03 Jun

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

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Cartoon bear statues removed from China’s securities watchdog

By Jiang Jie (People’s Daily Online)


Two bear statues from a cartoon series have been removed from in front of a China’s securities regulator in Beijing, after they allegedly gave a salute with their middle fingers to the regulator.

The two bears from the Chinese cartoon Boonie Bears were first erected on Sunday at the entrance of Seasons Place, a shopping mall on the Financial Street in Beijing, in order to celebrate Children’s Day which fell on Wednesday this year.

Being set up at the capital city’s financial hub where many financial institutes were based, the bears immediately caught many eyes online as they were posed right to the direction of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) with one of them seemingly putting up its middle finger.

According to online posts, the whole set of statues – including two bears, a hunter and two monkeys – have been relocated to another spot facing the Bank of Communications (BOC), before the two bears were taken out of the set.

The statues were reportedly part of a Bonnie Bear Theme Park in the shopping mall for Children’s Day celebration. Apart from the two on the street, many more could be seen in the mall.

“They [CSRC] had called us afterwards, saying the bear was using an impolite handle gesture, as if it was putting its middle finger up at them … but a bear only has four fingers, it would not give a middle finger,” Zhu Lei, a person in charge of the theme park, told the Beijing Youth Daily, adding that the BOC did not contact them and the bears were sent back to the storeroom to prevent anymore more troubles.

Zhu explained that they chose the Boonie Bears because it is popular among children in China.

Cartoon bear statues removed from China’s securities watchdog





John Kerry and Ban Ki-moon to attend summit that French diplomats hope will reboot ‘dangerously deadlocked’ peace process

The US secretary of state John Kerry

The US secretary of state, John Kerry, will be joined by Ban Ki-moon and representatives from the Arab League and other key countries in the region. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP

Associated Press in Paris

US, European and Arab diplomats are meeting in Paris for a French-led effort to revive the Middle East peace process, though neither Israel nor the Palestinians are taking part.

France persuaded the US secretary of state, John Kerry, the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, and foreign ministers and officials from nearly 30 other countries and international organisations to join the meeting to try to prevent an escalation of violence.

The French hope Friday’s meeting could lead to direct talks.

The French president, François Hollande, who will open the conference, said on Thursday that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is in a “dangerous deadlock”. The meeting will allow participants to “reaffirm their commitment to the two-state solution and their determination to create the conditions for resumption of direct talks,” he said.

Kerry and Ban will be joined by representatives from the European Union, the Arab League and key countries in the region such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has publicly rejected the idea of an international conference, saying the longstanding conflict can be resolved only through direct negotiations.

The Palestinian prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, welcomed the French initiative…………..



When residents of Uniontown protested at the dumping of 4m tons of toxic coal ash in the poor, 91% black town, Green Group Holdings sued them for slander

The massive Arrowhead Landfill near Uniontown, Alabama. Opponents of the facility are asking a federal court to dismiss a slander lawsuit filed by the Georgia-based landfill operators.

The vast Arrowhead Landfill near Uniontown, Alabama. Opponents of the facility are asking a federal court to dismiss a slander lawsuit filed by the Georgia-based landfill operators. Photograph: Jay Reeves/AP

Residents in tiny Uniontown, Alabama, are locked in a legal battle against a company that has dumped millions of tons of coal ash there and then filed suit for defamation against those protesting against the act.

The residents formed a group, Black Belt Citizens Fighting for Health and Justice, to fight the placement of a landfill filled with the coal ash in their town that they say threatens their health and constitutes a racial injustice. Uniontown is 91% black, and is among the poorest communities in the nation: half the residents live below the poverty line.

The company that owns the landfill, Georgia-based Green Group Holdings, has slapped four of the residents with a $30m lawsuit for defamation, objecting to the way they describe life on the edge of the 1,200-acre Arrowhead landfill.

On Thursday morning the American Civil Liberties Union – whose co-founder was a Uniontown native – filed a motion in federal court to dismiss the suit, saying it goes against “the very core of the first amendment”……………


Greek coastguard says 302 people have been rescued and three bodies recovered so far in major rescue operation

People sit near the village of Finokalia in Crete after arriving in a migrant boat on 31 May

People sit near the village of Finokalia in Crete after arriving in a migrant boat on 31 May. A rescue operation is under way after a boat capsized on Friday. Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty Images

A migrant boat carrying hundreds of people has capsized off the Greek island of Crete and a major rescue operation is under way, the Greek coastguard has said.

The coastguard told the Associated Press on Friday that 302 people had been rescued and three bodies recovered in the rescue operation so far.

Earlier a spokeswoman for the coastguard had told Agence-France Presse: “The number of people in distress could be counted in the hundreds. People are in the water, boats crossing the area have thrown lifebuoys and are moving to save the migrants.”

She said a passing ship spotted the sinking vessel about 75 nautical miles south of Crete, Greece’s largest island, in the southern Aegean Sea.

The coastguard rushed two patrol boats, a plane and a helicopter to the scene while at least four ships crossing the area joined the rescue operation.

About half of the 25-metre-long boat was underwater, the spokeswoman said.

It was not immediately clear where the boat had left from or where it was headed.

Some 204,000 migrants and refugees have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe since January, the United Nations refugee agency said on Tuesday. It said more than 2,500 people have died trying to make the perilous journey this year…………….


Prime minister is sticking by hated plans to change workplace rules despite strikes, saying his country must and will reform

Manuel Valls

Manuel Valls: ‘This is a people that likes revolution … at the same time you have to compromise.’ Photograph: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

The French government will not back down in the face of strike action against its contested overhaul of labour laws and intends to prove to the world that reforming the country is not impossible, Manuel Valls, the French prime minister, has said.

Valls is increasingly concerned that images of striking oil refinery workers around burning tyres, rail disruptions and petrol panic-buying have tarnished France’s image abroad, put visitors off coming to the showpiece Euro 2016 football tournament and threatened to damage a fragile tourism industry still reeling from November’s Paris terror attacks.

“No, it is not chaos in France,” Valls insisted to a group of journalists at his official residence, as the government tried to calm a series of strike movements.

The powerful, hardline CGT union is locked in a standoff with the government, demanding a withdrawal of labour reforms designed to loosen France’s rigid workplace regulations and make it easier to hire and fire.

After days of blockades and strikes, fuel depots have been liberated by police and petrol supply almost restored to normal, but strike action on Thursday caused a brief power-cut to about 125,000 homes in Loire-Atlantique as the focus switched to electricity supply……………

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English Online International Newspapers

For a change from the same old news stories from the same old news networks, here are links to English-edition online newspapers from other parts of the world. Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

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Some of the available newspapers:

Asia & CIS


China & Hong Kong








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