February 12, 2019

Plastic pollution: One town smothered by 17,000 tonnes of rubbish

Plastic pollution: One town smothered by 17,000 tonnes of rubbish Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionMeet the people who fought back against foreign plastic waste Malaysia has become one of the world's biggest plastic importers, taking in rubbish the rest of the world doesn't want. But one small town is paying the price for this - and it is now smothered in 17,000 tonnes of waste. It began last summer. Every night, after the clock struck midnight, Daniel Tay knew exactly what was coming. He would shut his doors, seal his windows and wait for the inevitable. Soon his room would be filled with an acrid smell, like rubber being burned. Coughing, his lungs would tighten. Over the next few months, the strange smell would return every night, like clockwork. It was only later that he found the source of the smell - illegal recycling factories that were secretly burning plastic. Nowhere else to goAt that point he had no idea that in 2017 China had decided to..
February 12, 2019

China and India help make planet leafier

China and India help make planet leafier Image copyright Science Photo Library China and India, two of the world's biggest polluters, are making it leafier - for now, a report says. The greening effect stems mainly from ambitious tree-planting in China and intensive farming in both countries. There are now more than 2 million sq miles of extra leaf area per year, compared with the early 2000s – a 5% increase. Extra foliage helps slows climate change, but researchers warn this will be offset by rising temperatures. Environment in multiple crises - report Study looks at climate change impact on European forests The Indian tribe that gave up hunting to save forests What exactly is happening?Satellite data from the US space agency Nasa shows that over the last two decades there has been an increase in leaf area on plants and trees equivalent to the area covered by all the Amazon rainforests. The greening was first detected in the mid-1990s. Scientists first assumed plants were bein..
February 12, 2019

Uighurs ask China: ‘Show me my mother and father are alive’

Uighurs ask China: 'Show me my mother and father are alive' Image copyright Halmurat Harri Image caption Uighurs are coming out in support for those missing in camps Since Chinese state media released a video appearing to show a prominent Uighur musician alive, despite reports of his death, Uighur Muslims have flooded social media with requests for news of their missing relatives. On 10 February, the footage released showed a man said to be Abdurehim Heyit stating he was in "good health". The video came after Turkey criticised China's mass detention of Uighurs in its far west, saying it had learned of Mr Heyit's death in a camp. Questions about the video's authenticity and when it was filmed were raised by some Uighur groups. Now, using the hashtag #MeTooUyghur, relatives of detainees and activists have taken to Twitter and Facebook to ask the Chinese government to prove that their loved ones are still alive. Up to a million Uighurs and other Muslims are believ..
February 12, 2019

India’s railway minister mocked for sped-up train video

India's railway minister mocked for sped-up train video Image copyright AFP Image caption Piyush Goyal said the train was 'zooming past at lightning speed'. The man in charge of India's railways has been mocked for sharing a video of a "high-speed" train that turned out to be a time-lapse of a slower train. Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways and Coal, tweeted that the train was "zooming past at lightning speed". Trainspotter Abhishek Jaiswal then replied with the original footage, which he said he filmed in December for his railway-themed YouTube channel. In Mr Jaiswal's clip, the same train travels at a much slower speed. In the video posted on his official Twitter account, Mr Goyal says the video shows "India's first semi-high speed train built under 'Make in India' initiative, Vande Bharat Express". Skip Twitter post by @PiyushGoyal It’s a bird...It’s a plane...Watch India’s first semi-high speed train built under ‘Make in India’ initiative, ..
February 12, 2019

Huang Xiangmo: China billionaire mocks ‘giant baby’ Australia

Huang Xiangmo: China billionaire mocks 'giant baby' Australia Image copyright AFP/Getty Image caption There are growing worries in Australia about Chinese influence A Chinese billionaire and political donor has dubbed Australia a "giant baby" after he lost residency rights. It is an "objective fact" that the country has a baby's "innate characteristics", Huang Xiangmo told state tabloid Global Times. The property developer has lived in Sydney since 2011 and has donated millions to major political parties. But he was stranded overseas when the government rejected his citizenship bid and cancelled his permanent residency. The Sydney Morning Herald first reported the visa denial earlier this month, describing Mr Huang as "Beijing's former top lobbyist in Australia". He reportedly has links with the Chinese Communist Party, and Australia's national security agency has warned politicians not to accept money from him. It comes amid a row over Chinese influence ..
February 12, 2019

Australia government loses bill blocking sick asylum seekers

Australia government loses bill blocking sick asylum seekers Image copyright Getty Images Image caption This comes as a defeat to Scott Morrison's government Australian MPs have passed a landmark bill with an opposition amendment making it easier for sick refugees held offshore to be treated in the country. This is the first time in decades a government has lost a vote on its own legislation in the lower house. The move is a blow for PM Scott Morrison's minority government's highly controversial immigration policy. Since 2013, Australia has sent asylum seekers arriving by boat to detention centres on Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Critics say it has harmed the welfare of detainees, including children. Doctors have long warned of inadequate medical facilities on the islands, while the UN has previously described the camp conditions as "inhumane". However, Mr Morrison said: "There is no form of this bill that does not weaken our border protection." Australia has long defend..
February 12, 2019

Karol Bagh: Seventeen die in India Delhi hotel fire

Karol Bagh: Seventeen die in India Delhi hotel fire Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The hotel is popular with budget tourists At least 17 people, including a child, have died in a fire that broke out early Tuesday morning in a hotel in India's capital, Delhi, police said. A video of the incident shows people jumping from the fourth floor after breaking open window panes. Officials said 35 people were rescued. Some of them who were injured have been taken to hospital. Hotel Arpit Palace is located in Karol Bagh, an area popular with tourists for its budget hotels and shopping. "There was wooden panelling in the corridor because of which people couldn't use the corridors to leave the hotel," Vipin Kenta, a fireman, told the Hindustan Times newspaper. He added that at least two people jumped out of the building. He said they were still investigating what caused the fire. Local media reported that most of the deaths were caused by suffocation. India fire destroy..
February 12, 2019

Bonsai theft: Japanese couple robbed of 400-year-old tree

Bonsai theft: Japanese couple robbed of 400-year-old tree Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Bonsai trees can live to be hundreds of years old (file picture) Two Bonsai enthusiasts have launched an emotional plea to thieves who stole seven trees from them, offering care instructions for their "children". Seiji Iimura and his wife Fuyumi said the prized miniature trees were taken from their garden in Saitama, Tokyo. "There are no words to describe how we feel," Mr Iimura wrote. "They were precious [to us]." The tiny trees are believed to be worth over 13m yen ($118,000, £91,750), CNN reported. Stemming from East Asia and often associated with Japan, Bonsai is a delicate art-form based on specialist cultivation techniques. The miniature plants are grown in containers that mimic the shape of fully-sized trees, and require expert care. The beauty of Bonsai Bonsai: An endless ritual One of the couple's stolen trees is a Shimpaku Juniper - one of the most sought-after Bonsai t..
February 11, 2019

Uighur crackdown: ‘I spent seven days of hell in Chinese camps’

Uighur crackdown: 'I spent seven days of hell in Chinese camps' Image caption Aibota Serik says her father has disappeared into China's network of detention centres The Chinese government calls them free "vocational training centres"; Aibota Serik, a Chinese Kazakh whose father was sent to one, calls them prisons. Her father Kudaybergen Serik was a local imam in Tarbagatay (Tacheng) prefecture of China's western Xinjiang region. In February 2018 the police detained him and Aibota hasn't heard from her father since then. "I don't know why my father was imprisoned. He didn't violate any laws of China, he was not tried in a court," she says, clutching a small photo of him, before breaking down in tears. I met Aibota together with a group of other Chinese Kazakhs in Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city. They gathered in a small office to petition the Kazakh government to help secure the release of their relatives who had disappeared in "political re-ed..
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