July 24, 2018

Thai cave boys to be ordained in Buddhist ceremony

Thai cave boys to be ordained in Buddhist ceremony Image copyright AFP Image caption Several of the boys had previously attended a religious ceremony at a Buddhist temple Most members of the Thai youth football team rescued from a flooded cave will have their heads shaved and don robes to be ordained as novices in a Buddhist ceremony on Tuesday. Their coach will also receive monk's orders. One of the boys will not join the ceremony as he is a Christian. The group will spend nine days living in a monastery, a tradition for males in Thailand who experience adversity. They were trapped for more than two weeks before a dramatic rescue. The boys were all released from hospital last week and are said to be in good health after their ordeal in the snaking caverns of the Tham Luang caves of northern Thailand. This step is intended to be a "spiritual cleansing" for the group. "They should spend time in a monastery. It's for their protection," Seewad Sompiangjai, grandfather of Ni..
July 24, 2018

Bangladesh cafe siege: Briton Hasnat Karim freed without charge

Bangladesh cafe siege: Briton Hasnat Karim freed without charge Image copyright AFP Image caption British national Hasnat Karim has been acquitted of involvement in the 2016 cafe siege A British man detained in Bangladesh following a deadly cafe siege two years ago has been freed without charge. Hasnat Karim was celebrating his daughter's 13th birthday at the Holey Artisan cafe with his family in the capital Dhaka in July 2016 when it was targeted by Islamist militants. Twenty-two people, mostly foreigners, were killed over the course of the 12-hour siege, in what was the country's worst terrorist attack. Eight suspects other have been charged. Mr Karim, who is in his late forties and has dual British-Bangladeshi citizenship, was taken hostage when gunmen stormed the cafe. Eyewitnesses at the time said he became a police suspect because he agreed to become a human shield during the siege. Human rights group Amnesty International had campaigned against Mr Karim's continu..
July 23, 2018

Yuko Fujii, the judo coach overthrowing gender stereotypes

Yuko Fujii, the judo coach overthrowing gender stereotypes Image caption Yuko Fujii is unlikely to be thrown head first on the mat these days At Yuko Fujii's first judo practice, over 30 years ago in Japan, a little boy threw her head-first on the mat, and she never wanted to practise the martial art again. Today, she has made history as the first female head coach of Brazilian men's judo. In traditionally macho Brazil and in the male-dominant sports world, a female coach of the country's renowned judo programme was practically unthinkable. In professional sports, it is uncommon for women to coach even women's teams, and almost unheard of for women to coach men's teams. So Yuko's appointment was an unexpected and welcome step forward for women, not just in judo but also in sports in general. Image caption The 35-year-old says that she just wants to contribute "everything I have" to the team Women often face discrimination in sports in Brazil. In footba..
July 23, 2018

N Korea ‘begins dismantling’ rocket launch site

N Korea 'begins dismantling' rocket launch site Image copyright Reuters Image caption North Korea has used the Sohae station to launch rockets North Korea appears to have begun dismantling part of a key rocket launch site in the country's north-west. Satellite images of the Sohae station seen by US-based monitoring group 38 North suggest Pyongyang is complying with a promise made to the US in June. President Donald Trump said North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un had vowed to destroy an engine test site, but did specify which one. Pyongyang has maintained that Sohae is a satellite launch site. But US officials suspect that it has been used to test ballistic missiles. Image copyright AFP PHOTO/ Pleiades CNES 2018 Image caption The satellite imagery appears to show the dismantling of facilities at North Korea's Sohae site During a landmark meeting between President and Kim Jong-un in Singapore last month, the two leaders signed a deal to work towards the "complete ..
July 23, 2018

Pakistan election raises fears of ‘creeping coup’

Pakistan election raises fears of 'creeping coup' Image copyright AFP A day before Pakistan's 11th national election, the country's dream of undiluted democracy appears to be receding - again. In its 70-year history, Pakistan has alternated between quasi-democracy and pure military rule. In the process it has become embroiled in international conflicts and morphed into a home base for Islamist militancy. Over the past decade, Pakistanis have witnessed democracy at its most undiluted thus far, but it's now under threat from what some say appears to be a "democratic coup" of sorts. And just as in the past, the country's powerful military establishment remains the chief suspect behind the fresh round of political manipulation. In the past, the military used to either stage a direct coup or use special powers to sack an elected government and then manipulate elections to ensure it wasn't re-elected. In 2008, those special powers were done away with, lead..
July 23, 2018

WhatsApp ‘admin’ spends five months in an Indian jail

WhatsApp ‘admin’ spends five months in an Indian jail Image copyright Reuters A student has spent five months in an Indian jail over a WhatsApp message he did not send. Local reports say the 21-year-old man was charged with sedition because of "objectionable" content, although it is not clear what the message said. Police allege the man was the administrator of the WhatsApp group, when a complaint was filed. His family argue he was made a "default admin" only after the the original administrators had fled the group. India lynchings: WhatsApp sets new rules after mob killings Who can stop India WhatsApp lynchings? How WhatsApp helped turn an Indian village into a lynch mob Junaid Khan, a student from the town of Talen in India's central Madhya Pradesh state was arrested on 14 February. According to local reports, the charges stem from a message that was forwarded in a WhatsApp group of which he was a part, leading to him being accused of sedition. The BBC has confirmed that Mr K..
July 23, 2018

India ‘cow lynching’: Police accused of delaying help

India 'cow lynching': Police accused of delaying help Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Hindus consider cows sacred and killing them is illegal in several states, including Rajasthan Police in India's western state of Rajasthan have been accused of delays in helping a man who was lynched for alleged cow smuggling and later died. Rakbar, 31, was attacked, allegedly by a mob of cow vigilantes, on Friday. It reportedly took police three hours to take him to the nearest hospital. Hindus consider cows sacred and killing them is illegal in several states, including Rajasthan. So-called cow vigilantism has risen, aimed at protecting them from slaughter. The issue has become a matter of fierce debate. Congress party president Rahul Gandhi said the latest lynching was an example of PM Narendra Modi's "brutal New India". Mr Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party fired back, calling Mr Gandhi a "merchant of hate". A night patrol with India's cow protection vigilant..
July 23, 2018

Viewpoint: Pakistan’s dirtiest election in years

Viewpoint: Pakistan's dirtiest election in years Image copyright AFP Image caption PML-N supporters and others accuse the military of trying to rig the election The run-up to Pakistan's general election on Wednesday has been marred by allegations of pre-poll rigging, intimidation and the muzzling of the media, writes Gul Bukhari, who was briefly kidnapped by masked men in Lahore's army cantonment area in June. Until a few months ago, protest chants accusing Pakistan's powerful military of terrorism were rarely heard in the country's main cities. But they came to central Lahore on 13 July, the day former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam returned from London to begin their prison sentences. By last Friday, the chant - "ye jo dehshat gardi hai, is ke peehchay wardi hai" ("the military uniform is behind this terrorism") - could be heard on the streets of Rawalpindi, not far from military headquarters. Image Copyright @alimdar82 @alimdar82 Repo..
July 23, 2018

Brazil dam disaster: BHP Billiton faces lawsuit in Australia

Brazil dam disaster: BHP Billiton faces lawsuit in Australia Image copyright Reuters Image caption The Somarco dam collapse in 2015 caused a deadly mudslide Mining giant BHP Billiton says it will defend itself against a class action lawsuit in Australia over Brazil's 2015 dam disaster. The collapse of a dam at a Samarco mine killed 19 people and led to Brazil's largest environmental disaster. The Samarco mine is jointly owned by BHP Billiton and Brazil's Vale. More than 3,000 investors have signed up to the lawsuit, lodged in the Federal Court of Australia in May. The claim alleges that BHP Billiton failed to disclose the risk of the dam's failure to the stock market, and misled investors over the company's safety guarantees. The action from Australian law firm Phi Finney McDonald will seek to recover shareholder losses. The claim estimates more than A$25bn (£14bn; $18bn) was wiped off BHP's market value in the month following the November 2015 tragedy. T..
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