July 15, 2018

China’s second quarter growth meets expectations at 6.7%

China's second quarter growth meets expectations at 6.7% Image copyright Getty Images China's economy grew at an annual pace of 6.7% in the three months to June, official data showed, meeting forecasts for the period. That marked a slight slowdown from a 6.8% expansion recorded in the previous quarter. The data comes as the government fights to contain ballooning debt and as trade tensions with the US escalate. The US raised the stakes in a trade war last week, listing another $200bn worth of Chinese goods to be hit by tariffs. Analysts had forecast China's economy would expand 6.7% during the second quarter. "We expect growth in [the second half of the year] to be challenged by the slow credit growth and softer real estate activity. Also, the intensifying trade conflict with the US will start to weigh on growth," Oxford Economics said in a research note.
July 15, 2018

North Korean restaurant staff defection was forced, manager says

North Korean restaurant staff defection was forced, manager says Image copyright Getty Images Image caption North Korea is thought to operate dozens of restaurants abroad, such as this one in Dubai A group of 13 North Korean restaurant staff who moved to the South in 2016 were forced to defect by South Korean intelligence, their manager says. Ho Kang-il told South Korea's Yonhap news agency he had been blackmailed and that his 12 female employees did not know where they were being taken to when they left for Seoul. The UN has called for a "thorough" investigation into the case. South Korea had previously said that the group defected voluntarily. The restaurant employees were working at a state-run North Korean establishment in the Chinese city of Ningbo in 2016 when they left for the South. At the time, a government official in Seoul said the group had started to distrust North Korean propaganda after watching South Korean television dramas. The North Koreans longing for home Th..
July 15, 2018

Thai cave rescue: Thai boys’ tears for lost rescue diver Saman

Thai cave rescue: Thai boys' tears for lost rescue diver Saman Image copyright Reuters Image caption The 12 boys and their coach pictured with a drawing of Saman Gunan (also spelled Kunan), who died working to rescue them The 12 young footballers who were saved from a Thai cave after an international rescue effort are mourning a former Navy Seal who died in the operation. Volunteer diver Saman Gunan lost his life on 6 July while installing oxygen tanks in the flooded cave complex. He has since been hailed as a hero around the world. The boys and their 25-year-old coach were told of his sacrifice only on Saturday, when doctors decided they were strong enough to process the news. The full story of Thailand’s extraordinary cave rescue The heroes who saved the Wild Boars The doctor who chose to stay in the cave "All cried and expressed their condolences by writing messages on a drawing of Lieutenant Commander Saman and observed one minute of silence for him," said Jedsada Chokdamron..
July 15, 2018

Five boys drown in Bangladesh river after football match

Five boys drown in Bangladesh river after football match Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The bodies of the boys were recovered from the Matamuhuri river late on Saturday Five teenage students have drowned in a river in Bangladesh moments after playing a football match, police say. The boys, from a school in the south-eastern Cox's Bazar district, went to bathe after a friendly game between supporters of Argentina and Brazil. They were then swept away by the strong current of the Matamuhuri river. Police recovered the bodies on Saturday evening, some six hours after the boys drowned. Tens of thousands of people attended their funeral on Sunday. Local police chief Bakhtiar Uddin Chowdhury said that 22 schoolboys played a friendly football match on Saturday after dividing themselves between supporters of the two South American teams. He said that, following the game, six boys went to the river. The area near the Matamuhuri Bridge where they had chosen to swim was "very de..
July 15, 2018

Afghanistan conflict: Civilian deaths hit record high, says UN

Afghanistan conflict: Civilian deaths hit record high, says UN Image copyright EPA Image caption A suicide bombing earlier this month killed more than a dozen people in the Afghan city of Jalalabad The number of civilians killed in the long-running war in Afghanistan reached a record high in the first six months of this year, the UN says. Some 1,692 fatalities were recorded, with militant attacks and suicide bombs said to be the leading causes of death. The figures for the conflict, which began in 2001, are the highest since the UN started keeping records in 2009. Recent attacks claimed by Taliban and Islamic State group militants have killed scores across the country. The report, by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (Unama), says the number of recorded deaths rose by 1% compared with the same period last year. However, the report adds, injuries fell by 5% to 3,430, and the total number of civilian casualties - accounting for deaths and injuries - dropped by 3% to..
July 14, 2018

Why this Bollywood film on middle-age love is unusual

Why this Bollywood film on middle-age love is unusual Image copyright NFDC Image caption The atypical love story struck a chord with many A recent Bollywood film about a middle-aged husband trying to woo his unhappy wife drew attention for its subject. The BBC's Vandana Vijay writes about what makes the plot so unusual. The movie, titled Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain (In English, it's I love you) revolves around what many would consider a conventional Indian marriage - a relationship that is often devoid of any outward expressions of affection. In the film, Yashwant Batra, who works for the postal department and Kiran, his stay-at-home wife, have been married for more than 25 years. They live in Varanasi, an ancient, bustling town on the banks of the Ganges river in northern India. Actor Sanjay Mishra plays the role of Batra, a gruff, patriarchal husband, who is satisfied with his marriage and oblivious to his wife's unhappiness. Ekavali Khanna is cast as his spirited wife, K..
July 13, 2018

British POWs sank with the Lisbon Maru – should it be raised?

British POWs sank with the Lisbon Maru - should it be raised? A Chinese film-maker wants to raise a Japanese ship that was sunk in 1942 with hundreds of British prisoners of war on board. Some of the victims' families back the idea, but one of the survivors says it's a war grave, and should be left where it lies. "We knew we'd been hit by a torpedo. And the ship started listing. That was it," says Dennis Morley, now 98 but then a 22-year-old in the Royal Scots regiment. "It was at that time they battened us down. They meant us to go down with the ship - drown." On 1 October 1942, Morley was one of more than 1,800 British prisoners of war being taken from Hong Kong to labour camps in Japan in the hold of a cargo ship, the Lisbon Maru. Conditions were appalling. At the bottom of the hold, Morley remembers being showered by the diarrhoea of sick soldiers above him, "swimming in excreta, virtually". After the ship was torpedoed they were given no food or water - and once the..
July 13, 2018

The full story of Thailand’s extraordinary cave rescue

The full story of Thailand’s extraordinary cave rescue On 23 June, 12 boys went exploring in Thailand's Chiang Rai province with their football coach - and ended up trapped deep inside a cave underneath a mountain. What happened over the following two weeks has gripped the world. It is a remarkable story of friendship, human endurance - and the lengths some people will go to save someone else's child. This is the story of the Wild Boars. The birthday party that went wrongIt all began with a birthday. On Saturday 23 June, Peerapat "Night" Sompiangjai turned 17 - an milestone most young people around the world would want to celebrate in style. His family had prepared a bright yellow SpongeBob SquarePants birthday cake and several colourfully wrapped presents at their home in a rural village in Mae Sai district. Image copyright AFP But Night wasn't rushing home that day. He was out with his friends, the other members of local youth football team the Wild Boars, and thei..
July 13, 2018

US lifts order against China’s ZTE

US lifts order against China's ZTE Image copyright Getty Images The US has lifted an order that blocked Chinese tech giant ZTE from doing business with US companies, forcing the firm to halt major operations. US President Donald Trump had intervened to end the ban, which was imposed in April and tied to ZTE violations of US sanctions against Iran and North Korea. Instead the US said ZTE would be fined and forced to shake up its management. The US Commerce Department said the firm had now complied with all steps. ZTE paid a $1bn penalty last month and has now placed an additional $400m in a holding account against further violations, the Commerce Department said on Friday. "While we lifted the ban on ZTE, the Department will remain vigilant as we closely monitor ZTE's actions to ensure compliance with all US laws and regulations," US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said. ZTE, China's second largest telecoms manufacturer, depends on American-made components for the product..
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