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US Fed leans toward a cut; don’t expect one this week

Published June 16, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/world/30371167

File photo/AFP
File photo/AFP

US Fed leans toward a cut; don’t expect one this week

Breaking News June 16, 2019 09:26

By Agence France-Presse
Washington

As President Donald Trump’s trade wars drag on, and the global economy weakens, the US Federal Reserve is inching closer to its first interest rate cut in more than a decade.

But investors hoping to see the benchmark lending rate begin to drop this week are almost certain to be disappointed.

After preaching patience and leaving rates untouched since December, financial markets will be watching closely for a change of tone from the central bank and its chairman, Jerome Powell, and a sign the Fed is ready to step in to boost the economy.

Policymakers will hold two days of deliberations starting Tuesday, and for now are expected to keep the key interest rate in a range of 2.25-2.5 percent.

The Fed raised rates nine times in the last three years as the economy recovered and put millions of Americans back to work, and officials repeatedly said they expected the growth to continue.

But Trump’s aggressive tariff policies have shaken confidence, and some central bankers have begun to acknowledge a chill in the air.

The consensus is that the Fed is poised to switch directions and begin cutting rates. The only question is when.

James Bullard, president of the Fed’s St Louis regional branch, was the first to make the move, saying early this month that a rate cut could be needed “soon.”

Just days later, Powell himself opened the door to a possible move, saying the Fed would do whatever necessary “to sustain the expansion” — a noticeable shift in posture.

Then Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida added to the mix the possibility of “insurance cuts” — preemptively lowering rates just in case the economic outlook starts to deteriorate.

Wall Street welcomed this dovish talk, which drove a recovery in stocks after the rout in May. Futures markets as of Friday were forecasting as many as three cuts for this year, in July, September and December.

“In the old days, we’d have used the language the Fed has an easing bias,” John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics, told AFP.

“They are predisposed to cut.”

 It’s complicated 

Since the Fed’s last announcement at the end of May, the world’s largest economy has continued to send mixed signals.

But beyond the strictly economic factors are the political ones as Trump continues to flout tradition, repeatedly hammering Powell and the Fed on Twitter and in public comments for undermining his bid to supercharge the US economy.

In an interview with ABC, Trump acknowledged that his vocal criticism puts Powell in a box but said he would persist because he disagrees “entirely” with the Fed’s policy.

“I’m gonna do it anyway because I’ve waited long enough,” Trump said in the interview due to be aired Sunday.

Powell steadfastly repeated that central bankers pay no attention to political pressure. But criticism of the independent Fed can backfire, pushing officials to resist Trump’s preferred course in order to prove they cannot be browbeaten — even if a rate cut is justified.

In the absence of inflation pressures, the Fed has room to cut interest rates. But the timing remains in question, especially as most policymakers have said they expect the economy to pick up later this year.

Walking a tightrope 

Surveys of consumer confidence and business activity are running hot, unemployment is still near 50-year lows, and consumer spending continues apace.

But elsewhere the news has not been so good. Economic growth in the second quarter could be half the pace of the first, the manufacturing sector has continued to weaken and business investment has declined.

And Trump warned he could jack up tariffs on another $300 billion in Chinese goods, something that would no doubt send shockwaves through the global economy.

At the same time, recession indicators are flashing.

The New York Fed puts the odds of a recession in the coming year at about one in three — the highest since May 2008.

Oxford Economics said there is a 53 percent chance in the next six months, but warns that markets may be “excessively pessimistic.”

However, many of these readings are noisy and could reverse course in the coming months.

This leaves the Fed walking a tricky line, showing a willingness to cut rates if needed without committing to it.

“I think that Fed officials have done the right thing,” Kathy Bostjancic, chief US financial economist at Oxford Economics, told AFP, noting there are no “hard data” yet that clearly call for a cut.

“They essentially said they were listening to the markets and opened the door to a rate cut without promising one.”

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Getting to zero: the Japan town trying to recycle all its waste

Published June 16, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/asean-plus/30371173

Photo/AFP
Photo/AFP

Getting to zero: the Japan town trying to recycle all its waste

Breaking News June 16, 2019 10:59

By Agence France-Presse
Kamikatsu, Japan

Plastic, paper, metal? In Japan’s Kamikatsu, sorting rubbish isn’t that simple. Residents face a mind-boggling 45 separate categories for their garbage as the town aims to be “zero-waste” by 2020.

And that’s not all: there isn’t even trash collection. The 1,500 residents of the town in western Japan have to transport their waste themselves to a local facility.

“Yes, it’s complicated,” said Naoko Yokoyama, a 39-year-old resident who had brought her trash to the town’s waste centre.

“But I have become more environmentally conscious since I moved here a year ago,” she told AFP.

The categories cover everything from pillows to toothbrushes as the town aims to recycle all its waste, sending nothing to incinerators, by next year.

The process can be onerous — not only are there dozens of separate categories, but items like plastic bags and bottles must be washed and dried to facilitate recycling.

At the town’s waste facility, there are dozens of different boxes for each category. If the parts of an item fall into different categories for recycling, residents are expected to take them apart and send each bit to the right container.

One man who had brought in a shelf had to use a hammer to prise the wood from the metal, while elsewhere workers chopped up a thick, long rubber tube so it would fit into a sorting box.

Many parts of Japan already require separation of rubbish, but most areas have just a few categories, with the bulk of household waste going to incinerators.

 ‘Let’s recycle’ 

Kamikatsu was not much different until an ultimatum: in 2000, the town was ordered to shut down one of its incinerators because it no longer met stricter emissions standards.

That left the town with just one incinerator that couldn’t handle all of Kamikatsu’s waste, and there wasn’t enough money for a new one or to pay a neighbouring town for use of theirs.

“We thought, ‘If we can’t burn waste in the town, then let’s recycle.’ It’s cheaper to recycle waste than burn it,” said town official Midori Suga.

Kamikatsu is already close to achieving its goal, recycling about 80 percent of the 286 tonnes of waste it produced in 2017, far more than the national average of 20 percent.

The remainder, like most waste in Japan, is incinerated, as the country’s mountainous terrain considered unsuitable for landfills.

The nation produces less general waste per person than most developed countries, but it generates more plastic waste per capita than anywhere except the United States.

In the past, some plastic was exported for recycling, particularly to China, but a ban by Beijing on imports has left plastic recyclables piling up in parts of Japan.

Still, not all residents think the initiative could work elsewhere.

“It works because we’re only 1,500 people here,” said Yokoyama, who moved from Kyoto.

“It would be difficult in a big town with a larger population,” she added, because authorities would struggle to enforce it.

Reduce consumption

But other residents say the policy is just common sense.

“I understand it’s convenient to just burn waste,” said 71-year-old local Saeko Takahashi, as she washed milk cartons and tied newspapers together.

“It’s better to recycle, it’s such a waste otherwise,” she explained.

She uses a compost bin for food waste such as fish and meat and throws vegetable waste directly into her garden.

“Food lasts longer when it’s shipped in plastic packaging. So it’s not all bad, but multiple layers of plastic aren’t necessary,” added Takahashi.

Kazuyuki Kiyohara, manager of the waste centre, said plastic makes up the majority of the residents’ waste — and despite the scheme there has been little reduction in consumption.

“Our lifestyle depends mainly on plastic,” the 38-year-old said, adding: “Consumers can reduce plastic waste to a certain extent, but we’ll still have waste if producers keep making plastic products.”

In 2018, Japan’s government unveiled a proposal to tackle plastic waste, with the goal of reducing the 9.4 million tonnes produced by the country each year by a quarter by 2030.

The plan proposes that retailers should charge for plastic bags — a measure already widely adopted around the world — but that isn’t expected to come into effect before 2020 and other types of plastic packaging won’t be covered.

Town official Suga said even Kamikatsu will struggle to achieve zero-waste without stronger efforts to reduce consumption.

She said: “We have made efforts to achieve zero incineration and zero landfill disposal goals, but it’s not enough.”

She explained: “We shouldn’t focus just on how to dispose of trash. We need to come up with policies that prevent the production of waste.”

Wan Azizah sympathises with Azmin’s family

Published June 16, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/asean-plus/30371172

Wan Azizah sympathises with Azmin’s family

ASEAN+ June 16, 2019 10:55

By The Star

PORT DICKSON (Bernama): Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has expressed sympathy for the family of Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, who has been linked to a sex video scandal.

She said she rejected any practice of gutter politics as she had experienced it before.

“I reject ‘gutter politics’ because I have been through it (and) I sympathise with Azmin’s family,” she said when commenting on the confession by Santubong PKR Youth chief Haziq Abdullah Abdul Aziz that it was him in the sex video.

He also alleged that Azmin was the other man in the video, but the minister has categorically denied the allegation.

Dr Wan Azizah stressed that there was no place for dirty politics as all parties needed to focus on developing the country.

“We Malaysians have to think more about everything because we want to develop our country,” she told reporters after the Aidilfitri open house hosted by her husband Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is also Port Dickson MP, here Saturday night (June 15).

Meanwhile, Anwar, when asked about claims that the video was created by him and PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli, said such talk was slander.

“What’s the reason for us to do such a thing? Some say it was due to threat, what threat?” said Anwar, who is PKR president. – Bernama

Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/06/16/wan-azizah-sympathises-with-azmins-family/#Q48qCxZdSoa2BwTg.99

Jakarta university offers special entrance scheme for YouTubers with 10k subscribers

Published June 16, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/asean-plus/30371169

File photo/AFP
File photo/AFP

Jakarta university offers special entrance scheme for YouTubers with 10k subscribers

ASEAN+ June 16, 2019 09:54

By Gisela Swaragita
The Jakarta Post
Asia News Network

National Development University Veteran Jakarta (UPNVJ) took the internet by storm this week after announcing that YouTubers who have at least 10,000 subscribers may enroll at the university through a special admissions scheme.

Instagram account @infomasukptn, which is dedicated to sharing admissions information from Indonesian universities, shared a post on Wednesday about UPNVJ’s jalur prestasi (achievement path) program, which is both for YouTubers and students with sporting achievements in high school or were part of their school’s student council for at least a year, as well as hafiz (someone who has memorized the Quran).

The post has gained more than 26,000 likes as of Friday evening.

UPNVJ rector Erna Hernawati confirmed that the university had added YouTubers to its jalur prestasi program this year.

“We think YouTube is a great media to convey positive messages effectively to society,” Erna told The Jakarta Post on Friday. “We want those accepted in the university to convey positive messages and influence society for the better.”

However, Erna said that YouTubers who want to apply through the special admissions scheme would be screened by a committee to ensure their channels only publish positive content.

“We will not accept those uploading provocative content. We will also test the applicants’ skills by requiring them to make a two-to three-minute video on campus. So, if you have 10,000 subscribers, you are not automatically admitted,” she said.

A similar test will be given to hafiz and athletes applying for the scheme, she said.

Those who pass would then have to take a computer-based written test (UTBK) to measure their academic knowledge.

“So, admission is based on a combination of their skills and the UTBK,” Erna said.

The special admission scheme, which is open for registration from July 12 to 21 at the UPNVJ’s official website, only applies to five of the universities departments.

“[The scheme] does not apply to the medical and pharmaceutical department,” she said.

Hong Kong braces for huge rally after leader climbdown

Published June 16, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/asean-plus/30371162

People pray outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong on June 15, 2019. - Hong Kong's embattled leader on June 15 suspended a hugely divisive bill that would allow extraditions to China in a major climbdown after a week of protests./AFP
People pray outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong on June 15, 2019. – Hong Kong’s embattled leader on June 15 suspended a hugely divisive bill that would allow extraditions to China in a major climbdown after a week of protests./AFP

Hong Kong braces for huge rally after leader climbdown

Breaking News June 16, 2019 01:00

By Agence France-Presse
Hong Kong

Hong Kong is bracing for another mass rally Sunday as public anger seethes following unprecedented clashes between protesters and police over a controversial extradition law, despite a climbdown by the city’s embattled leader.

Organisers are hoping for another mammoth turnout as they vowed to keep pressure on chief executive Carrie Lam, who suspended work on the hugely divisive bill Saturday after days of mounting pressure, saying she had misjudged the public mood.

Critics fear the Beijing-backed law will tangle people up in China’s notoriously opaque and politicised courts as well as hammer the city’s reputation as a safe business hub.

The international finance hub was rocked by the worst political violence since its 1997 handover to China on Wednesday as tens of thousands of protesters were dispersed by riot police firing tear gas and rubber bullets.

Lam stopped short of committing to permanently scrapping the proposal and the concession was swiftly rejected by protest leaders, who called on her to resign, permanently shelve the bill and apologise for police tactics.

On Sunday afternoon, protesters will march from a park on the main island to the city’s parliament — a repeat of a massive rally a week earlier in which organisers said more than a million people turned out.

Lam’s decision to ignore that record-breaking turnout and press ahead with tabling the bill for debate in the legislature on Wednesday was the spark that lit the clashes which brought parts of the financial hub to a standstill.

The protest movement has morphed in recent days from one specifically aimed at scrapping the extradition bill, to a wider movement of anger at Lam and Beijing over years of sliding freedoms.

“The pro-democracy group will not stop at this point, they want to build on the momentum against Carrie Lam,” political analyst Willy Lam, told AFP. “They will keep the heat on and ride the momentum.”

Police said they had no choice but to use force to meet hardcore violent protesters who had besieged their lines outside the city’s parliament on Wednesday.

But critics — including legal and rights groups — say officers used a small minority of violent protesters to launch a sweeping security crackdown against predominantly young, peaceful protesters and clear the streets.

Anger has also been fanned by Lam and senior officers calling those in the streets “rioters”.

Protest leaders have called for police to drop charges against anyone arrested for rioting and other offences linked to Wednesday’s clashes.

Lam has argued that Hong Kong needs to end the lack of an extradition agreement with the mainland and says safeguards were in place to ensure dissidents or political cases would not be accepted.

Opposition to the bill united an unusually wide cross-section of Hong Kong from influential legal and business bodies, to religious leaders and western nations.

Beijing denies ‘hit-and-run’ in South China Sea collision

Published June 16, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/asean-plus/30371164

Activists and progressive legislators raise clinched fists during a protest in front of the Chinese consulate in Manila on June 12, 2019, against the Asian superpower's growing sway in the Philippines./AFP
Activists and progressive legislators raise clinched fists during a protest in front of the Chinese consulate in Manila on June 12, 2019, against the Asian superpower’s growing sway in the Philippines./AFP

Beijing denies ‘hit-and-run’ in South China Sea collision

ASEAN+ June 16, 2019 01:00

By Agence-France-Presse
Manila

Beijing confirmed Saturday that a Chinese vessel hit a Philippine fishing boat in a collision which has increased tensions in the disputed South China Sea, but denied claims it was a “hit and run”.

The Chinese trawler sailed away after the incident Sunday near Reed Bank that sank the fishing boat, sparking outrage from Philippine authorities and media.

While President Rodrigo Duterte has largely set aside the once tense stand-off with China over the resource-rich waterway, many in the Philippines bristle at Beijing’s actions in the sea.

The Chinese embassy in Manila said the crew of trawler Yuemaobinyu 42212 “bumped into” the Philippine boat and then left due to safety fears.

“The Chinese captain tried to rescue the Filipino fisherman, but was afraid of being besieged by other Filipino fishing boats,” the statement said.

It went on to say the incident was not a “hit-and-run”, as some Philippine authorities had claimed, because the trawler “confirmed the fishermen from the Filipino boat were rescued”.

However, the 22 fishermen told a very different story, saying they had spent hours in the water awaiting help.

They were eventually picked up by a Vietnamese boat and brought home Friday aboard a Philippine navy vessel.

The Philippine coast guard has started an investigation of the incident which Duterte’s spokesman branded as “outrageous and barbaric”.

Opposition lawmaker Francis Pangilinan branded China’s version of events “as fake as its territorial claims,” and called for Philippine leaders to stand up to Beijing.

“Now is the time to show real grit and toughness,” Pangilinan said. “There is never a time to be meek and submissive before a foreign power that endangers our own people.”

Duterte has yet to make any public comment but he recently criticised China’s assertive stance over the sea.

“I love China… but it behoves upon us to ask, ‘Is it right for a country to claim the whole ocean?'” he said in a speech last month.

Manila’s Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin said this week that he had lodged a diplomatic protest with China over the sinking.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang on Thursday called the incident “an ordinary maritime traffic accident”.

Geng said it was irresponsible for the Philippines to “politicise the incident without verification”.

Competing claims over the South China Sea are a point of regional contention because trillions of dollars of goods pass through it, and rich petroleum reserves are thought to sit deep beneath its waters.

Reed Bank, an area claimed by Manila and Beijing, is within the Philippines’ 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone and far from China’s nearest major landmass.

Manila won a key 2016 ruling against China’s claims in the waterway, but Duterte opted to set it aside in exchange for Chinese investments.

Opposition politicians as well as segments of the public and media charge that Duterte has bartered away Philippine sovereignty with little to show in return.

Indonesia returns five containers of waste to the US

Published June 16, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/asean-plus/30371160

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Indonesia returns five containers of waste to the US

Breaking News June 15, 2019 18:05

By Agence France-Presse
Jakarta

Indonesia has returned five containers of rubbish to the United States and will not become a “dumping ground”, officials said Saturday, the latest Southeast Asian country to return imported waste.

The containers were supposed to contain only paper scrap, according to the customs documents. Instead they were loaded with other waste including bottles, plastic waste, and diapers, said senior environment ministry official Sayid Muhadhar.

“This is not appropriate and we don’t want to be a dumping ground,” Muhadhar told AFP.

The five containers — owned by a Canadian company — were shipped from Seattle in the United States to Indonesia’s second biggest city Surabaya in late March, Muhadhar said.

It was not immediately clear where the rubbish originated from.

Indonesia is currently examining several other containers in Jakarta’s port and the city of Batam on the island of Sumatra.

It is the latest country to return imported rubbish after neighbouring Malaysia vowed to ship back hundreds of tonnes of plastic waste last month.

The Philippines has ordered tonnes of garbage dumped in the country to be shipped back to Canada, sparking a diplomatic row between the two countries.

For years China received the bulk of scrap plastic from around the world, but closed its doors to foreign refuse last year in an effort to clean up its environment.

Huge quantities of waste have since been redirected to Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, Indonesia and to a lesser degree the Philippines.

Around 300 million tonnes of plastic are produced every year. Much of that ends up in landfill or in the seas, according to the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Mediterranean countries ramp up efforts to find missing migrants

Published June 16, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/asean-plus/30371156

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Mediterranean countries ramp up efforts to find missing migrants

ASEAN+ June 15, 2019 15:43

By Agence France-Presse
The Hague

Mediterranean countries say they have taken a key step towards finding out the fate of thousands of migrants — many fleeing Syria’s war — who have gone missing while trying to reach Europe.

At a meeting of the International Commission for Missing Persons in The Hague this week, Cyprus, Greece and Malta pledged to coordinate and beef up their efforts to trace nearly 18,500 migrants who have disappeared since 2014 while making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean.

Italy — which has taken a hard line on migrants under its populist government and interior minister Matteo Salvini — did not sign up to that new joint statement due to what the ICMP described as internal government issues

The four countries are the main point of entry to Europe for many of the migrants fleeing the war in Syria and other regions.

Finding out what happened to those missing — whether they are eventually found alive or whether they have been confirmed dead and their remains found — provides crucial closure for families.

“We are starting a process that is extremely important,” Queen Noor of Jordan, one of the ICMP’s longest-serving commissioners, told AFP in an interview.

“Helping the families and communities that have lost their members in conflict can create a path to truth, justice and reconciliation — and where possible, accountability,” said the Jordanian royal.

Born out of the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and set up in 1996 in Sarajevo by then US president Bill Clinton, the ICMP uses increasingly sophisticated DNA technology to trace missing persons.

It has already succeeded in identifying around 70 percent of the 40,000 people who went missing in the Balkans conflicts of the 1990s, including around 90 percent of the nearly 8,000 killed in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

But it is now turning its attention to one of the biggest human catastrophes of recent times — the migration crisis that has hit the Middle East, North Africa and Europe since 2014.

‘Give them hope’

The plan to better locate and identify missing migrants fleeing conflict and economic hardship in the Middle East and Africa was launched in Rome last year.

But this week’s meeting of the southern European states was key to pushing the process forward.

Top ICMP representatives nevertheless called for more to be done to help find the missing migrants, particularly those from Syria’s war where the fate is of an estimated 85,000 people is not known.

“What we are implicitly saying to states is that they have a responsibility to deal with this, but that it is also in their interest to deal with it,” former Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders told AFP.

The ICMP also wants to obtain permission from Syria’s neighbours to start mapping the thousands of refugees fleeing the bitter eight-year war — in a move that could one day help identify war crimes, Queen Noor said.

Collecting and having access to data about these refugees will make it easier in future to identify “where crimes may have occurred, where mass graves exist — and where families and relatives may be,” she said.

But the longer-term aim is to bring millions of displaced people back to their homes.

“I can see in a future that is hopefully not too far off that we can set in motion steps that will provide greater hope for many of the migrants and refugees to Europe.”

“To give them hope that they can return home,” she said.

Beijing confirms Chinese trawler hit Philippine boat

Published June 16, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/asean-plus/30371155

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Beijing confirms Chinese trawler hit Philippine boat

ASEAN+ June 15, 2019 15:37

By Agence France-Presse
Manila

Beijing confirmed Saturday that a Chinese vessel hit a Philippine fishing boat in a collision which has increased tensions in the disputed South China Sea, but denied claims it was a “hit and run”.

The Chinese trawler sailed away after the incident Sunday near Reed Bank that sank the fishing boat, sparking outrage from Philippine authorities and media.

While President Rodrigo Duterte has largely set aside the once tense stand-off with China over the resource-rich waterway, many in the Philippines bristle at Beijing’s actions in the sea.

The Chinese embassy in Manila said the crew of trawler Yuemaobinyu 42212 “bumped into” the Philippine boat and then left due to safety fears.

“The Chinese captain tried to rescue the Filipino fisherman, but was afraid of being besieged by other Filipino fishing boats,” the statement said.

It went on to say the incident was not a “hit-and-run”, as some Philippine authorities had claimed, because the trawler “confirmed the fishermen from the Filipino boat were rescued”.

However, the 22 fishermen told a very different story, saying they had spent hours in the water awaiting help.

They were eventually picked up by a Vietnamese boat and brought home Friday aboard a Philippine navy vessel.

The Philippine coast guard has started an investigation of the incident which Duterte’s spokesman branded as “outrageous and barbaric”.

Duterte has yet to make any public comment but he recently criticised China’s assertive stance over the sea.

“I love China… but it behoves upon us to ask, ‘Is it right for a country to claim the whole ocean?'” he said in a speech last month.

Manila’s Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin said this week that he had lodged a diplomatic protest with China over the sinking.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang on Thursday called the incident “an ordinary maritime traffic accident”.

Geng said it was irresponsible for the Philippines to “politicise the incident without verification”.

Competing claims over the South China Sea are a point of regional contention because trillions of dollars of goods pass through it, and rich petroleum reserves are thought to sit deep beneath its waters.

Reed Bank, an area claimed by Manila and Beijing, is within the Philippines’ 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone and far from China’s nearest major landmass.

Manila won a key 2016 ruling against China’s claims in the waterway, but Duterte opted to set it aside in exchange for Chinese investments.

Opposition politicians as well as segments of the public and media charge that Duterte has bartered away Philippine sovereignty with little to show in return.

Hong Kong govt suspends divisive extradition bill

Published June 16, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/asean-plus/30371152

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks during a press conference at the government headquarters in Hong Kong on June 15, 2019. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP)
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks during a press conference at the government headquarters in Hong Kong on June 15, 2019. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP)

Hong Kong govt suspends divisive extradition bill

ASEAN+ June 15, 2019 14:59

By Agence France-Presse
Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s embattled leader on Saturday said a divisive bill that would allow extraditions to China would be “suspended” in a major climbdown from her government after a week of unprecedented protests.

The city’s pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam has come under huge pressure to abandon the controversial legislation, including from her own political allies and advisers.

“The government has decided to suspend the legislative amendment exercise, restart our communication with all sectors of society, do more… work and listen to different views of society,” Lam told reporters Saturday.

“We have no intention to set a deadline for this work and promise to report to and consult members of the legislative council panel on security before we decide on the next step forward.”

The international finance hub was rocked by the worst political violence since its 1997 handover to China on Wednesday as tens of thousands of protesters were dispersed by riot police firing tear gas and rubber bullets.

As criticism mounted, signs also emerged of a growing discomfort among Communist Party leaders in Beijing, and Lam held her press conference Saturday at the same government complex that was besieged by protesters earlier in the week.

The South China Morning Post said Lam held an emergency meeting on Friday night with her advisers while Chinese officials were also meeting in the nearby city of Shenzhen to map a way out of the impasse.

Tensions were running high with protest organisers planning another mass rally on Sunday.

Lam, who is appointed by a committee stacked with Beijing loyalists, had previously refused to consider abandoning the bill, despite months of criticism from business and legal bodies — and a record breaking rally on Sunday where organisers said more than one million protesters hit the streets.

“I feel deep sorrow and regret that the deficiencies in our work and various other factors have stirred up substantial controversies and disputes in society following the relatively calm periods of the past two years,” Lam said.

‘Lost credibility’

On Friday she found herself facing growing calls from within her own political camp to reverse course and tamp down spiralling public anger — including from hardline pro-Beijing lawmakers.

“Shouldn’t (we) cool the citizens down? I think to postpone it for a little bit is not a bad thing. At this moment, the government should self-examine,” Ann Chiang, a hardcore pro-Beijing lawmaker, told i-Cable News.

But others have warned against Lam bending to the protesters.

“If the government caves in to violence and external influences, in the long run that would also make Hong Kong ungovernable,” pro-Beijing lawmaker Regina Ip told reporters.

Opposition to the extradition bill has united an unusually wide cross section of Hong Kong.

Protest organisers had been calling for a full withdrawal of the bill, not a postponement.

James To, a lawmaker from the city’s pan-democrat camp, called on Lam to step down.

“The credibility of our chief executive has already been written off, it’s a kind of government that cannot have any credibility to rule anymore,” he told reporters Friday.

Beijing has vocally supported the bill and earlier this week threw its full support behind the Lam administration, calling protesters “rioters”.

But it has since sought to distance itself as public anger spiralled.

“The central government gave no instruction, no order about the… amendment,” Lu Xiaoming, the Chinese ambassador to Britain, told the BBC.

“This amendment was initiated by the Hong Kong government.”

On Friday night, thousands of parents gathered in a park in the heart of the city’s commercial district to condemn the use of rubber bullets and tear gas against predominantly young protesters on Wednesday.

Y. Chan, a 50-year-old mother of two, said she was outraged watching the scenes unfold.

“It’s calling for all mothers who had enough already of what happened the other day,” she told AFP. “My kids were out there also that day. And although I want them to be safe, want them to be at home, but this is their home. They are defending it.”

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