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Before a joint session of Congress and Prime Minister Dean Barrow, Tsai said, "At a time of great political pressure against Taiwan's international space, you have spoken for the rights and obligations of Taiwan as a member of the international community." Belize is one of 18 countries that still recognize Taiwan. Belize receives financial aid from Taiwan for scholarships, agriculture and healthcare.
A bakery in California has found itself at the centre of an international storm after it welcomed the president of Taiwan with a cup of coffee and a goody bag. The result was a major diplomatic incident as Chinese customers launched a boycott of the 85C Bakery Cafe, which rapidly disappeared from online ordering platforms on the Chinese mainland. The episode highlight's Beijing's sensitivity over an island that considers itself a sovereign state, but has never declared formal independence. The Taiwanese-owned chain apologised and distanced itself from the views of Tsai Ing-wen, the pro-independence leader of the island, after she dropped in on Wednesday en route to visiting allies in South America. Excited staff gave her a gift bag and took selfies, as images were uploaded to Facebook by part of her delegation. A woman looks at her mobile phone at a 85C Bakery Cafe in Hangzhou in China's eastern Zhejiang province Credit: AFP They have since been removed but it was too late to prevent the diplomatic fallout. Beijing - which has been working to isolate countries that recognise Taiwan - warned it would oppose any businesses that support Taiwanese independence. A company official in Taipei, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that it had been removed from several online platforms, telling the AFP news agency: "We have noticed the situation and we hope it won't be permanent." 85C began in Taiwan but has since expanded to earn more than 60 percent of its revenue in China. Losing its presence on food delivery apps would be devastating. At a glance | The One China policy China views the island as part of its own territory, and has escalated a campaign to isolate Taiwan internationally since Ms Tsai came to power in 2016. A growing number of international companies including airlines and hotels have been bending to pressure from Beijing to refer to Taiwan as part of China. The election of Donald Trump has added to Chinese unease as he showed little regard for the fine lines and grey areas of the "one China policy". Taiwan's state-aligned Central News Agency on Thursday quoted a top official with China's Taiwan Affairs Office, Long Mingbiao, as saying in Beijing that any company that expects to invest and "make money" in China must adhere to its policies. 85C's problems began after Tsai stopped off at a Los Angeles branch of the cafe this week during an American visit in which she became the first Taiwanese leader in 15 years to give a public speech on American soil, something Beijing staunchly opposes. Internet users in China lashed out with boycott threats and calls for the coffee chain to quit the Chinese market.
In remarks to reporters at the White House, Trump again called Mueller's investigation, which had cast a cloud over his presidency, a "rigged witch hunt," but sidestepped a question about whether he would issue a presidential pardon for Manafort. The jurors met for about seven hours on Thursday without reaching a verdict on 18 criminal counts with which Manafort is charged. As president, Trump has the power to pardon Manafort on the federal charges.
The 3M Co. has agreed to pay $9.1 million to settle allegations it knowingly sold defective combat ear plugs to the U.S. military without disclosing defects that limited the effectiveness of the hearing protection devices, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday. A settlement frees 3M from the inconvenience of a long investigation and litigation, it said. The 3M payment settles allegations that 3M and its predecessor, Aearo Technologies Inc., knew the ear plugs it sold the military were too short for proper insertion into the users' ears and could loosen and not perform effectively in some people, the Justice Department said.
The New York Times report said another possibility under consideration is that SpaceX would help bankroll the Tesla privatisation and would take an ownership stake in the carmaker, according to people familiar with the matter. Musk is the CEO and controlling shareholder of the rocket company. Tesla and SpaceX did not respond when Reuters requested comment on the matter.
China's military has expanded its bomber operations in recent years while "likely training for strikes" against the United States and its allies, according to a Pentagon report released on Thursday. The assessment, which comes at a time of heightened US-China tensions over trade, was contained in an annual report that highlighted China's efforts to increase its global influence, with defence spending that the Pentagon estimates exceeded $190 billion in 2017. "Over the last three years, the PLA has rapidly expanded its overwater bomber operating areas, gaining experience in critical maritime regions and likely training for strikes against US and allied targets," the report said, using an acronym for China's People's Liberation Army. The report comes as China and the United States plan to hold trade talks, offering hope they might resolve an escalating tariff conflict that threatens to degenerate into an all-out trade war. The report said that while the PLA had continued to extend operations, it was not clear what message Beijing was seeking to send by carrying out the flights "beyond a demonstration of improved capabilities". An Ilyushin Il-76 strategic aircraft of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Credit: Tass via Getty Images The Chinese embassy in Washington could not immediately be reached for comment. This year China’s air force landed bombers on islands and reefs in the South China Sea as part of a training exercise in the disputed region. In January the Pentagon put countering Beijing, along with Russia, at the center of a new national defense strategy. While Washington and Beijing maintain a military-to-military relationship aimed at containing tensions, this has been tested in recent months, notably in May when the Pentagon withdrew an invitation to China to join a multinational naval exercise. The Liaoning aircraft carrier is accompanied by navy frigates and submarines conducting an exercises in the South China Sea Credit: Xinhua via AP In June, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis became the first Pentagon chief to visit China since 2014. The Pentagon report said that despite a projected slowdown in economic growth, China's official defence budget would be more than $240 billion by 2028. The Pentagon report also said China's space program was progressing rapidly. "The PLA continues to strengthen its military space capabilities despite its public stance against the militarization of space," it said. This month, President Donald Trump’s administration announced an ambitious plan to usher in a new "Space Force" as the sixth branch of the military by 2020. One of the arguments in favour of developing such a force is that American rivals like China appear increasingly ready to strike US space-based capabilities in the event of a conflict.
Pope Francis is on the side of victims of more than 300 "predator" priests in the United States who are accused of abusing over 1,000 children across seven decades, the Vatican said Thursday. "Victims should know that the pope is on their side," the Vatican said in a statement after a devastating US grand jury report published on Tuesday decried a systematic cover-up by the Catholic Church. "Those who have suffered are his priority, and the Church wants to listen to them to root out this tragic horror that destroys the lives of the innocent," the statement said.
Venezuelans are concerned over the safety of a "twin" viaduct of the collapsed Morandi bridge in Genoa, Italy, after a fire on the concrete structure caused a major blackout. Designed by Italian structural engineer Riccardo Morandi, it predates by five years his 1967 bridge in Genoa that collapsed this week causing the death of 39 people.
Egypt is finalizing details of a long-term truce deal between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, an Egyptian security source said on Thursday, amid easing tensions on the border of the enclave where some two million Palestinians live. Cairo has brokered an interim truce that has allowed commercial goods into Gaza ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Adha feast which starts next week. "We are putting the final touches to the terms of the truce that will be signed by all sides, and we expect to announce the terms next week if Fatah helps us to do so," the source said, referring to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's mainstream party which dominates the occupied West Bank.
Since news of Aretha Franklin's death broke on Thursday morning, the internet has been flooded with memories, condolences, and tributes to the Queen of Soul. Former president Barack Obama — who, like many of us, has been moved to tears by Franklin's music and spirit — shared an emotional note about her passing. SEE ALSO: Aretha Franklin, the queen of soul, dead at 76 "[E]very time she sang, we were all graced with a glimpse of the divine," Obama wrote. "Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human. And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance," he continued. He finished by saying, "Aretha may have passed on to a better place, but the gift of her music remains to inspire us all. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace. Michelle and I send our prayers and warmest sympathies to her family and all those moved by her song." Franklin and Obama's paths have crossed multiple times over his political career. She performed "My Country, ‘Tis of Thee," during Obama's first presidential inauguration in 2009. Perhaps one of their most touching interactions, however, was Franklin's rendition of "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" during the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors. Her vocals were so moving that they brought the president to tears. Other public figures from the Obama administration — like Eric Holder and Valerie Jarrett — shared similarly moving statements. Hillary Clinton also remembered Franklin fondly. You can read Obama's full statement here. WATCH: The artists behind the striking Obama portraits
The United States will be "a good ally" to the Philippines in responding to territorial conflicts in the South China Sea, a US defence official said Thursday. Randall Schriver, assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, gave the assurance as tensions rise over China's aggressive stance towards its claims to most of the strategic waterway. Speaking to reporters at the US embassy in Manila, Schriver was asked if the United States, which is bound to the Philippines by a mutual defence treaty, would help the country if China invaded the main Filipino-occupied island in the South China Sea.
The organiser of a white supremacist march in Washington DC at the weekend has been left red-faced, after a video emerged showing him being scolded by his father during an interview in his family home. Jason Kessler, 34, organised last year’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, which resulted in the death of counter protester Heather Heyer. He organised an anniversary march in DC this weekend, which was attended by a few dozen people, and dwarfed by a huge counter-protest. In a clip circulated on Tuesday, originally filmed in June, he was recording an hour-long livestream with the alt-Right Patrick Little discussing Jews, when his father barged in furiously told him off, mid-interview. “Hey! You get out of my room!” yelled Eric Kessler, Jason Kessler’s father. Mr Little, 33, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for a Senate seat in California, chuckles at the interruption of his neo-Nazi conspiracy theories concerning Jews, castration and slavery. He asks: “You got a drunk roommate there?” Jason Kessler, escorted by police during his August 12 rally outside the White House Credit: AFP Looking sheepish, Mr Kessler tried to explain the situation to his friend, saying: “I have somebody who supports Israeli, uh... orthodox… We are kind of at crosshairs on that right now.” His father presses on, yelling at Mr Kessler: “I want this to stop in my room, Jason. This is my room.” Mr Little can be heard sniggering as Mr Kessler excuses himself and walks off-screen. “You’re not living with an Orthodox Jew are you?” Mr Little asks. Mr Kessler tries to explain the rift in his house, saying: “My family watches the History Channel and it’s all this propaganda – ‘the Nazis’ and ‘the Jews’." He goes on to complain his father is “cucked” — an insult often used by the alt-Right — because he watches “constant anti-German propaganda” on the History Channel. When he wants to express his views on Jews, he retreats to his father’s bedroom, he explained. “And I’m stuck in this situation where, with all these lawsuits, I need to stay with my family.” Counterprotesters in Washington DC on August 12 Credit: AFP Mr Little nods, explaining that he is planning on renting out the houseboat on which he lives to pay for his expenses. Eric Kessler told The Washington Post earlier this year that his family was “dismayed across the board about this situation. We’ve never identified with racial politics.” He added that despite living in the same house he had very little interaction with his son since he learned of his radical views, shortly before last year’s rally. Jason Kessler, however, told the paper that he has been treated unfairly. “I’ve been turned into an avatar of hate,” he said.
German chemicals and pharmaceuticals giant Bayer said Thursday that it would begin integrating seeds and pesticides maker Monsanto after a mega-merger, but its stock price was battered by the US firm's legal woes. Two months after the $63 billion deal -- the biggest ever foreign takeover by a German company -- Bayer completed the sale of a final tranche of crop science businesses worth 5.9 billion euros ($6.7 billion) to rival BASF under concessions imposed by cartel watchdogs. With competition authorities' conditions met, "the integration of Monsanto into the Bayer Group can begin," the Leverkusen-based company said in a statement.
The Queen’s doctor has been killed by a lorry while cycling in a notorious Central London accident hotspot. Dr Peter Fisher, one of three official Physicians to The Queen and a renowned homeopathist, was crushed by the vehicle on Wednesday morning in High Holborn, near to the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine where he had practised for 35 years. The 67-year-old is understood to have taken up cycling to work only in the last two years and was killed on “Cycle To Work Day”, a national campaign to champion pedal power over cars. Last night campaigners said his death highlighted the deficiency of safety measures protecting cyclists from lorries. Dr Peter Fisher, pictured with the Queen in 1999, was a member of the royal medical household Credit: David Sandison/REX/Shutterstock In the last five years, four have been killed near the same spot in Holborn alone. The collision with a CCF lorry, a sub-brand of Travis Perkins, took place at about 9.30am. One eyewitness, Angei Bozianu, manager of the nearby Princess Louise pub, told the Evening Standard: “I heard a woman screaming and I looked out of the window and he was under wheel.” Dr Peter Fisher, pictured in 2016, was a leading expert in homeopathy The Metropolitan Police said the lorry driver had stopped at the scene, was not under arrest and was assisting with their enquiries. But they also appealed for witnesses to come forward. Buckingham Palace confirmed the Queen had been informed. Greg white, chief executive of the Faculty of Homeopathy, said: “We have lost a leader, not just for the faculty but for homeopathy in the UK and worldwide. “It’s no exaggeration to say Peter is an irreplaceable talent. “He truly was a giant in all his fields of endeavour, which included clinician, research and academic.” A sometimes controversial figure, Dr Fisher believed passionately in the power of homeopathy, a belief that highly diluted substances can induce the body to heal itself. The practice is regarded as no better than a placebo by most of the medical profession and has now been all but banished from the NHS. Evidence markers beneath a lorry at the scene of the fatality Credit: Rob Pinney/LNP His advocacy alongside his position in the royal household attracted some criticism, but he always pointed out that homeopathists have been treating the Royal Family since the reign of Queen Victoria. However, he revealed in an interview with The Daily Telegraph in January that, three years after taking up his position in 2001, he received a “serious dressing down” from the head of the medical household, Sir Richard Thompson, for mentioning his Royal connection during a public argument about homeopathy. Sir Richard last night confirmed the incident took place but added Dr Fisher was “a very nice man” and “absolutely passionate about homeopathy”. It is understood Dr Fisher has grown-up children. Meanwhile a colleague told The Daily Telegraph: “He had a marriage behind him and was moving forward in life with a new partner. “It’s such a tragedy and a terrible irony it happened on national cycle to work day.” Emergency services at the scene of the crash in High Holborn on Wednesday morning Credit: Rob Pinney/LNP Dr Gill Gaskin, medical director for University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the umbrella body for Dr Fisher’s hospital, where he served as Director of Research, said he was: “A highly regarded colleague and friend”. Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at charity Cycling UK, said Dr Fisher’s death highlights why there must be greater efforts to protect riders from lorries. "That's why more needs to be done to separate cyclists from lorries in areas like Holborn, the scene of four cyclists' deaths in the last five years, and to ensure that only the safest lorries, which eliminate vehicle blind spots, are allowed into London," he said. The London Cycling Campaign intends to hold a protest in Holborn next Monday.
The jury began its first day of deliberations in the case against Donald Trump‘s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who is on trial for financial fraud. On Wednesday, prosecutors told jurors Mr Manafort had lied to keep himself flush with cash for his luxurious lifestyle and then lied some more to procure millions in bank loans when his income dropped off. In his defence, Mr Manafort’s attorneys told jurors to question the entirety of the prosecution’s case as they sought to tarnish the credibility of Mr Manafort’s longtime protege, and government witness, Rick Gates.
An outspoken activist in Vietnam was jailed for 20 years Thursday for allegedly calling for an election boycott and inciting environmental protests in the one-party state that has little tolerance for dissent. The communist country is notorious for jailing its critics but the harsh sentence was the heaviest in years as a hardline administration in charge since 2016 intensifies its crackdown against activists. Le Dinh Luong was convicted for "attempting to overthrow the state" in a half-day trial against the 52-year-old who appeared gaunt and grey-haired in court in central Nghe An province.