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Press freedoms in Hong Kong “hanging on by a thread”

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A pro-Democracy newspaper has been raided again, and the editorial team warns press freedoms in Hong Kong are under threat like never before.

Nine months after the Apple Daily newsroom was raided, hundreds of officers again swept the office and arrested five top executives under national security charges.

The paper and its jailed owner Jimmy Lai have long been a thorn in Beijing’s side with unapologetic support for the financial hub’s pro-democracy movement.

Five hundred police sifted through reporters computers and notebooks.

Hong Kong police said 500 officers raided the anti-government tabloid’s Tseung Kwan O office,, going through reporters’ documents and notes.

Apple Daily streamed the event live online.

Police raid the Apple Daily newsroom

Dawn operation

More than 500 officers conducted a dawn operation which authorities said was sparked by articles Apple Daily had published “appealing for sanctions” against Hong Kong and China’s leaders.

Pictures published by Apple Daily showed police sitting at reporters’ desks and using their computers.

A person streaming a live feed for Apple Daily’s Facebook page said reporters were prevented from accessing certain floors or getting their equipment or notebooks.

In a message to readers, Apple Daily warned Hong Kong’s press freedoms are “hanging by a thread”.

Police say at least 30 articles published in 2019 may have breached national security by calling for foreign sanctions against the Hong Kong government.

This is the first time where authorities said news articles could potentially violate the security law.

Supt Li, who heads the police force’s national security department, said Secretary for Security John Lee had issued  an order to freeze HK$18 million worth of assets.

Five people were arrested and money seized during the raids.

After the raid, reporters returned to a semi-gutted newsroom with the paper saying 38 computers were taken away.

Five executives of Apple Daily and Next Digital – editor-in-chief Ryan Law, chief executive Cheung Kim Hung, Chief Operating Officer Chow Tat Kuen, Deputy Chief Editor Chan Pui Man and Chief Executive Editor Cheung Chi Wai were detained.

The raid is the latest blow to media tycoon Jimmy Lai, the tabloid’s owner and a staunch Beijing critic.

Security Secretary John Lee describes the newsroom as a “crime scene” and says the operation is aimed at those who use reporting as a “tool to endanger” national security.

“We are talking about a conspiracy in which these suspects try to make use of journalistic work to collude with a foreign country or external element to impose sanctions or take hostile activities against Hong Kong and … China,” Mr Lee said. 

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The longest wait for a blockbuster has arrived

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After 13 long years, the Avatar sequel has premiered in London

Strap yourselves in because one of the most delayed sequels in blockbuster history has arrived.

Now, ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ has premiered in London.

It’s been a long wait for Avatar fans, which remains the biggest-grossing film of all time.

The film will be open to the public next week, but you’ll need a drink and some popcorn because it runs for three hours.

Director James Cameron says he’s nervous but offered this explanation when asked why it’s taken so long for the sequel.

Stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña and Kate Winslet fronted the red carpet for the release.

Credit: Variety

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Prince Harry and UK newspaper publisher agree pause of libel case

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Prince Harry and one of Britain’s biggest media publishers have agreed a temporary pause in his libel claim to try to settle the case.

The Duke of Sussex sued the publisher in February over an article in the Mail on Sunday newspaper which alleged he tried to keep secret details of his legal fight with Britain’s interior ministry to reinstate his police protection.

Harry says the Mail on Sunday published an “unremittingly negative” article about his ongoing case against the Home Office.

The High Court ruled it was defamatory in July.

Associated Newspapers, however, argues that the article contains “an expression of opinion” about Harry’s public statements on his legal case over police protection and is defending the libel lawsuit.

The case returned to court for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday at which Harry’s lawyer Jane Phillips said the parties have agreed to put the case on hold until mid-January in order to try and negotiate a settlement “if that is indeed possible”.

Further information

Associated Newspapers applied for Harry to provide further information about a meeting at the royal Sandringham estate in January 2020, when he says he made an offer to pay for or contribute to police protection.

Judge Barbara Fontaine ruled that Harry’s lawyers should provide “clarification” about the offer he says he made, which she added would “assist the parties … in the attempts about [a] settlement, which I hope are successful”.

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Who will win Time Magazine’s person of 2022?

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It’s that time of year again when Time Magazine awards its person of the year, so here’s the shortlist so far

Time Magazine is looking for who dominated headlines and conversations in 2022. Ahead of the reveal this week, it has shortlisted a few candidates.

Elon Musk makes the cut

Top pick, is Elon Musk once again. The billionaire dominating headlines for his $44 billion takeover of Twitter.

He is no stranger to controversy, with many critics slamming his changes to the social media giant.

FILE PHOTO: SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk gestures during a conversation with legendary game designer Todd Howard (not pictured) at the E3 gaming convention in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 13, 2019.

Xi Jinping

Next, is Xi Jinping as he secured himself a third term as President of China. He also stole the global spotlight for his draconian zero-covid strategy, as thousands call for his resignation.

Xi has also been the centre of geopolitical tensions and trade with the United States and Australia.

Plus, China’s dominance over Taiwan has cause a global stir.

Chinese President Xi Jinping waves after his speech as the new Politburo Standing Committee members meet the media following the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 23, 2022. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

U.S. Supreme Court

Also named is the U.S. Supreme court for overturning the nearly 50-year-old Roe v. Wade abortion law.

The landmark ruling overturned the law that recognised a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion and legalised it nationwide.

It sparked global protests with thousands of women begging for the right to decide what they do with their own bodies.

Protestors react outside the U.S. Supreme Court to the leak of a draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito preparing for a majority of the court to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision later this year, in Washington, U.S., May 2, 2022. REUTERS/Moira Warburton

Volodymyr Zelensky

No surprise, Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky made the cut. The comedian turned President is leading his country through war.

During 2022, Zelensky has given unwavering strength for Ukraine. He has forced world leaders to support the war-torn nation, in the face of Russian aggression.

He has been a pillar of hope, endurance and resilience.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy gestures during his annual news conference at the Antonov aircraft plant in Kyiv, Ukraine May 20, 2021. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Iran protestors

Protestors in Iran have also been named, as the country continues to stand up against the strict Islamic Republic.

The uprising is one of the largest in the nations history, with the world unable to turn a blind eye.

Women have been burning their hijabs and cutting their hair, forcing the Parliament to review the mandatory hijab law.

FILE – Iranians who live in Brazil protest against the death of Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, who died in Iran while in police custody, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. As anti-government protests roil cities and towns in Iran for a fourth week, sparked by the death of a 22-year-old woman detained by Iran’s morality police, tens of thousands of Iranians living abroad have marched on the streets of Europe, North America and beyond in support of what many believe to be a watershed moment for their home country. (AP Photo/Andre Penner, File)

The magazine also made mention of Ron DeSantis, Gun safety advocates and Liz Cheney.

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