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China suspends communications with Taiwan

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BEIJING — The Chinese government on Saturday announced that it has suspended communications with Taiwan over Taipei’s refusal to perceive the ‘1992 consensus’ of the One China policy.

The announcement of the suspension of communications between China and Taiwan comes amid Tsai’s first international tour, as she left on Friday for Panama, Paraguay and the US.

Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office said in a statement released by Xinhua news agency that it has not been in contact with Taipei in regards to Friday’s removal to China of 25 Taiwanese nationals captured in Cambodia – the most recent scene of pressure since President Tsai Ing-wen accepted office on May 20.

“Because the Taiwan side has not acknowledged the 1992 consensus, this joint political basis for showing the One China principle, the cross Taiwan Strait contact and communication mechanism has already stopped,” Xinhua reported quoting Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson An Fengshan.

In her inaugural speech, Tsai who heads the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, acknowledged the “historical fact” that there was a meeting in 1992 between China and Taiwan, but said no consensus was reached and neither was Taiwan a part of China, as Beijing claims.

The ‘1992 consensus’, the base of current ties between the two sides, is an ambiguous formula in which both Beijing and Taipei are considered part of the same China, but each agree to interpret the meaning of that China in their own way, for some communist and democratic for others.

The statement comes a day after 25 Taiwanese and 14 Chinese were extradited to China from Cambodia on accusations of telecommunications fraud, despite protests from Taipei.

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5 dead as gunman attacks churchgoers in Russia

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At least five people were killed and another five were injured when a gunman attacked a crowd of people leaving a church on Sunday in Russia’s southern province of Dagestan, Russian news agencies reported.

The attack occurred in the village of Kizlyar in the Muslim-majority republic of Dagestan.

Russian news agencies said the attack occurred as churchgoers celebrated Maslenitsa, a Christian holiday marking the last day before Lent according to the eastern Orthodox calendar.

CCTV footage from the site of the deadly shooting shows a man armed with a rifle gunning down two women in broad daylight.

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A bearded man clad in a black vest and camouflage pants was seen crossing the street before opening fire on two female churchgoers as they left a service in Kizlyar in the Republic of Dagestan on Sunday afternoon. A woman walking several meters from the attacker was seen rushing away as the bloodshed unfolded.

The attacker was identified as a 22-year-old man local to the region, the TASS news agency said, citing the investigative committee.

He was shot and killed by security services who were on duty nearby, TASS said, adding that a hunting rifle, bullets and a knife were discovered on his person.

Initial reports suggested all five victims were women, TASS said, citing the local branch of the interior ministry.

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