July 26, 2018

Japan’s Iga city ‘does not need ninjas’ after reports it was hiring

Japan's Iga city 'does not need ninjas' after reports it was hiring Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Hoping to be a ninja? Sorry, but the Japanese city of Iga is not hiring A Japanese city has been forced to clarify it is not in fact recruiting ninjas, following reports that it was facing a shortage of skilled assassins. Local officials in Iga, which styles itself as the birthplace of ninja-dom, had received a flood of applications from around the world. But they said in a statement (in Japanese) that they were not officially hiring any, "so please be careful". The mix-up apparently began with a report by a US broadcaster. A ninja shortage?On 16 July, National Public Radio (NPR) reported in its The Indicator from Planet Money podcast that Iga was struggling to expand its ninja-based tourism strategy because of a labour shortage. "Iga will build a second ninja museum [but faces a] labour shortage.... [which] also extends to ninjas," said journalist Sally Hershi..
July 26, 2018

Death sentences for Indian police torturers welcomed by victim’s mother

Death sentences for Indian police torturers welcomed by victim's mother Image copyright Kaviyoot Santosh Image caption Prabhavathi Amma, the victim's mother, had been fighting the case for 13 years Death sentences awarded to two Indian police officers found guilty of killing a man in custody have been welcomed by the victim's mother. "God has heard a mother's prayers," said Prabhavathi Amma, who spent 13 years fighting the case in the southern state of Kerala. A special court found the two officers guilty of torturing a man to death in a case of mistaken identity. These are the first death sentences given for a custodial death in Kerala. One more officer had also been found guilty of the crime, but died before the sentence was pronounced. The court also sentenced two senior officers to three years in prison for attempting to cover up the murder. Udaykumar, the 26-year-old victim, a daily wage labourer, was detained on 27 September 2005 on suspicion of being a thi..
July 26, 2018

Beijing blast: Bomb detonated close to US embassy in China

Beijing blast: Bomb detonated close to US embassy in China Image copyright AFP Image caption There was a significant police presence outside the US embassy An explosive device was detonated close to the US embassy in Beijing, US officials have confirmed. Apart from the bomber, there were no other injuries reported and officials say police responded immediately. Video and images posted on social media show smoke rising from the vicinity of the embassy in the heart of the Chinese capital with crowds gathering. State media outlet Global Times tweeted local residents heard a "thunder-like bang" at 1330 local time (0530 GMT). The BBC's Stephen McDonell at the scene says that normal activities have since resumed at the embassy, with people still lining up for visa applications. There were earlier reports that police had taken away a woman who had tried to set herself on fire near the embassy at 11am local time, several hours before the reported blast. It is unclear if the two incide..
July 26, 2018

Qualcomm axes NXP deal after failing to get Chinese approval

Qualcomm axes NXP deal after failing to get Chinese approval Image copyright Getty Images Chipmaker Qualcomm has abandoned its $44bn bid for Dutch rival NXP Semiconductors after failing to secure approval from Chinese regulators. A deadline for the transaction, which needed China's sign-off, was set for 11:59pm (03:59 GMT) New York time under the agreement. The deal had already won the necessary regulatory approvals in eight of nine countries. It would have been one of the biggest deals between technology companies. It comes as US-China trade tensions have escalated, prompting speculation this latest development is a retaliation to US tariffs. "We intend to terminate our purchase agreement to acquire NXP when the agreement expires at the end of the day today, pending any new material developments," said Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm, in the company's third quarter fiscal results. Qualcomm needed China's approval because it accounted for nearly two-thirds of its rev..
July 26, 2018

Tokyo Sarin attack: Japan executes last Aum Shinrikyo members on death row

Tokyo Sarin attack: Japan executes last Aum Shinrikyo members on death row Image copyright Reuters Image caption Cult leader Shoko Asahara was executed earlier this month Japan has executed the remaining members of a cult behind the deadly 1995 Sarin attack on the Tokyo subway. The six men were the last members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult on death row, and were executed on Thursday, the justice ministry said. Seven others responsible for the attack, including leader Shoko Asahara, were put to death earlier this month. The Sarin attack, Japan's worst terror incident, killed 13 people and injured thousands more. The cult was accused of several other murders and an earlier Sarin gas attack in 1994 which killed eight and left 600 injured. "The pain and anguish of the people who were killed and their families as well as of the survivors left with disabilities, was unimaginable," said justice minister Yoko Kamikawa at a news conference. Those put to death on Thursday included a key Aum S..
July 25, 2018

Ex-cricketer Khan leads Pakistan elections in early counting

Ex-cricketer Khan leads Pakistan elections in early counting Image copyright Reuters Image caption Official results have not been released but supporters of Imran Khan's political party are already celebrating Ex-cricket star Imran Khan has taken an early lead as votes are counted in Pakistan's poll, but political rivals allege vote-rigging on a major scale. Early unofficial results suggest his PTI party are in the lead, but it will need to form a coalition if it is unable to secure a simple majority. Results are trickling in slowly, but election officials deny rigging saying there are simply technical problems. Voting day saw bloodshed, with many killed in a blast at a polling station. This historic election will mark only the second time that a civilian government has handed power to another after serving a full term in Pakistan. With 42 per cent of polling stations counted, the Election Commission of Pakistan had Mr Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party leadin..
July 25, 2018

Australian media giants Nine and Fairfax agree to merge

Australian media giants Nine and Fairfax agree to merge Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Fairfax newspapers including the Financial Review and The Sydney Morning Herald will be sold to Nine Australian media giants Nine Entertainment and Fairfax have agreed to merge, creating what they say will be the nation's "largest integrated media player". The surprise deal, worth an estimated A$4bn (£2.25bn; $3bn), will leave Nine Entertainment with a 51.1% stake. The new business will be called Nine. Australia has a highly consolidated broadcast and print media market. Many current and former Fairfax staff have expressed sadness about the deal. The deal includes Nine's television network, one of the nation's biggest, and Fairfax newspaper titles including The Sydney Morning Herald, Melbourne's The Age and The Australian Financial Review. Australia relaxed media ownership laws last year to allow proprietors greater control over multiple platforms. Skip Twitter post ..
July 25, 2018

Why young Indians are choosing streaming over TV

Why young Indians are choosing streaming over TV Image copyright EPA Image caption The recent football world cup was watched by more Indians than ever before A record number of Indians streamed the recently concluded football World Cup on their phones, in the latest indication that many young people are deserting television for digital platforms. BBC Hindi's Zubair Ahmed finds out if these platforms pose a threat to India's numerous TV channels. "I watched all the matches on my phone," says 22-year-old Sabir Ali, a diehard football fan, who runs a fast food outlet in the capital Delhi. "I didn't have to rush home or shut the restaurant early to watch them on TV." Some 70 million Indians streamed the matches on SonyLiv, one of three Indian broadcasters with digital rights, and the only one to release viewership numbers so far. So, the total number is probably much higher. But that isn't surprising - in April and May, more than 200 million Indians logged on to Star In..
July 25, 2018

Korean War: Searching for the father they barely knew

Korean War: Searching for the father they barely knew Image copyright Getty Images Image caption For many children it's been a lifelong search for their fathers Many families of US soldiers who fought - and never returned - from the Korean War are hoping their decades-long search for answers will soon be over. Thousands of American servicemen are still classified as missing in action (MIA) and at the US-North Korea summit earlier this year, Pyongyang promised to return the remains of 200 US troops from the conflict. The daughters of three missing servicemen shared their stories with the BBC's Cindy Sui. 'He wants to come home'Gail Embery was about three years old when her father, US Army Sgt. Coleman Edwards, joined the war and was declared missing within a few months. Her mother remarried soon after and did not talk about him, so she grew up not knowing she had another father. She found out when she was 10 years old and since then has been trying to find him. "It&..
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