November 5, 2018

China President Xi’s economic reform promises underwhelm

China President Xi's economic reform promises underwhelm Image copyright AFP After meeting President Trump in April last year, China's President Xi Jinping announced a big idea to show the world, and especially the White House, that China's economy was opening up: the China International Import Expo. When he opened the huge gathering on Monday in Shanghai, "opening up" was a constant refrain in his 30-minute address. There's no doubt that the 3,000-plus foreign firms here this week will do good business. President Xi's association with the event will make it so. One senior diplomat told me the Chinese hosts could be unveiling a total of $150bn in new import deals by the week's end. (The UK is likely to announce £2bn or $2.6bn worth of deals). All of this is designed to show that Beijing is addressing one of President Trump's biggest bugbears - China's massive trade imbalance with the US. US-China trade row: What has happened so far?US-China..
November 5, 2018

Delhi panic over toxic air ahead of Indian festival Diwali

Delhi panic over toxic air ahead of Indian festival Diwali Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A thick blanket of smog eclipsed Delhi on Monday Panic gripped the Indian capital Delhi on Monday as residents woke up to a blanket of thick grey smog ahead of Diwali, the festival of lights. Visibility is poor as pollution levels reached 20 times the World Health Organisation's recommended limit. The air quality is expected to worsen in the coming days due to the use of firecrackers, experts have warned. Indian cities regularly dominate global pollution rankings for the worst air quality. The Supreme Court has restricted the timeframe for setting off firecrackers to only two hours during the day - but experts believe this curfew will be hard to implement. Diwali, the most important Hindu festival in north India, celebrates the victory of good over evil. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionA hair-raising drive through the Delhi smog in 2017 However in the ..
November 5, 2018

New Zealand baby rescue: Fisherman pulls 18-month baby from ocean

New Zealand baby rescue: Fisherman pulls 18-month baby from ocean Image copyright Smith Collection/Gado Image caption Matata (not pictured) is one of many beaches along the coast of New Zealand's North Island A New Zealand fisherman has rescued an 18-month-old boy from the ocean, in an incident described as a "freakish miracle". Gus Hutt, a holiday camper staying on Matata Beach on North Island, was fishing when he spotted a small figure floating in the water. He first thought it was a doll and only realised it was a baby after he "let out a little squeak". The boy had escaped from his parents' tent and ended up in the ocean. "I thought he was a doll. [Even as] I reached out and grabbed him by the arm, I still thought it was a doll," Mr Hutt told local outlet the NZ Herald. "His face looked just like porcelain with his short hair wetted down, but then he let out a little squeak and I thought 'oh God this is a baby and it's alive'." 'Bloody lucky'Mr H..
November 5, 2018

World drone racing championship won by Australian teenager

World drone racing championship won by Australian teenager Image copyright FAI/Marcus King Image caption Rudi Browning, 15, has become a world champion in drone racing A 15-year-old Australian boy has been crowned overall champion at the FAI Drone Racing World Championships. Rudi Browning beat more than 120 competitors at the event run by the World Air Sports Federation (FAI) in Shenzhen, China. His success also helped the Australian team win the group title ahead of Sweden and South Korea. An 11-year-old racer from Thailand, Wanraya Wannapong, won the the women's title. In drone racing, participants steer crafts at high speed around a race course with obstacles. Pilots control the drones through special headgear connected to their craft's cameras. Image copyright FAI/Marcus King Image caption Goggles on... Rudi Browning steered his way to victory on Sunday Mr Browning beat three other pilots in a final on Sunday to win the gold medal for overall champion. He also received..
November 4, 2018

Xi Jinping pledges to cut Chinese import tariffs

Xi Jinping pledges to cut Chinese import tariffs Image copyright Getty Images Chinese President Xi Jinping has promised to take steps to cut import tariffs and further open up access to the economy for foreign companies. Speaking at the opening of a trade expo in Shanghai, he also defended the global free trade system, which he said was "under attack". The comments are seen as a reference to the US, with which China is fighting a trade war. The US has hit about half of Chinese imports into the US with tariffs. China has retaliated in kind. "We will take further steps to lower tariffs, facilitate customs clearance, reduce institutional costs in import," Mr Xi said during a speech at the expo. "We will continue to broaden market access," he added.
November 4, 2018

Reality Check: Is China burdening Africa with debt?

Reality Check: Is China burdening Africa with debt? Image copyright Getty Images Image caption President Xi and African leaders at the FOCAC summit in Beijing, September 2018 Africa is facing a looming debt crisis, say leading development economists. "Almost 40% of sub-Saharan African countries are in danger of slipping into a major debt crisis" according to the Overseas Development Institute, ahead of a major conference on debt being held in London this week. And the relationship between African nations and China is often seen as a significant part of the problem. Its critics say that major infrastructure projects carried out by Chinese companies in Africa are too expensive, and burden the host countries with enormous debts they can't hope to repay. The Chinese government is adamant that its economic relationships with African countries are mutually beneficial and rejects suggestions that it is using debt to expand global influence. So is China really responsible for Africa&#039..
November 4, 2018

Leicester City players arrive in Thailand for owner’s funeral

Leicester City players arrive in Thailand for owner's funeral Image copyright Reuters Image caption Leicester City players arrive in Bangkok for Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha's funeral Leicester City players have arrived in Thailand for the funeral of the club's owner, who died in a helicopter crash. Jamie Vardy and club captain Wes Morgan are among the players attending Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha's funeral in Bangkok for the next two days. It began at a temple on Saturday with Buddhist bathing rituals, and will be followed by recitation ceremonies. The helicopter crashed after taking off from the club's stadium on 27 October, killing Mr Vichai and four others. Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha bought Leicester City in 2010 The Leicester players travelled to Thailand on the 12-hour flight on Saturday after winning 1-0 at Cardiff City in the Premier League, in the first game since his death. They will join Buddhist prayers for M..
November 4, 2018

China motorway toll crash: At least 15 dead in Lanzhou

China motorway toll crash: At least 15 dead in Lanzhou More than a dozen people have been killed after a lorry lost control at a toll station in north-west China. Dozens more were injured when the vehicle collided with a line of waiting cars waiting in Lanzhou, the provincial capital of Gansu, on Saturday. The cause of the 31 vehicle pile-up is under investigation. However, according to China's Xinhua news, the lorry driver told authorities his brakes failed as he travelled down a hill towards the toll station. Xinhua puts the death toll at 15, with another 44 people injured. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionFootage shows the fight breaking out before the bus plunge The crash comes less than a week after 13 people were killed when a bus plunged off a bridge and into a river in Chongqing , south-western China.
November 3, 2018

Sri Lanka crisis: House of Cards in the Indian Ocean

Sri Lanka crisis: House of Cards in the Indian Ocean Image caption The key players: Mahinda Rajapaksa, Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe What is happening in Sri Lanka right now sits somewhere in between House of Cards, Game of Thrones and Shakespeare's darkest Roman plays. It involves a man who betrayed his leader only now to return him to power, an alleged murder plot, and two men laying claim to a grand white mansion that is a symbol of political power. Here's what you need to know about the constitutional crisis gripping this island nation, What set off this crisis? This is complicated because there have been many twists and turns. Last week Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena shocked the nation by sacking Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, dissolving the cabinet, and suspending parliament. He said they hadn't been getting on. The president then - in what many saw as the bigger surprise - appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa, the man he defeated in t..
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