The Ministry of Health has confirmed 10 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore as of noon on Tuesday (1 December), taking the country’s total to 58,228.
A woman accused of mixing her urine and menstrual blood into food meant for the consumption of others in a flat has denied the offence in court.
China has doubled down on its criticism of Australia after refusing to remove a tweet featuring a digital illustration of an Australian soldier appearing to murder a child in Afghanistan and accusing the Australian government of using the row to divert attention from alleged “atrocities” by Australian soldiers.Both governments issued statements on Tuesday as the matter spilled from Twitter to other public forums and the Australian government used the Chinese social platform WeChat to address “the fake photo” but also praise aspects of the Australian-Chinese relationship.The Chinese foreign ministry refused to take down the controversial tweet by its spokesman, Zhao Lijian, despite demands on Monday by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison that the tweet be deleted and China apologise.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.The tweet included an image targeting the behaviour of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan as revealed by a recent domestic war crimes inquiry. It depicted a grinning Australian soldier holding a bloody knife to the throat of a child, who in turn is holding a lamb. The child’s face is draped in the Australian flag and a pained expression is visible.Morrison called Zhao’s tweet containing the image “falsified”, “repugnant” and “utterly outrageous”.On Tuesday, the Chinese embassy in Canberra issued a statement accusing the Australian government of trying to deflect attention from alleged war crimes in Afghanistan and stoking nationalism.The embassy said it had received a phone call on Monday from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade secretary Frances Adamson, who had complained to Chinese ambassador Cheng Jingye about Zhao’s tweet.“We would like to further stress the following: the rage and roar of some Australian politicians and media is nothing but a misreading of, and overreaction to, Mr Zhao‘s tweet,” the official statement said.“The accusations made are simply to serve two purposes. One is to deflect public attention from the horrible atrocities by certain Australian soldiers. The other is to blame China for the worsening of bilateral ties. There may be another attempt to stoke domestic nationalism.” Australian soldiers face dismissal over report on war crimes in AfghanistanCanberra later released a statement in Chinese on the prime minister’s official account on WeChat, the most popular Chinese social media messaging system.The article, titled “A message from the Prime Minister”, was written in the first person in an apparent attempt to appeal to a Chinese audience. Morrison said he was proud of the Australian army and emphasised that the Australian government would handle problems revealed in the war crimes report in a “transparent and honest way”.Morrison was quoted praising China’s contribution towards Australia throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and said he was happy to welcome overseas Chinese students who arrived in Australia.“The post on the fake photo of the Australian soldier will not weaken people’s respect and praise towards the Australian-Chinese community, and it will not cripple our friendship with the Chinese people,” the statement said.Twitter has not taken down Zhao’s tweet despite Canberra’s calls, but said it had labelled it as “sensitive media”. By Tuesday afternoon, the tweet was pinned to the top of Zhao’s tweets.Twitter said Zhao’s account was labelled as a Chinese government account and already provided the public with context to “better inform their interpretation of its intent”.“For world leaders, politicians and official government accounts, direct interactions with fellow public figures, comments on political issues of the day, or foreign policy sabre-rattling on economic or military issues are generally not in violation of the Twitter Rules,” the statement said.China’s state media repeated the narrative from the Chinese foreign ministry and echoed the sentiment of Zhao’s original tweet.“What the Australian government should do now is to reflect deeply and bring the perpetrators to justice, make a formal apology to the Afghan people and solemnly promise the international community they will never commit this terrible crime again,” a People’s Daily commentary said.State tabloid Global Times published an interview with the illustrator, known as Wuheqilin, who said his image was inspired by the findings of an Australian war crimes inquiry published last month. The inquiry found evidence that 39 unarmed Afghan prisoners and civilians were killed by 19 Australian soldiers.“Although the image is not a factual photo, it was created on the basis of facts and expressed as a metaphor,” Wuheqilin said. “I hope more people will see this image and pay attention to this tragedy that took place in reality.”Meanwhile, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern weighed in and said her government had also raised concerns with China about the image.“New Zealand has registered directly with Chinese authorities our concern over the use of that image,” Ardern told reporters in parliament in the capital, Wellington.“It was an unfactual post, and of course that would concern us. So that is something we have raised directly in the manner that New Zealand does when we have such concerns.”In a show of American backing for Australia, the US National Security Council ridiculed China’s recent decision to impose a 212 per cent tariff on Australian wine, which the Chinese government said was to stop domestic production from being damaged by cheap imports. Australia vows WTO action over China barley trade spat“Australian wine will be featured at a White House holiday reception this week. Pity vino lovers in China who, due to Beijing’s coercive tariffs on Aussie vintners, will miss out. AussieAussieAussieOiOiOi!,” the NSC tweeted on Tuesday.The Twitter dispute is the latest in an intense downward spiral of Sino-Australian relations. Recently, trade has been the focus of the tensions, with China taking a range of informal actions against Australian products, including coal, timber, cotton, beef and wine.But the Chinese foreign ministry said the latest dispute had nothing to do with the Sino-Australia relations.More from South China Morning Post: * China-Australia relations: PM Scott Morrison responds to Beijing’s list of 14 grievances * China says Australia-Japan defence pact should not threaten other countries’ interests * Australia establishes Afghanistan war crimes prosecutor after years of whistle-blower reportsThis article China doubles down on criticising Australia over Afghanistan first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
From choosing a BTO unit to purchasing a flat in the resale market. Here's how you can own your own HDB flat if you're 35, single, and Singaporean. What is HDB? A statutory board under the Ministry of National Development (MND), the Housing & Development […]The post What Type Of HDB Flats Can Single Singaporeans Buy? appeared first on SingSaver Blog - We Compare, You Save.
One of Hong Kong’s most prominent young political activists, Joshua Wong Chi-fung, was jailed for more than 13 months on Wednesday for organising and inciting others to join a 15-hour siege of police headquarters at the start of last year’s anti-government protests.Wong’s high-profile comrade, Agnes Chow Ting, was sentenced to 10 months behind bars for her role in the same illegal protest, while their associate, Ivan Lam Long-ying, received a seven-month term.In passing sentence, West Kowloon Magistrate Wong Sze-lai sharply criticised Wong, for challenging the authority of the police force in a premeditated plot, and called him “selfish” for obstructing traffic at the massive rally in Wan Chai on June 21 last year.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.She said they had committed their offences at a time of “social unrest and large-scale public protests”, which “makes this case more serious”.Wong, 24, was given a 13½-month prison term after pleading guilty to a charge of organising an unauthorised assembly and another charge of inciting others to take part in the event. Prosecutors dropped a charge of knowingly taking part in an unauthorised assembly.Lam, 26, had pleaded guilty to a charge of incitement, while Chow, 23, had admitted to charges of incitement and taking part in an unauthorised assembly.Chow, the only one of the trio without a previous criminal record, burst into tears in the dock as she learned that the community service order her lawyers were seeking had been rejected.“Keep holding on,” Joshua Wong yelled at the public gallery filled with his supporters before being escorted away.The three were immediately taken away by police officers after the magistrate rejected Chow’s application for bail pending an appeal of her sentence.The magistrate argued, in effect, that Chow’s initial sentence was long enough that even if it were shortened on appeal in a few months’ time, it was unlikely to matter.Lawyers for the other two activists said they would study the ruling before considering further action.The jailing prompted immediate international criticism on Wednesday, triggering in turn a rare and strongly-worded response from the Department of Justice, which has a long-established convention of refraining from commenting on ongoing cases.Calls for the defendants’ release, a spokesman said, demonstrated disrespect for the city’s judiciary, and amounted to a “blatant denial of the fact that the defendants themselves pleaded guilty”.Citing past judgments, the spokesman added that freedom and human rights, while protected by the city’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, were not absolute.“It is unbecoming and irrational for people making sweeping attacks and baseless accusations against our judicial and legal systems without reference to the fact and circumstances of the case. Such statements, if made with a view to exert undue influence on our judicial and legal systems will be futile,” it said.The activists’ case centred on one of the most striking scenes from the early days of the citywide protest movement triggered by opposition to a now-withdrawn extradition bill, one that saw a large crowd of demonstrators pour into Wan Chai to swamp the area outside the police headquarters.Demonstrators at the time were calling for the withdrawal of the bill, which would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, while also voicing their concerns about the excessive force they said police had used against participants in previous protests.Explaining her reasons for sentencing on Wednesday, Magistrate Wong said the number of protesters had swollen from the initial 400 to more than 9,000 as the siege of police headquarters wore on.The protest ran from 11am on June 21 to 3.45am the following day, with demonstrators pelting the police station with eggs and soft drink cans, and daubing graffiti on its walls.The gathering also led to a police vehicle being trapped for three hours at one point, and caused a traffic obstruction that left police unable to respond to 61 emergency calls.Prosecutors had painted Wong as the leader of the protest that night, showing videos of him telling people at the scene through a loudhailer that they should get more people to come and “completely besiege police headquarters”.“The first defendant was very selfish,” the magistrate said, referring to Joshua Wong, whom she said played the most active role in giving instructions to protesters around him. Lam and Chow also helped direct the protest at times, the court found.The magistrate said phone messages showed Wong had planned the event a day ahead, proving premeditation.She also noted that the target of the demonstration, the police station, was a “symbolic edifice” representing the force’s authority, and that the protest featured slogans denigrating its officers.“The series of acts committed by [Wong] was to charge the police, challenging the police’s authority,” she said.Following the sentencing, Wong posted a message to Facebook through his lawyers, saying: “I know this is tough. But I will carry on.”In addition to the jail time, the ruling means that the trio – former leaders of the now-defunct opposition group Demosisto, which disbanded in June when Beijing imposed its sweeping national security law on Hong Kong – will be barred from running in any local elections for five years, unless they manage to overturn their sentences on appeal. Hong Kong law bars any candidate who has been jailed for more than three months from running in the Legislative Council or District Council elections for five years.Wong has been jailed before, including briefly in 2016 for storming the forecourt of the Central Government Office in Admiralty on September 26, 2014, two days before the Occupy protests broke out that year. He was later released after winning an appeal.In 2017, he was sentenced to three months in jail after pleading guilty to contempt of court for failing to leave an Occupy protest site contrary to a court order, but his term was reduced to two months by the appeal court.That reduction enabled him to narrowly dodge the election restriction, only for his candidacy to be invalidated in the District Council elections last year by a government returning officer.Chow was also previously barred from running in a 2018 Legislative Council by-election because of Demosisto’s advocacy for self-determination, the same reason cited for Wong’s disqualification.Returning officers argued the position amounted to advocating independence, but Chow’s invalidation was later overturned by a court that found the election official had erred in failing to allow her to explain her stance.Observers and foreign politicians, meanwhile, were swift to criticise Wednesday’s sentencing.One of the trio’s closest allies, Nathan Law Kwun-chung, a former Demosisto member who moved to Britain in the wake of the passage of the national security law, called their sentences “absurd”.“It’s devastating to see the sentencing,” he said.He noted that Chow had also been facing an investigation under the national security law, while the other two could also face fresh prosecution at any time.“To be honest, I have no idea when the trio could step out of the prison,” he said, urging the international community to join him in calling for the activists’ release. 155 lawmakers demand Carrie Lam fight for return of Hongkongers detained in ShenzhenBritish Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, meanwhile, urged the authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing to bring an end to what he characterised as their campaign to stifle opposition.“Prosecution decisions must be fair and impartial, and the rights and freedoms of people in Hong Kong must be upheld,” he said.The last colonial governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten, also weighed in, called the activists’ jailing “another grim example of China’s determination to put Hong Kong in handcuffs”.He urged foreign states to follow the example of 155 parliamentarians from 18 countries – who issued an open letter to the city’s chief executive on Tuesday calling for the return of the 12 Hong Kong fugitives detained on the mainland – and present a unified front in standing up for the city.Samuel Chu, a US-based activist who runs the Hong Kong Democracy Council, said he was “heartbroken and indignant” over the sentencing.“Make no mistake, Wong, Chow and Lam are political prisoners,” he said.More from South China Morning Post: * Hong Kong opposition activist Joshua Wong put in solitary confinement with lights on 24 hours a day, after X-ray reveals ‘a shadow’ in his stomach * Hong Kong lawmaker Regina Ip says Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow cases may determine if more national security legislation is needed * Hong Kong opposition trio Joshua Wong, Ivan Lam, and Agnes Chow face jail after pleading guilty to charges over police headquarters siegeThis article Hong Kong activists Joshua Wong, Ivan Lam, Agnes Chow jailed over 2019 Wan Chai police HQ siege first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
It was his first contact with another elephant in eight years.
Despite high legal costs and a Singapore court ruling against her in a defamation suit filed by a surgeon, Serene Tiong has no intention of giving up the fight.
Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania and the biotech firm Regeneron are investigating whether technology developed for gene therapy can be used to make a nasal spray that will prevent infection with the new coronavirus.
Beijing on Tuesday welcomed home a 160-year-old bronze horse head statue to the Old Summer Palace from which it was stolen, a donation from Macau’s late casino king Stanley Ho Hung-sun.It is one of 12 bronze animal head sculptures representing the Chinese zodiac that were part of a fountain at the palace known as the Yuanmingyuan.The pieces were stolen from Beijing in 1860 when Anglo-French troops invaded China during the Second Opium War and left the site burned and reduced largely to rubble.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.The Chinese state’s watchdog for cultural relics, the National Cultural Heritage Administration, said the horse head marked the first important piece of Yuanmingyuan’s missing relic to return to its home, according to state media. Six other pieces previously brought back to China are being exhibited in museums.Ho, the patriarch of Asia’s largest casino empire for half a century, bought the artefact for US$8.9 million at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong in 2007, displaying the horse head in the city and neighbouring Macau for more than a decade.Ho later donated the 160-year-old sculpture to the Chinese government in 2019, before the “King of Gambling” passed away on May 26 this year.The Chinese Communist Party has portrayed the stolen animal heads as symbols of the nation’s “century of humiliation,” which started in the mid-19th century and ended when the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949. Over that period, China was invaded by numerous colonial powers.On Tuesday, the National Cultural Heritage Administration and Beijing People‘s Government hosted a ceremony to celebrate the return of the looted artefact under the care of the Yuanmingyuan administration.Liu Yuzhu, director of the National Cultural Heritage Administration, was quoted by state media as saying the repatriation of the horse head represented “a successful example of the return of lost cultural relics in the new era.”Over the past two decades, wealthy collectors have been buying the looted antiques at art auctions and returned them. To date, including the bronze horse figure, seven of the 12 animal head sculptures had been returned to China.Ho also paid HK$6 million for the collection’s pig head in 2003, donating it to the Poly Art Museum in Beijing.The statues representing the Chinese zodiac signs of the dog, rooster, dragon, sheep and snake remain missing.The Post contacted the Ho family for comment.This article Bronze horse head, donated by late Stanley Ho, becomes first of zodiac collection returned to Beijing’s Old Summer Palace after theft in 1860s first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
A former Hong Kong grocer has been sentenced to 16 months in jail for threatening to kill a stolen poodle if the owner did not pay a HK$40,000 ransom.Lau Tsz-kit, 24, told his blackmail victim that he would throw the nine-month-old dog into the sea or chop the animal up in the absence of swift payment, behaviour the magistrate called “despicable”.West Kowloon Court heard on Tuesday that Coffee the poodle was stolen from the 37-year-old owner’s shop in Sham Shui Po at about 1am on September 5.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.The thief was said to be Lau’s accomplice, a man only identified as Ah Dai and still on the loose.Three days later, the owner received the grisly threats to kill the dog via Facebook messages from an unknown person, later found to be Lau.Police arrested the defendant outside his residence in Tin Shui Wai on September 11, when he was about to walk the poodle. Under caution, the former vegetable stall owner denied stealing the dog, but admitted sending the messages.Lau, who pleaded guilty to blackmail in court last month, claimed Ah Dai paid him HK$500 a month to take care of the poodle, later accepting his offer of HK$5,000 to extort money from the owner.In Tuesday’s mitigation, Lau’s lawyers said he committed the crime because he was in financial difficulty.They urged the court to pass a short prison sentence, saying the defendant was a “kind” person and had taken good care of the dog before his arrest. Fear grips pet owners after gruesome smuggling find on Hong Kong shoresBut Magistrate Jeffrey Sze Cho-yiu said Lau’s offence had undermined the sense of trust among neighbours in the district, adding he had put the poodle’s health at risk by keeping it in an unfamiliar environment.“A dog is a living being. Stealing a dog is a more serious offence than stealing personal property like mobile phones,” Sze said.“The present offence was calculated and planned. It definitely cannot be said to be an offence out of momentary greed.“The defendant took advantage of the owner’s love for the dog and committed the offence out of personal gain … It was a despicable act.”The magistrate further pointed out that Lau had two previous convictions, but did not learn his lesson after he was spared jail on both occasions.He set a starting point of two years imprisonment – the highest that can be passed at magistrate level – before shaving eight months off for Lau’s timely guilty plea.More from South China Morning Post: * Hongkonger arrested for animal cruelty denies he planned to eat dog * Hong Kong woman, 64, arrested over animal cruelty after video of her bungled bid to stop her dog from attacking another went viralThis article Hong Kong blackmailer jailed for threatening to slay dog if owner did not pay HK$40,000 ransom first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
Twitter on Tuesday rebuffed Australian calls to remove a Beijing official's incendiary tweet targeting Australian troops, as China doubled down on criticism in the face of mounting international condemnation.
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The small German biotech firm BioNTech, started by a husband and wife team with Turkish roots, had never brought a vaccine to market before.
The Online Citizen’s chief editor was accused on 1 December of being disingenuous about a phrase used in the article at the centre of a defamation suit.
Petrol bombs were hurled at a Hong Kong police recreation club in the early hours of Tuesday, a rare attack on a police facility since Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law.
Israel's nomination of a far-right nationalist with a history of anti-Arab rhetoric to lead Yad Vashem has triggered outrage among Holocaust experts who say his leadership would "disgrace" the revered memorial.
Wuhan native Liu Pei'en shut down his investment business and converted to Buddhism to try to make sense of his father's death last January from suspected Covid-19.
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Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor will not extend the city’s anti-bribery laws to cover her own chief executive position, reneging on a promise she made in her election manifesto three years ago.Lam said amending the law would affect her “constitutional role” in the political system, insisting Beijing – which the Post earlier reported was opposed to the change – would take any necessary actions were she to be involved in misconduct.“[The amendments] were far more complicated, and could end up with … very difficult situations for the chief executive to discharge his or her duties. That’s why, despite attempts being made, we could not overcome those difficulties,” she said ahead of her weekly meeting with her policy advisers on Tuesday.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.If there are other brighter ideas on how we could do this without violating the constitutional position of the chief executive, then [future administrations] could always look at the issue againHong Kong Chief Executive Carrie LamLam was referring to Sections 3 and 8 of the anti-bribery ordinance, which govern the conduct of ministers and civil servants, but exempt the chief executive.Calls to address the issue first emerged in 2012, when then chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen faced allegations of accepting bribes from a businessman. A special committee chaired by former chief justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang later recommended the law be revised to cover the city leader and require he or she to obtain permission before accepting advantages.Running for the top job in 2017, Lam vowed to revise the ordinance as suggested and to “resolve as soon as possible those constitutional and legal issues” necessary for an amendment. Following her victory that same year, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said in a reply to lawmakers that the government would “initiate the legislative procedure as early as possible”.But on Tuesday, Lam insisted that revising the provisions could affect her “constitutional role” in the city’s political system, saying the central government would take “appropriate actions” against any wrongdoings committed by a city leader.“If there are other brighter ideas on how we could do this without violating the constitutional position of the chief executive, then of course in the future administration, they could always look at the issue again,” she said, adding the revision would no longer be a priority in her remaining 1½ -year term.Hong Kong still needs mechanisms in place for monitoring. If we only rely on Beijing’s political decisions, that is not a healthy, well-established systemLam Cheuk-ting, former opposition lawmakerThe Post reported last year that Beijing officials found it unacceptable to amend laws in a way that would put the chief executive under the supervision of city ordinances.Former opposition lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting called the chief executive’s exclusion from monitoring under the anti-bribery ordinance a “so-called loophole”. Amending the law, he said, would put in place necessary checks and balances on the city’s leader.“The system of Hong Kong is very clear that no one is above the law. Right now, the chief executive is the only exception in the government not abiding by Section 3,” said Lam. The section noted criminalises the solicitation or acceptance of advantages by civil servants without the city leader’s permission, but does not cover those who occupy the top post. Hong Kong’s leader on protests, political turmoil and what’s next for the city“Of course, Beijing could terminate the chief executive’s service at any time, but Hong Kong still needs mechanisms in place for monitoring. If we only rely on Beijing’s political decision, that is not a healthy, well-established system,” he added.Separately, Carrie Lam on Tuesday said the government remained undecided about whether to require teachers and those working in government-subsidised organisations to swear allegiance to the city, alongside all the other civil servants now required to do so.“Hong Kong’s legislation, as far as public office, is pretty loose and wide, so we are still deliberating carefully on this issue,” she said.Considerations include whether employees’ positions are statutory, and if institutions are government-funded or public offices that discharge public power.In her annual policy blueprint unveiled last week, Lam said all civil servants would be required “in due course” to sign a declaration pledging to uphold the Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution, a requirement already compulsory for those who joined the public service from July 1 this year.This article Carrie Lam drops plan to extend Hong Kong’s anti-bribery laws to chief executive post, says amendment could create ‘difficult situations’ for city leaders first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.