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  • China jails Xi critic to 18 years on corruption charges

    China jails Xi critic to 18 years on corruption chargesA former Chinese property executive who openly criticized Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic was sentenced to 18 years in prison on corruption charges Tuesday, a court announced. Ren Zhiqiang, former chairman of a state-owned real estate group, disappeared from public view in March, after publishing an essay online that appeared to refer to President Xi Jinping as a “clown.” The essay came after Xi announced orders for combating the coronavirus crisis via video conference.


  • China jails Xi critic to 18 years on corruption charges

    China jails Xi critic to 18 years on corruption chargesRen Zhiqiang published an essay online that appeared to refer to President Xi Jinping as a “clown."


  • Mali country profile

    Mali country profileConcise information about Mali and its people, including figures for area, population, main languages, religions, exports, and more.


  • Jo Frost, Global Parenting Expert, Becomes Official Ambassador for United Nations Foundation's Shot@Life Campaign
  • In speech to UN, Xi Jinping calls for mutual respect and cooperation between nations

    In speech to UN, Xi Jinping calls for mutual respect and cooperation between nationsThe world's great powers should respect international law and avoid double standards, Chinese leader Xi Jinping told a United Nations meeting on Monday."Cold War mentality, ideological lines or zero-sum game are no solution to a country's own problem, still less an answer to mankind's common challenges," said Xi, who spoke via video to a meeting commemorating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN."Unilateralism is a dead end," he said.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.His speech - which called for mutual respect and cooperation between nations - comes amid plummeting US-China relations over the coronavirus, trade and human rights; a growing list of disputes between Beijing and its many neighbours over territorial claims; and soaring tensions with countries as far away as Canada and the Czech Republic."Relations among countries and coordination of their interests must only be based on rules and institutions; they must not be lorded over by those who wave a strong fist at others," Xi said.Xi did not mention the US by name, but his remarks echoed similar recent comments from Beijing criticising the Trump administration's policies toward China, which some Chinese officials have described as veering dangerously close to a new cold war.In particular, the Trump administration has urged countries around the world to stay away from Chinese technology companies selling products like 5G networks, arguing that Beijing can use the technology to spy on citizens.US President Donald Trump has also wavered in recent days on whether to ban WeChat and TikTok - arguably the two most successful mobile phone apps to emerge from China - over concerns about the Chinese government's access to American users' data."No country has the right to dominate global affairs, control the destiny of others or keep advantages in development all to itself," said Xi.Experts say that given the Chinese leader's increasingly hardline policies both within China and around the world, Xi's rhetoric at the UN about multilateralism and international law were unlikely to sway any American politicians who are already alarmed by Beijing's actions.Cherith Norman Chalet, acting US deputy permanent representative to the UN, speaking on Monday. Photo: EPA-EFE alt=Cherith Norman Chalet, acting US deputy permanent representative to the UN, speaking on Monday. Photo: EPA-EFEBut Xi may have bigger concerns anyway, said Andrew Mertha, director of the China studies programme at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University."For China's leaders, it is always far preferable to burn some cross-national bridges than to appear weak internationally in front of one's own domestic constituency," Mertha said.Trump was scheduled to speak but did not appear. The acting US deputy permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet, did so instead.Xi and Trump are both expected to address the annual UN General Assembly meeting on Tuesday.This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2020 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Anti-Aging Market to Surpass $421.4 Billion Revenue by 2030: P&S Intelligence

    Anti-Aging Market to Surpass $421.4 Billion Revenue by 2030: P&S IntelligenceAs per the 2019 World Population Ageing report by the United Nations (UN), the number of people aged 65 and above on earth will increase from 703 million in 2019 to 1.5 billion in 2050. This is one of the major factors predicted to steadily drive the global anti-aging market, from $191.5 billion in 2019 to $421.4 billion by 2030, at an 8.1% CAGR between 2020 and 2030, according to P&S; Intelligence. This is because, with age, the fibrous tissue and glandular network in the layers of the skin reduces, which leads to dryness, wrinkles, sagging, and pigmentary alteration.


  • UK to impose tougher COVID-19 measures amid case spike

    UK to impose tougher COVID-19 measures amid case spikeBritish Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to announce new restrictions on social interactions Tuesday as the government tries to slow the spread of COVID-19 before it spirals out of control. Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove told Sky News that pubs and restaurants across England will be ordered to close at 10 p.m. and people who can work from home will be encouraged to do so, reversing a government drive to get people back to their offices and other places of employment. Gove said reducing “social mixing” was key to slowing the spread of the virus.


  • Road to Saudi ties with Israel being paved, cautiously

    Road to Saudi ties with Israel being paved, cautiouslySaudi Arabia, the most powerful Arab nation and home to Islam's holiest sites, has made its official position on the region's longest-running conflict clear: Full ties between the kingdom and Israel can only happen when peace is reached with the Palestinians. The divergent messages on the possibility of Saudi ties with Israel reflect what analysts and insiders say is a schism between how the 35-year-old prince and his 84-year-old father, King Salman, view national interests. “It’s no secret there’s a generational conflict,” said New York-based Rabbi Marc Schneier, who serves as an advisor to Bahrain’s king and has held talks in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries to promote stronger ties with Jews and Israel.


  • EU's Sefcovic says next EU-UK joint committee to be held on Sept. 28
  • As rich nations struggle, Africa's virus response is praised

    As rich nations struggle, Africa's virus response is praisedAt a lecture to peers this month, John Nkengasong showed images that once dogged Africa, with a magazine cover declaring it “The Hopeless Continent." A former U.S. CDC official, he modeled Africa's version after his ex-employer. While the U.S. nears 200,000 COVID-19 deaths and the world approaches 1 million, Africa's surge has been leveling off.


  • Why the UN’s 75th general assembly could be worse than the world’s worst Zoom meeting

    Why the UN’s 75th general assembly could be worse than the world’s worst Zoom meetingThe worst parts of UN events will be on display, the endless speechifying first among them, but none of what normally makes the general assembly indispensable It has been billed as the world’s worst Zoom meeting, but the United Nation’s 75th general assembly could be even worse than that.It is called the “general debate” but, unlike a Zoom meeting, there will be no discussion – just a week-long procession of pre-recorded video messages from the world’s leaders, stating their positions, very much with their domestic audience in mind. They were supposed to have sent their videos at the end of last week. As of Monday, only half had been turned in.The UN secretary-general, António Guterres, is hoping to use the organisation’s 75th anniversary as an opportunity for member states to recommit to its founding principles, but the UN and multilateralism itself has never seemed so beleaguered.“The problem is that much of the world is questioning whether the UN is still relevant at 75,” said Sherine Tadros, the head of the UN office of Amnesty International. “To use a Covid analogy, it’s a matter of whether it’s got too many underlying pre-existing conditions to make it through this next period.”On Tuesday morning, Jair Bolsonaro’s presentation will be followed by Donald Trump, then Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Xi Jinping. Vladimir Putin’s turn comes about half an hour later. The “high-level week” will begin with a parade of the world’s self-styled strongmen.According to the latest running order, 50 men will address the assembly before the first woman gets a chance to speak, Slovakia’s Zuzana Čaputová.The speeches will be introduced by each country’s representative from their seat in the vast general assembly chamber and then the leader’s lecture will be displayed on giant screens set up behind the famous green marble podium where the speeches were delivered on the previous 74 general assemblies, in pre-Covid times. The speakers are allowed to use video graphics and some have availed themselves of the opportunity, according to UN diplomats.MultilateralismDonald Trump told the UN general assembly last year that the future did not belong to the globalists, and since then the US has moved further and faster to detach itself from the multilateral institutions, notably the World Health Organisation. The UN secretariat insists that the organization's founding values endure across the world. Yet as the UN's secretary general, Antonio Guterres, admits, the UN remains paralysed and polarised. No one yet has found a way to reform the UN security council to make it effective: there is no shortage of ideas, just no consensus and for two decades new proposals have lost out to the entrenched interests of the five veto-wielding permanent members of security council. The impasse has prompted growing calls for the democratic countries  to find a way to work around the UN. A Biden Presidency might start with a summit of the democracies. In the meantime the void is being filled by China at the UN.CovidThe UN is trying to rescue its reputation and relevance by being the chief campaigner for a global Covid vaccine available not just to the wealthy west but also to poor countries. Partly with the help of the Gates Foundation, funding has been raised for the “Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A)”, a way of raising the funds necessary to speed up the equitable distribution of an affordable diagnostics vaccine and treatments across the globe.But, the UN’s World Health Organization remains heavily criticised. Trump says the body is beholden to China. Others, including France and Germany, say the problem is that the WHO is toothless, and needs stronger inspection powers in nation states. A WHO internal inquiry will present proposals later this year.FundingThe threatened famine in Yemen, caused in part by a collapse in external humanitarian funding, is a microcosm of the UN’s current hand to mouth existence. Big donors, with Covid-shaped budget deficits, have been less generous, and more demanding about the conditions for their donations. In June a UN Yemen pledging event raised only $1.35bn out of the $3.38bn required. After adverse international publicity, Saudi Arabia’s relief agency on 18 September provided $200m. But the UN financial tracking service has the UN Yemen appeal only 37% funded. Climate changeCarbon emissions are quickly returning to pre-Covid levels, and greenhouse gas concentrations have reached new record highs, according to the latest United in Science report, released on 9 September.  Yet attention on climate change has been overshadowed by Covid. The UN’s big climate change conference due to be hosted by the UK in Glasgow this November – the most important since the Paris conference five years ago – had to be postponed, until next year. But this may give time for the US under Biden to join the treaty and for China to raise its carbon reduction targets for 2050. “Build back better” is a phrase adopted by left and right. The test will come in 2021.Sustainable development goalsThe 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is designed to address the very fragilities and shortcomings that the pandemic has exposed. At its heart is a simple promise: to end poverty and leave no one behind. But as 2030 draws near, the goals are drawing further away.  Covid has led to a 7% increase in extreme poverty, with an additional 37 million people living below $1.90 a day, according to a Gates Foundation report last week. Covid’s impact had not been through deaths directly so much as disruption to health services and hence to malaria bed nets, HIV drugs, TB drugs and routine immunization or measles campaigns. The Gates team said progress on vaccines has been set back 25 years of progress in 25 weeks. The issue is whether this is a development blip or a long term recession. Because the summit does not involve the hassle of traveling to New York, there will be more heads of state and government speaking than usual (Putin and Xi normally gives it a miss) but there will be no opportunity for them to rub shoulders.All the worst parts of UN events will be on display, the endless speechifying first among them, but none of what normally makes the general assembly indispensable - the opportunities from face-to-face meetings and impromptu conversations.“I think part of what will be lost is that when people are speaking inside the general assembly hall, they’re speaking to other world leaders. But with these recorded speeches, they will be targeting their domestic audience,” said Ashish Pradhan, the senior UN analyst at the International Crisis Group.“With a few exceptions, Trump’s speech and a few others listening to adversaries, I wonder how many world leaders will even be listening to the other speeches.”This is a particularly bad moment for creative in-person diplomacy to go missing. At the same time as the coronavirus pandemic, the rift between the US and China has come to dominate global politics and contribute to the paralysis of the UN security council as a decision-making body on international crises.Seeking to bolster sagging spirits on Monday, Guterres pointed out that: “Never in modern history have we gone so many years without a military confrontation between major powers.”But even that achievement is under threat as Indian and Chinese soldiers skirmish on their disputed Himalayan border.The council has often been divided on policy. It is now divided on the nature of reality. The US is currently insisting that it has triggered the reimposition of UN sanctions on Iran. Almost every other member state, including 13 of the 15 members of the security council, say that is not the case, and they are pointedly ignoring the pronouncements being made on the issue from Washington.The US envoy to the UN, Kelly Craft, shrugged off her country’s isolation, declaring: “We do not need a cheering section to validate our moral compass.”Trump’s speech is anticipated with even more foreboding than usual this year, as he approaches the November election seeking to burnish his “America First” credentials.In May he announced he was severing all ties with the World Health Organisation (WHO), which is trying to make a scapegoat for the pandemic. Some fear he will go further on Tuesday, and threaten cutting off more US funding to the UN, if it does not fall into line with the administration’s efforts to isolate Iran.Trump told journalists that he had taped his message on Monday afternoon and that it contained “a strong message on China”. It is also likely to have been infused with vitriol for Iran and the WHO. The counterpoint will almost certainly be an account of his recent diplomatic flurry, brokering agreements on the normalisation of relations between Israel and two of the Gulf monarchies, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and the staging of an economic agreement between Serbia and Kosovo, which Trump has described as “stopping mass killings”.One concrete achievement from the virtual world summit that Guterres hopes to deliver is added momentum to Covax, the international joint effort to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.“I think the speeches might provide an opportunity for governments to pledge their support to the Covax facility,” Mark Leon Goldberg, the editor of the UN Dispatch blog and host of the Global Dispatches podcast. By Monday, 156 countries had agreed to a deal for equitable distribution of any future vaccine.The Covax initiative is likely to be one relatively bright spot in an otherwise dark week. The Trump administration has said it will have nothing to do with the Covax project, and its broader offensive against multilateralism, compounding Russia and China’s customary role as spoilers on concerted UN against disasters and atrocities, risks leaving permanent damage.“In the end, the UN is a microcosm of the world,” Tadros said. “So when we say the UN is broken, that’s not about the building. It’s not about the nuts and bolts. It’s a reflection of what’s going on around the world.”


  • Chinese tycoon and Xi critic jailed for 18 years for corruption

    Chinese tycoon and Xi critic jailed for 18 years for corruptionA Chinese tycoon who called President Xi Jinping a clown and criticised his handling of the coronavirus outbreak was jailed for 18 years on Tuesday for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds.


  • Empty UN summit for world in crisis

    Empty UN summit for world in crisisThe United Nations General Assembly, the annual extravaganza of world leaders' speeches and round-the-clock diplomacy, opens Tuesday in a quiet hall as a virtual summit addresses the global crisis of Covid-19.


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  • Like a Virus, QAnon Spreads From the U.S. to Germany

    Like a Virus, QAnon Spreads From the U.S. to Germany(Bloomberg Opinion) -- There’s a vector of contagion that scares me more than SARS-CoV-2, MERS, Ebola, Zika or any other virus circulating nowadays. It’s the spread of pathological memes, also known by their more traditional name: conspiracy theories.When the coronavirus traveled from China to other countries this year, the world was right to worry. An epidemic was turning into a pandemic. Now the world should be concerned that a different outbreak, called QAnon, has spread from the U.S. to Germany and beyond.QAnon is probably the vilest conspiracy theory since medieval Europeans — especially in times of plague — fabricated tales about Jewish people poisoning wells and drinking the blood of Christian children. Those older lies, which never entirely died out, led to centuries of pogroms and anti-Semitism. It’s too early to say what evils QAnon will cause. But the potential is huge.Those two strands of deranged slander share some DNA. Like the old European “blood libel” narrative, QAnon recycles anti-Semitic tropes and alleges that there’s an international conspiracy of powerful and rich people running a pedophile ring that traffics, abuses and even eats children.But QAnon, which was officially born only in 2017, is genuinely modern, like an ancient virus that’s mutated into a novel superbug. It avails itself of every newfangled social medium. It also appears designed to work like a multiplayer online game, in that followers try to solve a mystery by hunting down clues. This game’s anonymous mastermind, called Q, sporadically deposits a “QDrop” of eclectic or cryptic information in some corner of the internet. This sends millions scavenging for tidbits to confirm, interpret or extend the thread into a new narrative. Whereas most conspiracy theories oversimplify a confusing reality, QAnon thus basks in complexity. It is protean and whatever adherents want it to be, so they never need to admit they’ve been proven wrong.In the U.S., this collection of memes has moved in a distinctly right-wing direction. Democrats like Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama and celebrities like Bill Gates or George Soros are presumed to be part of that aforementioned pedophile ring. President Donald Trump is portrayed as their heroic antagonist, fighting the “deep state” and preparing to liberate all those enslaved children.It wasn’t obvious that a phenomenon born in such a peculiarly American context would translate easily to other cultures. And yet it has spread like a virus to Europe and especially Germany, which is now estimated to have the world’s second-biggest QAnon movement, with hundreds of thousands of followers.This seems puzzling at first. The U.S. is bitterly polarized between two political parties and verging on dysfunction. Germany’s multi-party system is less polarized and government is effective and orderly, with 72% of voters approving of Chancellor Angela Merkel. “Populism,” which is often associated with conspiracy theories, has in fact been declining. In 2018, 32.8% of Germans eligible to vote held opinions that fit this description; now only 20.9% do.However, one lesson from Germany’s dark past is that history is sometimes made not by large and reasonable majorities but by small and mobilized minorities. The Nazi party, which also peddled conspiracy theories, won only 33.1% in Germany’s last free election, in November 1932, before Hitler seized power. Today about 30% of Germans, according to a new study, have a tendency to believe in conspiracy theories.As in the U.S., QAnon in Germany appeals to a hodgepodge of fringe groups, including anti-vaxxers and left-wing esoterics, but overall it skews sharply right. While 74% of Germans have a negative view of Trump, German followers of Q adore him. QAnon also appears to have merged with older and proto-Nazi conspiracy theories. One example is the movement of Reichsbuerger (“Imperial Citizens”), who believe they’re subjects of the old Reich (either the Kaiser’s or Hitler’s) and that today’s Federal Republic is actually a corporation formed by the Allied victors of World War II.This explains the bizarre iconography on display at the huge rallies that have recently taken place in Germany, ostensibly to protest against coronavirus restrictions. These gatherings teem with shirts, banners, hashtags and other symbols associated with Q or Trump. Protesters often carry the black-white-red flag of Imperial Germany (pictured) and other far-right symbols. At one recent protest, a right-wing mob tried to symbolically storm the Reichstag, which houses parliament.Whatever its origins, QAnon has exposed a vulnerability in democratic societies not unlike the medical and economic weaknesses laid bare by the coronavirus. It has shown that we no longer share one civic and informational space, but live in alternate realities. In that sense, conspiracy theories are our “metaproblem” — the problem that prevents us from solving any other, from pandemics to climate change. For if anything is possible, nothing can be too ridiculous, and nothing can be true either.   This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andreas Kluth is a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion. He was previously editor in chief of Handelsblatt Global and a writer for the Economist. He's the author of "Hannibal and Me." For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Campus outbreak brings uncertainty to San Diego's reopening

    Campus outbreak brings uncertainty to San Diego's reopeningThe start of the semester at San Diego State University was, as always, a time for students to make and renew friendships on and off its urban campus and enjoy the beach and the city's unmatched August weather. The coronavirus meant far fewer people returned to campus this year but the parties, cookouts and other festivities that mark the start of the fall semester went on as usual for a week or two, then abruptly stopped as infections quickly mounted. James Floyd, a freshman from Davis, California, noticed a mood change when classmates began getting tested.


  • Tropical Storm Beta makes landfall, brings flooding to Texas

    Tropical Storm Beta makes landfall, brings flooding to TexasStorm surge and rainfall combined Tuesday to bring more flooding along the Texas coast after Tropical Storm Beta made landfall, threatening areas that have already seen their share of damaging weather during a busy hurricane season. The storm made landfall late Monday just north of Port O'Connor, Texas. Early Tuesday, Beta was 35 miles (56 kilometers) north northwest of the city with maximum winds of 40 mph (64 kph), the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.


  • AP PHOTOS: Pandemic dampens Kashmir weddings, lavish feasts

    AP PHOTOS: Pandemic dampens Kashmir weddings, lavish feastsIn Indian-controlled Kashmir, the coronavirus pandemic within months has changed an elaborate and lavish marriage tradition that had remained virtually unaltered for centuries. Months before the pandemic, Haseeb Mushtaq drew up a guest list of hundreds and grand plans for celebrating his wedding in May. “Marriage is a once-in-a-lifetime affair and I feel really bad that we couldn’t invite most of our relatives, friends and neighbors,” Haseeb said at the ceremony.


  • Who's a hypocrite? GOP, Dems debate past comments on court

    Who's a hypocrite? GOP, Dems debate past comments on courtThe “H” word — hypocrisy — is suddenly in vogue at the Capitol as lawmakers debate how quickly to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court following the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed that President Donald Trump’s as-yet unnamed nominee will receive a vote on the Senate floor “this year," but has been careful not to say exactly when that will happen. Democrats accuse the Kentucky Republican of blatant hypocrisy after McConnell refused to consider President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, eight months before the 2016 election.


  • Chinese tycoon and Xi critic jailed for 18 years for corruption

    Chinese tycoon and Xi critic jailed for 18 years for corruptionA Chinese real estate tycoon and outspoken critic of President Xi Jinping was jailed for 18 years on Tuesday for "corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds", a court statement said.


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  • Trump aims to use UN address to send strong message to China

    Trump aims to use UN address to send strong message to ChinaPresident Donald Trump, who prefers speaking to boisterous crowds, is set to give a prerecorded address to the U.N. General Assembly as he grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, chilly relations between the U.S. and China and ongoing threats from North Korea and Iran — all during a heated campaign for reelection. Trump told reporters Monday that he'd have a “strong message” for China, where the first cases of COVID-19 were reported, but he didn't elaborate ahead of the Tuesday address. Earlier in his administration, Trump hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Florida club, but now the two leaders are exchanging angry words over trade.


  • UN diplomacy goes impersonal, but what’s lost along the way?

    UN diplomacy goes impersonal, but what’s lost along the way?Each year, for nearly seven decades, the spectacle has unfolded in grand and scripted fashion: Leader after world leader striding to the podium inside the colossal U.N. General Assembly chamber to uncork carefully calibrated speeches, posture publicly and speak the language of statecraft. As many retreated into homes, and those fortunate enough to keep their jobs started doing them in the same spaces where they live their personal lives, human contact in the workplace became a thing of the past for the moment.


  • World powers set to take the stage, virtually, at UN debate

    World powers set to take the stage, virtually, at UN debateThe U.N.’s first virtual meeting of world leaders was set to start Tuesday with pre-recorded speeches from some of the planet's biggest powers, kept at home by the coronavirus pandemic that will likely be a dominant theme at their video gathering this year. Among those expected to speak Tuesday are U.S. President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, whose countries have reported the highest and second-highest coronavirus death tolls, respectively. Also on deck are President Xi Jinping of China, where the virus originated, and President Vladimir Putin of Russia, which has raised international eyebrows with its rapid vaccine development.


  • Trump interviews Barrett while weighing a high court nominee

    Trump interviews Barrett while weighing a high court nomineePresident Donald Trump met with Judge Amy Coney Barrett at the White House as the conservative jurist emerged as a favorite to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, the start of a monumental Senate confirmation fight over objections from Democrats it’s too close to the November election. Trump said Monday he expects to announce his choice by week’s end, before the burial next week of Ginsburg, the court's liberal icon, at Arlington National Cemetery. Democrats but few Republicans argue that her replacement should be decided by the winner on Nov. 3.


  • Real estate tycoon and critic of China's President Xi Jinping jailed for 18 years

    Real estate tycoon and critic of China's President Xi Jinping jailed for 18 yearsThe former chairman of a state-owned real estate company who publicly criticised President Xi Jinping's handling of the coronavirus pandemic was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Tuesday on corruption charges, a court announced. Ren Zhiqiang, who became known for speaking up about censorship and other sensitive topics, disappeared from public view in March after publishing an essay online that accused Mr Xi of mishandling the outbreak that began in December in the central city of Wuhan. Mr Xi, party leader since 2012, has suppressed criticism, tightened censorship and cracked down on unofficial organisations. Dozens of journalists, labour and human rights activists and others have been imprisoned. Mr Ren, 69, was convicted of corruption, bribery, embezzlement of public funds and abuse of power, the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court announced on its social media account. It cited Mr Ren as saying he wouldn't appeal. The former chairman and deputy party secretary of Huayuan Group was expelled from the ruling party in July. In a commentary that circulated on social media, Mr Ren criticised a Feb. 23 video conference with 170,000 officials held early in the pandemic at which Mr Xi announced orders for responding to the disease. Mr Ren didn't mention Mr Xi's name but said, "standing there was not an emperor showing off his new clothes but a clown who had stripped off his clothes and insisted on being an emperor". Mr Ren criticised propaganda that portrayed Mr Xi and other leaders as rescuing China from the disease without mentioning where it began and possible mistakes including suppressing information at the start of the outbreak. "People did not see any criticism at the conference. It didn't investigate and disclose the truth," Mr Ren wrote, according to a copy published by China Digital Times, a website in California. "No one reviewed or took responsibility. But they are trying to cover up the truth with all kinds of great achievements." Mr Ren had an early military career and his parents were both former high officials in the Communist party. Some called him a princeling, a term for offspring of the founders of the communist government, a group that includes Mr Xi. He appeared to have crossed a political line by criticising Mr Xi's personal leadership.


  • North Korea prepares for military parade despite pandemic fears

    North Korea prepares for military parade despite pandemic fearsNorth Korea is preparing for a massive military parade in Pyongyang to mark the 75th anniversary of its ruling party next month, a series of satellite images have suggested, despite the reclusive regime’s ongoing high alert over the Covid-19 pandemic. The latest photos, obtained on Sunday by 38North, a US-based North Korea monitoring group, appear to show multiple military vehicles on the roads of the Mirim parade training ground, indicating Pyongyang is gearing up for another military parade featuring goose-stepping troops and new weapons systems. Previous images last week, provided by Maxar, a Colorado-based satellite imagery company, revealed thousands of people assembled and rehearsing in a parade formation. North Korea does not officially confirm military parades in advance but the anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party is on October 10. Preparations for mass events at the city’s Kim Il Sung square can normally be detected by satellite some two to six months in advance.


  • Australia state leader welcomes Israeli extradition ruling

    Australia state leader welcomes Israeli extradition rulingAn Australian state leader on Tuesday described an Israeli court decision to extradite a former teacher wanted in Australia on charges of molesting children as a victory for abuse victims. Daniel Andrews is premier of Victoria state where Malka Leifer is accused of molesting three sisters — Dassi Erlich, Nicole Meyer and Elly Sapper — while they were students at a Melbourne ultra-Orthodox school.


  • Declaration of UN's 75th anniversary urges global unity

    Declaration of UN's 75th anniversary urges global unityThe world’s often-divided nations united Monday to adopt a declaration commemorating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, saying the urgency for all countries to come together “has rarely been greater” amid global challenges ranging from the coronavirus pandemic to climate change and violent extremism. The declaration, approved by 193 member nations at the mainly virtual commemoration, praises the United Nations as the only global organization with the power to bring countries together and give “hope to so many people for a better world and ... deliver the future we want.” Born out of the horrors of World War II, the United Nations was established to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war — words enshrined in the U.N. Charter.


  • Prem Rawat Foundation Marks Peace Day 2020 with Initiatives to Make Peace Possible
  • China uproots ethnic minority villages in anti-poverty fight

    China uproots ethnic minority villages in anti-poverty fightCHENGBEI GAN’EN, China (AP) — Under a portrait of President Xi Jinping, Ashibusha sits in her freshly painted living room cradling her infant daughter beside a chair labeled a “gift from the government.” The mother of three is among 6,600 members of the Yi ethnic minority who were moved out of 38 mountain villages in China’s southwest and into a newly built town in an anti-poverty initiative. Children who until then spoke only their own tongue, Nuosu, attend kindergarten in Mandarin, China’s official language.


  • How Mali's coup affects the fight against jihadists

    How Mali's coup affects the fight against jihadistsThousands of UN, French and regional soldiers are in Mali fighting Islamist militants - what difference will the coup make?


  • Top contenders for Ginsburg's seat on Supreme Court

    Top contenders for Ginsburg's seat on Supreme CourtPresident Donald Trump has said he would nominate a woman to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday at the age of 87 and was a champion of gender equality. Barrett, 48, is widely considered to be the front-runner. Barrett was nominated by Trump to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit and confirmed by the Senate in October 2017 by a 55-43 vote.


  • Former Wisconsin police chief to review Jacob Blake shooting

    Former Wisconsin police chief to review Jacob Blake shootingWisconsin's attorney general announced Monday that he has selected a former Madison police chief to serve as an independent consultant for prosecutors weighing whether to file charges against the officer who shot Jacob Blake, a Black man who was left paralyzed from the waist down. The shooting of Blake on Aug. 23 by a white Kenosha police officer made Wisconsin the epicenter of the nation’s ongoing debate over police violence and racial injustice. It came three months after the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police.


  • Campus outbreak threatens San Diego's economic recovery

    Campus outbreak threatens San Diego's economic recoveryThe start of the semester at San Diego State University was, as always, a time for students to make and renew friendships on and off its urban campus and enjoy the beach and the city's unmatched August weather. James Floyd, a freshman from Davis, California, noticed a mood change when classmates began getting tested. There have been larger outbreaks at U.S. colleges but none may be more impactful than the one at San Diego State.


  • Trump administration at odds with allies over reimposing U.N. sanctions on Iran

    Trump administration at odds with allies over reimposing U.N. sanctions on IranThe Trump administration unveiled a new set of punitive measures against Iran on Monday, even as it faced isolation on the world stage after other major powers rejected a unilateral move by the U.S. to reimpose U.N. sanctions on Tehran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other Cabinet members announced new U.S. sanctions targeting Iran's Defense Ministry and its ballistic missile program, as well as the leader of Venezuela's regime, Nicolás Maduro, for allegedly helping Iran's weapons programs.


  • Trump administration at odds with allies over reimposing U.N. sanctions on Iran

    Trump administration at odds with allies over reimposing U.N. sanctions on IranThe U.N. will not reimpose sanctions against Iran as demanded by the Trump White House after a majority on the Security Council rejected the move.


  • CDC changes, then retracts, web posting on how virus spreads

    CDC changes, then retracts, web posting on how virus spreadsThe top U.S. public health agency stirred confusion by posting — and then taking down — an apparent change in its position on how easily the coronavirus can spread from person to person through the air. It was “an honest mistake" that happened when a draft update was posted before going through a full editing and approval process, said Dr. Jay Butler, the CDC’s deputy director for infectious diseases. Most CDC guidance about social distancing is built around that idea, saying that about 6 feet is a safe buffer between people who are not wearing masks.


  • US Forces Are Ready for Iran's Response to New Sanctions, Esper Says

    US Forces Are Ready for Iran's Response to New Sanctions, Esper SaysThe sanctions are meant to prevent Iran's access to conventional weapons and thwart its nuclear ambitions.


  • Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Honors Founder Knut Kloster
  • Cuban-American judge from Florida on Trump high court list

    Cuban-American judge from Florida on Trump high court listA daughter of Cuban exiles who has had a swift rise as a lawyer and judge is on President Donald Trump's short list to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court. The president said Monday that he does not personally know Barbara Lagoa, but praised her as “terrific.” Barely veiled was the fact that, as a Cuban-American from South Florida’s city of Hialeah, her selection could benefit Trump in the Nov. 3 election, when Florida could be the ultimate kingmaker.


  • Ginsburg's death exposes fragility of health law protection

    Ginsburg's death exposes fragility of health law protectionWith COVID-19 the newest preexisting condition, the Obama-era health law that protects Americans from insurance discrimination is more fragile following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A week after the presidential election, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on an effort backed by President Donald Trump to strike down the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, in its entirety. Former President Barack Obama's landmark law bars insurers from turning away people with health problems, or charging them more.


  • Trooper wounded in crash faced firing in Black man's death

    Trooper wounded in crash faced firing in Black man's deathA Louisiana state trooper was critically injured early Monday in a single-vehicle highway crash that came hours after learning he would be fired for his role last year in the in-custody death of a Black man. Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth received word Sunday that State Police intended to terminate him following an internal investigation into the May 2019 death of Ronald Greene, a case that has drawn mounting scrutiny and become the subject of a federal civil rights investigation. State Police, despite growing pressure, have repeatedly declined to release body-camera footage and other records related to Greene’s arrest, citing the ongoing investigations.


  • Alone among nations, U.S. moves to restore U.N. Iran sanctions

    Alone among nations, U.S. moves to restore U.N. Iran sanctionsThe Trump administration reimposed sanctions against Iran in defiance of nearly all U.N. members, who have rejected U..S. legal standing to do so.


  • Virtual UN meeting saps NYC of yearly hubbub, cash infusion

    Virtual UN meeting saps NYC of yearly hubbub, cash infusionIn a normal September, leaders of nations big and small would converge on New York this week, giving the United States’ largest city a chance to show itself off as a crossroads of the world. Police wouldn't discuss this year's security plan.


  • Palestinians arrest supporters of Abbas rival close to UAE
  • On 75th Anniversary of the U.N., Some Countries Question Its Effectiveness
  • Yemen gets new virus hospital after other facilities close

    Yemen gets new virus hospital after other facilities closeThe Red Cross on Monday announced the opening of a new field hospital in southern Yemen specifically to treat coronavirus patients, as the virus continues to spread largely unchecked in the war-torn country. Many medical facilities in Aden, southern Yemen's main city, have closed as staffers fled or simply turn patients away. In a news release, the International Committee for the Red Cross said the new 60-bed field hospital in Aden has emergency rooms, wards, an X-ray department and a laboratory.


  • Trump administration unveils new sanctions on Iran despite foreign resistance

    Trump administration unveils new sanctions on Iran despite foreign resistanceThe announcement comes amid a clash with the United Nations over a provision of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.


  • Europe adopts tougher virus restrictions as infections surge

    Europe adopts tougher virus restrictions as infections surgeAs the U.S. closed in on 200,000 coronavirus deaths Monday, the crisis deteriorated across Europe, with Britain working to draw up new restrictions, Spain clamping down again in Madrid and the Czech Republic replacing its health minister with an epidemiologist because of a surge of infections. The push to reimpose tough measures in Europe to beat back a scourge that had seemingly been brought under control in the spring contributed to a drop on Wall Street. In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce a round of restrictions Tuesday to slow the spread of the disease.