January 31, 2019

China pledges ‘tremendous’ US soy purchases

China pledges 'tremendous' US soy purchases Image copyright EPA Image caption Vice Premier Liu He and President Donald Trump talk to the press about trade China has pledged to increase its purchases of US soybeans, as the two countries attempt to hammer out a trade deal. US President Donald Trump touted the promise, made at the end of two days of talks in Washington, as evidence that the two sides were making progress. "Before we make a deal, it's a fantastic sign of faith," he said, But the president's top negotiator also warned many issues remained unresolved. "At this point, it's impossible for me to predict success," US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said. Mr Trump, who said he hoped to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to hash out a final deal, was more upbeat. "We have made tremendous progress," he said. "That doesn't mean you're going to have a deal but there's a tremendous relationship and a warm feeling."
January 31, 2019

Nastya Rybka: Model who got caught up in the Trump-Russia row

Nastya Rybka: Model who got caught up in the Trump-Russia row Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionNastya Rybka talks about her visit from the FBI during her time in a Thai prison Nastya Rybka spent a few days "just partying" with a Russian billionaire on his yacht, and boasted to the world about her coup. But that billionaire was Oleg Deripaska, a powerful friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin. And she later claimed she had evidence of Russian interference in the Trump election campaign. Rybka herself, a Belarusian model, was to spend a year in prison in Thailand, in her eyes an unwitting victim used by others. "I fell in love. He is a very handsome man and has beautiful eyes. Why not?" she said of Mr Deripaska in an interview with BBC Russian in Moscow. US lifts sanctions on Putin ally Deripaska's firms US slaps sanctions on key Putin allies All she wanted was to be on Mr Deripaska's yacht, she says. She got what she wanted in 2016, but talking ab..
January 31, 2019

Behrouz Boochani: Refugee who wrote book with WhatsApp wins top prize

Behrouz Boochani: Refugee who wrote book with WhatsApp wins top prize Image copyright Ashley Gilbertson/VII/Redux/eyevine Image caption Behrouz Boochani has become a chronicler of the lives of aslyum seekers on Manus Island An asylum seeker and journalist detained for years by Australia on an island in the Pacific has been awarded the country's richest literary prize. Behrouz Boochani, an Iranian Kurd, wrote No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison by text message from inside a detention centre. It won the 2019 Victorian Prize for Literature, worth A$100,000 (£55,000). Boochani remains on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island and is not allowed to enter Australia. The controversial detention centre in which he was held was closed in late 2017, he - and hundreds of others - have since been moved to alternative accommodation. Australia has a strict policy on any asylum seekers who arrive by boat, vowing that they will never be resettled in Australia, even if found to ..
January 31, 2019

India Love Commandos head arrested after couples report abuse

India Love Commandos head arrested after couples report abuse Image copyright AFP Image caption Sanjoy Sachdev offered safe houses to desperate couples Police in India are questioning the head of an organisation known as Love Commandos for alleged extortion and abuse of couples living in his shelter. Sanjoy Sachdev was arrested and four couples were rescued on a complaint by the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW). Mr Sachdev set up the group to provide safe houses to couples who had angered their families by marrying outside of their caste or religion. Some of the couples alleged they were being held against their will. Love Commandos, an NGO founded in 2010, grew in popularity after Mr Sachdev appeared on the popular TV show Satyamev Jayate (Truth Alone Triumphs), hosted by Bollywood star Aamir Khan. The 'love commandos' protecting young couples A hideaway for India's rebel couples In largely conservative India, relationships in the same village - outside caste and fait..
January 31, 2019

India job data spells trouble for Narendra Modi

India job data spells trouble for Narendra Modi Image copyright Getty Images Image caption One out of every five young people is out of work India's unemployment rate is the highest it has been since the 1970s, according to a government jobs report. Economist Vivek Kaul explains what this means and why it matters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, which is accused of withholding the findings months before the general election. What does the report say?It says that India has a jobs problem. The country's unemployment rate - 6.1% - is the highest it has been since 1972-73, the earliest year for which comparable data is available. This is according to the latest employment survey, which was exclusively accessed by The Business Standard newspaper, after the government had allegedly refused to release it. On its own, an unemployment rate of 6.1% may not sound too dire, until you consider that in 2011-12, it was just 2.2%. And it's particularly high among pe..
January 30, 2019

China factory activity shrinks as slowdown worries rise

China factory activity shrinks as slowdown worries rise Image copyright Getty Images Chinese factory activity contracted for a second straight month in January, the official Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) showed. The index ticked up to 49.5, but remained below the 50-point level that separates growth from contraction. China reported its weakest economic expansion in 28 years in 2018, and growth is expected to slow further. Already, a number of multinationals have said sluggish growth in China has affected their bottom line. The manufacturing data was up slightly from the 49.4 level recorded in December. Marcel Thieliant, economist at Capital Economics, said while PMI didn't weaken any further in January, "it still suggests that the economy lost momentum at the start of the year". Other data, such as consumer sentiment and retail sales figures, also point to weakening demand in the world's second largest economy. Several international companies have warned on China&#03..
January 30, 2019

Foxconn reconsiders Wisconsin factory

Foxconn reconsiders Wisconsin factory plans Image copyright AFP/Getty Image caption Foxconn initially said it would invest $10bn in a new manufacturing facility in Wisconsin Foxconn, which raised hopes of a US manufacturing revival by announcing a new factory in Wisconsin, is now reconsidering its plans. The Taiwanese manufacturing giant no longer expects to make liquid crystal display panels at the Wisconsin plant, a company official told Reuters. It plans to hire mostly engineers and researchers not manufacturing workers. The changes are a significant shift from the firm's plans announced at a White House ceremony in 2017. At the time, US President Donald Trump claimed credit for landing the investment, which he said was a sign his policies were returning investment to the US. The yet-to-be-built facility was the "eighth wonder of the world", he said at a groundbreaking ceremony last summer. Foxconn, a major Apple supplier, had pledged to invest $10bn (£7.6bn) in the plant, whi..
January 30, 2019

The Indians sharing their villages with crocodiles

The Indians sharing their villages with crocodiles Image copyright Anirudh Vasava Image caption There are about 200 mugger crocodiles in the region In some villages in India's western state of Gujarat, locals live cheek by jowl with mugger crocodiles, which are considered extremely dangerous. Janaki Lenin visited the area to investigate an unusual coexistence. "The crocodiles will come out only around 10:00," the woman advised me as she hung up her laundry on a recent winter morning. I was not on a wildlife safari. I was in the courtyard of her house in Malataj village, scanning the surface of the pond beyond her front door. It looked like any other pond. But lurking among the fuchsia blossoms and green pads of water lilies were mugger crocodiles, one of India's three crocodilian species. And villagers - such as the housewife speaking to me - know the reptiles' habits from generations of coexisting with them. In most places, the sight of even a single crocodile would b..
January 30, 2019

Why some Japanese pensioners want to go to jail

Why some Japanese pensioners want to go to jail Japan is in the grip of an elderly crime wave - the proportion of crimes committed by people over the age of 65 has been steadily increasing for 20 years. The BBC's Ed Butler asks why. At a halfway house in Hiroshima - for criminals who are being released from jail back into the community - 69-year-old Toshio Takata tells me he broke the law because he was poor. He wanted somewhere to live free of charge, even if it was behind bars. "I reached pension age and then I ran out of money. So it occurred to me - perhaps I could live for free if I lived in jail," he says. "So I took a bicycle and rode it to the police station and told the guy there: 'Look, I took this.'" The plan worked. This was Toshio's first offence, committed when he was 62, but Japanese courts treat petty theft seriously, so it was enough to get him a one-year sentence. Small, slender, and with a tendency to giggle, Toshio looks nothing like a habitual..
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