Asia Pacific – The Eastern Link https://theeasternlink.com Connecting Regions of Asia. Mon, 03 Aug 2020 05:43:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.1 https://theeasternlink.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/cropped-external-link-symbol-32x32.png Asia Pacific – The Eastern Link https://theeasternlink.com 32 32 Global Report Records China’s Covid Woes, South-East Asia’s Poverty Fears https://theeasternlink.com/global-report-records-chinas-covid-woes-south-east-asias-poverty-fears/ https://theeasternlink.com/global-report-records-chinas-covid-woes-south-east-asias-poverty-fears/#respond Mon, 03 Aug 2020 05:39:16 +0000 https://theeasternlink.com/?p=6274

China has recorded its highest daily total of new Covid-19 cases since early March, as the United Nations warned the pandemic could force tens of millions of people in south-east Asia into extreme poverty. Chinese health authorities confirmed 127 new cases, including four imported and 123 local transmissions. Of the local transmissions, 112 were in Xinjiang […]

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China has recorded its highest daily total of new Covid-19 cases since early March, as the United Nations warned the pandemic could force tens of millions of people in south-east Asia into extreme poverty.

Chinese health authorities confirmed 127 new cases, including four imported and 123 local transmissions. Of the local transmissions, 112 were in Xinjiang and 11 in the province of Liaoning. Separately, authorities also reported 11 new asymptomatic cases.

This week has seen China’s largest daily rises in cases since the peak, with 105 reported on Wednesday, 101 on Tuesday, and 68 on Monday.

Global coronavirus cases stand at 17,219,767, according to the Johns Hopkins university tracker, with nearly 672,00 deaths.

In Xinjiang, strict anti-virus measures have been in place in the capital Urumqi for over a week, including the suspension of most public transport and flights, and controls on the entry and exit of people at housing compounds in some districts.

However, experts have sounded the alarm over the risk to people detained in China’s secretive internment camps. Clusters of infections have been recorded in Urumqi, and the city of Kashgar about 300km away, suggesting infections could be widespread in between. There are fears the virus could be brought into the camps by employees, or brought into the homes of Uighur and other Turkic minority families by Han Chinese who move into their house under a compulsory homestay program.

The Liaoning outbreak in the country’s east, is centred on the city of Dalian, but has spread to other cities and provinces in recent days. State media reported more than 17,500 medics had been mobilised to run almost 2,700 testing sites across the city. By midnight on Tuesday about 3.53m samples had been collected, CCTV reported.

Since bringing the virus largely under control after the outbreak began in Wuhan more than seven months ago, China continues to see frequent outbreaks in large cities, including in Beijing, and a second spike in Wuhan. Authorities have responded quickly with varying degrees of lockdown measures, and large-scale testing, which the state mouthpiece China Daily described as now being a “default response to new clusters of Covid-19”.

It said more than 2.3m tests were conducted in Urumqi in the first 10 days of the outbreak, and more than 1.2m on the first day of Dalian’s outbreak. In Urumqi 13 to 38 asymptomatic carriers a day were identified, China Daily said. A National Health Commission spokesman claimed China had the capability to test 3.78 million people a day, and had doubled the number of testing facilities between early March and late June.

In south-east Asia, the UN has said decades of progress in tackling poverty could be undone by the economic impact of coronavirus.

While many countries in the region have managed to control the pandemic, it has disrupted trade, and brought travel to a standstill in tourism-dependent countries such as Thailand. Migrant workers who send remittances back home to their families, a major source of income in countries such as the Philippines, have been left stranded and without employment.

The UN warned of rising unemployment in countries such as Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia, adding that: “[A] lack of secured income and sufficient social protection could force tens of millions of people into extreme poverty in this region,” it said.

It also raised alarm over the situation facing the region’s 218 million informal workers, who have not only lost their livelihoods but also face rising xenophobia in some countries.

The policy brief, released on Thursday, urged governments to fix long-standing problems such tax evasion, transfer pricing, and subsidies supporting fossil fuels, and called for higher health spending.

Across the region, it is estimated that GDP will contract on average by 0.1% in 2020, compared with a pre-Covid-19 forecast of 4.5% growth. Remittances from workers across east Asia and the Pacific are expected to fall by 13% or $10bn.

Vietnam has reported 45 new coronavirus infections in the city of Danang, marking the country’s biggest single-day jump in cases, as the health ministry sent more health experts to the central city in a bid to combat the outbreak.

In Indonesia, the governor of the capital, Jakarta, Anies Baswedan, extended social restrictions on Thursday to curb coronavirus transmission, warning of “a hike in cases”. Schools will remain closed and restaurants and public transportation will continue to operate at limited capacity until 13 August.

“There has not been any improvement from two weeks ago to right now,” he said, adding that there had been clusters found in offices in the capital.

Indonesia has reported a total of 106,336 coronavirus cases, the biggest in east Asia, though it is feared by some health experts that this is an underestimate.

The Philippines, which is also among the hardest hit in the region, announced on Friday that it would maintain coronavirus restrictions in the capital Manila until mid-August, following a rise in cases. This includes restrictions on movement for elderly and children, and limits on the capacity of businesses.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque this week promised “major changes” in the government’s response, but did not confirm if a stricter quarantine will be imposed. Roque said testing will be expanded and that the country will make greater use of PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests.

In other global developments:

  • The US economy shrank by an annual rate of 32.9% between April and June, its sharpest contraction since the second world war, government figures revealed on Thursday.
  • Tens of thousands of people in the north of England woke up to new lockdown restrictions that came into force at midnight on Thursday night. The new requirements will apply in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and East Lancashire after an increase in cases.

(Courtesy : Guardian)

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Asian Stockslide On War Fears https://theeasternlink.com/asian-stockslide-on-war-fears/ https://theeasternlink.com/asian-stockslide-on-war-fears/#respond Fri, 24 Jul 2020 08:37:08 +0000 https://theeasternlink.com/?p=6022

Asian shares slipped on Thursday as investors’ worries over rising tensions between Washington and Beijing overcame hopes for more economic stimulus, after the United States ordered the closure of China’s consulate in Houston amid accusations of spying. China said the order was an “unprecedented escalation” by Washington, and a source told the Reuters news agency that […]

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Asian shares slipped on Thursday as investors’ worries over rising tensions between Washington and Beijing overcame hopes for more economic stimulus, after the United States ordered the closure of China’s consulate in Houston amid accusations of spying.

China said the order was an “unprecedented escalation” by Washington, and a source told the Reuters news agency that Beijing was considering shutting the US consulate in Wuhan in retaliation.

US President Donald Trump said other consulate closures were “always possible”.

After ticking higher earlier in the morning session, MSCI’s broadest index of Asian shares excluding Japan was last down 0.3 percent, weighed down by slumping Chinese stocks. The Shanghai benchmark dropped 1.67 percent following four days of gains.

Australian shares were flat and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index reversed earlier gains to lose 0.08 percent.

Nikkei futures shed 0.13 percent to 22,755, with Japanese markets closed for a holiday.

US S&P mini-futures slipped 0.08 percent in Asian trading.

Further escalation of China-US tensions was increasingly likely, said Kay Van-Petersen, global macro strategist at Saxo Capital Markets in Singapore.

Phase One risk

“The biggest near-term risk to me … is Trump going further and breaking on the Phase One [trade] deal,” he said.

But he said unprecedented stimulus measures to boost pandemic-battered economies would continue to provide structural support for riskier assets.

“The forces of liquidity are just unparalleled … we’re seeing what happened post the [Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09], but we’re seeing it on steroids,” he said.

“It’s rare that you see both monetary and fiscal policy turned on, and then when they are, they only turn on for a little bit.”

Hopes for another round of US stimulus and strong corporate earnings boosted Wall Street overnight even as Republicans and Democrats remain far apart on how much to spend on the next round of coronavirus relief.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.62 percent, the S&P 500 gained 0.57 percent and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.24 percent.

In commodity markets, spot gold fell 0.3 percent to $1,865.84 per ounce, but remained near a nine-year peak on Thursday, with prices up nearly 23 percent on the year. Investors have flocked to the safe-haven metal as they seek shelter from a potential reversal in US equities.

Gold has been helped by a weak US dollar, which remained in the doldrums near more than four-month lows on Thursday, easing 0.05 percent to 94.965. The greenback was almost flat against the yen at 107.14 and against the euro at $1.1568.

Oil was also little changed, with US crude trading at $41.90 a barrel and global benchmark Brent crude up one cent to $44.30 per barrel.

Courtesy – aljazeera

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Philippines: Rappler Verdict A Blow To Media Freedom https://theeasternlink.com/philippines-rappler-verdict-a-blow-to-media-freedom/ https://theeasternlink.com/philippines-rappler-verdict-a-blow-to-media-freedom/#respond Mon, 15 Jun 2020 04:15:40 +0000 https://theeasternlink.com/?p=4961

The conviction of a prominent journalist for criminal libel is a devastating blow to media freedom in the Philippines, Human Rights Watch has said .  On June 15, 2020, a Manila court issued a guilty verdict for Maria Ressa, the founder and executive editor of the news website Rappler, and a Rappler researcher, Reynaldo Santos Jr. […]

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The conviction of a prominent journalist for criminal libel is a devastating blow to media freedom in the Philippines, Human Rights Watch has said .

 On June 15, 2020, a Manila court issued a guilty verdict for Maria Ressa, the founder and executive editor of the news website Rappler, and a Rappler researcher, Reynaldo Santos Jr.

Rappler reported that Ressa and Santos received an “indeterminate sentence,” with a minimum of six months and one day and a maximum of six years, and fines of P200,000 (US$4,000) in moral damages and another P200,000 in exemplary damages.

The verdict stemmed from one of several cases that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte instigated to stifle Rappler’s critical reporting on the government, particularly its murderous “war on drugs,” which has killed tens of thousands of people since July 2016. In addition to this case, Ressa and her colleagues face seven other cases in various courts for which she was arrested and detained, and posted bail.

“The verdict against Maria Ressa highlights the ability of the Philippines’ abusive leader to manipulate the laws to go after critical, well-respected media voices, whatever the ultimate cost to the country,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Rappler case will reverberate not just in the Philippines, but in many countries that long considered the country a robust environment for media freedom.”

In May 2012, Rappler published an article accusing then-Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona of impropriety for using an SUV owned by a businessman. The article predated the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, which includes the crime of libel. In February 2014, Rappler corrected a typo in the story, changing “evation” to “evasion,” thus technically updating the story on the website.

The businessman, Wilfredo Keng, used this “re-publication” as a legal basis to claim the story was covered by the Cybercrime Prevent Act, and filed a criminal libel case against Rappler in October 2017. Duterte’s Justice Department rushed to support the prosecution’s assertion that updating the story constituted “continuous publication,” and recommended that charges be filed against Ressa and Santos. In February 2019, the court issued arrest warrants against them.

The Duterte administration in this and other cases has demonstrated its determination to intimidate and shut down the Rappler website. Ressa and other Rappler journalists suffered a withering online campaign using what Ressa called the “weaponization of the internet” against critical media and citizens. Duterte banned Rappler’s reporters from covering the presidential palace.

The campaign against Rappler is widely seen as retaliation for the website’s reporting on Duterte’s “war on drugs,” which has included in-depth reporting on extrajudicial killings committed by police and police-linked “death squads.” Human Rights Watch’s own reports have corroborated Rappler’s findings. In May 2020, the government shut down ABS-CBN, the country’s largest broadcast network, which had also been critical of the Duterte administration.

The campaign against Rappler occurs in the context of worsening media freedom and freedom of expression in the Philippines. Journalists from other media groups have suffered intimidation and attacks online and offline. Recently, the government began targeting social media users who posted comments critical of the government, mainly on Facebook. The government has investigated dozens of social media users and arrested several for violating the country’s “fake news” regulations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The government should reverse this alarming affront to justice and quash the convictions of Rappler’s Ressa and Santos,” Robertson said. “The prosecution was not just an attack on these individual journalists, but also a frontal assault on freedom of the press which is critical to protect and preserve Philippines democracy.”

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Thailand To Tax Foreign Internet Companies https://theeasternlink.com/thailand-to-tax-foreign-internet-companies/ https://theeasternlink.com/thailand-to-tax-foreign-internet-companies/#respond Thu, 11 Jun 2020 06:11:09 +0000 https://theeasternlink.com/?p=4848

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand on Tuesday approved a draft bill requiring foreign digital service providers to pay a value-added tax (VAT), becoming the latest country in Southeast Asia to seek to boost tax revenues from international tech companies. Last month, Indonesia passed a law requiring big internet companies to pay VAT on sales of digital […]

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BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand on Tuesday approved a draft bill requiring foreign digital service providers to pay a value-added tax (VAT), becoming the latest country in Southeast Asia to seek to boost tax revenues from international tech companies.

Last month, Indonesia passed a law requiring big internet companies to pay VAT on sales of digital products and services from July, and in the Philippines a lawmaker introduced a similar bill in parliament to tax digital services.

The Thai bill, which still has to be voted on by Thailand’s parliament, requires non-resident companies or platforms that earn more than 1.8 million baht ($57,434.59) per year from providing digital services in the country to pay a 7% VAT on sales, deputy government spokeswoman Ratchada Thanadirek told reporters.

Thailand is expected to add about 3 billion baht ($95.72 million) to its coffers annually from the move, which will affect services such as music and video streaming, gaming, and hotel booking, she added, without naming any companies.

“These businesses would’ve had to pay VAT if they had been Thai, which is unfair,” Ratchada said.

Thailand, Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, has mulled taxing digital businesses for years, hoping to tap the country’s internet economy, one of the fastest growing in the region.

Thanawat Malabuppha, president of the Thai e-Commerce Association, told Reuters he welcomed the move, as it will help level the playing field for rival Thai businesses.

“Anyone who makes money from Thai people should pay taxes to the country,” he said.

Analysts say the COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated a push by governments around the world to tax internet companies, who could see a boost in revenues as people stay at home during global lockdowns.

Nearly 140 countries from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) are negotiating the first major rewriting of tax rules to take better account of the rise of big tech companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Google.

Southeast Asian regulators held talks last year on a region-wide effort to tax tech giants more, while industry groups have warned that over-regulation could blunt the region’s booming digital economy.

($1 = 31.3400 baht)

Courtesy – Reuters

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India-China Face-off In The Himalayas https://theeasternlink.com/india-china-face-off-in-the-himalayas/ https://theeasternlink.com/india-china-face-off-in-the-himalayas/#respond Thu, 28 May 2020 03:18:22 +0000 https://theeasternlink.com/?p=4262

(India complains of Chinese incursions, says it is determined to stop them) WHEN INDIAN and Chinese soldiers brawled at Pangong lake in Ladakh earlier this month—a punch-up serious enough to leave many in hospital—General M.M. Naravane, India’s army chief, was unworried. Such “temporary and short-duration face-offs” happened from time to time at such remote stretches […]

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(India complains of Chinese incursions, says it is determined to stop them)

WHEN INDIAN and Chinese soldiers brawled at Pangong lake in Ladakh earlier this month—a punch-up serious enough to leave many in hospital—General M.M. Naravane, India’s army chief, was unworried. Such “temporary and short-duration face-offs” happened from time to time at such remote stretches of the two countries’ 3,500km border, he said. Both sides had “disengaged”. But a week later he dashed north to the headquarters of his 14th Corps in nearby Leh, the state capital, suggesting that something more serious was afoot.

According to Indian press accounts, Chinese troops have crossed the disputed border with India at several points, some reportedly penetrating 3-4km over punishing Himalayan terrain. Many are said to have destroyed Indian posts and bridges, and dug in with tents and trenches. Incursions have been reported in at least three spots: the confluence of the Galwan and Shyok rivers; the Hot Springs area; and the northern bank of Pangong lake, the site of the original scrap (see map). On May 27th Donald Trump, America’s president, offered to mediate in what he described as a “now raging border dispute”.

There is considerable uncertainty over the precise size and location of the forces involved, but Ajai Shukla, a former army colonel now with the Business Standard, an Indian newspaper, estimates that three PLA brigades—each comprising thousands rather than hundreds of soldiers—are involved, one several hundred kilometres to the south of Ladakh near the separate Indian state of Uttarakhand. Though this might evoke images of an invading land army, the bulk of troops are likely to be to the rear, on the Chinese side, in support of intruders nibbling at smaller packets of territory  .

General Naravane is correct to say that face-offs are not unusual. Because the border between India and China is undefined, encounters between patrols on the “line of actual control” (LAC) are common. Beyond the demarcation issue lie vast, intricate and unresolved territorial disputes that led to a war in 1962. What makes the present imbroglio unusual is three things. One is the scale of forces involved. Another is the fact that encounters have twice deteriorated into fisticuffs in the past month; first at Pangong lake, and later at Naku La in Sikkim, over 1,000km away in the eastern part of the border.

Third, and perhaps most important, some of the alleged land-grabs seem to have occurred in the Galwan river valley area, beyond China’s own claim-line, ie, in territory which was not thought to be disputed. The valley is fraught with historical baggage: it was overrun by China in the lightning war in 1962, though later handed back. On May 25th the Global Times, a state-run tabloid in Beijing, stated baldly that “the Galwan Valley region is Chinese territory”.

One reason for China’s ire may be the uptick in Indian military construction on its side of the border in Ladakh. India has been upgrading border roads and improving infrastructure, making it easier to send patrols further forward. In particular, an Indian road running north to Daulat Beg Oldi, the world’s highest-altitude airstrip, and the site of a Sino-Indian standoff in 2013, was completed last year—a triumph of engineering in forbidding conditions.

The road, which runs along the Shyok river to the west of the Chinese positions in the Galwan valley, “appears to greatly strengthen India’s ability to move forces laterally across the disputed border in Ladakh,” says Taylor Fravel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. India’s construction of a smaller feeder road, branching off the main one, towards the LAC, might have triggered the Chinese incursions. P. Stobdan, a former Indian diplomat, notes that a Chinese advance into eastern Ladakh would be “disastrous for Indian defence”, possibly threatening India’s grip on the Siachen glacier, which is disputed with Pakistan.

It is the most serious crisis in India-China relations since a stand-off over Doklam, a site at the junction of India, China and Bhutan, in 2017. On that occasion Chinese road-construction in a disputed area was blocked by India, leading to a tense 73-day impasse. China eventually halted construction, but strengthened its military presence in the area. The lesson drawn by Indian leaders was that the best way to deter Chinese aggression was to stand firm.

Although China vastly outspends India on defence, the local military balance is more even. India’s armed forces in Ladakh are in a strong position today, having built up airfields, troops and tanks over recent years. “China is regularly operating with a permanent Indian conventional force advantage along its border areas,” note Frank O’Donnell and Alex Bollfrass in a recent study published by the Belfer Center at Harvard. “A limited conflict in eastern Ladakh is no longer a viable proposition for the PLA,” notes Arjun Subramaniam, a retired Indian air vice-marshal. “[The] costs for the PLA will be unacceptable.” Even resupplying its current forces through winter would be a challenge.

On May 26th Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, held a meeting with his national security adviser and service chiefs to consider the next steps. The problem for Indian leaders is that digging their heels in will not recover slivers of land that may have been lost in recent days and weeks. Should India push back, China might apply pressure in the eastern part of its border, which spans Sikkim, where the second bout of scuffles took place on May 9th, and Arunachal Pradesh. Its military position there is stronger, notes Mr Fravel. Meanwhile, accidents or misunderstandings can cause inadvertent escalation. India and China are both operating warplanes, helicopters and drones in the area. At the end of April, a helicopter carrying a senior Indian commander was reported to have been confronted by a pair of Chinese choppers. Foggy aerial jousting carries obvious risks.

For now, both countries are keeping their powder dry. Neither Indian nor Chinese officials are keen for Mr Trump to wade in; on May 27th they activated a high-level diplomatic channel for defusing tensions on the border, for the first time since last summer. China’s state-run newspapers, which struck a bellicose tone during the Doklam crisis, have been relatively subdued. Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, did not even mention India in his annual press conference on May 24th, and Chinese diplomats in Beijing and Delhi struck emollient notes in the following days. On May 25th Ram Madhav, the national general secretary of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, insisted that the “the situation is almost normal at this juncture”. That seems improbable. But it suggests that Indian leaders, who are also embroiled in a separate border dispute with Nepal this month, would also prefer to settle the problem quietly to whipping up a nationalist frenzy. That, at least, is good news.

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Trump For Complete Cut-Off With China https://theeasternlink.com/trump-for-complete-cut-off-with-china/ https://theeasternlink.com/trump-for-complete-cut-off-with-china/#respond Fri, 15 May 2020 07:11:09 +0000 https://theeasternlink.com/?p=3791

President Trump said the US could take the step of ending its relationship with one of its largest trading partners. We could cut off the whole relationship, Trump said, and he claimed the US would save $500 billion as a result. The administration is weighing several proposals to punish China for its handling of the […]

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President Trump said the US could take the step of ending its relationship with one of its largest trading partners. We could cut off the whole relationship, Trump said, and he claimed the US would save $500 billion as a result. The administration is weighing several proposals to punish China for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak. Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories. President Donald Trump said the US could take the extraordinary step of ending the relationship with one of the nation’s top trading partners as tensions mount between Washington and Beijing amid the pandemic. There are many things we could do. We could cut off the whole relationship, Trump said in an interview on Fox Business that aired Thursday. Now if you did, what would happen? You’d save $500 billion if you cut off the whole relationship. The president may have been referring to the $557 billion in imports from China in 2018. He also said he was upset with the country for failing to contain the virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan. I’m very disappointed in China, Trump said. Read more: A real-estate investor who generates $342,000 of annual cash flow shares his unique spin on a popular investment strategy that’s helped land him 114 units Such a step would likely inflict drastic damage onto the US economy, which still relies on significant trade with China. In recent weeks, Trump has railed against China for its management of the outbreak and ratcheted up his criticism. He claimed on Wednesday that Beijing could have put a stop to the pandemic, CNN reported. Other Republicans have echoed Trump’s combative rhetoric as well. Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina said in early April the US should make China pay big time. The administration is weighing several proposals to punish China by demanding financial compensation or stripping the country of its sovereign immunity to enable lawsuits from the US government and others, The Washington Post reported. Experts say the relationship between the US and China has grown more adversarial due to the trade war and national security issues. The coronavirus pandemic is tipping it further into that direction.

Courtesy – BusinessInsider

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‘Jesus To Keep COVID Away’ Pastor Faces 3 Years In Myanmar Prison https://theeasternlink.com/jesus-to-keep-covid-away-pastor-faces-3-years-in-myanmar-prison/ https://theeasternlink.com/jesus-to-keep-covid-away-pastor-faces-3-years-in-myanmar-prison/#respond Fri, 15 May 2020 04:30:58 +0000 https://theeasternlink.com/?p=3724

A Christian pastor from Myanmar, who preached belief in Jesus would keep Covid-19 away,  faces up to three years in prison. David Lah, a Canadian passport holder, and three others were charged with defying a ban on large gatherings imposed to tackle the coronavirus pandemic on March 13. Lah is now on a 21-day mandatory […]

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A Christian pastor from Myanmar, who preached belief in Jesus would keep Covid-19 away,  faces up to three years in prison.

David Lah, a Canadian passport holder, and three others were charged with defying a ban on large gatherings imposed to tackle the coronavirus pandemic on March 13.

Lah is now on a 21-day mandatory quarantine imposed on foreigners entering Myanmar who have suffered C-virus infection.. 

The pastor claimed devout Christians were immune to Covid-19 before catching the disease himself in April.

 In a video clip that went viral in mid-April, Lah told worshipers that those who are really believe in Jesus will not be infected by Covid-19.

Lah is a controversial figure because of his anti-LGBT and Islamophobic rhetoric, the report said.

Dozens of Buddhist monks have gone round cities like Mandalay, Myanmar’s second-largest city, chanting prayers to prevent the spread of the coronavirus that has ravaged many countries.

Some Buddhist figures have been promoting non-medical remedies and some Burmese people have been sharing myths about the coronavirus in the Buddhist-majority country.

One monk claimed that eating a lime and three palm seeds would keep the virus away, while another recommended consuming seven ground peppercorns.

In an impoverished country that had been isolated from the world for decades, some people still believe that they remain safe thanks to Theravada Buddhism and the prayers of senior monks.

A doctor in Yangon has reportedly said that Myanmar is lucky because it’s a Buddhist country and senior monks are always praying for safety.  

In neighbouring India, Hindu politicians and preachers have advocated cow urine therapy to keep C-Virus away.

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Why The French Are Silent On Wuhan! https://theeasternlink.com/why-the-french-are-silent-on-wuhan/ https://theeasternlink.com/why-the-french-are-silent-on-wuhan/#respond Thu, 07 May 2020 11:44:24 +0000 https://theeasternlink.com/?p=3488 Why The French Are Silent On Wuhan

(Easternlink has already exposed how US funded  $ 7.4 million to the controversial Wuhan lab responsible for the current C Virus pandemic. Now it brings another expose on the role of the French government in the Wuhan project)  The French government has been notably restrained in their criticism of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for […]

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Why The French Are Silent On Wuhan

(Easternlink has already exposed how US funded  $ 7.4 million to the controversial Wuhan lab responsible for the current C Virus pandemic. Now it brings another expose on the role of the French government in the Wuhan project) 

The French government has been notably restrained in their criticism of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for unleashing a pandemic upon the world.  One possible reason for their reticence is a single, highly embarrassing fact: They essentially built the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s P4 lab in which the coronavirus now sweeping the world was being researched, and from which it escaped. 
That the French delivered the turn-key, high-containment biolab to China has long been public knowledge, but now a German newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, has added riveting details to the story.  The insider information comes from interviews with French scientists directly involved with the effort.  
The picture they paint of the lab’s origins and operations is, to say the least, disturbing.  It tells us a lot about why we are currently in the midst of a pandemic. 
The French government agreed to construct the state-of-the-art lab on condition that scientists from the two countries would collaborate on joint research projects there.  The French were to have a significant presence.  According to the terms of the agreement, no fewer than 50 French researchers were to have taken up residence in the apartment building attached to the lab, where they would work on a daily basis.  
The construction of the Wuhan lab was completed by February 2017.  This was such an important moment in the history of Sino-French relations that the French premier, Bernard Cazeneuve, personally traveled to Wuhan for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. 
To the surprise and consternation of the French, that ceremony marked the effective end of the “research partnership” that the opening of the lab was supposed to inaugurate.  Now that China had the P4 lab and technology it wanted, it promptly stiffed its foreign “partner” and tore up the agreement it had signed. 
Not a single French researcher was allowed to take up residence in the compound and do research at the lab. 
The Chinese betrayal went largely unremarked by the embarrassed French government.  When asked about it on French radio, the former French Health Minister, Marisol Touraine, said only, “This is really unfortunate, since we wanted to share our knowledge.” 
To which one might respond: “You already have shared your knowledge, to the world’s great detriment.
Another notable who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony was Dr. Shi Zhengli, who is known as China’s “batwoman” for her work with bat coronaviruses.  Dr. Shi has long had a French connection, having received her PhD at the University of Montpellier in France in 2000.  In the run up to the opening of the Wuhan P4 lab, she received many months of intensive training at France’s only P4-lab, the Jean-Mérieux-Lab located in Lyon.  She was the one who—after the French were sent packing–was supposed to ensure that the staff was properly trained in the strict safety protocols of P4 labs and see that these were always carefully followed.
Shi Zhengli admitted to Scientific Americanthat she initially wondered whether the coronavirus could have come from her lab.  She was greatly relieved, she says, after a careful examination of her research records revealed that “none of the sequences [of the CCP Virus] matched those of the viruses her team had sampled from bat caves.” 
But there is another group of coronaviruses that are not found in “bat caves.”  These are the novel coronaviruses that are only found in Dr. Shi’s P4 lab because she herself is creating them.  For years, she has been usingrecombinant technology to create “enhanced” coronaviruses that are more infectious and more deadly than their natural analogs.  The goal of this “Gain-of-Function” research is, quite simply, to create “superbugs” for research purposes.  The CCP Virus seems to be one of these.
Since no foreign researchers, French or otherwise, have been allowed to conduct research at Dr. Shi’s lab, or to independently examine her research records, we currently have no way to directly verify that this is so.  And with the Communist Party “disappearing” those who deviate from the Party line, no Chinese witnesses to this fact are likely to come forward.  It might well cost them their lives.  As for Dr. Shi herself, China’s batwoman probably does not want to become known as China’s plague-woman.
More details about the French lab fiasco come from a book called France – Chine: Les Liasons dangereuses by the French expert on China, Antoine Izambard.  He states that the Chinese systematically sidelined the French from the very beginning of the construction of the lab.  Once the French engineers had turned over the blueprints, Chinese equipment suppliers suddenly moved in, undercutting the prices offered by French suppliers by cutting corners and using materials of low quality.  
Red flags immediately began to be raised.  The French company Technip, that was supposed to certify that the Wuhan lab was constructed according to the standards of the P4-lab of Lyon, refused to give approval.
Hervé Raoul, the director of the French P4-lab in Lyon that served as a model for the Wuhan lab, visited the facility many times when it was under construction, but professes ignorance about its current operations.  This in itself is extremely concerning, since Herve is listed on the Wuhan institute of Virology’s website as the “Deputy Director” of the “Scientific Advisory Committee of the Center for Emerging Infectious Disease.”  Yet he says now, simply: “There is no French researcher working in Wuhan, and I have no idea how the lab is functioning.”
The only Frenchman to have actually had access to the Wuhan lab since its opening is the microbiologist René Courcol of Lille´s University Hospital.  His job was to have overseen the proper implementation of safety standards in the lab and to certify that they complied with international guidelines.  The WIV’s website notes that Courcol visited the P4 lab in May, 2018, to “evaluate the progress of quality control construction work in Wuhan P4 Laboratory”. He was reported as saying that “He will try assisting WIV in creating a high-level national biosafety laboratory that combines biosafety management and quality control in the future.”
Since at that point the lab had already been researching dangerous coronaviruses for 15 months, this is hardly reassuring.  Even today, more than three years after its opening, the lab has still not been accredited by the WHO.  Dr. Courcol has offered no explanation why this might be so and, perhaps not surprisingly under the circumstances, is refusing requests for interviews.
In other words, from the beginning the Wuhan P4 lab failed to meet international standards.  What this means, according to Izambard, is that “the Wuhan lab’s handling of highly-contagious material was never adequately ensured.”
Given what a disaster for the French the P4 lab in Wuhan has become, it is worth asking why they embarked upon it in the first place.  Like so many other failed public and private ventures in China, it was an effort to increase trade with the Communist giant.  Add to this the fact that France already had close commercial ties with Wuhan, as more than 100 French companies were doing business there.
The stage was set for the P4 lab fiasco back in 2003 during the SARS-epidemic, when Chinese leader Jiang Zemin approached Jacque Chirac for help in building high-containment biolabs.  In response, the French president authorized the export of four medium-containment mobile biolabs, or P3-labs.  He did this against the advice of his own Defense Ministry, which argued that all existing P3-labs in China were under the direct command and control of the People’s Liberation Army and were being used for military purposes.
The French President’s authorization of the construction of a P4 biolab in Wuhan met even fiercer opposition, this time not only from his own Defense Ministry and the French intelligence service, the DGSE, but also from other member states of the European Union and from the United States.  The U.S. had consistently opposed helping China create a P4 lab, and transferring the sensitive technology required to operate it, because of the risk that the facility could be used for military purposes. 
I will close with this.  Six months before the official opening of the P4 lab the French Ambassador to China visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology and bestowed a medal on Dr. Shi Zhengli.   
Dr. Shi got a medal.  The rest of us got the CCP Virus.
( Steven W. Mosher is the President of the Population Research Institute and the author of Bully of Asia: Why China’s Dream is the New Threat to World Order. This was first published in lifesitenews.com)

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North Korea’s Kim dead ! https://theeasternlink.com/north-koreas-kim-dead/ https://theeasternlink.com/north-koreas-kim-dead/#respond Sun, 26 Apr 2020 10:05:24 +0000 https://theeasternlink.com/?p=2990

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un is either dead, brain dead or just fine, depending on which Asian media report you believe. The dictator, nicknamed “Rocket Man” by President Trump for his love of missile launches and nukes, underwent a stent procedure earlier this month that started a swirl of international speculation. A Hong Kong broadcast network claimed Saturday […]

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North Korea’s Kim Jong Un is either dead, brain dead or just fine, depending on which Asian media report you believe.

The dictator, nicknamed “Rocket Man” by President Trump for his love of missile launches and nukes, underwent a stent procedure earlier this month that started a swirl of international speculation.

A Hong Kong broadcast network claimed Saturday that Kim died, citing a “very solid source.” A Japanese magazine, meanwhile, reported late Friday that he is in “a vegetative state.” On Kim’s home turf, the North Korean media has acted as if everything is perfectly normal.

Other unconfirmed reports, attributed to senior Community Party sources in Beijing, claimed Kim succumbed when his surgeon botched the minor operation because his hands were shaking so badly.

The portly leader’s absence from Saturday’s much-ballyhooed 88th anniversary of the birth of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army further fueled the death talk.

Earlier in the week, President Trump downplayed reports that Kim is ill, and an official familiar with U.S. intelligence said the government had no reason to conclude he was seriously ill.

Still, the whispers grew louder when China dispatched medical experts to help treat Kim, Reuters reported Friday.

One Chinese medic told the Japanese magazine that the leader clutched his chest and fell to the ground on a visit to the countryside earlier this month. A doctor accompanying Kim performed CPR and took him to a nearby hospital, where apparently the procedure was performed.

If Kim is dead, official verification might only come from North Korea state media, which delayed the announcements of the deaths of Kim’s despotic predecessors, his father and grandfather, for up to four days.

“When it comes to North Korea you can never be too sure until you hear the news from the country itself,” said David Maxwell, a North Korea specialist at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. “But it’s worth noting that there are 6.5 million smartphones in North Korea now and even though the coverage is within the country, information has a way of getting out faster now than it did in the past.”

Maxwell theorized the coronavirus could have been a contributing factor if Kim turns out to be dead, especially since he has underlying conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. North Korea has claimed zero COVID-19 cases but could be lying, Maxwell said.

Kim has been supreme leader since 2011, when his father, Kim Jong Il reportedly died of a heart attack. Kim Jong Il had succeeded his father, Kim Il Sung, who died of a heart attack in 1994.

As for Kim’s potential successor, the smart money is on his little sister, Kim Yo Jong, 31. She is thought to be the youngest child of Kim Jong Il’s mistress Ko Yong Hui, who also gave birth to Kim and his older brother, Kim Jong Chol.

Besides being Kim’s chief aide, Kim Yo Jong is really the only family member left to take over.

Kim had his older half-brother assassinated in Malaysia in 2017. And Kim Jong Chol, who is three years older and known to be a superfan of Eric Clapton, was once dismissed as too “girlish” by their father to run the murderous regime.

“It would be unprecedented and shocking for there to be a female Great Leader but it wouldn’t be heresy,” Sung-Yoon Lee, a North Korea expert at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Diplomacy, told The Post. “The need to keep power in the family trumps everything, including any traditions of chauvinism or misogyny in North Korea.”

North Korea will likely shut down every inch of the border in the event of Kim’s death, Maxwell said, and the country’s Politburo will meet behind closed doors to designate his successor.

Both Kim Jong Un and his sister spent part of their childhood in Swiss boarding schools, where they learned English and had more than a taste of Western life.

Additional reporting by Jon Levine and Melanie Gray

Courtesy – NyPost

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