World news today July 20: UK to suspend extradition treaty with Hong Kong
|Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (Photo: SCMP)|
UK to suspend extradition treaty with Hong Kong
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is expected to make the announcement on the Hong Kong treaty when he addresses Parliament on Monday, after weeks of lobbying from lawmakers to suspend a legal instrument they fear could be used by Hong Kong for political persecution in future.
“On Hong Kong, I'm going to go to the House of Commons tomorrow to make a further statement on the work we've been doing with our partners in government," Raab told Sky News.
The move will further exacerbate London’s diplomatic stand-off with Beijing, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo begins his London visit to hammer out an Anglo-American strategy on China with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
"I've said that we'd review a whole range of other considerations,” Raab said. "One of the things that we reviewed is our extradition arrangements, and I will be updating the House on the conclusion of that review, along with other things that we've been looking at, tomorrow."
China’s imposition of national security laws has been followed by rapidly worsening relations between Beijing and London. The UK has already agreed to let up to 3 million Hongkongers with British National (Overseas) passports to relocate there, with a path to British citizenship, citing Beijing’s violation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
The UK will become the latest Five Eyes member to cut off fugitive-transfer arrangements with its former colony in the wake of Beijing’s imposition of the new national security law. It will also become the first European country to make the move, as the European Union has also been debating whether to nullify the extradition treaties between Hong Kong and Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
China blasts dam to release floodwaters as death toll rises
Authorities in central China blasted a dam on Sunday to release surging waters behind it amid widespread flooding across the country that has claimed scores of lives, as reported by AP.
State broadcaster CCTV reported the dam on the Chuhe River in Anhui province was destroyed with explosives early Sunday morning, after which the water level was expected to drop by 70 centimetres (more than 2 feet).
Water levels on many rivers, including the mighty Yangtze, have been unusually high this year because of torrential rains.
Last week, the gargantuan Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze opened three floodgates as the water level behind the massive dam rose more than 15 meters (50 feet) above flood level. Another flood crest is expected to arrive at the dam on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, soldiers and workers have been testing the strength of embankments and shoring them up with sandbags and rocks. On Saturday, firefighters and others finished filling in a 188-meter (620-foot) break on Poyang Lake, China’s largest freshwater lake, that had caused widespread flooding across 15 villages and agricultural fields in Jiangxi province. More than 14,000 people were evacuated.
|Authorities in central China blasted a dam on Sunday to release surging waters behind it amid widespread flooding across the country (Photo: AP News)|
Kanye West draws crowd in South Carolina for first presidential candidature event
Rapper Kanye West, in his first event since declaring himself a presidential candidate, delivered a lengthy monologue Sunday touching on topics from abortion and religion to international trade and licensing deals. Whether he’s actually seeking the nation’s highest office remains a question.
Wearing a protective vest and with “2020” shaved into his head, the entertainer spoke before a crowd in North Charleston, S.C. According to a live stream of the event, it appeared that several hundred people had gathered in a venue, where gospel music played before West’s appearance.
The event was reportedly for registered guests only, although a campaign website had no registration or RSVP information.
West has missed the deadline to qualify for the ballot in several states, and it’s unclear if he is willing or able to collect enough signatures required to qualify in others. Last week, he qualified to appear on Oklahoma’s presidential ballot, the first state where he met the requirements before the filing deadline.
West needs to collect 10,000 signatures by noon Monday to appear on the South Carolina ballot, according to state law, according to Los Angeles Times.
|Rapper Kanye West delivered a lengthy monologue Sunday touching on topics from abortion and religion to international trade and licensing deals (Photo: Post and Courier)|
Chiang Mai, Ubon rally to against Prayut, government
Students, activists and ordinary Thais held a rally in Chiang Mai on Sunday demanding the ouster of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his government.
A smaller protest was held in Ubon Ratchathani with the same demands, with the Free Youth group involved in the two peaceful gatherings, according to Bangkok Post.
Tha Phae Gate, one of the landmarks in the northern city, was surrounded by protesters giving their trademark three-finger salutel and displaying placards urging Gen Prayut and his government to step down. They also called for the dissolution of the House and a draft of a new constitution.
Police were at the scene urging them to end the rally, saying it violated the emergency decree and could cause a second wave of the novel coronavirus.
In Ubon Ratchathani, a group of university and high school students, along with ordinary people, staged a rally near the City Pillar Shrine in the municipality calling for the government to step down.
The rally in Bangkok was the first big political gathering since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
|Students, activists and ordinary Thais held a rally in Chiang Mai on Sunday demanding the ouster of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his government (Photo: Bangkok Post)|
XAU/USD struggles for a firm direction above $1,800
Gold recedes from $1,811 to $1,807.68, currently around $1,808.50, during the early Monday morning in Asia. In doing so, the yellow metal stays mildly positive inside a choppy range around $1,800. The fears of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Sino-American tussle join the European Union (EU) leaders’ inability to agree over the much-awaited stimulus. On the contrary, gains in equities as well as the multi-year high price level keep the traders cautious.
Although risk catalysts like virus and tussle between the US and China join the broad US dollar weakness favor the Gold buyers, the bullion’s surge to the multi-year high seems to fade the upside momentum off-late. The reason could be cited in the metal’s latest performance between $1,790 and the multi-year high around $1,818. While the fundamentals remain supportive to the bulls, bears are cheering the run-up in global share prices to seek entries.
|Gold recedes from $1,811 to $1,807.68, currently around $1,808.50, during the early Monday morning in Asia (Photo: FC Street)|
On the other hand, decision-makers in the most developed countries, except for the European Union (EU), have signaled their readiness to offer more stimulus packages. However, the bloc leaders are still jostling over 750 million Euro of the aid bundle.
It’s worth mentioning that the US dollar remains pressured with the latest Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index indicating early signals of the economic weakness.
Amid all these plays, S&P 500 Futures seesaw above 3,200 after Wall Street marked mixed results on Friday. Further, the US 10-year Treasury yields remain stuck around 0.62%, according to FX Market.
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