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Senin, 31 Agustus 2020

Detained Australian journalist Cheng Lei authored Facebook posts about Wuhan coronavirus cover-up - SBS News

An Australian journalist shared social media posts about the Chinese government’s coronavirus response in Wuhan months before she was detained in Beijing.

Cheng Lei has been detained by Chinese authorities for more than two weeks, Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement on Monday. No reason was provided for her arrest.

A high-profile television anchor, Ms Cheng hosted a business program for China’s government-run English language broadcaster CGTN.

In March, she wrote a Facebook status describing a censored, viral magazine profile of a doctor at Wuhan’s Central Hospital, who said she was reprimanded for raising the alarm about coronavirus.

“The article lived for a few hours, and then the purge started,” she wrote.

Cheng Lei, Anchor, CGTN Euro, at the Web Summit in isbon, Portugal in 2019.

Cheng Lei, Anchor, CGTN, at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal in 2019.

Getty

Weeks earlier, on 27 February, she shared another status referring to “the most circulated posts of the day”, which were investigative articles detailing cover-ups by local government authorities in Wuhan.

A number of citizen journalists in China were arrested earlier this year, and some are still missing, after publishing details of the coronavirus crisis in Wuhan. 

Delia Lin, a senior lecturer in Chinese Studies at Melbourne University, said it is unlikely the Facebook posts were the catalyst for her detainment, given how much time has passed since they were published.

“Why her, why now? She hasn’t really done anything extraordinary. She’s not overly outspoken about the political situation in China,” Dr Lin, who is originally from Wuhan, told SBS News.

“She’s also known for reporting things that are favourable to Beijing, because she works for this TV station which requires her to be favourable in many of her reports and she’s done that genuinely without compromising her professional integrity.

“She certainly knows her boundaries very well, extremely well, and she’s never really crossed those boundaries as far as I can see.”

In her most recent Tweet on 12 August, two days before the Australian government was notified of her arrest, Ms Cheng shared a celebratory video of a new Shake Shack store opening in Beijing. 

The targeting of Ms Cheng sent a “chilling message” for other Australians working in China that they too could face repercussions, even if they are not outspoken about their views, Dr Lin said. 

‘A really great bridge between China and Australia’

Ms Cheng had worked at CGTN for eight years before her arrest, following stints at CNBC Asia in Singapore and China and at CGTN’s predecessor CCTV News.

Her journalism profile on CGTN has since been removed from their website. 

“She is known to be a really great bridge between China and Australia,” Dr Lin said. “And is certainly someone who values her experience in Australia and tries to help both nations, and both peoples, to understand one another.”

Dr Lin said the arrest could be a message to the Australian government, which has been facing strained relations with China over recent months. “It does make people wonder, because it’s very unusual that it could be her,” she said.

Fergus Hanson, director of the International Cyber Policy Centre at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) said on Tuesday that Ms Cheng’s arrest could fit into a pattern China attempting to use “arbitrary arrests, arbitrary executions, as a means to coerce states into changing their behaviour.”

“Is it a very effective strategy? No I don’t think so but it is a really brutal one,” he said, adding that more details were needed before the motivations behind the detention could be determined.

Speaking to ABC News on Tuesday, Education Minister Simon Birmingham said there were “clearly a number of issues” with the Chinese-Australian relationship, but did not elaborate on the reasons for Ms Cheng’s detention.

“We're working through details in terms of the consular assistance that we can provide, and we will give all assistance that we can,” he said. 

Meanwhile, opposition treasury spokesperson Jim Chalmers described the arrest as “concerning” and said Labor was “as one with the government” in trying to resolve it.

It is understood Ms Cheng has not been formally charged and was being held under “residential surveillance”, a form of detention that allows authorities to hold a suspect for up to six months without formal arrest, ABC News reported. 

Ms Cheng’s family have declined to speak to the media but released a statement which said they were aware of the arrest.

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2020-09-01 01:38:41Z
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Kenosha residents fear Donald Trump visit will cause more unrest after riots and protests against the police shooting of Jacob Blake - ABC News

A planned visit by US President Donald Trump to the Wisconsin town where a black man was shot seven times in the back by a police officer could stir up more violence, residents have warned.

Kenosha has been the scene of protests since Jacob Blake was shot by police who were responding to a call about a domestic dispute on August 23.

The protests turned deadly when 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse allegedly opened fire during clashes between demonstrators and armed groups of self-styled militia members, an incident which saw two protesters shot dead.

Demonstrators are calling for the officer who shot Mr Blake to be fired and face attempted murder charges.

Mr Trump is scheduled to visit the city on Tuesday, where he will inspect damage and meet with law enforcement.

Several residents told the Associated Press they were worried about the President's visit.

Diana Kreye, a 60-year-old resident of nearby Brighton, accused Mr Trump of exploiting the conflict.

"I don't like that this has all become political," she said.

Others doubt the President has any intention of closing divisions.

"He's not coming down here to heal," said David Sanchez, 66, a retiree who expects thousands of people to show up to protest against Mr Trump.

"He's coming to Kenosha to start more trouble. I don't care what he says."

Raymond Roberts, a 38-year-old data scientist and war veteran, said the visit was a political stunt.

"He has done nothing over the last three years to bring people together," he said.

"This is a bellwether county in a bellwether state. It's all about his re-election."

A large four wheel drive is in the foreground, a black man is in a singlet, and three police officers are behind him
Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by police after they responded to a "domestic incident" on August 23.

However, there are people in Kenosha who believe Mr Trump's visit will help heal the wounds created over the past fortnight.

Angel Tirado, 42, believes Mr Trump's visit could help restore peace.

"I hope he says something that can calm us all down," Mr Tirado said.

"Maybe he'll bring us together."

Oscar Escobar, 41, owns a moving company and co-owns a bar.

He told the Associated Press he does not align with either Democrats or Republicans, and said it was good that Mr Trump planned to visit.

"I think it's a great thing for him to show that he cares about what's happening here in Kenosha and not turning his back on us and just leaving us alone," Mr Escobar said.

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The state's Governor and city's Mayor have both called on the President to cancel his visit.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers asked the President not to come to the city.

In a letter Mr Evers said the visit "will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together".

Mr Evers called a special session of the legislature for Monday to take up a host of police reform measures, but Republicans took no immediate action.

Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian reiterated on Monday that he believed Mr Trump's visit was coming at the wrong time.

"I think that Kenosha, at this present time, needs peace and needs to heal and needs people to allow us to do that," he said.

Biden calls for rioters and looters to be prosecuted

A composite image of Joe Biden's face (left) and Donald Trump holding up a bible in front of a church.
Mr Trump and opponent Joe Biden have accused each other of stoking division and causing protests across the country.(AP/Reuters)

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden used a recent speech in the battleground state Pennsylvania to hit back at assertions he is soft on crime.

"Ask yourself, do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?" Mr Biden said.

It was his most forceful counter yet to accusations by Mr Trump, who also accused leaders in the Democratic Party of losing control over the mass demonstrations that in some instances have turned violent.

"Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting," Mr Biden said.

"It's lawlessness, plain and simple, and those who do it should be prosecuted.

"This President long ago forfeited any moral leadership in this country," Mr Biden added.

"He can't stop the violence because for years he has fomented it."

Flames engulf the Community Corrections Division building as an American flag flutters on a pole in Kenosha.
There have been protests and riots across the country, most recently in Kenosha, following the shooting of Mr Blake by police.(Reuters: Stephen Maturen)

Trump announces operation to investigate 'left-wing civil unrest'

Mr Trump announced a joint operation between the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice to investigate "left-wing civil unrest".

Hammering a "tough on crime" approach to curb violence in American cities gripped by protests, he said more than 200 people had been arrested across the country, including 100 in Portland, Oregon.

"In America, we will never surrender to mob rule, because if the mob rules, democracy is indeed dead," Mr Trump said.

During his speech, the President accused Mr Biden of giving "moral aid to vandals".

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.
US President Donald Trump says a joint operation will be created to investigate what he calls "left-wing civil unrest".

"The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice are announcing a joint operation centred to investigate the violent left-wing civil unrest. And again, in Portland alone, the Federal Government has already taken care of and arrested 100 rioters just in that one city," Mr Trump said.

"The wave of violence and destruction that we've seen in recent weeks and months has occurred in cities exclusively controlled and dominated by the Joe Biden party.

"He even talked about those on the right. But he didn't talk about those on the left, and those on the left are the problem."

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Biden on the move with the election just two months away

Mr Biden's visit to Pennsylvania, an important swing state that helped Mr Trump to victory in 2016, marked an unusual trip afield for the former vice-president.

The presidential hopeful has worked mostly from his Delaware home since March.

His campaign has indicated Mr Biden expects to increase his travel to the states that will decide the election.

Mr Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence are both due to campaign in Pennsylvania this week.

In Pittsburgh, Mr Biden depicted an America that was unsafe under Mr Trump, with COVID-19 killing thousands of people a week and an economy in tatters.

He said he wanted a country safe from the coronavirus, crime, racially motivated violence and "bad cops".

"And let's be crystal clear: Safe from four more years of Donald Trump," he said.

Samuel DeMarco, the Republican chairman in Allegheny County where Biden was speaking, said his speech showed "desperation".

"We have violent protests for 90-some days and now he's going to address it and try to blame Trump. Good luck with that," he said.

Wires/ABC

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2020-08-31 23:54:00Z
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Donald Trump breaks through with message on crime - The Australian

Donald Trump at a rally in Londonderry, New Hampshire, over the weekend. Picture: Getty Images
Donald Trump at a rally in Londonderry, New Hampshire, over the weekend. Picture: Getty Images

Donald Trump has roared back into polling contention after the Republican and Democratic conventions, according to a slew of polls and analytical work in the US.

The RealClearPolitics betting odds now have the contest at almost level, whereas 10 days ago they strongly favoured the President’s Democratic challenger, Joe Biden.

In the national poll average RCP has Biden ahead by a still healthy but declining 6.9 per cent. More importantly, however, in the battleground states Biden’s lead is 2.7 per cent, about two points less than Hillary Clinton’s lead over Trump at this point in the cycle four years ago.

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The same average of polls has Trump’s job approval rating at 44 per cent, whereas the consensus is it needs to be at 46 per cent or above for him to have a good shot at re-election. The latest Rasmussen job approval poll puts Trump’s approval rating at 46 per cent.

The famous 538 website introduces its latest election forecast with the headline: Biden is slightly favoured to win the election. 538 gives Trump a slightly better chance than it gave him at this stage of the cycle four years ago.

Biden seems to have received no significant voter bounce from the Democratic convention two weeks ago, while the Republican convention has focused the national debate on law and order and a couple of other issues that favour Republicans.

A Democrat voter in The Villages, Florida. Picture: AFP
A Democrat voter in The Villages, Florida. Picture: AFP

Trump-backers should not get carried away. Biden remains well ahead and is still the favourite.

All post-convention polls are difficult to judge properly. Very often what seems a trend is just a bounce. Losing candidates have had big post-convention bounces in the past.

However, the Trump figures are perhaps more significant because they are based not on making Trump likeable — whereas making a candidate likeable is often what conventions achieve — but on the policy contrast that Democrats favour a soft-on-crime approach, have taken identity politics too far and are loathe to confront and condemn the murderous riots, violence and looting ripping apart several US cities, while Republicans are tougher on these issues.

The pro-Democrat media’s desire until a couple of days ago to play down this violence is lampooned for headlines like: “People die as city burns in mostly peaceful protests”.

Almost as significant as the polls is the analysis of some of the most sophisticated anti-Trump commentators.

Joe Biden, left, and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris at the Chase Centre in Wilmington, Delaware. Picture: AFP
Joe Biden, left, and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris at the Chase Centre in Wilmington, Delaware. Picture: AFP

Andrew Sullivan, a moderate conservative who is a committed never-Trumper, wrote a powerful essay headed: Dems will lose if this election is about law and order.

George Packer, a distinguished journalist and author, a moderate liberal who is certainly anti-Trump but not especially rabid, wrote a piece in The Atlantic magazine titled: “This is how Biden loses”.

Sullivan and Packer both argued that by failing to mention the city violence at their convention, and then by making condemnations of the violence so hesitant and mealy-mouthed, Biden and the Democrats were ignoring undeniable facts that every voter in America was witnessing.

Hundreds of trucks filled with supporters of US President Donald Trump drove through the city of Portland on August 29, with some reportedly firing paintball guns at protesters. The pro-Trump truck rally came on the same night that a man was shot and killed, a short distance from where confrontations between rival groups had been taking place. The man who was shot was reportedly wearing a hat bearing the insignia of Patriot Prayer, a right-wing group based in Portland. In this video, a man surrounded by trucks bearing pro-Trump slogans and US flags can be seen firing a paintball gun towards a small group standing next to a car with “black lives matter” written on its rear window in the parking lot of a mall in Happy Valley, a Portland suburb. Credit: @elisa_bleh via Storyful

Nathan Robinson in The Guardian had a piece entitled: “It feels enormously like 2016 all over again”.

As demonstrations have turned into riots, and protester rhetoric has become more extreme, the Black Lives Matter movement has lost a vast amount of voter support.

Most Americans hate racism, and were appalled at the police killing of George Floyd in May, but the riots have turned them against BLM as a movement, and the weak Democratic response has pushed some of them at least into the arms of Trump.

This could be an extremely tight presidential contest.

Foreign Editor

Melbourne

Greg Sheridan, The Australian's foreign editor, is one of the nation's most influential national security commentators, who is active across television and radio and also writes extensively on culture. He has w...

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2020-08-31 20:47:37Z
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Cheng Lei’s online diary documents life on ground in China during coronavirus pandemic - NEWS.com.au

The journalist and broadcaster detained in China shared a number of in-depth personal updates that included criticism of the Chinese government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic on Facebook earlier this year.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Marise Payne confirmed Ms Cheng Lei has been detained in the country since 14 August.

“Australian officials had an initial consular visit with Ms Cheng at a detention facility via video link on 27 August and will continue to provide assistance and support to her and her family,” she said.

“Further comment will not be provided owing to the Government’s privacy obligations.”

Ms Cheng has worked as an anchor and reporter for CGTN since December 2012 covering some of the nation’s biggest stories.

She has not been charged but is being held under “residential surveillance” at a specific location in which China is able to question someone for up to six months without charge, the ABC reports.

Her family told the national broadcaster they are doing everything possible to support her.

“In China, due process will be observed and we look forward to a satisfactory and timely conclusion to the matter.

“We ask that you respect that process and understand there will be no further comment at this time.”

Chinese officials have not yet commented on the situation.

RELATED: WHO skips Wuhan on key China visit

RELATED: Albanese issues China warning

Cheng went to University in Queensland and Monash Secondary College, before working at CNBC and moving to CGTN.

While she has not posted on Facebook since late March, updates from the early days of the coronavirus pandemic describe the situation on the ground in China with a mix of personal anecdotes and news commentary.

On February 16, she wrote that both she and a friend who also worked in television had been “lobbying our bosses to let us go to Wuhan to report, and not succeeding” in reference to the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, they were helping doctors by sending medical supplies and raising money for them to have PPE.

“Similarly, many alumni groups are handling their own rescue missions. It is a damning vote of distrust for intermediaries,” she wrote.

She also said her children would be schooled online but “school grades seem a distant concern at the moment, if this episode teaches children anything, it should be the premium on health and honesty.”

She later said her two children were in Melbourne.

RELATED: Aussie diplomats in China ‘could have done better’

Ms Cheng often shared a mix of trending topics in China as well as personal diary style updates. One post noted the most shared article on her social media feeds was one called “the whistle-giver” which profiled Ai Fen, the director of the emergency department at Wuhan’s Central Hosptial who proved a source of information for a second whistleblowing doctor, Li Wenliang, who later died from the virus and was lauded as a hero for speaking out.

“The article lived for a few hours, then the purge started, but people kept moving it to different accounts and reposting under other guises (even with the text entirely reversed), in defiance. Many have saved screen shots of the story or pdf files, some say “it’s imprinted in my brain.” Cheng wrote.

She said she had dinner with another “friend from an international network” who had been questioned about his colleagues and whether they were “China-friendly” in their reporting.

“While food was hot and spicy, the conversation was cold and hard at times — he was questioned about what the correspondents did, whether they were China-friendly, what stories the channel chased, the angles they took, the questioning (by young and goodlooking representatives from the Beijing government) happened three times until he got fed up,” she wrote.

The business anchor also took aim at the setting of “business resumption” targets post-lockdown which she said were ignoring the real issues such as getting masks for staff and ensuring their safe return to work.

Her coronavirus diaries also contained descriptions about what it was like on the ground in Beijing including going out for dinner and walking in the streets,

At one point in March she wrote about posts comparing residential passes for buildings and said there are “more questions about patient zero, after Wuhan’s Institute of Virology denied reports saying it is Huang Yanling, a graduate student.”

“There’s still plenty of suspicion about how the virus came about,” she said.

The origins of the coronavirus are currently the subject of a WHO-led investigation which China agreed to after Australia led calls for a probe to take place.

However the move marked the start of a rapid cooling of Australian and Chinese international relations which have seen China place tariffs on Australian barley and livestock, and Australia stepping up military investment in the region.

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2020-08-31 20:16:18Z
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China escalates tactics over past decade, new report reveals - NEWS.com.au

Australian companies are being warned to factor in the “heightened risk” of doing business with China.

A new Australia Strategic Policy Institute report released on Monday shines a light on the Chinese Communist Party’s “coercive diplomacy” over the past decade and comes as the Asian superpower launches its second investigation into Australian wine in the past fortnight.

Experts say there has been a “sharp escalation” of tactics that either threaten action, or use a limited amount, since 2018.

These include economic measures such as trade sanctions, investment restrictions, tourism bans and popular boycotts.

Non-economic measures include arbitrary detention, restrictions on official travel and state-issued threats.

“These efforts seek to punish undesired behaviour and focus on issues including securing territorial claims, deploying Huawei’s 5G technology, suppressing minorities in Xinjiang, blocking the reception of the Dalai Lama and obscuring the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report states.

Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and East Asia have been on the receiving end of the most instances of coercive diplomacy.

The report authors call on Five Eyes governments and businesses to join forces in the fight against the persuasion, saying this will make them “much more likely to succeed in pushing back”.

It also recommends the government develop protocols with the business community on how to best respond to economic coercive methods used by the CCP.

“In cases of co-ordinated action against companies, the dispute should be elevated to a state-level discussion to prevent individual companies from being picked off and being forced to capitulate,” the report states.

“As the CCP uses economic coercion more often, and more overtly, foreign companies with business operations in China need to factor in the increasing risk to trade flows, supply chains and market share.

“That risk is significant enough to warrant board-level attention and will no doubt be a standing topic in audit committees because of its bottom-line impact.

“This requires board-level involvement to protect shareholder value and is also likely to require companies to work more closely with their home-government policymakers.”

The report also calls on the government to use forums such as the G7, G10 and European Union to build a coalition of countries affected by the same coercive methods.

“Those coalitions could be used to publicly call out examples of coercion in the same way that’s currently used to attribute cyber attacks, and follow that up with countermeasures,” it states.

Meanwhile, China’s Commerce Ministry has opened its second inquiry into Australian wine that will investigate any subsidies.

It comes after an anti-dumping investigation was launched into Australian bottles under 2 litres imported into China.

Australian Grape & Wine on Monday said it would collaborate with winemakers and the Federal Government to ensure “we co-operate fully throughout the investigation process”.

“China is an important market for Australian wine and our wine is in demand from Chinese consumers,” it said in a statement.

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2020-08-31 14:02:18Z
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China escalates tactics over past decade, new report reveals - NEWS.com.au

Australian companies are being warned to factor in the “heightened risk” of doing business with China.

A new Australia Strategic Policy Institute report released on Monday shines a light on the Chinese Communist Party’s “coercive diplomacy” over the past decade and comes as the Asian superpower launches its second investigation into Australian wine in the past fortnight.

Experts say there has been a “sharp escalation” of tactics that either threaten action, or use a limited amount, since 2018.

These include economic measures such as trade sanctions, investment restrictions, tourism bans and popular boycotts.

Non-economic measures include arbitrary detention, restrictions on official travel and state-issued threats.

“These efforts seek to punish undesired behaviour and focus on issues including securing territorial claims, deploying Huawei’s 5G technology, suppressing minorities in Xinjiang, blocking the reception of the Dalai Lama and obscuring the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report states.

Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and East Asia have been on the receiving end of the most instances of coercive diplomacy.

The report authors call on Five Eyes governments and businesses to join forces in the fight against the persuasion, saying this will make them “much more likely to succeed in pushing back”.

It also recommends the government develop protocols with the business community on how to best respond to economic coercive methods used by the CCP.

“In cases of co-ordinated action against companies, the dispute should be elevated to a state-level discussion to prevent individual companies from being picked off and being forced to capitulate,” the report states.

“As the CCP uses economic coercion more often, and more overtly, foreign companies with business operations in China need to factor in the increasing risk to trade flows, supply chains and market share.

“That risk is significant enough to warrant board-level attention and will no doubt be a standing topic in audit committees because of its bottom-line impact.

“This requires board-level involvement to protect shareholder value and is also likely to require companies to work more closely with their home-government policymakers.”

The report also calls on the government to use forums such as the G7, G10 and European Union to build a coalition of countries affected by the same coercive methods.

“Those coalitions could be used to publicly call out examples of coercion in the same way that’s currently used to attribute cyber attacks, and follow that up with countermeasures,” it states.

Meanwhile, China’s Commerce Ministry has opened its second inquiry into Australian wine that will investigate any subsidies.

It comes after an anti-dumping investigation was launched into Australian bottles under 2 litres imported into China.

Australian Grape & Wine on Monday said it would collaborate with winemakers and the Federal Government to ensure “we co-operate fully throughout the investigation process”.

“China is an important market for Australian wine and our wine is in demand from Chinese consumers,” it said in a statement.

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2020-08-31 14:01:42Z
52781033667588

Three-old girl in Taiwan survives wild sky ride caught in tail of giant kite - Sydney Morning Herald

A three-year-old girl entangled in the tail of a giant kite survived a terrifying ride after being swept more than 30 metres into the air during a kite festival in Taiwan, video footage posted on social media showed.

Horrified spectators screamed as the girl was catapulted high above them, where she was spun helplessly at the end of the kite's long orange streamer as it soared and swooped in the high wind.

It took about 30 seconds before the girl's nightmare ended and she was pulled back to the ground by members of the crowd as the kite was brought back under control.

Identifying the girl solely by the surname Lin, local news reports said she amazingly suffered only minor cuts.

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The distress caused by the sight of the near disaster persuaded organisers to cut short the festival in Hsinchu city in north-western Taiwan.

A Hsinchu city government official told media that a sudden gust of wind at the site, which is known for its strong winds, caused the kite's tail to wrap around the child's waist.

Video of the incident was shared by festivalgoers on social media and quickly racked up millions of views.

Reuters

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2020-08-31 11:17:00Z
CAIiEKFhM2CBsKU586A1yEPjJasqGQgEKhAIACoHCAowxqmICzDg_IYDMPbfmwY

India says China's military made moves near disputed border in Ladakh region - ABC News

India says its soldiers thwarted "provocative" movements by China's military near a disputed border in the Ladakh region, but China's foreign ministry maintains its border troops "never crossed the line of actual control".

Months into the rival nations' deadliest stand-off in decades, local military commanders from the two countries were meeting along the disputed frontier to "resolve the issues", India's defence ministry said.

It added India was committed to dialogue "but is also equally determined to protect its territorial integrity".

The statement said China's People's Liberation Army on Saturday night (local time) "carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo" and "violated the previous consensus arrived at during military and diplomatic engagements" to settle the standoff in the cold-desert region.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a news briefing that both sides were in communication regarding the situation on the ground.

India's defence ministry issued its statement after a gap of a day and did not give details of the nature of the new conflict.

The statement said Indian troops "undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on ground".

It said the activity took place on the southern bank of Pangong Lake, a glacial lake divided by the de facto frontier between the rivals and where the India-China face-off began in early May.

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The China-India border is one of the world's most dangerous flashpoints.

Attempts to settle dispute have failed since 90s

The disputed and undemarcated 3,500-kilometre border between India and China stretches from the Ladakh region in the north to the Indian state of Sikkim.

The two nations fought a border war in 1962 that also spilled into Ladakh.

They have been trying to settle their border dispute since the early 1990s, without success.

The ongoing stand-off high in the Karakoram mountains is over disputed portions of a pristine landscape that boasts the world's highest landing strip, a glacier that feeds one of the largest irrigation systems in the world, and a critical link to China's massive Belt and Road infrastructure project.

The face-off began at three places.

Soldiers at Pangong Lake ignored repeated verbal warnings, triggering a yelling match, stone-throwing and even fistfights.

By June, it escalated and spread north in Depsang and Galwan Valley, where India has built an all-weather military road along the disputed frontier.

On June 15, the troops engaged in a night-time medieval clash in Galwan that was the deadliest conflict in 45 years between the nuclear-armed rivals.

According to Indian officials, Chinese troops atop a ridge at the mouth of the narrow valley threw stones, punched and pushed Indian soldiers down the ridge at around 4,500 metres, leaving 20 Indians dead, including a colonel.

Chinese troops hold a banner which reads "You've crossed the border, please go back".
Chinese troops hold a banner which reads "You've crossed the border, please go back".(AP, file photo)

China did not report any casualties.

Accusing each other of instigating the violence, both sides pledged to safeguard their territory but also to try to end the standoff that dramatically changed the India-China relationship.

Several rounds of military and diplomatic talks to end the crisis have been unsuccessful.

In a symbolic move, India banned some Chinese-owned apps, including TikTok, about two weeks after the deadly clash citing privacy concerns that it said pose a threat to India's sovereignty and security.

On Saturday, India pulled out of multinational military exercise organised by Russia, where China and Pakistan are also participating.

New Delhi reportedly cited the coronavirus pandemic.

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China analyst Professor Srikanth Kondapalli says China-India border row could lead to a "local war".

AP/Reuters

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2020-08-31 10:05:00Z
CAIiEFMomTrpIfoJcZHmU1L6Y3cqFwgEKg4IACoGCAow3vI9MPeaCDD7kIkG

Donald Trump breaks through with message on crime - The Australian

Donald Trump at a rally in Londonderry, New Hampshire, over the weekend. Picture: Getty Images
Donald Trump at a rally in Londonderry, New Hampshire, over the weekend. Picture: Getty Images

Donald Trump has roared back into polling contention after the Republican and Democratic conventions, according to a slew of polls and analytical work in the US.

The RealClearPolitics betting odds now have the contest at almost level, whereas 10 days ago they strongly favoured the President’s Democratic challenger, Joe Biden.

In the national poll average RCP has Biden ahead by a still healthy but declining 6.9 per cent. More importantly, however, in the battleground states Biden’s lead is 2.7 per cent, about two points less than Hillary Clinton’s lead over Trump at this point in the cycle four years ago.

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The same average of polls has Trump’s job approval rating at 44 per cent, whereas the consensus is it needs to be at 46 per cent or above for him to have a good shot at re-election. The latest Rasmussen job approval poll puts Trump’s approval rating at 46 per cent.

The famous 538 website introduces its latest election forecast with the headline: Biden is slightly favoured to win the election. 538 gives Trump a slightly better chance than it gave him at this stage of the cycle four years ago.

Biden seems to have received no significant voter bounce from the Democratic convention two weeks ago, while the Republican convention has focused the national debate on law and order and a couple of other issues that favour Republicans.

A Democrat voter in The Villages, Florida. Picture: AFP
A Democrat voter in The Villages, Florida. Picture: AFP

Trump-backers should not get carried away. Biden remains well ahead and is still the favourite.

All post-convention polls are difficult to judge properly. Very often what seems a trend is just a bounce. Losing candidates have had big post-convention bounces in the past.

However, the Trump figures are perhaps more significant because they are based not on making Trump likeable — whereas making a candidate likeable is often what conventions achieve — but on the policy contrast that Democrats favour a soft-on-crime approach, have taken identity politics too far and are loathe to confront and condemn the murderous riots, violence and looting ripping apart several US cities, while Republicans are tougher on these issues.

The pro-Democrat media’s desire until a couple of days ago to play down this violence is lampooned for headlines like: “People die as city burns in mostly peaceful protests”.

Almost as significant as the polls is the analysis of some of the most sophisticated anti-Trump commentators.

Joe Biden, left, and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris at the Chase Centre in Wilmington, Delaware. Picture: AFP
Joe Biden, left, and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris at the Chase Centre in Wilmington, Delaware. Picture: AFP

Andrew Sullivan, a moderate conservative who is a committed never-Trumper, wrote a powerful essay headed: Dems will lose if this election is about law and order.

George Packer, a distinguished journalist and author, a moderate liberal who is certainly anti-Trump but not especially rabid, wrote a piece in The Atlantic magazine titled: “This is how Biden loses”.

Sullivan and Packer both argued that by failing to mention the city violence at their convention, and then by making condemnations of the violence so hesitant and mealy-mouthed, Biden and the Democrats were ignoring undeniable facts that every voter in America was witnessing.

Nathan Robinson in The Guardian had a piece entitled: “It feels enormously like 2016 all over again”.

As demonstrations have turned into riots, and protester rhetoric has become more extreme, the Black Lives Matter movement has lost a vast amount of voter support.

Most Americans hate racism, and were appalled at the police killing of George Floyd in May, but the riots have turned them against BLM as a movement, and the weak Democratic response has pushed some of them at least into the arms of Trump.

This could be an extremely tight presidential contest.

Hundreds of trucks filled with supporters of US President Donald Trump drove through the city of Portland on August 29, with some reportedly firing paintball guns at protesters. The pro-Trump truck rally came on the same night that a man was shot and killed, a short distance from where confrontations between rival groups had been taking place. The man who was shot was reportedly wearing a hat bearing the insignia of Patriot Prayer, a right-wing group based in Portland. In this video, a man surrounded by trucks bearing pro-Trump slogans and US flags can be seen firing a paintball gun towards a small group standing next to a car with “black lives matter” written on its rear window in the parking lot of a mall in Happy Valley, a Portland suburb. Credit: @elisa_bleh via Storyful

Foreign Editor

Melbourne

Greg Sheridan, The Australian's foreign editor, is one of the nation's most influential national security commentators, who is active across television and radio and also writes extensively on culture. He has w...

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2020-08-31 09:09:00Z
52781018610149

China export update could halt TikTok sale to Microsoft or Oracle - NEWS.com.au

Time is running out for the viral video app TikTok to be sold or face being banned from the biggest market it operates in, but it has just had a spanner thrown in the works.

China updated export rules on Friday, expanding them to cover sensitive technology.

The next day its state media agency published an article featuring commentary from China University of International Business and Economics Professor Cui Fan, warning ByteDance might need a licence from the Chinese government in order to sell TikTok to an American company.

“For technology exporters who have not completed the transaction when the new catalogue takes effect, if they plan to export restricted technologies in the adjusted catalogue, it is recommended to suspend the negotiation and trade procedures and fulfil the relevant application procedures,” Prof Cui Fan told Xinhua.

RELATED: PM: No reason to ban TikTok

RELATED: Facebook boss’s anti-China push

TikTok’s potent recommendation algorithm, which many credit for the app’s success, is likely covered under Articles 21 and 18 of the updated catalogue, which notes “personalised information push service technology based on data analysis” and “artificial intelligence interactive interface technology”.

An executive order that TikTok has vowed to challenge in US courts has called for the app to be sold to an American company if it wishes to continue operating there, over fears about the Chinese parent company’s links to the Chinese Communist Party.

TikTok doesn’t operate in China, but an almost identical app called Douyin does.

The app has already been banned from India, meaning the United States is its biggest potential market (and already is).

Microsoft and Walmart (surprisingly) have joined together to bid for the app, competing against a rival consortium of potential investors led by enterprise software giant Oracle.

According to The New York Times, the updated catalogue, as well as the commentary in state-media signal “China’s intention to dictate terms over a potential deal”.

Both Microsoft and Oracle have considerable ongoing operations in China as well.

Chinese officials have accused the Trump administration of “bullying” TikTok.

US Centre for Strategic and International Studies senior adviser Scott Kennedy told the NYT thechange to the export rules was at the very least a “kneejerk assertion of sovereignty” from China.

“At a minimum they’re flexing their muscles and saying: ‘We get a say in this and we’re not going to be bystanders,’” Mr Kennedy said.

“It could be an effort to outright block the sale, or just raise the price, or attach conditions to it to give China leverage down the road,” he said, adding that at least China and the US appeared to be in agreement that ByteDance was a national security priority.

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2020-08-31 08:44:56Z
52781031081898

Australian universities’ secret ties to China to be investigated - NEWS.com.au

The Australian government has announced a far-reaching inquiry into Chinese Communist Party infiltration of the university sector.

It comes after an investigation by The Australian newspaper last week found dozens of country’s leading scientists had been recruited to China’s secretive “Thousand Talents” research program, which the FBI has described as an economic espionage and national security threat.

Academics who sign up to the research program are typically paid a salary of $150,000 in addition to other lucrative perks, but must agree to patent their inventions in China and abide by Chinese law.

The revelations raised fears Australian research was being misused to further China’s military advancement and even develop weapons.

The Australian reports Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton on Sunday wrote to the chair of the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security, Andrew Hastie, to outline the terms of reference of the inquiry into foreign interference in the university sector.

Mr Dutton has asked the PJCIS to examine “the nature and extent to which foreign actors are interfering in Australian universities, including staff and student bodies, publicly funded research agencies and competitive research grant agencies”.

Mr Hastie had last week described the disturbing reports as evidence Australian research and intellectual property was “being plundered by the CCP”.

According to the newspaper, the inquiry will examine whether knowledge and technology are being transferred to foreign powers against Australia’s national interest. It will also look beyond universities to encompass all publicly funded research and grants such as those handed out by the Australian Research Council.

“I wish to refer to the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security the matter of potential interference conducted by, or on behalf of, foreign actors, in Australian universities, publicly funded research agencies and competitive research grants agencies,” Mr Dutton said in the letter.

“Special focus should be given to options that reduce technological and knowledge transfer from Australia that may be detrimental to our national interests, while not undermining international productive research collaboration.”

ASIO, which has repeatedly warned universities of the potential risks of the Thousand Talents program, is expected to provide testimony along with the FBI and other security experts.

The inquiry will also look into the extent to which foreign actors threaten free speech at universities, and will likely hear from University of Queensland student Drew Pavlou.

The 21-year-old was banned from the university in May for alleged misconduct related to his on-campus anti-China activism, which last year saw a peaceful sit-in attacked by an estimated 200 Communist Party supporters.

“We need to make sure the national interest is being served through our ­research grants and that intellectual property is also being protected,” Mr Hastie told The Australian.

“We also need to ensure campus culture is not being shaped by foreign actors seeking to undermine the freedoms that make our universities places of learning and inquiry.”

Mr Pavlou on Monday lit a “victory cigar” outside the UQ campus to celebrate the announcement of the inquiry.

“(They) tried to remove me from the UQ Senate, so I’ve decided I’ll go to the big boy senate and testify in Canberra, where I’ll be explaining what I went through here,” Mr Pavlou said. “I’ve got a lot to say about what goes on in the UQ Senate, under parliamentary privilege. I have a lot of interesting things to say about UQ.”

Earlier today, China’s Ministry of Commerce announced a new investigation into Australia’s $1.1 billion wine export trade.

The investigation, which comes two weeks after China announced another investigation into whether Australian wine is being dumped in the Chinese market, will look at the range of subsidies available to the wine industry in Australia.

“The Chinese government has retaliated to our victory,” Mr Pavlou wrote on Twitter. “The CCP have announced a new ‘probe’ into Australia’s wine industry. Absolute sooks!”

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2020-08-31 05:55:57Z
52781032722764

Minggu, 30 Agustus 2020

Black Lives Matter protests, a shooting and a group called Patriot Prayer. What's going on in Portland? - ABC News

US federal authorities say all options are on the table to quell the unrest in Portland, Oregon after a man was shot and killed overnight.

Violent clashes erupted in Portland for the 90th straight day on Sunday (local time), as Black Lives Matter protests continue throughout the city.

Hold up, what's happening in Portland?

The Black Lives Matter protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd back in May. And the protesting didn't stop.

Many have ended with vandalism to federal and city property, including police stations, a county jail, the federal courthouse and Portland City Hall.

In July, President Donald Trump sent more than 100 agents from the Department of Homeland Security to safeguard federal buildings — a move that instead reinvigorated the protests.

Thousands of people clashed with the federal agents each night for two weeks in a two-block area of the city, with agents lobbing tear gas canisters and pepper spray at the crowds and some protesters tossing fireworks at the agents.

Federal agents withdrew on July 31, but smaller nightly protests have continued in pockets of the city.

Things escalated on Saturday night with the arrival of a caravan

A rider with a huge image of Donald Trump's head rigged to his motorbike smiles.
Donald Trump supporters taking part in Saturday's caravan.(AP: Paula Bronstein)

A caravan of about 600 vehicles of pro-Trump supporters arrived downtown just as a planned Black Lives Matter protest was getting underway.

Supporters of the US President gathered at a shopping centre in the city's south-east before they travelled into the city.

Most were flying Trump 2020 flag or a thin blue line flag, commonly associated with support for the police.

Police then said the caravan and protesters clashed in the streets with people shooting paintball guns from trucks and protesters throwing objects at the vehicles.

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The caravan marked the third Saturday in a row that Trump supporters have rallied in the city.

Then a man was shot

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Police respond to the shooting of a man during the protests in Portland.

Amid the Saturday protests, multiple gunshots rang out and a man fell to the ground. Police swarmed his body but the man died at the scene.

Police say he was shot in the chest, but it's unclear who's responsible or if it's related to the clashes between the caravan and protesters. The shooting happened minutes after the convoy left the city's CBD.

The victim is thought to be from a group called Patriot Prayer.

What is Patriot Prayer?

Founded in 2016, Patriot Prayer is a conservative Christian group based in Washington state, neighbouring Oregon in the north-west United States.

On its Facebook page, the group says it's about "using the power of love and prayer to fight the corruption both in the government and citizen levels that seek to gain power through division and deception".

Its supporters had been periodically coming to Portland to hold rallies for Mr Trump since 2017.

Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson identified the victim as Aaron "Jay" Danielson, who apparently also went by the name Jay Bishop, according to Patriot Prayer's Facebook page.

In a post on the group's Facebook page, Mr Gibson called the victim a "good friend," but provided no further details.

"We love Jay and he had such a huge heart. God bless him and the life he lived," Mr Gibson said in a Facebook post.

The President also retweeted the victim's name, writing "Rest in peace Jay!"

Then Trump weighed in, creating a testy news conference with Portland's mayor

After the shooting, Mr Trump shared a video of his supporters driving into Portland and called those in Saturday's caravan "GREAT PATRIOTS!"

That prompted Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler to accuse Mr Trump of sowing division.

"He encouraged them to come into our community and previously has actually encouraged or tacitly approved violence and so I'm not surprised in the slightest," he said.

The two engaged in a real-time argument on Sunday as the President sent a flurry of critical tweets about Mr Wheeler as the Mayor was holding a press conference about the shooting.

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After the President called the Democrat mayor a "fool" and blamed him for creating the toxic environment in the city that led to the shooting, the visibly angry Mayor lashed out at the President, addressing him in the first person through the TV cameras.

"How can you think that a comment like that, if you're watching this, is in any way helpful? It's an aggressive stance, it is not collaborative," Mr Wheeler said

"I certainly reached out, I believe in a collaborative manner, by saying earlier that you need to do your part and I need to do my part and then we both need to be held accountable.

"Let’s work together. Wouldn't that be a message? Donald Trump and Ted Wheeler working together to help move this country forward. Why don't we try that for a change?"

So what happens next?

Portland authorities urged people to stay away from the downtown area on Sunday where a protest had been planned.

As for the shooting, police have released little information.

Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said investigators were still gathering evidence, including surveillance video from area businesses.

Police have asked for any information related to the killing, including videos, photos or eyewitness accounts.

Mr Wheeler has begged those who wanted to come to Portland to "seek retribution" to stay away.

"If you're from out of town and you're reading something on social media — if you're reading any facts on social media — they're probably wrong because we don't have all the facts yet," he said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security says "all options remain on the table" to bring the unrest under control.

ABC/AP

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2020-08-31 03:51:00Z
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Auckland coronavirus restrictions eased as Kiwis embrace face masks - Sydney Morning Herald

Coronavirus restrictions in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, have been reduced to alert level two, after a two-and-a-half week period of stage three lockdown.

New Zealand reported nine new coronavirus cases on Monday, with five linked to the Auckland cluster and four in travellers who had returned to the country from India.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern travelled to Auckland on Monday morning to visit a government infrastructure project.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she is “angry” that incorrect advice was issued advising mass testing in Auckland.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she is “angry” that incorrect advice was issued advising mass testing in Auckland. Credit:Getty Images

Speaking to the media while wearing a blue surgical mask, Ardern said it was “fantastic” that mask use appeared to be widespread in the city.

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The prime minister warned that it was likely the country would see more coronavirus cases connected to the Auckland cluster to emerge for some time to come.

She acknowledged that people were fatigued by the re-imposition lockdown restrictions but said that "relative to others, we [New Zealand] are doing really well".

After exiting stage-three restrictions, Auckland is still subject to some additional measures, such as a limit on gatherings to 10 people - compared to 100 in the rest of the country, which is also at level two - and the eased restrictions have been dubbed "alert level 2.5" restrictions.

Health Minister Chris Hipkins said that Auckland Transport believed that nine out of 10 people on public transport were wearing public transport on masks, in line with the new country-wide regulations.

He added that "anecdotally" it appeared that about 50 per cent on the street in Auckland were wearing masks, too.

Police on the streets of Auckland are carrying extra masks to hand out to people who need them.

The Minister urged Auckland residents to follow the new health guidelines as “we continue to chase down the remnants of the current cluster”.

Auckland's Middlemore Hospital, which is treating patients with COVID-19.

Auckland's Middlemore Hospital, which is treating patients with COVID-19.Credit:Getty Images

Hipkins said he was pleased with the current testing levels, with 7219 people tested on Sunday. More than 60,000 people have been tested since a testing blitz that aimed to test 70,000 people was launched last week.

The country now has 131 active cases, including 24 in returned travellers and 107 active community cases, while 15 people have now recovered from the second wave outbreak of infections.

There are 11 people in hospital, including two people in intensive care.

Ordered testing blitz: NZ  Health and Education Minister Chris Hipkins.

Ordered testing blitz: NZ Health and Education Minister Chris Hipkins.Credit:Tom Lee/Stuff

A total of 128 people linked to the Auckland community outbreak are in a quarantine facility, including 85 positive cases.

The Health Minister also faced a series of questions about a Ministry of Health directive that stated, incorrectly, that all residents in West and South Auckland should get tested for COVID-19.

Ardern has also expressed her anger that that incorrect information had been published.

That directive has subsequently been withdrawn and Hipkins said something had been "lost in translation" within his department which led to the error being made.

He said it was not necessary for all residents of South and West Auckland to be tested but that there did need to be some level of testing of asymptomatic people in these areas.

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2020-08-31 02:23:00Z
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