September 20, 2018

Australia strawberry scare: Woolworths halts sewing needle sales

Australia strawberry scare: Woolworths halts sewing needle sales Image copyright JOSHUA GANE Image caption Sewing needles have been inserted inside strawberries in Australia Australian supermarket giant Woolworths has temporarily removed sewing needles from its shelves as the country faces a strawberry safety scare. Last week, Australians were warned to cut fresh strawberries before biting into them after several people found sewing needles hidden inside the fruit. Several strawberry brands have been pulled from stores across the country. A country-wide investigation into the scare has since been launched amid growing public alarm. The government has also said it will introduce stricter criminal penalties for anyone found to have been tampering with food. Warning over needles in strawberries Australia's strawberry needle scare widens Apple and banana in Australia needle scares Some strawberry farmers have said the public's worries are being fuelled by hysteria. But Woolwo..
September 20, 2018

Cane toad DNA breakthrough ‘may help stop’ toxic pest

Cane toad DNA breakthrough 'may help stop' toxic pest Image copyright UNSW Image caption Cane toads are highly adaptive and release a destructive toxin Scientists say they have unlocked the DNA blueprint of the cane toad, raising fresh hopes of slowing the animal's destruction of habitats. The amphibian, native to South America, has become a prolific pest since it was introduced in other parts of the world last century. In Australia, it has spread rapidly and had a deadly impact on native wildlife. Researchers say the draft genome could be a crucial step in efforts to halt the animal's march. "Sequencing the genome is the quantum leap that means we can understand it better and start to do lots of other things around its control," said emeritus Prof Rick Shine, a study co-author from the University of Sydney. The international team of researchers said the discovery would offer biological clues about the animal's evolution. How the cane toad has spread in Austr..
September 19, 2018

Jack Ma rows back on pledge to create one million US jobs

Jack Ma rows back on pledge to create one million US jobs Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Mr Ma said trade should not be used as a weapon Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who once boasted his e-commerce firm would spur the creation of one million jobs in America, has rowed back on those plans. Citing the ongoing trade war between the US and China, Mr Ma told China's Xinhua news agency: "There is no way to complete the promise." It follows remarks by Mr Ma at Alibaba's investor day that the trade tensions could continue for decades. He had previously embraced the idea of expanding in the US. In January 2017, Mr Ma met with US President Donald Trump, outlining a plan to increase Alibaba's presence in America and strengthen relations between the two countries. Alibaba said access to Chinese customers through its online marketplace would help US businesses grow and hire workers - as many as one million people over five years. What do Donald Trump and Jack Ma have in com..
September 19, 2018

US ‘ready to restart negotiations’ with North Korea

US 'ready to restart negotiations' with North Korea Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionNorth Korea's agreed to shut one of the country's main missile launch sites. Laura Bicker considers what might happen next. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he is ready to restart negotiations with Pyongyang, with the aim of denuclearising North Korea "by 2021". Discussions between the two sides had stalled following a broad-strokes agreement made earlier this year. But a meeting between North Korea's Kim Jong-un and the South Korean president seems to have reassured Washington. Following those talks, Mr Kim agreed to shut one of the country's main missile testing and launch sites. Mr Kim also "agreed on a way to achieve denuclearisation" on the Korean peninsula following the summit with his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in. Mr Pompeo said it was "on the basis of these important commitments" that the US was "prepared to engage immediate..
September 19, 2018

In Pictures: South Korea’s Moon Jae-in attends Pyongyang Mass Games

In Pictures: South Korea's Moon Jae-in attends Pyongyang Mass Games Image copyright Reuters/Pyongyang Press Corps Image caption Moon Jae-in, left, is on a three-day visit to Pyongyang to talk with Kim Jong-un South Korean president Moon Jae-in has attended the Mass Games in Pyongyang, as part of his visit to North Korea. Mr Moon and his counterpart Kim Jong-un watched the display after signing a deal to permanently close the north's Tongchang-ri missile facility. Both leaders also "agreed on a way to achieve denuclearisation" on the Korean peninsula, Mr Moon said. The games marked the end of the South Korean president's second day in the capital. Here's a selection of photos from the event. Image copyright Reuters/Pyongyang Press Corps Image caption Around 150,000 spectators reportedly attended the event involving tens of thousands of dancers and acrobats. Image copyright Reuters/Pyongyang Press Corps Image caption Mr Moon and Mr Kim both received flowers from chil..
September 19, 2018

Hong Kong yoga ball: Man found guilty of killing wife and daughter

Hong Kong yoga ball: Man found guilty of killing wife and daughter Image copyright AFP Image caption As the verdict was read out, Mr Khaw (centre) shook his head and one of his children burst into tears An anaesthetist has been jailed for life for killing his wife and 16-year-old daughter using a yoga ball filled with carbon monoxide in Hong Kong. Prosecutors said Khaw Kim-sun, a Malaysian national, left the inflatable ball in the boot of a car where the gas leaked out and killed them in 2015. Police were initially baffled when they found the pair dead inside the vehicle. Mr Khaw denied the murders, and told police he had been planning to use the ball at home to get rid of rats. After almost seven hours of deliberation, the jury of five men and four women reached a guilty verdict. Doctor 'used gas-filled yoga ball to kill'A post-mortem examination showed his wife and eldest daughter had died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Police found a deflated yoga ball in the back of t..
September 19, 2018

North Korea summit: Diplomacy is back on track

North Korea summit: Diplomacy is back on track Image copyright Reuters Image caption All smiles and optimism in Pyongyang between Moon Jae-in (left) and Kim Jong-un The year of dramatic inter-Korean diplomacy continues apace. On Wednesday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un surprised the world with a set of summit outcomes that exceeded expectations, writes North Korea analyst Ankit Panda. Symbolically, both leaders conveyed a sense that their rapprochement was destined to continue. Beyond the practical outcomes on economic co-operation and reduction of military tensions, Kim announced he would accept an invitation to visit the South Korean capital, Seoul, and that he and Moon on Thursday would travel to Mount Paektu, which holds a central place in the country's mythology. Moon, meanwhile, achieved an important objective by securing concessions from Kim related to limiting his country's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Diplomatic pr..
September 19, 2018

Gangs put rare sea snail ‘under threat’

South Africa gangs 'threaten' rare sea snail existence Image copyright AFP Image caption Conservationists have called for the species of abalone known as Haliotis midae should be give special protection Poachers linked to South African drug gangs are threatening the existence of a species of abalone, a sea snail that is highly prized by restaurants in China, a new report says. Stocks of abalone are declining at an unprecedented rate, according to research by conservation group Traffic. The affected abalone species, Haliotis midae, is only found in the waters off the coast of South Africa. Traffic wants it to be put on the global list of endangered species. About 96 million abalone are thought to have been poached since 2000. Abalone are large and round, and cling to rocks in the shallow, shark-infested waters off Cape Town. Every year some 2,000 tonnes of abalone flesh are dried, and smuggled abroad, mostly by air to Hong Kong and beyond, where they are re-hydrated and serve..
September 19, 2018

South Korean director Lee Yoon-Taek jailed for sex assaults

South Korean director Lee Yoon-Taek jailed for sex assaults Image copyright PA Image caption Lee Yoon-taek, here appearing for police questioning on 17 March, has been found guilty of sexually abusing nine women A prominent South Korean theatre director has been jailed for six years for sexually assaulting nine women. Lee Yoon-taek was accused of abusing the actresses during training sessions at the renowned theatre group he was artistic director of. In total 17 women came forward to accuse him of sexual violence. He was also accused of rape, which he denied. He is one of a number of high profile South Korean men accused as part of the worldwide #MeToo movement. Image copyright AFP Image caption Hundreds of South Korean women spoke out against sexual abuse as the #MeToo movement swept the country earlier this year A provincial governor once tipped as a presidential contender, Ahn Hee-jung, was forced to resign in March after his secretary publicly accused him of repeatedly raping her...
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