March 25 (Bloomberg) –- True Ventures Partner Om Malik discusses Box’s revealing its filing for its IPO. He speaks with Emily Chang and Cory Johnson on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg West.” (Source: Bloomberg)
President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday Turkey will not back down to threats of sanctions nor to incursions on its claimed territory in the Mediterranean Sea, where it is in a standoff with EU-member Greece over oil and gas exploration rights. European Union foreign ministers on Friday said Ankara's actions were antagonistic and dangerous after a meeting requested by Athens. Tensions between NATO members Greece and Turkey have risen in the past week after Turkey sent the Oruc Reis survey vessel, escorted by warships, to map out possible oil and gas drilling in territory over which both countries claim jurisdiction.
Lebanon will only receive financial support when its leaders enact reforms, a senior U.S. official said on Saturday, urging them to finally respond to their people's demands for good governance and to end corruption. "When we see Lebanese leaders committed to real change, change in word and deed, America and its international partners will respond to systemic reforms with sustained financial support," David Hale said at the end of a three-day visit to Beirut following a catastrophic chemicals explosion earlier this month.
A ship that has leaked more than 1,000 tonnes of oil in pristine waters off the Mauritius coast appeared to be breaking apart Saturday.
Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate soared to almost 840 percent in July, the statistics agency said Saturday, adding to the country's desperate economic woes even as the government refused to acknowledge a growing sense of crisis.
British travellers returning home from parts of Europe and beyond began having to quarantine on Saturday under new restrictions, while Russia said it has produced the first batch of its controversial coronavirus vaccine.
Germany's health minister on Saturday criticised "party holidays" and defended a decision to declare nearly all of Spain, including the tourist island of Mallorca, a coronavirus risk region following a spike in cases there. "I know how much the Germans love Spain ... But unfortunately the infection rates there are rising sharply, too sharply," Jens Spahn told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. People returning to Germany from designated risk regions face a coronavirus test or two weeks' compulsory quarantine.
For more than five years, Kong Tsung-gan was a name that turned up regularly as a Hong Kong protest activist and writer quoted frequently by foreign media.Now, the revelation that “Kong” is in fact a pen name of possibly an American named Brian Kern has ignited debate over the legitimacy of using a pseudonym in Hong Kong’s highly charged political environment.The controversy was sparked recently by an American alternative news website that accused Kern of adopting a fictitious identity as an ethnic Chinese grass roots activist as a “deceptive ploy” to “disseminate anti-China propaganda”.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.“Kong” later responded to the article by admitting he had been using a pen name all along, but did not confirm his true identity. His defenders claimed he had to operate incognito for his own safety. He had 32,000 followers on Twitter, with a photograph of a Chinese man accompanying his anti-government tweets, and “Kong Tsung-gan” has appeared in reports on Hong Kong by CNN, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Agence France-Presse and Guardian, among others.A columnist for the Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP), he also wrote books and his most recent, about last year’s social unrest, was praised by the last British governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten.On August 8, news website The Grayzone reported that Kong was in fact Brian Kern, an American who worked with human rights group Amnesty International before moving to Hong Kong to teach.The site, run by American journalist and author Max Blumenthal, accused Kern of using his fake identity to spread anti-China propaganda through his writing.On Monday, HKFP published a letter from Kong admitting he used the pen name when he started writing about the city’s protests after the 2014 “umbrella movement”.While not confirming he was in fact Kern, he denied The Grayzone’s allegation that he was a “foreign force”, insisting he was a Hong Kong permanent resident who had lived in the city for years.Kong’s Twitter followers include pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Sunny Cheung Kwan-yang and Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit.He has called for sanctions against Hong Kong to pile pressure on China and, in a tweet last week, said the US administration “got just the right people” when it sanctioned 11 Hong Kong and mainland officials.“We’ve been fighting long & hard to get these particular individuals sanctioned as a means of beginning to hold them accountable for abusing HK people’s autonomy & rights,” he tweeted.He has been a regular writer for HKFP, the free news site formed five years ago by blogger Tom Grundy, and which raised HK$2.6 million (US$335,000) in 2018, according to its latest annual report.We’ve been fighting long & hard to get these particular individuals sanctioned as a means of beginning to hold them accountable for abusing HK people’s autonomy & rightsA recent ‘Kong Tsung-gan’ tweet on 11 sanctioned officialsGrundy told the Post that the site had updated its references to Kong to indicate it was a pen name. The site had also published articles by Brian Kern, but Grundy did not say if he was aware that Kong and Kern were one and the same person.Last December, however, Grundy threatened legal action against a Hong Kong newspaper, The Standard, after it published a column by writer Nury Vittachi that said Kong was American.In a Facebook post on Monday, Hong Kong-based Vittachi recalled that Grundy demanded the removal of his article.“Mr Grundy’s letter ignored the main issue – the fact that Hong Kong Chinese people did not want a white male activist pretending to be them all over the world’s media,” he said.Vittachi said he learned the truth about Kong’s identity last year at “a secret meeting with local Hong Kong people who were upset” an American was passing himself off as a Hongkonger.Grundy told the Post that the HKFP adopted a code of ethics in March, under which pseudonyms were allowed in “very exceptional circumstances”, such as when an author’s safety or job security may be compromised.As for why it had only now declared that Kong was a pen name, he said: “I regret the lag, but it’s impossible to retrospectively apply today’s code to 16,000 previous pieces of content.”As a writer, Kong gained attention for commentaries on various platforms and frequent tweets on protests and political incidents.He wrote three books about Hong Kong’s political movement, including one titled Liberate HK: Stories from the Freedom Struggle published in June by the Mekong Review literary quarterly.Patten, the last colonial governor, described the book as “a fascinating insider’s look at what has happened, which will be a defining issue for China’s place in the 21st century”.Sydney-based Mekong Review founder Minh Bui Jones said the company was seeking legal advice when asked if they knew that Kong was a fake name or had tried to verify his identity.In his letter in HKFP, Kong claimed he did not intend to deceive anyone about his ethnicity, but created the fake identity out of unspecified security concerns.He said he left Hong Kong as threats to him and his family spiked in late May, ahead of the city’s new national security law. He did not say what those threats were.“I will continue to do whatever I can for the freedom struggle from outside,” he said, adding that he would continue using Kong as his byline because he was known by that name.It appears obvious that Kern established a false Chinese identity to confer on his writing a sense of credibility which he did not believe he could attain under his own Anglo nameMax Blumenthal, founder of website The GrayzoneTim Hamlett, who regularly edits contributors’ copy for HKFP, said he was a bit surprised to learn that Kong was not who he appeared to be.“I must say, I thought he was Chinese from the name,” he said.The Grayzone, which identified Kong as Kern, describes itself as “an independent news website dedicated to original investigative journalism and analysis on politics and empire”. It is led by Blumenthal, who is described as “founder, editor-in-chief and reporter”.While the site accused Kern of being anti-China, Blumenthal himself appears on mainland Chinese media and has sparked controversy by talking down allegations of China’s mistreatment of minority Uygurs in Xinjiang province and coming out strongly against the conspiracy theory that the Covid-19 coronavirus escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan.He thought it disingenuous of Kong to claim he needed a fake identity to protect himself.“It appears obvious that Kern established a false Chinese identity to confer on his writing a sense of credibility which he did not believe he could attain under his own Anglo name,” he said.A spokesman for Amnesty International confirmed that Kern worked for its human rights education team in London in 2007.The following year, he joined Hong Kong’s Chinese International School as an English teacher and ran a human rights club for students, according to a 2012 Post report.Kern, who is believed to be in his 50s, has appeared in other news reports over the years since then.He was spotted at protests during the umbrella movement of 2014, and last year, he was seen at anti-government rallies.On one occasion he was filmed shouting at police officers on the street and, last August, he was photographed going to a rally with his wife and two daughters.An expert in media law and ethics, Dr Yan Mei-ning, said that writing under a pseudonym has become common in the digital era and it is difficult to know a person’s true motive for concealing their identity.Did he want to protect himself from nuisances, or make his viewpoints look more convincing under a different ethnicity? It’s hard to tellDr Yan Mei-ning, media law and ethics expertReferring to Kong, the adjunct associate professor at the University of Hong Kong’s law school added: “Did he want to protect himself from nuisances, or make his viewpoints look more convincing under a different ethnicity? It’s hard to tell.“But it would be the duty of journalists to judge whether his viewpoints are still valid, even if his identity cannot be verified.”Associate Professor Kaman Lee, associate head of Hong Kong Shue Yan University’s journalism school, could not comment specifically on Kern’s case, but said: “Speaking generally, while it is common for columnists and authors to use all sorts of pen names, journalists must use their real names and take responsibility for what they write.”She said journalists had to do that even at the risk of being criticised. “By using real names, journalists say, ‘We are reporting this with integrity, we hope you can comment with integrity too’,” she said.Additional reporting by Kristin HuangRebel City: Hong Kong’s Year of Water and Fire is a new book of essays that chronicles the political confrontation that has gripped the city since June 2019. Edited by the South China Morning Post's Zuraidah Ibrahim and Jeffie Lam, the book draws on work from the Post's newsrooms across Hong Kong, Beijing, Washington and Singapore, with unmatched insights into all sides of the conflict. Buy directly from SCMP today for HKD$198. Rebel City: Hong Kong's Year of Water and Fire is also available at major bookshops worldwide and online through Amazon, Kobo, Google Books, and eBooks.com.This article Hong Kong activist, writer ‘Kong Tsung-gan’ confirms that’s only a pen name; website says he’s really Brian Kern, an American first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
Iran on Saturday hailed a UN Security Council vote rejecting a US bid to extend an arms embargo on the Islamic republic, saying its foe has "never been so isolated".
After a fresh US legal move against ByteDance on Friday, analysts say that TikTok’s Beijing-based owner now has slightly longer to pull off a sale of its US operations, but at the same time the Trump administration has strengthened its hand against the Chinese technology company.President Donald Trump ordered ByteDance on Friday to divest the US operations of its video-sharing app TikTok within 90 days, ramping up pressure on the Chinese company over concerns about the safety of the personal data it handles.ByteDance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.“I think it’s clear that Trump is being pressured to extend the deadline by tech companies like Microsoft, or investors like Sequoia because the original 45 day deadline was way too short,” Shaun Rein, managing director of China Market Research Group, told the Post on Saturday.Trump’s latest move against the global short video sensation comes on top of an executive order he issued last week that would prohibit certain transactions with TikTok unless ByteDance divests it within 45 days. The action forms part of a broad drive by the Trump administration to “clean” the US internet of Chinese influence amid a tech and trade stand-off between the world’s two-biggest economies. Trump orders ByteDance to divest US TikTok operations within 90 daysByteDance is already in talks to sell the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand operations of TikTok to Microsoft, among other suitors, although Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates was quoted in a Wired magazine interview describing the potential acquisition as a “poisoned chalice”.Analysts have said that Trump’s previous executive order fell short of clarifying how the app threatens American security and that to force a sale of TikTok’s US operations within 45 days was more likely to lead to chaos than to a resolution.“A regular deal takes about five to six months,” Chris Griner, who focuses on national security issues for merger deals at the law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, told the Post earlier. “Now you’ve also got to throw in the government and make sure they're happy with the transaction.”TikTok has threatened to take legal action against Trump’s earlier executive order but a federal lawsuit has yet to be filed.But Jeffrey Towson, a former professor of investment at Peking University, said the new order may be more difficult to challenge legally.“[The new order] doesn’t say this is banned in the US,” Towson said. “What it says is Chinese companies can’t own it. So, in that sense, it’s harder to challenge that legally. It doesn’t make US consumers who like to use TikTok annoyed because they can still use TikTok. It’s not a ban.”Friday’s announcement also authorises US officials to inspect TikTok and ByteDance’s books and information systems, to ensure the safety of personal data while the sale talks are ongoing. Among other things, the order requires ByteDance to destroy any data from TikTok users in the United States.However, one lawyer said it may not be so easy for US authorities to get access to this information.“The US government also has to go through a formal process to get information and data about Bytedance in the US,” said the lawyer from an independent law firm, who declined to be named as she was not authorised to speak by her company. “ByteDance has an obligation to protect its users’ information and data, and in general that can not be disclosed without a search warrant, court order, or other statutory means.”While analysts have said that suspicion of Chinese technology cuts across the US political spectrum, Rein said pressure against Chinese companies is likely to intensify in the run up to the election in November. “It’s going to just get more and more, you know … is Alibaba going to get hit? Is Xiaomi going to get hit?”(Alibaba is the parent company of the Post.)“My expectation is you're going to have three or four stories every week until the election. They’re going to go after something different every day,” Rein said.Purchase the 120+ page China Internet Report 2020 Pro Edition, brought to you by SCMP Research, and enjoy a 30% discount (original price US$400). The report includes deep-dive analysis, trends, and case studies on the 10 most important internet sectors. Now in its 3rd year, this go-to source for understanding China tech also comes with exclusive access to 6+ webinars with C-level executives, including Charles Li, CEO of HKEX, James Peng, CEO/founder of Pony.ai, and senior executives from Alibaba, Huawei, Kuaishou, Pinduoduo, and more. Offer valid until 31 August 2020. To purchase, please click here.This article ByteDance may have slightly longer to sell TikTok but Trump has also strengthened his hand, analysts say first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
Almost half of Brazilians think President Jair Bolsonaro bears "no responsibility at all" for the country's more than 100,000 dead from the coronavirus pandemic, the world's second highest death toll, according to a new Datafolha poll. The poll was published on Saturday in Brazil's Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper and says 47% of Brazilians do not assign him any blame for the body count, whereas 11% do. Brazil has the world's worst outbreak outside of the United States and Bolsonaro's response to the pandemic has been widely condemned by health experts.
Hong Kong police have so far arrested two men believed linked to a robbery captured on video earlier this month in which a man was slashed in front of horrified onlookers in a railway concourse and had a HK$270,000 (US$35,000) Rolex watch snatched from him.Police on Saturday said they had arrested a 20-year-old man in a Tin Shui Wai hotel on Friday and charged him with one court of robbery. He is expected to appear in court on Monday.The crime happened on August 4. A video clip that circulated widely online showed two men in black caps and jumpers attacking the victim with a 30cm knife and a baton in front of the turnstiles near Exit D of the Tai Wai MTR station. The victim was left in a pool of blood and received help from MTR staff.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.Nearby passengers, including children and the elderly, screamed in horror as the pair, who were wearing surgical masks, fled after snatching a wrist bag from the victim, who later said a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona had been taken.Chief inspector Poon Ngok-him said the 47-year-old victim, who said he was an engineer, posted about the watch on social media in hopes of selling it. He then arranged a face-to-face meeting in the railway station after a man showed interest, leading to the robbery.Poon added that the two armed robbers slashed and struck the victim at least 10 times with an extendable baton and a knife, then jumped into a white car and fled.At midnight on August 5, Officers discovered the car abandoned in Tung Chung and found the weapons as well as the certificate of the stolen watch inside the vehicle.“We arrested a 20-year-old man in Fanling that day and believe he is the car owner,” Poon continued, adding he was arrested for conspiracy to robbery and had since been released on bail.He said police were still hunting another armed robber and did not rule out more arrests. The Rolex remains missing.Reports of robberies have been on the rise across the city. Police figures show there were 186 robberies in the first half of this year, up 322 per cent from just 44 in the same period last year.Did you know that China supplies 40% of the world’s active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) for drug manufacturing? Learn what other ways local healthcare players are expanding their global footprint from the China Healthcare Report, brought to you by SCMP Research, and get a comprehensive industry review and insights on Covid-19 induced market shifts. Purchase now and get a 30% discount before 30 September 2020. You will also receive access to 6 closed-door webinars led by China healthcare’s most influential C-suite executives.This article Hong Kong police arrest two in Rolex robbery case that saw man slashed in front of commuters at MTR station first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
Former Taiwanese vice-premier Chen Chi-mai won a landslide in Kaohsiung’s mayoral by-election on Saturday, recapturing the southern port city for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party after its surprise loss two years ago.“Thank you all,” said Chen as he bowed to his supporters rallying in front of his campaign headquarters.“I believe the end of the by-election means the start of a new era during which all of us, regardless of different parties and ideologies, will work together to promote Kaohsiung,” he said.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.The by-election followed a vote to recall defeated presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu, from the main opposition party Kuomintang, amid voter dissatisfaction over his record and decision to run for president less than a year after he took office as Kaohsiung mayor. Taiwan unveils record defence budget as Beijing stands firm on claim to islandChen, 55, secured just over 70 per cent of the vote in Saturday’s three-way race that saw a turnout of 41 per cent.By contrast, the 2018 election saw a turnout of 73 per cent, while the vote to recall Han in June had a 42 per cent turnout.The number of ballots Chen received, 671,804, was also smaller than the 742,239 votes he garnered two years ago, when he lost to Han from the mainland-friendly Kuomintang.Kaohsiung has been considered a pro-independence stronghold and had been under the DPP control for decades until Han’s shock victory over Chen in 2018.The KMT’s Li Mei-jhen, a relatively little-known Kaohsiung city councillor, captured 25.9 per cent of votes (248,478), despite campaign support from Han and other KMT heavyweights, including former legislature speaker Wang Jin-pyng.Wu Yi-jheng, of the Taiwan People’s Party, took just 38,960 votes or 4 per cent to finish last.The two conceded defeat before the vote count had finished. Taiwan takes aim at ‘Beijing’s suppression’, thanks ‘good friends like America’Chen has two years and four months to serve before the next mayoral election is held in 2022.Observers said that will give Chen little time to tackle challenges such as a large city government deficit, environmental protection and making the city and its industries more competitive.“In addition to preparing a budget for at least NT$100 billion (US$3.4 billion) in the next two years, the new mayor needs to deal with the NT$330 billion deficit the city government has incurred over the years,” said former speaker Wang when casting his ballot.“Whoever wins the race must deal with the outflow of hi-tech talent, environmental problems, upgrading the industrial structures in the city and the issue of an ageing society,” he said.“With the aid of city government resources, Chen’s win in the city is expected to help the DPP secure Kaohsiung, which has long been a stronghold for the DPP, in the 2022 mayoral election,” said Shih Cheng-feng, a political-science professor at National Dong Hwa University’s Indigenous Development and Social Work.“This, of course, will help the DPP in the 2024 presidential election,” Shih said, but stressed it was still too early to predict the result in four years’ time.Chen also promised to make it easier for Hongkongers to settle in the city following the passage of a controversial new national security law.But Ko Wen-je, the leader of the Taiwan People’s Party, criticised the pledge for lacking detail and accused the DPP of using Hongkongers as a “campaign gimmick”.Did you know that China supplies 40% of the world’s active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) for drug manufacturing? Learn what other ways local healthcare players are expanding their global footprint from the China Healthcare Report, brought to you by SCMP Research, and get a comprehensive industry review and insights on Covid-19 induced market shifts. Purchase now and get a 30% discount before 30 September 2020. You will also receive access to 6 closed-door webinars led by China healthcare’s most influential C-suite executives.This article Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party regains control of Kaohsiung with landslide victory 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 and China have reportedly delayed a review of their Phase 1 trade deal initially scheduled for Saturday.The review slated for Saturday was delayed because of scheduling conflicts with the annual Beidaihe meeting, where the top Chinese leadership discusses key policy issues, and no new date had been set, according to Reuters.Some Chinese analysts said the delay was “not a bad thing” as China could continue buying US goods and allow it to swerve increasing demands from the Trump administration in the run-up to the US presidential election.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.News of the delay surprised the markets because the US had struck a positive note the day before, with White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow saying that the administration was “satisfied with China’s progress”. US-China trade review postponed to allow time for more purchasesChinese officials never confirmed a date for the planned video conference. When asked about the talks on Friday and Saturday, both the foreign and commerce ministries said only that information would be released once confirmed.The last public communications between top negotiators dates back to May 8, when Vice-Premier Liu He held phone conversations with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over economic and public health cooperation.The Phase 1 deal was signed in Washington in mid-January and came into effect a month later. Beijing promised to buy more American goods, including US$77 billion worth this year, with a goal of raising the value of purchases by US$200 billion compared with 2017 levels.He Weiwen, former economic and commercial counsellor at Chinese consulates-general in San Francisco and New York, said the deal included a clause requesting a review after six months, which meant it should have taken place around now.“A few days earlier or later doesn’t mean both sides encountered new problems. A slight adjustment of the negotiation date has often been seen in previous bilateral talks. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong,” he added.Beijing has tried to honour the deal, which is one of its few remaining connections with Donald Trump’s White House amid increasing tensions over issues such as Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Taiwan and the Covid-19 pandemic.Central bank governor Yi Gang, who is also a member of the trade negotiation team, said earlier this week that China will try to honour the deal and promised to further open up its financial sector.However, assistant commerce minister Ren Hongbin complained on Thursday that some Chinese purchases had been affected by the pandemic and a US export ban.“We hope that the US can stop the restrictive and discriminatory measures against Chinese enterprises and create conditions for the Phase 1 trade deal implementation,” he said. Countdown to US-China trade talks, but little hope of bigger breakthroughChen Fengying, a senior fellow at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said the postponement was “not a bad thing” because many promises could not be delivered in the middle of the pandemic.“We will buy more if we can. After all, China needs lots of soybeans, pork, shale gas and other commodities,” she said.“However, it will be hard to narrow some differences, such as the direction of China’s development, because the US has now politicised everything ahead of the election.”Chen said both sides certainly need to talk, but doubt there will be any consensus.“Meeting all changes with constancy may be the best strategy. We can have a review or even talks three months later when the US presidential election is finished and the pandemic is better addressed,” she added.Did you know that China supplies 40% of the world’s active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) for drug manufacturing? Learn what other ways local healthcare players are expanding their global footprint from the China Healthcare Report, brought to you by SCMP Research, and get a comprehensive industry review and insights on Covid-19 induced market shifts. Purchase now and get a 30% discount before 30 September 2020. You will also receive access to 6 closed-door webinars led by China healthcare’s most influential C-suite executives.More from South China Morning Post: * China’s yuan continues to grow as an international currency, central bank says * US-China trade review postponed to allow time for more purchases * Engineer in trade-secrets case says charges were added because of her Chinese background * Countdown to US-China trade talks, but little hope of bigger breakthrough * US-China relations: Disconnecting from global trade helps no oneThis article Delayed US-China trade review could give Beijing some breathing space as Donald Trump seeks re-election first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
Trailblazing Afghan women's rights campaigner Fawzia Koofi, a member of the negotiating team that will hold peace talks with the Taliban, has been wounded in a gun attack near Kabul, officials said Saturday.
Hong Kong police have arrested three men believed to be tied to a broader syndicate who allegedly cheated bitcoin ATMs out of nearly HK$230,000 (US$30,000), the first case of its kind in the city.The force took action over the past two days after reports were filed by two cryptocurrency exchanges. The exchanges suspected the culprits had taken advantage of “loopholes” in the ATMs, withdrawing cash without official authorisations.I cannot reveal what the loopholes are. But any bitcoin transaction needs verification. Maybe the ring bypassed the verifying process before taking the moneySuperintendent Wilson Tam, cyber security and technology crime bureauPolice refused to elaborate further on precisely how the suspects had cheated the machines.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.“I cannot reveal what the loopholes are. But any bitcoin transaction needs verification. Maybe the ring bypassed the verifying process before taking the money,” superintendent Wilson Tam Wai-shun of the cyber security and technology crime bureau said on Saturday.“We have offered security advice to the two companies and believe they will upgrade their systems. It is the first time we came across fraud linked to bitcoin ATMs.”A bitcoin ATM allows the purchase of bitcoin by cash or credit card, while some also allow the cryptocurrency to be sold for cash.Tam said the group, thought to be the “core members behind the syndicate”, withdrew a total of HK$226,000 in cash from six separate bitcoin ATMs in 11 transactions. The largest amount from a single machine was HK$54,000.Officers mounted arrest operations on Thursday and Friday in Mong Kok, netting three core members, aged 26 to 55, for conspiracy to defraud. All three claimed to be unemployed.Police also seized six smartphones and some cash linked to the case. Tam did not rule out more arrests. Cryptocurrency crime surges globally with losses hitting US$4.4 billion by September 2019: reportBitcoin is not considered legal tender by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority but rather a virtual commodity.In September 2017, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) published a statement ruling that if digital tokens distributed in initial coin offerings were “shares”, “debentures”, or interests in a “collective investment scheme”, they would fall under the definition of “securities”.“In such cases, dealing in or advising on the digital tokens, or managing or marketing a fund investing in such digital tokens, might constitute a regulated activity and would require registration or a licence from the SFC,” the statement read.Did you know that China supplies 40% of the world’s active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) for drug manufacturing? Learn what other ways local healthcare players are expanding their global footprint from the China Healthcare Report, brought to you by SCMP Research, and get a comprehensive industry review and insights on Covid-19 induced market shifts. Purchase now and get a 30% discount before 30 September 2020. You will also receive access to 6 closed-door webinars led by China healthcare’s most influential C-suite executives.This article Police arrest three after six Hong Kong bitcoin ATMs pilfered for HK$230,000 in first-of-its-kind crime in the city first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
Three weeks ago, Beijing-based Wood Li took his first dose of an experimental Covid-19 vaccine. At first, he hesitated because it has not yet been licensed for use on the market.But the frequent business traveller eventually decided to take the chance, saying: “Since the company is offering it to people, it should not be a problem.”Chinese media reports say increasing numbers have been vaccinated outside clinical trials although the exact numbers are not known.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.In Li’s case he had to visit the headquarters of the China National Biotec Group, one of the country’s largest pharmacuetical firms, in Beijing and leave his contact details before returning for a second shot 28 days later. He said he had felt no ill effects after receiving the injection.“Because it’s produced by CNBG, it should ensure the best quality in China,” Li said. “I saw there were dozens of people who came that morning and got the vaccine.” Coronavirus: Chinese regulator says vaccines must have 50 per cent efficacy, give 6 months’ immunityLi said he had been given the jab for free because he had a friend in the health sector, adding that he thought the other recipients also had contacts in the industry.CNBG could not be reached for comment.Liu Jingzhen, chairman of Sinopharm, CNBG’s parent company, has previously said that he and other executives of the company had been the first to volunteer to receive the vaccine to verify its safety and effectiveness.Gao Fu, director of China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, also said recently that he had been vaccinated to build confidence for when mass vaccination is possible. He did not say which of China’s four experimental vaccines he had received.On Friday, 21st Century Business Herald, a Chinese business newspaper, reported that some frequent business travellers were also being offered vaccines by an unnamed drug company on condition they signed an agreement not to tell others they had received the jab.One businessman who took the vaccine told the newspaper that his employer had paid 1,000 yuan (US$143) but he did not know the reason for the charge.Drug company employees told the newspaper that only those going abroad where transmission rates are high should be given the experimental vaccines. Coronavirus: ‘don’t fall for Chinese social media scams’ for US$71 ‘vaccine’Vaccines have to go through three stages of clinical trials before applying for a licence though regulators sometimes allow emergency exemptions.China has not formally announced the emergency use of vaccines, although CDC chief Gao has this would be available in summer.Liu Ye, a Shanghai-based lawyer practising in the medical field, said state-approved vaccines can also be offered to volunteers during the experimental process but must follow the demands of clinical trials.“There must be a very strict informed consent agreement. And the volunteers should also be subsidised, it’s never allowed to charge volunteers for it,” said Liu.Liu said the report that businesses were paying a 1,000 yuan fee was probably to cover insurance costs, but added that this cost should really be borne by the drug company.The use of vaccines outside trials by Chinese pharmaceutical firms has raised eyebrows from some scientists, including Anthony Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.Two of Sinopharm’s vaccines are still undergoing phase three trials in the United Arab Emirates as transmissions in China are too low for extensive testing.Another vaccine co-developed by military scientist Chen Wei and CanSino has been approved for military use, while phase three trials are taking place in Saudi Arabia.Last week, CNBG and Sinovac, another vaccine producer, warned people not to fall for online scams in which advertisers are offering Covid-19 vaccines for sale.Did you know that China supplies 40% of the world’s active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) for drug manufacturing? Learn what other ways local healthcare players are expanding their global footprint from the China Healthcare Report, brought to you by SCMP Research, and get a comprehensive industry review and insights on Covid-19 induced market shifts. Purchase now and get a 30% discount before 30 September 2020. You will also receive access to 6 closed-door webinars led by China healthcare’s most influential C-suite executives.This article Coronavirus: Chinese volunteers willing to take a chance on vaccines outside trials first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.
Pope Francis called for dialogue between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on Saturday, urging them not to let a dispute over a dam on the Nile lead to conflict. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is being built some 15 km (9 miles) from Ethiopia's border with Sudan, has become a major source of discord between the three countries. Egypt, which fears the dam project could lead to water shortages upstream, has threatened to withdraw from the latest round of discussions.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepali counterpart K. P. Sharma Oli spoke on Saturday for the first time since a diplomatic spat over a map and a disputed area of territory erupted earlier this year between the South Asian neighbours. Oli called Modi on the occasion of India's Independence Day and congratulated him for the country's recent election as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, India's external affairs ministry said in a statement. On the call, Modi "recalled the civilizational and cultural links that India and Nepal share," the ministry added.
The leaders of Russia and Belarus agreed on Saturday that the problems in Belarus would be resolved soon, the Kremlin said, as tens of thousands took to the streets in Minsk once again to urge President Alexander Lukashenko to quit. Accused of rigging last Sunday's election, Lukashenko had earlier issued an appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin as the Belarus leader grapples with the biggest challenge to his 26-year rule and the threat of new Western sanctions. Ties between the two traditional allies had been under strain before the election, as Russia scaled back the subsidies that propped up Lukashenko's government.
Covid-19 vaccines must have an efficacy rate of 50 per cent and provide at least six months’ immunity if they are to be approved for use in China, the country’s drug regulator has announced.According to a draft document released by the Chinese Centre for Drug Evaluation (CCDE), 50 per cent is the minimum efficacy rate allowable, although 70 per cent is the target.The document said also that the regulator would consider granting emergency use of vaccines that have not yet completed their final phase of clinical trials.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.Chinese companies are among the forerunners in the race to produce a vaccine for Covid-19, with four candidates in final testing. A total of 29 products are undergoing clinical trials around the world, seven of which are in the final stage.On Friday, China issued several documents setting out the standards for clinical trials and research on vaccines, including those based on the unproven mRNA platform.China’s requirement for a minimum 50 per cent efficacy – which means the vaccine would protect half of those injected with it – is in line with the benchmarks set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).Unlike the Chinese draft, the FDA does not have a requirement for a minimum period of immunity. The WHO said in a document published in April that it hoped Covid 19 vaccines would protect recipients for a year, a target that China is also seeking, but many scientists are concerned that might not be achievable.It is widely thought that with most of the vaccine candidates in development people would require at least two doses. However, if the period of immunity by each shot is very short, it might be considered impractical to administer, given the logistical and resource implications of a widespread inoculation programme.As phase three clinical trials can take up to a year to complete, the CCDE said it would consider allowing the use of vaccine candidates that had produced satisfactory efficacy data before the formal testing was complete. The FDA earlier made a similar statement.The CCDE also said vaccines must be free of the risk of antibody dependence enhancement, a theoretical concern that infections may be worsened after inoculation as antibodies generated by the vaccine bind to the coronavirus without neutralising it and enhance its ability to enter cells.Wang Huaqing, a leading immunologist at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a recent interview that it should be possible to identify such risks during phase three clinical trials.The CCDE said its standards were drafted after receiving feedback from more than 50 experts and 37 teams of scientists, and that their requirements took into consideration those of the WHO.Four Chinese vaccine candidates are undergoing clinical trials in the United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. Those countries were chosen as China no longer has enough cases to put the products to the test.The trials are, however, smaller than the usual size of 20,000 to 40,000 patients, so more locations might be sought at a later date.Did you know that China supplies 40% of the world’s active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) for drug manufacturing? Learn what other ways local healthcare players are expanding their global footprint from the China Healthcare Report, brought to you by SCMP Research, and get a comprehensive industry review and insights on Covid-19 induced market shifts. Purchase now and get a 30% discount before 30 September 2020. You will also receive access to 6 closed-door webinars led by China healthcare’s most influential C-suite executives.More from South China Morning Post: * Coronavirus: China positions itself for ‘vaccine diplomacy’ push to fight Covid-19 * Coronavirus: Chinese pharmaceutical firm says Covid-19 vaccine may be ready this year * Coronavirus: blood plasma of recovered Covid-19 patients could save the very ill, finds US study * Coronavirus: ‘don’t fall for Chinese social media scams’ for US$71 ‘vaccine’This article Coronavirus: Chinese regulator says vaccines must have 50 per cent efficacy, give 6 months’ immunity 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 is discussing the situation in Belarus with the European Union after last weekend's disputed election and subsequent crackdown on protesters, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday. Speaking in Warsaw, his last stop on a tour of central Europe, Pompeo said Washington was tracking the situation in Belarus and the aim of the contacts with the EU was to "try to help as best we can the Belarusian people achieve sovereignty and freedom".
The United States called on Saturday for a transparent and credible investigation into the massive port blast in Beirut and said the country would only get financial support when Lebanese leaders commit to reforms. "We can never go back to an era in which anything goes at the port or the borders of Lebanon that had to contribute to this situation," said David Hale, U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs, after visiting the port.
The shock announcement that the UAE and Israel are normalising relations has been applauded by allies and booed by rivals, but for many Gulf citizens there is deep unease over the embrace of a longtime enemy.
British holidaymakers returning home from parts of Europe began having to quarantine on Saturday under new restrictions, as a second wave of virus infections threatened more disruption and economic chaos on the continent.
The mayor of the second-largest U.S. city has joined a growing clamor among health experts and politicians for a radical shift in the nation's coronavirus testing strategy - from an emphasis on the utmost accuracy to a focus on speed and simplicity. The concept envisions mass production and distribution of low-cost, do-it-yourself diagnostic kits based on paper-strip designs that can be used frequently and produce results in minutes, similar to home pregnancy tests. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said this week he has convened a team of public health experts, bioscience executives, government leaders and philanthropists to push for accelerated research, development and production of such tests.