March 20, 2019

Nursultan: Kazakhstan renames capital Astana after ex-president

Nursultan: Kazakhstan renames capital Astana after ex-president Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The Baiterek Tower, which resembles a giant egg atop a tree, is one of the city's landmarks Kazakhstan has renamed its capital Astana to Nursultan to honour outgoing leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, who unexpectedly resigned on Tuesday. The change was announced after Kassym-Jomart Tokayev was sworn in as president, promising to seek his predecessor's opinion on key decisions. Mr Nazarbayev, 78, served nearly 30 years as leader of the oil-rich nation. Meanwhile, his eldest daughter has been elected speaker of the upper house of parliament. Dariga Nazarbayeva's promotion to the second most powerful position in the country raises her profile as a potential successor. Her father, who is head of the governing party, will remain at the helm of the influential security council and will hold the formal title Leader of the Nation. New president, new name for capitalMr Tokayev ..
March 20, 2019

Nirav Modi arrested in UK amid India fraud case allegations

Nirav Modi arrested in UK amid India fraud case allegations Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Nirav Modi's diamonds were worn by celebrities like Rosie Huntington-Whitely (pictured together in 2016) A billionaire Indian diamond trader, whose jewellery was worn by the likes of model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and actress Priyanka Chopra-Jonas, has been arrested in the UK. Nirav Modi is wanted for his alleged role in India's largest ever bank fraud, totalling some $2bn (£1.5bn). He left the country in early 2018, and has not returned to India since. Mr Modi, 48, was arrested in central London on Tuesday, and is due to appear in court on Wednesday. Police said the arrest had been made on behalf of Indian authorities, who have asked for his extradition. Who is India's scandal-linked billionaire?Mr Modi's case was thrust back into the limelight after a British newspaper found him living in an £8m ($10.5m) London flat. The Telegraph questioned him near the Oxford..
March 20, 2019

Mayawati: India Dalit icon will not contest election

Mayawati: India Dalit icon will not contest election Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Mayawati is one of India's most influential politicians One of India's best-known politicians, Mayawati, has shocked the country by announcing she will not run in the upcoming general election. She said she would instead "concentrate on an alliance" formed to counter the influence of the ruling BJP. Ms Mayawati is an icon for India's low-caste Dalits and a four-time chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, which sends the most number of MPs to parliament. General elections will be held on 11 April and continue until 19 May. Regional parties like Ms Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are expected to be the kingmakers in this year's election, particularly if there is no clear majority for any one party. Profile: Mayawati Kumari Caste hatred in India: what it looks like All our latest election coverage At a press conference on Wednesday, Ms Mayawati said she will not cont..
March 20, 2019

Christchurch shootings: Jacinda Ardern calls for global anti-racism fight

Christchurch shootings: Jacinda Ardern calls for global anti-racism fight Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionNew Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern spoke exclusively to the BBC's Clive Myrie. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called for a global fight to root out racist right-wing ideology following last week's deadly attack on two mosques in Christchurch. In one of her first interviews since then, she told the BBC that she rejected the idea that a rise in immigration was fuelling racism. Fifty people were killed and dozens more wounded in Friday's gun attacks. The first funerals, of a father and son from Syria, took place on Wednesday. Hundreds of mourners gathered at a cemetery near the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, one of two places of worship targeted. Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with murder. Fifty people died in the attack. What did Ardern say?Asked about the rise of right-wing nationalism she said: "This was ..
March 20, 2019

Trade war: US-China to resume face-to-face talks next week, reports say

Trade war: US-China to resume face-to-face talks next week, reports say Image copyright Getty Images US officials plan to travel to China next week to resume face-to-face talks aimed at ending a trade war between them, media reports said. The US and China have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of one another's goods over the past year. A truce at a G20 meeting in December made way for talks, but negotiations have at times been rocky. Despite that US President Donald Trump has cast talks in a positive light, saying they are going "very well". US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin plan to fly to Beijing next week to meet with Chinese Vice President Liu He, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed Trump administration officials. It also said that a Chinese delegation led by Mr Liu is expected to continue talks in Washington the week after, with the aim of closing a deal by late April. The talks have taken longer than..
March 20, 2019

Chandrashekhar Azad: The Indian Dalit leader challenging Modi

Chandrashekhar Azad: The Indian Dalit leader challenging Modi Image caption Chandrashekhar Azad has emerged as the newest icon for India's low-caste Dalits It is hard to be heard in a country of more than a billion people. But one young, charismatic man - a member of India's lowest caste, the Dalits (formerly "untouchables") - is hoping to do just that in the general election. Chandrashekhar Azad is taking on India's powerful Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his home turf, challenging him to a David versus Goliath battle for the veteran politician's seat, in Varanasi. In reality, Mr Azad is unlikely to pose any real threat to Mr Modi, who is yet to even announce if he will recontest that particular seat, which he won in 2014 by more than 300,000 votes. But it's obvious Mr Azad's aim is not to win a seat. Instead, it's about the optics that such a contest will bring him. This election is being seen as a referendum on Mr Modi, a polarising figure ador..
March 20, 2019

Pasir Gudang: How one quiet lorry sparked a toxic waste crisis

Pasir Gudang: How one quiet lorry sparked a toxic waste crisis Image copyright Johor Fire and Rescue Department Image caption A mile-long stretch of Malaysia's Sungai Kim Kim river became the heart of a poisoning scandal On the morning of 6 March, an unassuming tanker lorry trundled down a dusty dirt road in southern Malaysia. Its driver was heading for Sungai Kim Kim, a river snaking through the Pasir Gudang industrial town in Johor state. But what would happen next would expose just how vulnerable local communities are in the area. "Based on our investigations, around 20 to 40 tonnes of chemical waste was illegally dumped into parts of the river," said Mohammad Ezzani Mat Salleh from the local environment ministry. Mr Ezzani and his team discovered traces of toxic oil waste commonly used in "marine engine compressors". Fire and rescue officials also identified at least 15 different types of chemicals - which included the colourless and extremely poisonous hydrogen cyanide. ..
March 19, 2019

Thailand election: A vote for a hybrid democracy

Thailand election: A vote for a hybrid democracy Image copyright Reuters Image caption General Prayuth Chan-ocha - Thailand's old and new prime minister? When the Thai army seized power in May 2014, it described it as a coup to end all coups. The army had failed to do the job properly during the previous attempt, in 2006, one of the coup leaders told us in 2014. This time we will fix things so we never have to intervene again, he said. The official script of the coup makers was that they intervened to end the crippling political turmoil which had shaken Thailand for most of the previous decade. Less officially though, the junta had two objectives; to secure the first royal succession in 70 years, which, after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 2016, it did; and to cripple the political movement loyal to ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, which had won every election since 2001. This movement is viewed as an existential threat to the alliance of palace, milita..
March 19, 2019

Christchurch shootings: Meghan and Harry pay tribute to victims

Christchurch shootings: Meghan and Harry pay tribute to victims Image copyright Reuters Image caption New Zealand's High Commissioner to the UK welcomes the couple with a traditional Maori greeting The Duke and Duchess of Sussex paid their respects to the Christchurch shootings victims during a visit to New Zealand's High Commission in London. Prince Harry and Meghan were greeted by High Commissioner Sir Jerry Mateparae before laying flowers and signing a book of condolence. They wrote "we are with you" before signing off with the Maori word "arohanui", which means "much love". Fifty people died in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday. The duke and duchess were among the first people to sign the book of condolence, which the High Commission says will be open for visitors to sign until 17:30 GMT on Thursday. Stories of heroism emerge from NZ attacks Who were the Christchurch victims? New Zealand PM vows never to say gunman's name Sir Jerry welcomed the cou..
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