December 18, 2018

How Greenland could become China’s Arctic base

How Greenland could become China's Arctic base Image caption Greenland's capital, Nuuk, needs investment - but could it come from China? China is flexing its muscles. As the second richest economy in the world, its businessmen and politicians are involved just about everywhere in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Now, though, China is taking a big interest in a very different part of the world: the Arctic. It has started calling itself a "near-Arctic" power, even though Beijing is almost 3,000km (1,800 miles) from the Arctic Circle. It has bought or commissioned several ice-breakers - including nuclear-powered ones - to carve out new routes for its goods through the Arctic ice. And it is eyeing Greenland as a particularly useful way-station on its polar silk road. Greenland is self-governing, though still nominally controlled by Denmark. It is important strategically for the United States, which maintains a vast military base at Thule, in the far north. Both the Danes and th..
December 18, 2018

Transgender women pray at India’s Sabarimala temple

Transgender women pray at India's Sabarimala temple Image copyright A S Satheesh Image caption The transwomen were accompanied by some 20 police officers Four transgender women have been allowed to pray at an Indian temple at the centre of a bitter row over whether women should be permitted to enter. Despite a Supreme Court ruling allowing women devotees into the Sabarimala shrine in Kerala state, they have been blocked repeatedly by mobs. The transgender women, all wearing black sarees, were allowed to enter on Tuesday under police protection. The temple has historically been closed to women of "menstruating age". The group of transgender women had been blocked from accessing the temple on Sunday by police, citing security concerns. Image copyright A S Satheesh Image caption The four joined prayers at the temple on Tuesday Before September's Supreme Court ruling, transgender women were allowed to enter the shrine, but since the decision - which sparked violent protests - so..
December 18, 2018

The ‘wary’ #MeToo conversation in Australia

The 'wary' #MeToo conversation in Australia Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Actress Yael Stone has accused her former co-star Geoffrey Rush of misconduct On Monday, Australia was transfixed by fresh sexual misconduct allegations against Geoffrey Rush - one of the nation's most celebrated actors. Australian actress Yael Stone alleged that Mr Rush behaved inappropriately towards her during a theatre production in Sydney in 2010-11. Mr Rush, 67, has denied her accusations. Ms Stone, 33, said that she had feared speaking out because of personal and career reasons, echoing concerns raised by many women around the world since the #MeToo movement began last year. But she also raised concerns that she could face legal consequences - because under Australia's strong defamation laws, people or publications making allegations often face threats of legal action. Experts say worries like this are a key reason why the #MeToo movement has not gathered as much momentum i..
December 18, 2018

Google China: Has search firm put Project Dragonfly on hold?

Google China: Has search firm put Project Dragonfly on hold? Image caption Google's plans for a Chinese search engine have reportedly halted Google has reportedly "effectively ended" plans for a censored search engine in China. The Intercept, which revealed the existence of Project Dragonfly in August, says Google has been "forced to shut down a data analysis system it was using" to feed the project. And access to data "integral to Dragonfly... has been suspended for now, which has stopped progress". Google said it had no immediate plans to launch a Chinese search engine. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Google has faced protests about the search engine it was working on for China What is The Intercept reporting?Citing internal Google documents and inside sources, the Intercept says Project Dragonfly began in the spring of 2017 and accelerated in December after Google's chief executive, Sundar Pichai, met a Chinese government official, An Android app with version..
December 18, 2018

Lil Pump: Rapper labelled ‘racist’ over song

Lil Pump: Rapper labelled 'racist' over song Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Lil Pump has more than 17.4 million followers on Instagram US-Colombian rapper Lil Pump has been accused of racism after he teased a new song which uses a derogatory term. In the song's lyrics, Pump says "they call me [Chinese basketball player] Yao Ming because my eyes real low" before adding the phrase "ching chong". In a video posted to his 17.4 million Instagram followers teasing the song, Pump pulls back his eyes as he mimes to the lyrics. Lil Pump rose to international prominence in 2017 with his song Gucci Gang, which has been viewed over 847 million times on YouTube. The rapper has faced a backlash on social media, with Chinese users flooding his Instagram posts with comments calling him "racist" and "disgusting". Meanwhile on Chinese social media site Sina Weibo, thousands of users have added their voices to the criticism, with many posting screengrabs to prove they have repo..
December 18, 2018

Meng Wanzhou: China park rewards Huawei phone owners

Meng Wanzhou: China park rewards Huawei phone owners Image copyright EPA Image caption Ms Meng is chief financial officer of Huawei, the world's second-biggest smartphone maker A popular tourist attraction has become the latest Chinese company to show solidarity with Huawei's chief finance officer, Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Canada on 1 December. Shennong Mountain Scenic Park in eastern Henan province said it would waive the $9.40 (65 yuan) ticket fee for anyone carrying a Huawei phone. Ms Meng, who was given bail in Canada, faces extradition to the US on charges of breaking Iran sanctions. Her case has upped tensions with China. "Use Huawei phones, shoot grand photos on the mountain," a notice on the Shennong park's social media account said. "We wish friends around the world who support Huawei success and bliss." The offer would last until 29 December, the South China Morning Post reported. But it was met with some criticism among China's social media us..
December 18, 2018

BA to resume flights to Pakistan

BA to resume flights to Pakistan Image copyright AFP Image caption Islamabad's new airport opened this year British Airways is to restart flights to Pakistan next year, more than 10 years after it halted services following a major hotel bombing. The airline stopped flying to the country after the Marriott hotel in the capital, Islamabad, was bombed in 2008, killing more than 50 people. BA will be the first Western airline to resume services to the country. A new airport was opened recently in Islamabad, which has eased concerns about both security and congestion. The attack on the Marriott was one of the most high-profile attacks in Pakistan's history. Thomas Drew, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, said BA's return was a "reflection of the great improvements" in security. BA's Robert Williams said: "It's exciting to be flying between Islamabad and Heathrow from next year, which we believe will be particularly popular with the British Pakistani commun..
December 18, 2018

Hamid Ansari: ‘Love-struck’ Indian home after Pakistan jail ordeal

Hamid Ansari: 'Love-struck' Indian home after Pakistan jail ordeal Image caption Hamid Ansari reunited with his family at the border on Monday An Indian man held for six years in Pakistan after illegally entering the country has returned to his family. Hamid Ansari was convicted on charges of spying after he was found with a fake Pakistani identity card. But his supporters said he had entered the country to pursue "blind and stupid" love with a woman he met online. Ansari was greeted at India's Wagah border by his family, government officials and journalists. His return ends a years-long ordeal for his family who fought to first track him down, and then secure his release. Though officially convicted in 2015, Ansari had been in Pakistani custody since 2012. His jail term officially ended on Sunday, but his release was delayed because legal formalities had not been completed. It is not clear if he ever met the woman he crossed the border for. India and Pakistan have fou..
December 18, 2018

New Zealand to hold cannabis referendum in 2020

New Zealand to hold cannabis referendum in 2020 Image copyright Getty Images New Zealanders will vote on legalising recreational cannabis in a referendum during the 2020 general election, the country's justice minister said. A vote was promised by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's Labour Party last year during cross-party talks, which helped to form a coalition government. It comes a week after lawmakers gave medicinal cannabis the green light. An opinion poll last year suggested two thirds of New Zealanders favoured legalisation. "We know when it will be, we have a commitment that it will be binding, and now it is just a question on filling in the detail from there," said Justice Minister Andrew Little, following a decision by the country's cabinet on Monday. New Zealand's left-wing Labour Party is part of a three-way coalition government, with the centrist Green Party and populists New Zealand First (NZF). The partnership was formed after inconclusive elections las..
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