October 24, 2018

Why India needs to worry about climate change

Why India needs to worry about climate change Image copyright AFP Image caption Some Indian cities often record temperatures approaching nearly 50C A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned of disastrous consequences if current trends of global warming are not reversed immediately. Aayushi Awasthy explains why this has particular consequences for India and the entire South Asian region. The IPCC report, which was released earlier this month, has been called the most extensive warning yet on the risks of rising global temperatures. The report says that the impact of a 1.5C increase in global temperatures will "disproportionately affect disadvantaged and vulnerable populations through food insecurity, higher food prices, income losses, lost livelihood opportunities, adverse health impacts, and population displacements". India stands to be one of the nations most significantly affected, given its huge population and levels of inequality and poverty. If ex..
October 24, 2018

Ko Ko Korina: A bad cover version, the angry minister and Spiderman too

Ko Ko Korina: A bad cover version, the angry minister and Spiderman too Image Copyright Coke Studio Coke Studio Report There are a lot of bad cover versions of songs but few have caused the kind of uproar seen in Pakistan this week, drawing in a government minister, a pop sweetheart and even Spiderman. Last week the hugely popular live music TV show Coke Studio reworked a beloved classic Ko Ko Korina, considered the first true pop song in Pakistan. The video was posted on YouTube and it was at that point we all found out how angry this had made people. Rage usually reserved only for religion, politics and cricket came down upon the Ko Ko Korina cover - with a vengeance. Things became truly surreal when Pakistan's Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari weighed in to describe it as a "massacre" of the classic song, questioning how producers had allowed this to happen. Skip Twitter post by @ShireenMazari1 Horrendous! Destroyed a great classic - why oh why did Coke Studio allow such a..
October 24, 2018

Mullah Baradar: Taliban say founder ‘freed by Pakistan’

Mullah Baradar: Taliban say founder 'freed by Pakistan' Image caption The Taliban have vastly strengthened their hand on the battlefield in recent years The Afghan Taliban spokesman has said one of its founding members has been released from detention in Pakistan. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar served as second-in-command under Mullah Omar and co-ordinated the group's military operations in southern Afghanistan. He was arrested eight years ago in the Pakistani city of Karachi. Correspondents say his release could be linked to US efforts to revive peace talks between the militants and the Afghan government. "He wasn't released because he was ill," a Taliban source told the BBC. "In fact Pakistan also wants him to play a role in peace talks. He is in good shape and is expected to play a role in the peace process." Taliban officials secretly met a senior US diplomat in Qatar, it emerged in July. The Islamist group's power and reach have surged since foreign combat t..
October 24, 2018

Harry Potter to ‘inspire’ budding India lawyers

Harry Potter to 'inspire' budding India lawyers Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The Harry Potter series is extremely popular in India A top Indian law university in the eastern state of West Bengal has introduced a course based on the fictional world of Harry Potter. The course uses the role of law in the series to draw parallels between the stories and real-life situations. Professor Shouvik Kumar Guha, who designed it, says it is an "experiment" to "encourage creative thinking." Several universities in the US and at least one in the UK also offer courses inspired by the famous series. The course in India, which is entitled "An interface between Fantasy Fiction Literature and Law: Special focus on Rowling's Potterverse", is expected to include a total of 45 hours of discussion-based teaching. Some of the topics mentioned in the course module point out how social and class rights in India can be equated with the "enslavement of house-elves and the marginali..
October 24, 2018

Hong Kong-Zhuhai bridge: World’s longest sea crossing opens to quiet start

Hong Kong-Zhuhai bridge: World's longest sea crossing opens to quiet start Image copyright Reuters Image caption Officials said traffic was not expected to be busy on the first day The world's longest sea-crossing bridge opened to the public on Wednesday but traffic was light on its first day. Officials said they did not expect many vehicles to immediately take to the road, adding that it could take "time to build". The $20bn (£15.3bn) bridge spans 55km (34 miles) and connects Hong Kong to Macau and the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai. It was officially opened by Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday. "Every big infrastructure [project] has a relatively low volume of passenger and traffic flow in the initial period. It takes time to build up" transport secretary Frank Chan told reporters. There were virtually no cars or lorries to be seen on the bridge but the route was plied by private shuttle buses, said the BBC's Martin Yip, who crossed from Hong Kong to Macau on ..
October 23, 2018

The Indian animal trainer who became a circus legend

The Indian animal trainer who became a circus legend Image copyright Mahendra Dhotre Collection Image caption Damoo Dhotre was known for daredevil acts During a circus performance in Shanghai in 1927, a writer stepped into a cage to interview a legendary animal trainer from India. They had five tigers and four leopards for company. This was an extraordinary setting for an interview. But then nothing about Damoo Dhotre was ordinary. Although only 25, he had already become famous for his daredevil circus acts. And he wanted the writer to observe first-hand how effortlessly he controlled wild animals. Although Damoo went on to become one of the greats of the circus world, very little is known about him in India. His grandson, Mahendra Dhotre, has researched his grandfather's life and wants young people to know about his achievements. Image copyright Mahendra Dhotre Collection Image caption Damoo Dhotre won many awards during his career "His story is remarkable," Mr Dhotre says. "..
October 23, 2018

Jumpei Yasuda: Japanese journalist held hostage in Syria ‘freed’

Jumpei Yasuda: Japanese journalist held hostage in Syria 'freed' Image copyright Reuters Image caption Jumpei Yasuda went missing after crossing into Syria from Turkey, where this photo was taken A man believed to be a Japanese freelance journalist held hostage in Syria for the past three years has been released, Japan's government says. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that Japan had been informed by Qatar that a man likely to be Jumpei Yasuda was now in Turkey. Mr Yasuda went missing in June 2015 after travelling from Turkey to Syria to report on the country's civil war. He was reportedly held by the al-Qaeda-linked group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. HTS, which was once known al-Nusra Front, is the dominant force in the opposition-held north-western Syrian province of Idlib. Japan hostage photo from Syria 'genuine' Why is there a war in Syria? Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Mr Suga said Japanese officials had been told that the ..
October 23, 2018

Harry and Meghan: Duke sips kava drink as royals land in Fiji

Harry and Meghan: Duke sips kava drink as royals land in Fiji Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionPeople cheered as Prince Harry brought the cup of kava to his lips. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have arrived in Fiji, where Prince Harry has tried kava - a traditional non-alcoholic social drink. He tried the beverage at a ceremony which featured chants and dancing. Crowds cheered as Prince Harry sipped the kava, which is used to treat anxiety and stress in some countries but cannot be imported to the EU. Harry and Meghan were then met by huge crowds of people at the Grand Pacific Hotel, where they waved from a balcony. The pair's 16-day tour which will also take them to New Zealand, Tonga and return to Australia. The duke and duchess, who are expecting their first baby, visited Albert Park in Fiji's capital Suva - the same place visited by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh 65 years ago. Image copyright Getty Images/Reuters Image caption Harry and Meghan ..
October 23, 2018

Taiwan train crash driver disabled speed controls

Taiwan train crash driver disabled speed controls Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionThe Puyuma Express 6432 service came off the tracks close to Xinma station The driver of the train that crashed in Taiwan on Sunday killing 18 people has said he turned off its speed-control system before the accident. He told a court he had disabled the system after earlier in the day it had slowed down the train because of a fault. Prosecutors accuse the driver of negligence for failing to switch the system back on. The deadly crash is the territory's worst rail accident in 27 years. Train kills dozens at Indian festival Children in cart killed in Dutch rail crash A total of 366 passengers were on the train when all eight of its carriages derailed. At least three children are among the dead. The train came off the rails while moving at almost 140km/h (87mph), nearly twice the speed limit imposed due to a curve in the track, officials said. Prosecutors questioned the in..
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