May 16, 2018

Malaysia’s political drama is worthy of Shakespeare

Malaysia's political drama is worthy of Shakespeare Image copyright Reuters Image caption All smiles now - but today's posters hide a story of betrayal and restitution The release of Anwar Ibrahim is an important step in a new beginning for Malaysia, building on the stunning electoral victory that ousted the ruling party on 9 May. It's also a test of loyalty between two men with a long rivalry, one of whom was the other's jailor, writes Bridget Welsh. The story of the relationship between just-elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim is so full of drama it would be fitting for Shakespeare - loyalty, betrayal, tragedy and irony meld together in a narrative for the ages. Dr Mahathir, now 92, first put Anwar in prison on corruption and sodomy charges in politically charged circumstances in 1999. But he has now come out of retirement, won a second stint as prime minister - and provided the key to his former deputy's release nearly two decades late..
May 16, 2018

Malaysia’s Najib Razak has home searched by police

Malaysia's Najib Razak has home searched by police Image copyright Reuters Image caption The crowded scene outside Najib Razak's house on Wednesday night Malaysian police have searched the home of ex-Prime Minister Najib Razak, one week after he lost the national election. Multiple police vehicles were seen circulating in front of his house after night fall, according to local media. The new prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, previously said he was looking into re-opening corruption investigations against his former ally. Mr Najib denies any wrongdoing. He was put under a travel ban at the weekend. He had attempted to leave the country to go on holiday with his wife on Saturday. Police confirmed the search of his property, but did not give any further details, the New Straits Times newspaper reported. Mr Najib has long been dogged by corruption allegations related to a state fund he founded. In 2015, he was accused of diverting $700m (£517m) from the fund, but he was cl..
May 16, 2018

India Andhra Pradesh boat capsize: Several feared drowned

India Andhra Pradesh boat capsize: Several feared drowned Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The accident happened on the Godavari river on Tuesday evening At least 15 people are missing after a boat capsized in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Reports say some 25 people were on board the vessel, many of them on their way back home from a weekly market. The accident happened on the Godavari river on Tuesday evening. What caused the boat to capsize is unclear. Officials say 10 passengers swam ashore. Rescue agencies, led by a federal disaster relief agency, are searching for bodies in the river. None of the passengers were wearing lifejackets although they were available on the boat, police told BBC Telugu's Sangeetham Prabhakar. They added that the boat was a private, licensed vessel and the owner, who had also been operating the boat, is now in police custody. A senior police official told The Indian Express newspaper that the medium-sized boat was "ferrying ..
May 16, 2018

Indonesia violence: Samurai sword-armed men target police station

Indonesia violence: Samurai sword-armed men target police station Image copyright AFP Image caption The attack on a Sumatran police station comes after suicide bombings shocked the country in recent days. Four men who attacked a police station with samurai swords in Indonesia have been shot dead, authorities say. The group began the assault by ramming a car into the police headquarters in the Sumatran town of Riau. A police officer was killed and one of the assailants arrested. The Islamic State (IS) group has claimed the attack via its news outlet. It comes after a series of suicide attacks carried out by families that have shocked the country. Police blame a local IS-inspired group, Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), for the attacks. Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim-majority country. Following the 2002 Bali bombings, it had been widely praised for its sustained anti-terrorism crackdown. Parents who bring their children to die Why is Indonesia a target for IS militants..
May 16, 2018

Disappearing Tarn: Tasmanian lake’s return delights visitors

Disappearing Tarn: Tasmanian lake's return delights visitors Image copyright JAMES SPENCER Image caption The Disappearing Tarn fills with water only after heavy rain A lake known as the Disappearing Tarn has delighted hikers and photographers on a mountain in Australia after filling with a rare volume of water. The normally dry lake on Mt Wellington in Tasmania is not easily seen. It was once described by a local newspaper as part of state "bushwalking folklore". Heavy rain on Friday prompted it to swell with clear, blue-green water. The site typically fills with water about once or twice a year following rain or snow, locals say. "The pictures I've seen in the last two days show it at the fullest I've ever seen it," Wellington Park ranger Ben Masterman told the BBC. "It's not a filter - it's actually that colour - that remarkable blue that becomes more intense and sapphire and more mesmerising the deeper the water gets." He said that the lake forms in a "boul..
May 16, 2018

Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim freed from jail after Mahathir election win

Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim freed from jail after Mahathir election win Image copyright Reuters Image caption Anwar Ibrahim was greeted by his supporters Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim has been freed from jail, paving the way for his return to politics. Once seen as a potential future leader, he had been jailed on charges of sodomy and corruption after falling out with the government. Malaysia's new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad sought a pardon for Mr Anwar, which was granted on Wednesday morning. Mr Mahathir has promised to step aside for Mr Anwar to become prime minister within two years. The politician was jailed for a second time three years ago on what he said were trumped-up sodomy charges. For years he had been heading Malaysia's opposition movement, which has just defeated the former ruling party for the first time in the country's history. Last week's shock election victory followed a reconciliation between Mr Anwar and Mr Mahathir, who sacked an..
May 15, 2018

N Korea threatens to cancel Trump summit

N Korea threatens to cancel Trump summit Image copyright EPA Image caption The two leaders are due to meet in Singapore on 12 June North Korea has said it may reconsider attending a summit with US President Donald Trump if the US insists it gives up its nuclear weapons. The highly anticipated meeting between Mr Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong-un is due to take place on 12 June. It came about because North Korea said it would be prepared to give up its nuclear weapons programme. But on Wednesday, it withdrew from talks with South Korea, angered by its joint military drills with the US. North Korea's state media on Wednesday quoted Vice-Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan as saying that if the US "corners us and unilaterally demands we give up nuclear weapons we will no longer have an interest in talks and will have to reconsider whether we will accept the upcoming DPRK-US summit". North Korea crisis in 300 words Will historic Koreas summit lead to peace? Democratic People's R..
May 15, 2018

Japan’s economy shrinks for first time in two years

Japan's economy shrinks for first time in two years Image copyright AFP Image caption Private consumption accounts for about 60% of Japan's economy. Japan's economy shrank in the first quarter of 2018 for the first time in two years, ending the longest stretch of economic growth since the 1980s. The world's third largest economy contracted at an annualised rate of 0.6%, official data showed. Expectations were for an annualised contraction of 0.2%. Private consumption and capital expenditure slowed during the January to March quarter, which analysts said dragged down the economy. Private consumption accounts for about 60% of Japan's economic activity. Annualised growth rates represent the growth if the quarter-on-previous-quarter rate of change were maintained for a full year. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, the economy shrank 0.2% compared with growth of 0.1% at the end of 2017. Analysts said they expected to see a recovery in the current quarter of 2018 and ..
May 15, 2018

Would you pay your ex a ‘break-up fee’?

Would you pay your ex a 'break-up fee'? Image copyright Getty Images Earlier this month, police in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou responded to a call after bar staff reported finding a suspicious suitcase. It contained two million yuan in cash ($314,204; £233,323) - an extraordinary amount of money, maybe even life-changing. They managed to track down the owner, who according to the local police, had arranged to meet with his ex-girlfriend in the bar. The money? It was a "break-up fee" a new trend in Chinese dating. The price of true love?Everyone knows that dating can be expensive; forking out a bit of cash to buy drinks or meals in the early stages of a relationship, or buying gifts and holidays later on. No longer content to just have the awkward meeting to hand each others' stuff back, break-up fees have emerged in recent years in China as a sort of compensation at the end of a long-term relationship. While not legally binding, it's a bit like one pa..
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