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..
August 14, 2018

South Korea to ban some BMW vehicles over engine fires

South Korea to ban some BMW vehicles over engine fires Image copyright EPA Image caption BMW has recalled 106,000 cars in South Korea because of growing fears about fire The South Korean government has said it will ban about 20,000 BMWs from its streets after a spate of the vehicles catching fire. The ban will apply to cars which have not yet been sent to BMW for safety checks under a voluntary recall. Nearly 30 engines caught on fire in 2018 mainly in the BMW's 520d sedan models. BMW has already come under scrutiny this year, recalling thousands of cars in the UK over safety issues. "The ministry will ask mayors to order owners of unchecked BMW vehicles to have their cars' safety checked or to stop driving them," Transport Minister Kim Hyun-mee said on Tuesday, according to the Korea Times. Local governments have the authority to issues such orders under South Korean law. "The order will take effect as soon as the owners receive letters from mayors," said Mr Kim. Image co..
August 14, 2018

Fraser Anning: Australia MPs condemn ‘final solution’ speech

Fraser Anning: Australia MPs condemn 'final solution' speech Image copyright PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA Image caption Senator Fraser Anning says he will not apologise for his speech An Australian senator has been widely condemned for a speech that invoked the term "final solution" in a call for immigration restrictions based on race. Fraser Anning, from the conservative Katter's Australian Party, called for migration bans on Muslims and others in his maiden Senate speech on Tuesday. Political opponents denounced his speech as "disgraceful". Mr Anning said he did not need to apologise. "Final solution" was a term infamously used by the Nazis during the Holocaust. In his speech, Mr Anning said "the final solution to the immigration problem is a popular vote". On Wednesday, lawmakers across the political divide moved to pass parliamentary motions censuring Mr Anning for his "racist hate speech", noting in particular his use of the phrase "final solution", and his "false, mis..
August 14, 2018

India-Pakistan pen pals write their own history

India-Pakistan pen pals write their own history Image copyright Courtesy: Routes 2 Roots Image caption Letters and postcards from India at the Lahore school Thousands of students in India and Pakistan exchanged letters as part of a peace initiative until they had to stop because of increasing tension between the two countries. BBC Marathi's Prajakta Dhulap reports on the friendships that were forged across the border. Fourteen-year-old Hrishikesh Dubey says his biggest treasure is four handwritten letters from Pakistan. They are from his friend Samiullah who lives in the city of Lahore. In 2016 the Anuyog School in the eastern Indian business capital of Mumbai - where Hrishikesh studies - enrolled in a programme that allowed its students to be pen pals with students from Lahore Grammar School in Pakistan. The letters were addressed to the respective schools and the teachers matched students who then continued to write to each other. Between 2016 and 2017, 212 school children fro..
August 14, 2018

Viewpoint: Chinese mosque standoff risks peace in model Muslim province

Viewpoint: Chinese mosque standoff risks peace in model Muslim province Image copyright Weibo Image caption The Weizhou mosque is a towering structure that features domes and minarets in a Middle Eastern style China is determined to maintain control over how religion is practiced, but the planned demolition of one mosque in a previously rule-abiding city threatens to backfire, writes US-based academic David R Stroup. On a frigid morning in early February 2016, just before sunrise, I stood in the courtyard of a mosque in Weizhou, a tiny, rural, predominantly Muslim township in China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. Around me nearly 150 men, most wearing traditional white knitted skullcaps, some sporting long whispery beards, hurried into the mosque's washroom to perform ritual ablutions in preparation for Salat al-fajr, the first prayer of the day. In the distance, loudspeakers from the community's other mosques sounded the call to prayer. With the call echoing through..
August 14, 2018

Monster Hunter World sales yanked by China

Monster Hunter World sales yanked by China Image copyright Capcom Image caption China was expected to be one of the biggest markets for the fantasy video game Monster Hunter World - the blockbuster video game - has been banned by China's censors just days after going on sale. The local publisher, Tencent, said the intervention had followed "a large number of complaints", but did not detail what they were about. The firm had previously said more than one million players had pre-ordered the title ahead of its 8 August release. The move coincided with reports that the news discussions site Reddit had also been blocked in the country. There has been no official statement about Reddit- and it is not unusual for China to block sites temporarily - but some human rights activists have suggested that such a ban was inevitable. Skip Twitter post by @wang_maya #China govt just banned and blocked Reddit--speculations abound, but it was always just a matter of time https://t.co/0od04OQzUv — M..
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