June 3, 2018

Commonwealth Bank offers to pay record fine in laundering case

Commonwealth Bank offers to pay record fine in laundering case Image copyright EPA Image caption Australia's Commonwealth Bank has faced a series of scandals Australia's Commonwealth Bank has said it will pay a $700m (£400m; $530m) fine for breaching anti-money laundering and counter-terror financing laws. The scandal relates to 53,000 suspect transactions that the bank did not immediately report to authorities. Last year, Australia's financial intelligence agency accused the lender of "serious and systemic" law breaches. If a court approves the fine, it will be the largest civil penalty in Australian corporate history. The bank, Australia's largest lender, said it would also cover A$2.5m in legal fees accrued by investigators. "While not deliberate, we fully appreciate the seriousness of the mistakes we made," chief executive Matt Comyn said on Monday. Australia's scandal-plagued financial sector is at the centre of a national inquiry into misconduct. Undecla..
June 3, 2018

‘I was looking for my mother but found my twin instead’

'I was looking for my mother but found my twin instead' Image copyright Kiran Gustafsson Image caption Despite a happy childhood, Kiran always felt something was missing in her life "The first time I saw my brother, I just froze. "I couldn't say anything. We sat down on the sofa in his house. There was silence. Then I started to cry. "The first words he said to me were 'don't cry'. Then he took my hand. Everyone who was there cried as well. It was a magical moment." Kiran Gustafsson was 33 when she met her twin for the first time. It was an unexpected twist to an already emotional journey. Kiran had returned to India to search for her biological mother. The last thing she expected to find was a missing twin. Growing up in Sweden with her adoptive family, Kiran says she had warm and loving parents who gave her everything a child could want. Her parents - retired teacher Maria Wernant and businessman Kjell-Ake - had always been open about the fact that ..
June 3, 2018

Syria’s President Assad ‘to visit North Korea’

Syria's President Assad 'to visit North Korea' Image copyright AFP Image caption Mr Assad's comment reportedly came as he met the North's new ambassador to Syria Syrian President Bashar al-Assad plans to make a state visit to North Korea, the North's state news agency says. It would be the first time North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has hosted a head of state since assuming power in 2011. He has undertaken a flurry of diplomatic activity recently, meeting China's president in May, and is expected to attend a summit with Donald Trump this month. Syria, an ally of the North, has made no comment on the reported plan. The two countries have been accused of co-operating on chemical weapons. But both nations deny the accusations. What does Kim Jong-un really want? The political gamble of the 21st Century No date for the visit was mentioned by the North Korea's KCNA news agency. It quoted Mr Assad as saying on Wednesday: "I am going to visit [North Kore..
June 3, 2018

China warns US sanctions will void trade talks

China warns US sanctions will void trade talks Image copyright AFP Image caption The US currently buys four times as much from the Chinese as it sells to them China's state news agency Xinhua has warned that all trade talks between Beijing and Washington will be void if the US introduces trade sanctions. After talks between Vice Premier Liu He and US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, it said China was ready to boost imports from many countries. Mr Ross's China visit comes days after Washington threatened to impose extra tariffs on $50bn of Chinese goods. Meanwhile, G7 nations are angry at new US steel and aluminium import tariffs. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned a trade war could begin in "a few days". On Saturday President Trump insisted on Twitter that the US had been "ripped off by other countries for years on trade". He says steel tariffs will protect US steelmakers, which he says are vital to national security. Mr Trump has also complained about barriers ..
June 3, 2018

Crafty crayfish removes own claw to escape China hotpot

Crafty crayfish removes own claw to escape China hotpot Image copyright Getty Images Image caption China is one of the world's largest sources of crayfish (stock image) A crayfish desperate to remove itself from the menu sacrificed one of its own claws to escape a boiling pot of spicy soup at a restaurant in China. In footage viewed more than 635,000 times online, the crustacean is seen gripping one of its claws before successfully detaching it and fleeing. The dramatic film was captured by social media user Jiuke, who posted it on the popular Chinese platform Weibo. Jiuke later told users of the site that he had adopted the crayfish as a pet. Skip Facebook post by 加藤軍台灣粉絲團 2.0 Posted by 加藤軍台灣粉絲團 2.0 on Saturday, 26 May 2018 Report End of Facebook post by 加藤軍台灣粉絲團 2.0 Weibo users had left comments in support of the courageous crayfish, urging "let him go" and "don't eat him, seeing how hard he's trying to survive", the Taiwan News website reported. Juike then respon..
June 2, 2018

PC Sorcar: India’s ‘maharajah of magic’ who terrified the UK

PC Sorcar: India's 'maharajah of magic' who terrified the UK Image copyright Collection of Saileswar Mukherjee Image caption Sorcar took Indian magic where it had never gone before At 9.15pm on 9 April 1956, the BBC's switchboard suddenly lit up with calls from hundreds of viewers convinced they had just witnessed a gruesome murder live on their television screens. A mysterious-looking oriental magician had put a 17-year-old girl in a trance, laid her on a table and sliced her body in half with a massive buzz saw as if she were a slab of meat on a butcher's table. It was meant to be the climatic finale to that evening's top-rated Panorama programme, but something appeared to have gone terribly wrong. When the magician rubbed his assistant's hands and tried to revive her, she did not respond. As he shook his head and covered her face with a black cloth, presenter Richard Dimbleby stepped in front of the camera and announced the programme was over. A..
June 2, 2018

North Korea’s human rights: What Trump and Kim won’t talk about

North Korea’s human rights: What Trump and Kim won't talk about Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Most children receive basic education, though some are forced to drop out of school early US President Donald Trump and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un will soon be meeting face-to-face, if their historic summit goes ahead. The UN says North Koreans live under "systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations". But human rights will almost certainly not be on the table when they two leaders meet. Here are just some of the issues on the back burner for now. Total government controlIsolated from the rest of the world, North Korea has been ruled by the Kim family for three generations, and its citizens are required to pay complete devotion to the family and its current leader, Kim Jong-un. The state controls everything, and actively spies on its citizens using a vast surveillance networks. The economy is also strictly controlled and the government funnels mon..
June 2, 2018

Whale that died off Thailand had eaten 80 plastic bags

Whale that died off Thailand had eaten 80 plastic bags Image copyright AFP/THAIWHALES Image caption Helpers tried to stabilise the whale but it died on Friday afternoon A pilot whale has died off southern Thailand after swallowing 80 plastic bags, Thai marine officials say. The whale vomited five bags during a vain attempt by conservation officials to save it in a canal in Songkhla province. The bags, weighing about 8kg (17lbs), had made it impossible for the whale to eat food, a marine expert said. A recent report warned the amount of plastic in the ocean could triple in a decade unless litter was curbed. Thailand is a major user of plastic bags and its government last month announced it was considering a levy on them. Ocean plastic a 'planetary crisis' - UN 'Shame and anger' at plastic ocean pollution Plastic pollution: Images of a global problem They are believed to kill hundreds of marine animals there each year. The small male pilot whale had been discovered a..
June 2, 2018

Australia alert after ship loses 83 containers

Australia alert after ship loses 83 containers Image copyright Reuters Image caption The Taiwanese-owned ship got into difficulty in a heavy swell in the Tasman Sea on Thursday Maritime authorities in Australia have issued an alert after 83 shipping containers fell from a vessel off the coast of New South Wales. Sanitary products, surgical masks and nappies have begun washing up on beaches north of Sydney. There are concerns the items could prove dangerous to whales and other animals if they swallow them. The containers tumbled off a Taiwanese-owned ship in a heavy swell in the Tasman Sea on Thursday. Video showed some containers split open and hanging from the ship. Thirty were damaged. Search for MH370 uncovered old shipwrecks Are ships more polluting than Germany? Some partly submerged containers pose a threat to leisure boats and commercial shipping. "They're 40-ft containers, they sit about a foot or two off the water. Even in the best of conditions they're difficul..
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