July 17, 2018

The search for India’s first Olympic medallist

The search for India's first Olympic medallist Image copyright Gulu Ezekiel collection Image caption Norman Gilbert Pritchard was an Olympic medallist and Hollywood actor Norman Gilbert Pritchard was the first Indian athlete to win an Olympic medal, but little is known about his life and his family. Delhi-based sports journalist Gulu Ezekiel writes about his search for Pritchard's family that lasted for more than three decades. The journey is more important than the destination, as the saying goes, unless the journey is as long as 34 years. My journey to find out about the life of India's first Olympian, Norman Gilbert Pritchard, began in 1984. He had won two silver medals in athletics at the Paris Summer Olympics in 1900. I stumbled on his name while researching for a story on the Summer Olympics that were underway in Los Angeles that year. But it wasn't until last month that I finally got in touch with his descendants, who now live in Middlesex, England. Pritch..
July 17, 2018

China’s most expensive film pulled after opening weekend

China's most expensive film pulled after opening weekend Image copyright Youtube/AsuraFilmOfficial China's big-budget fantasy epic Asura has been pulled from cinemas after a dismal opening weekend. The 750m yuan ($112m; £85m) film reportedly made less than 50m yuan on its weekend debut. Asura's plot is based on Chinese mythology and featured leading actors and flashy special effects. Producers are reportedly planning to rework the movie and release it again at a later date. Unless the film achieves much greater success the second time round, Asura's $105m loss would make it one of the biggest flops in movie history. Image copyright Youtube/AsuraFilmOfficial China puts limit on film stars' pay The Last Jedi: The most divisive film ever? How The Greatest Showman became a film phenomenon The elaborate fantasy film was backed by some of China's major movie companies: Alibaba Pictures, Zhenjian Film Studio and Ningxia Film Group Loosely based on Buddhist ..
July 16, 2018

Usain Bolt may play football trial in Australia

Usain Bolt may play football trial in Australia Image copyright EPA Image caption Usain Bolt has played in a number of exhibition matches this year Eight-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt is in talks for a trial to play football in Australia, his agent says. The Jamaican former sprinter, 31, is negotiating a six-week stint with the Central Coast Mariners, a team in the country's A-League competition. Club officials said "if all goes well", Bolt could be signed for a season. His agent, Tony Rallis, said the trial had been agreed "in principle". Bolt has previously trained with clubs in Germany, Norway and South Africa. The 100m and 200m world record holder, who retired from athletics last year, has previously spoken about his interest in becoming a professional footballer. Bolt is a fan of Manchester United and one of its former assistant managers, Mike Phelan, is now at the Mariners. Mariners chief executive Shaun Mielekamp said the club had spent four months pursuing Bolt, and th..
July 16, 2018

Trump tariffs will hurt global growth, IMF warns

Trump tariffs will hurt global growth, IMF warns Image copyright AFP Image caption The IMF says risks to global growth are rising The outlook for the global economy has darkened as trade tensions rise and growth becomes uneven, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). While the IMF has maintained its global growth forecast of 3.9% for this year and next, it has cut the outlook for the UK and the eurozone among others. It said rows over trade are "greatest near-term threat" to the world economy. It added: "The possibility for more buoyant growth than forecast has faded somewhat. "Downside risks, on the other hand, have become more salient." How the US is waging its trade war with China Donald Trump: European Union is a foe on trade The comments in the IMF's updated World Economic Outlook forecast have emerged against a backdrop of protectionist tariffs by the US which have led to retaliation from Europe, China, Mexico and Canada. The new tariffs represent just a small s..
July 16, 2018

Chinese whispers around Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal

The 'great-grandmother of all scandals' comes to China Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak arrives in court in Kuala Lumpur, following his arrest in connection with a corruption probe There is a new twist in the multi-billion-dollar financial scandal surrounding the Malaysian investment fund 1MDB - possible Chinese involvement. Malaysia's new government - which took office only in May - has suspended three major construction projects with Chinese firms. A senior ministry official told the BBC that it believes that two of the contracts, for pipelines, were used to launder money for Malaysia's previous administration, led by the former Prime Minister, Najib Razak. These allegations open a new front in the inquiries into 1MDB, which is already being investigated in the US, Switzerland and Singapore. The finance ministry's accusations also represent a sharp change in mood in Malaysia towards China since Mr Najib l..
July 16, 2018

Pakistan mourns 149 dead in country’s second deadliest terror attack

Pakistan mourns 149 dead in country's second deadliest terror attack Image copyright AFP/Getty Image caption Pakistani cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan (c) prays with relatives of a local candidate who was killed Pakistan is mourning the deaths of 149 people, including nine children, in the country's second deadliest militant attack since its independence. A suicide bomber hit a campaign rally in Mastung, in the south-western province of Balochistan, on Friday. More than 180 were injured. A local candidate was among the dead, police say. So-called Islamic State (IS) claimed the attack. The attack comes ahead of a general election on 25 July. The poll has been marred by violence and what observers say is a crackdown on political activists, journalists and critics of the powerful military. Earlier on Friday, a bomb attack on a similar rally in the northern town of Bannu killed at least four people. Some 70 people are still in hospital following the attacks, government ..
July 16, 2018

British caver ‘could sue’ Elon Musk over Twitter attack

British caver 'could sue' Elon Musk over Twitter attack Image caption Vern Unsworth (right) helped bring top international cave rescuers to the mission, including Rob Harper (left) A British cave diver who helped rescue 12 Thai boys from deep within a cave has said he is considering suing tech entrepreneur Elon Musk. In now-deleted tweets, Mr Musk had called Vern Unsworth a "pedo guy" after the cave expert ridiculed a mini-submarine built by the Tesla CEO for the rescue effort as a "PR stunt". Mr Unsworth told reporters on Monday that he was considering legal action. "It's not finished," he told Australian network Channel 7. Thailand-based Mr Unsworth's knowledge of the cave complex is said to have played a key role in the rescue effort. He travelled into the caves in the first days after the boys went missing and helped bring in top international cave rescue experts for the mission. Mr Unsworth had earlier said that the mini-sub built by Mr Musk's team and f..
July 16, 2018

Singapore’s first Premier League recruit must first do national service

Singapore's first Premier League recruit must first do national service Image copyright JoseRaymond/SPIN Image caption Benjamin currently plays with Fulham FC's under-18 team The first Singaporean footballer to sign a professional contract with an English Premier League club has been denied the chance to defer mandatory military service. Benjamin Davis, 17, who has a two-year deal with Fulham FC, had applied to defer from national service (NS). Authorities said that he did not "meet the criteria for deferment". But Davis's father said it was "unrealistic" that he would be expected to take two years out of football. All Singaporean men over 18 have to serve in either the armed forces, the police or the civil defence force for two years as part of their NS requirements. Benjamin turns 18 this November. "As all male Singaporeans liable for full-time NS put aside personal pursuits to dutifully enlist... it would not be fair to approve applications for deferment for indivi..
July 16, 2018

Indonesia mob slaughters nearly 300 crocodiles in revenge killing

Indonesia mob slaughters nearly 300 crocodiles in revenge killing Image copyright Reuters Image caption The crocodiles ranged from full grown to young animals A mob of angry villagers has killed nearly 300 crocodiles at a sanctuary for the animals in the Indonesian province of West Papua. The slaughter was in retaliation for a local man thought to have been killed by one animal from the site. Officials and police said they were not able to stop the attack and may now press charges. The killing of a protected species is a crime that carries a fine or imprisonment in Indonesia. The local villager was killed on Friday morning while gathering vegetables on the crocodile farm's breeding sanctuary. Iceland accused of killing rare whale The model bitten by a shark while posing Can we save the Lord of the Rings toad? "An employee heard someone screaming for help, quickly went there and saw a crocodile attacking someone," the head of Indonesia's Natural Resources Conservation Age..
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