China has relaxed its family planning policy to allow couples to have three children after a census showed its population is rapidly ageing, state media reported Monday, further unwinding four decades of controls in the world’s most populous nation which have strangled the birthrate. For almost 40 years, China enforced a controversial “one-child policy” — one of the strictest family planning regulations worldwide — which was relaxed in 2016 to a “two-child policy” due to widespread concerns over an ageing workforce and economic stagnation. Despite government efforts to encourage couples to have children, China’s annual births have continued to plummet to a record low of 12 million in 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics said last month.
from Signs of the Times https://ift.tt/2RQEFyd
Russia said on Monday it would send what it described as ‘uncomfortable’ signals to the United States ahead of a summit between the two countries’ leaders next month and announced it was beefing up its western border militarily. The comments came a day after U.S. President Joe Biden said he would press Russian President Vladimir Putin to respect human rights when the two leaders meet in Geneva on June 16. Relations between the two powers are at post-Cold War lows.
from Signs of the Times https://ift.tt/2SGR3kc
An attempt by German police to disperse a crowd of young revelers in Stuttgart late on Saturday ended up in clashes that left five officers injured. Large gatherings are still banned in the city because of Covid-19. Around 600 young people gathered in downtown Stuttgart late on Saturday, according to German media. A particularly large crowd occupied the Schlossplatz square – a popular spot among the city’s youth. The revelers, who were drinking alcohol and flouting the Covid-19 restrictions on gatherings imposed in the city, soon attracted police attention. However, they did not follow the orders of law enforcement to disperse.
from Signs of the Times https://ift.tt/3fALRap
A homeless man suspected of vandalizing property and shouting racist slurs in San Francisco’s Chinatown was filmed attacking an Asian police officer as she approached to detain him. The incident happened near Portsmouth Square on Friday night, but videos of the scuffle shared online on Sunday show how the incident unfolded, as a female officer attempted to detain a heavily-built male suspect without any backup. At first, the man seems to be cooperating, but as the officer approaches and puts on her gloves, he suddenly turns around and grabs her. After struggling for several seconds, he easily pins her to the ground.
from Signs of the Times https://ift.tt/3fCmLrR
Iran and six world powers have made significant progress in talks to revive their 2015 nuclear deal but important issues still need to be resolved, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday, Iran and the powers have negotiated in Vienna since April to work out steps that Tehran and Washington must take on sanctions and nuclear activities to return to full compliance with the nuclear pact. “Each round of talks in Vienna could have been the final round. We should not rush. We have made significant progress but key issues remain,” Saeed Khatibzadeh told a televised weekly news conference.
from Signs of the Times https://ift.tt/3yZVJT9
As demands to cancel the Tokyo Olympics intensify, Japan on Friday extended a state of emergency in Tokyo and eight other prefectures until June 20 as hospitals struggle to handle a rise in COVID-sickened patients. The state of emergency had previously been slated to end on May 31, but strains on the medical system are still too intense for Japanese officials to be entirely comfortable with the current situation. Japan has seen a record number of COVID patients in critical condition in recent days, even as the number of new infections has slowed. This has prompted worries about infectious new COVID “variants” spreading in the country with the start of the Olympics just a few weeks away. Comment: Could these ‘variants’ be related to a mass vaccination campaign as they appear to be elsewhere in the world? Death rate in England is lowest since records began 20 years ago
from Signs of the Times https://ift.tt/2TxE1Gc
Suspect is shot and wounded after exchanging fire with police in the Dordogne region Police in south-west France have detained a former soldier who fled into a forest after firing on security forces in an incident that sparked a huge manhunt. The government’s most senior official in the Dordogne region, Frederic Perissat, told a press conference in Le Lardin-Saint-Lazare that the suspect was shot and wounded after exchanging fire with police, and had been taken into custody. He sustained serious injuries, said Andre Petillot, the head of the gendarme police for Nouvelle-Aquitaine, who added that no officers had been wounded.
from Signs of the Times https://ift.tt/3yKblK6
The far-right Israeli politician Naftali Bennett and opposition leader Yair Lapid have agreed to forge a coalition government that would oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from his 12 straight years in power. Bennett, a former settler leader and religious nationalist, in a televised address said: “It’s my intention to do my utmost in order to form a national unity government along with my friend Yair Lapid, so that, God willing, together we can save the country from a tailspin and return Israel to its course.” While further political negotiations are expected, the move by Bennett served a massive blow to Israel’s longest-serving leader, who is famed for his political wizardry and has survived repeated attempts to end his career. Minutes after the speech ended, a stern-looking Netanyahu went on air to rail against Bennett. “He’s committed the scam of the century,” Netanyahu said of his former ally and senior aide, accusing him of abandoning rightwing voters. He called the…
from Signs of the Times https://ift.tt/3fDLv3a
Reports that Denmark’s military intelligence agency helped the US to spy on leading European politicians, including the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, have sparked concern – and demands for an explanation – in EU capitals. Danish public broadcaster Danmarks Radio said the US National Security Agency (NSA), whose alleged tapping of Merkel’s phone was disclosed by Edward Snowden in 2013, also used the Danish Defence Intelligence Service (FE) to spy on officials in Sweden, Norway and France. The allegations are contained in an internal classified report on the FE’s role in the surveillance partnership agreement with the NSA from 2012 to 2014, the broadcaster said, citing nine unidentified sources familiar with the investigation. It said the NSA used Danish information cables to spy on senior officials including the former German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and the then opposition leader Peer Steinbrück. It was not clear whether the Danish government authorised the…
from Signs of the Times https://ift.tt/3i1cib8
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials increased the numbers of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) being released into the interior of the United States since May 1. The speed at which HHS officials transferred recently apprehended unaccompanied minor children helped the agency finally release more on average than are apprehended on any single day. According to an HHS report, the Biden administration released 10,700 unaccompanied migrant children into the U.S. this month. The number of UACs in federal custody dropped from a high of nearly 23,000 on May 1 to 18,481 on Thursday. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas deployed a volunteer workforce from multiple federal agencies to assist HHS in their effort to quickly process, transfer, and ultimately release the UACs into the United States once sponsors are located. In a statement to Congress earlier this month, Mayorkas commented on the efforts leading to the speedy releases: “The…
from Signs of the Times https://ift.tt/3wO0rBw