France: We will not ratify extradition treaty with Hong Kong

Above, customers browse in a bookstore in Hong Kong that stocks books with sensitive political titles that could potentially contravene the new national security law. (AFP)
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Updated 04 August 2020

France: We will not ratify extradition treaty with Hong Kong

  • ‘In view of the latest developments, France will not proceed as it stands with the ratification of the extradition agreement’

PARIS: France said on Monday it would not ratify a 2017 extradition treaty with Hong Kong after China introduced a controversial national security law for the global financial hub.
“In view of the latest developments, France will not proceed as it stands with the ratification of the extradition agreement signed on May 4, 2017 between France and the Hong Kong Special Administrative region,” a French Foreign Ministry statement said.
It said the national security law for Hong Kong was “a change that compromises the inherited framework of the 1997 handover” to China from British rule, and also challenged the “one country, two systems” principle, respect for Hong Kong’s “high degree of autonomy” and “related fundamental freedoms.”
China rejected France’s interpretation.
“Not only does the national security law for Hong Kong follow the principle of ‘one country, two systems’, it furthers ensure this principle can be sustained in a stable manner,” Wang Wenbin, a foreign ministry spokesman, told a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday.
New Zealand, Canada, Britain, Australia and Germany have already suspended extradition treaties with Hong Kong since the security law was introduced in June.


UK science advisers warn public on COVID-19 rates

Updated 47 min 32 sec ago

UK science advisers warn public on COVID-19 rates

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson huddled with ministers over the weekend to discuss how the government will respond to the recent rise in cases
  • The UK reported a seven-day average of 21 deaths a day last week

LONDON: Britain’s top medical adviser says the country has, in a “very bad sense,” turned a corner on COVID-19 infection rates, with figures suggesting there will be an exponential growth in the disease unless action is taken.
Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty told the public on Monday that rates are going in the “wrong direction” amid expectations the government is preparing to announce new measures to control the pandemic.
“We have in a very bad sense, literally turned a corner,” after weeks of increasing infection rates.
Whitty said that if nothing is done, new infections will rise to 49,000 a day by mid-October. Hospitalizations are also doubling in seven to eight days — leading to more deaths.
There was also no indication that the virus had lessened in severity, he said. “We see no evidence that this is true.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson huddled with ministers over the weekend to discuss how the government will respond to the recent rise in cases, which has pushed infection rates to levels last seen in May. Later this week the government is expected to announce a slate of short-term restrictions that will act as a “circuit breaker” to slow the spread of the disease.
The government is hoping to keep that number from climbing back to the peak levels of early April, when more than 5,000 cases a day were being reported.
While death rates have remained relatively low so far, public health officials warn that deaths are likely to rise in coming weeks.
The UK reported a seven-day average of 21 deaths a day last week, compared with a peak of 942 on April 10.
The government last week imposed tighter restrictions on communities in northeastern England, where the infection rate first began to rise. Bars and restaurants in those areas must now close between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and people are prohibited from socializing with individuals from other households.
The rise in infection rates comes as lawmakers across the political spectrum criticize the government’s testing program. While government ministers tout the record numbers of tests being performed, there are widespread reports of people having to travel hundreds of miles for tests and tests being voided because it is taking labs too long to process them.
An effective testing program is seen as essential to controlling the pandemic because it allows the government to track infections and inform people when they should self-isolate.