While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Oct 9

US imposes visa restrictions on Chinese officials over Muslim treatment

The Trump administration is slapping visa bans on Chinese officials linked to the mass detention of Muslims in Xinjiang province, the latest in an escalating series of US steps to pressure China over what Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has called “the stain of the century.”

Pompeo is imposing the restrictions on government leaders and Communist Party officials who are found responsible for or complicit in the detention and abuse of Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other minority Muslim groups in Xinjiang, according to the State Department. 

US stocks fell and Chinese companies that trade in New York sank to the lowest since mid-August on the news. 

The move comes at a sensitive time in US-China relations, with a trade delegation from Beijing due in Washington for talks this week.


People’s Daily criticises Apple for app use by Hong Kong protesters

The Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper, the People’s Daily, lashed out on Tuesday at Apple Inc for allowing an app on its app store that tracks the movement of police around Hong Kong and is used by protesters in ongoing and sometimes violent demonstrations.

In a commentary the newspaper did not mention the name of the location app, but it decried what it said was Apple’s complicity in helping the protesters and questioned whether Apple was “thinking clearly”.

One such map that is available on the Apple app store, the HKmap.live app, has become a lightning rod on Twitter for criticism and support of the protests.


Russian propaganda increased after 2016 US election

The Senate committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 US election said on Tuesday that the Kremlin’s best-known propaganda arm increased its activity after that vote, adding to concerns about foreign meddling in the current 2020 campaign.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, which has managed to operate under bipartisan consensus when other congressional panels have not, said in a report that activity by the St Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) “increased, rather than decreased, after Election Day 2016.”

IRA-linked account activity jumped more than 200% on Instagram and more than 50% on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the committee said.


Kelantan Sultan’s ex-wife claims she pawned wedding ring to pay medical bills

Russian beauty queen Oksana Voevodina has claimed in an interview with the British Daily Mail news website that she had to pawn her wedding ring to pay for her medical bills after former husband Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan left her when she was pregnant.

Voevodina, who also goes by the name Rihana Oksana Petra, said she ended up selling the Jacob Arabo ring worth £203,000 (S$342,583) for three times less than its value because she desperately needed the money towards the end of her difficult pregnancy.

The former Miss Moscow said she had pawned the ring just before the birth of her son, Ismail Leon, as she had borrowed money in order to pay for her Swiss hospital costs for two months. The baby was born on May 21.


Gymnastics: Simone Biles wins 15th world title as US claim team gold

US gymnastics star Simone Biles clinched a record-extending 15th world championship gold medal on Tuesday as the Americans won the women’s team title in Stuttgart.

Biles, 22, collected her 21st medal at the championships to become the most decorated women’s gymnast, taking her one clear of Russia’s Svetlana Khorkina.

She also moved to within two medals of the all-time record held by Vitaly Scherbo of Belarus, a men’s gymnastics star in the 1990s.


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