September 24, 2018

Maldives election: Celebrations as opposition claims victory

Maldives election: Celebrations as opposition claims victory Image copyright Reuters Image caption Mr Solih's supporters are already celebrating what they claim to be a victory Supporters of Maldives opposition leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih have taken to the streets in celebration after he claimed victory over President Abdulla Yameen in the general election. The national electoral commission has not yet announced official results. But Mr Solih has said he won Sunday's vote by a 16% margin, with 92% of the votes counted. He has already called on President Abdulla Yameen to "accept the will of the people". "The message is loud and clear. The people of Maldives want change, peace and justice," Mr Solih, widely known as Ibu, told reporters in the capital, Male. President Yameen, who had been widely expected to win another term in office, has not yet commented publicly. Mr Yameen's government stands accused of crushing dissent and observers had believed the election was r..
September 23, 2018

US-China trade: US set to impose biggest round of tariffs yet

US-China trade: US set to impose biggest round of tariffs yet Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The latest raft of trade tariffs mark an escalation in the trade war between the US and China A new round of US tariffs on Chinese goods are due to come into effect, the largest yet in the trade war. The US is due to start imposing tariffs on $200bn ($152bn) worth of Chinese products from 12:01 Beijing time (04:01 GMT), in response to what it says are unfair trading practices by China. China has said it will target $60bn of US goods with extra duties in response. It marks a major escalation in the trade war between the world's two largest economies. The latest move takes the total amount of Chinese imports hit by US tariffs since July up to $250bn. This means about half of all Chinese imports to the US are now subject to these new duties. China has accused the US of launching the "largest trade war in economic history". What is happening on Monday?As of the deadline, US compan..
September 23, 2018

Melbourne plane crash: Pilot error in fatal shopping centre incident

Melbourne plane crash: Pilot error in fatal shopping centre incident Image copyright ATSB Image caption All five people on board were killed in the crash last year Pilot error was responsible for a small plane crash which killed five people in Melbourne last year, Australian authorities say. The flight hit a shopping centre just after take-off, killing pilot Max Quartermain and his four US passengers. No-one on the ground was hurt. Aviation safety authorities said the plane's rudder trim had been in the wrong position, causing the crash. The problem should have been found in pre-flight checks, they said. Passengers Greg Reynolds De Haven, Russell Munsch, Glenn Garland and John Washburn had been heading to visit Tasmania's King Island on a golf trip when the accident happened in February last year. Victoria's Premier Daniel Andrews said it was the worst civilian aviation accident in the state in 30 years. Mayday callsMr Quartermain, an experienced pilot, issued seven may..
September 23, 2018

The truth behind Kim Jong-un’s ‘cute’ K-pop sign

The truth behind Kim Jong-un's 'cute' K-pop sign Image copyright South Korea Blue House twitter Image caption The photo seems to show the North Korean leader's playful side This photo of Kim Jong-un trying to form a South Korean gesture of friendship has melted hearts in Seoul. But focusing on this one image means losing sight of the bigger picture. For the uninitiated, the Korean heart is formed if you put the tips of your thumb and index finger together. It started as a gesture of love used by K-pop stars to thank their fans, and has morphed into the pose of choice for selfies with friends in South Korea. We first heard about Mr Kim's attempt at the gesture from a spokesman for South Korea's Blue House, who told a press conference that he tried to do it alongside South Korean cabinet ministers. "How do you do it? I can't quite make the shape," Mr Kim was quoted as saying. Image copyright VCG/Getty Images Image caption South Korean pop stars use ..
September 23, 2018

Fentanyl crisis: Is China a major source of illegal drugs?

Fentanyl crisis: Is China a major source of illegal drugs? Image copyright Getty Images Image caption China has one of the largest chemical industries in the world Amid tension between China and the US over trade, there's also friction over another issue - the illegal trade in synthetic drugs. The US believes factory-produced opioids - powerful painkillers increasingly abused by US citizens - are being made in China and sold from there too. One of the main ones is fentanyl - 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine - which is only approved in the US for severe pain arising in cases like treatment for cancer. President Trump has called out China publicly. Image copyright Twitter China, while not denying there's a problem, has hit back at claims that most illegal fentanyl is from China. A senior Chinese official, Yu Haibin of the National Narcotics Control Commission, said there was "no proof" of this, and described President Trump's comments and "unacceptable" and "irresp..
September 23, 2018

Australia fruit scare: Needles found in New Zealand strawberries

Australia fruit scare: Needles found in New Zealand strawberries Image copyright EPA Image caption There have been over 100 reports of needles being found in supermarket fruit in Australia The Australian scare over needles found in strawberries has spread to New Zealand after needles were found in a punnet of the fruit in an Auckland supermarket. The Countdown supermarket chain said it had taken a brand of Australian strawberries off the shelves. There have been over 100 reports of needles being found in supermarket fruit in Australia. Many are thought to be copycat cases or social media jokes, however. Why would someone hide a needle in fruit? Australia's strawberry needle scare widens Apple and banana in Australia needle scares The strawberries in Auckland, originally from Western Australia state, were sold in New Zealand Countdown stores nationwide last week. "We take food safety very seriously," the company said in a statement. "Customers can return any Choice brand of st..
September 22, 2018

Venezuela crisis: Chinese hospital ship docks for a week

Venezuela crisis: Chinese hospital ship docks for a week Image copyright Reuters Image caption Traditional Venezuelan dancers welcomed the hospital ship when it arrived on Saturday A Chinese hospital ship has docked in Venezuela, where for the next week it will provide free health care to local patients. Venezuela's Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino López, went to the port of La Guaira to welcome the Chinese crew. He said that the Peace Ark's visit was agreed by President Nicolás Maduro during a visit to Beijing last week. Venezuela agreed at the time to increase its exports of oil to China, which is one of its main creditors. Venezuela's economic crisis has led to severe shortages of food and medicines and the collapse of public services. Image copyright Reuters Image caption Venezuela's Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez (right) has praised China's gesture The opposition says the presence of a Chinese hospital ship in Venezuela shows the extent of th..
September 22, 2018

The Chinese storyteller loved by millions

Obituary: Shan Tianfang, China's beloved storyteller Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Shan Tianfang China is fondly remembering one of its most famous radio voices, a man whose vivid storytelling was a comfort to millions of people, from commuters stuck in traffic to restless teens struggling to sleep. Shan Chuanzhong, better known by his stage name Shan Tianfang, was a leading exponent of the traditional Chinese performance art form pingshu, which translates as "storytelling". He has died aged 84 following a long illness.Pingshu, also known as "shoushu" and "pinghua", dates from the Song Dynasty (AD960-1279), when performers would entertain villagers by telling stories in a particularly emotive style.It remains particularly popular in north-eastern China. Performers wear traditional dress and use very basic props - often a folded fan and a gavel. The fan is used to indicate a character's physical movements, like drawing a sword, or hitting something. The gavel is p..
September 22, 2018

Abhilash Tomy: Rescue mission to reach injured Indian sailor

Abhilash Tomy: Rescue mission to reach injured Indian sailor Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Thuriya set sail from France at the start of July on the round-the-world race An international rescue team is trying to reach a seriously injured Indian sailor who is taking part in the Golden Globe round-the-world race. Solo yachtsman Abhilash Tomy is stranded 3,200km (2,000 miles) off the coast of Western Australia. His yacht Thuriya had its mast broken during a severe storm in the Indian Ocean. He managed to send a message saying he has a severe back injury and is immobilised, unable to eat or drink. The storm whipped up 70-knot winds and 14-metre (45ft) waves, which twice knocked down the yacht of Dutchman Mark Slats. Most of the 18 competitors in the race were further north and avoided the worst of the storm, organisers said. An Irish race competitor, Gregor McGuckin, whose own yacht was damaged in the storm, has set up a temporary rig and is attempting to cover the 150km (9..
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