OTTAWA - Canada warned citizens in Hong Kong on Wednesday (July 1) that they faced a higher risk of arbitrary detention and extradition to mainland China after Beijing imposed a new security law on the city.
"National security legislation for Hong Kong came into effect on July 1, 2020," the Canadian government wrote in an updated travel advisory.
"You may be at increased risk of arbitrary detention on national security grounds and possible extradition to mainland China."
The warning illustrates heightened concerns some Western governments have for citizens after China imposed a law on Hong Kong outlawing subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces.
Relations between Canada and China are at their lowest in years following a row over the fate of arrested nationals.
Canadian former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor were both detained nine days after Canada arrested Chinese Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou following an American extradition request.
The two men have been held largely incommunicado since December 2018 and slapped with spy charges weeks after a Canadian judge ruled that extradition proceedings against Meng will go ahead.
Beijing has made little secret of the fact that the two men's fates are tied up with Meng's.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Wednesday (July 1) announced zero new cases of Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), marking 80 days without a new local infection.
During his weekly press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Minister of Health and Welfare and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced there were no new cases of coronavirus. Taiwan's total number of cases still stands at 447.
The CECC on Wednesday did not announce any new reports of people with suspected symptoms. Since the outbreak began, Taiwan has carried out 76,883 COVID-19 tests, with 75,925 coming back negative.
Taiwan has now extended its streak of no new local infections to 80 days. Out of 447 total confirmed cases, 356 were imported, 55 were local, and 36 came from the Navy's "Goodwill Fleet."
Up until now, seven individuals have succumbed to the disease, while 438 have been released from hospital isolation. This leaves only two people still undergoing treatment for COVID-19 in Taiwan.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Following China’s passage of a draconian security law for Hong Kong Tuesday (June 30), President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said a special body would start operating on July 1 to provide humanitarian assistance to residents of the former British colony.
July 1 marks the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China by Great Britain. The “one country, two systems” formula with Hong Kong as an autonomous territory was supposed to have lasted for 50 years until 2047, but many Hong Kong citizens fear the new national security law marks the de facto end of their special status.
President Tsai expressed disappointment at the passage of the law, adding that it proved that “one country, two systems” was impossible to apply. The national security law showed that it was difficult to believe promises from China.
Tsai emphasized that the people of Hong Kong should be allowed to continue to cherish democracy, freedom, and human rights, and that Taiwan would assist them in those efforts.
Separately, Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) said China had trampled on its promise that Hong Kong people should be allowed to rule themselves for 50 years. The authorities in China and Hong Kong should listen to the voice of the people, he added, as freedom and democracy were the basic rights of Hong Kong residents.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As part of the 36th Han Kuang military exercise, a Navy Chien Lung-class submarine will test-fire German-made surface and underwater target (SUT) heavy torpedoes off Taiwan’s southeast coast on Wednesday (July 1).
According to military sources, if all goes according to plan, this will be the first torpedo firing since 2007. However, sources did not share details of the test.
Additionally, the Navy conducted drills earlier this morning between 4 a.m. and 8:10 a.m., according to the Council of Agriculture’s Fisheries Agency. The area of operation has been blocked off, and ships are prohibited from entering.
On May 21, the U.S. approved the sale of 18 MK-48 Mod6 AT heavy torpedoes to Taiwan, which are in line with the nation’s asymmetric warfare strategy and are expected to replace some of the SUT heavy torpedoes currently in the Navy’s inventory.
The 36th Han Kuang military exercise is scheduled to last from July 13 to July 17.
On July 16th, a joint live-fire anti-beach landing exercise will be held at Taichung’s Chia Nan Beach. Simultaneously, the military will conduct drills at Taichung Port and Ching Chuan-kuang Air Force Base.
This year’s exercise will feature newly formed joint battalions that can conduct operations independently, without specific orders, as well as demonstrate the effectiveness of integrated troops and firepower.
BENGALURU- Nearly 300 cases of a rare, life-threatening syndrome in children and adolescents associated with the novel coronavirus have been identified in the United States in two studies in The New England Journal of Medicine.
The US studies published on Monday (June 29) follow several reports of the syndrome among Covid-19 patients in France, Italy, Spain and Britain.
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), shares symptoms with toxic shock and Kawasaki disease, including fever, rashes, swollen glands and, in severe cases, heart inflammation.
A consistent picture is emerging of the syndrome occurring two to four weeks after infection by the coronavirus, Michael Levin, professor of paediatrics and international child health at Imperial College London, said in an accompanying editorial.
The syndrome affects 2 in 100,000 young people, defined as under age 21, out of 322 in 100,000 in that group who get Covid-19, he wrote.
While the studies identified about 300 cases in the US, Levin noted that there have been more than 1,000 cases reported worldwide and that a relatively high proportion have occurred among Black, Hispanic or South Asian persons.
"There is a concern that children meeting current diagnostic criteria for MIS-C are the 'tip of the iceberg' and a bigger problem may be lurking below the waterline," Levin wrote.
The first study, led by Boston Children's Hospital, found 186 cases of MIS-C in 26 US states, with 4 out of 5 cases needing intensive care and one out of five requiring mechanical ventilation. Four patients died.
The second study, which observed patients in New York and was conducted by the state's health department, found another 95 confirmed cases, with 4 out of 5 needing admission to intensive care unit and two patients dying.
It is not clear why MIS-C develops in some children and adolescents and not in others.
SEATTLE - Two teenagers have been shot, one fatally, in the fourth shooting in 10 days within the boundaries of the free-protest zone set up near downtown Seattle amid a national wave of protests over police violence.
The latest shooting, at about 3am on Monday (June 29), has accelerated tensions over what happens next in the protest area, known as the Capitol Hill Organised Protest zone, or Chop.
One victim, 16, arrived at Harborview Medical Centre at 3.30am from the Chop area, transported there by Seattle Fire Department medics, and died in the hospital. The other victim, 14, was taken to the hospital in a private vehicle and remained in critical condition in intensive care, said a spokesman for Harborview.
The violence, with a total of six people shot in an area of the city known in the past as a party corner of Seattle, noted for its bars, restaurants and colourful student-infused street life, has raised new questions over what happens next.
The city has said it wants a return to normal in the occupied protest zone and a reopening of the Police Department's East Precinct, which was boarded up and abandoned as residents of the several-block area were left to police themselves. Work crews with heavy equipment arrived on Friday to begin taking down barriers that were set up by protesters after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May. But work was halted to avoid a confrontation.
Mayor Jenny Durkan, a former US attorney under president Barack Obama, has been criticised from both the left and right for her handling of the protests and the situation in the Chop in particular. At least three members of the nine-member City Council have called for her resignation over the police response to the protests, and President Donald Trump tweeted that Seattle is out of control.
At least one lawsuit has been filed against the mayor and governor Jay Inslee, claiming that allowing the Chop zone to emerge put people living in the area in danger. A crowd of protesters converged on the mayor's house on Sunday, chanting for her to step down.
The first shooting occurred early on the morning of June 20. A 19-year-old man was shot and transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A 33-year-old man was also shot nearby.
The second shooting occurred the next day. A 17-year-old boy who was shot was treated at Harbourview Medical Centre and released. Then two days later, the police said they were investigating yet another shooting in the early morning hours near the protest zone, with one person injured.
In a news briefing on Monday morning in the Chop zone, Chief Carmen Best of the Seattle Police Department said that when the police arrived at the site after multiple 911 calls about gunfire, they found a white Jeep Cherokee "riddled with bullet holes" and were told that two men had been inside.
The investigation was immediately made more difficult, she said, by the fact that evidence had been compromised.
"It is abundantly clear to our detectives, people had been in and out of the car after the shooting," she said.
And so far, she said, residents and protesters who may have witnessed the shooting have not come forward.
"People are not being cooperative with our requests for help," she said.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A magnitude 5.2 earthquake struck off the coast of northeast Taiwan at 8:52 p.m. this evening (June 29), according to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB).
The epicenter of the temblor was located 75.6 kilometers southeast of Yilan County Hall at a focal depth of 66 km, according to CWB data. Taiwan uses an intensity scale of 1 to 7, which gauges the degree to which a quake is felt at a specific location.
The quake’s intensity registered as a 3 in Yilan County. An intensity level of 2 was registered in Hualien County, Nantou County, Miaoli County, Taitung County, Changhua County, Hsinchu County, and Chiayi County.
A lesser intensity of 1 was felt in Taoyuan City, New Taipei City, Taichung City, and Yunlin County. No injuries resulting from the quake had been reported at the time of publication.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — On Monday (June 29) 107 passengers from Hong Kong and Macau comprised the first batch of foreigners allowed to enter Taiwan since a ban was imposed on foreign visitors in March amid the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Taiwan has now opened its borders to foreign nationals and citizens of Hong Kong and Macau for business and trade or on humanitarian grounds. A total of three flights arrived that day carrying 78 passengers from Hong Kong and 29 passengers from Macau.
During a press conference on Sunday (June 28), Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) Spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said that three flights on Monday would include EVA Air Flight BR802 from Macau arriving at 3 p.m., China Airlines Flight CI910 from Hong Kong arriving at 3:55 p.m., and Air Macau Flight NX620 from Macau arriving at 8:50 p.m.
Upon arrival, the passengers were required to submit proof of a negative nucleic acid test report for the coronavirus that had been completed within three days before boarding a flight to Taiwan. Once admitted through the airport screening procedures, the passengers must begin a 14-day quarantine period and pass another test for COVID-19 before they can be released.
As the outbreak of the coronavirus was beginning to accelerate in Taiwan, the CECC on March 18 announced that all foreign visitors would be barred from entering the country effective March 19. Exceptions were made for those holding an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC, 居留證), diplomatic officials, and businesspeople with special entry permits.
Over three months later, Central Epidemic Command Center Deputy Chief Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥) during a press conference on June 24 announced that Taiwan will allow foreign nationals, including those from Hong Kong and Macau, to apply for entry permits. Chen said that foreigners of any country may apply, with the exception of tourists and those making ordinary "social visits."
In the case of Hong Kong and Macau citizens, Chen said that they can apply for entry under the following circumstances: special humanitarian considerations and emergency assistance, business activities, and internal transfers from multinational companies. In addition, those who have obtained residence permits as spouses or children of Taiwanese citizens or for economic and trade exchanges can also apply for entry.
The command center also reminded all passengers who want to enter Taiwan to use their mobile phones to complete the "Quarantine System for Entry" before checking in with the airline or boarding at the departure location. This will speed up customs clearance operations and community epidemic prevention measures after entry.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Diageo Taiwan on Monday (June 29) announced Raising the Bar, an NT$18 million (US$610,542) program committed to supporting local bars, pubs, and restaurants as they welcome customers back for a full economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic.
Raising the Bar builds on the London-based beverage alcohol company's local initiatives to support communities in Taiwan, such as with its recent donation of NT$3 million to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The commitment is part of alcoholic beverage powerhouse Diageo's US$100 million set of programs to help pubs and bars recover from the coronavirus by supporting jobs and communities worldwide, including in the Taiwanese cities of Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung; Hong Kong; India's New Delhi and Mumbai; Sydney, Australia; and Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen in China. The program will kick off in July and run for two years.
"The pandemic has forced the closure of cities and the adoption of social distancing measures, and behaviors like panic buying have further increased the distance between people. Thanks to the front-line medical workers, the national mask team working around the clock, and the general public's cooperation to prevent the spread of the virus, life in Taiwan now is relatively safe," said Atul Chhaparwal, managing director of Diageo Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau.
He added that the company will also support these efforts and invest its resources in pursuit of a 'return to normalcy.'
The Raising the Bar program in Taiwan will support qualified bars, pubs, and restaurants over a period of two years with targeted non-cash support needed for outlets to re-open and transition to business-as-usual free of charge. The hospitality industry lost an unprecedented amount of revenue over the last few months, and this has impacted many small- and medium-sized businesses as well as the livelihoods of millions of people.
"Pubs, bars, and restaurants are an integral part of our communities, and the revival of this sector is vital to the economy," according to a press release from the company. "With Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung as the target recipients of the 'Raising the Bar' program, Diageo Taiwan will help the island country transition to the post-pandemic era."
RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil had its worst week yet of the coronavirus pandemic in terms of new cases, registering 259,105 infections in the seven days through Sunday (Jun 28), according to health ministry figures.
The country also reported its second-highest weekly death toll, with 7,005 people killed.
The previous week's figure was a record 7,285.
Brazil has the second-highest number of infections and deaths worldwide after the United States, and it has struggled to set a strategy for dealing with the pandemic.
The latest grim figures came as protesters in various cities across the country and as far away as Stockholm, London and Barcelona held demonstrations against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his handling of the health crisis.
The far-right president has downplayed the new coronavirus as akin to a "little flu," railed against state authorities' stay-at-home measures and publicly flouted social distancing guidelines and the face-mask requirement in place in the capital, Brasilia.
At Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, military police clutching riot shields used batons to push back people protesting under the slogan "Stop Bolsonaro," as well as for Gay Pride day and against racism.
The harsh police reaction against the crowd of around 200 drew more people to protest from their windows, shouting "Get out, Bolsonaro!"
In Brasilia, protesters put up 1,000 crosses on a lawn in front of Congress to pay tribute to COVID-19 victims, with a banner reading "Bolsonaro, stop denying!"
"Brazil is suffering immense pain, a hidden pain that throbs in the face of the incredible numbers of deaths caused by COVID-19," the organisers said in a statement.
Experts say the real number of infections and deaths in Brazil is probably much higher than the official figures.
The health ministry began this week to test all suspected coronavirus cases in the public health system, but under-testing remains a problem in the country of 212 million people.
And even though the spread of the disease is still not under control, some local authorities are pushing ahead with efforts to reopen their economies.
Rio, the city hit second-hardest after Sao Paulo, has for example allowed shops to reopen and football matches to resume, and even plans to let fans back into stadiums starting Jul 10.