China air force circles Taiwan in latest military drill

The air force said its H-6K bombers, similar to above, had conducted numerous drills circling Taiwan since April 18 “to improve its ability to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.” (Reuters)
Updated 26 April 2018
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China air force circles Taiwan in latest military drill

BEIJING: Chinese aircraft flew around self-ruled Taiwan on Thursday, China’s air force said, the latest in a series of exercises Taiwan has described as military intimidation.
Taiwan, claimed by Beijing as Chinese territory, is one of China’s most sensitive issues and a potential military flashpoint.
Over the past year or so, China has ramped up military drills around democratic Taiwan, including flying bombers and other military aircraft around the island.
The Chinese air force said in a statement it scrambled fighter jets, early warning aircraft, reconnaissance planes and H-6K bombers from multiple airports for “combat military drills” on Thursday.
The air force said its H-6K bombers had conducted numerous drills circling Taiwan since April 18 “to improve its ability to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said it sent planes and ships to monitor the activity and ensure its maritime and airspace security, and there were no “abnormal situations.”
China’s hostility toward the island has grown since the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.
China has been issuing increasingly strident calls for Taiwan to toe the line, even as Tsai has pledged to maintain the status quo and keep the peace.
On Wednesday, Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said drills near Taiwan were designed to send a clear message to the island, and China would take further steps if Taiwan independence forces persisted in doing as they pleased.
Last week, China conducted live-fire drills along its southeast coast and its air force said it flew H-6K bombers around Taiwan, prompting Taiwan to say China’s exercises amounted to military intimidation.


Business booms ahead of Afghan election

Campaign poster of the parliamentary candidate Fida Mohammad Olfat Saleh, is displayed over the shops during the elections campaign for the upcoming election in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. (AP)
Updated 17 October 2018
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Business booms ahead of Afghan election

  • Millions of dollars have been spent by some candidates during their month-long campaign, according to unofficial estimates

KABUL: If you want to hold a family function such as a birthday or wedding ceremony in Kabul’s posh hotels, you need to be patient and revise your schedule as they are usually booked up several weeks in advance.
The smell of food is often strong as you walk into these hotels, as thousands of kilograms of rice, meat, chicken and fruit are served daily.
The campaign for the Oct. 20 election has created a short-term boom for certain types of businesses in Kabul and other major cities. Many of the capital’s famous barbers and beauty salons have been working overtime in recent weeks and earning far more money than they normally do. So too have the media and advertising firms.
Millions of dollars have been spent by some candidates during their month-long campaign, according to unofficial estimates. Some even pay would-be voters and give them free food, but others cannot afford to do so. Candidate and former minister Ramazan Bashardost does not feed or pay people to vote. On the contrary, he sells his business cards to would-be voters to cover fuel money for his vehicle.
He urges them, “with a relaxed conscience,” to take food and cash from rich candidates, but to vote for those who have not enriched themselves via corruption.