Taiwan ‘buys 20,400 bottles of Lithuanian rum rejected by China’

State-owned Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor steps in after row between Vilnius and Beijing

Taiwan’s government is sharing cocktail recipes with the public after it reportedly bought 20,400 bottles of Lithuanian rum bound for China amid a row between Vilnius and Beijing.

The state-owned Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor (TTL) said it made the purchase in December to support Lithuania after learning the shipment was going to be blocked by Chinese authorities.

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Arrests after female Muslim activists ‘put up for sale’ in fake auction in India

Women say website aims to punish journalists, academics and artists drawing attention to hate speech

Police in India have detained a woman accused of organising a fake online auction in which hundreds of prominent female Muslims were put up “for sale” on a website.

There were shock waves of anger and disgust in India after it emerged that a website calling itself Bulli Bai, an offensive term for Muslims, had set up a pretend auction of more than 100 Muslim women, including journalists, academics, activists, scholars and artists, where they were to be “sold” as servants for negligible sums.

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Double defector who returned to North Korea ‘struggled financially’ in South

Man’s decision raises questions about treatment of defectors in South Korea with many said to face discrimination

A North Korean defector who made a daring return to his home country at the weekend had reportedly struggled to build a new life in South Korea since his arrival just over a year ago.

The man, who has not been named, crossed the heavily armed demilitarised zone [DMZ] that has divided North and South since the end of the 1950 to 1953 Korean war, on Saturday.

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Chinese city of 1.2 million people locked down after three Covid cases emerge

Public transport halted and cars banned in Yuzhou as China pursues zero-Covid strategy ahead of Winter Olympics

Three asymptomatic cases of Covid-19 were enough for Chinese authorities to lock down a city of almost 1.2 million people on Monday, joining 13 million others in locked down Xi’an, where local authorities have asked for restrictions to be tightened even further.

Beijing is holding on to its zero-Covid strategy ahead of the forthcoming Winter Olympics next month, and with local officials facing sanctions or sackings over outbreaks, cases have prompted increasingly strict responses.

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Tesla criticised for opening showroom in Xinjiang despite human rights abuses

Elon Musk and Tesla must consider human rights in the Chinese region or risk being complicit, says Human Rights Watch

Tesla has opened a new showroom in the capital of Xinjiang, a region at the heart of years-long campaign by Chinese authorities of repression and assimilation against the Uyghur people.

Tesla announced the opening in Urumqi with a Weibo post on 31 December saying: “On the last day of 2021, we meet in Xinjiang. In 2022 let us together launch Xinjiang on its electric journey!”

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Detained, missing, close to death: the toll of reporting on Covid in China

Activists say crackdown is driven by Xi Jinping, who has ‘declared a war on independent journalism’

Chen Kun was living in Indonesia with his wife and daughter when he learned from his brother Mei’s boss that he had been “taken away for investigation” by Chinese police.

He immediately suspected it was to do with his brother’s website, a citizen news project called Terminus 2049. Since 2018 Mei, his colleague Cai Wei, and Cai’s partner – surnamed Tang – had been archiving articles about issues including #MeToo and migrant rights, and reposting them whenever they were deleted from China’s strictly monitored and censored online platforms. It was April 2020, and for the last few months Terminus 2049 had been targeting stories about the Covid-19 outbreak and response.

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New Zealand Covid experts take legal action against employer over alleged failure to protect them from abuse

Siouxsie Wiles and Shaun Hendy say they have been subject to ‘vitriolic’ harassment from small section of the public as a result of their work

Two of New Zealand’s most prominent Covid experts are taking legal action against their employer, the University of Auckland, over what they say is its failure to respond adequately to “harassment from a small but venomous sector of the public” that is becoming “more extreme”.

Siouxsie Wiles, an associate professor of medical science, and Shaun Hendy, a professor of physics, have filed separate complaints to the Employment Relations Authority, which last week ruled that they should proceed directly to the Employment Court due to the “high public interest” in their Covid commentary.

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New Zealand Covid experts take legal action against employer over alleged failure to protect them from abuse

Siouxsie Wiles and Shaun Hendy say they have been subject to ‘vitriolic’ harassment from small section of the public as a result of their work

Two of New Zealand’s most prominent Covid experts are taking legal action against their employer, the University of Auckland, over what they say is its failure to respond adequately to “harassment from a small but venomous sector of the public” that is becoming “more extreme”.

Siouxsie Wiles, an associate professor of medical science, and Shaun Hendy, a professor of physics, have filed separate complaints to the Employment Relations Authority, which last week ruled that they should proceed directly to the Employment Court due to the “high public interest” in their Covid commentary.

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‘It’s a mystery for us’: the puzzling death at sea of a Tongan fisheries observer

Arnold Latu was found dead in his berth – one of numerous deaths of monitors who ensure fishing boats follow the rules

On the morning of Monday 27 September, a crew member on board the Hsinlong 1 fishing vessel went to fetch his friend Arnold Latu for breakfast.

Latu, in his mid-30s, was the monitoring officer of the Chinese-owned, Fiji-flagged vessel, employed by the Tongan government to check that the amount of fish caught on its three-week voyage was legal and correctly recorded.

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Five of world’s most powerful nations pledge to avoid nuclear war

US, Russia, China, the UK and France who are permanent members of the UN security council agree ‘nuclear war cannot be won’

Five of the world’s most powerful nations have agreed that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” in a rare joint pledge to reduce the risk of such a conflict ever starting.

The pledge was signed by the US, Russia, China, the UK and France, the five nuclear weapons states recognised by the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) who are also the five permanent members of the UN security council. They are known as the P5 or the N5.

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