Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday the extradition bill that sparked the Chinese-ruled city’s biggest crisis in decades is dead and that government work on the legislation had been a “total failure”, but critics accused her of playing with words. The bill triggered outrage across broad sections of Hong Kong society amid concerns it would threaten the much-cherished rule of law that underpins the city’s international financial status.
The US State Department has approved a potential arms sale to Taiwan, estimated to be worth $2.2bn, the Pentagon said. The deal is for 108 Abrams tanks, 250 Stinger missiles and related equipment. China’s foreign ministry has called on the US to “immediately cancel” the proposed sale. China regards Taiwan as part of its territory which should be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary.
Downing Street has reaffirmed its “full support” for the UK’s ambassador to the US after Donald Trump said he will no longer work with him. The US president was responding after leaked emails revealed Sir Kim Darroch had called his administration inept. Speaking on Monday following Mr Trump’s initial comments on the leaked emails, Downing Street said the prime minister did not agree with Sir Kim’s assessment but had “full faith” in him.
Mandla Maseko, the South African former DJ who won a chance to become the first black African in space, has died in a motorbike crash, his family said in a statement. Maseko, 30, beat 1 million other contenders to win a trip to space sponsored by the Axe Apollo Space Academy, which had yet to be scheduled by the time of his death.
Russia’s RT and Sputnik news organizations have been banned by the Foreign Office from attending a global conference on media freedom in London because of their “active role in spreading disinformation”. The Russian embassy previously condemned the decision relating to RT as “direct politically motivated discrimination” and said it had complained to the Foreign Office. In December, the British media regulator Ofcom found RT had broken impartiality rules with several programs broadcast after the nerve agent attack in the English city of Salisbury.