December 13, 2018

Kim Jong-un face mask stirs controversy in South Korea

Kim Jong-un face mask stirs controversy in South Korea Image copyright 5149/Instagram Image caption Thousands of controversial "nuke masks" have been sold in South Korea A South Korean fashion and cosmetics firm has stirred controversy with a facial mask featuring Kim Jong-un. The firm says it has sold more than 25,000 "unification moisture nuclear masks" since June. However many South Korean stores have halted sales amid a public backlash and concerns over the masks' legality. The North Korean leader and his regime have been criticised by the United Nations for "systematic, widespread" human rights abuses. In South Korea it is illegal to speak favourably of the North Korean government, though the law is rarely enforced. Both North and South Korea are still technically at war, but leaders from both countries attended talks this year over denuclearisation. 'Political agenda'The so-called "nuke masks" were created by 5149, a South Korean fashion and cosmetics company. No..
December 13, 2018

‘Racist’ Gandhi statue removed from University of Ghana

'Racist' Gandhi statue removed from University of Ghana Image copyright Emmanuel Dzivenu/JoyNews A statue of Mahatma Gandhi, the famed Indian independence leader, has been removed from a university campus in Ghana's capital, Accra. University of Ghana lecturers began a petition for its removal shortly after it was unveiled in 2016 by India's former President Pranab Mukherjee. The petition said Gandhi was "racist" and African heroes should be put first. In the wake of the row, Ghana's government at the time said the statue would be relocated. BBC Africa Live: More on this and other storiesLecturers and students told the BBC that the statue, originally located at the university's recreational quadrangle, had been removed on Wednesday. The university confirmed this, saying that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration was responsible. Law student Nana Adoma Asare Adei told the BBC: "Having his statue means that we stand for everything he stan..
December 13, 2018

Michael Spavor: The detained Canadian close to Kim Jong-un

Michael Spavor: The detained Canadian close to Kim Jong-un Image copyright Reuters Image caption Michael Spavor, pictured here with students at a North Korean school, has close ties to the country's government Few people can claim to have sipped cocktails on board North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's private yacht, but Michael Spavor is one of them. The Canadian businessman, who has longstanding ties with Pyongyang, has been detained in China and is being investigated on suspicion of harming its national security. His disappearance comes amid escalating tensions between China and Canada, after the latter arrested a Chinese businesswoman at the request of the US. Mr Spavor is the second Canadian to be detained in China this week. Former diplomat Michael Kovrig was arrested in Beijing on Monday under similar circumstances. But Mr Spavor's close ties to North Korea, which is an ally of China, only adds to the intrigue surrounding this growing diplomatic feud. Huawei arrest pu..
December 13, 2018

Grace Millane: New Zealand anger over Google naming murder suspect

Grace Millane: New Zealand anger over Google naming murder suspect Image copyright Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Image caption Grace Millane was travelling the world and came to New Zealand in November New Zealand's justice minister has said Google could face prosecution for sending a mass email which included the name of the man accused of murdering British backpacker Grace Millane. The suspect was granted a temporary name suppression while he awaits trial, making it illegal to publish his name. The email, which named the suspect prominently, went to people signed up to receive the country's top trends. Google said it did not know about the suppression order. Justice Minister Andrew Little told the New Zealand Herald that if the email breach was traced to any of Google's New Zealand infrastructure then the firm could be prosecuted in the country. Google has an office in New Zealand with at least 20 staff and was set to add more employees this year. "Google has staff in Ne..
December 13, 2018

Sri Lanka parliament sacking ‘illegal’

Sri Lanka parliament sacking 'illegal' Image copyright AFP Image caption The Supreme Court was packed with MPs, lawyers and journalists awaiting the judgment Sri Lanka's top court has ruled that the president's dissolution of parliament last month was unconstitutional, as a political crisis continues to grip the nation. President Maithripala Sirisena dismissed his prime minister and replaced him with former leader Mahinda Rajapaksa in late October. When that decision was contested, he dissolved parliament. The ruling could see sacked PM Ranil Wickremesinghe return to office. The legislature - which has been sitting after a temporary ruling from the Supreme Court - has already passed two no-confidence motions against Mr Rajapaksa. The controversial but popular leader was president at the end of Sri Lanka's nearly three decade-old civil war in 2009 and is accused of presiding over vast human rights abuses, which he denies. House of Cards in the Indian Ocean Re..
December 13, 2018

Australia seizes squirrels ‘smuggled on plane from Bali’

Australia seizes squirrels 'smuggled on plane from Bali' Image copyright Australian government Image caption One of the squirrels seized at Brisbane Airport on 4 December A man was intercepted at an Australian airport after flying from Indonesia with two live squirrels smuggled in his luggage, authorities say. The Australian resident may face criminal charges after the animals were detected at Brisbane Airport last week. Both squirrels were put down after being deemed a biosecurity risk, Australian authorities said. The nation has strict quarantine laws that famously caught out actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in 2015. The squirrels allegedly travelled in checked-in luggage from Bali, which is about six hours by plane from Brisbane and a popular holiday destination for Australians. Authorities have not named a possible motive. "The frightening thing around that case around the two squirrels is that half of his Instagram followers thought it was a great idea to do that," Ag..
December 13, 2018

Leopard kills India Buddhist monk meditating in forest

Leopard kills India Buddhist monk meditating in forest Image copyright Abhishek Bhatpalliwar A monk meditating in a forest in the Indian state of Maharashtra has died in a leopard attack, officials say. The man, identified as Rahul Walke, had been "meditating under a tree" in the Tadoba forest, which is a protected tiger reserve, officials told PTI. Walke had been attached to a Buddhist temple which is inside the forest, but he had walked to a spot quite far away from it to meditate. Forest officials say they warned the monks against going too far inside. "I would like to tell everyone not to go inside the forest," GP Narawane, a forest official, told BBC Marathi. Leopard wreaks havoc in school in India Baby injured after being snatched by leopard India school attack leopard escapes from enclosure However, there are now plans to capture the leopard. "We have set up two cages and a camera trap, and we will try to tranquilise the animal," Mr Narawane said. State government officials hav..
December 12, 2018

North and South Korea soldiers cross DMZ in peace

North and South Korea soldiers cross DMZ in peace Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The historic moment was caught on camera by both sides North and South Korean soldiers have made several friendly crossings into each other's territory for the first time since the countries were divided. The men were checking the dismantling of guard posts in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) along the border as part of the two sides' recent rapprochement. Footage showed the soldiers shaking hands at the border before crossing. The Korean War in the 1950s left the peninsula divided and no formal peace treaty has ever been signed. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The meetings follow a diplomatic rapprochement between North and South Korea As part of the talks between the divided peninsula, the South's President Moon Jae-in and the North's Kim Jong-un agreed to remove some of the guard posts on the heavily fortified border. The two leaders held a historic meeting i..
December 12, 2018

Michael Spavor: Second Canadian ‘missing’ in China

Michael Spavor: Second Canadian 'missing' in China Image copyright Reuters Image caption Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada was urgently seeking information on the two Canadians Canada's foreign ministry says it is trying to make contact with a second Canadian who is believed to have been detained in China. Michael Spavor, a businessman based in Dandong near the North Korean border, had contacted Canadian officials this week to say he was being questioned. Foreign ministry spokesman Guillaume Bérubé said Canada was working hard to determine Mr Spavor's whereabouts. It comes after former diplomat Michael Kovrig was arrested in China this week. Canadian officials say the reason for Mr Kovrig's detention remains unclear But Chinese state media have reported that Mr Kovrig is being held "on suspicion of engaging in activities that harm China's state security". The life of Huawei's high-flying heiress Huawei arrest puts 'bullseye'..
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