January 9, 2019

China car sales fall for the first time in 20 years

China car sales fall for the first time in 20 years Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Car sales are down in China for the first time in two decades Car sales in China, the world's biggest vehicle market, have seen their first annual fall in twenty years. Sales fell 6% to 22.7 million units in 2018, according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA). The deceleration comes amid a slowdown in China's economy which has hit performance at car manufacturers around the world. The news comes after Apple warned that sales would be hit by slowing iPhone demand in China. Meanwhile the country's most successful carmaker, Geely, is forecasting flat sales this year. Foreign car makers such as Ford, Volkswagen, Jaguar Land Rover and General Motors have all reported falls in sale over the last few months in China. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), a government-backed industry group, last month blamed the sales slowdown on economic shifts and "in..
January 9, 2019

Irish men charged with murder in Australia

Irish men charged with murder in Australia Image copyright Google Image caption The men appeared in court in Sydney on Wednesday Two Irish men have appeared in court charged with the murder of a man in Australia. Christopher McLaughlin, 24, and Nathan Kelly, 21, originally from County Donegal, are accused of the murder of 66-year-old Paul Tavelardis. Mr Tavelardis was found with critical injuries on the side of a road in the Summer Hill area of Sydney in the early hours of 29 December. He died in hospital on Tuesday. The defendants had previously been charged with grievous bodily harm and affray. They appeared at Burwood Local Court via video link, Mr Kelly from a prison facility and Mr McLaughlin from hospital. No application for bail was made. Mr McLaughlin, who is from Malin and Mr Kelly from Glengad, will return to court in eight weeks. The pair have been in Australia since May 2018.
January 9, 2019

New Zealand birds: Christmas decorations tied around sparrows

New Zealand birds: Christmas decorations tied around sparrows Image copyright SPCA Image caption SPCA staff removing tinsel attached to a pigeon Dozens of birds have been found dead or injured in New Zealand with Christmas decorations tied around their necks and wings. Sparrows and pigeons have been reported with "decorative trinkets" tied to them in Wellington. Some of them died of starvation as they are unable to fly and find food, according to the SPCA. Although there have been similar incidents since 2015, there has been a spike in sightings in recent weeks. Authorities believe the birds are being deliberately "decorated" as the tinsel and bows are tightly and carefully attached, the New Zealand Herald reported. "Many try to pry the foreign objects off their bodies with their beaks and feet, becoming further entangled and preventing them from eating, drinking and flying. With others, the decorations are wrapped so tightly it completely cuts off their blood circulation. "Those ..
January 9, 2019

Scott Morrison: Australian PM in shoe Photoshop fail

Scott Morrison: Australian PM in shoe Photoshop fail Image copyright TWITTER Image caption The portrait of Scott Morrison showed him with fake white sneakers Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has laughed off a Photoshop fail found in a portrait that was on his website. The photo of Mr Morrison and his family showed the prime minister wearing rather suspicious-looking sneakers. It didn't take long for internet users to point out that the shoes were fake, prompting much amusement. In a light-hearted response, Mr Morrison blamed the doctored image on staff in his department. The original picture - which showed him wearing older, striped sneakers - had previously been seen in a video released by Mr Morrison's office and elsewhere. Image Copyright @lukerhn @lukerhn Report Image Copyright @lukerhn @lukerhn Report To make things more awkward, people also pointed out that he appeared to be wearing two left shoes. Some internet users began editing their own images, adding fa..
January 9, 2019

Saudi woman ‘given refugee status’

Saudi woman 'given refugee status' A Saudi woman who fled her family and refused to leave a Bangkok hotel has been given refugee status by UN, the Australian government says. Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, refused to board a flight from Bangkok to Kuwait on Monday and barricaded herself into her airport hotel room. She said she feared her family would kill her for renouncing Islam. The UN's refugee agency has referred her case to Australia for possible resettlement. In a brief statement, Australia's Department of Home Affairs said it would "consider this referral in the usual way". "The government will be making no further comment on this matter," it said. Ms Mohammed al-Qunun's father and brother have arrived in Thailand but she is refusing to see them. Arrested for disobeying your father Why Saudi Arabia matters to the West Saudi asylum seeker 'taken home' by family Renunciation of Islam, known as apostasy, is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia. ..
January 9, 2019

Fukubukuro: Why Japan goes crazy for ‘lucky bags’

Fukubukuro: Why Japan goes crazy for 'lucky bags' Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The words Fukubukuro, or lucky bag, are written on this bright red paper bag They're called Fukubukuro - and at the start of each New Year, thousands of people in Japan queue up for hours to get their hands on them. Fukubukuro - or lucky bags - are essentially mystery goodie bags that contain anything from clothes to food, depending on the store selling them. They started out as a way for Japanese department stores to get rid of old stock at the start of the year, but now have become an annual craze nationwide. 'The excitement of not knowing'Sales for Fukubukuro open every year on 1 January, and they're typically sold across the entire first week of January, or until they run out. For many, it isn't the New Year without a Fukubukuro. It's unclear how exactly the Fukubukuro originated - there are multiple stories told - but one version says they were s..
January 8, 2019

Black Nazarene: Thousands join annual statue parade in Manila

Black Nazarene: Thousands join annual statue parade in Manila Image copyright AFP Vast crowds of people have turned out on the streets of Manila in the Philippines for the procession of the Black Nazarene. The annual event sees hundreds of thousands of people trying to catch a glimpse of the historic statue of Jesus of Nazareth. Image copyright AFP Image caption The statue was carved in Mexico and arrived in the Philippines in the 17th Century, surviving a fire on board a ship on the way. It is one of the Philippines' most revered devotional objects. Image copyright EPA Image caption It now resides for most of the year in a church in Quiapo district. But every January it is carried on a 7km (4.5 mile) route through the streets of the capital. Image copyright Reuters Image caption Hundreds of thousands of people turn out to see it. Devotees - who go barefoot - believe touching or being close to the statue can cure illnesses or bring good luck. Image copyright Reuters Image caption..
January 8, 2019

Suspicious items found at consulates in Melbourne – reports

Suspicious items found at consulates in Melbourne - reports Australian authorities are investigating suspicious items found at several foreign consulates in Melbourne, local media report. The Metropolitan Fire Brigade confirmed it was assisting police with "a number of incidents" across the city. Images on local media showed emergency workers in multiple locations. "We are liaising closely with the [federal police] and the local authorities," a British High Commission official told the BBC. "All our staff are safe and accounted for." The Australian Federal Police did not immediately comment. This is a breaking news story - more to follow.
January 8, 2019

Are podcasts helping to solve crimes?

Are podcasts helping to solve crimes? Image copyright SUPPLIED Image caption Lynette Dawson, a mother of two, was last seen in 1982 On paper it was an old story, told many times over the years. In the early 1980s, Sydney housewife and mother-of-two Lynette Dawson suddenly disappeared. Over the next 30 years, police searched fruitlessly for her. But now, exactly 37 years after her husband Chris Dawson said he last saw her, investigators may finally be closer to finding out the truth. Last month, police finally made an arrest in the case: Lynette's husband. He has always denied any involvement. It is hard to say exactly what prompted this latest development, but more than a few people have pointed towards a podcast released in May 2018. The Australian's series The Teacher's Pet - which reinvestigated the case in huge detail and uncovered new witnesses and evidence - caught the attention of millions of people around the globe. As yet, it is unclear exactly what role, if an..
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