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‘You think Trump will save you?’: my nine days detained by North Korea’s secret police

Alek Sigley was studying in Pyongyang when he was blindfolded and taken to an interrogation facility where his handlers demanded he confess to his crimes Do you know what day it is? asked the man as we sat in the black Mercedes-Benz that had whisked me from the foreign student dormitory at Kim Il-sung university, where I had been living in the North Korean capital Pyongyang. I knew full well, but he answered his own question: Its the day the US imperialists invaded and started the war. It was Tuesday…

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Coronavirus deals China’s economy a ‘bigger blow than global financial crisis’

Factory production plummets at the fastest pace seen in three decades, as first-quarter figures emerge China has suffered even deeper economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic than predicted, with figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday showing factory production inside the country dropped at the fastest pace seen in three decades. Financial analysts have said the economic impact of the pandemic may have cut Chinas growth in half during the first quarter. Industrial output fell 13.5% in January-February, compared with 2019, which ING economist Iris Pang…

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Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrested on charges of illegal assembly

Lai, who was arrested with two other activists and later released on bail, has been a major financial patron of Hong Kongs pro-democracy movement Hong Kong police arrested three veteran pro-democracy figures for taking part in an unauthorised anti-government march last year amid the citys most serious political crisis for decades. Jimmy Lai, the 71-year-old founder of Next Media, which publishes the popular, anti-government Apple Daily newspaper, was picked up by police on Friday morning for taking part in a march banned by police on 31 August. Lai, a self-made…

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Trump’s Oscars rant? He just wants Hollywood to see he’s a star

The US presidents tirade against Parasites best picture Oscar, preferring Sunset Boulevard and Gone With the Wind, masks his own frustration at being cold-shouldered by Tinseltown The only real surprise was what took him so long. Nearly two weeks after Parasite became the first foreign-language film to win the Oscar for best picture, hadnt actually seen Parasite: Was it good? I dont know. Clearly he is less concerned about the movies quality than its provenance. Here he is, trying to make America great again, and a foreign movie takes Hollywoods…

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Minamata review Johnny Depp attempts redemption in heartfelt look at disaster that struck Japanese town

Johnny Depp plays real-life US photojournalist W Eugene Smith who travels to cover the story of mercury poisoning that caused horrendous disfigurements Minamata is not a masterpiece and there are one or two cliches here about western saviours and boozy, difficult, passionate journalists who occupy the perennial Venn diagram overlap between integrity and alcoholism. This movies producer-star Johnny Depp has form on this score, with his W Eugene Smith whose glory days were in the second world war and the decades following, working for Life magazine in that now-forgotten era…

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China to expel WSJ journalists over ‘malicious coronavirus column

Three journalists told to leave within five days after paper declined to apologise for opinion piece China is expelling three Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporters from the country, a move with no recent precedent, marking a sharp escalation in pressure on foreign media in the country. The expulsions come amid a domestic tighten controls on Chinese state-owned media operations in America. The Chinese foreign ministry said it had ordered the reporters to leave within five days after their paper declined to apologise for an opinion piece calling China the real…

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‘It’s like a war’: the fight for rice and toilet roll as coronavirus convulses Hong Kong

Widespread anxiety that epidemic could last many months and basic necessities will run out is gripping the city It is reminiscent of the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Queues form at the crack of dawn every morning in front of supermarkets across Hong Kong, with people scrambling to lay their hands on the basics: rice, toilet rolls and disinfectant. For the third week in a row, supermarkets shelves that usually heave with bags of rice a staple food for Hong Kongers are empty, and packs of noodles are running out…

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‘Amazing deal’ or ‘capitulation’? Why the US-China trade truce may not last

Donald Trump hailed the agreement, but others think it masks a process of deglobalisation as the two superpowers struggle for hegemony The trade war between the US and China may never be settled, experts fear, even after the two sides agreed on an outline phase one deal. Economists and investors have been poring over agreement would also require China to make structural reforms and other changes to its economic and trade regime in the areas of intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services, and currency and foreign exchange. In exchange,…

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Thousands in Hong Kong praise Trump with ‘Thanksgiving’ rally as more protests loom

We really appreciate the effort made by Americans, says one protester, as city braces for another weekend of protest Thousands of protesters in Hong Kong, some draped in American flags, have staged a Thanksgiving rally in the heart of the city after the approval by Donald Trump of human rights legislation aimed at protecting them. The rationale for us having this rally is to show our gratitude and thank the US Congress and also president Trump for passing the bill, said 23-year-old Sunny Cheung, a member of the student group…

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Hong Kong: protests prompt huge turnout for local elections

Residents stand in long queues to have their say in polls expected to be a proxy referendum on pro-democracy campaign Hong Kong residents have turned out in unprecedented numbers for local elections that many in the city are treating as a proxy referendum on months of anti-government protests. Hour-long queues stretched outside many polling stations and by early afternoon Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/24/hong-kong-protests-prompt-huge-turnout-for-local-elections

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Thai king fires royal guards for ‘adultery’ as purges continue

Purges, which come after royal consort was stripped of her titles, offer rare glimpse into the palace Thailands king has sacked four royal guards, two of them for adultery, in a fresh wave of palace purges a week after his royal consort was stripped of all titles for disloyalty. Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn, 67, ordered the dismissal of two male guards from the bedroom section, the Royal Gazette announced late on Tuesday. They have committed inappropriate acts and adultery, the statement said. The other two officers failed to meet the…

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Kim Jong-un invites Donald Trump to visit Pyongyang report

Letter from North Korean leader comes as talks between the men have stalled North Korean leader Kim Jong-un invited US president Donald Trump to visit Pyongyang in a letter sent in August, a South Korean newspaper reported on Monday, citing diplomatic sources. The letter pre-dates North Koreas latest last met at the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas in June and agreed to restart working-level negotiations that had been stalled since an unsuccessful second summit between the two leaders in Vietnam in February. Last weeks round of short-range missiles…

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Hong Kong: violence follows calls for Trump to ‘liberate’ territory

Protesters clash with police in shopping districts after rally to petition US to resist Beijing Hong Kong police have fired teargas to disperse protesters in the upmarket Causeway Bay shopping district, after demonstrators rallied at the US consulate calling on Donald Trump to liberate the territory. Police had clashed with protesters in the Centraldistrict as the demonstrations in Hong Kong entered their 14th week. Protesters dispersed to nearby Admiralty, the bar district of Wan Chai and on to Causeway Bay. Riot police fire teargas to disperse protesters around the Causeway…

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Philippines is deadliest country for defenders of environment

Nation replaces Brazil for first time in annual list of murders compiled by Global Witness The Philippines has replaced Brazil as the most murderous country in the world for people defending their land and environment, according to research that puts a spotlight on the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. More than three defenders were killed across the world every week in 2018, according to the annual toll by the independent watchdog Global Witness, highlighting the continued dangers facing those who stand up to miners, loggers, farmers, poachers and other extractive…

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