‘Bless this referendum’: Bougainville votes and prays for independence

Celebrations as voting begins to decide whether the region will break away from Papua New Guinea In the coastal town of Buka a solemn procession of people makes its way from the Catholic church to Bel Isi park, where worshippers kneel before a makeshift cross. There is one subject that dominates the prayers in Bougainville today. We are gathered here this morning in Bel Isi Park to ask you to bless the referendum. May it be peaceful and successful, says the priest. Besides those at the ceremony, the town is almost deserted. A handful of taxi boats float next to the closed market. The vessels have brought families dressed in their Sunday best for church from other parts of Buka …

Hong Kong: thousands protest over shooting of teenager by police

Anger and grief fuel fresh demonstrations after injury of 18-year-old Tsang Chi-kin Driven by anger and grief, thousands of people came out across Hong Kong to denounce the shooting of a teenage student by police, an escalation of force that appears to have deepened the gulf between protesters and authorities. They marched through the city centre, organised sit-ins at schools and gathered at a courtroom where other protesters faced rioting charges. Many who joined Wednesdays demonstrations held their hands over their chests in tribute to 18-year-old Tsang Chi-kin, who was shot at point-blank range on Tuesday, with the bullet narrowly missing his heart. Tsang is in hospital in stable but critical condition after surgery to remove the bullet. The shooting …

Hong Kong protester shot with live round during China National Day rally

Violence erupts as thousands protest on 70th anniversary of communist rule in China Hong Kong police have shot a protester with live ammunition for the first time in four months of demonstrations, marking a major escalation in the use of force on a day when shooting the protester at point blank range with a pistol. Other footage Map of key incidents in Hong Kong Crowds gathered in central Hong Kong, where police were using water cannon and teargas, Hong Kong protesters use chairs as barricade during riots video Hong Kong has been gripped by protests since June. Sparked by a controversial extradition bill, they have morphed into a wider and increasingly violent anti-government movement channelling residents anger and frustration at …

Jack Ma, China’s richest man, steps down as chairman of Alibaba

Charismatic 55-year-old entrepreneur to be replaced by Daniel Zhang at e-commerce firm The Alibaba founder, Jack Ma, is stepping down as head of one of the worlds largest e-commerce companies, handing over the reins to his handpicked successor. Ma, who announced his retirement as chairman of the company last year, will celebrate his final day at a celebration marking his 55th birthday at an Olympic-sized sports stadium in Hangzhou, where he founded the company 20 years ago. The charismatic entrepreneur and one of Chinas most recognisable public figures will be replaced by the lower profile Daniel Zhang, the companys chief executive and an accountant by training. In a video posted on Monday, Ma said: Im the person always looking forward. …

Hong Kong: I would quit if I had choice, says leader in leaked audio

Carrie Lams comments further demonstrate it is Beijing directing response to crisis A leaked audio recording has emerged in which Hong Kongs leader, Carrie Lam, can be heard saying she would quit if she had a choice but suggesting she was being prevented from doing so by authorities in Beijing. In the recording, obtained by Reuters, the Hong Kong chief executive to a political crisis that has threatened Chinas authority over the city, as protesters continue to take to the streets pressing for the extradition bill to be withdrawn and calling for universal suffrage. Clashes continued on Monday night when police fired teargas to clear protesters in Mong Kok, a commercial and residential area in Kowloon. Play Video 0:53 between …

Not the Messiah: Trump insists ‘chosen one’ China trade war remark was a joke

President made initial claim about policies towards Beijing, leading many observers to question the presidents mental state Donald Trump has twice insisted he was just joking when he claimed to be the chosen one to take on China over trade. Speaking to reporters in Washington on Friday night, then in two tweets from the south of France on Saturday morning, the president said the comment was an instance of sarcasm and insisted it was a joke. When I looked up to the sky and jokingly said I am the chosen one at a press conference two days ago, referring to taking on Trade with China, little did I realize that the media would claim that I had a Messiah complex, …

Philippines ships 69 containers of rubbish back to Canada

Container ship M/V Bavaria, with tons of garbage on board, has left Subic Bay on a 20-day journey to Vancouver The Philippines has followed through on its threat to send 1,500 tonnes of illegally dumped rubbish back on a boat to Canada, ending a six-year dispute between the two countries. Wilma Eisma, administrator of Subic Bay freeport, confirmed that the 69 containers of garbage had been loaded overnight on the container ship M/V Bavaria, which left on a 20-day journey to the Canadian port city of Vancouver, via Taiwan. Eisma said the the move ended a sordid chapter in our history. The dispatch of the Canadian rubbish, which had been sitting in two Philippine ports since 2013 and 2014 while …