August 16, 2018

Australia battles winter bushfires

New South Wales battles dozens of winter bushfires Image copyright EPA Image caption A firefighter at a blaze near Nowra, on the New South Wales coast Emergency crews in Australia are battling unseasonal bushfires which have erupted across drought-stricken New South Wales (NSW). Almost 80 fires were burning along the state's coast on Thursday, having ripped through more than 1,000 hectares in recent days. No lives or homes were in immediate danger, according to officials. Winter bushfires are uncommon but have flared up this year due to dry conditions, authorities say. Last week, the entire state of NSW was declared to be drought-affected. "It is fair to say that the fires we are seeing today is really a result of the drought," NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said on Thursday. How Australia's heat might be here to stay The strain of a crippling drought Nation's weather 'pushes us to limits' He said a combination of dry vegetation, lack o..
August 16, 2018

Australia lake killings: Mother granted reduced jail sentence

Australia lake killings: Mother granted reduced jail sentence Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Akon Guode (L) after her children's funeral in April 2015 A woman who killed three of her children by deliberately driving them into a lake in Australia has had her jail sentence reduced on appeal. Akon Guode was convicted last year of killing Bol, one, and twins Hanger and Madit, both four, in Melbourne in 2015. Her original maximum 26-year jail term was reduced to 18 years on Thursday. A judge the "manifestly excessive" first sentence had not given enough weight to Guode's mental state, and trauma she had endured in South Sudan. Last year Guode pleaded guilty to murder, infanticide, and attempted murder. She did not reveal a motive for the killings, a court heard. A fourth child, six-year-old Alual, had also been in the car but survived after witnesses rushed into the water. On Thursday, the Victorian Court of Appeal said Guode had "fatefully and irredeemably breached" ..
August 16, 2018

US Asians hire out cinemas to screen Crazy Rich Asians

US Asians hire out cinemas to screen Crazy Rich Asians Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The cast of Crazy Rich Asians attended the US premiere What's the best way to get a new film seen by as many people as possible? Give out free tickets, of course. That was the thinking behind the #GoldOpen campaign, started by Asian-Americans working in Silicon Valley. They wanted to promote the film Crazy Rich Asians and raise awareness about the lack of Asian representation in Hollywood. Free screenings were put on across the US, funded by high profile, affluent Asia-Americans. Skip Twitter post by @henrygolding It's not just a movie anymore, it's something so much more important #GoldOpen. You guys ROCK 🔥 pic.twitter.com/H99XxbjKU3 — Henry Golding (@henrygolding) August 14, 2018 Report End of Twitter post by @henrygolding Screenings took place in cities such as LA, New York and Houston. Andrew Chau, the co-founder of bubble tea brand Boba Guys, paid for screenings in S..
August 16, 2018

Fukushima nuclear disaster: UN says clean-up workers risk exploitation

Fukushima nuclear disaster: UN says clean-up workers risk exploitation Image copyright AFP Image caption The nuclear plant remains contaminated and in ruins Workers used to decontaminate the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan are at grave risk of exploitation, independent UN experts say. Tens of thousands, reportedly including migrants and homeless people, may be being deceived about the risks of exposure to radiation, they say. The UN is urging the Japanese government to act to protect them. The plant was hit by a tsunami in 2011, causing the most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl. Fukushima's long road to recoveryThe UN experts, known as special rapporteurs, said they were also concerned that workers might be being coerced into accepting hazardous working conditions because of economic hardship and being given inadequate training and protection. "We are equally concerned about the impact that exposure to radiation may have on their physical and mental health," they added. ..
August 16, 2018

Islamic State claims Kabul’s latest deadly attacks

Islamic State claims Kabul's latest deadly attacks Image copyright EPA Image caption Afghan officials at least two attackers were killed at Kabul's intelligence training centre Militants from the Islamic State (IS) group have said they were behind two recent attacks in the Afghan capital Kabul in which dozens of people died. On Wednesday, 48 people were killed in the bombing of an education centre. Most of them were students studying for university entrance exams. On Thursday, a training centre for the intelligence services was attacked. IS said it carried out the "commando" operation and claimed to have caused high casualties. Afghan officials said at least two militants were killed but did not mention any other deaths or injuries. Also on Wednesday, Taliban militants said they could no longer guarantee safe passage for Red Cross staff working in Afghanistan, amid a row over the treatment of Taliban prisoners in a jail in Kabul. Taliban 'met senior US envoy' ..
August 16, 2018

Kim Jong-nam murder: ‘Enough evidence’ for women to go on trial

Kim Jong-nam murder: 'Enough evidence' for women to go on trial Image copyright AFP Image caption Doan Thi Huong (in yellow T-shirt) and Siti Aisyah (right) have said they thought they were taking part in a TV prank Two women who say they were tricked into killing the half-brother of North Korea's Kim Jong-un will go on trial. Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Thuong are accused of smearing the toxic nerve agent VX on Kim Jong-nam's face in Kuala Lumpur airport last year. But they deny murder, saying they were told they taking part in a TV prank. A judge said there was enough evidence to suggest they knew what they were doing. They could face the death penalty if convicted. Four North Korean men also charged over the murder are still at large. What happened in the airport? Mr Kim, the estranged half-brother of Kim Jong-un, had been waiting to board a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Macau on 13 February last year when two women approached him in the departure area. CCTV footag..
August 16, 2018

India monsoon floods ‘kill 106’ in Kerala

India monsoon floods 'kill 106' in Kerala Image copyright AFP/Getty Image caption Reports suggest more than 100 people have died, with further rainfall predicted More than 100 people are thought to have died in devastating monsoon floods in India's southern state of Kerala, the worst in almost a century. Rescuers battled torrential rains to save residents, with nearly 150,000 reportedly left homeless. The state government said many of those who died were crushed under debris caused by landslides. With more rains predicted and a red alert in place, the main airport has reportedly been shut until 26 August. A state official told AFP that 106 people had now died, while the Economic Times in India reports 114 have been killed. Hundreds of troops have been deployed to rescue those caught up in the flooding, alongside helicopters and lifeboats. The government has urged people not to ignore evacuation orders. It is distributing food to tens of thousands who have fled to high..
August 16, 2018

Atal Behari Vajpayee: Former India PM dies at 93

Atal Behari Vajpayee: Former India PM dies at 93 Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Former Indian PM AB Vajpayee Former Indian prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has died aged 93. He was being treated for age-related illnesses in Delhi's AIIMS hospital. Vajpayee was one of the founding members of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which currently governs India. Considered a giant of Indian politics, he served as prime minister three times between 1996 and 2004 and was instrumental in making India a global nuclear power. During his second stint as prime minister in 1998, he surprised the world by announcing that India had conducted a series of underground nuclear tests. Image caption AB Vajpayee at the BBC studio in Delhi It was the first time India had carried out nuclear tests since 1974. The experiments had taken place without any warning to the international community, which led to widespread outrage and concern. Obituary: Atal Behari VajpayeeBut ..
August 15, 2018

India’s Carnatic musicians threatened over Christian hymns

India's Carnatic musicians threatened over Christian hymns Image copyright First Edition Arts Image caption Celebrated classical musician TM Krishna (L) has performed in Indian churches Carnatic musicians in the southern Indian city of Chennai have often been accused of being elitist and upper caste. Their music is traditionally set to songs composed by Hindu devotional poets of the 17th Century and beyond, and is a genre associated with southern Indian classical music. But, more recently, right-wing groups have issued threats to Carnatic musicians who are seeking to widen their horizons by singing about Christ or producing interfaith fusion music. The current controversy began with a barrage of attacks aimed at Carnatic singer OS Arun. He cancelled a scheduled performance, the Yesuvin Sangama Sangeetham (Fusion Music of Christ), a concert produced by popular Tamil Christian producer T Samuel Joseph, on 25 August, following objections by upper-caste Hindus and organisations, and v..
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