January 24, 2019

Australia horse deaths: Wild animals perish at dried-up waterhole

Australia horse deaths: Wild animals perish at dried-up waterhole Image copyright RALPH TURNER Image caption Rangers found the horses in a dried-up waterhole in the Northern Territory An extreme heatwave in Australia has led to the deaths of more than 90 wild horses in the outback, authorities say. Rangers found dead and dying animals in a dried-up waterhole near Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory, last week. About 40 of the animals had already died from dehydration and starvation. Surviving horses were later culled. Australia has experienced a fortnight of extreme heat that has broken dozens of records across the nation. WARNING: Readers may find some images in this article disturbingOn Thursday, the city of Adelaide experienced its hottest ever temperature - 46.2C (115F) - eclipsing a record set in 1939. How were the horses found?Rangers came across the horses after their absence was noted by a remote community, said local authority Central Land Council (CLC). A local resident..
January 24, 2019

Microsoft’s Bing search engine inaccessible in China

Microsoft's Bing search engine inaccessible in China Image copyright Getty Images US tech giant Microsoft has confirmed that its search engine Bing is currently inaccessible in China. Social media users have expressed concern that the search engine might be the latest foreign website to be blocked by censors. Chinese authorities operate a firewall that blocks many US tech platforms, including Facebook and Twitter. Microsoft hasn't said if the outage may be due to censorship, or is merely a technical problem. "We've confirmed that Bing is currently inaccessible in China and are engaged to determine next steps," Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement. A BBC correspondent in China attempted to visit the site, and was able to access it through a Chinese internet provider on a desktop, but not on a smartphone. Many US tech companies are keen to tap into the Chinese market, but have a difficult relationship with the authorities in Beijing. The government's inte..
January 23, 2019

Ahok: Former Jakarta governor released early from prison

Ahok: Former Jakarta governor released early from prison Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The former governor of Jakarta is a Christian in Muslim-majority Indonesia The former governor of Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, who was jailed for blasphemy in 2017 has been released early. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok, left the jail outside Jakarta at 07:30 local time (00:30GMT), his staff confirmed, and was greeting by his son. Mr Purnama, a Christian, was Jakarta's first non-Muslim governor in 50 years. He was found guilty after referring to a Koran verse in a campaign speech, angering hard-line Islamic groups. The blasphemy accusations and his subsequent jail sentence of two years was seen as a test of the country's religious tolerance. He has been released after 20 months for good behaviour. Who is Jakarta's non-Muslim governor? Blasphemy conviction divides a nation Mr Purnama was accused of blasphemy for comments he made during a pre-elections speech..
January 23, 2019

Kim Jong-un applauds Trump for second summit plans

Kim Jong-un applauds Trump for second summit plans Image copyright KCNA Image caption State media says Mr Kim is pleased with the progress towards a second summit North Korea's leader has expressed "great satisfaction," after receiving a letter from US President Donald Trump, the North's state media said. Kim Jong-un made the comments after meeting with one of his top aides who went to Washington last week. The two sides are planning a second summit by the end of February, according to the White House. However, little progress has been made on denuclearisation since their historic first summit last June. There has been a flurry of diplomatic activity towards a second summit this month. Kim Jong-un visited China for talks with President Xi Jinping, as he did before the Singapore summit, while his top negotiator Kim Yong-chol met President Trump at the White House. "Kim Jong-un said that we will believe in President Trump's positive way of thinking, wait with patience a..
January 23, 2019

Malaysia set to elect new king after unprecedented abdication

Malaysia set to elect new king after unprecedented abdication Image copyright AFP Image caption Malaysia's king Sultan Muhammad V unexpectedly abdicated the throne in January Malaysian royals are voting on a new king after the previous monarch, in an unprecedented move, abdicated the throne before the end of his term. A new ruler, known as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, is usually picked every five years. But Sultan Muhammad V abdicated in January after just two years on the throne, a first in Malaysian history. Malaysia has a constitutional monarchy. However, the rulers do not participate in daily governance. A new ruler is expected to be sworn in on 31 January. In November, Sultan Muhammad V went on medical leave. Later that month, photos emerged on social media that appeared to show his wedding to a former Miss Moscow in the Russian capital. Muhammad V, who was just 47 when he was sworn in, has garnered a reputation for having relatively youthful interests. He is known for hi..
January 23, 2019

Yang Hengjun: Australian writer’s China arrest confirmed

Yang Hengjun: Australian writer's China arrest confirmed Image copyright YANG HENGJUN/TWITTER Image caption Yang Hengjun is a popular blogger and former Chinese diplomat A Chinese-Australian writer who went missing at the weekend has been detained in China, the Australian government says. Yang Hengjun, a blogger and former Chinese diplomat, has not been heard from since flying from New York to Guangzhou on Saturday. China has told the Australian embassy that the 53-year-old, a past critic of the Communist Party, is in custody. The reasons for his detention are not yet clear, Australian officials said. In a statement, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was trying to "obtain consular access to him... as a matter of priority". On Wednesday, a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman said that she was "not aware" of the case. The Australian citizen had been travelling with his wife, Chinese national Yuan Rui Juan, and young stepson. It is believed that Ms Y..
January 23, 2019

Priyanka Gandhi launches political career ahead of key India polls

Priyanka Gandhi launches political career ahead of key India polls Image copyright AFP Image caption Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra connects easily with the voters Priyanka Gandhi, the charismatic sister of Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi, has formally joined politics months ahead of general elections in India. Ms Gandhi has been appointed the party general secretary for the eastern part of the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh. She has campaigned extensively for her brother and mother Sonia Gandhi in earlier elections, but had refused a formal political role for herself. Analysts say she will infuse fresh energy into the Congress campaign. The main opposition Congress party was routed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the last general election in 2014 and has found it hard to recover. The party gained some ground in recent state elections, but faces a tough challenge to beat the BJP and regain power. Social media had been awash with rumours of Priyanka Ga..
January 23, 2019

Tonga hit by near-total internet blackout

Tonga hit by near-total internet blackout Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Tonga is usually linked to the web via underwater cable Tonga is experiencing a near total blackout of mobile and internet services after the country's only undersea cable was damaged. The problem took the island nation of about 100,000 people by surprise on Sunday night. Bad weather is being blamed as the cause of the fault. A satellite link is providing limited bandwidth but officials say they may have to restrict social media use. Residents have been told fixing the problem could take several weeks. Blocking Facebook and YouTube?Tonga Cable said in a statement the fault occurred at 8:45pm local time (7:45 GMT) on Sunday and cites a "magnetic storm" and "lightening" as causes. A repair vessel is currently docked in Samoa and could be in Tonga within three days. The restoration work would then take one or two weeks, the company said. In the worst case scenario, it said fixing the 827km (514-..
January 23, 2019

Yang Hengjun: Australia seeks information on writer ‘missing’ in China

Yang Hengjun: Australia seeks information on writer 'missing' in China Image copyright YANG HENGJUN/TWITTER Image caption Yang Hengjun is a popular blogger and former Chinese diplomat The Australian government says it is investigating reports a Chinese-Australian writer has gone missing in China. Yang Hengjun, a blogger and former Chinese diplomat, has not been heard from since flying from New York to Guangzhou on Saturday, a friend said. Sydney academic Feng Chongyi said he feared that Mr Yang had been detained by Chinese authorities. Chinese officials have not yet commented. In response to a query about Mr Yang, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was "seeking information about an Australian citizen who has been reported missing in China". Mr Yang is believed to have been travelling with his wife, Chinese national Yuan Rui Juan, and young stepson. A social media post by Ms Yuan appeared to show that she was in Beijing, Australian media reporte..
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