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Rebel priests defy Vatican, vow to bless same-sex couples

Rebel priests defy Vatican, vow to bless same-sex couples

16/3/2021 6:58:00 PM

Rebel priests defy Vatican, vow to bless same-sex couples

A dissident band of Roman Catholic priests leading a disobedience campaign against the Vatican said on Tuesday they would carry on blessing same-sex couples in defiance of Church orders. The Vatican said on Monday that priests cannot bless same-sex unions and that such blessings are not valid, in a ruling that disappointed gay Catholics who had hoped their Church was becoming more welcoming under Pope Francis . Conservatives in the 1.3 billion-member Roman Catholic Church have expressed alarm over such practices.

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Woman being investigated for not wearing a face mask at Marina Bay Sands 19 new community cases in Singapore, including 8 linked to Changi Airport cluster Police investigating woman who allegedly disregarded repeated advice to wear mask at MBS

15 hours agoSouth China Morning PostHSBC suffered no risk from Meng Wanzhou’s alleged deceptions, court hears, as extradition fight enters crucial stageHSBC suffered no risk of loss as a result of alleged deceptions by Meng Wanzhou, her lawyer told a Canadian court on Monday, as the Huawei Technologies chief financial officer’s two-year battle against extradition to the United States entered a critical stage. But a Canadian government lawyer representing US interests said the fact that Huawei was not a “deadbeat” borrower from the bank was irrelevant to Meng’s alleged fraud. This phase of hearings in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver, lasting until April 1, is scheduled to include extensive arguments about whether Meng suffered an abuse of process when border agents questioned her and seized her electronic devices and passwords at the city’s international airport on December 1, 2018, before police arrested her. The border agents then turned over the devices and their passwords to police.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China. Her lawyers contend that this was conducted at the orchestration of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, that Meng’s Canadian charter rights were breached, and that the American bid to have her extradited to face trial on fraud charges in New York should thus be thrown out. In another branch of Meng’s argument, her lawyers said they will also press a claim that the US has no jurisdiction over her alleged actions that are at the heart of the case: she is accused of defrauding HSBC by lying in a PowerPoint presentation to a banker about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, thus putting the bank at risk of breaching US sanctions on Tehran. Meng’s meeting with the HSBC banker took place in a Hong Kong teahouse in 2013; HSBC is not a US bank; and Meng is not a US citizen. Her lawyers thus contend that the US is trying to assert extraterritorial jurisdiction, in breach of customary international law. She denies the US charges. On Monday, the hearings began with an application by one of Meng’s lawyers, Frank Addario, to admit evidence from another Huawei executive about the supposed risk of fraud loss arising from HSBC’s loans to the Chinese tech giant. “We say … there never was any risk that the bank could incur a loss,” said Addario. The US records of the case, presented to the BC court, were “misleading” about this, he said. Huawei, HSBC in Hong Kong court over Meng extradition papers But Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes suggested that risk was inherent to the lender in any loan transaction. Addario said the issue of “remoteness” had to be considered. “You’d still have to show something to get over the [test] that the risk is not remote and speculative,” he argued. Holmes continued to suggest considerations about the likelihood of loan default were less important than that a risk always existed. “One never sees in a fraud case of an outstanding loan … an analysis of ‘all right, what were the chances here that it might not have been repaid’. An omission from numerous judgments isn’t a legal proposition, but surely it’s telling,” she said. Huawei is not a deadbeat and the banks are doing just fine … Whether anyone has lost money simply doesn’t matter in the law of fraud Canadian government lawyer Robert Frater In response to Addario, Canadian government lawyer Robert Frater said that “whether there was any loss is not useful in determining whether there was any risk”. “Huawei is not a deadbeat and the banks are doing just fine,” said Frater, but this had nothing to do with whether fraud had taken place. “Whether anyone has lost money simply doesn’t matter in the law of fraud.” Summing up his opposition to the admission of the new evidence, he said “it has no merit, it’s time to move on”. Putting Meng on trial would be ‘triumph for rule of law’, Canada lawyer says On Friday, Holmes rejected Meng’s request to admit as evidence statements by other Huawei employees that contradict the claim she misled HSBC. However, Holmes provisionally allowed parts of an expert report on US sanctions law. The hearings over the next three weeks had also been expected to include attempts by Meng’s lawyers to pursue evidence from Ben Chang, a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police sergeant who was involved in her case but now works as an executive for a Macau casino. Chang is refusing to testify in the extradition hearings; legal documents filed by Canadian government lawyers said there were fears for his safety. But a hearing on the matter, previously scheduled to take place on Tuesday, was cancelled amid discussions between the rival lawyers. Holmes reserved judgment on Monday’s application, and the hearing was adjourned until Wednesday. The final hearings in the extradition case are scheduled to take place from April 26 to May 14. Holmes will then decide whether extradition should be allowed, although appeals could last for years and the final decision on whether to send Meng to the US will rest with Canada’s justice minister. Meng’s arrest and her long fight against extradition have upended China’s relations with the US and Canada. China arrested two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, in the days following Meng’s detention and has accused them of espionage; Ottawa regards their arrests as retaliatory. Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei, is under partial house arrest at her C$13.2 million (US$10.6 million) Vancouver mansion.More from South China Morning Post:Canada judge rejects Meng Wanzhou’s request to use employee statements as evidence in US extradition case‘Abhorrent’ remarks by Donald Trump take centre stage at Meng Wanzhou’s extradition hearingMeng Wanzhou’s lawyers say HSBC ‘fully knew’ that Huawei controlled affiliates that did business in IranAfter weeks of courtroom drama, curtain falls on witness phase of Meng Wanzhou extradition battleThis article HSBC suffered no risk from Meng Wanzhou’s alleged deceptions, court hears, as extradition fight enters crucial stage first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.

a day agoChina’s arms sales drop as ‘other nations buy American’China’s arms exports have dropped over the past five years, a decline that experts have attributed to tensions between China and the US prompting some of China’s neighbours to buy more American weapons, according to a new report. Some military experts said the downturn was mainly caused by former US president Donald Trump’s attempt to expand American arms exports amid a growing perception of China as a threat in the region, while the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic also affected international trade in both exports and imports. The US continued leading the arms export race with 37 per cent of market share for 2016-2020, a 15 per cent increase on 2011-2015, according to the report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Russia grabbed 20 per cent of market share but it had a 22 per cent drop because of strong competition from the United States in most regions.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China. France and Germany were the third and fourth largest arms exporters respectively, the report said. And the fifth largest arms exporter was China with its sales accounting for 5.2 per cent of total arms exports from 2016 to 2020. But Chinese arms exports during the period dropped 7.8 per cent from the previous period, 2011 to 2015. Hong Kong-based military expert Song Zhongping said the decrease was caused by the Trump administration’s attempt to push its allies in the region to buy American weapons and reject Chinese and Russian arms by playing up a “China threat theory” under his Indo-Pacific strategy. “Trump himself is a big arms dealer who deliberately tried to stir up tensions in the region, pushing more Asian countries to buy US-made weapons, a move to increase American arms exports,” Song said. The report said Japan’s arms imports had increased by 124 per cent in the past five years. Early reports said the Japanese Ministry of Defence had planned to spend US$240 billion between April 2019 and March 2024 to strengthen the country’s missile defence and air-strike capability to counter China’s growing air and sea power, and the missile threat posed by North Korea. In July 2020, Japan announced a plan to buy 105 F-35 joint strike fighters from the US at a cost of US$23 billion. Experts said the downturn was mainly caused by former US president Trump’s attempt to expand American arms exports amid a growing perception of China as a regional threat The report said Taiwan placed several large arms procurement orders with the US in 2019, including for combat aircraft, even though current data showed the self-ruled island’s arms imports in 2016-20 were lower than the previous five years. Taipei-based military expert Chi Le-yi said the lower spending did not take into account all of the 10 big deals worth US$18 billion from the Trump administration, including weapon packages for 66 upgraded F-16 fighter jets, 400 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, 100 launcher transporters, radar and support systems and others. “The weapons sold to Taiwan will be delivered in future years, so they’re not counted in the SIPRI report,” Chi said. “The ongoing tension in the region is good timing for the US to sell weapons.” China second to US in arms market with three firms in top 10 manufacturers India’s arms imports dropped 33 per cent in 2016-20 from the previous period but the report said the drop was mainly because of its long procurement processes. Its arms imports are expected to rise over the next five years as it perceives increasing threats from Pakistan and China. “For many states in Asia and Oceania, a growing perception of China as a threat is the main driver for arms imports,” SIPRI senior researcher Siemon Wezeman said in the report. “More large imports are planned, and several states in the region are also aiming to produce their own major arms.” Yogesh Gupta, a former Indian ambassador to Denmark and a specialist in China-India relations, added that India was trying to diversify its imports of arms. “[Indian troops] are getting these mainly from the USA, Russia, France and others. [A] new trend is an emphasis on developing our indigenous arms industry and capabilities in emerging technologies,” he said. A report published in October by the Indian defence ministry said India’s army had accelerated buying domestic and foreign weapons after its border clash with Chinese troops and to fortify India’s borders against rising infiltration by Pakistan. India and China have been locked in a border dispute for decades since a bloody skirmish in 1962. A conflict in June last year resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian troops. China confirmed four PLA soldiers died in the violence and one was hurt. India to buy first armed drones from US to counter China and Pakistan The Indian government finalised a road map in 2019 to spend US$130 billion to modernise its armed forces and bolster its ability to effectively counter challenges from neighbours such as Pakistan and China, the Indian defence department said. “India’s indigenous defence industry is not fully developed yet. A lack of capacity and compelling security needs forced India to buy weapons and other defence needs from other countries,” said Rajeev Ranjan Chaturvedy, an adjunct senior associate fellow with Asian Confluence think tank in Shillong, India. “However, in recent years the Indian government’s focus has changed to pay more attention to [the] indigenous defence industry, including growing participation of private sectors.”More from South China Morning Post:China, Japan risk miscalculation over Diaoyu Islands, analysts sayUS is world’s top weapons supplier, Saudi Arabia top importer, SIPRI report saysUS public turns against China in worst poll savaging since last year’s recordChina may seek to close nuclear gap after US and Russia agree to extend New START treatyThis article China’s arms sales drop as ‘other nations buy American’ first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.

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