Hong Kong and China
Elections were held in Hong Kong on September 4 for its Legislative Council where candidates advocating independence from China made significant gains. China quickly made known that it was “resolutely opposed to independence.”
Hong Kong and China: different and tied
Hong Kong is one of the more curious places in the world. It is one of the Asian tigers (the others are Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, whose independence China refuses to recognize) which have dramatically grown their economies in the last 30 years. Up until 1997, Hong Kong had been a British colony, the spoils of the British Empire’s humiliation of the Chinese in the Opium Wars between 1839 to 1860, for 150 years.
As a British colony, it thrived and was a showcase for capitalism while mainland China was going through mass starvations and cultural revolutions after Mao tse Tung and the Communists took power in 1949. Even as China liberalized its economy, it has a remained a one-party dictatorship where opposition to the regime is not tolerated.
Ever since the devolution to China in 1997, the relationship between the Honk Kong population and their new masters in Beijing has been in flux. For China, it is a golden goose, and not in the country’s interest to change the way it works, so it has adopted a “one country, two systems” approach. Economically this works well, politically it has been problematic.
Used to having some political autonomy under the British and with functioning democratic institutions, a power struggle over how much say China has in Hong Kong’s internal political events has been ongoing. In September 2014, the “umbrella protests” against Chinese meddling lost steam and China conceded to none of the protester’s demands.
Pro-independence candidates have been warned by China. If they stay quiet, China will likely let things run the way they have been. If not, the Chinese regime is never afraid to bring out the tanks.
Money in the US Presidential Election
The two candidates running for president of the US, Democratic former senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Republican businessman and reality television star Donald Trump, have between them raised over one billion dollars, the equivalent to the annual budget of the city of Salvador which serves 3 million people.
Despite this spending, both candidates are mistrusted and not generally liked. Donald Trump has been advised to tone down some of the more outrageous things he says, but this lull is unlikely to last. Hillary Clinton’s political expediency and the wealth she and her husband have accrued from giving speeches to other wealthy people hardly make her appealing to middle class people feeling the pinch. The debates are coming and could determine the election.
At the moment, the odds seem to favor Hillary simply because she seems less bad than Trump. But her victory in November is by no means a given.
Mother Teresa Made a Saint
Mother Teresa of Calcutta was born as Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu in Skopje, the capital of present day Macedonia (she was ethnically Albanian) in 1910 and after a life devoted to helping societies castaways, was made a saint by the Catholic Church 19 years after her death in 1997.
Mother Teresa administering to the poor
She founded The Missionaries of Charity to help lepers, HIV victims, orphans and the desperate poor of Calcutta and today the organization has 4500 sisters and is active in 133 countries around the world. For her works, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
There were some detractors who claimed that Mother Teresa’s fundamentalist Catholic ideology whereby she spent her life opposing the empowerment of woman, and her assertion that suffering was a gift from God besmirched her character and make her inappropriate for sainthood.
A new planet, named by MASA Proxima B, has been discovered orbiting the nearest star to the sun. Slightly bigger than earth, scientists also believe it might have similar characteristics to our planet and the possibility that water exists there. Even if it turns out to be habitable, however, based on the current space technology, it would take 70,000 years to travel the 4.2 light years of distance between Proxima B and Earth.