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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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Taylor Swift secretly gets engaged to Joe Alwyn

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Taylor Swift is set to marry her British boyfriend Joe Alwyn, after a secret engagement

Singer Taylor Swift will tie the knot after her boyfriend of five years, Joe Alwyn, after a secret engagement months ago.

Reports suggest the couple have told their inner circle, and 32-year-old Swift only wears her ring behind closed doors.

The pair have been pictured only a handful of times on the red carpet but sources say they are both incredibly happy.

There are no specific details around the wedding, or if the couple will confirm the engagement speculation.

They’ve been together for around five years after meeting at the 2016 Met Gala.

Swift and Alwyn have collaborated on two songs in her Folklore album and three on Evermore.

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Amazon slaps on new restrictions, Queer community furious

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Online retail giant Amazon has slapped on new restrictions that has left the LGBTQ+ community furious

Amazon has restricted search results related to Queer people and issues on its website in the United Arab Emirates

Same-sex relations are illegal in the UAE and Amazon took action after coming under pressure from authorities.

According to the New York times, The company made the decision to restrict the searches after being threatened with penalties by the UAE government.

Expressing support for LGBTQ+ rights could also be deemed an offence in the Gulf state, sparking global outrage as Pride month, which is dedicated to celebrating Queer people around the world, comes to a close.

Amazon says as a company, it remains committed to diversity and inclusion.

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Google and Apple urged to ditch TikTok amid data security concerns

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Google and Apple are being urged to take down TikTok as concerns continue to grow around data being sent to China

A U.S. Federal Communications Commission member, Brendan Carr, says that TikTok poses an unacceptable national security risk due to data harvesting and Beijing’s apparent unchecked access to sensitive information.

The request will unlikely be accepted, as the Federal Communications Commissioner is not responsible for regulating app stores.

It comes as a Buzzfeed report found that employees of TikTok’s parent company, Bytedance, had been accessing U.S. users’ private information.

Carr says he will give Apple and Google until the 8th of July to respond to his request and to explain why they won’t remove the app from their app stores.

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