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Hong Kong police arrest five top executives in raid of Apple Daily newspaper’s offices | World News



The most senior editor and four other bosses at a pro-democracy newspaper have been arrested under Hong Kong’s new national security law.

The editor-in-chief, publisher and three other senior executives at the tabloid Apple Daily were held early on Thursday for breaching the Beijing-imposed legislation.

It came as 500 officers raided the offices of the newspaper, with reporters’ computers and phones seized and notebooks sifted through.

Police officers gather at lobby of  Apple Daily headquarters. Pic: AP
Police officers gather at the lobby of Apple Daily headquarters. Pic: AP

A year ago, Apple Daily published a front-page headline saying Hong Kong‘s governing principle of “one country, two systems is dead.”

The newspaper’s founder, billionaire pro-democracy campaigner Jimmy Lai, was jailed in April for participating in the 2019 protests and faces multiple other charges.

The latest five arrested are being held on suspicion of colluding with a foreign country or external elements to endanger national security, AP reported.

Several Apple Daily articles that called on foreign countries to impose sanctions on China and Hong Kong were cited as the reason for their detention.

It is the first case in which authorities have cited media articles as potentially violating the national security law.

The Hong Kong government’s security secretary, John Lee, described Apple Daily’s newsroom as a “crime scene” and said the police action was targeted at those who use reporting as a “tool to endanger” national security.

Police officers escort Apple Daily's Chief Executive Officer Cheung Kim-hung from the building
Police officers escort Apple Daily’s chief executive officer Cheung Kim-hung from the building
Police officers are seen in Apple Daily's newsroom
Police officers are seen in Apple Daily’s newsroom

The five arrested are understood to include editor-in-chief Ryan Law, CEO Cheung Kim-hung, deputy chief editor Chan Pui-man, chief operating officer Chow Tat-kuen, and digital platform director Cheung Chi-wai.

Mr Lee said: “Normal journalists are different from these people.”

He then told reporters: “Don’t collude with them. Do your journalistic work as freely as you like in accordance with the law, provided you do not conspire or have any intention to break… the national security law.”

Police officers are seen at the headquarters of Apple Daily
Police officers are seen at the headquarters of Apple Daily

Apple Daily has a history of calling for democracy in Hong Kong and has long criticised the regional government and Beijing’s ruling Chinese Communist Party for extending its control over the territory.

The “One country, two systems is dead” headline, which was published on the July 2020 anniversary of the 1997 handover of the territory from Britain to China, referred to the Chinese promise that Hong Kong would keep for 50 years civil freedoms that it had enjoyed under British rule that had not applied on the mainland.

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Raab: ‘China is violating the freedom of Hong Kong’

Many supporters of the principle of free speech see the recent introduction of Hong Kong’s security laws as a broad-based crackdown on a free press and anyone who publicly disagrees with Beijing’s actions.

They were brought in after mass protests against the government that lasted for months in 2019 and have seen numerous pro-democracy activists and former protesters also jailed.

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Tiananmen Square museum shut down

The UK has introduced a new visa system to make it much easier for millions of people in Hong Kong to live and work in the UK, after China imposed the draconian security laws on the territory.

Assets connected to Apple Daily were also seized during Thursday’s raid and trading in stock belonging to the companies that publish it was also halted.

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Tokyo Olympics: Are organisers prioritising revenue over safety as cases of COVID-19 surge? | World News



As the number of COVID-19 cases at Tokyo 2020 rises, public health experts have accused Olympic officials of putting revenue before safety.

Toshiro Muto, the head of the Tokyo Olympics organising committee, has even cautioned the event could still be cancelled if cases continue to increase. Almost 90 officials and athletes have already tested positive.

Public health expert Dr Annie Sparrow said: “They’re not thinking about safety, it’s always revenue first and foremost, which is a huge concern.”

But is this really why the Olympics are going ahead?

The cost of Tokyo 2020

This year’s summer Olympics are the most expensive on record, according to research from Oxford University.

The Japanese government has already spent double the initial budget, an estimated $15.4bn (£11.2bn), and the country’s official auditor projects that total spending could top $20bn (£14.5bn).

Current spending reflects an additional $2.8bn (£2bn) from the one-year delay, which includes expenses like renegotiating contracts and measures to combat the pandemic.

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While the Tokyo organisers have shouldered most of the costs of cancellation, Japan’s prime minister Yoshihide Suga has said that the decision to cancel lies with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“The IOC has the authority to decide,” Suga said in April. “And the IOC has already decided to hold the Tokyo Olympics.”

What would organisers lose by cancelling?

Former IOC marketing chief Michael Payne says commercial revenues from television, sponsorship and ticketing usually cover the costs of running the Games outside of capital infrastructure investments.

So, given the mounting costs of Tokyo 2020, it seems viable that the organisers would want to push ahead to recoup these losses.

But Payne points out that the IOC’s main revenue streams such as international sponsorship and television deals, which make up around three-quarters of its income, are protected as they are locked in long term or insured.

He said: “The revenue financial decision is not an issue in the IOC’s decision-making process. The sole focus from the IOC is to stage the Games to give the athletes the once every four-year window of opportunity.”

Record local sponsorship is the largest component of the budget for the organising committee in Japan. This revenue stream would be “shocked” and “almost certainly evaporate” if the Games were cancelled, says Seth Kirby, an academic in sport and leisure management at Nottingham Trent University.

But local sponsors and ticketing revenue, which largely goes to the host country, have already taken a hit.

“Sponsorship revenues have already been compromised by the lack of spectators and public concerns over COVID-19,” said Kirby. “Programmes will have been planned with spectators and fan interaction at the heart of their marketing activities.”

Arguably both the IOC and Tokyo organisers are concerned with the reputational damage of cancelling. But continuing given the current state of the pandemic could pose an even greater risk to Japan and the Olympic brand.

Local and international sponsors have distanced themselves from Tokyo 2020 over concerns about COVID-19 cases. As early as May, major Japanese newspaper and local sponsor Asahi Shimbun called for the Games to be cancelled, while Japan’s top carmaker Toyota announced on 19 July that it would pull all of its adverts.

Will Japan’s economy get a boost from Tokyo 2020?

The Tokyo organisers also have to consider the lost boost to Japan’s economy from holding the Games.

In 2016, the Bank of Japan forecast that the country would see GDP increase by $91bn (£66bn) from construction alone, while analysis by Nomura estimated a lower $30bn (£21.8bn) in production value. Whatever the amount, most of this capital expenditure will already have occurred in the lead up to the Olympics.

When it comes to demand, Nomura’s chief economist in Japan Takashi Miwa says it is only revenue from services and some merchandise – amounting to less than half of the increase in demand – that is at risk from cancellation.

Holding the Games also gives Japan the chance to benefit from a significant boost in the years after the event. A review commissioned by the UK government after London 2012 estimated gains from trade and investment of £9.9bn in the first year alone.

But Matthias Firgo, a senior researcher at the Austrian Institute of Economic Research, suggests that some of this spending would occur even without the Olympics: “Even in normal times, not all activities related to such a mega event actually trigger additional value.”

Firgo’s analysis found there is an economic boost of around 3% to 4% from hosting but only at a regional level in the year of the event and the year before. While there are tentative signs of positive long-run effects, the data is uncertain.

The cost of COVID-19

While critics suggest that organisers are putting revenues ahead of safety, there do not appear to be huge economic gains from holding the Tokyo Olympics.

Meanwhile, economists have joined public health experts in warning about the fallout from a post-Olympics surge in infections.

The Nomura Research Institute estimated in May that the hit to Japan’s economy from the first and second state of emergency was around $58bn (£42bn), compared with $16bn (£11.6bn) to cancel the Olympics. That suggests that another similar state of emergency later in the year could amount to around three times the cost of cancellation.

So, arguably it is the potential surge in COVID-19 infections rather than scrapping the Games altogether that is the biggest threat to Japan’s economy.

The Data and Forensics team is a multi-skilled unit dedicated to providing transparent journalism from Sky News. We gather, analyse and visualise data to tell data-driven stories. We combine traditional reporting skills with advanced analysis of satellite images, social media and other open source information. Through multimedia storytelling we aim to better explain the world while also showing how our journalism is done.

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With 100 days to COP26, what are these climate talks and why are they so important? | Climate News



Almost every year since 1995, world leaders have met in person to discuss the climate crisis at a meeting known as Conference of the Parties (COP).

The “parties” are the more than 190 countries who signed up to the United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the UN’s climate body.

The COP is effectively the UNFCCC decision-making body that meets once a year to negotiate on how to best tackle climate change.

The exception was 2020, when the pandemic postponed the 26th instalment.

Why is COP26 so important?


By COP26, countries are due to finalise their national action plans (nationally determined contributions, or NDCs) to cut emissions under the Paris Agreement.

At COP21 in Paris in 2015, countries agreed to try to limit global warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels to curb the climate crisis. This landmark global accord became known as the Paris Agreement.

“COP26 is the first chance for nations to review commitments and further strengthen ambition,” says Cambridge University climate scientist Dr Emily Shuckburgh.

“This is important because since the Paris Agreement there has been much greater clarity in terms of the science of the dangers of exceeding 1.5C [as opposed to 2C] of warming,” she said.

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Daily Climate Show: Wildfires in Siberia

Friends of the Earth (FOE) called this year’s delayed talks “vital” because the “window of opportunity to remain under that crucial 1.5 degrees of planetary warming is getting smaller and smaller with each passing year”.

It’s particularly important to the UK because, as host, “all eyes will be looking at what the UK is actually doing, rather than what it says”, said FOE’s director of campaigning impact, Jamie Peters

“As one of the nations most responsible for climate change, due to historic pollution, there will be a world focus on the UK’s role in responding to it – as well as how these talks are chaired,” he added.

When is COP26, will it take place in person, and are COVID-19 vaccines compulsory?

The UK government has offered to vaccinate cop26 delegates who would not otherwise have access to the vaccine

COP26 negotiations are scheduled to run from 1-12 November at the Scottish Events Campus (SEC) in Glasgow, although the procedural opening is on 31 October.

More than 30,000 people from roughly 200 countries will likely attend, but some associated events will happen online.

Vaccinations will not be mandatory, but are “strongly recommended” by the UK government.

It has offered COVID-19 vaccines to thousands of negotiators, observers and journalists who would not otherwise have access to one.

The deadline to apply for a vaccine was 23 July, so it’s not yet clear how well the offer was taken up or worked.

The initial programme has been published on the COP26 website.

What will be the sticking points?

Climate finance is pivotal to the success of COP26

“Arguably the greatest controversy will be whether or not what is agreed is sufficient to limit the worst impacts of climate change,” said Dr Shuckburgh.

The first round of government’s NDCs turned out to be insufficient to limit warming to well below 2C. So ahead of COP26, governments are due to submit new – and more ambitious – plans.

So far 62 countries and the EU have done so, but they are “still far away from where they need to be”, said Chatham House environment analyst Anna Aberg.

That’s because many of the new pledges are “not ambitious enough” – and because “several large economies – including China and India – have yet to submit new or sufficient plans”, said Ms Aberg.

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The thorny issue of climate finance will be pivotal to the success of COP26. Generally the world’s richest countries are the most responsible for the climate crisis that is experienced most severely by poorer countries, who have done the least to cause the problem.

Back in 2009, richer countries pledged to raise $100bn per year by 2020 to help developing countries reduce emissions and adapt to climate change impacts. But they missed the target.

“While much more than $100bn per year is needed to meet the financing needs in developing countries, the fulfilment of the pledge has great symbolic value,” said Ms Aberg.

“And when money is involved, along with discussions about who should pay for what, that’s when things get interesting,” said FOE’s Jamie Peters. “But the stakes couldn’t be higher.”

There are also unresolved issues from the Paris Agreement that parties have yet to agree. These include the rules for carbon market mechanisms, which allow countries to offset their emissions by purchasing carbon credits (emissions reductions) from another country, and how to address so-called “loss and damage” from climate change.

What role will China play?

China is expected to attend COP26

China is expected to attend COP26 and has been involved with the ‘”Climate Change Dialogues” online series, which took place last year due to the postponed 2020 COP.

“China attaches great importance to the dialogue,” says Jiangwen Guo, senior research fellow at Chatham House’s energy, environment, and resources programme.

China, the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has committed to carbon neutrality by 2060. Scientists have said the rainfall that’s caused severe flooding in central regions there was almost certainly linked to global warming.

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With 100 days to COP26, what are these climate talks and why are they so important?

But China is one of many economies – along with Japan, Australia and Brazil – that has “pushed back” on pressure to share net zero plans on a shorter time horizon than 2050, said Rebecca Peters, another fellow at Chatham House’s energy, environment and resources programme.

The US’s climate envoy John Kerry in July urged China to cut carbon emissions faster. The US is the second largest emitter.

Who might be the disruptors at COP26?

Australia, Russia and Brazil are seen by some as potential disruptors at COP26

Some countries, including Mexico and Russia, have submitted new climate plans that were no more ambitious than previous goals. While Australia has become “increasingly isolated from other OECD nations as it lags on action”, said Chatham House’s Rebecca Peters.

“We may expect to see heels digging in around specific elements of the negotiations,” said Ms Peters. For instance, at COP25 in 2019, China, India and Brazil pushed for earlier carbon trading permits to be allowed to count toward their Paris Agreement targets.

“But using these credits – while potentially saving the countries money and effort in the short time – could actually increase global emissions,” she said.

There is also a risk some countries might also resist the revised, tighter 1.5C target to avoid having to drastically curtail fossil fuel production and use.

She said India “also play a crucial role” as the world’s third largest emitter, as it is due to surpass the US by 2040 without a rapid transition in its energy systems.

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Trade Secretary cautions against ‘green protectionism’

Sky News has launched the first daily prime time news show dedicated to climate change.

The Daily Climate Show is broadcast at 6.30pm and 9.30pm Monday to Friday on Sky News, the Sky News website and app, on YouTube and Twitter.

Hosted by Anna Jones, it follows Sky News correspondents as they investigate how global warming is changing our landscape and how we all live our lives.

The show also highlights solutions to the crisis and how small changes can make a big difference.

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Tokyo Olympics: Japan prepares for Opening Ceremony as PM vows to ‘fulfil our obligation to the world’ | World News



There will be no fans, just a handful of VIPs, small parties of socially-distanced athletes and protests outside the stadium – the Opening Ceremony of Tokyo 2020 will feel very different.

From the archer in Barcelona in 1992 who fired a burning arrow up into the cauldron of the Olympic flame to the stadium street carnival in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 – it is one of the great global rituals and one that every host nation has put their own distinct stamp on.

Japan’s spectacular without spectators will take place at noon UK time with Tokyo 2020 insisting the Games will be held safely, despite the growing list of COVID positive competitors and concerns about the event leading to a spike of infections in the local population.

Jul 21, 2021; Fukushima, Japan; Japan and Australia line up for their national anthems before a softball opening round game during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Fukushima Azuma Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Network
Many of the events will take place with no spectators. Pic: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Network

The Japanese capital city is still in a state of emergency due to the pandemic.

There is enthusiasm for the Games but equally many Japanese people hold grave doubts that hosting the Games is the right thing to be doing.

“As the nation hosting the games, I believe we must fulfil our obligation to the rest of the world,” Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told NBC.

“What worried me the most was that the public opinion was divided. I also wanted the Japanese people to understand that the Games will be held safely and securely.

“Over four billion people across the world will be watching these Olympic Games.

San An (KOR) poses near her target after scoring an Olympic record score of 680 in the archery ranking round during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games. Pic: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY Network
Japan wants to show it can host a great event, despite the pandemic. Pic: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY Network

“In that context, overcoming the hardship of the coronavirus and to be able to hold the Games. I think there is real value in that.”

But the number of COVID-19 cases among those at the Games continues to grow: 19 new cases were announced on Friday, including three athletes.

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Four British women who may make history in Tokyo

It was the worst day so far, bringing the total to 106.

The Opening Ceremony at London 2012 was the moment that the UK realised the home Olympics was actually going to be pretty incredible – a funny, thoughtful and imaginative celebration of our country’s story.

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‘I pretended to be a boy to box’

The NHS nurses dancing on beds, the industrial revolution brought back to life, Mr Bean on piano, the Queen (or at least a parachutist pretending to be the monarch) parachuting into the stadium with James Bond, and David Beckham cruising down the Thames on a speedboat. Director Danny Boyle’s masterpiece had everything.

Japan will try and do something equally as spectacular at their almost empty Olympic stadium.

They fired the creative director of the show only yesterday over a joke he made in 1998 about the Holocaust. In these, the most unpredictable Games we have ever known, it is unlikely to be the last surprising thing to happen.

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