22 May 2020 04:37

China is set to impose new national security legislation on Hong Kong, a Chinese official said on Thursday.


Egypt will deduct 1.0 per cent from people's salaries for 12 months beginning on July 1 to offset the economic repercussions of the coronavirus, according to a draft law approved by the cabinet. The tax will be imposed across all sectors of the economy in both the public and private sectors for net monthly salaries exceeding 2000 Egyptian pounds ($A193), the cabinet said in a statement. The measure comes as Egypt tries to deal with the economic impact of the pandemic, which has brought tourism to a standstill, triggered major capital flight and threatened remittances from Egyptians working overseas. Revenues from the salary tax will be used to support organisations and workers hit by the fallout from the virus, as well as for direct support to some citizens and funding for the medical sector, the cabinet said. TOKYO (Reuters) - Hong Kong shares tumbled on Friday after Beijing moved to impose a new security law on the city after last year's pro-democracy unrest, risking fresh protests and further straining fast-deteriorating U.S.-China ties.


Hong Kong's Hang Seng index.HSI fell 3.7% to a seven-week low, helping to pull down MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan 1.2%. China is set to impose new national security legislation on Hong Kong, a Chinese official said on Thursday. Earlier this month, the U.S. State Department delayed a report to Congress assessing whether Hong Kong enjoys sufficient autonomy from China to continue receiving special treatment from the United States. "The report could be submitted next month and there is risk the U.S-China confrontations will intensify towards that," said Ei Kaku, senior currency strategist at Nomura Securities. U.S. stock futures ESc1 erased early gains to stand flat though they were up 3.3% so far on the week, supported by hopes of economic reopening in many parts of the world as coronavirus lockdowns are relaxed.

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Markets were little fazed by China's announcement that it would not set an economic growth target this year for the first time in decades and its pledge of more government support for the virus-hit economy at the start of the annual parliament meetingm, which had been widely expected. "The absence of a GDP growth target for this year confirms that, as we expected, policymakers accept that, after the plunge in Q1, economic growth will be low for 2020 as a whole even with a significant sequential recovery in Q2-Q4," Oxford Economics said in a note to clients. Oil prices eased slightly but were headed for a fourth straight week of gains, on more evidence that fuel demand is recovering as countries ease business and social restrictions that were imposed to counter the coronavirus pandemic. BEIJING (AP) — Thousands of delegates from across China are in Beijing for this year's annual session of the country's rubber-stamp legislature and its advisory body, meetings delayed by more than two months because of the coronavirus outbreak. Top leaders including President and party head Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang preside at the congress, with Li delivering a lengthy speech summarizing the past year's achievements and laying out priorities for the coming 12 months.


As in past years, economic growth is a key focus, with expectations for this year lowered considerably as a result of months of virus-related lockdowns and work stoppages. The session, known as the "two meetings," usually runs for about two weeks but will be cut in half this year due to concerns over a possible second wave of virus infections. Still, the session will include reports, speeches and media events, starting with Li's Report on the Work of the Government, a sort of state of the nation address, that kicks off the session on Friday. Reports will also be issued on the work of the Supreme People's Court and the state prosecutor, the budget and the latest plan for economic and social development. They are joined by 2,057 members of the legislative advisory body, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, which meets concurrently but has little bearing on events and no power of enforcement.

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CPPCC delegates are made up of retired government officials and representatives of social and professional groups, including farmers, workers and professionals in the sciences, technology, business, finance, education, agriculture, entertainment and even sports. Most legislation is deliberated and passed by the NPC's Standing Committee that meets bimonthly between the annual sessions. However, major laws have been passed by the whole body at its annual session, including a 2018 law in aid of Xi's signature anti-graft campaign and a 2005 anti-secession law that defined the conditions under which China would attack Taiwan, the self-governing island democracy it claims as Chinese territory to be recovered by force if necessary. On Thursday night, NPC spokesperson Zhang Yesui said the congress will consider a bill that could limit opposition activity in Hong Kong, appearing to confirm speculation that China will sidestep the semi-autonomous territory's own lawmaking body in enacting legislation to crack down on activity Beijing considers subversive. Zhang said the bill aimed at "establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to safeguard national security." Such a move has long been under consideration but was hastened by months of anti-government protests last year in the former British colony that was handed over to Chinese rule in 1997.

At Thursday's opening session of the CPPCC, rank-and-file members wore masks but sat in rows as usual with little space between them. Now, that said, there is some pretty impressive science in play here because according to Forbes scientists have "found evidence of fundamental particles that defy our current understanding of physics."