Lloyds black horse is made redundant

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Ronson Air

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Commercial market begins to cool off

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City fringe offices: Fringed with sadness

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LandSecs & Pru back BPF lease

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Yields fall across the board during 2002

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Bracknell’s £750m makeover unveiled

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China expels Wall Street Journal reporters over ‘racist’ headline

first_imgChina on Wednesday ordered three reporters from The Wall Street Journal to leave the country over what Beijing deemed a racist headline, in one of the harshest moves against foreign media in years.The United States protested what it called an affront to press freedom, one day after it tightened rules on Chinese media organizations that it considers state propaganda.Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said a Journal opinion piece — titled “China is the Real Sick Man of Asia” — had a “racially discriminatory” and “sensational” headline, and slammed the newspaper for not issuing an official apology. “As such, China has decided that from today, the press cards of three Wall Street Journal reporters in Beijing will be revoked,” Geng told a press briefing.The Journal reported that deputy bureau chief Josh Chin and reporter Chao Deng, both US nationals, as well as reporter Philip Wen, an Australian, had been ordered to leave the country in five days.US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the expulsions and voiced hope that China would one day allow its citizens “the same access to accurate information” that Americans enjoy.”Mature, responsible countries understand that a free press reports facts and expresses opinions,” Pompeo said in a statement. “The correct response is to present counter arguments, not restrict speech,” he said.The three journalists work in The Wall Street Journal’s news section, which is not linked to the editorial and opinion section.The newspaper’s publisher, William Lewis, said the outlet was “deeply disappointed” with China’s decision and asked that the visas of the three reporters be reinstated.”This opinion piece was published independently from the WSJ newsroom and none of the journalists being expelled had any involvement with it,” Lewis said in a statement.”The need for quality, trusted news reporting from China is greater than ever; today’s decision to target our News department journalists greatly hinders that effort,” he said.”However, this has clearly caused upset and concern amongst the Chinese people, which we regret.”‘Not completely coincidental’ The op-ed, written by Bard College professor Walter Russell Mead, criticised the Chinese government’s initial response to the new coronavirus outbreak — calling the Wuhan city government at the virus epicentre “secretive and self-serving”, while dismissing national efforts as ineffective.The phrase “sick man of Asia” originally referred to China in the late 19th and early 20th century, when it was exploited by foreign powers during a period sometimes called the country’s “century of humiliation”.”At American newspapers, writers typically do NOT write or approve the headlines,” Mead tweeted after the op-ed was published. “Argue with the writer about the article content, with the editors about the headlines.”The new coronavirus epidemic has killed more than 2,000 people in China and infected more than 74,000, and has spread to at least two dozen countries.Geng said the February 3 piece “slandered the efforts of the Chinese government and the Chinese people to fight the epidemic”.The expulsions come a day after the United States angered China for classifying five state media outlets, including Xinhua agency and the China Global Television Network, as foreign missions, with State Department officials saying they were part of Beijing’s growing “propaganda” apparatus.China’s nationalistic Global Times newspaper on Wednesday implied a link between the WSJ expulsions and the new US policy.”There are no connections between the two events, but it is not completely coincidental that they happened at about the same time,” it said an editorial on its English-language website.”The two countries’ values are drifting apart… This is not a good sign.”‘Extreme’China’s move to force out the three journalists marks a drastic escalation in pressure on the international media. Multiple foreign reporters have been effectively expelled over the past five years.The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China said China had not outright expelled a foreign correspondent since 1998.”The action taken against the Journal correspondents is an extreme and obvious attempt by the Chinese authorities to intimidate foreign news organisations,” the FCCC said in a statement.Nine journalists have been either expelled or effectively expelled through non-renewal of visas since 2013, it added.In August, China refused to renew the press credentials of WSJ journalist Chun Han Wong, after he and Wen wrote an article on one of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s cousins.Wen and the other two expelled Journal reporters had reported on Xinjiang, covering forced labour, surveillance and re-education camps.A 2019 FCCC survey of 109 foreign journalists said many working in China have been threatened with visa delays, or issued with short-stay visas, which they believed were related to their coverage.China expels Wall Street Journal reporters over ‘racist’ headlineTopics :last_img read more

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‘It was very quiet’: Team members recall Wuhan evacuation mission

first_imgIt was on Friday evening, Jan 31, when the Health Ministry’s crisis center head Budi Sylvana received the order to join a rescue team to be dispatched to China’s coronavirus-hit Hubei province, just as he was leaving office that day.He said that, before he got the order, he had heard the announcement by Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi about the evacuation of some 245 Indonesian nationals from Wuhan to be conducted within 24 hours but had not expected to be directly involved. Unlike Budi, Tony Wibawa from the Foreign Ministry’s directorate of citizen protection said he had worked on a plan for the evacuation since Jan. 23, when the Chinese government announced a lockdown in Wuhan.Since then, he said, the directorate had worked with the Indonesian Embassy in Beijing to collect data on citizens in Wuhan.“So, to a certain extent, we already had a plan once we received the order for the evacuation,” he said.On Jan 30, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo ordered the immediate evacuation of all Indonesian citizens.On the ground, a so-called “team of five” consisting of embassy officials in Beijing was tasked with going to Wuhan to prepare the evacuation.One of the team members, Arianto Surojo, said the team went to Changsha on the morning of Jan. 31 and traveled to Wuhan by car.“After arriving in Wuhan, we immediately coordinated with the students, and that night we got the landing permit for the plane the next day,” he said.The biggest challenge was the fact that the students were widely dispersed, with some located as far as 500 kilometers from Wuhan.“We had to gather them all at the airport in the evening before leaving at night,” he said.He said the whole process was very fast because of the negotiations conducted at all levels, from the Foreign Minister to the director level as well as from the ambassador’s office in Beijing and with the foreign affairs office at the provincial level.“We were facing an abnormal situation and all of us needed to get permits, including a landing permit and flight clearance, while facing the lockdown situation on the ground,” he said.Retno said she had barely got any sleep for at least two nights before and during the evacuation, starting on Jan. 31 when the advance team went to Wuhan.“I get goose bumps just thinking about it now. When the team reached the border, I asked Ari how much further [before reaching Wuhan], and also when they finally met with the citizens in Wuhan. I called them to give them some encouragement, because they had to be fit for the evacuation,” she said.Meanwhile, two days before the evacuation, Batik Air captain Destyo Usodo was notified about the assignment, and he said he was very hesitant.“But I was reassured that all the mitigation and hazard identification had been assessed and that we already had a mitigation plan. I was also told that we would only bring the healthy citizens home, and that made me more confident,” he said.The plane took off from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, on Feb. 1 at approximately 1:10 p.m. Destyo said he had been in close communication with the mission controls of Batik Air and the Indonesian Air Force.“When I landed at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport, it was very quiet, even though the lights were all on, there was no activity in sight,” he said, adding that the only other aircraft was one from Air India, which landed 10 minutes after Batik Air for the Indian evacuation mission.In the end, the plane only carried 238 Indonesians and one foreign national home, as four people refused to be evacuated, while three others had high fever at the time of departure.“When we [finally] entered [Indonesian airspace], I welcomed all Indonesian citizens back to Indonesia, our beloved country,” the captain said.Topics : “I knew the whole system was already in place, so I was relaxed. I did not think I was going to be assigned to go to Wuhan, because we were only responsible for preparing the evacuation needs. At the last minute before I was going home, the Health Minister ordered us to go. As a human being and someone who understood the nature of the virus, I was really shocked,” he said at a welcoming event in Jakarta on Tuesday.Budi was among several officials on the team tasked with repatriating Indonesian nationals and one foreign spouse of an Indonesian citizen from Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, as well as other cities in Hubei province, in early February.They all had to undergo a 14-day quarantine in Natuna from Feb. 2 to Feb. 15, and all have been declared free of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).The evacuation team consisted of 42 people, including nine cabin crew members, a pilot, a copilot and representatives of the Foreign Ministry, the Health Ministry and the Indonesian Military (TNI).last_img read more

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First novel coronavirus death in Belgium

first_imgChina remains the hardest-hit country overall with more than 80,000 cases and 3,000 deaths, out of 117,339 cases and 4,251 fatalities worldwide.But the virus is spreading rapidly in Europe, in particular in Italy, where the death toll had risen Tuesday by a third to 631.Belgium’s first death was in Brussels, which in addition to being the Belgian capital is home to the headquarters of the European Union and the NATO alliance.Topics : Belgium has recorded its first death from the novel coronavirus strain that is sweeping the globe, health officials said Wednesday.Maggie De Block, health minister in the caretaker federal government, said the victim was 90 years old.The ministry is to hold a news conference later in the day, but as of Tuesday Belgium had recorded 267 cases of the coronavirus strain that causes COVID-19 disease.last_img read more

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