Taiwan suspends F-16 fleet combat training after jet crashes into sea

Search and rescue mission launched after latest in series of fatal accidents amid heightened tensions with China

Taiwan’s air force has suspended combat training for its F-16 fleet after a recently upgraded model of the fighter jet crashed into the sea in the latest of a series of fatal accidents.

The island’s air force announced earlier that an F-16 fighter jet went missing over the sea off western Taiwan on Tuesday afternoon, 30 minutes after it took off from Southern Chiayi air base for routine training.

Continue reading...
‘We fought the good fight’: journalists in Hong Kong reel from assault on media

Newsroom closures and exodus from territory are result of ‘draconian’ national security law introduced in 2020

As the last news programme came to a close and anchors bade farewell to their online audience on 3 January, Chris Yeung, the founder and chief writer of Citizen News, gathered together his staff and tried to strike an optimistic tone.

“Remember our very best memories,” he said, dressed in a blue shirt with sleeves rolled up and a crimson jumper draped on his shoulders. “No one knows what will happen next. Don’t worry. Just remember the happy things.”

Continue reading...
Millions more Chinese people ordered into lockdown to fight Covid outbreaks

Omicron cases prompt tough measures in Anyang, a city of five million, as concerns grows ahead of Winter Olympics

Millions more people in China have been ordered into lockdown and Hong Kong has banned transit passengers from 150 places as China continues to battle outbreaks across several provinces a few weeks before the Winter Olympics.

China’s national health commission reported 110 new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases for Monday, including 87 in Henan province, 13 in Shaanxi, and 10 in Tianjin.

Continue reading...
Kazakhstan: Russian-led military bloc to start withdrawing troops, says president

Withdrawal to start in two days, says Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, as new PM appointed and detentions rise to nearly 10,000

Kazakhstan’s president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, has said troops from a Russian-led military bloc will begin their withdrawal from the country within two days.

Tokayev asked for assistance from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) last week to help him regain control, after unrest that left at least 164 people dead.

Continue reading...
Chinese developer Shimao plans fire sale after downgrade and missed payment

Fears over contagion mount as a company once considered financially sound is running out of cash to pay its debts

A Chinese developer previously considered financially sound is embarking on a fire sale of assets as the contagion of bad debts built up within China’s bloated housing sector continues to spread.

Shimao Group Holdings, which is in the top dozen Chinese property companies, was plunged into crisis after it said it defaulted a trust loan last week after missing a 645m yuan ($101m) payment that it guaranteed.

Continue reading...
Intel deletes mention of Xinjiang in letter after China backlash

US chipmaker was criticised in China for asking suppliers to avoid the sanctions-hit region, and now faces ‘cowardice’ accusation at home

US chipmaker Intel has deleted references to Xinjiang from an annual letter to suppliers after the company faced a backlash in China for asking suppliers to avoid the sanctions-hit region.

Last month, Intel was slammed on Chinese social media for a letter to suppliers published on its website. The 23 December letter said Intel had been “required to ensure that its supply chain does not use any labour or source goods or services from the Xinjiang region” following restrictions imposed by “multiple governments”.

Continue reading...
Pacific faces ‘strategic surprise’, says US official, alluding to China

US Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell says bases and other agreements could be on the cards

The Pacific may be the part of the world most likely to see “strategic surprise”, the US Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell has said, in comments apparently referring to possible Chinese ambitions to establish Pacific island bases.

Campbell told Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies that the United States has “enormous moral, strategic, historical interests” in the Pacific but had not done enough to assist the region, unlike countries such as Australia and New Zealand.

Continue reading...
North Korea conducts fresh ‘hypersonic missile’ launch

Second launch in less than a week designed to put pressure on US and follows condemnation at UN

North Korea has test-fired a suspected ballistic missile that may be an improved version of a “hypersonic missile” it launched only last week, in a move designed to increase pressure on the US amid stalled nuclear talks and mounting economic problems for the regime.

Tuesday’s launch was detected at 7.27am on Tuesday from an inland area of North Korea toward the ocean off its east coast, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement.

Continue reading...
In today’s New Zealand, it’s not about being just Māori or Pākehā – everyone must belong | Philip McKibbin

While some of us are both, many of us are neither. The urge to separate us out is used to marginalise people around the world

It took me a long time to embrace my Māori identity.

On my mother’s side, I whakapapa (relate, through ancestry) to Kāi Tahu, the largest iwi (tribe) of Te Waipounamu (the South Island of New Zealand), but I grew up believing I was only Pākehā (NZ European). I spent most of my childhood living with my Pākehā father. Even though my Māori ancestry was mentioned occasionally, I resisted the suggestion that I was Māori. I didn’t grow up on a marae (Māori village), or speak te reo – and I didn’t look like the Māori kids I knew.

Continue reading...
Calls for release of Kabul University professor detained by Taliban

Prof Faizullah Jalal, an outspoken critic of Afghanistan’s ruling group, was arrested for alleged remarks on social media

Supporters of a prominent university professor, and one of Afghanistan’s most vocal critics of the Taliban, are calling for his release after he was arrested on Saturday.

Faizullah Jalal, a professor at Kabul University, was detained by the Taliban after the group claimed he was responsible for a series of messages on social media attacking them.

Continue reading...