding life, often abandoning family and loved ones to e..
January 26, 2019

#JusticeforKhadija: The long road to justice for a student stabbed 23 times

#JusticeforKhadija: The long road to justice for a student stabbed 23 times Image copyright AFP Image caption Khadija Siddiqui, 23, was stabbed in her neck, abdomen and arms in a vicious attack On Wednesday, Khadija Siddiqui, a young Pakistani law student, watched the man who stabbed her 23 times in broad daylight re-convicted for the crime. It was the culmination of a three-year battle for justice that at one point saw the convicted attacker, her ex-boyfriend, acquitted by the High Court and allowed to walk free, sparking outrage and a fierce social media campaign in a country where hundreds of women are murdered in "honour killings" each year. "Today is a day of victory for all women," she told reporters outside the Supreme Court after the ruling, which upheld a five-year sentence from a lower court. "A precedent has been set that if you raise your voice for truth, you will taste victory." Ms Siddiqui, who was 21 when she was brutally attacked and now studies in the UK, comes from a ..
January 26, 2019

Trudeau fires Canadian ambassador to China after controversy

Trudeau fires Canadian ambassador to China after controversy Image copyright Reuters Image caption PM Trudeau (R) appointed John McCallum (L) ambassador to China in 2017 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has fired Canada's ambassador to China, in the wake of controversy over a high-profile extradition case. Mr Trudeau said in a statement he had asked John McCallum to step down, but did not offer a reason. Last month, Canada arrested a top official at the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, on a request from the US. The detention of Meng Wanzhou angered China and soured its relations with both Canada and the US. In January, a Canadian man was sentenced to death in China, after a court said a jail term of 15 years was too lenient. Two other Canadians were arrested following the detention of Ms Meng. Canada 'alone' in China and Huawei dispute No politics behind Huawei arrest - Trudeau Meng Wanzhou: Trapped in a gilded cage Announcing Mr McCallum's departure, Mr Trudeau said: ..
January 26, 2019

Taliban talks: US envoy says significant progress made in Qatar

Taliban talks: US envoy says significant progress made in Qatar Image copyright AFP Image caption The US has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan and is part of a Nato mission there The US and the Afghan Taliban have made "significant progress" in talks aimed at ending the 17-year-old conflict in Afghanistan, the US envoy has said. In a series of tweets, Zalmay Khalilzad did not give details but said the unprecedented six days of talks in Qatar were "more productive than they have been in the past". He said he was on his way to Kabul to consult Afghan government officials. Earlier, Taliban sources said the two sides had finalised a draft agreement. The deal calls for a withdrawal of foreign forces in return for assurances that al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) group will not be allowed to use Afghanistan as a base, the sources said. Mr Khalilzad said talks with the Taliban would continue and that nothing had been finalised. Skip Twitter post by @US4AfghanPeace 2/3. Will build on the ..
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