February 14, 2019

Sweden recalls China envoy over ‘deal’ on detained bookseller

Sweden recalls China envoy over 'deal' on detained bookseller Image copyright AFP Image caption Police walk past missing person notices for Gui Minhai, posted on the Chinese Liaison Office in Hong Kong Sweden has recalled its ambassador to China over her involvement in a bizarre meeting involving the daughter of a detained Swedish-Chinese bookseller. The ambassador, Anna Lindstedt, left Beijing on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Swedish foreign ministry said. The incident began with an account of a meeting written by Angela Gui, whose father Gui Minhai was allegedly abducted by Chinese agents in 2015. Mr Gui was one of five Hong Kong-based booksellers detained. Ms Gui, who is studying for a PhD at Cambridge University and has campaigned for her father's release, said she was contacted by Ms Lindstedt last month with an invitation to a meeting with a group of Chinese businessmen who said they had connections to the Chinese Communist Party. It is not clear exactly when ..
February 14, 2019

Australian senator sorry for wiping blood on ex-leader’s door

Australian senator sorry for wiping blood on ex-leader's door Image copyright Brian Burston Image caption Senator Brian Burston says he has referred his scuffle to police An Australian senator has apologised for wiping his own blood on a fellow lawmaker's door after having a scuffle in the halls of parliament. Senator Brian Burston was involved in a clash on Wednesday with James Ashby, an aide to Senator Pauline Hanson. The incident is being referred to police and has led to Mr Ashby being stripped of his parliamentary pass. Mr Burston told the Senate that he did not recall putting blood on Ms Hanson's door, but nonetheless conceded he had. It follows both senators making allegations of sexual harassment. Who are they? Mr Burston is a first-term senator who quit Ms Hanson's anti-Islam One Nation party last year after a feud, and later joined the United Australia Party. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Ms Hanson is the leader of the minor party One Natio..
February 14, 2019

Chinese student charged for throwing soybean dessert at Filipino officer

Chinese student charged for throwing soybean dessert at Filipino officer Image copyright Mandaluyong Police/Facebook Image caption Photos of Ms Zhang at a train station in Manila later went viral A Chinese student who threw a cup of soybean pudding at a police officer has been charged with direct assault, disobedience and unjust vexation. Zhang Jiale was at a train station in Manila when she was stopped and told she had to finish her dessert before she could enter the station. She responded by throwing the pudding at the officer and was later detained. Ms Zhang could face deportation and eventual blacklisting from the Philippines. 'I was in a bad mood'The incident took place on 9 February at the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) in the Philippines' capital of Manila. The 23-year-old is currently a fashion design student in the Philippines. According to local media outlets, she was stopped by police officer William Cristobal from going onto the MRT station in Manila as she was h..
February 14, 2019

Maria Ressa: Head of Philippines news site Rappler freed on bail

Maria Ressa: Head of Philippines news site Rappler freed on bail Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionMaria Ressa says the rule of law was broken when she was arrested Award-winning Philippine journalist Maria Ressa has been freed on bail, the day after her arrest on charges of "cyber-libel" drew international condemnation. Ms Ressa is CEO of Rappler, a news website critical of the government. She was arrested at its headquarters on Wednesday by agents from the National Bureau of Investigation. Press freedom advocates see this as a government attempt to silence the news organisation. Ms Ressa has been accused of "cyber-libel," over a seven-year-old report on a businessman's alleged ties to a former judge. The charges - the latest in a string against her - carry a potential 12 years in prison. President Rodrigo Duterte has previously denied that charges against Ms Ressa are politically motivated, but has publically branded Rappler a "fake news outlet" and ban..
February 13, 2019

Valentine’s Day: India college row over ‘virgin tree’ worship

Valentine's Day: India college row over 'virgin tree' worship Image copyright Pinjratod Image caption Some women students say the celebration is anti-women A Valentine's Day celebration at a prestigious college in the Indian capital, Delhi, where students worship a "virgin tree" every year has run into trouble with some female students who say it's "patriarchal" and "misogynistic" and must be shelved. For decades now, male students of the Hindu College have been hosting a puja (ritualistic worship) at the tree, and balloons, colourful ribbons and condoms filled with water would be hung from its branches. Posters of the latest avatar of the goddess Damdami Mai - generally a top Bollywood actress or a model chosen by the students - would be unveiled in the morning and pinned to the tree. A male student dressed as a Hindu priest would perform religious rituals, hundreds of students would sing a hymn in praise of the "generally curvaceous goddess", prasad (food of..
February 13, 2019

Gay couples sue Japan over right to get married

Gay couples sue Japan over right to get married Image copyright Ai Nakajima Image caption Ai Nakajima and Tina Baumann are married in Germany, but Japan doesn't recognise that Thirteen same-sex couples across Japan are taking legal action on Thursday against the government, demanding the right to get married. They are suing for symbolic damages arguing that being barred from marriage violates their constitutional rights. Should the courts agree, it would mean same-sex unions will have to be permitted in future. Japan is the only G7 country that does not allow gay marriage but surveys suggest strong support for the case. The country's constitution says that "marriage shall be only with the mutual consent of both sexes" and authorities have until now always read this as not permitting same-sex marriage. But the lawyers for Thursday's plaintiffs counter that the text of the constitution was to prevent forced marriages and there isn't anything in it that explicitl..
February 13, 2019

Carlos Ghosn and Japan’s ‘hostage justice’ system

Carlos Ghosn and Japan's 'hostage justice' system Image copyright AFP Image caption Things are looking tricky for Mr Ghosn Carlos Ghosn, Nissan's former chairman, has now spent three months in jail and faces many more. Japan's former chief prosecutor was, until he unexpectedly resigned on Wednesday, his lawyer, and has declared Mr Ghosn to be a victim of "hostage justice". It is a term few outside Japan will have heard of until now, but what does it mean? Living in Japan it's easy to become complacent about crime - there is so little of it. Japan's incredibly low crime rate is often attributed to a homogeneous culture, small income gap and full employment, but it's also true to say that many people are just terrified of being arrested. I got my first inkling of why in 2014 when an artist I knew, Megumi Igarashi, was arrested for distributing "obscene material". Igarashi had made a digital scan of her own genitals, and used that model to make ..
February 13, 2019

Sri Lanka begins recruitment drive for “moral” hangmen

Sri Lanka begins recruitment drive for "moral" hangmen Image copyright AFP Image caption Inmates at Colombo jail - nearly 1,300 prisoners are on death row in Sri Lanka Sri Lanka has begun a search for two executioners with "strong moral character" amid concerns about a recent surge in drug smuggling. The job, advertised in the state-run Daily News paper, pays 36,310 rupees ($158; $203) a month. Capital punishment is legal in Sri Lanka but no executions have taken place since 1976. The country has struggled to find a permanent executioner after its last hangman resigned five years ago. The dedicated role is open to any Sri Lankan males aged 18-45 who possess "mental strength." The last hangman resigned in 2014 after seeing the gallows for the first time and going into shock. Another was hired last year but never turned up for work. Sri Lanka has nearly 1,300 people currently on death row, 48 for drug-related offences. The country's constitution recognises the freedom of individua..
February 13, 2019

Huawei: New Zealand needs us like rugby needs the All Blacks

Huawei: New Zealand needs us like rugby needs the All Blacks Image copyright Getty Images Huawei is playing on New Zealanders' love of sport with an advert it hopes will soften the rugby-mad nation's stance towards using the Chinese giant's technology. The advertisement has appeared in two major newspapers and on billboards. It read: "5G without Huawei is like rugby without New Zealand." New Zealand is one of several nations to block the use of Huawei equipment for building a new 5G mobile phone network over security concerns. Skip Twitter post by @DreyerChina Huawei's new rugby ad in New Zealand after regulators there blocked the company from using its 5G equipment. 10 points to the marketing agency, if not the company... pic.twitter.com/5Vebxmintu — Mark Dreyer (@DreyerChina) February 12, 2019 Report End of Twitter post by @DreyerChina In November, New Zealand's intelligence services, followed other countries' lead, in concluding Huawei technology sho..
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