S Korea: Health ministry advert angers smokers' group

  • 25 November 2015
A still from the advert showing people trapped inside cigarette packets Image copyright Ministry of Health and Welfare
Image caption The advert shows people trapped inside cigarette packets, watching themselves buying tobacco products

Smokers in South Korea are protesting against a hard-hitting new government advert which equates buying cigarettes with buying disease, it's reported.

The health ministry's 44-second video shows people approaching a cigarette kiosk, but instead of requesting a particular brand they ask the assistant to give them a serious health problem, The Korea Times reports. "Give me a lung cancer," one person says, before the shop assistant hands them a pack of cigarettes. The advert has been running since 16 November as part of the "Smoking is a Disease" campaign. But it has riled the country's largest smokers' group, an online community called I Love Smoking, which has previously challenged government policies in court.

"The ministry's video has clearly crossed the line," the group says in a statement, noting that the government earns a huge amount of tax revenue from tobacco products. "If smoking is a disease, drinking is a disease because it causes liver problems and eating fast food is also a disease as it brings about obesity," it says. "It is a jump of logic and discriminates against smokers." The group wants the advert to be pulled, and is planning a protest in front of the Ministry of Health. It's also calling on the Korea Communications Standards Commission to intervene.

The current advert was launched after an earlier spot was deemed "not strong enough", one ministry official told the Korea Herald earlier this month, adding that the new campaign could prove "painful" for some viewers. It's the latest in a string of measures to try to dissuade people from lighting up, in a country where about 44% of men are smokers. In January, the price of cigarettes was almost doubled, and a smoking ban was extended to cover all eateries.

Image copyright Ministry of Health and Welfare
Image caption The I Love Smoking group says the advert "humiliates" smokers

Next story: Locals cut off air access to Pacific island

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Wallis and Futuna: Locals cut off air access to island

  • 25 November 2015
Pasilite Hensen Image copyright Wallis and Futuna 1st TV
Image caption Pasilite Hensen says local people had verbal agreements which aren't being respected

Villagers are blocking access to the airport on the French-run Pacific island of Wallis, and say they will keep it up until the authorities hire two local people.

Tribal chiefs' spokesman Pasilite Hensen says they allowed Hihifo airport to be built on their land on the understanding that it would provide them with much-needed employment, and local people feel they are being sidelined over jobs. "We had agreements, possibly verbal ones, but agreements nonetheless, and they have held for several years," he tells French Overseas TV.

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Serbia: Reality TV shows banished to late night slot

  • 24 November 2015
Goran Karadzic Image copyright b92
Image caption Goran Karadzic, the head of Serbia's TV regulator, wants channels to comply with the new watershed immediately

Serbia's TV watchdog has announced plans to banish reality shows to a late-night slot in schedules, after repeated complaints about sex, violence and incendiary language.

Reality programmes will only be broadcast after 23:00 under the new rules, the Beta news agency reports. There will be at least 15 days of public discussion on the plan, then the ruling will "come into force and be obligatory", Goran Karadzic, head of the Regulatory Authority of Electronic Media, tells the agency. "When we adopt it, everyone will have to respect it," he says. Broadcasters have been asked to start applying the proposed watershed voluntarily in the meantime.

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Iceland: Rare 'moonbow' appears in night sky

  • 24 November 2015
A photograph of the lunar rainbow Image copyright Vidir Bjornsson/@vidirb
Image caption The moonbow appeared just before 21:00 local time

A rare lunar rainbow - or "moonbow" - has been spotted in the night sky over western Iceland.

It was caught on camera near the small town of Stykkisholmur on Sunday evening by keen photographer Vidir Bjornsson. "I was driving in heavy rain and so much wind and I just stopped the car because I could not believe what I was seeing," Mr Bjornsson tells the BBC. "First I thought I was just seeing some reflection from the window of my car, but then me and my friend who was driving decided to stop and try to get a picture of it." A second moonbow was also visible at the time, although it is hard to make out in the photograph.

Read full article Iceland: Rare 'moonbow' appears in night sky

Japan: Rugby fans flock to Buddha statue

  • 23 November 2015
A composite image showing the Buddha statue on the left and Ayumu Goromaru in a similar pose on the right Image copyright Kyodo
Image caption Ayumu Goromaru's pre-kick stance has been seen somewhere before

Rugby fans have been flocking to a Buddhist temple in central Japan to see a statue which they think resembles one of their sporting heroes.

The 3m-high figure, at Seki Zenkoji Temple in Gifu Prefecture, has its hands held together with both index fingers pointing to the sky - a pose also favoured by Japan's star full-back Ayumu Goromaru in the moments before a kick attempt. The temple's master, Shunkai Sato, says visitor numbers have tripled since October, when the Rugby World Cup reached its peak, the Kyodo news agency reports. The tournament saw Japan win three of their four group games, including an astonishing win against South Africa. The shock result made a household name of Goromaru, who scored 24 of Japan's 34 points in the match.

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Jamaica: Taxi drivers warned over children in the boot

  • 23 November 2015
Jamaica Transport Authority director Donald Foster Image copyright Jamaica Government
Image caption Children in car boots is "an illegal and most inhumane practice", according to Donald Foster

Jamaica's Transport Authority has issued a stern warning to the island's taxi drivers to stop carrying children in the boots of their vehicles.

The body's managing director, Donald Foster, says that overloaded taxis with children riding in the boot - or trunk - is an "illegal and most inhumane practice" which must cease, the Jamaica Observer reports. "Any operator found to be violating the rights of passengers to a safe and comfortable ride by overloading the vehicles will be prosecuted," Mr Foster warns. Not only is it a road traffic offence, but possibly one of child cruelty as well, he says.

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Taiwan: Van Gogh work recreated in 30,000 bottle tops

  • 23 November 2015
The students standing in a group behind the completed artwork Image copyright Xiaoming Girls School
Image caption The end result is a more colourful version of the Dutch artist's famous work

Pupils at a secondary school in Taiwan have recreated Van Gogh's The Starry Night using 30,000 multi-coloured bottle tops.

It took a class of students at Xiaoming Girls school in Taichung City just 50 minutes to complete the piece, working in small groups to form panels which were then joined together, Taiwan's ET Today website reports. The finished product measures almost 20 sq m (215 sq ft) in size. Teacher Wu Qingchuan says he wanted the girls to learn about recycling and teamwork, noting that the exercise encouraged more introverted pupils to talk to each other to make sure all their panels matched up correctly.

Read full article Taiwan: Van Gogh work recreated in 30,000 bottle tops

Russia: Mining region rewards weight loss with coal

  • 20 November 2015
Governor Aman Tuleyev Image copyright ALAMY
Image caption Governor Aman Tuleyev is concerned about obesity rates in Kemerovo

A major Russian mining region is launching a television show to help people lose weight - with participants earning lumps of coal as a reward, it's reported.

The programme, which will be broadcast on a local channel in Siberia's coal-rich Kemerovo region, is a part of the regional government's efforts to raise awareness over the problem of obesity. Governor Aman Tuleyev says he borrowed the idea from the United Arab Emirates, the Business FM radio station reports. "There, people get rewarded in gold for getting slimmer. We will also pay - not in gold coins, but in coal," he says. Dubai launched the "Your Weight in Gold" scheme in 2013, offering a gram of the precious metal for every kilogram in weight a person loses.

Read full article Russia: Mining region rewards weight loss with coal

Bangladesh: Government 'mistakenly' cuts off internet

  • 19 November 2015
A Bangladeshi woman logging onto Facebook on a laptop Image copyright AFP
Image caption Bangladeshis were unable to access any internet services during the blackout

An internet shutdown in Bangladesh which lasted for more than an hour was a "mistake", according to the authorities.

Officials announced on Wednesday that access to Facebook, Viber and WhatsApp had all been blocked in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling upholding death sentences for two men convicted of war crimes. But the country's Telecommunication Regulatory Commission says it accidentally cut off access to the internet across the whole country.

Read full article Bangladesh: Government 'mistakenly' cuts off internet

Canada: Smartphone app tracks moose population

  • 19 November 2015
A moose Image copyright US Fish and Wildlife Service
Image caption The moose population has seen a decline across North America in recent years but environment officials aren't sure why

Wildlife managers in western Canada are getting a helping hand when it comes to tracking the moose population, thanks to a new smartphone app.

The MyMoose app shares real time data of where and how frequently the creatures have been spotted across the province of British Columbia, the Globe and Mail website reports. The information is uploaded mainly by hunters - but it isn't intended to encourage hunting. Instead, its main aim is to help environmental officials monitor the moose population in the province, which has seen a steep decline in some areas.

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