Trump approves huge Taiwan arms deal in latest blow to China relations

The US State Department has approved the sale of advanced weaponry systems to Taiwan, in a deal worth some $1.8bn that includes sensors, missiles and artillery, the Pentagon said.  

Congress still needs to give final approval to the deal, and can raise objections to any arms sales within 30 days of the issuance of a formal notification.

Among the weapons systems in Wednesday’s deal were 11 t

Thailand lifts controversial emergency order banning protests after dozens of arrests

A week after it declared emergency, Thailand’s government on Thursday withdrew the order even as protesters continued to come out on the streets demanding the resignation of the military-backed prime minister and former general Prayut Chan-o-cha. 

Despite the emergency ban on gatherings and warnings from the authorities, student-led protesters have continued to rally. Far from backing down, on Wednesday the protesters said they were giving the Thai prime minister three days to resign. 

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Delhi smog: What it’s like to live with the most polluted air in the world

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iving in the Indian capital, Delhi, there is scarcely an issue that more clearly highlights the divide between the rich and poor than air pollution.

Each year, the smog descends upon the city, arriving in October as the fierce summer heat subsides, and with it the depressing realisation that there won’t be another clear blue sky until around late March.

The winter in Delhi is pleasant for no one: sleep wit

Japan invents edible, deer-friendly bags to protect animals from plastic

Japan has introduced an innovative solution to protect the world-famous deer of Nara Park from plastic waste – edible bags made from rice.

The herd of about 1,200 deer is a major tourism draw to the city of Nara, near Osaka, and has been protected by law.

Tourists are allowed to feed the deer special sugar-free crackers which do not come in plastic – yet despite warnings, some visitors to the park bring other treats and end up littering the area with plastic bags, which the animals consume.

Last year, a deer was found dead in the park with 4kg of plastic waste in his stomach.

Nara residen

India could have more than 600 million coronavirus cases by February, says government panel

More than 600 million Indians, over half of the country’s population, are likely to have been infected with coronavirus by February 2021, an expert panel advising the Indian government has predicted.

The estimate comes even as prime minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on Tuesday, citing the country’s low fatality rate as evidence that “India is doing better than many other developed countries.”

India has recorded more than 7.5 million Covid-19 cases and over 115,000 deaths, second in the world only to the US on 8.06 million cases and more than 218,000 deaths. 

But the latest mathematical model

‘The pain hasn’t gone away’: Women of Xinjiang reveal horror of China’s brutal campaign of forced abortions and imprisonment

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round midnight on 25 December 2017, police went to the house of Gulziya Mogdin in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang. They drove her to hospital. Mogdin knew a medical check-up was the first step in a process through which ethnic minorities such as herself, a Kazakh, were being forced in political indoctrination camps by the Chinese government. Mogdin, 39, had moved to Kazakhstan to live with her husband, a Kazakh citizen. But earlier in the year, Chinese police had demanded that she cross the border back into <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk

Police rescue woman ‘locked in toilet for over a year’ by husband

 A 33-year old woman who was allegedly held captive by her husband in the toilet of their home for over a year has been rescued by protection officers in the north Indian state of Haryana.  Videos and images of the incident showed the woman in a dishevelled and malnourished state as she was carried fromContinue reading “Police rescue woman ‘locked in toilet for over a year’ by husband”

Suicide note accusing jail of harassment found in dead prisoner’s stomach in India

Doctors carrying out a post mortem on a man who died in jail in India have found a suicide note in his stomach that accuses prison officials of a campaign of harassment.

Police said they were investigating the note, which was inside a plastic bag, after the 31-year-old convict was found hanged in his prison cell last week. But they are yet to issue an initial charge sheet (known in India as a First Information Report or FIR) against anyone involved in the case, which activists say draws attention to the shocking conditions in Indian prisons. 

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China to test entire city of 9m people after just 12 test positive for Covid-19

The city of Qingdao in China’s eastern Shandong province has ordered city-wide coronavirus testing for its entire population of over nine million people after it reported just 12 new cases of the virus.

Authorities said on Monday it will conduct the tests over a five-day period for the city’s whole population after the new infections, half of which are asymptomatic, were reported late on Sunday. Most of the cases were linked to the Qingdao Chest Hospital, which is treating imported infections.

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Prashant Bhushan: India’s democracy is under attack

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rashant Bhushan was mentally prepared to go to jail. The 63-year-old lawyer had been found guilty of contempt by the Supreme Court of India over two tweets which, judges said, “sought to shake the foundation” of the entire justice system.

The tweets in question criticised both the current and several former chief justices of India, accusing the apex court of being complicit in the “destruction of India’s <a href="https://www.ind

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