HSBC’s sleaze connection: Banking giant red-faced after company website directs visitors to porn site

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Bu NewsGram Staff Writer

After being left red-faced over a website blunder which directed unwitting visitors to a pornographic site on its Hong Kong page, banking giant HSBC has issued an apology for the mishap.

According to media reports, the third party website for an obsolete community award had expired and was subsequently taken over by a porn site. It was originally connected with the HSBC site.

The video appearing on the Apple Daily newspaper website showed the website linking to a page that showed suggestive pictures of scantily clad women.

“The link to the external website has been removed from its community projects page HSBC would like to apologise to the public for any inconvenience caused”, the banking major said in a statement issued on Monday.

The British bank added that it was not associated with the racy webpage in any way, adding that its website remains secure.

Meanwhile jokes were being circulated on Apple Daily’s Facebook page saying that it was  a new HSBC business.

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Find Out Why the Economy of Hong Kong is Declining

Hong Kong Economy Shrinks in 201

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Hong Kong Protest Recession
A salesman of a watch shop directs the way to find a taxi for a group of mainland tourists in a shopping district in Hong Kong. VOA

Hong Kong confirmed Monday the country plunged into a recession in 2019, suffering its first annual contraction in a decade, after falling under the twin pressures of the US-China trade war and months of pro-democracy protests. China’s coronavirus outbreak is now adding to the economic pressure.

Government data released Monday showed Hong Kong’s Gross Domestic Product in 2019 contracted by 1.2% on-year.

In the three months ending in December, the economy shrank 2.9% on-year, the third straight quarter of declines. The government said earlier Hong Kong fell into recession after activity contracted by 2.8% in the three months ending in September.

2019 was the worst for Hong Kong’s growth since 2009. The trade war between Beijing and Washington hit the export-heavy economy hard and protests that began in June over a proposed extradition law took a heavy toll on consumption and tourism.

Hong Kong Protest Recession
A salesman waits for customers at a cosmetic shop in a shopping district in Hong Kong. Business has plunged in Hong Kong’s shopping districts after more than four months of protests. VOA

Though the protests have been less intense so far this year, economists say the coronavirus outbreak is now emerging as a new economic threat. China’s coronavirus outbreak is prompting the territory and other governments to impose travel curbs that have disrupted business.“

The coronavirus outbreak will probably keep the city in recession for a while longer,” Capital Economics wrote in a note to clients after the GDP figures were released.

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The Hong Kong government said in a statement, “The outlook for the Hong Kong economy in 2020 is subject to high uncertainties.” (VOA)

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New Virus Can Spread Through Human Contact: China

China: Possible That New Virus Could Spread Between Humans

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CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS
Security guards stand in front of the closed Huanan wholesale seafood market, where health authorities say a man who died from a respiratory illness had purchased goods from, in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province, China. VOA

The possibility that a new virus in central China could spread between humans cannot be ruled out, though the risk of transmission at the moment appears to be low, Chinese officials said Wednesday.

Forty-one people in the city of Wuhan have received a preliminary diagnosis of a novel coronavirus, a family of viruses that can cause both the common cold and more serious diseases. A 61-year-old man with severe underlying conditions died from the coronavirus on Saturday.

While preliminary investigations indicate that most of the patients had worked at or visited a particular seafood wholesale market, one woman may have contracted the virus from her husband, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in a public notice.

CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS
Commuters wear protection masks inside a subway train in Hong Kong, China. VOA

The commission said the husband, who fell ill first, worked at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. Meanwhile, the wife said she hasn’t had any exposure to the market.

It’s possible that the husband brought home food from the market that then infected his wife, Hong Kong health official Chuang Shuk-kwan said at a news briefing. But because the wife did not exhibit symptoms until days after her husband, it’s also possible that he infected her.

Chuang and other Hong Kong health officials spoke to reporters Wednesday following a trip to Wuhan, where mainland Chinese authorities briefed them on the outbreak.

The threat of human-to-human transmission remains low, Chuang said, as hundreds of people, including medical professionals, have been in close contact with infected individuals and have not been infected themselves.

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She echoed Wuhan authorities’ assertion that there remains no definitive evidence of human-to-human transmission.

The outbreak in Wuhan has raised the specter of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome. SARS is a type of coronavirus that first struck southern China in late 2002. It then spread to more than two dozen countries, killing nearly 800 people. (VOA)

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Know About some Significant Protests Around the World in 2019

2019 was a year full of protests globally

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Chile Protests
Demonstrators clash with a police water cannon during anti-government protests in Santiago. VOA

By Jamie Dettmer

It has been a year of protest — from Hong Kong to Bolivia, and from France to Lebanon. Few parts of the world were spared significant protests in 2019.

In Russia’s capital, Moscow, protesters were outraged by rigged elections. In Britain, people rallied against Brexit, Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. Serbia, Ukraine, Albania and the central European states all experienced major demonstrations. Separatists battled police in the restive region of Catalonia. Dissent in the Middle East prompted talk of a new Arab Spring.

In the Americas, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela all experienced popular unrest. And the list goes on.

France Protests
Yellow Vests protesters march on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris. France’s yellow vest protesters remain a force to be reckoned with five months after their protests started. VOA

“The data shows that the amount of protests is increasing and is as high as the roaring 1960s,” according to Jacquelien van Stekelenburg, an academic who studies social change at Vrije University in Amsterdam.

Protest like it’s 1848

The year 2019 has drawn comparisons to 1848, when the ruling elites and monarchies in Europe were at a loss as to how to deal with the turbulence and anger tearing through the continent.

Then, as now, the immediate grievances propelling protesters onto the streets differed from country to country: 170 years ago, some were protesting at the dysfunction and corruption of their states and anger at hidebound elites for resisting modernization and liberal change. Have-nots marched out of economic despair. Nationalists wanted to break away from empires. Anarchists wanted to blow everything up.

In the so-called Spring of Nations — revolutions of 1848 — seemingly small incidents or government decisions could spark the trouble. So, too, in 2019.

France’s Yellow Vests, drawn largely from low-income earners in small-town and rural France, took to the streets and blockaded roads to protest higher “green” taxes on fuel. The same in Chile and Ecuador — planned sharp rises in fuel prices and metro fares triggered the fury this year of low-income and rural communities.

But behind the immediate causes, far more substantive and structural grievances have fueled the worldwide protests. In Lebanon, demonstrators initially took to the streets because of frustration over a tax on WhatsApp, but that was just the spark for an ongoing conflagration of rage over corruption and Iranian influence on the country. The Yellow Vest agitation morphed into a general exasperation about being left-behind economically.

Hong Kong protesters
A photo of protests in Hong Kong against the Extradition Bill. VOA

In Hong Kong, an extradition bill was the prompt, but also a symbolic one for protesters furious about a creeping Beijing-dictated authoritarianism.

The 2019 protests have had some common themes, say analysts, including anger about stifled democracy and the demand for greater political freedom. Anger about corruption and the perception that political systems are rigged have been common grievances.

Some commentators have tried to tie all the protests together, arguing rallies and demonstrations and blockades more often than not are a reaction to anti-democratic and right-wing forces taking hold in many places around the world.

Maybe so for some but not all, and there are plenty of contradictions. And then and now, protesters on the left or right of the political spectrum share on thing in common — a firm conviction that things should and can change.

One big difference with the past, though, has come with social media and the internet. Modern communication has helped to fuel anger and assist greatly in the organization and recruitment of protesters to take on authorities.

“The traditional system of enforcing power from top to bottom is increasingly being challenged,” says Thierry de Montbrial, of the French Institute of International Relations.

Populist nationalists rallying in the past year in Italy and Germany have nothing in common with huge pro-EU protests in Britain, where those taking to the streets wanted to force a second referendum on leaving the European bloc. Climate-change protesters sowing havoc in Britain and Australia are demanding the kind of green tax increases that are enraging the Yellow Vests.

“Some protests may look like a sign of democratic decay amid a rise of populism and alienation with the political status quo — for example, in Brazil, the United States or France,” according to Richard Youngs, an analyst with the Carnegie Endowment, a Washington-based research institution.

ALGERIA protests
People gather for mass anti-government protests in the centre of the Algerian capital Algiers. VOA

“Others may look like a futile rattling of the political cage under growing illiberalism and authoritarianism, such as in Hungary, Morocco or Thailand. More optimistically, protests in places like Algeria, Venezuela and Sudan may signal a heartening indicator of the persistent aspiration for democracy and peoples’ willingness to fight for it in very different parts of the world,” he added in a commentary.

Maybe the attempt to impose a catch-all order to the unrest of 2019 misses the point and the historical comparison should be with the immediate years of upheaval after World War I. In a new book, “Crucible: The Long End of the Great War and the Birth of a New World, 1917-24,” historian Charles Emmerson suggests that countries lose all their moorings during periods of unrest and the result is just chaos.

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“The established order is swept away,” writes Emmerson. “People who were nothing are catapulted into prominence … the real becomes surreal.”

In the immediate postwar years that Emmerson chronicles, many people felt powerless, lost faith in the ability of traditional political authorities to protect them and to restore predictability, and resented unequal distributions of wealth and power. So, too, now. (VOA)