March 20, 2019

Pasir Gudang: How one quiet lorry sparked a toxic waste crisis

Pasir Gudang: How one quiet lorry sparked a toxic waste crisis Image copyright Johor Fire and Rescue Department Image caption A mile-long stretch of Malaysia's Sungai Kim Kim river became the heart of a poisoning scandal On the morning of 6 March, an unassuming tanker lorry trundled down a dusty dirt road in southern Malaysia. Its driver was heading for Sungai Kim Kim, a river snaking through the Pasir Gudang industrial town in Johor state. But what would happen next would expose just how vulnerable local communities are in the area. "Based on our investigations, around 20 to 40 tonnes of chemical waste was illegally dumped into parts of the river," said Mohammad Ezzani Mat Salleh from the local environment ministry. Mr Ezzani and his team discovered traces of toxic oil waste commonly used in "marine engine compressors". Fire and rescue officials also identified at least 15 different types of chemicals - which included the colourless and extremely poisonous hydrogen cyanide. ..
March 19, 2019

Thailand election: A vote for a hybrid democracy

Thailand election: A vote for a hybrid democracy Image copyright Reuters Image caption General Prayuth Chan-ocha - Thailand's old and new prime minister? When the Thai army seized power in May 2014, it described it as a coup to end all coups. The army had failed to do the job properly during the previous attempt, in 2006, one of the coup leaders told us in 2014. This time we will fix things so we never have to intervene again, he said. The official script of the coup makers was that they intervened to end the crippling political turmoil which had shaken Thailand for most of the previous decade. Less officially though, the junta had two objectives; to secure the first royal succession in 70 years, which, after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 2016, it did; and to cripple the political movement loyal to ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, which had won every election since 2001. This movement is viewed as an existential threat to the alliance of palace, milita..
March 19, 2019

Christchurch shootings: Meghan and Harry pay tribute to victims

Christchurch shootings: Meghan and Harry pay tribute to victims Image copyright Reuters Image caption New Zealand's High Commissioner to the UK welcomes the couple with a traditional Maori greeting The Duke and Duchess of Sussex paid their respects to the Christchurch shootings victims during a visit to New Zealand's High Commission in London. Prince Harry and Meghan were greeted by High Commissioner Sir Jerry Mateparae before laying flowers and signing a book of condolence. They wrote "we are with you" before signing off with the Maori word "arohanui", which means "much love". Fifty people died in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday. The duke and duchess were among the first people to sign the book of condolence, which the High Commission says will be open for visitors to sign until 17:30 GMT on Thursday. Stories of heroism emerge from NZ attacks Who were the Christchurch victims? New Zealand PM vows never to say gunman's name Sir Jerry welcomed the cou..
March 19, 2019

Christchurch shootings: First funerals for victims of mosque attacks

Christchurch shootings: First funerals for victims of mosque attacks Image copyright Reuters Image caption The burials have been delayed because of the identification process The first funerals are taking place for victims of the New Zealand mosque shootings that left 50 people dead. Volunteers have descended on Christchurch to assist with the burial process and support victims' families. Islamic tradition calls for bodies to be buried as soon as possible, but the burials have been delayed by the scale of the identification process. Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a self-described white supremacist, has been charged with murder. Who were the Christchurch victims? Stories of heroism emerge from NZ attacks The 'precious' mosque where peace was shattered Christchurch city officials issued strict guidance to the media ahead of Wednesday's funerals and requested that the families be left alone. "The body will be brought on site, taken to a private marquee that has been ..
March 19, 2019

How prevalent is far-right extremism?

How prevalent is far-right extremism? Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visits mourners at the Kilbirnie Mosque in New Zealand The shootings at two mosques in New Zealand, which left 50 people dead and dozens wounded, have led to renewed questions about the extent of far-right extremism. The British security minister has said it is "perfectly possible" a far-right attack could happen in the UK and has raised concerns about the radicalisation of individuals online. So, how widespread is this form of violent extremism? Australia and New ZealandBefore the latest attack, both New Zealand and Australia said their main security risk was from Islamist terrorism. And New Zealand's Security Intelligence Service's most recent annual report makes no reference to far-right extremism. A report in 2017 by Australia's Security Intelligence Organisation says that although the country "experiences low levels of communal violence", one person wa..
March 19, 2019

Thai tycoon found guilty for poaching but freed ahead of appeal

Thai tycoon found guilty for poaching but freed ahead of appeal Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption Premchai Karnasuta was once among Thailand's 50 richest people, according to Forbes The head of one of Thailand's largest construction firms has been sentenced to 16 months in jail on three poaching charges but is free pending an appeal. Premchai Karnasuta was caught with hunting gear and animal carcasses, including a black panther, in a protected sanctuary in February 2018. Three of his employees, but not Premchai, were found guilty on Tuesday of possessing the panther carcass. The case had sparked an outcry over the impunity of the rich and powerful. Premchai is head of Italian-Thai Development, a Bangkok-based firm that helped build the capital's Suvarnabhumi airport and Skytrain rail link. The high-profile case has been closely followed in Thailand, where convictions for poaching happen often but rarely when it comes to prominent people. What happened in c..
March 19, 2019

‘Thai bride’ body found on Yorkshire Dales in 2004 identified

'Thai bride' body found on Yorkshire Dales in 2004 identified Image copyright Family photo/DONLAWAT SUNSUK Image caption Lamduan Armitage, nee Seekanya, was last seen by her family in 2004 A woman whose body was found in the Yorkshire Dales 15 years ago has been identified, police have confirmed. North Yorkshire Police said the woman who was found in a stream near Pen-y-ghent in 2004 was Lamduan Armitage, nee Seekanya. Ms Armitage, who would be 51, moved to the UK in 1991 and lived in Portsmouth, Rugby and Preston, the force said. Officers investigating her death want to speak to anyone who may have known her or her family. The force said it had carried out extensive inquiries and DNA testing with family members in Thailand in order to confirm Ms Armitage's identity. More news and stories from across YorkshireOfficers are continuing to "build a picture of Lamduan's life in Thailand and at various places she lived in the UK between 1991 and 2004", a police statement..
March 19, 2019

Kazakh leader Nazarbayev resigns after three decades

Kazakh leader Nazarbayev resigns after three decades Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has led the country since independence from the Soviet Union, has announced his resignation. In a pre-recorded television address, he said the decision had "not been simple". Mr Nazarbayev, 78, has been largely unchallenged since he became leader of the oil-rich nation in 1990. He has focused on economic reform while resisting moves to democratise the political system. This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version. You can receive Breaking News on a smartphone or tablet via the BBC News App. You can also follow @BBCBreaking on Twitter to get the latest alerts.
March 19, 2019

India ‘asks banks to rescue Jet Airways’

India 'asks banks to rescue Jet Airways' Image copyright Reuters The Indian government has asked state-run banks to step in and save struggling carrier Jet Airlines, according to Reuters. India has urged the banks to swap debt for equity, and take stakes in Jet, the news agency said. With more than $1bn (£750m) in debt, the airline has had to delay payments to banks, employees, suppliers and even aircraft lessors. India wants to avoid job losses ahead of a general election, Reuters added. The government has been asking state-run banks including SBI and Punjab National Bank (PNB) as well as the 49% state-owned National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) to take at least a third of the airline until new buyer can be found, the news agency said. Meanwhile, the airline's aircraft maintenance engineers' union has written to the Indian aviation regulator to say that that three months of salary is overdue, and flight safety "is at risk", the Press Trust of India re..
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