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New security laws the latest blow to Hong Kong’s film sector

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In another hit to the industry, authorities are cracking down on censorship as they take reign of the region’s video scene.

Film sector under fire

In their latest national security push, Hong Kong authorities will begin scanning old films to ensure they don’t breach newly imposed censorship laws.

It’s the latest round of measures in a large-scale crackdown designed to discover and punish Beijing’s critics and political opponents.

The move was implemented by authorities following the largely violent democracy protests which overran the city two years ago.

Initially, authorities previously announced that all future films would be scrutinised back in June.

However, this latest update goes even further.

What new regulations are in place now?

The new regulations enforce that all films released before the crackdown will also be scanned. 

Hong Kong’s national security laws are designed to prevent any material or behaviour that is considered to be secession, subversion, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces.

Almost all of the individuals who have been arrested under the new measures so far are pro-democracy supporters. 

Those charged can face up to three years behind bars under the new law, while also paying $177 thousand Australian dollars in fines. 

Additionally, venues caught showing films that failed to receive green-light approval will have their viewing licenses revoked. 

Hong Kong follows suit

The new laws will draw on similarities of China’s ruling in regards to the release of films.

Yet some believe this is a drawback for the region renowned for their historically cultural film scene. 

It has also had repercussions on film and documentary companies, with many cancelling a number of recent or upcoming productions and costing the sector thousands. 

Yet, while it’s just another fallback for the film industry, Hong Kong’s strict nature in relation to security laws should come as no surprise.

Earlier this year, Hong Kong media was targeted in pro-democracy newspaper raids.

An army of 500 police officers raided the computers and notebooks of journalists, looking for content that breached national security.

Written by Rebecca Borg

World

Hurricane Ian makes landfall in southwestern Florida as Category 4 storm

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Officials say it’s one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the U.S.

Hurricane Ian has made landfall in southwest Florida with winds of 155 mph. Hitting the mainland U.S. as a Category 4 storm— officials say it’s one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the nation.

Moving at a crawling pace— Hurricane Ian is prompting major concerns about flooding and delayed rescues for those who decided to ride out the storm.

Forecasters say the storm’s relatively slow surge could lead to even greater rainfall than expected.

After slamming Florida’s southwest coast with Category 4 force Wednesday afternoon, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told residents that Ian brought powerful conditions including relentless rainfall and life-threatening winds that are “incredibly dangerous.”

He said, “there will be debris in the air and flooding powerful enough to move cars around so please do not be outside during the storm. If you’re in those Southwest Florida counties that you need to be sheltering in place. Don’t forget that Ian will produce hurricane strength winds and massive flooding—not just where it makes the initial landfall—but throughout the state of Florida so central Northeast Florida will also feel impacts.”

The entire Sunshine state is under a state of emergency.

Several airports in Florida are closed with thousands of flights cancelled.

More than 50 of the state’s 76 school districts have already canceled classes, with many public schools be turned into evacuation shelters.

Meanwhile, FEMA has already deployed 700 personnel to Florida and the governor has activated 5,000 state national guard with another 2,000-guard coming in from other states.

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Nord Stream pipe attack “acts of sabotage”

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The US State Department has described recent leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines as “apparent acts of sabotage”

U.S State Department spokesperson Ned Price says they have more questions than answers at this point.

Adding Secretary of State Antony Blinken will begin discussing the issue with European counterparts as soon as Wednesday.

Price confirmed the leak “impacts Europe’s broader energy security and energy resilience”.

When was pressed on whether sabotage would rise to the level of a breach of NATO Article 5, he declined to speculate.

But noted the investigation could take some time.

It comes as European countries ramp up their military presence at oil and gas facilities, following the Nord Stream incident.

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Russia is about to annex Ukraine, so what happens next?

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Moscow is about to annex a swath of Ukraine, releasing what it called vote tallies showing support in four partially occupied provinces to join Russia.

It looks like Russia is poised to annex a large chunk of Ukraine.

This comes after so-called referendums were held in four occupied provinces, which showed overwhelming support for joining Russia.

Of course, these referendums were anything but legitimate. They were held at gunpoint and were widely denounced by Kyiv and the West as sham votes.

“They can announce anything they want. Nobody voted in the referendum except a few people who switched sides. They went from house to house but nobody came out,” said Lyubomir Boyko, 43, from Golo Pristan, a village in Russian-occupied Kherson province.

People attend a rally and a concert in support of annexation referendums in Russian-held regions of Ukraine, in Saint Petersburg on September 23, 2022. 

Moscow takes charge

Nevertheless, it looks like Moscow is moving ahead with its plans to absorb these Ukrainian regions. A tribune has been set up on Red Square, with giant video screens proclaiming “Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson – Russia!”

The Russian-installed administrations of the four Ukrainian provinces on Wednesday formally asked Putin to incorporate them into Russia, which Russian officials have suggested is a formality.

“The results are clear. Welcome home, to Russia!,” Dmitry Medvedev, a former president who serves as deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said on Telegram.

It’s expected that President Vladimir Putin will give a speech within days confirming the annexation. This would mean that, in just over a week, Putin has gone from endorsing the sham referendums to formalizing the annexation of Ukrainian territory.

This latest development is sure to increase tensions between Russia and the West. It also further diminishes the chances of a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ukraine.

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