Monday, August 10, 2020

Hong Kong media tycoon arrested under national security law

Apple Daily owner Jimmy Lal. (ANI)

Hong Kong, Aug 10 (ANI): Continuing with the ruthless suppression of the dissenting voices in Hong Kong since the national security law was imposed, Jimmy Lai, a media tycoon and critic of the Chinese Communist Party, was arrested on Monday on charges of "collusion with a foreign country". The New York Times reported that Lai's company Next Digital publishes Apple Daily, a fiercely pro-democracy newspaper that regularly takes on the Hong Kong government and the Chinese leadership. He is denounced by Chinese officials, pro-Beijing news outlets in Hong Kong, and China's state-run news media.

According to Apple Daily, 72-year-old Lai was being investigated on charges of partnering with a foreign country. Besides Lai, his two sons have also been arrested on charges of violating company business code. The New York Times quoted Mark Simon, a senior executive with Next Digital, as saying that Lai's sons had no involvement with Apple Daily, thus indicating the fact that the authorities are probing into Lai's private investments as well.

Meanwhile, several senior employees of Next Digital are being questioned. The Hong Kong Police tweeted, "So far, 7 people, aged between 39 to 72, have been arrested on suspicion of breaches of the National Security Law. Offences include collusion with a foreign country/external elements to endanger national security, Article 29 of the NSL. Investigation is underway." The media mogul was earlier arrested in February for participating in unauthorised protest last year. He faces charges for joining an unauthorised vigil on June 4 to mark the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown by Beijing, the New York Times reported.

In one of his articles published by The New York Times, he wrote, "I have always thought I might one day be sent to jail for my publications or for my calls for democracy in Hong Kong...But for a few tweets, and because they are said to threaten the national security of mighty China? That's a new one, even for me." The draconian law is aimed at crushing dissent in the erstwhile British colony which saw massive pro-democracy protests last year.

The legislation, which came into effect on July 1, punishes what Beijing terms secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference with up to life in prison. Several countries have suspended their extradition agreements with Hong Kong in the wake of imposition of the controversial security law.

Germany has decided to suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, Foreign Minister Heiko Mass, said on Friday (local time) after the erstwhile British colony decided to postpone legislative council elections. China earlier announced the suspension of Hong Kong's extradition treaties with Canada, Australia and Britain after the three countries announced similar decisions in protest to controversial new security law. (ANI)

Indians, Vietnamese, Tibetans and Taiwanese hold anti-China protest at Capitol Hill

By Reena Bhardwaj
Washington [US], Aug 10 (ANI): Vietnamese Americans and members of the Tibetan community joined a group of Indian-origin Americans in 'America Protest Against Communist China' demonstration outside the Capitol Hill on Sunday (local time).

Since the Galwan standoff between India and China, anti-China protests have broken out in several cities in the United States including New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta. Scenes in Washington looked no different with people holding placards, raising the American national flags along with chanting pro-India and anti-China slogans.

The protestors believe that even though the "boycott China" campaign has already been more successful than anticipated, there is still a lot to be done apart from simply stalling the use of Chinese products. They also stressed that the protest is not against the people of China, instead, it's against the Chinese Communist Party.

Adapa Prasad, a community leader, who was at the forefront of calls for the boycott on China protest in Washington, described China as a nation on an expedition to grab other people's land. He said China is a nation that is opting and displaying the "expansionist policy apart from stealing, lying, backstabbing its neighbours including India".

"China is aggressively trying to steal the land from India in Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh. They are intimidating Bhutan. They have also claimed that the Tajikistan mountains belong to them. Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, Russia are also victims of China's expansionist policies," Prasad told ANI.

"In DC, we have a people to people contact with all the victims of China like Vietnam, Tibet, Taiwan and Hong Kong, Together we are planning a bigger congregation to protest against China in October. We are also come up with ways to shift the supply chain in other countries in the region apart from China," he added.

Joining Prasad and the Indian community in the protest was a representative of the Vietnamese immigrants' community living in the United States. Talking to ANI, Mac John, said, "Our common threat is communism and not the Chinese people."

John, who also is a strong supporter of President Donald Trump, is looking forward to mobilising larger Vietnamese groups to come out and raise their voice against the people's Republic of China.

Echoing similar sentiment, Srilekha Palle, a republican supporter and an active member of the Indian community, said, "I am totally against communist China bullying America and the global world."

Representing the Sikh community in the demonstration was Kanwaljit Singh Soni, president of the Sikhs of America. He said, "China must compensate to the world for spreading coronavirus." (ANI)

PM Modi to inaugurate submarine optical fibre cable connecting Chennai, Port Blair today

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Photo: ANI)

New Delhi (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) connecting Chennai and Port Blair on Monday through video conferencing. He said that inauguration of the submarine Optical Fibre Cable in Andaman and Nicobar Islands will ensure high-speed broadband connectivity, fast mobile and landline telecom services and will give a big boost to the local economy.

"Today, 10th August is a special day for my sisters and brothers of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. At 10:30 this morning, the submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) connecting Chennai and Port Blair will be inaugurated," the Prime Minister tweeted. "Inauguration of the submarine Optical Fibre Cable in Andaman and Nicobar Islands ensures: High-speed broadband connectivity. Fast and reliable mobile and landline telecom services. Big boost to the local economy. Delivery of e-governance, telemedicine and tele-education," he added.

According to a release by Prime Minister's Office (PMO), the submarine cable will also connect Port Blair to Swaraj Dweep (Havelock), Little Andaman, Car Nicobar, Kamorta, Great Nicobar, Long Island, and Rangat. The foundation stone for this project was laid by the Prime Minister on December 30, 2018, at Port Blair.

"Once inaugurated, the submarine OFC link will deliver bandwidth of 2 x 200 Gigabits per second (Gbps) between Chennai and Port Blair, and 2 x 100 Gbps between Port Blair and the other islands," the release said. It said provision of reliable, robust, and high-speed telecom and broadband facilities in these Islands will be a landmark achievement from the viewpoint of consumers, as well as for strategic and governance reasons.

"4G mobile services, which were constrained due to limited backhaul bandwidth provided via satellite will also see a major improvement," it said. The release said enhanced telecom and broadband connectivity will boost tourism and employment generation in the islands, give an impetus to the economy and raise standards of living.

It said better connectivity will also facilitate the delivery of e-governance services such as telemedicine and tele-education, small enterprises will benefit from opportunities in e-commerce, while educational institutions will utilize the enhanced availability of bandwidth for e-learning and knowledge sharing. Business Process Outsourcing services and other medium and large enterprises will also be able to reap the benefits of better connectivity.

The project is funded by the central government through the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) under the Ministry of Communications. The release said that Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) executed this project while Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL) are the technical consultants.

About 2,300 km of submarine OFC cable has been laid at a cost of about Rs 1,224 crore and the project has been completed in time, it said. (ANI)

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