02 Jun

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective


Wang Yi tells journalist ‘your question is full of prejudice … and arrogance’ after she asks about Hong Kong booksellers and detained Canadian Kevin Garrat

China’s foreign minister Wang Yi vents his frustration when reporter Amanda Connolly, of online news site iPolitics, asks a question about the country’s human rights record. Yi tells her the question is ‘full of prejudice… and arrogance’. The minister is at a joint news conference with Stéphane Dion, Canada’s minister of foreign affairs

China’s foreign minister berated a journalist during a visit to Canada on Wednesday for asking an “irresponsible” question about China’s human rights record.

Wang Yi was in Ottawa to meet prime minister Justin Trudeau and Stéphane Dion, the minister of foreign affairs. At a joint news conference offered by Wang and Dion, Canadian journalists were limited to one question and a follow-up for both ministers.

Reporter Amanda Connolly of online news site IPolitics directed a question to Dion that touched on the case of Canadian Kevin Garratt, detained since 2014 in China on charges of espionage and stealing state secrets.

Connolly said: “There are no shortages of concerns about China’s treatment of human rights advocates such as the Hong Kong booksellers and its detention of the Garratts, not to mention the destabilising effects of its territorial ambitions in the South China Sea.”

She followed up with another question, which had been agreed upon by several news media. “Given these concerns, why is Canada pursuing closer ties with China, how do you plan to use that relationship to improve human rights and security in the region, and did you specifically raise the case of the Garratts during your talks?”……………

MPs vote to approve motion describing massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces a century ago as genocide

A banner reading ‘Nuremberg says: The Bundestag is not a tribunal’ is held aloft during a protest in Berlin against the German parliament’s resolution condemning the Armenian genocide.

A banner reading ‘Nuremberg says: The Bundestag is not a tribunal’ is held aloft during a protest in Berlin against the German parliament’s vote on the Armenian genocide. Photograph: Paul Zinken/EPA

German MPs have approved a motion describing the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces a century ago as genocide – a decision that Turkey’s prime minister said would “test” relations between the two countries at a sensitive time.

The five-page resolution, co-written by parliamentarians from the Christian Democrats, Social Democrats and Green party, calls for a “commemoration of the genocide of Armenian and other Christian minorities in the years 1915 and 1916”. It passed with support from all the parties in parliament. In a show of hands, there was one abstention and one vote against.

Turkish governments have always rejected the use of the term genocide to describe the massacre and expulsion of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians and members of Christian minorities in the Ottoman empire.

Speaking before the vote on Thursday, Turkey’s prime minister described the ballot as “a real test of the friendship” between his country and Germany. “Some nations that we consider friends, when they are experiencing trouble in domestic policy, attempt to divert attention from it,” Binali Y?ld?r?m said at a meeting of his Justice and Development party. “This resolution is an example of that.”

On Wednesday he had gone further, saying the ballot was “ridiculous” and arguing that the killings were an “ordinary” wartime event. Y?ld?r?m repeated the warning from the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, that bilateral ties would be damaged by Germany’s decision to call the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces a genocide…………….

Delivery including medical supplies but no food made to rebel-held town after Russia announces 48-hour truce

Syrian girls sit holding placards in Darayya.

Syrian girls carry placards in Darayya. The government had refused to allow aid into the town. Photograph: Fadi Dirani/AFP/Getty Images

An aid convoy carrying medicine, baby milk and vaccines has entered the Damascus suburb of Darayya for the first time since it was besieged by regime forces in 2012, according to the Red Cross.

The joint convoy organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent entered the starving town on Wednesday afternoon.

The aid, which does not contain food, arrived three weeks after a similar convoy was barred from entering the town by forces from the elite Fourth Armored Brigade commanded by Maher al-Assad, the president’s brother.

It is understood that food was excluded from the convoy as a confidence-building measure, with humanitarian officials hoping further aid deliveries would include food.

ICRC spokesman Pawel Krzysiek, who accompanied the convoy, said people inside Darayya had welcomed the convoy even though it did not contain any food.

“They were not angry, they were very positive and open – they are people like us. But they want to eat and we must bring to them food as soon as possible,” he told the Guardian. “Today’s delivery went very smoothly and it is certainly a positive development but whether it will become a success we have to see when and how often we will be able to return to Darayya in the hopefully very near future.”…………….

Residents who can are paying to have their home’s pipework replaced amid concern over water quality but for most the cost is way beyond their means

‘If I lived in one of the Chicago homes with a lead pipe under no circumstances would l let my child be drinking the water,’ said Mark Edwards, the scientist who uncovered the extent of problems in Flint.

‘If I lived in one of the Chicago homes with a lead pipe under no circumstances would l let my child be drinking the water,’ said Marc Edwards, the scientist who revealed the extent of Flint’s problems. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA

Michael Kerrigan has been a busy man since the full scale of lead contamination in Flint, Michigan, became apparent. Kerrigan’s plumbing business, located a dozen miles north of Chicago’s downtown area, has already removed the lead water pipes of 15 homes this year – the same total as the whole of 2015.

“We are constantly getting calls about it, people are very aware of what’s going on in the news,” Kerrigan says. “People are concerned. It’s usually people with children. Kids are far more affected than adults by lead, so everyone is a bit worried about that.”

Residents of America’s third largest city have been given disturbing warnings over their potential exposure to lead. According to the EPA, people in Chicago should run their faucets for three minutes to help clear most of the lead out. Water can then be stored in a container in the fridge for use throughout the day. Only cold water should be used for drinking, cooking and preparing baby formula.

This advice, along with the Flint disaster and several uncomfortably high lead readings in Chicago, has sparked a stampede of residents demanding their water tested or lead lines ripped up. Chicago hasn’t quite replicated the crisis engulfing Flint, but the specter of toxic water is starting to haunt the city.

Twenty years ago, Kerrigan tore up the lead pipes leading to his own home in Evanston. “I had young children and although I hadn’t got them tested for lead, I just wanted the pipes gone,” he says……………

  • Nouman Raja was in civilian clothes and did not identify himself, court told
  • Florida officer could face life for allegedly shooting church band drummer
Nouman Raja confronted Corey Jones in the early hours of the morning on a bridge where he was awaiting roadside assistance after his vehicle broke down.

Nouman Raja confronted Corey Jones in the early hours of the morning on a bridge where he was awaiting roadside assistance after his vehicle broke down. Photograph: Palm Beach Garden Police Department

A Florida police officer has been charged with manslaughter and attempted murder for fatally shooting a man who was waiting beside a road for a breakdown truck, and then continuing to fire even as the man ran away in fear.

Nouman Raja was indicted by a Palm Beach County grand jury on Wednesday and arrested for repeatedly shooting Corey Jones, a 31-year-old church band drummer, in the early hours of 18 October last year. Raja could face life in prison if convicted.

Raja was dressed entirely in plainclothes and failed to identify himself as a police officer as he confronted Jones with a gun, according to a charging document released by authorities. He drove the wrong way up an exit ramp in an unmarked van to make contact with Jones, who produced his legally owned handgun before “fleeing, frightened” and throwing the weapon aside.

“The grand jury today has found that Mr Raja’s use of force was unjustified,” state prosecutor Dave Aronberg said at a press conference on Wednesday.

The charging document said Jones’s homicide was caused by “Officer Raja’s culpably negligent actions”. It said Raja approached Jones in a “tactically unsound, unsafe and grossly negligent manner” and that “a reasonable person can only assume the thoughts and concerns Corey Jones was experiencing as he saw the van approaching him at that hour of the morning”………….

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English Online International Newspapers

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