Home Office U-turn on Sri Lankan scientist’s asylum claim

Dr Nadarajah Muhunthan and his family faced deportation to Sri Lanka where he experienced torture

The Home Office has U-turned on plans to deport a leading scientist carrying out groundbreaking research into affordable forms of solar energy and allowed him and his family to remain in the UK.

Initially, the Home Office rejected the asylum claim lodged by Dr Nadarajah Muhunthan, 47, who has been living in the UK since 2018 with his wife, Sharmila, 42, and their three children, aged 13, nine and five.

Continue reading...
‘Miracle’ rescue of man after 22 hours drifting in rough seas off Japan

Rescuers spotted man sitting on engine of boat after it capsized off south-western Kagoshima prefecture

A 69-year-old man has been rescued in rough seas off Japan after spending 22 hours drifting in open water, with one official calling his survival a “miracle”.

The man, whose name has not been released, was alone on a boat off south-western Kagoshima prefecture en route to the resort island of Yakushima on Saturday afternoon when it capsized.

Continue reading...
Japan’s Prince Akishino lambasts media for saying ‘terrible things’ about his daughter

The heir to the Chrysanthemum throne lashes out at criticism of Mako’s marriage to a commoner

Prince Akishino, the first in line to the Japanese throne, has lambasted the country’s media for their treatment of his eldest daughter, Mako, accusing them of saying “terrible things” about her in the run-up to her marriage.

Mako married Kei Komuro, a non-royal whom she met at university, on 26 October, almost four years after their engagement was called off following revelations about a minor financial dispute involving his mother. But they made only a brief public appearance before moving to New York, where Komuro works for a law firm.

Continue reading...
Who is New Zealand’s new opposition leader Christopher Luxon?

The former Air New Zealand boss is a relative newcomer to politics but has consistently registered in ‘preferred prime minister’ polling

New Zealand has a new leader for its opposition, and – the party hopes – a new challenger to the enduring popularity of Labour’s Jacinda Ardern. The National party is pinning its hopes on Christopher Luxon, a former airline boss and a teetotaller, country music fan, waterskier, relative political unknown and – somewhat unusually for New Zealand politics – an evangelical Christian.

Luxon is the latest in a string of National leaders and will be tasked with uniting a party long plagued by poor polling, minor scandals and political infighting.

Continue reading...
Covid live: France backs jabs for vulnerable 5- to 11-year-olds; Greece to fine unvaccinated over-60s

Unjabbed Greeks face a €100 fine per month; French regulator says children who could develop severe Covid should be vaccinated

Stock markets in Asia have bounced back again as investors’ concerns about the new Omicron Covid variant eased. In Australia the ASX200 was up more than 1%, while in Japan the Nikkei was up 0.75%.

It followed a stronger showing on Monday on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 0.6% and the broader S&P500 was up 1.2% after some hefty losses on Friday, when news of the new strain shook confidence.

There are so many unknowns about Omicron and the market has been jumping at shadows.

After such a strong run and with elevated valuations, the market will always be susceptible to the odd shakeout on news that could bring risk.

Hong Kong’s very stringent system of boarding, quarantine and also testing requirements has successfully stopped the transmission of the three Omicron cases, that we have identified in our designated quarantine hotel, from going into the community.

Non-Hong Kong residents from these four places will not be allowed to enter Hong Kong.

The most stringent quarantine requirements will also be implemented on relevant inbound travellers from these places.

Continue reading...
New Zealand’s National party anoints ex-airline boss Chris Luxon as leader

Luxon, who has spent just a year in parliament, will be the party’s fifth leader in as many years after he replaced Judith Collins

New Zealand’s opposition has announced a new leader, former airline boss Christopher Luxon, after its leader Judith Collins flamed out of the role last week.

The National party emerged from its caucus meeting on Tuesday to announce Luxon, a political novice and former Air New Zealand chief executive, would be taking the party’s helm. He will be National’s fifth leader in as many years, and will work alongside deputy Nicola Willis. The party was forced into a new leadership vote last week, after leader Judith Collins self-destructed in an ill-fated attempt to take down political rival Simon Bridges.

Continue reading...
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar court defers first verdicts at trial of deposed leader

No reason for deferral given as Nobel laureate faces charges that could see her jailed for decades under military junta

A Myanmar court has deferred the first verdicts in the trial of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to 6 December, a source familiar with the proceedings said.

The Nobel Peace laureate, who led an elected civilian government that was ousted in a military coup on 1 February, has been held incommunicado and been on trial since June, with court hearings behind closed doors.

Continue reading...
Taiwan thanks Australian PM and defence minister for grim warning over China

Taiwan says Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton’s comments reiterated the ‘need to guard against the use of Chinese force’

Taiwan has expressed “sincere gratitude” to the Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, and his defence minister for their warnings against Beijing ratcheting up military pressure against the self-ruled island.

Peter Dutton used a significant speech on Friday to argue “dark clouds” were forming and the world should not repeat “the mistakes of the 1930s” while arguing China was expanding its military at a rapid rate and saw countries across the region as “tributary states”.

Continue reading...
Leaked papers link Xinjiang crackdown with China leadership

Secret documents urge population control, mass round-ups and punishment of Uyghurs

Excerpts from previously unpublished documents directly linking China’s crackdown on Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang province to speeches by the Chinese leadership in 2014 have been put online.

The documents – including three speeches by Chinese president Xi Jinping in April 2014 – cover security, population control and the need to punish the Uyghur population. Some are marked top secret. They were leaked to the German academic Adrian Zenz.

Continue reading...