In today’s bulletin: Beijing fires missiles in the South China Sea as US piles on the sanctions, escalating tensions; New Zealand white supremacist who killed 51 Muslim worshippers is given life in prison without parole for his "wicked" crimes; Singapore doctors and researchers are studying why some patients hit hard by Covid-19 suffer heart damage; and more.
Reading this on the web or know someone who might enjoy receiving Asian Insider? Our sign-up page is here.
BEIJING FIRES MISSILES IN SOUTH CHINA SEA AS US PILES ON SANCTIONS
US-China tensions over the South China Sea escalated on Wednesday (Aug 26) with Beijing firing four missiles into the disputed waterway and Washington strengthening action against companies that helped set up Chinese outposts in the region. China launched the medium-range ballistic missiles amid broader military exercises by the People’s Liberation Army. The missiles landed in the sea between Hainan island and the disputed Paracel islands, which are claimed by both China and Vietnam.
The move came a day after Beijing protested against a US spy plane flying over a no-fly zone over Chinese live-firing drills. The US separately on Wednesday announced trade and visa restrictions on 24 companies that took part in China's reclamation and militarisation of outposts in the South China Sea. The move was condemned by the Chinese on Thursday (Aug 27) as "tyrannical logic". US President Donald Trump has made taking a tough stance on China a key element of his re-election campaign.
NEW ZEALAND MOSQUE SHOOTER GETS LIFE IN PRISON FOR 'WICKED' CRIMES
A New Zealand judge sentenced white supremacist Brenton Tarrant to life in prison without parole on Thursday (Aug 27) for killing 51 Muslim worshippers in the country’s deadliest shooting, saying the sentence was not enough punishment for the “wicked” crimes. It was the first time a court in New Zealand had sentenced a person to prison for the rest of their life. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Tarrant, 29, deserved a lifetime of "complete and utter silence". Survivor Ms Hina Amir, 34, said justice was served.
S'PORE TEAM STUDYING HEART DAMAGE IN COVID-19 PATIENTS
A team of doctors and researchers in Singapore has started a cardiac research programme to better understand why some patients who are hit hard by Covid-19 also suffer heart damage, and how to prevent this from happening. The National University Heart Centre, Singapore (NUHCS) team aims to recruit 100 Covid-19 patients, as mounting evidence overseas suggests some patients continue to suffer long-term complications even after recovery, reports Clara Chong. Though serious complications related to the heart after recovery are not common here, doctors say they are monitoring the situation closely.
KAJIMA BUILDS FIRST OVERSEAS INNOVATION CENTRE IN SINGAPORE
Japan's Kajima Corporation broke ground for its first overseas innovation centre at Singapore's Changi Business Park on Thursday (Aug 27). The Kajima Global Hub, which represents an investment of $100 million, will also serve as its Asia Pacific headquarters, according to a joint statement issued by Kajima, one of Japan's biggest construction companies, and JTC Corporation. The Global Hub will contribute new building technologies and research and development capabilities to Singapore's construction sector, they said. The construction of the Hub project will also be the first known application of a comprehensive suite of robotics solutions by Kajima outside Japan.
CHINA'S BELT AND ROAD PLANS FOR AUSTRALIA FACE BLOCKS UNDER NEW LAW
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is seeking new powers to veto or scrap agreements that state governments reach with foreign powers. It is a move aimed at weakening China's ability to gain influence in the nation through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The legislation will be introduced next week at a time when the country is in the midst of a deepening diplomatic spat with China. It will cover a broad range of sectors, including infrastructure, trade cooperation, science, health and education, including university research partnerships. The federal government may seek to use the new law to override an agreement signed last year by the Victoria state government to join the BRI.
IN OTHER NEWS
TIKTOK CHIEF QUITS: TikTok Chief Executive Kevin Mayer has left the company, less than three months after he joined the Chinese-owned hit short video app. The move came after TikTok sued the United States government over an executive order banning transactions in the US with the company.
ALIBABA'S INDIA PLANS ON HOLD: China's Alibaba Group has put on hold plans to invest in Indian companies amid souring business relations and rising political tension between the two Asian nations after a clash on their Himalayan border. The Chinese e-commerce giant will not put in fresh funds to expand investments in India but will not reduce its stakes either.
CHINA ARRESTS 10 AT SEA: Chinese authorities have arrested at least 10 people after intercepting a boat off the coast of the southern province of Guangdong, the provincial Coast Guard Bureau said in a post on its social media site. Hong Kong media separately reported that 12 people from the city were arrested while sailing to Taiwan, where they planned to apply for political asylum.
That’s it for today. Thanks for reading. We’ll be back with you tomorrow.