The US State Department is ordering the departure of "non-emergency US government employees and their family members" from Myanmar
The US State Department is ordering the departure of "non-emergency US government employees and their family members" from Myanmar
A Syrian officer was killed and three soldiers wounded Thursday in strikes launched by Israel after a missile was fired towards a secretive nuclear site in the Jewish state, a monitor said.
China's Belt and Road Initiative deals are "used for propaganda", a top Australian official said Thursday as he defended Canberra's decision to scrap a state government's deals with Beijing.
James Dyson has switched his residency from Singapore to the UK, reversing a move he made about two years ago after his technology firm revealed plans to relocate its headquarters to Singapore.
Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou has won an application to adjourn her Canadian extradition case for more than three months in light of new evidence being provided by the bank HSBC, throwing the schedule for the already-marathon case into disarray. The final phase of the legal battle, which has lasted 28 months and has upended China’s relations with Canada and the US, had been scheduled to begin next week. But Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes ruled in the Supreme Court of British Columbia on Wednesday that Meng’s bid to adjourn the case should be granted so the defence can examine the bank documents they believe may be relevant. Meng’s lawyers had said on Monday that some of the material has already been provided by HSBC, with more expected to be delivered over the next six weeks. 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. Holmes vacated three weeks of court hearings scheduled from April 26 to May 14. She ordered them rescheduled on or about August 3. The decision scrambles the end game for the case. Holmes, Meng’s lawyers and the Canadian government lawyers representing US interests will hold a conference on April 28 to chart a new path forward. In her brief oral ruling, which included no reasons for the decision, Holmes said new applications resulting from the HSBC evidence would have to be made before August 3. Written reasons for the decision would be forthcoming, she said. Meng Wanzhou seeks three-month delay to marathon extradition case HSBC agreed to turn over documents to Meng – who is Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei – after settling a case with her in the High Court of Hong Kong. Previously, HSBC had defeated another request to turn over the material in the British courts. The Canadian Department of Justice’s top lawyer, Robert Frater, had said it was “inexplicable” that HSBC had acquiesced to Meng in Hong Kong, considering the bank had “won on every point” in the British case. Frater, whose team opposed the application, had characterised Meng as engaging in a global fishing expedition for evidence that had no place in the Canadian extradition hearing and should instead be presented at a US trial. But Meng’s lawyers had claimed the material from HSBC could support their contention that US authorities have deceived the Canadian court, and Meng’s extradition should therefore be thrown out. Meng is accused by US authorities of defrauding HSBC by lying to the bank about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, thus putting the bank at risk of breaching US sanctions. She was arrested at Vancouver’s airport on December 1, 2018, and has been fighting a US request to have her extradited to face trial in New York ever since. Her treatment has infuriated Beijing. The new HSBC material is said by Meng’s lawyers to relate to the relationship between Huawei and HSBC and two subsidiaries – Skycom, through which Huawei did business in Iran, and a shell company called Canicula. Meng’s lawyer Richard Peck had said on Monday the material would be “copious”, but none of it has been made public. Its unknown nature apparently dismayed Frater, who had told Holmes: “They do not know what is in these documents and they do not know when they are going to get them.” HSBC, Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou settle Hong Kong case seeking documents The schedule for the case has been tightly calibrated and the subject of much negotiation between the government side, which is seeking to hasten proceedings, and Meng’s team, apparently happy to extend them. Peck had denied that Meng was “trying to string this out”; the adjournment was a matter of fundamental fairness, he had said. The government’s written response to the application, however, had lambasted the request. “Two and a half years from the start of these proceedings, countless hours spent fashioning a schedule agreed by both sides, and mere days from reaching the finishing line, the applicant asks this court to take a several month pause,” it said. In court on Monday, Frater had said “there is literally no basis for this request … they are asking once again to have this court turn itself into a trial court”. But Holmes disagreed. Now both sides will try to map out the rest of the complicated case, which involves some of Canada’s leading defence and government lawyers, negotiating pandemic travel restrictions on both sides of the country with a mix of in-person, video and telephone hearings. Meng will await the resumption of her case under partial house arrest in her C$13.7 million (US$11 million) home, one of two houses she owns in Vancouver. In the days after her arrest, Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were detained in China and accused of espionage. Last month, they underwent closed-door trials that each lasted only a couple of hours; no verdicts have been announced. Canada’s government says Kovrig and Spavor are victims of hostage diplomacy and has called for their release. China, meanwhile, has repeatedly called on Canada to free Meng, categorising her arrest in similar terms.More from South China Morning Post:Meng Wanzhou seeks three-month delay to marathon extradition case, citing new evidence from HSBCExtradition judge is told she, not minister, must decide if US has jurisdiction over Meng Wanzhou’s actions in Hong KongMeng Wanzhou’s extradition judge should not decide on US jurisdiction, Canadian government lawyer saysHSBC, Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou settle Hong Kong case seeking documents as she fights extraditionMeng Wanzhou’s lawyer blasts ex-Mountie for ‘shock’ refusal to testify at extradition hearingThis article Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou wins bid to delay extradition hearing by three months, throwing marathon case into turmoil first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
A 90-year-old Hong Kong woman has been conned out of US$32million by fraudsters posing as Chinese officials, police said, in the city's biggest recorded phone scam.
Thousands of protesters massed outside German parliament on Wednesday as lawmakers prepared to vote on a law amendment giving Angela Merkel's government power to impose tougher measures to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
A US spy plane buzzed the Chinese coast this week, one of several warplanes deployed close to Chinese territorial waters amid live-fire exercises by the PLA Navy, according to a think tank. The Beijing-based South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative said a US Air Force RC-135W electronic reconnaissance aircraft made an unusually close flight along China’s eastern coast on Tuesday, coming within 40 nautical miles of Qingdao, the headquarters of People’s Liberation Army Navy’s North Sea Fleet. An RC-135W and a P-8A anti-submarine aircraft also patrolled the South China Sea on Wednesday during live-fire exercises in the disputed waters, according to the think tank.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. Last week, US spy planes patrolled along the southeast coast of Guangdong province before heading south to the disputed Paracel Islands, also in the South China Sea, according to open-source aviation radar responder records. The think tank said the aircraft involved in the patrols last week and on Wednesday temporarily “disappeared” from public radar records when flying over the eastern to northern section of the Paracels, possibly “having turned off their responders”. Beijing’s ‘combat drills’ near Taiwan seen as a message to US military State broadcaster China Central Television said near-shore patrols enabled planes to detect electronic signals on land in their mission to collect intelligence on the PLA. “The patrols enable them to obtain more information in the shortest time and more valuable signals in the most efficient manner,” the broadcaster said. At the same time, PLA’s Liaoning aircraft carrier strike group has been conducting exercises near Taiwan. Last September, China accused US warplanes of masquerading as civilian aircraft in close-shore reconnaissance missions, posing a “serious security threat”. Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said identity disguise was a “common trick”, with the US Air Force carrying out such exercises at least 100 times in 2020. In August, a US surveillance plane flew into the no-fly zone China announced for a military exercise in the Yellow Sea, prompting a protest from the Chinese defense ministry.More from South China Morning Post:China ‘not afraid of falling behind’ on military technology, analyst saysWas China’s military modernisation driven by its ‘humiliation’ in 1996?China’s aviation capabilities stuck at ‘low-end’ as military-civil fusion weighs on innovation: official reportChina’s military to hold live-fire drills off Taiwan as US delegation visits the islandThis article US spy planes keep close eye on China amid live-fire military exercises first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
All travellers who have been to India in the preceding two weeks will be barred from entering Singapore from 11.59pm on Friday.
The guide price for the city fringe shophouse property is $4.5 million The post City fringe shophouse along Serangoon Road for sale at S4.5m appeared first on iCompareLoan.
An outspoken Hong Kong church leader known for his public criticism of the national security law and the ill-fated extradition bill that triggered the 2019 anti-government protests has resigned from his post and moved to Britain. Reverend Lo Hing-choi, who was reelected president of the city’s 80,000-strong Baptist Convention last year and was due to finish his term at the end of this month, said his abrupt departure on Tuesday was prompted by the erosion of Hong Kong’s unique freedoms. “The biggest – or the only – reason behind it is the changes in Hong Kong and its shrinking freedom. The government policies have deviated from the principles and basis of reasonableness and fairness,” he wrote in a piece published in the Christian Times on Wednesday night.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. “Hong Kong currently is not just being torn apart, but there is a dislocation created by those in power.” Hong Kong churches and the national security law: pastors censor sermons, online posts amid fears The Baptist Convention of Hong Kong under Lo’s leadership had openly urged the government in 2019 to withdraw its extradition bill, which would have allowed the rendition of criminal suspects to mainland China. The legislation was eventually scrapped, but not before it sparked months of often violent protests. Last June, he also published an article slamming the Beijing-imposed national security law, saying it would officially mark the end of the “one country, two systems” framework, deprive Hongkongers of their right to free speech and destroy the city’s judicial system. Lo said his friends and peers had been urging him to get prepared to leave since the imposition of the security law, and especially after he was called out by pro-Beijing newspaper Ta Kung Pao in July and September. “I did not take it seriously at first as I thought I’m just a small potato whom no one cares about,” he wrote. “But then when I saw how the authorities went after moderate figures who have contributed to society one after another and locked them all up, I have a clearer picture of my future.” Lo, who will soon turn 70, admitted it was not easy for him to leave behind Hong Kong and his church for Britain, saying he was grappling with the guilt of being a “deserter”. He said he made up his mind to leave this week after he managed to secure a seat on a flight for his pet, and because he feared that if he did not leave immediately, a rebound of Covid-19 cases would leave him trapped in the city for a long time. In an interview with the Post last year, Lo said he had taken down all his online criticism of the national security law hours before it came into effect, as he did not want his opinions to cause trouble for the Baptist Church. He also said he intended to keep a low profile. Hong Kong union accused of violating security law by screening documentary In a message posted on its website, the Baptist Convention confirmed Lo had resigned on Tuesday for personal reasons and expressed gratitude to the pastor for his contributions since taking charge of the organisation in 2018. He would be temporarily replaced by Reverend Lam Hoi-sing until the end of this month, it said. A number of outspoken church leaders have left the city in the wake of the national security law. Among them were evangelical pastors Wong Siu-yung and Yeung Kin-keung, who signed a joint “Gospel Declaration” calling on followers to point out wrongdoing by the authorities and to resist any totalitarian regime. The pair later announced they were going into self-imposed exile after being accused by pro-Beijing newspapers of inciting secession and subversion under the sweeping security law. More from South China Morning Post:London making it easier for Hongkongers to apply for visas through BN(O) schemeOpposition-leaning Hong Kong union that screened protest documentary accused of violating national security law by pro-Beijing politicianHong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai slapped with extra national security law charge, also accused of perverting course of justice over fugitive’s escape to TaiwanThis article Outspoken Hong Kong pastor and head of Baptist Convention leaves city over national security law fears first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
‘Shangri-La has continued its relationship with the same body that purchases weapons used to murder our people.’ - Justice for Myanmar This article, Myanmar activists put pressure on Robert Kuok’s niece over alleged business ties with military, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.
More aid to Africa and Latin America, greater funding for technology industries and a more robust US development bank were among the initiatives added on Wednesday to a landmark bill intended to improve the US’ ability to compete with China. “The issues facing us today in foreign policy, and perhaps for the entire 21st century, is going to be China, China and China,” said Jim Risch of Idaho, the senior Republican on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, in the hearing on the Strategic Competition Act of 2021. “I can’t overstate the significance of this bill.”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 legislation, which enjoys strong bipartisan support, represents an effort by Congress to strengthen US tools deemed necessary to counter Beijing and to bolster US capabilities as the two economic giants increasingly face off as “strategic competitors”. “China is strategic competition – not because that is what we want or what we have tried to create but because of the choices that Beijing has and is making,” said Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, the committee’s chairman. “China today is challenging the United States and international community across every dimension of power – political, diplomatic, economic, innovation, military, even cultural – and with an alternative and deeply disturbing model for global governance.” US lawmakers prepare a sweeping effort to counter China The legislation is now expected to go to the full senate for debate and a vote. While it has several steps to go before enactment, the hearing underscores its strong support and broad ambitions. Risch predicted that it could end up with as many as 80 votes in the 100-seat Senate, an extraordinary level of support amid an era in Washington of deep partisan division. Even before Wednesday’s amending, the bill was already 281 pages and is almost certain to grow. A Pew Research poll in May 2020 found that nine out of 10 Americans regard China as a competitor or an enemy, rather than as a partner. The bill as written would add new sanctions on Chinese officials accused of human rights violations in Hong Kong and Xinjiang; strengthen US ties with Taiwan; and try to further limit Beijing’s military operations and territorial claims in the South China Sea and beyond. The legislation follows a recent spike in military tensions involving the self-governing island of Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province, and in waters around the Philippines. The bill would also earmark US$10 million to “promote democracy” in Hong Kong and require a State Department report on ways that China uses Hong Kong’s unique status to circumvent US laws and safeguards. Several senators cited Beijing’s policies toward the Uygurs in the far western Xinjiang region as justification for their hardline amendments. Up to 1 million of the mostly Muslim community are detained in camps there, according to civic groups and the United Nations, with some accounts accusing China of using torture, forced labour and sterilisations. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has upheld a Trump administration determination that the abuses constitute genocide, although that wording is not included in this bill. Beijing has characterised the camps as employment and training centres, a claim that has been met with growing scepticism in the US and Europe. In a bid to bolster its case, the Chinese embassy in Washington – just as the hearing was starting on Wednesday morning – announced an online event entitled “Xinjiang is a wonderful land”. The May programme is to include a 20-minute session on “Xinjiang residents on their everyday work and life”. One addition to the bill on Wednesday would include more effective programmes to counter China’s financial aid, lending and persuasion campaigns in Africa and Latin America, with senators bemoaning shortfalls in US efforts in those regions. Ideally, senators said, those would also include attempts to ramp up vaccine distribution to counter Beijing’s “vaccine diplomacy” around the world. The problems facing US companies looking to return home from China Another amendment would add funding to make the US more competitive in countering Beijing’s bid to establish supremacy in key technologies, as outlined in its Made in China 2025 economic blueprint. This is one of dozens of US efforts and proposals to make supply chains less dependent on China, bolster US semiconductor capacity and put more research funds into science and technology. “The best thing we can do is to start by investing in ourselves,” said Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, a close ally of President Joe Biden. But Coons also warned that state and federal funding is limited in the wake of the pandemic and its related economic downturn, which would require “tough choices” on some provisions in the Menendez-Risch legislation. Another new provision strengthens the US International Development Finance Corp as it tries to compete against the China Development Bank, which has played an instrumental role in Beijing’s signature Belt and Road Initiative, a global infrastructure programme. Proposed reforms include treating equity investments as loans and raising the agency’s equity cap to US$100 billion, from US$60 billion. Senators acknowledged, however, that Chinese spending leaves the US in the dust. China’s development bank is more than 10 times the size of its US counterpart, while Beijing’s loans to developing countries totalled US$462 billion from 2008 to 2019, vastly more than Washington’s outlays, they said. “American businesses need more tools to compete with China,” said Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey. “The US is decidedly being left behind.” Several amendments did not make it into the bill, including one by budget hawks to cut financing for the National Science Foundation and the Inter-American Development Bank. Another sought to upgrade the title of Americans working at the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto US embassy on the island, from “director” to “representative”. Some also questioned the effectiveness of some spending in the bill, including a proposed “Countering Chinese Influence Fund”, that has a five-year price tag of US$1.5 billion. Weifeng Zhong, a fellow at the libertarian Mercatus Centre, said he found it “refreshing” that “US policymakers recognise the increasing importance of the US-Taiwan partnership”. However, he added, “many of the proposed uses of the fund are about making Americans aware of China’s malign influence – which they already are – while much-needed details on how policymakers would actually confront it are still lacking.”More from South China Morning Post:US and EU should join forces to check China’s influence in Africa, Indo-Pacific, Republican senator proposesChina’s strategy in Africa ‘isn’t always working’, Biden UN nominee Linda Thomas-Greenfield tells senatorsUS lawmakers urge multilateral approach to counter ChinaThis article US senators propose more programmes to help competition with China 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 24 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore on Thursday (22 April) including 22 imported cases, one case in the community, and one dormitory resident, taking the country's total case count to 60,904.
A Chinese drone maker says it has manufactured a prototype unmanned stealth aircraft that it claims could rival the B-21 Raider being developed for the US Air Force. Zhongtian Feilong Intelligent Technology, based in Xian, said in a statement on its WeChat social media account on Tuesday that the Feilong-2 – or Flying Dragon-2 – prototype had recently been completed. It said the multirole high-subsonic unmanned aerial vehicle could be used for precision strikes on key assets such as enemy command centres, military airstrips and aircraft carriers.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 Feilong-2 could also be used with a swarm of drones to carry out reconnaissance and surveillance, a saturation attack or damage assessment, the statement said. It is designed to identify targets using optical and active radars in difficult weather conditions, and stealth features include a special coating to reduce reflection. The drone has an internal payload capacity of 6 tonnes and an operating range of 7,000km (4,350 miles) and it can be flown at an altitude of 49,000 feet. The aircraft can fly at up to 780km/h. According to its developer, the Chinese drone comes close to Northrop Grumman’s B-21 Raider in terms of speed, attack range, payload and stealth capabilities – but Zhongtian Feilong claims its unmanned aircraft is cheaper to produce and is expected to last longer. “This means the American B-21 has already fallen behind, even before it enters service,” the statement said. The B-21 Raider is an advanced, very long-range, heavy-payload stealth strategic bomber that will be able to deliver both conventional and thermonuclear weapons. It is expected to enter service around 2026. The US Air Force plans to retire its B-1B long-range supersonic conventional bombers to make way for the B-21s. The B-1Bs have been used for missions including reconnaissance over the South China Sea and near Chinese airspace, according to Beijing-based think tank the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative. Zhongtian Feilong’s other drones include an unmanned attack aircraft, long-range reconnaissance aircraft and a fixed-wing light small drone, according to the China Aerospace Studies Institute in the US. China should use drones to patrol and defend contested seas, academics say Drones, which can be used to carry out attacks against enemies while minimising a military’s own casualties, have become increasingly important for defence forces around the world, and developing them is a key part of the rivalry between China and the United States. A Shenzhen-based company unveiled a new military micro drone for surveillance in February that could rival the Black Hornet Nano used by the US, while in October, Chinese media reported that a low-cost “suicide drone” – dispatched in a swarm to attack a target – had been developed in the country.More from South China Morning Post:Chinese fishermen find drone ship ‘used for spying by a foreign country’How Shenzhen, the hi-tech hub of China, became the drone capital of the worldChinese military micro drone unveiled at Abu Dhabi weapons showThis article Chinese firm claims new stealth drone may rival US Air Force’s B-21 Raider first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
Snooker star Mark Williams hit out at attempts to ban his unusual break-off shot after easing into the second round of the World Championship with a 10-4 victory over qualifier Sam Craigie on Wednesday.
Joe Biden's emotional voice on the call to George Floyd's family told the story of his presidency: "I wish I were there just to put my arms around you."
China on Thursday said Australia's sudden scrapping of a Belt and Road Initiative deal risked "serious harm" to relations and warned of retaliatory actions, but Canberra insisted it would not be bullied.
For co-founder and CEO Anthony Tan, who’ll hold 2.2% of Grab after the deal, that means his fortune will surge to US$829 million, while co-founder Tan Hooi Ling and President Ming Maa will worth US$256 million and US$144 million,.
Belgium's ambassador to South Korea apologised Thursday after footage showed his wife hitting two boutique staff in the head in a row over shoplifting.
A Mrs World winner facing criminal charges after an on-stage fracas at a Sri Lankan beauty pageant has relinquished her title, organisers said Wednesday.