Map of Taiwan, locating deadly train derailment on Friday.
Map of Taiwan, locating deadly train derailment on Friday.
The Arab League, United Nations, European Union and the African Union on Tuesday demanded an immediate withdrawal of all foreign forces from Libya.
The South African COVID-19 variant has been detected in Singapore based on unofficial sources but the information has yet to be verified by authorities here, according to the WHO.
An imported case who arrived from India earlier this month was "probably re-infected" when he was in his home country and had been infectious when he came back here, said the Ministry of Health on Tuesday (21 April).
Singapore prosecutors on Tuesday filed five additional charges against businessman Ng Yu Zhi in relation to a scheme that allegedly raised at least S$1 billion ($746 million) from investors to fund bogus nickel trades. The alleged fraud, which would be one of the city-state's biggest, follows a string of scandals involving Singapore trading firms that have shaken investor and banker confidence in the sector over the last year when some commodities, including nickel, have rallied strongly. The new charges of cheating against Ng were read out in Singapore's State Court.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said challenging China in the South China Sea will only lead to violence, and that he will only do so if Beijing drills for oil in the disputed waters.
Two witnesses giving evidence against an ex-opposition lawmaker on trial for breaking pandemic social-distancing rules lied about what they saw the defendant do outside a bar in Hong Kong last year, a court heard on Monday. The lawyer for former Civic Party member Tanya Chan also further questioned the credibility of the two witnesses, a man and a woman, by saying that far from meeting Chan by chance that night, they had worked with two others to film the defendant and fabricate evidence against her. Chan was charged alongside former party colleague Gordon Lam Sui-wa with taking part in an illegal group gathering at the HANDS bar on Tai Nan Street in Sham Shui Po on April 2.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. Bar manager Chan Wai-choi faces one summons of knowingly allowing a group gathering prohibited under coronavirus social-distancing measures and another of failing to comply with regulations in relation to a catering business. Who is Tanya Chan? Hong Kong opposition lawmaker’s curtain call on career shifts spotlight to her past The defendants have denied all charges before Magistrate Andy Cheng Lim-chi at Kowloon City Court. According to the prosecution, the manager had served about 40 guests, including Tanya Chan and Lam, at his bar at around 11pm despite a ban on public gatherings of more than four people. The gathering was said to have continued into the early hours of the next day, when a separate directive calling for the closure of all pubs and bars in the city took effect. The prosecution initially relied on the evidence of four witnesses, but police had failed to contact one of them, while another, surnamed Ng, refused to testify, prompting the magistrate to order Ng’s arrest. The court heard the four were friends who met up for a chat on the night in question. But they later decided to split up into two groups, with one eating at the bar and the other having dessert at a shop on the opposite side of the road. Amy Poon Mey-mey, who went for dessert, testified she noticed a large number of people entering the bar and people smoking outside. She said she was “astonished” by people “acting in complete disregard of the law”. Poon then saw Tanya Chan enter the bar but did not see what she did during her 20-minute stay. Former Hong Kong lawmaker Tanya Chan and two others charged over bar gathering prosecutors say broke social-distancing rules Lui Ho-lam, who was with Poon, said he later saw a drunken Chan walk out while being carried by two men, as she “swayed from side to side”. She later got into a taxi and left. But defence lawyer Franco Kuan Bak-on cast doubt on that claim by referring to the 10 photographs Poon took at the scene, some of which showed Chan leaving the bar alone, and which were later published by various media outlets. Kuan further questioned why Poon and Lui would decide against entering the bar with their friends if they had really had intended to meet up for a chat. The lawyer told Lui: “You and Amy were not there to chat. You were there to stalk the defendants, and you have exaggerated your evidence against them.” Lui denied the allegations. The trial continues on Tuesday.This article Prosecution witnesses lied about former lawmaker’s behaviour on night of alleged social-distancing violation, Hong Kong court hears first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
These three businesses will benefit from the expected rise in consumer demand as the world recovers from the pandemic. The post 3 Stocks That Benefit from a Surge in Consumer Spending appeared first on The Smart Investor.
Former Chinese premier Wen Jiabao has published a personal reminiscence about his late mother, saying she taught him to live an honest, thrifty life. Whereas personal memoirs are commonplace among Western politicians, it is unusual for a retired Chinese leader to publish such a personal account because the state maintains rigid controls over all narratives relating to state affairs. In an article originally published in a newspaper in Macau, Wen presented both his mother and himself as people tested by hardship and uncorrupted by power.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. Wen, 78, wrote that his mother, Yang Zhiyun, who passed away in her late 90s at the end of last year, had suffered tumultuous days of war and political purges but maintained high moral standards throughout. He said that even after he was promoted to a central government post in 1985, his mother “never asked for anything from the [Communist Party] organisation” and never used his name to seek favours for the family. Wen, whose parents were both primary schoolteachers in the northern city of Tianjin, wrote: “My mother and father dedicated their lives to the revered course of education and always lived on meagre salaries. They left no property or savings behind.” Wen, who was the head of the government between 2003 and 2013, wrote that his mother had been extremely strict and instilled a strong sense of integrity. “One day I found a one cent coin and put it in my pocket, and it was found by mother,” Wen recalled. “She started to beat me and asked where I got the cent, and she beat me so hard that the broom broke. From that moment on, I knew that I can’t take what isn’t mine, not even a cent. Her teaching during my childhood has benefited me throughout my whole life.” The article was originally published in four parts over the past month in the Macau Herald, a weekly Chinese newspaper in the Chinese special administrative region and former Portuguese colony. The full article was republished by a number of accounts on the social media platform WeChat in mainland China on Saturday night. Users have been banned from sharing the article, with the platform’s owner Tencent citing unspecified violations of the site’s rules, but it can still be read. Chinese state media outlets, including the official Xinhua news agency, People’s Daily and Chinese Central Television, did not republish or report on the article. Macau journalists brace for restrictions on press freedom Wen also mentioned an incident when a man hurled a shoe at him during a speech at Britain’s Cambridge University in 2009. He wrote that his mother, then 88, suffered a cerebral embolism while watching the incident live on television and from that time on had problems with her eyesight, speech and mobility. Wen said he had spent most of the time since his retirement in 2013 with his mother. “I retired after I worked in the Zhongnanhai compound for 28 years, including 10 years as premier,” Wen wrote, referring to the place where Chinese state leaders live and work. “For people like me [from a humble background], it is by accident that I became a senior official. I obeyed orders with the utmost prudence and caution as I walked on thin ice or stood on the edge of a cliff.” At the end of the article, Wen made a brief political statement about the country. “China, in my vision, should be a country of justice and fairness. There’s eternal respect for human hearts, human morality and humanity, and there’s always an air of youth, freedom and hard work. I cried over it and I fought for it,” Wen wrote. “This is the truth I learned from my life, and this is also the gift given by my mother.” Wen also described how his father had suffered during the Cultural Revolution, writing: “My father was detained at his school and frequently suffered from brutal interrogations, verbal insults and physical beating. Cultural Revolution was wrong: party mouthpiece breaks Chinese media silence “At one time, a Red Guard punched my father’s face and my father’s face was so swollen that he could barely open his eyes to see things. My father couldn’t withstand any more and shouted back while pointing to his own chest, ‘Lad, you can punch me here!’” Wen recalled how his mother had also suffered during the massive social upheaval during that time, sending a share of her meagre salary to the school where his father was being held to pay for his food. “She always worried that the money wouldn’t reach my father and insisted the guards give receipts as evidence,” he wrote.More from South China Morning Post:Ex China premier Wen Jiabao states innocence in letter to Hong Kong columnistWen family hits back at 'lies' on hidden fortunePremier Wen chides ChongqingThis article Former Chinese premier Wen Jiabao pays tribute to late mother who ‘taught me not to take what isn’t mine’ first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
It’s a boy! This article, Malaysian songbird Siti Nurhaliza welcomes baby no. 2, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.
The People’s Liberation Army has deployed an advanced long-range rocket launcher to the Himalayas, in a move aimed at reinforcing China’s border defence and acting as a deterrent to India, according to a military mouthpiece and analysts. It is the first time that the PLA has confirmed the deployment of long-range rocket systems to the border with India, after the neighbours last week failed to reach agreement in their latest round of corps commander-level talks over full disengagement along the disputed frontier. An artillery brigade stationed 5,200 metres (17,000 feet) above sea level in Xinjiang military district has intensified its drills using a rocket system during full-wing combat-ready training, a report on the front page of PLA Daily said on Monday.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. The report did not give the type or firing range of the weapon, but said it was a system with a long-range rocket with precision strike capability, and had entered service in 2019. Last July, reports from Indian media outlets said China had deployed advanced weapons systems to border areas in the high-altitude desert in its northwest, and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in its southwest, including the Type PHL-03 multiple launch rocket system (MLRS), which has a firing range of 70 to 130km, and PCL-181 vehicle-mounted howitzers. But experts said the PHL-03 and PCL-181 were not new advanced weapons, with their ranges being too short to pose a threat. “The new weapon system should be a long-range rocket launcher that can carry multiple 300mm [12-inch] or even bigger rockets with more than 100km of firing range,” said military commentator Song Zhongping, a former instructor in the PLA’s Artillery Corps, the predecessor of Rocket Force. “Only a long-range MLRS is powerful enough to act as a deterrent to India, as the Indian troops are also stepping up military deployment along the borders.” The China-India border dispute: its origins and impact Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Tong said the long-range MLRS mentioned by PLA Daily was likely to be the most advanced PHL-16, or the Type PCL-191. “The 42-tonne PHL-03 is too bulky for the high altitude … while earlier reports implied that the new PCL-191 would become the military’s main battle rocket system,” he said. The mysterious Type PCL-191 was debuted in the National Day Parade in 2019, but with its name concealed. The name was disclosed a few months later by Chinese military magazine Modern Ships. The modular rocket system of the PCL-191 is able to carry eight 370mm rockets, each with a range of 350km (220 miles), or two 750mm Fire Dragon 480 tactical ballistic missiles, each capable of flying up to 500km, according to Modern Ships. It is not known how many PCL-191 units China has built, but according to a military source an artillery brigade equipped with the cutting-edge weapon system was in December 2019 deployed to Zhejiang province under the Eastern Theatre Command, which oversees the Taiwan Strait. “All new advanced weapon systems need to be tested and deployed to different areas to make sure functions still work under extreme weather,” Song said.More from South China Morning Post:India and China hold fresh round of border talks after ‘smooth completion’ of pullback from Pangong TsoChina tests drones, new rocket launcher near disputed India border areaWhy did the US conduct a freedom of navigation operation against India, and what will the fallout be?This article China deploys long-range rocket launcher ‘as deterrent to India’ first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
A couple have been sentenced to life in prison for murdering their five-year-old daughter three years ago in what a Hong Kong judge described as one of the worst cases of child abuse and a crime marked by “extreme cruelty”. The husband and wife were also on Tuesday given concurrent jail terms for two counts of child cruelty, to which they had admitted, for the ill-treatment and neglect of the girl and her then eight-year-old brother. The children were both found with about 130 injuries after the girl died of septicaemia on January 6, 2018. The 29-year-old father, a transport worker, and the 30-year-old stepmother, a housewife, each received 9½ years for child cruelty, just shy of the maximum 10 years.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. The woman’s 56-year-old mother, an accounting clerk, was jailed for five years on two counts of the same cruelty charge, for neglecting the children while the five-month-long abuse was happening in her flat. The case is believed to be the first instance of fatal child abuse that resulted in a murder conviction with a life sentence in the city. Sentencing at the High Court, Mr Justice Albert Wong Sung-hau said the case was one of “extreme cruelty” involving both physical and psychological abuse inflicted upon the children for a prolonged period, with deliberate efforts made to conceal the “extensive and some very serious injuries” that he described as dreadful. Wong said the step-grandmother was also guilty of serious neglect, noting she had failed to take the children to the doctor and had acted selfishly in a way that amounted to “acquiescence or connivance to the conducts of the other two defendants” when she might have been the siblings’ “only hope”. “What [the parents] did on [the girl] ranks as one of the worst cases of its kind,” the judge said. “If [the grandparent] had not neglected the girl, her death could have been avoided.” Child abuse in Hong Kong escalating because of pandemic: expert Wong also quoted from the Bible as he addressed the stepmother, who had identified as Christian. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness,” he read from the Book of John. But the stepmother did not react. In the public gallery, a man shouted “savages”, while another cried out: “You should be ashamed of yourselves.” Dozens of people arrived at the court building hours ahead of the afternoon hearing to queue for seats. The judiciary had earlier arranged for a bigger courtroom and after it filled up, the rest of the crowd was sent into a lobby where the proceedings were shown via live telecast. Outside court, police displayed two pink slippers, a pair of scissors and a 47cm-long rattan stick that were used in assaulting the children. A single report can protect children from further harm Chief Inspector Ko Mei-yee, case investigator The senior police officer whose unit handled the investigation welcomed the sentences, which she believed would act as a deterrent. Chief Inspector Ko Mei-yee said corporal punishment was not an acceptable way to teach or punish children and parents should seek professional help if they found themselves in need. She also urged people to step forward if they knew of child abuse. “A single report can protect children from further harm,” Ko said. The trio were convicted by a High Court jury last week following a month-long trial filled with heartbreaking testimonies revealing how the siblings were punished, assaulted and deprived of basic life necessities such as food and access to professional medical treatment, even as their wounds festered and affected daily functions such as sitting and walking. Derek Lai Kim-wah, senior assistant director of public prosecutions, said the chronic abuse was a significant cause of the girl’s death because it weakened her immune system’s ability to fight the salmonella infection that eventually killed her. That was reflected by the experts’ finding of the change in the girl’s thymus – a vital organ responsible for the production of white blood cells that fight salmonella – which had been reduced to its smallest size, despite it generally being at its largest in children her age, in response to toxic stress. The court also heard how their schools had noticed some of the signs of abuse. Their handling of the case has renewed debate on how children could be better protected and prompted the government to revise measures and guidelines, as well as to provide more social workers for schools. The judge issued a gag order barring the identification of the family members and schools involved, to protect the siblings and their then seven-year-old stepsister, who was not abused. In mitigation, lawyers for the couple had argued the abuse was “not the worst of its kind” given that it had happened in the course of disciplining the children. They said the parents did not know how to seek outside support, while noting that there had also been “moments of joy” in the family. Hong Kong child murder case began with romance, ended in nightmare But the judge countered on Tuesday: “Such episodes were just a few glimpses of consolation in the miserable period of life of the two children.” Charity Save the Children Hong Kong said it was deeply concerned about the “horrific” case and noted the sentencing served as a reminder that child abuse would not be tolerated. “We must do whatever we can as a community to ensure children’s safety and prevent future cases from occurring,” chief executive officer Carol Szeto said. She urged all parties to offer long-term, holistic care and support to the boy to help him recover from the traumatic experience. The group also called on the government to establish a mandatory reporting system for professionals who interact with children, outlaw corporal punishment and provide educational programmes on positive parenting.More from South China Morning Post:Did Hong Kong’s schools and system fail girl, 5, murdered by parents in horrific child abuse case?Girl’s murder exposes the failings of system in Hong KongFive months of ‘hell’: Hong Kong child murder case began with a romance, ended in a nightmareThis article Hong Kong couple sentenced to life in prison for murdering daughter, 5, in horrific child abuse case first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 14 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore on Tuesday (20 April) including one new case of locally transmitted infection, taking the country's total case count to 60,865.
Just because you have money in your savings account doesn’t mean you need to spend it. It’s not about how much you earn, but how much you save and what you do with that money (invest!). You may think that paying a couple of dollars […] The post 5 Habits of Super Frugal People You Should Follow If You Want To Save Money appeared first on SingSaver Blog - We Compare, You Save.
Moscow's military build-up on the border with Ukraine is even bigger than in 2014 when Russia invaded Crimea, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday, describing the deployment as "very seriously concerning."
China’s top economic planner has warned that the impact of Covid-19 and increased political risks in countries taking part in the Belt and Road Initiative are among the main challenges the multibillion-dollar project faces in the next five years. A report by the National Development and Reform Commission outlining the country’s development over the course of its new five-year plan also identified what Beijing regards as the key problems and tasks the infrastructure project faces. “Belt and road construction is facing an increasingly complex geopolitical environment,” the report said.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. It identified changes to global governance and trade systems, the ongoing rivalry between China and the US, and growth in emerging markets as the most important factors affecting the project. While China was the only major economy to grow last year, the report said domestic financial and construction companies taking part in the scheme still faced challenges. “Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the world economy is in recession and under increasing pressure. The foundation of our country’s economic recovery is not yet steady. Some local governments and enterprises have certain difficulties in their economic and financial situation, the resources they can put in to the Belt and Road Initiative will be affected,” the latest document from the NDRC said. “However, the pandemic’s impact on the economy is only short term and is under control overall. This will not change the great development potential,” the document added. “Some BRI countries have long term high geopolitical risks and certain regions have seen an escalation in conflict,” the report said, without specifying which countries. What is China’s Belt and Road Initiative all about? “The pandemic has made these risks greater. International trade conflicts and the pandemic caused countries to compete for strategic materials and the distribution of resources”. The report added that the pandemic has hit trade and investment in some belt and road countries, although the report said this would increase their need to sign up for the project. The initiative, which was first introduced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, has prompted warnings by Western countries that Beijing is trying to use it to expand its geopolitical influence and catch developing countries in a “debt trap” by lending large sums that will draw foreign governments into Beijing’s political orbit. Beijing has repeatedly denied the debt trap accusation and says it only wants to foster trade and connectivity through global infrastructure building. The project has faced multiple hiccups, however, and the pandemic has adversely affected about 40 per cent and seriously affected about a fifth of belt and road projects, according to a survey last year by China’s foreign ministry. The projects affected include the US$6 billion Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway extension on the Indonesian island of Java. The line, built by a consortium of Chinese and Indonesian companies, was originally expected to be operational by early next year, but Reuters reported that it has now been delayed by two years. China has overseen more than US$700 billion in contracts and investment in 139 since 2014, according to a Moody’s report published in November. The National Development and Reform Commission said that to meet these challenges the Belt and Road Initiativeshould prioritise existing schemes and increase its relevance to the “international and regional development agenda”. China looks to recreate ancient Silk Road with network of African ports “[There is a need to] push forward the development strategies and strengthen implementation with countries that are comparatively more willing to cooperate, and implement agreements that have been signed,” the report said. The NDRC also said that efforts to internationalise the yuan should continue at a “steady and careful” pace by “steadily pushing forward dual-currency cooperation” with participating countries. The Belt and Road Initiative is seen by China as a useful platform to push forward its long-term goal of turning renminbi into a reserve currency used for international trade, investments and payments, and the project’s massive loan and investments deals also involve currency swap agreements.This article China’s Belt and Road Initiative faces increased political risk in participating countries, report warns first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
At least 49 passengers on a flight from New Delhi to Hong Kong have tested positive for coronavirus, authorities said, as the financial hub introduced an emergency ban on all flights from India in a crackdown over a new wave of cases.All of the passengers who tested positive flew into Hong Kong on a flight run by Indian operator Vistara on April 4.
Chinese researchers are conducting a trial to see if mixing Covid-19 vaccines that use different technologies is safe and whether it could boost immunity. A trial began earlier this month to give a first dose of the adenovirus-vectored vaccine made by CanSino Biologics, followed by a protein subunit vaccine produced by Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical, according to a clinical trials registration site run by a department under the US National Institutes of Health. The Jiangsu Centre for Disease Control and Prevention is conducting the trial, with 120 people taking part in the eastern province, and they expect preliminary results in mid-June.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. Similar trials are being carried out in Britain and Russia, and one is planned for Italy, to test whether it is possible to mix vaccines as a way to provide lasting immunity and more flexibility. For now, Chinese health authorities do not recommend mixing vaccines that use different technologies, or sequential immunisation, but the guidelines state that people can be given different brands that use the same technology. Gao Fu, head of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, sparked controversy when he told a conference earlier this month that authorities were considering allowing mixing to see if it improved the efficacy rates of vaccines. Gao, also a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, was involved in developing the protein subunit vaccine with Anhui Zhifei Longcom. He later backtracked, telling state tabloid Global Times that he was speaking generally about a strategy to boost immunity and his remarks should not be taken as a suggestion that Chinese vaccines had low efficacy rates. China has cheaper vaccine technologies joining the race to beat the pandemic The reported efficacy rates of Chinese inactivated vaccines are lower than for some Western jabs. A Sinopharm unit reported a 79 per cent efficacy rate for one vaccine, while another it developed was 72 per cent. A study in Chile showed a third vaccine made by Sinovac was 67 per cent effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19 and reduced fatalities from the disease by 80 per cent. That compares to the 94 per cent efficacy reported for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, both of which use mRNA technology. Wallace Lau Chak-sing, chair of rheumatology and clinical immunology at the University of Hong Kong, said it was important to carry out trials to determine whether and how vaccines could be mixed, and he cautioned against direct comparisons of efficacy rates. “Various vaccine trials have been conducted in countries with a different Covid-19 status, at different times and on different study groups,” Lau said. “Different trials use different outcome measures for vaccine efficacy, so the safety and efficacy of various vaccines should not be casually linked.” Virologist Jin Dong-yan, from the same university’s medical school, supported research to see if mixing vaccines could improve efficacy and potentially “help to build up stronger herd immunity”. In addition to combining two vaccines, further research could include using a higher dosage of the inactivated vaccines, or giving a third dose, Jin said. China’s first mRNA vaccine ready for final stage trials overseas The Anhui Zhifei Longcom vaccine is a subunit protein vaccine, meaning it uses purified pieces of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 to trigger an immune response and booster shots are required. The authorities have said three jabs are needed for the Anhui Zhifei Longcom vaccine within six months of the first dose. It is still in phase 3 trials in Pakistan, Indonesia, Ecuador and Uzbekistan but has been authorised for emergency use in China and Uzbekistan. Anhui Zhifei Longcom has yet to report an efficacy rate or any phase 3 trial data. CanSino’s single-shot vaccine uses an adenoviral vector to deliver a virus antigen and trigger an immune response. It had an efficacy rate of 65.7 per cent for preventing symptomatic cases in its interim phase 3 results. It has been approved for emergency use in Pakistan, Chile and Hungary and for conditional launch in China. The CanSino-Anhui Zhifei Longcom trial will test the safety and immunity of healthy participants who are over 18 and have already had a CanSino shot. They will receive the Anhui Zhifei Longcom vaccine 28 or 56 days after the CanSino dose, while a placebo group will be given an influenza vaccine. Of the other trials under way, Russian researchers are mixing two vaccines using adenoviral vectors – Sputnik V, made by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, and the AstraZeneca-University of Oxford vaccine. In February, the University of Oxford began testing a combination of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech shot and the trial was recently expanded, with people given the first dose to randomly receive a shot of the same vaccine, the one made by Moderna, a mRNA vaccine, or by Novavax, a subunit protein vaccine which is awaiting approval. Meanwhile, Italian researchers are waiting for regulatory approval to begin a trial to give people who have had the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine a different second shot – either the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Sputnik V vaccines. Additional reporting by Simone McCarthyMore from South China Morning Post:China seeks to become major global vaccine player in wake of Covid-19 pandemicChile says China’s Sinovac coronavirus vaccine 67 per cent effective against symptomatic infectionCoronavirus vaccines: China’s CanSino distances itself from blood clot fearsThis article Chinese trial mixes Covid-19 vaccines using different technologies first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
Queen Elizabeth II turns 95 on Wednesday, just days after burying her late husband Prince Philip, in what will be her first birthday alone in more than seven decades.
The United States said Monday it was reimposing sanctions on nine state-owned companies in Belarus after strongman Alexander Lukashenko ignored warnings to release political prisoners rounded up from democracy protests.
New Zealand’s foreign minister said the country was “uncomfortable” with expanding the scope of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network, following months of joint statements from the Western partnership about human rights concerns in China. Nanaia Mahuta told reporters on Monday that New Zealand had expressed to the rest of the Five Eyes – the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia – that it did not favour the coalition widening beyond intelligence matters. Explainer | Why is the Five Eyes intelligence alliance in Beijing’s cross hairs? “We are uncomfortable with expanding the remit of the Five Eyes,” she said. “We would much rather prefer to look for multilateral opportunities to express our interests.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. “New Zealand has been very clear, certainly in this term and since we’ve held the portfolio, not to invoke the Five Eyes as the first point of contact of messaging out on a range of issues that really exist out of the remit of the Five Eyes,” said Mahuta, who took office as foreign minister in November. The Five Eyes – the world’s oldest intelligence network dating back to the end of World War II – has expanded coordination in recent months beyond intelligence issues, including to raise security issues and human rights concerns over China. Last year, the five nations joined forces to speak out against Beijing’s political crackdown in Hong Kong and to suspend their extradition treaties with the city as a result. But New Zealand had long been seen as the softer link in the Five Eyes when it comes to China. While Wellington welcomed Western sanctions on Beijing’s human rights on Xinjiang, it did not issue sanctions of its own. New Zealand was also the only member to opt out of a joint statement last May before the national security law was enacted in Hong Kong and again in January to condemn mass arrests of opposition figures and activists in Hong Kong, and instead it issued its own statements. Beijing has raised concerns about the coordination among the Five Eyes, including over revelations in 2013 by Edward Snowden that the intelligence-sharing partnership was carrying out mass global surveillance programmes. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian warned in November that “no matter how many eyes they have”, countries seeking to undermine China should “be careful not to get poked in the eye”. In a separate event on Monday, Mahuta delivered her first speech as foreign minister on New Zealand’s relationship with China to the New Zealand China Council, likening China to a dragon and New Zealand to the taniwha, powerful guardian creatures legendary in the tradition of the indigenous Māori people. “I see the taniwha and the dragon as symbols of the strength of our particular customs, traditions and values that aren’t always the same, but need to be maintained and respected,” she said. “And on that virtue we have together developed the mature relationship we have today.” Australia-New Zealand travel bubble begins, allowing quarantine-free travel When there were tensions between the countries, she said, New Zealand took “a consistent and predictable approach through diplomacy and dialogue”. “Sometimes we will therefore find it necessary to speak out publicly on issues, like we have on developments in Hong Kong, the treatment of Uygurs in Xinjiang, and cyber incidents,” Mahuta said. “At times we will do this in association with others that share our views and sometimes we will act alone. In each case we make our decisions independently, informed by our values and our own assessment of New Zealand’s interests.”More from South China Morning Post:For New Zealand-Chinese, global rise in anti-Asian hate a painful reminder of past woundsWhy Australia and New Zealand issued their own statement on US-led China sanctionsBeijing warns United States and ‘Five Eyes’ allies they risk having ‘eyes poked out’ for meddling in ruling on Hong Kong lawmakersUS and Five Eyes allies express ‘serious concern’ over ousting of Hong Kong lawmakersFive Eyes group demands ‘backdoor’ access to WhatsApp and other encrypted appsThis article New Zealand ‘uncomfortable’ with growing scope of Five Eyes as members speak out on China first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.