Hong Kong anti-extradition protesters move barricades ahead of debate

Robie de Guzman   •   June 12, 2019   •   1134

Anti-extradition law protesters removing barricades | Courtesy: Image grabbed from a Reuters video

Chaotic scenes erupted in Hong Kong on Wednesday (June 12) as tens of thousands of demonstrators stormed key roads next to government offices to protest against a proposed extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial.

Thousands of protesters rallied in and around Lung Wo Road, an important east-west artery near the offices of embattled Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, as hundreds of riot police warned them to stop advancing.

Some protesters erected barricades to block traffic in the heart of the Asian financial center, with many defying police calls to retreat, in scenes reminiscent of pro-democracy protests that rocked the city in late 2014.

Officials said the legislative session for the second reading of the controversial extradition bill has been delayed as protesters have blocked entry to the chamber and government headquarters.

A spokesman for bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) said a cocktail reception on Wednesday evening to celebrate 19 years of being listed, at which Lam is guest of honor, would go ahead. (REUTERS)

Trump calls off meeting with Danish prime minister over Greenland comments

Robie de Guzman   •   August 21, 2019

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday (August 20) he was postponing his scheduled meeting with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in two weeks because of her lack of interest in his offer to purchase Greenland.

“Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time,” Trump said in a post on Twitter.

A White House official said Trump had dropped the Sept. 2-3 stop in Denmark, a NATO ally. Trump had been due to discuss the Arctic in meetings in Copenhagen with Frederiksen, who took office in June, and Prime Minister Kim Kielsen of Greenland.

He is due to visit Poland on Aug. 31.

Frederiksen said on Sunday the idea of selling Greenland to the United States was absurd after an economic adviser to Trump confirmed U.S. interest in buying the world’s largest island.

“Greenland is not for sale. Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland. I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously,” Frederiksen told the newspaper Sermitsiaq during a visit to Greenland.

Trump confirmed to reporters on Sunday that he had recently discussed the possibility of buying Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory, although he said such a move was not an immediate priority.

“The concept came up and … strategically it’s interesting,” Trump told reporters in Morristown, New Jersey.

A defense treaty between Denmark and the United States dating back to 1951 gives the U.S. military rights over the Thule Air Base in northern Greenland.

Trump’s interest in buying Greenland has been met with incredulity and humor. Lars Lokke Rasmussen, who recently stepped down as Danish prime minister, tweeted last week: “It must be an April Fool’s Day joke.” (Reuters)

(Production: Deborah Lutterbeck)

Japan, South Korea, China vow to address diplomatic issues at trilateral summit

Robie de Guzman   •   August 21, 2019

(L-R) Korean foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono speaking at trilateral summit, commenting on diplomatic issues between three countries| Courtesy: Reuters

China, Japan and South Korea foreign ministers on Wednesday (August 21) vowed to address diplomatic issues at a trilateral summit.

Ties between Japan and South Korea were arguably at their lowest ebb since their relationship was normalized in 1965, hit by a heated feud over the issue of South Korean forced labour during World War Two, which spilled over into a bitter tit-for-tat trade row.

During a joint statement given by all three foreign ministers, South Korea’s Kang Kyung-wha said that the three countries should “remember to face history” and remove “retaliatory trade measures,” a clear jab at recent measures taken by Japan to remove it from its “white list” of trade partners.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono shied away from commenting directly on the strain with South Korea, instead saying that all three countries should “work closely” in light of diplomatic “difficulties”.

China’s Wang Yi, following Kono’s words, said that China “hopes” Japan and South Korea will take the opportunity to manage their differences constructively during the summit.

This is the ninth such trilateral foreign ministers meeting, the last being three years ago.

From 2008, the three countries had agreed to hold a summit every year to foster regional cooperation. But bilateral tension, including that between China and Japan, has often intervened. (Reuters)

(Production: Wang Shubing, Joseph Campbell, Hyunyoung Yi, Kwiyeon Ha)

Australian bee whisperer extracts 50kg trove of honey hidden in ceiling

Robie de Guzman   •   August 21, 2019

A treasure trove of honeycombs in the form of a massive bee hive hidden in a ceiling| Courtesy: Paul Wood / Brisbane Backyard Bees

Australian beekeeper Paul Wood removed a treasure trove of honeycombs in the form of a massive bee hive hidden in a woman’s home in suburban Brisbane, Australia.

Wood removed the 50kg (110.2 pounds) of honeycomb, including the 60,000-bee population of the ten-month old hive on Saturday (August 17) at the behest of the house’s owner and transplanted them into what he refers to as a “free range hive” in his backyard.

“Now what happens in Brisbane and probably lots of places around the world, is that when bees swarm, every spring time – that’s their reproduction – and if they can’t find a natural hollow tree as a new home, they quite often go into the cavity walls of houses, or ceilings of houses,” said Wood, owner of Brisbane Backyard Bees.

“They build that beautiful comb – as soon as they move into those cavities, and as you can see, in ten months, they’ve built an awful lot of comb. They’ve also sucked into that cavity 50 kilos of honey and they bred up the numbers to about 50 to 60 thousand bees in that time,” he added.

His video of his removal of the massive hive and its succulent honeycombs from the structure’s ceiling went viral on social media.

Wood and his colleague gently vacuumed the bees into a special box for transportation and removed the honeycombs, straining the honey into jars.

Video obtained by Reuters showed Wood carefully dismantling the hive, piece by piece.

While the bees remain in a temporary hive in Wood’s backyard, he says they will eventually be sent to beekeeping enthusiasts in Brisbane. (Reuters)

(Production: Yi Shu Ng)

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