August 15, 2018

Shahidul Alam: Jailed journalist’s powerful photos of Bangladesh

Shahidul Alam: Jailed journalist's powerful photos of Bangladesh Image copyright EPA Renowned Bangladeshi photographer and activist Shahidul Alam has been jailed in the wake of mass demonstrations by young people earlier this month. He took his camera into the streets to document the fury of thousands of students fed up with unsafe roads after two children were killed by a speeding bus. His partner, Rahnuma Ahmed, wrote that he was "inspired by the youth of our country, who have refused to be cowed down by state terror". But Mr Alam, who criticised the government's handling of the demonstrations on international television and Facebook, has been accused of spreading false information. He is being investigated under controversial internet laws. Human rights monitors say the protests have been followed by a wave of detentions targeting dozens of critics. Mr Alam, 63, says he has been beaten in custody, and international human rights organisations have joined a roster of global..
August 15, 2018

Myanmar Rohingya: Facebook ‘still hosts hate speech’

Myanmar Rohingya: Facebook 'still hosts hate speech' Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas have left Myanmar for refugee camps in Bangladesh More than 1,000 anti-Rohingya posts featuring calls for their murder among other hate speech were live on Facebook last week, according to Reuters. A probe by the news agency indicates that the network is still being used to encourage violence against the Muslim group in Myanmar despite the tech firm promising to tackle the issue. It said some of the material had been online for six years. Facebook's rules prohibit "violent or dehumanising" attacks on ethnic groups. However, the US-based firm mostly relies on users to flag related offending posts rather than hunting them out itself, in part because its software has not had enough training to reliably interpret Burmese text. The BBC understands Facebook has now removed all the flagged material. The investigation was carried out in conjunction ..
August 15, 2018

New Zealand bans sales of homes to foreigners

New Zealand bans sales of homes to foreigners Image copyright Getty Images Image caption New Zealand is facing a housing affordability crisis New Zealand's parliament has banned many foreigners from buying existing homes in the country - a move aimed at making properties more affordable. The ban only applies to non-residents. Australians and Singaporeans are exempt because of free-trade deals. New Zealand is facing a housing affordability crisis which has left home ownership out of reach for many. Low interest rates, limited housing stock and immigration have driven up prices in recent years. US applications for New Zealand citizenship jump 70% after election The lure of New Zealand for jaded Americans Is it a total ban?No, only non-residents are affected by the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill, which was passed in a 63-57 vote on Wednesday. They are now banned from purchasing most types of homes - but they will be able to make limited investments in new apartments in large de..
August 15, 2018

Hong Kong ‘cardboard granny’ has case overturned

Hong Kong 'cardboard granny' has case overturned Image copyright AFP Image caption Thousands of elderly women collect cardboard in Hong Kong and sell it on to recyclers to make money An elderly Hong Kong woman who was fined for "setting down a bag of rubbish" has had her case overthrown following local protests, it's been reported. According to the South China Morning Post newspaper, 63-year-old Chen Kung-lan was fined HK$1,500 ($191; £150) by officials at the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) on 23 July, after she temporarily placed a bag of cardboard on the ground. She was collecting scrap cardboard in a trolley, but had temporarily set a bag on the ground within sight of an FEHD officer, who told her that she had broken the law. Ms Chen is what is known locally as a "cardboard granny" - an elderly street scavenger who collects rubbish and sells it on to recyclers as a means of making a living. "I told the officer I did not dump the rubbish on the str..
August 15, 2018

Kabul suicide bomber kills 48 in tuition centre attack

Kabul suicide bomber kills 48 in tuition centre attack Image copyright EPA Image caption Teaching was under way when the bomb went off Forty-eight people have been killed and 67 injured in a bomb explosion at an education centre in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, the country's health ministry says. Police say a suicide bomber walked into the centre while teaching was under way and detonated his bomb belt. Many of those killed are believed to be teenagers who were getting extra tuition as they prepared for university entrance exams. The Taliban has denied involvement. This latest attack came hours after the Taliban said it 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 pulls protection for Red CrossThe attack on the education centre took place in a mostly Shia neighbourhood of Kabul. The Shia Muslim community in Afghanistan has been repeatedly targeted by Sunni Mu..
August 15, 2018

Afghanistan Taliban withdraws protection for Red Cross

Afghanistan Taliban withdraws protection for Red Cross Image copyright AFP Image caption The ICRC provided more than 21,000 prostheses and orthoses in 2017 The Taliban says it will no longer allow safe passage to Red Cross staff working in Afghanistan. The militants accuse the neutral humanitarian group of failing to meet its obligations to help Taliban prisoners in a jail in Kabul. The ICRC monitors detention conditions and provides medical aid. It scaled down its presence in Afghanistan last year after seven staff were killed. The group told the BBC it was concerned by the Taliban's move. Spokeswoman Andrea Catta Preta said the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) was in close contact with the militants and hoping to find a solution so the group's humanitarian work could continue. The ICRC treats all parties harmed by warfare humanely and does not take sides. It has in the past given first aid training to Taliban members. It operates in Taliban-controlled areas ..
August 15, 2018

Australia senate appoints first Muslim woman amid race row

Australia senate appoints first Muslim woman amid race row Image copyright THE GREENS Image caption Mehreen Faruqi is Australia's first Muslim woman in the senate. Mehreen Faruqi has joined Australia's senate as its first female Muslim member, on a day the country is caught up in a bitter row over racism. Ms Faruqi, who was born in Pakistan, told the BBC that Australia's future would be "stronger for our diversity". The Greens Party MP for New South Wales was appointed by the senate on Wednesday to fill a vacant seat. It comes as another new senator faces condemnation for a speech calling for a "final solution" on immigration. Ms Faruqi, who will be sworn in next week, was among the prominent critics of Fraser Anning's use of the Holocaust-associated term. The trailblazing MP said Mr Anning had "spat in the face of millions of Australians, spewing hate and racism" in his first speech to parliament on Tuesday. "I'm a Muslim migrant, I'm about to be a Sena..
August 15, 2018

India postman sacked for dumping 6,000 letters over a decade

India postman sacked for dumping 6,000 letters over a decade Image copyright Getty Images Image caption No mail in years? Maybe check with your local postman A postal worker in India has been suspended after he was found not to have delivered thousands of letters for more than 10 years. Ever wondered why you never heard back from that job offer, that ATM card application or never got mail from someone you really wanted to hear from? Well, if you're in the Odhanga village in India's Orissa state, there's a good chance that letter was in fact sent. It was just never delivered, piling up with countless other undelivered mail. The stash of old letters and packages was discovered by chance when a group of school children played in the recently abandoned post office after the branch had moved to a new location. Playing in the yard, they noticed large bags with letters sticking out, local media report. When they looked inside and discovered ATM cards and bank passbooks, th..
August 15, 2018

Goose called Gugu wins place at Chinese university

Goose called Gugu wins place at Chinese university Image copyright SINA WEIBO Image caption The goose now has a bright future ahead of him A goose has won a place at a prestigious Chinese university after its owner joked she was "reluctant to cook it". In a public post on Weibo, a woman named Ms Wu said she was worried she would not be able to care for "Gugu" when she moved house. She appealed to Shanghai Maritime University to help. The university was quick to respond, announcing Gugu's admission in a post on its official Weibo page. Ms Wu said in her post that she found the goose while fishing. "He was all yellow when I first got him but now he is handsome," she said. "He was with me for a year and a half but I am moving to a new place." She asked the university - which already keeps a flock of geese - to take on the bird, saying she was "reluctant to cook it". The university said it would gladly invite him to join their "big goose family". Image copyright SINA WEIBO Ms Wu..
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