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..
April 30, 2018

South Korea to take down North-facing propaganda speakers

South Korea to take down North-facing propaganda speakers Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Enjoy the silence; no more propaganda and K-pop South Korea is to begin taking down loudspeakers placed along its border with North, which were used to blast propaganda towards Northern soldiers. The dismantling is part of a string of symbolic gestures from both sides days after a historic summit between the two Koreas. North and South on Friday agreed to work on denuclearising the peninsula. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is also expected to meet with US President Donald Trump to discuss the issue. Will historic Koreas summit lead to peace? Five key moments from an extraordinary day North Korea crisis in 300 words The speakers were first set up in the 1960s and since have blasted everything from Korean pop music to news reports across the border. Seoul had already turned off the speakers ahead of the Friday talks. The Yonhap news agency quoted a South Korean military official sa..
April 30, 2018

Cardinal Pell: Decision due over whether to hold trial

Cardinal Pell: Decision due over whether to hold trial Image copyright AFP Image caption Cardinal Pell, 76, is Australia's most senior Catholic figure An Australian court is due to rule over whether Cardinal George Pell will stand trial on charges of historic sexual assault. Cardinal Pell, the Vatican treasurer, is Australia's most senior Catholic and one of the most powerful officials in the Vatican. He has denied all charges against him. In June last year, police in the state of Victoria charged the 76-year-old cleric with sexual offence allegations made by "multiple complainants". Following a month-long hearing in Melbourne, magistrate Belinda Wallington is now due to decide whether there is sufficient evidence for the case to proceed. Cardinal Pell has rejected the accusations, saying last year: "I am innocent of these charges, they are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me." His lawyer previously said that he would plead not guilty to all charges. He ..
April 30, 2018

China shuts down Player Unknown cheat code gang

China shuts down Player Unknown cheat code gang Image copyright PUBG Corporation Image caption The game is won by the player who survives the longest Chinese police have arrested 15 people suspected of creating cheat programs for the popular Player Unknown Battleground (PUBG) game. The cheats helped people survive longer, aim more accurately and spot foes in the competitive shooting game. The 15 suspects have also been fined about 30m yuan (£3.45m) for profiting from the cheats. Chinese police are expected to make more arrests as they break up the gang that made and sold the programs. Safe havenNews about the arrests was posted to the PUBG forum pages on the Steam game network by Ryan Rigney, a spokesman for the PUBG Corporation that makes the game. In that post, Mr Rigney said the action against the gang was part of the company's efforts to tackle cheating. Mr Rigney said "major suspects" were arrested during the raid. They have been charged with developing, hosting and selling..
April 30, 2018

Peppa Pig blocked from China’s Douyin video platform

Peppa Pig blocked from China's Douyin video platform Image copyright Getty Images/Rob Stothard Image caption Peppa Pig is the latest subject of China's censors A popular British cartoon has been removed from one of China's most popular social media platforms, with state media saying that the character is being used subversively. Social media users in the country noticed video clips of the cartoon were being removed on Saturday, and on Monday, state newspaper Global Times said that the #PeppaPig hashtag had been removed from the Douyin video website, while searches for "Peppa Pig" on the site produced no results. Many papers also note that the platform appears to have added "Peppa Pig" to its list of blacklisted content. The Peppa Pig cartoon is hugely popular in China, but despite being targeted at a pre-school audience, it has found mass appeal with Chinese adults in recent months. Its characters have become a common feature in memes, including sexually suggestive con..
April 30, 2018

Just asking! Trump seeks opinions on Twitter for Korea meeting

Just asking! Trump seeks opinions on Twitter for Korea meeting Image copyright EPA Image caption The border village of Panmunjom, which Donald Trump has suggested as a location for a summit Donald Trump has tweeted to suggest the North-South Korea border for his feverishly anticipated summit with Kim Jong-un, before adding: "Just asking!" The US president is preparing for historic talks with his North Korean counterpart. "Numerous locations" were still being considered, he said. But Peace House, on the border between the Koreas, would be a "Representative, Important and Lasting" venue, he mused. The house hosted the recent summit between North and South Korea leaders. Skip Twitter post by @realDonaldTrump Numerous countries are being considered for the MEETING, but would Peace House/Freedom House, on the Border of North & South Korea, be a more Representative, Important and Lasting site than a third party country? Just asking! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 30, 2018 Report..
April 30, 2018

BBC reporter Ahmad Shah killed in Afghanistan attack

BBC reporter Ahmad Shah killed in Afghanistan attack Image caption The BBC said Ahmad Shah was a respected and popular journalist A BBC reporter has been killed in an attack in the eastern Afghan province of Khost. Ahmad Shah, 29, had been working for the BBC Afghan service for more than a year. In a statement, BBC World Service Director Jamie Angus said Shah was a "respected and popular" journalist. "This is a devastating loss and I send my sincere condolences to Ahmad Shah's friends and family and the whole BBC News Afghan team," he said. "We are doing all we can to support his family at this very difficult time." Khost police chief Abdul Hanan told BBC Afghan that Shah had been shot by unidentified armed men. He said police were investigating the motive. Locals told the BBC that Shah had been on his bicycle when the attack happened. He was taken by locals to hospital, where he died of his injuries. The hell of losing loved ones in Afghanistan Remembering photographer Shah Ma..
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