HONG KONG - Hong Kong braced for more mass protests over the weekend, even as China warned it could use its power to quell demonstrations and US President Donald Trump urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to meet personally with the protesters to defuse weeks of tensions. Hundreds of China's People's Armed Police (PAP) on Thursday conducted exercises at a sports stadium in Shenzhen which borders Hong Kong after the US State Department said it was "deeply concerned" about the movements, which have prompted worries that the troops could be used to break up protests. Ten weeks of confrontations between police and protesters have plunged Hong Kong into its worst crisis since it reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997 and presented the biggest popular challenge to Xi in his seven years in power. The Civil Human Rights Front, which organised million-strong marches in June, has scheduled another protest for Sunday. China's ambassador to London issued a stark warning, saying Beijing could … [Read more...] about China warns it could quell Hong Kong protesters
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ASAU, Samoa: Early in the morning, before sunrise, low tide on the Samoan island of Savai'i reveals the remnants of an old American airstrip, washed away by decades of erosion, cyclones and tsunamis.The World War II site in Asau, which also hosts a 1960s-era concrete wharf in its well-protected natural harbour, is being considered for a new port to be developed by China, according to the Samoan government and the area's highest ranking chief, Masoe Serota Tufaga.The proposed construction of a facility that could be turned into a military asset in hostile times has worried the United States and its regional allies, which have dominated international influence in the vast waters of the South Pacific since 1945.Sitting at his coconut and cocoa plantation on the hills above the port site, Tufaga told Reuters he would abide by any government deal for a Chinese-developed port even though he was concerned about Beijing's growing influence."The government and China came here to look at it - … [Read more...] about Sink or swim: Chinese port plans put Pacific back in play
TOKYO: As Tokyo 2020 Olympics preparations enter their final stage, officials are touting the city's readiness, but activists and workers groups say speedy venue construction has had dangerous consequences.The Olympic opening ceremony is now less than a year away and more than half the new venues being built for the Games are already complete."We are where we want to be," Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike confidently told reporters earlier this month.But some argue the city has kept on schedule at the cost of the health and safety of the thousands of workers building the sites.An official tally shows there have been at least two deaths linked to Olympics construction in Tokyo.In 2017, a 23-year-old Olympic stadium worker killed himself after clocking nearly 200 hours of overtime the month before, with the local labour office recognising his suicide as a case of death from overwork, a phenomenon known as "karoshi".The following year, a man was crushed to death between a crane and … [Read more...] about Tokyo Olympic construction race raises worker safety questions
AT the Asean Summit in Bangkok recently, one of the issues that was discussed was a joint bid to jointly host the FIFA World Cup in 2034. This news will be welcomed by Asean citizens, where football has a passionate following. No doubt hosting the World Cup will have positive impacts socio-culturally and economically yet there are negative effects that must be considered. One argument is the creation of new infrastructure and improvement of facilities. For example, Russia had created more than 800ha of parks and green zones, and it upgraded power stations and built new hotels to cope with the demand during the World Cup last year. These are beneficial to Russian citizens as the infrastructures are in use after the World Cup. Similarly in Asean, upgraded infrastructure could provide much needed electricity and water to poorer areas. During the 2018 World Cup, visiting fans (an estimated 570,000 international fans) spent about US$5,000-8,000 each which contributed an additional US$2.5-4 … [Read more...] about Should Asean nations co-host the 2034 World Cup?
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim have recently engaged in a war of words over the powers of the constitutional monarchy to interfere in political matters such as Kuala Lumpur's now-retracted decision to accede to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and on appointments to the state government. Johor ruler, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, has also exchanged words with the Malaysian prime minister. The testy relations between Tun Dr Mahathir and Johor's royal family date back to the early 1990s, during the 93-year-old leader's first period in office when the government removed immunities enjoyed by the Malay rulers following episodes of assault by Johorean royalty. Here is a timeline of the recent spat. April 5: Dr Mahathir said Malaysia will withdraw from ratifying the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The announcement came hours after Selangor Umno said it will be sending a memorandum to the state's … [Read more...] about Mahathir v Johor royals: Timeline of recent spat