May 30, 2018

Saving flood water to get through the droughts

Saving flood water to get through the droughts Image caption Biplab Paul, co-founder of Naireeta Services, designed the bhungroo to help farmers ride out India's droughts Erratic rainfall and prolonged dry seasons in many parts of India mean that farmers often have to struggle with waterlogged fields or droughts, which can ruin their crops. Many are ultimately forced to quit the land and and migrate to find other work. "Once our whole family used to work here, and we used to make our livelihood from agriculture," says Madhiben - the family's fields are now covered in a thin white sheet of salt. "They all used to be lush green, now it's all white desert," says Madhiben, who lives in a village in Gujarat in north-west India. Many parts of India are showing severe effects of desertification but now one social enterprise, Naireeta Services, is taking action. Co-founders Trupti Jain and Biplab Khetan Paul have come up with an answer to this. "During the Gujarat earthquak..
May 30, 2018

Maori face tattoo: It is OK for a white woman to have one?

Maori face tattoo: It is OK for a white woman to have one? Image copyright evolvedleadership.com.au Image caption Sally Anderson's headshot from her life coaching business Facial tattoos have been a part of Maori culture for centuries, a sacred marker of the wearer's genealogy and heritage. But one woman's striking chin design - or moko - has generated huge debate in New Zealand, because she is white, with no Maori heritage. Sally Anderson, who is married to a Maori man, says her moko symbolises her personal struggles and life story. But she's been accused of appropriating Maori culture for personal gain. "We have to protect the last bastions that we have as Maori to make us different," said one expert. Why are moko so important to Maori?Moko are carved into the skin using chisels. They are a sacred tradition, denoting a person's links with their family and cultural identity. Facial tattoos - moko kauae - are of particular importance. Men's moko tend to ..
May 30, 2018

Zhao Kangmin: The man who ‘discovered’ China’s terracotta army

Zhao Kangmin: The man who 'discovered' China's terracotta army Image copyright Getty Images When archaeologist Zhao Kangmin picked up the phone in April 1974, all he was told was that a group of farmers digging a well nearby had found some relics. Desperate for water amid a drought, the farmers had been digging about a metre down when they struck hard red earth. Underneath, they had found life-size pottery heads and several bronze arrowheads. It could be an important find, Zhao's boss said, so he should go and have a look as soon as possible. A local farmer-turned-museum curator in China's central Shaanxi province, Zhao - who died on 16 May at the age of 81 - had an inkling of what he might find. He knew figures had in the past been dug out of the earth in the area near the city of Xian, home to orchards of persimmon and pomegranate trees, and not far from the tomb of China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. A decade earlier, he had personally uncovered three..
May 30, 2018

Is India’s Congress party really running out of cash?

Is India's Congress party really running out of cash? Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The Congress' declared income is far behind that of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party India's oldest political party, the Congress - which has ruled the country for 49 of its 71 years as an independent nation - has made a public appeal for funds on Twitter, perhaps for the first time in its 133-year history. That is surprising for India's main opposition party. Founded in 1885 by elite intellectuals to challenge British colonial rule, it eventually morphed into a political movement with massive grassroots support and seemingly limitless coffers. The party's official twitter handle invited people on Thursday to make a "small contribution". The tweet received mixed reactions. Many obliged and then retweeted the appeal. But several others seemed either outraged or amused at the request. They found it hard to believe that India's "grand old party" was short of fun..
May 30, 2018

The fostered girl’s murder that shook Australia

Tiahleigh Palmer: The 12-year-old murdered by her foster father Image copyright QUEENSLAND POLICE Image caption Tiahleigh Palmer's body was discovered on a Queensland river bank in 2015 Australian schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer was 12 years old when she came home from dance class and was murdered by her foster father. Hours earlier, Rick Thorburn had learned that his teenage son, Trent, had sexually assaulted her. They feared she might be pregnant. So the Queensland man killed Tiahleigh and dumped her near-naked body on a river bank. On Friday, he was sentenced to life in prison. Justice David Boddice described the murder as "cold, calculating and callous". Thorburn's wife and two sons have already been jailed for their roles in a case which has horrified Australia. The killing also led to a review of Queensland's foster care system, and changed police alerts about vulnerable children. What happened to Tiahleigh?Tiahleigh had been in care since she was seven. She had been ..
May 30, 2018

A war of nerves between Pakistan’s military and Sharif

A war of nerves between Pakistan's military and Sharif Image copyright Reuters Image caption There have been protests for Mr Sharif... Pakistan's oldest and most prestigious newspaper, Dawn, is feeling the squeeze, weeks before a general election. Its distribution remains suspended across large parts of urban Pakistan that are controlled by the army's real estate giant, the Defence Housing Authority (DHA), as well as in military garrison areas where many civilians live. And Dawn is not alone. In March, the country's largest television news network, Geo, was widely blocked by cable providers in military-controlled areas, while elsewhere it was moved lower down the channels list. Both developments suggest an escalating war of nerves between deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif and the powerful military. What prompted the blockades? Pakistan's civilian authorities say they have not ordered them. So attention turned to the security establishment. Image copyright A..
May 30, 2018

The grassroots movement that shut down an Indian copper plant

The grassroots movement that shut down an Indian copper plant Image caption At least 13 people died amid protests in Tamil Nadu on May 22 On Monday, the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu ordered the shut down of a controversial copper plant that locals had been protesting against for more than 20 years. The order from the state government came days after police shot at a large crowd of protesters, killing at least 13 people. We take a look at the grassroots movement that mobilised tens of thousands of residents and led to the shut down of the factory. Who are the protesters?Residents of Tuticorin, a port city in the state, have alleged that the copper plant has caused significant environmental damage, including air pollution and groundwater contamination. Mining firm Vedanta, which owns the copper smelter, has consistently denied these charges. The company has called the closure of the plant, which it has operated for more than 22 years, an "unfortunate development". The 400,000 t..
May 30, 2018

Savita parents hail Ireland abortion vote

Savita Halappanavar's parents hail Irish abortion vote Image copyright The Irish Times Image caption Savita Halappanavar died after a miscarriage in a Galway hospital in October 2012 Her story was one that galvanised a movement; her face became a symbol of that movement. Savita Halappanavar died from infection after miscarrying her first child in an Irish hospital in October 2012. Her family said she pleaded for a termination during the miscarriage, but medical staff refused her requests because there was still a foetal heartbeat. Mrs Halappanavar's death caused international controversy and sparked a campaign to have Ireland's abortion law liberalised. Irish abortion result a seismic shift Timeline: Ireland and abortion Savita and abortion law confusion Her parents have now said she will "rest in peace" after Irish voters backed a referendum to overturn the country's ban on abortion. The death of the 31-year-old dentist, who was originally from India, became a ..
May 30, 2018

BTS become first K-pop band to top US album charts

BTS become first K-pop band to top US album charts Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The boy band have taken the global stage by storm South Korean boy band BTS have become the first K-pop artists to reach number one on the US album charts. The K-pop superstars are part of the so-called Korean Wave, the global rise of Korean music, drama and film. Known for their meticulously choreographed dance style and boyish good looks, the seven-member group is one of the country's best selling musical exports. They have developed a fiercely devoted fan base, who call themselves the ARMY. The new BTS new album, Love Yourself: Tear, topped the Billboard 200 music charts on Sunday, which are based sales, downloads and streams of albums. It had been released earlier in May. Its first single, Fake Love, premiered at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas. Sung in Korean, the album is "the first primarily foreign-language No. 1 album in over 12 years," according to Billboard. For the..
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