January 14, 2019

China’s exports saw biggest fall for two years in December

China's exports saw biggest fall for two years in December Image copyright AFP Chinese exports saw the steepest fall for two years in December, according to the latest trade figures. Exports from China fell 4.4% last month compared with the year before, while imports fell 7.6%. The figures indicate a further weakening in the strength of the world's second biggest economy and sent Asian stock markets lower on Monday. Other data released on Monday showed the country's trade surplus with the US reached a record high in 2018. The gap between what it exports to and imports from the US rose by 17.2% to $323.32bn (£252bn) last year. China's success in selling its products overseas has particularly irked US President Donald Trump, who has initiated a trade war with China to try to hold back exports. This prompted companies to push through exports to try to beat the introduction of tariffs, so called "front loading". After almost a year of tariffs being introduced on a gro..
January 14, 2019

Bollywood’s Rajkumar Hirani denies sex assault allegations

Bollywood's Rajkumar Hirani denies sex assault allegations Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Hirani is one of India's most successful filmmakers Bollywood director Rajkumar Hirani has denied allegations that he sexually assaulted a colleague multiple times over a period of six months. He is the most high-profile Bollywood figure to be named so far in India's #Metoo movement. Prominent comedians, journalists, authors, actors, filmmakers and artists have been called out in recent months. The woman, who remains anonymous, said she had worked as an assistant on Mr Hirani's last film, Sanju. Her allegations against Hirani were published by HuffPost India on 13 January. She told the news website that he first assaulted her at his home on 9 April. She alleged that multiple incidents took place during the post-production work for Sanju, between then and September 2018. Mr Hirani has denied the allegations in a statement released by his lawyer. "I was complete..
January 14, 2019

Rare sight of robin in Beijing causes stir and Brexit jokes

Rare sight of robin in Beijing causes stir and Brexit jokes Image copyright Terry Townshend Image caption This is the bird that caused masses to flock to Beijing Zoo The rare appearance of a European robin in Beijing has caused a stir among Chinese nature fans. Hundreds of bird-watching photographers flocked to the Beijing Zoo last Friday after word spread that a European robin had been spotted there. The red-breasted bird is common across Europe but is rarely seen in Beijing - it's only the third time one has been recorded in the capital. Some birdwatchers have joked the robin might be a "Brexit refugee". "It's very rare to see [the European robin] in Beijing," Terry Townshend, founder of Birding Beijing told the BBC. "Almost 200 photographers camped out for it. I think a lot of people want to [capture it] because it's a very photogenic bird and it has that sort of exotic feel." Birds in odd placesMr Townshend was among the 200 photographers who camped out at Beijing ..
January 14, 2019

Cathay Pacific sells first class tickets at economy rates again

Cathay Pacific sells first class tickets at economy rates again Image copyright Getty Images A group of lucky Cathay Pacific customers have scored first-class seats at economy prices, in the second fare blunder by the airline this month. Tickets on trips from Hong Kong to Portugal were sold on the airline's website for $1,512, instead of $16,000 usually charged for similar journey. The carrier said it would honour the tickets as it investigates the cause of the error. It extends a recent run of blows to the firm including a huge data breach. The mispriced fares were available on Cathay Pacific's website on Sunday. First-class flights from Lisbon to Hong Kong - via London with a connecting flight - were offered for $1,512 (£1,177), according to the South China Morning Post. A similar first-class journey through Frankfurt would cost $16,000. In a statement, the Hong Kong carrier said it would honour the tickets. "We are looking into the root cause of this incident both ..
January 13, 2019

Wife of ex-Nissan boss urges action on ‘harsh’ detention

Wife of ex-Nissan boss urges action on 'harsh' detention Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Carlos and Carole Ghosn in 2016 The wife of former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn has said he is suffering under "harsh treatment" in a Japanese jail, where he has been detained for nearly two months. In a letter to Human Rights Watch, Carole Ghosn described constant interrogations and appealed for action. Mr Ghosn's arrest for financial misconduct shocked the auto industry. His detention, which is likely to continue for months, has drawn criticism of Japan's justice system. In Japan, suspects can be held while prosecutors investigate allegations. They can also be detained for long periods once charges have been filed. Mr Ghosn, a towering figure of the car industry, faces three charges of financial misconduct including understating his income and aggravated breach of trust. He has denied any wrongdoing. "For hours each day, the prosecutors interrogate him, browbeat ..
January 13, 2019

Lion Air crash: ‘Black box’ voice recorder found

Lion Air crash: 'Black box' voice recorder found Image copyright AFP Image caption File photo of a Lion Air plane Officials in Indonesia say they have found the "black box" voice recorder from a Lion Air flight which crashed into the sea off Jakarta in October. All 189 people on board died when Flight JT610 fell into the sea shortly after taking off for the western city of Pangkal Pinang. The pilot had asked air traffic control for permission to turn back to the airport but then contact was lost. Investigators say the plane had encountered technical problems . Haryo Satmiko, deputy chief of Indonesia's transport safety committee (KNKT), was quoted by Reuters as saying that the cockpit voice recorder had been found "but we have not received information of the location yet". The last moments before the Lion Air crash How could a brand new plane crash? Indonesia's Navy spokesman Agung Nugroho was quoted in local media as saying the recorder was found 8m deep under mu..
January 13, 2019

Python found with 500 ticks treated for anaemia

Python found with 500 ticks treated for anaemia Image copyright CURRUMBIN WILDLIFE HOSPITAL Image caption The carpet python, nicknamed Nike, is now free of ticks A snake which had more than 500 ticks removed from its body has been left weak and suffering from anaemia, vets in Australia say. Snake catchers rescued the carpet python from a backyard swimming pool on the Gold Coast in Queensland last week. The snake, nicknamed Nike, was treated by vets for a "nasty infection". "[This] may have caused his immobility, allowing the ticks to take advantage of him," the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital said in a statement posted online. Image copyright Gold coast and brisbane snake catcher/facebook Image caption Vets said they removed 511 ticks from the snake The wildlife service said it hoped to release the python back into the wild in coming months. The snake was now with an experienced carer, the hospital said. "Nike isn't out of the woods yet, but we are hopeful he will make a full recove..
January 13, 2019

Hitachi to decide on fate of UK nuclear plant

Hitachi to decide on fate of UK nuclear plant Image copyright Horizon Nuclear The UK government's nuclear policy is under renewed scrutiny as the firm behind a £20bn reactor in Wales looks set to halt construction. Japanese media reports say Hitachi will suspend on its Horizon division's Wylfa Newydd plant this week. The company says no formal decision has yet been made. But if the project is scrapped, it will cost 400 jobs and leave the Hinkley Point power station in Somerset as the only new UK reactor still being built. In November, plans to build a nuclear power station at Moorside in Cumbria were halted after Toshiba announced it was winding up its NuGeneration subsidiary, which was behind the project. The government continues to stress that it is still in talks with Hitachi about Wylfa. A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said: "Negotiations with Hitachi on agreeing a deal that provides value for money for consumers and ..
January 13, 2019

Kumbh Mela: How to plan the world’s biggest gathering

Kumbh Mela: How to plan the world's biggest gathering Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Devotees have been gathering in Allahabad for days India's Kumbh Mela festival is billed as the world's biggest gathering of people. Between now and March organisers expect about 120 million pilgrims to bathe at the Sangam - the confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers. Hindus believe that doing so will cleanse them of their sins and help them attain "moksha", setting them free from the cycle of birth and death. So how does one prepare for a gathering of humanity so mammoth it can be seen from outer space? The mela (Hindi for fair) is held in the northern city of Allahabad (recently renamed Prayagraj) every 12 years. On Tuesday, when the festival formally begins, officials are preparing for 15 to 20 million visitors. But the biggest test they face will be on 4 February when 30 million are expected to attend for the most auspicious bathing day..
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