-Top News USA

US Navy releases first photos of Chinese balloon debris

According to the US Fleet Forces Command, the sailors retrieving the debris on Sunday were part of the Navy’s specialist explosives team…reports Asian Lite News

The US Navy has released photos of debris of the suspected Chinese spy balloon which was shot down by an American F-22 fighter jet over the Atlantic Ocean on February 4.

The photos were published on Tuesday by the US Fleet Forces Command on its social media handles.

The balloon was retrieved off the coast of Myrtle Beach in South Carolina a day after it was shot down, the BBC reported.

According to the Navy, the balloon’s debris was spread over 11 km of the Atlantic Ocean, and two naval ships were sent to the area.

The photos showed the piles of balloon material being pulled aboard by hand.

According to the US Fleet Forces Command, the sailors retrieving the debris on Sunday were part of the Navy’s specialist explosives team.

The debris were now being sent to an FBI laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, for analysis to see whether it was indeed spy equipment, reports CNN.

On Monday, Gen. Glen VanHerck, commander of US Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), told reporters that the balloon was roughly 200 feet tall and carried a payload portion comparable in size to regional airliners and weighing hundreds, or potentially thousands of pounds.

US defence officials first announced they were tracking the “strange object” on February 2, and waited until it was safely over water before shooting it down.

The discovery of the balloon set off a diplomatic crisis, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken immediately calling off a weekend trip to China — which would be the first such high level US-China meeting there in years — over the “irresponsible act”.

On Tuesday, US officials said the Pentagon sought to arrange a phone call between Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin and his Chinese counterpart after the balloon was shot down, but was rebuffed by Beijing, reports the BBC.

“Lines between our militaries are particularly important in moments like this,” defence press secretary Brigadier General Patrick Ryder said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the PRC (People’s Republic of China) has declined our request.”

China had admitted ownership of the balloon on Monday, saying it was used for flight tests and had “seriously deviated” from its flight course “by mistake”.

“China is a responsible country. We have always strictly abided by international law. We have informed all relevant parties and appropriately handled the situation, which did not pose any threats to any countries,” CNN quoted Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning as saying to reporters.

On February 3, the Pentagon had said a second Chinese spy balloon had been spotted — this time over Latin America with reported sightings over Costa Rica and Venezuela.

Colombia’s Air Force says an identified object — believed to be a balloon — was detectedin the country’s airspace at above 55,000ft.

It says it followed the object until it left the airspace, adding that it did not represent a threat to national security.

ALSO READ-Spy balloon floats into diplomatic crisis

China News World

Anti-China sentiments fueling in Zimbabwe

The misbehaviour of Chinese companies to local employees is fueling anti-China sentiments in Zimbabwe…reports Asian Lite News

It became evident after two blasts shook Zimbabwe’s Mazowe district late last week. The two gas explosions left eight people dead including six Chinese nationals. The police are investigating the cause of the explosion.

The incident happened at the mine about 50 km (30 miles) north of the capital, Harare, police said. While villagers mourned the death of a local but had no sympathy for the Chinese nationals. It was reported that villagers from around SAS Mine in Mazowe expressed joy following the death of six Chinese nationals who were managers at the site. The villagers described the late Chinese managers as ‘stubborn’ and very dis-respectful who ill-treated locals.

The incident has brought focus on the prevailing conditions in the area with regard to ill-treatment meted out to the employees by the Chinese managers. After the first explosion, the area councillor had requested Chinese managers to halt all the operations but later did not pay heed. Instead, these managers had smuggled workers from outside through a broken fence. Also, these managers warned workers with dire consequences if anyone raised voice over personal safety.

The local news website reported that the local councillor Taera Tapererwa, from Mazowe South Ward 2 confirmed that the Chinese managers were quite rude to the employees. A worker at the mine reportedly told that Chinese managers had ignored warnings. Nor did they show any remorse over the death of the first victim. The second explosion took lives of six Chinese and that was when it was accepted that the situation was dangerous at the mine.

The Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe maintained that it is in close communication with responsible Zimbabwean authorities and has asked the Zimbabwean side to help with emergency care and investigate the cause of the incident. The embassy has urged Chinese companies in Zimbabwe to enhance safety production awareness and immediate conduct thorough inspections of workplace practices including management of raw materials to avoid similar incidents.

Experts on Zimababwe affairs are not hopeful about any change in the situation on ground. Zimbabwe, like other African country, is under deep influence of China, politically, militarily, or economically. China has been calling the shots in Zimbabwe so much so that despite numerous cases of rampant abuse by Chinese employers of the local labour force, no steps have been taken by the government.

ASLO READ: US firms warned about risks of working with China

Available reports suggest that there is a fear among the locals that China would take away their assets if Zimbabwe fails to return loan amount. China has done heavy investment by providing huge loans to Zimbabwe. Local newspapers have reported from time to time that Chinese companies have been ill treating local labour and not paying respectable wages. An incident was reported where local employees were shot dead by a Chinese employer at a mine when the labourers demanded their legitimate outstanding wages. There have been several incidents where Chinese company owners have not paid any heed to Zimbabwean law, the citizens’ legal rights and instead discriminated against them from the onsite Chinese miners by paying them low wages of merely 35 US dollars per month. Also there have been cases where Chinese employers have assaulted local employees by forcing them to work in dangerous, inhuman, harsh, and life-threatening conditions which amount to slavery.

In pandemic time too, Chinese companies have reportedly ignored Covid-19 guidelines and forced employees to stay together. In one incident, 16 employees were reportedly forced to stay in just one room. On several occasions, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) has raised objections against the assault of local workers by Chinese employers. The ZCTU has been successful in building pressure on the Chinese companies to mend ways. So much so that the Chinese diplomats have tried to bring out an amicable solution with the Union leaders.

ZCTU has been taking up issues with Chinese companies following complaints of exploitation of local employees. In June, Chinese ceramic tiles manufacturing company Sunny Yi Feng had entered into a war of words with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) over claims of labour rights abuse, including unsafe working and living conditions. In absence of any legal action, ZCTU had launched a social media campaign to raise awareness about the working and living conditions of the workers in the factories. The Chinese company called ZCTU’s actions as “corporate bullying” motivated by “hidden agenda”.

Several other allegations have been levelled against Chinese companies operating in Zimbabwe. According to 2016 report by the Brookings Institution, there are at least 10,000 Chinese nationals in Zimbabwe, many of whom work in mining, telecommunications, and construction sectors. Chinese-owned companies, however, have become notorious for ill-treatment of workers.

There were reports of workers’ strike in a mining company against low wages in 2019. These workers also demanded safety kit as they were getting exposed to hazardous fumes. Earlier, two mining workers were shot in Gweru, which the Chinese embassy in Zimbabwe described as an “isolated incident.”

-Top News Asia News

Imran contracts Covid 19 after jab

Pakistan is using the Chinese vaccine, Sinopharm against Covid-19 pandemic. Recently a batch of 5,00,000 doses was received in Pakistan from China…report Asianlite News.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination confirmed the development on Saturday.

Sultan said that the 68-year-old former cricketer-turned-politician has quarantined himself at home.

“PM Imran Khan has tested positive for Covid-19 and is self isolating at home,” Sultan said in a tweet.

Pakistan is using the Chinese vaccine, Sinopharm against Covid-19 pandemic. Recently a batch of 5,00,000 doses was received in Pakistan from China.

The vaccination drive in Pakistan is currently underway for senior citizens.

Modi wishes for a speedy recovery

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday wished speedy recovery to his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan, who has tested positive for the novel coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic.

As the news came out that the 68-year-old former cricketer-turned-politician had quarantined himself at home, the Prime Minister took to Twitter to wish him a speedy recovery from the deadly disease.

“Best wishes to Prime Minister @ImranKhanPTI for a speedy recovery from Covid-19,” Modi tweeted.

Khan tested positive for Covid-19 two days after receiving his first vaccine dose, government officials said on Saturday.

Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to the Pakistan Prime Minister on National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination confirmed the development.

Pakistan is using the Chinese vaccine, Sinopharm against Covid-19 pandemic. Recently a batch of 5,00,000 doses was received in Pakistan from China.

People wearing face masks walk on a road in Rawalpindi of Pakistan’s Punjab province

The vaccination drive in Pakistan is currently underway for senior citizens.

Khan’s positive test comes at a time when Pakistan is seeing a steep rise in coronavirus infections.

As per the Pakistan Health Department, 3,876 people have been tested positive in the last 24 hours in the country “the highest number of daily infections since early July”, taking the total number of infections in the country past 620,000. There were also 42 more deaths, taking the total to 13,799.

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