December 6, 2018

The blind woman developing tech for the good of others

The blind woman developing tech for the good of others Image copyright IBM Image caption Chieko Asakawa received Japan's Medal of Honour for her contribution to accessibility research An accident in a swimming pool left Chieko Asakawa blind at the age of 14. For the past three decades she's worked to create technology - now with a big focus on artificial intelligence (AI) - to transform life for the visually impaired. "When I started out there was no assistive technology," Japanese-born Dr Asakawa says. "I couldn't read any information by myself. I couldn't go anywhere by myself." Those "painful experiences" set her on a path of learning that began with a computer science course for blind people. A job at IBM soon followed, where she earned a doctorate and started her pioneering work on accessibility that continues today. She's behind early digital Braille innovations and created the world's first practical web-to-speech browser. Those browsers are commo..
December 6, 2018

Huawei arrest: Justin Trudeau denies political motivation

Huawei arrest: Justin Trudeau denies political motivation Image copyright Reuters Image caption Meng Wanzhou is the daughter of the company's founder Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government had no involvement in the arrest of a top executive from Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. Meng Wanzhou was detained at Vancouver airport on Saturday on an extradition request from the US. China has demanded her release, and called the arrest a human rights violation. The charges remain unknown but the US has been probing Huawei over possible violation of Iran sanctions. Huawei said it was "not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms Meng". She faces a bail hearing on Friday. Speaking to reporters in Montreal, Mr Trudeau said his government was told about the arrest a few days beforehand, but it did not play a role.
December 6, 2018

Afghanistan’s ‘Little Messi’ flees home after Taliban threats, says family

Afghanistan's 'Little Messi' flees home after Taliban threats, says family Image copyright AFP / Unicef Image caption Murtaza Ahmadi with a signed Messi shirt, which was sent to him after being photographed in a homemade version A young Afghan boy who was made famous online for his devotion to footballer Lionel Messi has been forced to flee his home for the second time. Murtaza Ahmadi, now aged seven, went viral in 2016 after being photographed wearing a homemade Messi shirt, fashioned out of a plastic bag. He later met his hero in Qatar. His family say they have now abandoned their home in Afghanistan, after receiving threats from the Taliban. They were living in the south-eastern Ghazni province - which militants have been targeting - and have escaped to the capital, Kabul. They previously sought short-term refuge in Pakistan in 2016, but returned when they ran out of money, according to AFP news agency. The makeshift shirtMurtaza was five years old when he wore a ..
December 6, 2018

Japanese cafe uses robots controlled by paralysed people

Japanese cafe uses robots controlled by paralysed people Image copyright Reuters Image caption The robots served drinks and cleared tables in the cafe A cafe staffed by robot waiters controlled remotely by paralysed people has opened in Tokyo, Japan. A total of 10 people with a variety of conditions that restrict their movement have helped control robots in the Dawn Ver cafe. The robot's controllers earned 1,000 yen (£7) per hour - the standard rate of pay for waiting staff in Japan. It is hoped the project will give more independence to people with disabilities. The OriHime-D robots used in the cafe were developed by Japanese start-up Ory and were originally created to be used in the homes of people with disabilities that severely restrict their movement. The robots can be told to move, observe, talk to customers and carry objects, even if their operator can only move their eyes. These abilities have been adapted for use in the cafe. The pilot scheme aims to test connections b..
December 6, 2018

Cambodia releases surrogate mothers who agree to keep children

Cambodia releases surrogate mothers who agree to keep children Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Last year an Australian nurse was jailed after recruiting Cambodian surrogate mothers Thirty-two surrogate mothers charged with human trafficking in Cambodia for carrying babies for Chinese clients have been released after agreeing to keep the children, officials say. The women were arrested in June in a raid as part of a crackdown on the country's commercial surrogacy trade. Surrogacy was banned in Cambodia in 2016, a year after neighbouring Thailand imposed limits on the service. Demand has risen in recent years since China's easing of its one-child policy. A further five people, including a Chinese national, have been arrested and charged with human trafficking in connection with the case. The release of the Cambodian surrogate mothers this week was agreed on "humanitarian grounds", a police official working with the National Committee for Counter Trafficking (NCCT) ..
December 6, 2018

Mastanamma: India YouTube chef granny dies at 107

Mastanamma: India YouTube chef granny dies at 107 Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionWatch Mastanamma cooking One of the world's oldest YouTubers, 107-year-old Mastanamma from southern India, has died. She shot to fame on the internet for her cooking, which consisted of local and unusual dishes made from scratch. Her YouTube channel, Country Foods, has more than a million subscribers with hundreds of cooking videos, including one on her iconic watermelon chicken. The channel, managed by her grandson and his friend, launched in 2016 and became an instant hit. Born in the state of Andhra Pradesh, Mastanamma told BBC Monitoring she believed she was 106 years old in 2017 - although she had no birth certificate to prove it. In the videos, she would often sit in an open field in a remote village with minimal cooking equipment and cutlery. She would use her nails to peel vegetables, and an old Indian-style knife to chop them. Food was served on a traditional s..
December 6, 2018

Australia releases rare marsupial bilby into the wild in NSW

Australia releases rare marsupial bilby into the wild in NSW Image copyright Science Photo Library Image caption Bilbies feed on plant roots, ants, beetles and spiders A rare marsupial that once ran wild in Australia's New South Wales has been reintroduced into the state for the first time in more than a century. Bilbies - small nocturnal mammals with long, rabbit-like ears - were last recorded in the state in 1912. But now 30 captive-bred animals were released into a large predator-free enclosure near the town of Narrabri, northwest of Sydney. This is seen as a major victory in efforts to save them from extinction. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Royal visit: Prince George was clearly impressed when he saw a bilby at Sydney's zoo in 2014 However, without the protection of a 32km (20 miles) fence they probably would not survive, the BBC's Phil Mercer in Sydney reports. Bilbies - who feed on plant roots, ants, beetles and spiders - disappeared in Australia&..
December 6, 2018

Huawei CFO arrest ‘violates human rights’, China says

Huawei CFO arrest 'violates human rights', China says Image copyright EPA Image caption Meng Wanzhou was detained while transferring between flights in Vancouver China has urged the US and Canada to "clarify" the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's chief financial officer. The daughter of the founder of the Chinese telecoms giant was arrested in Vancouver on 1 December and could face extradition to the US. Details of the arrest have not been released but the US has been investigating Huawei over possible violation of sanctions against Iran. China demanded her release, saying her detention was possibly a rights abuse. Why hasn't the UK blocked Huawei? A quick guide to the US-China trade war Huawei is one of the largest telecommunications equipment and services providers in the world, recently passing Apple to become the second-biggest smartphone maker after Samsung. Ms Meng has sought a publication ban on the details of the arrest, which has been granted by the cour..
December 6, 2018

Philip Wilson: Ex-archbishop’s conviction for covering-up abuse is quashed

Philip Wilson: Ex-archbishop's conviction for covering-up abuse is quashed Image copyright AFP Image caption Philip Wilson had been convicted in May of concealing child sexual abuse A former Catholic archbishop in Australia has had his conviction for concealing child sexual abuse quashed. A judge in New South Wales said there were reasonable doubts about Philip Wilson's conviction. Mr Wilson, 68, had become the world's most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted of covering up sexual abuse when his trial ended in May. But he consistently denied knowing that paedophile priest James Patrick Fletcher had abused boys in the 1970s. Australia sexual abuse 'a national tragedy'Mr Wilson launched an appeal at which Judge Roy Ellis was asked to consider whether prosecutors had proved beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Wilson had failed to report allegations against Fletcher after the priest had been charged. Fletcher was convicted of nine child sexual abuse charges in 2004..
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