November 22, 2018

India Kashmir: Fax machine fuels political crisis

India Kashmir: Fax machine fuels political crisis Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Omar Abdullah (left) and Mehbooba Mufti (right) have staked a claim to form the government together A dramatic day involving a broken fax machine and frenetic tweets, ended with the dissolution of the assembly in India's Jammu and Kashmir state. An alliance of three rival political parties unsuccessfully tried to fax the governor's office to stake a claim to form the government on Wednesday. This prompted former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti to tweet at him instead. Within an hour, the governor dissolved the assembly on the basis that the parties had "opposing ideologies". Local media quoted him as saying that it would be impossible to form "a stable government by the coming together of political parties with opposing political ideologies". Jammu and Kashmir has been under direct rule since June, when India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pulled out of an alliance with M..
November 21, 2018

South Korean pastor Lee Jae-rock jailed for raping followers

South Korean pastor Lee Jae-rock jailed for raping followers Image copyright JUNG YEON-JE Image caption Lee stood with his eyes closed as the judgement was read out A South Korean pastor has been sentenced to 15 years in jail for raping eight female followers of his mega-church. Lee Jae-rock, 75, has about 130,000 followers at the Mamin Central Church in Seoul. He denied all the charges. His victims had spoken of his "divine power" and said they felt compelled to do what he asked because "he was God". Most South Korean Christians belong to mainstream churches which can accumulate huge wealth and influence. But there are a small amount of fringe groups that engage in behaviour more associated with cults including coercion, brainwashing and fraud. Lee's church is regarded as a splinter cult by some mainstream Christian organisations. 'I lost my entire family to a cult'Lee set up the Mamin Central Church in 1982 with only 12 followers. It has now grown to what is known as..
November 21, 2018

Giant dust storm sweeps Australia

Australia dust storm: Health warning as skies change colour Image copyright MATT WHITLUM Image caption The outback town of Broken Hill was hit by the dust storm on Wednesday A giant dust storm has blanketed communities across south-east Australia, turning skies orange and raising concerns about air quality. Authorities issued a public health alert for Sydney on Thursday as the 500km-wide (310 miles) dust band began to reach the city. Many regions elsewhere in New South Wales (NSW) have had poor visibility. Authorities said the storm has been driven by strong winds picking up dry soil. The problem has been exacerbated by a drought that has affected the entire state of NSW since August, according to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology. Image copyright MATT WHITLUM Image caption The dust storm has already affected many regions of New South Wales Health officials have urged locals to stay indoors, particularly children, older people and those with respiratory problems. One resident in..
November 21, 2018

Why an Indian village is losing sleep over the humble nightie

Why an Indian village is losing sleep over the humble nightie Image copyright Priya Kuriyan A committee of village elders in southern India has banned women from wearing nighties during the day. As the name suggests, nighties, sometimes also called maxis here, are loose, shapeless garments which were originally meant to be sleep wear. But over the years, they have become a favourite daytime dress for millions of women, especially housewives, across Indian cities, towns and even villages. Four months ago, a nine-member council in the village of Tokalapalli in Andhra Pradesh state, surprisingly headed by a woman, ordered that girls and women must not wear nighties from 7am to 7pm and those who did would have to pay a fine of 2,000 rupees ($28; £22). Those who snitched on anyone breaching the ban were promised a cash reward of 1,000 rupees. The order is being strictly followed by the villagers and, so far, there have been no reports of anyone being penalised. Village elder Balle Vishnu ..
November 21, 2018

The farmer in Thailand who became friends with a buffalo

The farmer in Thailand who became friends with a buffalo Image copyright Facebook/สุรัตน์ แผ้วเกตุ Image caption Whoever said only dogs could be man's best friend? It's not every day that you come across a man and his BFF - buffalo friend forever. Thai farmer Surat Paewkate was never expecting to form a bond with buffalo Thong Kham when he first became his caretaker. The 34-year-old was paid to take care of the buffalo - but it slowly developed into a friendship. "Thong Kham is so sweet and canny," he told BBC Thailand. "He loves to walk in my paddy field with me on his back." So it was only natural that he started to post selfies of himself with his beloved buffalo. His photos quickly went viral, turning him and Thong Kham into instant internet celebrities in Thailand. But the story took another turn when Mr Surat revealed that Thong Kham would soon be sold to another owner. Image copyright Facebook/สุรัตน์ แผ้วเกตุ Image caption Thong Kham appeared to put on a smile-lik..
November 21, 2018

Sri Lanka mass graves: 230 skeletons found at country’s largest site

Sri Lanka mass graves: 230 skeletons found at country's largest site Image caption Who the victims are or which side killed them remains unknown Sri Lankan experts say a mass grave found earlier this year in the north-western town of Mannar has turned out to be the country's biggest such site. More than 230 skeletons have now been found at the grave in the former war zone, up from about 90 in August. Human rights groups say at least 20,000 people disappeared during Sri Lanka's long civil war which ended in 2009. The 26-year war between troops and separatist Tamil rebels left at least 100,000 people dead. A court ordered detailed excavations at the site - a former co-operative depot near the main bus terminus - after human remains were found by workers digging foundations for a new building earlier this year. It is still not clear who the victims were or how they died. "We have excavated more than 230 skeletons so far," said Professor Raj Somadeva, a forensic archaeolog..
November 21, 2018

Indian groom gets shot on wedding day and still marries

Indian groom gets shot on wedding day and still marries Image copyright MONEY SHARMA/AFP/Getty Image caption Indian wedding processions like this one often involve horse-drawn carriages and brass bands An Indian groom made his vows despite being shot on the way to his wedding in Delhi, police said on Wednesday. After a few hours of surgery, the 25-year-old returned to his bride-to-be and completed the ceremony with a bullet still lodged in his shoulder. Police are now looking for two suspects who opened fire on the groom's wedding procession on Monday evening. This is not the first instance of shots fired at an Indian wedding. Grooms were killed in April this year, and in 2016. Witnesses say the gunmen in Monday's attack arrived on a motorbike prior to the attack at about 21:00 local time (15:30 GMT) and fled in the ensuing chaos. Why attending an Indian wedding can be dangerous Newlyweds die in air crash leaving wedding Groom killed after wedding gift explodes Police said..
November 21, 2018

Tory slap Chinese TV reporter case dropped

Tory slap Chinese TV reporter case dropped Image copyright CCTV-13 Image caption Ms Kong is a London-based reporter for China's state broadcaster A Chinese TV reporter charged with slapping a delegate at the Tory party conference has had the case against her dropped. Linlin Kong, 48, was arrested at the Conservatives' annual gathering in Birmingham in September. She reportedly slapped the man at a discussion about political freedoms in Hong Kong, and was due to appear in court on a common assault charge. However, prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence to convict her. Ms Kong, a London-based correspondent for official state broadcaster CCTV, had been due to appear at Birmingham Magistrates' Court. A Crown Prosecution Service spokeswoman said: "This case was originally charged by the police. "The CPS subsequently reviewed the available evidence and determined it was insufficient to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and therefore discontinued the case...
November 21, 2018

US man ‘killed in India by endangered Andamans tribe’

US man 'killed in India by endangered Andamans tribe' Image copyright Indian coastguard/Survival International Image caption The Sentinelese have always resisted outside contact An American national has allegedly been killed by an endangered tribe in India's Andaman and Nicobar islands. Seven fishermen, who illegally ferried the man to North Sentinel island, home to the isolated Sentinelese tribe, have been arrested, police say. Access to the island is heavily restricted and contact with the tribes is not allowed. The Sentinelese, numbering fewer than 50 in all, have always attacked those approaching the islands. Local media have reported that the US national was a missionary who wanted to meet the tribe to preach Christianity to them. He has been identified as John Allen Chau. "Police said Chau had previously visited the North Sentinel island about four or five times with the help of local fishermen," senior journalist Subir Bhowmik told BBC Hindi. "The number of peop..
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