February 5, 2019

North Korea nuclear talks: US envoy Biegun heads to Pyongyang

North Korea nuclear talks: US envoy Biegun heads to Pyongyang Image copyright Getty Images The US envoy for North Korea is to hold talks in Pyongyang on Wednesday ahead of a planned second leadership summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. Stephen Biegun says he is aiming to establish a roadmap for denuclearisation with North Korea. A meeting is expected later this month, with Vietnam seen as a likely venue. But Mr Biegun's visit comes as a UN report warns North Korea is committing "massive" breaches of sanctions and continuing its weapons programme. US President Trump and Mr Kim met in Singapore in June, an event which generated significant coverage and optimism, but delivered very few concrete developments. Both sides said they were committed to denuclearisation, but with no details of how this would be carried out or verified. Image copyright AFP Image caption The Kim-Trump summit was big on handshakes and rhetoric but low on detail Experts caution that despite Mr Tru..
February 5, 2019

Acid attacks: Cambodia victims ‘denied government aid’

Acid attacks: Cambodia victims 'denied government aid' Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Most acid victims in Cambodia are women, but a growing number of men are affected too Survivors of acid attacks in Cambodia are being denied free government treatment that they are legally entitled to, Human Rights Watch says. Its report focused on 17 survivors, none of whom are said to have received government aid for their injuries. In 2012, legislation was passed in Cambodia to toughen punishments for acid attack perpetrators and provide more support for victims. The government insists treatment for victims is being provided for free. "We would like to deny the accusation," health ministry spokesman Ly Sovann told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "We have the law, and we provide the service for free." But HRW said the tougher rules and victim aid were not being put into action. Woman attacked with acid for fifth time Acid-attack bride celebrates new love Inside the hospit..
February 5, 2019

Taro Aso: Japan minister U-turns on birth-rate gaffe

Taro Aso: Japan minister U-turns on birth-rate gaffe Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Japan's deputy PM said it was odd to blame Japan's demographic troubles on the elderly Japan's Deputy Prime Minister has caused consternation after appearing to blame the country's low birth-rate on women. Taro Aso, 78, said elderly people were being unfairly linked to Japan's stagnating economy and worries about health costs. "There are lots of weird people who say the elderly are at fault, but that's incorrect," he was quoted as saying. "Rather, those who aren't giving birth to children are the problem. "The ageing population combined with the diminishing number of children is the grave issue." Mr Aso was speaking at a constituency meeting in Fukuoka, south-west Japan. On Monday he retracted his remarks after criticism from opposition MPs, who said they could hurt couples who were unable to have children. "I'd like to withdraw my comment and will b..
February 5, 2019

Australia floods: Two found dead as waters grip Townsville

Australia floods: Two found dead as waters grip Townsville Image copyright EPA Image caption Low-lying suburbs in Townsville have been inundated Two men have died in floodwaters that have forced large-scale evacuations in the Australian city of Townsville. The pair's bodies were found near a park on Tuesday, following what has been described as a "once in a century" flood in the northern Queensland city. Police did not confirm whether the victims were two men, aged 21 and 23, whose disappearances on Monday had led to the discovery of the bodies. Thousands of houses may have been flooded, officials said on Tuesday. Townsville has received more than a metre (3.3ft) of rain in the past 10 days - the equivalent of the region's total annual rainfall. Police did not give further details about the two deaths, other than to say their relatives had been notified. At least 19 people found trapped in floodwaters have been rescued since Sunday, according to state officials. Media play..
February 5, 2019

Ben Barba: Australia’s NRL bans player over alleged assault

Ben Barba: Australia's NRL bans player over alleged assault Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Ben Barba was the leading try-scorer in the Super League last year Australia's National Rugby League (NRL) has banned player Ben Barba from the competition after viewing footage of him in an alleged "physical altercation" with his partner. Barba, 29, was sacked by his new club, North Queensland Cowboys, last Friday over allegations that he had struck his partner at a casino in January. The alleged incident is also being investigated by Queensland police. Barba has not made any comment on the allegations. NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said it was "time for Ben Barba to find a new vocation". "Where we see violence against women we'll act in the strongest terms," he said. The Rugby Football League has previously said that Barba would not be allowed to play in Super League if was banned by the NRL. Barba faces Super League banThe former St Helens full-back was the lea..
February 4, 2019

China banks on lending to ease slowdown

China banks on lending to ease slowdown Image copyright Getty Images Build stuff or buy stuff? China has long been a believer in the former to deal with a slowdown in its economy. Now it's trying to shift the emphasis to the latter. This year will be a big test of how far it's come in the transition from state-backed investment to domestic consumption as the main driver of growth. China's President Xi Jinping has warned of a "struggle" as his country faces an economic slowdown, the likes of which it hasn't seen for almost 30 years. A series of stimulus measures have been unveiled by the government not to boost the economy, but to manage the slowdown. "China's goal is not growth, it's stability," says economist Andy Xie. "The option for stimulated growth again, that is not on the table. The debt level is simply too high, not like in 2008." 'Less room to manoeuvre'China's debt has doubled in the aftermath of the global financial crisis 10 y..
February 4, 2019

Climate change: Warming threatens Himalayan glaciers

Climate change: Warming threatens Himalayan glaciers Image copyright Getty Images Climate change poses a growing threat to the glaciers found in the Hindu Kush and Himalayan mountain ranges, according to a new report. The study found that if CO2 emissions are not cut rapidly, two thirds of these giant ice fields could disappear. Even if the world limits the temperature rise to 1.5C this century, at least one third of the ice would go. The glaciers are a critical water source for 250 million people living across eight different countries. A Himalayan home for Buddhist nuns East Antarctica's glaciers are stirring Last four years are 'world's hottest' The towering peaks of K2 and Mount Everest are part of the frozen Hindu Kush and Himalayan ranges that contain more ice that anywhere else on Earth, apart from the polar regions. But these ice fields could turn to bare rocks in less than a century because of rising temperatures, say scientists. Over the next few d..
February 4, 2019

UK approves Vijay Mallya extradition to India

UK approves Vijay Mallya extradition to India Image copyright AFP/Getty UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has approved the extradition of Indian business tycoon Vijay Mallya, who faces fraud charges back home. The move comes two months after a London court ruled that he should be sent back for trial. Mr Mallya, whose business empire once included Kingfisher beer, left India in March 2016 after defaulting on debts of more than $1bn (£785m). He now has 14 days to appeal against the decision. He denies "fleeing" from India and says he made an "unconditional" offer to pay back the sum in full in July last year. High-profile figureMr Mallya built his fortune from Kingfisher beer before branching out into Indian cricket and Formula 1 racing. He set up the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines in 2005. He faces a raft of charges relating to financial irregularities at Kingfisher Airlines. His monetary affairs are being investigated by India's Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement D..
February 4, 2019

Denmark expels two Huawei staff after inspecting permits

Denmark expels two Huawei staff after inspecting permits Image copyright Getty Images Denmark has deported two Huawei workers after finding they had flouted work and residence permit rules. Police said it was part of a policy of regular checks on companies with large numbers of foreign workers. They said the inspection had nothing to do with the recent controversy surrounding the Chinese telecoms giant. Huawei has been at the centre of controversy, due to growing scrutiny over its ties with the Chinese government. The firm, one of the world's biggest producers of telecoms equipment, has faced resistance from foreign governments over the risk that its technology could be used for espionage. Huawei has denied claims it poses a spying risk. The company has so far failed to respond to requests for comment. A Huawei spokeswoman told Bloomberg: "These visa checks are routine, and we are co-operating with the authorities." Separately, Norway's intelligence service PST has issued a..
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