Companies/Boss US, S Korea begin joint military drills after virus delay SEOUL South Korea and the United States began annual military exercises following a coronavirus delay, with the drills likely to infuriate the North which has long considered them rehearsals for invasion. The drills come as tensions remain high between Seoul and Pyongyang after the North blew up an interKorean liaison office on its side of the border in June and threatened military measures. The nuclear-armed North-which attacked its neighbour in 1950, triggering the Korean War-has regularly been angered by military exercises between the US and the South. Japan concerns over activity around disputed islands: NHK -AFP Investment Corp and Meydan City restructured UN condemns spike in Colombia 'massacres' TOKYO: Japanese Defence Minister Taro Kono told China's ambassador to Japan, Kong Xuanyou, his country should refrain from activities around disputed East China Sea islands that are controlled by Tokyo but claimed by Beijing, public broadcaster NHK reported. Kono expressed strong concern over China's actions in a 40-minute meeting at the defence ministry, NHK said, after Japan last month accused Chinese government ships of repeated intrusions into its territorial waters around the islands. China said last month the islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China, were Chinese territory and it had the right to conduct law enforcement activities in the area. DUBAI: The boards of the Dubai government's Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) and state developer Meydan City Corporation have been restructured, the ruler of Dubai said on Sunday. ICD, the government's main investment arm, will now be led by Dubai's Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum said in a statement on his website announcing the changes via two decrees. -AFP -AP EV startup Canoo to go public at $2.4b valuation BOGOTA The UN peace mission in Colombia on Monday condemned a spiral of violence engulfing the country, saying it had documented 33 massacres so far this year. The mission, set up to monitor adherence to a 2016 peace deal with the former FARC guerrillas, said it was investigating the deaths of 97 human rights defenders killed during the same period. The violence was having a "serious humanitarian impact" in areas where illegal armed groups continued to operate, it said. At least 13 people were killed in two separate incidents in the last week alone. On Saturday, eight people were gunned down at a birthday party in Samaniego, in southwestern Narino department, police told AFP. Narino borders Ecuador and is one of Colombia's main areas for growing coca leaves, the raw material for making cocaine. Its strategic location makes it a favored route for smuggling drugs north to Central America and the US. Meanwhile, authorities discovered the bodies of five Afro-Colombian teenagers in a sugar cane field near Cali. Colombian and UN officials sounded a joint warning on Sunday about the deteriorating security situation in the country, despite a lockdown against the spread of the coronavirus in place since March 25. DETROIT Canoo Holdings Ltd, an electric vehicle startup already working with South Korea's Hyundai Motor, will go public later this year at a value of $2.4 billion after joining forces with a so-called blank-check firm or special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The combined company will be called Canoo Inc following the closing of the deal with Hennessy Capital Acquisition Corp IV in the fourth quarter and will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol "CNOO," the companies said. Tuesday's announcement of the deal comes as investors are looking to ride the global shift to EVs and echo the surging stock price of segment leader Tesla (TSLA.O). A SPAC is a shell company that raises money through an IPO to buy an operating entity, typically within two years. "A SPAC has for us a huge advantage because we can generate enough funding to accelerate our development process," Ulrich Kranz, Canoo's co-founder and chief executive, told. BEIJING: A retired Chinese professor who called President Xi Jinping a "mafia boss" and the ruling Communist Party a "political zombie" has been disciplined, according to her former employer, the latest such critic to face punishment in recent months. Cai Xia, who had taught democratic politics at the Central Party School of the Chinese Communist Party before retiring, is the third prominent figure in recent months to be disciplined after criticising the party and its leader. The school, which trains rising officials destined for promotion, announced on Monday that it had rescinded Cai's Communist Party membership and retirement benefits for making remarks that "had serious political problems and damaged the country's reputation". The notice on the school's website did not specify the remarks. Two Chinese political watchers, however, pointed to comments she made in a recording leaked online in June arguing that replacing Xi as party chief would be the first step to saving the party from itself. In the recording heard by Reuters, a woman identified as Cai by fellow academics called Xi a "mafia boss" who turned the party into his personal tool, and a "political zombie". "If the Politburo Standing Committee has any sense of responsibility to the people, the country and the party. It was unclear where, when or to whom she was speaking. Cai could not be reached for comment. Cai is granddaughter of a revolutionary fighter and taught for 4 decades at party school, giving her a solid "red background". -AFP -REUTERS -AFP
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