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Britain and Bill Gates pledge £3bn to fight malaria

first_imgBritish taxpayers will join forces with Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates and fund a £3bn programme whose aim is to eradicate malaria within decades.The chancellor George Osborne will announce the Government will spend £500m a year for each of the next five years in conjunction with the Gates Foundation, which will spend £200m a year.The Microsoft tycoon will travel to Liverpool with the chancellor to see ground-breaking scientific research into drugs, diagnostics and insecticides.The British governments commitment of £2.5bn is a significant increase on the £1.8 billion spent in the previous parliament.In a joint letter to The Times, the pair said that the money would show that the disease, which kills one child every minute, can be defeated because problems such as hunger and disease arent insoluble.We are optimistic that in our lifetimes we can eradicate malaria and other deadly tropical diseases, and confront emerging threats, making the world a safer place for all, the letter says.The newspaper reports it is the latest stage of Osbornes drive to overhaul the aid budget, with more of a focus on programmes which can be shown to benefit the UK, such as targeting diseases which threaten global pandemics.last_img read more

China to announce new leadership lineup with Xi at helm

first_imgA conductor leads an orchestra as delegates stand for the national anthem during the closing session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photo: ReutersChina’s ruling Communist Party reveals its new leadership line-up on Wednesday when President Xi Jinping introduces his Politburo Standing Committee, culminating a week-long party congress.A key measure of Xi’s rising influence leading the world’s second-largest economy will be how many of his allies are installed on the Standing Committee, the apex of power in China. It is currently made up of seven people, all men, and headed by Xi, who is also party and military chief.Five members are expected to retire due to an unwritten rule limiting new five-year terms to those under 68.One of the five, a close Xi ally, the anti-corruption chief Wang Qishan, 69, was left off the new Central Committee, which elects the Standing Committee, but he could get another job a few months down the line, sources have said.The new line-up will be announced around midday (0400 GMT) at the first plenum of the congress. The congress itself formally ended on Tuesday, with Xi having his political theory written into the party’s constitution, putting him in the same company as the founder of modern China, Mao Zedong.The world should not be worried about China’s growing confidence, the influential state-run tabloid the Global Times wrote in an editorial on Wednesday.“We are creating a strong nation that is friendly toward others and understands the importance of sharing the benefits reaped from development, a trait that has yet to emerge in human society,” it said.Who gets on the new Standing Committee remains a closely guarded secret until Xi leads them out before the media in a room inside central Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, where all top party events take place.Names in contention include vice-premier Wang Yang, Xi advisers Li Zhanshu and Wang Huning, Shanghai party chief Han Zheng, Guangdong province party boss Hu Chunhua and Zhao Leji, who runs the powerful organisation department that oversees personnel decisions such as promotions and demotions.Other contenders include Chen Miner, who heads the party in the southwestern city of Chongqing; Beijing party boss Cai Qi; and Jiangsu province party boss Li Qiang, all of whom are close to Xi. Chen and Cai have enjoyed meteoric rises up the party ranks.Premier Li Keqiang is the only other member of the current Standing Committee apart from Xi who will remain, unless he is unexpectedly left off, which seems unlikely.Previous party congresses have anointed successors for the roles of party head and premier, with Xi and Li both vaulting on to the Standing Committee in 2007 before they were then further promoted to their current roles in 2012.Speculation has swirled in Beijing this week that Xi may break with precedent and not appoint an obvious successor, who would have to be young enough to serve three consecutive terms in the Standing Committee.last_img read more

New Zealand PM apologies for death of British tourist

first_imgnew zealandNew Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern made an emotional apology Monday to the family of a 22-year-old British tourist who police say was murdered.Ardern spoke about the nation’s reaction to the case several hours after the man that police accuse of killing Grace Millane made his first appearance in court. Police on Sunday found a body in a forested area near Auckland which they believe is Millane’s.”From the kiwis I have spoken to, there is this overwhelming sense of hurt and shame that this has happened in our country, a place that prides itself on our hospitality,” Ardern said at her weekly media briefing, using a colloquial term for New Zealanders.”On behalf of New Zealand, I want to apologize to Grace’s family,” Ardern said, her voice breaking with emotion. “Your daughter should have been safe here, and she wasn’t. And I’m sorry for that.”Ardern said it wasn’t necessarily her role to apologize for individual acts of violence, but she’d sensed that New Zealanders were feeling a collective sense of shame over the case and that many were taking it personally.Earlier, the 26-year-old man accused of killing Millane stared at the floor while a judge addressed him during his brief appearance at the Auckland District Court. The man has not yet entered a plea on murder charges and the court has temporarily blocked his name from being published.Millane’s father, David Millane, traveled to New Zealand last week after his daughter vanished, and Judge Evangelos Thomas addressed him and other family members.”I don’t know what to say to you at this time, but your grief must be desperate,” he said, according to television station Three. “We all hope justice will be fair and swift and ultimately bring you some peace.”As the man was led away from the dock, somebody in the public gallery yelled out “Scumbag!” Three reported.The case has riveted people both in Britain and New Zealand.Described by her father as fun-loving and family-oriented, Grace Millane had been traveling in New Zealand as part of a planned yearlong trip abroad that began in Peru. She went missing 1 December and failed to get in touch with her family on her birthday the next day, or on the days that followed, which alarmed them.Before she vanished, Millane had been staying at a backpacker hostel in Auckland and left some of her belongings there. Detective Inspector Scott Beard said she met a man for a couple of hours in the evening before surveillance cameras showed them entering the CityLife hotel at about 9:40pm.A week after Millane disappeared, police detained a man for questioning and later charged him with murder.On Sunday, police found a body in a forested area about 10 meters (33 feet) from the side of the road in the Waitakere Ranges near Auckland. Police believe Millane’s body was taken to the area in a rental car.Police said the car, a red Toyota Corolla, was rented for 24 hours and returned to an Auckland rental agency on 3 December, meaning Millane’s body could have been in the forest for six days before it was found.The suspect’s lawyer, Ian Brookie, on Monday applied for name suppression on the basis his client needed it for a fair trial, an argument that Judge Thomas rejected on the basis of open justice. Brookie appealed, triggering the man’s name to be temporarily suppressed.The man is being held in custody and is scheduled to make his next court appearance 23 January.last_img read more