December 14, 2018

India PM Narendra Modi avoids probe over France Rafale jet deal

India PM Narendra Modi avoids probe over France Rafale jet deal Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Former French President François Hollande, left, and Indian PM Narendra Modi announced the Rafale deal in 2015 India's top court has dismissed demands for an investigation into the country's decision to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from French company Dassault. There was massive political furore over the deal as India's opposition parties have alleged corruption and demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The decision is being seen as a victory for the government in India. Both Dassault and the government have consistently denied any wrongdoing. The three-judge bench said they could find no reason to "intervene" in the deal, adding that they had "no doubt in the process" that was used to purchase the aircraft. The deal sparked controversy in September when Francois Hollande, who was the French president at the time of the deal, told news website M..
December 13, 2018

China buys US soybeans for first time since trade war

China buys US soybeans for first time since trade war Image copyright Reuters Image caption China's purchase of 1.13 million tonnes of US soybeans has been hailed as a wonderful, great step by US officials. China has bought US soybeans for the first time since the trade war between the two countries started in July - a move hailed as a "great step" by US officials. One of the biggest casualties of the US-China trade war has been the US soybean sector. China is by far the world's biggest importer of soybeans. And Beijing's high tariffs placed on US soybeans this year has been severely hurting US farmers. A trade truce between China and the US was reached earlier this month however, and there had been much anticipation that China would soon return to the US soybean market. But while China's purchase of 1.13 million tonnes of US soybeans on Thursday was meet with much applause from some, others said the purchase was too small, and not a sign that the trade war was c..
December 13, 2018

Indian national jailed over sex assault on US flight

Indian national jailed over sex assault on US flight Image copyright Wayne County Sheriff's Office Image caption The accused was sitting next to his wife when he allegedly assaulted someone sitting next to him A US court has sentenced an Indian man to nine years in jail for sexually assaulting a woman who sat next to him on a US flight in January. Prabhu Ramamoorthy, 34, was sitting between his wife and the victim, who said she was asleep at the time. The woman said she had woken up to find her shirt and trousers unbuttoned and his hand in her trousers. Ramamoorthy will be deported back to India after he serves his sentence, a federal court in Detroit said. The prosecution had originally sought a 11-year jail term. But the US District Judge Terrence Berg concluded that nine years was sufficient for what he described as "an extremely serious offence," according to the Detroit Free Press. When the accusations against Ramamoorthy surfaced, he had denied them, telling police he cou..
December 13, 2018

My Neighbour Totoro: Studio Ghibli classic gets China release after 30 years

My Neighbour Totoro: Studio Ghibli classic gets China release after 30 years Image copyright GKids/1988 Studio Ghibli Japanese animation classic My Neighbour Totoro is finally being screened in Chinese cinemas, 30 years after it was first released. The film, by Studio Ghibli and famed director Hayao Miyazaki, follows the story of two sisters who encounter Totoro and other forest creatures. Despite the movie's cult following, it has never been publicly shown in China. But many Chinese viewers have already caught it on DVDs or pirated downloads while growing up. Studio Ghibli co-founder dies 'Totoro' theme park to open in Japan Grave of the Fireflies: Ghibli's darkest film Hayao Miyazaki: Japan's godfather of animation The critically acclaimed animation is one of Japan's most beloved children's films. While some viewers draw parallels with Alice in Wonderland, the 1988 film was said to have been inspired by director Hayao Miyazaki's own experienc..
December 13, 2018

The fight over the Indian baby born in a bank queue

The fight over the Indian baby born in a bank queue Image caption Khazanchi Nath was born two years ago as his mother Sarvesha Devi stood in a bank queue to withdraw cash He arrived in the world with a bang. His birth in a bank queue made global news. But two-year-old Khazanchi Nath is now at the centre of a bitter fight between the two sides of his family and two villages because of his celebrity status. The BBC's Geeta Pandey travels to rural Kanpur in northern India to piece together the toddler's story. Khazanchi, which means "treasurer", was born in the state of Uttar Pradesh on 2 December 2016, less than a month after the Indian government banned 1,000 and 500 rupee notes overnight. The decision by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, locally called demonetisation, led to a major cash crunch and for weeks millions of Indians were seen queuing outside banks to withdraw new currency notes. A very heavily pregnant Sarvesha Devi had walked from her home in Sardar Pur village to th..
December 13, 2018

Kim Jong-un face mask stirs controversy in South Korea

Kim Jong-un face mask stirs controversy in South Korea Image copyright 5149/Instagram Image caption Thousands of controversial "nuke masks" have been sold in South Korea A South Korean fashion and cosmetics firm has stirred controversy with a facial mask featuring Kim Jong-un. The firm says it has sold more than 25,000 "unification moisture nuclear masks" since June. However many South Korean stores have halted sales amid a public backlash and concerns over the masks' legality. The North Korean leader and his regime have been criticised by the United Nations for "systematic, widespread" human rights abuses. In South Korea it is illegal to speak favourably of the North Korean government, though the law is rarely enforced. Both North and South Korea are still technically at war, but leaders from both countries attended talks this year over denuclearisation. 'Political agenda'The so-called "nuke masks" were created by 5149, a South Korean fashion and cosmetics company. No..
December 13, 2018

‘Racist’ Gandhi statue removed from University of Ghana

'Racist' Gandhi statue removed from University of Ghana Image copyright Emmanuel Dzivenu/JoyNews A statue of Mahatma Gandhi, the famed Indian independence leader, has been removed from a university campus in Ghana's capital, Accra. University of Ghana lecturers began a petition for its removal shortly after it was unveiled in 2016 by India's former President Pranab Mukherjee. The petition said Gandhi was "racist" and African heroes should be put first. In the wake of the row, Ghana's government at the time said the statue would be relocated. BBC Africa Live: More on this and other storiesLecturers and students told the BBC that the statue, originally located at the university's recreational quadrangle, had been removed on Wednesday. The university confirmed this, saying that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration was responsible. Law student Nana Adoma Asare Adei told the BBC: "Having his statue means that we stand for everything he stan..
December 13, 2018

Michael Spavor: The detained Canadian close to Kim Jong-un

Michael Spavor: The detained Canadian close to Kim Jong-un Image copyright Reuters Image caption Michael Spavor, pictured here with students at a North Korean school, has close ties to the country's government Few people can claim to have sipped cocktails on board North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's private yacht, but Michael Spavor is one of them. The Canadian businessman, who has longstanding ties with Pyongyang, has been detained in China and is being investigated on suspicion of harming its national security. His disappearance comes amid escalating tensions between China and Canada, after the latter arrested a Chinese businesswoman at the request of the US. Mr Spavor is the second Canadian to be detained in China this week. Former diplomat Michael Kovrig was arrested in Beijing on Monday under similar circumstances. But Mr Spavor's close ties to North Korea, which is an ally of China, only adds to the intrigue surrounding this growing diplomatic feud. Huawei arrest pu..
December 13, 2018

Grace Millane: New Zealand anger over Google naming murder suspect

Grace Millane: New Zealand anger over Google naming murder suspect Image copyright Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Image caption Grace Millane was travelling the world and came to New Zealand in November New Zealand's justice minister has said Google could face prosecution for sending a mass email which included the name of the man accused of murdering British backpacker Grace Millane. The suspect was granted a temporary name suppression while he awaits trial, making it illegal to publish his name. The email, which named the suspect prominently, went to people signed up to receive the country's top trends. Google said it did not know about the suppression order. Justice Minister Andrew Little told the New Zealand Herald that if the email breach was traced to any of Google's New Zealand infrastructure then the firm could be prosecuted in the country. Google has an office in New Zealand with at least 20 staff and was set to add more employees this year. "Google has staff in Ne..
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