Former Canadian Diplomat detained in China

A former Canadian Diplomat has been detailed in China, this comes just week after the CFO of Huawei was arrested in Canada for alleged US sanctions violations. The US-China trade tensions are now spilling over into other areas, as both countries now engaging in a tit for tat.

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G20 summit  and Trump had announced that both countries had reached a truce. The tensions however, are escalating even further.

According to a Chinese court announced a ban on the import and sale of almost all iphones models.

The banned on iPhone was mostly specific to older iPhone using the older operating system. This new escalation is worrying as it looks like each country is now targeting specific individuals, diplomats, officials, organisations from each others country.  


By Mokgethi Mtezuka

Huawei CFO arrested in Canada

CFO of Chinese major telecommunications company Huawei, Meng Wanzhou was arrested by Canadian police in Vancouver on Monday.  The arrest is due to US sanctions on China and certain business people. She will now be waiting for extradited to the USA the exact nature of her violation is unknown and still to be disclosed.

Meng Wanzhou also now has court date set for Friday. Huawei has confirmed her arrest and is unaware of any wrongdoing and they are also working toward her being released. The Chinese embassy in Canada has also call for her immediate release.

The Arrest comes just days after the US and China came to some sort of a truce at the G20 in Argentina. The US in its buildup of tensions with China has been investigating a number of Chinese companies including ZTE.  Another Chinese telecom giants have also come under massive scrutiny by US officials.



China orders inquiry into world’s first gene-edited babies

The Chinese national health commission has ordered an inquiry in to a Chinese scientist claiming that he created the world’s first gene-edited baby. Professor He Jiankui announced the birth of twin girls whose genes have been edited to prevent HIV infection.

The genetic modification process called the CRISPR-Cas9, allows for removal and replacement a DNA strand with pinpoint precision. Genetic editing is outlawed in many countries due to the unknown effect it will have on the DNA pool of the population.

The scientist did not provide proof of his claim or publish independently verified documents in peer-reviewed journal. However,  the China’s National Health Commission is conducting a full investigation into the claims as well as an investigation in to the ethics committee and review of him.



Chinese news agency Xinhua reveals world first AI news anchor

The Chinese state owned news agency, Xinhua has revealed the world first Artificial Intelligent news anchor. The anchor is almost completely virtual with only his likeness coming from real life news anchor presenter Zhang Zhao.

The digital anchor learned by itself how to mimic and present like real life Xinhua news presenters by watching live broadcasts the digital anchor speaks English and can read text as naturally as humans do. The AI anchor is one of the many project China is undertaking to advance AI technology in the country.

The digital anchor is a sign of the times and the advancement in technology as it can operate 24 hours a day 365 days a week with no breaks. More development will still need to be made by the Xinhua  news agency but the applications and implication for broadcast media may be disruptive.



Brazil’s President faces new corruption and money laundering charges

Brazil’s federal police filed new charges on the country’s President, Michael Temer at Brazil’s top court, yesterday. Temer is facing charges of corruption, money laundering and criminal association and will be put to trial.

According to South China Morning Post, the report signed by investigator Cleyber Malta Lopes also argues that Temer’s assets should be frozen. Temer’s daughters and close friends are also involved on the charges.  

Brazil’s Attorney General Raquel Dodge has a total of 15 days to determine if she wants to pursue the case. Dodge will need approximately two-thirds of Congress’ lower house to vote for the trial to be pursued.  

Lawmakers have previously rejected trials on corruption charges filled against Temer.


Source: South China Morning Post

SpaceX lands Falcon 9 booster rocket on the west coast for the first time

SpaceX made new strives by landing the Falcon 9 booster rocket on West Coast, on Sunday. The falcon 9 was launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, northwest of Lompoc California to deploy an Argentinian satellite to low Earth orbit.

The landing marks the first time an orbital class booster rocket successfully deploys its payload and lands on the West Coast. SpaceX’s launch of the SAOCOM-1A satellite and landing marks the 30th successful landing of a rocket booster. It also marks the first time a booster has made a ground landing in the West Coast, Vandenberg’s Landing Zone.

SpaceX has previously landed other rockets in Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station or on robotic drone ships stationed in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. One of its major landing was the Falcon Heavy Rocket landing, where SpaceX landed two booster rockets simultaneously while the third main booster rocket crashed in the ocean.




China and U.S armies unite to host the Regional Armed Force Health Forum

The Chinese and U.S. armies have put aside their trade war tensions and organised a regional armed forces health forum on Monday in China, Xian. 600 military officials from 28 countries are attending the conference.

China has highlighted its cooperation with the U.S army throughout the years, emphasising that the trade war between the two countries does not impact this relationship. Chen Jingyuan, the head of health at the Logistics Support Department said that “this is the first exchange between the Chinese and US militaries on military health for the Asia-Pacific and has attracted high attention from Asia-Pacific nations”.

The conference is aimed at technical discussions on the prevention of diseases and treating injuries. the Chinese army will also use the conference to showcase their new equipment used for medical purposes including their aircraft and vehicles. The Chinese Navy Chief, Shen Jinlong, is scheduled to pay a working visit to the U.S later this month when he will be attending the international naval forum.


Source: South China Morning Post

Lula withdraws from Brazil Election run

The Former President of Brazil Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva withdrew from Brazil’s election run. Silva is currenting serving 12 years prison sentence for corruption charges. Lula sent out a letter saying, “we are millions of Lulas and from today Fernando Haddad will be Lula for millions of Brazilians.”

According to the Brazil’s “Clean Slate” law, candidates can not run for elections if they have been convicted and their appeal has been upheld. After the top electoral court this past week the court gave Lula’s party until the 11th September 2018 time to decide on its candidate, because Lula is prohibited from running.

This led to Lula’s decision to step down and pass the baton to Fernando Haddad, the 55th year old academic and former mayor of Sao Paulo. Haddad will need all the political power that Lula’s backing can offer to make it into a likely runoff vote.

Additional reporting: cbnc

Belgium pledges €30m to SA for land expropriation process

The Belgium government has pledged €30m to the South African government for the land reform process. This was confirmed at the meeting between the South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu and the Belgium Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Didier Reynders, yesterday.

“We are sure that we need to go firm on the process of land reform because it was at the beginning [of] the reconciliation process of the country”, said Minister Reynders at a press conference after the meeting.

The Belgium Minister pledged his country’s support to South Africa’s amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution which allows for expropriation of land without compensation. The minister however, emphasised the need for balance in the process. The Deputy Prime Minister also explained that his country supports this motion because: “It’s a difficult issue in many countries”

In support of this the South African Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, indicated that there is a misunderstanding around the South African land reform issue across the world referring to the American President’s tweet on South Africa’s land reform. Minister Sisulu, further highlighted that “[her department] are doing something about it to educate the world about what we are doing to redistribute the land,”

Minister Sisulu went further to show appreciation to the Belgian government stating that “the bottom line which has come through is the Belgian government has understood our position, has from the beginning been with us, [and] committed €30 m to the process.”

By Ntsikelelo Kuse

“China and Africa: Towards an even stronger community within a shared future through Win-Win cooperation” – FOCAC


Eighteen years after its inception, the Forum on China-Africa cooperation (FOCAC) will be held in Beijing on 3 & 4 September, under the theme “China and Africa: towards an even stronger community within a shared future through win-win cooperation”.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said during the 10th BRICS Summit held in Johannesburg that FOCAC “aims to enhance complementarity between China-Africa joint efforts to pursue the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the 2030 Agenda on the one hand development strategies on the other”. Jinping is expected to chair the meeting and also hold related events.

The Belt and Road Initiative, dubbed the 21st century Silk Road is aimed at connecting Asia, Africa and Europe by generating more resources and means, expanding the market space for African development and broadening its development prospects. The Chinese flagship (BRI) helped accomplish the erection of a high-speed railway in Kenya last year – from Nairobi to the port city of Mombasa.

FOCAC currently has 55 members including the host nation China, 53 African countries, and the African Union Commission. China has been involved in the development of African countries and has been promoting cooperation with Africa through various means including infrastructure and development projects.

By: Kgothatso Nkanyane