May 30, 2018

Indonesian designer Anniesa Hasibuan jailed for fraud

Indonesian designer Anniesa Hasibuan jailed for fraud Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Anniesa Hasibuan ran a travel agency in addition to her design work A leading fashion designer, who made history at New York Fashion Week by having all her models wear headscarves, has been jailed for 18 years for fraud. Indonesian designer Anniesa Hasibuan and her husband, Andika Surachman, were found guilty of running a scam through their travel agency, First Travel. Prosecutors say they were paid over $60m (£45m) to organise mini pilgrimages to Mecca. But they were accused of embezzling the money and the trips never took place. Hasibuan has been described as a leader in Islamic fashion, due to her luxurious designs. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Hasibuan's designs have graced catwalks in New York, London and Cannes Her works have been shown at fashion events in London, Istanbul and Cannes. In 2016, she told the BBC her work was "inspired by princesses and queens". Wh..
May 30, 2018

Can English remain the ‘world’s favourite’ language?

Can English remain the 'world's favourite' language? Image copyright Getty Images English is spoken by hundreds of millions of people worldwide, but do the development of translation technology and "hybrid" languages threaten its status? Which country boasts the most English speakers, or people learning to speak English? The answer is China. According to a study published by Cambridge University Press, up to 350 million people there have at least some knowledge of English - and at least another 100 million in India. There are probably more people in China who speak English as a second language than there are Americans who speak it as their first. (A fifth of Americans speak a language other than English in their own homes.) But for how much longer will English qualify as the "world's favourite language"? The World Economic Forum estimates about 1.5 billion people around the world speak it - but fewer than 400 million have it as their first language. How American..
May 30, 2018

Is the Trump administration losing the China trade war?

Is the Trump administration losing the China trade war? Image copyright AFP/Getty Image caption Is Donald Trump getting rolled in the US-China trade negotiations? Donald Trump once claimed a trade war with China would be "easy" to win. But consensus is emerging that the president is losing the first battles. His team has been trying to hash out a deal to boost US exports, but multiple rounds of negotiations have yet to yield progress on key priorities, like protection for US intellectual property. Now the conflict has Mr Trump taking fire at home from two sides: those worried he is provoking a damaging trade fight, and those who fear he will give in too easily. Mr Trump, citing a large trade deficit and unfair rules in China, says the US is starting from such a bad position that the country stands to gain no matter what happens. But amid the sound and fury, what, if anything, is actually changing? ZTE politicsThe US last month barred Chinese technology firm ZTE from receiving US expor..
May 30, 2018

New Zealand happy to forget the UK’s ‘betrayal’

New Zealand happy to forget the UK's 'betrayal' Image caption The UK joined the then European Economic Community in 1973, before voters agreed in a 1975 referendum that it should remain It was a story of break-up and betrayal, and of a long-distance relationship that went sour. It's not a cliffhanger from Shortland Street, New Zealand's longest-running TV soap opera, but a real-life tale of abandonment. It happened back in January 1973 to the South Pacific nation when the UK joined the then European Economic Community (EEC), the precursor to today's European Union. At the time, about half of Kiwi exports were shipped 18,500 km (11,500 miles) to the UK, but access to those prized markets would effectively end as a result of the UK joining the EEC. "It was a massive shock. It was an emotional shock for New Zealand," says Asha Sundaram from the University of Auckland. "Almost 50% of New Zealand exports went to the UK at the time, and so there was huge anxiet..
May 30, 2018

Saving flood water to get through the droughts

Saving flood water to get through the droughts Image caption Biplab Paul, co-founder of Naireeta Services, designed the bhungroo to help farmers ride out India's droughts Erratic rainfall and prolonged dry seasons in many parts of India mean that farmers often have to struggle with waterlogged fields or droughts, which can ruin their crops. Many are ultimately forced to quit the land and and migrate to find other work. "Once our whole family used to work here, and we used to make our livelihood from agriculture," says Madhiben - the family's fields are now covered in a thin white sheet of salt. "They all used to be lush green, now it's all white desert," says Madhiben, who lives in a village in Gujarat in north-west India. Many parts of India are showing severe effects of desertification but now one social enterprise, Naireeta Services, is taking action. Co-founders Trupti Jain and Biplab Khetan Paul have come up with an answer to this. "During the Gujarat earthquak..
May 30, 2018

Maori face tattoo: It is OK for a white woman to have one?

Maori face tattoo: It is OK for a white woman to have one? Image copyright Image caption Sally Anderson's headshot from her life coaching business Facial tattoos have been a part of Maori culture for centuries, a sacred marker of the wearer's genealogy and heritage. But one woman's striking chin design - or moko - has generated huge debate in New Zealand, because she is white, with no Maori heritage. Sally Anderson, who is married to a Maori man, says her moko symbolises her personal struggles and life story. But she's been accused of appropriating Maori culture for personal gain. "We have to protect the last bastions that we have as Maori to make us different," said one expert. Why are moko so important to Maori?Moko are carved into the skin using chisels. They are a sacred tradition, denoting a person's links with their family and cultural identity. Facial tattoos - moko kauae - are of particular importance. Men's moko tend to ..
May 30, 2018

Zhao Kangmin: The man who ‘discovered’ China’s terracotta army

Zhao Kangmin: The man who 'discovered' China's terracotta army Image copyright Getty Images When archaeologist Zhao Kangmin picked up the phone in April 1974, all he was told was that a group of farmers digging a well nearby had found some relics. Desperate for water amid a drought, the farmers had been digging about a metre down when they struck hard red earth. Underneath, they had found life-size pottery heads and several bronze arrowheads. It could be an important find, Zhao's boss said, so he should go and have a look as soon as possible. A local farmer-turned-museum curator in China's central Shaanxi province, Zhao - who died on 16 May at the age of 81 - had an inkling of what he might find. He knew figures had in the past been dug out of the earth in the area near the city of Xian, home to orchards of persimmon and pomegranate trees, and not far from the tomb of China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. A decade earlier, he had personally uncovered three..
May 30, 2018

Is India’s Congress party really running out of cash?

Is India's Congress party really running out of cash? Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The Congress' declared income is far behind that of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party India's oldest political party, the Congress - which has ruled the country for 49 of its 71 years as an independent nation - has made a public appeal for funds on Twitter, perhaps for the first time in its 133-year history. That is surprising for India's main opposition party. Founded in 1885 by elite intellectuals to challenge British colonial rule, it eventually morphed into a political movement with massive grassroots support and seemingly limitless coffers. The party's official twitter handle invited people on Thursday to make a "small contribution". The tweet received mixed reactions. Many obliged and then retweeted the appeal. But several others seemed either outraged or amused at the request. They found it hard to believe that India's "grand old party" was short of fun..
May 30, 2018

The fostered girl’s murder that shook Australia

Tiahleigh Palmer: The 12-year-old murdered by her foster father Image copyright QUEENSLAND POLICE Image caption Tiahleigh Palmer's body was discovered on a Queensland river bank in 2015 Australian schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer was 12 years old when she came home from dance class and was murdered by her foster father. Hours earlier, Rick Thorburn had learned that his teenage son, Trent, had sexually assaulted her. They feared she might be pregnant. So the Queensland man killed Tiahleigh and dumped her near-naked body on a river bank. On Friday, he was sentenced to life in prison. Justice David Boddice described the murder as "cold, calculating and callous". Thorburn's wife and two sons have already been jailed for their roles in a case which has horrified Australia. The killing also led to a review of Queensland's foster care system, and changed police alerts about vulnerable children. What happened to Tiahleigh?Tiahleigh had been in care since she was seven. She had been ..
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