January 2, 2019

Brexit: Jeremy Hunt says UK ‘can learn lessons’ from Singapore

Brexit: Jeremy Hunt says UK 'can learn lessons' from Singapore Image copyright AFP The UK can "learn lessons" from Singapore but is not looking to follow its economic model after Brexit, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said. Mr Hunt, who is on a visit to the Asian city-state, said Singapore's success was grounded in long-term investment in education and infrastructure. But he said the UK would not emulate its low tax and low regulation climate, as hoped for by some Brexiteers. MPs will vote on Theresa May's EU withdrawal deal in two weeks' time. The UK is scheduled to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019. But it is not clear what will happen if Parliament rejects the withdrawal terms and framework of future relations, amid continuing opposition to the package among many Conservative MPs. UK can 'turn corner' with Brexit, says May Corbyn warns of 'complete Brexit mess' Speaking in Singapore, Mr Hunt warned of "devastating social cons..
January 2, 2019

Pioneering medics who drove across the world

The pioneering medics who drove across the world to help Nepal Image copyright Britain Nepal Medical Trust Image caption Villagers in the eastern district of Dhankuta Fifty years ago a group of young doctors and nurses drove from the UK to Nepal, a country desperately short of medics. The health services they helped set up have saved millions of lives since, reports the BBC's Bhagirath Yogi. In three donated Land Rovers laden with equipment, the 11-strong team left in early April 1968. Through Europe they drove to Istanbul and then crossed Iran and Afghanistan, reaching Pakistan via the Khyber Pass, before continuing to Delhi. Such a journey would be unthinkable these days for security reasons. But they did it in about seven weeks and by the end of May they had reached Nepal's capital, Kathmandu. The overland route the group chose was cheaper than going by sea and road, which would have been no quicker. In Nepal, they set up an anti-tuberculosis programme, trained health wo..
January 2, 2019

Sabarimala: Indian women make history by entering temple

Sabarimala: Indian women make history by entering temple Image copyright Kaviyoor Santosh Image caption The women had tried entering the temple in December but failed Two Indian women in their 40s have made history by entering a prominent Hindu shrine in the southern state of Kerala, after months of protests against women getting in. The Sabarimala temple was historically closed to women of "menstruating age" - defined as between 10 and 50. The Supreme Court overturned that ban but protesters then attacked women and stopped them from entering the shrine. Bindu Ammini, 42, and Kanaka Durga, 44 entered the shrine around dawn. "We arrived early in the morning and we had a darshan [saw the idol] for a few minutes," Ms Ammini told the BBC's Ashraf Padanna. The two women had also tried entering the temple on 24 December but they had to turn back because of protesters. Temple officials, who say the women have "defiled" the temple, closed the sanctum for an hour in order to perform "p..
January 2, 2019

Australian police Google Maps blunder ‘missed location of body’

Australian police Google Maps blunder 'missed location of body' Image copyright Getty Images A missing man in Australia may have been found dead 18 months earlier had search teams not relied on wrong Google Maps information, a coroner has noted. Darrell Simon, 46, was last seen in November 2014 at his partner's house about 80km (50 miles) west of Brisbane. Search crews scoured Mr Simon's nearby rural property at the time, but his remains were not found there until May 2016. His death was ruled a suicide. A printed map used by police had shown incorrect boundaries on the property. It meant that search volunteers covered only about half of Mr Simon's property in Laidley Creek West, said Queensland deputy state coroner John Lock. "The fact the ground search was conducted over only half the property was very regretful and should not have happened," he said in his report completed last month. The delay in finding Mr Simon's body had "compounded the grief felt ..
January 1, 2019

Xi Jinping says Taiwan “must and will be” reunited with China

Xi Jinping says Taiwan "must and will be" reunited with China Image copyright Getty Images Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged the people of Taiwan to accept it "must and will be" reunited with China. In a speech marking 40 years since the thaw in cross-strait relation, he reiterated Beijing's call for peaceful unification on a one-country-two-systems basis. However, he said China reserved the right to use force. While Taiwan is self-governed and de-facto independent, Beijing considers the island to be a breakaway province. The Chinese president said both sides were part of the same Chinese family and that Taiwanese independence was "an adverse current from history and a dead end". Taiwanese people "must understand that independence will only bring hardship," Mr Xi said, adding Beijing would never tolerate any form of activity promoting Taiwanese independence. He also stressed that relations with Taiwan were "part of China's domestic politics" and that "foreign interf..
January 1, 2019

The Indian men who make money selling trash

The Indian men who make money selling trash Image copyright Mansi Thapliyal Image caption Govind says he does not want to be identified as a scrap dealer "Weekends are the busiest," says Govind, surrounded by piles of trash, on a recent Sunday afternoon. The 34-year-old, who prefers to go by his first name only, is standing in the middle of a scrapyard that he and his brother own in Gurgaon, a dusty suburb of glass and concrete near Delhi. On his left are gunny bags bursting with paper. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's face stares up from a stack of newspapers, and a hefty guide to the "Principles of Corporate Finance" lies on the ground. Then comes a mound of glass, plastic, metal and more - a quick glance throws up a can of Lacoste deodorant, plastic bottles of Coca-Cola's Glaceau Smartwater, a brown suitcase and a few bicycles. This is Shiv Scrap Dealers, owned by Govind and his brother, Joginder, seasoned purveyors of trash: for more than 10 years, they have been sifting..
January 1, 2019

Sabarimala temple: Indian women form ‘620km human chain’ for equality

Sabarimala temple: Indian women form '620km human chain' for equality Image copyright CV Lenin Image caption The demonstration was a response to protests that prevented women from entering a Hindu temple Women in the southern Indian state of Kerala have formed a 620km (385-mile) human chain "in support of gender equality", amid a row over access to a prominent Hindu temple. The Sabarimala shrine was historically closed to women of "menstruating age" - defined as between 10 and 50. India's top court overturned the ban in September, but protesters have since attacked female visitors. The "women's wall" was organised by the state's left-wing coalition government. Officials told BBC Hindi's Imran Qureshi that around five million women from various parts of Kerala had gathered across all national highways to form the chain, which stretched from the northern tip of Kasaragod to the southern end in Thiruvanthapuram. Organisers had predicted a turnout of around..
December 31, 2018

Van ploughs into Tokyo pedestrians headed for New Year’s prayers

Van ploughs into Tokyo pedestrians headed for New Year's prayers Image copyright Reuters A small van has ploughed into pedestrians celebrating the New Year on one of Tokyo's most famous streets. Eight people were injured, one seriously, by the attacker who struck in the Harajuku fashion district shortly after midnight. The street, which was sealed off to traffic, was packed with people heading to a shrine for New Year's prayers. A man was arrested, with a police spokesman telling AFP news agency he had an "intent to murder". The 21-year-old was identified as Kazuhiro Kusakabe. Police told NHK news agency that he initially told then he had conducted a terrorist act, but then later claimed it was related to executions. It was not clear if he was referring to a specific execution or capital punishment in general. Takeshita Street in Shibuya ward is a popular shopping area for young people. One male university student is in critical condition in hospital.
December 31, 2018

Kim Jong-un warns of change in direction on denuclearisation

Kim Jong-un warns of change in direction on denuclearisation Image copyright Europoean Photopress Agency North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has said he is committed to denuclearisation, but warned he will change course if the US continues its sanctions. He made the remarks during his closely-watched annual New Year address. Last year's speech set the country on an unprecedented path of international diplomacy with South Korea and the US. Mr Kim met US President Donald Trump to discuss denuclearisation in June 2018 but with few results so far. Last year's rapprochement came after a turbulent 2017 marked by North Korea testing missiles that could reach the US mainland and an escalation in rhetoric between Pyongyang and Washington with both sides trading insults and threats of nuclear destruction. When Trump met Kim: What happened next? North Korea's sidelined human rights crisis North Korea's breakdown of communication In the speech broadcast on state television early ..
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