LONDON, July 24 -- Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister-designate, said his government would be very “pro-China”, in an interview with a Hong Kong-based Chinese-language broadcaster shortly before he was chosen to succeed Theresa May on Tuesday.
Speaking to Phoenix TV, Johnson backed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s infrastructure-based Belt and Road Initiative and said his government would maintain an open market for Chinese investors in Britain. “We are very enthusiastic about the Belt and Road Initiative. We are very interested in what President Xi is doing [for the plan],” he said. The Brexit campaigner also vowed to keep Britain as “the most open economy in Europe” for Chinese investments. “Don’t forget [we are] the most open international investment [destination], particularly [for] Chinese investment. We have Chinese companies coming in to do Hinkley, for instance, the big nuclear power plant.” Boris Johnson, Britain’s next prime minister, has said he is “very pro-China” in an interview with an international Chinese language broadcaster. Photo: ReutersBoris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister-designate, said his government would be very “pro-China”, in an interview with a Hong Kong-based Chinese-language broadcaster shortly before he was chosen to succeed Theresa May on Tuesday. Speaking to Phoenix TV, Johnson backed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s infrastructure-based Belt and Road Initiative and said his government would maintain an open market for Chinese investors in Britain. “We are very enthusiastic about the Belt and Road Initiative. We are very interested in what President Xi is doing [for the plan],” he said.
The Brexit campaigner also vowed to keep Britain as “the most open economy in Europe” for Chinese investments. “Don’t forget [we are] the most open international investment [destination], particularly [for] Chinese investment. We have Chinese companies coming in to do Hinkley, for instance, the big nuclear power plant.” Johnson also stressed that Britain was the first Western country to join the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a move that angered its major ally, the US. Britain became a founder-member of the AIIB – the first Asia-based international bank to be independent from the Western-dominated World Bank and International Monetary Fund – with a US$50 million contribution to its special project fund in 2015.
BEIJING, July 24 -- Chinese armed forces stationed in Hong Kong can be deployed to maintain public order at the request of the city's government, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has said.
PLA spokesman Wu Qian said at a press conference on Wednesday (July 24) that China's military has been closely watching the demonstrations in Hong Kong, especially the protests last Sunday (July 21) that saw Beijing's representative office in the special administrative region being defaced. "We are closely following the developments in Hong Kong, especially the violent attack against the central government liaison office by radicals on July 21," Senior Colonel Wu said at the briefing to introduce China's new defence white paper. "Some behaviour of the radical protesters is challenging the authority of the central government and the bottom line of 'one country, two systems', and that is absolutely intolerable."
Responding to a question on how the Chinese military will handle the Hong Kong situation, Col Wu said "Article 14 of the garrison law has clear stipulations", without further elaboration. The Article in Hong Kong's Garrison Law states that the city's government can ask the central government for assistance from the PLA's Hong Kong garrison to maintain public order and for disaster relief. Should Beijing approve, the garrison would send the troops to carry out the specified tasks, and then immediately return to their station. The troops would be under the command of the garrison's highest commander, or an officer authorised by the commander with arrangements made by the Hong Kong government. Col Wu's remarks mirrored earlier comments made by other officials such as the head of Beijing's Liaison Office Wang Zhimin and the Chinese foreign ministry, which said on Tuesday that the "extreme, illegal violence...seriously challenged the bottom line of 'one country, two systems'".
It has featured transgender women as showgirls from the beginning, and Alisa was always concerned about the mistreatment they receive from society. "Back then, our transgender showgirls were always perceived with prejudice. In a tourist town like Pattaya, our girls had to carry their staff ID card whenever they went out to protect themselves, to prevent people and the authorities from mistaking them for prostitutes. They were mistreated. And this affected us because, as the executives, we need to be able to take care of them both inside and outside the theatre," said Alisa. "I have always questioned why people have to take issue with someone's gender. And so the idea goes from just staff management to the point where we ask what we can also do about society. Miss Tiffany's Universe was then born to put transgender women in the spotlight."
After the pageant's inaugural year was successfully hosted at the theater, Alisa pushed for a live broadcast of the event in the following year to raise society's awareness about transgender women and their existence. The pageant was first broadcast nationally on ITV channel in 1999. There was no other stage for transgender women at the time. "It was a big hit, as it was something that has never happened before in the country. It really made a stamp that we were the real deal," Alisa recalled. "At the same time, it was very difficult to find sponsors because no one wanted to attach their products to people of the 'third gender'." Miss Tiffany's Universe continued to build its name in two decade-long stages. Alisa said she devoted the first 10 years of the pageant to make people understand who transgender women are, and how different they are from gay men. "And when we reached a certain point, people began to realise who we are and that our girls are gorgeous. But we also want to go beyond that simple acknowledgment. We spent the next 10 years opening doors and opportunities, to send a message that men, women and transgender people are all equally capable. It's not necessary at all to push transgender people to be only make-up artists and showgirls when they have the ability and the desire to do so many other things."
Prior to the show, we went backstage to meet some of this year's contestants. Each of them came to Miss Tiffany's with hopes and dreams, some of which were quite unexpected. Contestant No.16 Nutchuda Lumphun, 25, said she wishes to become a member of parliament to represent and develop her hometown in Nakhon Phanom province. "On my own, I'm just a small person. But now as one of the Top 30 contestants, I consider myself a success. And if I can go even further, I'll have a bigger voice to speak for my province," said Nutchuda, who works as an actress and MC. Contestant No.22 Sasipichaya Pakdee said she's also here in hopes of making her voice louder. Onstage, she publicly advocated a law that would allow transgender people to legally change their gender and title. This is her second time at the pageant.
TOKYO, July 24 -- Nissan Motor Co. plans to cut more than 10,000 jobs globally as part of efforts to turn around its business, company sources said Tuesday.
The number, which represents around 10 percent of its global workforce, is much bigger than an earlier estimate. In May the Japanese carmaker said it would cut 4,800 jobs. Nissan's group net profit hit a nine-year low in the year through March, hit by weak sales of its cars in the U.S. market, and the Japanese automaker has projected it will nearly be halved in fiscal 2019. Also, since the arrest in November of its former Chairman Carlos Ghosn over alleged financial misdeeds, Nissan has been struggling to restructure its management team and ties with Renault SA, its biggest shareholder. The additional reduction in workforce, including through early retirement options, is expected to be announced by the Yokohama-headquartered automaker on Thursday, when it releases earnings figures for the April to June period of this year.
Some factories in South America and other regions where Nissan has low profitability are likely to be subject to the reduction plan, while it may try to streamline output in Japan. As of March this year, Nissan and its group companies had about 139,000 employees, according to its financial report. Nissan has acknowledged it was overstretching to meet numerical targets, such as by relying on incentives, in the U.S. market. It has been reviewing the expansionist business strategy spearheaded by Ghosn, who built the three-way alliance also involving Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and led an auto group that was the world's second largest last year in terms of vehicle sales. In fiscal 2018, Nissan saw its global vehicle sales fall 4.4 percent to 5.52 million units, including a 9.3 percent decline in the United States to 1.44 million units and a 14.9 percent drop in Europe to 643,000 units.
PARIS, July 24 -- The French capital is going through its driest period in almost 150 years and temperatures across Europe continue to reach extreme levels, leaving scorched fields and farmers frustrated by another spell of bad weather.
In the east German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Christa-Maria Wendig is worried these once-rare droughts are becoming common. She plans to give up planting rapeseed in the coming months because of the dry weather and the heatwave stunted her ripening corn crop. 'Our ponds are empty and the meadows withered,' she said. As temperatures keep climbing across Europe this week, peaking on Thursday in Paris and London, the effects of extreme weather are becoming clearer. This summer has already seen raging wildfires in Portugal and Spain, falling water levels on Germany’s Rhine River and irrigation restrictions in France. Day-ahead electricity prices in France hit a five-month high Tuesday. In Paris, temperatures are forecast to hit 42°C.
Electricite de France SA plans to halt two nuclear reactors at Golfech this week, as the Garonne river becomes too warm for cooling the plant. The company, which produces about three-quarters of France’s power, has said it will prepare nuclear plants to operate in more severe heatwaves in the coming decades amid a changing climate. In agriculture, the heatwave is having the biggest impact on corn fields, which are in a key growth stage. Yields will drop sharply if beneficial rains don’t arrive soon, said German grains handler Agravis Raiffeisen AG. Winter wheat and barley are already being collected and escaped most of the bad weather. Some farmers in France and Germany may harvest corn early as silage to build up their animal-feed supplies for the winter, rather than collecting the crops as grain to sell on the market, said Laurine Simon, an analyst at consultant Strategie Grains. Forage stocks are already low after last year’s drought, and Paris corn futures are up about 10% since late May.
LONDON, July 23 -- A prominent British think-tank said on Monday that economic prospects for the UK are deteriorating as a new prime minister is about to be installed in Westminster.
The National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) warned there is a one-in-four chance the country has already entered a technical recession, and a disorderly no-deal Brexit in October could lead to a "severe downturn" in the economy within the next six months - and with it, a fall in living standards. Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to officially step down on Wednesday.
The name of the new prime minister - elected by 160,000 members of the Conservative Party - will be announced on Tuesday. It is widely expected to be former mayor of London and ex-foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who is running against his successor, Jeremy Hunt. Both Johnson and Hunt have promised to renegotiate May's deal with the European Union, particularly the controversial backstop protocol of the withdrawal agreement, aimed at avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland.
Both have promised to take the UK out of the EU without a deal by the new October 31 deadline should EU officials insist the withdrawal agreement is not up for renegotiation, as they have done so far. The recently elected president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, restated this position last week, while conceding the EU would remain open to considering a further Brexit delay "for a good reason". In its latest quarterly forecast, NIESR predicted even if a no-deal Brexit is avoided, the UK economy will see a one percent growth in 2019 and 2020, revised down from the 1.5 percent figure it predicted earlier this year as the March Brexit deadline loomed. An orderly no-deal scenario - involving temporary contingency measures aimed at minimising disruption - would lead to a stall in growth in 2020.
BANGKOK, July 23 -- Racing team Scuderia Toro Rosso, part of the Red Bull Formula 1 network, will have the help of PTT Oil and Retail Business (OR) in supporting the Thai-British driver Alex Albon Ansusinha.
Jiraphon Kawswat, president and chief executive of OR, which sponsors Alex, and Matthew Strachan of Scuderia Toro Rosso made the announcement at PTT headquarters on Tuesday. Alex becomes the sole Thai national currently competing in Formula 1 and only the second Thai ever to have competed, the first being Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanubandh, who gained global fame among racing fans as “Prince Bira” back in the 1950s. PTT Lubricants, an OR brand, has been sponsoring Alex since he started in Formula 2 last year. Thanks to outstanding performance, he’s been selected for Scuderia Toro Rosso’s F1 team this year. Jiraphon said OR hopes its sponsorship deal gives Alex the chance to show off his skills at the world’s leading racing events and put Thailand back on the global F1 map. “I’m really grateful to PTTOR and PTT Lubricants and look forward to representing them around the world,” Alex said. “To be able to count on their support moving forward is really significant and I’m relishing the chance to work closely with them in the future. I’m incredibly honoured and happy to welcome PTTOR to the Toro Rosso family.
Albon is currently in 12 position in the F1 standings after 10 of the 21 races for the season, scoring points in Bahrain (9th place 2 pts), China (10th place 1 pt) and Monaco (8th place 4 pts). His next race will be the German GP at on July 29-29. Jiraphon said OR aims to help earn Thai products recognition as global brands and has been supporting various national and international motorsport events, providing opportunities for Thai drivers to gain experience at high-profile competitions on the global stage. Events supported by OR include the Thailand Super Series and BRIC Superbike by PTT Station.
Since last year, OR and PTT have also been the main official sponsors of MotoGP, dubbed the world’s most challenging motorbike race and currently called PTT Thailand Grand Prix.
LONDON, July 23 -- Boris Johnson is expected to be elected leader of Britain's governing Conservative Party and the country's next prime minister on Tuesday, tasked with following through on his "do or die" pledge to deliver Brexit in just over three months' time.
Mr Johnson and his rival, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, have spent the last month criss-crossing the country seeking to win over the less than 200,000 Conservative Party members who will choose Britain's new leader. Voting closed at 1600 GMT on Monday (midnight Singapore time) and the result is due to be announced on Tuesday morning (Tuesday evening Singapore time). The winner will formally take over as prime minister on Wednesday afternoon, succeeding Mrs Theresa May, who stepped down over her failure to get Parliament to ratify her Brexit deal. Mr Johnson, a former London mayor who resigned as foreign minister a year ago over May's Brexit plans, is the clear favourite to replace her, with several polls putting him on course to win with around 70 per cent. He will inherit a political crisis over Britain's exit from the European Union, currently due to take place on Oct 31.
Mr Johnson must persuade the EU to revive talks on a withdrawal deal that it has been adamant cannot be reopened, or else lead Britain into the economic uncertainty of an unmanaged departure. The only deal on the table has been rejected three times by Parliament and many lawmakers - including pro-EU rebels in the Conservative Party - are also vowing to block Mr Johnson trying to take Britain out of the EU without a deal.
HELSINKI, July 23 -- A new paper published by researchers form the University of Turku in Finland suggests that even though observed changes in the climate are real, the effects of human activity on these changes are insignificant.
The team suggests that the idea of man made climate change is a mere miscalculation or skewing the formulas by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Jyrki Kauppinen and Pekka Malmi, from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Turku, in their paper published on 29th June 2019 claim to prove that the “GCM-models used in IPCC report AR5 fail to calculate the influences of the low cloud cover changes on the global temperature. That is why those models give a very small natural temperature change leaving a very large change for the contribution of the green house gases in the observed temperature.” Thus, in order to come to the results matching the actual climate change the IPCC has to “use a very large sensitivity to compensate a too small natural component. Further they have to leave out the strong negative feedback due to the clouds in order to magnify the sensitivity.” In addition, Kauppinen and Malmi claim that their paper proves that “the changes in the low cloud cover fraction practically control the global temperature.”
The authors argue that the IPCC has used computational results which can not be considered experimental evidence, and site this as the reason for contradictory conclusions. “The IPCC climate sensitivity is about one order of magnitude (i.e. 10 times) too high, because a strong negative feedback of the clouds is missing in climate models. If we pay attention to the fact that only a small part of the increased CO2 concentration is anthropogenic, we have to recognise that the anthropogenic climate change does not exist in practice, write Kauppinen and Malmi. “The major part of the extra CO2 is emitted from oceans, according to Henry‘s law. The low clouds practically control the global average temperature. During the last hundred years the temperature is increased about 0.1℃ because of CO2. The human contribution was about 0.01℃.”
The paper has been criticised for not being peer reviewed and other climate scientists have refuted the conclusions reached by Kauppinen and Malmi. Critics have said that in addition to not being peer reviewed, Malmi and Kauppinen fail to provide correct physical explanation, have not linked to- or sited to enough sources to support their claims and although they denounce climate models, they use one themselves to prove their own points. In a previous paper by the same scientists published last December, they discuss the effects of cloud cover and relative humidity on the climate change. In a separate study, Japanese scientists have also suggested a much more important role for low clouds cover caused by an increase in cosmic rays resulting form the weakening of the earths magnetic filed.
Prof. Masayuki Hyodo and his team Yusuke Ueno, Tianshui Yang and Shigehiro Katoh from the University of Kobe in Japan in their paper published this month in propose that the “umbrella effect” is the main factor behind climate change. “When galactic cosmic rays increased during the Earth’s last geomagnetic reversal transition 780,000 years ago, the umbrella effect of low-cloud cover led to high atmospheric pressure in Siberia, causing the East Asian winter monsoon to become stronger. This is evidence that galactic cosmic rays influence changes in the Earth’s climate.” “The Intergovernmental IPCC has discussed the impact of cloud cover on climate in their evaluations, but this phenomenon has never been considered in climate predictions due to the insufficient physical understanding of it”, comments Professor Hyodo. “This study provides an opportunity to rethink the impact of clouds on climate. When galactic cosmic rays increase, so do low clouds, and when cosmic rays decrease clouds do as well, so climate warming may be caused by an opposite-umbrella effect. The umbrella effect caused by galactic cosmic rays is important when thinking about current global warming as well as the warm period of the medieval era.” Scientists have suspected that the Earth’s magnetic filed is showing signs of flipping. The magnetic filed is moving erratically out of the Canadian Arctic and towards Siberia so unpredictably that it has taken scientists by surprise so that they need to update the model they released only four years ago.
SEOUL, July 23 -- South Korean jets fired warning shots after a Russian military plane violated South Korea's airspace on Tuesday, Seoul officials said, in the first such incident between the countries.
Three Russian military planes initially entered South Korea's air defense identification zone off its east coast before one of them entered the country's territorial sky, the South's Defense Ministry said. South Korean fighter jets then scrambled to the area to fire warning shots, a ministry official said, requesting anonymity due to department rules. The Russian plane left the area but it returned and violated the South Korean airspace again later Tuesday, the ministry official said. He said the South Korean fighter jets fired warning shots again. Each time, the Russian plane didn't return fire, the official said. It was the first time a Russian military plane violated South Korean airspace, according to South Korean officials.
The airspace the Russian plane violated was above a group of South Korean-held islets roughly halfway between South Korea and Japan that has been a source of territorial disputes between them. Russia isn't a party in those disputes. The three Russian planes had entered the South Korean air defense identification zone with two Chinese military planes. But it wasn't immediately known whether the two countries deliberately did so, according to the South Korean official. Before their joint flights with the Russian planes, the Chinese planes entered South Korea's air defense identification zone off its southwest coast earlier Tuesday, according to the South Korean official. Chinese planes have occasionally entered South Korea's air defense identification zone in recent years. South Korea's Defense Ministry said it plans to summon Russian and Chinese Embassy officials later Tuesday to register formal protests.