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Five Chinese citizens killed in California shooting – consulate

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(Last Updated On: January 27, 2023)

Five Chinese citizens were among the victims in a shooting in the California town of Half Moon Bay, Reuters quoted the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco said.

The Half Moon Bay shooting on Monday, in which seven people died, was the second of two gun rampages in California in recent days in which a total of 18 people were killed.

“The Consulate General is in communication with the relevant U.S. authorities to follow up on the progress of the investigation,” a spokesperson said in a statement, adding that the Consulate General strongly condemned the violence.

Chunli Zhao, a Chinese citizen and 66-year-old immigrant farm worker, was the lone suspect in the massacre at two mushroom farms in the northern California seaside town, read the report.

He was formally presented with seven counts of murder and a single count of attempted murder during his first court appearance in nearby Redwood City on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

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China says US warship entered South China Sea illegally

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(Last Updated On: March 23, 2023)

China’s military said on Thursday it had monitored and driven away a U.S. destroyer that illegally entered waters around the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, Reuters reported.

In a statement, the military said that the guided-missile destroyer USS Milius intruded into China’s territorial waters, undermining peace and stability in the busy waterway.

“The theater forces will maintain a high state of alert at all times and take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and security and peace and stability in the South China Sea,” said Tian Junli, a spokesman for China’s Southern Theatre Command.

The U.S. Navy on Thursday disputed the Chinese military statement, saying the destroyer is conducting “routine operations” in the South China Sea and was not expelled.

“The United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows,” a statement from the U.S. Navy 7th Fleet said.

Tension between the United States and China has been growing in the area.

The United States has been shoring up alliances in the Asia-Pacific seeking to counter China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, as Beijing seeks to advance its territorial claims.

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Massive ship tips over, injuring 25 people

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(Last Updated On: March 22, 2023)

A large ship tipped over while dry-docked in Scotland, injuring 25 people on Wednesday, emergency workers said.

Police and emergency services were called to the Imperial Dock in Edinburgh after receiving reports that a ship had become dislodged from its holding, Associated Press reported.

The Scottish Ambulance Service said 15 people were taken to the hospital, while 10 others were treated and discharged at the scene. Local police urged the public to avoid the area to allow access for emergency services.

Photos from the scene showed the ship leaning to the side at a 45-degree angle. Adam McVey, a local official, tweeted that it became dislodged due to strong winds.

The 76-meter long vessel, named the Petrel, was a research vessel previously bought and outfitted by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. The Petrel is equipped with deep-sea exploration technology and has led several high-profile missions to locate historic shipwrecks, including the discovery of the USS Indianapolis in 2017 in the Philippine Sea.

The BBC reported the ship had been moored since 2020 due to challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Thailand dissolves parliament for crunch election in May

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(Last Updated On: March 21, 2023)

Thailand dissolved its parliament on Monday to clear the way for an election in May, a vote set to reignite a long-running power struggle between a military-backed establishment and a political movement that has dominated elections for two decades, Reuters reported.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn endorsed a decree to dissolve parliament, according to an announcement in the Royal Gazette on Monday, ahead of an election that must be held within 45 to 60 days.

No date has been announced, but two sources with knowledge of the matter earlier on Monday told Reuters the vote would be on May 14, read the report.

“This is a return of political decision-making power to the people swiftly to continue democratic government with the King as head of state,” said the decree published on Monday.

The election broadly pits the billionaire Shinawatra family and its business allies against parties and politicians close to their rivals among the royalist military and old money conservatives.

With populist policies aimed at Thailand’s working classes, parties controlled by the Shinawatras have won every election since 2001, including twice in landslides, but three of its governments were removed in military coups or by court rulings.

According to Reuters the May election will choose members of parliament, which together with an appointed Senate will choose a prime minister by the end of July, according to a timeline provided by the government.

The main opposition Pheu Thai party’s Paetongtarn Shinawatra is the frontrunner to be prime minister in opinion surveys, with her support jumping 10 points to 38.2% in a poll released at the weekend, more than twice the backing of her nearest contender.

Incumbent Prayuth Chan-ocha, who has been in power since his coup in 2014 against Paetongtarn’s aunt, Yingluck Shinawatra, has been trailing in polls and was third in the latest survey by the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA).

Prayuth, 68, will continue to lead as head of a caretaker government and is expected to run again.

“I’m glad I’ve built something good, generated revenue for the country, built industry. There has been a lot of investment,” Prayuth said.

“You have to ask the people if they are satisfied or not … I have done a lot in the many years that have passed.”

The NIDA poll of 2,000 people also showed that 50% of respondents would choose candidates from Pheu Thai, read the report.

Srettha Thavisin, a property tycoon and senior Pheu Thai adviser who has been campaigning alongside Paetongtarn, said parliament’s dissolution was a “turning point” for Thailand.

“I would like to invite everyone to study policies, positions and ideologies of all parties to find the one for you that will make the country of your dreams come true, to move the nation forward and improve lives,” he said on Twitter.

Paetongtarn on Friday said she was confident of winning by a landslide, with the aim of averting any political manoeuvring against her party, read the report.

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