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Kind of a wow: Watch woman go skydiving to celebrate 94th birthday
A woman decided to celebrate her 94th birthday by going skydiving along with her granddaughter and great-granddaughter. [...]
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The literary life of voices from the dead | Brief letters
The end of automobiles | Myanmar and Buddhism | Pilning footbridge | Conversations among the dead | Emmanuel Macron’s dogI sincerely hope John Harris is correct and “the age of the automobile” is indeed “drawing to a close” (Owning a car will soon be a thing of the past, 23 October). I have a driveway outside my home and in it there is a car. But I have never learned to drive; it is my wife who faces up to that bothersome chore. She occasionally loses patience with me, imploring me to “man up” and learn. But it looks terribly scary out on the roads. The quicker “the use of cars is … overtaken by altogether greener, more liberating possibilities” the better, I say.Joe McCarthyDublin• As a leaner towards Buddhism myself, I appreciate Pam Stanier’s comments on the lack of sila within Westminster (Letters, 21 October). I wonder though, how she feels about the ethics of Myanmar in its treatment of minorities.Paul EddinsSt Athan, Vale of Glamorgan Continue reading... [...]
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Facebook: no current plans to make 'catastrophic' news feed change worldwide
Company’s head of news feed says test is to see if users prefer only friends’ posts in timeline, but journalists in affected countries warn of danger to democracyFacebook is testing whether or not people prefer “personal and public content” being separated as part of its test in which it hid all non-paid posts, said the company’s head of news feed, Adam Mosseri.Speaking after a Guardian report revealed the radical change, forced on six small nations around the world, Mosseri said Facebook “currently” has no plans to roll the experiment out further. But he did not address whether or not the test would become general policy worldwide if the results show that Facebook users do prefer the news-free news feed. Continue reading... [...]
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US woman held by Taliban-linked group describes 'captivity with no end in sight'
Caitlan Coleman disputes official account of rescue last month and explains why she and her husband decided to have more children in captivityThe American woman kidnapped in Afghanistan alongside her Canadian husband and held hostage for five years has disputed the official account of their rescue and explained why she and her husband decided to have more children while in captivity.“It was a decision we made,” Caitlan Coleman told the Toronto Star in a wide-ranging interview. “We did think about it and talk about it and it’s difficult to explain all the reasons, but, for me, a large part was the fact that it has always been important to me to have a large family.” Related: Parents of freed US hostage furious with son-in-law for Afghanistan trip Continue reading... [...]
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Bear in Myanmar has giant tongue removed by team of vets
Three-kilo tongue believed to be a mutation and was so big it dragged on the ground and prevented the bear from eatingA bear had emergency surgery to remove its tongue after it became so heavy that it lolled out of his mouth and dragged along the floor.Vets believe that the bizarre swelling, which weighed 3kg (6.5lb), was without precedent. Continue reading... [...]
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US withdraws assistance from Myanmar military amid Rohingya crisis
Washington stops aid and puts consideration of travel waivers for senior Myanmar military leaders on holdThe US has announced it is withdrawing military assistance from Myanmar units and officers involved in violence against Rohingya Muslims that has triggered a mass exodus and humanitarian crisis.“We express our gravest concern with recent events in Rakhine state and the violent, traumatic abuses Rohingya and other communities have endured,” said a state department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, announcing the punitive measures. Related: UN report on Rohingya hunger is shelved at Myanmar's request The Rohingya are Muslims who live in majority-Buddhist Myanmar. They are often described as "the world's most persecuted minority".  Continue reading... [...]
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Kabul welcomes the Afghan warlord who once shelled its citizens
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former ally of al-Qaida who has frequently being accused of war crimes, is now in the Afghan capital building a career in politicsWhen Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a fugitive Afghan warlord and former ally of al-Qaida and the Taliban, returned this year to the city he had once showered with rockets, he was welcomed at the presidential palace.Hekmatyar had been on lists of internationally wanted terrorists for years but, since his return to Kabul in May, he has met scores of high-ranking diplomats, including the US, EU and Nato ambassadors, as part of his assimilation into mainstream politics. Related: Fear and doubt as notorious 'butcher of Kabul' returns with talk of peace Excellent meeting with HE Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, discussing the future of #Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/PpSOb4B1nwAs a kid in 1992, I had lost my sleep because of his rockets! Feared and had nightmare! Such a shame to call him HE! @dfat Continue reading... [...]
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CVC backs Vasundhara Raje govt's gag ordinance to protect babus from corruption probe
Chief Vigilance Commissioner KD Chaudhary today backed law to protect ministers and bureaucrats from corruption investigation. [...]
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Bold vision: giving blind people back their sight in Pakistan – in pictures
An estimated 36 million people are blind worldwide and 253 million more are visually impaired, but these numbers could triple by 2050 due to the world’s growing and ageing population.Yet with sufficient investment, 75% of blindness and visual impairment could be cured or prevented. The main uncorrected causes are refractive errors, which affect at least 123 million people, and cataracts, which affect 65 million.The world’s poorest countries in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are particularly badly hit. In Africa, almost half of pupils in schools for blind people merely need a pair of spectacles, according to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness.An outdoor exhibition of photographs is on show in London as part of the Million Miracles appeal, which aims to restore the sight of a million people across Africa and Asia. Photographer Andrew McConnell documents the successes of a scheme in PakistanAll photographs by Andrew McConnell/Sightsavers Continue reading... [...]
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'The car horn is uncivilised': how Kathmandu's streets went quiet
Many predicted the Nepali capital’s ban on vehicle horns would be ignored. But six months on, the streets are peaceful – in a city without a single traffic lightWhen the authorities in Kathmandu outlawed the use of vehicle horns in April, the start of the Nepali year, many expected the ban would go the way of most new year’s resolutions and be quickly forgotten.But six months later, the streets of the capital remain remarkably quiet. In a city where a horn was widely used as a substitute for a brake, Kathmandu’s drivers appear to have kicked their noisy habit for good. Continue reading... [...]
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India to open talks with all parties in disputed Jammu and Kashmir
Former intelligence chief given unrestricted mandate, indicating that even separatist leaders will be consultedThe Indian government has announced it will commence talks in the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir with all parties, including separatists who are calling for independence or a merger with Pakistan.The move was seen as particularly significant coming from a government led by a staunch Hindu nationalist, Narendra Modi, who has previously taken a tough line on the 30-year-old conflict in India’s only Muslim-majority state. Related: WhatsApp warriors on the new frontline of Kashmir’s conflict Related: India’s crackdown in Kashmir: is this the world’s first mass blinding? Continue reading... [...]
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Congress moves Supreme Court against EC over Gujarat Assembly poll dates
The Congress party in its petition to SC has complained that EC has not announced the poll dates for Gujarat and also demanded to increase the time span of VVPAT . [...]
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Sushma Swaraj in Dhaka: Rohingya crisis to dominate talks with Bangladesh
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is in Bangladesh to discuss a range of issues with the Bangladeshi leadership. The Rohingya crisis is likely to feature prominently in her deliberations. [...]
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He captured a fresh start for Myanmar … and then its descent into tragedy
Photojournalist Minzayar Oo tells how a shot of Aung Sang Suu Kyi changed his life and led to him winning a unique awardThe first of April 2012 was a historic, emotional and profoundly hopeful day in Myanmar’s history. Aung San Suu Kyi, for decades an exile from the country and then a political prisoner under house arrest for 15 years, finally won a byelection vote for a seat in parliament. The following morning many citizens and the world’s media gathered in Yangon at the offices of her party, the National League for Democracy, to hear from or catch a glimpse of the new leader of the opposition.Many renowned photojournalists were in attendance. Among the throng was a 23-year-old medical student called Minzayar Oo. A hobbyist with a camera – after six years of university, Minzayar Oo was just about to qualify as a doctor – but the news agency Reuters had said it would look at any pictures he took. In the event, he struggled to get close to Aung San Suu Kyi, jostled to the fringes by more experienced practitioners. He took a few snaps, some above his head, using a slow exposure.We thought: ‘This is something we will always remember, so we should just pick up the camera …’ And that’s what I didI went to Bangladesh very neutral, just to do my job. I was being honest with everybody Continue reading... [...]
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Russia accused of supplying Taliban as power shifts create strange bedfellows
An Afghan army commander is the latest to allege that Moscow is providing arms to the Islamist group that grew out of the 1980s anti-Soviet resistance Related: Dozens killed in twin bombings of mosques in Afghanistan Continue reading... [...]
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Delhi covered in toxic haze after night of Diwali fireworks
Air pollution in Indian capital hits 18 times the healthy limit despite supreme court ban on sale of firecrackersAir pollution in Delhi has hit 18 times the healthy limit and left the city under a thick, toxic haze after Diwali was celebrated with a night of fireworks – despite a court-ordered ban on their sales. Residents of the Indian capital, which already ranks among the world’s most polluted cities, complained of watering eyes and aggravated coughs as levels of PM2.5, ultra-fine particles of less than 2.5 microns, rose alarmingly on Friday. Related: Pant by numbers: the cities with the most dangerous air – listed Continue reading... [...]
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Several injured in Munich knife attack, suspect on the run
German police today said that a man with a knife lightly wounded four people in Munich. [...]
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Virabhadra, Sukh Ram at loggerheads over recovery of Rs 3 cr cash 21 years ago
The two arch rivals are at loggerheads over a 21-year-old corruption case wherein Rs 3.61 crore was recovered from the residences of Sukh Ram, the then telecom minister. [...]
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Биз баарыбыз кайсы бир даражада курмандыктарбыз':Эмнеге Бишкектеги гей клубтар жабылды
ЛГБТ пропаганда Кыргызстандын борбору коп убактан бери Орто Азияда эркиндиктин байрагы болуп келген. Коомчулук, кол салуулар жана зордуктардан улам, коркуунун астында жашайтRead this article in EnglishАнара мурун сүйүүгө кабылган эмес. Ал жөн гана сезимдерге алдырбаганга аракет кылып, жакынкы мезгилден көрүп баштаган кыздын үйүнүн сыртында турду, эмоцияга берилип, этият болууну унутуп койду.Жынысы бир болгон адам менен жолугушуу Кыргызстандын борбор шаары, Бишкектекооптуу болушу мүмкүн. Алардын, эми өөрчүп келе жаткан мамилелери мурунтан эле ушак-айрымдардын темасы болгон.ЛГБТ тобу тарабынан жүргүзүлгөн сурамжылоого катышкандардын 84% физикалык зомбулукка кабылгандар болуп табылды Related: Будущее статусного города? Может ли Алматы отбросить систему контроля Бизге болгон агрессия көп, биз мындан ары эл алдында ачык жүрө албайбыз Related: 'Норман бізге президент пирамида салынуын қалайды деп айтты' Continue reading... [...]
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Душанбеи харобшаванда: чӣ гуна собиқ шаҳри Сталинобод аз гузаштаҳои шӯравии тоза мегардад
Биноҳои даврони шуравии сохташудаи пойтахти Тоҷикистон мунтазам хароб гашта, ҷойи онҳоро хонаҳои истиқоматӣ ва мағозаҳои нав иваз мекунанд. Ин ба аксари сокинон қобили қабул астRead this article in English“Дар вақташ бинои мағозаи мазкур яке аз зеботарин биноҳои шаҳр ба ҳисоб мерафт” мегӯяд Неъматуллоҳ Мирсаидов ва тавре ки ӯ шоҳид аст, ҷойи мағозаи кӯҳнаро манораҳои нав гирифтааст. Баъди даҳ соли аз шимолиХӯҷанд ба шаҳри Душанбе баргаштан, ӯ аз тағйиротҳои ба вуҷуд омада дар ҳайрат монд, аммо тағйиротҳо аз ҷониби ӯ мусбӣ арзёбӣ шуданд. Ӯ қайд намуд, ки “Сохти меъмории шаҳри Душанбе хеле тағийр ёфтааст”. “Шаҳрвандони он бояд аз ин фахр намоянд”. Вақте ки деҳаи Душанбе соли 1924 пойтахт эълон гардид, он деҳае буд бо танҳо якчанд ҳазор нафар аҳолӣ, ки ҳаҷман хеле бо суръат афзуд ва ҳоло ҳам афзуда истодааст. Дар асосои барномаи нави стратегӣ оиди нақшаи рушди шаҳр, ки аз тарафи Ҳукумати Тоҷикистон қабул гардид, се маротиба зиёд кардани ҳудуди шаҳр дар назар дошта шудааст ва то соли 2030 аҳолии ҳозираи он аз 800 000 ҳазор нафарба 1.2 ҳазор нафар хоҳад расид. Шаҳр васеъ ва бузург шуда истодааст. Биноҳои даврони Шуравӣ бо биноҳои истиқоматии нав ва биноҳои осмонбӯс иваз мегарданд. Боғҳои истироҳатӣ аз нав барқарор мешаванд, роҳҳо васеъ карда шуда, мағозаҳои ҳозиразамон ҷойи бозорҳои суннатиро иваз мекунанд.Ба назари наслҳои оянда чунин мерасад ки, таърих аз ҳамин рӯзҳо оғоз шуда, дар гузашта мо ҳеҷ чиз надоштем Continue reading... [...]
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‘The decline of Russian dominance is striking’: readers respond from the Stans
Guardian Cities readers on the rise of the shopping mall, rivalry between oil-rich Kazakhstan and its rural neighbours – and even a defence of dictatorshipWe received many responses to our callout for readers’ contributions to our special report on the Stans – thanks to all who sent us words or images. While we read and appreciated each submission, we chose to prioritise the voices of those who are from Central Asia, or have lived there.Guardian Cities is exploring in depth the oft-ignored – and exceedingly difficult to report from – cities of the five Central Asian “Stans”: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, a quarter of a century after they became independent from the former Soviet Union.Buses of Bishkek #SecretStans pic.twitter.com/9jFiWIbpwqEvery evening people gather in the courtyards behind Almaty's ul. Tole Bi for games of chess. #SecretStans @guardiancities pic.twitter.com/oc211Mt2NM Continue reading... [...]
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Dozens killed in twin bombings of mosques in Afghanistan
Suicide bombings in capital Kabul and Ghor province leave at least 70 dead, the latest in a series of attacks across the countryMore than 70 people have been killed in twin suicide bombings on mosques in Afghanistan, government officials said. Related: The war America can't win: how the Taliban are regaining control in Afghanistan Related: Taliban suicide attackers kill scores of Afghan soldiers in Kandahar Continue reading... [...]
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Aziýanyň iň awtoritar şäheri bolan Aşgabatda: 'Adamlar söz aýtmakdan hem gorkýar'
Haçan-da Stanislav Volkov Alternatiw Türkmenistan Habarlar gullugyna habarçy bolup hyzmat etmäge başlanda, howpsuzlyk gullugy onuň internetini kesdi we onuň üstüne kislota dökdi – ählisi hem ýaramaz abraýa eýe bolan paýtagtdaky gündelik agyr ýaşaýyşy baradaky hakykaty beýan etmäge gaýraty çatany üçinRead this article in EnglishMeň çaga wagtym, Aşgabat “baglyk şäher” hökmünde tanalýardy Ol gök öwüsýärdi, kanallarda dagdan gelen suwlar akýardy, agaçlar bolsa iýul we awgust aýynda hem kölege salyp salkynlyk berýärdi. Goňşular agşamlaryna çaý başynda üýşerdiler. Türkmenistan Sowet Soýuzyndan 1991-nji ýylda Garaşsyzlygyny gazanyndan soň Aşgabat ikinji gezek dörän ýaly boldy. Häzirki günümizde Aşgabat şäherine degişme hökmünde “ölüleriň şäheri” hem diýilýär, sebäbi ak mermerli täze gurlan ýerlerde adam görüp bolmaýar diýlen derejede. Şäher Gines rekordlar kitabynda dünýäň ýüzünde iň köp ak mermer bolan şäher hökmünde hasaba alnan. Aslynda onuň hasaba alnan ençeme ugurlary bar: dünýäň ýüzünde iň uly ýapyk karusel, iň uly fontan, iň uly ýyldyz şekli. Täze aeroportda ýolagçylaryň esasy terminalyny bezeýän dünýäň ýüzünde iň uly haly şekli bar. Ýakyn wagta çenli, paýtagtda dünýäň iň uly baýdak sütüni derejesini hem saklapdy. Ähli bu täze jäjekler, jaýlar, parklar we köçeler, hamala adamlar üçin gurlupdy. Olar munyň bahasyny dymmaklyk bilen ödeýär. *** Men Aşgabat şäherinde 1987-nji ýylda doguldym we 1994-nji ýylda okuwa başladym Men birinji klasa gidenimde her gün geýmeli bolan tarketka bilen prezident Saparmyrat Nyýazowyň suraty bolan sagadyň berleni ýadyma düşýär. Şol ýaşda, men şahsyýet kultunyň nämedigine düşünmeýärdim, ene-atam hem maňa ony düşündirmekçi bolup baranokdylar.Käbir ýerlerde birnäçe güniň dowamynda suw we elektrik togy ýok, merkezde bolsa hiç kim üçin fontanlar akýar we çyralar ýanýarKäbir ýerlerde birnäçe güniň dowamynda suw we elektrik togy ýok, merkezde bolsa hiç kim üçin fontanlar akýar we çyralar ýanýar Continue reading... [...]
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Demolishing Dushanbe: how the former city of Stalinabad is erasing its Soviet past
The Tajik capital’s Soviet-era buildings are being systematically razed and replaced by multistorey apartments and malls. Most residents seem pleased“Once this shop was one of the most beautiful buildings in the city,” says Nematullo Mirsaidov as he gazes up at an old department store now dwarfed by new towers. He has been struck by how much Dushanbe has changed since he started visiting from the northern city of Khujand more than a decade ago, but sees change as a positive. “Dushanbe’s architecture has changed significantly,” he adds. “Its residents should be proud.”Dushanbe was a village of only a few thousand people when it was made capital in 1924 but it has grown rapidly since then and continues to do so at speed. The city’s territory is expected to triple in size and its population to grow from around 800,000 to more than 1.2 million by 2030 according to the new strategic urban development plan recently adopted by the Tajik authorities.For future generations, it [will] appear that history begins from this time, as if we had nothing beforeGuardian Cities is exploring in depth the oft-ignored – and exceedingly difficult to report from – cities of the five Central Asian “Stans”: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, a quarter of a century after they became independent from the former Soviet Union. Related: Tashkent City: is 'progress' worth the price being paid in Uzbekistan? Continue reading... [...]
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Ban on sale of firecrackers may have proved insufficient to curb pollution in Delhi on Diwali
PM2.5 is the respirable tiny pollutant particles that enter the lungs and the blood stream causing severe health conditions. PM10 are coarse pollutant particles. [...]
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More than 300,000 Rohingya refugee children 'outcast and desperate', Unicef says
One in five children under the age of five is estimated to be acutely malnourished, requiring medical attentionNearly 340,000 Rohingya children are living in squalid conditions in Bangladesh camps where they lack enough food, clean water and health care, the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) said on Friday. Up to 12,000 more children join them every week, fleeing violence or hunger in Myanmar, often still traumatised by atrocities they witnessed, it said in a report “Outcast and Desperate”. Related: UN report on Rohingya hunger is shelved at Myanmar's request Continue reading... [...]
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Taliban suicide attackers kill scores of Afghan soldiers in Kandahar
Attack marks deadliest week since Donald Trump announced new strategy for war against militants in AfghanistanTaliban suicide bombers have killed at least 43 Afghan soldiers by ramming two stolen Humvees strapped with explosives into an army base, using a tactic increasingly feared by government forces.The attack on Wednesday night on an outpost in Kandahar’s Maiwand district left only two soldiers of a 60-strong unit unharmed, according to the defence ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri. Nine soldiers were injured and six are still missing, he said. Continue reading... [...]
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Diwali, festival of lights – in pictures
Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, celebrates the victory of good over evil and the triumphant return of Lord Ram to the city of Ayodha after vanquishing Ravana in the kingdom of Lanka Continue reading... [...]
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