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Airport shutdown tarnishes Hong Kong’s business image

Thaiger

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PHOTO & VIDEO: Bill Barnett, c9hotelworks.com

Thousands of supporters of the largely leaderless pro-democracy protest movement descended on the Hong Kong Airport terminal yesterday in an effort to get the message out to the world about their struggle and the harsh tactics used by police.

They achieved that result whilst testing the resolve of Beijing, accusing the protest organisers of ‘terrorism’.

Mass flight cancellations disrupted one of the world’s busiest air-transport hubs yesterday causing chaos for tourists and business travellers and playing havoc with global airlines’ flight schedules.

The protests, which have seen both sides adopt increasingly extreme tactics, had been restricted to small pockets of the former British colony. But the cancellation of more than 150 flights was a rare case of the pro-democracy movement having a direct impact on travel and tourism in one of Asia’s key business hubs.

Analysts say twitchy foreign investors will probably be thinking twice before setting up shop in Hong Kong, which has long prided itself as being Asia’s leading business city with air links for executives and tourists buzzing across the region.

Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways has taken a stand and told employees in a memo that the carrier has a zero tolerance for employees joining “illegal protests” and warned of disciplinary consequences.

The move follows the Chinese government warning Cathay Pacific, one of Hong Kong’s best-known brands, to bar its staff from participating in the protests, an unusual interference into the territory’s business affairs.

Hong Kong officials say that yesterday’s protest risked hurting the city’s reputation as a travel and transport centre. The airport handled 75.3 million passengers in 2018, making it the world’s second-busiest international airport after Dubai.

 

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World

Third supsect arrested in bomb attack of Maldives ex-president

Neill Fronde

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Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed survived an assasination attempt May 6. (Via Flickr - Presidency Maldives)

After a bomb attack in the Maldives attempting to assassinate former president Mohamed Nasheed, police have arrested a third suspect. The Manhunt has continued in the Maldivian capital city of Malé as the police appealed to the public for any information they may have about another suspect. Religious extremists have been blamed for the attempt on the former president’s life.

Police did not release any details about the person that they arrested other than to confirm that they believed him to be connected to the bombing attack on Thursday. The bomb had been attached to a motorcycle that was parked near the Maldives ex-president’s car, and the owner of that motorcycle along with the second man was already arrested yesterday.

Mohamed Nasheed was not killed by the bomb detonation as he walked to his car, but he was seriously injured and has been hospitalized since the blast. The explosion injured 3 other people including one British national. The ex-president is now the Maldives parliament speaker and his family has tweeted updates about his condition since the bomb blast. He was moved from requiring life-support to intensive care yesterday after removing shrapnel from the blast in a 16-hour surgery. Doctors say one stray piece just barely missed his heart.

Nasheed had been the first democratically elected president of the Maldives in 2008 after decades of one-party rule. But a military coup in 2012 overthrew the government and ended his presidency. He was widely applauded for his progressive push for democracy and climate activism. The Maldives is a collection of 1,192 coral islands with no mountains, making it the lowest nation on Earth at just 1 metre above sea level on average. Nasheed’s pleas for action become a powerfully effective voice against climate change that could submerge the entire country he led.

Officials from the ex-president’s Maldivian Democratic Party have accused religious extremists of the attack believing that it could be politically motivated. But as of now, no group has claimed responsibility. The Maldives is mostly Muslim and has had problems in the past with an Islamic State recruiter injuring 12 Chinese tourists with a homemade bomb in 2007 and sending local recruits to Syria in 2019.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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UPDATE: Chinese rocket debris plunges into Indian Ocean

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PHOTO China's Long March 5B Rocket's debris will be crashing down to earth this weekend. (via CBS)

UPDATE:

10.30am (Thai Time) Trackers have confirmed that the debris has splashed down somewhere west of The Maldives in the Indian Ocean.

9.30am (Thai Time)

The Chinese Long March 5B carrier rocket should land in this area… 72.47°E longitude and 2.65°N latitude, just west of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. That’s according to China’s National Space Agency.

“Most of the rocket was “destroyed” on re-entry to the atmosphere.”

ORIGINAL STORY:

The Long March 5B rocket left the Earth on April 29th, launching from Hainan island in China.

The launch was the first part of an 11 part mission to construct China’s own space station in Earth orbit. The Long March 5B rocket was carrying an unmanned Tianhe module as its payload, the first part of many to be constructed together in space. When attached as part of a permanent Chinese space station, it will serve as living quarters for future astronauts.

The Foreign Ministry spokesperson reassured that China is monitoring the rocket’s journey very closely and that most parts of the spacecraft would burn up on re-entry. Any debris looks likely to land in international oceans, and the chances of damage being done on dry land is considered to be extremely low.

The US military announced earlier in the week that the rocket would be tracked by US Space Command, calling it an uncontrolled re-entry. Statistically speaking, the debris is most likely to fall into an ocean somewhere as the Earth is 70% covered by water.

As the rocket tears at hypersonic speed into the Earth’s atmosphere, most debris would be quickly incinerated by the heat generated from the re-entry. But another Chinese Long March 5B rocket fell to Earth last year in May 2020 and some parts did hit land, doing damage to some buildings in the Ivory Coast.

SOURCE: Reuters

 

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Today’s Chinese rocket debris not expected to hit land

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO China's Long March 5B Rocket's debris will be crashing down to earth this weekend. (via CBS)

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson has assured the public that the debris from a large rocket re-entering the atmosphere today is not likely to do any harm. They said the majority of the Chinese rocket will mostly be burned up on re-entry. The Long March 5B rocket left the Earth on April 29th, launching from Hainan island in China.

This launch was the first part of an 11 part mission to construct China’s own space station in Earth orbit. The Long March 5B rocket was carrying an unmanned Tianhe module as its payload, the first part of many to be constructed together in space. When attached as part of a permanent Chinese space station, it will serve as living quarters for future astronauts.

The Foreign Ministry spokesperson reassured that China is monitoring The rocket’s journey very closely and that most parts of the spacecraft would burn up on re-entry. Any debris looks likely to land in international oceans, and the chances of damage being done on dry land is considered to be extremely low.

The re-entry is scheduled for today but the exact path of the rocket debris could not be completely determined in advance. The US military announced earlier in the week that the rocket would be tracked by US Space Command, calling it an uncontrolled re-entry. Statistically speaking, the debris is most likely to fall into an ocean somewhere as the Earth is 70% covered by water, but an astrophysicist at Harvard commented to Reuters that there is a chance that pieces would not burn up completely and would land on solid ground.

As the rocket tears at hypersonic speed into the Earth’s atmosphere, most debris would be quickly incinerated by the heat generated from the re-entry. But another Chinese Long March 5B rocket fell to Earth last year in May 2020 and some parts did hit land, doing damage to some buildings in the Ivory Coast.

Projections based on the current orbit path yielded very broad results, with debris possibly landing anywhere in between Northern cities like Beijing, Madrid, or New York, to cities as far south as Wellington New Zealand or southern Chile. For now, Thailand seems safe from Chinese debris as they prepare for their own space programs.

SOURCE: Reuters

 

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