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Pelosi calls on world leaders to boycott China 2022 Olympics

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US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has called on world leaders to boycott next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing, amid concerns over Chinese human rights violations.

The senior Democrat says any leaders who do attend risk losing their “moral authority”. 



The US State Department has declared that the Chinese government is “committing genocide and crimes against humanity” through its repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang

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Human Rights Watch estimates that as many as a million people have been arbitrarily detained, as part of China’s crackdown.


Beijing rejects these accusations, claiming it is using “vocational training centers” to stamp out extremism.

DIPLOMATIC BOYCOTT


The Beijing Winter Olympics are set to take place in February next year, just six months after the Tokyo Summer Olympics are scheduled to finish.



During a bipartisan Human Rights Commission hearing, Nancy Pelosi has called for a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games.

Pelosi believes political leaders will lose ‘moral authority’ if they attend.


“For heads of state to go to China in light of a genocide that is ongoing – while you’re sitting there in your seat – really begs the question, what moral authority do you have to speak again about human rights any place in the world? Silence is inexcusable,” Pelosi said.

There have also been calls for the games to be relocated. 

Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern says if the if the Olympics can be postponed by a year for a pandemic, “we can surely postpone the Olympics for a year for a genocide” to enable the IOC to find a new host nation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

FULL BOYCOTT?


Nancy Pelosi stopped short of saying athletes should boycott the games.

But that is what a coalition of human rights activists called for this week. 
The group – representing Uyghurs, Tibetans, residents of Hong Kong and others – is calling for a full boycott of the games. 
“This cannot be Games as usual or business as usual; not for the IOC and not for the international community,” Lhadon Tethong of the Tibet Action Institute told The Associated Press.

Business

The airline set to fire unvaccinated aircrew and pilots

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As the coronavirus vaccine rollout ramps up within many nations around the world, many aviation industry experts say the jab will play a huge role in bringing aviation back to normal

Cathay Pacific Airways has confirmed that all Hong Kong-based pilots and flight attendants would need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by August 31st or risk losing their jobs.

The mandate has become one of the airline industry’s toughest policies.

Cathay Pacific stated it had struggled with staff rostering due to Hong Kong’s strict quarantine rules, which require unvaccinated crew members to quarantine every flight.

New guidelines exempt flight crew that are vaccinated from quarantining

There are also requirements that only fully vaccinated crews can operate to certain high-risk destinations and on quarantine-free “bubble” flights.

Hong Kong has a surplus of unused vaccines and some of the shots are about to expire.

Cathay said 90% of pilots and more than 65% of the cabin crew had already received their vaccinations or had appointments booked, following a previous warning that vaccination was highly likely to become compulsory.

US Airlines impose similar rules

United Airlines has confirmed it would mandate full vaccination for crew members flying to countries with high COVID-19 cases at the beginning of August.

Delta Air Lines last month said all new hires would have to be vaccinated.

While vaccines for passengers on all Qantas international flights will also become mandated after the airline said it will require all passengers and crew to be vaccinated when the country’s borders reopen to widespread international travel.

Emirates has provided employees with free vaccines since January.

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Global Politics

China challenges Australia anti-dumping measures at WTO

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China has filed a lawsuit at the World Trade Organisation over Australian anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures

The anti-dumping measures affect Chinese exports of train components, wind turbines, and stainless steel sinks.

China hopes Australia can adopt concrete measures so that bilateral trade can return to normal.

Relations between the two sides have steadily worsened since 2018, when Australia barred Huawei from building its 5G network.

Relations also went into freefall last year as Prime Minister Scott Morrison led calls for an independent probe into the origins of the coronavirus.

China opposes nations abusing trade remedy measures which damage the legitimate rights of Chinese companies and undermine the authority of WTO rules, Ministry of Commerce Spokesman Gao Feng told reporters in Beijing Thursday. 

Beijing has responded with tariffs and restrictions on imports of coal, barley, lobsters and wine.

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Why Singaporeans may have to learn to live with COVID-19

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Singapore is drawing up a road map to transit to a “new normal”, where COVID-19 is likely endemic.

Singapore’s government believes COVID-19 may never go away.

But ministers leading the city-state’s pandemic response say the good news is that it is possible to live normally with the virus in our midst.

Three key ministers have written an opinion piece in The Straits Times, outlining what they believe life will look like in a “new-normal” where COVID-19 is still around but can be controlled through mass vaccination.

The ministers, who lead the city-state’s pandemic task force, say they hope COVID-19 will become like influenza.

They haver pointed out that people carry on with their daily activities during the flu season, take simple precautions or get an annual flu jab.

The ministers want to work towards a similar outcome for Covid-19.

“We can’t eradicate it, but we can turn the pandemic into something much less threatening, like influenza, hand, foot and mouth disease, or chickenpox, and get on with our lives.”

Rapid mass vaccination will be key

The ministers say “we are on track” to have two-thirds of the population vaccinated with at least their first dose by early July.

The next vaccine milestone will be to have at least two-thirds of the population fully vaccinated by National Day on August 9, supply permitting.

The ministers say they are working to bring forward the delivery of vaccines and to speed up the process.

The new-normal

It’s hoped that in the future, when someone gets COVID in Singapore, the response can be very different from now.

And instead of monitoring Covid-19 infection numbers every day, the focus will be on the outcomes, such as how many people are getting sick.

The government says in this new-normal, large gatherings can resume, businesses will have certainty that their operations will not be disrupted, and vaccinated travellers can be exempted from quarantine

But the ministers added a note of caution:

“The battle against Covid-19 will continue to be fraught with uncertainty.”

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