July 23, 2018

Change in Pakistan as women seize right to vote

Change in Pakistan as women seize right to vote Image caption Few could imagine women voting let alone standing for election in this remote area Hameeda Shahid is making history. She is standing for parliament in a conservative tribal area of Pakistan which borders Afghanistan. Dir was once a Taliban stronghold where women had few rights and were not even allowed vote. She is fighting for a seat on former cricketer Imran Khan's party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf's ticket. The moment she steps outside her home, men start chanting the slogan "long live PTI". A few schoolboys stop and stare from a distance. "I thought that if a woman can cast a vote, she can also run for election, it changed my mind," says Hameeda Shahid. Last year, Pakistan's Election Commission refused to accept council election results in Dir as no woman had voted. It said at least 10% of voters must be women in each constituency for an election to be valid. Hameeda Shahid seized her chance. Image c..
July 23, 2018

Japan heatwave: Temperature breaks national record

Japan heatwave: Temperature breaks national record Image copyright Getty Images Image caption More than a dozen cities have seen temperatures of around 40C Temperatures in Japan have hit a record high, with officials issuing a fresh warning to stay safe. Japan has for days been in the grip of a deadly heatwave, although the numbers killed vary widely from 15 to as high as 40. On Monday, the thermometer peaked at 41.1C (106F) in Kumagaya, near Tokyo, breaking the previous national record of 41C from 2013. More than a dozen cities have seen temperatures of around 40C. Japan's disaster management agency urged people to stay in air-conditioned spaces, drink water and rest to prevent heat exhaustion. "People in areas where temperatures are as high as 35 degrees or higher should be extremely careful" to avoid heatstroke, a meteorological agency official told news agency AFP. "And even at lower temperatures, the heat can be dangerous for small children and elderly people, and depending ..
July 23, 2018

Chinese Premier calls for crackdown on vaccine industry

Chinese Premier calls for crackdown on vaccine industry Image copyright Getty Images Image caption China has seen a number of incidents involving medicine safety in recent years Authorities in China have ordered an investigation into a vaccination scandal as panic grows over product safety. Last week vaccine maker Changsheng Biotechnology Co was found to have falsified production data for its rabies vaccine. The firm has been ordered to halt production and recall rabies vaccines. There has been no evidence of harm from the vaccine, but the scandal has sparked a huge outcry in China. On Sunday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang urged severe punishment for the people involved. "We will resolutely crack down on illegal and criminal acts that endanger the safety of peoples' lives, resolutely punish lawbreakers according to the law, and resolutely and severely criticise dereliction of duty in supervision," he said in a statement posted on a government website. How did all this happen?On ..
July 22, 2018

Gen Dostum is unhurt as explosion targets Kabul airport

Gen Dostum is unhurt as explosion targets Kabul airport Image copyright AFP Image caption Gen Dostum on banners. His return may be linked to the election next year An explosion has rocked Kabul airport shortly after Afghan Vice-President Abdul Rashid Dostum returned from self-imposed exile. The interior ministry said 10 people were killed in a square that Gen Dostum had just passed through. He was unhurt. The ethnic Uzbek and former warlord was cheered by supporters on arrival. He left for Turkey more than a year ago, accused of ordering his men to kidnap and rape a political rival, accusations he denies. The cause of the blast has not been officially determined but Afghan media said it was a suicide bombing. Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said a number of people were also injured in the blast, near the airport entrance. Some reports said Gen Dostum's convoy was departing as the blast was heard. He was in an armoured vehicle. Television footage showed Gen Dostum greetin..
July 21, 2018

The mega-machines helping China link the world

The mega-machines helping China link the world China is creating a network of ambitious land- and sea-based transport links to connect its booming economy with those of Europe and Africa. And it's wasting no time - designing incredible bespoke construction machines to get the job done fast. President Xi Jinping's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched in 2013, aims to connect two-thirds of the world's population across 70 countries through a network of land links (the "belt") and sea routes (the "road"). Officials talk about lifetime investments worth trillions of dollars, sourced from banks, participating countries and the Chinese government. The scheme is not without controversy. Critics point out that it burdens poor countries with billions of dollars of Chinese debt, and dismiss it as a projection of Chinese foreign policy. Nevertheless, evidence of the Belt and Road can already be seen in China and beyond, where a fleet of new machines is building railwa..
July 21, 2018

Pakistan election: Who’s who and why it matters

Pakistan election: Who's who and why it matters Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionPakistan's election: Five things to know Tens of millions of Pakistanis are preparing to vote in a general election on Wednesday after a campaign tainted by violence and dominated by political controversy. What happens in this South Asian country of nearly 200 million matters: it is a nuclear-armed rival to India, a key developing economy and one the world's largest Muslim-majority nations. Here's what you need to know about the election, which has been called the dirtiest in Pakistan's history. Why it's important Since independence in 1947, Pakistan has oscillated between civilian and military rule. This election will mark the second time that one civilian government has handed power to another after serving a full term - a historic landmark. But few in Pakistan are celebrating the strength of its democracy. The run-up to the vote has been marked by ..
July 21, 2018

India scraps tampon tax after campaign

India scraps tampon tax after campaign Image copyright AFP Image caption The introduction of the 12% "blood tax" sparked protests across India India has scrapped its 12% tax on all sanitary products following months of campaigning by activists. The announcement comes a year after the government introduced the tax, known as GST, on all goods - including the 12% duty on menstrual hygiene products. Campaigners argued the tax would make them even more unaffordable in a country where an estimated four out of five women and girls already have no access to items like sanitary pads. The news was welcomed by campaigners. Surbhi Singh, founder of Sachhi Saheli, a menstrual health awareness charity, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation: "This was a most-awaited and necessary step to help girls and women to stay in school, their jobs, to practise proper menstrual hygiene. "This will help them to grow, to show their true potential." Periods are one of the leading reasons why girls drop out of educa..
July 21, 2018

Sri Lanka’s Galle cricket stadium risks being demolished

Sri Lanka's Galle cricket stadium risks being demolished Image copyright AFP Image caption England fans watch their team play Sri Lanka at Galle Stadium in 2012 One of the world's most picturesque cricket stadiums is at risk of being demolished because it threatens the heritage status of a nearby fort. Galle cricket stadium, in southern Sri Lanka, is famed for its stunning views of the Indian Ocean. But it is the 17th Century Dutch fort which looms over the ground that has put it in danger. Sri Lanka's cultural affairs minister Wijeyadasa Rakapakshe said the fort risks losing Unesco World Heritage status because of unauthorised construction nearby, including the 500-seat pavilion stand which was rebuilt after the ground was devastated by the 2004 tsunami. Image copyright AFP Image caption Sri Lanka have won most of the matches they have played here since 1998 Image copyright AFP Image caption Standing on the fort affords a good view of the cricket below Image copyright..
July 21, 2018

Japan heatwave: Warnings issued amid scorching temperatures

Japan heatwave: Warnings issued amid scorching temperatures Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The heatwave has filled public parks, but also caused many deaths People across Japan have been urged to take precautions against a heatwave that has killed about 30 people. Thousands more have sought hospital treatment for heat-related conditions over the past two weeks. Temperatures reached 40.7C (105F) in central Japan earlier this week, a five-year nationwide peak. In the city of Kyoto temperatures have stood above 38C (100.4F) for seven days in a row for the first time since records began in the 19th Century. The Japanese education ministry told schools to take thorough measures to prevent heat stroke after a six-year-old boy died following an outdoor class in Aichi Prefecture on Tuesday. Japan's meteorological agency urged people to drink sufficient water to prevent heat exhaustion. Image copyright Reuters Image caption The heatwave has caused misery for volunteers in fl..
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