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Chinese embassy in S. Africa donate food to underprivileged community

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The Chinese embassy in South Africa on Monday donated 1,000 food parcels to the underprivileged community in Pretoria’s Refilwe township.

Charge D’affaires of the Chinese Embassy in South Africa Li Nan said the donation was to show solidarity and assist the struggling community who are affected by the COVID-19.

“We share the same suffering and feelings of the African and South African brothers and sisters. More than before, we need to work together to fight this pandemic. We strongly believe by fighting together we will win the final victory,” said Li.

The African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) President Bathabile Dlamini thanked the Chinese and the Communist Party of China (CPC) for their benevolence.

She said the ANC and CCP enjoy cordial relations. “Comrades in China have done a lot for us. They have walked with us a long journey. We are grateful for the donation and we see it is from their heart. Thank you China, thank you.”

One of the beneficiaries Francina Ditshego told Xinhua that they are grateful for the donation. She said she will share the food with six members of his family.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Merkel criticizes Chinese involvement in Hong Kong – but wants to keep talking

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has criticised Chinese involvement in Hong Kong and called for a united European Union stance towards China.

“It is an alarming development with regard to something that has always applied, which is ‘one country, two systems’.

“And that is very much being questioned,’’ Merkel said on Monday during a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, near Berlin.

At the same time, the chancellor emphasised the importance of continued relations with China.

“All this is not a reason not to continue talking to China but it is a difficult point, no question,’’ Merkel said.

The chancellor also called for a unified China policy within the European Union, especially with regard to the planned EU-China summit in September.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, sharply criticised Hong Kong’s national security law on Sunday, saying it breached international accords made by China.

“If it stays this way, this will result in a sustained negative change towards the European and towards the Western states,’’ Steinmeier told German broadcaster ZDF.

This could not be in China’s interest, he said, adding: “that is why I still hope there are possibilities for a change in Chinese thinking’’.

Beijing last month imposed a new national security law on Hong Kong, targeting acts of independence, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.

Critics fear it spells the end for the “one country, two systems” principle that has guaranteed Hong Kong’s autonomous and liberal administration since Britain returned it to China in 1997.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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General news

Lawmaker urges Chinese company to address water channelisation problem in Nasarawa

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A Nasarawa legislator, Alhaji Ibrahim Muluku, on Monday, called on a construction firm to address the water channelisation problem in Nassarawa Eggon to avoid causing more damage to the neighboring Rugan Baki Iyaka Fulani community.

Muluku, representing Nasarawa Eggon East constituency, made the call on China Habour Engineering Company Limited, the contractor handling the dualization of Keffi- LafiaMakurdi highway.

The lawmaker, who is the Chief Whip of the state House of Assembly, stated this while inspecting the damage caused to the Fulani community due to overflowing of water from the premises of the construction firm.

Muluku said he was at the community to see the level of damage done to the community and proffer solution to the problem.

“The people have complained that polluted water from the Chinese construction yard is causing more harm to them.

“So I am here to intervene and I will do my best as their representative to wipe away their tears,” he said.

After sympatising with the Fulani community on the unfortunate incident, Muluku assured that the matter would be reported to the appropriate authorities for prompt action, if the construction company eventually failed to do the needful.

He urged the community to exercise patience and keep supporting government policies and programmes in order to enjoy more dividends of democracy.

Earlier, the Spokesman of the community, Ishaku Muhammad, expressed satisfaction with the performance of the lawmaker, urging him to sustain the tempo.

Muhammad said that the community had been suffering from lack of proper water channelisation, saying that this had led to destruction of houses, crops, animals and other property of the people.

The community’s spokesperson, who claimed that all their efforts to meet with the firm had proved abortive, appealed to the lawmaker to come to their rescue.

Edited By: Razak Owolabi and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Judiciary

FG arraigns 10 for allegedly hijacking Chinese fishing vessel

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The Federal Government on Monday arraigned  10 men in a Federal High Court in Lagos, for allegedly hijacking a Chinese fishing vessel.

The vessel, FV Hai Lu Feng II, is said to belong to one Haina Fishing Company.

The Attorney-General of the Federation charged Frank Abaka, Jude Ebaragha, Shina Alolo, Joshua Iwiki, David Akinseye, Ahmed Toyin, Shobajo Saheed, Adekole Philip, Matthew Masi and Bright Agbedeyi with three counts bordering on piracy.

The Prosecution Counsel, Mr Magaji Labaran, alleged that the defendants committed the offence in May, on the International waters in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, while armed with dangerous weapons.

They were alleged to have committed an illegal act of violence against the crew on board FV Hai Lu Feng II, by putting them in fear in order to take control of the vessel.

He said that the offence contravened the provisions of sections 3, 10 and 12 of the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act 2019

Each of the defendants, however pleaded not guilty.

Justice Ayokunle Faji, fixed July 15, for hearing in the bail applications as well as for trial.

The court ordered that the defendants be remanded in custody of the Nigerian Navy, pending the decision on their bail application.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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General news

India asks court to stymie potential challenge to Chinese app ban

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India’s government has petitioned a state court to stop any of the Chinese companies whose 59 apps it recently banned from obtaining an injunction to block the order, according to two sources and the legal filing.

India last month outlawed dozens of Chinese apps, including ByteDance’s popular video-sharing app TikTok Alibaba’s (BABA.N) UC Browser and Tencent’s (0700.HK) messaging app WeChat, saying they posed a “threat to sovereignty and integrity”.

Chinese firms have faced hostility since a border clash that killed 20 Indian soldiers, with Delhi intensifying scrutiny of Chinese imports and any funding from China.

Two sources with direct knowledge of the filing said the government had presented a so-called caveat in the High Court of the western state of Rajasthan, suggesting it expects one or more of the companies to challenge the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s ban.

Such caveats are typically filed to prevent a ruling in favour of companies without hearing the government, Indian lawyers said.

The filing, which one of the sources said was presented on Friday, has not previously been reported.

“Let nothing be done till the applicants (government) are heard in the matter,” said the court filing signed by Additional Solicitor General of India Rajdeepak Rastogi.

The order to ban the apps was passed to safeguard “the interests of Indian mobile and Internet users and ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian Cyber Space,” said the filing, which was seen by Reuters.

It was not immediately clear why the government approached the court in Rajasthan and whether there were plans to file similar petitions elsewhere.

India’s IT ministry and the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Indian courts do not comment on cases.

Previously, China has expressed strong concern about the ban, which could hurt expansion plans and cost jobs, and said it may violate World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

None of the Chinese companies has yet mounted a legal challenge, with industry sources saying they were waiting for further clarity from the Indian government.

India’s IT ministry recently asked the companies associated with the 59 apps to answer a detailed questionnaire within three weeks on their business structure and data storage practices, the industry sources told Reuters.

The decision to ban the apps has jolted companies like ByteDance, which counted on India as an important growth market for TikTok and had plans to invest $1 billion in the country.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

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Foreign

Chinese mainland reports 9 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, all imported

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Chinese health authority said on Thursday that it received reports of nine new confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland on Wednesday and  that all of them were imported.

Of the nine new imported cases, three were reported in Liaoning and Shanghai each, two in Guangdong and one in Sichuan, the National Health Commission said in its daily report.

No new deaths related to the disease or new suspected cases were reported.

On Wednesday, 42 COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals after recovery.

By the end of Wednesday, a total of 1,958 imported cases had been reported on the mainland.

Of them, 1,884 had been discharged from hospitals after recovery, and 74 remained hospitalised, with no one in serious conditions.

No deaths from the imported cases had been reported.

As of Wednesday, the overall confirmed cases on the mainland had reached 83,581 including 357 patients who were still being treated, with five in severe conditions.

Altogether 78,590 people had been discharged after recovery, and 4,634 had died of the disease on the mainland, the commission said.

The commission said five people, including two from outside the mainland, were still suspected of being infected with the virus.

According to the commission, 3,840 close contacts were still under medical observation after 706 people were discharged from medical observation Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, six new asymptomatic cases, including five from outside the mainland, were reported and one asymptomatic case was re-categorized as a confirmed case.

The commission said 112 asymptomatic cases, including 79 from outside the mainland, were still under medical observation.

As of Wednesday, 1,323 confirmed cases including seven deaths had been reported in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), 46 confirmed cases in the Macao SAR, and 449 in Taiwan including seven deaths.

A total of 1,167 COVID-19 patients in the Hong Kong SAR, 45 in the Macao SAR, and 438 in Taiwan had been discharged from hospitals after recovery.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Foreign

United States considering banning TikTok, other Chinese apps

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United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday said United States was considering a ban on certain Chinese apps, including the popular video platform TikTok, which had a large user base among youths.

However, in its response, TikTok insisted it does not share user data with the Chinese Government and stressed its United States-related bona fides.

According to the company, TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy in the United States

“We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor will we do so if asked,“the company said.

Asked on Fox News Channel if he would ban Chinese social media apps, Pompeo said, “We’re certainly looking at it, while warning that users’ data would allegedly be given to the government in Beijing.“

“With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get it right too,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo noted that the United States had been pushing for bans domestically and in allied countries of certain Chinese technology.

TikTok allows users to create short videos, often with some basic effects and music, which have become increasingly popular, particularly among younger ones.

The social media company, which is run by China-based start-up ByteDance, said TikTok was not available in China itself. Its user data was usually stored outside mainland.

App Annie, which tracks mobile data, said TikTok was the most popular download in the first quarter of the year.

Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

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Foreign

150 new Chinese-made electric buses put into operation in Chile

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150 new Chinese-made electric buses have been put into operation in Chile‘s capital Santiago.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Security Council resolution on COVID-19 is victory of multilateralism — Chinese envoy

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The adoption of a UN Security Council resolution on COVID-19 is a victory of multilateralism, said a Chinese envoy on Wednesday.

At this critical moment of a global fight against COVID-19, the Security Council is duty-bound to take action to tackle the negative impact of the disease on international peace and security. The adoption of Resolution 2532 shows the council’s ability to act and its leadership, and represents a victory of multilateralism, said Zhang Jun, China‘s permanent representative to the United Nations, in his explanation of vote.

The resolution has not come easily. A certain council member has insisted on a unilateral stance, ignoring the call of the international community. This country went back on its words and broke its promise, delaying the process of consultations again and again, said Zhang.

As a result, the Security Council was hampered from taking action. This country has also refused to lift unilateral sanctions against relevant countries, turning a blind eye to the call of the secretary-general and countries around the world. This has worsened the suffering of innocent civilians and the humanitarian crisis in some countries and regions amid COVID-19, said Zhang.

From the very beginning, China has been supportive of the secretary-general’s appeal for a global cease-fire and the UN Global Humanitarian Response Plan, both of which are endorsed by the resolution, said Zhang.

China has been constructively engaged in the consultations for the resolution, worked tirelessly with most of the council members to build widest possible consensus, and showed maximum flexibility. As a result, the council has managed to overcome all obstacles and sent a positive message of solidarity and cooperation at this difficult time, he said.

Resolution 2532, which won the unanimous support of the 15 members of the council, demands a general and immediate cessation of hostilities in all situations on the Security Council’s agenda. It calls on all parties to armed conflicts to engage immediately in a humanitarian pause for at least 90 consecutive days, in order to enable the delivery of humanitarian assistance, provisions of related services, and medical evacuations.

China calls on the international community to seize the opportunity of the adoption of the resolution to encourage parties to conflicts to respond to the secretary-general’s appeal for a global cease-fire, immediately cease hostilities, work together to combat COVID-19, save lives, commit to resolving disputes peacefully, ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance and strengthen the safety and security of peacekeepers, said Zhang.

China welcomes the inclusion in the resolution of the concept of putting people at the center, which reflects the demands and concerns of developing countries and is conducive to addressing the root causes of conflict, he said.

China appreciates that the Security Council Resolution refers to GA Resolution 74/270, which reflects member states’ full recognition of the central role played by the United Nations and the World Health Organization in the global fight against COVID-19, he said.

The council’s adoption of the resolution once again proves that multilateralism is the only right choice for a world faced with multiple challenges, while unilateralism has no support and will only come to a dead end, he said.

At this critical juncture, China firmly takes the side of multilateralism, the vast majority of member states, and fairness and justice. China calls on all countries to envisage a global community with a shared future, advance multilateralism, strengthen solidarity and cooperation, and uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the UN-centered international system to jointly create a better future for mankind, he said.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Chinese buses to be used for public transport in two Cypriot cities

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A fleet of brand new Chinese buses will be used starting on July 5 for bus routes in two Cypriot cities, the capital Nicosia and its sister city Larnaca, a bus company announced on Wednesday.

Cyprus Public Transport (CPT), which was awarded the contracts for public transport in the two cities, said that 155 buses were imported from China.

CPT CEO Julio Tironi said the buses are bigger than the ones used up to now in the bus service in the two cities, are air-conditioned and equipped with state of the art technology.

“Specifically, the buses have WiFi, USB charging ports, electronic signaling that provides information on the next stop during the journey and the latest technology location system that allows passengers to know the exact location of the bus at any time,” Tironi said.

He added that all the buses are friendly to people with mobility problems and their engines are low emission and environment-friendly in line with the Euro 6 standard.

CPT, a consortium made up of Malta Lines and a local transport company, Kapnos Airport Shuttle, was licensed to run bus services in Nicosia and Larnaca for the next 10 years.

In announcing the start of the bus routes in the two cities, the consortium promised an upgraded and safe bus experience, with all vehicles being disinfected every night.

“We have introduced a new process for the first time in Europe for cleaning and disinfecting which takes the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 a further step forward,” CPT Chairman Felipe Cosmen told journalists during an exhibition run, with Minister of Transport, Communications and Works Yiannis Karousos, on board.

He said that all new buses are limited to 60 kilometers per hour within the city routes.

CPT was awarded the tenders for public bussing in two other cities, and also the intercity routes as well, but the process has been challenged in a court recourse which is still pending.

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