LATEST NEWS

China on Saturday issued a red alert, the most severe warning in its four-tier weather warning system, for high temperatures across the country due to an ongoing heatwave.

Parts of Shaanxi, Sichuan, Chongqing, Henan, Hubei, Shandong, Anhui, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guizhou, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia are expected to experience high temperatures of 35 to 39 degrees Celsius, Xinhua news agency quoted the National Meteorological Centre as saying.

Temperatures in parts of Shaanxi, Sichuan, Chongqing, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Anhui, Jiangsu, Shanghai and Zhejiang may surpass 40 or even 42 degrees Celsius, the Centre said.

It advised local authorities to take emergency measures against the heatwave, suspend outdoor work that is exposed to high temperatures, pay close attention to fire prevention measures, and take particular care of vulnerable groups.

China has a four-tier, colour-coded weather warning system, with red representing the most severe warning, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

LATEST NEWS

The Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) zero-Covid measures are forcing large numbers of private manufacturers to close in the Pearl River delta region.

Last month, Cooper Electronics, based in Guangdong's manufacturing hub of Dongguan, announced it would close this month, RFA reported.

Hong Kong-owned toymaker Dongguan Kaishan Toys has announced it will follow suit, while Dongguan Jingli Plastics and Electronics will suspend production on August 31 after laying off all of its staff, according to ChinaToysNet.

Other private businesses have told RFA they plan to furlough all staff for six months after a massive slump in new orders made it impossible for them to meet their payroll bill.

The moves come as foreign-invested manufacturers are increasingly relocating to Vietnam, Cambodia and other Southeast Asian countries, as costs continue to skyrocket in China, RFA reported.

Financial commentator Cai Shengkun said the hollowing out of Dongguan as a manufacturing base has been a long time coming.

"Dongguan used to be China's manufacturing base, and in its heyday was the production base for products sold by the world's largest companies," Cai said. "During its heyday, Dongguan maintained high GDP growth for over a 20-year period ... and accumulated enormous wealth."

"But now with the relocation of some industries and the continuous migration of foreign capital, there are not many high-end factories in Dongguan left," he said.

Cai said President Xi Jinping's insistence on a zero-Covid approach, meaning individuals and entire cities can be placed under lockdown at a moment's notice, with mandatory quarantine and testing for all, have also struck a major blow, RFA reported.

"Rising shipping costs and the impact of the pandemic have meant that (these) industries are no longer profitable," he said.

"With shipping costs getting higher and higher, these products will no longer have any export advantage."

LATEST NEWS

The Australian government has decided to establish a national plan to stamp out coercive control.

Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus on Friday met with his counterparts from Australia's states and territories and New Zealand to discuss strengthening the criminal justice response to sexual assault.

In a statement on Saturday, Dreyfus said the meeting endorsed a draft proposal for national principles to address coercive control.

Coercive control is a form of domestic abuse designed to create power or dominance over a person.

"These principles -- the first of their kind -- represent a significant step toward a shared national understanding of coercive control," Dreyfus said.

This shared understanding is vital for greater community awareness and will be an important tool in improving the safety of women and children, he said.

Friday's meeting came after 2021 Australian of the Year Grace Tame urged governments to improve the experiences of sexual abuse victim-survivors in the criminal justice system, and harmonize and better define laws around sexual assault.

It also endorsed a five-year plan to toughen the justice response to abuse.

"The Attorney-General's Department and the Australian Institute of Criminology will review the definitions of consent, as well as broader definitions relating to sexual assault and child sexual abuse," Dreyfus said.

"This will include legislation with respect to consent and stealthing, which has been the subject of recent calls for reform from advocates."

LATEST NEWS

Water levels of the Rhine river in Germany continued to dwindle, as authorities reported a drop of about 6 cm over the past 24 hours on Saturday.

According to the GDWS, a body responsible for waterways and shipping, the water level at Kaub in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, an important marker for shipping, now stands at 36 cm, with the authority predicting that it could fall to 30 cm by August 15, reports dpa news agency.

Freight and passenger ships have been struggling with low water levels in the Rhine for several weeks.

According to the GDWS, the water level at Kaub stood at 42 cm on Friday, about 5 cm lower than at the same time the previous day.

Authorities recently stated that shallow water barges could still navigate the river with water levels at Kaub of about 30 to 35 cm.

A GDWS official told the FAZ newspaper on Friday that navigability by ships carrying goods was unlikely to be affected by the drop.

He said that persistent extreme dryness could "theoretically" affect navigability.

"But I don't think it is likely," the official added.

Ships may have to carry considerably less cargo when the water level is low, meaning that it will become difficult to transport coal and oil on the Rhine.

"A lot will have to be transported by road and rail," he said.

LATEST NEWS

 Taiwan on Saturday condemned China for sanctioning Lithuania's Deputy Minister of Transport, Agne Vaiciukeviciute over a Taipei visit, saying such a "bullying action" is groundless.

Vaiciukeviciute arrived in Taipei on August 7 for a five-day visit to promote future cooperation, reports dpa news agency.

Beijing said on Friday that Vaiciukeviciute had undermined China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Taiwan has had an independent government since 1949, but China considers the self-governing democratic island part of its territory.

Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said that Beijing's announcement from Friday exposes China's bullying actions which disregard the rules-based international order.

The Ministry said the Chinese government's retaliation over Vaiciukeviciute was "groundless" and defied normal exchanges conducted by sovereign states.

Lithuania's Ministry of Transport and Communications expressed its regret late Friday over China's sanctioning of Vaiciukeviciute "to suspend relations with Lithuania in the field of international road transport".

On Thursday, before wrapping up her visit, Vaiciukeviciute said her delegation had met representatives from Taiwan's transportation agencies and leading electric bus manufacturers to pave the way for future collaboration in the field of electric buses and green transportation technologies.

"Lithuania chooses to cooperate with countries willing to cooperate with us," Vaiciukeviciute told a news conference in Taipei, stressing that the trip was planned for months.

In response to media questions about China's increasing pressure on Taiwan both militarily and economically after a 19-hour visit to Taipei by Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi on August 3, Vaiciukeviciute stressed her country "supported the G7 statement which was announced last week".

The G7 statement called on China "not to unilaterally change the status quo by force in the region" while reaffirming a "shared and steadfast commitment to maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait".

Beijing had also imposed unspecified sanctions on Pelosi "and her immediate family members" over her visit.

Tensions have also arisen between Lithuania and China in recent months.

Beijing downgraded its diplomatic relations with the Baltic EU state after it allowed Taiwan to open a representative office in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius under its own name rather than under a formula demanded by Beijing, such as Chinese Taipei or simply Taipei.

MOVIE TRAILERS