February 19, 2019

Chinese ‘Ivory Queen’ Yang Fenglan jailed in Tanzania

Chinese 'Ivory Queen' Yang Fenglan jailed in Tanzania Image copyright AFP Image caption Yang Fenglan was a leading figure in business circles at the time of her arrest Tanzania has sentenced Yang Fenglan, a Chinese businesswoman nicknamed the "Ivory Queen", to 15 years in jail for smuggling hundreds of elephant tusks. Yang was accused of operating one of Africa's biggest ivory-smuggling rings, responsible for smuggling $2.5m (£1.9m) worth of tusks from some 400 elephants. Two Tanzanian men were also found guilty of involvement in the ring. Ivory poaching is said to have caused a 20% decline in the population of African elephants in the last decade. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a global environmental body, says the population of African elephants has fallen to 415,000 - a drop of 110,000 over the last 10 years - as a result of poaching. The illicit trade is fuelled by demand from China and east Asia, where ivory is used to make jewellery and..
February 19, 2019

HSBC profits hit by China slowdown

HSBC profits hit by China slowdown Image copyright Reuters HSBC has reported a lower-than-expected 15.9% rise in pre-tax profits for 2018, partly because of an economic slowdown in China and Hong Kong. Europe's largest bank made $19.9bn (£15.4bn) before tax last year, compared with $17.2bn in 2017. Reported revenue was $53.8bn, a rise of 5% from the previous year. HSBC makes three-quarters of its profits in Asia, and China's trade war with the US was one reason for problems with its economy near the end of 2018. Group chairman Mark E Tucker said that the bank was "in a strong position". He added: "Despite a challenging external environment in the fourth quarter, all of our global businesses delivered increased profits." New HSBC headquarters opens in Birmingham HSBC sparks controversy with ad campaign HSBC bank confirms US data breach Last June, new group chief executive John Flint set out eight targets for the bank to achieve, including accelerated growth from Asia and its..
February 19, 2019

Pakistan warns India against attack

Pakistan warns India against attack Image copyright Reuters Image caption Mr Khan has also called on India to provide evidence to support its claims that Pakistan was involved Pakistan PM Imran Khan says his country will retaliate if India takes military action against it in the aftermath of last week's suicide attack on Indian forces in Indian-administered Kashmir. In a televised address, he also called on India to provide evidence to support its claims that Pakistan was involved. More than 40 members of India's security forces died in Thursday's suicide bombing. A Pakistan-based militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammad, said it was behind it. In his first comments addressing the Kashmir militant attack, Mr Khan said India should "stop blaming Pakistan without any proof or evidence". "Any adventurism on the part of India to threaten the sovereignty of Pakistan will be met with assured retaliation," he said. Mr Khan said his government was ready to cooperate with Delhi in inv..
February 19, 2019

UK and French tourists missing in Australia beach search

UK and French tourists missing in Australia beach search Image copyright NSW POLICE Image caption Hugo Palmer (left) and Erwan Ferrieux are missing, Australian police say A British man and his French companion are missing in Australia, sparking a large-scale police search. The alarm was raised when passersby found items belonging to Hugo Palmer and Erwan Ferrieux, both 20, on a beach north of Sydney on Monday, authorities said. Police searched the location, Shelly Beach, and discovered the pair's rental car nearby. Other personal items, including travel documents, were found in the vehicle. Police began ground and water searches on Monday, but they have not found any sign of the men. The pair had arrived in the region on Sunday, said the local Port Macquarie News, which reported that Mr Palmer was from East Sussex. Police Insp Michael Aldridge told the newspaper that recent surf conditions had been rough. A British High Commission spokeswoman said: "Our staff are in contact with ..
February 19, 2019

India-Pakistan crisis: Saudi Arabia aims to de-escalate tensions

India-Pakistan crisis: Saudi Arabia aims to de-escalate tensions Image copyright EPA Image caption Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - known as MBS - is on a high-profile tour of Asia Saudi Arabia has said it will work to de-escalate tensions between India and Pakistan, ahead of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's arrival in Delhi. The prince, known as MBS, is on a tour of Asia and has just visited Pakistan. Hostilities between Delhi and Islamabad flared last week, after a suicide bombing in the India-administered part of Kashmir killed at least 40 paramilitary police. A Pakistan-based militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammad, said it was behind it. Pakistan denies any role in the bombing, but India has accused the state of being complicit and vowed to isolate its neighbour internationally. Both India and Pakistan claim all of Muslim-majority Kashmir, but control only parts of it. Pakistan rolls out red carpet for Saudi prince Why India and Pakistan dispute Kashmir Viewpoint: How ..
February 18, 2019

Australia’s drought leading to ‘suffering’ of children, UN warns

Australia's drought leading to 'suffering' of children, UN warns Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionChildren speak to the BBC about their experiences last year A prolonged drought in Australia is having a devastating impact on children and forcing them to "grow up" prematurely, a UN report warns. Large parts of eastern Australia have endured severe drought for months, crippling farming communities. Children in these areas are resilient but endure a growing psychological toll, said the UN's children's agency. Many children have "long and stressful" days that involve witnessing strain on their parents and animals, Unicef said. "Workloads for children on and off farms have increased substantially, leaving little time for schoolwork and almost no time for play, sport or other recreational activities," the agency said in its report. One high school student told researchers: "Before the start of this year I'd never shot a lamb in my life ..
February 18, 2019

Ai Weiwei hits out at film censorship over Berlin I Love You

Ai Weiwei hits out at film censorship over Berlin I Love You Image copyright EPA Image caption Ai Weiwei attended the Cinema For Peace Gala at the Berlin Film Festival on 11 February Artist Ai Weiwei has accused the producers of a film he worked on of cutting his part because they didn't want to upset the Chinese authorities. Ai directed a segment of Berlin I Love You - but his "episode" didn't end up in the finished version. He told German news outlet DW that producers had told him his involvement might damage their chances of making a new film in Shanghai. He also said the Berlin Film Festival refused to show the unedited version. "The festival told them, if Ai Weiwei's in there, the film can never be accepted," he told DW. "Also they told me because they're involved in making a Shanghai I Love You, the producer there also thinks that putting my episode in their film would damage their possibilities." Ai has long been an outspoken critic the Chinese government an..
February 18, 2019

Elin Ersson: Student fined for Afghan deportation protest

Elin Ersson: Student fined for Afghan deportation protest Image copyright AFP Image caption Swedish activist Elin Ersson caused disruption on a plane that stopped the migrant being sent home. A Swedish activist has been fined 3,000 krona ($324; £251) for trying to stop the deportation of an Afghan migrant. University student Elin Ersson booked what she thought was the same flight as the Afghan, refusing to sit down unless he was taken off the plane. The migrant in question was not on the flight after all, but another Afghan was onboard for deportation after serving a prison sentence. Since the protest in July 2018, both Afghans have been expelled from Sweden. Ersson, 21, broadcasted her protest on Facebook from the Turkish Airlines plane, which was bound for Istanbul, Turkey, from Gothenburg, Sweden. In the video, Ersson said she did not agree with Sweden's policy of sending back rejected asylum seekers. Image copyright facebook/elin.k.ersson Image caption Elin Ersson refused t..
February 18, 2019

Honda set to close UK car plant

Honda set to close Swindon car plant Image copyright Shutterstock Image caption The Swindon plant made 160,000 cars last year Honda is set to announce the closure of its Swindon car plant in 2022, with the loss of about 3,500 jobs. The Japanese company made 160,000 Honda Civics in Swindon last year, of which some 90% were exported to the EU. Honda has yet to make a formal announcement, and the Prime Minister's spokesman said Theresa May would not comment until an official confirmation. But local MP Justin Tomlinson said he had spoken to Honda, which confirmed it was consulting with "all staff". GettyHonda in numbers3,500total employees in Swindon 160,000Honda Civic cars built annually at the plant 90%of production exported to the EU and US 1989start of industrial operations Source: Honda Nissan £60m in doubt after investment U-turn Jaguar Land Rover posts £3.4bn loss "There is not expected to be any job losses, or changes in production until 2021," Mr Tomlinson said. What has be..
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