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Gun shop that sold alleged Florida school shooter his rifle ‘closes indefinitely’ over


The gun store that police say sold Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz the AR-15 assault weapon that was used to kill 17 people last week has “closed indefinitely.”

Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz appears in court as his lawyers try to seal documents


Alleged Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz, who is accused of murdering 17 people at a Parkland high school on Wednesday, appeared in court on Monday for a procedural hearing.

Trump motorcade driver detained after Secret Service find out he’s got a gun


The driver of a van carrying journalists covering President Donald Trump was detained on Monday after Secret Service officials found a gun in his bag during a security sweep before the vehicle was to drive onto the president’s Florida…

‘Sheer evil’ UK soccer coach sentenced to 31 years after abusing 12 children


A predatory English youth soccer coach who abused 12 youths was branded a “monster” by one of his victims as he was sentenced to 31 years on Monday – and it’s claimed he may have abused 86 more.

Top Stories in last day


Trump supports improved background checks for gun purchases after Florida school shooting


US President Donald Trump supports efforts to improve federal background checks for gun purchases, two days after a shooting at a Florida school killed 17 people, the White House said on Monday.

Maldives court suspends opposition MPS as president seeks to extend state of emergency


The Maldives’ top court has suspended 12 pro-opposition legislators, emboldening President Abdulla Yameen, who on Monday sought to extend a state of emergency by a month.


Rodrigo Duterte says Chinese military island bases are there to oppose US, not Philippines


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte tried to allay fears over China’s construction of military bases on man-made islands in the South China Sea, saying they are a defence against the US, not made to attack Asian states.

Glastonbury festival banning plastic bottles in 2019


Glastonbury festival is to implement a site-wide ban on plastic bottles when it returns in 2019. “It’s an enormous project; it’s taking a lot of time to tackle with all the different people we work with,” organiser Emily Eavis told BBC 6…


China’s rising challenge to US raises risk of South China Sea conflict, Philippines warns


The risk of “miscalculation” and armed conflict in the South China Sea is rising as China starts to challenge US dominance in the disputed waters, according to the Philippines’ envoy to Beijing.


Turkey ready to battle Syrian army if it backs the Kurds


The Syrian military said it was prepared to move in to the northern enclave of Afrin to support Kurdish forces who have been the target of a Turkish incursion.


China and Vatican close to a deal on appointment of Catholic bishops, report says


Beijing and the Vatican are close to reaching an agreement on the appointment of bishops in mainland China, a move that could end decades of hostilities between pro-government and underground Catholic groups.

What happened to the Hong Kong spirit? Don’t ask our mistreated domestic helpers


Kung hei fat choi and welcome to the Year of the Dog. The Lunar New Year is considered to be the most important festival in Chinese culture, as it is all about family unity as relatives from around the globe gather together to usher in the…

Hong Kong tourist who died in Philippine snorkelling accident also frequented city’s outlying islands


The Hong Kong tourist who died last Saturday in a snorkelling accident in the Philippines was an avid traveller and photographer who frequented outlying islands with his wife.


Troops drink cobra blood in US-Thailand war games


US and Thai marines slurped snake blood and ate scorpions in a jungle survival programme on Monday as part of the two nations’ annual Cobra Gold war games.

Chinese people turn to food delivery app for Lunar New Year banquets


One of mainland China’s leading food delivery apps said it received more orders from people in Xian, capital of northwestern Shaanxi province, over the Lunar New Year holiday than from any other city, according to a local news website.

Nepal leader vows to revive Chinese dam project, open to review pact over Nepalese soldiers in India


Nepal’s new communist prime minister will restart a Chinese-led US$2.5 billion hydropower project that was pulled by the previous government considered friendly towards India, and wants to increase infrastructure connectivity with Beijing…

Donald Trump blasts ‘insecure’ Oprah Winfrey over 60 Minutes episode, hopes she runs for president


US President Donald Trump blasted media mogul Oprah Winfrey on Twitter on Sunday night over a segment on CBS’s 60 Minutes and again said he hoped she would face him as an opponent in the 2020 presidential race.


Hong Kong government urged to allocate extra HK$7 billion for mental health services


Hong Kong’s finance chief has been urged to allocate an extra HK$7 billion for mental health support services in his next budget as patient groups slammed the current levels of spending for lagging behind most developed countries.


Cash handouts or infrastructure? Hong Kong politicians disagree on how next budget can help elderly


Hong Kong lawmakers across the political spectrum have urged the government to spend its massive surplus wisely in its upcoming budget blueprint by investing heavily in medical and elderly care infrastructure, which they say has failed the…


After Russian meddling, Facebook will verify adverts with postcards ahead of US midterm elections


Facebook will soon rely on centuries-old technology to try to prevent foreign meddling in US elections: the post office.

Sunday, Feb 18

Buses back on route of deadly Hong Kong crash but sense of unease lingers


Hong Kong racing fans boarded buses from Sha Tin Racecourse to Tai Po Central on Sunday for the first time since a crash on route 872 more than a week ago left 19 passengers dead and 66 injured.

Boy, 2, in intensive care as public hospitals swamped once more by Hong Kong flu crisis


Another young child in Hong Kong has required intensive care in hospital after suffering serious complications from flu as the city continues to be hit by a severe influenza outbreak.

China rolls out three-year plan to tackle poverty in Xinjiang


China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang is planning a poverty relief scheme targeting its 22 poorest counties, state-run Xinhua reported on Sunday.

More Chinese restaurants are going vegetarian, but not many make money


Guangxi cotton recycler Pan Jing decided to open a second business last year: a vegetarian buffet restaurant offering a selection of about 80 dishes.

Saturday, Feb 17

Russia says US election meddling claims are just ‘blather’ until Washington produces evidence


Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Saturday dismissed as “blather” accusations that Moscow interfered in the US election that brought President Donald Trump to power.

India cancels passport of jeweller to the stars Nirav Modi over massive bank scam


Indian investigators have arrested three people who allegedly helped a billionaire jeweller obtain fake documents for overseas loans in one of the country’s biggest bank scams, an official said on Saturday.

US urges Malaysia to protect minority Muslims wanted by China

www.scmp.com also on South China Morning Post

The United States urged Malaysia on Friday to offer temporary protection to 11 Uygur Muslims whose extradition is being sought by China.

If you don’t like it here, get out: why Hong Kong’s downtrodden domestic helpers can never win


“If you don’t like it here, you can always leave, go back to where you came from,” is a regular refrain in Hong Kong to discourage the less fortunate among us from speaking out about their plight.

Friday, Feb 16

Rape case against French budget minister Gerald Darmanin dropped

www.scmp.com also on South China Morning Post

An investigation into claims that Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin raped a former call girl in 2009 has been dropped, French prosecutors said on Friday.

US-South Korea military drills to go on despite Pyongyang’s charm offensive: former CIA officer


South Korean government officials have offered assurances that their joint military exercises with the US, which were pre-empted by the Winter Olympic Games, will proceed despite North Korea’s recent efforts to rebuild ties with Seoul by…

Hongkongers enjoy warmest first day of Lunar New Year in 11 years

www.scmp.com also on South China Morning Post

Hongkongers can expect to enjoy a balmy Lunar New Year holiday, after temperatures on Friday soared to 24.8 degrees Celsius – the hottest first day of the annual Chinese holiday in 11 years.

6.5 million Chinese tourists to travel abroad this Lunar New Year

www.scmp.com also on South China Morning Post

Chinese people are breaking with tradition as celebrations get under way this Lunar New Year. Family reunions are increasingly being replaced by outings and trips to scenic spots, or places of interest in neighbouring provinces.

Thursday, Feb 15

Hong Kong Canto-pop star Denise Ho barred from playing in Malaysia ‘because of her support for LGBT people’


Hong Kong Canto-pop star and pro-democracy activist Denise Ho Wan-sze has been barred from holding a concert in Malaysia in April, she announced on Thursday, saying officials pulled the plug due to her support for the LGBT community.

Chinese President Xi Jinping urges Hong Kong’s youth to read, travel and learn about the country


Hong Kong youngsters should “read thousands of books”, travel more and try to deepen their understanding of history and national affairs, President Xi Jinping said in response to a Lunar New Year greeting from members of a police youth…

Why are Hong Kong bureaucrats such misers when it comes to spending on needed services?


The massive projected [budget] surplus, at least seven times the original estimate of HK$16.3 billion for 2017/18, has reignited criticism of officials’ calculations ... - SCMP, February 12

Hong Kong’s equality watchdog head slammed for cronyism and poor governance


Lawmakers on Wednesday accused the head of Hong Kong’s equality watchdog of cronyism and poor governance as they questioned its decision to hire a former official with no experience in legal and anti-discrimination work to lead a review of…

Wednesday, Feb 14

Bomb that closed London City Airport is detonated at sea

www.scmp.com also on South China Morning Post

The unexploded Nazi bomb that closed London City Airport for more than 24 hours this week after being found during construction work was detonated by the Royal Navy after being towed out to sea.

Warning over safety of cane umbrellas in Hong Kong


Hongkongers using handy cane umbrellas to get about town were warned on Wednesday of a “worrying” litany of safety failures, which could mean they fall and hurt themselves while using one.

Going up! Prices for Hong Kong’s famous Peak Tram to increase for second time in less than two years


Fares for the Peak Tram will be increased from the beginning of next month, with riders having to pay about 16 per cent more per trip.

Judge quashes domestic helper’s bid for change to ‘live-in’ rule in Hong Kong


A domestic helper on Wednesday lost Hong Kong’s first judicial review of the government requirement that she and 370,000 workers like her must live with their employers.