September 1, 2018

The Mughal queen who became a feminist icon

The Mughal queen who became a feminist icon Image copyright Penguin Image caption Nur Jahan was the only female ruler in the Mughal dynasty Empress Nur Jahan was the most powerful woman in 17th Century India. She played an unprecedented role in running the vast Mughal empire. Historian Ruby Lal explains why the history of her leadership is important to understand today. She was named Mihr un-Nisa at birth and was later named Nur Jahan (light of the world) by her husband, the Mughal emperor, Jahangir. She was born only a few decades after Queen Elizabeth I, yet she ruled a territory far more diverse than that of her British counterpart. The Mughals ruled much of the Indian subcontinent for more than 300 years after they came to power early in the 16th century. It was one of India's biggest and most powerful dynasties. Many of its emperors and royal women, including Nur Jahan, were patrons of art, music and architecture - they built grand cities and majestic forts, mosques and tomb..
September 1, 2018

Rocket woman: How to cook curry and get a spacecraft into Mars orbit

Rocket woman: How to cook curry and get a spacecraft into Mars orbit Can you guide a spacecraft into orbit around Mars and cook for eight people morning and night? Yes, if you get up at 5am, and your name is BP Dakshayani. Here the former head of flight dynamics and space navigation for the Indian space agency explains how she did it - and the housework too. They became known as the Rocket Women or the Women from Mars. Four years ago, the picture of a group of women in saris celebrating as an Indian spacecraft successfully entered Mars orbit shone a light on the role played by women in the country's space programme - among them BP Dakshayani. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption This picture of women at India's space agency celebrating the Mars orbit went viral She led the team that kept an eye on the satellite, telling it exactly where to go, and ensuring that it did not deviate from its path. One of her colleagues (also female) described the task as like hitting a go..
September 1, 2018

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ puts spotlight on region’s inequalities

'Crazy Rich Asians' puts spotlight on region's inequalities Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Constance Wu at the premier of the movie Crazy Rich Asians The film Crazy Rich Asians hit the box office this month, and the glossy rom-com has put a spotlight on the region's growing number of super-rich. Just go to any shopping mall in Singapore - where the movie is based - and you will see designer shops full of customers carrying bags from Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. It's much like that in other cities. But the region, which was once considered a model of equitable growth, has also seen increased inequality. According to Oxfam the number of super-rich in the Asia-Pacific has surpassed that of North America and Europe. It is also home to the greatest number of millionaires and billionaires in the world, but also hosts nearly two-thirds of the world's working poor. "Wealth inequality has reached alarming levels in a number of countries in the regio..
September 1, 2018

US military to cancel $300m in Pakistan aid over terror groups

US military to cancel $300m in Pakistan aid over terror groups Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Pakistan has previously rejected US accusations that it provides a safe haven for militants The US military says it is cancelling $300m (£230m) in aid to Pakistan over what it calls Islamabad's failure to take action against militant groups. President Donald Trump has previously accused Pakistan of deceiving the US while receiving billions of dollars. Pentagon spokesman Lt Col Koné Faulkner said the US military would aim to spend the money on other "urgent priorities". The move, which needs to be approved by US Congress, is part of a broader suspension announced in January. The US state department has criticised Pakistan, a key ally, for failing to deal with terrorist networks operating on its soil, including the Haqqani network and the Afghan Taliban. "We continue to press Pakistan to indiscriminately target all terrorist groups," Col Faulkner said in a statement on Saturda..
September 1, 2018

Kim Jong-nam murder: Police seek pair to testify at murder trial

Kim Jong-nam murder: Police seek pair to testify at murder trial Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption Kim Jong-nam, pictured in 2001, the late half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un Malaysian police are seeking two Indonesian women they want to testify at the trial of those accused of killing Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un. Local media named the potential witnesses as Raisa Rinda Salma, 24, and Dessy Meyrisinta, 33. Kim Jong-nam died at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017, after toxic VX nerve agent was rubbed on his face. Two women are being tried for his murder. They are Siti Aisyah from Indonesia and Doan Thi Houng from Vietnam. Both have pleaded not guilty, saying they thought they were carrying out a prank for a reality TV show, and did not know the colourless, odourless VX was harmful. Police have urged anyone who knows the two new named witnesses to contact Sepang district police. Image copyright Reuters/AFP Image c..
August 31, 2018

Children stuck in Australia’s island camp

Nauru refugees: The island where children have given up on life Image copyright World Vision Australia Image caption Two-year-old George is one of hundreds of asylum seekers living on Nauru Suicide attempts and horrifying acts of self-harm are drawing fresh attention to the suffering of refugee children on Nauru, in what is being described as a "mental health crisis". The tiny island nation, site of Australia's controversial offshore processing centre, has long been plagued with allegations of human rights abuses. But a series of damning media reports recently has also highlighted a rapidly deteriorating situation for young people. "We are starting to see suicidal behaviour in children as young as eight and 10 years old," says Louise Newman, professor of psychiatry at the University of Melbourne who works with families and children on the island. "It's absolutely a crisis." A loss of hopeAustralia intercepts all asylum seekers and refugees who try to reach its shores by b..
August 31, 2018

‘Ghost ship’ runs aground on Myanmar coast

'Ghost ship' runs aground on Myanmar coast Image copyright Yangon Police/Facebook Image caption The vessel, built in 2001, is more than 177 metres long Police in Myanmar are searching a large rusty container ship for clues after it was spotted by fishermen mysteriously drifting near the region of Yangon. The vessel, bearing the name "Sam Ratulangi PB 1600", was discovered earlier this week floating near the coast of Myanmar's commercial capital. "There were no sailors or goods on the vessel," the Yangon police said. Authorities and navy personnel boarded the ship on Thursday to investigate after it ran aground, the police added. In a statement posted on Facebook, the Yangon police said the ship was "stranded on the beach [and it was] bearing an Indonesian flag". Skeletons found on 'ghost ship' in Japan Why do 'North Korea ghost boats' keep washing up? Image copyright Yangon Police/Facebook Image caption The container ship was described as being i..
August 31, 2018

China education: Why some mothers want August C-sections

China education: Why some mothers want August C-sections Image copyright CNS Image caption Parents want their children to enter school earlier Chinese media have noticed a trend of pregnant women rushing to have Caesarean sections before the end of August, so that their yet-to-be-born children will be in the academic year ahead of September-born babies. The state-owned China News Service (CNS) has released a video featuring a "busy scene" of pregnant women at a hospital in the central city of Wuhan. The video prompted thousands of social media comments about Chinese attitudes towards childbirth. The government wants to promote natural births in line with its relaxed child policy. It fears that women who have a Caesarean for their first baby could have complications if they go on to have more children. It is also well documented in China that parents feel pressured to ensure that their child has the competitive edge and are anxious for their children to begin academic learning as soon a..
August 31, 2018

China targets video gaming to tackle myopia in children

China targets video gaming to tackle myopia in children Image copyright Tencent Image caption China is the world's biggest gaming market Chinese authorities have announced plans to control video gaming as a response to rising levels of near-sightedness among children. Regulators want to limit the number of new games, restrict playing time and develop an age-restriction system. A report in 2015 found 500 million Chinese suffered visual impairment, nearly half the population over five. China is the world's biggest gaming market and shares of local tech firms dropped sharply in response. Screens and eyesight: What can parents do? 'Poison': China's most vilified online game Chinese gamer: 'I play for 15 hours a day' The Chinese ministry of education released the new policy plans on Thursday after President Xi Jinping earlier this week called for greater national attention on optical health. The document blamed the high levels of myopia on a heavy study ..
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