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China has hit back at Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, after he criticized Beijing’s human rights record, detention of Canadian citizens, and use of “coercive diplomacy.”

On Wednesday, the spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, Zhao Lijian, said the Canadian government had shown “hypocrisy” and “weakness,” as he responded to comments made by Trudeau.

Trudeau fired warning shots at Beijing on Tuesday as he marked the 50th anniversary of Canada’s diplomatic ties with China. “We will remain absolutely committed to working with our allies to ensure that China’s approach of coercive diplomacy, and its arbitrary detention of two Canadian citizens, alongside citizens of other countries around the world, is not viewed as a successful tactic by them,” the prime minister said.

Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have been detained in China since December 2018 on suspicion of espionage. Their arrests came just days after a Chinese citizen was arrested in Canada.

Trudeau was also critical of China’s human rights record, condemning Beijing’s treatment of the Uighur population of Xinjiang and sharing his concern for the people of Hong Kong.

In Tuesday’s state press conference, Lijian praised the progress achieved by China and Canada over the 50 years of diplomatic relations, but also pleaded with Ottawa to release a Chinese citizen who had been detained in Canada at the request of the US.

Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of telecom giant Huawei, was detained in December 2018 on re-entry to Canada. She was arrested on charges of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud in order to circumvent US sanctions against Iran. Lijian contended that Wanzhou’s unlawful detention was the root cause of the current deterioration in Sino-Canadian relations. 




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Pakistan blast: At least seven dead in Peshawar school attack

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At least seven people have died after an explosion during a class at a religious school in Pakistan, police have said.

Children of various age groups are among the dead, an officer at the scene told the BBC.

Dozens of others were injured in the attack, which took place in the northern city of Peshawar.

No group has yet claimed responsibility. An investigation has been launched.

The city of Peshawar, close to the Afghan border, has seen some of the worst of the violence during the Taliban insurgency in recent years.

Six years ago, gunmen stormed a military school in the city leaving more than 150 dead, including many children.

What happened?

The blast took place at about 08:30 local time (03:30 GMT), police told the BBC.

About 60 people are understood to have been in the class at the religious school, known as a madrassa.

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An eyewitness has told the police he saw a man enter the building with a bag of explosives shortly before the blast.

news agency that two teachers were injured.

Hospital officials told Reuters news agency that they had received dozens of injured, many with burns.

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Duterte seeks best Covid vaccine deal but ‘will not beg’ or allow private suppliers to rip off Philippines

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he would pursue a direct government-to-government deal for a coronavirus vaccine with either China or Russia, warning that ‘corrupt’ private suppliers could try to swindle his country.

“Let me tell everybody that we will not beg, we will pay,” Duterte said in a televised address on Monday night, adding that while Manila is not seeking charity it also aims to sign a direct government-to-government deal without intermediaries.

The president did not indicate the status of vaccine negotiations with Beijing or Moscow, saying he merely mentioned the two countries as possible sources out of a “sense of urgency,” and that “all options” were still on the table. 

The one that could give us the best interest for the country will be chosen.

Duterte stressed the need to obtain an inoculation directly from a friendly foreign state, rather than a private business, warning that such transactions could only bring “trouble” and that a government deal would mean “no corruption.”




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Western pharma is ‘all about profit’: Philippines’ Duterte vows to solely procure coronavirus vaccines from Russia & China



Under its proposed national budget for 2021, Manila will devote some 2.5 billion Philippine pesos ($51.6 million) to vaccine procurement, which Duterte said would be overseen by Finance Secretary Carlos ‘Sonny’ Dominguez III.

“Since he is going to pay, I will listen to Sonny. If there are no funds, he will go to jail,” the president said, apparently threatening prison time for a member of his own cabinet.

Duterte previously torched Western pharma firms developing coronavirus immunizations, saying they were “all about profit,” pointing to some companies who asked for a “cash advance before they deliver the vaccine.” The leader gave a stern warning to any company who offered similar proposals, vowing “I’ll kick your a**.”

Though the president has offered to be the first in his country to take the jab developed in Russia, Sputnik V, it is not clear whether such an arrangement has been made. However, Moscow’s ambassador to the island nation, Igor Khovaev, recently stated the jab could be available to the Philippines by the end of the year.




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Sputnik V questions ANSWERED: Head of team financing world’s first Covid-19 vaccine explains formula to critics



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At least 7 killed, 70 wounded after bomb goes off at religious school in Pakistan – hospital official

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At least seven people were killed and more than 70 wounded in an explosion inside a seminary in northern Pakistan on Tuesday morning. Children are among the victims.

The blast took place in Peshawar, the capital of the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Senior police official Wagar Azim told AFP that a bomb brought inside the Speen Jammat mosque, which also functions as a religious school for local children, went off in the middle of Quran studi

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