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G7 concerns over New Hong Kong Leader



There are widespread concerns about Hong Kong’s new leader-to-be, John Lee

The G7 has expressed its concerns about the legitimacy of the selection process and what it will mean for the people of Hong Kong. 

“The current nomination process and resulting appointment are a stark departure from the aim of universal suffrage and further erode the ability of Hong Kongers to be legitimately represented. We are deeply concerned about this steady erosion of political and civil rights and Hong Kong’s autonomy.”

Activist in exile, Francis Hui says that there is no system in place that gives people of Hong Kong a chance to participate in democracy.

“We have never actually had true democracy to elect our own leader. There has never been a system developed for our people to vote” Hui says.

“John Lee didn’t even have to please anyone in Hong Kong, because those are not the people who are going to vote for him. It’s Beijing and its supporters.”

Naming it a ‘puppet show’, Human Rights Watch says the so-called election has been an expensive one-man show. 

“The Hong Kong government has budgeted HK$228 million (US$29 million) for this one-man “election.” There are “election” posters; there is even an “election” “forum”—featuring only Lee— without a live audience.”

Concerns over rights and freedoms

The current National Security Law “dismantled the city’s freedoms” according to Human Rights Watch.

“It has decapitated Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, arrested hundreds of protesters and others for exercising their freedom of speech, shut down outspoken media, civil society groups, and businesses, set up a hotline to encourage people to inform on each other, and otherwise create a climate of fear.”

Though the international community continues to show concern, Hui says it’s time to do more than condemn Beijing.

“It’s really time for us to go further beyond just condemnation and to do something to contain the authoritarian practice of the CCP.”

Lee has been outspoken in supporting the abuse against the Uyghrys in Xinjiang and is well-known for his hardline approach to freedom of speech.

Bigger challenges

Hong Kong is a financial hub attempting to relaunch itself after several years of political upheaval. 

However, many people are now fleeing the country, dissatisfied with the administration.

“They really persist on their way to have zero cases in the city, which makes the international community, especially business people worry about the future of Hong Kong to continue to be the international financial hub.” says Hui.

“Continuously we’ll see more people being involved in this migration wave because of the political situation in Hong Kong.” 

Future of democracy in Hong Kong

Hui says it’s difficult to know whether democracy could be restored.

“What we can do is to continue to spread words and to raise awareness and to push for any action by foreign countries.”

“I believe people on the ground will continue to use their strength and their courage to continue to fight for freedom and to stand for our values.”

Katerina Kostakos contributed to this article.

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Top travel tips to avoid jet lag



These travel tips will help you reduce jet lag the next time you travel abroad

We all love a holiday but, unfortunately, when you’re travelling long distances it often comes with a side of jet leg.

So what causes it and are there any ways to avoid that drowsy feeling?

After years of lockdowns and travel restrictions, people are finally back in the skies and venturing to destinations right around the world.

The term “jet lag” describes the physical and cognitive symptoms people experience when traveling quickly across several timezones.

Before you leave, you’re synchronised to your local time and once you enter a new timezone, your body’s rhythms are thrown out of whack.

The experience of jet lag varies between people because we all have our own internal rhythm.

Most have a natural daily cycle of about 24.2 hours.

But some people have slightly longer cycles than others, and this could play a role in how a person experiences jet lag.

Research shows if you have a longer cycle you might adjust quicker to westward travel.

We also get a little less resilient as we age, so the older you are, the worse the jet lag may be.

So does the direction of travel matter? Scientists think so.

Many people find westward travel easier. This is when you, essentially, gain time.

But that’s not always possible – so here are some tips to help you through the pain, or even avoid it, in the first place:

1. If you’re trying to shift your body clock, you should start on the plane. Do this by setting your watch to your destination’s timezone and line up your activities, like sleep and meals, accordingly.

2. Next, keep your caffeine and alcohol intake low on the journey to help aid both sleep and hydration.

3. When you arrive, try your absolute best to sleep during the local night time and rest during the day as needed.

4. You can take a nap – but make sure it’s 30 minutes or less.

5. If you’re prone to or experience tummy trouble while traveling, stick to small meals and only eat when you’re hungry.

6. Finally, you should also expose yourself to sunlight throughout the day when adjusting to your new timezone.

Happy travelling! #trending #featured

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Young people join protest in France against pension reforms



Young people are taking to the streets in France as Macron pushes ahead with raising nation’s retirement age

Huge crowds have gathered in France in recent weeks to protest a controversial rise in the country’s pension age by two years to 64.

Some of the marches have turned violent.

While the reform is most relevant to those approaching retirement, many young people are also taking to the streets.

But why might that be?

The French youth have joined the protests in growing numbers since the government bypassed parliament to push the plans through.

Every night for the past few weeks, 18-year-old Charles Chauliac has been making his voice heard. Not just for his parents, but for himself.

“I am against this reform simply because I have two parents who are killing themselves at work and damaging their health and I don’t want to see them die at work. My father, he works every day, he gets up to get on the tarmac at Charles de Gaulle airport at 5 a.m. to load the planes. I find it difficult to imagine myself at 64 getting up at 3 a.m.”

Chauliac is part of groups started by university students to organize unauthorized demonstrations, which are usually carried out in the evenings.

While a few protesters have been seen torching bins and throwing rocks at police, Chauliac insists he hasn’t.

Opinion polls show a wide majority of voters are opposed to the pension bill.

They are further angered by Macron’s leadership style and the government’s decision to skip the parliamentary vote.

“For young people like me, we grew up with the hope of being able to influence our society. And when we see that decisions are made without consulting the people who make up this society, that takes away the possibility of being able to change things.”

Many students, like Chauliac, have been joining private groups on social media which help students mobilize for spontaneous protests.

He says they help prevent the groups being noticed by police.

But does Chauliac worry about the repercussions, should the demonstrations get out of hand?

“I wonder about that, because I know what can happen to us too, we see the images and we see what happens to fellow protesters, but that wouldn’t prevent me from demonstrating, because I’m so outraged that it surpasses potentially endangering myself.”

Macron recently said he would press ahead with the reforms.

Unions have called for regional action, and the continuation of nationwide strikes and protests. #trending #featured

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Facial recognition has been used a million times by U.S. police



Controversial facial recognition has been used a million times by police to help track criminals

As facial recognition becomes more prominent, the founder of tech firm Clearview says his company has run nearly a million searches for U.S. police.

It’s also been revealed the company has scraped 30 billion images from platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, taken without users’ permissions.

The company has been fined numerous times in Europe and countries like Australia for breaches of privacy laws.

In the U.S., critics say the use of Clearview by authorities puts everyone into a “police line-up”.

The company’s high-tech system allows law enforcement to upload a photo of a face and find matches in a database comprising of billions of images it has collected.

It then provides links to where matching images appear online.

The tool is considered to be one of the world’s most powerful and accurate.

While the company is banned from selling its services to most U.S. companies, there is an exemption for police. #trending #featured

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