SINGAPORE, September 20 -- Results from second practice for the Singapore Grand Prix at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, round 15 of the 2019 Formula 1 season.
SINGAPORE, September 20 -- The High Court on Friday ruled that a married couple, who are now in prison for abusing their Myanmar maid, will start serving their jail term for abusing their Indonesian maid only after completing their current sentence.
This means former regional IT manager Tay Wee Kiat will serve a total jail term of six years and one month for abusing both maids. His wife, former senior sales manager Chia Yun Ling, 43, will serve a total term of four years and one month. Tay and Chia had been given two sets of sentences, arising out of two separate trials and appeals. The commencement date for the first set of sentences had been put on hold pending the conclusion of the second set of proceedings. On Friday, a panel of three judges agreed with prosecutors that the two sets of sentences should run one after the other. "We do not see any valid reason for the sentences to commence on an earlier date as that would virtually enable the accused persons to evade punishment entirely for one set of offences," said Justice See Kee Oon. In lieu of paying compensation of $17,850 to the two maids, Tay will have to serve another six weeks, while Chia will have to serve an additional five weeks and 10 days. The court, which also comprised Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and Judge of Appeal Tay Yong Kwang, declined a request by the prosecution for examination and seizure of the couple's assets as a consequence of not paying compensation. The court noted that the prosecution had elected to seek default jail terms, among other mechanisms prescribed by law. "If the prosecution had wanted to seek orders for examination and garnishment, the necessary directions ought to have been sought at the last hearing before us."
Tay and Chia had abused their maids in mostly separate incidents over a period of almost two years.
The exception was an incident in which Tay kicked the two maids after making them get into a push-up position. He also ordered the two maids to slap each other 10 times, and forced them to bow and get up in front of a Buddhist altar 100 times, even though one was a Muslim and the other a Christian. Tay had forced Ms Fitriyah, an Indonesian who goes by one name, to stand on one leg on a stool while holding another stool above her head, with a bottle shoved into her mouth. Chia had force-fed Ms Moe Moe Than a mixture of rice and sugar through a funnel. When the Myanmar maid threw up as a result, Chia scolded her and told her to eat her own vomit.
The couple were first convicted and sentenced in 2017 for abusing Ms Fitriyah. In March last year, following the prosecution's appeal, Tay's jail term for abusing Ms Fitriyah was increased from 28 months to 43 months. Chia's jail term remained at two months. In March this year, the couple were convicted and sentenced for abusing Ms Moe Moe Than. They started serving their sentences for this set of charges on March 27. In August, Tay's jail term for abusing Ms Moe Moe Than was increased from 24 months to 30 months after an appeal by the prosecution. There was no change to Chia's jail term of 47 months. On Friday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Wen Hsien argued the two sets of sentences should run consecutively to each other. Consecutive sentences would reflect the couple's total criminality, the DPP argued, noting that there were multiple charges for unrelated offences against two different victims.
SINGAPORE, September 20 -- Results from first practice for the Singapore Grand Prix at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, round 15 of the 2019 Formula 1 season.
BEIJING, September 5 -- China’s commerce ministry said that a phone call on Thursday with US top trade negotiators went very well, adding that Beijing opposes any escalation in the trade war.
Both sides will strive to achieve real progress during a high-level meeting scheduled for early October, ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters in a weekly briefing. China and the United States agreed to hold high-level trade talks in Washington, the ministry said earlier on Thursday, following a phone call between China’s Vice-Premier Liu He and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, People's Bank of China Governor Yi Gang and deputy head of the economic planning commission Ning Jizhe were also on the call. The call came amid fears that an escalating trade war could trigger a global economic recession. "Both sides agreed that they should work together and take practical actions to create good conditions for consultations,” the ministry said. Trade teams from the two countries will hold talks in mid-September before the high-level talks next month, the ministry said. Both sides agreed to take actions to create favourable conditions, it said. A spokesman for the US Trade Representative’s office confirmed that Mr Lighthizer and Mr Mnuchin spoke with Mr Liu and said they agreed to hold ministerial-level trade talks in Washington “in the coming weeks”.
Washington began imposing 15 per cent tariffs on an array of Chinese imports on Sunday, while China began placing new duties on US crude oil. That prompted China to lodge a complaint against the United States at the World Trade Organisation. The United States plans to increase the tariff rate to 30 per cent from the 25 per cent duty already in place on US$250 billion (S$346 billion) worth of Chinese imports from Oct 1. US President Donald Trump warned on Tuesday that he would be tougher on Beijing in a second term if trade talks dragged on, compounding market fears that ongoing trade disputes between the United States and China could trigger a US recession. Chinese leaders will have a packed schedule next month, gearing up for National Day celebrations scheduled for Oct 1. They will also hold a key meeting in October to discuss improving governance and “perfecting” the country’s socialist system, state media has said, more than a year after the last was held. “Neither China nor the US want to be blamed by the rest of world for escalating the trade war and damaging the world economy,” said Mr Zhou Xiaoming, a former Chinese commerce ministry official and diplomat. “But the talks don’t mean the two sides will inch closer or that their stances soften,” he added.
Some within the Trump administration are sceptical that China is willing to make the sort of broad commitment to reforms sought by the US that caused a breakdown in talks in May, according to people familiar with the officials’ thinking. Others have become increasingly focused on trying to calm financial markets and forestall any further economic fallout in the US where Mr rump’s tariffs and the uncertainty surrounding the trade war are being blamed for a slowdown in manufacturing. It is unclear if the two sides will go back to a May draft agreement as the United States has been seeking. "No one is holding their breath” with regard to the talks, said Mr Chua Hak Bin, an economist at Maybank Kim Eng Research in Singapore. “Investors are slowly coming to terms that a trade deal is increasingly remote, with both sides talking tough and preparing for a long battle.”
HONG KONG, September 4 -- Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Wednesday formally withdrew a contentious extradition Bill following months of protests.
"The government will formally withdraw the Bill in order to fully allay public concerns," she said in a pre-recorded address in Cantonese and English that was carried by all major broadcasters in Hong Kong. Mrs Lam said a motion to withdraw with be tabled when the Legislative Council reconvenes. Although Mrs Lam had previously suspended the Bill – saying it was “dead” – her move did little to appease demonstrators, who continued protesting and expanded their demands to include calls for greater democratic freedom. Without the Bill’s formal withdrawal, it could be reintroduced in a matter of days. This essentially responds to one of five demands protesters have asked for. The others are: the retraction of the word “riot” to describe rallies; the release of all arrested demonstrators; an independent inquiry into the police; and the right for Hong Kong people to democratically choose their own leaders. While she ruled out setting up an independent commission to look into the events that have led to recent mass protests, she said that the Independent Police Complaints Commission will be reinforced by former director of education Helen Yu and senior lawyer Paul Lam. The government will also meet with various stakeholders and members of the public in a bid to address the various social issues she said.
"After more than two months of social unrest, it's obvious to many that the discontentment extends far beyond the (extradition) Bill," Mrs Lam added. The announcement follows a meeting with pro-establishment political figures, the South China Morning Post newspaper and other media reported, citing people they did not identify. The gathering included local legislators and the city's representatives to national legislative bodies. The meeting follows a weekend of demonstrations that saw some of the fiercest clashes between protesters and riot police. Activists have lobbed petrol bombs and set bonfires in the streets, while police officers fired tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray, making more than 1,100 arrests since early June. Hong Kong stocks jumped, led by property developers, after news reports said Mrs Lam will formally withdraw the extradition Bill that has sparked months of protests. The benchmark Hang Seng Index surged as much as 3.9 per cent before paring gains to 3.4 per cent at 3.06pm local time. The turmoil that followed Mrs Lam's attempt to introduce the ill-fated Bill - including mass marches that drew more than 1 million people and protests that shut the city's busy airport - have turned into the biggest crisis for Beijing's rule over the former British colony since it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
SEOUL, September 1 -- A senior North Korean diplomat said Saturday the expectation that dialogue with the United States will resume is "gradually disappearing" after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the country's behavior as "rogue."
"Pompeo has gone so far in his language and it made the opening of the expected DPRK-U.S. working-level negotiations more difficult," First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency, using the acronym for North Korea's official name. "We are being pushed to re-examine all the measures we have taken so far," Choe said. Pompeo said in a speech to a veterans organization Tuesday that Pyongyang's "rogue behavior could not be ignored." North Korea, meanwhile, has notified the United Nations that the nation's ambassador-level official will deliver a speech at the upcoming U.N. General Assembly, a source close to the matter said, indicating Pyongyang may cancel Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho's participation. Ri's potential absence from the U.N. gathering, scheduled to be held in New York in late September, would deprive Pompeo of a chance to make contact with his North Korean counterpart. At their June 30 meeting at the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjeom, U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed that Washington and Pyongyang would resume stalled denuclearization talks within weeks, but they have yet to take place. Instead, North Korea has repeatedly launched new weapons in recent months. Last Saturday, it fired two projectiles believed to be short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, in Pyongyang's seventh round of such launches since July 25.
BANGKOK, August 26 -- The government has banned hoarding of glutinous rice and will sell discounted packs as prices soar amid shortages.
Government spokesperson Narumon Pinyosinwat said on Monday that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had ordered the Commerce Ministry to prevent hoarding and to launch discounted packs in the wake of the all-time high price of glutinous rice. Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit ordered the Internal Trade Department to impose the ban immediately since the grain is on the ministry's price control list, Mrs Narumon said. "There will be discussions with millers, traders and cooperatives so they can quickly produce packed glutinous rice at a special price to relieve people's trouble," she said. Mrs Narumon attributed the expensive glutinous rice to drought that caused its low yield. The situation should improve when the new yield comes out in October, she said. Glutinous rice now sells for 50,000 baht a tonne while Hom Mali fragrant rice costs 35,000 baht. Local retail prices were nearly 50 baht per kilogram and a smallest bag of steamed glutinous rice is now 10 baht, double recent prices.
BIARRITZ, August 26 -- G-7 leaders discussed the return to the G-8 format with Russia's participation at a summitin the French city of Biarritz, Kyodo news agency reported, citing sources from Japanese government circles.
No details were provided about the content of the interview, and an agency source said the information "will never be disclosed". Earlier, US President Donald Trump agreed to a proposal by his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, to invite Russia to the G7 summit in 2020 in the US. Vladimir Putin, for his part, said that Russia considered all contacts with the G7 countries useful and did not rule out the resumption of the G8 form. German Chancellor Angela Merkel linked the issue of the resumption of the G-8 with progress in resolving the conflict in Ukraine. The G-7 is an association of economically developed countries that includes the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Canada, the United States, France and Japan. In the form of the seven, the club has existed from 1976 to 1997. After Russia's accession, it became known as the G8
HONG KONG, August 26 -- Hong Kong stocks dived more than 3 per cent in the first few minutes of business on Monday.
Caused by United States President Donald Trump ramped up his trade row with China and the city was hit by fresh violent protests over the weekend. The Hang Seng Index plummeted 3.27 per cent, or 857.33 points, to 25,322 at the open. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index sank 1.6 per cent, or 46.41 points, to 2,851.02, and the Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, shed 1.96 per cent, or 30.87 points, to 1,547.83.
SHANGHAI, August 26 -- China's currency on Monday (Aug 26) slid to its lowest point in more than 11 years as concerns over the US trade war and the potential for global recession weighed on markets.
The onshore yuan fell to 7.1487 to the US dollar, its weakest point since early 2008, in Asian trading. Global economic tensions have intensified in recent days with the US and China raising tariffs on each other's imports, and President Donald Trump calling on US businesses to pull out of China. The yuan is not freely convertible and the Chinese government limits its movement against the dollar to a two percent range on either side of a figure that the central bank sets each day to reflect market trends and control volatility. The People's Bank of China has set that rate steadily weaker in recent weeks and set it on Monday at 7.057 to the dollar. Allowing the yuan to depreciate makes Chinese exports cheaper and offsets some of the burden of punitive US tariffs. The yuan breached the key 7.0 threshold against the dollar earlier in August, days after the US announced plans to impose fresh tariffs on Chinese imports from September 1.