While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, May 24

In the South China Sea, China has reclaimed and built on large areas of land, converting low lying rock and coral formations to habitable islands, and in some cases deploying military assets.
In the South China Sea, China has reclaimed and built on large areas of land, converting low lying rock and coral formations to habitable islands, and in some cases deploying military assets.PHOTO: REUTERS

Bill introduced to deter China in South China, East China Seas

Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Party Senator Ben Cardin on Thursday (May 23) formally reintroduced the South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act, that would "impose sanctions against Chinese individuals and entities that participate in Beijing's illegitimate activities to aggressively assert its expansive maritime and territorial claims in these disputed regions."

The bipartisan Bill is intended to put the brakes on China's consolidation or expansion of is claims of jurisdiction over the sea and air space in disputed zones in the South China Sea - claimed by Taiwan and several Asean countries, most critically Vietnam and the Philippines; and East China Sea where Beijing's dispute is with Japan and South Korea.

Experts said the Bill was overdue. It was first introduced in 2017. Now, it also comes too late to change the fait accompli of China's footprint and presence in the disputed zones.

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India's Modi and Pakistan PM highlight need for 'peace,' after vote

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani rival Imran Khan sent messages highlighting the need for "peace" Thursday (May 23) after Modi's hawkish party won a new term in power.


Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (right) congratulated Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the win by the BJP, which has long taken a strong anti-Pakistan stance. PHOTO: AFP

While the nuclear-armed rivals launched cross-border air strikes at each other barely three months ago, some analysts say the return of Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in a new landslide could help peace prospects.

Khan congratulated Modi on the win by the BJP, which has long taken a strong anti-Pakistan stance.

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European pilots 'deeply disturbed' by possible 737 Max return


Faulty technology in the 737 Max was blamed for an Ethiopian Airlines crash in March and an Indonesian Lion Air crash in October. PHOTO: REUTERS

European pilots said Thursday (May 23) they found it "deeply disturbing" that the Boeing 737 Max was already being considered for a return to service after being grounded worldwide following two deadly crashes.

Faulty technology in the 737 Max was blamed for an Ethiopian Airlines crash in March and an Indonesian Lion Air crash in October, which together claimed 346 lives, and air safety agencies around the world banned it from the skies until a fix could be found.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Wednesday that Boeing has not yet handed over the proposed repair for the faulty automated control system for assessment, but some American carriers appear ready to put the plane back in the air.

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Facebook figures five per cent of accounts are fake


Facebook disabled 2.19 billion accounts in the first quarter of this year, nearly double the number of accounts nixed in the prior three-month period. PHOTO: AFP

Facebook on Thursday (May 23) said it recently disabled billions of bogus accounts set up by "bad actors" and that five per cent of active accounts are likely fakes.

An estimate of how many of the online social networks accounts are fake and actions taken against the creation of more during the first three months of this year was disclosed in Facebook's latest report on enforcement activity.

Facebook disabled 2.19 billion accounts in the first quarter of this year, nearly double the number of accounts nixed in the prior three-month period, according to vice president of integrity Guy Rosen.

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Banksy in Venice? New work appears and perhaps the artist himself


An alleged work by British street artist Banksy is painted on the outer wall of a house overlooking the canal Rio de Ca Foscari, in Venice, on May 21, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

The mysterious British artist Banksy has apparently left his mark on a crumbling wall in Venice, and even claimed to have set up an unlicensed art stall in Italy's famous "floating city".

The image of a migrant child signalling for help, appeared, in the Banksy style, on a crumbling wall beside one of the Venice canals.

Meanwhile a video posted on Banksy's Instagram account was said to show the secretive artist, buried in hat, coat or newspaper, setting up an unlicenced art stall in the central Saint Mark's Square.

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