January 29, 2019

Getting boats to children who have to swim to school

Getting boats to children who have to swim to school Image copyright Facebook Image caption What if your daily commute meant swimming through mangroves? Imagine if going to school meant swimming and wading through water and mangroves, your school books tied up in a plastic bag over your head. All the while, you're struggling to keep your face above water and fighting against the current. For some children in the Philippines, this is a daily routine - but a charity is trying to make it easier for them to get their education by providing communities with boats. The Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation started out as a small idea on social media yet over the years has become a countrywide charity helping school children in need. The first community where the charity got involved was one of fishermen and seaweed farmers living in stilted houses in the sea off the coast of Zamboanga City, a poor region of Mindanao in the south. Image copyright Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation Image captio..
January 29, 2019

North Korea nuclear: US intelligence report says regime to keep weapons

North Korea nuclear: US intelligence report says regime to keep weapons Image copyright Reuters Image caption Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday North Korea is unlikely to fully give up its nuclear weapons, a US intelligence report says, despite the hopes of the Trump administration. The Worldwide Threat Assessment report also says Iran is not making nuclear weapons, but that cyber threats from China and Russia are a growing concern. Both countries may be seeking to influence the 2020 election, it says. National intelligence director Dan Coats and other intelligence chiefs presented it the Senate on Tuesday. North Korea remains "unlikely to give up" its weapon stockpiles and production abilities while it tries to negotiate "partial denuclearization steps to obtain key US and international concessions", the report says. Having nuclear weapons is seen as "critical to regime survival", it reads. North Korea's bre..
January 29, 2019

George Fernandes: The man who threw out Coca-Cola and IBM from India

George Fernandes: The man who threw out Coca-Cola and IBM from India Image copyright Getty Images Veteran socialist politician George Fernandes, who served as India's defence minister during the Kargil conflict with Pakistan, has died, aged 88. He was suffering from Alzheimer's and had been out of the limelight for many years. He had recently contracted swine flu and died on Tuesday, his long-time associate Jaya Jaitly said. A charismatic trade union leader, Mr Fernandes will be best remembered for resisting emergency rule in the mid-1970s when then prime minister Indira Gandhi suspended civil liberties. He will also be known as the man who threw out Coca-Cola and IBM from India when he was the industry minister in the late 1970s. Known to be honest and forthright, Mr Fernandes was often described as a rebel who fought for the rights of the poor people and low-paid workers. In his early years, he wanted to become a Catholic priest and joined a seminary in the southern city o..
January 29, 2019

Asia Bibi blasphemy acquittal upheld by Pakistan court

Asia Bibi blasphemy acquittal upheld by Pakistan court Image caption Asia Bibi's case had been hugely divisive in religiously conservative Pakistan Pakistan's top court has rejected a challenge to the acquittal of a Christian woman on blasphemy charges. The Supreme Court upheld its decision to overturn Asia Bibi's conviction and death sentence. She was originally convicted in 2010 after being accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a row with her neighbours. Asia Bibi has always maintained her innocence in a case that has polarised Pakistan. The original ruling set off violent protests by religious hardliners who support strong blasphemy laws. What are Pakistan's blasphemy laws? Why are Pakistan's Christians targeted? Asia Bibi spent eight years on death row before the Supreme Court quashed her sentence last October. Hardliners had petitioned to overturn this ruling. "Based on merit, this petition is dismissed," Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosar said in cou..
January 29, 2019

Pitt Rivers: The museum that’s returning the dead

Pitt Rivers: The museum that's returning the dead Image copyright Alamy Image caption About 2,000 specimens at the Pitt Rivers Museum are of human remains Treasures seized during Britain's colonial past are kept in museums across the country. But as times change, how do such institutions deal with the sensitive issue of the human remains in their collections? In Oxford, the Pitt Rivers Museum - founded with the collection of a Victorian general, Augustus Pitt Rivers - holds about 2,000 such specimens. These body parts were brought back to Britain from across its empire, with little concern for the people from whom they'd been plundered. The Pitt Rivers is one of several British institutions that are under pressure to re-evaluate the many colonial prizes in their collections. "We can't undo history but we can be a part of the process of healing," says Laura van Broekhoven, director of the museum. She says the process is about having an "open conversation" with tho..
January 29, 2019

Huawei denies wrongdoing after US criminal charges

Huawei denies wrongdoing after US criminal charges Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Huawei is the world's second biggest smartphone maker by volume Chinese telecoms giant Huawei has denied any wrongdoing after US prosecutors filed a host of criminal charges against the firm. Huawei has also rejected criminal claims against its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Canada last month. The charges filed against Huawei in the US include bank fraud, obstruction of justice and theft of technology. The case could escalate tensions between China and the US. In a statement, Huawei said it was "disappointed to learn of the charges brought against the company today". It said it didn't commit "any of the asserted violations" and that it "is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms Meng". The statement said the allegations of stealing trade secrets were the subject of a settled civil suit, in which a jury found "neither damages nor wilful and malicious conduct"..
January 29, 2019

Elderly women die in Malaysian food coupons stampede

Elderly women die in Malaysian food coupons stampede Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The event took place in a district in the capital of Kuala Lumpur Two elderly women in Malaysia have died in a crush caused by a crowd jostling to get free food coupons. Only 200 coupons were available but more than 1,000 people showed up at an indoor market in the Pudu district in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Monday. A security guard told local media he had heard "screams" and saw people "pushing each other". Law Ion Nang, 78, and Ah Poh, 85, are believed to have suffered difficulty breathing while waiting their turn. A management official of the Pudu Integrated Commercial Complex, where the event took place, told news outlet The Star that the event was to mark Lunar New Year, which occurs next week. The coupons were being given out to elderly people. She said a total of four people collapsed during the event. A 62-year-old security guard also told The Star that only four people were all..
January 28, 2019

Amy Shark: Stowaways found on singer’s bus near UK border

Amy Shark: Stowaways found on singer's bus near UK border Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Singer Amy Shark tweeted about the discovery of two stowaways Australian musician Amy Shark says two stowaways were found hiding in her tour bus as it prepared to cross a border into the UK, describing the discovery as "scary" and "heartbreaking". Shark said the pair were found in the vehicle's luggage compartment on a trip from Brussels to London. Both intruders swiftly left the bus after being discovered, Shark tweeted. She said it had given her crew a scare, but that she felt for those choosing a "dangerous way to chase a new life". "They didn't threaten us or say a word - they just walked away when found," she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday. Shark, whose real name is Amy Louise Billings, is a prominent singer-songwriter in Australia best known for her songs Adore and I Said Hi. She wrote on Twitter that she had "no idea" how the pair had ente..
January 28, 2019

Kumbh Mela: How to find someone lost at the world’s biggest gathering

Kumbh Mela: How to find someone lost at the world's biggest gathering Image copyright Ankit Srinivas The ongoing Kumbh Mela festival in the northern Indian city of Allahabad (recently re-named Prayagraj) is billed as the largest gathering of humanity on earth, with 110 million people expected to attend over 49 days. But for the thousands who get lost among the crowds, help is at hand. The BBC's Geeta Pandey spent a day at the lost and found centres. "Most people we get are elderly, mostly women above 60 years," says Umesh Tiwari who heads the Bhule Bhatke Shivir (lost and found camp), run by local charity Bharat Seva Dal. Allahabad's oldest, this camp was set up by his father Raja Ram Tiwari in 1946 and has since helped reunite more than 1.5 million families. At the entrance, a policeman writes down the details of the new arrivals in a register - their names, addresses, where they came from, any details of who to contact. Inside, dozens of people who've been separa..
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