ISLAMABAD: Pakistan authorities sealed off a major road into the capital Islamabad for a second day Monday as a far-right religious party held fresh anti-France protests.A rally in the neighbouring city of Rawalpindi which attracted up to 5,000 people on Sunday spilled over into Monday, with around a thousand protesters gathered at the roadblock preventing them from entering the capital.Commuters faced lengthy delays on alternative routes into the city.Mobile phone services were restored around lunchtime on Monday, after being suspended for more than 24 hours to prevent rally organisers from coordinating with each other.Pakistan has seen small and scattered protests over the past few weeks in response to French President Emmanuel Macron's recent remarks on Islam.The French president spoke out after an extremist beheaded a teacher near Paris after he showed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed during a class on free speech. All depictions of the Prophet are forbidden by Islam.The president said the teacher "was killed because Islamists want our future".Macron's comments triggered anger across the Muslim world, with tens of thousands in Pakistan, neighbouring Iran and other Muslim countries in South Asia flooding the streets and organising anti-French boycotts.Pakistan has lodged a complaint with France over what it
BEIJING: China on Friday shed its initial hesitation and congratulated US President-elect Joe Biden and his deputy Kamala Harris for their victory in the 2020 US presidential election, saying Beijing respects the choice of the American people."We have been following reactions on the US elections from both within the US and the international community," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing here when pointed out that more world leaders as well as United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres have congratulated 77-year-old Biden."We respect the American people's choice and we extend congratulations to Biden and Harris and we understand that the result of the US presidential elections will be determined following the US laws and procedures," Wang said.China initially hesitated to congratulate Biden, a Democrat, after Republican incumbent President Donald Trump refused to concede.On November 9, Wang had declined to congratulate Biden on his victory, saying the outcome of the American election should be determined by the country's laws and procedures.He, however, was more forthcoming on the victory of Harris as the first woman Vice President-elect.When reminded about Chinese President Xi Jinping's statement calling for greater gender equality in a recent UN conference on women and does China
LONDON (REUTERS) - There has to be a breakthrough in Brexit talks this week, British and Irish ministers said on Sunday, ahead of the expiry of Britain's transition deal with the European Union on Dec 31. Britain and the EU are struggling to agree the terms of their future relationship in trade and other areas. Without a deal in place, they face the risk of disruption to around US$1 trillion (S$1.3 trillion) worth of trade from import tariffs and tougher rules. "This needs to be a week when things move, when we break through some of these difficult issues and get a resolution and at least have some sort of headlines, if you like, of an agreement," British environment secretary George Eustice told Sky News on Sunday (Nov 15). "Otherwise, it gets quite difficult and we do start to run out of time to implement it," Eustice added. Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney echoed that sense of urgency. "If you want to use sporting parlance, this is move week. We have got to make big progress this week. Hopefully we've got to get the big issues resolved, in principle, this week," Coveney told Sky.