Hong Kong activists urge EU not to ratify new deal with China

Exclusive: Activists say EU should refuse to sign treaty until national security laws and election restrictions are lifted

Hong Kong democracy activists have warned the EU it must not ratify its planned new investment deal with China at a time when Beijing is tearing up international obligations to the people of Hong Kong.

The 24 activists – including 13 in exile – have written to the EU commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, to call for the EU to refuse to sign the treaty until China’s national security laws are repealed and restrictions on who can stand for election are lifted.

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China adopts new laws to ensure only ‘patriots’ can govern Hong Kong

UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab accuses Beijing of hollowing out the space for democratic debate

China’s rubber stamping parliamentary body has unanimously – bar one abstention and to sustained and loud applause – approved new laws ensuring that only people it deems “patriots” can govern Hong Kong, in a move critics say signals the end of the city’s remaining autonomy.

The final meeting of the National People’s Congress (NPC) at the annual “two sessions” political gathering also approved new domestic amendments and budgets, and the 14th five-year-plan, intended to strengthen and expand China’s domestic technology industry and market, and reach new GDP and population targets amid economic uncertainty and declining birth rates.

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Budget cuts and collapse in tourism revenue pose ‘severe’ threat to nature

Reduced environmental protections and conservation job losses could hit vital progress on climate and biodiversity, research finds

Job cuts in nature reserves and environmental rollbacks by governments during the Covid-19 pandemic could undermine global efforts to conserve biodiversity and tackle the climate crisis, according to new research.

Budget cuts and a collapse in ecotourism revenue have forced national parks and conservation organisations to make staff cuts and reduce activities such as anti-poaching patrols, with Asia and Africa severely affected.

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‘Wolf in watchdog’s clothing’: India’s new digital media laws spark censorship fears

Everything from online news to social media and streaming platforms are captured by the regulations, branded ‘palpably illegal’ by opponents

Not long before he was elected as India’s prime minister in 2014, Narendra Modi spoke of his dreams of a “digital India”, where “access to information knows no barriers”.

But this week, unprecedented barriers on every form of digital content, from online news to social media and films and television on streaming platforms, came into force, making India’s digital realm one of the most heavily regulated of any major democracy.

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Myanmar: UN calls for ‘utmost restraint’ from military as more deaths reported

British-drafted UN statement watered down by China, Russia and India while military accuses Aung San Suu Kyi of taking bribes

The United Nations has condemned the Myanmar military’s violent crackdown against anti-coup demonstrators as eight more people were reported shot dead in protests and a military spokesman accused deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi of taking bribes.

The claims that she had illegally accepted payments worth $600,000 plus gold were strongly rejected by members of her National League for Democracy, one of whom, former MP Aye Ma Ma Myo, told Reuters: “It is no longer uncommon to see slander against politicians and efforts to crush the party while innocent young people are killed in public.”

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Thailand considers expanding jails as it arrests more political prisoners

Facilities holding those recently detained are becoming congested, justice minister says

Thailand is considering an expansion of prison space as it arrests more political prisoners, the justice minister has said.

Somsak Thepsuthin said Bangkok Remand Prison and Klong Prem Central Prison, where most recently detained political prisoners are held, become congested when families and supporters come to visit.

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Three stories of hope: 10 years on from Japan’s triple disaster

Much has changed along the hundreds of miles of devastated coastline and the recovery is gathering pace

On 11 March 2011 a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck off Japan’s north-east coast, triggering a tsunami that killed more than 18,000 people.

The tsunami destroyed more than 120,000 buildings and forced more than 450,000 people to live in temporary shelters. Damage to housing, businesses, roads and other infrastructure came to an estimated US$210bn, making it the costliest natural disaster ever.

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