May 15, 2018

Japan’s economy shrinks for first time in two years

Japan's economy shrinks for first time in two years Image copyright AFP Image caption Private consumption accounts for about 60% of Japan's economy. Japan's economy shrank in the first quarter of 2018 for the first time in two years, ending the longest stretch of economic growth since the 1980s. The world's third largest economy contracted at an annualised rate of 0.6%, official data showed. Expectations were for an annualised contraction of 0.2%. Private consumption and capital expenditure slowed during the January to March quarter, which analysts said dragged down the economy. Private consumption accounts for about 60% of Japan's economic activity. Annualised growth rates represent the growth if the quarter-on-previous-quarter rate of change were maintained for a full year. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, the economy shrank 0.2% compared with growth of 0.1% at the end of 2017. Analysts said they expected to see a recovery in the current quarter of 2018 and ..
May 15, 2018

Would you pay your ex a ‘break-up fee’?

Would you pay your ex a 'break-up fee'? Image copyright Getty Images Earlier this month, police in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou responded to a call after bar staff reported finding a suspicious suitcase. It contained two million yuan in cash ($314,204; £233,323) - an extraordinary amount of money, maybe even life-changing. They managed to track down the owner, who according to the local police, had arranged to meet with his ex-girlfriend in the bar. The money? It was a "break-up fee" a new trend in Chinese dating. The price of true love?Everyone knows that dating can be expensive; forking out a bit of cash to buy drinks or meals in the early stages of a relationship, or buying gifts and holidays later on. No longer content to just have the awkward meeting to hand each others' stuff back, break-up fees have emerged in recent years in China as a sort of compensation at the end of a long-term relationship. While not legally binding, it's a bit like one pa..
May 15, 2018

N Korea cancels talks with South Korea and warns US

N Korea cancels talks with South Korea and warns US North Korea has cancelled high-level talks with South Korea because of anger over military exercises, state media reports. The North's official KCNA news agency said the exercises between the US and the South were a "provocation". It also warned the US over the fate of the historic summit between Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump that is scheduled for 12 June. In March, Mr Trump stunned the world by accepting an invitation to meet Mr Kim. "We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!" the US leader tweeted at the time. Some 100 warplanes, including an unspecified number of B-52 bombers and F-15K jets began the Max Thunder drills on Friday. The US and South Korea insist such drills are purely for defence purposes, and based out of a mutual defence agreement they signed in 1953. They also say the exercises are necessary to strengthen their readiness in case of an external attack.
May 15, 2018

India flyover collapse kills at least 18 in Varanasi

India flyover collapse kills at least 18 in Varanasi Image copyright AFP Image caption A large crowd gathered at the scene in Varanasi At least 18 people have been killed and dozens trapped in the Indian city of Varanasi after a flyover collapsed, crushing vehicles beneath it. The flyover was still being built when portions of its cement structure fell on the road being used under it. Officials from the National Disaster Response Force said 18 bodies had been recovered so far. A rescue operation is continuing for those believed to still be trapped, but their number and condition is unknown. Photographs and video from the scene showed cars and a bus crushed beneath the weight of the concrete, many of which still held people inside. Local media reported that a handful of people had been successfully rescued, as seven cranes attempted to lift the concrete pillar. A large crowd also gathered at the scene. One eyewitness told reporters they were nearby when the collapse happened. "At leas..
May 15, 2018

Second Durham rugby player dies in Sri Lanka

Second Durham rugby player dies in Sri Lanka Image copyright DCRFC Image caption Thomas Baty (left) and Thomas Howard complained of breathing difficulties on Sunday A second British amateur rugby player has died after complaining of breathing difficulties on returning from a nightclub in Sri Lanka. Thomas Howard, 25, and Thomas Baty, 26, had been touring the country with Durham-based Clems Pirates RFC when they visited the club in Colombo. Mr Howard, from Durham, died after being admitted to hospital on Sunday. Mr Baty, also from Durham, who had been critically ill, has also now died. Durham City Rugby Football Club, which oversees the team, confirmed Mr Howard had died after "suffering breathing problems". The team arrived in Sri Lanka on Wednesday and began the tour with a game against Ceylonese Rugby and Football Club (CR & FC) in Colombo. According to police in Sri Lanka, some British players went to a nightclub after the match and returned to their hotel in the early hours of Su..
May 15, 2018

Turkmen president drifts into pole position at rally

Turkmen president drifts into pole position at rally Image copyright Turkmenistan Government Image caption The head of state turned up in his rally stage-ready BMW and was allowed to race Turkmen president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has won an international motor race qualifier seemingly by chance, after turning up at the venue to meet one of his ministers, it's been reported. According to the Fergana news website, the president entered the qualifier for the Hamul-Azar International Rally on the spur of the moment, after finding out that the BMW sports car he was driving passed the entry requirements for the race. He was supposedly at the venue in the Karakum desert to hear a briefing from his interior minister on preparations for the rally, when he reportedly asked the referee for permission to take part in the day's racing. The referee "immediately" gave his permission, saying that it was "a great honour for him and for sportsmen", Fergana News reported. Image copyright Tu..
May 15, 2018

China Sichuan Airlines pilot ‘half sucked out of plane’ survives

China Sichuan Airlines pilot 'half sucked out of plane' survives Image copyright Reuters Image caption Workers inspect the Sichuan Airlines aircraft after its emergency landing A Chinese passenger jet was forced into an emergency landing after its windscreen blew out at 32,000ft (9,753m), sucking the co-pilot halfway out of the plane. Captain Liu Chuanjian said the Airbus A319 had been cruising mid-air when a deafening sound flooded the cockpit. "There was no warning," he told the Chengdu Economic Daily. "The windshield just cracked and made a loud bang. The next thing I knew, my co-pilot had been sucked halfway out." Luckily, the co-pilot was wearing a seatbelt. He was dragged back into the chaos of the cockpit, where pressure and temperature had dropped and the equipment was failing. "Everything in the cockpit was floating in the air," the captain said. "I couldn't hear the radio. The plane was shaking so hard I could not read the gauges." How did it happen?Sichuan ..
May 15, 2018

Is this a pigeon? A 2011 meme reincarnated in 2018

Is this a pigeon? A 2011 meme reincarnated in 2018 Image copyright Sunrise Image caption Is this a meme? 2018 is becoming the year old memes come back to life. When a 2011 meme called American Chopper re-emerged on Twitter in 2018, the BBC explored how a meme about two men arguing had lived a second life long after its first. Now the feat has been repeated, as a 2011 image macro (a still picture with text imposed) asking if a butterfly is a pigeon has surged in popularity seven years later. Is this something you may also like? Is this 1921 cartoon the first ever meme? Winter Olympics: Yuri On Ice performed by Japanese skaters Why some people can hear this silent gif In the widely shared image, a character from a Japanese anime gestures towards a butterfly and asks: "Is this a pigeon?" Skip Twitter post by @hermit_hwarang I found the HD version — 박주현 (@hermit_hwarang) May 10, 2018 Report End of Twitter post by @hermit_hwarang Is this an old meme?The image c..
May 15, 2018

Why an Australian supermarket chain is locking up baby milk

Why an Australian supermarket chain is locking up baby milk Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Australian parents have complained about a shortage of infant formula An Australian supermarket chain has decided to sell baby formula from behind a counter to protect customers with a "genuine need" for it. The decision by Coles in some stores follows years of controversy in Australia about shoppers who buy the product only to sell it overseas, particularly to families in China. Australian parents have complained about a shortage of formula. Coles is one of the nation's two biggest supermarket chains. Australian milk formula has been nicknamed "white gold" in China because it is perceived to be safer and of better quality than locally produced products. It has led to a lucrative practice where shoppers in Australia, known as daigou, buy products and ship them overseas. According to Sydney's Daily Telegraph, tins of formula bought for about A$30 (£17; $23) in Australia have..
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