Category Archive : World

Hong Kong police arrested media tycoon and prominent democracy activist Jimmy Lai under a national security law passed in late June for allegedly colluding with foreign forces, local media reported.

The arrest was reported by Apple Daily, the flagship newspaper under Lai’s media network Next Digital Ltd., as well as TVB. Seven people were arrested in total, including Lai’s two sons and other top members of Next Digital, Oriental Daily reported, citing unidentified people.

“The lawyers are on the way to the police station now,” Next Digital Group Director Mark Simon said in an email, following an earlier tweet that Lai had been arrested. Calls and emails placed to the Hong Kong Police went unanswered.

Jimmy Lai is being arrested for collusion with foreign powers at this time.

— Mark Simon (@HKMarkSimon) August 9, 2020

China has called the security legislation, which bars subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, a “sword of Damocles” hanging over the heads of its most outspoken critics. It has prompted fears among activists and foreign governments that it will be used to silence basic freedoms in the city.

Lai’s media group and Apple Daily backed the protests for meaningful elections that rocked the city last year, but it’s been years since he was seen as playing a central role in Hong Kong’s democracy movement. Lai had earlier been arrested in February on suspicion of participating in an unlawful assembly in 2019 and intimidating a reporter two years before that, and was granted police bail.

The U.S. has led foreign governments in expressing concern over the law, saying Hong Kong could no longer be considered sufficiently autonomous from the mainland. It has revoked some special trading privileges, which help underpin the city’s reputation as an international business hub, and sanctioned Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam as well …read more

Source:: Time – World

      

(ATHENS, Greece) — Seven people, including an elderly couple and an 8-month-old baby, have been found dead as a storm hit the Greek island of Evia, authorities said Sunday. One person was still missing and dozens of others were trapped by floodwaters in their homes and cars.

Greece’s meteorological service said parts of Evia saw rainfall that reached 300 millimeters (11.8 inches), some 80% of the annual rainfall for the area, which is only about 375 millimeters (14.8 inches), usually with negligible rain during the summer.

Police say the couple, 86 and 85 years old, were found unconscious in their flooded home Sunday morning in the seaside village of Politika, 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of the capital, Athens. The baby was found in a ground floor apartment in the same village. The mayor reportedly said the baby’s family were tourists.

Deputy Minister for Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias confirmed the deaths Sunday afternoon and added that two people are missing. The names of the dead and missing were not released.

Later, one of the missing, an elderly woman, was found floating at sea off the coast, sitting on top of a bureau. She had climbed on it just as the floodwaters burst into her house.

Firefighters later came upon the bodies of a 38-year-old woman and her 42-year-old husband outside their home in the inland village of Amfithea.

A river burst through its banks and flooded part of Politika, forcing many residents to climb to the rooftops of their homes. Another river in the village of Bourtzi also burst its banks. Authorities estimated that 3,000 residences had been partially or totally damaged by floodwaters and police said many local roads are impassible.

Heavy rain started falling at about midnight Saturday and firefighters responded to over 50 fires caused by lightning. By late afternoon Sunday, 97 people had …read more

Source:: Time – World

      

The BBC apologized Sunday for broadcasting a racist slur in a news report, saying it was a mistake that has caused many people distress.

The BBC included the word when reporting last month on a violent attack on a young Black man in Bristol, a city in southwest England. The attackers are reported to have yelled the offensive term as they ran into the 21-year-old with a car.

The victim needed hospital treatment for a broken leg and other injuries.

The broadcaster has received more than 18,000 complaints about the use of the offensive word. On Saturday, comedian and broadcaster Sideman quit music station BBC 1Xtra over the use of the word and the corporation’s failure to apologize.

The BBC had previously defended the decision to use the word, saying it wanted to convey the racist nature of the attack. It had warned viewers that upsetting language would be used.

Director-general Tony Hall said in a memo to staff that the BBC’s intention “was to highlight an alleged racist attack.”

“Yet despite these good intentions, I recognize that we have ended up creating distress amongst many people,” he said.

Hall said that “every organization should be able to acknowledge when it has made a mistake. We made one here.”

…read more

Source:: Time – World

      

(WELLINGTON, New Zealand) — New Zealand on Sunday marked 100 days since it stamped out the spread of the coronavirus, a rare bright spot in a world that continues to be ravaged by the disease.

Life has returned to normal for many people in the South Pacific nation of 5 million, as they attend rugby games at packed stadiums and sit down in bars and restaurants without the fear of getting infected. But some worry the country may be getting complacent and not preparing well enough for any future outbreaks.

New Zealand got rid of the virus by imposing a strict lockdown in late March when only about 100 people had tested positive for the disease. That stopped its spread. For the past three months, the only new cases have been a handful of returning travelers who have been quarantined at the border.

“It was good science and great political leadership that made the difference,” said professor Michael Baker, an epidemiologist at the University of Otago. “If you look around the globe at countries that have done well, it’s usually that combination.”

From early on, New Zealand pursued a bold strategy of eliminating the virus rather than just suppressing its spread. Baker said other countries are increasingly looking to New Zealand for answers.

“The whole Western World has terribly mismanaged this threat, and they’re realizing this now,” Baker said.

He said many leaders saw a false dichotomy between saving lives or saving their economies, when in fact businesses thrive best when they have certainty about things like diseases.

Indeed, New Zealand’s economy has fared better than many predicted. The country has managed to keep its unemployment rate at just 4%, although many economists say the number doesn’t account for recent job losses and will likely get significantly worse after a government-funded wage subsidy expires next month.

Prime Minster …read more

Source:: Time – World

      

(BEIRUT) — Lebanon’s information minister resigned on Sunday as the country grapples with the aftermath of the devastating blast that ripped through the capital and raised public anger to new levels.

The resignation comes after a night of demonstrations against the ruling elite, blamed for the chronic mismanagement and corruption that is believed to be behind the explosion in a Beirut Port warehouse. Hundreds of tons of highly explosive material were stored in the waterfront hangar, and the blast sent a shock wave that killed at least 160 people, wounded nearly 6,000 and defaced the coastline of Beirut — destroying hundreds of buildings.

Manal Abdel-Samad said in her resignation letter that change remained “elusive” and she regrets failing to fulfill the aspirations of the Lebanese people.

Her resignation comes as about half a dozen lawmakers offered their resignation in protest over government performance. Local media also reported that another minister, and a close advisor to Prime Minister Hassan Diab, was also expected to resign. Diab met with his Cabinet reportedly to discuss the resignations Sunday, but there were no comments after the meeting.

“Given the magnitude of the catastrophe caused by the Beirut earthquake that shook the nation and hurt our hearts and minds, and in respect for the martyrs, and the pains of the wounded, missing and displaced, and in response to the public will for change, I resign from the government,” Abdel-Samad wrote.

In the country where civil war raged for 15 years, few, if any, have been held accountable for it and most of the warlords remain in power or leading powerful political factions.

On Sunday, France’s ambassador to Lebanon said his country is taking part in the investigation of the Aug. 4 blast. Bruno Foucher tweeted that 46 officers are operating as part of the judicial investigation. That probe was …read more

Source:: Time – World

      

(TOKYO) — The Japanese city of Nagasaki on Sunday marked its 75th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing, with the mayor and dwindling survivors urging world leaders including their own to do more for a nuclear weapons ban.

At 11:02 a.m., the moment the B-29 bomber Bockscar dropped a 4.5-ton (10,000-pound) plutonium bomb dubbed “Fat Man,” Nagasaki survivors and other participants stood in a minute of silence to honor more than 70,000 dead.

The Aug. 9, 1945, bombing came three days after the United States dropped its first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the world’s first ever nuclear attack that killed 140,000. On Aug. 15, Japan surrendered, ending World War II.

At the event at Nagasaki Peace Park, scaled down because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Tomihisa Taue read a peace declaration in which he raised concern that nuclear states had in recent years retreated from disarmament efforts.

Instead, they are upgrading and miniaturizing nuclear weapons for easier use, he said. Taue singled out the U.S. and Russia for increasing risks by scrapping the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

“As a result, the threat of nuclear weapons being used is increasingly becoming real,” Taue said. Noting that the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty entered into force 50 years ago, Taue urged the U.S. and Russia to show a (asterisk)workable way(asterisk) towards their nuclear disarmament at the NPT review process next year.

He said that “the true horror of nuclear weapons has not yet been adequately conveyed to the world at large” despite struggle and efforts by hibakusha, or atomic bombing survivors, to make Nagasaki the last place of the tragedy.

He also urged Japan’s government and lawmakers to quickly sign the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

After taking part in the ceremony, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe criticized the treaty for not being realistic. None of the nuclear states has …read more

Source:: Time – World

      

(WARSAW, Poland) — A large crowd of LGBT rights supporters gathered in Warsaw on Saturday to protest the arrest of a transgender activist who had carried out acts of civil disobedience against rising homophobia in Poland.

“You will not lock all of us up!” people chanted at the demonstration that appeared to have drawn thousands, many of them young adults. Most wore masks to battle coronavirus.

Saturday’s protest comes a day after LGBT rights supporters scuffled with police who arrested the activist, Malgorzata Szutowicz, known best as “Margot.” Police said they detained 48 people, while activists said police used rough tactics against them.

“The police were aggressively pushing the protesters out of the way, knocking people to the ground and holding them down with their boots,” the group said.

The protests come amid an intensifying standoff in Poland between the LGBT rights movement and the conservative government, which has declared it an alien, dangerous “ideology.” President Andrzej Duda, who was sworn in for a second term Thursday, won re-election on a strong anti-LGBT platform, and social tensions have been rising.

Szutowicz was put in pre-trial detention for two months for acts of civil disobedience, including using a knife to cut the tires of a van that drives around broadcasting anti-LGBT messages, including a claim that “homosexuals are preparing society to accept pedophilia.”

She belongs to a group called Stop Bzdurom — “Stop the Nonsense” — which has been putting rainbow flags on Warsaw statues, including one of Jesus, infuriating the conservative government.

Those defending her say that the legal measures being used against her are disproportionate. Lawyers have not had contact with her, her defense lawyer said.

Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro defended the police behavior as appropriate. He accused opposition politicians who are defending the LGBT protesters of supporting “banditry.”

“Perhaps the knife that was used to destroy the …read more

Source:: Time – World

      

(CARACAS, Venezuela) — A Venezuelan court has sentenced two former U.S. special forces soldiers to 20 years in prison for their part in a failed beach attack aimed at overthrowing President Nicolás Maduro, prosecutors announced.

Former Green Berets Luke Denman and Airan Berry admitted to taking part in the May 4 operation orchestrated by a third ex-U.S. soldier who remains in the United States, Venezuelan’s chief prosecutor Tarek William Saab announced on Twitter on Friday.

“THEY ADMITTED THEIR RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FACTS,” Saab wrote, adding that the case will continue for dozens of other defendants. He did not offer details.

“Operation Gideon” was launched from makeshift training camps in neighboring Colombia and left at least eight rebel soldiers dead while a total of 66 were jailed. Former Green Beret Jordan Goudreau, who operated a private, Florida-based security firm called Silvercorp USA, claimed responsibility for the failed attack.

Venezuelan prosecutors announced that Denman and Berry, both decorated former U.S. service members, were found guilty of conspiracy, trafficking in illegal arms and terrorism.

The two Americans arrested in the coastal fishing community of Chuao have ever since been widely displayed by officials on Venezuelan state TV as proof of their long-held claims that the United States is set on overthrowing Maduro’s socialist government.

The incident also unleashed claims that U.S. backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó had authorized Goudreau through a signed agreement to carry out the attack, executed by two of Guaidó’s former political advisors.

Guaidó and U.S. officials have denied any role in the attack. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington would use all possible means to win the freedom of Denman and Berry.

A day before authorities announced that the two ex-Green Berets were sentenced, Venezuelan authorities opened the trial of six American executives of the Houston-based Citgo company. The six men were arrested over two years …read more

Source:: Time – World