Items filtered by date: Sunday, 30 June 2019
UK Prime Minister Theresa May held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Osaka, Japan for their first one-on-one meeting since the poisoning of UK residents Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
 
The images below show an angry Theresa May reluctantly shaking hands with her meeting colleague from Russia.
 
Published in World
The European Union signed a landmark free trade deal with Vietnam on Sunday, the first of its kind with a developing country in Asia,
 
The deal paves way for tariff reductions on 99 per cent of goods between the bloc and the Southeast Asian country, the countries announced in a statement.
 
It still needs the approval of the European Parliament, which is not given as some lawmakers are concerned about Vietnam’s human rights record.
 
The European Union has described the EU Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) as “the most ambitious free trade deal ever concluded with a developing country”, Newss reported.
 
Published in Business
The London’s iconic Tower Bridge celebrates its 125th anniversary on Sunday with exhibitions and special offers.
 
The bridge, officially opened on June 30, 1894, has become the defining landmark of the British capital.
 
It welcomed a record breaking of 864,652 visitors in 2018.
 
Chris Earlie, head of Tower Bridge, told Xinhua: `It has a century and a quarter to make its impact, but I think even from day one that there is no way to get away from the fact that it was one of the most recognizable and significant landmarks in the world.”
 
“People fall in love with it, because of the way it looks, it’s so unique, because it’s London’s defining landmark. I’d like to think of it as a fairy tale castle on the river.’’
 
Throughout the 125th anniversary weekend, visitors were invited to explore the history of the bridge through a series of special offers and free events.
 
These include an admission entry offer of 1.25 pounds and a big birthday bash for the bridge architect Horace Jones as costumed Victorians tread the walkways.
 
News reported that an exhibition also showed off the weird and wacky alternative designs that were nearly built instead.
 
The bridge was just one of 50 designs which vied to solve the conundrum of erecting a much-needed new bridge that would still allow large ships into what was the world’s busiest port.
 
About 65-meter tall and 244-meter long, it is the last bridge downstream in London and is crossed by more than 40,000 pedestrians and 21,000 vehicles per day, according to a press release from Tower Bridge.
 
Published in World

South Africa’s four major telecommunications companies have asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to support Huawei in South Africa, reports the Sunday Times.

In a letter dated 7 June, the CEOs of Cell C, MTN, Vodacom and Telkom wrote to the president to ask for help in dealing with the repercussions of an executive order signed by US President Donald Trump against Huawei.

In May, the Trump administration issued an order that could restrict Huawei from selling equipment in the US. Washington also put the company on a blacklist, threatening its supply of American components – from semiconductors, to the Google apps that run on its smartphones.

The CEOs said that blacklisting Huawei in South Africa would hinder the rollout of a new 5G network, as well as impact the country’s existing 3G and 4G networks.

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko said that the president would align with his Chinese counterpart, president Xi Jinping, and back Huawei in its fight against Trump.

“Huawei provides a strong backbone to our telecommunication sector and is the frontrunner in 5G network,” said Diko. “The advancements made in that sector are largely because of the investment Huawei made in South Africa.

“The president expressed his concern at any efforts to curtail the efforts of Huawei to deliver a comprehensive, and what we believe to be an advanced solution in the telecommunication space.”

Investment

Huawei has previously pledged to invest heavily in companies that welcome it with open arms.

“Huawei will invest heavily in those countries where we are welcome,” said global vice president of marketing insights Andrew Williamson

“Restricting competition in 5G infrastructure will have huge costs. Governments and companies around the world will have to address those costs against the supposed risks of national security” .

Williamson added that rolling out 5G technology around the world will be a challenge if the US goes ahead with its sanctions.

Trump eases restrictions on Huawei

After a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump told reporters on Saturday that he would delay restrictions against Huawei, letting US companies resume sales to China’s largest telecommunications equipment maker.

Trump later tweeted that his meeting with Xi was “far better than expected.” He said Chinese President Xi Jinping had promised to buy “tremendous” amounts of US agricultural products in exchange.

After Trump and Xi met at the G-20 on Saturday, the two countries plan to restart trade talks that broke down last month.

Trump told reporters he wouldn’t put additional tariffs on China for the “time being,” and that he would allow US companies to supply Huawei.

“US companies can sell their equipment to Huawei,” Trump said. “We’re talking about equipment where there’s no great national security problem with it.”

 

Source: Business Tech South Africa

Published in Telecoms

In the last week, Israeli media has been awash with news of the controversial visit of Nigerian cleric T.B. Joshua to Nazareth.

Initial news of the visit ignited a furore among apprehensive religious leaders from both the Muslim and Orthodox Christian sector but the tone among locals has emphatically shifted in the aftermath of the successful event.

Dele Momodu, the larger-than-life owner of Ovation Magazine and erstwhile presidential candidate in Nigeria, was among the visitors in Israel to attend the much-publicised Christian event in Jesus’ hometown.

Whilst traversing the ‘Holy Land’, he sampled opinions regarding the controversial cleric and was surprised at the warm response of Israeli’s.

“Joshua-mania hits Israel… It is incredible how T.B. Joshua is wowing the people of Israel,” wrote Momodu to his 500,000 followers on Instagram, subsequently sharing short video clips of taxi drivers speaking glowingly of the cleric.

“Joshua is a good man,” a Nazarene driver named Alosh ecstatically remarked to Momodu. “He is always welcome to Israel. Everyone knows him here and we love him!”

Buttressing Momodu’s assertion, the Mayor of Nazareth, Ali Sallam, touted the economic benefit derived by Joshua’s visit in an interview with local Arabic media, stating the region of Nazareth would accrue up to $1,000,000 as a result of the influx of tourists.

A Nigerian living in Israel named Kennedy stated that Israeli reactions towards him – and his fellow Africans living in the nation – had significantly brightened after Joshua’s two-day event.

“Many of us Africans who work here in Israel are treated with suspicion and we sometimes feel marginalised,” the Tel-Aviv based electrician originally from Imo State said in a video posted online.

“But after TB Joshua’s visit, I have observed a notable difference. Many people have approached to ask me more about Nigeria; they are responding far more positively to me and black people in general,” he stated. “I can testify that T.B. Joshua’s meeting in Nazareth is rebranding Africa’s image abroad.”

Writing on Facebook, Julian H – a pilgrim from UK who attended the event – recounted the experience of how an Arabian seller at a local market gave him free fruit after learning he had attended the meeting with Joshua.

“He told me he watched the event live on a local station and was amazed that miracles can still happen today in Nazareth,” the Brit explained.

“Whether you hate this man or like him, the fact remains that T.B Joshua is Nigeria’s biggest export to the world at the moment,” penned Chukwudi Iwuchukwu, a lawyer and social media influencer, on Facebook.

“No other Nigerian – dead or alive – has the capacity to attract such global media attention except him, which makes him one of Africa’s biggest ever icons,” he bluntly wrote.

Opinion among the local Muslim community in Nazareth – which was significantly divisive before the event – has also swung heavily in the pastor’s favour in the aftermath.

“I thought Joshua was coming to try and force us to convert,” an Arabic clothes vendor named Habib stated.

“But I realise he is just a good man with a message of love for all. Also, I sold more in this last week than in the last four months combined because of the tourists he brought to our town – so he’s definitely welcome back!”

A young group of Arabic men admitted they actually attended the event to mock it. “I went with my friends for a joke. I thought they were all a bunch of actors but when I saw someone whom I personally knew receive healing, I started taking it seriously,” wrote Ahmed Dahar in Arabic on Facebook.

The two-day meeting, which has been viewed 500,000 times on Emmanuel TV’s YouTube channel since its broadcast, also received coverage from international media such as The New York Times and Reuters.

Joshua founded and leads an evangelical ministry called The Synagogue, Church of All Nations. His Christian television network, Emmanuel TV, says it is Youtube's most subscribed to ministry channel with well over one million followers.

Evangelicals made up roughly half of the more than 2 million Christian pilgrims who visited Israel in 2018, according to the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, which oversees evangelical outreach to Israel.

Credit: 

Published in Travel & Tourism

The United States and China agreed on Saturday to restart trade talks after President Donald Trump offered concessions including no new tariffs and an easing of restrictions on tech company Huawei in order to reduce tensions with Beijing.

China agreed to make unspecified new purchases of U.S. farm products and return to the negotiating table. No deadline was set for progress on a deal, and the world's two largest economies remain at odds over significant parts of an agreement.

The last major round of talks collapsed in May.

Financial markets, which have been rattled by the nearly year-long trade war, are likely to cheer the truce. Washington and Beijing have slapped tariffs on billions of dollars of each other's imports, stoking fears of a wider global trade war. Those tariffs remain in place while negotiations resume.

"We're right back on track," Trump told reporters after an 80-minute meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a summit of leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies in Osaka, Japan.

"We're holding back on tariffs and they're going to buy farm products," Trump said, without giving details about the purchases.

Trump tweeted hours later that the meeting with Xi went "far better than expected."

"The quality of the transaction is far more important to me than speed," he tweeted. "I am in no hurry, but things look very good!"

The U.S. president had threatened to slap new levies on roughly $300 billion of additional Chinese goods, including popular consumer products, if the meeting in Japan proved unsuccessful. Such a move would have extended existing tariffs to almost all Chinese imports into the United States.

In a lengthy statement on the two-way talks, China's foreign ministry quoted Xi as telling Trump he hoped the United States could treat Chinese companies fairly.

"China is sincere about continuing negotiations with the United States ... but negotiations should be equal and show mutual respect," the foreign ministry quoted Xi as saying.

Trump offered an olive branch to Xi on Huawei Technologies Co [HWT.UL], the world's biggest telecom network gear maker. The Trump administration has said the Chinese firm is too close to China's government and poses a national security risk, and has lobbied U.S. allies to keep Huawei out of next-generation 5G telecommunications infrastructure.

Trump's Commerce Department has put Huawei on its "entity list," effectively banning the company from buying parts and components from U.S. companies without U.S. government approval.

But Trump said on Saturday he did not think that was fair to U.S. suppliers, who were upset by the move. "We're allowing that, because that wasn't national security," he said.

CHEERS FROM CHIP MAKERS

Trump said the U.S. Commerce Department would study in the next few days whether to take Huawei off the list of firms banned from buying components and technology from U.S. companies without government approval.

China welcomed the step.

"If the U.S. does what it says, then of course, we welcome it," said Wang Xiaolong, the Chinese foreign ministry's envoy for G20 affairs.

U.S. microchip makers also applauded the move.

"We are encouraged the talks are restarting and additional tariffs are on hold and we look forward to getting more detail on the president's remarks on Huawei," John Neuffer, president of the U.S. Semiconductor Association, said in a statement.

Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, however, tweeted that any agreement to reverse the recent U.S. action against Huawei would be a "catastrophic mistake" and that legislation would be needed to put the restrictions back in place if that turned out to be the case.

Last month, Rubio and Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Warner urged Trump to not use Huawei as a bargaining chip for trade negotiations.

Huawei has come under mounting scrutiny for over a year, led by U.S. allegations that "back doors" in its routers, switches and other gear could allow China to spy on U.S. communications.

The company has denied its products pose a security threat. It declined to comment on the developments on Saturday.

The problems at Huawei have filtered across to the broader chip industry, with Broadcom Inc warning of a broad slowdown in demand and cutting its revenue forecast.

Trump said he and Xi did not discuss the extradition proceedings against Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's chief financial officer, who was arrested in Canada in December on charges alleging she misled global banks about Huawei's relationship with a company in Iran.

RELIEF AND SCEPTICISM

Scores of Asia specialists, including former U.S. diplomats and military officers, urged Trump to rethink policies that "treat China as an enemy," warning that approach could hurt U.S. interests and the global economy, according to a draft open letter reviewed by Reuters on Saturday.

Investors, businesses and financial leaders have for months been warning that an intractable tit-for-tat tariff war between the United States and China could damage global supply chains and push the world economy over a cliff.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Saturday urged G20 policymakers to reduce tariffs and other obstacles to trade, warning that the global economy had hit a "rough patch" due to the trade conflict.

Although analysts cheered a resumption of talks between Washington and Beijing, some questioned whether the two sides would be able to build enough momentum to breach the divide and forge a lasting deal.

"Translating this truce into a durable easing of trade tensions is far from automatic ... especially as what's in play now extends well beyond economics to include delicate national security issues of both immediate- and longer-term nature," said Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz.

The United States says China has been stealing American intellectual property for years, forces U.S. firms to share trade secrets as a condition for doing business in China, and subsidizes state-owned firms to dominate industries.

China has said the United States is making unreasonable demands and must also make concessions.

The negotiations hit an impasse in May after Washington accused Beijing of reneging on reform pledges made during months of talks. Trump raised tariffs to 25% from 10% on $200 billion of Chinese goods, and China retaliated by raising levies on a list of U.S. imports.

 

Published in World
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