December 23, 2018

Emperor Akihito: Huge crowds as Japan monarch gives emotional farewell

Emperor Akihito: Huge crowds as Japan monarch gives emotional farewell Image copyright EPA Image caption Emperor Akihito delivers his last birthday address alongside his wife Empress Michiko More than 80,000 people have paid their respects to Japan's Emperor Akihito as he gave his final birthday address before his abdication in April. The emperor, 85, said he took "deep comfort" that his reign had passed without Japan again engaging in war. He became emotional as he thanked the people of Japan and his wife Empress Michiko for their support. Akihito is the first living monarch to relinquish the Chrysanthemum throne in nearly 200 years. The emperor, who has had heart surgery and treatment for prostate cancer, will be succeeded in April by his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito. His three-decade reign is known as the "Heisei" era, which means "achieving peace" in Japanese. How abdication could usher in a calendar change In pictures: Japan's Emperor Akihito During his brief addr..
December 22, 2018

‘Volcano tsunami’ hits Indonesia after Krakatoa eruption

'Volcano tsunami' hits Indonesia after Krakatoa eruption At least 20 people have been killed after a tsunami hit the coast around Indonesia's Sunda Strait, government officials say. The country's disaster management agency says 165 people were injured, and dozens of buildings were damaged. It says the possible cause of the tsunami were undersea landslides after the Krakatoa volcano erupted. The Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra connects the Java Sea to the Indian Ocean. Footage posted by the head of the disaster management agency showed the aftermath of the tsunami, with flooded streets and an overturned car. Skip Twitter post by @Sutopo_PN Data sementara dampak tsunami di Pantai di Kab Pandeglang, Serang dan Lampung Selatan hingga 23/12/2018 pukul 04.30 WIB: tercatat 20 orang meninggal dunia, 165 orang luka-luka, 2 orang hilang dan puluhan bangunan rusak. Data korban kemungkinan masih akan terus bertambah. — Sutopo Pur..
December 22, 2018

Nepal bus crash: Students among 23 dead after field trip

Nepal bus crash: Students among 23 dead after field trip Image copyright AFP Image caption The injured were transferred to a hospital in Kohalpur, Nepal At least 23 people died in Nepal when a bus carrying students and their teachers back from a botanical trip ran off a road and plunged 700m (2,300ft) into a ravine. Another 14 people were injured in the crash in Dang district, western Nepal. Most of the victims were students aged between 16 and 20, officials said. Two teachers and the driver also died. The cause of Friday's crash appeared to be speeding, a police spokesman told AFP news agency. The students and teachers were from the Krishna Sen Ichchhuk Polytechnic in Ghorahi, Dang district, the Kathmandu Post reported. They had been returning from a visit to a farm when the bus veered off the road near Ramri village. Police said the bus had been carrying 37 people. Road accidents are common in Nepal, usually caused by bad roads, poorly maintained vehicles and reckless driving. ..
December 21, 2018

Afghanistan: How does the Taliban make money?

Afghanistan: How does the Taliban make money? Image copyright EPA Image caption Earlier this year the Taliban said they carried out an attack in Kabul that killed at least 95 people There are indications that the US is planning a significant withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan. American troops are in the country to support the Afghan government's fight against the Taliban and other militant groups. The Taliban, the main insurgent group in Afghanistan with an estimated 60,000 fighters, now controls more territory in Afghanistan than at any point since its removal from power by the US-led coalition in 2001. Despite continued US military and financial support for the government in Kabul, the conflict has become both more intense and more complicated. Maintaining this level of insurgency requires a great deal of funding, from sources both within and outside the country. So how does the Taliban support itself? How wealthy is the Taliban?The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 ..
December 21, 2018

Trump’s withdrawal from Afghanistan ignores a dangerous threat

Trump's withdrawal from Afghanistan ignores a dangerous threat Image copyright Reuters Image caption Afghan security forces respond to reports of a suicide attack in Kabul earlier this month Senior British officers in Afghanistan have long feared the decision of US President Donald Trump to wind down America's mission in the country. One told me they used to talk about "the tweet of jeopardy", which they said might come at any time from @realDonaldTrump. When I told another officer about the resignation of US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, he replied in typical military fashion: "Bugger." It seems that the US's closest allies may not have known about the prospect of troop withdrawal in Afghanistan. Before the news broke, I interviewed the head of the armed forces, General Sir Nick Carter, who was in the capital, Kabul, to see troops before Christmas. With lower US engagement, the international coalition itself could be at risk. When I stayed at the NKC (New Kabul Compoun..
December 21, 2018

George HW Bush’s sponsorship made me successful, says Filipino man

George HW Bush's sponsorship made me successful, says Filipino man Image copyright Compassion International Image caption George HW Bush exchanged letters with Timothy Villalba for 10 years A Filipino man sponsored by George HW Bush as a boy has described how letters from the former US president helped him to become "successful and happy". "Out of so many kids... I was the one picked," Timothy Villalba told the TV network ABS-CBN, adding that Mr Bush had supplied him with gifts - such as a drawing set - that fed his creativity. Mr Bush, under the name George Walker, also helped with education and meals. Mr Villalba, now aged 25, was just seven when the sponsorship started. He learned his Compassion International sponsor's true identity when he left the scheme at 17 and was stunned. In an interview with ABS-CBN, Mr Villalba said he found it "shocking that he was indeed a president", adding: "I can't explain how I'm feeling". Image copyright Compassion Internationa..
December 21, 2018

Borneo’s Albino orangutan released back into the wild

Borneo's Albino orangutan released back into the wild The first-ever recorded albino orangutan has been released into the wild, nearly two years after it was first discovered by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF). Image copyright BOSF / AFP Alba was rescued by the government's Central Kalimantan Natural Resource Conservation Agency and the BOSF in April last year, when she was five years old and suffering from stress, dehydration and a parasite infection. The albino orangutan lacks pigment melanin in her hair and skin and was named after the Latin word for white, following a naming competition by BOSF in May 2017. Image copyright BOSF / AFP Alba's symptoms of albinism had to be taken into account in her rehabilitation strategy. Health complications - including poor eyesight, hearing and susceptibility to skin cancer - make her more vulnerable to predators. After many months of care at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, Alba recovered and th..
December 21, 2018

Papua leaders demand end to Indonesian military operation

Papua leaders demand end to Indonesian military operation Image copyright AFP Image caption The 17 workers killed in the Papua attack earlier this month were from other parts of Indonesia The governor of Indonesia's eastern Papua province has called for an end to an intense military operation against independence rebels in the remote jungle-covered region. Troops are hunting for members of the armed wing of the Free Papua Movement (OPM), who killed at least 17 construction workers early this month. It was the deadliest attack for years. Local officials said at least four civilians had so far been killed in the military response. Hundreds more are said to have fled into the jungle to escape the violence. The children starving in a land of gold Indonesia country profile The OPM attack in the mountainous Nduga region represents a major escalation in the decades-old low-level insurgency. Previous reports had put the number of victims at 24. Papua declared independence from the Nether..
December 21, 2018

Chinese chemistry student charged with poisoning US roommate

Chinese chemistry student charged with poisoning US roommate Image copyright Pennsylvania police Image caption The student is a chemistry major and said he purchased the thallium to use on himself A Chinese chemistry student at a US university tried to poison his African American roommate over a period of several months, prosecutors allege. Yukai Yang was charged with attempted homicide and arrested on Thursday. Prosecutors say he laced the food and drink of Juwan Royal with thallium. Mr Royal still suffers symptoms. Mr Yang admits buying chemicals but says they were intended for his own use. He is also charged with writing racist graffiti in their dorm room. The alleged poisoning took place over several months in the spring of 2018 when Mr Royal, a fellow senior at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, sought medical help several times for feeling dizzy, passing out, throwing up and feeling shaky, prosecutors say. Mr Yang admitted to having purchased thallium and other chemicals on th..
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