World’s longest electric vehicle trip ends in New Zealand

Robie de Guzman   •   July 21, 2019   •   1165

Dutch adventurer Wiebe Wakker posing beside his vehicle the ‘Blue Bandit’, to celebrate the completion of his three-year drive across more than 30 countries in an electric vehicle. | Courtesy: Reuters

A Dutch sustainability advocate completed the longest ever journey in an electric vehicle in New Zealand on Friday (July 19) after a three-year drive that took him through more than 30 countries.

Wiebe Wakker set off from the Netherlands in March 2016 in his “Blue Bandit” to showcase the potential of sustainable transport, funded by donations from those following his trip on social media.

“So I wanted to do my bit to promote this technology and show that sustainability is a viable way of transport. So I wanted really to do something that really speaks to the imagination which is driving an electric car from Amsterdam to literally the other side of the world to show that it can be done,” he said.

The 101,000 kilometers (62,800 miles) trip took Wakker through Eastern Europe, Iran, India, Southeast Asia, before traveling around much of Australia and across to New Zealand.

Wakker gave regular updates on his blog and social media throughout the journey, detailing visiting Iran’s biggest car manufacturer in Tehran, a breakdown on the Indonesian island of Java and visits to Australia’s outback and world-famous Uluru.

The drive had relied on the support of strangers across the globe who offered the traveler food, a place to stay and the essential means to charge his car along the way. (REUTERS)

(Production: James Redmayne)

G7 leaders in a show of unity in a summit that exposes rifts

Robie de Guzman   •   August 26, 2019

G7 leaders French President Emmanuel Macron, U.S. President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Acting Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gather for a photo alongside other world leaders and invited guests. (Image grabbed from Reuters footage)

G7 leaders joined in a family photo on Sunday (August 25) at the French resort hosting the summit which has been troubled by differences between U.S. President Donald Trump and Western allies over a raft of issues.

Trump, a turbulent presence at last year’s G7 gathering, insisted on Sunday that he was getting along well with other leaders of a group that also includes Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan.

But rifts emerged on issues from his intensifying trade war with China to the nuclear ambitions of both Iran and North Korea, and the question of whether Russian President Vladimir Putin should be readmitted to the group.

While the transatlantic rift is the most stark, there are also deep divisions within the European camp, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson making his G7 debut at a time when he is struggling to persuade EU capitals to renegotiate Britain’s exit from the bloc, which Johnson has said will happen on October 31 come what may.

The G7 leaders were joined in the family photo by several African leaders as well as leaders from India, Australia, Chile and Spain, whom Macron invited to the Sunday dinner to broaden the scope of debate.

In the front row, Trump, Macron stood alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, while Johnson stood at the end of the row. (Reuters)

(Production: Roberto Esparza, Lucy Marks)

Hong Kong government condemns violent acts

Robie de Guzman   •   August 26, 2019

(Image grabbed from Reuters footage)

The government of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on early Monday morning condemned the violent acts by protesters in Kwai Tsing, Tsuen Wan and other districts on Sunday.

Protests turned violent in Tsuen Wan, in the western New Territories of Hong Kong, as radical protesters hurled petrol bombs at police officers and brutally assaulted them.

In response to the violence on Sunday, a Government spokesman said the following:

In the procession and assembly in Kwai Tsing and Tsuen Wan yesterday, despite that a Letter of No Objection had been issued following discussion between the Police and the organizer, some protesters deviated from the original route during the procession, blocked roads, confronted the police, wantonly attacked police officers with things like bricks and iron rods, and hurled petrol bombs at police vehicles and officers many times, seriously breaching the public peace and posing a grave threat to the safety of police officers on duty as well as the members of the public at the scene.

Some protesters removed a national flag at Kwai Chung Sports Ground, the assembly venue, and trampled on it. The act challenges the national authority and allegedly violates the National Flag and National Emblem Ordinance.

At night, some radical protesters vandalized with violence a number of shops in Tsuen Wan. The police officers attending the scene were attacked by a number of violent protesters at one point and, with the officers’ lives under threat, an officer fired a warning shot into the air. The radical protesters’ violent acts later also spread to various areas including Sham Shui Po, Tsim Sha Tsui and the Kowloon entrances of the Cross-Harbor Tunnel.

The escalating illegal and violent acts of radical protesters are not only outrageous, they also push Hong Kong to the verge of a very dangerous situation. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government severely condemns these acts and the Police will strictly follow up on them.

The HKSAR Government appeals to members of the public to combat violence and uphold the rule of law together so that order can be restored in society as soon as possible. (Reuters)

Hong Kong police, protesters in battle of tear gas, petrol bombs again

Robie de Guzman   •   August 26, 2019

(Image grabbed from Reuters footage)

Hong Kong police fired tear gas and water cannon amid running battles with brick-throwing protesters in driving rain on Sunday (August 25) after violent clashes a day earlier in which police fired tear gas for the first time in more than a week.

At least six petrol bombs were thrown by protesters, some of whom took off down narrow side streets. The water cannon, which had not been used in years of anti-government protests, could not follow.

The Chinese-ruled city’s MTR rail operator had suspended some services to try to prevent people gathering but the protesters, calling for democracy for the former British colony, made it to a sports stadium in the vast container port of Kwai Chung, from where they marched to nearby Tsuen Wan.

Some dug up bricks from the pavement and wheeled them away to use as ammunition, others sprayed detergent on the road to make it slippery for the lines of police. Clashes spread in many directions. (Reuters)

(Production: Stefica Nicol Bikes, Joyce Zhou, Ebrahim Harris, Sophia Soo, Juarawee Kittisilpa)

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