June 1, 2018

Malaysians crowdfund to help cut national debt

Malaysians crowdfund to help cut national debt Image copyright Getty Images Malaysians have resorted to an unorthodox way of raising money to pay off their country's debt - crowdfunding. Feeling buoyant after the first change in government since independence, Malaysians gave nearly $2m in the 24 hours after authorities announced a fund would be set up to raise cash. Malaysia has a multi-billion-dollar debt pile. It sparked a social media debate about whether other countries should follow. The government initiative came after a 27-year-old Malaysian, who is "very much in love and proud" of her country, set up private fundraising effort that attracted interest. "The rakyat (people) voluntarily want to share their earnings with the government to help ease the burden," said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, as he announced the fund to provide a "systematic and transparent" platform for contribution. He gave bank details where Malaysians can deposit their donations. The fund raised 7m Ma..
June 1, 2018

Baba Ramdev: India guru’s ‘WhatApp killer’ app mocked over flaws

Baba Ramdev: India guru's 'WhatApp killer' app mocked over flaws Image copyright Kimbho A chat app introduced by an Indian yoga guru and dubbed a "WhatsApp killer", has been removed from app stores amid a furore over security flaws. Baba Ramdev's Patanjali Products launched Kimbho on Thursday, calling it a "homegrown" rival to other chat apps. But hours after its "launch", experts pointed out the app was not secure and its user data could be easily accessed. Patanjali told the BBC the app had no flaws and they had introduced it for a day to gauge initial public interest. SK Tijarawala, spokesperson of Patanjali Products said "the Kimbho will show the world that India can be the leader in global technologies". "We released the app just for a day to understand how public would react. The response has been phenomenal. We will properly launch the app in the near future and then I will be happy to answer any security related questions," he said. Image copyright Kimbho ..
June 1, 2018

Air India sale fails to attract buyers

Air India sale fails to attract buyers Image copyright AFP India has said it will "rethink" its strategy after an offer to buy a controlling stake in national carrier Air India failed to attract any buyers. "We were looking forward for better participation," Civil Aviation Secretary RN Choubey told reporters after a deadline for expressions of interest ended on Thursday. The ministry thought the offer of a 76% stake would be "good enough", he added. But experts say "onerous" government conditions put off potential buyers. Among the terms of sale was the fact that any potential buyer would have had to take on the airline's 27,000 employees. Air India sale: Who'll buy the debt-laden carrier? Air India cleared for privatisation by Delhi The fact that the government would have continued to hold a 24% stake in the airline and expected the buyer to abide by as yet unspecified guidelines to safeguard employee interest was also seen as having turned off potential buyers. The airl..
June 1, 2018

Thailand to send durian space

Durian in space: Thailand to send smelly fruit into orbit Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The thorny durian has been commonly dubbed the world's smelliest fruit Imagine being trapped in a spaceship with the world's smelliest fruit. Thailand's space research agency has just announced plans to send durian to space by July, as part of a project to produce Thai food suitable for future space travel. The baked durian will stay in space for five minutes before coming back to Earth, where scientists will see if it has undergone any textural changes. Durian, known for its strong, stinky smell, is native to South East Asia. According to local media reports, the fruit will be launched into space via a rocket made by a US company. Image copyright GISTDA Image caption The baked and packaged durian will skyrocket into space for no more than five minutes Thailand is not yet in the group of nations to have been to space, but they are making sure the catering is in place for..
May 31, 2018

Indian sailor stuck on ship for 15 months

Sailor stranded on ship at Great Yarmouth for 15 months Image copyright PA Image caption Captain Nikesh Rastogi said if he were to leave the ship, it would be deemed a derelict A sailor has been stranded aboard a ship moored in Norfolk for more than 15 months amid a legal dispute. The Indian-owned Malaviya Twenty has been detained in Great Yarmouth docks since it arrived in June 2016. Capt Nikesh Rastogi was part of a 13-strong replacement crew for the ship contracted in February 2017. The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) said 33 crew members had been on and off the vessel since October 2015 and had not been paid. Capt Rastogi, 43, from Mumbai, said if he were to leave the ship, it would be deemed a derelict. He said anybody would then be able to take it over. Image copyright PA Image caption Capt Rastogi said he and his crew mates had not been paid since last year Capt Rastogi said the ship's owners fell into liquidation and his employers withdrew from ope..
May 31, 2018

ANZ bank denies ‘criminal cartel’ allegation in Australia

ANZ bank denies 'criminal cartel' allegation in Australia Image copyright Reuters One of Australia's biggest banks, ANZ, will be prosecuted over an alleged criminal cartel arrangement, the nation's consumer watchdog says. Both the bank and a senior official are facing charges over the trading of its own shares, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said. ANZ said it would defend the charges against the bank and its employee. Australia's banking sector is currently the subject of a royal commission inquiry into widespread misconduct. Two undisclosed companies and a "number of other individuals" are also expected to be charged by prosecutors, the ACCC said on Friday. "The charges will involve alleged cartel arrangements relating to trading in ANZ shares following an ANZ institutional share placement in August 2015," chairman Rod Sims said in a statement. "It will be alleged that ANZ and the individuals were knowingly concerned in some or all ..
May 31, 2018

Sultan of Yogyakarta: A feminist revolution in an ancient kingdom

Sultan of Yogyakarta: A feminist revolution in an ancient kingdom Image copyright Getty Images Image caption 'I am very lucky to have parents that never said that is not a women's job.' The Sultan of Yogyakarta holds a powerful political and spiritual position on the Indonesian island of Java. He is manoeuvring to make his eldest daughter his heir, sparking a bitter feud, as the BBC's Indonesia editor Rebecca Henschke reports. "From generation to generation the sultan who reigns over Yogyakarta seems to adapt himself to the changing of times," says Wedono Bimo Guritno quietly as he ushers me through the elaborate palace complex. He is one of the nearly 1,500 abdi dalam, members of the royal court. A keris, a sacred Javanese dagger, is tucked into his sarong. "In the past it was not difficult to choose a prince, because in the past, the sultan had more than one wife," Wedono Bimo Guritno tells me. We duck under low gateways into a maze of tree-lined courtyards surro..
May 31, 2018

Planting a forest on the Aral’s dried-out seabed

Planting a forest on the Aral's dried-out seabed Image caption The town of Moynaq was once Uzbekistan's main fishing port on the Aral Sea The loss of the Aral Sea in central Asia is an ecological disaster. Toxic chemicals in the exposed sea bed have caused widespread health problems. Can an ambitious project to plant millions of trees save the Karakalpak people of Uzbekistan? Seventy-eight-year-old Almas Tolvashev shuffles through the sand towards the rusting hulk of a fishing boat. The lighthouse that keeps watch over a crumbling flotilla of 10 or so ships is a stark reminder that Moynaq was once a thriving fishing port on the Aral Sea. "The history of the Karakalpak people starts with the sea," says the former fisherman. "Fishing was the first thing fathers taught their sons". Moynaq lies at the heart of Karakalpakstan, a semi-autonomous republic within Uzbekistan. In its heyday, this is where 98% of Uzbekistan's fish came from. Image caption Seventy-eight-year-old..
May 31, 2018

US confident on plans for Trump-Kim talks

US confident on plans for Trump-Kim talks Image copyright Reuters Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said denuclearisation talks with North Korea are "moving in the right direction". After meeting in New York with a top Pyongyang official, Mr Pompeo said the talks could usher in "a new era of peace, prosperity and security". He said Kim Jong-un's right-hand man was heading to Washington to deliver a letter to President Donald Trump. Gen Kim Yong-chol is the most senior North Korean to visit the US in nearly 20 years. President Trump cancelled plans for a summit on 12 June with the North Korean leader, but both sides are trying to revive the meeting. Scheduled to happen in Singapore, a bilateral between Mr Trump and Mr Kim would be the first between sitting US and North Korean leaders. At a press conference on Thursday, Mr Pompeo said this was a "pivotal moment in our relationship in which it could be nothing short of tragic to let this opportunity go to waste". Image copyright A..
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