World

Always rocky, China-U.S. relations appear at a turning point
World

Always rocky, China-U.S. relations appear at a turning point

Four decades after the U.S. established diplomatic ties with communist China, the relationship between the two may have reached a turning point. Tensions have reached new heights on what has always been a rocky road, as the ambitions of a rising superpower increasingly clash with those of the established one. China ordered the closing of the U.S. Consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu on Friday, in rapid retaliation for the closing of its consulate in Houston. Two weeks ago, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi asked aloud if relations could stay on track. On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered an answer: The time has come to change course. "The old paradigm of blind engagement with China simply won’t get it done," he said in a speech at the Richard Nixon Presiden...
Commentary: What next for Hong Kong and its people?
Singapore, World

Commentary: What next for Hong Kong and its people?

The new national security law gives China a tighter grip over Hong Kong, says Dr Lim Tai Wei. SINGAPORE: Through a vote in the Chinese parliament, Beijing pushed through the national security law for Hong Kong (HK) on Jun 30. Critics like the HK Bar Association lamented that the procedure for enacting the national security law through the Chinese parliament bypassed the HK legislature. But, the HK government’s failure to pass Article 23 in the first place is cited as a major reason by many for Beijing stepping in and taking over the role. Moreover, even the experts who disagreed with the procedure for the bill’s enactment acknowledge that it is difficult to reverse Beijing’s determination to implement the national security law. Veteran contemporary China expert Jean-Pierre Cabestan...
Vietnam suspends flights to and from Danang due to virus outbreak
World

Vietnam suspends flights to and from Danang due to virus outbreak

A health worker sprays disinfectant inside a Vietnam Airlines airplane to protect from the recent coronavirus outbreak, at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, Vietnam February 21, 2020. Vietnam has suspended all flights to and from Danang for 15 days after at least 14 cases of the novel coronavirus had been detected in the city, the government said on Tuesday. The Southeast Asian country is back on high alert after authorities on Saturday confirmed the first community infections since April, and another three cases on Sunday, all in or around Danang. A further 11 cases linked to a Danang hospital were reported late on Monday. All bus and train services to and from Danang have also been suspended from Tuesday, the statement said. The city, a tourism hot spot, had reintroduced social distancing me...
White House seeks to block funds for coronavirus testing and tracing in relief bill
World

White House seeks to block funds for coronavirus testing and tracing in relief bill

US President Donald Trump holds up swabs as he speaks during a Coronavirus Task Force press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 19, 2020. The White House is trying to block billions of dollars for coronavirus testing and contact tracing in the upcoming stimulus relief bill, two Republican sources told NBC News, even as infections surge across the country and Americans face long wait times to receive test results amid high demand. Senate GOP lawmakers, in a break with the administration, are pushing back and trying to keep the money for testing and tracing in the bill, the sources told NBC News. Some White House officials reportedly believe new money shouldn't be allocated for testing because previous funds remain unspent. The White House declined CNBC's request for c...
Commentary: Southeast Asia is now dominant in the illegal drugs trade
Asia, World

Commentary: Southeast Asia is now dominant in the illegal drugs trade

Even COVID-19 could not stem the production and flow of illicit drugs from and through the region, say Dr Nehginpao Kipgen and Shivangi Dikshit. NEW DELHI: The Golden Triangle Region of Southeast Asia is one of the major producers of illicit drugs. This region includes northern Thailand, western Laos, and eastern Myanmar. Earlier, the region was known for its opium cultivation, processing and distribution across Southeast Asia and other parts of the world. However, in recent times the region has occupied a dominant position in the production and trafficking of methamphetamine as media reports estimate the synthetic drug’s total trade value in the Mekong sub-region at over US$40 billion a year. Another addictive stimulant drug, amphetamine, is also estimated to have a similar ...
Indonesian rescuers hunt for dozens missing after floods kill 36
USA, World

Indonesian rescuers hunt for dozens missing after floods kill 36

MAKASSAR, Indonesia: Rescuers pulled bodies from under mud and debris Friday (Jul 17) as they raced to find dozens still missing after flash floods killed at least 36 people on Indonesia's Sulawesi island. More than 14,000 people left homeless by the disaster have taken refuge at temporary shelters in hard-hit North Luwu regency, with the country's search and rescue agency hunting for 66 people still unaccounted for. Several rivers burst their banks after torrential rains pounded the region on Monday, sparking the deadly flash floods. On Friday, officials said at least 36 people had died in the disaster, following the retrieval of more bodies. They also raised previous missing victim figures from a dozen to more than 60, citing new reports from concerned relatives. "The chances of...
Sailing: Team New Zealand blames inside job for America’s Cup allegations
World

Sailing: Team New Zealand blames inside job for America’s Cup allegations

Team New Zealand have blamed "informants" for spreading "highly defamatory and inaccurate" allegations about the body organising their America's Cup defence, triggering government questions over "financial and structural matters". WELLINGTON: Team New Zealand have blamed "informants" for spreading "highly defamatory and inaccurate" allegations about the body organising their America's Cup defence, triggering government questions over "financial and structural matters". The team, who will defend the 169-year-old sailing trophy in Auckland next year, said suspicions that there were "informants" in the America's Cup Event (ACE) organisation were confirmed when leaked information came back to them from Europe. "The motives of the informants who had access to the Team New Zealand base ca...
France needs 5G to attract investors – Iliad founder Niel says
World

France needs 5G to attract investors – Iliad founder Niel says

PARIS: A protest movement against the deployment of 5G mobile technology in France risks dampening the country's attractiveness to investors, French tycoon Xavier Niel said on Tuesday. "5G is an element of attractiveness for our country," Niel, founder of French broadband internet provider Iliad , said at a news conference. "There is a moment when we are going to have to generate jobs in this country, so we need foreigners and investors to come here." France plans to hold its much-awaited 5G spectrum auction at the end of September after several delays, including due to the coronavirus outbreak. Germany and Italy have already raised billions of euros through 5G spectrum auctions, raising questions in France over how much the French state will aim to raise. Orange , Altice Europe’s...
Formula One scraps US, Brazil, Mexico and Canada races
World

Formula One scraps US, Brazil, Mexico and Canada races

PARIS: The Grands Prix in the United States, Mexico, Brazil and Canada have been scrapped this year but three races in Europe have been added to the coronavirus-affected season, Formula One said Friday (Jul 24). There will be an F1 debut for Portugal's Portimao track and a return for Germany's Nurburgring and Imola in Italy. The US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, had been scheduled for Oct 23, with a race in Mexico City a week later and Brazil on Nov 13, but with coronavirus infections rising in all those countries, organisers have abandoned attempts to hold races there. The race in Canada had originally been scheduled for June, but plans to hold it later in the season have been scrapped due to Canadian travel restrictions. The race at the historic Nurburgring circuit, which last saw ...
India surges ahead of China in business and technology skills: Report
World

India surges ahead of China in business and technology skills: Report

The world's largest online learning platform Coursera has said that India has surged ahead of China in business and technology skills due to its growing younger population and that India could soon be the global talent hub for emerging technologies.In its latest Global Skills Index 2020, Coursera said India ranks 34th within the business domain whereas China ranks 45th. Within the technology domain, India ranks 40th globally whereas China ranks 50th.Looking across the 65 million learners on the platform and drawing on performance data of learners in the past 12 months, the report benchmarks skills proficiency for 60 countries, 10 industries and 11 fields of study in business, technology and data science.“Within the data science domain, however, India ranks 51th globally (lagging) and 12th ...