June 25, 2018

Plastic garbage patch: Medical tests ‘inspired me to investigate’

Plastic garbage patch: Medical tests 'inspired me to investigate' Image copyright Emily Penn Image caption Emily Penn is concerned about the effects of plastic on human health Experienced sailor Emily Penn has set out with an all-female crew to investigate the world's largest accumulation of marine plastic. Her team will carry out scientific experiments on the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch", now said to be three times the size of France. Ms Penn said her own medical tests had convinced her of the potential toxic impacts of plastic, especially for women. Data will be shared with universities. Why is this story important?In March this year, scientists published their latest estimate of the size of what's officially termed the North Pacific Gyre - this moving mess of plastic is better known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and is formed by winds and ocean currents that swirl the material around, in the same way that water spirals down a drain. The study concluded t..
June 25, 2018

Tourists banned from Malaysia mosque after provocative dance

Tourists banned from Malaysia mosque after provocative dance Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The Kota Kinabalu mosque in Borneo is famous for its dome and minarets A mosque in Malaysia has banned tourists from visiting after a video of two women dancing in front of the site was shared online. The two women, who were wearing shorts and with bare midriffs, were filmed dancing on a wall in front of the Kota Kinabalu City Mosque on Borneo island. Authorities are trying to identify the pair, who have been described as foreigners of east Asian appearance. Footage of the incident has been viewed around 270,000 times on Facebook. Buddha tattoos and e-cigs: Things that get you arrested abroadAn official from Sabah state's tourism ministry said the video showed a "lack of respect to our Muslim worshippers as well as the hospitality extended" to the visitors. Image copyright Saba Info Image caption A local official said the incident showed a "lack of respect" On Sunday, the mosqu..
June 25, 2018

Chinese villagers give up coffins in funeral reform

Chinese villagers give up coffins in funeral reform Image copyright Beijing News Image caption Thousands of coffins have been destroyed in southern Jiangxi province A controversial campaign for Chinese villagers to give up their coffins in favour of environmentally friendly cremations is raising eyebrows in China. Influential news website The Paper highlighted on 23 June that more than 5,000 residents in south-east Jiangxi province gave up coffins over the weekend, with some reports saying that many were "forcibly" made to do so. Media are sharing pictures of wooden coffins piled up onto carts, or being transported down from high buildings for removal in the city of Gao'an. China is attempting to change public perceptions about traditionally favoured burials, and encourage cremations, in order to tackle its land resource problem. Traditionally, Chinese people believe that burial is "the proper way to handle a dead body", the official Xinhua News Agency says. Chinese people in..
June 25, 2018

Phillip Hancock: Rare foreign organ donor praised in China

Phillip Hancock: Rare foreign organ donor praised in China Image copyright PETER HANCOCK Image caption Phillip Hancock is the first foreigner to be an organ donor in Chongqing Phillip Hancock had been working as an English teacher in China when he unexpectedly fell ill and died last month. The posthumous gift of the Australian's organs has been lauded in China, a nation with few foreign donors, and changed five lives. Mr Hancock, 27, died from complications related to type 1 diabetes in the city of Chongqing on 9 May. According to the Red Cross Society of China, he became Chongqing's first foreign organ donor and only the seventh in the nation's history. Mr Hancock's liver and kidneys were used in three life-saving operations. His corneas helped two people to see again. Organ donation remains uncommon in China, which has one of the lowest donor rates in the world. Mr Hancock's gift struck a chord with many Chinese on social media, with some calling him a "her..
June 25, 2018

Authorities search for football team trapped in Thai cave

Authorities search for football team trapped in Thai cave Image copyright MAE SAI PROVINCIAL POLICE STATION/Facebook Image caption Rescue efforts are underway in Thailand's northern Chiang Rai province Rescue divers are searching for 12 members of a youth football team thought to be trapped in a cave in northern Thailand. Authorities believe the boys, aged between 11 and 16, and their coach entered the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai province on Saturday. The group were apparently trapped after heavy rains flooded a stream at the cave's entrance, according to reports. The cave is a tourist attraction which runs for many kilometres underground. According to the Bangkok Post newspaper, visitors must cross a small stream to enter Tham Luang Nang Non, making it inaccessible if the stream floods. Police Colonel Komsan Saardluan told news agency AP the cave can flood up to 5m (16ft) during Thailand's rainy season, which runs from June to October. Image copyright MA..
June 24, 2018

How Amazon and Netflix are changing comedy in India

How Amazon and Netflix are changing comedy in India Image copyright Amazon Prime Video Image caption Kanan Gill is one of India's best known stand-up comics Standing on a stage facing an amused audience, Indian stand-up comic Kanan Gill recounts his experience of going for "handwriting analysis". "The guy looked at my handwriting and said, 'Sir, you are very gullible,'" he says. "I was like, 'How do you know that?'" "And he's like, 'Because you came here.'" The audience howls with laughter. This is a clip from Mr Gill's hour-long Amazon Prime special, Keep It Real, which was released in 2017. Mr Gill is one of several Indian comedians who have made shows for international streaming sites. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video launched in India in 2016 and almost immediately started tapping into the country's stand-up comedy talent. Image copyright Zakir Khan Image caption Zakir Khan, 30, started out as a stand-up comic on YouTube Comedy wa..
June 24, 2018

The forgotten Burmese heroes of World War Two

Searching for Burma's forgotten World War Two heroes Image caption Saw Berny was one of tens of thousands from all over Burma who volunteered to fight for Britain against the Japanese The soldiers who fought for Britain in Burma (now Myanmar) in World War Two have often been called the Forgotten Army, but the Burmese who formed part of this army were truly forgotten by the UK in the decades after the war. For the last 11 years, reports film-maker Alex Bescoby, a group of British volunteers has been struggling to find survivors and to help them in the final years of their lives. The year is 1944, and darkness is falling over the thick jungle of Burma's eastern hills. Under the dripping canopy, a young Karen man holds his breath as he carefully conceals a landmine in the undergrowth beside a jungle track. He scrambles up the steep hillside, uncoiling wire as he goes. At the top of the hill, he removes the fuse from a hand-grenade and connects it to the wire. He settles into pos..
June 23, 2018

Trump says North Korea still ‘extraordinary threat’

Trump says North Korea still 'extraordinary threat' Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionWhy do North Koreans revere a mountain? US President Donald Trump has renewed sanctions on North Korea, citing an "extraordinary threat" from its nuclear weapons - just 10 days after saying there was no risk from Pyongyang. "There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea," he tweeted on 13 June, a day after meeting the country's leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore. The move came as the US and South Korea cancelled two more training exercises. The Pentagon said the goal was to support diplomatic negotiations. It follows the decision earlier this week to suspend a major joint military exercise between the US and South Korea that had been planned for August. President Trump promised to end the annual "war games" between the allies in an unexpected concession at his summit with Mr Kim, calling them "provocative" and "expensive". That came as a shock to many, as t..
June 22, 2018

The Kashmiri art bringing Hindus and Muslims together

The Kashmiri art bringing Hindus and Muslims together Image caption A unique art exhibition in Kashmir showcased work from Hindu and Muslim communities An art exhibition bringing together Hindu artists - who had to flee Indian-administered Kashmir - with their Muslim counterparts has struck an emotional chord with locals, reports Sameer Yasir. Avtar Krishan Raina, a Kashmiri Hindu or Pandit, has returned to the home he fled for the first time since he left in 1990 in order to participate in a unique exhibition that has brought artists and sculptors from his community together with Muslim artists. Mr Raina is one of an estimated 200,000 people in his community who were forced to leave the state in the early 1990s under threat from Muslim militants who had initiated a violent insurgency against Indian rule in the region. One day, he says, he came home to find that separatist militants had stuck a poster outside his home. It demanded that he poison his dog, which barked whenever they wer..
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