Ten weeks of demonstrations have plunged the international finance hub into crisis, with communist-ruled mainland China taking an increasingly hardline tone. – AFP photo
Hong Kong democracy activists are hoping to get out a huge crowd later Sunday in a bid to show the city’s leaders that their protest movement remains defiant despite increasingly stark warnings from Beijing.
Ten weeks of demonstrations have plunged the international finance hub into crisis and communist-ruled mainland China has taken an increasingly hardline tone, including labelling the more violent protester actions “terrorist-like”.
Clashes have broken out between police and hardcore protesters but the movement has won few concessions from Beijing or the city’s unelected leadership.
On Tuesday, protesters blocked passengers from boarding flights at the city’s airport and later assaulted two men they accused of being Chinese spies.
The images damaged a campaign that until then had largely only targeted the police or government institutions, and prompted some soul-searching among protesters.
China’s propaganda apparatus seized on the violence, with state media churning out a deluge of damning articles, pictures and videos.
State media also ran images of military personnel and armoured personnel carriers across the border in Shenzhen, prompting the United States to warn Beijing against sending in troops, which analysts say would be a reputational and economic disaster for China.
In the aftermath of Tuesday’s airport chaos, some protester groups apologised and vowed to hold a huge rally on Sunday.
Billed as a “rational, non-violent” protest, it is being organised by the Civil Human Rights Front, a group that eschews confrontations with police and was the driving force behind record-breaking rallies in June and July that saw hundreds of thousands of people hit the streets.
– March banned –
During smaller protest marches on Saturday — which ended without the kind of largescale clashes that have become so commonplace each weekend — many protesters chanted “See you in Victoria Park!” as they left the streets.
The park has long been used as the staging point for the city’s years of democracy protests and will host Sunday’s demonstration.
Police have given permission for the rally to go ahead but banned a proposed march.
Previous bans in recent weeks have simply been ignored by protesters and have soon led to clashes with riot police.
The protests were sparked by opposition to a plan to allow extraditions to the mainland, but have since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city.
Under a deal signed with Britain, authoritarian China agreed to allow Hong Kong to keep its unique freedoms when it was handed back in 1997.
But many Hong Kongers feel those freedoms are being eroded, especially since China’s hardline president Xi Jinping came to power.
In the last two months millions of people have hit the streets while clashes have broken out between police and small groups of hardcore protesters.
Battles between police firing tear gas and rubber bullets — and hardcore protesters using rocks, Molotov cocktails and slingshots — have since become routine in a city once renowned for its stability.
Beyond suspending the extradition bill, Beijing and city leader Carrie Lam have shown no desire to meet key demands such as an inquiry into police violence, the complete withdrawal of the bill and an amnesty.
But protesters remain unbowed, despite the arrests of more than 700 people and 11 consecutive weekends of rallies that have won few concessions.
Beijing has turned the screws on Hong Kong’s businesses, pressuring them to toe the line and condemn the protesters.
On Friday, Cathay Pacific announced the shock resignation of CEO Rupert Hogg after the carrier was excoriated by Beijing because some staff supported the pro-democracy protests.
A day later the “Big Four” accountancy firms scrambled to distance themselves from a advert placed in a newspaper purportedly by employees saying they supported the protests. – AFP
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by AFP/ pic by AFP
France on Thursday rejected a US investigation into its plans to tax internet giants which could trigger punitive tariffs, saying “threats” were not the way to resolve disputes.
“Between allies, I believe we can and must resolve our differences in another way than through threats,” Economy Minister Bruno le Maire (picture) told the French Senate ahead of a vote.
If the law is passed, as expected, France will become the first major economy to impose a tax on internet heavyweights.
Dubbed the GAFA tax – an acronym for Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon – the legislation will impose a levy of 3.0 percent on total annual revenues of the largest tech firms providing services to French consumers.
Le Maire said he was warned about the so-called Section 301 investigation during a “long conversation” with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday.
“It is the first time in the history of the relationship between the United States and France that the US administration has decided to open a procedure under Section 301,” he said.
This type of investigation is the primary tool the Trump administration has used in the trade war with China to justify tariffs against what the United States says are unfair trade practices.
The post US ‘threats’ not way to solve digital tax law dispute: French minister appeared first on The Malaysian Reserve. [...]
A police officer checks the travel documents and passports of passengers at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang. — Reuters pic
KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 — The Home Ministry needs to look for new formulas, systems and procedures to curb the influx of foreigners into the country, especially those from the African continent, said former KLIA Immigration operations chief Datuk Shahul Hamid Abdul Rahim.He said among the systems that could be used were the “Advance Passenger Clearance”, a system for checking criminal records involving foreign visitors entering Malaysia.He said a new approach should be created as the number of foreigners, especially from the African continent has grown since 1999 and it was alarming following the increase in the number of minor and major crimes involving foreigners.“Crimes and militant cases... now we see many of our citizens arrested and there is always a foreigner involved. This is a threat to our security,” he said in an interview in the ‘Upsound’ programme produced by Bernama News Channel (Astro 502).Shahul Hamid also urged the Government to adopt a “Psychometric” system at each of the country’s gateways, especially at airports, to facilitate the enforcement authorities to identify the intentions of tourists entering the country.He said the psychometric system is a valuation instrument designed to qualify and quantify information accurately about the ability of a person to respond.“It means that when a passenger goes through the immigration door, we can tell whether he is a genuine traveller or not. Some questions can be asked and those whose answers cause doubt, should not be allowed to enter,” he added.Based on statistics from the Immigration Department of Malaysia, throughout 2018 to date, 282 Africans have been arrested on various immigration offences.Most recently was a case involving a Nigerian man who was charged in the Sepang Magistrate’s Court for allegedly murdering Serdang Hospital nursing sister Siti Kharina Mohd Kamarudin whose body was found in a condominium unit near Cyberjaya, on May 15. — Bernama [...]
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia needs to find effective solutions to counter threats to the environment as it moves to become a developed nation, says social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye. [...]
SINGAPORE: The Federal Reserve has reason to be "patient" on monetary policy given the uncertainties around possible new U.S. tariffs on Mexican goods, said San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly. [...]
LAHAD DATU (Bernama): An Arab man from Jordan, who is believed to have criminally threatened his wife and assaulted his son, was detained in a hotel in Sandakan on Saturday morning (June 1). [...]
Yapeim director-general Datuk Abibullah Samsuddin (second left) looks at a model of the Ochre@Alamanda building after the Sale and Purchase Agreement ceremony, in Putrajaya December 7, 2017. — Bernama pic KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 — Ad
KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — The Islamic Economic Development Foundation (Yapeim) today clarified that the temporary suspension of its director-general Abibullah Samsudin was not related to the viral video in which he warned staff against voting for Pakatan Harapan during the 14th general election.Yapeim chairman Datuk Mohd Daud Bakar in a statement said that Abibullah was relieved of his duties in order to enable the foundation’s management to complete its internal probe following the external audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers Malaysia (PwC).“The main reason behind the director-general’s suspension of service is so that Yapeim can complete its internal investigation process regarding allegations of misconduct in line with the recent audit report by the PwC firm,” Mohd Daud asserted.He said such suspension is a standard procedure in any organisation if there are claims of wrongdoing, where staff can be investigated based on the internal rules of the organisation.“With regards to that, the Yapeim management has asked for the collaboration and goodwill of the media and social media (users) to stop all speculation that the basis of the Yapeim director-general’s temporary suspension is linked to the particular speech recording so that Yapeim can carry on with its investigations,” he said.Abibullah was suspended on Tuesday after the video was found during the internal probe and PwC audit.On May 11, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Fuziah Salleh confirmed that Yapeim’s books have been audited by PwC.She said it was up to Yapeim’s board of directors to decide on whether to make the findings public.On the same day, media reports emerged that RM1 million of Yapeim funds meant for orphans had been funnelled in 2017 to pay the legal fees of a certain lawyer representing former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.Najib has since denied the allegation. [...]
Markara Man, 33, pleaded guilty to sending emails threatening to kill the FCC chairman's family over the repeal of net neutrality. [...]
The Who is Hussain? group says it is a charity organisation that aims to bring positive change towards the community and has nothing to do with religion. ― Picture via Facebook/Who is Hussain? Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR, May 16 ― The local chapter of the Who is Hussain? charity group urged police yesterday to investigate a barrage of death and violent threats made against it online after it distributed iftar, the Muslim end of fast, packs on Sunday.However, the group was left dismayed after Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador instead admonished them last night, which it blamed on alleged slander by Muslim evangelical group Fakir Ilmu on Monday.“Our organisation is a charity organisation that aims to bring positive change towards the community. That is our main aim. It has nothing to do with religion,” said country representative Natasha, 30. (She declined to give her patronym due to the sensitivity of the matter).Natasha, who professes to be Sunni, told Malay Mail the group focuses on environmental issues, poverty, and homelessness, among others, and the iftar pack distribution was part of their advocacy programme.In Malaysia, only the Sunni denomination of Islam and its Shafie school of jurisprudence are considered official.Shiah is Islam’s second-largest denomination and practised by an estimated 15 per cent of the 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide, but is regarded as deviant here.The Who is Hussain group, comprising members of different faiths, distributed the packs — containing Muslim prayer beads, dates, a juice box, and leaflets explaining their activities — in the vicinity of Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman on Sunday.Natasha explained that had been no controversy from the public until Fakir Ilmu published Facebook and blog posts accusing the group of being Shiah.The situation was similar to another incident in September last year, when convert group Multiracial Reverted Muslims and its founder, Firdaus Wong Wai Hung, made the same accusation after the group held its event at the same spot in Bukit Bintang usually frequented by the group’s Street Dakwah volunteers during its evangelical missions.Following Fakir Ilmu’s accusation, Who is Hussain’s Facebook page was inundated with derogatory, violent reviews and comments from users purporting to be Muslims.The group subsequently lodged a police report against the commenters and Fakir Ilmu.Yesterday, IGP Abdul Hamid said the police would work with religious authorities to stop the group over what he described as an “irresponsible” act that “goes against Sunni teachings”.Natasha expressed her disappointment over Abdul Hamid’s remark, explaining that the group already met the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) to explain its position prior to yesterday.Hussain (alternately spelled Husayn or Hussein) was a grandson of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad and the son of the latter’s youngest daughter, Fatimah, with his cousin Ali ibn Abu Talib.Hussain had refused to pledge allegiance to the Umayyad caliph, Yazid, whom he considered unjust and was later assassinated by the latter’s army along with most of his family and companions. He was 55 at the time of his death.The incident solidified the schism between Sunnis and Shiahs, with the former believing Muhammad did not appoint a successor while the latter holds otherwise. [...]
Armed Forces chief Gen Tan Sri Zulkifli Zainal Abidin said that all new technology from abroad should be scrutinised to determine if it was suitable for use in the country. — Picture by Hari Anggara
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 25 ― The Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) is currently reviewing and identifying any security threats to the country from the use of fifth-generation (5G) of cellular mobile technology before it is adopted in the country.MAF chief Gen Tan Sri Zulkifli Zainal Abidin said the results of the study would be submitted to the Government to decide whether the technology should be deployed here.Zulkifli said that all new technology from abroad should be scrutinised to determine if it was suitable for use in the country.“We cannot just follow other countries in terms of using new technologies. Not all technologies are good. We are confident that the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia is conducting a study on this and the MAF also has its own ways to study new technology.“The MAF will provide its views to the government on this matter in the near future,” he told a press conference after officiating the launch of the Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM) Alumni Association at Wisma Perwira ATM, Jalan Padang Tembak, here.Commenting on the matter, Zulkifli said among the things which needed attention was on tackling new technology if its use included elements of cyber attacks and gathering of sensitive information.“In order to prevent such threats, we have to take appropriate precautionary measures,” he said.On Saturday, while in London, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia would conduct a preliminary study before making a decision on whether to block China’s telecommunications giant Huawei, from building 5G infrastructure in Malaysia, following concerns over increased cyber spying.On Tuesday, former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, who plays an advisory role to the government, said Malaysia must be cautious of the 5G technology that China is currently exploring, over its ability to trigger cyber and digital security threats against the country. ― Bernama [...]