Posts tagged ‘London’

10/11/2016

Theresa May promises ‘golden era’ in UK-Chinese relations – BBC News

Theresa May has promised to work for a “golden era” in the UK’s relations with China, as the country’s vice-premier visits London for talks.

Ma Kai‘s trip follows Mrs May’s decision after coming to power to delay approval of the part-Chinese-financed Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant.

The project was given the go-ahead, after China warned that “mutual trust” was needed between the countries.

Mr Ma is meeting Chancellor Philip Hammond to discuss investing in the UK.

Speaking before the eighth UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue got under way, Mrs May said: “I’m determined that as we leave the European Union, we build a truly global Britain that is open for business.”

As we take the next step in this golden era of relations between the UK and China, I am excited about the opportunities for expanding trade and investment between our two countries.”

‘Mutual benefits’

There will be an announcement that the Chinese contractor CITIC Construction is to invest £200m in the first phase of the £1.7bn London Royal Albert Docks project, headed by the Chinese developer ABP.

Philip Hammond promises ‘constructive’ US talks

And the UK will in turn invest up to £40m in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank based in Beijing, for a fund to help developing countries to prepare infrastructure programmes.

Mr Hammond, who is hosting the Chinese delegation at London’s Lancaster House, said: “The mutual benefits are clear. China is the world’s second-largest economy. UK exports to China have grown rapidly and Britain is home to more Chinese investment than any other European country.”

US President-elect Donald Trump has said he wants to apply 45% tariff barriers to Chinese imports in an effort to protect free trade.

Mr Hammond told the BBC: “Britain’s always believed that the best way long-term to protect and promote prosperity is free markets and free trade.”

President Trump has just been elected by the American people. He will want to consult with his advisers, talk to officials and I’m sure we will have a very constructive dialogue, as we do with the Chinese, with the new American administration.”

He added: “It’s about getting the right balance in the global trading system, so that we can have the benefits of open markets, while being properly and appropriately protected.”

One of Mrs May’s first acts on becoming prime minister during the summer was to order a review of the project to build Hinkley Point C, in Somerset, part-financed by China.

Writing in the Financial Times in August, Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to the UK, said: “If Britain’s openness is a condition for bilateral co-operation, then mutual trust is the very foundation on which this is built.”

Right now, the China-UK relationship is at a crucial historical juncture. Mutual trust should be treasured even more.”

The UK government approved Hinkley Point C in September, saying it had imposed “significant new safeguards” to protect national security.

Source: Theresa May promises ‘golden era’ in UK-Chinese relations – BBC News

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04/11/2016

The Economist explains: Why Britain is wooing India | The Economist

WHEN Britain eventually leaves the European Union it will prosper by trading farther afield. So argues Theresa May, Britain’s prime minister, ahead of her first big bilateral trip abroad, a three-day visit to India, which begins on Sunday, November 6th. She talks of forging a “new global role” with this trade mission, hobnobbing with Indian leaders and championing free trade in general. The idea is to promote ties between small and medium businesses in the two countries. Yet creating a stronger economic relationship with India will prove much tougher than Mrs May and her colleagues expect.

On the face of it, the signs are good. India has nearly 1.3bn people. Many are emerging as middle-class consumers for the first time. The country is creating a single market for goods and services, reducing internal and external barriers to trade and tackling some corruption and bureaucracy. Its economy, worth over $2trn, is the fastest-growing large one in the world. It is likely to rattle along quickly for many years to come; by 2030, India could rank as the world’s third-largest. The prime minister, Narendra Modi, wants to make it less difficult for businesses to operate there, and to win more foreign investment and trade deals. British firms are already among the biggest investors. Now India is opening up for foreign activity in sectors that might suit British firms especially: notably in insurance, defence, railways and some retail. At the same time, large Indian firms—such as Tata, which owns Jaguar Land Rover, as well as Tata Steel—are in Britain. London has also become a base for Indian firms, for example in business consulting, that tap the wider EU market. A common language, shared cultural, historic, legal and sporting ties, plus the influence of the Indian diaspora in Britain, bode well for closer ties.

Mrs May is thus right to reach out. But anyone expecting quick gains will be disappointed. One of India’s priorities, for example, is avoiding complications over a long-stalled free trade agreement with the EU, which has been under negotiation since June 2007. After 12 rounds of talks, some consensus has been found on issues including trade in rice, sugar, textiles and pharmaceuticals. It is not clear that India’s overstretched trade negotiators will see much benefit in being diverted to work on a deal with Britain alone, especially if that makes it harder to complete one with the bigger EU market. Even if they do decide to talk biltaterally, among the sticking points has been India’s 150% tariff on imports of whisky from Scotland. Future British negotiators would struggle to be more effective than their European counterparts at getting that scrapped. The biggest concern, however, is about Britain’s ever colder shoulder towards Indians who want to travel and study there. Under the Conservatives, Britain has in the past six years become less welcoming to foreigners, notably from South Asia, who hope to attend university and then work. Eye-wateringly expensive visas, increasingly hostile rules to get them, official talk of cracking down on foreign students in Britain, and graduates who lose the right to work after finishing a degree in Britain all leave Indians feeling unwelcome. Anecdotes abound of bright Indian students who win places at the best British universities but are refused visas to travel. Perceptions of generally rising xenophobia in Britain are discouraging to Indians too.

For Mrs May to win a warm welcome in India she needs to offer a message that is not only about investment and trade, but also sets out that Britain—in particular its universities—will again become more open to Indian visitors, migrants, students and their families. America is proving far more successful at attracting the highest-skilled migrants, especially software and other engineers. Other countries, including some in Europe, are rolling out policies to attract more Indian students to their universities. Yet Britain appears more hostile to migrants than it has in many decades. Within a few years, it is worth remembering, India’s economy will be bigger than Britain’s. Welcoming more exchanges of people, as well as encouraging higher levels of trade and investment, would make sense for both sides.

Source: The Economist explains: Why Britain is wooing India | The Economist

12/08/2016

Indian army bagpipe bands’ swaying march – help!

Dear reader: can anyone enlighten me?

The Indian Military Pipe band perform during the 2010 Commonwealth ...

I am a keen fan of military parades and march pasts.  I regularly watch on TV the annual Trooping of the Colour in London and sometimes the very long Independence Day parade at the Red Fort in Delhi.

Recently, I noticed that the Indian army bagpipe bands tend to sway as they march. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fkT6SdD9LQ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgW0HnY9crA  Bands without bagpipes do not sway.

I tried to check via Google if the Pakistani army bagpipe bands did the same and couldn’t find any example.  So, my conclusion is that it was not a habit formed during the Raj but developed indigenously after Independence.

So the question: when and why did the Indian army bagpipe bands develop this swaying action?

01/08/2016

How Cheap Oil Is Squeezing South Asia’s Cash Lifeline – India Real Time – WSJ

Chronically low oil prices are disrupting a critical financial lifeline across Asia and depriving economies of much-needed hard currency.

The flow of cash, or remittances, from Asian citizens working in the Gulf soared when the price of oil was high, boosting growth across the board. The billions of dollars in annual inflows paid for necessities such as schooling and health care and helped propel families into the middle class for the first time.

Now that money is disappearing, perhaps permanently, as laborers lose work in oil-driven Mideast countries. That’s adding a new threat to growth in some Asian nations and depriving them of currency inflows they need to balance their national accounts and keep their currencies from depreciating too quickly.

A barrel of Nymex crude is now trading at around $41, up from below $30 earlier this year. But prices are a long way from the peak of the boom and aren’t expected to return to previous highs soon. In February 2014, a barrel of crude cost more than $100.

Demonstrating the pressures of sustained low prices, thousands of Indian workers protested in Saudi Arabia on Saturday at being left without jobs, pay and food after they were laid off. The Indian government stepped in over the weekend to hand out food to hungry workers.

Source: How Cheap Oil Is Squeezing South Asia’s Cash Lifeline – India Real Time – WSJ

21/10/2015

British royal welcome for Chinese president highlights China-UK partnership – Xinhua | English.news.cn

Few national leaders has had the honor of meeting so many British royals in one day, but with Chinese President Xi Jinping, all efforts have been made to ensure the distinguished guest receives a full set of British hospitality.

BRITAIN-CHINA-XI JINPING-VISIT-ROYAL WELCOME Addressing the State Banquet for Xi at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday evening, British Queen Elizabeth II said the United Kingdom and China have “truly a global partnership” and the president’s state visit to Britain is a “defining moment” for the future of Sino-UK relations.

Britain and China have achieved success not only in economic cooperation but also in jointly addressing pressing international challenges, and are now ready to take bilateral relations to “ambitious new heights,” the Queen said.

The 89-year-old Queen recalled her visit to China with the Duke of Edinburgh in 1986 as with “great fondness,” and applauded China’s work over the past decades in “lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.”

Echoing the queen, Xi said China and Britain, with their outstanding civilizations, have been influencing each other for centuries though far away from each other geographically.

Both as founding members of the United Nations (UN) and permanent members of the UN Security Council, the two countries share a “sacred” obligation to promote world peace and development, Xi said.

Throughout Tuesday, the royal family have spent quite some quality time with Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan.

A traditional ceremonial welcome was held by the Queen for the Chinese president at noon Tuesday in central London with the presence of senior royal family members and political leaders.

Earlier, the president and his wife had been greeted by Prince Charles on behalf of the Queen at their hotel and traveled with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall to Horse Guards Parade for the ceremony.

With 41 rounds of gun salute fired from Green Park and 62 from the Tower of London, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, bathed in rare London sunshine, formally welcomed Xi and Peng at the Royal pavilion on Horse Guards Parade.

Xi, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, inspected the Guard of Honor and later joined the Queen and the Duke for a state carriage procession along The Mall to Buckingham Palace, with Chinese National Anthem being played.

Thousands of people have lined around the Buckingham Palace and surrounding routes since early morning to welcome the president, who is the first Chinese head of state to visit Britain in 10 years, initiating a “golden era” for bilateral ties.

After riding through cheering crowds in the golden and black Diamond Jubilee Coach, Xi enjoyed a private lunch at Buckingham Palace with the Queen. He then viewed an exhibition of China-related items from the Royal Collection in the picture gallery of the palace and exchanged gifts with the Queen.

The enthusiastic welcome from the British side for the Chinese president is a “step forward for bilateral ties” and represents “the West and the East warmly embracing each other for a better future,” said Fu Xiaolan, professor of technology and international development at Oxford University.

Closer cooperation between China and Britain could “raise the living standards of ordinary people” and “send more kids to school,” she said, adding that Britain’s “knowledge and creativity” will also help China in its future development.

In the afternoon, Xi and Peng enjoyed tea time and Welsh music with Charles and his wife Camilla at Clarence House, after a visit to the parliament.

Source: British royal welcome for Chinese president highlights China-UK partnership – Xinhua | English.news.cn

21/08/2015

China’s love for Chariot’s Of Fire hero Eric Liddell

A clutch of elderly Chinese pensioners, three Canadian women in their 70s and 80s and a British film star gathered in the courtyard of a school in the obscure industrial town of Weifang on Monday to witness the unveiling of a statue of a running man.

Statue of Scottish Olympic running hero Eric Liddel

The athlete immortalised in bronze in China is Eric Liddell, the legendary Olympian whose achievements were marked in the 1981 fi lm Chariots Of Fire.

The Canadians were there because Liddell was their father and the presence of the actor, Joseph Fiennes, was because he plays the Scottish sprinter in The Last Race, a new movie about his life to be released in March.

But why would the Chinese authorities be interested in venerating such a man? The truth is that Liddell is as much Chinese as he is Scottish.

Born in Tianjin in 1902 he went on to spend more than half his life in the country as an evangelical Christian missionary. And so while he is known as the Flying Scotsman in the UK in China he is remembered as the country’s first Olympic champion.

It is rare indeed that a person has the good fortune to meet a saint but he came as close to it as anyone I have ever known

Eight years before Beijing sent its first team to the Olympics, Liddell won a memorable gold medal in the 400m as part of the British team in the Paris Games of 1924. His victory was all the more poignant because he had been forced to pull out of his best event the 100m as soon as the timetable for the Games was announced.

Liddell, the son of Scottish missionaries, was such a devout Christian that he would not countenance breaking the Sabbath to take part in heats held on a Sunday. Aware this meant he wouldn’t be able to participate in the qualifying rounds for the sprint Liddell devoted all his energy to training for the 400m.

As he took to the starting blocks for the final a masseur with the American Olympic team is said to have slipped a piece of paper into his hand with the Book Of Samuel quotation: “Those who honour me I will honour.”

The fates were certainly on Liddell’s side that day.

He not only won but broke the existing Olympic and world records with a time of 47.6 seconds.

His sporting success did not divert him from his chosen course however and within a year he travelled to China to take up a posting as a missionary teacher in Tianjin’s Anglo-Chinese College, a school popular with the local elite.

The missionaries believed that by teaching Christian values to the children of the wealthy they might promote them later when they reached positions of influence.

Liddell also got involved in the sporting curriculum and even advised on the construction of Tianjin’s Minyuan Stadium.

He proposed an exact copy of the then football ground of Chelsea FC, said to have been his favourite running venue in the UK. He met and married a Canadian woman called Florence, also a child of missionaries, and they had daughters Patricia and Heather.

When Florence was pregnant with their third, war broke out and, with the Imperial Japanese Army sweeping through China, Liddell insisted she and the girls leave for Canada .

Typically Liddell refused to leave his beloved China in its hour of need and was interned and placed in a camp in Weifang, where he dedicated himself to the welfare of fellow inmates.

One of these, Langdon Gilkey, a 19-year-old American who went on to became a prominent theologian, said of Liddell: “Often I would see him bent over a chessboard or a model boat or directing some sort of square dance – absorbed, weary and interested, pouring all of himself into this effort to capture the imagination of penned-up youths.

“He was overflowing with good humour and love for life with enthusiasm and charm.

“It is rare indeed that a person has the good fortune to meet a saint but he came as close to it as anyone I have ever known.”

Liddell even turned down the opportunity to return to Britain after the prime minister Winston Churchill brokered a deal for his release. True to form Liddell arranged for a pregnant woman from the camp to take his place. His tireless efforts on behalf of both the children of the camp and the older generation took its toll to such an extent that in early 1945 he had to be admitted to the camp hospital.

A few days later he sat up in bed and wrote to his wife in Canada: “… was carrying too much responsibility… had slight nervous breakdown… much better after a month in hospital. Special love to you and the children, Eric”.

But in fact he was not much better. He had a brain tumour and within an hour of writing the note he was gone.

His friend and colleague Anne Buchan reported that he uttered the words, “It’s full surrender”, before lapsing into a coma from which he would never recover. He was just 43.

via China’s love for Chariot’s Of Fire hero Eric Liddell | History | News | Daily Express.

29/06/2015

Wimbledon’s Famous Towels Made, and for Sale, in India – India Real Time – WSJ

It’s Wimbledon season, which means it’s Wimbledon towel season.

The colorful terry-cloth towels used by tennis players on court are the most-prized keepsake from the annual tournament at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in southwest London.

Even the sport’s biggest stars are not immune, pocketing around half of the 6,000 towels set aside for their use during the matches, and giving them away to friends and family. The towels are so popular that the tournament employed towel police to prevent thefts until 2012, when they stopped trying to prevent players from stuffing their bags full of towels.

Thousands of tennis fans will scramble to get one of the 100,000 towels made for this year’s tournament inside Wimbledon’s gates or online. The luckiest ones will be in India.

That’s because textile giant Welspun India Ltd. has produced the towels in Gujarat since buying the iconic British towel manufacturer Christy, in 2006.

There are two Wimbledon towels for players. The one given to male players is purple and green with tennis balls and letters in a color called “buttermilk.”

The women’s towel is done up in new colors each year, this year’s is described as “Apple Berry.”

While most people will be lining up to pay £30 (3,015 rupees) for this year’s towel on the sidelines of the hallowed courts, Indian fans can buy one online for 1,295 rupees, or 995 rupees for the women’s version.

“However,” said Dipali Goenka, head of Welspun, “the market for Wimbledon towels in India is very small currently.”

via Wimbledon’s Famous Towels Made, and for Sale, in India – India Real Time – WSJ.

29/04/2015

Where’s the Cheapest Place to Buy…? Probably India – India Real Time – WSJ

If cities were stores, to find the best deal you’d be advised to shop in Mumbai for Levis and Coca Cola KO -0.15%, go to Rio for a pack of Marlboro cigarettes and stop off in San Francisco to buy an iPhone 6.

5.21
1.89
Mumbai
1.89
2.22
Johannesburg
2.43
2.77
Beijing
3.14
3.53
Singapore
4.25
Berlin
4.79
San Francisco
4.79
New York
5.21
Rio

Deutsche Bank research published last week compares prices for everyday items in cities around the world. Overall, across a range of products, India is “the cheapest major economy.”

Looking for a cheap date? A Big Mac, movie, cab, soft drink and couple of beers costs $24.70 in Mumbai – making India’s financial capital the least-expensive place in the world to show someone a good time.

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Try to do the same in San Francisco or Tokyo and you won’t get change from $100 – in fact, you’ll need to scrape a few more dollars together to cover the bill.

Need a man’s haircut? A short-back-and-sides in New Delhi on average goes for $2.40, a snip of the price elsewhere in the world. A trim in Tokyo costs 15 times more.

The study compiles prices posted on the Internet and from secondary sources, though it doesn’t say what they are.

“We have tried our best to use goods and services that are standard across countries or are close substitutes,” the authors of “The Random Walk Mapping the World’s Prices 2015,” wrote.

Such studies, including this one, do not reflect the true cost of living though because they ignore housing rents – often a person’s biggest monthly outlay.

Add on the price of accommodation in Mumbai, which can have rents as high as those charged in New York, and the city would suddenly look a lot less easy on the wallet.

*The price in each country.  **A Big Mac, movie, cab, soft drink and couple of beers. ***Two nights in a standard 5 star hotel room, four meals, two snacks, car rentals for two days, two pints of beer, four liters of soft drinks/water, and a bit of shopping (a pair of jeans and sports shoes.)

via Where’s the Cheapest Place to Buy…? Probably India – India Real Time – WSJ.

02/04/2015

African phone sales soar, Chinese makers have 30% of market – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn

With a growing number of Chinese cell phone makers taking giant strides in overseas markets, Africa, with its huge population, is also in its sights.

African phone sales soar, Chinese makers have 30% of market

OPPO, a Chinese producer, has unveiled two smartphones, OPPO N3 and OPPO N5, in Morocco, taking the number of Chinese cell phone makers in Africa above 10.

The first batch of manufactures entering the African market were copy makers based in Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong province, China Business News cited Yan Zhanmeng, a senior analyst of IDC China, as saying. With a smartphone boom in 2013, more famous Chinese makers have been tapping into the market, Yan added.

IDC data showed that the market share of Chinese cell phone brands rose to 30 percent in 2014, from 15 percent two years earlier. Huawei, Tecno and Alcatel have entered the top five in the African market, which surged 108 percent last year.

Africa has a population of one billion, accounting for 15 percent of the world population. Most important is that the number of cell phone users has exceed 200 million, even during the 2009 financial crisis, the growth rate hit 14.8 percent.

Nigeria, with the biggest population in Africa, currently has the most cell phone users, accounting for 16 percent of total users on the continent, followed by Egypt and South Africa. In the next five years, the most obvious growth will focused in Central and East Africa, among which growth in Ethiopia, Congo, Eritrea and Madagascar is expected to exceed 100 percent.

via African phone sales soar, Chinese makers have 30% of market – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn.

14/03/2015

Mahatma Gandhi gets London statue near nemesis Churchill | Reuters

Britain will unveil a statue of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi on Saturday in London’s prestigious Parliament Square, a space packed with monuments to men who defended the British Empire which Gandhi helped destroy.

In an ironic twist, Gandhi’s likeness will sit close to that of Britain’s former wartime leader Winston Churchill, a man who strained to thwart Indian independence and who despised Gandhi and everything he stood for.

Churchill famously called Gandhi “a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the East, striding half-naked up the steps of the Vice-regal palace.”

But almost seven decades after India won independence from Britain in 1947, in large part thanks to Gandhi’s peaceful civil disobedience campaign, relations between the two countries are strong with both nations keen to boost economic ties.

via Mahatma Gandhi gets London statue near nemesis Churchill | Reuters.

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