Canada votes to take in 10,000 Uyghur refugees amid Chinese pressure to force their return

Move shows ‘what is happening to the Uyghurs is unacceptable’, says MP after non-binding parliamentary ballot with prime minister’s support

Canada’s parliament has unanimously passed a motion to take in 10,000 Uyghur refugees who fled China, but are now facing pressure to return.

The vote on Wednesday builds on a February 2021 move by Canadian lawmakers to label Beijing’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in its north-western Xinjiang territory as genocide.

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World of Warcraft to go offline in China, leaving millions of gamers bereft

Popular role-playing game is being cut off due to a dispute between US developer and its Chinese partner

Millions of Chinese players of the roleplaying epic World of Warcraft (WoW) will bid a sad farewell to the land of Azeroth, with the game set to go offline after a dispute between the US developer Blizzard and its local partner NetEase.

Massively popular worldwide, particularly in the 2000s, WoW is an online multiplayer role-playing game set in a fantasy medieval world. It is known for being immersive and addictive, and players can rack up hundreds of hours of game time.

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Maria Ressa: Nobel-winning Philippine editor keeps a ‘go bag’ in case of arrest

After beating tax-evasion charges, Rappler news chief says that cases against her have left her ‘living on quicksand’

Nobel laureate Maria Ressa says she keeps a prison “go bag” with bundles of cash for bail and runs simulations of police raids with her staff as she fights for press freedom in the Philippines.

The Rappler editor won acquittal on four tax-evasion charges on Wednesday but said she was prepared for the worst from the three further outstanding cases that could see her sent to jail or her online news organisation shuttered.

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Taiwan invasion by China would fail, but at huge US cost, analysts’ war game finds

Military experts said every participant would experience ‘enormous’ losses in any potential conflict

A Chinese invasion of Taiwan would probably fail if the United States helped defend the island – but would come at a debilitating cost to the American military itself, according to a US thinktank.

Military experts brought together by the Center for Strategic and International Studies to war game the conflict said every likely direct participant in a war – the United States, China, Taiwan and Japan – would experience “enormous” losses.

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China’s warplane incursions into Taiwan air defence zone doubled in 2022

The military ramped up sorties and launched the largest war games in decades to protest against a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August

China’s warplane incursions into Taiwan’s air defence zone nearly doubled in 2022, with a surge in fighter jet and bomber sorties as Beijing intensified threats towards the island democracy.

Self-ruled Taiwan lives under constant threat of invasion. Communist party rulers claim the island as part of China’s territory and have vowed to seize it one day.

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Japanese architect and ‘postmodern giant’ Arata Isozaki dies aged 91

Pritzker prize winner who combined Asian and western influences said postwar ruins of Japan stayed with him in his work

Pritzker-winning Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, known for his avant garde style and category-defying works, has died at the age of 91, his office says.

Isozaki died of old age at his home in Okinawa on Wednesday, with the funeral to be attended only by his close family, the office said in a statement on Friday.

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Security council tells Taliban to reverse restrictions on women in Afghanistan

UN body ‘deeply alarmed’ by women and girls being kicked out of high schools, universities, NGO jobs and government positions

The UN security council has called on the Taliban to reverse policies targeting women and girls in Afghanistan, expressing alarm at the “increasing erosion” of human rights.

The hardline Islamist rulers banned women from working in non-governmental organisations on Saturday, in the latest blow to women’s rights in Afghanistan since the Taliban returned to power in 2021.

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Chinese city seeing half a million Covid cases a day – local health chief

The figures reported by Qingdao’s municipal health chief were in stark contrast to official statistics from the central government

Half a million people a day are being infected with Covid-19 in a single Chinese city, a senior health official has said, in a rare and quickly censored acknowledgment that the country’s wave of infections is not being reflected in official statistics.

A news outlet operated by the ruling Communist party in Qingdao reported the municipal health chief as saying that the eastern city was seeing “between 490,000 and 530,000” new Covid cases a day.

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Indonesia passes legislation banning sex outside marriage

Rights groups say amended criminal code underscores shift towards fundamentalism

Indonesia’s parliament has overhauled the country’s criminal code to outlaw sex outside marriage and curtail free speech, in a dramatic setback to freedoms in the world’s third-largest democracy.

Passed with support from all political parties, the draconian legislation has shocked not only rights activists but also the country’s booming tourism sector, which relies on a stream of visitors to its tropical islands.

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Singapore lifts gay sex ban but blocks path toward marriage equality

LGBTQ+ advocates welcome repeal of British colonial-era law while expressing dismay as parliament backs existing definition of marriage

Singapore’s parliament has decriminalised sex between men, but has amended the constitution to effectively block full marriage equality.

The British colonial-era law penalised sex between men with up to two years in jail, although the statute was not actively enforced.

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China reports first Covid death for six months as Beijing cases rise

An 87-year-old man died in the capital over the weekend and officials have called for residents to avoid ‘non-imperative’ travel

China reported the death of an 87-year-old man in Beijing on Sunday as its first fatality from Covid-19 in six months, with cases rising despite a stringent zero-Covid policy.

China is the last major economy still welded to a no-tolerance policy on the virus and has enforced snap lockdowns, mass testing and quarantines even as the rest of the world adjusts to living with Covid.

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Chinese authorities unveil sweeping measures to rescue property sector

Hong Kong and Chinese markets soared on the announcement that the government would extend loans for distressed developers

Chinese authorities have unveiled sweeping measures to rescue the struggling property sector, as regulators seek to offset years of harsh pandemic curbs and a real estate crackdown that have stalled the world’s No 2 economy.

The banking regulator and central bank issued a 16-point set of internal directives to promote the “stable and healthy development” of the industry.

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Apple limits AirDrop on iPhones in China after filesharing feature was used by protesters

The AirDrop function was being used to anonymously share digital leaflets with strangers, but has now been restricted on iPhones in China

Apple has limited filesharing features on iPhones in China, a month after reports that anti-government protesters were using the function to share digital leaflets with strangers.

Under the update to the AirDrop function released on Thursday, iPhone users in China can only opt in to receive files from non contacts during a 10-minute window before it automatically shuts off. The feature did not previously have a time limit.

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‘We worked alongside our worries’: Myanmar resumes hot-air balloon festival

Rival teams begin launching aerial artistic creations that explode with fireworks once (hopefully) in the sky

Thousands of people have gathered in the hills of central Myanmar for the annual Tazaungdaing light festival marking the end of the rainy season with a fiery display of exploding hot-air balloons.

The celebration in the former British hill station of Pyin Oo Lwin has not been held for two years because of the Covid pandemic and unrest after a military coup.

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Malaysia’s 97-year-old former PM Mahathir Mohamad seeks re-election in his seat

Mahathir has offered to become prime minister for a third time, as campaigning in Malaysia’s general election gets under way

Mahathir Mohamad, the 97-year-old elder statesman of Malaysian politics, filed his candidacy on Saturday as campaigning for the upcoming general elections began.

The prime minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, called for elections 10 months ahead of schedule, hoping to win a stronger mandate for his party and stabilise the rocky political landscape that has plagued the country over the past four years.

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