December 18, 2018

BA to resume flights to Pakistan

BA to resume flights to Pakistan Image copyright AFP Image caption Islamabad's new airport opened this year British Airways is to restart flights to Pakistan next year, more than 10 years after it halted services following a major hotel bombing. The airline stopped flying to the country after the Marriott hotel in the capital, Islamabad, was bombed in 2008, killing more than 50 people. BA will be the first Western airline to resume services to the country. A new airport was opened recently in Islamabad, which has eased concerns about both security and congestion. The attack on the Marriott was one of the most high-profile attacks in Pakistan's history. Thomas Drew, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, said BA's return was a "reflection of the great improvements" in security. BA's Robert Williams said: "It's exciting to be flying between Islamabad and Heathrow from next year, which we believe will be particularly popular with the British Pakistani commun..
December 18, 2018

Hamid Ansari: ‘Love-struck’ Indian home after Pakistan jail ordeal

Hamid Ansari: 'Love-struck' Indian home after Pakistan jail ordeal Image caption Hamid Ansari reunited with his family at the border on Monday An Indian man held for six years in Pakistan after illegally entering the country has returned to his family. Hamid Ansari was convicted on charges of spying after he was found with a fake Pakistani identity card. But his supporters said he had entered the country to pursue "blind and stupid" love with a woman he met online. Ansari was greeted at India's Wagah border by his family, government officials and journalists. His return ends a years-long ordeal for his family who fought to first track him down, and then secure his release. Though officially convicted in 2015, Ansari had been in Pakistani custody since 2012. His jail term officially ended on Sunday, but his release was delayed because legal formalities had not been completed. It is not clear if he ever met the woman he crossed the border for. India and Pakistan have fou..
December 18, 2018

New Zealand to hold cannabis referendum in 2020

New Zealand to hold cannabis referendum in 2020 Image copyright Getty Images New Zealanders will vote on legalising recreational cannabis in a referendum during the 2020 general election, the country's justice minister said. A vote was promised by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's Labour Party last year during cross-party talks, which helped to form a coalition government. It comes a week after lawmakers gave medicinal cannabis the green light. An opinion poll last year suggested two thirds of New Zealanders favoured legalisation. "We know when it will be, we have a commitment that it will be binding, and now it is just a question on filling in the detail from there," said Justice Minister Andrew Little, following a decision by the country's cabinet on Monday. New Zealand's left-wing Labour Party is part of a three-way coalition government, with the centrist Green Party and populists New Zealand First (NZF). The partnership was formed after inconclusive elections las..
December 18, 2018

Xi Jinping says China ‘will never seek hegemony’

Xi Jinping says China 'will never seek hegemony' Image copyright EPA Image caption Xi Jinping praised China's "epic accomplishments" Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed that his country will not develop at the expense of other nations, in a speech marking 40 years of reform. However, he also said that the global super power would not be told what to do by anyone. Late leader Deng Xiaoping's campaign of "reform and opening up" began four decades ago. The resulting growth has made China the second largest economy in the world. Mr Xi said despite China's growth, it would "never seek global hegemony" and also highlighted China's contributions towards a "shared future for mankind". However, critics have pointed out that China continues to crack down on political dissent and take a hard stance on ethnic tensions. Also in recent years, the country has struggled with mounting debt and slowing economic growth. Asserting Chinese strengthMr Xi spent much of his l..
December 17, 2018

China’s pre-Christmas church crackdown raises alarm

China's pre-Christmas church crackdown raises alarm Image copyright Facebook/Early Rain Image caption Wang Yi was the outspoken leader of an influential unofficial church A recent surge of police action against churches in China has raised concerns the government is getting even tougher on unsanctioned Christian activity. Among those arrested are a prominent pastor and his wife, of the Early Rain Covenant Church in Sichuan. Both have been charged with state subversion. And on Saturday morning, dozens of police raided a children's Bible class at Rongguili Church in Guangzhou. China is officially atheist, though says it allows religious freedom. But it has over the years repeatedly taken action against religious leaders it considers to be threatening to its authority or to the stability of the state, which, according to Human Rights Watch, "makes a mockery of the government's claim that it respects religious beliefs". The government pressures Christians to join one of t..
December 17, 2018

Scott Johnson death: It’s ‘inconceivable’ my brother killed himself

Scott Johnson death: It's 'inconceivable' my brother killed himself Image copyright Steve Johnson Image caption Steve (left) has spent 30 years trying to find out the truth about his brother Scott's death Australian police have offered a $1m (£570,000) reward for information leading to a conviction for the murder of Scott Johnson. Other than the size of the reward, what makes the case stand out is that the 27-year-old University of Cambridge student was killed 30 years ago. His naked body was found at the bottom of North Head cliffs, a well known gay cruising ground in Sydney at the time. In 1988, police ruled his death was suicide - something his family never believed. It's now thought Scott's death wasn't an isolated case. "It was inconceivable to me that Scott went somewhere and jumped off a cliff," says his brother Steve, who's been campaigning for the truth, tells Newsbeat. Image copyright Steve Johnson Image caption Scott moved to Austra..
December 17, 2018

Twitter warns of ‘unusual activity’ from China and Saudi Arabia

Twitter warns of 'unusual activity' from China and Saudi Arabia Image copyright AFP/Getty Image caption Twitter says those directly affected have been informed Twitter has warned of "unusual activity" from China and Saudi Arabia related to a bug in a help form. The bug - discovered on 15 November and fixed the day after - could have revealed the country code of users' phone numbers or if their account was locked, the company said. IP addresses from the two countries had sent a large number of inquiries using the form, Twitter said. These could have had ties to "state-sponsored actors", Twitter said. Stressing that they could not confirm "intent or attribution for certain", Twitter's statement said they had informed the authorities about their discovery in the interest of "full transparency". Twitter warns direct messages were exposed Twitter CEO under fire for Myanmar tweets Those directly affected have been informed, Twitter said. No full phone numbers were re..
December 17, 2018

Geoffrey Rush denies misconduct allegations by co-star Yael Stone

Geoffrey Rush denies misconduct allegations by co-star Yael Stone Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Geoffrey Rush says the allegations are incorrect Actor Geoffrey Rush has denied fresh allegations that he acted inappropriately towards an actress. Orange is the New Black actress Yael Stone has said that alleged incidents took place when the pair starred together in a Sydney play in 2010-11. She alleges that Mr Rush danced naked in her presence, watched her shower, and sent her sexual text messages. Earlier this year, actress Eryn Jean Norvill accused Mr Rush of touching her inappropriately - a claim he denies. On Monday, Mr Rush responded to Ms Stone's allegations, saying they were "incorrect" and in some instances "taken completely out of context". "Clearly Yael has been upset on occasion by the spirited enthusiasm I generally bring to my work," the actor said in a statement released by his lawyer. "I sincerely and deeply regret if I have caused her any distress." &#03..
December 17, 2018

1MDB: Malaysia charges Goldman Sachs and two bankers

1MDB: Malaysia charges Goldman Sachs and two bankers Image copyright Reuters Malaysia has filed criminal charges against Goldman Sachs and two former employees in connection with a corruption and money laundering probe at the country's investment fund, 1MDB. The US bank has been under scrutiny for its role in helping to raise funds for the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). It is under scrutiny in at least six countries. Malaysia filed the charges against Goldman Sachs and its former bankers Tim Leissner and Roger Ng. It also brought charges against former 1MDB employee Jasmine Loo and financier Jho Low.
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