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Zimbabwe could seize companies

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Zimbabwe could seize companies)

President Robert Mugabe’s government says the bill is part of its drive to empower the country’s poor majority and eliminate traces of the colonial past.

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Legislators of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) kicked off debate on the bill, saying it was designed to enrich a few powerful individuals and win votes for the ruling ZANU-PF party in parliamentary and presidential elections due next March.

At the UN General Assembly in New York, US President George W. Bush denounced Mr Mugabe’s government as “tyrannical” and demanded freedom for the Zimbabwean people.

But African nations, closing ranks behind Mr Mugabe, insist on his presence at an EU-Africa summit in Portugal in December, Zimbabwe’s information minister said in response to the British prime minister’s refusal to attend if Mr Mugabe was there.

Repression blamed for exodus

Critics accuse the Zimbabwean government of causing the economic crisis by seizing white-owned farms and handing them to inexperienced black farmers, leading to soaring inflation and unemployment and crippling shortages that have forced hundreds of thousands to seek work and food abroad.

Mr Mugabe has denied charges of economic mismanagement and blames the crisis on Western sabotage.

The European Union has imposed targeted sanctions on members of his leadership group it accuses of rights abuses and election fraud.

A survey released in Johannesburg today showed political repression was an even bigger cause of Zimbabwean flight to South Africa than the economy.

Between two and three million Zimbabweans are estimated to have fled to South Africa.

“The government has cracked down on peaceful calls for reform and forced millions to flee their homeland…The United Nations must insist on change in Harare and…on the freedom of the people of Zimbabwe,” Mr Bush told the UN General Assembly.

Foreign conspiracy theory

The MDC’s Edwin Mushoriwa, leading parliament’s debate on the bill, told lawmakers: “What we are seeing is an attempt obviously to use this as a campaign tool to woo voters for the elections and to give money to a few people.”

Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Paul Mangwana and ZANU-PF legislators defended the bill and accused its opponents of trying to perpetuate economic imbalances brought about by colonialism.

“If we do not dismantle the structure of colonialism that we inherited, then we have not given back all the country’s resources to its rightful owners, our people,” he said.

Mr Mugabe, 83 and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, has accused some foreign-owned firms of working with his Western opponents to topple his government by raising prices without reason.

He has threatened to seize foreign businesses.

Mr Mangwana tried to allay business fears by saying the government would work with industries to set timetables for foreign-owned firms to transfer majority ownership to locals.

“We are not going to indigenise in a day,” he said.

Fears for the economy

Mining and business officials said the law could accelerate the decline of an economy that has shrunk by at least 30 per cent since 1999.

“Zimbabwe is now seen as a high-risk destination because of uncertainty over security of tenure and lack of confidence in the rule of law,” Chamber of Mines leader Jack Murewa said.

Information Minister Sikhanhyiso Ndlovu told journalists Mr Mugabe had solid African backing to attend the December summit.

“If any pressure is put on Portugal not to invite President Mugabe, SADC will also not attend and the AU will not attend,” he said, referring to the Southern African Development Community and the African Union.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said last week he would not attend the summit if Mr Mugabe did because Mr Mugabe’s presence would divert attention from important agenda items.

The EU-Africa summit did not take place in 2003 after Britain and other EU states refused to attend if Mr Mugabe did.

Somalians on the brink of starvation flee

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Somalians on the brink of starvation flee)

More than 170,000 people have fled fighting in Somalia's capital in the past two weeks, as up to a million people face starvation.

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The humanitarian crisis already facing the country is worsening, according to the United Nations’ refugee agency.

With near-daily clashes between Ethiopia-Somali forces and Islamist rebels, the UNHCR said it was doling out its last stocks from Mogadishu to the displaced, but warned of tough conditions as host areas struggle with the influx.

Some 90,000 people have fled to Afgooye, 30 kilometres west of Mogadishu, which has already taken in some 150,000 displaced people since the beginning of the year.

In the Afgooye area, “people can no longer find space for shelter around the town itself,” UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond said in Geneva.

“Many families are simply living under trees.

Although several NGOs are trucking water to the sites, it's not enough to meet demand,” he added.

Traders stayed away from the volatile Bakara market, where forces have been searching for weapons.

Government troops patrolled strategic positions in the city, but insurgents have stayed out of sight.

President calls on residents

Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed urged Mogadishu residents to join the fight against rebels or risk getting caught in the ensuing crossfire.

“People in neighbourhoods must also fight the Shabab and chase them away.

“Otherwise they are the ones who suffer in crackdowns,” he said, referring to the radical armed wing of the main Somali Islamist movement.

Dozens of people, mainly civilians, have been killed and at least 170,000 displaced in some of the worst fighting since April, when Ethiopian troops swept aside the Islamists who had briefly governed much of the country, including Mogadishu.

Witnesses said Ethiopian forces indiscriminately shot civilians in a bid to clamp down on insurgents.

“When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers,” said Mr Yusuf, but the UN special envoy to Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, said such impunity was “unacceptable”.

Mr Ould-Abdallah raised the prospect of retribution for alleged war crimes that have long been ignored.

“People perpetuating crimes and violence are not being challenged before the International Criminal Court,” he said.

“I think the time has come to see what international justice can do to help Somalis,” he said in Nairobi, where he became the first top UN envoy to make such a call for trials before the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal.

The recent clashes have worsened the humanitarian crisis that has dogged the nation for 16 years, with areas just outside the city struggling to cope with the latest influx of displaced people.

One million faced with starvation

The Shabelle region – Somalia's breadbasket – has suffered its worst crop in 13 years, putting the lives of nearly a million on the edge of starvation.

Aid workers have also said that the few who remained in the worst-affected areas of Mogadishu are beyond the reach of the relief net and face dire conditions.

Dampening peace prospects, Mr Yusuf said future peace talks, if any, would exclude Islamists, some of whose elements have been accused of terrorism.

“I will hold dialogue and consultations and reach peace deals with any group that will denounce violence.”

In Mogadishu, government forces yanked two more radio stations off the air, a day after shutting Radio Shabelle, one of the largest broadcasters in the capital.

The government said stations that “exaggerate the (security) situation” will be shut.

Mr Ould-Abdallah condemned the closure, saying: “This is the kind of thing that should be avoided.”

The International Federation of Journalists said the move was “appalling” and demanded the channels be reopened “immediately and unconditionally.”

Bloody clan bickering and power struggles that intensified after the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre have scuppered many bids to stabilise Somalia.

Trade dominates Day Two talks

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Trade dominates Day Two talks)

Prime Minister John Howard says the leaders, who represent major trading nations such as the United States, Japan, China and Russia, will issue a statement later in the day on trade talks now under way in Geneva.

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The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum is expected to pledge to ensure that the moribund Doha round of global trade talks enter their final phase this year.

Free trade talks

Asia-Pacific foreign and trade ministers meeting in Sydney have already agreed to accelerate global free trade talks.

US President George W Bush has called at APEC for more flexibility in world trade talks, saying the Doha round of talks in Geneva was a "once-in-a-generation opportunity".

APEC's 21-member economies account for half of global trade and nearly 60 per cent of the world's gross domestic product.

‘Close to deal’

Trade negotiators may be edging closer to a deal on the most divisive issues in the Doha talks, WTO director-general Pascal Lamy says.

"There is a strong sense that it's make-or-break moment.

“It may take a few weeks, but my sense is that there is a lot of focus and energy," Mr Lamy told CNBC in a taped interview.

Urgent negotiations

US Trade Representative Susan Schwab, who is attending APEC, says she also sees a sense of urgency and motivation among negotiators.

The Doha Round, named after the Qatari capital where negotiations were launched in November 2001, was first meant to wrap up by the end of 2004.

The talks have struggled to overcome many countries' resistance to open their farm and manufacturing sectors to more competition.

‘Aspirational’ climate goals

The APEC leaders agreed yesterday to a "long-term aspirational goal" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but no binding targets.

They also said all nations, developing and developed, should contribute according to their own capacities and circumstances to reducing greenhouse gases.

Green groups say the "Sydney Declaration" was a failure without binding targets to cut greenhouse emissions.

Tight security

The leaders met behind a tight security cordon at the Sydney Opera House, after police say they feared violent street protests against the Iraq war and global warming.

But yesterday's anti-APEC protest march was peaceful, with only a few arrests.

The final day of the conference will proceed without President Bush, who flew out of Australia late on Saturday.

Mr Bush returned home early to prepare for a major report on the progress of the Iraq war.

Leak shows spy agencies break encryption

April 14th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Leak shows spy agencies break encryption)

US and British intelligence agencies have cracked the encryption that secures a wide range of online communications – including emails, banking transactions and phone conversations, according to newly leaked documents.

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The documents provided by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden to The New York Times, ProPublica and The Guardian suggest that the spy agencies are able to decipher data even with the supposedly secure encryption designed to make it private.

The US National Security Agency, working with its British counterpart, GCHQ, accomplished the feat by using supercomputers, court orders, and some cooperation from technology companies, the documents indicate.

The Guardian report said the two spy agencies had “covert partnerships” with technology companies and internet providers which allows the insertion of “secret vulnerabilities – known as backdoors or trapdoors – into commercial encryption software.”

The British paper said the NSA spends $US250 million ($A275 million) a year on a program which works with technology companies to “covertly influence” their product designs.

The reports did not indicate which companies cooperated with the spy agencies, but they suggested that Britain’s intelligence agency was able to gain access to people’s Hotmail, Google, Yahoo and Facebook accounts.

If the reports are accurate, the highly secretive program would defeat much of the protection that is used to keep data secure and private on the internet, from emails to chats to communications using smartphones.

Joseph Hall of the Centre for Democracy and Technology, a digital rights organisation, called the latest reports “shocking”.

If the reports are true, “it means that the elements that keep information secure in transit are fundamentally undermined”, Hall told AFP.

Bruce Schneier, a cryptographic specialist who follows national security issues, described the revelations as “explosive”.

“Basically, the NSA is able to decrypt most of the internet. They’re doing it primarily by cheating, not by mathematics,” Schneier wrote on his blog.

Construction activity still declining

April 14th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Construction activity still declining)

Australia’s construction industry continues to struggle despite low interest rates, with activity in the sector falling for the 39th consecutive month.

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The Australian Industry Group/Housing Industry Association Australian Performance of Construction Index (PCI) fell 0.4 points to 43.7 in August.

An index reading below 50 indicates activity in the sector is falling and the lower the reading, the greater the speed of the decline.

Although the construction industry is still weak, there are signs of a gradual improvement in business conditions, Ai Group director of public policy Peter Burn said.

“On the positive side, the house building sector remains close to the point of stabilisation, with lower interest rates starting to provide some support to levels of activity and new orders within the sector,” he said.

“However, clearly we need to see much stronger conditions to offset the slack resulting from the winding down in mining related projects and the distinct weakness that persists in commercial and apartment building activity.”

Housing Industry Association chief economist Harley Dale said a recovery in the construction sector is still a long way off “even though super-low interest rates are providing some welcome assistance.”

“Against the backdrop of tight credit conditions for residential and commercial projects and an insufficient focus on policy reform, the necessary goal of achieving healthy levels of non-mining related construction activity will remain elusive,” he said.

Across the sectors of the construction industry, house building activity declined at a broadly unchanged rate, with the its index at 49.0 points.

Commercial construction recorded a slower pace of contraction with an index level of 39.1 points.

Declines in apartment building construction and engineering construction were steeper in August.

Serena, Azarenka one step from title rematch

April 14th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Serena, Azarenka one step from title rematch)

Williams, the top-seeded defending champion, will look to extend a dominant run through the women’s draw against fifth-seeded Li Na of China, who became the first Chinese to reach the last four at the U.

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S. Open.

Second seed Azarenka will face Italy’s unseeded Flavia Pennetta, whose brilliant run at Flushing Meadows has carried her to her first grand slam semi-final.

Should form prevail, Williams and Azarenka would set up the first repeat final at the U.S. Open since Serena Williams played her sister Venus Williams for the prize in 2002.

Azarenka, 24, joined the trio of 31 year olds with a last-eight victory over 30-year-old Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia in a women’s draw that has underlined the fitness and ferocity of the old guard.

Should they lift the trophy on Sunday, Williams, Li or Pennetta would become the oldest U.S. Open women’s winner since tennis turned professional in 1968, supplanting Australian Margaret Court, who was 31 years and 55 days old when she triumphed in 1973.

Williams has been on fire, losing only 13 games and spent the least time on court although she has done double duty playing with sister Venus in the women’s doubles.

The American aced her quarter-finals test against Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro by delivering a 6-0 6-0 double bagel win.

Williams later offered a shuddering thought.

“I like to believe there is always room for improvement,” she said.

Against former French Open winner Li, current French Open champion Williams holds an 8-1 advantage in head-to-head meetings, but has had some hard battles along the way. She won their last encounter in Cincinnati 7-5 7-5 in the semis.

Williams holds the Chinese player in high regard.

“She’s a great challenge,” Williams said. “She moves really well. She does everything well.

“We’ve always played really close. Maybe next time we play she might want to go from close to a win.”

Li has been on a revenge tour, beating Briton Laura Robson to avenge a 2012 U.S. Open loss, and Serb Jelena Jankovic, who had enjoyed a four-match winning streak against her.

“It’s a good challenge to play against her, because I think we always have tough match, even in Cincinnati,” said Li.

“There are only four players at end of the tournament, so nothing you can worry about. Just play the tennis. Just enjoy the time.”

Azarenka and Pennetta have split their two previous matches, missing a crack at a rubber match when the Belarusian withdrew from their second-round Wimbledon contest this year because of a knee injury.

Pennetta, like Williams, has not dropped a set during her U.S. Open run and is back to playing at her best level after having her 2012 season curtailed by a wrist injury that kept her out of the U.S. Open and required surgery.

“I’m confident because I’m here,” said Pennetta, who ousted fourth-seeded compatriot Sara Errani, former champion Svetlana Kunznetsova and red-hot Simona Halep along the way.

“I really don’t feel this pressure. In Italy we already have one champion in grand slam,” she said, referring to 2010 French Open winner Francesca Schiavone.

“I really don’t feel this pressure right now.”

Azarenka, who overcame former number one Ana Ivanovic 4-6 6-3 6-4 in the fourth round, said she would not underestimate the Italian despite her ranking of 83.

“Flavia is such an amazing person,” said Azarenka. “To see her go through the injuries and coming up with the best results she has right now, it’s really amazing.

“She’s a very good player, an all-around player. She can do anything. She has great touch, great variety. She can create power, create spin. She’s also very experienced and has been in the top 10.

“Her ranking doesn’t matter. It’s about the moment right now, and she’s playing terrific tennis.”

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

Warning over pregnancy lead levels

April 14th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Warning over pregnancy lead levels)

Women should stay healthy during pregnancy to keep children’s lead levels low, new research suggests.

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The findings from the Children of the 90s study at the University of Bristol shows that mothers who drank alcohol and coffee, smoked and had a coal fire in their home during pregnancy were likely to have higher levels of lead in their blood than women who did not.

Lead is a toxin that can cause high blood pressure in pregnancy, which in turn can predispose women to pre-eclampsia during pregnancy and heart disease later in life.

It accumulates in the bones and can remain for up to 30 years, the researchers said.

It can also have a longer-term detrimental effect on the child’s health, academic performance and behaviour.

Lead is widespread in the environment, particularly in areas with smelters, lead works, and battery manufacturing and recycling. Other sources of exposure include food, water, dust and soil.

There are no recommendations for blood lead levels in pregnancy and childhood in the UK but the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US recommend levels are kept below 5 micrograms per decilitre.

The Children of the 90s study is a long-term health research project which involves more than 14,000 mothers who were pregnant in 1991 and 1992.

Academics have followed the health and development of the women and their children in detail ever since.

This study looked at 4,285 mother-child pairs in the Children of the 90s study and found that women with blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per decilitre were more likely to have attended university, and to smoke and consume alcohol and coffee.

The researchers say the unexpected finding that higher educational levels were associated with higher lead levels supports recent evidence that it should not be assumed that more disadvantaged populations have higher exposure to environmental pollutants.

Although the analysis was conducted on data gathered in 1991, it is the largest study of blood lead levels undertaken in the UK.

Dr Caroline Taylor, the lead author, said: “Pregnant women should not be concerned by this new report.

“Our research reinforces the current advice to women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy that they should stop or reduce their alcohol and caffeine intake and give up smoking if they can.

“They should follow a healthy diet with good sources of calcium and iron.”

The findings are published in the academic journal PLOS One.

We’ll have deadly power in Senate: Katter

April 14th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on We’ll have deadly power in Senate: Katter)

Federal MP Bob Katter is confident his party will join forces with two senators to hold the balance of power in the Senate after the election.

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Mr Katter says independent Senator Nick Xenophon, Democratic Labour Party Senator John Madigan and Katter’s Australia Party (KAP) Senate hopeful country music singer James Blundell will be a powerful trio.

“Nick, John and I are often referred to as the three amigos because we vote the same way on almost everything,” he told AAP on Thursday.

“I’m hopeful that group will have the balance of power in the Senate.”

A party spokesman told AAP they’re hopeful of winning four Queensland seats and two Senate spots.

However, polls and political analysts say Mr Katter will retain his north Queensland seat of Kennedy and Mr Blundell may win a Senate spot at best.

Mr Katter predicts the Liberal National Party (LNP) will have a comfortable majority in the lower house.

“But they won’t in the Senate,” he said.

“Which means to get legislation through they’ll have to accept amendments and that’s where we’ll have deadly power.”

Mr Katter has been holding so-called “camp fire get-togethers” with supporters across his electorate that include a rendition of Way out West from Mr Blundell.

His key messages have centred around boosting industries such as agriculture and mining to create more jobs for Australians.

The 20-year veteran of parliament describes all his earlier election campaigns as “a fantastic elongated pub crawl with the trauma of an election at the end of it”.

He says this year has been different because he’s now the leader of a party and he’s had to travel all over Australia.

Political analyst Paul Williams, from Griffith University, says the party’s campaign has lacked focus.

“Bob Katter seems to be popping up in places without any co-ordinated strategy and KAP doesn’t have a single message,” he said.

Mr Katter says LNP ads saying a vote for KAP is a vote for Labor has seriously hurt his campaign.

“How can a vote for me be a vote for the Labor Party?” he said.

“But a vote for us in the Senate, well yes we’ve done a deal (with Labor in Queensland).”

Uncapped pair named by Black Caps

March 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Uncapped pair named by Black Caps)

Uncapped pair Ish Sodhi and Corey Anderson have been included in the New Zealand Test squad to tour Bangladesh next month.

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Legspinner Sodhi and allrounder Anderson replace injured pair Martin Guptill and Tim Southee from the squad who lost both Tests heavily away to England in May.

Batsman Guptill broke a finger while playing in the Caribbean Twenty20 competition last month while Southee is still recovering from ankle surgery in July.

Southee may yet join the tour for the three one-day internationals and Twenty20 match against Bangladesh which follows Tests in Chittagong starting on October 9 and in Dhaka on October 21.

The tour begins with a three-day warmup match in Chittagong on October 4.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) also revealed details of a short tour of Sri Lanka from November 10-21, which features three ODIs and two T20s.

Coach Mike Hesson says Sodhi, 20, and Anderson, 22, have been rewarded for their impressive form on the current NZ A tour of India.

“Corey gives the squad options as he can bat in the top six and provide useful seam bowling,” Hesson said.

“And having two specialist spinners (along with Bruce Martin) in the squad gives us the option to utilise wickets that are likely to turn.”

Left-hander Anderson became the youngest player to be awarded a NZC contract at age 16, six years ago.

He made his international debut in the Twenty20 series in South Africa late last year and played three limited overs matches against England in June.

A lively century this week for NZ A against India A was timely, Hesson said.

Born in Ludhiani, India, Sodhi showed promise at last year’s under-19 World Cup and enjoyed a consistent domestic campaign last summer with Northern Districts. He has taken 22 wickets in 11 first class games.

NZC’s new general manager national selection, Bruce Edgar, was satisfied with the squad, who will need to improve on their efforts in England.

“The key was to take a consistent approach to selection and provide continuity for the players,” Edgar said.

The Test group leave for a pre-tour camp in Sri Lanka on September 22.

The limited overs squad will be named next week.

New Zealand test squad:

Brendon McCullum (c), Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Dean Brownlie, Tom Latham, BJ Watling, Corey Anderson, Bruce Martin, Doug Bracewell, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner, Mark Gillespie, Ish Sodhi.

Abbott imagines first morning as PM

March 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Abbott imagines first morning as PM)

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is daring to imagine his first morning as prime minister.

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Mr Abbott told Melbourne radio station 3AW that victory was far from assured but that he still knows what his schedule will look like if he wins.

“If we win the election, I will probably go for an early morning bike ride with the guys I’ve been riding with for years for an hour or so,” Mr Abbott said on Friday.

“Then it will be basically into the office.”

Mr Abbott said that he wouldn’t hold daily media conferences as prime minister unless they were necessary and says he hopes to take politics off the front pages.

“It should be on the front page when significant things are happening but I don’t think we should be obsessive about politics,” Mr Abbott said.

Mr Abbott said, if elected, he would take advice from his staff, his cabinet and perhaps former coalition prime minister John Howard, whose morning exercise regime he would hope to emulate.

But he added that he isn’t taking anything for granted just yet.

“It’s like being in a grand final, five minutes to go, only a goal or two in it, anything could happen,” he said.

Mr Abbott did admit that his side was probably a goal or two in front.

“I think we are but we’ve got all these spectators running interference, you might say, these minor parties and independents trying to invade the pitch and muck up the way the game concludes,” he said.

Mr Abbott wouldn’t say whether he had prayed for victory on Saturday.

“He has his own plans,” he laughed.

“There are some things which we might have to leave shrouded in mystery.”

Fog causes 100-car pile up on UK road

March 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Fog causes 100-car pile up on UK road)

No one is believed to have died in the crash on the new Sheppey crossing bridge in Kent.

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It started around 7.15am local time and continued for 10 minutes as cars and lorries crashed into each other in visibility that was down to 20 metres.

There were reports of some motorists driving “like idiots” in the conditions before the crash that completely closed the A249 that goes over the bridge.

The scene was full of buckled cars, lorries and even a car transporter as people waited at the side of the road to receive help from the emergency services.

It was reported that people were trapped and a fleet of 30 ambulances and response vehicles went to the scene, with some casualties receiving treatment at the roadside.

Witness Martin Stammers, 45, from Minster, told Kent Online:

“It’s horrific. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.

“All you could hear was cars crashing. We got out of our car and it was eerily quiet, with visibility down to just 20 yards.”

A Kent Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “There are no fatalities but ambulance crews are dealing with a large number of walking wounded casualties.

Firefighters have used hydraulic cutting equipment to release five people from their vehicles.

Kent Police said there were collisions at the top of the bridge and at the foot of the approach to it.

A lorry driver who saw the start of the accident used his truck to block the entrance to the bridge and stop more cars piling into the crash, a witness said.

A driver involved in the crash, Chris Buckingham, told Sky News:

“There was somebody, from what I’ve been told by the police there at the scene, who actually witnessed the first part of the accident, a lorry driver.

“He was going the other way and what he managed to do, which has probably saved lives, is he’s gone down to the end of the carriageway, gone across the roundabout and actually blocked off the road so no more cars could actually enter the dual carriageway before the emergency services got there.

“Whoever that guy is I’d like to shake his hand because he’s probably saved lives today.”

Tokyo’s bid a high-stakes gamble for Japan PM, Abenomics

March 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Tokyo’s bid a high-stakes gamble for Japan PM, Abenomics)

The right to host the games, to be decided on Saturday in Argentina, would likely boost Abe’s popularity, and could potentially spur his signature pro-growth policies for the world’s third-biggest economy.

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A successful Tokyo bid would boost confidence – a key ingredient of Abe’s economic success so far – and bring real gains in terms of construction and tourism. Failure could dent Japan’s stock markets in the near term, analysts say, causing complications for Abe.

The premier made the Tokyo bid personal on Thursday, breaking away early from a Group of 20 summit in Russia – a highly unusual move for a Japanese leader – to make a last-ditch plea to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Buenos Aires to choose Tokyo over rivals Madrid and Istanbul.

Tokyo had been seen as a safe choice ahead of Istanbul, which was rocked by violent anti-government protests this year and doping bans on dozens of its athletes, while Madrid was plagued with high unemployment, deep recession and the resulting social unrest.

But in recent weeks, Japan has returned to the global headlines with a series of damaging disclosures about the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant 230 km (140 miles) from Tokyo. The plant’s operator has been forced to reverse denials and admit that hundreds of tonnes of radioactive water are pouring into the Pacific Ocean each day, and radiation levels have spiked.

Abe’s government said this week it will spend almost half a billion dollars to try to fix the water crisis. Critics said the government’s sudden embrace of the issue was aimed largely at winning the Olympic bid.

“The world is watching to see if we can carry out the decommissioning of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, including addressing the contaminated water issues,” Abe told cabinet ministers on Tuesday as they decided on the emergency measures.

Online betting site Paddy Power rates Tokyo the strong favourite ahead of Saturday’s IOC decision at odds of 8-to-15, versus 2-to-1 against Madrid and 9-to-2 against Istanbul. But many commentators and people close to the selection process say the Spanish bid is gathering pace fast.

People close to Abe are privately expressing confidence in Tokyo’s bid, despite the growing global concerns over Fukushima, where conditions appear to be worsening two and a half years after the nuclear plant was crippled by an earthquake and tsunami.

STOCK FILLIP

A Tokyo win could push up the Nikkei stock average by more than 10 percent in the short term to around 15,600, near this year’s high, said Eiji Kinouchi at Daiwa Securities.

Japanese shares saw a 1-month fillip after Nagano won the rights to the 1998 winter Olympics, while shares in Athens and London rallied for 1-3 months after they were chosen to host their summer Games.

A Tokyo Olympics stock index of 79 companies that would benefit from a local Games, compiled by Okasan Securities, has gained 47 percent this year, outpacing the broader market’s 35 percent gain.

Tourism shares on that index, such as Tokyo Disney Resort operator Oriental Land Co and Tokyo Dome Corp, have outperformed other Olympic shares, said Takashi Kusaki, Okasan’s deputy general manager, suggesting there may be a pullback after the decision. But he said success for Tokyo could spur more gains for developers, such as construction firms Taisei Corp, Obayashi Corp and Shimizu Corp.

That’s because a win could mean a noticeable bump for the economy as it gears up for the Games. The Tokyo bid committee reckons hosting the Olympics would boost the economy – from construction and higher prices – by 3 trillion yen ($30.14 billion) over the coming seven years.

That amounts to just 0.3 percentage point of Japan’s GDP growth a year, but Nomura equity strategist Masaaki Yamaguchi said there would be a multiplier effect, such as aiding the government’s “Cool Japan” initiative to promote “anime” cartoons and other aspects of Japanese pop culture.

SALES TAX

The link between stocks, confidence and Abenomics means the Olympic decision could even affect one of Abe’s most pressing policy decisions: whether to go ahead with a planned doubling of the national sales tax, Japan’s biggest attempt in years to get its runaway public debt under control.

Abe is to decide early next month whether to proceed with the first step of the tax hike in April.

Some people close to the premier say that winning the Olympic hosting rights would boost confidence, share prices and the broader economy enough to offset much of the economic dent from the tax hike, making it more likely he will approve the increase.

“In his heart of hearts, Abe probably wants to delay the tax hike,” said a person close to him. “But if we get the Olympics and there’s only minimal economic turmoil from (any U.S.) air strike on Syria, he’ll probably have to swallow the tax hike.”

Winning the bid could boost Abe’s support ratings, which are high by Japanese standards at 56 percent, according to the latest Kyodo News survey, but are down from a June high of 68 percent. That could embolden him to press on with economic structural reforms needed to elevate Japan’s growth longer-term.

On the other hand, if Tokyo loses on Saturday, Abe’s popularity and potentially even his political aims could suffer.

“The ladder would be pulled out from under the market and the Nikkei could drop 500 points on Monday,” said Daiwa’s Kinouchi.

($1 = 99.5350 Japanese yen)

(Additional reporting by Ossian Shine and Kiyoshi Takenaka; Writing by William Mallard; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)

Abbott seizes momentum in final week

March 15th, 2019 | Posted by admin in 南宁夜生活 - (Comments Off on Abbott seizes momentum in final week)

As former treasurer Peter Costello said last week, when the momentum’s with you the momentum’s with you – and all the momentum was with Tony Abbott in the final week of the 2013 election campaign.

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As the Rudd campaign ran out of puff, the opposition leader looked confident and energised, and barely put a foot wrong – with the exception of the internet filtering bungle.

As the polls increasingly pointed towards a thumping coalition win, the man once mocked as Tony “people skills” Abbott looked more and more prime ministerial.

He tried to play down the polls, repeatedly saying he doesn’t believe them and Labor could still “sneak” back into power.

But as the final week wore on, these protestations rang more and more hollow.

Mr Abbott’s popularity has clearly been on the rise.

He was mobbed during a campaign appearance at Sydney Markets on Wednesday, with one man even getting on bended knee and kissing the opposition leader on the forehead.

He mixed easily with workers at the Austral Bricks factory near Launceston, and at a leather factory in outer Brisbane.

Blue-collar Penrice Soda workers in Port Adelaide, one of the safest of Labor seats, even gave the Liberal blueblood a warm reception.

As did shoppers in former treasurer Wayne Swan’s seat of Lilley, where he provocatively conducted a mall walk on the second last day of campaigning.

Mr Abbott hit a host of Labor marginals in week five of the campaign. Hindmarsh in Adelaide, Lyons in Tasmania, Reid, Kingsford Smith and Lindsay in Sydney.

In Brisbane, where Kevin Rudd was supposed to sweep all before him, the opposition leader stopped in at Petrie in the outer north, and in neighbouring Lilley.

The headline in that city’s only metro paper on Thursday summed up just how far ahead the coalition is.

“RUDD FREE ZONE” blared the Murdoch-owned Courier-Mail, predicting the prime minister would lose even his own seat of Griffith on Saturday.

Rudd had all the momentum in 2007, when John Howard became only the second sitting prime minister to lose his seat at an election.

The tide is with Mr Abbott this time – and Rudd could well suffer the same indignity he visited upon Howard six years ago.

It would be sweet revenge, delivered by Mr Abbott on behalf of his former boss and mentor.