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China Criticizes Britain For ‘Shameless’ Comments On Hong Kong

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China has on Wednesday denounced British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt as “shameless”, saying it had made a diplomatic complaint to London after he warned of consequences if China neglected commitments made when it took back Hong Kong in 1997.

China has stepped up a war of words with Hong Kong’s former colonial ruler following mass protests there against a now suspended bill that would allow extradition to mainland China.

“To say that the freedoms of Hong Kong residents is something Britain strived for is simply shameless,”Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a news briefing.

“I would like to ask Mr. Hunt, during the British colonial era in Hong Kong, was there any democracy to speak of? Hong Kongers didn’t even have the right to protest.”

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Only after Hong Kong’s return to China did its people got an “unprecedented” guarantee about democracy and freedom, he said.

The comments followed remarks by Hunt to Reuters on Monday, condemning violence on both sides and warning of consequences if China neglected commitments to allow freedoms to Hong Kong not enjoyed in mainland China, including the right to protest.

Late on Monday, hundreds of protesters in the former British colony had besieged, and broken into, the legislature after a demonstration marking the anniversary of return to Chinese rule.

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China called the violence an “undisguised challenge” to the “one country, two systems” model under which Hong Kong has been ruled for 22 years.

The turbulence in Hong Kong was triggered by an extradition bill opponents say will undermine Hong Kong’s much-cherished rule of law and give Beijing powers to prosecute activists in mainland courts, which are controlled by the Communist Party.

Hunt, who is seeking to become Britain’s next prime minister, has made no attempt to correct his mistakes in talking about Hong Kong and has “continued to wag his tongue too freely” on the issue, Geng said.

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Had Britain’s parliament been surrounded and attacked, would authorities have stood by and done nothing, he asked.

“Does he think that the British police’s handling of the August, 2011 riots in London was repression?” Geng asked, referring to rioting in London that year.

“We hope that Britain, especially Mr. Hunt, does not overestimate its abilities and wantonly interfere in Hong Kong matters. This is destined to be futile,” he said.

China has lodged “stern representations” with Britain both in Beijing and London about Hunt’s remarks, he added.

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Global Covid-19 Cases Cross 12 Million As US Reaches Grim Milestone Of 3 Million Infections

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Global Covid-19 Cases Cross 12 Million As US Reaches Grim Milestone Of 3 Million Infections

The U.S. coronavirus outbreak has crossed a grim milestone of more than three million confirmed cases on Tuesday. More states have reported high numbers of cases while Florida faces shortage of hospital beds at its intensive care units.

Authorities say at least 24 states, including California, Hawaii, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma and Texas have reported disturbingly high infection rates as a percentage of diagnostic tests conducted over the past two weeks.

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In Texas alone, the number of hospitalized patients more than doubled in just two weeks.

The U.S. department of health and human services says there would be an additional short-term “surge” testing sites in three metropolitan areas in Florida, Louisiana and Texas.

More than four dozen hospitals across 25 of 67 Florida counties have reported their intensive care units are full.

A widely cited mortality model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) projected on Tuesday U.S. deaths would reach two hundred eight thousand by November.

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In Arizona, another hot spot, the rate of coronavirus tests coming back positive rose more than a quarter as of last weekend.

The surge has forced authorities to rethink reopening businesses.

Texas state fair, which had been scheduled to open in late September, has been canceled for the first time since world war two.

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One hundred, thirty-one thousand Americans have died as a result of the pandemic.

According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 12 million persons around the world have been diagnosed with coronavirus and more than 550,000 have died. Nearly 6.7 million have recovered from the virus.

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Hunger Could Kill Millions More Than Covid-19, Warns Oxfam

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Hunger Could Kill Millions More Than Covid-19, Warns Oxfam

Oxfam, an international charity organization, says more people could die from hunger as a result of the coronavirus pandemic than from the disease itself.

Oxfam warned covid-19 crisis has disrupted harvests, food supplies and remittances in the poorest countries.

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It says middle-income countries such as South Africa, India and Brazil, have also been badly hit, with many people losing their jobs during lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus.

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Official figures show there have been more than half a million deaths worldwide relating to covid-19. At least 12 million persons have been infected so far globally.

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US Strike On Iran General Was Unlawful, UN Expert Says

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US Strike On Iran General Was Unlawful, UN Expert Says

A United Nations expert on extrajudicial killings has said in a report on Tuesday that the United State drone strike that killed Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani was “unlawful”.

In a January 3 attack in Iraq, near Baghdad international airport, the US President Donald Trump ordered the killing of Soleimani.

Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, in her report said “In light of the evidence that the US has provided to date, the targeting of General Soleimani, and the deaths of those accompanying him, constitute an arbitrary killing for which, under IHRL [international human rights law] the US is responsible.”

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Soleimani was seen as the most powerful figure in Iran after its supreme leader, however Trump sees him as “the world’s top terrorist” and “should have been terminated long ago”.

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As commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ overseas operations arm, the Quds Force, Soleimani was an architect of Iranian policy across the Middle East.

Callamard said the US had provided no evidence “an imminent attack” against American interests was being planned.

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Washington had accused Soleimani of masterminding attacks by Iranian-aligned militias on US forces in the region.

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