April 29, 2018

Rotten durian causes Melbourne university evacuation

Rotten durian causes Melbourne university evacuation Image copyright Reuters Image caption The rotting durian was found in a library cupboard More than 500 students and teachers were evacuated from a university in Melbourne, Australia, as a result of a smell initially suspected to be gas. But it turned out the "gas" that students smelt at a Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology library was a rotting durian found in a cupboard. The durian is a tropical fruit known for its strong, stinky smell. Firefighters said the smell had moved through the building via the air conditioning system. The building has now been reopened, Melbourne's Metropolitan Fire Brigade said in a statement. 'Turpentine and onions'After staff and students at the university reported a smell they thought to be gas in a library building, they were evacuated by the local police force. The fire brigade said the building stores potentially dangerous chemicals, triggering an investigation into the source of..
April 29, 2018

Australia to fund Great Barrier Reef restoration and protection

Australia to fund Great Barrier Reef restoration and protection Image copyright AFP Image caption The Great Barrier Reef is under threat from coral bleaching and damage from crown-of-thorns starfish Australia has pledged A$500 million (£275m; $379m) to protect the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef. In recent years, the reef has lost 30% of its coral due to bleaching linked to rising sea temperatures and damage from crown-of-thorns starfish. The funding will be used to reduce the runoff of agricultural pesticides and improve water quality. Some of the money will be used to help farmers near the reef modify their practices. Threats to the reef include "large amounts of sediment, nitrogen and pesticide run-off" as well as the crown-of-thorns starfish species, Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said. The reef can be seen from space and was listed as a world heritage site in 1981 by the United Nations cultural body Unesco. Damage to Australia's reef 'unprecedented'..
April 29, 2018

How accurate is the Miss Fisher murder rate?

How accurate is the murder rate in Miss Fisher’s Melbourne? Image copyright Every Cloud Productions Image caption Australian actress Essie Davis as Phryne Fisher in Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries One of Australia's most popular TV shows, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, is set in 1920s Melbourne against a backdrop of jazz clubs, communist plots, alleyways and fabulous outfits. Its protagonist, private detective Phryne Fisher, has a knack for finding herself embroiled in murder cases week after week. Armed with a quick wit and "modern" outlook, Miss Fisher is shown living a glamorous - albeit often perilous - life. But watching the series, the team behind BBC Radio 4's More or Less became suspicious: surely the murder rate on the show must be astronomical in comparison to real life? Other TV murder mystery shows have proved to be very deadly. More or Less has previously investigated the UK's Midsomer Murders series, which is set in a group of sleepy rural vi..
April 29, 2018

Florida school shooting: ‘It was like a war zone’

Florida school shooting: ‘It was like a war zone’ Image caption Shanti Viswanathan teaches algebra at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shanti Viswanathan, a US teacher of Indian origin, saved the lives of her students during the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, on 14 February. In her first media interview, an exclusive, she spoke to BBC Tamil's Aarthi Gnanasekaran about how that day unfolded. It was around 2.15pm. Ms Viswanathan was half-way through her fourth period algebra class at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when they heard gunshots. "As soon as I heard the shots fired, I said drop everything, leave everything," Ms Viswanathan said. Florida shooting: How the attack happened How teenagers started a political campaign in 30 days She said students who were working on their laptops asked if they should put them away. "I said leave the laptops," she recalled. She told them to crouch or hide in corners so they wouldn't be visible from the small glass ..
April 29, 2018

#MeToo Japan: What happened when women broke their silence

#MeToo Japan: What happened when women broke their silence Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Shiori Ito accused a high-profile journalist of raping her in 2015 In the space of a fortnight in Japan, a model accused a renowned photographer of exploitation and two top officials resigned over sex scandals. This has re-ignited the #MeToo debate in a country which has been reluctant to acknowledge it as a hard reality for women, as the BBC's Sakiko Shiraishi reports. In Japan, where the spectre of public censure looms large, it is unsurprising that women are often discouraged from speaking out. A US state department human rights report notes that sexual harassment in the workplace remains "widespread". But in the space of just a few weeks a spate of allegations has led to public figures being shamed, top officials resigning and also a backlash against the women behind the claims. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Junichi Fukuda has resigned but denies all allegatio..
April 29, 2018

North Korea nuclear test site to close in May, South Korea says

North Korea nuclear test site to close in May, South Korea says Image copyright Reuters Image caption A satellite image of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site in North Korea North Korea's nuclear test site will close in May, the South Korean president's office has said. A spokesman said the closure of the Punggye-ri site would be done in public and foreign experts from South Korea and the US would be invited to watch. On Friday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in agreed to work to rid the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons. Their summit came after months of warlike rhetoric from the North. On Saturday, US President Donald Trump he would likely hold talks with the North Korean leadership "over the next three or four weeks" about the denuclearisation of the peninsula. What did South Korea say?Presidential spokesman Yoon Young-chan said that Mr Kim had stated he "would carry out the closing of the nuclear test site in May". Mr Yoon added ..
April 28, 2018

Crossing Divides: Hindus and Sikhs help build a mosque in India

Crossing Divides: Hindus and Sikhs help build a mosque in India India's religious groups have so often clashed, with recent years marred by violence. But a remarkable gesture has helped foster a rare harmony in one village. As mason Nazim "Raja" Khan toiled over the construction of a Shiva temple in a Punjab village, a thought nagged at him. There he was, a Muslim, building a Hindu temple. Yet there was no mosque nearby where he could worship. "We had no place where we could offer namaz (prayers)," says the 40-year-old. "It wasn't nice for our relatives when they visited." It rankled, so he raised it with the 400-strong Muslim community in his village of Moom, in rural north India. But they were too poor to afford the land. 'Would you give us some land?'Most Muslims in the area do unskilled jobs, such as casual construction work, while the community's 400 or so Hindus and some 4,000 Sikhs are relatively well-off. Fast forward 18 months - with the temple nea..
April 28, 2018

Patricia Fox: The elderly nun the Philippines plans to expel

Patricia Fox: The elderly nun the Philippines plans to expel Image copyright EPA Image caption Patricia Fox has been in the Philippines for 28 years A 71-year-old Australian nun says she will appeal against a decision to expel her from the Philippines for alleged political activity. Sister Patricia Fox told the BBC she found out she had 30 days to leave the country from the media. She admitted she had met political prisoners in Mindanao, an island in the south currently under martial law. But Sister Fox, who's been in the country for 28 years, denies any wrongdoing. "I woke up and I had messages from media people and one that's a friend of mine... who said the Bureau of Immigration had released a press release in the morning saying that my missionary visa had been cancelled," she told the BBC's Howard Johnson in Manila. "I was given a temporary visitor's visa for 30 days, and I had to be out of the country within 30 days." Image copyright Reuters Image caption Su..
April 28, 2018

The race to document Australia’s unknown species

The race to document Australia's unknown species Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Scientists say a majority of Australian species have not been identified Australian and New Zealand scientists have launched a strategy to locate and preserve a hidden world of undiscovered species. They argue that increased research could bring about profound scientific benefits, but that time is running out, as the BBC's Phil Mercer reports from Sydney. It is estimated there may be as many as 400,000 as-yet unknown animals, plants, fungi, microbes and other organisms in Australia. That comprises about 70% of all species across the vast continent, according to government and scientist estimates. Around 2,500 species are found and classified each year, including in recent times a rare horse fly (Scaptia beyonceae) with a golden bottom, and a tropical tree snail (Crikey steveirwini), both from northern Queensland. Taxonomists and biosystematists - the researchers who painstakingly find..
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