Indian journalist freed on bail after being jailed for two years without trial

Muslim reporter Siddique Kappan had been charged under draconian anti-terrorism laws

Indian journalist Siddique Kappan, who was held in jail for two years without trial, has walked free after being granted bail in a case human rights groups alleged was politically motivated.

Kappan, a Muslim journalist from the southern state of Kerala, was arrested in October 2020 as he was on his way to the northern state of Uttar Pradesh to report on the high-profile case of a Dalit girl who was gang-raped and later died.

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US general’s ‘gut’ feeling of war with China sparks alarm over predictions

Leaked memo forecasting Taiwan strait conflict in 2025 triggers debate about ‘undisciplined’ comments

A leaked memo from a US four-star general saying his “gut” told him the US would be at war with China in 2025 has prompted warnings about the danger of “undisciplined” predictions of a Taiwan strait conflict.

The memo, by the head of the US Air Mobility Command (AMC), Gen Mike Minihan, was the latest prediction of a Chinese military invasion of Taiwan, which have ranged from 2022 to 2049. It has triggered a debate about US readiness, accusations of warmongering, and concerns about desensitising people to the real risk of invasion.

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US seals crucial military deal with the Philippines close to China ‘flashpoints’

Deal expands Washington’s access to military bases close to Taiwan and the South China Sea

The Philippines has granted the United States expanded access to its military bases, greatly enhancing Washington’s presence in the region at a time of growing concern about Chinese aggression.

Washington would be given access to four additional military bases in “strategic areas of the country”, without specifying the locations, the Philippines’ Department of National Defence said on Thursday in a statement.

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‘We are the village’s shining stars’: hockey is giving India’s rural women new status

Hosting the World Cup in the Indian state of Odisha has transformed playing the game into a respectable career choice

In a small mud room, Elisaba Lakra hurriedly cooks lunch for her husband. It is 11am and she only has two hours before her eight-year-old twin girls return from school. As captain and coach of Khamarimunda village hockey team in India’s Sundargarh district, she needs to fit in practice before they do.

Lakra, 27, first picked up a hockey stick aged five and by 13 was playing for the Odisha state junior team. She was selected for a place at a training academy in Rourkela, host to the recent Hockey World Cup, about 70 miles (112km) from her village.

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US opens embassy in Solomon Islands after 30-year absence to counter China

Move comes amid concerns about Beijing’s military ambitions in Indo-Pacific region after it struck a security pact with Solomons last year

The United States has opened an embassy in Solomon Islands after a 30-year absence as it seeks to boost diplomatic relations in the Pacific as a counter to China.

The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, announced the news late on Wednesday, saying that “more than any other part of the world, the Indo-Pacific region – including the Pacific Islands – will shape the world’s trajectory in the 21st century”.

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Canada votes to take in 10,000 Uyghur refugees amid Chinese pressure to force their return

Move shows ‘what is happening to the Uyghurs is unacceptable’, says MP after non-binding parliamentary ballot with prime minister’s support

Canada’s parliament has unanimously passed a motion to take in 10,000 Uyghur refugees who fled China, but are now facing pressure to return.

The vote on Wednesday builds on a February 2021 move by Canadian lawmakers to label Beijing’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in its north-western Xinjiang territory as genocide.

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Adani Group abandons share offer as crisis triggered by fraud claims escalates

Relentless selling triggers questions about how Indian conglomerate – which denies allegations – will meet its loan obligations

Beleaguered Indian conglomerate Adani Group has abandoned a much-vaunted share offer in an escalating crisis triggered by fraud claims that has cut more than US$90bn in value from the power-to-ports empire and raised the prospect of forced asset sales.

The relentless selling has also triggered questions about how Adani, which runs Australia’s contentious Carmichael coalmine and rail project in Queensland, will meet its loan obligations as banks weigh up their exposure.

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Myanmar junta extends state of emergency, delaying promised elections

Regime chief says military will always be country’s ‘guardian’ regardless of who is in power, as streets empty on anniversary of army takeover

Myanmar’s military regime has announced an extension to its state of emergency, effectively delaying elections the junta had pledged to hold by August, as it battles anti-coup fighters across the country.

The junta chief, Min Aung Hlaing, acknowledged that more than a third of townships were not under full military control, in comments reported by state media on Wednesday.

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