Asian Insider July 2: Tense calm returns to Hong Kong

Asian Insider brings you insights into a fast-changing region from our network of correspondents.

TENSE CALM RETURNS TO HK

A tense calm descended on Hong Kong early this morning, hours after police fired tear gas to disperse protesters who had stormed the Legislative Council (LegCo) building in chaotic scenes to protest against an extradition Bill in a direct challenge to Beijing

Debris such as umbrellas, hard hats and water bottles were cleared from roads, paving the way for business to return to normal.

Speaking to the media at 4am, Chief Executive Carrie Lam condemned the “extreme use of violence and vandalism”. "This is something that we should seriously condemn because nothing is more important than the rule of law in Hong Kong," she said.

China, in its strongest response yet, slammed the protesters who broke into LegCo, calling their act a “blatant challenge to the one-country-two-systems” model that governs the city.

Beijing also expressed “resolute support” for the Hong Kong government and the police for handling Monday night’s dramatic protest.

Chinese state media, which have censored mention and images of the protests for weeks, also unleashed harsh criticisms, calling for “zero tolerance” for such violence.

What Carrie Lam said: Lam condemns the 'use of extreme violence and vandalism by protesters'

What China said: Protesters' action a 'blatant challenge' to 'one-country-two-systems'

What the rest of the world said: US urges all sides to avoid violence; Trump says protesters 'looking for democracy'
UK expresses support for Hong Kong freedoms; EU calls for restraint

More from our teams in Hong Kong and Beijing:

In pictures: Hong Kong protesters storm legislature on anniversary of city's 1997 return to China

At the scene: The day Hong Kong witnessed 2 faces of a protest

In China: Media blackout of Hong Kong protests in China
 

PARTIAL REPRIEVE FOR HUAWEI

Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd got a much needed reprieve from some of the trade sanctions levelled against it by Washington when President Donald Trump said over the weekend he would ease restrictions on the Chinese tech giant.

But analysts are cautioning against over optimism as they are still trying to figure out what form the relief will take.

Huawei remains squarely on the US Commerce Department's "entity list" and US lawmakers from both parties have reiterated pleas to not to let up on Huawei.

Huawei, meanwhile, is waiting for updates on whether it can resume using Google's Android mobile operating system on upcoming smartphones.

Other developments: China says only small number of firms moving supply chains out of the country

Trump says any China trade deal would need to be somewhat tilted in US favour

CURSE OF BUMPER MANGO HARVEST

Farmers are usually happy when there is a bumper harvest. But not in the Philippines.

An unusually long dry spell this year has led to a surplus of some two million mangoes in the country, but there's only so much mango you can eat.

The surplus caused prices to plunge from 58 pesos (S$1.58) per kg to as low as 25 pesos per kg, mostly across northern Luzon.
 
Some blame the oversupply on El Nino, the weather phenomenon that exacerbates hot, humid weather.

Another main reason for the price drop was that the country’s largest exporter of dried mangoes – ProFoods International, owned by “mango king” Justin Uy – began importing mangoes from Cambodia and nearly stopped buying from local suppliers.

In any case, it shows how the farming infrastructure is woefully ill-prepared for the turmoils stirred up by a rapidly changing, unpredictable climate.

Meanwhile, in Malaysia, durian farmers are embracing technology in the face of a bumper harvest.

"There's no such thing (as excess durians)... If there's excess (before it goes bad), we can either make durian paste or freeze the whole fruit and sell it later." said one orchard owner.

ANTARCTIC MELTING

After mysteriously expanding for decades, Antarctica's sea ice cover melted by an area four times greater than France in just a few years and now stands at a record low, according to a study published on Monday.

From a peak area of 12.8 million square kilometres, the sea ice cover receded two million square kilometers for reasons that remain unknown.

"It went from its 40-year high in 2014, all the way down in 2017 to its 40-year low," said NASA climatologist Claire Parkinson, whose findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Full story: Antarctic sea ice in dizzying decline since 2014: Study

Why it matters: Fire & ice: How the poles affect tropical climates like Singapore's

KIMONO NO NO

Kim Kardashian West has said she will change the name of her new "Kimono" line of underwear, after being accused of cultural appropriation.

The pop culture icon sparked a social media storm last week when she unveiled the new line, with some in Japan accusing her of disrespecting the traditional outfit.

"When I announced the name of my shapewear line, I did so with the best intentions in mind," Kardashian said.

"My brands and products are built with inclusivity and diversity at their core and after careful thought and consideration, I will be launching my Solutionwear brand under a new name," she said.

The mayor of Japan's ancient capital Kyoto was among those who asked the reality television star to consider renaming her shapewear line.

"Kimono is a traditional ethnic dress fostered in our rich nature and history," Kyoto Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa wrote in a letter to Kardashian.

"(I) ask you to reconsider your decision of using the name Kimono in your trademark," he said.

IN OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

Heavy rains in India's Mumbai cause wall collapse that kills 15

Suspicion, anger among Pasir Gudang residents as cause for schoolchildren falling ill still unknown

Trump plans tanks and flyovers at Fourth of July celebration in Washington

Japan says export curbs for South Korea not in violation of WTO rules

Malaysia arrests foreign cosplayers in festival raid

That's all for today. Thank you for reading and see you tomorrow.

- CH