Official to visit Japan
A senior official from the National People’s Congress will be in Tokyo this week, Japan’s lower house said yesterday, the highest-profile Chinese visitor since 2012 as a thaw in relations sets in. Ji Bingxuan (吉炳軒), a vice-chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, will lead a delegation from tomorrow through Saturday, a parliamentary spokeswoman said. The visit is the latest sign that relations between Asia’s two biggest powers are getting back on an even keel after three years of squabbling over their bitter shared history and the ownership of disputed islands. Tokyo and Beijing held security talks last month, their first such dialogue since January 2011. Tokyo and Beijing are at loggerheads over the sovereignty of the Diaoyutais (釣魚台) that Japan administers as the Senkakus, but which Taiwan and China also claim. Relations soured in 2012 when the Japanese government nationalized some of the islands. Beijing subsequently halted most high-level contacts with Tokyo, and ships and planes from the two sides have shadow-boxed in the area ever since. The diplomatic ice was broken in November last year, when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Xi Jinping (習近平) shared a frosty handshake on the sidelines of the APEC forum. This week’s delegation was invited by Japan’s House of Representatives, the lower house of parliament. Ji is expected to hold talks with lower house speaker Nobutaka Machimura during the stay, the spokeswoman said.
Family of seven drowns
Seven members of a family on a holiday outing in the south drowned when a 17-year-old girl fell into a reservoir and several relatives dove in after her in a deadly attempt to rescue her, officials said yesterday. Shantou, Guangdong officials said in a statement that none of the relatives were strong swimmers, but tried to rescue the girl nonetheless when she fell in while washing her hands on Sunday. A city official, who gave only his surname, Wu, said the girl and six of her relatives died, including her parents and two other children, aged 13 and 15. The girl fell into the reservoir while washing up after a grave-side ceremony.
Roadside bombings kill 10
Authorities say separate roadside bombs targeting police vehicles have killed 10 people. The deadliest of the two blasts yesterday happened north of the capital, Kabul. Abdul Sami Sharifi, an administrative chief of Kabul’s Qarabagh District, said the bombing killed four police officers and two civilians. In Baghlan Province, police said a second roadside bomb killed four police officers. They said two other police officers were wounded in the attack in the province’s Baghlani Murkazi District.
Cuban dissident detained
Authorities held a Cuban dissident for several hours on Sunday as she tried to enter the country for a meeting on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas, the activist said. “Panama’s National Security is holding me at the plane door,” Rosa Maria Paya wrote on Twitter. She said authorities searched her handbag and kept her datebook. She said one of the agents told her: “You are going to be deported to Cuba if you cause any trouble... Why don’t you go back to your country and cause trouble there,” according to her Twitter feed. Paya was released after being held for several hours.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable