May 31, 2018

US military renames Pacific Command

US military renames Pacific Command Image copyright AFP Image caption The command has about 375,000 military and civilian personnel The US is renaming its largest military command to reflect the growing importance of the Indian Ocean in America's strategic thinking. Defence Secretary James Mattis said the US Pacific Command would now be called the US Indo-Pacific Command. The command oversees US operations in Asia. It has about 375,000 military and civilian personnel. The name change comes amid tensions with China, which has been expanding its military activity in the region. China lands bombers in South China Sea China's 'globalised' military power "In recognition of the increasing connectivity of the Indian and Pacific Oceans today we rename the US Pacific Command to the US Indo-Pacific Command," Mr Mattis said at a change-of-command ceremony in Hawaii. "It is our primary combatant command, it's standing watch and intimately engaged with over half of the e..
May 30, 2018

Australian minister Greg Hunt accused of misogyny

Australian minister Greg Hunt accused of misogyny Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt has apologised for using "strong language" An Australian government minister has apologised for swearing repeatedly at the mayor of a Northern Territory town. Health Minister Greg Hunt said he was wrong to use "strong language" during a private conversation with Katherine Mayor Fay Miller in December. Ms Miller also accused him of wagging his finger in her face. She called his manner "misogynist", an assertion to which Mr Hunt has not responded. The pair had been discussing funding arrangements for a local health scare. During the conversation, Ms Miller said Mr Hunt's tone changed after she had asked him for more federal resources. "I turned on a switch of some sort because he relocated his chair, pointing towards me," she told reporters on Thursday. She said Mr Hunt then swore at her and told her to "get over it". "And then [he said] more sentences ..
May 30, 2018

The story of Pakistan’s ‘disappeared’ Shias

The story of Pakistan's 'disappeared' Shias Image caption Naeem Haider has been missing since 16 November 2016 CCTV images from a local mosque show 30-year-old Naeem Haider being led away in handcuffs by more than a dozen armed men. Some have their faces covered with masks, others are in police uniform. It was the night of 16 November 2016. Mr Haider has not been seen since. Despite the CCTV video evidence both the police and intelligence services have denied in court that he is in their custody. Mr Haider is one of 140 Pakistani Shias to have "disappeared" over the past two years, according to community activists. Their families believe they were taken into custody by the intelligence services. Over 25 of the missing, including Mr Haider, belong to Pakistan's largest city Karachi. Mr Haider's family say he had returned to the port city from pilgrimage in Karbala, Iraq, with his pregnant wife just two days before he was detained. Uzma Haider has since given ..
May 30, 2018

Top North Korea official to meet Pompeo in New York

Top North Korea official to meet Pompeo in New York Image copyright Reuters Image caption Kim Yong-chol, left, arrived at his New York hotel ahead of meeting Mike Pompeo The right-hand man to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has arrived in New York to discuss a historic summit with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Gen Kim Yong-chol flew in from the Chinese capital Beijing on an Air China flight. He is the most senior North Korean to visit the US in nearly 20 years. President Donald Trump previously cancelled the 12 June summit but both sides have since made fresh efforts to hold it as planned. Scheduled to happen in Singapore, the historic meeting would be the first between sitting US and North Korean leaders. Mr Pompeo plans to dine with Gen Kim ahead of talks on Thursday. Kim Jong-un's right hand man Controversial Olympics delegate What does Kim Jong-un really want? US officials have also met North Korean envoys in Panmunjom on the inter-Korean border, while more US diploma..
May 30, 2018

Japanese whale hunters kill 122 pregnant minke

Japanese whale hunters kill 122 pregnant minke Image copyright AFP Image caption Activists have called Japan's programme "an illegal whale hunt" Japanese hunters caught and killed 122 pregnant minke whales as part of its Antarctic summer "field survey". A report sent to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) reveals hunters caught 333 minkes in total. The team left Japan in November 2017 for the Southern Ocean and returned in March 2018. Japan says its whaling programme is for scientific purposes, despite a 2014 UN ruling against its "lethal research" and widespread condemnation. In a new research plan published after the UN ruling, Japan said it was "scientifically imperative" to understand Antarctica's ecosystem through collecting and analysing animals. Japan to resume whaling in Antarctic Why Japan keeps on whaling Is Japan losing the taste for whale meat? How many whales did Japan catch?The country's New Scientific Whale Research Program in the Antarctic Ocean (..
May 30, 2018

Pokemon reveals four new games for Nintendo Switch

Pokemon reveals four new games for Nintendo Switch Image copyright The Pokemon Company Pokemon has brought its popular role-playing video game series to Nintendo Switch for the first time with the launch of Pokemon Quest. Two more Switch titles are set for an autumn release, with another due to come out in 2019. A games expert said they are likely to "broaden the appeal" of the device. The Switch is a hybrid gaming console which can be used in connection with a TV or smart tablet, or as a stand-alone portable device. Pokemon reinvents itself with new gamesAlthough Switch's worldwide sales have been strong so far, the new games are widely seen as a way to continue that momentum and avoid the fate of the console's predecessor, the Wii U. That console was discontinued in 2017 after a five-year run, following what many considered to be a fatal dry spell of new games in its second year on the market. Image copyright The Pokemon Company Image caption Let's Go, Pikachu! ..
May 30, 2018

Indonesian designer Anniesa Hasibuan jailed for fraud

Indonesian designer Anniesa Hasibuan jailed for fraud Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Anniesa Hasibuan ran a travel agency in addition to her design work A leading fashion designer, who made history at New York Fashion Week by having all her models wear headscarves, has been jailed for 18 years for fraud. Indonesian designer Anniesa Hasibuan and her husband, Andika Surachman, were found guilty of running a scam through their travel agency, First Travel. Prosecutors say they were paid over $60m (£45m) to organise mini pilgrimages to Mecca. But they were accused of embezzling the money and the trips never took place. Hasibuan has been described as a leader in Islamic fashion, due to her luxurious designs. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Hasibuan's designs have graced catwalks in New York, London and Cannes Her works have been shown at fashion events in London, Istanbul and Cannes. In 2016, she told the BBC her work was "inspired by princesses and queens". Wh..
May 30, 2018

Can English remain the ‘world’s favourite’ language?

Can English remain the 'world's favourite' language? Image copyright Getty Images English is spoken by hundreds of millions of people worldwide, but do the development of translation technology and "hybrid" languages threaten its status? Which country boasts the most English speakers, or people learning to speak English? The answer is China. According to a study published by Cambridge University Press, up to 350 million people there have at least some knowledge of English - and at least another 100 million in India. There are probably more people in China who speak English as a second language than there are Americans who speak it as their first. (A fifth of Americans speak a language other than English in their own homes.) But for how much longer will English qualify as the "world's favourite language"? The World Economic Forum estimates about 1.5 billion people around the world speak it - but fewer than 400 million have it as their first language. How American..
May 30, 2018

Is the Trump administration losing the China trade war?

Is the Trump administration losing the China trade war? Image copyright AFP/Getty Image caption Is Donald Trump getting rolled in the US-China trade negotiations? Donald Trump once claimed a trade war with China would be "easy" to win. But consensus is emerging that the president is losing the first battles. His team has been trying to hash out a deal to boost US exports, but multiple rounds of negotiations have yet to yield progress on key priorities, like protection for US intellectual property. Now the conflict has Mr Trump taking fire at home from two sides: those worried he is provoking a damaging trade fight, and those who fear he will give in too easily. Mr Trump, citing a large trade deficit and unfair rules in China, says the US is starting from such a bad position that the country stands to gain no matter what happens. But amid the sound and fury, what, if anything, is actually changing? ZTE politicsThe US last month barred Chinese technology firm ZTE from receiving US expor..
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