May 7, 2018

India rape: Second Jharkhand teenager set alight, police say

India rape: Second Jharkhand teenager set alight, police say Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Two recent cases of rape that made headlines have sparked massive outrage in India A 17-year-old girl in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand is in a critical condition after she was raped and then set on fire, police say. A local man has been arrested in connection with the attack. It is the second such incident to be reported in Jharkhand in recent days - another teenage girl who police say was raped and burned alive died on Sunday. Police have not indicated the two cases are connected. They come as India reels from a string of violent sexual crimes. In the latest Jharkhand case, the girl is undergoing treatment in hospital after suffering 95% burn injuries, police told BBC Hindi's Ravi Prakash. "The accused told us that he wanted to marry the victim but she wasn't ready," police officer Shailendra Barnwal said. They added that he attacked her on Friday in her relativ..
May 7, 2018

Phnom Penh Post’s sale to PR director increases media freedom fears

Phnom Penh Post's sale to PR director increases media freedom fears Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Founded in 1992, The Post has been described as an "independent and critical" newspaper A newspaper seen as Cambodia's last independent English daily has been sold to a Malaysian businessman, sparking fresh concerns about press freedom. The Phnom Penh Post's new owner is Sivakumar Ganapthy, director of a PR firm which has previously done work for the Cambodian government. He has said he will uphold the Post's legacy and editorial independence. But the sale comes amidst an increasing crackdown on independent media outlets, ahead of a general election in July. The Cambodia Daily, another independent newspaper, was last year forced to close after it was slapped with a $6.3m (£4.7m) tax bill that it could not pay. Other independent media outlets have also reportedly been accused of not complying with tax obligations. US government-funded Radio Free Asia recent..
May 6, 2018

Why Costa Ricans are being paid to marry Chinese migrants

Why Costa Ricans are being paid to marry Chinese migrants Image caption Officials are worried about the number of fake marriages between Costa Ricans and Chinese "Who wants to earn some money?" It was just a simple question, but it was enough to convince María (not her real name) to enter into what seemed like a simple deal. A young woman offered the 46-year-old Costa Rican woman 110 colones ($200; £140) to get married to a Chinese man so that he could get residency in the Central American country. At the time, María lived in one of the poorest areas of the Costa Rican capital, San José, and was desperate for help to feed her family. "We did not have anything to eat," María says of her decision to say yes. 'They look for prey'María's neighbourhood is not known for its safety. "Around here, the less you know, the longer you live," a resident warns. Image caption María is one of the Costa Ricans who took money to marry a Chinese migrant What happened to María is not unc..
May 6, 2018

Caste hatred in India – what it looks like

Caste hatred in India - what it looks like Image copyright Sudharak Olwe Image caption A photo of Sagar Shejwal A recent exhibition in the Indian city of Mumbai documented Dalit (formerly known as "untouchable") families that have lost a loved one because of discrimination and violence. The photographs by Sudharak Olwe capture the prejudice that remains a reality for millions of Dalits. They are some of the country's most downtrodden citizens because of an unforgiving Hindu caste hierarchy that condemns them to the bottom of the heap. Tens of thousands of Dalits recently took to the streets to protest against a Supreme Court ruling - they said it sought to weaken a law that was designed to protect them. The court had said that the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, popularly known as the SC/ST Act, had been "misused" in the past but the order sparked massive outrage and the federal government asked the court to review its decision. The ..
May 6, 2018

Malaysia elections: Could Mahathir Mohamad make a comeback?

Malaysia elections: Could Mahathir Mohamad make a comeback? Image copyright EPA Image caption Mahathir Mohamad, left, has electrified Malaysia's election contest Among the torrent of election propaganda being produced in the campaigns to lead Malaysia for the next five years, one slickly-produced video stands out. In it, an adorable young Malay girl suddenly finds herself looking up at the grandfatherly face of the man who ruled and profoundly shaped Malaysia for 22 years, and now, at the astonishing age of 92, is leading the challenge to his former party, the United Malays National Organisation's (UMNO) monopoly on power. "I am already old," explains Dr Mahathir Mohamad to the girl, as tears fill his eyes. "I haven't much time left. I have to do some work to rebuild our country; perhaps because of mistakes I, myself, made in the past." In the background we hear the song Salam Terakhir (Final Greeting), by one of Malaysia's most popular performers Sudirman Arshad, ..
May 6, 2018

Indian engineers kidnapped in Afghanistan’s Baghlan province

Indian engineers kidnapped in Afghanistan's Baghlan province Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Afghan security forces struggle to control parts of Baghlan province Seven Indian engineers have been kidnapped in Afghanistan along with their Afghan driver, police say. Gunmen grabbed them from a vehicle on the outskirts of the Baghlan provincial capital, Pul-e Khomri, on Sunday. No group has said it carried out the kidnapping. However, provincial governor Abdul Hai Nemati told Tolo TV that the Taliban was responsible. Kidnappings are a serious problem in Afghanistan where large areas are blighted by gangs or militant groups. Provincial council chairman Mohammad Safdar Mohseni said the group had ignored warnings to take a police escort through an area largely controlled by the Taliban. Indian officials in Kabul said the engineers worked for the Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat company that operates a power station in northern Baghlan. "We are in contact with the Afghan authorit..
May 6, 2018

Gunman injures Pakistan interior minister Ahsan Iqbal in Punjab

Gunman injures Pakistan interior minister Ahsan Iqbal in Punjab Image copyright Reuters Image caption Ahsan Iqbal (seen here last year) was reportedly hit by a pistol shot A gunman has shot and injured Pakistani Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal while he was visiting the north-eastern city of Narowal, local media report. Mr Iqbal had just attended a meeting of his political party when he was hit at least once in the arm and taken to hospital. His life is not in danger. His attacker, said to be a man in his early 20s, was arrested and was being questioned, officials said. Mr Iqbal is a member of the governing Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz). Pakistan country profile
May 6, 2018

Afghanistan: At least 12 killed in Khost mosque blast

Afghanistan: At least 12 killed in Khost mosque blast At least 12 people have been killed and dozens wounded in an explosion at a mosque in the Afghan province of Khost, officials say. People had gathered for afternoon prayers at the mosque, which was also being used as a voter registration centre. Some of the injured are said to be in a critical condition. No group has claimed responsibility but the Islamic State group has carried out similar attacks in the past. There have been a number of attacks on voter registration centres since the process started last month for October's parliamentary elections. On 22 April, a suicide bomb attack at a voter registration centre in the capital Kabul killed at least 57 people. The Kabul attack was claimed by IS, but the Taliban has also warned people not to take part in the elections, which are said to be a key test of President Ashraf Ghani's credibility.
May 6, 2018

India police arrest main suspect after teen raped and burned alive

India police arrest main suspect after teen raped and burned alive Image copyright AFP Image caption Relatives of the 16-year-old mourn in the village of Raja Kendua Indian police say they have arrested the main suspect in an alleged gang-rape and murder of a teenage girl. Dhanu Bhuiyan and his accomplices are accused of burning the 16-year-old alive on Friday in the state of Jharkhand. She was killed after her parents complained to village elders that she had been raped, according to police. The elders had told two accused rapists to do 100 sit-ups and pay a 50,000 rupee (£550; $750) fine as punishment. The men were allegedly so enraged by the penalty that they beat the girl's parents then set her on fire. "The two accused thrashed the parents and rushed to the house where they set the girl ablaze with the help of their accomplices," Ashok Ram, the officer in charge of the local police station, told the AFP news agency. Police say they have arrested 15 of the 18 people they want..
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