Image copyright Reuters When Taiwan became the first place in Asia to legalise same-sex unions, hundreds of gay people marked the occasion by registering to marry.It marked a significant change on the island, where the majority of people only relatively recently became supportive of same-sex relationships. In many other places there has also been a shift - often a rapid one - towards more liberal attitudes.For example, in 2007, one in five South Koreans said homosexuality should be accepted, -but, by 2013, that figure had doubled.Attitudes among the public also appear to have softened in other…

Image copyright Getty Images With Theresa May finally on her way out of Downing Street, a Tory leadership contest that has been bubbling under for months is now starting.It's a two-stage process. The first sees votes among Conservative MPs designed to whittle the contenders down to just two front-runners. The second stage sees the party's grassroots members choose between them in a postal ballot.In other words, it is members of the public - those who pay £25 a year to join the Conservative Party - who get the final say on who the next prime minister is. There will not be a general election because…

Image copyright Reuters Over the past two decades, the average annual death rate of climbers on Mount Everest has remained at about six.But this spring, at least 10 people have already been reported dead or missing on the world's highest peak.This is also the season that saw a record 381 climbing permits issued by the Nepalese government. In reality, this means about 600 people were preparing to embark on the climb, with permit holders accompanied by support staff up the mountain.While overcrowding has been blamed for the increase in the number of deaths, there are also other factors at play.…

Image caption Graham Eva The Conservative membership is traditionally regarded as being dominated by older people but for new, younger members, this will be their first chance to choose the party's leader. Winning round younger voters hasn't always been easy for the Tories. At Reading University, the party has the support of the student Conservative Association. Theresa May is their patron and many have campaigned alongside her. Tory rivals clash as leadership race begins How party will choose new leader Who are the leadership contenders? At the students' union, Harry Hickling-Baker says the party…

Theresa May has announced she will be stepping down as Conservative Party leader on 7 June.Mrs May's departure will kick-start the race to find her successor.Here are six charts that shed light on her time as PM.1. She hasn't been in office longMrs May has developed a reputation for surviving in almost impossible circumstances, but she is still among the UK prime ministers with the shortest time in office. Mrs May became the UK's second female prime minister in 2016 but, unlike her predecessor Margaret Thatcher, she came to power through a leadership contest without winning an election. She survived…

Image copyright House of Commons The Commons chamber has been regularly rising early for the day over the last few weeks - amid the Brexit deadlock and a lack of parliamentary business. The early finishes come despite a plea from the EU in April that the UK should not "waste" the Brexit extension, which runs until the end of October. According to research by the Press Association, more than 23 hours of sitting time has been left unused.The Commons rose early 14 times on the 18 sitting days before the May recess. On one occasion, the Commons sat for just three and a half hours - rising four hours…

Image copyright EPA Theresa May's announcement that she will quit as Conservative leader on 7 June paves the way for a contest to decide a new prime minister.She had been facing intense pressure to quit after MPs across Parliament said they would not back her Brexit deal.Opposition to it focused on the Irish border backstop. Mrs May had also recently supported fresh power-sharing talks in Northern Ireland.So what will her departure from Downing Street mean for Northern Ireland?Brexit and the border Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionThe prime minister said the failure to…

Image copyright Getty Images "Please don't waste this time," was the appeal from European Council President Donald Tusk, after European Union (EU) leaders agreed to delay the UK's departure from the EU until the end of October. But of the seven months between 29 March, the original Brexit date, and 31 October, the end of the current extension period, two months have already elapsed. And nothing has really changed. New leaderThe UK Parliament is as deadlocked as ever, and most of the next two months will be taken up by the Conservative leadership contest. The aim is to have a new leader, and therefore…

Image copyright Reuters The Speaker chairs debates in the House of Commons, where MPs consider and propose new laws as well as scrutinising government policies.He or she is a Member of Parliament (MP) and is elected by other MPs, but must be politically impartial so they can deal with debates fairly. As a result, they are expected to resign from their party as soon as they become Speaker, although they are still supposed to help their constituents in the way that other MPs do.In general elections, they stand as "the Speaker seeking re-election" and the main parties do not usually field candidates…

Image copyright Reuters The Brexit Party's success in the UK's European Parliamentary elections has put the seal on Nigel Farage's second coming in British politics.It is a personal triumph for the veteran Eurosceptic and an apparent vindication - although his opponents will strongly disagree - of his claim that the public feels betrayed over the UK's failure to leave the EU.The former UKIP leader will now head back to Brussels, where he has spent much of his political career, to resume his role as gadfly to Europe's elite.How long he and his party's other MEPs get to spend there remains to be…

Image copyright Getty Images The resignation of Theresa May has clear consequences for the Conservative Party - the starting gun on a leadership contest has been fired.But what does it mean for Brexit?The short answer is that both No Deal and No Brexit are now both more likely.With Mrs May's "bold new Brexit plan" in tatters, there is no vehicle for leaving the EU with a deal, and the default is that the UK's membership will expire on Halloween.If that is where things appear to be heading in the autumn, some MPs who previously opposed a second referendum might reconsider if it is the best option…