Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader, Carrie Lam, said Monday she had no plans to scrap a controversial plan to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland, a day after huge crowds came out to oppose the proposal.
“This is a very important piece of legislation that will help to uphold justice and also ensure that Hong Kong will fulfil her international obligations in terms of cross-boundary and transnational crimes,” chief executive Carrie told reporters.
The city government is pushing a bill through the legislature that would allow extraditions to any jurisdiction with which it does not already have a treaty — including mainland China.
The proposals have sparked an outcry and birthed an opposition that unites a wide cross-section of the city with opponents fearing the law would entangle people in China’s opaque and politicised court system.
Sunday saw huge crowds march in blazing summer heat through the cramped streets of the financial hub’s main island in a noisy, colourful demonstration calling on the government to scrap its planned extradition law.
Organisers said as many as a million people turned out — by far the largest protest since Hong Kong’s 1997 handover to China — presenting Lam with a major political crisis.
But in her first comments since the mass rallies, Lam said she had no plans to change the current law’s wording or withdraw it from the city’s legislature.
“The bill will resume its second reading on the 12th June,” she said.
Lam denied ignoring the huge public backlash and said her administration had already made major concessions to ensure the city’s unique freedoms would be protected and that the bill’s human rights safeguards met international standards.
“I and my team have not ignored any views expressed on this very important piece of legislation. We have been listening and listening very attentively,” she said.
An oak tree planted in the garden of the White House in Washington to symbolise friendship between President Donald Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron is dead.
The French president offered the young oak to Trump on the occasion of a state visit to Washington in 2018, and the two shovelled dirt around it under the watchful eyes of their wives — and cameras from around the world.
It was a symbolic gesture: the tree came from a northern French forest where 2,000 US Marines died during the First World War.
But a few days later, the tree was nowhere to be seen, having disappeared into quarantine.
“It is a quarantine which is mandatory for any living organism imported into the US,” Gerard Araud, then the French ambassador to America, wrote on Twitter, adding that it would be replanted later.
But it was never replanted: the tree died during its quarantine, the diplomatic source said.
In any way, the two leaders have not been best of friends since then.
Relations between them have frayed — over issues ranging from Iran to trade.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Sunday said it recorded N174.62 billion sale of white petroleum products in March.
The corporation disclosed this in its March Monthly Financial and Operations Report (MFOR) released in Abuja.
It says that March sales figure was higher than the N168.65 billion recorded in February.
It explained that the total revenue generated from the sale of white products from the period March 2018 to March 2019 stood at N2,780.79 billion.
According to the report, Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise called petrol, contributes about 91.09 per cent or N2. 533 million.
It added that a total supply and distribution of 1.36 billion litres of Petroleum products were made by NNPC Subsidiary, the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) in March, compared with 1.33 billion litres in February.
A further breakdown indicated that the March volume comprised 1.29 billion litres of petrol, 0.023 billion litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK), and 0.047 billion litres for the diesel component.
“Total sale of white products distributed for the period March 2018 to March 2019, stood at 21.99 billion litres, with petrol accounting for 20.63 billion litres or 93.8 per cent,’’ it added
The report further noted that 6.4 billion litres of special products were sold during the period under review.
On pipelines vandalism, the report revealed that in March, 111 pipeline points were vandalised, indicating a 19 per cent drop from the 137 points recorded in February 2019.
“Ibadan –Ilorin and Benin –Ore axis accounted for 46 per cent of total pulverised points, while breaks in other locations made up the balance,’’ it said.
In the Gas sector, the MFOR revealed that gas production increased by 15.4 per cent at 263.48 billion cubic feet compared to the output in preceding period of February.
This, it said, translated to an average daily production of 8,499.58 million standard cubic feet of gas per day (mmscfd).
“Out of the volume of gas supplied in the month under review, 155.01 bcf of gas was commercialised, consisting of 40.35 bcf, and 111.66 bcf for the domestic and export markets,’’ it added.
The report also indicated that 58.81 per cent of the average daily gas produced was commercialised, while the balance of 41.19 was re-injected, used as upstream fuel gas or flared.
China’s foreign exchange reserves expanded slightly to 3.101 trillion U.S. dollars at the end of May, up 0.2 percent from the end of April, official data showed Monday.
The reading marked the highest level in nine months and is by almost two and half times the holding by Japan with $1.293 trillion, the second highest in the world.
In March, China’s reserves rose to 3.0988 trillion U.S. dollars.
The amount increased by 8.6 billion U.S. dollars, or 0.3 percent from the end of February, according to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.
The reported increase in China’s foreign exchange reserves coincided with reports that China posted a trade surplus of $41.65 billion in May and exports unexpectedly returned to growth despite higher U.S. tariffs.
However, imports fell in a further sign of weak domestic demand that could prompt Beijing to step up stimulus measures.
Some analysts suspected Chinese exporters may have rushed out U.S.-bound shipments to avoid new tariffs on $300 billion of goods that U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening to impose in a rapidly escalating trade dispute.
While better than expected, Monday’s export data is unlikely to ease fears that a longer and larger U.S.-China trade war may no longer be avoidable, pushing the global economy toward recession.
China’s May exports rose 1.1% from a year earlier, blowing past analysts’ expectations, customs data showed.
Analysts polled by News Reports had expected May shipments from the world’s largest exporter to have fallen 3.8% from a year earlier, after a contraction of 2.7% percent in April.
While China is not as dependent on exports as in the past, they still account for nearly a fifth of its gross domestic product.
Top 10 countries with highest Foreign Reserves
China: $3.101 trillion( May Figure)
Japan: $1.293 trillion(April)
Switzerland: $800 billion
Saudi Arabia: $504.7 billion
Russia: $492 billion
Taiwan: $464 billion
Hong Kong: $436 billion
India: $421.8 billion
South Korea: $404 billion
Brazil: $383 billion
Nigeria(41st on the list): $45.143billion as at June 6.