November 17, 2018

Palm oil: One woman’s fight to save ‘the last place on Earth’

Palm oil: One woman's fight to save 'the last place on Earth' Image copyright WFN Image caption Farwiza Farhan: Fighting to save Sumatra's biodiversity There is only one place in the world where orangutan, rhinos, elephants and tigers still co-exist in the wild. Environmental activist Farwiza Farhan is fighting to protect this last wilderness, Sumatra's Leuser Ecosystem. In 2012, her NGO, Yayasan HAkA, sued an oil palm company that had cleared forest under an illegally issued permit. She says she is driven by a sense of injustice that no-one is speaking up for the wildlife. On the pristine tropical rainforest…"Imagine standing under a very large canopy and you look up - you can hear hornbill whizzing past. And then you look around and you hear the sound of gibbons echoing through the forest, calling out their territories. Image copyright Paul Hilton Image caption Large male Sumatran orangutan "You see the orangutan - the mother and baby swinging from tree..
November 17, 2018

Golden Horse: Zhang Yimou’s Shadow wins most awards

Golden Horse: Zhang Yimou's Shadow wins most awards Image copyright Reuters Image caption Zhang Yimou had never won a Golden Horse until now One of China's most acclaimed directors, a rising star with a tragic story and a documentary charting mass protests have all won top prizes at this year's Golden Horse awards. The 55th annual awards - dubbed the "Chinese Oscars" - were held in the Taiwanese capital Taipei on Saturday. Zhang Yimou's Shadow took home the most awards, including Best Director for the 68-year-old screen veteran. Best Film went to novelist-turned-director Hu Bo for his first feature. Everything you need to know about the Golden Horse nomineesAn Elephant Sitting Still was an adaptation of his own novel, which told the story of four people who run away from their troubles to search for a mythical elephant. Hu took his own life in the Chinese capital Beijing last year, aged 29. His mother accepted the award on his behalf, thanking the jury and the audi..
November 17, 2018

US to join Australia in Papua New Guinea naval base plan

US to join Australia in Papua New Guinea naval base plan Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The US is wary of China's plans in the Pacific region The US says it will join Australia in developing a naval base in Papua New Guinea (PNG), in an apparent move to curb China's growing influence. Vice-President Mike Pence said the three countries would work together on the facility on Manus Island. Australia announced last month that it would work with PNG to develop the island's Lombrum Naval Base. Mr Pence made the announcement on the sidelines of the Apec summit in the PNG capital, Port Moresby. "The United States will partner with Papua New Guinea and Australia on their joint initiative at Lombrum Naval Base," he said. "We will work with these two nations to protect sovereignty and maritime rights in the Pacific islands." China 'training for strikes' on US targets Why is the South China Sea contentious? Australia ramps up Pacific spending Lombrum, which w..
November 17, 2018

Australia ‘trolley hero’ faces police charges

Australia 'trolley hero' faces police charges Image copyright EPA Image caption Pushing his trolley, Michael Rogers (left) helped police confront the attacker A homeless man who used his shopping trolley to try to ram a knife-wielding attacker in Melbourne has been charged with offences including burglary and theft. Michael Rogers, dubbed "Trolley Man" online, was filmed on Friday trying to prevent Hassan Khalif Shire Ali from stabbing two police officers. The suspect had already killed a cafe owner and injured two other people. He was later shot by police and died in hospital. Mr Rogers was called in by police for questioning on Friday. Australian media reported that the five alleged offences - two counts of burglary, two counts of theft and committing an indictable offence while on bail - had taken place before the 9 November attack. Mr Rogers has been hailed as a hero for his efforts to prevent Shire Ali from stabbing two police officers. Media playback is unsupported on..
November 17, 2018

Xi Jinping: US-China trade war will produce no winners

Xi Jinping: US-China trade war will produce no winners Image copyright Reuters Countries which embrace protectionism are "doomed to failure", China's Xi Jinping has warned in a veiled swipe at the US's America First policy. Mr Xi was speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit, where US-Chinese tensions are likely to be centre stage. US Vice-President Mike Pence later said he was prepared to "more than double" the tariffs imposed on Chinese goods. The two countries have been engaged in a tit-for-tat trade war this year. The White House says its tariffs are a response to China's "unfair" trade policies. China v the US: Not just a trade war What China wants from the Pacific US to invest more than $100m in Asia Both sides have said the tariffs, already totalling billions of dollars, can still be increased. However, Mr Xi appeared to warn against any further escalation of tensions between the two countries. "History has shown that confrontation, whether..
November 16, 2018

Why has a Hindu temple divided India’s women?

Sabarimala: Why has a Hindu temple divided India's women? Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Many of those protesting against women entering the temple are women themselves It's been more than a month since India's Supreme Court revoked a ban on women aged between 10 and 51 entering a prominent Hindu temple in southern India. Yet no women have been able to enter so far. The Sabarimala temple in Kerala state officially opened its gates on Friday evening, the start of the annual pilgrimage season. The temple had also opened for a few hours twice after the court verdict. But ever since the ban was repealed, tens of thousands of protesters, including many women, have blocked roads, attacked female devotees and vandalised property in a bid to stop women from entering the shrine. They say that they are protecting their deity in accordance with an age-old belief that women of a menstruating age are a threat to his celibacy. Sabarimala temple: India's top court ..
November 16, 2018

New Zealand students say word ‘trivial’ in exam confused them

New Zealand students say word 'trivial' in exam confused them Image copyright Getty Images High School students in New Zealand who didn't know what the word "trivial" meant in an exam question have demanded not to be marked down as a result. More than 2,600 people signed an online petition over the "unfamiliar" word. The students were asked to write an essay based on the Julius Caesar quote: "In war, events of importance are the result of trivial causes." Examiners said the language used was expected to be within the range of the year 13 students' vocabulary. However, in a statement, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority [NZQA] added: "If candidates have addressed the quote and integrated their ideas with it, then they will be given credit for the strength of their argument and analysis and will not be penalised for misinterpreting the word 'trivial'." Chinese students flummoxed by 'unsolvable' exam question Sydney high school students hurt i..
November 16, 2018

Khmer Rouge verdict: ‘I live next to my torturer’

Khmer Rouge verdict: 'I live next to my torturer' Image copyright ECCC Image caption Soy Sen testifies at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in 2015 After 12 years in operation, the UN-backed Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia on Friday delivered what will likely be its final verdict. But away from the courtroom, some survivors of one of the 20th Century's greatest horrors are ambivalent about the tribunal's legacy, reports George Wright from Phnom Penh. Like many 60-year-old men in rural Cambodia, Srei Than can often be found relaxing and drinking beer with friends outside his home. But when he locks eyes with Soy Sen, who lives a short motorcycle ride away down a dusty lane, he quickly looks away. "Whenever I see him, he walks away," Sen says. There's good reason for this. In 1974, when Sen was just 14, Khmer Rouge guerrillas took control of his hometown in Takeo province, to the south of the capital Phnom Penh. It was a year before they would topple the US-backed gov..
November 16, 2018

Japan PM in historic visit to Darwin 76 years after bombing

Japan PM in historic visit to Darwin 76 years after bombing Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption Japanese PM Shinzo Abe and Australian counterpart Scott Morrison in Darwin on Friday In a historic moment, Shinzo Abe has become the first Japanese leader to visit Darwin, Australia, since it was bombed by Japan during World War Two. The first raids in February 1942 left about 250 people dead, hundreds more injured, and destroyed numerous Allied ships as well as much of Darwin itself. Mr Abe joined Australian PM Scott Morrison in laying wreaths in a solemn ceremony at the city's war memorial. Mr Morrison has described the visit as a "time of healing" and friendship. The leaders observed a minute's silence, remembering the worst wartime loss of life on Australian soil. They also paid respects to 80 Japanese sailors who died when their submarine was sunk off Darwin in January 1942. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The bombing killed hundreds of people and promp..
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