May 20, 2018

How we will know if North Korea really ‘denuclearises’

How we will know if North Korea really 'denuclearises' Image copyright Getty Images North Korea has said it will start dismantling its nuclear test site this week, in a ceremony to be attended by foreign journalists. But what would it take for the country to truly "denuclearise"? In the mountainous north-east of North Korea lies Pyongyang's nuclear test facility - the Punggye-ri complex. It has been used for six nuclear tests since 2006, but North Korea says "technical measures" to dismantle it will be carried out between 23 and 25 May. North Korea has said it is committed to denuclearisation, but has threatened to pull out of forthcoming talks with US President Donald Trump, in a disagreement over how that might happen. At first glance, Kim Jong-un's pledge to close the test site appears to be a welcome first step towards ending its nuclear programme but how far does it actually go? Proper assessmentThe Punggye-ri nuclear facility is the dedicated test site for No..
May 20, 2018

US and China halt imposing import tariffs

US and China halt imposing import tariffs Image copyright Getty Images Image caption China's exports to the US far outweigh what it imports China and the US say they will halt imposing punitive import tariffs, putting a possible trade war "on hold". The agreement came after days of talks in Washington DC aimed at persuading China to buy more US goods and services, therefore reducing the trade imbalance between the two countries. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said China would lower tariffs "on many things", without specifying. Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He described the deal as a "win-win choice". Washington says the move will "substantially reduce" its $335bn annual trade deficit with Beijing. But no figures have been provided - the White House had being aiming for a $200bn reduction. Mr Mnuchin told Fox News the two sides had made "very meaningful progress" and we agreed a framework deal under which China would buy more US goods "to substantially reduce the trade deficit"..
May 19, 2018

Cannes 2018: Japanese indie Shoplifters wins Palme d’Or

Cannes 2018: Japanese indie Shoplifters wins Palme d'Or Image copyright EPA Image caption Hirozaku Kore-edu (r) received the festival's highest honour The Japanese family drama Shoplifters has received the coveted award for best film, the Palme d'Or, at the Cannes Film Festival. The runner-up Grand Prix went to US director Spike Lee's anti-racism satire BlacKkKlansman. Led by actor Cate Blanchett, the jury announced their top picks after what was a politically charged festival. Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, who sparked the #MeToo movement, was particularly called out. Spike Lee tells world to ‘wake up’ Cannes Film Festival: 10 films to watch Whitney 'sexually abused', film claims While presenting an award, Italian actress Asia Argento said: "I want to make a prediction: Harvey Weinstein will never be welcomed here ever again." Image copyright EPA Image caption Asia Argento (l) gave a powerful address calling out those in the audience she sa..
May 19, 2018

Najib Razak: Scandal-hit ex-Malaysia PM condemns police raids

Najib Razak: Scandal-hit ex-Malaysia PM condemns police raids Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionHandbags and money seized in raids on Malaysian former PM Najib Razak Malaysia's former Prime Minister Najib Razak has criticised police raids after hundreds of luxury items and cash were seized at properties linked to him. Mr Najib's lawyer Harpal Singh Grewal said his client was "very unhappy". The raids were related to investigations into state development fund 1MDB, which Mr Najib set up. Billions of dollars are unaccounted for from the fund. Mr Najib was in 2015 alleged to have pocketed $700m (£517m) but was cleared by authorities. He has always denied the allegations, The corruption scandal was a major factor in Mr Najib's shock election loss to his former ally Mahathir Mohammad last week. Mr Mahathir has said that he believes the missing money can be recovered. He has banned Mr Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor from leaving the country. Malaysia&..
May 19, 2018

India Karnataka: Modi ally resigns in regional crisis

India Karnataka: Modi ally resigns in regional crisis Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The Karnataka polls were seen as a bellwether of the 2019 general elections India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has suffered a setback after the chief minister of the southern state of Karnataka resigned minutes before a vote of confidence in the assembly. BS Yeddyurappa said he could not get the numbers to secure a majority. A coalition government will take over and replace the chief minister, who has held office for less than three days. The Supreme Court ordered the vote when the opposition Congress complained the BJP lacked the necessary support. The BJP won 104 of the 222 seats in recently concluded state polls, but fell short of a majority by eight seats. The Congress emerged as the second largest party and declared an alliance with a regional party, Janata Dal (S), which won enough seats to give their coalition a majority in the new assembly. The Indian lawmakers bein..
May 19, 2018

Santa Fe school shooting: Pakistan exchange student among victims

Santa Fe school shooting: Pakistan exchange student among victims Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption"It broke my heart to see what was going on" An exchange student from Pakistan is among the first named victims of a Texas high school shooting. Ten people were killed and 10 were injured at Santa Fe High School when a student opened fire. The suspect is Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17. The embassy of Pakistan in Washington DC confirmed that student Sabika Sheikh was among the dead. Substitute teacher Cynthia Tisdale was also killed in the attack, her family told US media outlets. Mrs Tisdale's niece and brother-in-law both confirmed the news. Writing on Facebook, John Tisdale said his sister-in-law was an "amazing person". Sabika Sheikh, aged 18, had been on the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange & Study Abroad programme (YES). The programme is run by the US state department, and was set up in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks to bring students from Muslim-m..
May 19, 2018

South China Sea dispute: China lands bombers on island

South China Sea dispute: China lands bombers on island Image copyright Google/Digital Globe Image caption An H-6K bomber is believed to have landed on Woody Island China has for the first time landed bombers on disputed territory in the South China Sea, its air force said, prompting fresh US warnings that it is destabilising the region. The long-range H-6K bomber was among those which took part in drills on islands and reefs to improve China's ability to "reach all territory". The sea, a key trade route, is subject to overlapping claims by six countries. China has been accused of militarising the sea to support its vast claims. The latest move could provoke new tension in the region. Beijing's defence ministry did not specify where the bombers landed but said the training involved simulated strikes against sea targets. An H-6K pilot, Ge Daqing, was quoted in a statement as saying that the training "sharpens our courage and enhances our capabilities in a real war". Why is t..
May 18, 2018

The priest whose blunt billboards have gone global

The priest whose blunt billboards have gone global Image copyright ROD BOWER Image caption The church's billboard advocating for mental health awareness On a typical Sunday, Father Rod Bower draws about 200 people to his church service in a coastal town in Australia. But online, his messages are often viewed by millions. For years, he has been posting provocative statements on a roadside billboard outside his Gosford Anglican Church in New South Wales. Spelled out in 30cm (12in) block letters, his opinions - typically on progressive issues - have gained global attention on social media. One of his most shared comments followed the Parkland, Florida school shooting in February, when he wrote: "When will they love their kids more than their guns". His Facebook post on the billboard was viewed by more than three million people, and picked up by US news outlets. He has more than 70,000 followers on social media and "a higher engagement rate than the prime minister", he says. Image ..
May 18, 2018

The Indian lawmakers being guarded in ‘secret locations’

The Indian lawmakers being guarded in 'secret locations' Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Many lawmakers were last seen in this bus India's Supreme Court has intervened after an election in the southern state of Karnataka led to a political crisis. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which won the most seats in the recently concluded poll, rushed to swear in a chief minister although it did not have the numbers for a majority. This led to a stand-off with two opposition parties who cobbled together an alliance that gave them the numbers. The state governor had allowed the BJP 15 days to prove their majority. But amid massive outcry, the Supreme Court overruled him, and reduced the 15-day window to 24 hours. The BJP now have until 1600 (1030 GMT) on Saturday to try and win over eight members from the opposition alliance to form the government. The opposition parties have responded by hiding away their newly-elected lawmakers, and Indians are captivated by the d..
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