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US revokes visas for 1,000 Chinese students

Nearly 370,000 students from China were enrolled at US universities in 2018-19

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Chinese Students in US

The United States has revoked visas of more than 1,000 Chinese students and researchers under an order by President Donald Trump that accused some of them of espionage, the State Department said on Wednesday.

Trump, in a May 29 proclamation as tensions rose with Beijing on multiple fronts, declared that some Chinese nationals officially in the United States for study have stolen intellectual property and helped modernize China’s military.

The State Department, offering its first figures on the effects of Trump’s order, said that more than 1,000 visas have been revoked since it began implementing the proclamation on June 1.

“The high-risk graduate students and research scholars made ineligible under this proclamation represent a small subset of the total number of Chinese students and scholars coming to the United States,” a State Department spokeswoman said.

“We continue to welcome legitimate students and scholars from China who do not further the Chinese Communist Party’s goals of military dominance,” she said.

The State Department declined to give details on whose visas have been revoked, citing privacy laws.

Nearly 370,000 students from China were enrolled at US universities in 2018-19, the most of any country, offering a lucrative source of income to institutions that are now facing growing pressure from the coronavirus pandemic.

Some Asian American activists have warned that Trump’s orders are creating a climate of suspicion on campuses, with students of Asian descent facing unfounded questions about their intentions.

But US officials say the number of espionage cases involving China has soared in recent years as part of a concerted effort by Beijing.

US officials accuse China of seeking to steal university research into Covid-19, a reason cited for the Trump administration’s closing China’s consulate in Houston in June.

Disaster

Earthquake – Magnitude 4.8 in Pakistan

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Earthquake Strong

An earthquake of magnitude 4.8 on the Richter scale occurred at 4:14 am today in Pakistan: National Center for Seismology

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Pakistani PM Imran Khan writes to Facebook CEO seeking ban on Islamophobic content

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Imran Khan Pakistan PM

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s prime minister has written a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seeking a ban on Islamophobic content on the site, warning of an increase in radicalisisation amongst Muslims, the government said on Sunday.

In the letter, shared by the Pakistani government on Twitter, Imran Khan said that “growing Islamophobia” is encouraging extremism and violence across the world — especially through social media platforms such as Facebook.

“I would ask you to place a similar ban on Islamophobia and hate against Islam for Facebook that you have put in place for the Holocaust,” Khan said.

Facebook said this month it was updating its hate speech policy to ban any content that denied or distorted the Holocaust.

Facebook did not immediately reply to Reuters’ request for comment on Khan’s letter.

“One cannot send a message that while hate messages against some are unacceptable, these are acceptable against others,” Khan said, adding that this was “reflective of prejudice and bias that will encourage further radicalisation”.

Khan in his letter made reference to the situation in France, where, he said, Islam was being associated with terrorism.

Earlier on Sunday, Khan said that French President Emmanuel Macron had “attacked Islam” by encouraging the display of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad.

Khan’s comments came after Macron paid tribute to a French history teacher beheaded by an Islamist radical who wanted to avenge the use of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad in a class on freedom of expression.

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Election

Putin rejects Donald Trump’s criticism of Biden family business

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Joe Biden Family

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that he saw nothing criminal in Hunter Biden’s past business ties with Ukraine or Russia, marking out his disagreement with one of Donald Trump’s attack lines in the U.S. presidential election.

Putin was responding to comments made by Trump during televised debates with Democratic challenger Joe Biden ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

Trump, who is trailing in opinion polls, has used the debates to make accusations that Biden and his son Hunter engaged in unethical practices in Ukraine. No evidence has been verified to support the allegations, and Joe Biden has called them false and discredited.

Putin, who has praised Trump in the past for saying he wanted better ties with Moscow, has said Russia will work with any U.S. leader, while noting what he called Joe Biden’s “sharp anti-Russian rhetoric”.

Putin appeared less friendly towards Trump in remarks broadcast by Russian state TV on Sunday. In what may be seen by some analysts as an attempt to try to curry favour with the Biden camp, he took the time to knock down what he made clear he regarded as false allegations from Trump about the Bidens.

“Yes, in Ukraine he (Hunter Biden) had or maybe still has a business, I don’t know. It doesn’t concern us. It concerns the Americans and the Ukrainians,” said Putin.

“But well yes he had at least one company, which he practically headed up, and judging from everything he made good money. I don’t see anything criminal about this, at least we don’t know anything about this (being criminal).”

Putin also reacted with visible irritation when asked about comments Trump has made concerning Putin’s ties to the former mayor of Moscow, and to an alleged payment made to Hunter Biden by the ex-mayor’s widow. Putin said he knew nothing about the existence of any commercial relationship between Hunter and the woman. Joe Biden says the accusation about his son is not true.

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia tried to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to tilt the contest in Trump’s favour, an allegation Moscow has denied.

Russia has also dismissed accusations by U.S. intelligence agencies of trying to interfere with this year’s election too.

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