by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2019
Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong walked free from prison on Monday (June 17) after serving nearly five weeks for contempt of court, pledging to join a mass protest movement demanding that the city’s Beijing-backed leader, Carrie Lam, to step down.
His release comes a day after organizers of the protest calling for Lam to quit over a controversial extradition bill said almost two million black-clad people joined Sunday’s march to government offices.
“Millions of Hong Kong people joined the demonstration and protest within the past few weeks. It shows the spirit and dignity of Hong Kong people. What we ask for is to urge Carrie Lam the evil chief executive should withdraw the extradition amendment,” he said.
“And what we are trying to do is just through civil disobedience and direct action and let the whole world, let the international communities to realize that how Hong Kong people will not keep silence under the suppression of President Xi and the Chief Executive Carrie Lam,” he added.
Wong continued with: “Carrie Lam must step down, otherwise I believe in the next few weeks before the 22 anniversary of Hong Kong transfer of sovereignty, more and more Hong Kong people not only one million or two million people will come and join our fight until the day we get back our basic human rights and freedom.”
Before he was jailed, both Wong, 22, and his supporters had called for the Hong Kong government to scrap the extradition proposal.
Wong who was one of the leaders of the 2014 “Umbrella” pro-democracy protests that blocked major roads in the Chinese-ruled city for 79 days presenting China’s Communist Party rulers in Beijing with one of their biggest political challenges in decades.
While Lam delayed the bill at the weekend, it has yet to be completely shelved, despite widespread concern that the status of Hong Kong as a financial hub could be eroded by changes to the rule of law. (REUTERS)
by Marje Pelayo | Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2019
MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has intercepted a number of pork products from Hong Kong and China at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in between June 19 to 28.
The items didn’t have sanitary and phytosanitary clearances from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and could have been infested by the deadly pig virus African Swine Fever (ASF).
China is one of the 19 countries from where entry of pork and pork-based products are banned.
From a total of 400 samples that BAI examined, 34 tested positive of ASF and these products could have caused infestation in the country’s hog industry if they were not intercepted.
Germany was the latest addition to the list of countries where entry of pork products to the Philippines was banned.
Though there were no reports yet of ASF-infestation in Germany, the Philippines included it in the list after a German company exported pork products to the Philippines along with some 250 kilograms of pork from ASF-hit Poland.
The said shipment was intercepted in Cebu on June 27 which included 27 boxes of pork items from Poland.
That incident, according to Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, was a clear violation of the country’s Quarantine Law thus resulting in the ban of pork products from Germany.
“Nakikiusap ako.(‘Im appealing to you) Please understand, these are extraordinary times. We cannot take the risk,” Secretary Piñol said.
“Kasi tingnan mo, Germany napaka-respectable na bansa nyan. It’s export country known for its high standards, nasingitan tayo, (You see Germany is a highly respected country. It’s exports are known for its high standards but some banned (pork) slip past their screening,)” he explained.
Piñol stressed that ASF infestation would compromise the country’s P260-B worth of hog industry.
Some of the Philippines’ neighboring countries have already declared an outbreak of ASF such as Vietnam and Cambodia.
In May, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked store owners to self-recall pork products from China that covers those manufactured since the start of the import ban.
Still, Piñol assures the Philippines’ hog industry remains ASF free. – with reports from Rey Pelayo
by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Tuesday, July 9th, 2019
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday (July 9) the extradition bill that sparked the territory’s biggest political crisis in decades was dead, admitting that the government’s work on the bill had been a “total failure”.
The bill, which would have allowed people in Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China to face trial, sparked huge and at times violent street protests and plunged the former British colony into turmoil.
“Now first of all, the cause of all these grievances and confrontations, is an exercise to amend the fugitive offenders’ ordinance. I have almost immediately put a stop so the amendment exercise. But there are still lingering doubts about the government sincerity, or worries about whether the government will restart the process in the legislative council. So, I reiterate here, there is no such plan. The bill is dead,” she said.
Lam also said that she “fully understand that the responses of the government may not have met the wishes of the people, especially the protesters, who have gone on the streets several times to express their views.”
“I just want to reiterate, this is not, this is nothing to do with my own pride or arrogance. This is the government’s full deliberation of the various concerns and factors, and comes to a conclusion, the responses are what are practical measures for us to move ahead,” she added.
“So my sincere plea is, please give us the opportunity, the time, the room, for us to take Hong Kong out of the current impasse and try to improve the current situation,” she further said.
In mid-June Lam responded to huge protests by suspending the bill, but that move failed to mollify critics, who continued to demonstrate against the bill and call for Lam’s resignation.
Hong Kong was returned to China from Britain in 1997.
by Robie de Guzman | Posted on Monday, July 8th, 2019
Police made a number of arrests on Sunday (July 7) as protesters marched through Hong Kong’s most popular tourist areas.
Protests against the now-suspended bill have drawn millions of people to the streets in the former British colony in recent weeks, posing the biggest challenge Beijing has faced to its rule in the territory since Hong Kong returned to Chinese control in 1997.
Protesters braved intermittent rain and marched through streets of Tsim Sha Tsui, a popular shopping destination with luxury shops, to try to deliver their message directly to mainland Chinese tourists in the hope of garnering sympathy.
By evening, most protesters had left but several hundred regrouped and marched up a busy street toward the densely populated Mong Kok neighborhood, blocking traffic along the way.
Lines of police with helmets and plastic shields stopped their advance and worked to disperse the group by driving them back, mostly peacefully.
Live TV footage showed a handful of protesters being detained after being wrestled to the ground. (REUTERS)
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