A new high-speed rail link between Hong Kong and mainland China launched Sunday, a multi-billion-dollar project that critics say gives away part of the city's territory to an increasingly assertive Beijing. Chinese security have been stationed in semi-autonomous Hong Kong for the first time at the harbourfront West Kowloon rail terminus, as part of a new "special port area" that is subject to mainland law. Despite critics' fears over passenger safety in the mainland zones, hundreds gathered at the terminus, with the first train leaving for the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen at 7:00 am (2300 GMT Saturday).
The death toll from a crowded capsized ferry in Lake Victoria rose to more than 200 Saturday, with scores of victims identified by grieving relatives, as rescuers found one lucky survivor from the disaster. Divers continued their grim search in the waters around the upturned hull watched by anxious crowds gathered just metres away on the shore of Ukara Island, where the ferry had been due to dock when it lurched over and sank on Thursday. "We regret that at the moment there are 209 dead in total, 172 of whom have already been identified by relatives," said Transport Minister Isack Kamwelwe during a press conference broadcast by the public television TBC 1.
Khamenei ordered security forces to bring to justice those responsible for one of the worst assaults ever against the Revolutionary Guards, the most powerful military force in the country, which answers to him. The allegation will likely ratchet up tensions with Iran's rival Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies, which along with the United States have been working to isolate the Islamic Republic. "This crime is a continuation of the plots of the regional states that are puppets of the United States, and their goal is to create insecurity in our dear country," Khamenei said in a statement published on his website.
India's decision to cancel rare talks with Islamabad was disappointing and "arrogant", Imran Khan said Saturday, after New Delhi accused Pakistan's prime minister of harbouring an "evil agenda". India pulled the plug on a meeting between its foreign minister and her Pakistani counterpart, set for next week on the sidelines of a major UN conference, just one day after saying it would go ahead. The foreign ministry in New Delhi blamed the about-face on recent actions that had revealed Pakistan's "evil agenda" and the "true face" of Khan, who hit back on Twitter Saturday.
China summoned the US ambassador on Saturday to lodge an official protest over sanctions imposed by the United States against a Chinese military organisation for buying Russian fighter jets and missiles, state media said. The announcement came a day after China called on the United States to withdraw the sanctions or "bear the consequences". The spat adds to tensions between the two global powers over trade, China's treatment of religious groups and the Asian country's claims to disputed islands in the South China Sea.