March 5, 2019

China economy: Beijing unveils $298bn tax cuts to boost growth

China economy: Beijing unveils $298bn tax cuts to boost growth Image copyright Getty Images China's number two leader Li Keqiang has warned the country faces "a tough struggle," as he laid out plans to prop up the world's second-largest economy. Opening the annual session of China's parliament, he forecast slower growth of 6-6.5% this year, down from a target of around 6.5% in 2018. China has struggled with a slowing economy and a US-led trade war of late. It plans to boost spending, increase foreign firms' access to its markets, and cut billions of dollars in taxes. "In pursuing development this year, we will face a graver and more complicated environment as well as risks and challenges... that are greater in number and size," Mr Li said in a lengthy speech. "We must be fully prepared for a tough struggle." Mr Li told 3,000 delegates at the National People's Congress that China would aim to deliver nearly 2 trillion yuan ($298bn; £227bn) of cuts in taxes and ..
March 4, 2019

Trump targets India and Turkey in trade crackdown

Trump targets India and Turkey in trade crackdown Image copyright Getty Images The US intends to terminate India's preferential trade treatment under a scheme which allows certain products from the country to enter the US duty-free. President Donald Trump said India has failed to assure the US it will provide reasonable access to its markets. The US will also end preferential trade treatment for Turkey, on the basis that it no longer qualifies for the scheme. It comes as the US negotiates with China to resolve a damaging trade war. The US intends to remove India and Turkey for its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme as it argues they longer meet the criteria. Under the GSP programme, certain products can enter the US duty-free if the beneficiary developing country meets a set of criteria established by congress. The criteria include providing intellectual property protection, and giving the US reasonable and fair market access. Is trade spoiling the Trump-Mod..
March 4, 2019

WWF accused of funding guards who torture and kill in poaching war

WWF accused of funding guards who torture and kill in poaching war Image copyright WWF Global conservation charity WWF has been accused of funding and working with anti-poaching guards who allegedly tortured and killed people in national parks in Asia and Africa. It says it is commissioning an independent review into the allegations made as a result of the investigation by internet news site BuzzFeed. The probe alleges its "war on poaching" is causing civilian casualties. WWF has promised to complete the review as soon as possible. Indigenous people and villagers have been shot, beaten unconscious, sexually assaulted, and whipped by armed guards in parks in places like Nepal and Cameroon, BuzzFeed alleges. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) funds, equips and works with these guards, the report says, accusing some staff of turning a blind eye to abuses. It also links WWF staff to a deal to buy assault rifles in the Central African Republic in 2009, against its own policies. It ..
March 4, 2019

Airbnb host admits manslaughter after killing guest over unpaid bill

Airbnb host admits manslaughter after killing guest over unpaid bill Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Ramis Jonuzi was killed because he couldn't afford to pay for his room in an Airbnb property An Airbnb host has admitted killing a guest at his home near Melbourne, Australia, who couldn't afford to pay. Jason Colton, 42, denies murder but has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Ramis Jonuzi in October 2017. A court heard two housemates held the 36-year-old man down, while Colton beat and strangled him for not paying the A$210 (£113, $149) he owed them. Colton says he only wanted to cause Mr Jonuzi to pass out, not kill or seriously injure him. Australian daily The Age reported at the time that Mr Jonuzi was a bricklayer, who had rented the room in Brighton East because he wanted a cheap and stable place to stay while he dealt with some "personal issues". Airbnb customer allegedly murdered He first rented the room from the three men - Colton, landlord Craig Levy ..
March 4, 2019

India PM Modi ‘must apologise to dyslexics’

India PM Modi 'must apologise to dyslexics' Image copyright AFP Image caption Narendra Modi is facing an election by the end of May A leading expert in child psychology says that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi must apologise after he appeared to poke fun at dyslexia at a public event, triggering outrage. Mr Modi questioned if a programme for dyslexic children could also help a "40 to 50-year-old child" - in remarks that appeared to be an attempt to ridicule his political rival Rahul Gandhi. "When the head of a country talks like this, it is very, very insensitive. He must apologise," Dr Roma Kumar said. Her voice adds weight to the wave of condemnation of Mr Modi's comments. Dr Kumar is a clinical psychologist who specialises in learning disabilities and has worked at Delhi's Sir Ganga Ram Hospital for the past three decades. Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that can affect reading, writing and spelling. Some well-known people with dyslexia include di..
March 4, 2019

Abhinandan: Indians emulate pilot’s ‘hero moustache’

Abhinandan: Indians emulate pilot's 'hero moustache' Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The fighter pilot has become a household name in India Indian fighter pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, who was recently released by Pakistan, has become a national figure, inspiring art, adverts and perhaps even a trend in facial hair fashion. His distinctive handlebar moustache has become so popular that many Indian men want to sport one just like it. The pilot became a national hero within hours of his capture after Pakistani forces shot down his fighter jet. He returned home to a rousing welcome on Friday. Abhinandan: Villagers recount dramatic capture of pilot Abhinandan: Who is the Indian pilot captured by Pakistan? The pilot has since gone viral on social media with many Indians hailing his facial hair as a sign of valour. Amul, the country's most popular dairy brand which creates adverts based on social trends, made a video celebrating the fighter pilot's mou..
March 4, 2019

China accuses detained Canadians of spying

China accuses detained Canadians of spying Image copyright AFP Image caption Michael Spavor (L) and Michael Kovrig have been held since December China has accused two Canadians of spying, as tensions between the nations grow over the possible extradition of a Huawei executive to the US. Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Michael Spavor, a businessman, were detained in December after Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on suspicion of fraud and breaching sanctions on Iran. Ms Meng is suing Canada over her arrest, which was made at the request of the US. China has condemned Ms Meng's arrest. The diplomatic spat has hurt Canada-China relations, and the arrest of the two Canadians had been seen as Beijing's retaliation for its detention of Ms Meng. The detained Canadian close to Kim Jong-un Huawei charges: The 100, 400 and 800-word story Should we worry about Huawei? Canada officially launched her extradition process on Friday but the legal process can be lengthy and remains..
March 4, 2019

Australian farmer Gene Charles Bristow guilty of raping backpacker

Australian farmer Gene Charles Bristow guilty of raping backpacker Image copyright ABC NEWS Image caption Gene Charles Bristow has pleaded not guilty at his trial An Australian man has been found guilty of kidnapping and raping a backpacker from Europe and keeping her for two days in a pig shed near his farm. Gene Charles Bristow, 54, had pleaded not guilty. The jury took three hours to find him guilty of aggravated kidnapping, rape and indecent assault of the 24-year-old woman in rural South Australia in 2017. Prosecutors said the victim was chained up in the shed after going to the farm believing she had been given a job. On the first day of the trial, the District Court of South Australia was told Bristow contacted the woman after seeing an advert she posted looking for work. He picked her up and drove her to his farm in Meningie, 150km (90 miles) south-east of Adelaide, the jury was told. Repeated sexual assaultProsecutor Michael Foundas alleged that Bristow threatened the woma..
March 4, 2019

George Pell: Cardinal to be sued over 1970s abuse allegation

George Pell: Cardinal to be sued over 1970s abuse allegation Image copyright EPA Image caption Cardinal George Pell is now facing a civil lawsuit Cardinal George Pell is being sued by a man who alleges he was sexually abused by the cleric in an Australian swimming pool in the 1970s. Pell has consistently denied committing abuse in a pool in Ballarat, Victoria, in the 1970s. Last week, prosecutors dropped criminal charges against him relating to that decade. He is now being sued in a civil case. In December, Pell was found guilty of sexually abusing two boys in Melbourne in 1996. He is challenging the verdict. Allegations that Pell indecently assaulted boys in the 1970s had been due to be put to a second trial, but it will no longer go ahead. On Monday, a 50-year-old man - who does not want to be identified - lodged a civil lawsuit in the Supreme Court of Victoria, alleging that he was assaulted by Pell in a Ballarat pool as a boy. The man had been due to testify in the criminal trial ..
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