Press freedom curbs decried
Media executives yesterday told a parliamentary inquiry that there are many laws that criminalize journalism in a nation plagued by official secrecy. The inquiry into press freedom was called by Parliament’s Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security following high-profile Federal Police raids on media outlets in June. A dozen senior executives from major news organizations demanded changes to national security laws at the Sydney hearing. News Corp executive chairman Michael Miller criticized lawmakers for stamping the words “secret” or “classified” on documents, and then hiding behind laws that keep citizens in the dark. “We might not be living in a police state, but we are living in a state of secrecy,” he said.
‘Disguised’ police defended
Police have defended their tactics and use of force against protesters during another weekend of violent clashes, including deploying officers disguised as protesters and allegedly shooting at demonstrators at close range with pepper-spray pellets. The police on Monday attempted to fend off criticism about videos from Sunday night’s clashes that showed graphic images of a woman who was shot in the eye and of an arrest in which officers dressed like protesters pinned a bleeding demonstrator to the ground. “Our decoy officers do not take part in any unlawful activities,” Deputy Commissioner Tang Ping-keung (鄧炳強) said.
Trudeau warns China on HK
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday said that he was extremely concerned about events in Hong Kong and urged Chinese authorities to handle the protests there with tact. “We certainly call on China to be very careful and very respectful in how it deals with people who have legitimate concerns in Hong Kong,” Trudeau told a news conference in Toronto.
Ex-head plotted coup: official
Former president Almazbek Atambayev, who was detained on Thursday last week in raids on his compound, was seeking to overthrow the government, State Committee for National Security head Orozbek Opumbayev said yesterday. “His intention was a state coup. I say that officially,” Opumbayev told a news conference in the capital of Bishkek. Atambayev was detained in a massive security operation after a previous attempt to detain him a day earlier failed amid clashes between his supporters and law enforcement that left one officer dead.
Suspects killed themselves
Police say they believe that two fugitives suspected of killing a North Carolina woman and her Australian boyfriend as well as another man died in what appears to be suicides by gunfire. The Manitoba Medical Examiner has completed the autopsies and confirmed on Monday that the bodies they found last week were indeed 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky.
Truck hid 146 migrants
Federal police said that they have found 146 Central American migrants packed aboard a freight truck in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz. The migrants were traveling in overcrowded and unsafe conditions in the tractor-trailer, the Department of Public Safety said on Monday. One hundred and fifteen of the migrants were from Honduras, and the rest were from Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador. They were placed in the custody of the National Institute of Migration.
Australian scientists have raised questions over the efficacy of the AstraZeneca and University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine in establishing herd immunity, calling for a pause on its widespread rollout as the country recorded one new case of the virus yesterday. Opposition to the vaccine casts a cloud over Australia’s immunization plans, with 53 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab already on hand. “The question is really whether it is able to provide herd immunity. We are playing a long game here. We don’t know how long that will take,” Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology president Stephen Turner said. Turner added
A racing pigeon has survived an extraordinary 13,000km Pacific Ocean crossing from the US to find a new home in Australia. Now authorities consider the bird a quarantine risk and plan to kill it. Kevin Celli-Bird yesterday said he discovered that the exhausted bird that arrived in his Melbourne backyard on Dec. 26 last year had disappeared from a race in the US state of Oregon on Oct. 29. Experts suspect the pigeon that Celli-Bird has named Joe — after US president-elect Joe Biden — hitched a ride on a cargo ship to cross the Pacific. Joe’s feat has attracted the attention
China has possibly committed “genocide” in its treatment of Uighurs and other minority Muslims in its western region of Xinjiang, the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China said in a report on Thursday. The bipartisan commission said that new evidence had last year emerged that “crimes against humanity — and possibly genocide — are occurring” in Xinjiang. It also accused China of harassing Uighurs in the US. China has been widely condemned for setting up complexes in Xinjiang that it describes as “vocational training centers” to stamp out extremism and give people new skills, which others have called concentration camps. The UN says that
The Polish Supreme Court on Friday quashed a lower court’s green light for the extradition of a businessman to China for alleged fraud, a charge he has denied, saying that he is being targeted for supporting Falun Gong. Polish authorities took Chinese-born Swedish citizen Li Zhihui, now 53, into custody in 2019 on an international warrant issued by China for alleged non-payment in a business deal, Krzysztof Kitajgrodzki, his Polish lawyer, told reporters. Following the Supreme Court ruling, the case would return to a lower appellate court for review. Kitajgrodzki told reporters that it was still not a given that his client