January 2, 2019

What it’s like to work in an Indian ‘rat-hole’ mine

What it's like to work in an Indian 'rat-hole' mine Image copyright Priyanka Borpujari Image caption Abdul Alim has worked in rat-hole mines for two years Fifteen men have been trapped inside a so-called rat-hole mine in India's north-eastern state of Meghalaya since 13 December. Priyanka Borpujari spoke to a miner who left his job at the same mine days before the accident because he found it to be too dangerous. Abdul Alim believes if he had stayed, the job would have killed him. Two cousins, Omor and Shirapat Ali, are among the 15 miners who have been trapped for three weeks. Abdul, who fears they may be dead by now, stutters every time he speaks about them. Indian miners: Navy divers deployed in rescue bid India rescuers step up efforts to save trapped coal miners Flooding blocked their exit from the rat-hole mine - named for the narrow crevices through which coal is extracted. Efforts to rescue them have made little headway - a fact that does not surprise..
January 2, 2019

Australian police respond to spider death threats

Australian police respond to spider death threats Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Australia is home to over 2000 species of spider, many of them venomous A man with a "serious fear" of spiders prompted an emergency call by Western Australia police on New Years' Day. According to police, a passerby raised the alarm after hearing a "screaming" toddler and a man repeatedly shouting "Why don't you die?" But after arriving at a home in suburban Perth, they found the man had merely been trying to kill a spider. In a tweet, police said there had been no injuries during the incident - "except to spider." "It's just one of those jobs where you go expecting to see one thing and see another," police spokesman Samuel Dinnison told the BBC. "It's great that it's only an incident involving a spider." Image copyright Twitter/Wanneroo Police Image caption Wanneroo Police deleted an initial tweet reporting the incident on social media Western Australia police had ..
January 2, 2019

Apple blames China as it cuts forecast

Apple blames China as it cuts forecast Image copyright Getty Images Apple has warned investors about its growth in the most recent quarter, citing weaker sales in China. In an unexpected disclosure, the iPhone maker said it expected revenue of about $84bn (£67bn) in the three months to 29 December. That is down from its November forecast of at least $89bn - a prediction that had already disappointed investors. The firm's shares have already fallen more than 28% since it offered investors that November outlook. In a letter to investors on Wednesday, chief executive Tim Cook said the firm's miss was due primarily to its Greater China region, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan and accounts for almost 20% of its revenue. "While we anticipated some challenges in key emerging markets, we did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration, particularly in Greater China," he said. "In fact, most of our revenue shortfall to our guidance, and over 100% of our year-over-year ..
January 2, 2019

Cathay to honour fares slashed in error

Cathay Pacific to honour $16,000 fares sold for $675 Image copyright Getty Images Cathay Pacific has said it will honour first-class and business-class tickets that it sold to some lucky passengers for a fraction of the usual price. The Hong Kong-based airline mistakenly sold business-class seats on August flights from Vietnam to New York for about $675 return. Prices on the same route in July and September cost $16,000. The airline admitted that it "made a mistake", but said it would honour the tickets. The fares were reported by travel bloggers on 31 December and later pulled by Cathay Pacific. It was not clear how many tickets had been sold and Cathay Pacific did not immediately respond to requests from the BBC. Skip Twitter post by @cathaypacific Happy 2019 all, and to those who bought our good - VERY good surprise ‘special’ on New Year’s Day, yes - we made a mistake but we look forward to welcoming you on board with your ticket issued. Hope this will make your 2019 ‘special’ t..
January 2, 2019

Chang’e-4: China mission primed for landing on Moon’s far side

Chang'e-4: China mission primed for landing on Moon's far side Image copyright Getty Images Image caption An employee inspects a 1:8 scale model of the Chang'e-4 lunar probe China is preparing to make the first attempt at landing robotic spacecraft on the Moon's far side. A static lander and rover are expected to be deployed to the surface in the next day, state media reports. The vehicles are carrying a suite of instruments designed to characterise the region's geology, as well as a biological experiment. In recent days, the Chang'e-4 spacecraft has lowered its orbit in preparation for landing. At the weekend, Chinese state media said the probe had entered an elliptical path around the Moon, bringing the vehicles to within 15km (9 miles) of the lunar surface at its closest point. Authorities have not specified the exact time of the attempt to touch down in the Von Kármán crater. But a report in the state-run China Daily newspaper suggests Chang'e-4 ..
January 2, 2019

Brexit: Jeremy Hunt says UK ‘can learn lessons’ from Singapore

Brexit: Jeremy Hunt says UK 'can learn lessons' from Singapore Image copyright AFP The UK can "learn lessons" from Singapore but is not looking to follow its economic model after Brexit, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said. Mr Hunt, who is on a visit to the Asian city-state, said Singapore's success was grounded in long-term investment in education and infrastructure. But he said the UK would not emulate its low tax and low regulation climate, as hoped for by some Brexiteers. MPs will vote on Theresa May's EU withdrawal deal in two weeks' time. The UK is scheduled to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019. But it is not clear what will happen if Parliament rejects the withdrawal terms and framework of future relations, amid continuing opposition to the package among many Conservative MPs. UK can 'turn corner' with Brexit, says May Corbyn warns of 'complete Brexit mess' Speaking in Singapore, Mr Hunt warned of "devastating social cons..
January 2, 2019

Pioneering medics who drove across the world

The pioneering medics who drove across the world to help Nepal Image copyright Britain Nepal Medical Trust Image caption Villagers in the eastern district of Dhankuta Fifty years ago a group of young doctors and nurses drove from the UK to Nepal, a country desperately short of medics. The health services they helped set up have saved millions of lives since, reports the BBC's Bhagirath Yogi. In three donated Land Rovers laden with equipment, the 11-strong team left in early April 1968. Through Europe they drove to Istanbul and then crossed Iran and Afghanistan, reaching Pakistan via the Khyber Pass, before continuing to Delhi. Such a journey would be unthinkable these days for security reasons. But they did it in about seven weeks and by the end of May they had reached Nepal's capital, Kathmandu. The overland route the group chose was cheaper than going by sea and road, which would have been no quicker. In Nepal, they set up an anti-tuberculosis programme, trained health wo..
January 2, 2019

Sabarimala: Indian women make history by entering temple

Sabarimala: Indian women make history by entering temple Image copyright Kaviyoor Santosh Image caption The women had tried entering the temple in December but failed Two Indian women in their 40s have made history by entering a prominent Hindu shrine in the southern state of Kerala, after months of protests against women getting in. The Sabarimala temple was historically closed to women of "menstruating age" - defined as between 10 and 50. The Supreme Court overturned that ban but protesters then attacked women and stopped them from entering the shrine. Bindu Ammini, 42, and Kanaka Durga, 44 entered the shrine around dawn. "We arrived early in the morning and we had a darshan [saw the idol] for a few minutes," Ms Ammini told the BBC's Ashraf Padanna. The two women had also tried entering the temple on 24 December but they had to turn back because of protesters. Temple officials, who say the women have "defiled" the temple, closed the sanctum for an hour in order to perform "p..
January 2, 2019

Australian police Google Maps blunder ‘missed location of body’

Australian police Google Maps blunder 'missed location of body' Image copyright Getty Images A missing man in Australia may have been found dead 18 months earlier had search teams not relied on wrong Google Maps information, a coroner has noted. Darrell Simon, 46, was last seen in November 2014 at his partner's house about 80km (50 miles) west of Brisbane. Search crews scoured Mr Simon's nearby rural property at the time, but his remains were not found there until May 2016. His death was ruled a suicide. A printed map used by police had shown incorrect boundaries on the property. It meant that search volunteers covered only about half of Mr Simon's property in Laidley Creek West, said Queensland deputy state coroner John Lock. "The fact the ground search was conducted over only half the property was very regretful and should not have happened," he said in his report completed last month. The delay in finding Mr Simon's body had "compounded the grief felt ..
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