November 3, 2018

The Indian princess who became a South Korean queen

The Indian princess who became a South Korean queen Image copyright Getty Images Image caption South Korean First Lady Kim Jung-sook The South Korean first lady, Kim Jung-sook, is in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh where she is visiting the ancient city of Ayodhya. Ayodhya, which is best known as the birthplace of the Hindu god Ram, also however, holds special significance for some South Koreans - many believe they can trace their ancestry to the city. This belief comes from several historical Korean stories which tells the story of an Indian princess - Suriratna - who married a South Korean king and started a dynasty. What does the legend say?According to the legend, Princess Suriratna, also known as Heo Hwang-ok, went to Korea in 48 AD, some 2000 years ago, and started the Karak dynasty by marrying a local king. Some Chinese-language texts claim that the then King of Ayodhya had a dream where God ordered him to send his 16-year-old daughter to Gimhae city in South Korea to..
November 3, 2018

New Caledonia: French Pacific territory votes on independence

New Caledonia: French Pacific territory votes on independence Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Separatist groups are urging the indigenous Kanak people to back independence Voters in the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia are taking part in a referendum on whether to remain part of France or become independent. The vote was promised as part of a deal two decades ago after a violent campaign by separatists from the indigenous Kanak people. Pro-independence groups have urged Kanak voters to throw off the "shackles of colonial authorities" in Paris. However, polls suggest a majority of voters will reject independence. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionThe New Caledonia referendum is the climax of 30 years of peace About 175,000 people are eligible to vote in the territory, east of Australia, but Kanaks make up less than 50% of the electorate. French nationalism is strong among the territory's ethnic Europeans and observers say even some Kana..
November 3, 2018

Asia Bibi blasphemy case: Husband pleads for asylum

Asia Bibi blasphemy case: Husband pleads for asylum Image copyright EPA Image caption Many called for the death penalty to be reinstated following Asia Bibi's acquittal The husband of a Pakistani Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy after eight years on death row has pleaded for asylum from the UK, US or Canada. Asia Bibi's husband, Ashiq Masih, said they were in great danger in Pakistan. The Supreme Court overturned Asia Bibi's conviction on Wednesday, saying the case against her was based on flimsy evidence. Her acquittal sparked violent protests, and the government has now agreed to try to stop her leaving the country. On Saturday, her lawyer, Saif Mulook, fled Pakistan, saying he feared for his life. Pakistan's 'historic' Asia Bibi ruling Why Pakistan's Christians are targeted Blasphemy laws around the world Asia Noreen - commonly known as Asia Bibi - was convicted in 2010 of insulting the Prophet Muhammad during a row with neighbours. Several ..
November 3, 2018

Pakistan: ‘Father of Taliban’ cleric buried after attack

Pakistan: 'Father of Taliban' cleric buried after attack Image copyright EPA Image caption Maulana Sami ul-Haq's supporters attend the funeral prayers in Akora Khattak Thousands of people have gathered for the funeral of Pakistani cleric Maulana Sami ul-Haq, known as the Father of the Taliban, who was killed on Friday. Reports say a bomb disposal unit cleared the graveyard before Haq was buried in his home town of Akora Khattak, north-west of Islamabad. Haq was the head of the Haqqania madrassa, where many Taliban members - including the group's founder, Mullah Omar - had studied. The motive for the killing is unclear. In a statement, the Afghan Taliban said his death was "a great loss for the entire Islamic ummah [community]". Image copyright Reuters Image caption Police and security personnel stand guard as people gather for Haq's funeral on Saturday What is known about Friday's attack?There are conflicting reports of exactly how Haq was killed. The cle..
November 3, 2018

Patricia Fox: Philippines expels Australian nun and Duterte critic

Patricia Fox: Philippines expels Australian nun and Duterte critic Image copyright EPA Image caption Patricia Fox has lived in the Philippines for almost three decades An Australian nun who has spent almost three decades in the Philippines is returning home after losing her battle against deportation. Sister Patricia Fox, 72, has angered President Rodrigo Duterte by repeatedly denouncing his administration's violent campaign against the drugs trade. Her missionary visa was downgraded to a temporary tourist visa last month. Speaking as she was preparing to leave on Saturday, she said Mr Duterte should listen to "the cry of small people". "Not just the military, not just the business people, but the urban poor, the workers, the indigenous peoples," she added, addressing supporters who had come to Manila airport to see her off. Philippine drug war's 'bloodiest night' '1,900 killed' during Duterte war on drugs In April, she was briefly detained overnight fo..
November 3, 2018

Afghanistan: US soldier killed in ‘insider’ attack in Kabul

Afghanistan: US soldier killed in 'insider' attack in Kabul One US soldier has been killed and another injured in an apparent insider attack in Afghanistan, the Nato-led mission in the country says. Initial reports suggest the assailant in Kabul was a member of the Afghan armed forces and he was "immediately killed" by fellow soldiers, it says. The injured US soldier is stable. This is being seen as the latest so-called "green-on-blue" attack, in which members of the Afghan forces have killed US or coalition soldiers. No group has so far claimed responsibility for Saturday's attack. Last month, US Gen Scott Miller escaped unhurt when a bodyguard opened fire on a group of US and Afghan officials in the southern Kandahar province. The local police chief was killed in that attack, which was later claimed by the Taliban. In August, a suicide bomber killed three Czech Nato soldiers in eastern Afghanistan. Taliban militants said they carried out the attack. US Defence Secret..
November 3, 2018

French PM visits site of Vietnam 1954 Dien Bien Phu battle

French PM visits site of Vietnam 1954 Dien Bien Phu battle Image copyright AFP Image caption Mr Philippe lit incense at a war memorial France's prime minister has visited the site of the 1954 battle of Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam, which led to the end of French presence in Indochina. Édouard Philippe is the second French leader to travel there, after then-President François Mitterrand in 1993. Mr Philippe laid flowers at memorials for the dead on both sides, and called for France and Vietnam's "common past" to be remembered "in a peaceful way". The Dien Bien Phu battle raged for 56 days between March and May in 1954. The outnumbered French troops, trapped in a remote valley north of Hanoi, were crushed by pro-independence Vietnamese fighters. Could Vietnam have been nuked in 1954?The battle led to the 1954 Geneva peace accord, which divided Indochina - until then a French colony - between the communist north, and a pro-US regime in the south. Image copyright Getty Images Image..
November 3, 2018

Leicester City owner Vichai’s funeral starts Thailand

Leicester City owner Vichai's funeral starts Thailand Image copyright Reuters Image caption Relatives took part in a procession with royal soldiers ahead of the funeral The funeral of Leicester City's owner who died in a helicopter crash outside the club's stadium is under way. Royal soldiers, monks and Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha's relatives took part in a procession ahead of the ceremony in Bangkok, Thailand. The funeral began with Buddhist bathing rituals and will be followed by recitation ceremonies over seven days. The Leicester City players are due to fly out to Thailand for the funeral after their game against Cardiff later. Thai billionaire Mr Vichai died along with two members of his staff, the pilot and a passenger when the helicopter came down in a car park moments after taking off from the King Power Stadium on 27 October. Image copyright Reuters Image caption Royal soldiers in Mr Vichai's funeral procession Image copyright Reuters Image caption Mon..
November 3, 2018

Asia Bibi: Lawyer flees Pakistan in fear of his life

Asia Bibi: Lawyer flees Pakistan in fear of his life Image copyright EPA Image caption Protesters have been demanding Asia Bibi's death penalty be reinstated The lawyer representing a Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy after eight years on death row has fled Pakistan in fear for his life. Saif Mulook told news agency AFP he had to leave so he could continue to represent Asia Bibi, whose conviction was overturned by judges on Wednesday. Officials have since agreed to bar Ms Bibi from leaving Pakistan in order to end violent protests over the ruling. Campaigners blasted the deal as akin to signing her "death warrant". Asia Bibi was convicted in 2010 of insulting the Prophet Muhammad during a row with neighbours, and many are calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty following her acquittal. Mr Mulook told the BBC earlier this week she would need to move to a Western country for her own safety. A number of attempts have previously been made on her life. Several countrie..
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