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McCarthy’s historic ouster as House speaker roils Washington

WorldUnited States & Canada

AnalysisKevin McCarthy’s historic ouster as House speaker stuns US lawmakers, frays relationships and roils Washington

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was voted out of the job on Tuesday in an extraordinary showdown – a first in US historyIt plunged Congress into chaos as it faces key deadlines to avert a government shutdown and approve aid for UkraineUS PoliticsAssociated PressPublished: 2:02pm, 4 Oct, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

US lawmakers who had been sitting in stunned silence gasped at the declaration: the office of speaker “is hereby declared vacant”.

For the first time ever, a House speaker had been voted out of the position, plunging Congress into a new degree of turmoil. “Now what?” someone in the chamber yelled out.

Kevin McCarthy, the California Republican who has survived decades of upheaval in Congress, had projected a sense of cool as he strolled out of his office just hours earlier, still speaker. But when he exited the House chamber on Tuesday, no longer with the gavel, he walked in silence.

He left a House roiling. Lawmakers fled the chamber after the vote, some speechless at what they had witnessed.

An essential body of American democracy no longer has an elected leader, the latest moment of testing for an institution grappling with aftermath of the Capitol siege on January 6, 2021, a Republican Party at war with itself and the United States’ contested role in global leadership.

China-Malaysia spy-cam couple warn fellow travellers after honeymoon ordeal

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People & CultureTrending in China

China couple who found spy camera pointing at Malaysia honeymoon bed accused of ‘smearing’ Airbnb host online

Airbnb homestay host initially accuses newly-wed China couple of online smears but then pays refundMalaysian police launch probe as experts warn of holiday spy dangers and offer tips to avoid prying eyesTrending in ChinaFran Luin BeijingPublished: 9:00am, 4 Oct, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

A newly-wed couple from China whose Malaysian honeymoon was ruined after they discovered a hidden spy camera pointed at their bed in an Airbnb homestay have told how the host initially accused them of online “smears”.

The couple said on the social media platform Xiaohongshu that a hidden camera had been installed inside a wall power socket at the homestay in Kota Kinabalu in Sabah.

Their discovery, which prompted a police investigation, has led to travel warnings and tips from experts on how to avoid being spied upon while relaxing on holiday.

In a social media post under the name Zhenmei Beauty, the couple said the homestay host initially accused them of smearing his name online but eventually refunded them.

Twitter executives win US$1.1 million in legal fees from Elon Musk’s X

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TechBig Tech

Twitter executives win US$1.1 million in legal fees from Elon Musk’s X

A US judge has ruled that Twitter violated its duties to cover legal expenses generated by the work of a group of the platform’s former executivesOne former executive was summoned to testify in a congressional inquiry into the influence of social media on US electionsX (formerly Twitter)BloombergPublished: 9:24am, 4 Oct, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

X, formerly known as Twitter, must pay US$1.1 million in legal fees racked up by a group of the social-media platform’s former top executives, a judge ruled.

Lawyers for the group – led by ex-Twitter chief executive officer Parag Agrawal and former top lawyer Vijaya Gadde – Tuesday persuaded Delaware Chancery Court Judge Kathaleen St. J. McCormick that Twitter violated its duties to cover legal expenses generated by their work for the company.The former executives argued Twitter violated its own by-laws by refusing to cover the sums even though they were tied to investigations of the social-media platform’s operations. They were ousted when billionaire Elon Musk bought the company for US$44 billion last year. Musk has faced a raft of lawsuits over his failure to pay Twitter vendors for things such as rent and consulting fees.Company officials did not immediately return an email for comment Tuesday on McCormick’s ruling. She was the judge that oversaw the legal dispute tied to Musk’s attempt to nix his US$54.20-per-share offer to buy the social-media platform. He gave up his effort to invalidate the buyout in October 2022.

The company has paid about US$600,000 of what it owes, but has withheld US$1,158,427 in fees for lawyers’ work representing the former top managers in a congressional inquiry into the influence of social media on US elections, which required Gadde to appear before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, according to legal filings.

Facebook owner to lay off employees in metaverse chip unit

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TechBig Tech

Facebook owner Meta to lay off employees in chip unit of metaverse-focused Reality Labs on Wednesday

The unit, called Facebook Agile Silicon Team, or FAST, develops custom chips for Meta’s AR and VR devicesMeta has struggled to make chips that can compete with silicon produced by external providers, such as QualcommMetaverseReutersPublished: 12:00pm, 4 Oct, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

Meta Platforms is planning to lay off employees on Wednesday in the unit of its metaverse-oriented Reality Labs division focused on creating custom silicon, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

Employees were informed of the lay-offs in a post on Meta’s internal discussion forum Workplace on Tuesday. The post said they would be notified about their status with the company by early Wednesday morning, one of the sources said.

A Meta spokesperson declined to comment on the plans. Reuters was not able to determine the extent of the cuts to the silicon unit, called Facebook Agile Silicon Team, or FAST.

If the cuts are deep, they could hamper chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s project to build augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) products enabling access to a set of immersive virtual worlds known as the “metaverse”, particularly the AR glasses that he has predicted “will redefine our relationship with technology”.

‘May God bless their souls’: Johor crown prince recounts Thai mall shooting

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This Week in AsiaPeople

Thai mall shooting: Malaysia’s Johor crown prince gives eyewitness account of deadly attack on shopping centre

Tunku Ismail Idris said he witnessed Tuesday’s deadly attack at the Siam Paragon shopping centre in Bangkok from a nearby hotel lobbyTelling his children ‘everything is going to be OK’ as they waited to escape still haunted him, the crown prince of Malaysia’s Johor state saidThailandSCMP’s Asia deskPublished: 1:03pm, 4 Oct, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

The crown prince of Malaysia’s Johor state has recounted the chaos and fear his family experienced on Tuesday as a mass shooting unfolded at a luxury Bangkok shopping centre.

Tunku Ismail Idris said he witnessed the attack, in which two people died, from a nearby hotel lobby.

“People were shouting and running into the hotel from the mall when the shooter started firing,” Ismail wrote on Facebook just hours after the shooting spree had happened.

He said he and his security team had carried his family to safety in the hotel basement.

Human error may have caused Hong Kong light rail train collision: MTR Corp

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Hong KongTransport

Human error may have caused Hong Kong light rail train collision at Yuen Long station that left 3 injured: MTR Corp

Crash occurred at terminus on Long Yat Road, when train on route 761P carrying about 50 passengers collided with empty one coming out of depotTrains on route 610, 614, 615 and 761P diverted and will not stop between Tong Fong Tsuen and Yuen Long light rail stationsAccidents and personal safety in Hong KongClifford LoPublished: 10:27am, 4 Oct, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

Human error might have caused a collision between two light rail trains at a station in Hong Kong’s New Territories on Wednesday, injuring three passengers, according to the city’s rail operator.

The MTR Corporation said engineers would carry out a thorough investigation of the two trains, adding that preliminary findings had not ruled out the “possibility of a human factor being involved”.

The crash occurred at the Light Rail Yuen Long Terminus on Long Yat Road at around 9.25am.

A train on route 761P carrying about 120 passengers was leaving the Yuen Long station from platform 5 when it collided with an empty carriage departing platform 1 at the intersection, according to the MTR Corp.

Hong Kong teenager arrested over knife attack on government security guards

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Hong KongLaw and Crime

Hong Kong teenager arrested for allegedly attacking 2 security guards with knife at government headquarters

Suspect, 17, accused of attacking security personnel with fruit knife at guard post near Tim Mei Avenue footbridgeOne guard sustained arm injury, while the other suffered leg sprainsCrime in Hong KongClifford LoPublished: 1:33pm, 4 Oct, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

Hong Kong police have arrested a teenage boy on suspicion of attacking two security guards with a knife at the city’s government headquarters.

The force said the alleged attack occurred at around 10.21am on Wednesday at a guard post near the Tim Mei Avenue footbridge connecting Tamar in Admiralty to Citic Tower.

A police spokesman said a preliminary investigation showed the 17-year-old boy allegedly attacked two male security guards with a fruit knife.

He said the suspect was eventually subdued by the two guards, who were security personnel at the government headquarters, before officers arrived.

China exhibition shows latest military advances in drone technology

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ChinaMilitary

China exhibition shows latest advances in drone technology, especially for military use

More than 300 unmanned aerial vehicle models on display at conference in Mianyang, a major defence industry baseOne lightweight suicide drone can be carried and launched by an infantry soldier while another’s flapping-wing design has ‘range of uses’China’s militaryLiu ZhenPublished: 1:00pm, 4 Oct, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

Beijing displayed an array of new military drones at an exhibition in southwest China last week, a technology the PLA considers a key area to advance.

More than 300 models of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – many for military uses – were on display at the UAV Industry Development Conference in the Science and Technology City in Mianyang, a major defence industry base in Sichuan province.

One small high-speed drone, or loitering munition, can carry out a suicide bombing at 174km (108 miles) per hour, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

The quadcopter drone has a maximum flight time of 30 minutes and is equipped with automatic tracking and location devices for a precision strike. It can carry 500 grams of TNT – enough to take out a normal car.

The compact drone weighs only 1.8kg (about 4lb), and comes with a backpack that would enable an infantry soldier to carry four of them at the same time.

‘May God bless their souls’: Johor crown prince recounts Thai mall shooting

0

This Week in AsiaPeople

Thai mall shooting: Malaysia’s Johor crown prince gives eyewitness account of deadly attack on shopping centre

Tunku Ismail Idris said he witnessed Tuesday’s deadly attack at the Siam Paragon shopping centre in Bangkok from a nearby hotel lobbyTelling his children ‘everything is going to be OK’ as they waited to escape still haunted him, the crown prince of Malaysia’s Johor state saidThailandSCMP’s Asia deskPublished: 1:03pm, 4 Oct, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

The crown prince of Malaysia’s Johor state has recounted the chaos and fear his family experienced on Tuesday as a mass shooting unfolded at a luxury Bangkok shopping centre.

Tunku Ismail Idris said he witnessed the attack, in which two people died, from a nearby hotel lobby.

“People were shouting and running into the hotel from the mall when the shooter started firing,” Ismail wrote on Facebook just hours after the shooting spree had happened.

He said he and his security team had carried his family to safety in the hotel basement.

China exhibition shows latest military advances in drone technology

0

ChinaMilitary

China exhibition shows latest advances in drone technology, especially for military use

More than 300 unmanned aerial vehicle models on display at conference in Mianyang, a major defence industry baseOne lightweight suicide drone can be carried and launched by an infantry soldier while another’s flapping-wing design has ‘range of uses’China’s militaryLiu ZhenPublished: 1:00pm, 4 Oct, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

Beijing displayed an array of new military drones at an exhibition in southwest China last week, a technology the PLA considers a key area to advance.

More than 300 models of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – many for military uses – were on display at the UAV Industry Development Conference in the Science and Technology City in Mianyang, a major defence industry base in Sichuan province.

One small high-speed drone, or loitering munition, can carry out a suicide bombing at 174km (108 miles) per hour, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

The quadcopter drone has a maximum flight time of 30 minutes and is equipped with automatic tracking and location devices for a precision strike. It can carry 500 grams of TNT – enough to take out a normal car.

The compact drone weighs only 1.8kg (about 4lb), and comes with a backpack that would enable an infantry soldier to carry four of them at the same time.