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World Newsletter June 11, 2019 - Sea Connect
2019, June, Newsletter

World Newsletter June 11, 2019

World News June 11

HONG KONG LEADER REFUSES TO SCRAP EXTRADITION BILL DESPITE RALLY

HONG KONG, China – Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader on Monday refused to scrap
a controversial plan to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland, a day
after record crowds came out to oppose the proposal.
Striking a defiant tone after the city’s largest protest since the 1997
handover, chief executive Carrie Lam said the legislature would debate the
bill on Wednesday as planned, rejecting calls to delay or withdraw the law.
The decision sets her administration on a collision course with opponents
who decried her stance and called on supporters to rally outside parliament
on Wednesday or hold strikes.
“She’s really pushing Hong Kong towards the brink of a precipice,”
pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo told reporters.
Sunday saw huge crowds march in blazing summer heat through the streets of
the financial hub’s main island in a noisy, colourful demonstration calling
on the government to scrap its planned extradition law.

MEANWHILE, CHINA BLAMES ‘FOREIGN FORCES’ FOR MASSIVE HONG KONG PROTESTS OVER
EXTRADITION BILL

A day after Hong Kong witnessed a unified protest march with hundreds of
thousands of people taking to the streets to oppose the government’s
extradition Bill, the Chinese government on Monday blamed “foreign forces”
and said it “resolutely” opposed the “wrong words and deeds of any foreign
forces” that interfere in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s
(SAR) legislation. An editorial in the state-run China Daily also noted that
“.foreign forces are seizing the opportunity to advance their own strategy
to hurt China by trying to create havoc in Hong Kong.”
At a Ministry of Foreign Affairs regular press briefing here, Chinese
foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang stressed: “First, the central
government will continue to support the Hong Kong SAR government in
advancing the amendment to the two ordinances. Second, we resolutely oppose
the wrong words and deeds of any foreign forces that interfere in the SAR’s
legislation.”
“The concerns of certain people on Hong Kong’s business environment are just
unnecessary. Hong Kong is still in a place better than many others in the
rankings made by the World Bank and other authoritative multilateral
institutions,” he added.

FORMER PAK PRESIDENT ZARDARI ARRESTED IN FAKE BANK ACCOUNTS CASE

Pakistan’s former President Asif Ali Zardari was arrested on Monday from his
residence here in the fake bank accounts case by the country’s top
anti-corruption body, even as his party appealed for calm.
A team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) accompanied by police,
including female officials, entered the Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman’s
house hours after the Islamabad High Court rejected his bail plea.
However, his sister Faryal Talpur was so far not arrested.
The brother-sister duo now has the option of appealing the order in the
Supreme Court.
A number of party workers and Zardari’s son Bilawal saw him off as the
former president was driven away in the vehicle.
The vehicle took him to the NAB compound in Islamabad’s Melody areas where
he would kept till he would be produced before the court.
Zardari, the 11th president of Pakistan from 2008 to 2013, has denied any
link with the fake accounts. He has said the allegation was part of a
vilification campaign by the ruling party to malign opposition leaders.

‘IRAN HAS ACCELERATED URANIUM ENRICHMENT’

Iran has followed through on a threat to accelerate its production of
enriched uranium, the head of the UN atomic watchdog said on Monday,
departing from his usual guarded language to say he was worried about
increasing tension.
Recent weeks have seen U.S.-Iranian confrontation sharply increase, a year
after Washington abandoned an agreement between Iran and world powers to
curb Tehran’s nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of international
financial sanctions.
Washington tightened sanctions from the start of May, ordering all countries
and companies to halt all imports of Iranian oil or be banished from the
global financial system.
It has also begun discussing military confrontation, dispatching extra
troops to the region to counter what it describes as Iranian threats.
Iran has responded with a threat to increase its enrichment of uranium,
saying it was up to Europeans who still support the nuclear deal to save it
by finding ways to ensure Tehran receives the economic benefits it was
promised.
IAEA chief Yukiya Amano, whose agency is responsible for monitoring Iranian
compliance with the nuclear deal, said Iran was now producing more enriched
uranium than before, but it was not clear when it might reach stockpile
limits set in the pact. “Yes, (the) production rate is increasing,” he told
a news conference.

CHINA DENIES ABANDONING BCIM CORRIDOR

China on Monday denied that it has dropped the BCIM economic corridor from
its multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as the project made
little progress in view of the differences between India and China over the
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar-Economic Corridor (BCIM) which has been
previously mentioned as part of the BRI when it was launched in 2013, did
not figure in the list of 35 corridors mentioned during the 2nd Belt and
Road Forum (BRF) held here in April.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang told media briefing here on
Monday that “the BCIM has not been abandoned. It is very much on board.”
In fact the 13th meeting of BCIM forum to discuss the progress is being held
on the sidelines of China, South Asia Business Forum currently being held in
Yunnan province, he said.
Discussions are still going on to build the BCIM corridor, Geng said.
A joint statement issued at the end of the BRF mentioned only the
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Nepal-China Trans-Himalayan
Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network, including Nepal-China cross-border
railway and China-Myanmar economic corridor in the list from the South Asian
region.
The BCIM was conspicuously absent from the list, setting off speculation
that China has dropped it.

TORY LEADERSHIP: FINAL 10 CONTENDERS NAMED IN RACE TO NO 10

The final candidates for the Tory leadership race have been confirmed, with
10 running to become the next PM.
Jeremy Hunt, Dominic Raab, Matt Hancock and Michael Gove – who launched
their campaigns ahead of the nomination deadline – are all on the final
list.
Conservative MPs will now take part in a series of votes to whittle the
candidates down to the final two.
The two MPs will then face the wider Tory membership to decide on the next
leader of their party, and the country.
Vice chairman of the party’s backbench 1922 committee Dame Cheryl Gillan
announced the list.
The candidates are:
Environment Secretary Michael Gove
Health Secretary Matt Hancock
Former Chief Whip Mark Harper
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt
Home Secretary Sajid Javid
Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson
Former Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom
Former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey
Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab
International Development Secretary Rory Stewart
To be allowed to run, the MPs needed to have a proposer, a seconder and the
support of six other members.
Sam Gyimah, the only contender backing another referendum on Brexit,
withdrew from the race shortly after nominations closed, saying there was
not enough time to build support.

TRUMP DELIVERS HARD LINE ON NEW CHINA TARIFFS THREAT

WASHINGTON, United States – President Donald Trump warned Monday he will
slap huge new tariffs on China if his counterpart Xi Jinping doesn’t show up
for a planned face-to-face meeting later this month and insisted the Chinese
economy will never overtake the United States.
Trump delivered his hardline message ahead of the G20 summit on June 28-29
in Osaka, Japan, which could mark a turning point in the trade dispute
between the world’s two biggest economies.
Asked if a failure by Xi to come to the summit would lead to tariffs kicking
in on a further $300 billion in Chinese imports, Trump told CNBC television:
“Yes it would.”
Trump said the meeting was “scheduled” and that he expects Xi to attend.
“I would be surprised if he didn’t go,” Trump said. “I think he’s going, I
haven’t heard that he’s not.”
However, as US-Chinese tensions mount, a spokesman for Xi’s government said
last month that he had “no information at present” on Trump-Xi talks.

RIGHTS GROUP SAYS MEXICO PUTS ACTIVISTS ON TRIAL TO WIN OVER TRUMP

Mexico will try two veteran organisers of migrant caravans on Tuesday in a
move that rights activists said was aimed at appeasing the Trump
administration after an agreement last week that averted new US tariffs on
its southern neighbour.
Cristobal Sanchez and Irineo Mujica were arrested within an hour of each
other last week in different parts of Mexico and flown together to the
southern town of Tapachula in Chiapas state for the court hearing on charges
they illegally transported immigrants for money, members of a group they
work with said on Monday.
“The Mexican government has captured them to present them like trophies to
the United States government,” immigration rights group Pueblo Sin Fronteras
said in a statement.
Mexico’s federal prosecutor office declined to comment on the cases, and
Mexico’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a question about
whether there were links between the negotiations in Washington and the
arrests.
The two men were arrested on Wednesday as the United States and Mexico
negotiated a deal. Mexico agreed to clamp down on people smuggling networks
and deploy security forces to curb illegal immigration from Central America.

KIM JONG UN’S HALF-BROTHER, KILLED IN 2017, WAS A CIA INFORMANT: REPORT

Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un who was
killed in Malaysia in 2017, had been an informant for the U.S. Central
Intelligence Agency, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
The Journal cited an unnamed “person knowledgeable about the matter” for the
report, and said many details of Kim Jong Nam’s relationship with the CIA
remained unclear.
Reuters could not independently confirm the story. The CIA declined to
comment.
The Journal quoted the person as saying “There was a nexus” between the CIA
and Kim Jong Nam. “Several former U.S. officials said the half brother, who
had lived outside of North Korea for many years and had no known power base
in Pyongyang, was unlikely to be able to provide details of the secretive
country’s inner workings,” the Journal said.
The former officials also said Kim Jong Nam had been almost certainly in
contact with security services of other countries, particularly China’s, the
Journal said.
South Korean and U.S. officials have said the North Korean authorities had
ordered the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, who had been critical of his
family’s dynastic rule. Pyongyang has denied the allegation.

CANADA TO BAN SINGLE-USE PLASTICS FROM 2021

MONTREAL, Canada – Canada will ban single-use plastics from 2021, Prime
Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday, declaring it a “global challenge”
to phase out the plastic bags, straws and cutlery clogging the world’s
oceans.
“I am very pleased to announce that as early as 2021, Canada will ban
harmful, single-use plastics from coast to coast,” Trudeau said, arguing
Canada has a unique chance to lead the fight against plastic pollution as
the country with the world’s longest coastlines.
Less than 10 percent of plastics used in Canada are currently recycled, he
said.
Each year, a million birds and more than 100,000 marine mammals worldwide
are injured or killed by becoming entangled in plastic or ingesting it
through the food chain.
Single-use items represent about 70 percent of the plastic waste littering
the marine environment.
Straws, plastic bags, cutlery, plates and stir sticks would be among the
items banned, a government statement said. The list will be refined based on
further scientific research between now and 2021.

95 KILLED IN ATTACK ON CENTRAL MALI VILLAGE

Ninety-five people in a central Malian village inhabited by the Dogon
community were killed by gunmen in an overnight attack, a local official and
a security source said Monday, giving a provisional toll.
“Right now we have 95 dead civilians. The bodies are burned, we are
continuing to look for others,” an official in Koundou district, where the
village of Sobane-Kou is located, told AFP.
A Malian security source at the site of the massacre said “a Dogon village
has been virtually wiped out”.
The local official said the attackers came and “started shooting, pillaging
and burning”. The village had about 300 inhabitants, the official said,
speaking on condition of anonymity.
The attack appears to be the latest incident in a cycle of violence in
central Mali, an ethnic mosiac.
The tit-for-tat began when a predominantly Fulani jihadist group led by
preacher Amadou Koufa surfaced in the region and started targeting the
Bambara and Dogon ethnic groups.

UN LABOUR BODY, SURVIVOR FROM LEAGUE OF NATIONS, TURNS 100

Of all the institutions set up in Geneva under the League of Nations after
World War I, only one, the International Labour Organization, survived the
rise of fascism and World War II.
Historians have pointed to several reasons why the ILO, which marks its
100th anniversary on Monday, endured while the rest of the League collapsed.
They included anxiety in the West about worker uprisings following the
Russian Revolution, the election of US president Franklin Roosevelt in 1932,
and the ILO’s exile in Montreal from 1940-47.
More modern concerns will top the agenda at the ILO’s annual congress this
week, where dozens of leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron,
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev
are expected.
Following the #MeToo movement, ILO delegates will consider a convention on
harassment and violence in the workplace, but may end up settling for a
non-binding “recommendation,” the organisation’s director general, Guy
Ryder, told journalists recently.
Under ILO’s 100-year-old “tripartite” structure, delegates include
government officials, union leaders and private sector employer
representatives.
“It’s going to be hard grind multilateral tripartite negotiations,” Ryder
said, stressing that he is not expecting a celebratory atmosphere at a
congress also due to issue a declaration on “The Future of Work.” “I’d love
to think there’ll be a festive moment in it,” Ryder said. “I very much doubt
it.”
The victorious powers of WW-I faced heavy pressure to establish a dedicated
world labour office, said Dorothea Hoehtker, who leads historical research
at the ILO.

RUSSIAN MEDIA OUTLETS URGE SCRIBE’S RELEASE

Russian authorities faced unprecedented pushback on Monday against the
arrest of an investigative reporter on drugs charges, with independent as
well as pro-Kremlin figures urging his release.
Journalist Ivan Golunov was detained on drug charges last week but says he
is being punished for his work as an investigative reporter.
As his arrest unleashed a rare show of popular solidarity, the Kremlin said
it was important to “admit mistakes” and not repeat them, but also defended
its law enforcement agencies. On Monday, three top newspapers Kommersant,
Vedomosti and RBK published the same front page with the words “I am/we are
Ivan Golunov” in giant letters – a bold act of defiance in a country where
most media toes the Kremlin line. The phrase was drawn from the slogan “I am
Charlie” that emerged after the 2015 killing of 12 people at Charlie Hebdo.
Mr. Golunov, 36, a reporter with Meduza, an independent Russian-language
media outlet, was detained last week on allegations that he manufactured and
dealt in drugs. He faces up to 20 years in prison, but defence lawyers say
drugs were planted on him.
In identical front page statements, the three newspapers said the
journalist’s arrest amounted to an act of intimidation, and demanded an
investigation into the police officers who detained him. The dailies said
they did not consider the evidence presented by investigators to be
convincing.

DECLARE ASSETS BY JUNE 30, SAYS PM IMRAN

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday warned of legal action against the
Pakistanis who do not declare their undisclosed assets by June 30.
He said that in the last 10 years, Pakistan’s debt had risen from PKR 6,000
billion to PKR 30,000 billion. “Our nation has suffered due to this. Our
annual tax collection is around PKR 4,000 billion. Half of it goes to loan
repayments that ‘they’ [previous governments] took.” Indicating that
Pakistan cannot run on the money that is then left over, he added that the
country has the capacity to collect PKR 10,000 billion every year.
“I appeal to you to take advantage of our assets declaration scheme. If we
don’t pay taxes, we can’t move forward and rebuild this country,” he said,
adding that people have time till June 30 to use this opportunity. After
that, he warned, the government will come after those who have hidden their
assets.
“We have information that no other government had; we have treaties with
other countries that have informed us of Pakistanis with properties and bank
accounts in foreign countries; our agencies have information of benami
accounts and properties. Take advantage of this scheme.”
Mr. Khan called the action important to end poverty in Pakistan and for the
future of the country.

PLANT EXTINCTION ‘BAD NEWS FOR ALL SPECIES’

Almost 600 plant species have been lost from the wild in the last 250 years,
according to a comprehensive new study.
The number is based on actual extinctions rather than estimates, and is
twice that of all bird, mammal and amphibian extinctions combined.
Scientists say plant extinction is occurring up to 500 times faster than
what would be expected naturally.
In May, a UN report estimated that one million animal and plant species were
threatened with extinction.
Researchers say their analysis of all documented plant extinctions in the
world shows what lessons can be learned to stop future extinctions.
Most people can name a mammal or bird that has become extinct in recent
centuries, but few could name an extinct plant, said Dr Aelys Humphreys of
Stockholm University.
“This study is the first time we have an overview of what plants have
already become extinct, where they have disappeared from and how quickly
this is happening,” she added.

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