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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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Boston Dynamics’ electric marvel or robot contortionist?



Boston Dynamics has recently unveiled its latest creation, the electric Atlas robot, boasting enhanced agility and strength.

However, with its uncanny ability to contort and rise from the ground with an almost eerie grace, one might wonder if we’re witnessing the birth of the world’s first robot contortionist.

As this technological marvel flaunts its capabilities, one can’t help but ponder if we’re on the brink of a future where household chores will be effortlessly handled by robots moving like a fusion of ballet dancers and horror movie monsters.

With its cadaver-like movements and illuminated head, it’s hard not to speculate whether Atlas is destined to revolutionise robotics or simply rehearsing for a techno-horror rendition of The Nutcracker. As Boston Dynamics continues to push the boundaries of robotics, the line between science fiction and reality becomes increasingly blurred.

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The Coffee confusion causing health concerns



As the morning sun peeks through the curtains, many reach for that familiar brew, kickstarting their day with a comforting cup of coffee.

It’s a ritual ingrained in cultures worldwide, offering a jolt of energy to combat the grogginess of dawn.

But when is the optimal time for that caffeine fix? According to registered dietitian Anthony DiMarino, RD, LD, the answer isn’t crystal clear.

Some experts suggest delaying that first sip until mid-morning or later. However, DiMarino reassures coffee lovers that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this dilemma.

Meanwhile, the science behind coffee production unveils fascinating insights into its instant variant. Whether produced through freeze-drying or spray-drying methods, instant coffee offers convenience without sacrificing flavor.

Yet, beyond convenience, recent studies delve deeper into coffee’s impact on our bodies. Research exploring the acute effects of decaffeinated versus caffeinated coffee reveals intriguing findings on reaction time, mood, and skeletal muscle strength.

Moreover, investigations into the gut microbiome shed light on coffee’s influence on liver cirrhosis patients. A study analyzing the duodenal microbiome in this population found correlations between coffee consumption and microbial richness and evenness.

So, as you sip your coffee and ponder the day ahead, consider not just the flavour in your cup but also the subtle impacts it may have on your body and mind.

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Laughing in limbo Canadian Just for Laughs cancelled



The renowned Montreal-based Just for Laughs comedy festival, one of the world’s largest international comedy events, will not grace the calendar in 2024.

The Canadian company overseeing the festival announced its cancellation this year, citing efforts to steer clear of bankruptcy. Having marked its 40th anniversary in 2023, Just For Laughs has long been a beloved fixture on the city’s cultural landscape.

With its absence raising questions about which event will inherit the title of the biggest comedy festival, speculation arises whether Melbourne will seize the mantle, given its burgeoning comedy scene and the success of its own Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

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