June 13, 2018

India chess player quits Iran tournament over headscarf rule

India chess player quits Iran tournament over headscarf rule Image copyright Soumya Swaminathan Indian chess champion Soumya Swaminathan has pulled out of an Asian tournament in Iran over the country's compulsory headscarf rule. The 29-year-old Woman Grandmaster said the rule was a violation of her personal rights. "Under the present circumstances, the only way for me to protect my rights is not to go to Iran," she wrote in a Facebook post, which went viral. The Asian Chess Championship will take place in Iran next month. Ms Swaminathan, who is ranked No 5 in India, told local media that the tournament was originally supposed to be held in Bangladesh. "But once the new dates and new venue came up, I excused myself," she said. When asked if the All India Chess Federation (AICF) should have protested against the decision to shift location, she told the Times of India: "I can't expect everyone to be of the same opinion as me. It's a subjective issue." But in her Facebook p..
June 13, 2018

Coming of age: Why adults in Japan are getting younger

Coming of age: Why adults in Japan are getting younger Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Japan's teenagers will get to do some new things - but not others Adulthood is about to come a lot earlier in life for many in Japan. The government has enacted a bill lowering the age of adulthood from 20 to 18, which will affect millions across the country when it takes effect in 2022. It's the first time the age of adulthood has been changed since it was set in 1876. What will 18-year-olds be allowed to do?The biggest change is they will be able to get married without parental consent. Currently, males over the age of 18 and females 16 and over can marry - but only with the say-so of their parents. Otherwise you need to be 20. But the revised Civil Code raises the age at which women can get married and means all 18-year-olds will be able to wed without parental consent. They'll also be able to apply for credit cards and make loans without parental approval and, if the..
June 13, 2018

What are the US-South Korea war games?

What are the US-South Korea war games? Image copyright Getty Images Image caption US and South Korean troops practice a beach landing Joint military exercises between US and South Korean troops have long angered Pyongyang. US President Donald Trump says he has now agreed with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to cancel them. Since the end of the Korean war, when Washington fought alongside Seoul against the North, the US has had troops stationed in South Korea. About 29,000 US soldiers are based in the South, under a security agreement reached after the war ended in 1953. Each year, the two countries conduct military drills, often called war games. Washington has described the drills as defensive in nature, but Pyongyang says they are a rehearsal for invasion and has long called for them to end. 'Gasoline on fire'There are usually two sets of exercises every year, in spring and autumn, involving a massive number of troops and military hardware. Both involve land, sea and ai..
June 13, 2018

Trump Kim summit: North Korean media celebrates meeting

Trump Kim summit: North Korean media celebrates meeting Image copyright Rodong Sinmun North Korea has celebrated the Trump-Kim summit as a great win for the country, with state media reporting that the US intends to lift sanctions. The two leaders met on Tuesday, signing a brief declaration on denuclearisation and reducing tensions. President Donald Trump said afterwards that sanctions would remain in place for now, but would be lifted once "nukes are no longer a factor". He also announced an unexpected end to US-South Korea military drills. The move - long demanded by Pyongyang - has been seen as major concession to North Korea and appeared to take US allies in the region by surprise. The Pentagon has since sought to reassure its allies of its "ironclad" security commitments. 'Meeting of the century'North Korea's media is tightly controlled by the government and only ever reports positively on officials' activities. It rarely reports on leader Kim Jong-un'..
June 13, 2018

Australia sexual abuse: PM accepts landmark inquiry proposals

Australia sexual abuse: PM accepts landmark inquiry proposals Image copyright ROYAL COMMISSION INTO CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE Image caption Messages from survivors were published by the inquiry last year The Australian government has accepted nearly all of the recommendations from a landmark inquiry into child sexual abuse. The five-year inquiry found tens of thousands of children had suffered abuse in Australian institutions. PM Malcolm Turnbull said that his government would act on 104 of 122 official recommendations. The remaining 18 had not been ruled out, he added. He said he would deliver a national apology on 22 October. "The survivors have told their stories and we must honour them," he told reporters on Wednesday. "Ensure that out of their suffering, out of that abuse, comes lasting reform so what they suffered - the wrongs that were inflicted on them - can never happen again." The royal commission inquiry, which concluded in December, heard more than 8,000 testimonies about abuse i..
June 13, 2018

‘Triumph of faith over reality’

Trump-Kim summit: Deciphering what happened in Singapore Image copyright KEVIN LIM/THE STRAITS TIMES/HANDOUT Donald Trump arrived in Singapore promising to make history. That he did by shaking Kim Jong-un's hand for the world's cameras - becoming the first sitting US leader to meet his North Korean counterpart. But what have they really achieved, what are the implications and what might happen next? We asked four experts for their take. 'A vague document but Kim might have made unwritten promises'Andrea Berger, senior research associate, James Martin Center for Non-proliferation Studies Kim Jong-un departed Singapore without putting his signature next to any more detailed or ambitious nuclear-related provisions. The language in the Singapore declaration mirrors previous agreements, and is in places even more vague. In that sense, the joint document is a present that has been elaborately wrapped and re-gifted. But it may be the thought that counts. The meeting in Si..
June 13, 2018

Australia cements Solomon Islands deal amid China influence debate

Australia cements Solomon Islands deal amid China influence debate Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Solomon Islands PM Rick Houenipwela says Australia raised "concerns" about a previous deal Australia has formally agreed to a deal to help build a 4,000km (2,500 mile) internet cable to the Solomon Islands. The Solomon Islands, a small Pacific nation, had originally given the contract to Chinese company Huawei. Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela has said the decision followed "concerns raised by Australia", which neither nation has elaborated upon. Analysts say Canberra is concerned about China's influence in the region, a subject of recent Australian debate. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Wednesday: "As we step up our engagement in the Pacific, we are working as partners with Solomon Islands more closely than ever to ensure stability, security and prosperity in the region." Australia is expected to commit about A$100m (£56m;$75m) of its foreign aid bud..
June 12, 2018

China’s telco giant ZTE sees shares collapse 39%

China's telco giant ZTE sees shares collapse 39% Image copyright Reuters Shares in Chinese technology company ZTE plummeted 39% in Hong Kong as trading in the firm resumed after a two-month suspension. In April, the US Commerce Department found ZTE had violated trade bans with North Korea and Iran. A ban was placed on the firm that prevented it from buying parts from US suppliers. The ban forced ZTE to suspend major operations, and trading in its shares in were halted on 17 April. Last week, the US reached a deal with the Chinese technology giant that would remove the ban. The deal will involve ZTE paying a $1bn penalty and hiring a US-approved compliance team. It will also have to replace its management board. ZTE, which is based in Shenzhen, is China's second biggest telecoms maker. It depends on US-made components for the production of handsets. In Shenzhen, the firm's shares were down 10% in early trade, which is the maximum allowed on the mainland. The share fa..
June 12, 2018

Trump-Kim summit: The hidden messages in their gestures

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