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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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Chinas first cyber-dissident jailed for 12 years

Huang Qi, who ran a website reporting on sensitive topics, is accused of leaking state secrets Chinas first cyber-dissident, whose website reported on sensitive topics including human rights, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for leaking state secrets. Huang Qi ran a website called 64 Tianwang named after the bloody 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protesters. His sentence is one of the harshest meted out to a dissident since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, according to court records. Huang was guilty of leaking national…

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How Hong Kong maids became caught in a humanitarian tsunami

Migrant workers who become pregnant by their employers face dismissal, homelessness and a swift return home The sun had not yet risen in Hong Kong when Sally*, a domestic worker, was woken and told she needed to leave immediately. As she lay on the sofa, confused, Sally saw her employer standing over her with a piece of paper he wanted her to sign. It was a resignation letter he had written for her. She was being let go because she was pregnant. Her employer, a German man in his 50s,…

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‘I’ve seen terrible, terrible violence’: cocaine and meth fuel crime and chaos in Fiji

The Pacific island nation best known as a holiday destination is grappling with a growing drug problem In the early hours of a Saturday morning in the city of Nadi, on the west coast of Fijis main island, Isaiah* is sitting in a Burger King drinking Fanta through a straw and explaining how he became a drug dealer. He started five years ago, aged 13, selling cigarettes and marijuana. Now he sells cocaine and methamphetamines. My family were selling drugs in Suva, he says. They said there would be a…

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Hong Kong protests: government vows to push ahead with extradition bill

Leader Carrie Lam refuses to withdraw law, which critics fear could be abused by Beijing The leader of Hong Kongs government has said she remains determined to pass a proposed extradition law despite China. Opponents of the law say it is being pushed by the Chinese government, and fear that Beijing will use it to extradite activists, dissidents and other political opponents who will end up in Chinas opaque and politicised courts. Striking a defiant tone on Monday, Hong Kongs chief executive, Carrie Lam, said: This bill is not initiated…

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Philippines threatens to dump rubbish back in Canadian waters as row deepens

Two nations have been at odds over 69 containers of waste sent to the Philippines in 2013 and 2014 Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has ordered his government to hire a private shipping company to send 69 containers of garbage back to Canada and leave them within its territorial waters if it refuses to accept the rubbish. The Philippines as an independent sovereign nation must not be treated as trash by other foreign nation, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told a media briefing. Canada says the waste, exported to the Philippines between…

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US accuses China of using ‘concentration camps’ against Muslim minority

In a highly charged attack, the Pentagon says up to 3m people could be imprisoned in detention centres The United States has accused China on Friday of imprisoning more than a million Muslims in concentration camps in some of Washingtons strongest condemnation of Beijings treatment of minorities. The comments by Randall Schriver, who leads Asia policy at the US defense department, are likely to increase tension with Beijing, which is sensitive to international criticism and describes the sites as vocational education training centres aimed at stemming the threat of Islamic…

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German DIY chain’s ‘racist’ advert provokes anger in South Korea

Petition asks for apology from German DIY chain Hornbach following inappropriate ad A German advertisement showing an Asian woman becoming aroused after smelling dirty laundry worn by white men has fuelled anger in Seoul, with many women calling it racist and demanding an apology. The commercial, produced by the German DIY-store chain Hornbach, shows white men working outside in a garden before removing their sweaty clothing and dumping it in a box. The ad then cuts to a grey, industrial city that resembles Tokyo where an Asian woman buys a…

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Malaysia: schools closed after hundreds poisoned by toxic waste dumped in river

Toxic fumes blamed for making more than 500 people ill near the industrial town of Pasir Gudang More than 100 schools in Malaysia have been closed after the dumping of toxic waste into a river caused hundreds of people to fall ill, including many children, authorities said. A lorry is believed to have dumped the waste in southern Johor state last week, sending hazardous fumes across a wide area and causing those affected to display symptoms of poisoning such as nausea and vomiting. More than 500 people, many of them…

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Kim and Trump finally show their hands after nuclear talks in Hanoi

We now know where North Korea and US stand and the gaps that still need to be closed The Hanoi summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un may have Trump-Kim nuclear talks in Hanoi break down video report The summit was doomed because those proved to be delusions. Kim arrived with a clear game plan and was not going to be diverted from it under pressure at the last minute. The accounts of what happened in Hanoi and in the preceding months suggest that while the summit was premature, there…

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Kim Jong-un greets Moon Jae-in as inter-Korean summit starts

Leaders take part in highly choreographed opening to three days of talks in Pyongyang, North Korea Kim Jong-un has greeted the South Korean president to cheers from crowds assembled at North Koreas Pyongyang airport as the pair begin their third summit. The North Korean leader emerged from the airport building to raucous cheering and walked up to President Moon Jae-in. The two leaders embraced and flashed wide smiles. South Korean President Moon Jae-in hugs North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un Photograph: AP The highly choreographed meeting set to dramatic music provided…

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Jeremy Hunt makes ‘terrible’ gaffe about his wife in China

British foreign secretary refers to his Chinese wife as Japanese during debut visit to Beijing Jeremy Hunt, Britains new foreign secretary, has made an awkward debut in China when he sought to curry favour with his hosts by mentioning his Chinese wife, but accidentally referred to her as Japanese. China and Japan have been traditional rivals for centuries. Although relations have improved somewhat recently, they remain touchy due to issues such as Japans bloody occupation of parts of China in the 1930s and 40s. Hunt, who was on his first…

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Four boys rescued from Thai cave

Rescue team confirms first boys from group of 12 trapped for two weeks have been freed Four boys from a group of 12 children who have been trapped inside a cave in northern Thailand for more than two weeks have been freed, authorities have confirmed. Today was the best situation in terms of kids health, water and our rescue readiness,Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command centre coordinating the rescue, said at a press briefing on Sunday. Four have been [brought] out from the cave site, four have been…

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North Korea making ‘rapid’ upgrades to nuclear reactor despite summit pledges

Monitoring group says work shows why a denuclearisation deal rather than a statement of lofty goals is needed North Korea has continued to upgrade its only known nuclear reactor used to fuel its weapons program, satellite imagery has shown, despite ongoing negotiations with the US and a pledge to denuclearise. Play Video 4:03 according to an analysis by monitoring group 38 North of commercial satellite images taken on 21 June. The cooling system for the plutonium production reactor has been modified and at least two new non-industrial buildings have been…

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Whale dies from eating more than 80 plastic bags

Pilot whale was found barely alive in Thai canal and vomited up five bags during fruitless rescue attempts A whale has died in southern Thailand after swallowing more than 80 plastic bags, with rescuers failing to nurse the mammal back to health. The small male pilot whale was found barely alive in a canal near the border with Malaysia, the countrys department of marine and coastal resources said. A veterinary team tried to help stabilise its illness but finally the whale died on Friday afternoon. An autopsy revealed 80 plastic…

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