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Rabu, 30 Juni 2021

Live updates: Chinese Communist Party 100th year anniversary kicks off with President Xi Jinping speech - ABC News

Remembering the Tibetans who have been killed

Tibetan activist Tenzin Khangsar, who works as an interpreter in Australia, said he has heard testimony from several political prisoners seeking refuge from the Chinese Communist Party.
Chinese troops invaded Tibet in 1950 and formally incorporated the region into its territory the following year.

 
Beijing called it “peaceful liberation” but a resistance movement against Chinese rule saw thousands of people reportedly killed.

 
Around 80,000 people fled, including the Dalai Lama. 

 
“We have suffered immensely under the communist regime,” Mr Khangsar said.

 
“China approves repressive laws, politically, culturally, religiously and [causing] environmental destruction, hence the desperation [many of us] face in asking the international community to do something for Tibet.

 
“So this 100 years of the Chinese Communist Party for us, it's about [remembering] many Tibetans [who’ve been killed].” 

 
Reporting by Tasha Wibawa
 

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2021-07-01 02:44:20Z
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Live updates: Chinese Communist Party 100th year anniversary kicks off with President Xi Jinping speech - ABC News

CCP releases dozens of propaganda films and TV shows — but not all have gone down well

Supplied: Toutiao

  

China has recently released more than 10 films and 50 TV dramas which celebrate the party's birthday — but not all of them have been welcomed by audiences.
   
An upcoming propaganda movie, 1921, features the founding history of the CCP, but has faced backlash from Chinese nationalist audiences because of the casting of Mao Zedong. 

“Xujia Yan shouldn’t act as [Mao Zedong]. It was a humiliation for [Mao],” one netizen on Weibo said.    

Despite more than $11 million in ticket presales, many say that allowing Mr Yan to play Mao Zedong makes a mockery of the CCP leader. 
   
The backlash started after it was discovered that Xujia Yan, a rising and controversial C-pop idol, was having affairs while in a relationship. 
    
Dr Graeme Smith from the Australian National University said 1921 was one of the recent examples of young Chinese actors being used to promote propaganda among young audiences. 

“All media produced by the government is about telling a certain story about how history unfolded,” said Dr Smith, explaining the CCP’s long history of producing propaganda movies. 
     
“So that's why they love the movie format, in particular, because rather than sort of turgid things like textbooks, this is a great way to sell a version of history to your population.”

Reporting by Wing Kuang

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2021-07-01 01:25:28Z
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Live updates: Chinese Communist Party 100th year anniversary kicks off with President Xi Jinping speech - ABC News

Not every Chinese Australian is celebrating today

Ramila Chanisheff, an ethnic Uyghur, moved to Australia as a young child with her family after the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

“I've lived [in China], and my parents have lived there, so they know, we know, that everything that comes out of the Communist Party's propaganda is that everybody's living a happy life. And that is not the case,” she said.

“And the Uyghurs, who have suffered, and the Tibetans who have suffered within the past 100 years, are certainly not celebrating and are totally frustrated, angry and upset with these clamorous ways of showcasing what [the CCP] has achieved.”

An estimated 1 million people or more — most of them Uyghurs — have been confined in re-education camps in China's western Xinjiang region in recent years.

Chinese authorities have been accused of genocide, forced labour, systematic forced birth control and torture.

“So we're not happy, obviously. The [CCP] will never show the true side of what's happening on the land [of] its own citizens.”

Ms Chanisheff hasn’t heard from her family in Xinjiang in two years. 

Read the full story.

Reporting by Tasha Wibawa

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2021-07-01 00:13:15Z
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‘Abuse and torture’: US reacts to Donald Rumsfeld’s death - Al Jazeera English

Former United States President George W Bush released a statement Wednesday, remembering his former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as a “good-humored and big-hearted” Cabinet member concerned with the wellbeing of US military servicemen following news of Rumsfeld’s death at 88.

“On the morning of September 11, 2001, Donald Rumsfeld ran to the fire at the Pentagon to assist the wounded and ensure the safety of survivors,” Bush said. “For the next five years, he was in steady service as a wartime secretary of defense – a duty he carried out with strength, skill, and honor.”

While Bush remembers Rumsfeld well, it is likely history will not look kindly on their legacy, judging from initial reactions to Rumsfeld’s death.

Bush and Rumsfeld saw preliminary success after the US went to war with Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks on New York City and the Pentagon.

But these gave way to years of setbacks, a war with Iraq based on faulty intelligence, and international backlash over US use of torture and its military killing civilians, among other controversies.

Rumsfeld infamously said the war with Iraq, which was predicated on claims of then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction, would be a short war.

“I can’t tell you if the use of force in Iraq today would last five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn’t going to last any longer than that,” Rumsfeld said in a 2002 interview.

Oliver Willis, an editor at The American Independent, drew attention to this and another quote about Hussein’s alleged nuclear weapons programme, used to justify the war.

The war lasted from March 2003 to December 2011, when then-President Barack Obama ended the conflict. However, war reignited in 2013 as spillover from Syria’s civil war, and saw the US heavily engaged in Iraq until 2017.

The wars in Iraq killed hundreds of thousands, including tens of thousands of US military members. The total number of Iraqi civilian deaths is unknown. The Iraq Body Count project places the number of deaths since 2003 between 185,724 and 208,831, as of June 30.

That war and the Afghan war, which continues today, saw the US use torture on detained enemy combatants, a source of controversy for the Bush administration.

George Zornick, an editor at The Huffington Post, shared the memo Rumsfeld signed on December 2, 2002, which authorised 20-hour interrogations, use of phobias and stress positions.

These and other techniques came to be known as “advanced interrogation” during the Bush administration. They were determined to be torture by scholars and experts.

Zornick noted Rumsfeld handwriting at the bottom that challenged a four-hour limit on standing: “However, I stand for 8-10 hours A day. Why is Standing limited to 4 hours”.

Jameel Jaffer, the head of Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute and a former American Civil Liberties Union deputy legal director, said on Twitter: “Rumsfeld gave the orders that resulted in the abuse and torture of hundreds of prisoners in US custody in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay. This should be at the top of every obituary.”

Rumsfeld was also known to have had initial conflicts with Bush’s initial Secretary of State Colin Powell at the onset of the administration. Powell has yet to issue a statement on his passing.

However, Powell’s successor remembered him fondly. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the first Black woman to hold the office, took to Twitter to say she remembered the former defence chief as a “remarkable and committed public servant”.

Rice said she would miss Rumsfeld as a “colleague and as a friend”.

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2021-06-30 22:08:33Z
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‘There are known knowns’: Donald Rumsfeld dead at 88 - Sydney Morning Herald

By Will Dunham
Updated

Washington: Donald Rumsfeld, a forceful US defence secretary who was the main architect of the Iraq war until president George W Bush replaced him, has died at age 88, his family said in a statement.

He oversaw the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and claimed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. He famously used the phrase “There are known knowns” in reply to a reporter’s questioning about the lack of evidence for such weapons.

Donald Rumsfeld, the controversial face of US war policy, has died.

Donald Rumsfeld, the controversial face of US war policy, has died.Credit:Bloomberg

Rumsfeld would’ve turned 89 on July 9.

“It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of Donald Rumsfeld, an American statesman and devoted husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather,” the statement said. “At 88, he was surrounded by family in his beloved Taos, New Mexico.”

The statement did not say when Rumsfeld died.

Rumsfeld, who ranks with Vietnam War-era defence secretary Robert McNamara as the most powerful men to hold the post, brought charisma and bombast to the Pentagon job, projecting the Bush administration’s muscular approach to world affairs.

With Rumsfeld in charge, US forces swiftly toppled Iraqi president Saddam Hussein but failed to maintain law and order in the aftermath, and Iraq descended into chaos with a bloody insurgency and violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. American troops remained in Iraq until 2011, long after he left his post.

Rumsfeld played a leading role ahead of the war in making the case to the world for the March 2003 invasion. He warned of the dangers of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction but no such weapons were ever discovered.

Only McNamara served as defence secretary for longer than Rumsfeld, who had two stints - from 1975 to 1977 under president Gerald Ford, for whom he also served as White House chief of staff, and from 2001 to 2006 under Bush.

Then US president George W Bush, left, shares a laugh with his secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld in 2006.

Then US president George W Bush, left, shares a laugh with his secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld in 2006.Credit:Bloomberg

Rumsfeld was known for imperious treatment of some military officers and members of Congress and infighting with other members of the Bush team, including Secretary of State Colin Powell. He also alienated US allies in Europe.

In 2004, Bush twice refused to accept Rumsfeld’s offer to resign after photos surfaced of US personnel abusing prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad. The scandal triggered international condemnation of the United States after the photos showed US troops laughing and giving thumbs up as prisoners were forced into sexually abusive and humiliating positions including a naked human pyramid and simulated sex. One photo showed a prisoner forced to stand on a small box, his head covered in a black hood, with wires attached to his body.

Rumsfeld personally authorised harsh interrogation techniques for detainees. The treatment of detainees in Iraq and foreign terrorism suspects at a special prison set up under Rumsfeld at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, drew international condemnation, with human rights activists and others saying prisoners were tortured.

He was a close ally of Bush’s vice-president, Dick Cheney, who had worked for Rumsfeld during the 1970s Republican presidencies of Richard Nixon and Ford.

Then US secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld, centre, arrives unannounced at Baghdad International Airport in Baghdad, Iraq, in April 2006.

Then US secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld, centre, arrives unannounced at Baghdad International Airport in Baghdad, Iraq, in April 2006.Credit:Getty Images

Rumsfeld became a lightning rod for criticism and, with the Iraq war largely a stalemate and public support eroding, Bush replaced him in November 2006 over Cheney’s objections.

Bush announced his departure just days after vowing Rumsfeld would remain for the rest of his term and a day after midterm elections in which Democrats took control of Congress from Bush’s Republicans amid voter anger over the Iraq war.

Robert Gates, a soft-spoken but demanding former CIA director, took over from Rumsfeld in December 2006 and made sweeping strategic and military leadership changes in Iraq.

Many historians and military experts blamed Rumsfeld for decisions that led to difficulties in Iraq. For example, Rumsfeld insisted on a relatively small invasion force, rejecting the views of many generals. The force then was insufficient to stabilise Iraq when Saddam fell.

Rumsfeld also was accused of being slow to recognise the emergence of the insurgency in 2003 and the threat it posed.

The US occupation leader under Rumsfeld, L. Paul Bremer, quickly made two fateful decisions. One dissolved the Iraqi military, putting thousands of armed men on the streets rather than harnessing Iraqi soldiers as a reconstruction force as originally planned.

The second barred from Iraq’s government even junior members of the former ruling Baath Party, essentially emptying the various ministries of the people who made the government operate.

Rumsfeld also oversaw the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 to oust the Taliban leaders who had harboured the al-Qaeda leaders responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States. As he did in Iraq two years later, Rumsfeld sent a small force to Afghanistan, quickly chased the Taliban from power and then failed to establish law and order.

US forces during Rumsfeld’s tenure also were unable to track down Osama bin Laden. The al-Qaeda chief slipped past a modest force of US special operations troops and CIA officers along with allied Afghan fighters in the Afghan mountains of Tora Bora in December 2001. US forces killed him in 2011 under Barack Obama.

Critics argue that had Rumsfeld devoted more troops to the Afghan effort, bin Laden may have been taken. But as he wrote in Rumsfeld’s Rules, his compilation of truisms dating to the 1970s: “If you are not criticised, you may not be doing much.”

Another quote from the book was equally apt: “It is easier to get into something than to get out of it.”

Rumsfeld was known for his rollicking news conferences in which he sparred with reporters and offered memorable quotes.

Speaking in 2002 about whether Iraq would give weapons of mass destruction to terrorists, he said: “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don’t know we don’t know.” The concept stems from a psychology technique known as the Johari window used in national intelligence circles.

Rumsfeld later titled his memoir Known and Unknown.

“Stuff happens,” he told reporters in April 2003 amid rampant lawlessness in Baghdad after US troops captured the Iraqi capital.

During his time away from public service, Rumsfeld became wealthy as a successful businessman, serving as chief executive of two Fortune 500 companies. In 1988, he briefly ran for the Republican US presidential nomination.

Rumsfeld also served as a Navy pilot, US NATO ambassador and was elected to the US House of Representatives. He and wife Joyce had three children.

Reuters, staff reporters

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2021-06-30 19:35:31Z
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Donald Rumsfeld, former US defense secretary and architect of Iraq war, dies aged 88 - ABC News

Former US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld has died at the age of 88.

Mr Rumsfeld served under president Gerald Ford from 1975 to 1977, and then under president George W Bush from 2001 to 2006.

He was main architect of the Iraq War in the Bush administration, until Mr Bush replaced him as the US found itself bogged down after three and a half years of fighting.

Mr Rumsfeld played a leading role in making the case for the March 2003 invasion.

He warned of the dangers of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, but no such weapons were ever discovered.

US and allied forces swiftly toppled Iraqi president Saddam Hussein following the invasion but failed to maintain law and order in the aftermath. 

Iraq descended into chaos, with a bloody insurgency and violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

US troops remained in Iraq until 2011, long after Mr Rumsfeld left his post.

In a statement, Mr Rumsfeld's family said he died surrounded by family in the state of New Mexico.

More to come.

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2021-06-30 19:35:19Z
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More than 230 deaths reported in Canada amid historic heat wave - 9News

More than 230 deaths have been reported in British Columbia, Canada since Friday as a historic heat wave brought record-high temperatures.

The province's chief coroner called it an "unprecedented time."

"Since the onset of the heat wave late last week, the BC Coroners Service has experienced a significant increase in deaths reported where it is suspected that extreme heat has been contributory," Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe said in a statement.

A temporary misting station on Abbott Street during a heatwave in Vancouver, British Columbia.
A temporary misting station on Abbott Street during a heatwave in Vancouver, British Columbia. (Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The coroner's service normally receives about 130 death reports over a four-day period.

From Friday through to Monday, at least 233 deaths were reported, the chief coroner said, adding "this number will increase as data continues to be updated."

Coroners are now gathering information to determine the cause and manner of deaths and whether heat played a role, the statement said.

"Environmental heat exposure can lead to severe or fatal results, particularly in older people, infants and young children and those with chronic illnesses," the statement added.

Authorities earlier in the day reported a spike in sudden deaths for Vancouver and nearby Burnaby and Surrey.

Officers have responded to more than 65 sudden deaths since the heat wave began on Friday, Vancouver Police said.

"Today alone, officers had responded to 20 sudden deaths as of 1.45pm, with more than a dozen others waiting for police to be dispatched," the department said in a statement,

Heat-related deaths have depleted front-line resources and severely delayed response times, officials said.

"We've never experienced anything like this heat in Vancouver," media relations Officer Sgt Steve Addison said during a press conference.

Readings in downtown Vancouver were 37C on Saturday , 37.5 on Sunday and 38.6C on Monday.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police have responded to 35 sudden deaths in nearby Surrey since Monday, media relations officer Cst Sarbjit K. Sangha told CNN.

"While the causes of death has not yet been determined in each of these cases, we can confirm that Surrey RCMP is responding to a higher than usual number of deaths since the beginning of the extreme weather conditions," Cst Sangha said.

In the city of Burnaby, police responded to more than 34 sudden death calls since Monday, with heat believed to be a contributing factor in the majority of the deaths, according to a release from RCMP.

"We are seeing this weather can be deadly for vulnerable members of our community, especially the elderly and those with underlying health issues. It is imperative we check on one another during this extreme heat," Cpl. Mike Kalanj with Burnaby RCMP said.

Many of the deceased have been senior citizens, RCMP said, and police are urging people to check on loved ones and neighbours as the heat wave bringing record-breaking temperatures to the region continues.

The RCMP in Surrey is encouraging all residents, especially the elderly, to take precautions to protect themselves from heat injuries.

Severe weather splits house in two in South Australia

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2021-06-30 09:00:57Z
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Selasa, 29 Juni 2021

At least 69 people have died in Canada during a record-breaking 47.9 degree-heatwave - SBS News

At least 69 people in the Vancouver area have died in a record-smashing heatwave engulfing western Canada and the US Pacific Northwest, police have said.

Most of the dead in the Vancouver suburbs of Burnaby and Surrey over the past 24 hours were elderly or people with underlying health conditions, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said.

"Although still under investigation, heat is believed to be a contributing factor in the majority of the deaths," RCMP Corporal Michael Kalanj said in a statement.

Climate change is causing record-setting temperatures to become more frequent.

Globally, the decade to 2019 was the hottest recorded, and the five hottest years have all occurred within the last five years.

The scorching heat stretching from Oregon to Canada's Arctic territories has been blamed on a high-pressure ridge trapping warm air in the region.

On Monday, Canada set a new all-time high-temperature record of 47.9 degrees Celsius in Lytton in British Columbia, about 250 kilometres east of Vancouver.

Forecasters were expecting the record to go again on Tuesday, predicting 48.8 degrees Celsius heat in western Canada.

Temperatures in the US Pacific Northwest cities of Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington reached levels not seen since record-keeping began in the 1940s: 46 degrees Celsius in Portland and 108 degrees Celsius in Seattle, according to the National Weather Service.

Environment Canada has issued alerts for British Columbia, Alberta, and parts of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon and the Northwest Territories, saying the "prolonged, dangerous and historic heatwave will persist through this week."

The US National Weather Service issued a similar warning, urging people to "stay in air-conditioned buildings, avoid strenuous outdoor activities, drink plenty of water, and check on family members/neighbours."

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2021-06-29 22:00:34Z
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If the US went to war with China, who would win? It depends how it starts - Sydney Morning Herald

China and the United States are the great rivals in the competition to win the 21st century. But which one would have military superiority in outright conflict?

China-US superpower showdown: military strength

China-US superpower showdown: military strength Credit:Matthew Absalom-Wong

If China chooses to attack the island of Taiwan, the United States could be helpless to stop it.

By the time the People’s Liberation Army launches its third volley of missiles at the island Beijing considers a breakaway province, the US could be just learning of the attack.

In a matter of minutes, Beijing’s Rocket Force could cripple Taiwan’s military, infrastructure and ports.

Yet if China wanted to conquer Taiwan, the outcome could be different. Possibly completely different.

Credit:

China would have to launch an amphibious invasion, deploying troops along its beaches as the first step in a march towards the capital Taipei. Despite its 1.9 million-strong army, compared to Taiwan’s cohort of 150,000, the task of taking its island neighbour and holding it is a mammoth military challenge.

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said on June 3 that Taipei did not anticipate a conflict was going to break out any time soon, “but we are trying to get ourselves ready”.

“If there is going to be a war between Taiwan and China, we will fight the war ourselves,” he said. “If other counties come to our aid, that will be highly appreciated, but we will fight the war for our own survival and for our own future.”

In this scenario, the US and its allies could respond by conducting airlifts to Taiwan. The US could also use submarines and stealth aircraft to attack China’s shipping fleet in the Indian Ocean to cripple its economic lifelines in times of a crisis.

The divergence of the two Taiwan scenarios, a Chinese military attack or an invasion, says a lot about the relative military power of the US and China, itself a barometer of the strength of the two superpowers.

“I told President Xi that we will maintain a strong military presence in the Indo-Pacific just as we do with NATO in Europe not to start conflict, but to prevent conflict,” US President Joe Biden told a joint session of Congress in April.

A month earlier, Xi Jinping had told the People’s Liberation Army: “We should persist in using combat to guide our work; step up preparations for war.”

Today, China’s military spending is the second-highest in the world after the United States and continues to rise. Its military budget is greater than the combined expenditure of India, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

The Chinese defence budget reached $324 billion this year. It has been growing by 6-8 per cent each year for the past five years but according to defence intelligence agency Janes, US spending remains miles ahead at $759 billion.

China had 55 small war ships in 2020, more than double the number it had five years ago. Six large amphibious vessels have been launched, three since 2015, and a third aircraft carrier, larger than its predecessors, will soon be completed.

Meia Nouwens from the International Institute for Strategic Studies said Beijing was intent on achieving primacy in the waters that surround China.

“China is also developing the capabilities needed to support military operations at range,” said Nouwens, suggesting they could attack across large distances.

China’s focus on its region would give it a local advantage in any clash with the US.

Oriana Skylar Mastro of Stanford University has testified that “China dedicates all its resources to planning and preparing for a contingency in east Asia, while the US has additional responsibilities in the Middle East, Europe and worldwide”.

If a conflict were to erupt in east Asia, “then the Chinese military is closer to on par with the United States”.

China’s military build-up is making a difference.

Only a decade ago, the US would have easily dominated the Chinese military in almost any scenario, says Australian National University Professor Stephan Fruehling. “I think the US now accepts it may lose a conflict – at least at the conventional level – with China.”

Better trained or better placed

The geographic focus is decisive. The US Air Force boasts nearly 2300 warplanes in service, with another 1422 aircraft in use for the US Navy and Marines, Janes calculates.

But all the US planes cannot be dispatched to China’s coastline. Certainly not in the six-to-eight minutes it could take a DF-11 A rocket to cross the 130 kilometre-wide Taiwan Strait to its target.

China’s 1264 warplanes, meanwhile, are based in China.

It’s a similar story with troops.

The US’s 1.38 million active personnel are better trained and equipped than many of their 1.9 million Chinese peers – but getting them in place, and in time, to take on China would be a crucial task.

There are less quantifiable aspects as well.

The last time Chinese troops saw direct action was 1979 when China launched a costly month-long war against Vietnam to teach it a lesson in retaliation for Hanoi’s actions in south-east Asia.

The US military has been racking up decades of in-the-field experience, most recently with deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Middle East. While these have been costly, they also provided invaluable combat experience.

US soldiers, some seen here at a military exercise in Morocco earlier in June, have been deployed to battles across the world for the past 50 years.

US soldiers, some seen here at a military exercise in Morocco earlier in June, have been deployed to battles across the world for the past 50 years. Credit:AP

China is aware of this gap. Its army is now deploying troops to Africa for peacekeeping missions that give first-hand experience in conflict zones after decades of relative peace.

The structure of the military is also different. Rockets figure heavily in Beijing’s arsenal. The 100,000-strong Rocket Force was made a separate branch of the People’s Liberation Army in 2015.

“The PLA’s missile forces are central to China’s efforts to deter and counter third-party intervention in a regional conflict,” a US congressional report concluded this month.

The US believes China has about 2000 mid-range missiles in place, which could ward off the US Navy in a conflict.

China’s nuclear weapons are estimated to number between 200 and 350, a mere 5 per cent of the United States’ arsenal, but potentially enough to deter broader conflict through the prospect of mutual destruction.

The frontlines of sea and space

Should a war break out around the South China Sea, the US would be under pressure to quickly neutralise the roughly 10 man-made islands China has created (seen as “unsinkable aircraft carriers”) to use as military bases.

The US would be challenged by a powerful Chinese fleet in the region.

Brooking Institution’s Michael O’Hanlon writes that the location of China’s new fleet of attack submarines could act as a deterrent to US military escalation.

“The only truly reliable way to counter the threat would be to attack the submarines in port when they refuel and rearm,” he writes. But that would require strikes on China’s mainland, “with all the enormous risks of escalation that could portend”.

One option to attack the man-made islands would be to send in teams of US Marine Raider commandos to destroy weapons systems.

Satellite image of Chinese vessels in the Whitsun Reef in a disputed zone, March 23, 2021.

Satellite image of Chinese vessels in the Whitsun Reef in a disputed zone, March 23, 2021. Credit:Maxar Technologies via AP

But precision bombing requires the military to have access to space, where orbiting satellites help guide munitions.

In July 2020, BeiDou, China’s version of GPS became fully operational, allowing it to track ships, planes, cars and smartphones from space without relying on the US technology that has dominated global positioning for decades.

“Space would be the first place both sides would go to strike the others’ forces in event of a conflict,” says Tate Nurkin of the US-based Intelligence Group.

China or the US could do this by feeding misleading information to satellites from the ground – known as “spoofing” – to stop the space-based location pinpointing needed for weapons.

“China would seek to pluck out the eyes and ears of the US and allies to make them blind on the battlefield,” said Malcolm Davis, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

The US has launched 615 satellites into space in the last three years, compared to 168 by China, according to Lowy.

While the US remains ahead in space for now, Davis says how long US dominance lasts “is not clear”.

Performers dressed as the military celebrated China’s military might on Monday night’s gala in Beijing to celebrate the Chinese Communist Party’s centenary.

Performers dressed as the military celebrated China’s military might on Monday night’s gala in Beijing to celebrate the Chinese Communist Party’s centenary. Credit:Getty

Changing the status quo

Mastro notes that in war scenarios the US wants to maintain the status quo in the region while China wants to change it.

“China is largely trying to take territorial control,” which makes east Asia a likely location for trouble.

And that takes the issue of US-China military prowess back to the all-important issue of politics.

In the event of a war: what would Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and Australia do? These are all Cold War allies of the US, but they have not had to think about war in the region since the 1970s.

What determines victory, loss or stalemate between the US and China is likely to be determined by the murky calculus of how much risk and how much pain and loss both sides could endure.

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2021-06-29 19:00:00Z
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150 still missing, 11 dead as Miami building collapse search stretches to day six - ABC News

Three generations of the one Argentine family are among the 150 people who remain unaccounted for after the collapse of a 12-story beachfront condominium building in Florida on Thursday. 

Search-and-rescue operations have stretched into a sixth day after Monday's efforts recovered just two additional bodies. 

The death toll from the unexplained cave-in of nearly half of the 156-unit building now stands at 11, in what may end up as the deadliest unintentional structural failure in US history.

US President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will travel to Surfside on Thursday (local time) to meet the families of victims.

Mr Biden has offered federal help and extended his concerns to the community as people "grieve their lost loved ones and wait anxiously as search and rescue efforts continue," as he said in a tweet.

"They want to thank the heroic first responders, search and rescue teams, and everyone who has been working tirelessly around the clock and meet with the families who have been forced to endure this terrible tragedy waiting in anguish and heartbreak for word of their loved ones," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

The victims include an elderly couple from Venezuela, a young Puerto Rican man with muscular dystrophy and his mother, and a 55-year-old man who had recently married.

Search and rescue team look through rubble of collapsed Miami condo.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue says more than 300 first responders are operating on a continuous rotational 12-hour period.(

AP: Matias J Ocner, Miami Herald

)

Rescuers are using bucket brigades and heavy machinery as they work atop a precarious mound of pulverised concrete, twisted steel and the remnants of dozens of households.

The efforts included firefighters, sniffer dogs and search experts using radar and sonar devices.

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No survivors have been pulled from the ocean-front ruins of the Champlain Towers South condo in the town of Surfside, near Miami, since the first hours after the building abruptly crumbled into a heap early Thursday as residents slept.

"We have people waiting and waiting and waiting. That is excruciating," Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a news briefing late Monday local time. 

More than 100 relatives gather for sombre reflection

Since Sunday, relatives have been permitted to visit the site, watching rescue efforts from outside a neighbouring building.

Some held onto each other for support. Others hugged and prayed. Some people took photos.

Five members of the Argentine Cattarossi family,  including a single mother, her seven-year-old daughter and her own parents were all still missing.

Linda March, whose penthouse apartment was ripped apart; Elaine Sabino, a former baton twirler and flight attendant, and Claudio Bonnefoy, a second cousin of the former Chilean president, are also among those unaccounted for.

A woman in white stands in the middle of a circle of people at the beach for a night-time vigil.
The vigil remembered those that died, are missing and those injured after the residential building collapsed last Thursday. (

Reuters: Marco Bello

)

As darkness fell over the site on Monday, more than 100 people gathered sombrely, some holding candles, a short distance from where one crane stood illuminated against the night sky.

A woman led the group in a meditation and someone sounded a gong. Behind them, in enormous letters, the word "HOPE" had been inscribed in the sand.

Some relatives of the missing have provided DNA samples to officials for use in positively identifying remains.

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High-risk rescue mission

The pancake collapse of the building left layer upon layer of intertwined debris, frustrating efforts to reach anyone who may have survived in a pocket of space.

"Every time there's an action, there's a reaction," Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah said during a news conference.

"It's not an issue of we could just attach a couple of cords to a concrete boulder and lift it and call it a day."

Underscoring the risks of the work, he noted that families who rode buses to visit the site on Sunday witnessed a rescuer tumble 25 feet down the pile. Workers and victims must both be considered, he said.

"It's going to take time … It's not going to happen overnight. It's a 12-story building."

Eight unifiormed resuce workers in hard hats scan the rubble and debris left behind by a collapsed building.
Rescue crews have found spaces large enough for people to stay alive in.(

Reuters: Marco Bello

)

Rescuers not giving up hope

Jimmy Patronis, Florida's chief financial officer and state fire marshal, said it was the largest deployment of such resources in Florida history that was not due to a hurricane.

"They're working around the clock," Mr Patronis said.

Authorities on Monday insisted they were not losing hope.

Andy Alvarez, a deputy incident commander with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, told ABC's "Good Morning America" that rescuers have been able to find some voids, or spaces, inside the wreckage, mostly in the basement and the parking garage.

"We have been able to tunnel through the building," Mr Alvarez said.

"This is a frantic search to seek that hope, that miracle, to see who we can bring out of this building alive."

Cause of collapse may take years to investigate 

The cause of the collapse at the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, near Miami, remains under investigation.

The building collapsed just days before a deadline for condo owners to start making steep payments toward more than $US9 million ($12 million) in repairs that had been recommended nearly three years earlier, in a report that warned of "major structural damage."

A federal team of scientists and engineers are conducting a preliminary investigation at the site and will determine whether to launch a full probe of what caused the building to come down.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology also investigated disasters such as the collapse of the twin towers on 9/11, Hurricane Maria's devastation in Puerto Rico and a Rhode Island nightclub fire that killed 100 people.

Previous investigations have taken years to complete.

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How did a Miami Beach apartment block that withstood hurricanes for decades suddenly implode?

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2021-06-29 16:45:16Z
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Former South African president Jacob Zuma jailed for 15 months - ABC News

Former South African president Jacob Zuma has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for defying a court order to appear before an inquiry probing wide-ranging allegations of corruption during his tenure.

Zuma was not in court on Tuesday when he was found guilty of contempt of court and has been ordered to hand himself over within five days to a police station in his hometown of Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal province or in Johannesburg.

This is the first time in South Africa's history that a former president has been sentenced to prison.

The country's Constitutional Court ruled that Zuma defied an order by refusing to cooperate with the commission of inquiry, which is chaired by deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo.

"The Constitutional Court holds that there can be no doubt that Mr Zuma is in contempt of court," acting chief justice Sisi Khampepe said.

"Mr Zuma was served with the order and it is impossible to conclude anything other than that he was unequivocally aware of what it required of him."

She said the court found it impossible to conclude Zuma would comply with any order other than a prison sentence.

"Mr Zuma has repeatedly reiterated that he would rather be imprisoned than to cooperate with the commission or comply with the order made," she said.

Zuma has previously expressed his unwillingness to appear before the inquiry, which has so far heard evidence directly implicating him in wrongdoing.

In a previous 21-page letter written to Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, which the court has described as "scandalous", Zuma claimed he was ready to be sent to prison.

AP

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2021-06-29 11:08:37Z
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No chance of Harry and William making up while Meghan has her husband 'so under the thumb' - PerthNow

The rift between Prince Harry and Prince William will never be healed because Meghan has her husband “so under the thumb”.

Royal biographer Hugo Vickers says the warring princes don’t stand a chance of reuniting because the Duchess of Sussex would “bite Harry’s head off”.

Mr Vickers believes there will be no emotional reunion for the brothers at the unveiling of their mum Princess Diana’s statue at Kensington Palace to mark what would have been her 60th birthday on Thursday.

Harry has flown into London for the event.

“Harry is so under the thumb of Meghan it is not really possible until he emerges from that,” Mr Vickers told a British newspaper.

The brothers will meet for the unveiling of Princess Diana’s statue on Thursday — but there will no ‘emotional reunion’.
Camera IconThe brothers will meet for the unveiling of Princess Diana’s statue on Thursday — but there will no ‘emotional reunion’. Credit: AP

“Harry has got to wake up to what’s going on. It’s a very unpleasant situation and I don’t think it’s going to be the right moment this week.

“I don’t know what they can do under the present circumstances.”

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Mr Vickers said Harry was on a hiding to nothing whatever he did.

“You’ve got to remember that Harry has to return to his wife in Los Angeles,” he said.

“If he starts reconciling, he will get his head bitten off, won’t he? He has thrown in his lot with his wife. That’s it, isn’t it?

“Slagging off his family didn’t help anybody. It’s a dreadful situation.”

Prince Harry and Meghan, and Prince William and Kate are headed by Prince Charles at a service at Westminster Abbey. The brothers hardly talk.
Camera IconPrince Harry and Meghan, and Prince William and Kate are headed by Prince Charles at a service at Westminster Abbey. The brothers hardly talk. Credit: Phil Harris/AP

Harry and William have hardly talked and have only had a few text exchanges since the bitter fallout.

“There have not been any personal chats or proper talks, just a very brief and minimal exchange of text messages,” a source said.

“The relationship is still very much strained and there’s no sign yet that there will be any sort of coming together any time soon.”

RELATED

Prince Harry’s nod to William in moving speech at Diana Awards

Harry & Meghan in ‘holy water’ garden furore

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2021-06-29 07:05:00Z
52781691318407

Mexican Supreme Court rules government should legalise recreational marijuana - ABC News

Mexico's Supreme Court has ordered the government to issue permits for the personal use of marijuana and for the growing of limited amounts of cannabis plants, after the country's Congress took too long to approve a limited legalisation law. 

In 2019, the court ruled that prohibiting marijuana was unconstitutional, and gave parliamentarians until this past April 30 to pass a law.

In March, the lower house approved a marijuana legalisation bill, but it was bogged down in the Senate. 

Under the new court ruling, people who want to smoke marijuana or grow a few cannabis plants for their own use can ask for a government permit until some legislation is enacted.

They would have to be adults, abstain from using marijuana around children, and refrain from driving or engaging in other risky activities while under the influence.

Similar permits have existed since 2015, but are granted only to people who file for court injunctions.

Under Monday's ruling, the Health Department would be required to accept applications for permits from the general public.

"A historic day for freedoms," Supreme Court Judge Arturo Zaldivar Lelo de Larrea wrote on his Twitter.

Medicinal marijuana use has been legal in Mexico since 2017 and is allowed in a number of other Latin American countries.

But only Uruguay allows recreational use of pot in the region.

The bill approved by the lower house in March would permit recreational use of marijuana, but establish a system of licences required for the entire chain of production, distribution, transformation and sales.

It would also require that individuals, and not just associations of users, have a permit to grow plants for personal use.

A tattooed arm touches marijuana leaves
It is hoped decriminalisation will take power away from Mexico's powerful drug cartels.(

AP: Marco Ugarte

)

Each individual would be allowed to have six plants, with a maximum of eight per household.

Adults could use marijuana without affecting others or children, but if caught with more than one ounce (28 grams) they would be fined.

They could face jail time if they had more than 12 pounds (5.6 kilograms).

Politicians who support the bill say it will move the marijuana market out of the hands of Mexico's powerful drug cartels to the government.

But experts fear transnational corporations will be the primary beneficiaries rather than consumers or the farmers who have formed the lowest rung of the marijuana production chain.

AP/Reuters

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2021-06-29 05:05:29Z
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