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 ..
August 7, 2018

US sets date for additional China tariffs

US sets date for additional China tariffs Image copyright AFP The US plans to move forward with further tariffs on Chinese goods starting 23 August, its top trade negotiator has said. The 25% import taxes will apply to about $16bn (£12b.3bn) worth in annual imports, covering about 280 items, including chemicals and machinery. The duties are part of a broader round of tariffs on $50bn worth of goods the US announced in March. A first tranche, on $34bn worth of goods, went into effect in July. The US has said the tariffs are intended to penalise China for "unfair" trade practices, such as rules that compel companies in certain sectors to take on local partners if they want to do business in the country. Talks between the two countries on the issues have failed to produce an agreement, prompting China to retaliate with tariffs of its own and US President Donald Trump to escalate his threats. The US is now considering tariffs on another $200bn in goods, including consumer products that we..
August 7, 2018

Beijing Olympics: Were the dreams fulfilled?

Beijing Olympics 2008: A hope lost or fulfilled? Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The Bird's Nest stadium where the Olympics were held is one of Beijing's most famous buildings Ten years ago this week, the Beijing Olympic Games drummed themselves onto television screens across the globe. It brought waves of hype in China that the country was preparing to celebrate not only a festival of sport but the return of the "Middle Kingdom" to the centre of the universe. At least that is how it felt at the time. In the years leading up to the Olympics it was as if there was nothing this place could not achieve. The economy was charging ahead, newspapers were starting to dig up investigative stories, millions of poor people were able to buy electrical goods for the first time and bars and restaurants were heaving with 24-hour hedonistic temptation. "There was a party every night. That's how I felt," laughs 45-year-old architect Dong Hao. "The whole city; the whole country..
August 7, 2018

BBC websites blocked in China after security change

BBC websites blocked in China after security change The BBC's web services are all currently blocked in China, following a decision by the corporation to change the website's format. It has altered all of its addresses from beginning "HTTP" to "HTTPS", which is widely considered to be a more secure connection but is routinely blocked in China. In a statement, the BBC recommended the use of either a virtual private network (VPN) or the Psiphon app. Both of these can circumvent the block. Why HTTPS?In a recent blog post, James Donohue, principal software engineer in BBC News, explained why the website had made the transition and why BBC pages now had a green padlock next to the address on the top left hand side. "In a climate of anxiety around fake news, it's vital that users are able to determine that articles have not been tampered with and that their browsing history is private to them," he wrote. "HTTPS achieves both of these as it makes it far more difficult for ISPs..
August 7, 2018

M Karunanidhi: The radical wordsmith who shook up Indian politics

M Karunanidhi: The radical wordsmith who shook up Indian politics Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Born to a working class family, Karunanidhi's public life began at age 14 The passing of Muthuvel Karunanidhi at 94 marks the end of one of India's most prolific political careers, writes Sudha G Tilak. Karunanidhi, who was chief minister of the southern state of Tamil Nadu five times between 1969 and 2011, was born to poor working class parents in Tiruvarur town in 1929. His public life began at age 14 when he dropped out of school to join the student wing of the Justice Party, which later became a movement to bolster Tamil identity. Even as the rest of India was in the throes of a freedom movement against British rule, the Justice Party stood out for challenging elitism, religious dogma and caste orthodoxies in south India. It was stringent about civil rights, opted for civil disobedience to demand affirmative action and was outspoken for Tamil identity against nat..
August 7, 2018

Indonesian woman ‘held captive in cave for 15 years’

Indonesian woman 'held captive in cave for 15 years' Image copyright Police handout Image caption Indonesian police published this photo of the cave Police in Sulawesi, Indonesia say they have freed a 28-year-old woman who was held captive in a cave for 15 years by a village shaman. The 83-year-old man is alleged to have kidnapped the woman when she was 13, and brainwashed her into believing he was possessed by a spirit or "jin". He allegedly took her back to his home at night where he sexually abused her for more than a decade. The man has been charged under sex abuse and child protection laws. According to local media, the man - named as Jago - was known as an alternative healer and for performing black magic. Police say that in 2003, the 13-year-old girl was brought to him for treatment by her own family and stayed behind with him. Image copyright Police handout Image caption The 83-year old faces 15 years in prison if found guilty Later that same year, she disappeared..
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