Honduras to switch ties from Taiwan to China, says president

Xiomara Castro’s move would leave Taiwan with formal diplomatic relations with only 13 countries

The Honduras president, Xiomara Castro, has said she has instructed her foreign minister to establish official relations with China, a move that would end its ties with Taiwan and further isolate the island on the world stage.

The Central American country’s switch from Taipei to Beijing would leave Taiwan with formal diplomatic ties with only 13 countries.

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Trudeau faces fury of Canadian MPs over alleged Chinese election meddling

Prime minister faces accusations of not taking issue seriously amid reports of 11 candidates receiving Chinese money

• Canada roiled by leaked intelligence reports of Chinese election ‘meddling’

Justin Trudeau is under mounting pressure to explain how seriously his government has responded to the threat of Chinese interference in Canadian elections in the wake of damning intelligence leaks.

Allegations that the prime minister’s government has failed to act on meddling efforts featured prominently in a raucous session of parliament on Wednesday, as concern over Beijing’s efforts to undermine Canadian elections continues to dominate the country’s politics.

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Growing numbers of Chinese citizens set their sights on the US – via the deadly Darién Gap

Surge in number of disillusioned Chinese citizens fleeing to the US by trekking through the dangerous jungle between Colombia and Panama

On the first day of 2023, Xu was in no mood to celebrate the new year. He had just arrived in the Colombian beach town of Necoclí along with dozens of other Chinese citizens, weary from a two-day bus trip from Ecuador. Their goal was the US via the Darién Gap, a roadless, lawless and extremely dangerous stretch of rainforest connecting South and Central America. He wanted to leave China far behind him.

“After I leave the country [China], I have no plans to go back alive,” says Xu later, speaking to the Guardian in a Necoclí hotel room. “I feel like this country has been deceiving us, persecuting us. I have to do something.”

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Canada roiled by leaked intelligence reports of Chinese election ‘meddling’

Trudeau resists calls for public inquiry as leaks spark fierce debate and threaten to dent country’s reputation with allies

A flurry of leaked intelligence reports has reignited allegations that China interfered in Canada’s recent federal elections, kicking off a fierce debate over possible responses to Beijing’s meddling.

But the leaks also run the risk of harming Canada’s reputation among its allies, experts warn, as the country’s spy agency struggles to respond to mounting public concern.

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How a Chinese cafe above a DIY store became the best place to eat in Canada

People queue through an active lumber yard outside Vancouver’s Northern Cafe thanks to it being named Yelp’s top place to eat

The checkerboard floors of Vancouver’s Northern Cafe are warped, the only views are of nearby industrial warehouses, and diners waiting for a table must navigate the hazards of an active lumber yard.

And yet the tottering Chinese Canadian restaurant, with its red vinyl booths and mismatched porcelain mugs, is so busy on a weekday morning that a scattered line forms between pickup trucks and forklifts.

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Tuesday briefing: Why is the US suddenly spying so many UFOs?

In today’s newsletter: The use of surveillance balloons has gone largely under the radar until several floating orbs were shot down in North America. But China’s not the only country full of hot air – a look at this mysterious twist in international espionage

Good morning. UFOs are being shot down over North America, and one of them is octagonal. OK, that’s a slightly breathless account of events since a Chinese balloon was sighted over Montana 10 days ago, and aliens probably aren’t involved – but the full story is almost as interesting.

After that first balloon was brought down and US secretary of state Anthony Blinken postponed a trip to Beijing in response, three other mysterious objects have been taken out in US and Canadian airspace in the last few days – the last of them an “octagonal structure” with strings attached to it. The US views them as potential surveillance tools.

Policing | Police missed clear chances to identify Wayne Couzens as a danger to women before he murdered Sarah Everard, it emerged as he pleaded guilty to three offences of indecent exposure on Monday. Witnesses recorded either full or partial registration details of vehicles Couzens used, but the cases were not linked to the then-Metropolitan police officer.

Turkey-Syria earthquake | Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, a Syrian rebel leader with a $10m US government bounty on his head, has made an urgent appeal for international aid to Idlib, a province in the north-west under opposition control. Meanwhile, Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad has agreed to open two border crossing points with Turkey to allow more emergency aid to the regoin.

UK news | The family of Brianna Ghey, a 16-year-old from Warrington who was stabbed to death on Saturday, said her death “has left a massive hole in our family”. They described Brianna, who was transgender, as “strong, fearless and one-of-a-kind”, and thanked the public for their support.

Israel | Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered in Jerusalem to protest against legislation introduced by the country’s hard-right government aimed at overhauling the judicial system. The changes, which give politicians greater control over the supreme court, could help prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu avoid conviction in his corruption trial, in which he denies all charges.

Fan safety | Uefa bears “primary responsibility” for the catastrophic failures that turned last season’s Champions League final into a horrific experience for thousands of supporters, the organisation’s own review has concluded. The report found no evidence for claims that Liverpool fans were at fault.

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What do we know about the four flying objects shot down by the US?

Downing of Chinese balloon off the US coast has been followed by three incidents, raising questions about North American security

The downing of a huge Chinese balloon off the US coast, followed by the shootdowns of two smaller objects over Alaska and Canada – and another over Michigan on Sunday – has raised concerns about North American security and further strained relations with China.

Here is what we know so far:

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China ‘spy balloon’ scare wakes up the world to new era of surveillance

The ‘poor man’s satellite’ offers a relatively cheap way of exploiting a previously inaccessible high-altitude level of the skies

Last Friday, Enildo Altamar and his neighbours looked up into the clear morning sky above Arroyo de Piedra, near Colombia’s Caribbean coast, and saw a white orb floating above them, a smaller version of the moon.

“We are used to seeing drones in the area as they monitor local mines but they fly around, whereas this thing was massive and just hung in the air,” Altamar said.

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Canada issues ‘cease and desist’ warning to China over ‘police stations’ in Ottawa

China accused of illegal activities but Beijing embassy says locations are merely ‘service stations’ to renew driver’s licenses

Canada has summoned Beijing’s ambassador following reports of a network of illegal Chinese “police stations” in the country, after warnings that Ottawa is prepared to take more action if China refuses to “cease and desist” from its alleged activities.

Speaking to the Canada-China committee on Tuesday evening, Weldon Epp, director general of north Asia for Canada’s foreign ministry, said he knew of “several engagements” by the federal government with China, including repeatedly summoning the ambassador, Cong Peiwu.

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Canada won’t compromise values in relations with China, says foreign minister

Exclusive: as the two nations prepare to co-host Cop15, Mélanie Joly discusses Canada’s long-awaited Indo-Pacific strategy

Canada will work with China when needed – but challenge it when necessary, the country’s foreign minister said, as the two nations prepare to co-host a major environmental summit despite years of diplomatic tensions.

Speaking to the Guardian after her government released its long-awaited “Indo-Pacific Strategy”, Mélanie Joly said that Canada will “promote and defend” its national interests in a region where nations are jockeying for influence and power.

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Canadian pop star Kris Wu sentenced to 13 years in jail for rape in China

Beijing court finds Chinese-born singer raped three women in November and December 2020

A Beijing court has sentenced the Chinese-born Canadian pop star Kris Wu to 13 years in jail after finding him guilty of crimes including rape, just over a year after his arrest in China, where he was born and built a lucrative career.

The court in Chaoyang district said investigations showed that from November to December 2020, Wu, also known as Wu Yifan, raped three women.

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Xi angrily rebukes Trudeau over ‘leaks’ to media about Canada-China relations

Chinese president’s testy remarks about briefings on earlier conversation captured by media pool at G20 summit in Indonesia

Xi Jinping has angrily rebuked Justin Trudeau after Canadian officials shared details of a previous meeting, highlighting the frosty relationship between the two leaders.

In a clip recorded by the media pool at the G20 summit in Indonesia, a visibly frustrated Xi pulls the Canadian prime minister aside and says it was “not appropriate” for details about a previous conversation between the two leaders to have been shared with media, suggesting Trudeau lacked “sincerity” in his approach.

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Trudeau raises ‘serious concerns’ about Chinese interference in talks with Xi

Canadian prime minister met China’s president at G20 summit in Bali amid tensions over aggressive interventions by Beijing

Justin Trudeau has raised “serious concerns” over suspected domestic interference by China in his first talks with President Xi Jinping in more than three years, amid growing frustration over increasingly aggressive interventions by Beijing.

Trudeau discussed his concerns about Chinese “interference activities” in Canada on the sidelines of a Group of 20 meeting on the Indonesian island of Bali, a government source told AFP.

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Canada charges electric vehicle battery researcher with espionage for China

Yuesheng Wang, a worker at Quebec’s power utility, is accused of sending trade secrets to China

Canada’s federal police have charged an electric vehicle battery researcher at Quebec’s power utility with espionage, alleging the worker was covertly sending trade secrets to China.

The arrest of Yuesheng Wang, 35, comes as Canada grapples with a barrage of accusations of Chinese interference, including allegations of meddling in its federal elections, as well as reports of secret “police stations” in the country’s largest city.

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China ‘increasingly disruptive global power’, says Canadian foreign minister

Mélanie Joly hints at new Indo-Pacific strategy and asks firms to be clear-eyed in business with China

Canada’s foreign minister, Mélanie Joly, has said China has become “increasingly disruptive” on the world stage as she hinted in a speech at a new Indo-Pacific strategy expected to be released this month.

Her comments come ahead of several summits that Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is to attend, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Cambodia, the G20 in Indonesia, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in Thailand.

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