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Thousands take to Hong Kong streets to protest new extradition laws

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, April 29th, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

Thousands of people marched to Hong Kong’s legislative council on Sunday to protest against proposed extradition rules that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial.

Some feared the move puts the city’s core freedoms at risk.

Opponents of the proposal fear further erosion of rights and legal protections in the free-wheeling financial hub — freedoms which were guaranteed under the city’s handover from British colonial rule to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.

Several thousand people had joined the march along Hong Kong island from Causeway Bay to the council in the Admiralty business district.

Protesters expressed fears that the new legislation would put ordinary Hong Kongers at risk.

“Once this law has been passed it won’t matter if you are an average person or a foreigner coming through Hong Kong, there will be a real possibility you’ll be taken and sent off to the mainland,” said Jayson Shing, a bank employee.

“It basically won’t matter whether you travel into the mainland. Just staying here in Hong Kong it’s hopeless anyway. The way they have organized this, as soon as they want to extradite you, it’s hopeless. The scariest thing is that in the mainland they can detain you via executive order, no crime is needed,” legal clerk Edward Wen said.

The peaceful marchers also chanted demands for Hong Kong’s executive Carrie Lam to step down, saying she had “betrayed” Hong Kong.

Many sported yellow umbrellas — the symbol of the Occupy civil disobedience movement that paralyzed parts of Hong Kong for 11 weeks in 2014. (REUTERS)

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Journalist attacked while on-air by suspected triad gangsters in Hong Kong

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

Hong Kong journalist livestreams attack by men wearing white t-shirts at a train station. Video credit: The Stand News

A man in a pink shirt and jeans is seen hitting out at people with a stick over the barrier of a train’s passenger gantry. In the next moment, he runs at the camera and starts hitting the person behind it.

These were the moments faced on Sunday (July 21) night by Gwyneth Ho, a reporter with online Hong Kong news outlet Stand News, as she was assaulted while live-streaming coverage of an attack by men who opposition politicians suspect were gang members, on pro-democracy protesters at a train station in rural Hong Kong.

Men, most in white shirts, with some clutching clubs, flooded into Yuen Long station and stormed a train, attacking passengers with pipes, poles and other objects.

Ho continued filming even after she was struck and knocked to the ground, capturing footage of paramedics attending to the injured and people confronting the police who arrived to control the crowds.

Stand News later reported that she was taken to hospital for treatment and received stitches.

Witnesses said the men in white had appeared to target black-shirted passengers who had been at an anti-government march earlier in the day. (REUTERS)

(Production: Travis Teo)

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34 of 400 samples of pork products tested positive of African Swine Fever – BAI

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2019

Boxes of pork items from Poland intercepted in Cebu on June 27 | Courtesy: BAI

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has intercepted a number of pork products from Hong Kong and China at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in between June 19 to 28.

The items didn’t have sanitary and phytosanitary clearances from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and could have been infested by the deadly pig virus African Swine Fever (ASF).

China is one of the 19 countries from where entry of pork and pork-based products are banned.

From a total of 400 samples that BAI examined, 34 tested positive of ASF and these products could have caused infestation in the country’s hog industry if they were not intercepted.

Germany was the latest addition to the list of countries where entry of pork products to the Philippines was banned.

Though there were no reports yet of ASF-infestation in Germany, the Philippines included it in the list after a German company exported pork products to the Philippines along with some 250 kilograms of pork from ASF-hit Poland.

The said shipment was intercepted in Cebu on June 27 which included 27 boxes of pork items from Poland.

That incident, according to Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, was a clear violation of the country’s Quarantine Law thus resulting in the ban of pork products from Germany.

“Nakikiusap ako.(‘Im appealing to you) Please understand, these are extraordinary times. We cannot take the risk,” Secretary Piñol said.

“Kasi tingnan mo, Germany napaka-respectable na bansa nyan. It’s export country known for its high standards, nasingitan tayo, (You see Germany is a highly respected country. It’s exports are known for its high standards but some banned (pork) slip past their screening,)” he explained.

Piñol stressed that ASF infestation would compromise the country’s P260-B worth of hog industry.

Some of the Philippines’ neighboring countries have already declared an outbreak of ASF such as Vietnam and Cambodia.

In May, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked store owners to self-recall pork products from China that covers those manufactured since the start of the import ban.

Still, Piñol assures the Philippines’ hog industry remains ASF free. – with reports from Rey Pelayo

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Over 21,000 evacuated after torrential rain in Guangxi, China

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2019

Rescuers evacuate residents @Daxu Town, Lingchuan County, Guilin City, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, south China | Courtesy: Reuters

Over 21,000 people have been evacuated Wednesday following continuous torrential rain in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, according to the provincial emergency management department.

In the region, a total of 47 counties and districts in nine cities, including Nanning, Liuzhou, Guilin, and Baise, suffered floods which affected 65,000 hectares of crops and destroyed 1,250 houses.

The local government activated contingency plans for rescue and relief work.

Both rescue and relief efforts are still currently underway. (REUTERS)

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