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“Very draconian” – human rights concerns over Shanghai lockdown



As Shanghai deals with a “draconian lockdown” with Beijing looking like its next in line, Human Rights Watch representative says people are suffering more from the lockdown than they are from Covid

China’s biggest city and financial hub, Shanghai enters its fifth week of strict lockdown as authorities try to cut Covid transmission and get the cases to zero across the country.

Citizens are restricted to their homes, only allowed to leave homes to get tested. This has put the city in food shortages with people relying on the city to be fed.

The country has also been evacuating cities and relocating residents to quarantine facilities.

This comes as the country has begun mass testing of Beijing with many residents already stocking up on supplies, preparing for a Shanghai style lockdown.

Human Rights Watch representative, Yaqiu Wang agrees that China’s Covid policy has gone too far and is now instilling fear in the population.

“If you look at Shanghai, given this tariff – very draconian lockdown – a lot of people have died, not from Covid but from not being able to access medical care for their non Covid related illnesses,” Wang says.

“People couldn’t go to hospital to have their kidney dialysis because they can’t leave their compound.”

She says people are suffering “tremendously” because of the lockdown.

In recent updates, authorities have begun putting up fences outside residential buildings.

This has sparked outrage with many questioning the well being of Shanghai residents but Wang says that we’re still not seeing the full picture.

“Let’s talk about the people who don’t have a huge following on social media, who don’t use social media, who don’t even have a cell phone- we have no idea about their stories,” she says.

Shanghai has recorded 190 deaths from Covid in the current outbreak. However, most of them were elderly un-vaccinated residents.

In a country that’s made PCR and quarantining mandatory, why is vaccination for the elderly not mandatory?

Wang says that China’s Covid zero policy was so successful that President Xi Jinping made it a political move to show that his governance model was better than the democratic chaotic US where Covid was “raging”.

“When it becomes a political issue it’s very hard to walk back,” she says

While US’s suffering triggered an urgency to get vaccinated, Wang says people in China were living a normal life with zero cases.

“In China, when the vaccination campaign started there was no Covid so older people didn’t have the incentive to get vaccinated.”

Rijul Baath contributed to this report


Authorities find drug-smuggler’s tunnel under the U.S. and Mexico border



Anti-drug agents have found a smugglers’ tunnel including a rail track, electricity and ventilation system

A drug-smuggler’s tunnel has been unearthed under the U.S. and Mexican border.

It led from the Mexican city of Tijuana to a warehouse located 300 feet from the San Diego border.

Six people have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the scheme.

They are accused of conspiring to distribute cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, among other crimes.

“There is no more light at the end of this narco-tunnel,” says the U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman.

Authorities collect information about the people behind the tunnel.

The tunnel is believed to be over 1,750 feet long, and was fitted out reinforced walls.

Close to 100 tunnels have been found in the same area, but this was one of the largest.

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Ukraine Crisis

Finland and Sweden submit applications to join NATO



Finland and Sweden have officially submitted their applications to join NATO

Finland and Sweden have handed in applications to join NATO.

It ends decades of political neutrality for both nations, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Chief of NATO says the applications are quote an “historic step”.

If their bid is successful, it will bring the alliance’s membership to 32.

While Russia strongly opposes the move, there are also members within NATO’s own ranks voicing their concerns.

Dubbed the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the NATO alliance was founded in 1949

It follows one rule: an attack on one, is an attack on all.

It sought to counter Russian expansion in Europe after World War Two.

But following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, many of its former Eastern European allies joined the alliance, something that has raised concerns in Moscow.

Finland and Sweden need the support of all member states to join. If they’re successful, it will take the alliance to 32 members.

NATO members must spend 2 per cent of their GDP on defence. Finland already meets this target and Sweden says it will do so “as soon as possible”.

The two countries will also bring a range of military might.

Finland has over 19-thousand active troops, and Sweden has over 14-and-a-half thousand.

There are 220 tanks, and over 200 combat aircraft.

Russia believes NATO has been verging on its door stop and is warning both nations against joining.

Turkey’s President is also voicing concerns, saying the two Scandinavian nations should not send delegations to convince him of their bids.

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U.S. warns against hiring North Korean tech workers



The U.S. is warning North Korean workers are trying to find IT jobs by hiding their identities

The U.S. believes workers are seeking to steal money for their home country.

Many of them are allegedly pretending to be from other parts of Asia, according to three U.S. agencies.

The State Department says thousands of highly skilled IT workers are sent around the world to generate revenue to help with North Korea’s weapons production.

“The DPRK [North Korea] dispatches thousands of highly skilled IT workers around the world to generate revenue that contributes to its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programmes, in violation of US and UN sanctions.”

U.S. State Department

If North Korea is employing workers to fund its missiles program, the move would be in violation of U.N. international sanctions.

“The United States is committed to disrupting illicit DPRK revenue-generating activities, which may facilitate criminal activity, provide direct support to the DPRK’s unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, and threaten international peace and security,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

The country has conducted several missile tests in recent months, including a banned intercontinental ballistic missile.

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