September 13, 2018

World’s largest dairy exporter posts first annual loss

World's largest dairy exporter posts first annual loss Image copyright Getty Images New Zealand's Fonterra, the world's largest dairy exporter, has posted its first annual loss as higher costs and heavy one-off charges hit earnings. The firm said it would carry out a major review as a result, starting with its investment in China's Beingmate. Fonterra saw a large writedown earlier this year on the back of its stake in the Chinese infant formula producer. The company also said its forecasts were too optimistic. Fonterra is a co-operative that buys dairy products from New Zealand farmers and sells them on to foreign companies. The farmer-owned collective posted a net loss after tax of NZ$196m ($128.5m; £98.5m) for the year ending in July. "There's no two ways about it, these results don't meet the standards we need to live up to," Fonterra's interim chief executive Miles Hurrell said. Fonterra suffered a writedown of more than NZ$400 million from its..
September 13, 2018

Aung San Suu Kyi defends verdict against Reuters journalists

Aung San Suu Kyi defends verdict against Reuters journalists Image copyright EPA Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi has defended the jailing of two Reuters journalists, despite international condemnation. She said Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo had broken the law and their conviction had "nothing to do with freedom of expression at all". The two were sentenced for possession of police documents while investigating the killing of Rohingya Muslims. Ms Suu Kyi also said the army crackdown against the Rohingya could in hindsight have been handled differently. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate - who is not Myanmar's elected president but is almost universally viewed as such - had been under intense pressure to comment on both the Rohingya crisis and more recently the journalists. This week, a UN rights body accused Myanmar of "waging a campaign against journalists". Has Suu Kyi turned her back on free press? The country where Facebook posts whipped up hate Ms Suu Kyi broke her silence on the i..
September 12, 2018

Wedge-tailed eagle ‘mass poisoning’ prompts Australia arrest

Wedge-tailed eagle 'mass poisoning' prompts Australia arrest Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The wedge-tailed eagle is Australia's largest bird of prey A man has been charged following the deaths of at least 137 wedge-tailed eagles in Victoria, Australia. Authorities found the animals - Australia's largest bird of prey and a protected species - in April, prompting raids on several properties. The man is alleged to have used poisoned baits to kill eagles since October 2016. State officials described it as the largest case of suspected wedge-tailed eagle killings they had ever seen. Authorities have previously said that the true number of dead birds may be even bigger. Under the state's Wildlife Act, killing a wedge-tailed eagle carries a fine of up to A$7,928 (£4,350; $5,700) and a maximum six-year jail term. Additional killings carry a fine of A$792 each. Image copyright DELWP Image caption The birds were allegedly poisoned with bait The carcasses ..
September 12, 2018

Viewpoint: What can stop India’s rupee plunge?

Viewpoint: What can stop India's rupee plunge? Image copyright Getty Images The Indian rupee is languishing at a record low, hit by a combination of forces including higher oil prices and fleeing foreign investors. Pressure is mounting on India's central bank to act as a weak rupee stokes fears in the country's swelling middle class, writes Vivek Kaul. At the beginning of April, one US dollar was worth 65.1 rupees. On 11 September, the value of one dollar touched a record low of 72.7 rupees. In a little over six months, India's currency has slumped more than 11%. Why is the rupee falling? One big factor is oil. India imports more than 80% of the oil it consumes. That dependency - coupled with higher oil prices - has seen the country's oil import bill shoot up this year. The oil import bill for the first three months of the financial year was $28.9bn (£22.2bn), up from $18.8bn last year. A higher oil import bill basically translates into a greater demand for d..
September 12, 2018

Sri Lanka to ban Hindu animal sacrifice

Sri Lanka to ban Hindu animal sacrifice Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Some Hindus sacrifice animals as an act of religious devotion - though the majority do not Sri Lanka's government has agreed to ban the ritual sacrifice of animals and birds at Hindu temples on the island. A government spokesman told the BBC the move was proposed by the Hindu Religious Affairs ministry, and said most moderate Hindu groups support it. Some Hindus sacrifice goats, buffalo calves and chickens at temples as an offering to their deities. But the practice has attracted years of protests in Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka, where critics call it inhumane. Animals sacrificed at Hindu and Muslim religious festivals are often left to bleed to death, which angers animal rights activists and some Buddhist groups. Many practicing Hindus choose not to sacrifice animals - but those who do have argued that the ban would impinge on their religious freedoms. They say such sacrifices are an ancient part o..
September 12, 2018

China: Car rams into Hunan square killing three

China: Car rams into Hunan square killing three A man has driven a car into a busy square in southern China, killing at least three people and injuring 43, local government officials say. The red SUV drove into Binjiang square in Hengyang city, Hunan province, at 19:40 local time (11:40 GMT). Local media say that some victims appeared to have been stabbed. The driver, who has a criminal record, has been detained, officials say. Officials have not said whether the incident is terror related. Video footage from the scene on Chinese media shows people running out of a packed square. Others kneel down to help or carry the injured away, as bodies lie on the ground. Police have reportedly named the suspect as a 54-year-old man, Yang Zanyun. Local media say criminal records show Mr Yang served time in prison for arson and drugs related offences. Skip Twitter post by @PMBreakingNews Breaking: At least 3 dead and more than 40 injured after an SUV rammed into a crowd of people in Hengyang, C..
September 12, 2018

Australian schoolgirl Harper Nielsen’s national anthem protest

Australian schoolgirl Harper Nielsen's national anthem protest Image copyright AFP Image caption An Australian schoolgirl claims the national anthem disregards the country's indigenous people A nine-year-old girl has stirred controversy after refusing to stand for Australia's national anthem in protest at alleged institutional racism. Harper Nielsen claimed the song "Advance Australia Fair" ignored the nation's indigenous people. "When it says 'we are young' it completely disregards the Indigenous Australians who were here before us," she told ABC news Australia. Australian politician Pauline Hanson later labelled Harper a "brat". The schoolgirl was given detention last week for "blatant disrespect" over her failure to participate with classmates during a rendition of the song at Kenmore South State School in Brisbane. Harper, whose parents said they were "proud" of her for showing "incredible bravery", said she felt it was time to "raise awareness and g..
September 12, 2018

Afghanistan attack: Nangarhar suicide blast toll soars

Afghanistan attack: Nangarhar suicide blast toll soars Image copyright EPA Image caption The death toll from Tuesday's suicide bombing soared overnight A suicide bombing in east Afghanistan has killed at least 68 people, officials say, in one of the deadliest insurgent attacks in recent months. The bomber struck in a crowd of people protesting against a local police chief in Nangarhar province near Pakistan. The death toll from Tuesday's blast soared overnight. Another 165 people were injured - local hospitals struggled to cope with the casualties. Hundreds have died in a wave of recent attacks. Elections are due in October. No group has said it carried out the suicide bombing in the crowd of protesters in Nangarhar's Momand Dara district, but Islamic State militants are active in the province. Earlier, five people were injured in two bomb attacks near a school in the same province. The violence follows recent diplomatic efforts to end the lengthy war between the Afgh..
September 12, 2018

James Stannard: UK tourist cleared of assaulting rugby star

James Stannard: UK tourist cleared of assaulting rugby star Image copyright PA Image caption Sam Oliver has been cleared over a late-night confrontation in Sydney A British tourist has been found not guilty of assaulting Australia's former Rugby Sevens captain James Stannard. Sam Oliver, 23, had been accused of knocking Stannard to the pavement with a single punch, leaving him with a fractured skull. The confrontation took place outside a Sydney kebab shop in the early hours of 30 March. Mr Oliver, from Newcastle, argued that he had acted in self-defence. On Wednesday, Magistrate Richard Funston found Mr Oliver not guilty of recklessly causing grievous bodily harm. "I have come to the view that I am not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that this very serious charge can be made out," Magistrate Funston said. He said "alcohol played a huge part" in the "unfortunate incident" and both men had been heavily intoxicated at the time. Witnesses had also been intoxicated and relayed inco..
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