May 30, 2020

Asia

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India posts record jump in COVID-19 cases as lockdown restrictions start to ease
Asia

NEW DELHI,: India extended its coronavirus lockdown until Jun 30 in high-risk zones but permitted restaurants, malls and religious buildings to reopen elsewhere from Jun 8 despite a record high number of cases detected nationwide on Saturday (May 30).The home ministry ordered state governments and local authorities to identify "containment zones", or areas that should remain under lockdown, as they continue to report high number of infections.The government allowed hospitality and retail sectors and places of worship to open from Jun 8 and expected authorities to ensure physical distancing rules and staggered business hours.India reported a record daily jump of 7,964 new COVID-19 infections on Saturday and has so far recorded 173,763 positive cases and 4,971 deaths, making the world's second-most populous country ninth on the list of most infections, Reuters data showed.
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Hong Kong leaders say Trump 'completely wrong' for curbing ties
Asia

HONG KONG: Senior Hong Kong government officials lashed out on Saturday (May 30) at moves by US President Donald Trump to strip the city of its special status in a bid to punish China for imposing national security laws on the global financial hub.Speaking hours after Trump said the city no longer warranted economic privileges and some officials could face sanctions, security minister John Lee told reporters that Hong Kong's government could not be threatened and would push ahead with the new laws."I don't think they will succeed in using any means to threaten the (Hong Kong) government, because we believe what we are doing is right," Lee said.Justice minister Teresa Cheng said the basis for Trump's actions was "completely false and wrong", saying the need for national security laws were legal and necessary.
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Malaysia reports 30 new COVID-19 cases
Asia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's health ministry reported 30 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday (May 30), bringing the national total to 7,762. For the eighth consecutive day, the country reported no more death, leaving the death toll at 115. Of the 30 new cases, three were imported cases who got infected overseas, said health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.The imported cases are from Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom and the Netherlands, according to the health ministry.“Of the 27 local transmissions, 17 cases involved non-Malaysians and only 10 involved Malaysians,” Dr Noor Hisham said at a daily news conference.  Dr Noor Hisham also said that 95 patients had recovered and were discharged on Saturday. 
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For Asians in Australia, a collective memory of racial trauma
Asia

Charmaine Celine, a Eurasian-Chinese student attending La Trobe University in Melbourne’s Bundoora, said she had been grappling with feelings of inferiority and embarrassment over her race amid the coronavirus pandemic.As infections rose across Australia – it has just over 7,100 cases across its eight states and territories while 103 people have died – strangers who she saw in public made comments such as “go back to your own country” to the 21-year-old and accused her of “stealing” their jobs…
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US firms in Hong Kong awake to 'sad day' as Trump vows to curb economic ties
Asia

HONG KONG: The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong said on Saturday (May 30) it was "a sad day" for the global financial centre, hours after US President Donald Trump moved toward stripping the city of its special treatment in a bid to punish China.In some of his toughest rhetoric yet, Trump said Beijing had broken its word over Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy by proposing new national security legislation and the territory no longer warranted US economic privileges."We will take action to revoke Hong Kong's preferential treatment as a separate customs and travel territory from the rest of China," Trump said, adding that Washington would also impose sanctions on individuals seen as responsible for "smothering - absolutely smothering - Hong Kong's freedom".
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COVID-19 vaccine could be ready by year-end, says China government body
Asia

HONG KONG: A Chinese-made coronavirus vaccine could be ready for market as early as the end of this year, China's State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) said in a social media post.In trials, more than 2,000 people have received vaccines developed by the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products and the Beijing Institute of Biological Products. A vaccine could be ready for the market as early as the end of this year or early 2021, according to the May 29 post on Chinese social media platform WeChat.Vaccines from the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products and the Beijing Institute of Biological Products had entered Phase II clinical trials. Both groups are affiliated with state-owned pharmaceutical group Sinopharm, whose management is overseen by SASAC.
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Hong Kong’s national security law prompts renewed interest in Singapore property
Asia

Hong Kong resident Samantha has lived in the city for well over a decade, but with political turmoil gripping the city amid the coronavirus pandemic, the business owner has been increasingly concerned about her family’s future.“There have been protests since last year, and we no longer have customers from overseas visiting Hong Kong [due to Covid-19],” said Samantha, who declined to reveal her last name or disclose the industry she works in, citing privacy concerns. “We do not see a stable…
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Singapore, China agree on ‘fast lane’ arrangement for essential travel from early June
Asia

Singapore and mainland China have agreed to allow essential travel for business and official purposes between the two countries in early June, according to a joint statement.The Fast Lane arrangement will be first applied between Singapore and six Chinese provinces or municipalities directly under the central government, and will gradually expand to include additional areas. Covid-19 prevention and control measures will remain in place.The initial agreement applies to travel between Singapore…
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Fired South Korean worker ends year-long tower protest after Samsung apologises
Asia

A man dismissed from his job at the Samsung Group in South Korea ended a year-long protest on a 25-metre traffic surveillance tower on Friday.Kim Yong-hee climbed down from the tower close to the company's headquarters in Seoul after receiving an apology from the South Korean tech conglomerate, according to a report by Yonhap news agency. Kim was dismissed 25 years ago, when he was working at the former subsidiary Samsung Techwin. He argues that he was fired for trying to establish a trade…
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India posts record jump in COVID-19 cases a lockdown restrictions start to ease
Asia

NEW DELHI: India reported a record daily jump of 7,964 new COVID-19 infections on Saturday (May 30), with a recent surge in cases as lockdown restrictions start to ease raising the possibility that Prime Minister Narendra Modi could extend curbs beyond May 31.In an open letter marking one year into his second term, Modi appealed to the country's population of 1.3 billion to follow all lockdown rules to stop the spread of the pandemic.The prime minister said there was a "long battle" ahead against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19."Our country (is) besieged with problems amidst a vast population and limited resources," Modi said, adding that labourers and migrant workers had "undergone tremendous suffering" due to restrictions.
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Hong Kong will benefit from national security law in long-term: Malaysian billionaire Cheah Cheng Hye
Asia

The national security law for Hong Kong can help to maintain the city’s political and economic stability in the long run despite creating some short-term tension and uncertainty, said Malaysian billionaire Cheah Cheng Hye.The Value Partners Group co-chairman and co-chief investment officer noted that investors were calm when it came to the recently-passed Hong Kong national security law as part of the solution to the territory’s current situation.“Both China and the United Kingdom agreed that…
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North Korea says it supports China's measures on Hong Kong
Asia

SEOUL: North Korea on Saturday (May 30) expressed its support for China's decision to impose new national security laws in Hong Kong, calling it a "legitimate step" to safeguard the state security."Since Hong Kong issue is an issue pertaining thoroughly to the internal affairs of China, any country or force has no rights to say this or that about the issue," North Korea's KCNA state news agency cited a representative of North Korea’s foreign ministry as saying."We categorically oppose and reject the outside interference detrimental to the security and the social and economic development of Hong Kong."North Korea's comments come after China's parliament this week backed a proposed law on Hong Kong that some say could restrict freedoms in the former British colony, and as US President Donald Trump intensified his confrontation with China by vowing to end the territory's special trade status with the US.
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Online child sex abuse cases triple in the Philippines, as lockdown fuels cybersex trafficking
Asia

Cases of online child sex abuse in the Philippines have tripled under coronavirus, the government said, with campaigners warning that the country’s lockdown has left more children vulnerable to exploitation by human traffickers and cash-strapped relatives.The spread of cheap, high-speed internet and the rise in mobile phone ownership has fuelled live-streamed abuse – known as cybersex trafficking – in recent years and the Philippines is considered by charities to be the epicentre of the global…
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Trump strips Hong Kong privileges, curbs students in volley on China
Asia

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said on Friday (May 29) he would strip several of Hong Kong's special privileges with the United States and bar some Chinese students from US universities in anger over Beijing's bid to exert control in the financial hub.In a day of concerted action, the United States and Britain also raised alarm at the UN Security Council over a controversial new law for Hong Kong, angering Beijing which said that the discussion had no place at the world body.In an announcement at the White House that Trump had teased for a day, the US president attacked China over its treatment of Hong Kong, saying it was "diminishing the city's long-standing and proud status.""This is a tragedy for the people of Hong Kong, the people of China and indeed the people of the world," Trump said.
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How will Malaysia's environment fare after the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions?
Asia

KUALA LUMPUR: Bluer skies, the central Titiwangsa mountain range visible from Klang Valley and the normally turbid Klang River clean enough for people to swim in it. Such local news reports and similar photos of the environment “recovering” have gone viral, while the majority of the country abided by the movement control order (MCO) in an attempt to stem the COVID-19 infection rate in Malaysia. However, with most businesses resuming operations and preparations being made for the MCO to be lifted on Jun 9, experts interviewed by CNA are contemplating the potential impact of economic recovery on Malaysia’s vulnerable ecosystems. At the end of the first phase of the MCO on Mar 31, Environment and Water Minister Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man was reported as saying that the Air Pollutant Index had gone down 14 per cent to record a “clean index”, while over a quarter of 29 automatic water monitoring stations nationwide recorded a real-time improvement in water quality. 
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Trump targets China over Hong Kong security law
Asia

President Donald Trump has announced that he will start to end preferential treatment for Hong Kong in trade and travel, in response to a new security law pushed by Beijing.He described the Chinese government's moves to introduce the measure in Hong Kong as a "tragedy". Mr Trump also said he was "terminating" the US relationship with the World Health Organization over Covid-19.China has told the West to "stop interfering" in Hong Kong.The territory, a former British colony, enjoys unique freedoms not seen in mainland China. But many people there see the looming security law as bringing an end to Hong Kong's special status, agreed under a 1984 agreement between China and the UK.There are fears the proposed measure - which has sparked a wave of anti-mainland protests - could end Hong Kong's unique status and make it a crime to undermine Beijing's authority in the territory.
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Thailand's Ancient Modern Kingdom | The Mark Of Empire | Ayutthaya
Asia

The city of Ayutthaya was the capital of a mighty empire that once controlled large parts of Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. A cosmopolitan centre of over a million residents, it was one of the wealthiest cities in the eastern hemisphere, and even compared to Paris. Host Peter Lee travels through Thailand to explore the secrets of how this empire grew to be powerful. From ancient crypts that depict its growth as a trading nation, to elephants and a unique martial art used in battles to defend the kingdom, Peter explores how Ayutthaya grew into a prosperous trading hub, that attracted merchants from all over the world from Japan in the east to Great Britain in the west. So much so that foreign influences of Ayutthaya’s golden age still lingers in Thailand’s culinary traditions.
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Stanley Ho: how the Macau casino tycoon’s love life shaped his success
Asia

Gambling tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun was one of those rare characters: a man envied and adored in equal parts. Women wanted him. Men wanted to be him.Charming, elegant and a skilful dancer, the swashbuckling businessman was able to build from scratch an empire that was not limited to gambling. It included a diverse portfolio of investments that ranged from hotels to boats, in addition to his philanthropic work.The Macau casino tycoon who set his sights far beyond the gambling tableWhile…
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Coronavirus: Hundreds of sailors stranded in paradise in South Pacific as restrictions hit
Asia

For as long as she can remember, 28-year-old American Kristen Pankratz has shared in her dad’s dream to sail around the world. Life somehow always got in the way. But after giving up her advertising job in Dallas, she finally set sail with her parents in January.Now, along with hundreds of other sailors, they find themselves stranded in paradise. As they sailed west across the vast Pacific Ocean in March, the coronavirus pandemic spread its tentacles across the globe. They made it as far as…
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China-India border: Why tensions are rising between the neighbours
Asia

The armies of the world's two most populous nations are locked in a tense face-off high in the Himalayas, which has the potential to escalate as they seek to further their strategic goals.Officials quoted by the Indian media say thousands of Chinese troops have forced their way into the Galwan valley in Ladakh, in the disputed Kashmir region. Indian leaders and military strategists have clearly been left stunned.The reports say that in early May, Chinese forces put up tents, dug trenches and moved heavy equipment several kilometres inside what had been regarded by India as its territory. The move came after India built a road several hundred kilometres long connecting to a high-altitude forward air base which it reactivated in 2008.
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Coronavirus: India to loosen lockdown despite record cases
Asia

India has announced plans to further ease a strict national lockdown even as the country reported a record daily rise in new coronavirus cases.From 8 June, restaurants, hotels, shopping centres and places of worship will be allowed to re-open in many areas in the first stage of a three-phase plan.Weeks later, probably in July, schools and colleges will resume teaching. But areas with high numbers of Covid-19 cases will remain under tight lockdown.The plan comes after India registered a new record single-day rise in confirmed infections, with nearly 8,000 cases reported on Saturday.In total India has recorded some 174,500 cases and nearly 5,000 deaths. The nation of 1.3 billion has been hit less hard by the coronavirus than many other countries.
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Party memberships of Mahathir and other MPs were 'ceased' as they acted against Bersatu's constitution: Muhyiddin
Asia

KUALA LUMPUR: The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) memberships for five federal lawmakers, including veteran politician Mahathir Mohamad, were ceased after they acted against the party's constitution, said Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Saturday (May 30). In a media statement, Mr Muhyiddin, who is also the party's president, called for calm as he confirmed that Members of Parliament (MP) Dr Mahathir, Mr Mukhriz Mahathir, My Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, Dr Maszlee Malik and Mr Amiruddin Hamzah were no longer party members. "They were not sacked from the party. Instead, their actions went against the party's constitution and this resulted in the cessation of their memberships with immediate effect," said Mr Muhyiddin. 
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Hong Kong national security law: all eyes on the US, but Beijing holds all the cards
Asia

China’s decision to impose the national security law directly on Hong Kong, passed by the annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) on Thursday, has once again plunged the city into deep turmoil and sparked a renewed backlash from the international community.The timing of the move may appear sudden but it is not entirely unexpected. It has been in the works for months after the anti-Beijing and anti-government protests which started in June threw the city into chaos for the latter…
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Myanmar's Unifying Kingdom | The Mark Of Empire | Bagan
Asia

The Bagan Empire was first to unify the territory of present-day Myanmar under Burmese language and culture, that grew into a world-renowned centre of Buddhist learning. Host Peter Lee learns how its fabled king, Anawrahta, overcame the dry conditions of his land by taming rivers into canals and weirs which are still used today. As a bigger harvest grew his population, Bagan was ripe for expansion, and Peter takes part in the traditional elephant dance that celebrates a Buddhist pilgrimage of King Anawrahta’s. While the Bagan king wished to turn Bagan into a new Buddhist state, Peter heads to a sacred mountain to see the battle that unfolded between Buddhism and Myanmar’s indigenous animist gods, called Nats. It's expansion transformed Bagan into a capital of diverse peoples, who each brought their own in founding a new Burmese culture and identity. And the legacy of its temple building still lives on in a strong faith that’s practiced among the Burmese people today.
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Indian unicorns bridle as New Delhi looks a Chinese gift horse in the mouth
Asia

As the coronavirus continues to ravage the globe, Indian unicorns hungry for investment are running into a problem – Chinese capital is drying up.And given the fact that many of India’s billion-dollar firms have already introduced cost-cutting measures such as lay-offs, pay cuts and operational freezes, that is a development that could prove costly in the coming months.More than half of India’s unicorns (it has between 30 and 32, depending on the method of evaluation) rely on Chinese investment…
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