China

WHO team investigating virus origins denied entry to China

Two members had already set out on their journey - one has now turned back and the other is in transit in a third country.

The WHO said the problem was a lack of visa clearances.

The long-awaited probe was agreed upon by Beijing in December after many months of negotiations with the WHO.

The virus was first detected in Wuhan in late 2019, with the initial outbreak linked to a market.

WHO to investigate virus origins in China's Wuhan

Beijing has been reluctant to agree to an independent inquiry and it has taken many months of negotiations for the WHO to be allowed access to the city.

The virus is thought to have come from a market in the city selling animals.

But the search for the source has led to tensions, notably with the US.

President Donald Trump's administration has accused China of trying to conceal the initial outbreak.

What is the aim of the investigation?

Mt Everest grows by nearly a metre to new height

Until now the countries differed over whether to add the snow cap on top. The new height is 8848.86 metres.

China's previous official measurement of 8844.43m had put the mountain nearly four metres lower than Nepal's.

Everest stands on the border between China and Nepal and mountaineers climb it from both sides.

Officials at Nepal's foreign ministry and department of survey said surveyors from both countries had co-ordinated to agree on the new height.

China becomes second nation to plant flag on the Moon

The pictures from China's National Space Administration show the five-starred Red Flag holding still on the windless lunar surface.

They were taken by a camera on the Chang'e-5 space probe before it left the Moon with rock samples on Thursday.

Two previous Chinese lunar missions had flags on the crafts' coatings - so neither could be affixed to the moon.

The US planted the first flag on the Moon during the manned Apollo 11 mission in 1969. Five further US flags were planted on the lunar surface during subsequent missions up until 1972.

Chinese Covid-19 vaccine 'successful in mid-stage trials'

There are several vaccines being developed in China, some of which are already being administered.

According to the researchers, the Sinovac Biotech vaccine led to a quick immune response during trials with around 700 people.

The announcement comes after European and US vaccines reported successful data from large late-stage trials.

Three vaccines, developed in the US, Germany and Russia, have all released data suggesting efficiency of more than 90%, after trials with tens of thousands of people.

What do we know about the vaccine?

Tonga receives tractors and fishing boats from China

Tonga Broadcasting Commission reports the assistance includes nine tractors and four fishing boats in which the government requested back in 2018 following the re-establishment of the Ministry’s branch in Tokomololo.

CEO of Agriculture Dr Viliami Manu says these tractors are for the people of Tonga to use and will cost $80 pa’anga per hour.

China’s Ambassador to Tonga – HE Cao Xiaolin in his remarks says, this isn’t the first time the Chinese government has assisted Tonga with equipment, and that agriculture productivity has improved and diversified in the kingdom.

Last two Australian correspondents pulled out of China

Bill Birtles, the ABC's correspondent based in Beijing, and Mike Smith, the AFR's correspondent based in Shanghai, boarded a flight to Sydney last night after the pair were questioned separately by China's Ministry of State security.

Birtles had spent four days sheltering in the Australian Embassy in Beijing, while Smith took refuge in the Australian Consulate in Shanghai as diplomats negotiated with Chinese officials to allow them to safely leave the country.

Bus plunges into reservoir in China, killing 21

The vehicle was travelling on a bridge on Tuesday in Anshun, Guizhou province when it crashed through a roadside barrier and fell into the water.

Those on board reportedly included students who were scheduled to take the "gaokao" university entrance exams, state media said.

The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.

The driver, who is among the dead, had wokred on this bus route since 1997, Xinhua said.

It's unclear how many people were on the bus at the time and how many of those were students.

Flu virus with 'pandemic potential' found in China

It emerged recently and is carried by pigs, but can infect humans, they say.

The researchers are concerned that it could mutate further so that it can spread easily from person to person, and trigger a global outbreak.

While it is not an immediate problem, they say, it has "all the hallmarks" of being highly adapted to infect humans and needs close monitoring.

As it's new, people could have little or no immunity to the virus.

India-China clash: Two sides blame each other for deadly fighting

Soldiers reportedly brawled with sticks, bats and bamboo sticks studded with nails in the late-night confrontation in the Ladakh region on Monday.

However, no shots were fired.

India's army said that both sides suffered casualties. China confirmed the incident but did not give details.

The Indian statement notes that injured soldiers were "exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain".

It is the first deadly clash between the two sides in the border area, in the disputed Kashmir region, in at least 45 years.