Saturday, August 24, 2019

MixedTimes - John Hayward

Hong Kong Protesters Form 28-Mile Human Chain

Hong Kong Protesters Form 28-Mile Human Chain

Hong Kong protesters joined hands on Friday and formed a 28-mile-long human chain linking 39 railroad stations, with an American flag raised at the center.

Bangladesh Offers Repatriation to Rohingya Muslims, None Accept

Bangladesh Offers Repatriation to Rohingya Muslims, None Accept

The government of Bangladesh on Thursday cleared 3,450 Rohingya Muslim refugees to return to their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, but not a single one of the 295 families approached by Bangladeshi and United Nations officials was willing to go.

Japan Protests as South Korea Cancels Intelligence-Sharing Agreement

Japan Protests as South Korea Cancels Intelligence-Sharing Agreement

After a modestly hopeful week with a few encouraging signs of diplomatic engagement, the rift between South Korea and Japan took another turn for the worse on Thursday with South Korea’s announcement that it will cancel an intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan.

U.S. Treasury Cracks Down on Chinese Fentanyl Traffickers

U.S. Treasury Cracks Down on Chinese Fentanyl Traffickers

The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday announced a crackdown on the “Chinese drug kingpins fueling America’s deadly opioid crisis.” The individuals and organizations designated for Treasury action deal in powerful synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil, which are often mixed into other street drugs without the knowledge of customers, resulting in countless deaths by overdose.

Iran Sends Another Oil Tanker to Syria in Defiance of Sanctions

Iran Sends Another Oil Tanker to Syria in Defiance of Sanctions

Western intelligence sources told Fox News on Tuesday that Iran has dispatched another oil tanker to Syria in defiance of U.S. sanctions. Meanwhile, the first sanctions-busting ship was leased to the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in another apparent gesture of defiance to the United States.

Hong Kong Exec Carrie Lam Promises ‘Platform for Dialogue’ with Protesters

Hong Kong Exec Carrie Lam Promises ‘Platform for Dialogue’ with Protesters

Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing chief executive Carrie Lam spun this weekend’s titanic peaceful protest as a victory for her administration on Monday, claiming the lack of violence was a sign the city is “returning to peace” and vaguely offering a “platform for dialogue with people from all walks of life” to find “a way out” of the crisis.

British Consulate Official Detained by China on Hong Kong Border

British Consulate Official Detained by China on Hong Kong Border

The British Foreign Office on Tuesday said it was “extremely concerned” by reports that trade and investment officer Simon Cheng Man-kit of the Hong Kong office has been detained by Communist China while traveling to the mainland for a business event.

Pro-Democracy Movement Slowly Spreads from Hong Kong to Macau

Pro-Democracy Movement Slowly Spreads from Hong Kong to Macau

China’s nightmare scenario is that Hong Kong’s huge protest movement could spread to other cities – especially Macau, which is only an hour away and also has semi-autonomous “Special Administrative Region” status.

China, Russia Look to Each Other for Support as Protest Movements Rock Their Economies

China, Russia Look to Each Other for Support as Protest Movements Rock Their Economies

Similarities between the protest movements in Hong Kong and Moscow have not gone unnoticed by the authoritarian rulers of China and Russia. Russia’s state-run Tass news service on Wednesday quoted the new Chinese ambassador calling for the two countries to “cultivate our relations at a higher level” and “open a new page” in their friendship.

Huawei Founder Wants ‘Invincible Iron Army’ to Fight American Sanctions

Huawei Founder Wants ‘Invincible Iron Army’ to Fight American Sanctions

Chinese billionaire Ren Zhengfei, founder of telecommunications titan Huawei, wrote an internal memo this week laying out plans to overhaul the company over the next three to five years and create an “invincible iron army” to fight against regulatory pressure and competition from the United States.

China Bullies Starbucks over Hong Kong Barista’s Pro-Democracy Coffee Cup

China Bullies Starbucks over Hong Kong Barista’s Pro-Democracy Coffee Cup

Fresh from a successful campaign to force several foreign fashion designers to pull shirts off the market, Chinese Internet users trained their sights on Starbucks this week, demanding the American coffee company fire a Hong Kong barista accused of writing pro-democracy messages on cups.

Convoy of Armored Chinese Police Vehicles Masses near Hong Kong

Convoy of Armored Chinese Police Vehicles Masses near Hong Kong

Residents of Hong Kong have been nervously watching Chinese military and police movements near their borders, fearing each new report of personnel or vehicles arriving near the border city of Shenzhen could be the prelude to a Tiananmen Square-style crackdown.

Chinese Media: Epstein Death Proves U.S. Treats Rich Criminals Too Well

Chinese Media: Epstein Death Proves U.S. Treats Rich Criminals Too Well

China’s state-run Global Times on Sunday argued the death of Jeffrey Epstein is evidence the entire American system is fundamentally corrupt, rich criminals are treated far too well, and change is impossible because Americans only get to choose between two parties when they vote.

Hong Kong Brings Back Police Commander Who Quashed 2014 Protests

Hong Kong Brings Back Police Commander Who Quashed 2014 Protests

Hong Kong police officials on Friday announced that former Deputy Commissioner Alan Lau is coming out of retirement to accept a temporary position as second-in-command of the force, with a focus on controlling the enormous anti-government protests that have rocked the island.

South Koreans Consider Replacing National Anthem to Spite Japan

South Koreans Consider Replacing National Anthem to Spite Japan

South Korea’s National Assembly held a hearing on Thursday to discuss the possibility of replacing the national anthem, “Aegukga,” on the grounds that it was written by a composer who supported Japan during its occupation of Korea in the first half of the 20th Century.

Chinese Media Salutes Violent Communists in Australia for ‘Using Creative Methods to Protect National Sovereignty’

Chinese Media Salutes Violent Communists in Australia for ‘Using Creative Methods to Protect National Sovereignty’

On the same day New Zealand summoned China’s diplomatic team to formally rebuke Beijing for encouraging violence against supporters of the Hong Kong protest movement at the University of Auckland, the Chinese Communist Global Times was praising violent pro-China students in New Zealand and Australia for using “creative methods to protect national sovereignty and dispel misrepresentation of pro-independence forces.

Report: Spanish Biologist Working on 'Human-Monkey Hybrids' in China

Report: Spanish Biologist Working on 'Human-Monkey Hybrids' in China

If there is one thing science fiction has taught us, it is that nothing bad can possibly come from making monkeys more like human beings. The controversy surrounding a Chinese laboratory creating human-monkey hybrids with the help of a Spanish biologist based in California is therefore puzzling.

U.S. Sanctions Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

U.S. Sanctions Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday announced sanctions against Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, on the grounds that Zarif acted on behalf of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, himself a sanctioned individual, and coordinated activities with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a designated foreign terrorist organization.

China: Peaceful Hong Kong Protesters Using ‘Lethal Weapons’

China: Peaceful Hong Kong Protesters Using ‘Lethal Weapons’

Chinese media is working overtime to paint the Hong Kong protest movement as a gang of violent radicals driven mad by Western propaganda. The latest round of editorial broadsides was fired over charges brought against four protesters for carrying “offensive weapons” to Saturday’s protest at the Yuen Long train station.

Hundreds of ‘Free Hong Kong’ Protesters Fill International Airport

Hundreds of ‘Free Hong Kong’ Protesters Fill International Airport

Hundreds of protesters chanting “Free Hong Kong!” filled the Hong Kong International Airport on Friday, seeking attention from international arrivals and demanding a thorough investigation of last Sunday’s mob attack on activists at a train station.

Ukraine Seizes Russian Tanker over 2018 Kerch Strait Incident

Ukraine Seizes Russian Tanker over 2018 Kerch Strait Incident

Ukrainian state security forces detained a Russian oil tanker in the port of Izmail on Wednesday, seizing documents and questioning the crew before releasing them. Ukraine said the action was taken due to the Russian ship’s involvement in the November 2018 Kerch Strait confrontation, which ended with Russia seizing a Ukrainian ship and imprisoning its 24 crew members.

Japan Holds Naval Drills in South China Sea as China Tests Anti-Ship Missiles

Japan Holds Naval Drills in South China Sea as China Tests Anti-Ship Missiles

Japan’s largest warship, the Izumo, completed joint drills with allies including the U.S., France, and Australia this week, demonstrating Japan’s improved ability to project power across the region - pointedly including ground actions on islands like the ones China has been militarizing.

Iran Exceeds Uranium Limits, Threatens Further Nuclear Deal Violations

Iran Exceeds Uranium Limits, Threatens Further Nuclear Deal Violations

Inspectors for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Monday confirmed a statement by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that Iran has violated the 300 kilogram limit on stockpiling enriched uranium established by the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Thousands March in Taiwan to Protest Pro-Beijing Media

Thousands March in Taiwan to Protest Pro-Beijing Media

An enormous demonstration was held in Taipei, Taiwan, on Sunday to oppose Chinese authoritarianism and spotlight Taiwanese media outlets that spread Beijing’s ideology and propaganda.

Florida City Agrees to Pay $600,000 Ransom to Hackers

Florida City Agrees to Pay $600,000 Ransom to Hackers

The city of Riviera Beach, Florida, agreed this week to pay $600,000 ransom in Bitcoin to a gang of hackers that encrypted its data, having concluded efforts to fight the data theft would be even more expensive and possibly futile.

Egypt Denies Request for Public Mohamed Morsi Funeral

Egypt Denies Request for Public Mohamed Morsi Funeral

The Egyptian government denied a request for a public funeral from the family of former President Mohamed Morsi on Tuesday, quickly interring Morsi’s remains in the Nasr City district of Cairo.

Russia Fast-Tracks Passports for Eastern Ukraine

Russia Fast-Tracks Passports for Eastern Ukraine

Russia began issuing “fast-tracked” passports to residents of eastern Ukraine this week, in accordance with an order signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in April. Some sixty residents of Ukraine’s Donbas region crossed the Russian border to receive their passports in a ceremony on Friday.

New York Jihadi Arrested for Alleged Grenade Attack Plot on Times Square

New York Jihadi Arrested for Alleged Grenade Attack Plot on Times Square

Federal and local authorities arrested 22-year-old Ashiqul Alam of Jackson Heights, Queens, on Thursday for allegedly plotting to attack Times Square with guns and hand grenades. Law enforcement described the suspect as a “lone wolf” with no known links to any larger conspiracy to attack New York City.

China Demands Control over ‘A.I. Governance’

China Demands Control over ‘A.I. Governance’

China’s state-run Global Times on Thursday demanded a leading role for Beijing in formulating the global rules governing artificial intelligence (AI). The Chinese paper was correct to believe that AI is something everyone in the world should be concerned about, but neglected to mention that China is one of the big reasons they should be concerned.

U.S. Navy Veteran Killed in Nicaragua Prison Riot

U.S. Navy Veteran Killed in Nicaragua Prison Riot

Nicaraguan-American dual national Eddy Montes Praslin was one of 18 imprisoned anti-government protesters killed or wounded on Thursday in a disturbance at the La Modelo prison near the Nicaraguan capital city of Managua.

Report: Trump May Sign Executive Order Banning Huawei Telecom Equipment

Report: Trump May Sign Executive Order Banning Huawei Telecom Equipment

President Donald Trump reportedly will sign an executive order this week banning U.S. telecom companies from using equipment that has been deemed risky to national security. The order will not specify individual companies or countries of origin, but it will clearly have the most profound impact on Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.

Sunday Mass Canceled in Sri Lanka After Archbishop Warned of Possible Attacks

Sunday Mass Canceled in Sri Lanka After Archbishop Warned of Possible Attacks

The archbishop of Colombo announced on Thursday that Sunday Mass will be canceled in his district this weekend due to ongoing security concerns. Catholic schools will also remain closed until further notice, while public schools in Sri Lanka will reopen on Monday with armed security.

Head of Feared Venezuelan Secret Police Turns Against Maduro

Head of Feared Venezuelan Secret Police Turns Against Maduro

General Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera, head of the feared Venezuelan secret police agency known as the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN), on Tuesday night published an open letter in which he somewhat gingerly withdrew his support for dictator Nicolas Maduro.

Hayward: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ and the Golden Age of Mega-Storytelling

Hayward: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ and the Golden Age of Mega-Storytelling

"Avengers: Endgame" made over a billion dollars worldwide in its first weekend, shattering just about every record the Hollywood publicity machine bothers to keep. That’s because Endgame is more than just Part 2 of a single story, but the culmination of a 22-film series (plus a few short films and loosely-connected TV shows) that racked up almost $20 billion in combined ticket sales.

U.S. Envoy Calls for Taiwan to Join Interpol, World Health Organization

U.S. Envoy Calls for Taiwan to Join Interpol, World Health Organization

U.S. envoy Brent Christensen, the de facto American ambassador to Taiwan, on Monday pledged continuing U.S. support for Taiwan to join international organizations like Interpol and the World Health Organization (WHO) despite China’s campaign to isolate the island nation.

Kim Jong-un Reshuffles North Korean Government, Tightens Control

Kim Jong-un Reshuffles North Korean Government, Tightens Control

It was not exactly a surprise to see Kim Jong-un “re-elected” as chairman of the North Korean State Affairs Commission – i.e. absolute dictator – on Friday, but quite a few other government posts were shaken up, suggesting Kim is determined to tighten his grip on power.

Russia Awards Highest State Award to Indian PM Narendra Modi amid Elections

Russia Awards Highest State Award to Indian PM Narendra Modi amid Elections

Russia on Friday awarded Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi the Order of St. Andrew, the highest civilian award the Russian Federation offers. Modi received the award for “exceptional services in promoting a special and privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India.

Report: Egypt Withdraws from Anti-Iran ‘Arab NATO’ Alliance

Report: Egypt Withdraws from Anti-Iran ‘Arab NATO’ Alliance

Reuters reported on Wednesday that Egypt is withdrawing from the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), a nascent organization proposed by the United States as an alliance against Iranian, Chinese, and Russian influence.

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