June 27, 2018

Malaysia 1MDB: Seized tiaras, cash and Hermes bags ‘worth $273m’

Malaysia 1MDB: Seized tiaras, cash and Hermes bags 'worth $273m' Image copyright EPA Image caption 12,000 pieces of jewellery were seized from properties in Kuala Lumpur Malaysian police have seized a trove of jewellery, handbags and cash worth up to $273m (£206m) from properties linked to former prime minister Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor. A $1.6m gold and diamond necklace, 14 tiaras and 272 Hermes bags were taken as part of corruption investigations into state investment fund 1MDB. Billions of dollars are unaccounted for from the fund, set up by Mr Najib. He has been under investigation since his shock election loss in May. Police describe the seizure of valuables as the biggest in Malaysian history. Jewellery accounted for the biggest portion, with 12,000 items gathered - the most expensive being the $1.6m necklace. Malaysia politics: $4 sandals vs luxury Birkin bags Corruption, money and Malaysia's election A total of 567 handbags containing almost $30..
June 27, 2018

Myanmar military leaders ‘guilty of crimes against humanity’

Myanmar military leaders 'guilty of crimes against humanity' Image copyright AFP Image caption Myanmar's army is accused of a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing Amnesty International has said top officials in Myanmar's military should be tried for crimes against humanity. The rights group released what it says is detailed evidence of the military's crimes during the brutal crackdown on the Muslim Rohingya minority. Amnesty says soldiers targeted villagers in a co-ordinated campaign of rape, torture and murder. It also says the military had prepared its offensive before the attacks it has always said were the trigger. There has been no immediate reaction from the Myanmar military but it has always denied accusations of ethnic cleansing and using excessive force. What happened in Myanmar?In August 2017, Rohingya militants - the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army(Arsa) - attacked several police posts in Rakhine state. The military responded by launching a ma..
June 27, 2018

Rebel Wilson ordered to repay millions in defamation case

Rebel Wilson ordered to repay millions in defamation case Image copyright EPA Image caption Rebel Wilson won a defamation lawsuit against Bauer Media last year An Australian court has ordered actress Rebel Wilson to repay the majority of her record defamation payout from a magazine publisher. Wilson had received A$4.7m (£2.6m; $3.5m) in damages and interest from Bauer Media over articles that she said portrayed her as a serial liar. But a court reduced the sum to A$600,000 earlier this month following an appeal by the publisher. On Wednesday, Wilson was ordered to pay back A$4.1m and A$60,000 in interest. She will also have to cover 80% of what Bauer spent on its appeal. Wilson, an Australian star of Hollywood films including Pitch Perfect and Bridesmaids, has vowed to give all of her compensation to charity. In its original finding, the Supreme Court of Victoria awarded her A$650,000 in general damages and $A3.9m for film roles she had lost out on. She was later paid A$180,000 in int..
June 27, 2018

Thailand cave rescue: Troops race to reach youth football team

Thailand cave rescue: Troops race to reach youth football team Image copyright EPA Image caption Soldiers, divers and special troops are working around the clock to look for the missing group. Heavy rains are hampering efforts to reach 12 teenagers and their football coach who have been trapped in a cave in Thailand for four days. Rising water levels caused by overnight rains frustrated hundreds of rescue workers as they worked to drain water from inside the cave. Officials are now trying to find another opening into the cave, after the main entrance became inaccessible. There has been no contact with the group since Saturday. But on Tuesday, navy divers reported seeing fresh footprints inside the cave complex, raising hopes for the group's safety. Image caption The Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Thailand's Chiang Rai province runs for many kilometres underground. Image caption Thailand is susceptible to flooding during its rainy season, which runs from now until October. Th..
June 27, 2018

Is your beauty routine killing the beasts?

Palm oil: Are your beauty products killing orangutans? Image copyright EPA Does your lipstick threaten the future of one of our closest living relatives, the orangutan? Is that slobbering slice of pizza you're having in front of the World Cup on TV worth the life of a tiger? Pizza, biscuits, and beauty treatments are some of the thousands of products that contain palm oil, which threaten iconic species through deforestation. But this new study says that planting alternative oils could pose an even bigger danger to living things. Why is this story important?Palm oil has often been held up as a truly terrible blight on the environment, responsible for the clearing of tropical forests and posing huge threats to iconic species. But this report says the reality is very complex. While palm oil is only responsible for 0.4% of global deforestation it is having dramatic impacts in some locations in Indonesia and Malaysia, causing 50% in some locations. Simply banning palm wouldn't ..
June 26, 2018

Japan’s Hayabusa 2 spacecraft reaches cosmic ‘diamond’

Japan's Hayabusa 2 spacecraft reaches cosmic 'diamond' Image copyright Jaxa et al. Image caption Scientists will map Ryugu with a view to choosing the best location to sample A Japanese spacecraft has arrived at its target - an asteroid shaped like a diamond or, according to some, a spinning top. Hayabusa 2 has been travelling toward the space rock Ryugu since launching from the Tanegashima spaceport in 2014. It is on a quest to study the object close-up and deliver rocks and soil from Ryugu to Earth. It will use explosives to propel a projectile into Ryugu, digging out a fresh sample from beneath the surface. Dr Makoto Yoshikawa, Hayabusa 2's mission manager, talked about the plan now that the spacecraft had arrived at its destination. "At first, we will study very carefully the surface features. Then we will select where to touch down. Touchdown means we get the surface material," he told me. A copper projectile, or "impactor" will separate from the spacecraft, ..
June 26, 2018

Ronald dela Rosa: ‘The Rock’ behind Duterte’s drugs war

Ronald dela Rosa: 'The Rock' behind Duterte's drugs war Image copyright Getty Images Image caption General Ronald dela Rosa has had Mr Duterte's ear for many years It might have fallen away from international headlines, but state-sanctioned drug war killings continue in the Philippines. As the former chief of police tells the BBC's Howard Johnson in Manila, it's provided a cover for anyone wanting to kill with impunity. Since the Philippine government launched its all-out campaign on drugs in July 2016, it says more than 4,000 suspected drug users and dealers have died in police operations. Urged on by President Rodrigo Duterte, the police swept through predominantly poor communities targeting suspects on "drug lists" compiled by local community leaders. Nightly images of bloodied bodies splayed across roads and alleyways were broadcast around the world. Rights groups now put the number of dead at more than 12,000. They say many of the killings, includin..
June 26, 2018

Khalid Ali: British Taliban bomber guilty of Westminster plot

Khalid Ali: British Taliban bomber guilty of Westminster plot Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionKhalid Ali was arrested in Whitehall on 27 April 2017 A British plumber has been convicted of planning a terror attack in Westminster and making bombs for the Taliban. Khalid Ali, 28, was arrested on 27 April 2017 in Parliament Street, where he was caught carrying three knives. Prosecutors said Ali, from Edmonton in north London, had planned a "murderous attack" on politicians and police. In a police interview, Ali said he wanted to deliver a "message" to British authorities, but claimed the knives were for protection. An Old Bailey jury convicted him of preparing an act of terrorism in the UK and two counts of possessing an explosive substance with intent. He did not react as the verdicts were read out. Ali will be sentenced on 20 July. Plumber's terror plan foiled by fingerprintsOn 22 April last year - one month after the Westminster terror attack - Ali was..
June 26, 2018

Marree Man: The enduring mystery of a giant outback figure

Marree Man: The enduring mystery of a giant outback figure Image copyright PHIL TURNER Image caption Marree Man was etched into remote South Australia in 1998 This week marks 20 years since a helicopter pilot flying over central Australia spotted the outline of a giant man drawn into the earth. The 4.2km (2.5 miles) tall figure, on a remote plateau in South Australia, is often thought to depict an Aboriginal hunter. Dubbed Marree Man after a nearby town, it is one of the world's largest designs to be etched into the ground. But mystery surrounds who created it - and why. Earlier this week, Australian entrepreneur Dick Smith offered a $5,000 Australian dollar (£2,800; $3,700) reward for any information about the artwork's origins. "How has it been kept secret for 20 years?" he said on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Monday. 'Professionally done'Marree Man has been a subject of fascination since its discovery in the desert about 700km north of Adela..
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