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Unabated violence against reporters in China

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HONG KONG: Unabated violence against reporters in China, Hong Kong journalist was arrested and left injured while trying to interview a human rights lawyer in Beijing today, the second violent incident against the city’s reporters in China within a week.

TV footage showed police bundling cameraman Chui Chun-ming to the ground and dragging him into a van. Chui, who is from Hong Kong and works for the city’s Now TV channel but is based in Beijing, was released hours later after signing a letter of remorse.

Reporters from outside mainland China including those from semi-autonomous Hong Kong are usually given a much freer rein than domestic journalists, who have little opportunity to air their views in a country dominated by state media. Now TV expressed “extreme anger” over the “unreasonable and violent obstruction during their lawful reporting in Beijing”.

 The incident came four days after another Hong Kong journalist was kicked and beaten by two men while covering the tenth anniversary of a devastating earthquake in Sichuan.

The men claimed they were “ordinary people” but local residents said they were linked to the government, according to Hong Kong media.

Today’s footage showed police obstructing Chui and asking to see his press pass as he attempted to reach a hearing at the Beijing Lawyers Association.

The hearing was to decide whether human rights lawyer Xie Yan-yi, who Chui was trying to interview, should have his license revoked, according to Now TV.

Xie was one of the lawyers arrested in Beijing’s “709 crackdown” of 2015, which marked the largest ever clampdown on the legal profession in China.

When Chui asked the police to return his press pass after inspection several officers forced him to the ground, where two plainclothes men pinned his arms behind his back and pushed his head down.

He was then handcuffed and put in the van, with Xie also taken away in a police car.

The Hong Kong Journalists Association urged China to stop “uncivilized acts and suppression” of reporting work. The group handed a joint letter signed by local media to China’s liaison office in the city today.

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Hong Kong stocks finish week with losses

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HONG KONG: Hong Kong stocks finish week with losses, Stocks here ended the week with losses on lingering China-US trade worries with traders also fretting over Donald Trump’s decision to call off his summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

The Hang Seng Index fell 0.56 percent, or 172.37 points, to 30,588.04. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.42 percent, or 13.35 points, to 3,141.30 and the Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, dropped 0.93 percent, or 17.02 points, to 1,810.03.

Relevant pieces: i) Tokyo stocks see limited gains, Stocks here closed slightly higher on bargain-buying today but gains were capped by concern about Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of next month’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The Nikkei 225 inched up 0.06 percent, or 13.78 points, to 22,450.79 but was down 2.09 percent over the week. The broader Topix index slipped 0.22 percent or 3.95 points to 1,771.70, logging a weekly drop of 2.40 percent. “Geopolitics is well and truly back” with Trump’s announcement, said David de Garis, director of economics and markets at National Australia Bank. Trump left the door open for a summit at a later date but has set “the bar higher” by demanding North Korea take constructive steps to denuclearization, he said. The sentiment was also soured by worries that that Trump could impose tariffs of 25 percent on car imports after his commerce secretary called for a probe into the auto industry on national security grounds. However, Yoshihiro Ito, chief strategist at Okasan Online Securities said in a commentary: “After selling ran its course, buying on dips underpinned the market.” The dollar was trading at 109.42 yen, compared with 109.30 yen in New York Thursday.

ii) European stocks advanced at the open today, rebounding from the previous day’s losses that were sparked by US President Donald Trump’s decision to axe a summit with North Korea. In initial London deals, the British capital’s benchmark FTSE 100 index of major blue-chip companies rose nearly 0.4 percent at 7,744.40 points. In the eurozone, the Paris CAC 40 added 0.4 percent to 5,570.73 points, compared with the closing level on Thursday.  Frankfurt’s DAX 30 index gained almost 0.5 percent to 12,917.15 points. However, Asian markets mostly fell one day after Trump shocked the world by pulling out of next month’s historic summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un. Nevertheless, the losses were tempered by hopes the talks can be rekindled, according to analysts.

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Malaysia corruption: $30 million seized 

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Malaysia corruption: $30 million seized 

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia corruption: $30 million seized , Malaysian police said Friday they seized over 400 handbags and cash amounting to almost $30 million in raids on luxury apartments as they probed corruption allegations swirling around ousted leader Najib Razak.

The money and a vast trove of handbags, as well as watches and jewelry, were found in two condominiums in Kuala Lumpur.

A total of 12 locations, including the ex-leader’s home, were searched by police last week as part of an investigation into the scandal surrounding a sovereign wealth fund.

After more than six decades in power, Najib’s coalition was defeated by a reformist alliance headed by his former mentor Mahathir Mohamad in the May 9 poll.

Public disgust at allegations of corruption linked to Najib was a major factor in the upset, with the ex-leader, his family, and cronies accused of looting state fund 1MDB.

There had been much speculation about what the seized goods consisted of and how much they were worth after five trucks were reportedly brought in to help move the stash.

Giving an update, the police’s head of commercial crime Amar Singh said: “From the money found, there were 26 currencies, the total amount as of yesterday is 114 million (ringgit) ($28.6 million).”

The money was found in 35 bags at one apartment while another 37 bags at the same location contained watches and jewelry, he told a press conference. A total of 284 boxes containing designer handbags were found in that condominium.

Relevant piece published earlier: Malaysia’s Najib quizzed over the scandal, Former Malaysian leader Najib Razak was questioned by anti-corruption authorities today after his shock election loss, as the top graft fighter revealed he faced threats and a bullet in the post when the old regime suppressed a probe into a massive financial scandal. Najib’s coalition suffered a defeat at the May 9 poll, beaten by a reformist alliance led by Mahathir Mohamad, which broke their six-decade stranglehold on power. Mahathir, who first served as premier from 1981-2003 and came out of retirement aged 92 to take on Najib, campaigned on claims that the former leader and his cronies looted sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. Billions of dollars were allegedly stolen from the fund in a sophisticated fraud and used to buy everything from artworks to the high-end real estate. Najib and his reviled, luxury-loving wife Rosmah Mansor have had a swift fall from grace. They have been barred from leaving the country, and police have seized handbags, jewels, and cash during raids on properties linked to the couple. Public disgust at the corruption allegations swirling around them at a time middle-class Malaysians were suffering due to rising living costs and stagnant salaries was seen as a major factor in Najib’s defeat. The ousted leader pushed through a huge media scrum as he arrived at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters in the administrative capital of Putrajaya to be quizzed about 1MDB money allegedly ending up in his personal bank accounts. He left after about five hours looking exhausted and told waiting for reporters that officials had “acted professionally” as they took his statement. The questioning is due to continue Thursday

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India: Nine anti-pollution protesters killed by Police!

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TUTICORIN (India): Indian Police has opened fire at people who were demonstrating against Sterlite copper-smelting plant here today.

According to details thousands of citizens converged to protest against the plant that had polluted area’s groundwater.

Police opened fire at the violent mob that resorted to push/shove policemen, throw stones at them, burning/turning the vehicles. As a result of the shootout, nine demonstrators lost their lives.

Sources informed that Sterlite was the first company set up by UK-based Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal in India before he launched Vedanta Resources on the LSE in 2003, where it is now a multinational with operations across India and Africa.

The grievances: 

Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board held respiratory diseases were augmenting in communities surrounding the plant; polluted resty red water flowing from taps owing to increase in the iron content in groundwater;

Women had been experiencing inexplicably high incidence of menstrual disorders; 

arsenic-laced wastewater from Sterlite plant flooding Silverpuram, Meelavittan and Kaluthaikuttan tanks.

Nevertheless, the Vedanta Group maintained: “Zero discharge systems, utilisation of waste for sustainable applications, energy efficient systems and stringent emission monitoring are the hallmark of Sterlite.”

 

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