May 30, 2018

The story of Pakistan’s ‘disappeared’ Shias

The story of Pakistan's 'disappeared' Shias Image caption Naeem Haider has been missing since 16 November 2016 CCTV images from a local mosque show 30-year-old Naeem Haider being led away in handcuffs by more than a dozen armed men. Some have their faces covered with masks, others are in police uniform. It was the night of 16 November 2016. Mr Haider has not been seen since. Despite the CCTV video evidence both the police and intelligence services have denied in court that he is in their custody. Mr Haider is one of 140 Pakistani Shias to have "disappeared" over the past two years, according to community activists. Their families believe they were taken into custody by the intelligence services. Over 25 of the missing, including Mr Haider, belong to Pakistan's largest city Karachi. Mr Haider's family say he had returned to the port city from pilgrimage in Karbala, Iraq, with his pregnant wife just two days before he was detained. Uzma Haider has since given ..
May 30, 2018

Top North Korea official to meet Pompeo in New York

Top North Korea official to meet Pompeo in New York Image copyright Reuters Image caption Kim Yong-chol, left, arrived at his New York hotel ahead of meeting Mike Pompeo The right-hand man to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has arrived in New York to discuss a historic summit with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Gen Kim Yong-chol flew in from the Chinese capital Beijing on an Air China flight. He is the most senior North Korean to visit the US in nearly 20 years. President Donald Trump previously cancelled the 12 June summit but both sides have since made fresh efforts to hold it as planned. Scheduled to happen in Singapore, the historic meeting would be the first between sitting US and North Korean leaders. Mr Pompeo plans to dine with Gen Kim ahead of talks on Thursday. Kim Jong-un's right hand man Controversial Olympics delegate What does Kim Jong-un really want? US officials have also met North Korean envoys in Panmunjom on the inter-Korean border, while more US diploma..
May 30, 2018

Japanese whale hunters kill 122 pregnant minke

Japanese whale hunters kill 122 pregnant minke Image copyright AFP Image caption Activists have called Japan's programme "an illegal whale hunt" Japanese hunters caught and killed 122 pregnant minke whales as part of its Antarctic summer "field survey". A report sent to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) reveals hunters caught 333 minkes in total. The team left Japan in November 2017 for the Southern Ocean and returned in March 2018. Japan says its whaling programme is for scientific purposes, despite a 2014 UN ruling against its "lethal research" and widespread condemnation. In a new research plan published after the UN ruling, Japan said it was "scientifically imperative" to understand Antarctica's ecosystem through collecting and analysing animals. Japan to resume whaling in Antarctic Why Japan keeps on whaling Is Japan losing the taste for whale meat? How many whales did Japan catch?The country's New Scientific Whale Research Program in the Antarctic Ocean (..
May 30, 2018

Pokemon reveals four new games for Nintendo Switch

Pokemon reveals four new games for Nintendo Switch Image copyright The Pokemon Company Pokemon has brought its popular role-playing video game series to Nintendo Switch for the first time with the launch of Pokemon Quest. Two more Switch titles are set for an autumn release, with another due to come out in 2019. A games expert said they are likely to "broaden the appeal" of the device. The Switch is a hybrid gaming console which can be used in connection with a TV or smart tablet, or as a stand-alone portable device. Pokemon reinvents itself with new gamesAlthough Switch's worldwide sales have been strong so far, the new games are widely seen as a way to continue that momentum and avoid the fate of the console's predecessor, the Wii U. That console was discontinued in 2017 after a five-year run, following what many considered to be a fatal dry spell of new games in its second year on the market. Image copyright The Pokemon Company Image caption Let's Go, Pikachu! ..
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..
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