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EU blames China for endangering peace in South China Sea

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By Yew Lun Tian

BEIJING (Reuters) – The European Union called out China on Saturday for endangering peace in the South China Sea and urged all parties to abide by a 2016 tribunal ruling which rejected most of China’s claim to sovereignty in the sea, but which Beijing has rejected.

The EU last week released a new policy aimed at stepping up its influence in the Indo-Pacific region to counter China’s rising power.

The Philippines on Friday protested to China over its failure to withdraw what it called as “threatening” boats believed to be manned by maritime militia around the disputed Whitsun Reef, which Manila calls the Julian Felipe Reef.

“Tensions in the South China Sea, including the recent presence of large Chinese vessels at Whitsun Reef, endanger peace and stability in the region,” a EU spokesperson said in a statement on Saturday.

EU reiterated its strong opposition to “unilateral actions that could undermine regional stability and international rules-based order”.

It urged all parties to resolve disputes peacefully in accordance with international law, and highlighted a 2016 international arbitration that had ruled in favor of the Philippines while invalidating most of China’s claims in the South China Sea.

China rejected EU’s accusation that its ships at Whitsun Reef, which China calls Niu’E Jiao, had endangered peace and security.

The Chinese Mission to the EU in a statement on Saturday reiterated that the reef is part of China’s Nansha Islands, or Spratly Islands, and that it was “reasonable and lawful” for Chinese fishing boats to operate there and shelter from the wind.

The Chinese statement also insisted that China’s sovereignty, rights and interests in the South China Sea were formed in the “long course of history and consistent with international law” and rejected the 2016 tribunal ruling as “null and void”.

“The South China Sea should not become a tool for certain countries to contain and suppress China, much less a wrestling ground for major-power rivalry,” the Chinese statement said.

China is increasingly worried that Europe and other countries are heeding U.S. President Joe Biden’s call for a “coordinated approach” towards China, which had so far materialised in the form of sanctions over its security crackdown in Hong Kong and treatment of Uyghur Muslims.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken last month said Washington “stands by its ally, the Philippines,” in the face of China’s massing maritime militia at Whitsun Reef.

 

(Reporting by Yew Lun Tian; Editing by Michael Perry)

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Centerra to fight Kyrgyzstan takeover of its gold mine

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Centerra Gold said on Sunday it has initiated binding arbitration against Kyrgyzstan government, after the parliament passed a law allowing the state to temporarily take over the country’s biggest industrial enterprise, the Kumtor gold mine operated by Centerra.

Recently, a Kyrgyzstan court also imposed $3.1 billion fine on Kumtor Gold Company (KGC), which operates the gold mine, after ruling that the firm had violated environmental laws.

The gold miner said that it intends to hold the government accountable in the arbitration for “any and all losses and damage” due to its recent actions against KGC and the Kumtor mine if no resolution is reached.

“The Government’s actions have left Centerra no choice but to exercise our legal rights, through the pursuit of arbitration and otherwise, to protect the interests of KGC, Centerra and our shareholders,” Centerra’s Chief Executive Officer Scott Perry said in a press release.

Kyrgyzstan has a long history of disputes with Centerra Gold over how to share profits from the former Soviet republic’s biggest industrial enterprise.

 

(Reporting by Maria Ponnezhath in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 162.71 million, death toll at 3,512,115

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More than 162.71 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 3,512,115​ have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: open https://tmsnrt.rs/2FThSv7 in an external browser.

Eikon users can click  for a case tracker.

The following table lists the top 50 countries by the number of reported cases. A complete list is available with the above links.

COUNTRIES AND TOTAL DEATHS CONFIRMED DEATHS PER

TERRITORIES CASES 10,000

INHABITANTS

United States 585,994 32,996,953 17.94

India 270,284 24,684,077 2

Brazil 434,715 15,586,534 20.75

France 107,616 5,877,787 16.07

Turkey 44,537 5,106,862 5.41

Russia 255,345 4,940,245 17.67

United Kingdom 127,679 4,450,777 19.21

Italy 124,156 4,159,122 20.55

Spain 79,339 3,604,799 16.95

Germany 86,110 3,595,204 10.39

Argentina 70,255 3,290,935 15.79

Colombia 80,780 3,103,333 16.27

Poland 71,664 2,854,079 18.87

Iran 76,633 2,739,875 9.37

Mexico 220,380 2,380,690 17.46

Ukraine 48,075 2,153,864 10.77

Peru 65,911 1,884,596 20.2

Indonesia 48,093 1,739,750 1.8

Czech Republic 29,901 1,652,840 28.13

South Africa 55,183 1,611,143 9.55

Netherlands 17,449 1,598,164 10.13

Canada 24,908 1,323,681 6.72

Chile 27,734 1,280,273 14.81

Philippines 19,191 1,143,963 1.8

Iraq 15,930 1,136,917 4.14

Romania 29,523 1,071,899 15.17

Sweden 14,275 1,037,126 14.03

Belgium 24,686 1,030,071 21.59

Pakistan 19,543 877,130 0.92

Portugal 17,007 842,182 16.54

Israel 6,381 839,117 7.18

Hungary 29,175 798,147 29.84

Bangladesh 12,149 780,159 0.75

Jordan 9,226 723,069 9.27

Serbia 6,681 706,458 9.57

Japan 11,537 685,502 0.91

Switzerland 10,179 679,510 11.96

Austria 10,474 637,097 11.85

United Arab Emirates 1,629 544,931 1.69

Lebanon 7,586 535,181 11.08

Morocco 9,098 514,817 2.53

Malaysia 1,902 470,110 0.6

Nepal 5,001 455,020 1.78

Saudi Arabia 7,147 432,269 2.12

Bulgaria 17,250 414,041 24.56

Ecuador 19,692 409,520 11.53

Slovakia 12,224 387,523 22.44

Greece 11,415 377,090 10.64

Belarus 2,701 376,341 2.85

Panama 6,296 370,533 15.07

Source: Reuters tally based on statements from health ministries and government officials

Generated at 22:00 GMT.

 

(Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Spotify founder Ek says his bid for Arsenal was rejected

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Spotify CEO and founder Daniel Ek said on Saturday an offer to buy Premier League Arsenal had been rejected by owner Stan Kroenke’s family.

Ek took to Twitter to issue a statement correcting “inaccurate reports” that he had not made a bid.

“This week an offer was made to both Josh Kroenke and their bankers that included fan ownership, representation at the board and a golden share for the supporters,” the Swede said. “They replied that they don’t need the money.

“I respect their decision but remain interested and available should that situation ever change.”

Ek said last month that he had secured the funds to buy Arsenal, valued at $2.8 billion according to Forbes.

British media reported Arsenal greats Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira were backing Ek’s bid.

The club’s American owners are under fire from fans following the North London team’s attempt to join a breakaway European Super League that collapsed within 48 hours of being announced.

 

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)

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