June 22, 2018

North Korean propaganda changes its tune

North Korean propaganda changes its tune Image copyright DPRKToday Image caption This poster calls for an easing of tension to counter "the danger of war" Over the past few months, it seems, North Korea's propaganda has been changing its tune. Banners and posters displayed across the capital and other towns have typically featured the US as a brutal imperialist aggressor and South Korea or Japan as Washington's willing allies. But visitors to the country say they've seen those posters replaced by propaganda pushing economic progress and the inter-Korean rapprochement. Leading newspapers in the tightly controlled country have also seen a shift in tone, a sign the country is starting to reflect its recent diplomatic thaw to the people. US no longer an enemy?The vast majority of North Koreans have very little access to information, so state media and propaganda have a far greater impact than elsewhere in the world. With the US traditionally depicted as the main enemy, ..
June 22, 2018

Why does India’s air look different from space?

Why does India's air look different from space? Image copyright COPERNICUS SENTINEL DATA 2018/BIRA-IASB/DLR Image caption Formaldehyde as measured by S5P-Tropomi: The map contains four months of observations up to April this year There is something very distinct about the air over India and the surrounding countries in South Asia. It is the presence of formaldehyde - a colourless gas that is naturally released by vegetation but also from a number of polluting activities. The elevated concentrations have been observed by Europe's new Sentinel-5P satellite, which was launched last October to track air quality worldwide. It is information that will inform policies to clean up the atmosphere. Tracking ships' dirty fumes from orbit Sentinel tracks California smoke plume New Sentinel satellite tracks dirty air Compared to the major constituents like nitrogen and oxygen, the formaldehyde signal is actually very small; in every billion air molecules just a few will be CH₂O...
June 22, 2018

Is racism worsening Australia’s China influence row?

Is racism worsening Australia's China influence row? Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionIs China trying to influence Australian politics? In recent months, Australia has been struggling with a vexing issue - how to stand up for its values and deal with China's increasing influence. Australia has been moving to address the issue on various levels, from its politics to its economy and its universities. But hand-in-hand comes another question: how can this be done - and discussed - without inflaming China, its biggest economic support, and Chinese Australians? Is the "China influence" debate at risk of becoming racist? The scrutiny explained"It almost feels like a lynch mob has been sent to question each and every one of us Chinese Australians about our loyalties," Erin Chew, co-founder of lobby group Asian Australia Alliance, told the BBC. The question of whether China is exerting too much influence over Australia reached a peak last year when Canberra..
June 22, 2018

Chinese park grants free entry to heavier women

Chinese park grants free entry to heavier women Image copyright BTIME Image caption Women had to sit in a large weighing scale if they wanted free entry to the park A theme park in northern China offered free entry tickets this week to women if they weighed over nine and a half stone (61.8kg), it's reported. According to the China Daily newspaper, the Tang Paradise park in the northern city of Xi'an granted hundreds of women free entry from 15-19 June if they were heavier than a Tang Dynasty imperial concubine. It says that the Tang Dynasty-themed park had chosen 61.8kg as this was the approximate weight of Yang Guifei, an eighth century consort and one of China's "four great beauties". The promotion highlighted that being "slightly overweight" was a beauty standard during the ancient dynasty (618-907 AD). Female visitors tested whether they were eligible for a free ticket by sitting in a giant weighing scale, and those who were heavier were also entered into a compet..
June 22, 2018

What does it take to relocate a 195kg tiger in India?

What does it take to relocate a 195kg tiger in India? A male tiger weighing 195kg (420lb) was relocated from the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh to a sanctuary in the eastern state of Orissa 600km (410 miles) away. The massive operation involved numerous forest officers, wildlife veterinarians - and five elephants. The three-year-old tiger, known to forest officials as MB2, lived in Kanha National Park, a vast bird sanctuary and tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh. On 20 June MB2 became the first tiger to be relocated for this project. It was also the first time such an operation had been carried out in India, the forest department said in a statement. MB2 is one of five male tigers identified for relocation to the Satkosia reserve in Orissa as part of a campaign to increase the region's tiger population. Image caption MB2 is the first tiger to be relocated under a new project to increase the big cat population in Orissa "Hopefully, this tiger will fulfil the objective of t..
June 22, 2018

North and South Korea agree to resume rare family reunions

North and South Korea agree to resume rare family reunions Image copyright AFP Image caption A daughter whispers to her father during a brief reunion in 2015 North and South Korea have agreed to resume reunions for families who were separated when the Korean War sealed the border between two nations. Millions were separated from loved ones by the 1950-1953 conflict, with many dying before they could be reunited. The reunion, to be held in August, will be the first since October 2015, and comes amid a thaw in diplomatic relations on the Korean peninsula. The resumption of the events was agreed at an April summit between the Koreas. Officials from North and South then met on Friday at Mount Kumgang resort in the North and set a date for late August. "The reunion will be held from August 20 to 26, and 100 participants will be selected from each side," said a joint statement. The lucky few are just a fraction of the 57,000 people registered with the South Korean Red Cross who are separate..
June 22, 2018

Japan: Cannabis plants found growing near MPs’ offices

Japan: Cannabis plants found growing near MPs' offices Image copyright PA Cannabis plants have been found growing in the grounds of a Japanese parliamentary building in Tokyo. The country has a strict no-tolerance policy towards drugs and possession of even a small amount of cannabis carries a jail term of up to five years. The four plants were removed after they were discovered by a visitor. It's not clear how they got there. A parliamentary official said cannabis seeds could be carried by the wind or in bird droppings. The building contains offices used by members of the upper house. You may also like: Japan fans tidy up World Cup stadium Booze smuggled in binoculars at World Cup Canada legalises recreational cannabis use "After we reported it to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, two Tokyo officials visited," the parliamentary official told AFP news agency. "They said the plants looked to be about two months old." There will be a follow-up visit to ensure the plants wer..
June 22, 2018

India police ‘sorry’ for lynching photo

India police 'sorry' for lynching photo Image caption Police apologised after this picture went viral on social media Police in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh have apologised after a photograph of a lynched man being dragged by a crowd in the presence of three officers caused outrage. The victim, identified as Kasim, died soon after the picture was taken, while on the way to hospital. Police say he was beaten up after a "minor tiff" over a motorcycle accident. They deny he was attacked over reports of cow slaughter. The state police tweeted the apology. Image Copyright @Uppolice @Uppolice Report Image Copyright @Uppolice @Uppolice Report Speaking to the BBC, the chief spokesperson of the state police, Rahul Srivastava, said the pictures were "misleading" and the "policemen did not support lynching". "The picture shows that man is being dragged and the policemen are doing nothing about it, but that's not true - the mob just wanted to continue attacking the ..
June 22, 2018

India activists performing street play abducted and raped

India activists performing street play abducted and raped Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Jharkhand has been in the spotlight after three teenagers were raped and burnt alive Five Indian anti-trafficking activists performing a street play were gang raped at gunpoint in the eastern state of Jharkhand, police have confirmed. The women were forced into cars and raped in a "secluded area", police told BBC Hindi. Police say they are investigating the incident but have not made any arrests. The survivors were working with a non-governmental organisation (NGO) to raise awareness about human trafficking in the remote Khunti district. "After performing, they headed towards a local mission school. Around the same time, some armed people reached the school. They abducted five girls from their team and took them to a jungle and raped them," senior police official AV Homkar told BBC Hindi's Niraj Sinha. "We have dedicated three teams of police to interrogate several people," he ad..
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