A recording of Iran's foreign minister offering a blunt appraisal of diplomacy and the limits of power within the Islamic Republic has been leaked, providing a rare look inside the country's theocracy.
A recording of Iran's foreign minister offering a blunt appraisal of diplomacy and the limits of power within the Islamic Republic has been leaked, providing a rare look inside the country's theocracy.
The government assured Singaporeans on Tuesday (18 May) that there are enough face mask supplies in Singapore after it announced that new guidelines will be issued on the use of masks with good filtration capability.
A Chinese-funded tax-free enclave billed as Sri Lanka's answer to Dubai and Singapore cleared the final legal hurdle Tuesday as the Supreme Court in Colombo ruled it could go ahead with only minor tweaks.
One of China's tallest skyscrapers was evacuated Tuesday after it began to shake, sending panicked shoppers scampering to safety in the southern city of Shenzhen.
Taiwan recorded 240 new local Covid-19 cases and two deaths on Tuesday as it continues to battle a fresh surge in infections. Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said the new cases were located mostly in the Greater Taipei area, with 106 reported in New Taipei and 102 in Taipei. They brought to 1,024 the number of locally transmitted cases in the past eight days. Chen said two infected persons, a 60-year-old woman and an 86-year-old man, died on Monday because of complications from the disease.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] was found collapsing at home on Monday and died after she was hospitalised,” Chen said. He said the man was being treated for a chronic disease when he contracted the virus from an infected patient at the same hospital. His condition worsened and he died on the same day. They were the first two deaths in the recent surge of local cases, bringing the total number of people killed by the virus to 14. The last previous fatality was reported on April 24, when a 70-year-old Philippines-based Taiwanese businessman died during quarantine at a hotel in Taipei. Taiwan also recorded five imported cases on Tuesday. The number of local cases on Tuesday was lower than Monday’s 333, which Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je – a doctor – said could be a sign of a gradual easing in the new outbreak’s rate. “Since we set up the Covid-19 testing stations on May 14, the positive ratio has dropped from 11 per cent to 4.7 per cent on Tuesday, meaning the outbreak could be controlled if the public sharply reduce their activities,” he said. Taiwan recorded 29 new local cases on May 14, followed by 180 the following day and further daily rises of 206 and 333, before dropping to 240 on Tuesday. A majority of local residents responded to the spikes in infections by staying at home. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen asked the public to strictly follow anti-pandemic rules to prevent the outbreak from worsening. All schools in Taiwan will be closed until May 28. “I urge all people to do their best in preventing the pandemic and leave the most-needed medical resources for the seriously infected patients,” she said after visiting the island’s Central Epidemic Control Centre, where she was briefed on the progress of locally developed vaccines. Tsai said two experimental vaccines developed by Taiwanese companies – Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corporation and United Biomedical – were at the end of phase 2 trials, and hopefully would be available for locals in July after getting emergency use authorisation next month. Taiwan, gripped by heatwave, hit by power cuts for second time in a week She also apologised for yet another round of power outages on Monday night which affected 660,000 households, saying it should never have happened twice in a week. Tsai said she would ask the Cabinet to find ways to address the power shortage issue. As of Tuesday, Taiwan had recorded a total of 2,260 infections, including 1,121 local and 1,086 imported cases, as well as 14 deaths. Taipei’s de facto envoy to the United States, Hsiao Bi-khim, said she was in talks to secure some of US President Joe Biden’s planned release of 80 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, which she hoped could arrive in Taiwan next month. Biden has promised to send 20 million doses of vaccines approved by the US Food and Drug Administration – made by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – to countries in need, in addition to 60 million doses made by AstraZeneca once its jab is approved by the regulatory body. “We want to lead the world with our values, with this demonstration of our innovation and ingenuity, and the fundamental decency of the American people,” Biden said on Monday. Hsiao told Taiwan’s semi-official Central News Agency that she was “in active talks” with the US for a share of the jabs. She said that although buying the vaccines was the job of the island’s health ministry, she was helping with negotiations in an effort to speed up the process. Taiwan does not maintain official relations with the US, which switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing from Taipei in 1979. But the two sides have substantive ties that have deepened as Washington has increasingly seen Beijing as a threat. According to Hsiao, the vaccine doses already ordered by Taiwan – from AstraZeneca, which have begun arriving, and Moderna, which are expected to arrive next month – came through US channels. The island has signed contracts to buy 5.05 million doses of the US-made Moderna vaccine and 10 million doses of AstraZeneca, as well as 4.76 million doses of unspecified brands through the Covax Facility, which has allocated 1.02 million AstraZeneca shots to Taiwan. About 300,000 shots have so far arrived from AstraZeneca. As of Monday, close to 200,000 of Taiwan’s 23.5 million people had taken their first doses, leaving not enough for their second doses. Taiwan economy faces ‘double whammy’ after tightening of Covid-19 measures Hsiao said that before the recent surge in cases, local demand for the vaccines was low, and she had been focusing on helping to procure doses for Taiwan’s diplomatic allies. But because of the recent spike and a rise in demand for the shots, she was in contact with US vaccine makers to try to ensure that Taiwan’s existing orders were delivered on time. Taiwan’s new cases, mostly in Taipei and neighbouring New Taipei, have prompted health authorities to raise their alert level for the first time to tier three in the four-tier system. They have restricted indoor gatherings to five people and outdoor gatherings to 10 in Taipei and New Taipei until May 28, but stopped short of a lockdown. Bars, nightclubs, cinemas, gyms, libraries and other entertainment venues and recreational facilities have been closed since Friday.More from South China Morning Post:Taiwan’s low coronavirus vaccination rate under scrutiny as it battles spike in casesTaiwan coronavirus surge won’t advance its World Health Assembly cause: analystsCoronavirus: Taiwan expects to roll out locally made vaccines by end of JulyThis article Taiwan reports 240 new Covid-19 cases, in talks with US for share of donated vaccine doses first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday warned Western countries against staking claims in the Arctic, as global warming makes the region more accessible and a site of global competition.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed 38 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore on Tuesday (18 May), taking the country's total case count to 61,651.
An airport ground worker has been jailed for nearly three years for stealing more than HK$3 million (US$384,600) from a primary school friend who paid her to buy surgical masks at the start of the coronavirus epidemic in Hong Kong last year. Sit Man-ying, 33, a customer service officer of Hong Kong Airport Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific Airways, was jailed for 33 months after she pleaded guilty on Monday to five counts of theft totalling HK$3,321,726. She denied five alternative counts of fraud, which were left on court file. The District Court heard Sit had reached out to a schoolmate, Lam Hiu-ling, with whom she maintained loose contact, and claimed she had the means to source masks from Indonesia and Japan for sale.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. Lam then contacted some potential buyers, including a friend and the Federation of Trade Unions, and placed five orders for 72,304 boxes of masks, from February 17 to 28, with deposits paid in cash. At the time Hong Kong was grappling with its first wave of Covid-19, and the authorities had urged the public to be cautious and mindful of scams amid the frenzied buying of masks across the city. Prosecutor Lawrence Hui said Sit had promised to deliver some of the masks at Kwai Chung Container Terminals on February 29, only to announce just an hour before the scheduled delivery time the order would be postponed until March 2 as the cargo had yet to arrive. Feeling suspicious, Lam reported the case to police and called Sit again, whereupon the defendant admitted it had been a scam but that she would not return the money. Upon arrest on March 7, Sit said she knew someone online, known as “Ray”, offering to sell surgical masks. So she asked around to see if anyone was interested, thinking it would be a chance to earn money. But she then learned the goods would not be delivered and gambled away the money out of greed, court heard. Airport worker accused of HK$3 million scam on surgical mask shopper denied bail Police subsequently seized HK$15,670 from her wallet and another HK$120,000 from her boyfriend’s home, which Sit confirmed were the remaining sums from the amount she stole. Investigators also contacted the so-called online acquaintance, by the name “Ray Ho” from Sit’s contact list, who said he declined Sit’s offer to purchase masks from her and that he did not respond when she asked to buy from him. Defence counsel Stephanie Ko Cho-wing said Sit was a loyal and hardworking service leader earning HK$18,000 a month to support her mother, who had been diagnosed with brain cancer. Sit also wrote to the court admitting her misdeeds and that she felt “deep remorse and shame”, and promised that she would not reoffend. But Ko confirmed that her client was unable to pay back the money because she had gambled most of it on online baccarat. District Judge Isaac Tam Sze-lok said: “It’s very convenient for the defendant to say she’s gambled away HK$3 million in a short period of time.” Ko said Sit had promised not to gamble again. “She has no means to,” the judge countered, “unless she borrows or cheats again.” “Well, of course not,” Ko replied.More from South China Morning Post:Hong Kong con artist jailed for 1½ years for duping 80 people out of HK$120,000 in mask scam amid Covid-19 pandemicMask scam in Hong Kong preying on coronavirus desperation cons seven people out of HK$3 millionScores of Hongkongers hit by mask scam on Facebook, hundreds more could be fraud victims since coronavirus outbreakCoronavirus: con artists swindle thousands of Hongkongers in face mask scams totalling HK$48 millionThis article Hong Kong woman jailed for nearly 3 years over HK$3 million surgical mask scam on schoolmate first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
Miss World Malaysia 2018 Larissa Ping said she was ‘embarrassed’ for the country. This article, Ex-beauty queen becomes target of trolls after calling out Miss Universe Israel’s ‘cyberbullies’, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.
Benjamin Lee. co-founder and CEO Sealed Network Pte. Ltd., an expert network company, shares why he started the business.
Six opposition rebels have been killed after days of clashes in Myanmar, an anti-junta defence force made up of civilians said Sunday, as Britain and the United States condemned the military's violence against civilians.
80 people died of COVID-19 over the weekend. This article, Shipping container becomes makeshift morgue at Sungai Buloh Hospital as COVID deaths rise, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.
The trading of stock in Hong Kong's largest pro-democracy media group was halted Monday, days after authorities froze the assets of its jailed owner Jimmy Lai under a new national security law.
President Joe Biden announced Monday that the United States is surging exports of Covid vaccines to other countries to reclaim "American leadership" in the global fight against the pandemic, dismissing rival efforts by China and Russia.
The Ministry of Education said on Tuesday (18 May) it would be suspending in-person private tuition and enrichment classes for students aged 18 and below from Wednesday to 13 June.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison defended his "Fortress Australia" Covid-19 restrictions Tuesday, as experts warned that plans to keep the borders closed for another year will create a "hermit nation".
As Singapore tightens its COVID-19 measures to tackle a rise in infections, we single out five REITs that should remain unaffected. The post 5 REITs That Remain Unaffected by the Return to Phase 2 appeared first on The Smart Investor.
Former Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying’s increasingly vocal stance on the city’s housing shortage and national security law has sparked speculation he plans to run for the top job again, but even if he is not, his rhetoric is putting pressure on the current administration to act. Should Leung decide to run in the chief executive elections next March, observers and politicians also said his unpopularity with the public and some business leaders was unlikely to be an obstacle, as the city’s current leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has also been seeking to rebuild her public image after the protests in 2019. They said regardless of whether Leung launches his own bid, or supports someone else, his proactive commentary on Lam’s policies would inevitably force the current administration to up its game, especially in areas such as safeguarding national security and solving the city’s land and housing shortage.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 current government must be pressured to out-compete Leung,” said Lau Siu-kai, vice-chairman of the semi-official Beijing think tank the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies. “If Leung wants to be the next leader, there’s also no question that he will want to establish himself as more progressive, courageous and intelligent [on policy issues] than the current chief executive.” Leung, a vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, was Hong Kong’s chief executive from 2012 to 2017. Since Lam took office in July 2017, Leung has voiced his views on a number of government policies and used his Facebook page to criticise the opposition. In one social media post last year, he suggested education minister Kevin Yeung Yun-hung had not done well enough in handling teachers found to have been involved in the anti-government protests, and accused the minister of trying to “avoid his responsibilities”. Lam had avoided commenting on Leung’s remarks, but in January she distanced herself from a suggestion by Leung that the city’s next chief executive could be selected without an electoral process. Carrie Lam ‘most liberal-minded’ leader Hong Kong has ever had: top adviser Last Thursday, Leung went a step further by renewing his controversial proposal for the construction of public and subsidised housing on the periphery of country parks, noting that the current government, led by Lam, had terminated his plan. Lau said the country park plan showed that Leung and his supporters had started to target specific policies that Lam did not implement. Asked if Leung was too unpopular to govern Hong Kong again, Lau said he believed Beijing was more concerned about policy execution. “The central government wants seamless cooperation with the chief executive,” he said. “Beijing understands that the chief executive cannot have high popularity overnight if it wants to continue with a tough and strong policy direction on Hong Kong.” In 2012 and 2017, Leung and Lam were elected by the 1,200-member Election Committee. The committee consisted of four 300-member sectors, representing the city’s business, professional, social and political elites. Under a Beijing-decreed political overhaul to be implemented this year, the committee will become a 1,500-member body, with the addition of a 300-member sector dominated by Hong Kong delegates to the mainland’s legislature and other prominent bodies. Lau said while Leung struggled to secure support from the business and professional sectors in 2012, it would not be a problem for him to get enough nominations from each of the five sectors, should he consider a bid next year. “The business sector used to be dominated by the big conglomerates, now their influence will be diluted,” he said. Only Beijing holds power over Hong Kong chief executive election: CY Leung A pro-Beijing lawmaker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Leung was being more active than Lam and former leaders such as Tung Chee-hwa in commenting on public policy. “Last year, we could say he was just expressing his care about the city,” they said. “With his approach now, everyone knows what he’s doing.” Some pundits suggested Leung could be paving the way for someone else, such as Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po, to launch a bid, but the lawmaker dismissed that. “If Leung was doing it for someone else, he or his supporters would make hints,” they said. “I’ve yet to see that, so I think Leung is doing it for himself.” Asked if Leung might struggle to secure support from the business sector, the lawmaker said Beijing’s endorsement and policy propriety was what counted. “If Beijing’s priority is to fix Hong Kong’s civil service and reform the education system, it may want someone who’s most familiar with how the bureaucracy works to be the leader,” they said, in a reference to Lam. “But if Beijing wants to narrow Hong Kong’s wealth gap and resolve the land and housing problems, it will need a strong leader who can execute policies without worrying about clashing with the developers and those with vested interests.” Are Hong Kong’s teachers radicalising youth? Claim draws war of words Chan Wai-keung, a political scientist at Polytechnic University, said he believed Beijing would like a tougher person to lead Hong Kong and execute the central government’s policies. “Under the prevailing political situation, maybe Beijing would think that Leung is a better choice than Lam,” he said. Hui Ching, research director of policy think tank the Hong Kong Zhi Ming Institute, also believed the central government would like to replace the current chief executive, but Chinese University political scientist Ivan Choy said it was too early to say. “Perhaps he [Leung] is just trying to expand the influence of his camp in the future chief executive election,” Choy said.More from South China Morning Post:Former Hong Kong leader CY Leung ups pressure on Chief Executive Carrie Lam over housing, city’s cultureEx-Hong Kong leader revives plan to build public flats at country park, fuelling rumours of run for top officeThis article Is former Hong Kong leader CY Leung making a comeback bid? Even if not, he still has the government on the back foot first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday welcomed Denmark's plans to boost its military presence in Greenland and the North Atlantic.
The US Treasury slapped sanctions on 16 senior Myanmar officials and family members Monday, citing their support for the government's "violent and lethal attacks" against the country's pro-democracy movement.
Novak Djokovic admitted Sunday that he's "a long shot" to win Roland Garros where he would likely have to dethrone rival and 13-time Paris champion Rafael Nadal.