Federal and state actors plan to revisit the issues of legalization and decriminalization in the new year.
The female director of City Funeral Singapore, 38-year-old Alverna Cher, has been charged with culpable homicide over the death of her ex-boyfriend.
More countries are weighing in on the public rift between China and Australia over a controversial tweet as tensions – which were already high because of trade bans by Beijing – continue to escalate.Cale Brown, deputy spokesman for the US State Department, said the tweet by Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian featuring a digital illustration of an Australian soldier appearing to murder a child in Afghanistan, was “another example of its unchecked use of disinformation and coercive diplomacy”.“This is a new low, even for the Chinese Communist Party,” Brown posted on his Twitter account on Wednesday morning. “Its hypocrisy is obvious to all. While it doctors images on @Twitter to attack other nations, the CCP prevents its own citizens from reading their posts.”Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.Brown said the US stood with its Australian ally.“As the CCP spreads disinformation, it covers up its horrendous human rights abuses, including the detention of more than a million Muslims in Xinjiang,” Brown tweeted.The comments by Brown came as more countries stepped in to the latest diplomatic row between China and Australia, which had already been locked in a bitter feud over the origins of the coronavirus pandemic and Beijing’s trade restrictions on a number of Australian exports before Zhao’s tweet on Monday. There are no signs of the diplomatic conflict easing. As China and Australia exchange blows, what can stop the fight?The French foreign ministry also commented on Zhao’s tweet and the attached digital illustration, saying it was unworthy of diplomatic methods and an insult to all countries whose armed forces had been engaged in Afghanistan.But the Chinese embassy in France dismissed those criticisms with a statement saying the tweet, which has been pinned to the top of Zhao’s Twitter account, contained “objective comments made based on facts, and the image he cited is a satirical digital illustration by a Chinese folk artist based on the facts”.“Rather than condemning the war atrocities of torturing and killing civilians, the French side blamed those who denounced the atrocities of being ‘prejudiced’, ‘offensive’ and ‘insulting’,” the embassy said. “Such a statement is so offensive that one cannot help but question whether those who made such comments are on the side of the war criminals or of international justice and human conscience. US-China ties will stabilise but remain competitive: ex-Australia PM“How can it be that a country that firmly defends the ‘right to caricature’ cannot tolerate the ‘right to caricature’ [by] young Chinese artists? What about the promised freedom of speech?” the statement said. “In the final analysis, it is a double standard that only asks what is right and not what is wrong, which is even more unconscionable.”On Tuesday Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, said her government had directly raised concerns with China over the “unfactual” image attached to Zhao’s tweet.In a statement released in Chinese on his official account on social media platform WeChat, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison emphasised that his government would handle problems revealed in a recent domestic war crimes inquiry in a “transparent and honest way”.Morrison had described Zhao’s tweet containing the image as “falsified”, “repugnant” and “utterly outrageous”.On Tuesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying assigned blame to the Australian side, which she said was seeking to “deflect international attention from the criticisms and condemnations on the killings of Afghanistan’s civilians by some Australian soldiers”.More from South China Morning Post: * To deal with China, Australia should learn from Japan and ‘put away the megaphone’: former PM Kevin Rudd * Want to be a Chinese diplomat? Developers have a program that emulates China’s ‘Wolf Warrior’ rhetoric * How an all-out trade war with China would cost Australia 6 per cent of GDP * Australia and US to take on China and Russia in game-changing hypersonic missilesThis article US and France weigh in on bitter China-Australia tweet row over Afghanistan image but Beijing holds firm first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he's largely sticking with a partisan, scaled-back COVID-19 relief bill that has already failed twice this fall, even as Democratic leaders and a bipartisan group of moderates offered concessions in hopes of passing pandemic aid before Congress adjourns for the year. The Kentucky Republican made the announcement after President-elect Joe Biden called upon lawmakers to pass a downpayment relief bill now with more to come next year.
Terry Xu had decided not to subpoena Lee Hsien Yang as a witness because his allegations against PM Lee were unfounded, PM's lawyer said.
The year-end festivities are around the corner and if you’re thinking of ways to clear your paid leave, why not treat yourself to a...
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.
Australia will jointly develop hypersonic cruise missiles with the United States in a bid to counter joint development of the highly destructive, game-changing technology by China and Russia.Military analysts said the move was a response to the perceived threat from China’s hypersonic weapons development but would have little impact on deterring Beijing’s pursuit of the technology.Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds announced the hypersonic partnership on Tuesday, saying Australia was investing to give the Australian Defence Force “more options to deter aggression against Australia’s interests”.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.“We acknowledged the unique role of our defence partnership to maintain our competitive edge, and affirmed the value of bilateral collaboration on hypersonics,” Reynolds said, signing a collaborative agreement to develop the missile prototypes.“Investing in capabilities that deter actions against Australia also benefits our region, our allies and our security partners … We remain committed to peace and stability in the region, and an open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific.” China boosts its attack range with launch of mysterious new hypersonic cruise missile, insiders sayHypersonic missiles travel at several times the speed of sound – much faster than conventional weapons – and give target countries little time to respond.According to a US report in August, China’s DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile is capable of carrying a nuclear hypersonic glide vehicle but the US is unlikely to field an operational hypersonic weapon before 2023.Reynolds did not say when the missiles would be operational or how much it would cost to develop them. But Australia has set aside up to A$9.3 billion (US$6.8 billion) this year for high-speed, long-range missile defence systems, including hypersonic research.Michael Kratsios, acting undersecretary for research and engineering from the US Department of Defence, said the collaboration could ensure the US and its allies would lead the world in the advancement of this transformational war-fighting capability.The announcement follows an agreement signed last week between Australia and the United States to flight test full-size prototype hypersonic cruise missiles.It also comes amid reports that China has made progress in developing high-end military weapons, including hypersonic missiles and drones.According to a report released by the US Congressional Research Service last week, China has a robust research and development infrastructure devoted to hypersonic weapons.The report said China had conducted a number of successful tests of the DF-17, a medium-range ballistic missile specifically designed to launch hypersonic glide vehicles, and had a new airborne hypersonic cruise missile aimed at expanding the Chinese air force’s strike abilities.China also successfully tested the Xingkong 2, or Starry Sky 2, a nuclear-capable hypersonic vehicle prototype, in August 2018.In addition, Russia is pursuing two hypersonic weapons programmes – the Avangard and the 3M22 Tsirkon. How China is pushing forward its plan for a powerful, modern militaryJon Grevatt, an Asia-Pacific defence industry analyst at defence industry publisher Janes, said threats from China and Russia pushed Australia to team up with the US to develop hypersonic systems.“The move itself is not a direct response to China. But it is part of a response to the growing trends in major powers to develop these hypersonic, very very fast missile systems,” Grevatt said.“The development of hypersonic missiles by Australia and the United States will be part of an effort to enhance the security in the Asia-Pacific region.“China’s development of hypersonic missiles and other advanced missiles is highly motivated, and Australia’s decision to develop the missile will not push China to develop more.”He said other countries in the region such as India, Japan and South Korea might follow and develop other sophisticated weapon systems, but the competition would not easily go out of control because of “very robust diplomatic communication channels”.Beijing-based military expert Zhou Chenming said Australia and the US had long had close military ties and China would not be worried by the latest joint effort.“Hypersonic weapons require large amounts of investment and years of research before they can yield any fruit. By then China could have even more sophisticated weapons,” Zhou said.More from South China Morning Post: * Beijing to New York in 2 hours? Chinese team reveal hypersonic plane ambition * China and Russia’s push to develop hypersonic weapons raises fears of arms race with US * China’s hypersonic aircraft, Starry Sky-2, could be used to carry nuclear missiles at six times the speed of soundThis article Australia and US to take on China and Russia in game-changing hypersonic missiles first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
The United States on Tuesday sharply criticized China for not enforcing sanctions on North Korea and vowed to step up its own efforts, as hopes fade for a last-minute breakthrough under outgoing President Donald Trump.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart Muhyiddin Yassin discussed the High Speed Rail in view of the 31 December final deadline.
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 more than midway through the year and whether it’s been full of good stuff — resolutions going as planned — […]The post High Tea Promotions In Singapore appeared first on SingSaver Blog - We Compare, You Save.
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.
The Kopitiam and Heavenly Wang outlets at Changi Airport Terminal 3 are among the new locations added to public places recently visited by COVID-19 cases.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo strongly criticised Turkey at a NATO ministerial meeting, participants told AFP on Wednesday, raising the hopes of some allies pushing for sanctions against Ankara.
On a recent sunny morning in New York a few dozen people gathered in Central Park's wooded Ramble area with a common goal: zero in on an elusive owl.
Eat Just Inc., a maker of meat and egg substitutes, has been approved to sell its laboratory-created chicken in Singapore, which becomes the first government to allow the sale of cultured meat.
Break free from lock-in contracts with the best SIM-only plans in the market. The SIM-only, mobile plan war is now in full swing. Gone are the days when fixed mobile plan contracts by Singtel, StarHub, and M1 locked you in for a period of 12- […]The post Best SIM-Only Mobile Plans For Light, Moderate, And Heavy Data Users appeared first on SingSaver Blog - We Compare, You Save.
Former Mediacorp actor Huang Yi Liang, charged with hurting a Bangladeshi worker, claims his worker was waiting for an opportunity to leave his contract.
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.
Australia's economy grew by 3.3% in the third quarter, rebounding from its first recession in nearly three decades as it recovered from pandemic-related shocks, according to figures released Wednesday. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told reporters the country still has a lot of ground to make up from the coronavirus downturn. “Australia’s recession may be over, but Australia’s economic recovery is not,” he said.
It was his first contact with another elephant in eight years.