Syria: Cameron and Obama threaten ‘serious response’
25 August 2013 Last updated at 08:01 GMT
The UK and the US have threatened a “serious response” if it emerges Syria used chemical weapons last week.
Prime Minister David Cameron and President Barack Obama spoke on the telephone for 40 minutes on Saturday.
Both were “gravely concerned” by the “increasing signs that this was a significant chemical weapons attack carried out by the Syrian regime”, Mr Cameron’s office said in a statement.
The Syrian government has denied involvement and blamed rebel fighters.
State television reported on Saturday that soldiers had found chemical agents in tunnels used by the rebels to the east of Damascus.
Save our skins: The new boom in illegal trading driving the world’s rarest species to extinction
A decade ago, it seemed the world was winning its war on the illegal international trade in wild animals. In the past five years, however, a sudden revival of poaching, driven by fanciful beliefs in pseudo-cancer cures and a rise in rapacious ostentation in Asian markets, has put many of our most endangered species on the brink once more…
PETER POPHAM Author Biography SUNDAY 25 AUGUST 2013
The horn of a rhino can make an interesting souvenir, though at $8,000 it might seem a little pricey. It can be polished to make a novelty beaker, it can be the focus of an exciting though improbable holiday anecdote, or it can be ground into dust for a mildly effective remedy for fever.
In China it has for a long time been reputed to improve sexual performance, offer protection from evil spirits, and act as a prophylactic against hangovers. Western pharmaceutical research pooh-poohs all these claims except the one about reducing fever. But even that is not regarded as anything to write home about. Paracetamol is cheaper, and more readily available.
Saudi rulers fear Egypt’s fate
The royal family in Saudi Arabia is anxiously watching Egypt, as clashes between the Muslim Brotherhood and the country’s military continue. The conflict underscores that religion and revolution can go hand in hand.
It is unlikely that there will be a revolution in Saudi Arabia anytime soon, at least according to many Middle East observers. The London-based Arabic newspaper “Al Sharq al Awsat” wrote that the patriarchal system remains in effect in the country, where obedience to its ruler and preservation of the status quo are cherished values.
CAR rebels accused of massacres
The rebels invaded on stolen motorcycles at 5am, shooting into the air to announce their arrival in the secluded village in Central African Republic.
They went house to house, breaking down doors and separating the men from the women and children.
After taking the men to a nearby base, the fighters slaughtered them with machetes, witnesses said. Fifteen are confirmed dead in the attack at the end of July on the northern village of Ouham Bac, though all the bodies that were dumped in a nearby river will never be counted.
From Myanmar to China, the cinema industry tests the limits of censorship
Myanmar’s once-celebrated film industry is enjoying a revival after years of funding shortages and suffocating censorship, highlighting a quiet effort that could change Asia.
By Flora Bagenal, Correspondent
afternoon in Yangon, the commercial capital of Myanmar, and a group of young filmmakers are sheltering under umbrellas on set. The director runs through lines with the lead actor – a spotty teenager with a shy smile. Nearby, his on-screen love interest shelters in the back of a car listening to pop songs on her phone.
There’s nothing remotely risqué – even by conservative local standards – about the film they are making, a soap opera-style drama about a man having an affair. But the fact these filmmakers and actors are here today is testament to a changing cinema industry in Myanmar – one that is benefiting from a new sense of freedom.
“Today we can make everything from action movies, to comedy and thriller,” says Soe Moe, a veteran filmmaker in his 70s and a patron of the Myanmar Motion Picture Studio.
China’s Bo Xilai rebuts testimony of ex-police chief key to his downfall
By Steven Jiang, CNN
August 25, 2013 — Updated 0702 GMT (1502 HKT)
Calling his former deputy a “liar with extremely bad character,” fallen high-flying politician Bo Xilai on Sunday rebutted the testimony of the prosecution’s star witness as his increasingly dramatic trial stretched into a fourth day.
The former Communist Party chief of the sprawling southwestern metropolis of Chongqing has denied abusing his power — the third and final charge being heard in court in Jinan, eastern China, long after he was stripped of his posts and expelled from the party.