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United Kingdom

100-Year-Old Fundraising Champion Tom Moore to be Knighted

British War veteran Colonel Tom Moore, who became a national celebrity this week when he raised about $50 million  for the National Health Service, was awarded a knighthood Wednesday by Queen Elizabeth.

The 100-year-old Moore, who was a captain in the British Army in World War II, wanted to thank the health service for treatment he received for recent illnesses. So, he launched a fundraising campaign earlier this year, seeking pledges for each lap he took in his small yard, using a walker. His goal was 100 laps by his 100th birthday last month.

Moore’s initial goal was to raise about $1,200 for NHS charities. But his efforts went viral through social media and he ended up raising tens of millions.

On his birthday, he received well wishes from thousands of people across Britain. His accolades included an honorary promotion to the rank of colonel by the British Army.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was among those wishing him well last month and suggested a knighthood for Moore’s efforts. It was officially approved by the queen Wednesday.

Colonel Moore said he has been overwhelmed by the gratitude and love from the British public and beyond and was amazed to see how many people decided to raise money to help those fighting COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Moore said he never “in the world” anticipated he would be knighted. He said he is the same person inside but acknowledged “Sir Thomas” sounds nice.

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Reporting mainly on the Asia Pacific region and the global Coronavirus crises in countries such as the United States, Mainland China, Brazil, Mexico, Italy and Germany. Love to Travel and report daily on destinations reopening with a focus on Domestic travel within Europe, North America and the Caribbean. Fan of the English Premier League , the German Bundesliga,, the Spanish La Liga.

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Hong Kong

For Hongkongers fearing for their way of life, Britain will provide an alternative

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

The UK is prepared to change its immigration rules if Beijing imposes its national security law on Hong Kong. ‘It is precisely because we welcome China as a leading member of the world community that we expect it to abide by international agreements’

There is something wonderful about the fact that a small island in the Pearl River Delta rose to become a great trading city and commercial powerhouse of East Asia. Wonderful, but not accidental or fortuitous.

Hong Kong succeeds because its people are free. They can pursue their dreams and scale as many heights as their talents allow. They can debate and share new ideas, expressing themselves as they wish. And they live under the rule of law, administered by independent courts.

With their abilities thus released, Hong Kong’s people have shown they can achieve almost anything. They have prospered hand in hand with China’s economic renaissance; today their home is one of the richest cities in the world and hundreds of mainland companies have chosen to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

So China has a greater interest than anyone else in preserving Hong Kong’s success. Since the handover in 1997, the key has been the precious concept of “one country, two systems”, enshrined in Hong Kong’s Basic Law and underpinned by the Joint Declaration signed by Britain and China.

This guarantees Hong Kong’s “high degree of autonomy” with only limited exceptions such as foreign affairs, defence or in a state of emergency. The declaration adds: “The current social and economic systems in Hong Kong will remain unchanged, and so will the life style” including essential “rights and freedoms”.

Yet last month, the National People’s Congress in Beijing decided to impose a national security law on Hong Kong, which would curtail its freedoms and dramatically erode its autonomy.

If China proceeds, this would be in direct conflict with its obligations under the Joint Declaration, a legally binding treaty registered with the United Nations.

Britain would then have no choice but to uphold our profound ties of history and friendship with the people of Hong Kong.

Today, about 350,000 of the territory’s people hold British National Overseas passports and another 2.5 million would be eligible to apply for them. At present, these passports allow visa-free access to the United Kingdom for up to six months.

If China imposes its national security law, the British government will change our immigration rules and allow any holder of these passports from Hong Kong to come to the UK for a renewable period of 12 months and be given further immigration rights, including the right to work, which could place them on a route to citizenship.

This would amount to one of the biggest changes in our visa system in British history. If it proves necessary, the British government will take this step and take it willingly.

Many people in Hong Kong fear their way of life – which China pledged to uphold – is under threat. If China proceeds to justify their fears, then Britain could not in good conscience shrug our shoulders and walk away; instead we will honour our obligations and provide an alternative.

I hope it will not come to this. I still hope that China will remember that responsibilities go hand in glove with strength and leadership. As China plays a greater role on the international stage – commensurate with its economic prowess – then its authority will rest not simply on its global weight but on its reputation for fair dealing and magnanimity.

Britain does not seek to prevent China’s rise; on the contrary we will work side-by-side on all the issues where our interests converge, from trade to climate change. We want a modern and mature relationship, based on mutual respect and recognising China’s place in the world.

And it is precisely because we welcome China as a leading member of the world community that we expect it to abide by international agreements.

I also struggle to understand how the latest measure might ease tensions in Hong Kong. For much of last year, the territory experienced large protests, triggered by an ill-judged attempt to pass a law allowing extradition from Hong Kong to the mainland.

If China now goes further and imposes national security legislation, this would only risk inflaming the situation.

For our part, the UK raised our grave concerns about Hong Kong in the Security Council last week; we will continue to do so in international forums.

Instead of making false allegations – such as claiming that the UK somehow organised the protests – or casting doubt over the Joint Declaration, I hope that China will work alongside the international community to preserve everything that has allowed Hong Kong to thrive.

Britain wants nothing more than for Hong Kong to succeed under “one country, two systems”. I hope that China wants the same. Let us work together to make it so.

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Britain plans to get rid of dependence on “Made in China”

British Prime Minister Johnson has proposed a new plan to free Britain from its dependence on Chinese products. British media disclosed that the UK may transfer important industries such as pharmaceuticals back to its home country if necessary and as well other products.

The British “Times” reported on Friday that under the impact of the new corona crisis, the British Prime Minister Johnson asked public officials to draw up plans to free Britain from important medical supplies and other key areas dependent on China’s imports.

The plan, code-named “Project Defend”, includes an assessment of Britain’s major economic weaknesses in the face of a potentially hostile foreign government. The plan is part of a new national security strategy led by British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

Depending on the assessment results, the British government may choose to move key manufacturing industries such as pharmaceuticals back to their home country. The “Defense Project” evaluation will also examine important supply chains that rely on foreign components to manufacture finished products.

The Times reported that the UK has established two working groups within the framework of the project. A source revealed to The Times that the goal of the plan is to diversify supply channels so that the UK will no longer rely on individual countries to provide non-food necessities.

British Prime Minister Johnson told lawmakers that he will take measures to protect the UK ’s technological foundation. The report pointed out that the British government is expected to conduct an inventory of personal protective equipment and drugs.

China’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been criticized by many countries and  also exposed the over-reliance of companies and governments of various countries in the pharmaceutical and other industries.

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Coronavirus

The G7 must stand up for Hong Kong’s freedom

(FILES) Chris Patten, the 28th and last governor of colonial Hong Kong, stands for a farewell ceremony at Government House - the governor's official residence - in Hong Kong, 30 June 1997, just hours prior to the end of some 156 years of British colonial rule as the territory returns to Chinese control at midnight. China's southern coast prepares to mark the 10th anniversary of the handover 01 July, 2007. AFP PHOTO / FILES / EMMANUEL DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Britain should lead the way as the territory protests over the national security law

By Chris Patten

The writer was the last British governor of Hong Kong China’s assault on Hong Kong’s freedom and its outrageous breach of its treaty obligations to this great city are matters of global concern.

More than 200 politicians and senior policymakers from 23 countries from every side of politics have already signed a statement denouncing Beijing’s action. The UK must ensure that China’s efforts to impose a new national security law on the territory are on the agenda for the G7 meeting next month.

After the handover of Hong Kong by Britain to China in 1997, the territory by and large survived with its freedoms intact on the basis of “one country two systems” until Xi Jinping took over in 2013. Since then, Mr Xi has basically reversed policies pursued by his predecessors.

He has reasserted Communist party control and cracked down on civil society and on any dissident activity. He has locked up Uighurs in Xinjiang and has now turned the screw on Hong Kong. Mr Xi has instructed government and party officials to attack every sign of liberal democracy and its values, clearly a reason why he has targeted Hong Kong. His reign has been characterised by mendacity and a blustering disregard for international law and agreements.

He has reneged on promises to the former US president Barack Obama over the militarisation of the South China Sea. Countries that question his communist regime — as Australia has done over coronavirus — are threatened with economic punishment despite international trade rules. Now Hong Kong has felt the full weight of his bruising methods. While the rest of the world is preoccupied with fighting Covid-19, he has in effect ripped up the Joint Declaration, a treaty lodged at the UN to guarantee Hong Kong’s way of life till 2047.

Last year, millions of Hong Kongers protested against an extradition bill that would have destroyed the firewall between the rule of law in Hong Kong and what passes for the law in China. Partly because of heavy-handed policing and government by tear gas and pepper spray, there was inexcusable violence by a small minority on the edges of these huge demonstrations.

Even so, the majority of Hong Kong citizens showed where their sympathies lay by voting overwhelmingly for those who had supported the demonstrations in last November’s District Council elections. Terrified that elections for a new Legislative Council in September may produce a democratic majority, Beijing has decided to introduce by fiat (bypassing Hong Kong’s own parliament) national security legislation that includes laws on sedition and subversion.

It will give China’s Ministry of State Security the right to operate there. With its well-earned reputation for coercion and torture, it will not be there to sell dim sum. Britain must take the lead in standing up for Hong Kong and for honouring the treaty obligations.

We have a political and moral obligation to do so. We owe it to the people of Hong Kong whose only crime is that they want to live with the freedoms they were promised. If China destroys the rule of law in Hong Kong it will ruin the city’s chances of continuing to be a great international financial hub that mediates about two-thirds of the direct investment in and out of China. Many great companies that have prospered in Hong Kong are important to Britain’s wellbeing.

With China itself, the UK has had a large trade deficit for years. Britain needs to have a relationship with China to deal with global problems, including Covid-19. We can trust the people of China, like the brave doctors who tried to blow the whistle on the cover-up in the pandemic’s early stages. But we cannot trust Mr Xi’s regime.

The UK and its friends, starting with the G7, must take a firm stand against a regime that is an enemy of open societies everywhere. If we fail to do this, where will we be in five or 10 years’ time, politically humiliated and morally compromised? Nothing gained but honour lost.

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Australia

Germany has joined Australia, UK and the US in calling for an Independent Probe

EU and China

Germany has joined Australia and the United States in calling for an independent probe into the origins of the coronavirus, adding to a growing clamor in Europe for a much more detailed accounting by Beijing about how the virus started — and why the Chinese government delayed informing the World Health Organization about the ease of human-to-human transmission.

China had designated 2020 as its “Year of Europe.” The country’s leaders had planned a series of diplomatic events and trade deals as part of a charm offensive to expand Chinese influence.

But the coronavirus pandemic and mounting accusations that Beijing may have obscured the origins of the deadly virus and covered up the severity of the initial outbreak in the city of Wuhan is upending the diplomatic plan.

Chinese officials are bristling at the calls for an inquiry. Le Yucheng, a vice foreign minister, told the American television network NBC on Wednesday, “This is an arbitrary investigation based on the presumption of guilt. That is what we firmly oppose.” He added, “We support professional exchanges between scientists, including exchanges for reviewing and summarizing experiences. What we oppose, however, is unfounded charges against China.”

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne midweek cautioned China against trying to mount any “economic coercion” on Australia to try to deter its push for an independent review of the origins of the coronavirus. “We reject any suggestion that economic coercion is an appropriate response to a call for such an assessment, when what we need is global cooperation,” Payne said.

Her remarks followed a press interview with the Chinese ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye, who said the push for a coronavirus inquiry could inflame anti-Australian sentiment in China and result in a boycott of Australian goods. “Maybe the ordinary people will say, ‘Why should we drink Australian wine? Eat Australian beef?’” Cheng told Australia’s Financial Review newspaper. China is the largest export market for Australian wine and beef.

Chinese officials now say it is premature to identify China as the original source of the pandemic — its embassy in Rome has suggested the origin of the virus lies in Italy.

Anger toward Beijing has been boiling in Western capitals for weeks for what officials say was a botched initial response by Chinese authorities, which allowed the novel virus to establish itself in Wuhan and subsequently spread far and wide. The Communist government’s attempts to blame the outbreak on a visit by a U.S. Army sports delegation to Wuhan, one of a string of theories spread by Chinese propagandists, which have been discredited by authoritative virologists and epidemiologists, have only served to stoke mounting anger.

A report published this week by the European External Action Service, the EU’s diplomatic arm, accused China of running a “global disinformation campaign to deflect blame for the outbreak of the pandemic and improve its international image.” The disinformation campaign, say Western government officials and analysts, is a bid by Beijing to avoid criticism over its initial handling of the coronavirus outbreak, which included silencing Wuhan doctors endeavoring to sound the alarm.

Chinese aid shipments in recent weeks have done little to assuage European criticism of Beijing. The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, has dismissed China’s “politics of generosity” as a stunt, advising the bloc’s members to be ready for a “struggle for influence” with China and a “global battle of narratives.”

Amelie de Montchalin, France’s Europe minister, has accused China of using deliveries of medical equipment to try to burnish its image on the continent. The quality of some of the medical equipment, including masks and ventilators, has also come into question with several countries, including Spain, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, returning faulty Chinese-made virus test kits.

On Friday, it emerged that some senior British doctors had warned their superiors that 250 ventilators Britain bought from China risk causing “significant patient harm, including death,” if used in hospitals. The doctors said the ventilators could not be disinfected properly, had faulty oxygen tubes and were built for use in ambulances, not hospitals.

A chorus of Chinese government critics in the West says the pandemic should serve as a wake-up call, alleging it exposes the Communist government’s repressive policies at home and bullying of opponents abroad. The critics say the West must ready itself for an era-shaping struggle with Beijing over influence and global governance.

“The West is waking up to the true cost of China-centered globalization,” said Edward Lucas, an analyst at the Center for European Policy Analysis, a research group based in Washington. In a commentary, he said a confrontation has been a long time coming. “China wields its economic clout to reward submissive governments and punish unhelpful ones,” he said.

On Thursday, Nikki Haley, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said “deceit about the virus” is a “glaring symptom” of the threat the Chinese government poses to Western states. “In the past month alone, China has brazenly expanded its reach. In Hong Kong, it has arrested leading pro-democracy activists and is attempting to criminalize criticism of the Chinese government,” she said, writing in The Washington Post. She also criticized Beijing for territorial claims it is making in the South China Sea.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday threatened China with fresh tariffs as he stepped up his attacks on Beijing over the coronavirus crisis, saying he had seen evidence linking a Wuhan laboratory to the outbreak. Pressed by reporters at the White House for details on what made him confident the virus originated in a lab, Trump replied, “I cannot tell you that.” Washington and Beijing reached a truce in January on a long-running trade war, although many tariffs remain in place.

In Europe, too, several governments are hardening their positions toward China, underscoring “the more hawkish European position enshrined in an EU strategy paper on China from a year ago, which referred to the country as a ‘systemic rival,’” said Erik Brattberg and Philippe Le Corre, analysts at the Carnegie Endowment for International  Peace, a research organization based in Washington. “The EU-China relationship, which was already facing a difficult road ahead, could actually be further negatively impacted by coronavirus fallout,” they added.

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Coronavirus

Reuters TV Now on Isaan.Live

Reuters TV

All Coronavirus related News Videos are now exclusive sourced from Reuters TV and we hope to soon launch this streaming service in additional languages.

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(FILES) Chris Patten, the 28th and last governor of colonial Hong Kong, stands for a farewell ceremony at Government House - the governor's official residence - in Hong Kong, 30 June 1997, just hours prior to the end of some 156 years of British colonial rule as the territory returns to Chinese control at midnight. China's southern coast prepares to mark the 10th anniversary of the handover 01 July, 2007. AFP PHOTO / FILES / EMMANUEL DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images) (FILES) Chris Patten, the 28th and last governor of colonial Hong Kong, stands for a farewell ceremony at Government House - the governor's official residence - in Hong Kong, 30 June 1997, just hours prior to the end of some 156 years of British colonial rule as the territory returns to Chinese control at midnight. China's southern coast prepares to mark the 10th anniversary of the handover 01 July, 2007. AFP PHOTO / FILES / EMMANUEL DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
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