January 21, 2019

Indonesia reviews release of radical cleric Abu Bakar Ba’asyir

Indonesia reviews release of radical cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir Image copyright AFP Image caption Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, pictured in a 2016 court appearance, is said to be in poor health Indonesia is reviewing a decision to release the jailed mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombing after an intervention by Australian PM Scott Morrison. A security minister said President Joko Widodo had asked him to review all aspects of the planned release of radical cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir. This came hours after Mr Morrison asked Indonesia to show "great respect" for Australia. The nightclub bombing killed more than 200 people, many of them Australian. Ba'asyir, 80, is considered the spiritual leader of banned group Jemaah Islamiah, which was blamed for the attack. Last week's decision by President Widodo to release him on medical grounds drew widespread criticism. Profile: Abu Bakar Ba'asyir Bali marks deadly bombings 10 years on At a hastily called news conference on Monday..
January 21, 2019

Year of the Pig? Peppa takes China by storm

Year of the Pig? Peppa takes China by storm Image copyright PA She's unlikely to feature on many lists of the all-time top British cultural icons. But Peppa Pig - the UK-made children's cartoon character - is right up there with the best of them, at least in China. With the series racking up 18 billion online views since its launch here seven years ago, the story of Peppa and her unfeasibly English middle-class family is, arguably, doing more for Brand Britain than the Beatles, Manchester United and any of the culinary delights for which the UK is rightly so renowned put together. It is then no surprise that, when a Peppa-shaped opportunity came knocking, the British powers that be seized the moment. Chinese Peppa Pig fans wish to meet Queen Peppa Pig blocked from China's Douyin video platform China brings home the bacon for Peppa Pig After watching an episode in which the precocious piglet and her friends visit the Queen in Buckingham Palace - and encourage her to joi..
January 21, 2019

Should trains have separate compartments for ‘bear children’?

Should trains have separate compartments for 'bear children'? Image copyright China News Service Image caption Should children be seated in a different compartment from child-free adults? As millions of people travel on trains across China in order to celebrate the new year, they are asking: "Should trains have children's compartments?" The hashtag #ChineseNewYearTravel2019 has been viewed more than 879 million times on Weibo where thousands of people are debating the issue. China's flagship radio station (CNR) discussed the question on air. A senior official at the China Railway Corporation, Huang Xin, thinks the idea is very creative. Billions travel for Chinese new yearNearly three billion trips - including train, road, air and boat - are expected to be completed between Jan 21 and March 1 this year, with 413 million of those by rail, according to China media. With so many people moving across the country at the same time it is perhaps inevitable that social ..
January 21, 2019

Afghanistan: Deadly Taliban attack on military compound

Afghanistan: Deadly Taliban attack on military compound Image copyright Reuters Image caption The military intelligence base in Wardak province following Monday's bomb attack A Taliban attack on a military compound in central Afghanistan has killed at least 20 security personnel and injured many more, local officials say. Militants rammed a vehicle laden with explosives through a military checkpoint in Wardak province, before detonating it. Some media reports put the death toll much higher. The Taliban's power and reach has surged since foreign combat troops left Afghanistan in 2014. That year US-led combat operations against the Taliban, the main insurgent group in Afghanistan, officially ended, but some American troops remain in the country to provide training and assistance to Afghan forces, which do most of the fighting. Why Afghanistan is more dangerous than ever Can Afghan military turn the tide in Taliban fight? Who are the Taliban? Some media reports say the attack, ..
January 21, 2019

WhatsApp restricts message-sharing to fight fake news

WhatsApp restricts message-sharing to fight fake news Image copyright Getty Images WhatsApp is limiting all its members to forwarding any single message up to five times in an effort to tackle the spread of false information on the platform. The Facebook-owned business had already introduced the policy in India six months ago. The move followed a number of mob lynchings that were blamed on fake reports spread via the service. Until now, users elsewhere could forward messages up to 20 times. The update to the app's rules was announced at an event in Jakarta, Indonesia. The country is holding its general election in April. Reports in the Indian press state that a company blog - that has not been shared elsewhere yet - said the firm had made its decision after "carefully" evaluating the results of its half-year-long test in the country. "The forward limit significantly reduced forwarded messages around the world," it added. Up to 256 users can be enrolled in a WhatsApp group. So, ..
January 21, 2019

Philippines holds referendum for Muslim-majority Mindanao

Philippines holds referendum for Muslim-majority Mindanao Image copyright AFP Image caption The vote could end decades of violence Nearly three million people in the volatile Muslim-majority region of Mindanao in the Philippines are voting in a referendum which could see the region given greater autonomy. They have been asked whether they back a plan by separatists to create a self-administered area known as Bangsamoro. The vote is a political solution to decades of fighting between Islamist separatists and the Philippine army More than 120,000 people have died in the years of violence. Final results are expected by Friday, and a "yes" vote is widely expected. Why is this significant?The vote is the result of a peace deal between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) - which has for decades been fighting for independence. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Mindanao has been wrecked by violence over the years The Philippines government has so far failed ..
January 21, 2019

The struggling farmer who planned his own funeral

The struggling farmer who planned his own funeral Image copyright Umesh Image caption Mallappa bought everything needed for his funeral as he didn't want to "further burden his family" When Mallappa, a farmer in India's southern state of Andhra Pradesh, left his home in August last year, he told his family he was going to "buy groceries". They never dreamed he had decided to take his own life and was actually buying all the things they would need for his funeral. BBC Telugu's Hrudaya Vihari reports. Among the things Mallappa bought that day last August were a white cloth to cover his body, bangles for his wife, incense, a garland and a laminated photograph of himself to be displayed in his house after his death. Upon returning to his village, he placed them all on top of his father's grave, located on his farm. Along with the items was a note explaining that he had decided to end his life because he could not afford to repay his loans - some 285,000 rupees ($4,000;..
January 20, 2019

Dingoes attack young boy on Australia’s Fraser Island

Dingoes attack young boy on Australia's Fraser Island Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Dingo attacks are rare but can be deadly A young boy has been attacked by a group of dingoes on Australia's popular tourist spot of Fraser Island. One of the wild dogs bit the six-year old at a beach after he'd been swimming with his parents. He was airlifted to a nearby hospital and is in a stable condition. Australia's dingoes are protected in some national parks but there have been rare instances where they have attacked people. "The family had finished swimming when the young boy said he wanted to race up a sand dune," Dan Leggat of the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland Lifeflight rescue told local media. "Unfortunately, when he got to the top, there was a pack of four dingoes. One of the dingoes attacked the boy and bit him on the leg." How dangerous are dingoes? Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Fraser Island is home to the purest dingo population in..
January 20, 2019

China economy: Fourth quarter growth slips to 6.4%

China economy: Fourth quarter growth slips to 6.4% Image copyright Getty Images China's economy continued to slow in the last quarter of 2018, official figures showed, stoking fears about the impact on the global economy. In the three months to December, the economy grew 6.4% from a year earlier, down from 6.5% in the previous quarter. For the full year China expanded at 6.6%, its slowest rate since 1990. The data was in line with forecasts but underlines recent concern about weakening growth in the world's second largest economy. China's rate of expansion has raised worries about the potential knock-on effect on the global economy. The trade war with the US has added to the gloomy outlook. The official figures out Monday showed the weakest quarterly growth rate since the global financial crisis. What does China's slowdown mean for the UK? China's trade figures should concern us China mulls longer weekend to boost shopping Why are the Chinese buying fewe..
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