Castle Journal

Castle Journal


The central government of China "firmly supports" Carrie Lam, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and Hong Kong police, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang reiterated on Monday.

"The central government firmly supports Carrie Lam leading the HKSAR government to administer the SAR in accordance with the law, firmly supports Hong Kong police taking decisive measures to enforce the law, restore social order and safeguard the rule of law in Hong Kong,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said Monday in a daily press briefing.

In response to the illegal rallies and radical violence that occurred in HKSAR over the weekend, Geng reiterated that “what happened in Hong Kong is far beyond peaceful protests and has turned into extreme violence.” He added that such activities ruthlessly trampled on the rule of law and social order, seriously undermined Hong Kong's stability and prosperity, and openly challenged the bottom line of the "One Country, Two Systems" principle.


China has called on Japan to continue to work on improving bilateral ties and properly settle differences after Tokyo announced a plan to set up a new unit to patrol waters near the disputed Diaoyu Islands.

Japan will launch a new special police unit equipped with submachine guns and helicopters to guard the islands in the East China Sea, Japanese broadcaster NHK said on Monday.

The deployment could take place early next year, it said.

Japan's National Police Agency has put in a budget request for an additional 159 officers to head off landings on the uninhabited islands, NHK reported quoting the police.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Monday that China's position on the Diaoyu Islands is consistent and firm, and urged Japan not to heighten the tension over the area.

China hopes Japan could follow the four-point consensus reached by the two sides in 2014 and that the two countries could strengthen crisis management mechanisms to stabilize the East China Sea, Geng said.

In 2014, the two countries issued a four-point agreement on handling and improving bilateral relations in Beijing.

The agreement said, "The two sides have acknowledged that different positions exist between them regarding the tensions which have emerged in recent years over the Diaoyu Islands and some waters in the East China Sea, and agreed to prevent the situation from aggravating through dialogue and consultation and establish crisis management mechanisms to avoid contingencies."

Thursday, 08 August 2019 18:14

UK to stay in Interrail scheme after U-turn

 By : Nadeemy Haded

UK train companies will stay in the Interrail scheme, reversing Wednesday's decision, the operators' group says.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents UK train operators, had said the arrangement would end in January.

It had blamed a dispute with Eurail Group which manages the scheme.

Robert Nisbet, Director of Nations and Regions at the RDG said: "Following the strong reaction to news of our departure we and Eurail, the company which runs Interrail, renewed talks.

"We are pleased to be able to tell passengers that we have reached agreement and will be remaining part of both the Interrail and Eurail passes."

The decision to pull out of the scheme had received heavy criticism on social media.

Former Labour Transport Secretary Lord Adonis tweeted yesterday: "This is closing Britain to the next generation of continental Europeans."

RDG said the dispute had originally stemmed from a decision by Eurail Group, a Dutch organisation, to merge its two passes into one.

RDG said the new pass would clash with its own Britrail pass, also aimed at non-European citizens, which covers UK rail travel and offers discounts on local tourist attractions.

It added that Eurail Group decided to end RDG's membership of Interrail/Eurail after RDG declined to sell the new product.

Launched in 1972, the Interrail pass enables European citizens to travel around 31 countries by train and ferry, while the older Eurail pass lets non-European citizens do the same.

Over the decades Interrail journeys have been a rite of passage for millions of mostly young tourists, although older people use the pass too.

 By : Nadeemy Haded 

The UN has said the latest restrictions imposed on Indian-administered Kashmir are deeply concerning and "will exacerbate the human rights situation".

A UN spokesperson highlighted a telecommunications ban, the arbitrary detention of leaders and a ban on political assembly.

The region has been on lockdown since Sunday with communication cut off.

It came as India made the controversial decision to remove its special constitutional status.

Article 370 - as the constitutional provision guaranteeing special status is known - gave the state of Jammu and Kashmir special dispensation to make its own laws on everything apart from matters of foreign affairs, defence and communications.

This formed the basis of its complex relationship with India for some 70 years.

The Himalayan region is claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan, but each country controls only part of it.

By revoking it, Delhi has irrevocably changed its relationship with the region. The move came as a shock, and has been met with harsh criticism from some opposition lawmakers, constitutional experts and even ordinary citizens. But it has also been welcomed by many, including Supreme Court lawyers who have argued that it is not unconstitutional.

In the days leading up to the parliamentary announcement on Monday, India's federal government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had moved tens of thousands of troops into Kashmir.

On Sunday evening, the internet, mobile phone networks and landlines in the region were cut off; and political leaders, including two former chief ministers, were put under house arrest. They are reportedly still detained.

The region remains under lockdown, with Kashmiris in other parts of the country saying that they are unable to get through to their families.

The government has justified the lockdown, saying it was a precaution to prevent unrest or violence over its controversial move.

But the BBC has spoken to people inside the region, and has seen some protests which have involved people throwing stones at security forces.


There has been an armed insurgency against Indian rule in the region since 1989, and security forces have repeatedly clashed with stone-throwing protesters, leading to thousands of deaths over the years.

But many say the lockdown this time is unprecedented in its scale.

In the video statement posted on Twitter, a UN spokesperson reiterated the organisation's previous concerns over the human rights situation in Kashmir saying a previous report had "documented how authorities have repeatedly blocked communications networks to muzzle dissent, used arbitrary detention to punish political dissidents and employed excessive force while dealing with protests leading to extra judicial killings and serious injuries".

But he said the new restrictions had taken the situation to "a new level".

The UN was now "seeing again blanket telecommunications restrictions, perhaps more blanket than we have seen before", he said.

He warned the bans would prevent people from "participating fully in democratic debate about the future status of Jammu and Kashmir".

Why is Kashmir considered a disputed territory?

India and Pakistan have fought two wars and a limited conflict over the region.

Pakistan has also announced plans to expel India's top diplomat and suspend trade relations with its neighbour, deepening the row between the countries over Kashmir.

India has responded saying they "regret" Pakistan's statement, adding that Article 370 was an internal matter.

 By : Nadeemy Haded 

Canadian police believe they have found the bodies of two teenage fugitives suspected of three murders, including that of a US-Australian couple.

Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, have been on the run since late July, when three bodies were found in northern British Columbia.

They were later spotted 3,300km (2,050 miles) east, near Gillam, Manitoba, where police concentrated their search.

Two bodies were found nearby on Wednesday.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police assistant commissioner Jane MacLatchy told media on Wednesday: "I'm confident it is them but to identify them officially and to be sure we have to go to autopsy."

What do we know about the victims?

Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese were killed sometime between 14 July and early 15 July.

Their bodies were found 12 miles (20km) south of Liard Hot Springs along the Alaska Highway.

They were on a two-week-long road trip across Canada and Mr Fowler had been working in the country.

Leonard Dyck, a lecturer at the University of British Columbia, was found dead on 19 July, near Dease Lake

Portsudan, Sudan, Aug. 6, 2019, SPA -- Saudi Ambassador to the Republic of The Sudan Ali bin Hassan Jafar handed over in this port city of Sudan in eastern Sudan a shipment of more than 50,000 tons of agricultural nutrients and other needs of farmers, in the presence of Major General Essam Abdul-Faraj, Governor of the Red Sea Province.
In a press statement following the delivery ceremony, the ambassdor said that the aid comes in continuation of the continuous support for the brotherly people of Sudan to alleviate the burden of the current crisis on Sudanese farmers.
He said the aid is an extension of the $ 3 billion financial support provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, including $ 500 million as a deposit at Sudan's Central Bank to support the economy and ease pressure on the Sudanese pound.
-- SPA


Minister of Media Turki bin Abdullah Al Shabana here on Tuesday evening opened Movie Cinema, the first local brand for cinemas in the kingdom.
In a press statement following the inauguration, the minister expressed his delight at the opening of the second cinema in Jeddah.


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