Biden to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan by 11 Sept, 2021
President Joe Biden will withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America that were coordinated from that country, U.S. officials said Tuesday. The decision defies a May 1 deadline for full withdrawal under a peace agreement the Trump administration reached with the Taliban last year. A senior administration official said the drawdown would begin May 1.
AdIch habe fast alles auf meinem Computer verloren - dieses Gerät hat mich gerettet!AFP NewsThe UN rights chief warned Tuesday Myanmar could be spiralling towards a "full-blown" Syrian-style conflict, after a two-month crackdown that a local monitoring group says has already claimed more than 700 lives.
10 hours agoSouth China Morning PostFormer Hong Kong lawmakers facing prosecution under national security law hit with fresh charges of contempt of Legislative CouncilTwo former opposition lawmakers currently facing prosecution under Hong Kong’s national security law were slapped with more charges on Tuesday, as prosecutors accused them of contempt of the legislature over an incident that took place when they were still members last year. Andrew Wan Siu-kin and Helena Wong Pik-wan were not required to enter pleas at their first appearance over the new case at Eastern Court on Tuesday, with the defence requesting an adjournment pending the Court of Final Appeal’s ruling on the constitutionality of a similar prosecution. The two Democratic Party members, who are among the 47 opposition politicians and activists charged with subversion over an unofficial primary election last summer, are now facing a combined total of three counts of contempt under Section 17(c) of the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance, which penalises interruptions of Legco sessions.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. Wong, 62, was technically charged in two separate cases, the first for allegedly creating or joining “a disturbance which interrupted or was likely to interrupt” a Legco committee hearing on October 15 last year. She was said to have committed the offence together with fugitive ex-lawmaker Ted Hui Chi-fung, who is now in Australia. In the second case, Wong was charged alongside Wan, 51, with creating another disturbance in a separate committee meeting the next day. The legality of prosecuting lawmakers by invoking a provision designed to protect their rights has been the subject of debate in a separate case involving former legislator “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, who was charged with the same offence for snatching a folder from a government official during a Legco sitting in 2016. The 64-year-old has applied to overturn an appellate court’s ruling that upheld the constitutionality of his prosecution. The full hearing before the top court is slated for August 31. Judiciary reveals bail decision reasons in several security law cases In Tuesday’s hearing, Principal Magistrate Peter Law Tak-chuen granted defence lawyers’ request to postpone the case to October 4, pending the determination of Leung’s appeal. He released Wan and Wong on HK$1,000 (US$129) cash bail, though Wan will remain behind bars as he was previously remanded in custody in the security law case. Wong had been granted bail in the earlier proceedings. Contempt of the Legislative Council is punishable by one year imprisonment and a fine for a first offence.This article Former Hong Kong lawmakers facing prosecution under national security law hit with fresh charges of contempt of Legislative Council first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
10 hours agoEU says it won’t pay off Montenegro’s billion-dollar highway debt to ChinaThe European Union says it will not pay off Montenegro’s near-US$1 billion debts to China, rejecting the tiny Balkan nation’s repeated pleas for help. A spokesman for the EU told the South China Morning Post that it “does not repay loans of partners which they took from third parties”, although he did express concern “over the socioeconomic and financial effects of some of China’s investments in Montenegro”. He continued that Brussels was willing to work with the country, a candidate for EU membership, to put its debts on a sustainable footing.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. Montenegro’s finance minister Milojko Spajic on Sunday became the latest cabinet member to ask Brussels for help in repaying a dollar-denominated loan signed with the Export-Import Bank of China in 2014 to build the first section of a highway linking the country with neighbouring Serbia. “This is a small but easy win for them. It’s low-hanging fruit,” Spajic told the Financial Times in an interview published on Sunday. The loan was agreed under the previous government, with Spaijic making it clear that the new administration, which took over in December, wanted closer ties with Brussels than Beijing. “For infrastructure we’re currently relying on China … The situation is dramatic from a geopolitical standpoint,” he told the FT. Debt-trap diplomacy? Report finds China can cancel loans if displeased The unfinished highway project has often been cited as an example of the “debt-trap diplomacy” China is accused of deploying as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, an infrastructure drive to connect the global East and West. Beijing has rejected the accusations saying its loans to developing countries have no strings attached. The FT reported that with an estimated cost of US$23.8 million per kilometre, the highway is thought to be among the most expensive strips of road in the world, with the first repayments due in July. It has helped increase the public debt rate in Montenegro – which is seeking to join the EU – from 65.9 per cent to an estimated 80 per cent of gross domestic product once the loan is repaid, according to figures cited by the European Parliament. To absorb the costs, Podgorica has had to raise cash elsewhere, such as a 21 per cent value-added tax on non-tourism activities. In an address to the European Parliament’s committee on foreign affairs in March, Deputy Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic asked members to “help us replace the credit with [a loan from] some European banks”, adding that it would help stymie Chinese influence in the country. Peter Stano, the EU’s spokesman for foreign affairs and security issues, told the Post that the bloc is already the biggest provider of financial help to Montenegro, as well as its biggest investor and trading partner. China pins hopes on Balkans as gateway to Europe but faces growing scepticism “The EU will continue to support Montenegro on its path towards EU membership, and in this context work with the country to find financial solutions for its investment projects and to ensure the sustainability of its public debt,” Stano said. “But while every country is free to establish its investment objectives, the EU has concerns over the socioeconomic and financial effects some of China’s investments in Montenegro can have, which risk macroeconomic imbalances and debt-dependency,” he added. Concerns have been rising in Brussels about China’s growing influence in the Western Balkans, where it has strong ties with regional powerhouse Serbia. It is not clear whether Montenegro will be able to gain support from other sources and major European public funding outfits had previously turned their noses up at the first section of the Bar-Boljare motorway, which will run from the Adriatic Sea to the border with Serbia. A report by the Dutch Clingendael Institute, a think tank, said last year that two feasibility studies had been conducted in 2006 and 2012 respectively, with both the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank expressing “no interest” in the project. Coronavirus runs roughshod over debt-laden belt and road projects “Montenegro sees China as a rising global power that brings new economic and financing opportunities. Local institutions and actors in Montenegro are positively disposed and keen to develop and deepen bilateral relations,” the report read. “Expectations continue to prevail over critical attitudes because of a perceived imperative to address the country’s development needs.”This article EU says it won’t pay off Montenegro’s billion-dollar highway debt to China 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 »
Singapore returns to tighter COVID-19 measures: What's allowed under the new rules?
SINGAPORE: With the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the community, Singapore has announced tighter measures for about three weeks from Saturday ...