August 8, 2018

Lombok quake: Facebook ‘regrets’ earthquake balloons

Lombok quake: Facebook 'regrets' earthquake balloons Image copyright Getty Images Facebook says it "regrets" that members posting about a deadly earthquake in Indonesia saw their messages adorned with confetti and balloons. On Sunday, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck the island of Lombok killing more than 130 people. Many Indonesian speakers wrote messages using the word "selamat", which can mean "unhurt" or "congratulations" depending on the context. But doing so triggered an animation of balloons and confetti. Skip Twitter post by @hermansaksono “Congrats” in Indonesian is “selamat”. Selamat also means “to survive.” After the 6.9 magnitude earthquake in Lombok, Facebook users wrote “I hope people will survive”. Then Facebook highlighted the word “selamat” and throw some balloons and confetti. — Herman Saksono (@hermansaksono) August 6, 2018 Report End of Twitter post by @hermansaksono Facebook said the feature was available globally. In the UK ..
August 8, 2018

M Karunanidhi: India political giant to be buried at iconic site

M Karunanidhi: India political giant to be buried at iconic site Image copyright Nathan G Image caption Muthuvel Karunanidhi contested Tamil Nadu state assembly elections for the first time in 1957 An Indian court has allowed veteran politician Muthuvel Karunanidhi to be buried at an iconic site despite the government's objections. His family wanted him to be laid to rest at Marina Beach in Chennai (formerly Madras), along with other former chief ministers. But the government in the southern state of Tamil Nadu denied the request. Karunanidhi, who served as the state's chief minister five times, died on Tuesday at the age of 94. The politician was being treated for age-related illnesses at the Kauvery Hospital in capital Chennai. He helped found the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party in 1949 and continued to lead it until his death. M Karunanidhi: Veteran Indian politician dies at 94 M Karunanidhi: The radical wordsmith who shook up Indian politics Controversy erupted..
August 8, 2018

Ivory Lane WWF hoax: Using ‘fake news’ for good?

Ivory Lane WWF hoax: Using 'fake news' for good? Image copyright Ivory Lane Singapore It was a luxury brand that sounded too controversial to be true - and it was. "Vintage" retailer Ivory Lane attracted public ire when it went online in Singapore this week, touting modern designer jewellery and accessories made from ivory. "Ivory is a secret desire for most girls," said its ad campaign. But the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has now revealed it was all a publicity campaign to promote awareness of the global trade in elephant ivory. "The brand may be fictional but the issues highlighted are real. This was just the start," WWF-Singapore CEO Elaine Tan told the BBC. "We are calling for clear and robust laws that will not allow the trade of ivory or any illegal wildlife products in Singapore." Following the big reveal, many applauded the WWF's novel approach in tackling the issue of elephant ivory. But did the conservation body go too far in selling its cause? Image copy..
August 8, 2018

Airbnb cancels Great Wall sleepover competition

Airbnb cancels Great Wall sleepover competition Image copyright Image caption The Great Wall stretches for thousands of kilometres across northern China Airbnb has called off a competition offering to chance to spend a night on the Great Wall of China. The ad campaign asked people to write a 500-word essay on overcoming cultural boundaries and promised a "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity for the winner. But the plan sparked mixed feedback and concerns that it could contribute to the historic structure being damaged. And according to Chinese media, Airbnb had never received approval from local authorities to run the event. Airbnb said it "deeply respected the feedback" and so had "made the decision to not move forward with this event". 'Incredible piece of world history'The competition offered the exclusive chance to sleep in one of the ruined watch towers on the Unesco-listed Great Wall near Beijing, with a proper bed but neither windows nor roof. The visit woul..
August 8, 2018

Tokyo Medical University apologises for changing female exam scores

Tokyo Medical University apologises for changing female exam scores Image copyright Reuters Image caption The university has apologised for "betraying" the trust of the public One of Japan's most prestigious medical universities has apologised for tampering with entrance exam scores to limit its intake of female students. An internal investigation found that Tokyo Medical University (TMU) had been manipulating the scores of female applicants from as early as 2006. It also marked down the scores of male applicants who had taken the entrance test at least four times. TMU has said the alterations should never have happened. The university also admitted to adding extra points to the scores of 18 students who had made donations to the school. "We betrayed the public trust. We want to sincerely apologise for this," TMU managing director Tetsuo Yukioka told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday. Keisuke Miyazawa, vice-president of TMU also pledged that next year's entrance ..
August 7, 2018

Malaysia ex-PM Najib charged with money laundering

Malaysia ex-PM Najib charged with money laundering Image copyright Reuters Image caption Mr Najib has seen a dramatic fall from grace after losing the election Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been charged with three counts of money laundering linked to a multi-million dollar corruption scandal. His is accused of having received 42m ringgit ($10m; £8m) from state fund 1MDB in his personal bank account. Mr Najib was arrested in July and has already been charged with breach of trust and abusing his position. The new investigation into 1MDB began after his shock election loss in May. He has always denied any guilt and had been cleared by Malaysian authorities while in power. Image copyright EPA Image caption Raids on properties linked to Mr Najib uncovered luxury goods worth millions of dollars Mr Najib, members of his family and several allies are accused of embezzling huge sums allegedly used to buy everything from artwork to high-end real estate around the globe. The a..
August 7, 2018

Pakistan’s first lawmaker of African descent raises hopes for Sidi community

Pakistan's first lawmaker of African descent raises hopes for Sidi community Image caption Tanzeela Qambrani (right) wants her community to be respected Pakistan is set to have its first ever lawmaker of African descent, raising the profile of a small and mostly poor community that has been in the region for centuries. Tanzeela Qambrani, 39, was nominated by the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, to a women's reserved seat in the regional parliament of southern Sindh province. She hopes her nomination after last month's election will help wash away the stigma attached to the Sidi community, the local name for the ethnic African population concentrated in the coastal regions of Makran and Sindh. "As a tiny minority lost in the midst of local populations, we have struggled to preserve our African roots and cultural expression, but I look forward to the day when the name Sidi will evoke respect, not contempt," Ms Qambrani, whose anc..
August 7, 2018

Drought declared in entire state of New South Wales

Drought declared in entire state of New South Wales Image copyright Reuters Image caption Farmers are struggling to afford even feeding their animals Australia's most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), is now entirely in drought, officials have confirmed. A dry winter has intensified what has been called the worst drought in living memory in parts of eastern Australia. NSW produces about a quarter of Australia's agricultural output. It was officially listed as "100% in drought" on Wednesday. The state and federal governments have provided A$576m (£330m; $430m) in emergency relief funding. The money is intended to assist farmers who are struggling with failing crops, water shortages and the cost of feeding animals. "There isn't a person in the state that isn't hoping to see some rain for our farmers and regional communities," said NSW Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair. On Sunday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull warned that the country had become a "lan..
August 7, 2018

Bangladesh protests: How dangerous are the roads?

Bangladesh protests: How dangerous are the roads? Image copyright AFP Image caption Protests went on for several days after two students were killed by a bus Bangladesh has been gripped by protests since two children were killed by a speeding bus in Dhaka on 29 July. The news spread quickly via social media and the capital has seen days of sometimes violent mass protests by students calling for action. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has now told them to return to their studies and their demands will be "implemented soon and done systematically". So how bad is Bangladesh's road safety record? Data collection issuesBangladesh government data for road deaths and injuries shows much lower figures than those from other sources, including international bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO). A major WHO report on road safety in 2015 used modelling to estimate that in 2013 there were between 17,349 and 25,283 road deaths in Bangladesh. The WHO report says it used a variety of ..
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