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Posts Tagged ‘London’

Chinese vice premier in trade-focused London talks

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:10 am

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang arrives in London on Monday to meet Prime Minister David Cameron on the second day of a visit to Britain aimed at bolstering economic ties between the two countries.

Chinese Vice Prime Ministerr Li Keqiang (C) is escorted on a tour of the Pelamis Wave Power factory in Edinburgh, Scotland, on the first of a four-day visit to the United Kingdom on January 9, 2011.

The government is rolling out the red carpet for Li, who is widely tipped to become Chinese premier next year, as Britain scrambles to catch up with European rivals Germany and France in landing trade deals with China.

Li, accompanied by a 150-strong business and political delegation, was also to hold talks with finance minister George Osborne and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on Monday and will make a speech at a banquet on Tuesday.

Having already visited Spain and Germany on his three-country European visit, Li started his trip to Britain on Sunday in Scotland where he sealed a modest renewable energy deal between Scottish and Chinese companies.

In Scotland, he said Britain and China had grown closer together in recent years.

Closer cooperation between London and Beijing would not only benefit the two countries and peoples, “but also contribute to world peace, stability and prosperity”, Li was quoted as saying, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

The visit follows Cameron’s trip to China in November, when he too was accompanied by a team of ministers and business leaders.

Cameron was the first Western leader to visit China since the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

While he did not publicly confront Chinese leaders over human rights, Cameron used a speech to university students to call for “greater political opening” as the Chinese economy surges forward.

Clegg has insisted that “no subject will be off limits” during the talks with Li in the four-day British visit.

In trade terms, Cameron’s visit to Beijing produced deals for British companies worth around one billion pounds (1.5 billion dollars, 1.2 billion euros).

In contrast, a few days earlier a visit to France by Chinese President Hu Jintao yielded 20 billion dollars of aviation and energy contracts between Chinese and French companies.

In an article in the Financial Times on Monday, Li said the world should not fear a rapidly growing China.

“China’s development benefits other countries,” he wrote. “We welcome the entry into our market of competitive good and services from around the world, and will provide a fair and even more transparent environment for foreign investors.”

Cameron has said Li’s visit would “build on the momentum” from his trip to Beijing, adding that “stronger relations with China offered a real opportunity for Britain in terms of trade, jobs, and economic growth”.

Li’s trips to Germany and Spain have focused on business.

In Berlin, he said China and Germany, the world’s top two exporters, should deepen their economic cooperation both in traditional areas such as machinery and cars but also in low-carbon technologies and energy efficient industry.

While in Madrid, Li said Beijing was willing to buy around six billion euros worth of Spanish debt, daily El Pais quoted government sources as saying.

After eurozone members Greece and Ireland were forced to seek bailouts worth tens of billions of euros last year, Spain, together with Portugal, have been seen as next in line in the 17-country currency union to need help.


Source: SGGP

Vietnamese Judo competes for Olympic London 2012

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:36 am

Vietnamese Judo competes for Olympic London 2012

QĐND – Saturday, December 11, 2010, 21:8 (GMT+7)

Two Vietnamese judo martial artists Van Ngoc Tu (under 48kg) and Nguyen Thi Lan (under 57kg) are participating the Olympic London 2012 qualifying round held in Japan from December 11-13.

Tu is now number 58 in the world group A but in the group B for the Asian region ranks second after a martial artist from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with only 2 points less.

The International Judo Federation will select 20 martial artists from group A and one another from group B for the coming Olympic.

Based on her performance, Tu has a chance to top group B with 28 points gained from qualifying round in Mongolia before arriving to the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China in November.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

London braces for Underground train strike

In Uncategorized on November 3, 2010 at 5:42 am

WikiLeaks allegations ‘extraordinarily serious’: London

In Uncategorized on October 24, 2010 at 11:58 am

LONDON, Oct 24, 2010 (AFP) – British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Sunday that the allegations against US-led forces in the leaked Iraq war military documents were “extraordinarily serious”.

Clegg told BBC television that people were waiting for an official response to the “shocking” allegations against US and coalition troops after whistleblowing website WikiLeaks published 400,000 classified US military documents on the war in Iraq.

The home page of the web site ‘War Logs’ created by the French media OWNI is pictured on October 23, 2010 in Paris. AFP

“We can bemoan how these leaks occurred but I think the nature of the allegations made are extraordinarily serious. They are distressing to read about and they’re very serious,” he said.

“I’m assuming the US administration will want to provide its own answer. It’s not for us to tell them how to do that.

“Anything that suggests that basic rules of war and conflict and of engagement have been broken or that torture has in any way been condoned are extremely serious and need to be looked at.

“People will want to hear what the answer is to what are very, very serious allegations of a nature which I think everybody will find quite shocking.”

Liberal Democrat party leader Clegg has said he believes the British decision to join the March 2003 US-led invasion was illegal.

Source: SGGP

Saudi prince convicted of murdering servant in London

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2010 at 4:07 am

Saudi prince Saud Bin Abdulaziz Bin Nasir al Saud (AFP)

LONDON (AFP) – A Saudi prince was found guilty by a London court of murdering his servant in a London hotel after subjecting him to a “sadistic” campaign of violence and sexual abuse.

Saud Bin Abdulaziz Bin Nasir al Saud, 34, a grandson of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah through his mother, was accused of beating and strangling Bandar Abdullah Abdulaziz to death on February 15.

The prince faces a possible life sentence when he is sentenced on Wednesday. The jury at London’s Old Bailey, also known as the Central Criminal Court, deliberated for only 95 minutes before convicting him.

“The defendant used his position of power over the victim to gratuitously inflict violence upon him over a long period of time,” John McFarlane, the Scotland Yard detective who led the investigation, said after the verdict.

“After the victim’s body was discovered he made every effort to evade justice, including misleading police by alleging that the victim had been robbed and then trying to claim diplomatic immunity, which he was not entitled to in the UK.”

Saud was fuelled by champagne and cocktails when he murdered the 32-year-old in a ferocious attack after the pair had returned from a Valentine’s Day night out, the two-week trial heard.

The victim, also a Saudi, was left with severe injuries including bite marks on both cheeks which prosecutors said showed a clear “sexual element” to the killing.

Saud — whose lawyers argued that he could face the death penalty in Saudi Arabia over the revelations of homosexuality aired at the trial — showed no emotion as the verdict was read out.

The prince had denied murder and a second charge of grievous bodily harm with intent in relation to an earlier alleged assault in a hotel lift that was captured on CCTV footage. He had admitted manslaughter.

The trial heard that the two men had stayed together at London’s Landmark Hotel for nearly a month as part of an “extended holiday” that had also taken them to Italy, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Morocco.

Saud had claimed the pair were friends and that he was heterosexual, but the court heard the prince had ordered gay escorts in London and had frequently looked at websites for gay massage parlours and escort agencies.

Prosecutors said he repeatedly assaulted Abdulaziz and that two brutal attacks were captured on CCTV by the hotel lift. The victim was so worn down by the violence that he let Saud kill him without a fight, they said.

Witnesses had told the court that Bandar — an orphan who was adopted into the family of a low-ranking civil servant in Jeddah — was treated “like a slave”.

After the killing, the prince spent hours on the phone to an unidentified contact in Saudi Arabia before finally calling his chauffeur to the room, at which point the body was discovered on a bloodstained hotel bed.

Police said he had dragged the body from the bathroom to the hallway and then the bedroom “in an attempt to cover his tracks”.

A post-mortem found that Abdulaziz had suffered chipped teeth, heavy blows to the head, injuries to the brain and ears and severe neck injuries consistent with strangulation by hand, the trial heard.

The prince’s father, a nephew of King Abdullah, was in court for the verdict.

Source: SGGP

London airports reopen after ash shutdowns

In Uncategorized on May 17, 2010 at 9:00 am

LONDON (AFP) – London’s main airports Heathrow and Gatwick reopened Monday after being forced to close by the volcanic ash cloud, but airports in Northern Ireland and others around Britain remained shut.

Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, reopened at 07:00 am (0600 GMT) as did Gatwick.

Staff hand out folding chairs to passengers as they wait for information at Manchester Airport. Heathrow and Gatwick reopened Monday after being forced to close by the volcanic ash cloud, but airports in Northern Ireland and others around the country remained shut. AFP photo

However restrictions remained on flights because of their proximity to a dense section of the shifting ash cloud from a volcano in Iceland.

Airports inside the no-fly zone were shut until 1200 GMT with all airports in Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man to remain closed until then.

Scotland’s busiest airport, Edinburgh, plus Aberdeen and Inverness were closed while Wales’s main airport Cardiff was shut, as was Swansea.

In England, Bristol in the southwest and Farnborough, southwest of London, were also closed until 1200 GMT.

In the Netherlands meanwhile, the authorities announced the closure of the airports in Amsterdam and Rotterdam from 6:00 am (0400 GMT) to 2:00 pm Monday.

The latest ash closures came at the beginning of a week where air travel disruption was already expected due to a five-day strike by British Airways cabin crew set to kick off Tuesday.

Europe’s skies were partially closed for up to a week in April following the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjoell volcano, in the biggest shutdown of the continent’s airspace for more than 50 years.

Experts fear the volcanic ash can damage jet engines and create a serious risk of a crash.

“There is slightly increased activity for the past two days, there has been some ash fall around the glacier,” Bjoern Oddsson a University of Iceland vulcanologist told AFP.

“The column (of smoke) has increased and rises up to eight kilometres (five miles),” as opposed to six kilometres in previous days.

But its effect on European flights depended entirely on the winds, he added.

NATS also ordered the closure of several smaller airports around London and southeast England early Monday.

But they allowed restrictions to be lifted in northern and central England, from 0000 GMT after the ash cloud drifted south and away from their airspace.

That allowed Manchester Airport, the busiest outside London and among the 20 busiest in Europe, to reopen after several hours’ closure Sunday. Birmingham, Liverpool, and Leeds-Bradford also reopened.

In Scotland, as Prestwick prepared to reopen Aberdeen Airport, further northeast, was set to close. Airports in the Western Isles and along Scotland’s west coast remained shut.

Earlier, aviation regulators in the Republic of Ireland extended a closure of Dublin airport by three hours to at least 1100 GMT Monday. The airport closed at 1800 GMT Sunday.

The other two main airports, Cork and Shannon, remain open until further notice, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) said.

Of the smaller hubs, Donegal was to remain closed until at least 1100 GMT, while Ireland West (Knock) and Sligo were to reopen at 0800 GMT.

Kerry is open until further notice, while Galway and Waterford would reopen at 0500 GMT Monday.

North Atlantic flights crossing Irish airspace would not be affected, said the IAA.

The latest shutdowns drew renewed attacks from the aviation industry, which has been hard hit by the ash cloud chaos.

The international airline industry body, IATA, has estimated last month’s shutdown cost carriers some 1.7 billion dollars (1.4 billion euros, 0.7 billion pounds).

Virgin Atlantic boss Richard Branson branded Sunday’s closure of Manchester Airport as “beyond a joke”.

“We need strong leadership to intervene to avoid doing further unnecessary damage to the UK economy and lives of travellers,” he said.

Eurostar, which runs high-speed rail services linking London with Paris and Brussels via the Channel Tunnel, said it was laying on extra trains between the capitals Monday to answer an expected surge in demand.

Source: SGGP

Qatar buys top London store Harrods

In Uncategorized on May 9, 2010 at 4:52 am

LONDON (AFP) – The Qatari royal family’s investment arm bought luxury British department store Harrods on Saturday, with the Qatari prime minister vowing to make the London landmark “even greater and better”.

Egyptian tycoon Mohamed Al Fayed, who has been in charge for a quarter-century, sold the giant emporium for figure reported at 1.5 billion pounds (1.7 billion euros, 2.2 billion dollars).

Al Fayed gave Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani a short tour of the store.

People walk in front of the Harrods department store in London. AFP photo

The premier said he was “very happy with the transaction”, adding: “It’s a historical place. I know it’s important, not only for the British people but it is important for the tourism.

“Qatar Holding will do their best to upgrade this monument to make it even greater and better for the tourism and also for the British people.”

Sheikh Hamad joked: “If the shop will have customers like me I don’t think Harrods will make profit, but maybe if it’s my wife, yes.”

The 77-year-old Al Fayed, who also owns Europa League finalists Fulham Football Club and the Hotel Ritz Paris, will continue to promote the store as its honorary chairman.

“After 25 years as chairman of Harrods, Mohamed Al Fayed has decided to retire and to spend more time with his children and grandchildren,” said Ken Costa, chairman of the tycoon’s financial advisors Lazard.

“He has built Harrods into a unique luxury brand with worldwide recognition” and wanted to ensure this legacy would continue, he added.

Qatar Holding, only the fifth-ever owner of Harrods, “was specifically chosen by the trust as they had both the vision and financial capacity to support the long term successful growth of Harrods,” Costa said.

The new owner is the main investment arm of the Qatar Investment Authority, which trades on behalf of the Gulf state, investing and managing the emirate’s oil and gas-generated wealth.

“We are happy to acquire Harrods, a unique company that combines an iconic luxury brand and one of the most prestigious retail properties in the world with best-in-class financial metrics,” Ahmad Mohamed Al-Sayed, Qatar Holding’s managing director and chief executive, said in a statement.

“This acquisition further expands our global portfolio of world-leading companies,” he added.

Qatar Holding’s interests include a 17-percent stake in German carmaker Volkswagen and a seven-percent share in the British bank Barclays.

Al Fayed is an outspoken and colourful figure whose son Dodi was killed alongside Britain’s Diana, princess of Wales in a 1997 Paris car crash.

He spent 10 years trying unsuccessfully to prove that British security services were behind their deaths.

A shrine to the couple remains in the store in west London’s upmarket Knightsbridge district.

Al Fayed and his brothers’ interest in Harrods started when they acquired a 30 percent stake in the House of Fraser group, the then owners of the department store, in 1983.

A year later they bought the remaining shares in a 615-million-pound takeover battle.

The deal was part of a long-running battle between Al Fayed and businessman Tiny Rowland that endured throughout the 1980s.

After buying the store, Al Fayed gave it a 300-million-pound refit, installing a marble-clad interior and Egyptian-inspired designs. It currently boasts 40 lifts (elevators) and three wells from which it draws its water.

Harrods attracts millions of visitors each year, whether tourists drawn to a national landmark or shoppers attracted to its motto of “Everything for Everybody Everywhere”. Al Fayed once said he wanted to be buried there.

It began as a much smaller shop on the same site when grocer Charles Henry Harrod opened a store in 1849, and his son built it up. It burned down in 1883 but the family built a new one and rapidly expanded it.

Source: SGGP

Volcanic ash halts all London flights from 1100 GMT

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2010 at 1:37 pm

LONDON (AFP) – All London flights, including those from Heathrow, will be suspended from noon (1100 GMT) Thursday due to volcanic ash from Iceland that has already caused almost 300 cancellations here, officials said.

This radarcapture obtained from the Icelandic Coastguard on April 14, shows volcanic clouds emanating from an eruption under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier. AFP photo

“All flights in and out of Heathrow and Stansted will be suspended from midday but the terminals will remain open,” a spokeswoman for airports operator BAA told AFP.

“Gatwick airport is subject to a London-wide suspension of all flights arriving and departing from midday,” a spokesman for Gatwick said.

Source: SGGP

British inquiry into Iraq war to open in London

In World on November 25, 2009 at 4:15 am

A long-awaited public inquiry into Britain’s role in the Iraq war opens Tuesday, with former civil servants first to appear in hearings set to climax with Tony Blair taking the stand.

One-time top officials from the foreign and defence ministries will outline Britain’s policy towards Baghdad in the early 2000s as a five-member committee begins investigating what lessons can be learned from the US-led war.

Inquiry chairman John Chilcot, a former civil servant, said he was confident of producing a “full and insightful” account of the decision-making that led Britain to join the 2003 invasion against strong opposition at home and abroad.

File photo of John Chilcot, the Chairman of the Iraq Inquiry, outlining the terms of reference for the inquiry.

An appearance by former prime minister Blair, who took Britain into the conflict, is likely to be the highlight of the inquiry, although he and other Labour government figures are not due to give evidence until next year.

Chilcot has said that nobody is on trial in the inquiry, held at a conference centre near parliament in central London, but has also vowed not to shy away from any criticism if the findings warrant it.

He and his fellow committee members have already met with families of some of the 179 British troops who died during the six-year conflict, who raised issues about whether they were properly equipped and trained.

The inquiry will also be looking into the justification for the war, principally the claim that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. These weapons were never found.

In addition, anti-war campaigners — who will protest outside the inquiry Tuesday — want a ruling on the legality of the conflict, which was carried out without explicit approval by the United Nations Security Council.

The first few weeks are intended to establish “a reliable account” of the main features of British involvement in Iraq between 2001 and 2009, when the war ended with the withdrawal of all but a handful of British troops in July.

Among the first witnesses to be called Tuesday is Peter Ricketts, who chaired the government’s top intelligence committee between 2000 and 2001 before taking a senior post at the Foreign Office (FCO) in 2001-03.

William Patey, head of the FCO’s Middle East Department in 1999-02; Simon Webb, head of operational policy at the Ministry of Defence in 1999-2001 and MoD policy advisor in 2001-04; and Michael Wood, FCO legal advisor in 1999-06, will also give evidence.

There have already been two official probes into elements surrounding the run-up to the invasion, but ministers had refused to hold a full inquiry until after the military deployment had ended.

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share