Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley tells the United Nations climate summit that even under the current goal to limit global temperature rise, many small Caribbean islands will not survive.
Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley tells the United Nations climate summit that even under the current goal to limit global temperature rise, many small Caribbean islands will not survive.
The Ministry of Health has confirmed 23 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore on Wednesday (3 March), taking the country's total case count to 59,979.
There’s nothing quite as magical as these words: ‘1-for-1’. We’re talking about 1-for-1 buffet deals across Singapore’s celebrated hotels and restaurants. It’s time we helped you know where to go get these and how to save 50% or more for a sumptuous, leisurely meal with […] The post 1-for-1 Buffet Dining Promotions In Singapore (March 2021) appeared first on SingSaver Blog - We Compare, You Save.
The commander in charge of United States military operations in the Indo-Pacific has asked the US Congress for more than US$27 billion in extra funds for new military construction and to boost cooperation with allies to maintain an edge over China. Submitted to Congress on Monday, the proposal by Indo-Pacific Command chief Admiral Philip Davidson outlined a total of US$27.3 billion in additional spending, including US$4.6 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative for next year and extra funds for new missiles and air defences, radar systems, staging areas, intelligence-sharing centres, supply depots and testing ranges throughout the region, as well as exercises with allies and partners between 2022 and 2027, Defense News reported, citing an unclassified executive summary of the report by the Indo-Pacific Command. That included a US$1.6 billion 360-degree Aegis Ashore missile defence system in Guam which Davidson has long said is his top priority, as well as a US$197 million high-frequency radar system in Palau in the western Pacific Ocean that aims to detect and track air and surface targets.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China. In the report, Davidson proposed to build a US$2.3 billion constellation of space-based radars that could serve Aegis Ashore and the Palau system. He seeks US$206 million for “specialised manned aircraft to provide discrete, multi-source intelligence collection requirements” across the region, along with US$3.3 billion for ground-based, long-range fires reaching over 500km (310 miles). The US “requires highly survivable, precision-strike networks along the first island chain, featuring increased quantities of ground-based weapons,” Davidson wrote, as reported by Breaking Defense digital magazine. “These networks must be operationally decentralised and geographically distributed along the western Pacific archipelagos using service agnostic infrastructure.” The new proposal is the first by the Indo-Pacific Command since the US Congress established the Pacific Deterrence Initiative in the 2021 National Defence Authorisation Act in December. Last year in a report to Congress, Davidson proposed spending an extra US$18.5 billion until 2026 based on the idea of a Pacific version of the European Deterrence Initiative, a special fund to deal with Russia in Europe. China and Indo-Pacific in US military sights as Pentagon takes fresh look at forces In a conference on Monday, Davidson also called for major investment for training between the US and allies. “We must convince Beijing that the costs to achieve its objectives by military force are simply too high,” Breaking Defense reported Davidson saying. Davidson is expected to formally roll out the report at an event on Thursday hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based think tank. Observers in China said the latest proposal by Davidson was part of efforts by the Pentagon to enhance posturing against China. “Apparently it is targeting China,” said Liu Weidong, a US affairs expert from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “I don’t think China would go toe-to-toe but would continue to carry out its own plan to develop its military capacity.” Song Zhongping, a Hong Kong-based military commentator, said Beijing was also prepared to deal with growing challenges from the US. “The People’s Liberation Army is developing new types of weapons, including hypersonic weapons, to counter the offensive and defensive military strategy by the US,” Song said. Military rivalry between China and the US continues to grow under the Biden administration. On Monday, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin hosted the first meeting of the new China Task Force at the Pentagon, during which he provided some “initial guidance” for what both the White House and the Pentagon have described as a “sprint” to identify priorities in its competition with China. Monday’s meeting “is intended to formalise the mission, timing and outputs of the task force as they work towards a baseline assessment of departments, policies, programmes and processes on China-related matters,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said, adding that the task force was expected to complete its work within four months. Additional reporting by Kristin HuangMore from South China Morning Post:South China Sea: PLA starts month-long drill in push to modernise soldiers while resisting US operationsSouth China Sea: PLA stages live-fire missile drill, US Navy on Paracels patrolSouth China Sea: how the US Navy aims to better home in on targetsChinese bombers in strike exercises after US escalation in South China SeaThis article China-US tension: American commander seeks US$27 billion to hold back PLA in the Indo-Pacific first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
One dreams of Hong Kong street food, but in a nightmare finds himself cornered by authorities in the city’s airport. A fellow activist mourns a grandmother whose Hong Kong grave she may never visit. And a teenager wonders shyly whether the friend he left behind might actually have been his boyfriend.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China. These are the Canadian Hongkongers who say they will never return to the city they once called home, as they navigate the complicated legal and emotional landscape of dual citizenship. Davin Wong, once a key player in the Hong Kong protest movement as president of Hong Kong University’s student union, is now studying law at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He also lobbies the Canadian government about his former home. “If I set foot in Hong Kong again then they definitely have very good grounds to arrest me,” said Wong, who fled the city in August 2019, less than 24 hours after he was attacked on the street amid a spate of assaults on activists. He said he had no doubt that his activities in Canada put him in breach of the sweeping national security law, which Beijing imposed in Hong Kong last year: “I mean, come on. I’m telling Canada to punish these guys.” The law targets secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference, but critics see it as a means to suppress dissent and freedom. It applies not just to activities in Hong Kong or China, but anywhere in the world. The fate of hundreds of thousands of Hongkongers who are both Chinese and Canadian citizens has been under recent scrutiny, with Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam Yuet-ngor pledging on February 9 that authorities would be “strictly enforcing” rules that do not recognise the concept of dual citizenship in relation to consular access. Hong Kong ‘strictly enforcing’ dual nationality policy, Carrie Lam says Canadian media has reported that dual citizens in Hong Kong will be forced to choose a single nationality, citing the case of a prisoner asked to declare either Canadian or Chinese citizenship. Canada’s government estimates there are about 300,000 Canadians in Hong Kong. A source told the SCMP recently that about 100 inmates in Hong Kong prisons held dual nationality, and since January they had been asked to declare a single citizenship for the purpose of determining eligibility for consular access. But since the 1997 handover, neither China nor the Hong Kong government have regarded Canadian or other dual citizens in Hong Kong as being entitled to consular protection. That was laid out when the National People’s Congress issued a set of “explanations” in 1996 about nationality and Hongkongers. These do not mention foreign passports or dual citizenship but instead refer to Chinese nationals who have obtained “documents issued by the foreign governments” for the purpose of travelling. Such people “will not be entitled to consular protection in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and other parts of the People’s Republic of China on account of their holding the above mentioned documents”. While China’s nationality law says people who acquire foreign nationality lose Chinese citizenship, Hongkongers are regarded as exceptions. Chinese consular authorities in Canada have previously tried to treat Canadian-born children of Hong Kong immigrants as Chinese citizens by refusing to grant them visas as foreign nationals and instead asking them to apply for Chinese travel documents. Hong Kong banks won’t take BN(O) passports; inmates must choose one nationality Meanwhile, Hongkongers wanting to declare themselves solely Canadian are required to undertake a formal renunciation of Chinese citizenship, conducted by the Hong Kong Immigration Department. Successful applicants – it is a discretionary process – lose their right of abode in Hong Kong but not their residency, automatically receiving the “right to land”, a lower status that still allows someone to live, work and study in Hong Kong. But there is a substantial potential cost, since people with only the right to land cannot receive government benefits or assistance. They also lose their political rights and can be deported if convicted of a serious crime, including breaches of the security law. Choosing a single nationality is not a simple decision, even for dual-citizen Hongkongers living in Canada who do not consider themselves Chinese. None of those who told the Post they were never returning to Hong Kong had undertaken renunciation. Wong – who was born in Canada – had considered renunciation “because I felt more threatened and insecure holding Chinese nationality”. “But now that Canada broke off our extradition arrangement with Hong Kong I found there is less of an urgency to do so,” he said. It is just one aspect of the tangled consequences of dual nationality. The separatist Ai-Men Lau, 27, posted a declaration on Twitter on July 2 last year, after the introduction of the security law. It said she had “no intentions of returning to Hong Kong or visiting China in the foreseeable future”. “That’s still very much how I feel,” said Lau, who works in Ottawa for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute public policy think tank. It was “not feasible” that she return because of her advocacy for Alliance Canada Hong Kong, a group that supports the Hong Kong protest movement. Born in Canada in 1993, Lau obtained her Hong Kong permanent ID card and right of abode as a pre-handover birthright, by having a Hong Kong immigrant mother. Her family spent years travelling between Thailand – where Lau’s father worked – and Hong Kong. You might have been born in Canada – but does Beijing think you are Chinese? Her connection to Hong Kong was hard to describe, Lau said, and the relationship ambiguous, reflecting her family’s own complicated history; her mother’s father was Pakistani. But “Hong Kong is one of my homes”, said Lau, where as a child she wandered the streets in search of pineapple buns. “There was a level of comfort I got in Hong Kong that I don’t get in Canada,” she said. She wanted to return, applying to the University of Hong Kong to study for a master‘s degree, and considering working in the city, “when everything exploded in Hong Kong” in the summer of 2019. Her plans to resettle were upended, and the security law meant that living in Hong Kong “was not going to be in my future any more”; her last trip to the city was in 2015. She has not been able to visit the grave of her grandmother, who died recently. Her mother has also decided never to return to Hong Kong, which also grieves Lau. “I miss seeing my mom in Hong Kong. That relief and comfort. How happy she seems there … So that is pretty painful.” When the security law was introduced, Lau said she “experienced all five stages of grief at once”. I, Ai-Men Lau 劉羿雯, have no intentions of returning to Hong Kong or visiting China in the foreseeable future. I speak for myself and only myself. My opinions, comments, advocacy work, and professional work do not reflect my family, my friends, and colleagues. pic.twitter.com/g8coVyKYxB — Ai-Men Lau | 劉 羿 雯 (@aimenlau) July 2, 2020 “I was surprised at how much I wanted to deny it, the part of me that said, ‘no, this is not happening, I’m going to go back and everything is going to be fine’ … but that lasted for about a week, and after that I resigned myself, that I could not go back, it’s changed,” she said. Lau has changed too. In the summer of 2019, she was uncertain of exactly where she stood with the protest movement. At the time, she said she was shocked by the attitude of some protesters that “if we burn, you burn too”. Why don’t Hong Kong Canadians just say they are Chinese? Now, she says she is a Hong Kong separatist, and doesn’t think of Hong Kong as part of China. “I want Hong Kong to be Hong Kong, and at this point I don’t see any other option than being a separatist because ‘one country, two systems’ has utterly failed,” she said. As for her own status, Lau said she was grappling with whether to cancel her Hong Kong ID card. Lau could also technically be considered a Chinese national because her mother is a native-born Hongkonger. “I haven‘t thought about formally renouncing Chinese citizenship primarily because I have never identified as a Chinese national,” said Lau. But the security law meant renunciation could be “a wise decision”. It was, she said something else “to mull over”. The schoolboy Fifteen-year-old Hugh says his parents first discussed moving permanently to Canada with him when he was in second grade. But in June 2020, the decision was urgently brought forward by Hong Kong’s political upheaval. The national security law had just been proposed by the National People’s Congress. “It just seemed like the old Hong Kong was dead and thus we thought it would be better to leave,” he said. “But it was more bittersweet when it happened than seven-year-old me had been expecting,” he said. Moving to Canada during a pandemic has been a challenge; Hugh’s schooling has been largely conducted online, making it difficult to settle in. “Schoolwork is kind of a mess right now,” he said. His parents obtained Canadian citizenship after immigrating in the 1990s, just before the handover, but returned to Hong Kong, where Hugh was born in 2005. They won’t be going back, he said. Hugh’s parents approved of the Post’s interview with him but did not wish to take part. He was unwilling to be identified by his full name because he feared a social media “dog pile”. His family supported the protest movement, and he and his father joined the large protest marches in June 2019, leaving a profound impact on the teen. “It’s still an experience I try to digest to this very day,” he said. “It was a confluence of emotions. Both hope and fear” about how the huge turnout would anger Beijing. Hugh was only eight at the time of the 2014 “umbrella movement”, but he said those protests awakened his “civil consciousness” because his parents were so politically active. “In 2014 we’d already talked as a family about how, if there was a severe crackdown, then we would immediately get out of Hong Kong and move to Canada,” he recalled. Sometimes it’s better when something is dying, not to see it when it reaches its inevitable end High school student Hugh, on his family’s decision never to return to Hong Kong Hugh said that during the 2019 protests his high school’s administration had “pro-Beijing sympathies” but its student body was “yellow” – broadly supportive of the protest movement. He recalls a special assembly that June, called to discuss the protests, where he said he stood up for his beliefs to a “fanatically nationalist” teacher. “It was possibly the stupidest thing I have ever done, but I was proud of it,” Hugh said. He was 14. His family would not return to Hong Kong in the foreseeable future, he said. “It’s twofold. First off there are general concerns about any immigration laws they might pass, and how they deal with people who have dual citizenship. Would they not let me in? Would they detain people like that?” he said. “The other part is that sometimes it’s better when something is dying, not to see it when it reaches its inevitable end.” But he remains a Chinese citizen, in the eyes of Beijing at least, which he said “represents a genuine danger to me from the aspect of the judicial reach of the CCP”. He would consider renunciation when he became an adult, he said. It was “jarring” to move from the political hothouse of a Hong Kong school, filled with like-minded politically active students, to a Vancouver school where such concerns were distant for most of his classmates. Life in Vancouver was “a bit boring, but at this stage asking for boring may be the best possible thing,” he said; it was sometimes too painful to think about Hong Kong. “[But] when I miss my home even more than normal, and when I want to curl up in a ball against the door and cry, I think about the good moments.” The moments are mostly political: “seeing everybody come back for one last showdown”, lying awake at 2am and delighting online with his friends as they followed the 2019 district elections, when the pro-democracy camp captured 17 out of 18 councils. “It was one of the best moments of my life,” Hugh said. Like most who have left Hong Kong, Hugh misses the food scene. He misses the friends he has known since early childhood. And he sometimes thinks of a particular boy. “We sort of had a relationship. As a boyfriend? But we sort of didn’t? So we left on good terms. But it was weird, is all I’m saying.” Pro-establishment figure calls for curbs on Hongkongers obtaining dual citizenship They are still in touch. “They say distance makes the heart grow fonder but …” His voice trails off. Hugh says he is “gradually moving past the trauma” of how Hong Kong has changed, and while he doubts he will ever see the city again, “the people who leave Hong Kong, they are still carrying part of it with them in their souls. I’m sorry if that sounds so sappy.” The painter Ricker Choi, who immigrated from Hong Kong to Canada with his family in the 1980s, is a financial risk management consultant in Toronto. But his passion is the Hong Kong democracy movement. An accomplished pianist and artist, Choi composes and sells music in honour of the movement. He also sells protest-themed paintings to raise money for Hongkongers seeking political asylum in Canada. He writes letters to jailed activists in Hong Kong. Choi said that when he moved to Canada in his teens, he lost touch with his Hong Kong identity. “The most connection I had with Hong Kong was karaoke,” he said, as well as an occasional brief holiday (his most recent trip was in 2007). But 2019 changed everything. By then he had connected with his Hong Kong roots via Facebook, and the scenes of the June mass protests “had a huge emotional impact” on him. Meet the transnationals, who moved to Canada but never quite left Hong Kong “The unity they showed, then the police brutality, and how the protesters still insisted on fighting … that moved me a lot,” Choi said. “Now I look at Hong Kong news every single day.” Ironically, it is only since the protest movement reignited his connection to Hong Kong that he has vowed never to return to the city. “It’s very risky now for someone like me who is politically active and is raising money to help political dissidents to come to Canada to seek refugee status,” he said. He fears arrest, citing the case of Hong Kong radio personality Giggs, who was charged with seditious intent this month after fundraising for young Hong Kong protesters to study in Taiwan. Choi rejected the idea that his lack of continuing direct connections to many people in Hong Kong means he isn’t entitled to his advocacy. “Human rights are a universal value,” he said. “It’s not just about Hongkongers. It’s about Uygurs, who are persecuted, Tibetans, who are persecuted. Myanmar, Thailand. People protest for their freedom everywhere.” He has joined protests in Toronto in support of the Hong Kong democracy movement, and found a network of like-minded people. Choi says he has pro-Communist friends too, “but I don’t talk to them much any more”, and his social media postings have led to him fall out with some. He is incredulous as he describes a Canadian-born friend telling him that “democracy is overrated; it’s more important to be prosperous; Hong Kong is so good”. “He would send me propaganda. I can’t believe a Canadian-born Chinese would watch this and believe it. I found it very disturbing,” he said. Choi’s paintings mostly depict well-known scenes from Hong Kong’s upheaval – protesters cowering on the floor of an MTR train, a motorcyclist flying a black “Liberate Hong Kong” flag – as well as portraits of activists including Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow. Others depict a Hong Kong of the imagination: Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” is recast with sinister figures in white lurking in the background, carrying sticks. Another painting shows a flaming phoenix rising behind the silhouette of a protester. Choi says he will never go back to see the real thing for himself “as long as it is under CCP rule”. But nor does he have any plan to renounce his Chinese citizenship, judging it a pointless gesture. “The two Michaels are non-Chinese, 100 per cent Canadian, and can still be unjustly imprisoned for two years, with access to Canadian consulate being refused arbitrarily, subjected to inhumane treatment, while [the] Canadian government can do nothing about it,” he said, referring to Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. They were detained in China in December 2018 and accused of espionage, days after Huawei Technologies Co. executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested on a US warrant in Vancouver. Chinese citizenship or not was “meaningless”, Choi said. The escapee Davin Wong can recall the moment he knew he had to leave Hong Kong with unusual precision: it was around midnight on the evening of August 30, 2019, one day before a major protest. He was waiting for a bus near Wan Chai’s Southorn Playground, after taking part in a hip-hop dance performance, when a masked man came up behind him and started thrashing him with a rattan cane. At the time, he was the acting president of Hong Kong University’s student union. It was part of a series of high-profile attacks on pro-democracy figures; a day earlier, Civil Human Rights Front convenor Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit was attacked by two men armed with a baseball bat and a machete. Other activists were arrested in a police crackdown before the protest. Wong’s attackers were never brought to justice. Fearing for his life, he was on a plane to Canada 18 hours later, and he never reported the attack to police, although it was the subject of widespread media coverage. At the time, Wong said he would “never forgive myself for leaving Hong Kong at such a critical time”. “Even though it would be my lifelong shame, I was doomed to leave.” Eighteen months later and 10,000km (6,200 miles) away in his UBC dorm in Vancouver, Wong is still doesn’t feel completely safe. University of Hong Kong student leader flees city after bus stop attack Like Ai-Men Lau, Wong released a statement on social media last year stating he would never go back to Hong Kong. This was “insurance … let’s say they take me back to Hong Kong and put me on trial, they cannot put a narrative on me, saying I voluntarily went back” he said. He fears being abducted. “Look at what happened to the Causeway Bay bookstore incident,” he says, referring to the disappearances of five Hong Kong booksellers who vanished in 2015. One of them, Gui Minhai, eventually turned up in Chinese custody after going missing in Thailand, and he was jailed last year for 10 years. Gui told Chinese state television that he had turned himself in. At the time of the 2019 attack, Wong was living in a Yuen Long village with his mother, who was “shocked but not surprised”. “She could see it coming,” he said. His father collected him at Calgary’s airport the next day. “He wasn’t surprised either,” said Wong. Although his parents, who are divorced, did not pressure him, Wong’s activism has long been a source of tension in his extended family. “Aunties and uncles … they blame me. They still think I am at fault for everything that I have put myself and my family through,” Wong says, referring to a campaign of harassment that he said started when he was campaigning for the HKU student union presidency in 2018. Born in Canada in 1998, Wong moved back to Hong Kong with his parents when he was an infant. Although his relatives lived in Calgary, Wong has now moved to Vancouver “because after all those years living in Hong Kong I need to live near the sea”. The hardest thing about relocating to Canada “was to understand my identity as a Canadian. Honestly, I had no idea of what it meant to be a Canadian. No idea about the issues. About indigenous affairs, about federalism … “But definitely I feel very welcome in Canada, especially in Vancouver. I love the city. Except for the rain.” He struggles with Canadian food, though, “how to eat vegan and keto. That West Coast stuff.” And sometimes he dreams of Hong Kong. He tells of one vivid nightmare – he is in Hong Kong’s airport and has been caught by customs officials. Other times he dreams of siu mai and egg waffles. Even McDonald’s McFlurries are different in Hong Kong and Canada, Wong says. He is now focused on advocating to the Canadian government; like Lau he is active in the group Alliance Canada Hong Kong. He turns around the argument against foreign interference in Chinese or Hong Kong internal affairs. “Whatever any government does is their own ‘internal affair’,” Wong says. “So it’s Canada’s internal decision too … who are you to interfere in their decisions then?”This article These Canadians say they will never return to Hong Kong, amid dual citizenship debate first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
A 70-year-old man was fined $3,500 on Wednesday (3 March) after he sold bottled water filled from a toilet tap.
Indulge in leisurely high tea buffets in Singapore with these credit card deals that make time with loved ones — or yourself — even sweeter. We’re now in 2021, and it’s an understatement to say that we’ve been through a year of challenges. It’s time to […] The post High Tea Promotions In Singapore (March 2021) appeared first on SingSaver Blog - We Compare, You Save.
HSBC bankers “fully knew” that Huawei Technologies controlled the accounts of affiliates through which it did business in Iran, undermining US claims that Meng Wanzhou defrauded the bank by allegedly lying about the relationships, a Vancouver court heard on Monday. But a Canadian government lawyer at the extradition hearing said it was inappropriate for the judge to weigh evidence that would be eventually be presented in New York if Meng were sent there to face the accusations, which she denies. “Save it for the trial,” said Robert Frater, representing US interests in the extradition case. He said Meng’s lawyers were trying to “distract” Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes from her purpose of weighing extradition.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China. Meng’s lawyers are pressing their claim this week that the Huawei executive is the victim of an abuse of process, and that former US president Donald Trump tainted the American fraud case against her so badly that the US bid to have her extradited from Canada should be thrown out by the Supreme Court of British Columbia. They are also seeking to further a separate argument about the alleged abuse, that US authorities misled the court with their records of the case. They are applying to have a series of affidavits admitted to the court to bolster that claim. On Monday, Meng’s lawyer Frank Addario told Holmes that the record of the case submitted by the US was “manifestly unreliable”. Meng is accused of defrauding HSBC by lying about Huawei’s business interests in Iran, conducted through a company called Skycom, which potentially exposed the bank to the risk of breaching US sanctions on the country. Huawei’s Meng takes HSBC to court in Hong Kong to seek bank’s papers Addario said the US record of the case left the court with the impression that as a result of a 2013 meeting between Meng and “Witness T”, an HSBC banker in Hong Kong, the bank believed Skycom had been sold by Huawei to an arm’s-length third-party company. But Addario said that “Peter Z”, another HSBC banker who managed the relationship with Huawei, “fully knew” that Skycom had been sold to a company called Canicula Holdings, whose accounts were still controlled by Huawei. “The risk committee at the bank relied on Peter Z,” said Addario, and US claims otherwise were “very misleading as it underplays what [he] told the global risk committee,” referring to the bank group that decided to continue working with Huawei in 2014. “Canicula was no mere third party, it was a non-arm’s-length affiliate whose bank accounts were managed by Huawei,” said Addario. In addition to Peter Z, “plenty of other people at the bank” were aware of this, he said, and it was “never a secret”. In HSBC emails, Skycom and Canicula were consistently referred to as “Huawei accounts”, Addario said. Holmes suggested that a fraud could be committed against a bank, even if its staff “lower down the hierarchy” understood the fraud or had information about it. Addario responded that Peter Z “was far more than a gofer, he was the primary conduit of information” between HSBC and Huawei. “Either he’s lied to the global risk committee … or he’s told them the truth and the requesting state has not told you the truth,” Addario told Holmes, adding that “either way the evidence should be in front of you.” Meng Wanzhou seeks HSBC records to counter Iran-linked fraud claims During his remarks, Addario initially identified both Peter Z and Witness T by their full names, prompting the Crown to complain; Holmes immediately imposed a publication ban on their full names. In rebuttal, Frater said there was an “inappropriate purpose” behind Addario seeking to admit the new affidavits, which represented an argument best made at trial and not at the extradition phase. “An extradition hearing is not a trial,” Frater said. “To the extent that there is a weighing function, it is a limited weighing function,” he added. He told Holmes: “Your job is not to get bogged down in minutiae, the six-point font of emails.” Addario had presented “standard defence cross-examination material”, which was not a matter for an extradition hearing. “If they get to trial they will confront all of those witnesses … That’s why we have trials,” Frater said. The proposed evidence “has no relevance to your function of deciding whether to commit [Meng]”, he told Holmes. The allegations that Meng is the victim of an abuse of process and that she was a pawn in Trump’s trade war with China have hung over the extradition case since she was arrested at Vancouver’s airport on December 1, 2018, throwing China’s relations with Washington and Ottawa into disarray. The suspicions were highlighted 10 days later when Trump told the Reuters news agency he would “certainly intervene” in the case if it helped strike a trade deal with China. Meng’s lawyers said this and other remarks by US officials showed the case was politically tainted. Canadian government lawyers, acting on behalf of US interests in the extradition case, say the entire argument is moot because Trump is no longer president. They have called the argument weak and “hyperbolic”. Hearings in the Vancouver extradition case are expected to continue until May 14, but appeals could drag proceedings out for years. Meng, who is Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, is living under partial house arrest at a C$13 million (US$10.2 million) home she owns in Vancouver. Holmes adjourned the case until Wednesday morning.More from South China Morning Post:Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou takes HSBC to court in Hong Kong to seek access to bank’s internal papersMeng Wanzhou’s political abuse claims ‘moot’ because Trump lost US presidency, Canadian court toldHuawei’s Meng Wanzhou seeks HSBC records to counter Iran-linked fraud claimsAfter weeks of courtroom drama, curtain falls on witness phase of Meng Wanzhou extradition battleThis article Meng Wanzhou’s lawyers say HSBC ‘fully knew’ that Huawei controlled affiliates that did business in Iran first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
Gulbahar Haitiwaji knew that China would not be happy about her book describing nearly three years of imprisonment, brainwashing and harassment at the hands of the authorities simply because she is Uighur.
Former Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying has said Hong Kong’s residents have to recognise it is not an independent country like Singapore, and must respect Beijing’s authority. Leung, in his second video speech in a week, also said while the opposition camp emphasised that “power comes from the people”, he argued Hongkongers could only give limited power to the city’s government. “In Hong Kong the extra autonomous power that we enjoy actually comes from Beijing, and Beijing has to account to all the 1.4 billion people in the whole of China,” he said. “Ignoring the sentiments of the mainland people is self-deception on the part of Hong Kong.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China. “We are not another Singapore. In Hong Kong, by pushing on the democracy envelope too far, and by attempting to chip away the authority of Beijing in, for example, appointing the chief executive, many of the so-called democrats have become, in practice, separatists.” Leung was speaking as Hong Kong’s deputies to the National People’s Congress (NPC), as well as delegates to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country’s top advisory body, travelled to the mainland on Tuesday in preparation for the two bodies’ plenary sessions, which start on Friday and Thursday respectively. The political events – known as the “two sessions” – are a window to the central government’s priorities and plans for the coming year. Politicians headed to Shenzhen on Tuesday for Covid-19 tests, and were set to fly to Beijing the following day. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor will travel to the capital via Shenzhen on Thursday for the NPC’s opening ceremony the following day, returning to Hong Kong through the Guangdong city on Sunday. Fall of Hong Kong’s ‘kingmakers’? Beijing may end tycoons’ election influence Apart from endorsing China’s next five-year plan, sources previously told the Post that the NPC and CPPCC would scrutinise Beijing plans to shake up the city’s electoral systems based on the “patriots governing Hong Kong” principle. In his first eight-minute video speech last week, Leung warned that people could not expect the city’s leader to enjoy the high degree of autonomy granted by the central government, but disregard Beijing’s role in selecting a candidate, pointing out that “we cannot have our cake and eat it”. In the latest five-minute episode, Leung said a Shanghai official once told him in the late 1980s that Beijing had consulted the mainland city’s government on the draft of the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution. Leung said the Shanghai official told him: “Lucky you, come 1997, unlike Shanghai and many other cities on the mainland, Hong Kong doesn’t need to contribute anything to the Central government coffers. “You can also save the hundreds of millions of dollars that you are now paying every year to the British for having the British garrison in Hong Kong. After 1997, he said, the People’s Liberation Army will be free of charge.” Leung lamented that nowadays, many mainland people’s view of Hong Kong had changed. Rather than admiring it, some people, such as taxi drivers, were upset about how activists threatened national security. “Mainland taxi drivers believe that Hong Kong has been ungrateful; we are biting the hand that feeds us; we want our cake and eat it,” he said. ‘Two sessions’ set to reflect China’s post-Covid economic confidence “[The taxi drivers said] the so-called democrats who collude with foreign governments should be locked up forever … the rioters in 2019 who trashed the national flag in Hong Kong are treasonous; and more recently they said ‘enough is enough’.” Leung said if the mainland people knew that these anti-China acts were going to happen, they would not have been as supportive of Hong Kong, as they were before 1997. “If the people on the mainland had a crystal ball when they were consulted on the Basic Law draft and saw the so-called democrats calling on the US government to sanction China, would they have agreed to give Hong Kong the special treatments that we have today under the Basic Law?” he said.More from South China Morning Post:Top Hong Kong civil servants should be barred from holding right of abode overseas, says city deputy to National People’s Congress‘Stop meddling’: Beijing accuses Taiwan of hypocrisy over Hong Kong arrestsChina’s ‘two sessions’: Beijing set to signal post-coronavirus economic confidenceThis article Hong Kong is not independent like Singapore and those who challenge Beijing’s authority are separatists, says CY Leung first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
At least 10 people were killed when Myanmar security forces fired on pro-democracy protesters Wednesday as multiple rallies across the country descended into chaos.
Local actor Terence Cao was charged on Tuesday (2 March) over a gathering of 13 individuals, including other celebrities, at his condominium unit in October last year.
One of America’s most prominent national security advisers told lawmakers on Tuesday that Washington does not need to change its “strategic ambiguity” policy towards Taiwan to a more explicit defence guarantee, while also calling for a larger military presence in the region to counter Beijing’s operations there more aggressively. H.R. McMaster, the retired three-star Army general who served as an national security adviser to former president Donald Trump, testified in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that he disagreed with an assessment by Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, and some other policy analysts that a change to “strategic clarity” with regard to the self-governing island was needed. “Strategic ambiguity is adequate, especially after we‘ve made public the six assurances to Taiwan, and I think if we act in the way that the Trump administration has acted, and the new Biden administration has acted, to assure Taiwan and to send a pretty clear message to China,” McMaster said, referring to commitments Washington made to Taipei to disregard Beijing when it comes to US arms sales to the island.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China. Beijing considers Taiwan a wayward province that must be reunited to the mainland fold eventually, by force if necessary. “The message to China ought to be, ‘Hey, you can assume that the United States won’t respond – but that was the assumption made in June of 1950, as well, when North Korea invaded South Korea,’ McMaster said. “I know it would strike home to all of you that this is an Article One [constitutional] issue, to go to war or to not go to war,” he added. “If that crisis occurs, I‘m sure that all of you and your colleagues would reflect the will of the American people and what we do about it.” Thomas Wright, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution – the only other witness called for Tuesday’s panel – agreed that the status quo should serve as enough of a deterrent against an invasion of Taiwan by mainland China’s People’s Liberation Army, which Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, said was “geared increasingly towards” such a move. “I wouldn‘t revisit the concept of strategic ambiguity, but I think through actions, we can … deter this action and demonstrate the US commitment to a stronger and closer relationship with Taiwan,” Wright said. However, both witnesses’ stances on Taiwan policy came with urgent calls for closer coordination with allies in the region and a significant ramp-up in spending on ships and equipment to offset China’s newly developed technological ability to interfere with US military capabilities. McMaster called the months between the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing in 2022 and the Chinese Communist Party congress scheduled for later that year a period of “greatest danger”, and said “a race ongoing right now, to help Taiwan harden its defences to make itself indigestible”, was crucial. Biden may struggle to ‘restore’ US foreign policy to deal with China challenge, experts say McMaster said he supported a Trump administration goal, outlined in a strategy document released in December, of expanding the US Navy to as many as 446 manned vessels by 2045, up from a goal of 355 the Navy announced in 2016. The Navy and the Pentagon have been working on a fleet structure plan since 2019, one that is expected to develop “a more distributed fleet architecture featuring a smaller proportion of larger ships, a larger proportion of smaller ships, and a new third tier of large unmanned vehicles”, according to a report last month by the US Congressional Research Service. McMaster supported the call for a larger, more distributed fleet because, he said, China and Russia have in the past 20 years developed technologies including big data analytics, GPS and precision strike capabilities that threaten US naval operations more than ever. “Since World War I, the smaller and smaller US joint forces have had bigger and bigger impacts over wider areas based on our technological advantages,” he said. “All of that now was challenged, because Russia, China and others, they studied us, especially after the Gulf War, and they developed capabilities to take apart those differential advantages,” McMaster added. The Biden administration must submit its proposed 30-year budget for shipbuilding later this year, which will require congressional approval, and has not yet indicated whether it will support the Trump administration’s goal.More from South China Morning Post:Beijing keeps up military pressure on Taiwan as island reshuffles security and mainland affairs chiefsPentagon spokesman dismisses China’s warning on Taiwan as ‘unfortunate’‘Be strong’ in backing Taiwan, Japan minister urges Joe Biden amid Beijing spatThis article US has no need to change its ‘strategic ambiguity’ about Taiwan, says ex-national security adviser H.R. McMaster first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
Despite years of talks about stemming the rising tide of short-sightedness in schoolchildren, China’s myopia epidemic continues.Nearly 60 per cent of students aged six to 18 across China are myopic – also known as short-sighted or nearsighted – according to a recent study by researchers from Shanghai’s East China Normal University.The incidence increases as children get older, with about a third of primary school students suffering from myopia, 65 per cent in junior high school, and 80 per cent of those in senior high school, according to the research, published by the China Youth Daily, a newspaper, last week. Students from smaller cities are much more likely to become myopic than those in municipalities and provincial capitals, as medical resources are better in the latter, said the researchers, who interviewed over 18,000 students across China. Myopia was found in nearly 70 per cent of school students in smaller cities, compared with 56 per cent of those living in major cities, the research showed.In the West, the rate of myopia hovers around 10 per cent in similar age groups. To kids who can’t see blackboard, adjustable glasses a boonGet the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China. Experts believe the increasing prevalence of myopia in China’s younger population is the result of children spending too much time indoors, depriving them of sunlight that allows their eyes to develop. Shi Wenbin, a leading expert on myopia and an ophthalmologist at the Anhui Provincial Centre of Myopia Prevention for Children in central China, said multiple studies globally had shown that if children were not given more opportunity to play in natural light, their chances of suffering early onset myopia would increase. “Sadly, as their academic pressure increases, many Chinese children, especially in their senior years, can’t have an hour’s outdoor activity every day,” he said. Myopia occurs when the eyeball is longer than normal or the cornea is curved too steeply. As a result, light does not focus on the retina as it should, making distant objects appear blurry.Shi said parents’ ignorance about the condition could lead to their children being at risk of diseases that could threaten their ability to see properly. He said most parents didn’t see the condition as a big deal, instead considering it a problem that could be easily fixed by surgery or wearing glasses. “Others know it’s an important issue, but they tend to prioritise study [over eye health],” he added. My son has a physical education class and a class for outdoor activities nearly every day, but they often remain seated in the classroom in those classes Adele Li, mother of an eight-year-old in Shanghai Many parents had ignored the advice of education authorities to reduce the academic burden on students, pushing their children to take after-school classes that increased their homework commitments. In 2018, reducing myopia rates became a national priority, with Beijing vowing to bring them to under 60 per cent in junior high schools and under 70 per cent in senior high schools by 2030. More than 10 years ago, China’s State Council released a directive to schools to ensure all students took part in one hour of outdoor exercise. However, it has largely been ignored, parents say. “My son has a physical education class and a class for outdoor activities nearly every day, but they often remain seated in the classroom in those classes either because they are taken over by teachers of other ‘more important’ subjects or the weather is bad,” said Adele Li, mother of an eight-year-old in Shanghai. “They are not allowed to go to the playground during breaks because the school fears there can be accidents.” The growing prevalence of myopia is not just a Chinese problem, but is an especially common issue throughout East Asia, where students are under enormous pressure to perform academically. In Hong Kong, about 17 per cent of children are already nearsighted by the time they start grade one, according to the Department of Health, with the percentage increasing to about 53 per cent by grade six.In Tokyo, myopia was found in over 76 per cent of primary school students and in 95 per cent of junior high school students, according to a study by researchers from the Keio University School of Medicine in 2019. In comparison, the rate of short-sightedness is about 9 per cent in five-to-17-year-olds in the United States, 14 per cent in Ireland, and 13 per cent in Australia among children aged 11 to 17, according to a 2018 research paper from scientific journal Nature.More from South China Morning Post:Homosexuality can be called a mental disorder, Chinese court rules; LGBT community disappointedSingle women cry foul as China doubles down on egg freezing ban, accusing authorities of gender bias and forcing women into marriage‘Lucky’ coins that visitors throw into Chinese spring risk polluting the water, staff warnThis article China’s bookworm students suffer from myopia epidemic, yet there’s a simple solution staring parents in the face first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
International travel may still be out of the question for most Singaporeans, but that doesn’t mean you have to be stuck at home. On 3 July 2020, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) announced that it would start processing applications from hotels to accept staycation guests […] The post Singapore Hotel Staycation Promotions During Phase 3 appeared first on SingSaver Blog - We Compare, You Save.
More than a third of Chinese-Australians surveyed reported facing discrimination last year, in a report released Wednesday that points to a souring relationship with Beijing and Covid-19 as driving forces.
About one third of the roughly 150 ships owned by companies controlled by Singapore tycoon Lim Oon Kuin and his family have been sold as part of efforts to repay billions of dollars of debt owed to creditors, two sources told Reuters. Accounting firm Grant Thornton, court-appointed supervisor of Xihe Holdings, put up several vessels for sale through shipbrokers in September last year. Xihe Holdings is owned by the Lim family and held the bulk of their fleet.
Myanmar's military junta and the envoy sent by its toppled civilian government have launched contradictory claims over who represents the country at the United Nations, officials said Tuesday.
China is willing to offer coronavirus vaccines to Poland and buy more of its agricultural products, Chinese President Xi Jinping told his Polish counterpart as Beijing tries to counter growing scepticism in central and eastern Europe about China. Xi told Polish President Andrzej Duda over the phone on Monday that the two countries should strengthen strategic communication “to deepen pragmatic cooperation to jointly deal with every risk and challenge”. Xi also referred to Poland as “a major country in central and eastern Europe and an important member of the European Union, as well as a comprehensive strategic partner of China in Europe”,Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China. According to a Chinese foreign ministry statement, Xi also promised to share China’s experience in fighting the pandemic and provide vaccines “according to the needs of Poland and within the limits of China’s capabilities”. In response, Duda said Poland was willing to work with China in the pandemic fight and keep contributing “to cooperation between central and eastern European countries and China”, the Chinese foreign ministry said. The remarks by Xi came as Beijing’s efforts to expand markets for Chinese trade and infrastructure investment in the region are coming up against concerns that the so-called 17+1 platform is being used to undermine the solidarity of the European Union. The platform was launched in 2012 to bring together China and 17 countries in central and eastern Europe to promote trade and investment links, particularly Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative. During a summit in early February, the leaders of six EU countries – Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – all failed to attend a long-delayed meeting hosted by Xi, sending more junior representatives instead. How the Covid-19 vaccines compare and who can get them Meanwhile, countries in central and eastern Europe are increasingly dissatisfied about the lack of tangible results of the 17+1, ranging from the lack of greenfield investment by Beijing to China’s market barriers to agricultural products which are the major exports of the region. On Monday, Xi told Duda that China would import more “good quality agricultural products” from Poland by establishing mechanisms under the 17+1 grouping, adding that the landmark Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) agreed between China and the 27-member European Union in late December could also “open up a wider space for China-Poland cooperation”. In the 17+1 summit, Xi promised China would import US$170 billion worth of goods and double the purchase of agricultural products from the region over the next five years, a pledge Duda said was a “a good step in the direction” to increase bilateral trade, according to a separate statement by the Polish president’s office. Duda also raised the possibility of buying vaccines made in China, which would be discussed at the intergovernmental level, the Polish president’s office said. As the EU struggles with shortages and delays in vaccine supplies, a number of central and eastern European countries have looked to Beijing for support. Last month, Serbia, an EU candidate country which has maintained a closer relationship with Beijing during the pandemic, received 1.5 million doses of a Sinopharm vaccine. In mid-February Hungary, the first EU member to approve the use of the Sinopharm vaccine, received its first 550,000 doses from China. Trumps were vaccinated in January before leaving White House China also said last week that it would offer a donation of 30,000 doses of vaccines to Montenegro, the youngest nation in central and eastern Europe. But such offers by Beijing also prompted concerns in Europe, according to an analysis by the Berlin-based Mercator Institute for China Studies (Merics) last week. “China’s vaccine diplomacy appears to be bearing fruit in these countries, and that threatens to deepen the rift between them and Brussels,” wrote Grzegorz Stec, a Merics analyst, and Lucrezia Poggetti, a former analyst. “While the availability of additional Chinese options should certainly be welcomed, it seems Chinese manufacturers are not particularly keen on having their products licensed for the European market. “So far, no Chinese vaccine maker has sought authorisation from the European Medicines Agency for the use and distribution of their vaccine. To do that, they would need to hand over their trial data to allow for an assessment of their products’ safety and efficacy. Less promotion – legitimate or otherwise – and greater transparency about its vaccines would go a long way towards improving China’s reputation in the EU.”More from South China Morning Post:China’s ‘two sessions’: Covid-19 vaccines, tests and limited media accessScepticism over China’s Sinovac jab as Philippines rolls out coronavirus vaccination programmeChina’s ‘two sessions’: why this year’s event is so important for Xi Jinping’s vision for the futureChina using Covid-19 as ‘yet another way to control journalists’, media group saysIn EU first, China’s Sinopharm coronavirus vaccines arrive in HungaryThis article Coronavirus: Xi Jinping offers Poland access to China’s vaccines and a bigger market for farm goods first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
Chinese hotpot restaurant chain Haidilao International surprised investors by saying it will deliver a profit in 2020, suggesting the business turned around in the second half as the mainland economy rebounded. The group, controlled by two of Singapore’s richest tycoons, said it expects earnings to slide by 90 per cent in 2020 in a profit warning issued to the stock exchange in a filing late Monday. It cited the impact of Covid-19 pandemic for the decline in takings. It had a net profit of 2.347 billion yuan (US$362.9 million) in 2019. The warning, however, suggests it returned to profitability in the second half. The business slumped in the first six months of the year, incurring a bigger-than-expected net loss of 964.6 million yuan to shareholders, according to a September filing. The latest 2020 report card would be released later this month, it said in the filing.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China. China’s economy rebounded last quarter, helping the group which had 92 per cent of its 935 outlets in 164 mainland cities. The slump in the first half of 2020 reflected measures by governments worldwide in restricting or banning dine-in operations to stem infection cases. Haidilao fell 0.5 per cent to HK$68.50 in Hong Kong on Tuesday, after swinging between a 2.2 per cent gain and 3 per cent loss. The stock surged 8.2 per cent after a decision to add it to the benchmark Hang Seng Index from March 15. The stock has gained more than 14 per cent this year, after handing investors a 91 per cent gain in 2020 and an 82 per cent rise in 2019. Chairman Zhang Yong and his spouse Shu Ping, who are co-founders, controlled 68.2 per cent of the group, based on the interim report published in September. The spicy Sichuan hotpot chain group boosted its outlets to 935 from 768 outlets in mainland China and elsewhere during the first half of 2020. Apart from the slowdown in customer patronage, Haidilao also expects to suffer a net foreign-currency loss of about 235 million yuan due to fluctuations in the yuan-US dollar exchange rate, according to its filing. The group has monitored market conditions and adjusted its business strategies and operations to reduce the negative impact, Zhang said in the exchange filing. It also took measures to control rents and other operating costs, working capital and borrowings to ensure a healthy cash flow position, he added. Zhang, 50, who was born in mainland China and moved to Singapore in 2019. He and his spouse were ranked No. 1 in 2020 by Forbes on Singapore’s list of billionaires with a net worth US$19 billion, ahead of Li Xiting of medical devices maker Shenzhen Mindray. Additional reporting by Zhang ShidongMore from South China Morning Post:China’s biggest hotpot chain Haidilao taps Hillhouse, Morgan Stanley as cornerstone investors in up to US$963 million IPOStarbucks and hotpot chain Haidilao close mainland China stores in response to Wuhan coronavirus outbreakThis article Hotpot chain Haidilao, controlled by Singapore’s richest couple, sees turnaround as China’s economy rebounds first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
Texas is lifting its mask mandate, Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday, making it the largest state to no longer require one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The announcement in Texas, where the virus has killed more than 43,000 people, rattled doctors and big city leaders who said they are now bracing for another deadly resurgence. Federal health officials this week urgently warned states to not let their guard down, warning that the pandemic is far from over.