China says it has carried out naval and aerial military drills near Taiwan, in response to “external interference and provocations”.
Beijing has ramped up military pressure on Taiwan in recent months, as a way of discouraging independence.
China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province, and wants to eventually bring it under mainland control.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army says it dispatched warships, anti-submarine aircraft, and fighter jets on Tuesday to carry out live-fire drills.
An Army spokesperson says the exercises took place “in the surrounding sea and airspace in the southwest and southeast of Taiwan”. It’s unclear just how close to Taiwan the drills were.
China claims the latest exercise “is a necessary action based on the current security situation across the Taiwan Strait”.
Chinese state media’s warning to Taiwan
Tuesday’s drills follow the fall of Kabul, which led to Chinese state media claiming the United States will abandon Taiwan like Afghanistan.
“From what happened in Afghanistan, [Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party] should perceive that once a war breaks out in the Straits, the island’s defense will collapse in hours and the US military won’t come to help,” the editorial by the Global Times states.
The Global Times claims that “as a result, the DPP authorities will quickly surrender, while some high-level officials may flee by plane.”
Taiwan’s Premier today insisted that Taiwan would not collapse like Afghanistan in the event of an attack.
“We must guard this country and this land, and not be like certain people who always talk up the enemy’s prestige and talk down our resolve,” Premier Su Tseng-chang said.
Treason charges for Windsor Castle intruder
An intruder who carried a crossbow into the grounds of Windsor Castle on Christmas Day 2021 has been charged under the UK’s Treason Act
20 year old Jaswant Singh Chail was charged under the 1842 Treason Act.
He is accused of ‘wilfully producing a loaded crossbow with intent’ to harm the Queen.
Police say he was stopped within moments of entering the grounds of Windsor Castle on Christmas morning 2021, and did not enter any buildings.
The Queen was in residence at Windsor Castle that Christmas, instead of her usual Christmas stay at Sandringham Estate in Norfolk.
Under the Treason Act of 1842, people are prohibited from “discharging or aiming firearms, or throwing or using any offensive matter or weapon, with the intent to injure or alarm her Majesty”.
Mr Chail will appear before Westminster Magistrate’s Court on August 17.
Officer dubbed a ‘hero’ after killing Texas school shooter
18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos was reportedly shot and killed at Robb Elementary in Texas by the unidentified policeman
The border patrol agent was reportedly working nearby the area when Ramos opened fire at the school in Uvalde, Texas.
Before the officer stopped him, Ramos murdered 19 students and two teachers while wounding many others on Tuesday.
Without waiting for backup the ‘hero’ policeman allegedly rushed to the scene when the shooting was reported.
Police say the gunman barricaded himself inside a classroom shooting anyone that got in his way.
The officer was allegedly wounded during the confrontation but was able to leave the school without sustaining further harm.
He was reportedly part of an elite tactical unit.
Authorities say Ramos shot his grandmother then drove and crashed his vehicle in a ditch near the school before going on the rampage.
Tuesday’s massacre was America’s worst elementary school shooting since Sandy Hook in 2012.
VictimsFirst network has pledged to donate the Texas Elementary School Shooting Victims Fund directly to the victims’ families, “with no strings attached.”
Danaya Malenda contributed to this report.
Witnesses testify to Depp’s ‘drug problems’ in defamation suit
Day 19: Amber Heard’s witnesses testify at trial about Johnny Depp’s drug and alcohol use
Heard’s ex-best friend, former agent, and former business manager, as well as her former attorney, provide an account of Depp’s ‘erratic behaviour’ in court on Thursday.
Ellen Barkin who had a sexual relationship with the actor in 1994 also testified that he was a “jealous man“ who was “controlling” as well as “angry and demanding”.
A former long-time close friend testifies
Bruce Witkin was the first witness to be called on Thursday for Heard’s defence.
Witkin was Depp’s former long-time friend from 1982 and ‘best friend’ by 2018.
When recalling what ended their friendship Witkin says he wasn’t sure, except that he received a text from Depp saying Witkin had “stabbed him in the back.”
Witkin also says that during their friendship he observed Depp abusing substances and recommended Depp get sober, which he did on a few occasions.
However, Witkin alleged that during his sobriety from opiates the star continued using other substances.
Witkin testified saying, “it just seemed weird to me there was weed and wine in soberness.”
He also spoke of his surprise when he saw his friend begin using cocaine for the first time in 2014, and then again in 2016.
“In my experience, it’s deep-rooted issues he’s dealing with,” says Witkin.
“It had nothing to do with Amber, in my opinion.”
Depp’s former agent Tracey Jacobs who helped him to become ‘the biggest star in the world’ appeared via a video link in the star’s multi-million dollar defamation suit against his ex-wife.
Testifying about the difficulties of representing the actor for roughly 30 years and her experience of his problematic behaviour during the last decade of their professional relationship.
Jacobs told the court that Depp displayed “unprofessional” conduct on sets which included being unprepared and escalating anger issues due to increased alcohol and drug use.
“Showing up late to set consistently on virtually every movie,” says Jacobs.
“I would get yelled at. I never said to him, ‘you’re a difficult client,’ but I was very honest with him and said, ‘you’ve got to stop doing this, this is hurting you.’ And it did.”
Jacobs testifying about Depp’s fall from grace says the actor’s “star had dimmed” due to his bad reputation.
On the topic of Depp ending their professional collaboration in 2016 Jacobs says, “all I know is he essentially terminated everyone in his life, and I was along for the ride, I guess”.
Former business manager
Depp’s former business manager Joel Mandel who met the actor around 1999 and worked with him until 2016, testified that he saw the actor’s behaviour become ‘erratic’.
In addition to displaying “disproportionate” reactions to things, Mandel also attested to Depp’s income and spending during the time they worked together.
He describes the star’s lifestyle as having changed when he rose to fame, saying the increase in income was followed by increased spending to maintain the new lifestyle.
Mandel says that there came a point where Depp’s income could no longer support his lifestyle, requesting that the business manager make severe cutbacks.
As a result, Mandel says he was unable to pay the actor’s taxes in October 2015.
“His financial circumstances in 2015 had reached a point where I was extremely concerned and was on a very regular basis expressing that concern,” says Mandel.
However, he says that his concerns about the dire circumstances were not met favourably by the star as he fired him.
Defamation lawsuit continues in court
In 2018, Depp sued Heard for $50 million over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post, in which she described surviving domestic violence — without mentioning her ex-husband by name.
Heard filed a counter-suit against the actor for $100 million in 2020, which is ongoing and nearing its end with testimony expected to end next week and closing arguments set for Friday, May 27.
Danaya Malenda contributed to this report.
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