China urges US to immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)
(HOW ABOUT: WORLD URGES CHINA TO IMMEDIATELY STOP INTERFERING IN HONG KONG’S AND TAIWAN’S AFFAIRS)(oldpoet56)

China urges US to immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs

Xinhua

China on Thursday strongly urged the US side to respect China’s sovereignty and immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs in any form.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang made the remarks in response to reports that US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a news conference on Wednesday with House members as well as Joshua Wong Chi-fung and Denise Ho to back the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019.

“China is strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposes this move,” Geng said at a press briefing, accusing Pelosi and other US politicians of confusing right from wrong, engaging with Hong Kong separatists and grossly interfering in China’s internal affairs.

Geng reiterated the position that Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs and brook no interference from any outside forces.

“We strongly urge the US side to abide by international laws and basic norms governing international relations, respect China’s sovereignty, and immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs in any form and advancing the Hong Kong-related act,” Geng said.

He also called on the United States to stop backing the violent and radical forces as well as Hong Kong separatists and desist from supporting any moves undermining Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.

US Report: Khamenei Approved Saudi Attack

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

US Report: Khamenei Approved Saudi Attack

Thursday, 19 September, 2019 – 09:00
Saudi Arabia displays the wreckage of the Iranian weapons that were used in the oil facilities attack. (SPA)
Asharq Al-Awsat
An American report revealed Wednesday that Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei had approved the attack against two Saudi Aramco oil facilities last week.

He gave his blessing “but only on the condition that it be carried out in a way that made it possible to deny Iranian involvement,” a US official told CBS News.

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday displayed wreckage of Iranian cruise missiles and drones. The circuit boards can be reverse engineered to determine the exact route the weapons flew, said the report.

“But US officials said the most damning evidence is still unreleased satellite photos showing the Iranian Revolutionary Guard making preparations for the attack at Ahvaz Air Base in southwestern Iran,” it added.

The satellite photos were of no use in stopping the attack since their significance was not realized until after the fact, explained the report.

“We were caught completely off guard,” one US official said.

The Trump administration and Saudi Arabia have pointed the finger at Iran for the September 14 raids, which hit the world’s biggest crude oil processing facility and initially knocked out half of Saudi output.

The French army spokesman said it sent seven experts to Saudi Arabia to join an investigation.

UN officials monitoring sanctions on Iran and Yemen are also helping probe the attack.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the attacks, which he described as an “act of war” against Saudi Arabia, would be a major focus of next week’s annual UN General Assembly meeting.

He had arrived in Jeddah on Wednesday for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.

Britain, Germany Slam Attack on Saudi Oil Plants, US Again Blames Iran

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Britain, Germany Slam Attack on Saudi Oil Plants, US Again Blames Iran

Monday, 16 September, 2019 – 11:45
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Britain and Germany condemned on Monday the attacks against Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stands in support of his Saudi Arabian allies following an attack on its oil facilities which marked a “wanton violation of international law”, his spokesman said.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas slammed the attack, saying “the situation is exceedingly worrisome.”

He added that Berlin is currently evaluating with its partners, “who is responsible for this attack, how it could happen.”

Washington has blamed Iran for the attack.

The Tehran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen claimed Saturday’s strikes on the plants.

US President Donald Trump said Sunday the United States is “locked and loaded” to respond to the attack.

His accusations were echoed Monday by US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, who said: “The United States wholeheartedly condemns Iran’s attack on Saudi Arabia and we call on other nations to do the same.”

In an address to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s general conference in Vienna, he said “this behavior is unacceptable” and that Iran “must be held responsible.”

“Make no mistake about it, this was a deliberate attack on the global economy and the global energy market,” he stressed.

He said Trump has authorized the release of strategic oil reserves should the US need them, and that his “department stands ready” to proceed if necessary.

Perry also added that “despite Iran’s malign efforts we are very confident that the market is resilient and will respond.”

Tehran and Washington have been at loggerheads since May last year, when Trump pulled the US out of a 2015 deal with world powers that promised Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

China says US, Canada staged political farce on Huawei executive’s detention

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY “SHINE’)

 

China says US, Canada staged political farce on Huawei executive’s detention

Xinhua
China says US, Canada staged political farce on Huawei executive's detention

Imaginechina

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou leaves her home to attend a court appearance in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday, March 6, 2019.

The United States and Canada have echoed each other, distorted facts and staged a political farce on the matter of a Huawei senior executive’s detention, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said Friday.

The remarks came after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland commented on the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou by Canada and the detention of two Canadians by China.

When meeting with the press on Thursday in Ottawa, Canada, Pompeo said that the “arbitrary detention” of two Canadian citizens in China was a “fundamentally different matter than the Canadian decision to apply the rule of law that’s consistent with the way decent nations work.”

The extradition of Meng is not a political matter, Freeland said.

Spokesperson Geng Shuang tore apart these remarks at a routine press briefing, saying the US side trumped up Meng’s case and resorted to state power to crack down on Chinese high-tech enterprises, while the Canadian side played an inglorious part in the process.

Meng’s case is a serious political incident, while the two Canadians, Michael John Kovrig and Spavor Michael Peter Todd, were arrested on suspicion of crimes against state security, Geng said.

What the United States and Canada have done to Meng is true “arbitrary detention,” he added, saying that out of pure political motivation, the two countries have abused the bilateral extradition treaty and severely violated a Chinese citizen’s legitimate rights and interests.

Geng called on other countries to be vigilant to avoid falling into the “American trap.”

He also urged Canada and the United States to earnestly deal with China’s serious concern, correct its mistakes, release Meng immediately and let her return home safe and sound.

When meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Freeland on the same day, Pompeo said it is wrong that the two Canadians were being held and the US side is focused on helping them be released.

Geng refuted Pompeo’s remarks by stressing that China is a country under the rule of law, and that China’s judicial organs handle cases independently and protect the legitimate rights of Canadian citizens in accordance with the law.

“The cases of Canadian citizens have nothing to do with the United States. The US side is not entitled to make irresponsible remarks,” Geng said.

China to counter any new US tariffs

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

China to counter any new US tariffs

Shine

China’s Commerce Ministry said on Thursday that the country would have to take countermeasures if the United States imposes new additional tariffs on Chinese goods.

This came after the United States threatened an additional tariff of 10 percent on about US$300 billion of Chinese imports.

China’s position is consistent and clear. “Trade wars produce no winners. China does not want a trade war, but it is not afraid of one, and it will fight one if necessary,” Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng told a press conference.

Although the United States announced a plan to postpone the tariff hike on some Chinese goods, any new US tariff hike will lead to an escalation of trade frictions unilaterally, Gao said.

“If the United States acts arbitrarily, China will have to take countermeasures,” he said.

The tariff measures will damage the interests of both China and the United States, and may also have a recessionary impact on the global economy, Gao said.

“If the United States goes ahead willfully, it will have a serious negative impact on US businesses and consumers,” Gao said.

“Some US financial institutions have predicted that the tariffs would cost an ordinary US family US$1,000 a year on average.

“At the same time, the delay in imposing tariffs on some goods fully demonstrate that there are no winners in a trade war,” he said. “If the trade frictions escalate, US consumers and businesses will suffer heavy losses.”

Gao expressed the hope that the US side would stop its erroneous practice of imposing tariffs, meet halfway with China, and find a solution to the problem based on equality and mutual respect.

He said that the US move would pose certain challenges to China’s exports and economy, but the impact is fully controllable in general.

“The Chinese side is confident, determined and capable of meeting various challenges and maintaining the sound and stable development of its economy and foreign trade,” he added.

Chinese and US chief trade negotiators held a phone conversation on August 13 and agreed to hold another phone conversation in two weeks.

“The two negotiating teams have maintained communication,” Gao said.

US and Chinese negotiators are due to meet in September in Washington. The last round of talks in Shanghai in July ended with no indication of progress.

Gao also said Beijing is working on a planned corporate blacklist of “unreliable entities” that might face curbs on their operations but gave no timeline.

China announced plans for that list after Washington imposed curb on sales of US technology to telecom equipment producer Huawei Technologies Ltd.

The United States has imposed 25 percent tariffs on US$250 billion of Chinese products.

China retaliated with its own penalties on US$110 billion of goods from the United States.

US, Russia gave Israel green light to strike Iran in Syria, Iraq

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Report: US, Russia gave Israel green light to strike Iran in Syria, Iraq

Under alleged agreement, Jerusalem allowed to conduct attacks against Iranian threats in Middle East, but can’t publicly acknowledge them

Explosions at an arms depot of a Shiite militia group in Iraq, August 20, 2019 (video screenshot)

Explosions at an arms depot of a Shiite militia group in Iraq, August 20, 2019 (video screenshot)

Israel has conducted several strikes on Iranian-controlled bases in Syria and Iraq in recent weeks with permission from the United States and Russia, a Western diplomatic source told a Saudi-owned newspaper Wednesday.

Moscow and Washington agreed that the Jewish state could conduct these attacks on Iranian targets in order to “ensure Israel’s security,” the source told the London-based Arabic-language Asharq Al-Awsat.

In recent weeks, a number of explosions have been reported in Iraqi military installations connected to pro-Iranian Shiite militias, including on Tuesday night in an arms depot north of Baghdad.

As part of the reported agreement, Israel would not publicly acknowledge carrying out the strikes. However, this has not prevented Israeli officials from hinting at their involvement in these attacks.

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Asked about Tuesday night’s blast at the pro-Iranian militia base, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israeli reporters, “Iran has no immunity, anywhere… We will act — and currently are acting — against them, wherever it is necessary.”

The explosions have occurred in bases and warehouses belonging to militia groups under the umbrella of the mainly Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). The state-sanctioned PMF militias have fought alongside Iraq’s regular armed forces against the Islamic State group.

Iraqi MP Karim Alaiwi told pro-Hezbollah Lebanese network al-Mayadeen on Wednesday that evidence pointed to Israel being behind recent attacks on Shiite militias, adding that the Jewish state was trying to weaken the PMF.

Alaiwi said American forces controlled Iraqi airspace and reasoned that no one could be conducting airstrikes without US knowledge.

The Iraqi Civil Defense said in a statement that Tuesday’s blast occurred near Balad air base, one of the country’s largest. A Shiite militia group is stationed nearby.

Iraqi security forces’ vehicles are seen at the delivery ceremony of four new US- made F-16 fighter jets at Balad air base, 75 kilometers (45 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq, July 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

The officials who confirmed the explosion spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity in line with regulations. They said the blast occurred in a depot belonging to the PMF and that an investigation was underway.

The mysterious blasts have given rise to a host of theories, including that Israel may have conducted airstrikes.

No one has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s blast or other recent explosions.

In July, an explosion took place at a PMF base in Amirli, in Iraq’s northern Salaheddin province, killing two Iranians and causing a huge fire.

Last week, a massive explosion was also reported at the al-Saqr military base.

Israel has struck Iranian bases in neighboring Syria on numerous occasions, and there has been speculation that it might be expanding its campaign to target Iranian bases in  Iraq. However, neither the Iraqi government nor Israel has addressed the reports.

Satellite photo of a weapons depot in southern Baghdad controlled by a pro-Iranian militia that was hit in an alleged Israeli operation on August 12, 2019. (ImageSat International)

Israeli officials have identified Iraq as a likely growing base of operations for Iran-backed efforts against the Jewish state. But Israeli officials have so far neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the strikes.

Raphael Ahren, AP and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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10 Most Educated Countries

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

10 Most Educated Countries

For most countries, the average education level of the population can be an indicator of its financial stability and literacy rates. It can even contribute to how healthy the country is overall. With all of this in mind, do you know which countries rank as the most educated in the world? While you might be able to guess a few, there may be some countries on the list that surprise you. Here are the top 10 most educated countries, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Luxembourg

Luxembourg

Credit: querbeet/iStock

Luxembourg comes in as the smallest country to make the list. The country has only around 615,70 residents. Luxembourg is a landlocked country, surrounded by Germany, France, and Belgium. According to the OECD, 87% of adults between the ages of 25 and 34 have completed at least a secondary education (compared to the OECD average of 84%). Also, 54% of residents in this age group have completed at least some level of higher education. Maybe this has something to do with why Luxembourg comes in as the wealthiest country in the world.

Norway

Norway

Credit: Zarnell/iStock

It probably comes as no surprise that Norway ranks among the most educated countries. The European nation consistently ranks high for various quality of life factors, including healthcare, environmental awareness, and overall happiness. Colleges in Norway are tuition-free, which gives citizens greater access to higher education. The rate of adults with higher education has been increasing in Norway, and the country saw a 5% jump from 2007 to 2017. In 2017, 48% of adults aged 25 to 34 had some level of tertiary education.

Finland

Finland

Credit: scanrail/iStock

Another country with free education, this Scandinavian nation ranks among the most educated in the world. It’s not just Finnish residents that can take advantage of the free education. Non-native residents can get free schooling, as well. The Finnish education system is a stark contrast to that in the United States. Some key differences are that Finnish children receive 75 minutes of recess every day (as opposed to 27 minutes in the U.S.), there is no mandated testing until the age of 16, and most teachers stick with the same group of students for at least five years. It’s no wonder Finland has been ranked as the happiest country in the world for two years running.

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Australia

Australia

Credit: PhotoAllel/iStock

The land down under just barely misses the top five when it comes to the percentage of adults who have a higher education. An impressive 52% of adults between the ages of 25 and 34 have completed higher education courses. The country also ranks among the highest level of citizens who have a bachelor’s degree or higher. This is despite how Australia has some of the highest tuition rates in the world.

United States of America

United States of America

Credit: Sean Pavone/iStock

Public opinion on the state of the education system in the United States varies, depending on who you ask. The country is known to have an unbelievable amount of student debt, and tuition continues to be on the rise. On the other hand, the United States has some of the best universities in the world and is one of the world’s strongest powers. So it’s probably not surprising that the U.S. comes in smack dab in the middle of the top 10 most educated countries. The U.S. Census estimates that 59% of adults have completed some college.

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Credit: alex_west/iStock

One thing that sets the United Kingdom apart from other countries is its focus on early education. The country sees high enrollment levels for young children. Education is a top priority for citizens as reports have shown a direct correlation between education level and pay. In fact, one study found that residents with upper education earned on average 48% more than their peers without upper education. The United Kingdom is home to two of the oldest universities in the world, the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge.

South Korea

South Korea

Credit: GoranQ/iStock

South Korea places high demands on its students. Consequently, the country has a high number of adults with upper education. When it comes to students graduating from secondary school, Korea ranks number one. 98% of citizens graduate from secondary education. South Korea also ranks number one for attaining tertiary education, with nearly 70% of its residents completing some higher education.

Israel

Israel

Credit: FredFroese/iStock

The education system in Israel is different from those in most of the world, but it still ranks as one of the best. In Israel, most schools are divided by the student’s faith. It is also not uncommon for schools to include weapon training. Because of its strong focus on education, the country has more university degrees per capita than any other country in the world. According to the OECD, nearly 25% of all residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Japan

Japan

Credit: ke/iStock

It may be hard to believe, but Japan does not come in at the top spot when it comes to education. Though the country is world-renowned for its education levels, it falls just short of number one. The amount of tertiary schooling comes in at a staggering 60% for adults between the age of 25 and 34. While the country has one of the highest percentages of adults expected to complete a bachelor’s degree, it has one of the lowest levels for doctorate degrees. Just 1% of its citizens are expected to attain a doctorate.

Canada

Canada

Credit: DenisTangneyJr/iStock

Canada just barely edges out Japan when it comes to adults who will complete some amount of college. A whopping 60.9% of Canadians between the age of 25 and 34 have completed some level of college, whereas that number is 60.4% in Japan. There seems to be some level of correlation between education level and happiness because Norway, Finland, and Canada all ranked among the happiest countries in the world.

Iran: Zarif: US Turning Gulf Region into ‘Tinderbox’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Zarif: US Turning Gulf Region into ‘Tinderbox’

Monday, 12 August, 2019 – 11:30
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif arrives for a meeting at United Nations Headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New York, US, July 18, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Asharq Al-Awsat
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the United States in a television interview on Monday of turning the Gulf region into a “matchbox ready to ignite.”

Oil tanker traffic passing through the Gulf via the Strait of Hormuz has become the focus of a US-Iranian standoff since Washington pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sanctions to strangle Tehran’s oil exports.

After explosions that damaged six tankers in May and June and Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged tanker in July, the United States launched a maritime security mission in the Gulf, joined by Britain, to protect merchant vessels.

According to Reuters, Zarif said in the interview that the Strait “is narrow, it will become less safe as foreign (navy) vessels increase their presence in it”.

“The region has become a matchbox ready to ignite because America and its allies are flooding it with weapons,” he said.

Last month, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards seized the British tanker, Stena Impero near the Strait for alleged marine violations, two weeks after Britain seized an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar, accusing it of violating sanctions on Syria.

The tanker dispute has tangled Britain in the diplomatic dispute between the EU’s big powers – which want to preserve the Iran nuclear deal – and the United States which has pushed for a tougher policy on Iran.

Also Monday, Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri charged that Washington’s unilateralist policies and its emphasis on sanctions threaten the stability of the region.

He was speaking at an economic forum hosted by Turkmenistan.

Hong Kong: The Next Bloodbath

Hong Kong: The Next Bloodbath

 

I very much fear that Hong Kong is going to be the next Tienanmen Square except on a much larger scale. The Communist government in Beijing have used the financial muscle generated in Hong Kong to build their country and their military power ever since England turned it back over to them. Now the Chinese government is facing a quandary of sorts. If they do nothing and the protesters continue to stay united against the intrusions of Beijing then the government would have to either back down which would make them look weak or use their military to stop the protesters. Personally I believe that the government will use force to end the peoples blockades of government buildings, stores, and the streets. I can’t help but wonder how many people will be murdered by China’s military in this process. How many protesters will sacrifice their lives in hoping that the West will come to their aid? Personally I do not believe that the U.S. nor the UN will do anything accept talk and issue sanctions which will save no lives in Hong Kong. This is just as I believe that Beijing will totally get away with attacking the legitimate government of China that resides on Taiwan as the world sits back and wrings their hands and whine. Obviously this is just my opinion but this is how I honestly see these events playing out.

 

 

China will never buckle under Washington’s old trick of trade bullying

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

China will never buckle under Washington’s old trick of trade bullying

Xinhua

Despite calling the just-concluded China-US trade talks in Shanghai “constructive” and hoping for more “positive dialogue,” the White House on Thursday announced plans to impose extra tariffs on Chinese imports from September 1.

Washington’s unilateral escalation of trade disputes is a serious breach of trust after the two sides reached in June consensus to restart trade talks on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

Apart from undermining the momentum of the newly resumed China-US trade talks, the US flip-flopping again exemplifies Washington’s unworthiness in striking a deal and its disturbing propensity for bullying.

The US administration should bear in mind that its bullying and tariff threat, which has not worked in the past, will not work this time.

For over a year, the US-initiated trade disputes with China have bogged down not just economic growth of the two countries but that of the whole world. Meanwhile, an increasingly capricious Washington is harming the current world order with more uncertainties.

As the US administration is ready to impose a 10 percent tariff on the remaining 300 billion US dollars of Chinese imports, its sincerity in reaching a mutually beneficial trade deal with Beijing that can accommodate each other’s major concerns has gone bust. It seems that in the eyes of Washington’s China hawks, trade talks are no more than a formality with which to rip China off.

Also, the new twist in China-US trade talks shows that some Washington politicians are trying to play tough against China on trade matters and gain cheap political points as the new cycle of US presidential election is looming.

Unlike previous rounds of taxing Chinese imports, the US administration this time is targeting a wide swath of consumer goods, and therefore, is “using American families as a hostage” in its trade negotiations, according to Matt Priest, president of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America.

While the White House is boasting about taxing China until a trade deal is reached, it should keep in mind that China will only accept a win-win agreement on the basis of mutual respect and equal treatment.

Beijing’s position has been consistent and clear: China does not want a trade war, but it is not afraid of one and will fight one if necessary.

In response to Washington’s tariff assaults since March 2018, China has had to take forceful counter measures. This instance will be no exception.

Still, Beijing remains committed to handling its trade problems with Washington as long as the settlement is based on mutual respect and equality, and conform to China’s core interests. China, which still sees a steady economic growth and boasts enormous potential for further development, will always find a way to withstand any pressure if there no deal is reached.

It is therefore hoped that Washington should drop its fantasy to bring Beijing down to its knees with its same and old tricks of maximum pressure. If it truly wants a deal, then they will need to show some real sincerity first.