Lightning strikes may have supplied primordial Earth with enough phosphorus to support the emergence of life, according to new research Tuesday that offered an alternative explanation as to how living organisms were born.
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2 days agoSouth China Morning PostNational security law: Hong Kong’s largest opposition party joins exodus from mass protest organiser Civil Human Rights FrontHong Kong’s largest opposition party has become the latest group to quit the Civil Human Rights Front after reports emerged the organiser of several record-breaking mass protests during the 2019 anti-government movement was being investigated under the national security law. A source from the Democratic Party confirmed its departure on Monday, a day after the city’s largest teacher organisation announced it was leaving the coalition. The party did not explain the reason for its withdrawal The Professional Teachers’ Union (PTU) said on Sunday that its decision to leave the front – which staged several of the city’s biggest anti-government marches – was made after considering the “recent political situation”.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China. The educators said the union would no longer take part in the front’s activities or attend its conferences with immediate effect. The move followed a series of similar departures from several local opposition parties or groups. The Neighbourhood and Workers Service Centre was the first to quit, one day after a Singaporean newspaper reported on March 5 that the front would be targeted by the Hong Kong government and might be outlawed. Hong Kong judge revokes bail for two ex-lawmakers in subversion case Neo Democrats left the fold on Friday, followed by the Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood on Saturday. Their departures were explained using similar wording to PTU’s. Others to step back recently were the Civic Party and the Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese. The exodus emerged after Lianhe Zaobao, the largest Chinese-language daily newspaper in Singapore, quoted a source saying the Hong Kong government had launched an investigation into allegations the front was being supported by a Washington-based NGO that was under Beijing sanctions. The insider reportedly said the National Endowment for Democracy, funded by the United States Congress, had been providing financial assistance to the front for staging certain events, an act which could constitute an offence under the national security law imposed on Hong Kong in late June last year banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The events were said to relate to the now-withdrawn extradition bill, the spark for the anti-government protests. It was also reported that the front had never registered with the government and might have violated the city’s Societies Ordinance. The alliance did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Monday. Front convenor Figo Chan Ho-wun previously said in a statement the group had not received any funding from foreign governments or organisations. The loose political coalition of more than 40 members included almost all the city’s pan-democratic political parties, civic groups and unions. Formed in 2002, it has held numerous officially approved protests calling for universal suffrage and the protection of civil liberties, including the annual July 1 marches marking Hong Kong’s handover from British to Chinese sovereignty. The front held its first mass rally on July 1, 2003, when about 500,000 protesters turned out in opposition to proposed national security legislation under Article 23 of the city’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law. The government later shelved the bill. Political scientist Ivan Choy Chi-keung said the alliance had played a significant role in the city’s democratic movement. “I think it represents an era, an era when the core of social movement was shifted from political parties to civil society in 2003,” Choy said. “The alliance has taken up the leading role in mobilising people to take to the streets.” Choy said he had never imagined so many major political parties would quit the alliance within a few days, a development which had proven the chilling effect of the law was “really huge”. He believed that the prosecution of 47 anti-government activists had delivered a significant blow to the political parties, as many of their members on the front line had been remanded in custody, which raised fears the organisations would have to “make further sacrifices”. “This will make the public hesitate over participating or organising demonstrations,” he said. PTU vice-president Ip Kin-yuen said on Sunday night he had no further comment. A source familiar with the situation said the union’s decision was made that day after considering the allegations in the media. Veteran activist Lee Cheuk-yan, chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, told media the front had not broken the national security law and his organisation would not give up its cause. The alliance is best known for organising the annual June 4 candlelight vigil in Victoria Park to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.More from South China Morning Post:With march cancelled, Hong Kong’s Civil Human Rights Front calls for release of ‘political prisoners’ from atop van on New Year’s DayHong Kong’s ‘alarming political deterioration’ criticised in scathing EU annual reportThis article National security law: Hong Kong’s largest opposition party joins exodus from mass protest organiser Civil Human Rights Front first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
2 days agoSouth China Morning PostParalegal gets 5½ years’ jail for biting off police sergeant’s fingertip during chaotic Hong Kong protest at shopping mallA paralegal has been jailed for 5½ years for a rapid string of assaults and disorderly conduct which included biting off a Hong Kong police sergeant’s fingertip during an anti-government protest in 2019. District Judge Johnny Chan Jong-herng on Monday said To Kai-wa, 24, committed a series of offences within minutes during chaotic clashes at New Town Plaza shopping centre in Sha Tin on July 14, 2019, and “cruelly” inflicted tremendous harm upon the sergeant in a serious case of wounding. The judge also noted the defendant had knowingly attacked two other officers with an umbrella – fracturing a finger of one – and incited protesters on site to assault or insult police.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China. “[The attacked officer] had no prior contact with the defendant, let alone any confrontation,” he said. “He was attacked only because he was a police officer.” Chan said this aggravating factor warranted a deterrent sentence, which he believed was more important than the defendant’s rehabilitation. But he also accepted To was a man of prior good character without any previous criminal record, and discounted his sentence before imposing an overall term of 5½ years. To, an employee at Kenneth Lam Solicitors who graduated from the University of Hong Kong, was found guilty last month of all four counts he had been charged with: disorderly conduct in a public place, assaulting a police officer, inflicting grievous bodily harm and wounding with intent. The District Court heard To dropped an umbrella from height and used another to assault two police officers, before he bit off the tip of the sergeant’s right ring finger and fractured what remained of the digit. Hong Kong students spared detention for trashing store during 2019 protest The sergeant had testified to experiencing “intense” pain while holding To down using pressure-point control tactics he had learned in training. A neurologist for the prosecution concluded the bite was deliberate, while another one hired by the defence argued it could have been a spontaneous response to shock or pain – specifically, the sergeant using his right index finger to poke To in the eye. The judge sided with the prosecution in finding that a reflexive movement of the jaw was merely a “fanciful possibility”, and had never been documented by medical journals. He dismissed the defence doctor’s claim that the movement could have been an involuntary response to shock or pain as unsubstantiated speculation, ruling that To must have knowingly bit down on the sergeant’s fingertip with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm. But, in sentencing, Chan also accepted that To did not set out to bite the sergeant, finding that he had only done so when the officer slipped his hand into the defendant’s mouth. The sergeant was granted sick leave for 13½ months, after the tip of his right ring finger was “completely severed”, with the remaining section fractured. He underwent reattachment surgery on the severed fingertip on July 15, 2019. Still, he complained of frequent sharp pain when he testified at trial last October, noting he had only achieved 60 to 70 per cent recovery. Wounding with intent is punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison, but the term is capped at seven years when the case is heard at the District Court.This article Paralegal gets 5½ years’ jail for biting off police sergeant’s fingertip during chaotic Hong Kong protest at shopping mall first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021. headtopics.comRead more: Yahoo Singapore »