Hong Kong, Singapore Government, Travel Bubble

Hong Kong, Singapore Government

Coronavirus: Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble ‘won’t burst’ despite mutated strain, on course for mid-May launch target

“We will not pull out of the plan. The Singapore government is very keen on materialising it as soon as possible,” said a Hong Kong government insider.

20/4/2021 12:00:00 PM

“We will not pull out of the plan. The Singapore government is very keen on materialising it as soon as possible,” said a Hong Kong government insider.

A long-awaited Covid-19 travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore will remain on course for a mid-May launch, according to sources, despite the former having confirmed community cases of a mutated coronavirus strain. The two cities are set to outline plans in the coming days for restoring travel links next month, sources familiar with the talks have revealed. “We will not pull out of the plan,” a Hong Kong government insider said on Tuesday morning. “The Singapore government is very keen on materialising it as soon as possible.”Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. ‘Mid-May’ target for long-awaited Hong Kong -Singapore travel bubble The insider said the timing of the imminent announcement was aimed at allowing sufficient time for interested travellers to be fully vaccinated, a condition for Hongkongers joining the scheme. The Hong Kong government classifies someone as fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving their final jab. But Professor David Hui Shu-cheong, a Chinese University respiratory medicine expert and government adviser on the pandemic, called on both sides to first overcome the threat of coronavirus strains before relaunching travel. He said he was not optimistic a travel bubble between the two cities could be established at this stage. “Singapore is also facing the same problem as Hong Kong . Many of Indian descent have returned to Singapore which has caused a rise in cases. Even with many negative tests at quarantine hotels, sometimes they only test positive after coming back into the community,” Hui said. Hong Kong is on alert after a 29-year-old man working in Dubai as an engineer was confirmed on Saturday to be the first locally detected Covid-19 case with the N501Y mutation, which has been linked to more infectious variants. His friend, a 31-y

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2 days agoMeng Wanzhou seeks three-month delay to marathon extradition case, citing new evidence from HSBCHuawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou’s marathon extradition case may be about to get even longer, after her lawyers asked to adjourn the final phase of the hearing for more than three months, saying they expect new evidence about her alleged bank fraud case from HSBC. They applied to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver on Monday to delay the last three weeks of the case until August 3, in light of a Hong Kong court settlement in which the bank agreed to provide more material supposedly relevant to the case. The hearings had been slated to start on April 26. Meng’s lawyer Richard Peck told Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes that the “modest” adjournment was necessary as a matter of “fundamental fairness”, and he denied “just trying to string this out”.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. Canadian government lawyers, representing US interests in the case, cried foul. “Two and a half years from the start of these proceedings, countless hours spent fashioning a schedule agreed by both sides, and mere days from reaching the finishing line, the applicant asks this court to take a several month pause,” they said in a written response. “Her request should be denied.” In court, the Canadian Department of Justice’s top lawyer, Robert Frater, said: “There is literally no basis for this request … they are asking once again to have this court turn itself into a trial court.” It was only Meng’s “unlimited resources” that allowed her to file the application, he said. More than 500 Hongkongers apply for special Canada visa in first three weeks Meng’s lawyers claim the material from HSBC may boost their case that US authorities have deceived the Canadian court and Meng’s extradition should therefore be thrown out. The delay was needed “to obtain, review, assess, and, if justified, seek to introduce relevant evidence that is reasonably believed may assist in demonstrating that the requesting state has mislead this court and Canadian authorities”, they wrote in their adjournment application. HSBC has agreed to provide material to Meng as a result of a consent order granted by the High Court of Hong Kong on April 12. “[There] is a reasonable inference that the Hong Kong HSBC disclosure that the applicant will receive may include evidence … establishing that the ROCs [records of the case] are misleading,” the BC court application said. My lady, this process must come to a conclusion. Extradition hearings are supposed to be expeditious. Canadian government lawyer Robert Frater Meng, who is Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, is accused by US authorities of defrauding HSBC by lying to the bank about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, thus putting the bank at risk of breaching US sanctions on the Middle Eastern country. She was arrested at Vancouver’s airport on December 1, 2018 and has been fighting a US request to have her extradited to face trial in New York ever since. In their application, Meng’s lawyers separately argue that a delay is also needed in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, saying “rising and critical health concerns” about the virus in BC made a three week hearing starting next week “unadvisable and potentially dangerous”. BC has recently been averaging about 1,000 new Covid-19 cases per day. Canada had to arrest Meng Wanzhou and it was not arbitrary, but detention is now unlawful, her lawyer says The Canadian government lawyers’ response says there is no evidence that the new material would be either admissible or relevant. The request “is the latest in a series of attempts to turn these proceedings into a trial that should properly take place in the requesting state”, they wrote. Material related to the Hong Kong court’s consent order was provided to Holmes in a sealed envelope. But some terms of the order seemed to prevent it being seen by anyone except the Hong Kong court, Meng and HSBC, Holmes said. The sealed envelope “puts the [BC] court in a very awkward position … one doesn’t go into a sealed envelope to find the authority to open it”, said Holmes. After receiving agreement from both sides, Holmes said the material – which has already been redacted – should be put on the record but subjected to a publication ban. The forthcoming material, which Peck called “likely highly relevant”, would relate to the relationship between Huawei and HSBC and two subsidiaries – Skycom, through which Huawei did business in Iran, and a shell company called Canicula – he said. Meng Wanzhou’s extradition judge should not decide on US jurisdiction, Canadian government lawyer says “This could be of great value to the final decision in this case,” Peck added. The material would be “copious” but it would be reviewed by his team in a “focused and expeditious manner”, Peck promised. “No one here desires to adjourn this case for an adjournment’s sake,” said Peck, calling the requested three-month delay “short in the context of this case” and noting that Meng’s behaviour forming the basis of the charges had occurred in 2013. That was a reference to a meeting between Meng and a HSBC banker in a Hong Kong teahouse, at which she delivered a PowerPoint presentation about Huawei’s Iran business. Peck said his team had already received a first batch of the HSBC documents, with another batch due on Tuesday and more within six weeks. Holmes asked if Peck had considered proceeding with the existing April 26-May 14 court dates, then asking to reopen the hearings if demanded by the new documents. The judge said she had not planned to issue any decisions immediately upon the conclusion of the three weeks in question. But Peck said there was a risk of “throwing away time” on arguments that would need significant amendment later. Government lawyer Frater told Holmes the eleventh-hour delay request was unacceptable. “My lady, this process must come to a conclusion. Extradition hearings are supposed to be expeditious,” he said. He told Holmes that she had no way of knowing what was in the HSBC material, and only the word of Meng’s and Huawei’s lawyers that it would be relevant and delivered soon. Xinjiang: will the West’s sanctions on China force the issue or unravel? “They do not know what is in these documents and they do not know when they are going to get them,” Frater said. As for the Hong Kong settlement, Frater said it was “inexplicable” that HSBC had agreed to provide the material, considering that the bank had “won on every point” in a prior attempt to secure the material through the British courts. But in Hong Kong, HSBC had acquiesced to Huawei “for reasons known only to themselves”. Regarding the risk posed by Covid-19, Frater said his team was willing to take whatever steps the court deemed necessary, such as by conducting them entirely remotely. In reply, Peck denied seeking to protract the case unreasonably. “It’s not a runaway train by any stretch of the imagination,” he said. Holmes adjourned the hearing until Wednesday afternoon, when she will deliver her decision on the application.More from South China Morning Post:HSBC suffered no risk from Meng Wanzhou’s alleged deceptions, court hears, as extradition fight enters crucial stage‘US laws do not apply in China,’ court is told, as new front opens in Meng Wanzhou extradition fightMeng Wanzhou’s lawyers say HSBC ‘fully knew’ that Huawei controlled affiliates that did business in IranExtradition judge is told she, not minister, must decide if US has jurisdiction over Meng Wanzhou’s actions in Hong KongHuawei’s Meng Wanzhou accuses US of giving Canadian court ‘grossly misleading’ evidence summary in extradition caseThis article Meng Wanzhou seeks three-month delay to marathon extradition case, citing new evidence from HSBC first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.

16 hours agoChina’s Belt and Road Initiative faces increased political risk in participating countries, report warnsChina’s top economic planner has warned that the impact of Covid-19 and increased political risks in countries taking part in the Belt and Road Initiative are among the main challenges the multibillion-dollar project faces in the next five years. A report by the National Development and Reform Commission outlining the country’s development over the course of its new five-year plan also identified what Beijing regards as the key problems and tasks the infrastructure project faces. “Belt and road construction is facing an increasingly complex geopolitical environment,” the report said.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. It identified changes to global governance and trade systems, the ongoing rivalry between China and the US, and growth in emerging markets as the most important factors affecting the project. While China was the only major economy to grow last year, the report said domestic financial and construction companies taking part in the scheme still faced challenges. “Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the world economy is in recession and under increasing pressure. The foundation of our country’s economic recovery is not yet steady. Some local governments and enterprises have certain difficulties in their economic and financial situation, the resources they can put in to the Belt and Road Initiative will be affected,” the latest document from the NDRC said. “However, the pandemic’s impact on the economy is only short term and is under control overall. This will not change the great development potential,” the document added. “Some BRI countries have long term high geopolitical risks and certain regions have seen an escalation in conflict,” the report said, without specifying which countries. What is China’s Belt and Road Initiative all about? “The pandemic has made these risks greater. International trade conflicts and the pandemic caused countries to compete for strategic materials and the distribution of resources”. The report added that the pandemic has hit trade and investment in some belt and road countries, although the report said this would increase their need to sign up for the project. The initiative, which was first introduced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, has prompted warnings by Western countries that Beijing is trying to use it to expand its geopolitical influence and catch developing countries in a “debt trap” by lending large sums that will draw foreign governments into Beijing’s political orbit. Beijing has repeatedly denied the debt trap accusation and says it only wants to foster trade and connectivity through global infrastructure building. The project has faced multiple hiccups, however, and the pandemic has adversely affected about 40 per cent and seriously affected about a fifth of belt and road projects, according to a survey last year by China’s foreign ministry. The projects affected include the US$6 billion Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway extension on the Indonesian island of Java. The line, built by a consortium of Chinese and Indonesian companies, was originally expected to be operational by early next year, but Reuters reported that it has now been delayed by two years. China has overseen more than US$700 billion in contracts and investment in 139 since 2014, according to a Moody’s report published in November. The National Development and Reform Commission said that to meet these challenges the Belt and Road Initiativeshould prioritise existing schemes and increase its relevance to the “international and regional development agenda”. China looks to recreate ancient Silk Road with network of African ports “[There is a need to] push forward the development strategies and strengthen implementation with countries that are comparatively more willing to cooperate, and implement agreements that have been signed,” the report said. The NDRC also said that efforts to internationalise the yuan should continue at a “steady and careful” pace by “steadily pushing forward dual-currency cooperation” with participating countries. The Belt and Road Initiative is seen by China as a useful platform to push forward its long-term goal of turning renminbi into a reserve currency used for international trade, investments and payments, and the project’s massive loan and investments deals also involve currency swap agreements.This article China’s Belt and Road Initiative faces increased political risk in participating countries, report warns first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021. headtopics.com

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Singapore returns to tighter COVID-19 measures: What's allowed under the new rules?

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Yes, Singapore is desperate! SingaporeAir is more desperate! Even as WHO said the pandemic is now worst than the worst of last year, but who is listening to them, right, when you are desperate! TravelBubble