Mason Owen buyout forms niche retail firm

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Noé makes £400m play for Derwent

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Countryside gets £450m London resi nod

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Trump downplays epidemic fears as virus spreads around world

first_imgPresident Donald Trump has played down fears of a major coronavirus outbreak in the United States, even as infections ricochet around the world, prompting Saudi Arabia to ban pilgrims from visiting Islam’s holiest sites.China is no longer the only breeding ground for the deadly virus as countries fret over possible contagion coming from other hotbeds of infection, including Iran, South Korea and Italy.There are now more daily cases being recorded outside China than inside the country, where the virus first emerged in December, according to the World Health Organization. The US and other countries are also bracing for more cases to be imported from abroad, with growing concern for poorer nations with weak health care systems.With the virus spreading in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia suspended visas for visits to Islam’s holiest sites for the “umrah” pilgrimage, an apparently unprecedented move, raising questions over the hajj which starts in July.The foreign ministry said it was also suspending visas for tourists visiting from countries where the new virus is a “danger”.Several governments have now also advised against travel to Italy — which has 400 cases and 12 deaths. Iran’s neighbors have shut their borders, while Mongolia has suspended flights from South Korea and Japan. More than 2,700 people have died in China and some 78,000 have been infected. There have been more than 50 deaths and 3,600 cases in dozens of other countries, raising fears of a pandemic.”I think that there’s a chance that it could get worse, a chance it could get fairly substantially worse, but nothing’s inevitable,” Trump told reporters at the White House.His comments contradicted US health officials who urged Americans to be ready to cancel mass gatherings and work from home. There are 60 cases in the US so far.Following Trump’s upbeat assessment, the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention said it had detected the first case of unknown origin in the country, signaling that the virus may be spreading within communities. Infections outside China Trump said the US was considering travel restrictions on Italy and South Korea, which has almost 1,600 cases, the highest number outside China. The US already restricts arrivals from China.Even China — which sealed off an entire province and shut down cities across the country to contain the virus — is now worried about importing cases and ordered people arriving in Beijing from virus-hit countries to go into 14-day self-quarantine.The virus is believed to have originated in a market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where it is suspected of having hopped from animal to human before spreading across the country and proliferating abroad.China reported 29 more deaths Thursday — its lowest daily tally since January — and 433 new cases, most of them in hard-hit Hubei province and well below massive increases from just a week ago.Zhong Nanshan, a respected scientist who advises the government, said the country would have had much fewer cases if action had been taken as early as December — a rare critique from a prominent insider.Hubei officials have been accused of initially covering up the outbreak and silencing a whistleblowing doctor who later died from the disease.Nevertheless, Zhong said he expected China to bring the epidemic under control by late April.But other countries have now become sources of concern.In Latin America’s first case, the 61-year-old patient had travelled to Italy’s Lombardy region.In Romania, a man was infected after coming in contact with a visiting Italian.Countries from Denmark to Spain and Algeria have also reported infections linked to Italy.The first cases in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Estonia involved people who had been in Iran.Iran has emerged as a major hotspot in the region, where 22 people have succumbed to the disease — the biggest death toll outside China. The Islamic Republic imposed domestic travel restrictions for people with confirmed or suspected cases and slapped curbs on visits to major Muslim pilgrimage sites, but it said it was not quarantining cities.center_img Topics : ‘No panic’Fears over the epidemic’s spread have rocked global markets in recent days, while sports matches and festivals across Europe have been cancelled.The US and South Korea’s militaries on Thursday postponed forthcoming joint exercises because of the outbreak.A Six Nations rugby match between Italy and Ireland in Dublin on March 7 has been called off, and next month’s alpine skiing World Cup Finals in Italy will be held without fans on the slopes.The WHO has urged countries to prepare for a potential pandemic, though it stopped short of declaring one.Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, however, said his government was “effectively operating now on the basis that there is one — a pandemic”.But EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides appealed for calm.”This is a situation of concern, but we must not give in to panic,” Kyriakides said.last_img read more

Argentina, Chile confirm first coronavirus cases

first_imgArgentina and Chile both said on Tuesday they had confirmed their first case of the novel coronavirus in patients who recently returned from travels.A 43-year-old infected Argentine man had returned from Italy on March 1, while a 33-year-old Chilean man had spent a month in southeast Asia.Health Minister Gines Gonzalez Garcia said the Argentine patient has been in isolation since presenting himself to a private health clinic in Buenos Aires the day he returned. “We’ve identified a first case. It’s a patient who came from Italy” but had also traveled around other parts of Europe, said Gonzalez Garcia.The minister, who added that “fortunately the case is not complicated,” said Argentina was prepared to tackle the virus.”There are countries that have managed to prevent the spread and other countries that haven’t,” said Gonzalez Garcia.”I have every hope and belief that this will be contained.” Chile’s Health Minister Jaime Manalich said the 33-year-old patient had been taken to a hospital in the city of Talca, around 350 kilometers to the south of the capital Santiago.He had mainly spent time in Singapore and arrived back in Chile on February 25.The Talca hospital’s director, Alfredo Donoso, said the patient only started exhibiting coronavirus symptoms a week after returning to Chile, although those were “quite light.””He was admitted with a high fever, but then that became normal and he is now totally free of symptoms here in the Talca hospital and is in isolation,” said Donoso.The patient is due to undergo some tests before being allowed to go home.The two new cases brings the total number in Latin America to 17, with Ecuador (seven) and Mexico (five) the worst affected countries.Health officials have been scrambling to contain the spread of the virus that first erupted in China and has so far killed more than 3,000 people worldwide. Mainland China alone has recorded more than 80,000 cases and 2,943 deaths alone. Elsewhere, the main countries affected are South Korea (5,186 cases, 28 deaths), Italy (2,502 cases, 79 deaths) and Iran (2,336 cases, 77 deaths).center_img Topics :last_img read more

Trump hails rival Joe Biden’s ‘incredible comeback’

first_img“Had she gotten out, it would have been a very different situation, I think. It would have been a very different night.”Trump also had a typically bitter appraisal of billionaire Mike Bloomberg’s flat performance, despite having spent a record hundreds of millions of his own dollars on creating a campaign.Bloomberg quit the race on Wednesday, throwing his support and likely bottomless funding behind Biden.Trump dismissed the importance of this, saying “he’s going to try and save face by putting some money into Biden’s campaign. We’ll see what happens. I don’t think that’s going to have an impact.””He’s doing that because he’s spiteful, he’s a spiteful guy, I know him well,” Trump said. “He made a fool out of himself.”Topics : In his first public comments on the dramatic events of Super Tuesday — other than a series of mocking tweets — Trump also said that Sanders could easily have won if liberal Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren had dropped out earlier, thereby not splitting his vote.Trump noted that decisions by two centrists — Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar — to drop out and endorse Biden had electrified the previously struggling vice president’s campaign.Had Warren done something similar to help Sanders, then the self-described democratic socialist, who is calling for a political revolution, “would have won a lot of states.””She was really a spoiler, because other people got out and those votes went to Joe. Those people really helped Joe, you know, by getting out early,” Trump said. President Donald Trump on Wednesday hailed Democrat Joe Biden’s “incredible comeback” in the primaries race and signaled how he will attack the new frontrunner, saying he was surrounded by far leftists.”It was a great comeback for Joe Biden, an incredible comeback when you think about it,” Trump told reporters at the White House the morning after the Democrats’ Super Tuesday polls.Biden is running as a moderate, in contrast to his leftist rival Bernie Sanders, but Trump insisted that some of the former vice president’s “handlers are further left than Bernie. That’s pretty scary.”last_img read more

Ex-Manchester United striker Berbatov says Liverpool fully deserve title

first_imgFormer Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov said their traditional foes Liverpool deserve to be crowned Premier League champions and it would be unfair on the Anfield side if the season cannot be completed due to the coronavirus outbreak.The campaign has been suspended with the league saying it was keeping the restart date under “constant review”.Liverpool, who have a 25-point advantage over reigning champions Manchester City and nine games left, need six more points to guarantee lifting their first title in 30 years. “People are suggesting to give the title to Liverpool, and honestly they deserve it the way they had been playing, nobody was going to catch them,” Berbatov, who scored 56 goals in four seasons at United told Betfair.”With the way they play their games, the football they produced and how far they are in front, they fully deserve the title this season.”While there has been speculation about a reduced season or even abandoning the campaign, the Premier League said the aim was still to complete all remaining league and cup matches.”However, any return to play will only be with the full support of Government and when medical guidance allows,” the league said in a statement on Friday.Ex-Bulgaria striker Berbatov, who also played for Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham in the English top flight, said he did not know which decision about completing the season would be the right one, adding “whatever is decided won’t be so popular”.In 2010 Berbatov became the first United player to score a hat-trick against arch-rivals Liverpool in 64 years as the home side enjoyed a thrilling 3-2 victory at Old Trafford.”It’s so strange, and it will be unfair on them (Liverpool) if the season is voided, they will be so disappointed,” he said.Topics :last_img read more

Germany agrees to more aid to shield workers, companies from coronavirus hit

first_imgThe package also envisages increased financial support of the federal government worth 500 million euros for schools and pupils to boost e-learning and digitalization.”Germany has successfully slowed down the COVID19 pandemic through drastic restrictions. This has significant economic and social consequences,” the coalition parties said in a joint statement issued after more than seven hours of negotiations.”Nevertheless, we can only loosen the restrictions in small steps, because the virus is still widespread in Germany and we must not jeopardize success by another exponential wave of infections,” the parties said.The package will allow the government to keep financial means for future measures, the parties said, suggesting that the government wants to keep some of its fiscal powder dry in the event of another escalation in the outbreak.Germany has already approved an initial rescue package worth over 750 billion euros to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, with the government taking on new debt for the first time since 2013.The first package agreed in March comprises a debt-financed supplementary budget of 156 billion euros and a stabilization fund worth 600 billion euros for loans to struggling businesses and direct stakes in companies. Topics : Germany’s coalition parties on Thursday agreed to further measures worth some 10 billion euros ($10.81 billion) to shield workers and companies from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.The aid package includes higher state transfers for people in short-time work schemes, according to a document agreed by senior members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition.The parties agreed to temporarily lower the tax burden for the catering industry through a reduced VAT rate of 7% for food and to give tax relief for small companies by simplifying loss carry forward.last_img read more

South Korean feminist party plans school to train ‘winning’ candidates

first_img“We want to plan for our winning strategies,” Kim Eun-ju, a veteran women’s rights activist and one of the party’s founders, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Friday.”We hope this school will provide training to our candidates on how politics work. Although our members are passionate in feminism issues, they lack political skills,” she added.The school in Seoul, which is due to be launched by July, will recruit former local government heads to train candidates.Areas of study will include how to organize political campaigns and women’s rights issues. South Korea’s first feminist party is set to launch a political school to train aspiring female candidates, as it vowed to fight on after failing to win a seat in national elections.The Women’s Party was unsuccessful in its attempts to win four parliamentary seats in the April 15 poll, despite a growing feminism movement in the socially conservative nation.Although disappointed by the result, the party has now begun preparations for local municipal and provincial elections due in 2022 by setting up a political school. Topics :center_img President Moon Jae-in’s ruling party won a landslide victory in last week’s poll, which saw 57 women lawmakers elected into the 300-seat parliament, its highest ever female representation.Launched on the International Women’s Day in March, the Women’s Party with more than 10,000 members campaigned on a platform to end widespread voyeurism against women and push for equal pay.The voyeurism or “spycam porn” epidemic, where victims are filmed urinating or having sex, sparked mass street protests in 2018 and led to a growing feminism movement that has since gathered pace in other areas.South Korea’s gender wage gap meanwhile is the worst among developed nations, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.Female voters like Ahn Yun-hui, a 32-year-old designer in Seoul, said although she wanted greater gender equality, she was skeptical about the fledgling party’s experience.”I wasn’t convinced on what this party could actually do on issues such as women’s safety,” she said.The country’s electoral system traditionally favors major parties, according to political analysts. Women’s rights groups have called for changes to increase female political participation.”The April 15 poll was the first election after Korea’s #MeToo movement, but female candidates were exposed to hate speeches, violence, and discriminations,” said the United Korea Women’s Association, an advocacy group.South Korea was ranked 108 out of 153 countries on the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Gender Gap Index.Park Geun-hye was South Korea’s first female president who served from 2013 until 2017, when she was ousted over a corruption scandal. last_img read more

Nearly 100 foreigners currently hospitalized for COVID-19 in Indonesia: Foreign Minister

first_imgAs many as 563 COVID-19 cases in Indonesia have been recorded among foreigners living in the country, with almost 100 currently receiving treatment, Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi has said.During a virtual press briefing on Wednesday, Retno said 98 foreigners were receiving treatment for COVID-19 at local hospitals, while 306 others were in quarantine.“Fifteen people have died and 144 others have recovered,” Retno said. “The Foreign Ministry is consistently communicating with relevant embassies in Jakarta to give updates regarding their citizens,” she said.As of Wednesday, Indonesian health authorities had recorded 9,511 cases of COVID-19, with 773 fatalities. At least 1,254 patients have recovered.She explained that 597 Indonesian nationals abroad had tested positive, with 383 currently receiving treatment, 179 having recovered and 35 having died.Read also: US donates $3 million for COVID-19 relief to IndonesiaRetno reiterated that protecting foreign nationals in the country during the pandemic was a key focus of Indonesia’s foreign policy.Citing previous directives from President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo regarding COVID-19 countermeasures, Retno said that Indonesia had stepped up its efforts to increase the country’s COVID-19 testing and tracing capacities.The foreign minister also updated the media about the progress of the Global Solidarity Trial, an initiative by the World Health Organization that aims to develop therapeutic drugs for COVID-19. So far, she said, 22 hospitals in Indonesia are participating in the trial. Topics :last_img read more