While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, May 16

Mnuchin to visit China soon as trade war clouds global economy

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday (May 15) he will likely travel to China soon to continue talks as Washington and Beijing seek to resolve a trade war that has cast a pall over the global economy and financial markets.

Mnuchin did not elaborate on the timing of future negotiations, but characterised two days of high-level talks with Chinese officials in Washington last week as constructive.

“My expectation is that we will go to Beijing at some point in the near future to continue those discussions,” he said in a US Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing. “We’re continuing discussions. There’s still a lot of work to do.”
Mnuchin’s remarks dovetailed with a cooling of the Trump administration’s rhetoric toward China after another round of tit-for-tat tariffs between the world’s two largest economies and a selloff on global stock markets.

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Tech giants vow ‘transparent’ measures to prevent online extremism

Major technology firms pledged Wednesday to cooperate on “transparent, specific measures” to prevent the posting of violent extremist content online, part of a “Christchurch Call” launched in the wake of the massacre at two New Zealand mosques in March in which 51 people died.


The call was initiated by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (left) and French leader Emmanuel Macron (centre) to avoid a repeat of the Christchurch killings, which were broadcast live by the gunman on Facebook for 17 minutes. PHOTO: AFP

“The dissemination of such content online has adverse impacts on the human rights of the victims, on our collective security and on people all over the world,” said the companies, including Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Facebook, at a meeting with world leaders in Paris.

The call was initiated by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French leader Emmanuel Macron to avoid a repeat of the Christchurch killings, which were broadcast live by the gunman on Facebook for 17 minutes.

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Teen suspects in Colorado school shooting formally charged; case sealed


Devon Erickson, 18, (pictured) and Alec McKinney, 16, are accused of opening fire on fellow students in two classrooms at the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math charter school in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, on May 7, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

Two teenagers accused of fatally shooting a classmate and wounding eight others at a Denver-area high school last week were formally charged on Wednesday (May 15) in a case that the presiding judge has put under seal.

Devon Erickson, 18, and Alec McKinney, 16, are accused of opening fire on fellow students in two classrooms at the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (Stem) charter school in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, on May 7. McKinney, who identifies as male, was listed on the court docket as Maya Elizabeth McKinney.

Douglas County District Judge Theresa Slade has put the charges along with the entire case file under seal, banning the public from seeing it. But during Wednesday’s hearing in open court, it was disclosed that McKinney has been charged with first-degree murder and is being tried as an adult.

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More Singaporeans cleaning up, but hawker centres are still the dirtiest places: Survey


Despite patrons becoming more diligent about bussing their own tables, however, only 71.4 per cent of respondents were satisfied with the cleanliness of hawker centres. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

People are getting better at returning their utensils at hawker centres, but though more are doing their bit, the cleanliness of these public food spaces still leaves much to be desired.

The second Public Cleanliness Satisfaction Survey (PCSS) conducted last year (2018) found that 48.7 per cent of Singaporeans cleared their tableware at hawker centres most or all of the time.

In the first survey, conducted in 2017, just 35 per cent per cent said they did so.

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China blocks all language editions of Wikipedia


Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organisation that operates Wikipedia, said it had not received any notices explaining the latest block. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Beijing has broadened its block of online encyclopedia Wikipedia to include all language editions, an internet censorship research group reported just weeks ahead of China’s most politically explosive anniversary.

According to a report by the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), China started blocking all language editions of Wikipedia last month.

Previously, most editions of Wikipedia – besides the Chinese language version, which was reportedly blocked in 2015 – were available, OONI said in their report.

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