The founder of Huawei said Monday that the embattled Chinese telecom giant’s overseas smartphone sales had tumbled by 40 percent this year as it grapples with a US push to clip the company’s wings.
“Yes, (sales) have fallen 40 percent,” Ren Zhengfei said when asked about media reports that it was seeing such a drop.
– Grim outlook –
Huawei has emerged as a key bone of contention in the wider China-US trade war that has seen tit-for-tat tariffs imposed on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods.
President Donald Trump’s administration has essentially banned Huawei from the huge US market.
Last month it also added Huawei to an “entity list” of companies barred from receiving US-made components without permission from Washington, though the company was granted a 90-day reprieve for now.
The US fears that systems built by Huawei could be used by China’s government for espionage via secret security “backdoors” built into telecom networking equipment.
Those fears have revolved in large part around Ren’s background as a former Chinese army engineer, and questions over the privately-held Huawei‘s corporate ownership structure, which some critics say is unusual and opaque.
Huawei strongly denies any links to China’s government and says the United States has never provided proof of its accusations.
The Trump administration is pressing other countries to ban Huawei equipment from their networks, particularly in the coming rollout of super-fast 5G networks, a global project in which Huawei had been expected to play a leading role.
The US campaign has already spurred a number of major technology companies, including leading semi-conductor suppliers and brands such as Facebook and Google, to suspend cooperation with Huawei.
In an analysis last week, global consultancy Eurasia Group said Huawei “has little hope of staying on the global cutting edge in either smartphones or networking technology as long as it remains on the US Entity List.”
“Over time, this will erode Huawei‘s ability to offer globally competitive products, and the company will likely be forced to resort to selling second-best products in the domestic Chinese market as it seeks to rebuild its international business without US technology,” it said.
A loving father has shared a video capturing his son’s meltdown on the eve of Hari Raya, in a bid to spread awareness about autism.
The father, Mr Iman Wan’s post seems to have been prompted by a viral video of an autistic contestant achieving widespread fame through the America’s Got Talent platform.
Kodi Lee, a 22-year-old self-taught musician who is blind and autistic, attained immense praise for his incredible musical talents after he performed a rendition of “A Song for You” at the auditions of the latest season of the television talent competition.
Besides bringing the audience and the judges to their feet and winning the coveted Golden Buzzer, which propelled him straight to the live performance rounds, the clip of Lee’s audition went viral online, quickly accumulating over 300 million views.
In his post, Mr Wan shared that he has been “receiving much messages and DMs regarding the blind boy with Autism who opened the eyes of the world on America’s Got Talent.”
While his family was “touched and so happy for [Lee’s] family that he is so gifted and blessed,” Mr Wan added that the video “may also sent some less accurate perception to the world that all Autism people are suppose to be gifted with remarkable talent.”
He said: “The truth and hard facts are, NOT. Majority parents and caregivers are struggling with the challenges of raising someone with Autism. It’s a life long condition.”
Sharing a video of his son having a meltdown as he was taking him out to lunch, Mr Wan recounted: “We noticed he was a bit unstable and we knew it was coming. True enough as soon as he got off the car, he lost control.”
Revealing that his son eventually calmed down, Mr Wan used the incident to point out that “autism is such a wide SPECTRUM. When we meet one person with Autism, we only met one. They are all unique. Stereotyping can be misleading. Not all are like our son ADAM.”
Watch the video and read Mr Wan’s touching post here:
Adam had a meltdown on the eve of Hari Raya. We were bringing him for lunch. We noticed he was a bit unstable and we knew it was coming. True enough as soon as he got off the car, he lost control. We were fortunate to have Syahrol and family with us.We have been receiving much messages and DMs regarding the blind boy with Autism who opened the eyes of the world on America’s Got Talent. We were also touched and so happy for the family that he is so gifted and blessed.At the same time we believe it may also sent some less accurate perception to the world that all Autism people are suppose to be gifted with remarkable talent. The truth and hard facts are, NOT. Majority parents and caregivers are struggling with the challenges of raising someone with Autism. It’s a life long condition.Autism is such a wide SPECTRUM. When we meet one person with Autism, we only met one. They are all unique. Stereo typing can be misleading. Not all are like our son ADAM. #autismawareness
Beijing reiterated its backing of Hong Kong’s embattled leader Carrie Lam on Monday after a massive demonstration demanding her resignation over a controversial extradition bill.
Protest organisers said some 2 million people choked Hong Kong’s streets on Sunday — despite Lam’s decision to indefinitely suspend passage of the bill a day earlier.
Critics fear the Beijing-backed law will entangle people in China’s notoriously opaque and politicised courts and damage the city’s reputation as a safe business hub.
Although Lam offered a rare concession on Saturday, she stopped short of committing to permanently scrapping the unpopular law.
Her gesture was swiftly rejected by protest leaders who called on her to resign, shelve the bill entirely and apologise for police using tear gas and rubber bullets earlier in the week.
But Lam — the first woman to get the international financial hub’s top job — continues to enjoy support from the Chinese leadership.
“The central government will continue to firmly support the chief executive and efforts by the government of the Special Administrative Region to govern according to law,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular briefing.
Lam took over as Hong Kong’s chief executive in March 2017 when a committee stacked with Beijing loyalists voted her into office.
Beijing had earlier backed Lam’s decision to suspend the bill saying it was an attempt to “listen more widely” to different views and “restore calm.”
But Lu from China’s foreign ministry said the protests are “not in line with the mainstream public opinion in Hong Kong.”
“Many facts have shown that foreign governments and even some politicians have been making inflammatory remarks since the decision of the Hong Kong government to start amending the extradition ordinance in February,” Lu said.
A fairly new tool called ‘Page Transparency’ that Facebook has rolled out has helped shed more light on the inner workings of the social media machinery behind politicians in Singapore.
Launched earlier this year, the Page Transparency tool allows Facebook users to discover how many people are involved in managing any Facebook page, how long that page has been active, whether there have been any significant changes to the page and the advertisement content that the page has been running.
Facebook has said that it implemented the Page Transparency tool because it believes that “when you visit a Page or see an ad on Facebook it should be clear who it’s coming from.” It added that tools such as these “are designed to prevent future abuse in elections — and to help ensure you have the information that you need to assess political and issue ads, as well as content on Pages.”
“By increasing transparency around ads and Pages on Facebook, we can increase accountability for advertisers — improving our service for everyone,” Facebook said.
A quick look at the Facebook pages of Singapore shows that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has a hefty 11 individuals managing his Facebook page – but he is still not the PAP politician who has the most social media managers.
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen has a whopping 19 social media managers while 16 people manage the Facebook page of Environment and Water Resources Minister, Masagos Zulkifli. Education Minister Ong Ye Kung has 13 people managing his page:
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat and Senior Minister of State (SMS) Edwin Tong both have two people handling their Facebook pages while Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, SMS Maliki Osman and SMS Sim Ann have three social media managers each:
Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Indranee Rajah, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee and SMS Koh Poh Koon all have four people each managing their respective Facebook pages:
Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, SMS Janil Puthucheary and SMS Chee Hong Tat have 5 social media managers each:
6 people each manage the Facebook pages of Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran.
Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam, Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and National Development Minister Lawrence Wong each have 7 people managing their Facebook pages:
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Ng Chee Meng and SMS Heng Chee How each have 8 social media managers while Manpower Minister Josephine Teo and SMS Amy Khor have 9 people each managing their pages:
China’s powerful President Xi Jinping has been dealt a rare setback with the suspension of unpopular legislation in Hong Kong following massive protests, but Beijing could bite back by tightening its grip on the semi-autonomous city, according to analysts.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters returned to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday, calling for the resignation of the territory’s pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam — even after she suspended a deeply unpopular bill that would have allowed extraditions to the mainland.
Xi is not used to such challenges, having consolidated his power and tightened his grip on civil society on the mainland since taking office in 2012.
But Hong Kongers defiantly demonstrated en masse in the past week against a bill that was seen as another sign of the Chinese Communist Party’s growing influence in the city, which should enjoy its own laws and certain liberties such as freedom of speech until 2047 under the terms of its handover from Britain to China in 1997.
“It’s a massive repudiation of the idea that Hong Kong will be effectively, over time, fully absorbed into mainland China,” said Bill Bishop, publisher of the Sinocism China Newsletter.
“The party under Xi has become more worrisome and that’s certainly a rejection of not just Xi but the party overall,” Bishop said.
Beijing has sought to distance itself from the unrest, saying the bill was the brainchild of the Hong Kong government and portraying the violent demonstrations last week as a “riot” backed by foreign forces, while censors have worked to block discussion on social media.
Experts say Lam would not have pushed the legislation without guidance from her backers on the mainland, and on Monday Beijing said it will “continue to firmly support” the beleaguered chief executive.
But Xi himself has been physically distant: Away on a visit to Central Asia as protests turned violent on Wednesday, and returning on Sunday evening when hundreds of thousands flooded the streets again.
“This is a defeat for Xi Jinping,” said Victoria Hui, a native Hong Konger and associate professor in political science at the University of Notre Dame in the United States.
“People don’t believe that Carrie Lam would on her own accord try to rush through something that is not even in the Basic Law,” Hui said.
– Avoid harsh crackdown –
The state-run China Daily said in an editorial that the bill was put on hold “so as to remove the excuse for the violence being instigated by those who do not have (Hong Kong’s) best interests at heart.”
Xi cemented his status as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong when the rubber-stamp parliament abolished presidential term limits last year.
But he has encountered a series of challenges since then, with analysts saying he is under pressure over the bruising trade war with the United States and a slowing economy.
Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, said the extradition bill’s suspension showed that Communist leaders “got scared” about the protest movement’s potential repercussions for the mainland.
While Beijing will avoid an obvious harsh crackdown so as to not inflame tensions, it will still apply pressure in more subtle ways, according to analysts.
“You will see a redoubling of efforts by the party to squeeze Hong Kong in ways that are not necessarily going to be totally obvious,” publisher Bishop said.
The role of the Communist Party and its organisations will likely intensify in Hong Kong, he added.
Authorities will likely adopt the same tactic used following the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement that shook the city in 2014 by arresting protest leaders, analysts said.
“Xi must be very tough. He won’t give in easily,” said Beijing-based political analyst Hua Po, noting that the extradition bill was merely suspended, not dropped.
Xi will “wait for the mood of Hong Kong citizens to gradually calm down and then punish a very small number of die-hards”, Hua said.
The die-hards have proved resilient, however. One of the ringleaders of the Umbrella Movement, Joshua Wong, was released from prison Monday after serving a short sentence for his role — and immediately vowed to rejoin the new protest wave.
Finally, Lam’s decision to suspend the legislation could also have been a tactical retreat, as Beijing prepares to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of People’s Republic of China on October 1, Bishop said.
“A big mess in Hong Kong would really mar that celebration,” he said.
Fake news that a Singaporean man slept with 57 women within 24 hours is recirculating online, two years after it was first debunked.
The article first appeared on an online publication called the Herald Europe on 6 June 2017. Citing unnamed reports from the Czech media, the article said that a 34-year-old Singaporean broke the world record by sleeping with 57 women within a day, at an unnamed brothel at Prague that apparently holds an annual challenge for who can sleep with the most women.
The Herald Europe reported that the unnamed Singaporean was “rushed to hospital” once he “finished his 57th partner”.
The article was soundly debunked as fake news in 2017 but has been making its rounds on social media in recent months. Another publication, Ghana-based My Joy Online, reproduced the article entitled ‘Singaporean man breaks world record sleeping with 57 women 24 hours.”
The article, which is re-circulating on social media platforms like Facebook and online forums like HardwareZone, includes quotes from the unnamed Singapore man who purportedly broke the world record.
The fake article claims that the man said he is a “sex addict” who takes unnamed supplements and that he ” trained for it just like an athlete would prepare for a marathon.” The article claimed that a physiotherapist had to give the man a massage when he was about halfway through.
The article even quoted unnamed judges and said that the judges have to measure that the participant emits a certain volume of fluid in each sexual partner for each session to count. The fake news article also quoted an unnamed official who claimed that previous participants had to have skin grafts or have their sex organs amputated after the event.
Local human rights NGO, MARUAH, has urged Singapore to do more for older people in Singapore above the age of 55.
Noting that there has been evidence that older people in Singapore find it difficult to cope financially and in taking care of themselves, MARUAH cited a recent Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSSP) report as another study that shows the disparity between the financial needs and resources of older Singaporeans.
The LKYSSP report found that the amount necessary to ensure older Singaporeans are able to maintain a basic standard of living is S$1,379 per month for single elderly households, S$2,351 per month for coupled elderly households and S$1,721 per month for single persons aged 55-64.
The basic standard of living applies to those from diverse backgrounds and takes into account an individual’s need for food, shelter, clothing, opportunities and access to education, employment and social participation.
The study found that the wages older Singaporeans earn in the three most common occupations are insufficient to maintain a basic standard of living.
While it acknowledged that the Government has schemes to supplement the income of older people in Singapore, MARUAH asserted that “more needs to be done in terms of adequacy, governance, sustainability and implementation of the schemes, based on this study’s findings on what an older person needs.” It added:
“For instance, only 55% of people have sufficient savings to meet the Basic Retirement Sum to receive the monthly payouts after retirement. The rest of the people do not receive any annuity, after retirement. Even for those who qualify, the payouts received each month is a mere 57% of the study’s recommended household budget. “As for the cash payments, less than 1% of older persons are eligible for ComCare while the Silver Support Scheme and GST Voucher cover only up to half of all retirees. Even if one qualifies for all three cash payment schemes, the total amount received would just be over 50% of the study’s recommended household budget.”
Asserting that there are clear gaps in public schemes to better help older Singaporeans, MARUAH called on the Government to revise its schemes “by increasing the level of financial assistance and by implementing them more effectively.”
MARUAH also expressed its support for the recommendations listed in the LKYSSP report. The research team suggested that older people should not simply be expected to rely on their families as the “first line of support” and urged for reforms given the unequal wages older workers are paid and the discriminatory wage practices they may face.
The LKYSSP team also called for the implementation of financial schemes such as public pension payments and other provisions to cover expensive healthcare costs for older persons.
Asserting that the study was successful in capturing a more accurate picture of the needs and realities of ordinary people, MARUAH said:
“We urge the Singapore government to seriously consider adopting the benchmarks set in this study in future policies and to consider implementing the recommendations put forward to ensure an adequate standard of living for all older persons in Singapore.”
A nationwide Fox News poll released Sunday shows President Donald Trump trailing former vice president Joe Biden and no fewer than four other Democratic contenders as early campaigning for the 2020 election begins to gain steam.
A separate survey of key battleground states, by CBS, shows Democrats strongly favor Biden as the candidate most likely to beat Trump in next year’s elections.
While the latest polling news proved heartening to Democrats, the Trump re-election campaign reportedly has cut ties to three of its own pollsters after some of their results — showing Trump trailing far behind Biden in key states — leaked.
The Fox poll showed Biden leading Trump by 49 percent to 39 percent among all registered voters nationwide, while Senator Bernie Sanders held nearly the same advantage over the president, at 49 percent to 40 percent.
Holding edges of 1 or 2 points over Trump — albeit within the poll’s three-point margin of error — were senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, as well as Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana.
The polling comes more than 500 days before the November 3, 2020 election, an eternity in the political world. One widely viewed tweet this week shows five presidential candidates in recent decades who trailed at this point in their campaigns — including Trump — but who went on to win.
The president does not officially launch his re-election campaign until Tuesday, when he plans an elaborate, rally-style event in a huge arena in Orlando, Florida.
– Battleground states –
Still, the Fox poll, conducted June 9 to June 12, was welcomed by Democrats eager to chip away at Trump’s popularity, particularly in battleground states such as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
The president’s campaign had recently dismissed leaked data from its own pollsters showing Biden with double-digit leads in some critically important states, including Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — three states Trump won in 2016.
Trump himself denied the data — “those polls don’t exist,” he told ABC — but his campaign later acknowledged the negative news while discounting it as “ancient” because it dated from March.
On Sunday, The New York Times reported that the president’s campaign, furious over the data leak, was cutting ties to three of its five pollsters. They included Polling Company, the former firm of close Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.
And NBC quoted Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale as conferring a positive spin on the latest results, saying “the president’s new polling is extraordinary and his numbers have never been better.”
– Warren on the rise –
The new CBS poll, conducted May 31 to June 12, confirms a significant Biden lead in battleground states among Democratic voters, as the crowded race for that party’s nomination begins to take shape.
Those voters told pollsters that their support was based above all on a sense that Biden was the candidate best positioned to defeat Trump in 2020.
The CBS News/YouGov Battleground Tracker survey found that Biden had the backing of 31 percent of Democratic voters in 18 key states, ahead of senators Elizabeth Warren (17 percent), Sanders (16 percent) and Kamala Harris (10 percent).
The poll, with a 1.5 percent margin of error, was conducted in influential early-voting states including Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, as well as in populous states in the upper Midwest where Trump eked out narrow but decisive victories in 2016.
Elizabeth Warren has been steadily rising in the polls, while Sanders’ support has slipped.
He acknowledged on Sunday that “polls go up and polls go down,” but insisted that the survey showed he was well-placed to defeat Trump.
“I think we can win in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan and some of the other battleground states,” the self-styled democratic socialist told “Fox News Sunday.”
Democrats begin more earnestly winnowing down their large field of candidates when they hold successive nights of televised debates on June 26 and 27.
The Fox poll found that Democratic voters, by roughly three-to-one, favor a nominee who would provide “steady, reliable leadership” rather than a “bold new agenda.”
But Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the fiery 29-year-old New Yorker who has emerged as a heroine to young voters and progressives, suggested Sunday that Democrats could be in trouble if they fail to nominate an energizing candidate with working-class appeal.
She said she would support the 76-year-old Biden if he wins the nomination but added on ABC that “we have to really factor in the enthusiasm of voters.”
“We need to pick a candidate that’s going to be exciting to vote for — all people, women, people of all genders, races, income levels.”
Singapore—The country’s Deputy Prime Minister, Heng Swee Keat, recently emphasised the commitment of 4G leaders to work with Singaporeans concerning policies around vital issues such as housing, social mobility, and environmental sustainability.
According to DPM Heng, in order to come up with better policies and programmes that will meet people’s needs, the Government plans to tap the four major issues and policy areas: environmental sustainability, housing, young Singaporeans, and social mobility.
He said this at a speech at a REACH-CNA dialogue session on June 15.
“We will listen to your views and explore together what the Government can do, what each of you can do, and how we can create partnerships to take good ideas forward. In the process, I hope you will know better who we are, what we believe in. And as we jointly figure out where we want to go, I hope we will get to know each other better.”
Mr Heng talked about which fourth-generation Singaporean leader will be overseeing citizen engagement on each issue.
For the environment, he said, it is Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, who will spearhead the efforts to come up with actionable plans. The environment is important to many young Singaporeans today since they are the ones “inheriting the consequences of our actions,” DPM Heng said.
For housing, Lawrence Wong, the Minister for National Development, will be meeting with Singaporeans to find ways to build community and shape the living environment.
Grace Fu, the Minister for Culture, Community, and Youth, will meet with young Singaporeans in the endeavour to develop the vision of Singapore 2025 through the Youth Action Plan.
Ong Ye Kung and Desmond Lee, the ministers of Education and Social and Family Development, will tackle social mobility by having dialogues with community groups for the purpose of helping the disadvantaged.
In partnership with business leaders, trade associations and chambers and unions, DPM Heng, along with Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Ng Chee Meng, as well as Ong Ye Kung have been working toward creating good employment opportunities.
Additionally, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo will be leading a Citizens’ Panel, whose purpose is to find ways to improve the work-life balance, something the Deputy Prime Minister is saying is “an issue close to the hearts of many Singaporeans.”
He added, “We may have different views but so long as you have the good of Singapore at heart, we can work together.”
The Deputy Prime Minister said, “This can happen only if we keep an open mind. Look at issues not just through our lens, but also through the perspectives of others.
The Government must also be prepared, if necessary, to step in if particular groups pursue their agenda in ways that divide society or impede the good work of other groups.”
He said that the 4G leaders will not only show what their vision is for the country’s future but also the road map of how to get there.
“We will be frank about the challenges we face, the trade-offs we will have to make, the hard truths confronting us. We will listen to your views and explore together what the Government can do, what each of you can do, and how we can create partnerships to take good ideas forward.”
Mr Heng underlined how important it is that trust is strong between the Government and the people, and that, beyond a Government working for the people, the goal is to build one that works with the people as well as for them.
“The best way to win (Singaporeans’) trust is to first trust you with the truth – no matter how hard or unpopular.
We need to shift from a Government that focuses primarily on working for you, to a Government that works with you. Working with you, for you.”/ TISG