April 4, 2019

Hayabusa-2: Japanese probe set to ‘bomb’ an asteroid

Hayabusa-2: Japanese probe set to 'bomb' an asteroid Image copyright Akihiro Ikeshita Image caption Artwork: Scientists want to retrieve a pristine sample of material from the crater The Japanese Hayabusa-2 spacecraft is about to detonate an explosive charge on the asteroid it is exploring. The operation is designed to generate an artificial crater in the asteroid Ryugu, which the probe has been studying since June 2018. Hayabusa-2 will later descend into the crater to collect pristine samples of the asteroid that have not been exposed to the harsh environment of space. The charge is carried on the Small Carry-On Impactor (SCI) device. This is a 14kg conical container attached to Hayabusa-2 and packed with plastic explosive. Movie shows moment of asteroid landing Asteroid mission exploring a 'rubble pile' Metal world 'may have iron volcanoes' The SCI is due to separate from Hayabusa-2 at 01:56 GMT on Friday at an altitude of 500m above the surface of Ryug..
April 4, 2019

Christchurch attacks: NZ gun suspect ordered mental health tests

Christchurch attacks: NZ gun suspect ordered mental health tests Image copyright Reuters Image caption The suspect faces 50 murder charges and 39 attempted murder charges The man accused of killing 50 people in last month's attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zeeland, has been ordered to undergo mental health tests. Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, would be seen by experts to determine whether he was fit to stand trial or insane, said high court judge Cameron Mander. Mr Tarrant appeared in the courtroom - packed with relatives of some of his victims - via video link from prison. He faces 50 murder charges and 39 attempted murder charges. Christchurch shootings: How the attacks unfoldedMr Tarrant made no comment during the short hearing. He is being kept in isolation at the Auckland Prison in Paremoremo, considered New Zealand's toughest.
April 4, 2019

China link suspected in ‘whale jail’

International outcry over Russian 'whale jail' in far east Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The belugas are in cramped pens which are taking a toll on their health International pressure is growing for the Russian government to release nearly 100 juvenile whales which have been kept in small pens in the far east for seven months. French marine scientist Jean-Michel Cousteau and other experts are meeting government officials in Moscow. They plan to visit the so-called "whale jail" near Nakhodka on Saturday. There are 11 killer whales (orcas) and 87 belugas in pens at Srednyaya Bay. A criminal investigation is under way. While they were in captivity last year, three belugas and one orca disappeared. Greenpeace Russia believes they died, as many of the whales are known to be in poor health. The environmental group raised the alarm about the whales last October, and four Russian companies linked to the "whale jail" have been accused of violating fishing regulations and..
April 4, 2019

‘Overwork’ behind death of Jaxa space agency contractor, authorities say

'Overwork' behind death of Jaxa space agency contractor, authorities say Image copyright Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd./JAXA Image caption Yukinobu Sato was working as a contractor for the space agency Jaxa A man working on a project for Japan's space agency (Jaxa) took his own life in 2016 because he was overworked, Japanese authorities have ruled. Yukinobu Sato, aged 31 at the time, was working as a contractor on a satellite project for Jaxa and was under extreme stress, a review has said. He had been assigned unachievable targets and was working over 70 hours of unpaid overtime a month, it added. Japan has introduced a law to try to end the culture of long working hours. The legislation, which came into force this week, limits overtime work to 45 hours a month and 360 hours a year in principle, the Kyodo news agency reports. Companies that violate the rules could face fines of up to 300,000 yen (£2,046). There were an estimated 200 deaths linked to overwork in..
April 4, 2019

Zhao Lixin apologises for ‘defending’ Japanese invaders

Zhao Lixin apologises for 'defending' Japanese invaders Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Zhao Lixin (right) with The Love of Hypnosis co-star Zhang Hanyun Chinese-Swedish actor Zhao Lixin has apologised after appearing to "defend" the Japanese forces which invaded China. In a social media post on Tuesday, Zhao questioned why the Japanese military did not pillage and destroy the Beijing Palace Museum during the Second Sino-Japanese War. He has faced a backlash online from people who have accused him of "forgetting his roots", some drawing comparisons with other recent Chinese-Swedish grievances. Zhao's original comment on social media site Sina Weibo has been deleted, but screenshots of it have been widely shared online in China. "Why didn't the Japanese steal relics from the Palace Museum," Zhao's post read, "and burn it down during the eight years the Japanese occupied Beijing? "Is it in line with the nature of the invader?" You may also like: Joe..
April 4, 2019

Pakistan Asma Aziz: Wife who had ‘head shaved for refusing to dance’

Pakistan Asma Aziz: Wife who had 'head shaved for refusing to dance' Image copyright Twitter Image caption Asma Aziz appealed for public help in a video posted online A Pakistani woman has publicly accused her husband of beating her and shaving her head for refusing to dance for him and his friends, in a case that has raised new concerns about women's safety in the country. Asma Aziz, from Lahore, made headlines when she published a shocking video on social media showing her shaven head and bruised face. Her husband, Mian Faisal, and a servant are both in police custody. Mr Faisal has denied torture. However, the case has prompted calls for more to be done to protect women from domestic violence. In a tweet, Amnesty International said "systemic change" was necessary. Skip Twitter post by @amnestysasia While we are glad that strong and swift action has been taken against the torturers of Asma Aziz, we note with dismay the alarming rise in reported cases of violence agai..
April 4, 2019

Great Barrier Reef: Mass decline in ‘coral babies’, scientists say

Great Barrier Reef: Mass decline in 'coral babies', scientists say Image copyright NETTE WILLIS/ARC CENTRE CORAL REEF STUDIES Image caption The Great Barrier Reef suffered mass bleaching events in 2016 and 2017 The number of new corals on Australia's Great Barrier Reef has plunged by 89% since unprecedented bleaching events in 2016 and 2017, scientists say. The events, which damaged two-thirds of the world's largest reef system, are now being blamed for triggering a collapse in coral re-growth last year. "Dead corals don't make babies," said lead author Prof Terry Hughes, from Queensland's James Cook University. The scientists blame the problem on rising sea temperatures. The research, published in Nature journal on Thursday, was carried out by a group of scientists last year. It measured how many adult corals along the reef had survived following the mass bleaching events, and the number of new corals that had been produced. Coral reefs head for 'k..
April 4, 2019

Are India’s farmers getting what they were promised?

India election 2019: Are India's farmers receiving what they were promised? Image copyright Getty Images The plight of India's farmers has been a major theme in the campaigns ahead of national elections, which get under way on 11 April. Angry farmers have regularly taken to the streets demanding a better financial deal. Many find themselves in debt and burdened by other liabilities they've taken on to buy seed, fertilisers and equipment. Thousands of farmers commit suicide every year in India, although the reasons are often complex. Pledge: Speaking in 2016, India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, said farmers' incomes would double by 2022. Verdict: Official data shows farmers' incomes were rising between 2013 and 2016. Income data for the past two years is not available but there are signs the rural economy is depressed. Unless there is a significant upturn, the doubling of farm incomes by 2022 is unlikely. The government has now pledged to pay 6,000 In..
April 4, 2019

Australia targets tech firms with ‘abhorrent material’ laws

Australia targets tech firms with 'abhorrent material' laws Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The laws are a response to the Christchurch attacks, which were streamed on platforms including Facebook Australia has passed controversial laws which could see tech companies face penalties - including jail for executives - if they host violent videos on their platforms. The laws, billed as a probable world first, follow last month's New Zealand mosque shootings which killed 50 people and were live-streamed by the gunman. The Australian government said websites "should not be weaponised". Critics say the laws have been rushed through parliament without scrutiny. The bill says tech firms could face penalties if they fail to remove "abhorrent violent material" quickly enough. Such content is defined to be terror attacks, murders, rapes, tortures and kidnappings. The penalties include fines of up to A$10.5m (£5.6m; $7.5m), or 10% of annual turnover, according to the leg..
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