May 2, 2018

South Korea says US troops will stay despite possible peace treaty

South Korea says US troops will stay despite possible peace treaty Image copyright AFP Image caption Tens of thousands of US military personnel are based in South Korea South Korea's government has said US troops will remain in the country, even if a deal is reached to formally end the Korean War. There are about 29,000 US military personnel based in South Korea, under a post-war security agreement. North Korea has previously made giving up its nuclear weapons conditional on the troops leaving the peninsula. But a South Korean government spokesman said their presence was "nothing to do with signing peace treaties". "US troops stationed in South Korea are an issue regarding the alliance between South Korea and the United States," said Kim Eui-kyeom, speaking for President Moon Jae-in. In their breakthrough meeting last Friday, Mr Moon and North Korea's Kim Jong-un agreed to work towards a denuclearised Korean peninsula and a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War. The w..
May 1, 2018

Cardinal Pell likely to face two trials, court hears

Cardinal Pell likely to face two trials, court hears Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Cardinal George Pell has pleaded not guilty to the charges Cardinal George Pell is expected to face two trials on sexual assault charges, an Australian court has heard. The Vatican treasurer 76, has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and has strenuously denied any wrongdoing. On Tuesday, a magistrate ordered him to stand trial. The allegations relate to the 1970s and 1990s, a court heard. Cardinal Pell appeared at the County Court of Victoria on Wednesday, where prosecution and defence teams asked for the case to be split across two trials. If a judge agrees, separate juries would hear allegations against Cardinal Pell about his time as a priest in Ballarat in the 1970s, and charges relating to when he was archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s. Much of the evidence given at a previous hearing was not open to the public, and remains confidential. Cardinal Pell is Australia's most senior ..
May 1, 2018

Facial recognition to be used at Singapore airport

Facial recognition to be used at Singapore airport Image copyright Reuters Image caption The trial means there are fewer visible airport staff Singapore's Changi airport is testing a facial recognition system it hopes will speed passengers through the facility. It is expanding existing uses of the smart ID system and is looking into ways it can replace passport checks. Reuters reports however, that proposals to use cameras mounted on lamp posts that scan faces to ID passengers has raised privacy concerns. Airport officials have dismissed "big brother" worries. Last callOne potentially welcome use of facial recognition could be to spot passengers who have missed the last boarding call for their flight. "We have lots of reports of lost passengers, so one possible use we can think of is, we need to detect and find people who are on the flight. Of course, with permission from the airlines," Steve Lee, Changi Airport Group's chief information officer, told Reuters. Mr Lee says..
May 1, 2018

Afghanistan attack: Remembering BBC’s talented Ahmad Shah

Afghanistan attack: Remembering BBC's talented Ahmad Shah Ahmad Shah, who has been killed aged 29, was a very unassuming man - but his work as a BBC reporter in Afghanistan was far from modest. He will be remembered as a versatile and energetic reporter with a wide range of interests and always full of ideas for new stories. His sense of journalism was sharpening and improving every day. We found him quiet, modest and clever - someone who was well-informed, always willing to accept a challenge and keen to go the extra mile. Ahmad joined the BBC from local radio in early 2017 with a brief to cover his home province of Khost, in south-eastern Afghanistan, but he branched out to cover the neighbouring provinces of Paktia and Paktika as well for television, radio and online. He first started working for the BBC as a freelance contributor before being recruited as a full time reporter by BBC Pashto last year. For Ahmad, who graduated with a BA in journalism from Khost's Shaikh ..
May 1, 2018

Taj Mahal colour change worries India Supreme Court

Taj Mahal colour change worries India Supreme Court Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Students help clean up the Yamuna River, a source of pollution said to be damaging the Taj Mahal India's Supreme Court has instructed the government to seek foreign help to fix what it described as a worrying change in colour at the Taj Mahal. "Even if you have the expertise, you are not utilising it. Or perhaps you don't care," court justices said. The court said the famous palace, built in the 17th Century from white marble and other materials, had turned yellow and was now turning brown and green. Pollution, construction and insect poo are said to be among the causes. Justices Madan Lokur and Deepak Gupta examined photographs of the palace submitted by environmentalists and ordered the government to seek expertise from inside India and abroad. The government has previously shuttered thousands of factories near the Taj Mahal, but activists say it is still losing its lustre. Why ..
May 1, 2018

Wife ‘flew Manchester to India on husband’s passport’

Wife 'flew Manchester to India on husband's passport' Image copyright RAVEENDRAN Image caption Emirates airline admitted its staff were to blame for the mistake at Manchester Airport An airline is investigating how a woman flew 42,000 miles from Manchester to Delhi on her husband's passport. A relative of Geeta Modha said she "accidentally" picked up her partner Dilip's passport when she set off on a business trip to India on 23 April. The family member said the "shocking" error was not spotted at check-in or on boarding the Emirates flight and she only realised at Delhi airport. Emirates apologised saying its "usual high standards were not followed". 'Stranded in Dubai'A relative of Mrs Modha, who asked not to be identified, said she discovered the mistake when she tried to fill in an immigration form in Delhi. She was refused entry into India and had to return to Dubai on the next available flight, the relative said. She added her relative was the..
May 1, 2018

Imran Khan in ‘new Pakistan’ vote pitch

Imran Khan in 'new Pakistan' vote pitch Image caption Tens of thousands of supporters turned out for the Lahore rally Leading opposition politician Imran Khan has promised to create a "new Pakistan" ahead of general elections this summer. What are the former cricketer's prospects - and who are the "electables" he hopes will help him? What's Imran Khan promising?Mr Khan addressed a rally of tens of thousands of supporters in the eastern city of Lahore, where he launched his party's campaign. No date for the vote has been announced but it is expected to take place in July or August. Mr Khan told the crowd he would create a Pakistan where all citizens were held accountable irrespective of their backgrounds. Image copyright EPA Image caption Imran Khan's PTI has a fraction of the seats the ruling party has He also said he wanted to improve access to education and healthcare, as well as promote tax collection and reduce corruption. What are his..
May 1, 2018

Afghan security forces ‘shrink sharply’ – US watchdog

Afghan security forces 'shrink sharply' - US watchdog Image copyright EPA Image caption Violence has risen since international combat troops left Afghanistan three years ago The strength of the Afghan security forces has declined sharply over the past 12 months due to desertions and high casualty rates, a US government watchdog has said. The number of security forces personnel has fallen by about 10% to just under 300,000, according to a new report. The findings come a day after a wave of attacks killed nearly 40 people. The report says more of the population is falling under the control of militant groups including the Taliban. The report was released by a group known as Sigar (the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction). It says the Taliban and other militant groups now either control or influence more areas of the country since the group started recording the data in late 2015. The Taliban and other insurgent groups have been inflicting heavy casualties..
May 1, 2018

Taiwan loses diplomatic ally as Dominican Republic switches ties to China

Taiwan loses diplomatic ally as Dominican Republic switches ties to China Image copyright Reuters Image caption China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (r) with Dominican Republic's Chancellor Miguel Vargas The Dominican Republic has established diplomatic relations with China and cut its ties with Taiwan. Taiwan has said that it is "deeply upset" by the Caribbean nation's decision, which deepens its diplomatic isolation. The governments in Beijing and Taipei insist that countries cannot recognise both of them. China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province. Taiwan is now left with only 19 diplomatic allies. The island's foreign ministry said the Dominican Republic had accepted "false promises of investment and aid by China". Taipei also "strongly condemns China's objectionable decision to use dollar diplomacy to convert Taiwan's diplomatic allies". The Dominican Republic said it believed the switch would be "extraordinarily positive for the future of our countr..
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