February 23, 2019

In pictures: Growing up in North Korea

In pictures: Growing up in North Korea Image copyright Tariq Zaidi Image caption A girl plays a cello at Chongnam Kindergarten, Chongjin, North Hamgyong province What is it like to grow up in North Korea? When photographer Tariq Zaidi visited North Korea late last year he tried to capture candid family moments between parents and children. I travelled to eight out of North Korea's nine provinces and along the way visited schools, nurseries and music academies. Not many outsiders get a chance to visit the country and for those who do, taking pictures is highly restricted and controlled. These are images I was permitted to take by North Korean minders, and they offer a few glimpses into what it's like to grow up in the closed-off and isolated country. My journey took me from Dandong on the Chinese border in the north down to Kaesong at the border with South Korea, across the country from Pyongyang to Wonsan on the east coast and then north again towards Chongjin and Hoeryong ..
February 23, 2019

Kim Jong-un leaves North Korea for Vietnam by train

Kim Jong-un leaves North Korea for Vietnam by train Image copyright Reuters Image caption Mr Kim's distinctive green and yellow train North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has departed for Hanoi by train for talks with US President Donald Trump. He arrived at the Chinese border city of Dandong after 21:00 local time (13:00 GMT). The much anticipated second US-North Korea summit is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday in the Vietnamese capital. It follows a historic first round of talks last year in Singapore. All eyes will be on what if any progress is made towards "denuclearisation". The departure, confirmed by North Korean state media, is the first official acknowledgement that the talks are taking place. The state media report said Mr Kim would pay a "goodwill" visit to Vietnam as part of the trip. Why are they meeting again? "We fell in love," Mr Trump told a rally last September of Mr Kim. "He wrote me beautiful letters." Despite the flowery words, the months following the firs..
February 22, 2019

Ranveer Singh: The Bollywood star known for his outlandish wardrobe

Ranveer Singh: The Bollywood star known for his outlandish wardrobe Image copyright Getty Images Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh has established himself as one of India's most bankable stars, delivering a series of hits in recent years. But he also regularly grabs the headlines for his unconventional sartorial sense. While waiting for Singh to enter a suite in a plush Berlin hotel for an interview, the only thing I'm thinking about is what he will be wearing. Singh has a reputation for his unpredictable dress sense. He never fails to surprise the press and his fans with his outfits. This meeting is no different. As the doors open, I see him appear in a jacket that can only be described as a cross between Sulley from Pixar's Monsters Inc. and Big Bird from Sesame Street. "Check out my badges," Singh says after greeting me with a bear hug. "It's a very special Manish Arora creation. Look at the unicorn on the back." Image Copyright ranveersingh ranveersingh Report A pr..
February 22, 2019

Rakbar Khan: Did cow vigilantes lynch a Muslim farmer?

Rakbar Khan: Did cow vigilantes lynch a Muslim farmer? Image copyright Getty Images (Allison Joyce) Image caption Cow vigilantes in Ramgarh in 2015 A Muslim dairy farmer was stopped late one night last July as he led two cows down a track in rural Rajasthan, south of the Indian capital, Delhi. Within hours he was dead, but who killed him, asks the BBC's James Clayton - the "cow vigilantes" he met on the road, or the police? It's 4am and Dr Hassan Khan, the duty doctor at Ramgarh hospital, is notified of something unusual. The police have brought in a dead man, a man they claim not to know. "What were the police like when they brought him in? Were they calm?" I ask him. "Not calm," he says. "They were anxious." "Are they usually anxious?" I ask. "Not usually," he says, laughing nervously. The dead man is later identified by his father as local farmer Rakbar Khan. This was not a random murder. The story illustrates some of the social tensions bubbling away under the surfa..
February 22, 2019

Vietnam detains impersonators of Kim Jong Un and Trump

Vietnam detains impersonators of Kim Jong Un and Trump Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Howard X and Russell White have reportedly been threatened with deportation for staging a "meeting" in Hanoi Impersonators of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump have been questioned by police in Vietnam. Kim impersonator Howard X and Trump lookalike Russell White were reprimanded after staging a "meeting" in Hanoi. The pair have been released but told news agency AFP they were threatened with deportation. It comes a week before a scheduled US-North Korea summit in the capital. "They basically said stop doing the impersonation or we will kick you out of the country," Howard X - a Hong Kong resident - told AFP. He and Mr White took part in a faux summit in the capital, telling reporters they intended to scale down North Korea's nuclear ambitions. "We're working toward peace. Through negotiations, with dialogue, we want to help North Korea of course," sai..
February 22, 2019

Great Barrier Reef: One million tonnes of sludge to be dumped

Great Barrier Reef: One million tonnes of sludge to be dumped Image copyright EyesWideOpen/Getty Images Image caption The Great Barrier Reef in 2015 Australia plans to dump one million tonnes of sludge in the Great Barrier Reef. Despite strict laws on dumping waste, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) gave the go-ahead. A loophole was found - the laws don't apply to materials generated from port maintenance work. It comes one week after flood water from Queensland spread into the reef, which scientists say will "smother" the coral. The industrial residue is dredged from the bottom of the sea floor near Hay Point Port - one of the world's largest coal exports and a substantial economic source for the country. Larissa Waters, senator for Queensland and co-deputy leader of the Greens Party, called for the license to be revoked. "The last thing the reef needs is more sludge dumped on it, after being slammed by the floods recently," she told the Guardian. "On..
February 22, 2019

India Catholic Church defends Cardinal Gracias over ‘failed abuse victims’

India Catholic Church defends Cardinal Gracias over 'failed abuse victims' Image copyright Getty Images Image caption India is home to about 19 million Catholics The Indian Catholic Church has defended itself over how it handled allegations of sexual abuse reported by the BBC. On Thursday, a senior cardinal admitted he could have better handled the allegations that were brought to him. The BBC reported two cases where Cardinal Oswald Gracias was claimed to have failed to respond quickly or offer support to the victims. Cardinal Gracias, who is the Archbishop of Mumbai, is tipped by some as the next possible Pope. How will Pope Francis deal with abuse in the Catholic Church? US ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick defrocked over abuse claims Victims and those who supported them allege that Cardinal Gracias did not take allegations of abuse seriously when they were reported to him. The Archdiocese of Mumbai sent the BBC a statement saying that, in the 2015 case of the alleged rape..
February 22, 2019

Japan’s Yoshitaka Sakurada apologises for being three minutes late

Japan's Yoshitaka Sakurada apologises for being three minutes late Image copyright Reuters Image caption Mr Sakurada, who was appointed to his post last year, has had to repeatedly apologise over a series of gaffes Japan's Olympics Minister, Yoshitaka Sakurada, has publicly apologised after arriving three minutes late to a parliamentary meeting on Thursday. Opposition MPs said his tardiness showed disrespect for his office and boycotted a meeting of the budget committee for five hours in protest. They have been highly critical of Mr Sakurada after a series of gaffes. Last week, he said he felt let down after Olympic swimming hopeful Rikako Ikee was diagnosed with leukaemia. "She is a potential gold medallist [at the Tokyo 2020 Games], an athlete in whom we have great expectations. I'm really disappointed," he was quoted as saying. He was then forced to apologise after being criticised. In 2016, he also came under fire for describing so-called comfort women forced to..
February 21, 2019

Australia seeks clarification on China coal import ‘block’

Australia seeks clarification on China coal import 'block' Image copyright Getty Images Image caption One of China's biggest ports is reported to have halted Australian coal imports The Australian government says it is seeking an "urgent" clarification from Beijing over reports that a major Chinese port has halted imports of Australian coal. Australia is a top supplier of coal to China, its biggest export market. Beijing has not confirmed the reported halt in the port of Dalian, but called changes in such arrangements "normal". Canberra sought to play down speculation on Friday that the matter may be linked to bilateral tensions. Australian officials said there was "confusion" over the situation, and they were consulting their Chinese counterparts. "I wouldn't jump to conclusions. The Australia-China trading relationship is exceptionally strong," Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Australia ups Pacific role to counter China Fo..
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