August 13, 2018

China’s ire puts global focus on fringe activist

How China's ire put global spotlight on Hong Kong activist Andy Chan Image copyright Alamy Image caption Andy Chan says China's pressure proves that Hong Kong should go it alone A lunchtime talk by a little-known Hong Kong politician has drawn global attention to China's influence on free speech in the territory. Andy Chan is the head of a fringe nationalist party calling for Hong Kong's independence from China. The Hong Kong National Party is already facing a ban over its separatist stance. When the 27-year-old politician was invited to talk at the city's Foreign Correspondent Club (FCC) this Tuesday, it sparked stern criticism from authorities in both China and Hong Kong, who asked for the event to be axed altogether. The FCC defended the talk and will push ahead with it - with global media attention now focused on what otherwise likely would have received little or no attention at all. Why does Hong Kong care?A former British colony, Hong Kong was returne..
August 13, 2018

Waiting list for avocado trees amid NZ crime wave

Waiting list for avocado trees amid NZ crime wave Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Want to grow your own avocados for toast? There's a waiting list Nurseries in New Zealand are struggling to keep up with demand for avocado trees as the country's love of the pulpy fruit has seemingly fuelled a crime wave, it's been reported. According to the Stuff.nz news website, garden centres are reporting waiting lists dozens deep of people who want to grow their own, as prices for a single fruit nudge around NZ$3 ($1.95; £1.50) per fruit. Earlier this year, the price peaked at NZ$7 ($4.60; £3.60) per avocado , the New Zealand Herald reported. People "are asking about avocados all day, every day," nursery owner Lloyd Houghton told Stuff; while another said that they aren't likely to get any new stock until at least September. The problem is that with both individuals and businesses wanting to buy young trees, there just aren't enough to go around. Nurseries ar..
August 13, 2018

Ghazni: Afghans in battlefield city ‘can’t find food’

Ghazni: Afghans in battlefield city 'can't find food' Image copyright EPA Image caption Some families have managed to get out of Ghazni, where food is running low Food supplies in the Afghan city of Ghazni are running low, as a battle with the Taliban rages for a fourth day, the UN has warned. "Life is getting hard for people, they can't get food or water," a man who fled the city on Sunday told the BBC. More than 100 people, mostly government soldiers and police, have been killed since the Taliban stormed Ghazni from four sides early on Friday. The city lies on the key highway between Kabul and Kandahar. Control of it would effectively allow the Taliban to cut off southern Afghanistan from Kabul, the capital. The success of the militants' assault has come as a blow to the government of President Ashraf Ghani. The government and its Nato allies insist they are in control of Ghazni but reports suggest Taliban fighters continue to roam the streets and still cont..
August 13, 2018

Climbers feared dead in Tajikistan helicopter crash

Climbers feared dead in Tajikistan helicopter crash Thirteen climbers and three crew members are unaccounted for after a helicopter they were travelling in had a "hard landing" in the mountains of Tajikistan, officials say. The accident happened at 17:30 (11:30 GMT) on Sunday, Tajik officials said. Russian news agencies said the helicopter had taken the climbers from base camp on the Fortambek glacier in the Ismoili Somoni peak. They said most of the climbers were thought to be Russians. At 7,495m (24,590ft), the Ismoili Somoni mountain is Tajikistan's highest and a major tourist attraction. It was known as Communism Peak during the time Tajikistan was part of the Soviet Union and renamed after a 10th-Century Tajik national hero in 1998. It forms part of the Pamir mountain range, often described as the "roof of the world".
August 13, 2018

Essure sterilisation device: Australian women to launch lawsuit

Essure sterilisation device: Australian women to launch lawsuit Image caption The Essure coil has been removed from sale Women in Australia will pursue a class action lawsuit over a sterilisation device that has allegedly caused medical problems for women worldwide. The lawsuit against German pharmaceutical giant Bayer, maker of the Essure implant, will follow similar actions in the UK, US and Canada. Women with the implant have reported problems such as chronic pain and adverse reactions to nickel. Bayer has defended the Essure device as safe. The product was withdrawn from sale in the US in July. Bayer had already halted sales in all other nations, citing commercial reasons. "We continue to stand behind the product's safety and efficacy, which are demonstrated by an extensive body of research," the company said in July. Australian firm Slater and Gordon said the lawsuit would examine whether the device, sold in the country from 2010, was "inherently defective". Complications &#..
August 13, 2018

Manila floods: Massive city clean-up under way

Manila floods: Massive city clean-up under way Image copyright EPA Image caption One of many residents of Marikina city combing through the muddy flood aftermath. Massive clean-up efforts are under way in Manila after heavy rains deluged the Philippine capital over the weekend. At least three people are known to have died in the flooding, say officials. Piles of garbage and plastic debris have washed up on roads and side streets, a result of overflowing major dams and rivers that serve the city. Residents have been pitching in to recover lost valuables and salvageable material from the wreckage. But it remains a mammoth task in many areas. The rains also triggered flooding in nearby low-lying provinces. Image copyright AFP Image caption Here's a wider look at the scale of damage. Cleaning this is no easy feat. Image copyright AFP Image caption Images of overturned vehicles from around Metro Manila have also been making their rounds. Image copyright EPA Image caption This Manila ..
August 13, 2018

Ruby Rose exits Twitter amid Batwoman casting backlash

Ruby Rose exits Twitter amid Batwoman casting backlash Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Ruby Rose in an interview on US television last week Actress Ruby Rose has deleted her Twitter profile amid a backlash over her casting as Batwoman in a TV series. The Australian actress, 32, confirmed last week that she would play the first openly lesbian superhero lead. Many fans celebrated Rose's casting, but others suggested she was not not right for the role with some commentary focusing on her own sexuality. Before deleting her account, Rose dismissed the criticism as the "most ridiculous thing". "Where on earth did 'Ruby is not a lesbian therefore she can't be Batwoman' come from," she wrote in tweets cited by media outlets. "I came out at 12? And have for the past 5 years had to deal with 'she's too gay'." She also wrote: "When women and when minorities join forces we are unstoppable... When we tear each other down, it's much more hurtful th..
August 12, 2018

Deadly fire breaks out at Taiwan hospital

Deadly fire breaks out at Taiwan hospital Image copyright EPA Image caption The fire was believed to have started in a patient ward At least nine people have been killed in a fire at a hospital in Taiwan, state media has reported. The fire broke out on in a ward on the seventh floor of the hospital in New Taipei City early on Monday. About 16 other people, including patients and staff, remain in a critical condition. The cause of the fire is not yet clear, though media reports say it could have been started by an electrical fault in a moveable bed. Reports say 33 patients and three staff members were evacuated from the Weifu hospital in the northern region of the city after a fire broke out at 04:36 on Monday (20:36 GMT Sunday). Image copyright EPA Image caption 16 people remain in critical condition According to state media outlet CNA, police found that the ward was not equipped with "required smoke exhaust equipment". The BBC's Cindy Sui in Taipei says fires are common in T..
August 12, 2018

British Asians more socially conservative than rest of UK, survey suggests

British Asians more socially conservative than rest of UK, survey suggests Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionIs homosexuality still taboo in British Asian families? BBC Three investigates British Asians are more socially conservative - and more optimistic - than the wider UK population, a ComRes survey for the Asian Network suggests. The survey found that less than half of respondents - 43% - thought same-sex relationships were acceptable. It also found more than half (54%) of British Asians had "toned down" their Asian identity to "fit in". More than 2,000 British Asians responded to the poll as part of the BBC's Big British Asian Summer. A similar number of UK citizens responded to the same questions to generate a reflection of the views of the wider population. Of the 2,026 respondents to the British Asian survey, 1,197 were born in the UK - with countries of origin being predominantly India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. The survey will be disc..
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