• FIFA 'mafia' depicted in new Amazon Prime satire
    Entertainment
    AFP News

    FIFA 'mafia' depicted in new Amazon Prime satire

    Fans yearning for the return of professional soccer have spent months rewatching classic matches, obsessing over "contact training" schedules and adopting teams from far-flung leagues that play in empty stadiums. Amazon Prime's new series "El Presidente," out Friday, provides a much-needed football fix -- but its witheringly satirical take on the 2015 "Fifagate" corruption scandal may leave supporters questioning whether the return of the beautiful game is a good thing after all. "It was crazy what was going on, no?" said series creator and writer Armando Bo.

  • Trump trying to 'divide' America: ex-Pentagon chief Mattis
    Politics
    AFP News

    Trump trying to 'divide' America: ex-Pentagon chief Mattis

    Former Pentagon chief Jim Mattis issued a stinging rebuke of his erstwhile boss Donald Trump on Wednesday, accusing the president of trying to "divide" America and failing to provide "mature leadership" as the country reels from days of protests. Mattis, who resigned in December 2018 over Trump's ordering of a full troop withdrawal from Syria, also voiced support for the demonstrators whose anti-racism rallies have roiled the country. "Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people -- does not even pretend to try," Mattis wrote in a blistering statement posted online by The Atlantic.

  • Hong Kong student takes exam authority to court over decision to scrap controversial DSE history question
    News
    South China Morning Post

    Hong Kong student takes exam authority to court over decision to scrap controversial DSE history question

    A Hong Kong student has mounted a legal bid to overturn the decision to scrap a controversial exam question on early 20th century China-Japanese relations.Loh Ming-yin, a candidate in this year’s Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE), on Wednesday applied for a judicial review over the decision by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA) to invalidate a compulsory question in his history exam on May 14.The university entrance exam question asked 5,214 candidates whether they agreed “Japan did more good than harm to China in the period 1900-1945” and drew immediate outrage from Beijing and pro-establishment figures in Hong Kong.It was scrapped a week later, on May 22, after the Education Bureau made an unprecedented request for the HKEAA to invalidate the question, while the city’s leader, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, said the independent statutory body had made “a professional error”.The bureau claimed the reference materials provided were biased, while the question was leading and had seriously hurt the feelings of the Chinese people who suffered during Japan’s invasion and occupation of the country between 1937 and 1945.But Loh’s lawyers said this decision ought to be quashed because the exam authority had bypassed an established mechanism for invalidating questions to make a decision that took irrelevant matters – such as the bureau’s request – into account, and failed to consider its impact on students’ academic freedom.The lawyers quoted the authority’s former secretary general, Choi Chee-cheong, to explain established procedures that involved examiners analysing the question, including its capacity to discriminate students, and inviting experts of the relevant subject to conduct a review.Choi said a question would only be sent to the HKEAA Council for approval of invalidation if the experts agreed it was unsatisfactory. HKEAA finds 38 per cent of candidates ‘misled’ into positive Japan answer“By its decision to invalidate the question, the HKEAA took it upon itself to indicate that certain academic viewpoints and opinions can no longer be held, expressed or pursued,” the lawyers wrote in an application to the High Court.“This in turn has a direct or indirect effect on the teaching of the history subject and violates academic freedom.”Such freedom was guaranteed by Article 34 and 137 of the Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution, which provided that “residents shall have freedom to engage in academic research” while “educational institutions of all kinds may retain their autonomy and enjoy academic freedom”.They also argued the decision was illegal because the authority had misinterpreted the History Curriculum and Assessment Guide (Secondary 4-6), which anticipated that “sensitive issues are bound to arise in the teaching of contemporary history”, and stated expectations for students to understand diverse perspectives in representing and interpreting the past.“Asking if a historical actor or event ‘did more good than harm’ was a common device used for decades in Hong Kong’s history exams,” the lawyers continued. “By presenting what may be considered a controversial statement, examiners were seeking to stimulate critical thinking in students and discriminate those with superior critical prowess from the rest.”They further argued that the decision was tainted with procedural impropriety because the affected candidates were not given a chance to respond before the HKEAA invalidated the question, and introduced problematic methods to impute their scores that were unfair to students.Karis Wong, speaking for student group, Ideologist, said the legal challenge went beyond the invalidated question as it concerned the credibility of the entrance exams, and the future of Hong Kong’s education system.Isaac Cheng Ka-long, spokesman for the Hong Kong Secondary School Students Action Platform, of which the applicant was a member, said he hoped the court could reach a decision as soon as possible to safeguard students’ interests, as well as academic freedom in light of political pressure.A spokesman for the bureau said it understood the exam authority had decided to invalidate the question following detailed discussions, that involved considering the professional views on examination and assessment, the curriculum, and the interests of candidates.“As the incident has entered legal proceedings, it is not appropriate for the Education Bureau to make further comments,” the spokesman said.More from South China Morning Post: * Hong Kong exam question on China and Japan sparked outrage – but debates on potential good from invasions and bloodshed have historical precedent in tests * Furore over DSE exam question misses the point of teaching students historyThis article Hong Kong student takes exam authority to court over decision to scrap controversial DSE history question first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.

  • Strongman admirer Trump sees US protests in warlike terms
    Politics
    AFP News

    Strongman admirer Trump sees US protests in warlike terms

    From the White House, President Donald Trump delivered blunt -- some say alarming -- instructions to local leaders confronting nationwide street protests against police brutality: "dominate." "If you don't dominate, you're wasting your time," he told state governors. Ever since his real estate building days, Trump has crafted an image of the brash, bullying businessman who'll do anything to win.

  • All Black legend Carter in shock Super Rugby comeback
    Sports
    AFP News

    All Black legend Carter in shock Super Rugby comeback

    Two-time All Blacks World Cup winner Dan Carter announced a shock Super Rugby comeback with Auckland Blues on Thursday at the age of 38, saying he realised during coronavirus lockdown how much he missed the game. Carter, a three-time world player of the year, has been a free agent since returning to New Zealand in March from Japan, where a virus-enforced shutdown ended his stint with Kobe Steelers. "Two things from the lockdown that I realised was that I really enjoyed spending more time with my family and that I miss rugby," Carter said in a statement released by the Blues.

  • Lockdown prompts surge in Germans seeking help for alcoholism
    Health
    AFP News

    Lockdown prompts surge in Germans seeking help for alcoholism

    When the coronavirus lockdown started in Germany, all Marco wanted to do was get drunk. The musician from Berlin, 38, was downing roughly a bottle of gin every night. Marco -- speaking on condition of anonymity -- reached out to a local Alcoholics Anonymous group and made the decision to get sober after 20 years of drinking heavily almost every night.

  • Fury as Saints ace Brees criticises NFL kneeling protests
    Sports
    AFP News

    Fury as Saints ace Brees criticises NFL kneeling protests

    New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees sparked a furious backlash as he refused to support renewed NFL kneeling protests on Wednesday, saying to do so would be "disrespecting" the United States flag. As a wave of demonstrations against police brutality and racism sweeps across the US, many athletes have voiced support for former NFL star Colin Kaepernick, who ignited controversy in 2016 by kneeling during the US national anthem. Former San Francisco 49ers star Kaepernick, who said he was trying to draw attention to racial injustice, was later frozen out of the league and has been unemployed since being released in 2017.

  • Ex-UAW chief pleads guilty to embezzling $1 mn in union dues
    News
    AFP News

    Ex-UAW chief pleads guilty to embezzling $1 mn in union dues

    Gary Jones, 63, who served as UAW President from June 2018 until resigning last December, admitted to one count of conspiring to embezzle union dues money and conspiring to use a facility of interstate commerce to aid racketeering crimes. During a video conference, Jones admitted that while serving as the director of UAW's western region, he deliberately falsified expense reports filed with union headquarters in Detroit for personal gain.

  • Snapchat curbs Trump for inciting 'racial violence'
    Politics
    AFP News

    Snapchat curbs Trump for inciting 'racial violence'

    Snapchat on Wednesday became the latest social network moving to curb the reach of US President Donald Trump, claiming the president has been inciting "racial violence." The youth-focused social network said it would no longer promote Trump on its Discover platform for recommended content. "We will not amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice by giving them free promotion on Discover," a statement from Snapchat said.

  • Charges filed against all four police officers in Floyd killing
    News
    AFP News

    Charges filed against all four police officers in Floyd killing

    Prosecutors in Minnesota on Wednesday upgraded charges against the US police officer primarily implicated in the killing of a handcuffed black man, and charged three other officers over the death, which has ignited nationwide protests. With a key demand met, demonstrators vowed to press on in the fight against racism, staging protests in cities from New York to Los Angeles after the new charges were announced. Pressure on Trump mounted as his former Pentagon chief Jim Mattis launched a searing broadside, accusing the Republican leader of trying to "divide" America.

  • Weak demand pushing oil, gas toward 'terminal decline': report
    Business
    AFP News

    Weak demand pushing oil, gas toward 'terminal decline': report

    Falling fossil fuel demand coupled with mounting risk for investors could slash the value of oil, gas and coal reserves by two thirds, sending shock waves through the global economy, energy analysts warned Thursday. The value of projected profits for the sector could also fall by two thirds, according to a report from Carbon Tracker, a non-profit financial think tank focused on aligning capital markets with climate policy. Competition from clean technologies along with government policies to achieve climate targets and energy security are pushing the fossil fuel industry toward "terminal decline", the study concluded.

  • Searching 'racist' on Twitter brings up Trump as top result
    Politics
    AFP News

    Searching 'racist' on Twitter brings up Trump as top result

    US President Donald Trump appears as the first result of suggested accounts when users type "racist" into Twitter's people search, it emerged Wednesday. Trump has more than 80 million followers, although there is much dispute about how many of them are genuine, active human Twitter users. Analysts said the news suggests Trump opponents, more than critics of any other Twitter account, have been labeling him as racist, although the social media giant itself did not confirm this was the case.

  • US suspends flights by Chinese airlines in new spat with Beijing
    News
    AFP News

    US suspends flights by Chinese airlines in new spat with Beijing

    Washington on Wednesday ordered the suspension of all flights by Chinese airlines into and out of the United States after Beijing failed to allow American carriers to resume services to China. The US action, which takes effect June 16 but could be implemented sooner if President Donald Trump orders it, applied to seven Chinese civilian carriers, although only four currently are running service to US cities including Air China and China Eastern Airlines, the Department of Transportation (DOT) said. US air carriers sharply reduced or suspended service to China amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Brazil to test vaccine as Europe emerges from lockdown
    News
    AFP News

    Brazil to test vaccine as Europe emerges from lockdown

    Researchers in hard-hit Brazil on Wednesday said they would begin testing a coronavirus vaccine developed in Britain, while across the Atlantic European nations began reopening borders in a bid to emerge from months of devastation caused by the disease. Authorities in Brazil -- the latest frontline of the pandemic, with deaths and infections on the rise -- imposed fresh restrictions in the country's northeast after reporting "extremely high" numbers of cases. Concern over the spread of the coronavirus in Latin America has increased even as the health crisis has eased in other regions of the world.

  • Hydroxychloroquine ineffective at preventing COVID-19: trial
    Health
    AFP News

    Hydroxychloroquine ineffective at preventing COVID-19: trial

    Taking hydroxychloroquine shortly after being exposed to COVID-19 does not help prevent infection in a statistically meaningful way, scientists reported Wednesday following a clinical trial. The medicine has been touted by US President Donald Trump, who has said he used it as a prophylaxis against the novel coronavirus. The study was led by a team at the University of Minnesota, and their paper was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

  • Portuguese league returns as Porto suffer surprise defeat
    Sports
    AFP News

    Portuguese league returns as Porto suffer surprise defeat

    The Portuguese Primeira Liga became the second top European football league to return on Wednesday following the coronavirus lockdown as leaders Porto fell to a surprising 2-1 loss at Famalicao. Despite the match being played behind closed doors, several Porto supporters made the short trip to congregate outside the stadium. Second-placed Benfica, who sit one point behind Porto, could take top spot on Thursday when the reigning champions host Tondela.

  • Germany unveils 130-bn stimulus to kickstart virus-hit economy
    News
    AFP News

    Germany unveils 130-bn stimulus to kickstart virus-hit economy

    Germany will plough 130 billion euros ($146 billion) into a stimulus package to kick-start an economy severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday. Under the wide-ranging measures outlined in a 15-page document, value-added tax will be temporarily slashed, families will receive 300 euros for each child, while those who purchase electric cars will see a government rebate doubled to 6,000 euros. Noting that millions of employees in Germany have been put on shorter working hours, Merkel said that "shows how fragile the whole thing is, and why we must succeed in giving the economy a push so that jobs can be secured."

  • Mixed messages as sports world backs US protesters
    Sports
    AFP News

    Mixed messages as sports world backs US protesters

    If Megan Rapinoe decides to take a knee at next year's Olympic Games, she could get a reprimand. If she does it at the women's World Cup in 2023, she could get a round of applause. Over the past week, athletes, sports teams and leagues have expressed solidarity with protesters demanding an end to systemic racism and police brutality in the United States.

  • Senate passes fix for small-business coronavirus relief
    Politics
    Associated Press

    Senate passes fix for small-business coronavirus relief

    The Senate on Wednesday passed legislation to make it easier for businesses struggling during the coronavirus pandemic to take advantage of a payroll subsidy program that's been a central part of Washington's response to the corresponding economic crisis. The Senate passed the bill by voice vote after a handful of GOP opponents gave way. The measure now heads to President Donald Trump for his expected signature.

  • Stock markets surge on swift recovery hopes
    Business
    AFP News

    Stock markets surge on swift recovery hopes

    Growing optimism about a swift global economic recovery pushed equity markets sharply higher Wednesday, as investors took heart from further easing of lockdowns while looking past China-US tensions and civil unrest across America. "Absent a second wave (of the coronavirus), the US economy is gaining strength, albeit slowly," Krosby added.

  • News
    Associated Press

    North Dakota tribe to fight ruling giving minerals to state

    Leaders of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation in North Dakota and others are challenging a Department of Interior opinion rolling back an Obama-era memo stating that mineral rights under the original Missouri River bed should belong to the Three Affiliated Tribes. The memo filed May 26 by Daniel Jorjani, solicitor for the department, said a review by Historical Research Associates, Inc. shows the state is the legal owner of submerged lands beneath the river where it flows through the Fort Berthold Reservation.

  • Virus-hit Mumbai largely unscathed by Cyclone Nisarga
    News
    AFP News

    Virus-hit Mumbai largely unscathed by Cyclone Nisarga

    At least three people were reported dead as coronavirus-hit Mumbai appeared to escape the worst of Cyclone Nisarga Wednesday, the first severe storm to threaten India's financial capital in more than 70 years. Authorities had evacuated at least 100,000 people, including coronavirus patients, from flood-prone areas in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat ahead of Nisarga's arrival. The cyclone ripped roofs off buildings in nearby coastal towns, but appeared to have left the sprawling, crowded port megacity of Mumbai largely unscathed.

  • Hong Kong to lead Tiananmen mourning despite virus vigil ban
    News
    AFP News

    Hong Kong to lead Tiananmen mourning despite virus vigil ban

    Hong Kong will Thursday lead global remembrance of China's deadly Tiananmen crackdown, with people lighting candles in neighbourhoods across the restless city after authorities banned a mass vigil because of the coronavirus. Open discussion of the brutal suppression is forbidden inside China, where hundreds -- by some estimates more than a thousand -- died when the Communist Party sent tanks on June 4, 1989 to crush a student-led demonstration in Beijing calling for democratic reforms. This year's vigil was forbidden on public health grounds with restrictions placed on more than eight people gathering in public, to combat the coronavirus.

  • Xi Jinping’s September meeting with EU leaders in Germany postponed due to coronavirus
    News
    South China Morning Post

    Xi Jinping’s September meeting with EU leaders in Germany postponed due to coronavirus

    President Xi Jinping’s trip to Germany in September for a historic meeting with all EU national leaders has been postponed, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman announced Wednesday.The delay, attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic, came a week after the Chinese National People’s Congress approved plans for a controversial Hong Kong national security law.It also comes amid the EU’s growing calls to be more assertive to China’s geopolitical power, laying out plans to stop foreign entities – a nuanced reference to Chinese companies – potentially taking over struggling European counterparts amid the post-pandemic economic crisis.The news about Xi’s delayed trip was announced after Merkel made phone calls with Xi and European Council President Charles Michel on the same day.“The three sides emphasised the importance of this plan,” said Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert.“They agreed that, given the overall pandemic situation, the meeting cannot take place at the scheduled time, but should be rescheduled. The details should be agreed upon soon,” he added.Merkel had previously snubbed US President Donald Trump’s plan to host the G7 summit in Washington in June, also citing the pandemic. After bout of barbs, EU and UK start ‘crucial’ round of post-Brexit talksEurope is currently grappling with plans to reopen social activities amid the need to balance both economic and medical considerations.Merkel initially hoped to use the event to persuade Xi to agree to a long overdue EU-China investment agreement, sources said.The EU has hoped that China would remove barriers for European companies operating in China against the unfair advantage in favour of state-owned enterprises.The latest round of negotiations took place late last month, but according to the EU’s description, there was still no breakthrough on the topic of such state-backed enterprises.Get the China AI Report 2020, brought to you by SCMP Research. Learn about the AI ambitions of Alibaba, Baidu & JD.com through our in-depth case studies, and explore new applications of AI across industries. The report also includes exclusive access to webinars to interact with C-level executives from leading China AI companies (via live Q&A; sessions). Find out more.More from South China Morning Post: * China asks EU to remain flexible on negotiations for joint investment deal * EU expresses ‘grave concern’ over Hong Kong security law, but rules out further action against China * EU not in mood to follow Donald Trump into China conflict over Hong Kong national security law * EU leader promises to put pressure on China over Hong Kong security lawThis article Xi Jinping’s September meeting with EU leaders in Germany postponed due to coronavirus first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.

  • Sports
    AFP News

    NBA poised to approve 22-team return for virus-hit season, report

    The NBA is finalizing details of a plan which is expected to be approved by the league's Board of Governors on Thursday, paving the way for a return from the coronavirus shutdown. The board is poised to give the green light to commissioner Adam Silver's return of basketball which would begin July 31 with a 22-team format, and end in mid-October with a champion being crowned, ESPN reported. The plan requires support from three quarters of the league's 30 teams in order to be approved.