If the past is a foreign country

If the past is a foreign country, then the future for China’s Communist Party is the city of Shenzhen. Hailed by President Xi during a visit this week as a model for the rest of the nation to aspire to, what was a sleepy fishing village only two generations ago is now a high-tech metropolis whose rise over its troublesome neighbour Hong Kong has been blessed at the highest level. It revealed Belgium had the worst mortality rate (86.8), followed by Spain (65), the UK (62.6) and the US (60.3). For comparison, South Korea’s stood at just 0.7 – 85 … Continue reading If the past is a foreign country

A Hong Kong media billionaire and pro-democracy activist

A Hong Kong media billionaire and pro-democracy activist who was arrested under the new national security law is a traitor who should receive an exemplary punishment to deter further unrest in the city, Beijing has said. Jimmy Lai, 71, who owns the Apple Daily newspaper, conspired with foreign agents and posed a danger to national security, according to the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, part of China’s state council, or cabinet. One scientist blasted Putin’s move as ‘unethical’ because an ‘improperly tested vaccine’ could have ‘disastrous’ effects on public health, while others warned that there is ‘no data’ to … Continue reading A Hong Kong media billionaire and pro-democracy activist

Mexico has recorded more than 9,000 daily coronavirus cases

Mexico has recorded more than 9,000 daily coronavirus cases for the first time, as the country overtook the UK with the world’s third-highest number of deaths from the pandemic after the US and Brazil. The surging numbers were reported as the World Health Organization warned of “response fatigue” and a resurgence of cases in several countries that have lifted lockdowns. The arrival in the Gulf of Mexico – after having blazed through Earth’s atmosphere, and being carried safely down by parachutes – brought an end to a mission that is set to change space travel in the US. The mission … Continue reading Mexico has recorded more than 9,000 daily coronavirus cases

Groups of British tourists have enjoyed a raucous night

Groups of British tourists have enjoyed a raucous night of drinking in Benidorm despite the the government’s new quarantine rules for Spain.  Crowds of merry holidaymakers were photographed in bars and restaurants drinking beers last night, while ignoring social distancing entirely.   Late on Monday, the Foreign Office said it would instead toughen up its advice and extend its recommendation against travel to mainland Spain to include the Spanish islands, based on an assessment of the risk. A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We have considered the overall situation for British nationals travelling to and from the Balearic and Canary islands, including … Continue reading Groups of British tourists have enjoyed a raucous night

Freedom weighs heavily on Abdurehim Parac

Freedom weighs heavily on Abdurehim Parac, a Uighur poet in exile. His escape from Xinjiang province has brought unknown punishments for the loved ones he left behind, and in Turkey, where he sought sanctuary, Beijing’s shadow stalks him. Mr Parac, 46, who fled China in 2013 after a decade and a half of imprisonments and surveillance, had planned to bring his family after him once he reached safety. Although the UK government today kept Spain on its ‘green list’ of countries that do not require quarantines, officials have indicated that this could change without notice if the rise in Spanish … Continue reading Freedom weighs heavily on Abdurehim Parac

A woman has told how her brother went missing

A woman has told how her brother went missing in China for four years, as the country comes under growing scrutiny for its alleged torture and detention of Uighur Muslims. Rayhan Asat’s brother Ekpar disappeared three weeks after returning to the northwestern province of Xinjiang after finishing his studies in New York in 2016. “She couldn’t stop crying,” he told The Times. “Whether through her fear of the Chinese authorities monitoring the call, or my words that were hurting her, I don’t know. She said that if I wanted my father, my mother and my sister to live well and … Continue reading A woman has told how her brother went missing

Japan is racing to build up its armed forces

Japan is racing to build up its armed forces in the face of increased political and military assertiveness by China, even as it struggles to reconcile the nationalist ambitions of its prime minister with the demands of its pacifist constitution. In a defence white paper Shinzo Abe’s government spelt out its growing anxiety about China and the urgency of upgrading the Self-Defence Forces, as its army, navy and air force are called. It condemns Beijing’s almost daily dispatch of ships into areas around disputed islands that are controlled by Japan but claimed by the Chinese. Monica Gomez, the councillor responsible … Continue reading Japan is racing to build up its armed forces

The European Union has decided

The European Union has decided to drop Serbia and Montenegro from its safe list of countries from which non-essential travel is allowed, and did not even discuss including the United States given its sharp rise in coronavirus cases, EU officials told Reuters. EU diplomats today approved a proposal from Germany, now holding the rotating EU presidency, to exclude non-EU Serbia and Montenegro because of spreading infections, officials said. There have been anti-government protests in Serbia, initially sparked by the announcement of a new coronavirus lockdown amid a surge in new cases. With the US currently on 3.43m cases of Covid-19 … Continue reading The European Union has decided

A major research effort

A major research effort is under way to understand whether Covid-19 can spread through tiny airborne particles that are released by infected people and remain suspended in the air for hours. Scientists are working alongside sanitary engineers at the World Health Organization to investigate how tiny aerosols bearing the virus may be released into the environment; whether they are spread around rooms by air-conditioning units; and how infectious the particles may be. Key impeachment witness Alexander Vindman announced his retirement from the army by citing “intimidation” led by Mr Trump. ”The president of the United States attempted to force Lieutenant … Continue reading A major research effort

They had planned lives, families and careers in Hong Kong

They had planned lives, families and careers in Hong Kong. Now at a gathering of young professionals, one topic dominated conversation — to stay or to flee. All but one was considering quitting the territory as China imposed sweeping new national security legislation on their homeland. The clampdown, proclaimed without consultation on Tuesday night, was even more draconian than feared. Secret courts, unaccountable police units, worldwide reach and penalties of up to life in prison were among the provisions. ‘We can confirm that The Little Mermaid has been vandalised some time before 9:00 am this morning,’ Copenhagen police said in … Continue reading They had planned lives, families and careers in Hong Kong