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Russian Tupolev Tu-160 - Russia News Headlines

Russia landed two nuclear-capable bombers in South Africa on a training mission on Wednesday, a flight apparently timed to coincide with President Vladimir Putin’s opening of a flagship Russia-Africa summit designed to increase Russian influence. The two Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers touched down at Waterkloof air force base in Tshwane on Wednesday, the South African National Defence Force said. Russia’s Ministry of Defence has said the mission is designed to nurture military ties with South Africa. Speaking before dozens of African heads of state at a two-day summit in the southern Russian city of Sochi, Putin called for trade with African countries to double over the next four to five years and said Moscow had written off African debts to the tune of over $20 billion. The first Russia-Africa summit is part of a Kremlin drive to win business and restore influence that faded after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, which backed leftist governments and movements across the continent throughout the Cold War. “Many Russian companies have long and successfully worked with partners from the most different sectors of the African economy and plan to expand their influence in Africa. We of course will provide support at the state level,” said Putin. The prize is greater political clout on a continent with 54 United Nations member states, vast mineral wealth and potentially lucrative markets for Russian-manufactured weapons. But Russia is starting from a low base. Although it has enjoyed considerable success selling arms to African countries, Moscow lagsContinue reading

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Carrie Lam and Xi Jinping - China and Hong Kong News

Beijing is drawing up a plan to remove Hong Kong’s beleaguered Chief Executive Carrie Lam, the Financial Times reported Wednesday, after nearly five months of pro-democracy unrest. The pro-Beijing leader has faced sustained criticism from protesters in the semi-autonomous city. So far, the Chinese central government has given its support to her and the Hong Kong police, calling the demonstrators “rioters” and condemning the violence. But according to the FT report, which quoted unnamed figures briefed on the deliberations, Beijing is drawing up a plan to replace her with an interim chief executive. However, sources told the newspaper that the plan would be dependent on the situation in the city first stabilising so that Beijing is not seen as giving in to violence. Lam’s office said it would not comment on speculation. Hong Kong has been battered by 20 weeks of protests and with no political solution in sight, clashes have intensified each month. Earlier this month, Lam — who has refused to grant any major concessions to protesters — invoked a colonial-era emergency law to ban face masks, setting off a new wave of protests and vandalism that shut down much of the city’s transport network. One of the protest leaders, Jimmy Sham, was hospitalised after being attacked by unknown assailants wielding hammers last week. If President Xi Jinping decides to go ahead with the plan to remove Lam, the report said her replacement would be installed by March. Leading candidates being considered to replace her reportedly include NormanContinue reading

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Hong Kong Secret Volunteer Medics

As riot police fought anti-government demonstrators on the streets of Hong Kong over the weekend, two photos popped into the encrypted inbox of a group of volunteer medics who call themselves the “Hidden Clinic.” The images showed the nastily swollen left arm of a 22-year-old protester who had been beaten and were accompanied by a message from the sender that said, “I suspect his bone is broken.” After exchanges through the night via the Telegram messaging app that arranged an off-the-books X-ray, the protester was diagnosed with a displaced fracture of the ulnar bone. With Hong Kong’s summer of protests now stretching into the fall and clashes becoming increasingly ferocious, medical professionals have quietly banded together to form the Hidden Clinic and other networks to secretly treat the injuries of many young demonstrators who fear arrest if they go to government hospitals. The person who messaged the network on the injured protester’s behalf later explained the youth’s wariness by saying, “Many of his friends have been detained when seeing doctors.” The Hong Kong Hidden Clinic says it has clandestinely treated 300-400 protesters with an array of injuries: broken and dislocated bones, gaping wounds and exposure to tear gas so prolonged that they were coughing up blood. It also says the severity of the injuries has increased sharply in the past week, with hard-core protesters and police increasingly tough on each other. A practitioner who specializes in traditional Chinese medicine and is not affiliated with Hidden Clinic says she alone hasContinue reading

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Xi Jinping and Carrie Lam - China and Hong Kong News

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam warned Tuesday that the Chinese military could step in if an uprising for democratic reforms that has rocked the city for months “becomes so bad” but reiterated the government still hopes to resolve the crisis itself. Lam urged foreign critics to accept that the four months of protests marked by escalating violence were no longer “a peaceful movement for democracy.” She said seeking Chinese intervention was provided for under Hong Kong’s constitution but that she cannot reveal under what circumstances she will do so. “I still strongly feel that we should find the solutions ourselves. That is also the position of the central government that Hong Kong should tackle the problem on her own but if the situation becomes so bad, then no options could be ruled out if we want Hong Kong to at least have another chance,” she told a news conference. The protests started in June over a now-shelved extradition bill that would have allowed some criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial but have since morphed into a larger anti-government movement. Protesters say the bill is an example of Beijing’s increasing influence over the former British colony, which was promised a high level of autonomy when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997. The unrest had pummeled tourism and hurt businesses in the global financial hub, further bruising the city’s economy as it grapples with effects of the U.S.-China trade war. President Donald Trump on Monday urged ChineseContinue reading

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North Korea Flag - USA Flag

“The negotiation failed to live up to our expectations and broke down,” Kim Myong Gil, the chief North Korea negotiator, told reporters after the two sides met for more than eight hours in Stockholm.

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Carrie Lam vs Protesters Face Masks, Hong Kong News

"We believe that the new law will create a deterrent effect against masked violent protesters and rioters, and will assist the police in its law enforcement," Carrie Lam said.

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Koizumi Shinjiro Japanese Political Leader, Japan

Japan’s Shinzo Abe Wednesday appointed new foreign and defence ministers and promoted a popular rising political star, in a cabinet reshuffle that fuelled speculation over the prime minister’s successor. The spectacular appointment as environment minister of the telegenic Shinjiro Koizumi, the 38-year-old son of much-loved former PM Junichiro, set tongues wagging in Tokyo political classes as the Abe era draws to a close. “Abe intends to start an open race to pick the next prime minister or even the one after that,” said SMBC Nikko Securities chief market economist Yoshimasa Maruyama. A darling of the Japanese media, Koizumi received blanket coverage for his recent marriage to television broadcaster Christel Takigawa, which was announced at the prime minister’s office. He is the third-youngest minister appointed to the cabinet in Japan since the end of World War II, in a country where seniority is prized in politics and many other walks of life. Despite intense media spotlight, he has been coy on expressing his view on the issues of the day and there will be close scrutiny over his policies on nuclear power, particularly on whether he will break with his father’s anti-nuclear stance. “I hope Mr Shinjiro Koizumi will tackle global issues such as ocean plastics and climate change not with worn-out approaches but with the new ideas of the young generation,” Abe said. “He is more seasoned than I was in my 10th year” (since being elected). I hope he will secure results,” said the prime minister. ‘New challenge’ AbeContinue reading

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Donald Trump - USA Headline Story Now

President Donald Trump said that US peace talks with the Taliban are “dead” and that he is ramping the war back up after canceling secret talks with the Afghan insurgents at his weekend retreat. “They are dead. As far as I am concerned, they are dead,” Trump said at the White House about the long-running attempt to reach an agreement with the Taliban and extricate US troops following 18 years of war. The announcement followed Trump’s dramatic cancelation of a top-secret plan to fly Taliban leaders in for direct talks at the Camp David presidential facility outside Washington. Driving another nail into the coffin of what had appeared to be nearly finalized negotiations, Trump said that a US military onslaught on the guerrillas was back up at its fiercest in a decade. “Over the last four days, we have been hitting our Enemy harder than at any time in the last ten years!” he wrote in a tweet. On Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that “we’ve killed over a thousand Taliban in just the last 10 days.” Whiplash Trump angrily denied that the whiplash effect of his sudden shifts on Afghanistan was causing turmoil. Until this weekend, there had been steadily mounting expectations of a deal that would see the United States draw down troop levels in Afghanistan. In return, the Taliban would offer security guarantees to keep extremist groups out. But then on Saturday, Trump revealed that he had canceled an unprecedented meeting between the Taliban andContinue reading

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Carrie Lam - Hong Kong News HEadlines

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said that the decision to withdraw an extradition bill that sparked months of demonstrations in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory was her government’s own initiative to break the impasse, and not Beijing’s directive. Lam told a news conference that China’s central government “understands, respects and supports” her government in the entire process. Withdrawal of the bill meets one of protesters’ five key demands, but activists have vowed not to yield until the government fulfills all of them. Those also include an independent investigation into allegations of police brutality during the protests, the unconditional release of those detained, not labelling the protests as riots, and direct elections of the city’s leader. The massive but peaceful demonstrations began in June against the legislation, which would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial, but clashes with police have become increasingly violent as the demands evolved into a wider call for democracy. Demonstrators threw gasoline bombs at officers last weekend protests and police retaliated with water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets and batons. Nearly 1,200 people have been detained so far. Lam reiterated that the government cannot accede to the protesters’ other demands. She said the police watchdog agency will be impartial and best suited to investigate alleged police misconduct, and that releasing detainees without charges would be “unacceptable.” She denied making a U-turn on the bill, noting that she suspended the bill in mid-June, days after the protests began, and in July declared theContinue reading

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Hong Kong Protester

Hong Kong police fired tear gas and water cannon on Saturday as pro-democracy protesters threw petrol bombs in the latest in a series of clashes that have plunged the Chinese-ruled city into its worst political crisis in decades. Police fired round after round of tear gas as protesters took cover behind umbrellas between the local headquarters of China’s People’s Liberation Army and government HQ. Protesters also threw bricks dug up from pathways, at police. The water cannon fired blue-dyed water, traditionally used elsewhere in the world to make it easier for police to identify protesters later. Riot police then marched on foot towards the neighbouring Admiralty district, followed by about 20 police cars, where some protesters had thrown fire bombs from flyovers, some landing close to police. Others shone blue and green lasers at police lines. There were rumours of one off-duty policeman being wounded. Police fought running battles with protesters, beating them with truncheons, in the Wanchai bar and restaurant district. Reuters witnesses saw two arrests. The protests, which at one point blocked three key roads, came on the fifth anniversary of a decision by China to curtail democratic reforms in the former British colony, which returned to China in 1997. The PLA on Thursday rotated its troops in Hong Kong in what it said was a routine operation. Their Hong Kong HQ was the former base of the British military garrison. Thousands took to the streets in the afternoon on a largely peaceful, meandering rally in the rain,Continue reading

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Narendra Modi on India News in Politics

Just before midnight on the eve of the biggest political change in Indian-administered Kashmir in decades, authorities shut down internet access, mobile and landline phones and cable TV in the disputed region home to 12.5 million people. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government presented an order in Parliament on Aug. 5 revoking the autonomy of India’s only Muslim-majority state. The following day, lawmakers passed a bill to split the state, Jammu and Kashmir, into two federal territories. Government officials have filled the communications void by asserting the changes have widespread acceptance in Kashmir, across India and internationally — a portrayal that hasn’t stood up to scrutiny. By circulating photos and videos with rousing Kashmiri folk music but no voices — evoking 20th century wartime newsreels — India’s foreign ministry asserts life is returning to normal. Independent news reports suggest otherwise. Kashmir has been disputed territory since 1947, when India and Pakistan won independence from British rule. Each claimed Kashmir and they have fought two of their three wars over it, with each now administering part of it. The nuclear rivals approached war again in February, when a suicide bombing in Indian-administered Kashmir killed 40 paramilitary soldiers. India responded by bombing an alleged terrorist training camp in Pakistan. The response was meant to signal Modi’s hard-line stance on Kashmir, where soldiers are authorized to shoot civilian demonstrators with marbles and pellets, blinding some people. The Indian government has also regularly cracked down on communications, especially in the Himalayan region whereContinue reading

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Park Geun-hye - South Korea News Headlines

South Korea’s top court ordered new trials Thursday for former president Park Geun-hye and Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong over the corruption scandal that brought her down, in a blow to the world’s biggest smartphone and memory chip maker. Park is serving a 25-year jail term after being convicted last year on bribery and abuse of power charges. But Lee, whose sprawling conglomerate is vital to the health of the world’s 11th-largest economy, had many of his convictions quashed on appeal in February 2018 and was released after being given a suspended sentence. Their trials highlighted shady links between big business and politics in South Korea, with Park and her close friend Choi Soon-sil accused of taking bribes from corporate bigwigs in exchange for preferential treatment. South Korea’s Supreme Court on Thursday sent all three of their cases back for new proceedings, saying that errors had been made in the judgements. After a 10-month trial — in which she boycotted most of the proceedings in protest at being held in custody — Park was convicted in April last year of receiving or demanding more than $20 million from conglomerates, sharing secret state documents, “blacklisting” artists critical of her policies, and firing officials who resisted her abuses of power. She was sentenced to 24 years, later extended for an additional 12 months. But the Supreme Court ruled that under the country’s public official election act, courts must rule separately on bribery accusations when incumbent or former presidents face multiple criminal charges. “WeContinue reading

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Uighurs, Uighur Culture Book - Uyghur News

For 15 years, Yalqun Rozi skillfully navigated state bureaucracies to publish textbooks that taught classic poems and folk tales to millions of his fellow minority Uighurs in China’s far western region of Xinjiang. That all changed three years ago when the ruling Communist Party launched what it says is a campaign against ethnic separatism and religious extremism in Xinjiang. Suddenly even respected public figures like Rozi were being arrested, caught up in a crackdown that critics have said amounts to cultural genocide. An estimated 1 million Uighurs have since been detained in internment camps and prisons across the region, and advocacy groups say that includes more than 400 prominent academics, writers, performers and artists. Critics say the government is targeting intellectuals as a way to dilute, or even erase, the Uighur culture, language and identity. After being taken away by police in 2016, Rozi, 54, was sentenced to more than a decade in prison on charges of incitement to subvert state power. As one of the first prominent people to be detained, Rozi’s story illustrates how even Uighurs who toed the party line and were accepted by the government have been rebranded enemies of the state amid the widening campaign of surveillance and detention underway in Xinjiang. “He had many friends among government officials. He was able to use his connections to sell his books,” said Abduweli Ayup, a linguist who knew Rozi through a Uighur bookstore Ayup once ran. “Those books sold very well.” China’s 11 million Uighurs areContinue reading

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Hong Kong Police

Hong Kong protesters threw bricks and gasoline bombs at police, who responded with tear gas, as chaotic scenes returned to the summer-long anti-government protests on Saturday for the first time in nearly two weeks. Hundreds of black-clad protesters armed with bamboo poles and baseball bats fought with police officers wielding batons on a main road following a march against “smart lampposts” that was sparked by surveillance fears. The chaotic scenes unfolded outside a police station and a nearby shopping mall as officers in riot gear faced off with protesters who set up makeshift street barricades. The violence interrupted nearly two weeks of calm in Hong Kong, which has been gripped by a turbulent pro-democracy movement since June. Police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd after repeated warnings “went futile,” the government said in a statement. By early evening, most of the protesters had dispersed, though clashes flared up in other neighborhoods. Earlier in the day, some protesters used an electric saw to slice through the bottom of a smart lamppost, while others pulled ropes tied around it to send it toppling and cheered as it crashed to the ground. The protest march started peacefully as supporters took to the streets to demand the removal of the lampposts over worries that they could contain high-tech cameras and facial recognition software used for surveillance by Chinese authorities. The government in Hong Kong said smart lampposts only collect data on traffic, weather and air quality. The protesters chanted slogans calling for theContinue reading

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Shinzo Abe - Japan Politics Headline News

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said South Korea’s decision to cancel a deal to share military intelligence, mainly on North Korea, is damaging mutual trust and vowed Friday to work closely with the U.S. for regional peace. Abe also accused South Korea of not keeping past promises. The intelligence agreement started in 2016. “We will continue to closely coordinate with the U.S. to ensure regional peace and prosperity, as well as Japan’s security,” he said ahead of his departure for the Group of Seven summit of industrialized nations in France. South Korea announced Thursday it would terminate the intelligence deal because Tokyo’s decision to downgrade South Korea’s preferential trade status had caused a “grave” change in the security cooperation between the countries. Seoul says it will downgrade Tokyo’s trade status as well, a change that would take effect in September. Senior South Korean presidential official Kim Hyun-chong on Friday defended his government’s decision. He told reporters that “there is no longer any justification” for South Korea to continue the deal because of Japan’s claim that basic trust between the countries had been undermined. South Korea has accused Japan of weaponizing trade to punish it over a separate dispute linked to Japan’s brutal colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945. Japan denies any retaliation. Kim accused Japan of having ignored South Korea’s repeated calls for dialogue and other conciliatory steps to resolve the bitter trade and history disputes. He said Japan’s “breach of diplomatic etiquette” had undermined “ourContinue reading

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'Dhara 370' Song Urges Hindus to Claim Kashmir

The music videos began appearing on social media within hours of the announcement by India’s Hindu-led nationalist government that it was stripping statehood from the disputed region of Kashmir that had been in place for decades. The songs delivered a message to India’s 250 million YouTube users about moving to the Muslim-majority region, buying land there and marrying Kashmiri women. It’s the latest example of a growing genre in India known as “patriotism pop” — songs flooding social media about nationalism and the country’s burgeoning right-wing ideology. Earlier songs were limited to the rise of Hindus in India, defeating regional rival Pakistan and hoisting the Indian flag in every household. Now, they include settling in Kashmir — a rugged and beautiful Himalayan region claimed by both Pakistan and India, although both countries control only a portion of it. On Aug. 5, Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked Kashmir’s decades-old special status that was guaranteed under Article 370 of India’s Constitution and sent thousands of troops to the region. The move has touched off anger in the Indian-controlled region, which has been under a security lockdown that has seen thousands detained to prevent protests there. One of Modi’s revisions allows anyone to buy land in the territory, which some Kashmiris fear could mean an influx of Hindus who would change the region’s culture and demographics. Critics have likened it to Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories. The patriotic songs are mostly shared on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and the fast-growing app TikTok, whichContinue reading

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Carrie Lam - Hong Kong News HEadline

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday she hoped a peaceful weekend anti-government protest was the start of an effort to restore calm and that talks with nonviolent protesters would provide “a way out” for the China-ruled city. Hundreds of thousands of protesters rallied peacefully in torrential rain on Sunday in the eleventh week of what have been often violent demonstrations. “I sincerely hope that this was the beginning of society returning to peace and staying away from violence,” Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said. “We will immediately start the work to establish a platform for dialogue. This dialogue, I hope, will be based on a mutual understanding and respect and find a way out for today’s Hong Kong,” she said. Anger erupted in June over a now-suspended bill that would allow criminal suspects in the former British colony to be extradited to mainland China for trial. The unrest has been fueled by broader worries about the erosion of freedoms guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” formula put in place after Hong Kong’s return to China in 1997, including an independent judiciary and the right to protest. The protests have prompted sharp reactions from Beijing, which has accused foreign countries, including the United States, of fomenting unrest in the territory. China has also sent clear warning that forceful intervention is possible, with paramilitary forces holding drills in neighboring Shenzhen. Britain’s Foreign Office said it was extremely concerned about reports that a Hong Kong staff member had been detainedContinue reading

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