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China’s Xi sets ‘sets sights on Taiwan’ as frightening new phase in global plan begins

Tobias Ellwood was speaking after the Chinese President addressed an event marking the CCP’s 100th anniversary – causing a stir with the strength of his language. Mr Ellwood, the Tory MP for Bournemouth, told Express.co.uk he, like many others, was following events in Beijing with rising levels of concern.

“I think partly in reaction to the global response to China initially hiding the pandemic and the condemnation of the new security laws in Hong Kong and also the outrage expressed over the treatment of the Uighurs.

“China is clearly seeking to become so large that nobody will dare challenge it.

“This is its direction and travel as it reinterprets our international rules for its own benefit.”

“He has now consolidated his power over Hong Kong – this ‘one country two systems’ thing is completely out the window.

“He’s now got his sights set on Taiwan. It could be the next 10 years, or the next five years, but things are going to get very unpredictable.

“We now have Japan joining America to say we will defend Taiwan.”

READ MORE: Brexit stitch-up – EU treats UK like ‘treasure trove’ says campaigner

“Xi’s navy is now the largest in the world, growing by the size of ours every year.

“He’s wanting to become so big that nobody, no country, including the USA, would dare challenge him.

“The West needs to unite. Only by standing together can the international community defend democracy, particularly in democratic countries such as Taiwan.”

Speaking last month, Xi declared: “We will never allow anyone to bully, oppress or subjugate China.

“Anyone who dares try to do that will have their heads bashed bloody against the Great Wall of Steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people.”

He added: “No one should underestimate the resolve, the will and ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Furthermore, he reaffirmed what he called China’s “unbreakable commitment” to unifying with Taiwan, while vowing to “fulfil the Chinese Dream of great national rejuvenation”.

Speaking to Express.co.uk after Mr Jinping’s speech, Prof Steve Tsang, the director of the China Institute at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), said it included “unnecessarily harsh language which will backfire in the outside world”.

He said of Xi’s words: “They confirm the approach Xi takes towards the rest of the world, which is that they are required to respect China on China’s terms, and if they don’t, they should be prepared to face the consequences, some could be rather unpleasant.”

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Sustainable development report shows devastating impact of COVID, ahead of ‘critical’ new phase

The world was not on track to meet the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) before COVID-19 struck, and now the challenge has been magnified many times over, according to a new flagship UN report that indicates countries must take ‘critical’ steps on the road out of the pandemic, during the next 18 months.

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2021, launched on Tuesday at UN Headquarters in New York, shows the toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on the 2030 Agenda, as the landmark annual High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) officially got underway. Read our curtain-raiser story here.

Gains rolled back

In addition to the almost four million deaths due to the coronavirus, between 119-124 million people were pushed back into poverty and chronic hunger, and the equivalent of 255 million full-time jobs were lost, the report indicates.

“The pandemic has halted, or reversed, years, or even decades of development progress. Global extreme poverty rose for the first time since 1998”, said UN Under-Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin, during the launch.

Moreover, disruptions to essential health services have threatened years of progress in improving maternal and child health, increasing immunization coverage, and reducing communicable and non-communicable diseases. Around 90% of countries are still reporting one or more significant disruptions to essential health services.

IFAD/Joanne Levitan

Small-scale farmers in Tanzania are receiving support to improve food security in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Acute inequalities

The report also indicates that the pandemic has exposed and intensified inequalities within and between countries.

As of 17 June, around 68 vaccine shots were administered for every 100 people in Europe and Northern America – compared with fewer than two, in sub-Saharan Africa.

Millions of children risk never returning to school; while rising numbers have been forced into child marriage and child labour. With trillions of tourist dollars lost during the pandemic shutdowns, the collapse of international tourism has disproportionally impacted struggling Small Island Developing States.

“The poorest and most vulnerable continue to be at greater risk of becoming infected by the virus and have borne the brunt of the economic fallout”, highlighted Mr. Zhenmin.

While an economic recovery is under way, led by China and the United States, in many other countries, economic growth is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels before 2022 or 2023.

African elephants are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), as the animals are poached for their ivory tusks.UNEP GRID Arendal/Peter Prokosch

African elephants are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), as the animals are poached for their ivory tusks.

Climate and biodiversity challenges

The report also confirms what UN agencies such as the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) have been sounding the alarm over: the economic slowdown in 2020 did little to slow the climate crisis, which continues largely unabated.

Concentrations of major greenhouse gases continued to increase, while the global average temperature was about 1.2°C above pre-industrial levels, dangerously close to the 1.5°C threshold, established in the Paris Agreement.

The world fell short as well on 2020 targets to halt biodiversity loss and a reversal of the 10 million hectares of forest which was lost each year, between 2015-2020.

Equality and finance
The COVID-19 pandemic has also adversely affected progress towards gender equality. Violence against women and girls has intensified, child marriage is expected to increase, and women have suffered a disproportionate share of job losses and increased care responsibilities at home.

Meanwhile, global flows of foreign direct investment fell by 40% in 2020 compared to 2019. The document shows the pandemic has brought immense financial challenges, especially for developing countries – with a significant rise in debt distress.

Brighter future still possible

“This report paints a worrying picture regarding the state of the SDGs. Yet, it also highlights stories of resilience, adaptability and innovation during the crisis, which indicate a brighter future is possible”, underscored Mr. Zhenmin.

He added that there are signs that countries are taking steps under their recovery plans, that could improve SDG action, and that the next 18 months are critical.

According to the report, to get the SDGs back on track, governments, cities, businesses and industries have to use the recovery to adopt low-carbon, resilient and inclusive development pathways that will reduce carbon emissions, conserve natural resources, create better jobs, advance gender equality and tackle growing inequities

“We are at a critical juncture in human history. The decisions and actions we take today will have momentous consequences for future generations. Lessons learned from the pandemic will help us rise to current and future challenges”, Mr. Zhenmin urged.

The Under-Secretary General explained that the upcoming months will determine whether the COVID-19 crisis serves as a ‘much-needed wake-up call’.

“The global community, first and foremost, needs to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. This is a critical step that can truly spur a decade of action”.

High Level Political Forum

The 2030 Agenda, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.

At its heart are the 17 Goals, to improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

The launch of the 2021 SDG report coincides with the start of the High-Level Forum on Sustainable Development on Tuesday. The event is the core UN platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda.

The meeting will continue through July 15th, under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). This includes the three-day ministerial meeting that started today.

The ministers will discuss ways to ensure a sustainable and resilient recovery from COVID-19 that puts the world on track to realize the 2030 Agenda. 43 countries will also present their voluntary national reviews of their implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

The meeting will put the spotlight on nine Global Goals this year: ending poverty, zero hunger, improving health, decent work, reducing inequalities, responsible consumption and production; climate action, sustaining peace, and building partnerships.

Author: Aalto University
Read more here >>> The European Times News

City of Austin moves to phase 2 of public camping ban, may issue citations for repeat offenders

Starting Sunday, repeat offenders may be given citations for violating camping ban

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Phase 2 of the City of Austin’s four-tiered public camping ban went into effect Sunday, meaning repeat offenders of the ban may soon be issued citations.

Starting Sunday, people violating the ban on public camping will first receive written warnings. If the person has been previously warned, police may issue a citation.

Prop B was approved by Austin voters on May 1 making it a criminal offense — a Class-C misdemeanor punishable by a fine — if you sit, lie down, or camp on public property in downtown Austin or on the University of Texas-Austin campus. It also prohibits panhandling at specific hours and locations.

The first 30 days of the City’s implementation of the camping ban, Phase 1, sought to educate people experiencing homelessness about the rules of the ban. Representatives from multiple city departments visited encampments across the city, providing resources on alternate options and safe housing.

Phase 2 is expected to last 28 days.

How will the City of Austin enforce the new camping ban?

Phase 1 – Effective May 11, a 33-day period of community engagement and education will begin. During this time, the Austin Police Department will provide verbal warnings to those found camping — in addition to resource information. This excludes instances that are of imminent safety or health concern.

Phase 2 – Starting June 13, APD will begin issuing written warnings and initial citations. This period will also last for 28 days.

Phase 3 – Starting July 11, APD may initiate arrests and/or begin clearing out encampments in areas that have not been cleared following citations. The City of Austin did not immediately say how long Phase 3 will last.

Phase 4 – During Phase 4, citations and arrests will continue as needed. APD will work with City of Austin homeless outreach teams to help provide further information on resources, when available.

These four phases will end in August at which point the Austin Police Department will reassess its effectiveness.

Author: KXAN Staff
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

Crypto usage currently in kind of phase comparable to early days of cell phones – Coinbase

The cryptocurrency industry has done a great deal in terms of adoption, products, and services since bitcoin’s launch more than a decade ago. Still, crypto usage needs to be easier and more accessible.

That’s according to Emilie Choi, Coinbase’s president and chief operating officer. She said, when asked by Bloomberg Technology about any notable uncertainties regarding cryptocurrencies’ future: “It’s about, you know, how do we create the most user-friendly experiences for folks.”

Choi explained: “In many ways, I always kind of take the analogy of like the old mobile phones, right, that had these clunky-clunky interfaces. We’re in kind of that phase of crypto, so we have to make it more usable. We have to make it more accessible. We have to have more regulatory certainty for certain folks to get off the sidelines and participate.”

Coinbase’s president also said about cryptocurrencies: “We are seeing so much participation now, we feel like there’s just a great opportunity ahead of us.”
Also on rt.com Bitcoin sell-off wipes $ 365 BILLION from crypto market
The value of the cryptocurrency market suffered a loss of hundreds of billions of dollars this week, dropping to around $ 2 trillion after Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Wednesday that the electric vehicle maker would suspend car purchases using bitcoin. He also said that Tesla intends to use the digital asset for transactions “as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy.”

Musk’s statement sent bitcoin’s price to its lowest since March, or $ 45,700 per token, though it pared some losses later that day. The world’s largest crypto was trading at $ 48,645 as of Saturday.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

Author: RT
This post originally appeared on RT Business News

Avengers 5 ‘leak’: Spider-Man villain 'to replace Thanos in next phase of MCU'

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Entertainment Feed

Marvel are gearing up to kickstart their second enormous villain. After Avengers Endgame and Thanos (Josh Brolin) were brought to an end, all eyes have been on where the series will go next. A new report from That Hashtag Show says the series’ next villain is just around the corner and has major ties to Spider-Man, and his upcoming third movie, No Way Home.

At the moment none of this information has been confirmed and should be treated as a rumour for now.

The publication reports No Way Home will introduce Peter Parker (Tom Holland) to Norman Osborn from the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies.

This Osborn, otherwise known as Green Goblin, is played by Willem Dafoe and will make his arrival in the series during Peter’s adventure through the multiverse, where he will reportedly work alongside Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s versions of the wall-crawler.

The battle against Dafoe’s Osborn will be quite an event, as the report claims Peter will return to his own timeline with new fears about his own universe’s version of the Green Goblin.

READ MORE: Spider-Man No Way Home LEAK: Plot for Holland’s third movie ‘detailed’

The report says: “Peter will begin to research his earth’s version of Norman Osborn after fighting with Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin; but there’s a twist, he’s seemingly not an awful guy.”

The new Osborn will instead show a politically focused figure who frequently makes charitable donations and even supports the Avengers.

Marvel apparently want to explore the idea that different universes can create entirely different people.

However, considering Osborn is historically Spider-Man’s nemesis, it is more than likely that he will eventually turn and become an evildoer.

Osborn’s presence will be felt throughout the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe in the years to come.

While the actor behind Osborn has not been cast just yet, the report continues to add that a New York actor has been offered the role, but has yet to accept it.

This is an important next step for the franchise, considering Marvel now own the cinematic rights to the X-Men and the Fantastic Four.

Alongside Spider-Man and his villain repertoire, the next phase of the MCU is sure to be packed with non-stop comic-book references.

This isn’t the only leak that has surfaced in the past month.

The entire plot for Spider-Man: No Way Home was allegedly leaked on a Marvel forum earlier this month, which detailing a tragedy for Peter.

It also confirmed the appearance of two new Spider-Men, Maguire and Garfield.

The Avengers films are available on Disney Plus now.


Covid vaccine calculator reveals when YOU will get your jab – as next phase announced

Author: Vanessa Chalmers
This post originally appeared on Health News – The Sun

MILLIONS more Brits are now eligible for the coronavirus vaccine and this handy calculator reveals when you can expect yours.

The NHS coronavirus vaccine booking system has opened up to healthy people in England aged 42 and over.

🔵 Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest updates

Click here to use the online Covid vaccine calculator

Millions of healthy Brits are being urged to come forward to have their coronavirus vaccine


Millions of healthy Brits are being urged to come forward to have their coronavirus vaccineCredit: LNP

Those set to turn 42 before July 1 can also now arrange their jab.

A text will be sent from “NHSvaccine” inviting them to get a dose with a link to the booking site. People can also call 119.

There are thousands of vaccine sites to choose from, including shopping centres, mosques and pharmacies.

There are three vaccines currently being rolled out across the UK.

So far 33.8 million Brits have received a first dose of either the Oxford/AstraZeneca, the Pfizer/BioNTech or the Moderna jab with more than 13.2 million having had a second.

Omni’s vaccine queue calculator will estimate how many people are ahead of you in the wait for a jab in the UK, accounting for the delay in the first-dose rollout.

You can also use the calculator that only applies to England, which is more specific.

All you need to do is enter your age, job and if you have a health condition.

In other vaccine news this week:

It was also revealed today that a single dose of a vaccine cuts the risk of catching the virus by two-thirds and onward transmission to household members by up to almost half.

The Health Secretary said: “It further reinforces that vaccines are the best way out of this pandemic as they protect you and they may prevent you from unknowingly infecting someone in your household.”

When will you get your vaccine?

Omni’s vaccine queue calculator will give you an idea of when you can expect to be vaccinated.

It’s based on the Government’s priority list and the likely rate of vaccination.

It can be adjusted based on how fast the vaccines are deployed – using the seven-day rate gives the closest estimation, however cannot account for any potential delays or shortages in the future.

Omni also sets a default uptake rate of 75 per cent based on previous years’ flu vaccine figures.

In reality, this could be lower or higher. The uptake has reached record levels of the high 90s in people over 50, but its not known how younger people will respond.

Changing the uptake rate on the calculator either makes the queue longer or shorter.

The tool also considers the proportion of first doses to second doses administered in the previous week.

This helps account for the expected slowdown in rate of first dose being administered in April.

A new feature of the calculator also predicts when “herd immunity” could be achieved, based on when 70 per cent of the adult population have been fully vaccinated.

With the current vaccination rate and 75 per cent uptake:

  • A 25-year-old:

Given a vaccination rate of 2,669,907 a week and an uptake of 75 per cent, you should expect to receive your first dose of vaccine between 10/06/2021 and 15/07/2021. You should then get your second dose by between 02/09/2021 and 07/10/2021.

  • A 35-year-old

Given a vaccination rate of 2,669,907 a week and an uptake of 75 per cent, you should expect to receive your first dose of vaccine between 09/05/2021 and 10/06/2021. You should then get your second dose by between 01/08/2021 and 02/09/2021.

  • A 40-year-old:

Given a vaccination rate of 2,669,907 a week and an uptake of 75 per cent, you should expect to receive your first dose of vaccine by 09/05/2021. You should then get your second dose by 01/08/2021.

With the current vaccination rate but with 95 per cent uptake:

  • A 25-year-old:

Given a vaccination rate of 2,669,907 a week and an uptake of 95 per cent, you should expect to receive your first dose of vaccine between 26/06/2021 and 10/08/2021. You should then get your second dose by between 18/09/2021 and 02/11/2021

  • A 35-year-old

Given a vaccination rate of 2,669,907 a week and an uptake of 95 per cent, you should expect to receive your first dose of vaccine between 17/05/2021 and 26/06/2021. You should then get your second dose by between 09/08/2021 and 18/09/2021.

  • A 40-year-old:

Given a vaccination rate of 2,669,907 a week and an uptake of 95 per cent, you should expect to receive your first dose of vaccine by 17/05/2021. You should then get your second dose by 09/08/2021.

How does the vaccine programme work?

Scientific advisers have confirmed the vaccine programme will continue to prioritise people by age, after those in their 80s were put at the top of the list.

People between 40 and 49 will be next in line for the jab, followed by the 30-39s age group and then those aged 18 to 29.

In phase 2 of the government’s rollout priority will be given in the following order:

  • All those aged 40-49
  • All those aged 30-39
  • All those aged 18-29

These groups will be vaccinated once all those in phase 1 (the over-50s and most vulnerable) have received a jab.

Vaccines have already been given to the top four groups of about 15 million people – all over-70s, extremely vulnerable individuals, care home residents and staff and frontline healthcare workers.

Anyone in these groups who has not received their jab has been urged to contact the NHS to get it.

The official prioritisation list, drawn up by the JCVI


The official prioritisation list, drawn up by the JCVI

82-year-old man is first person to get dose of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine

CDC announces next phase of cruise ship guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance Friday that will eventually allow cruises to fully resume in U.S. waters, though it did not include a date for when ships will be allowed to sail.[1]

The CDC first issued a no-sail order[2] in March 2020 and the industry, which has been operating under a “conditional sailing order” (CSO) since late October, has been clamoring for a date to sail again.

Instead, the agency on Friday offered technical instructions about reducing the spread of COVID-19 and how to deal with outbreaks that occur at sea.


According to the CDC, this phase of the conditional sailing order will include simulated voyages that will allow crew and port personnel to practice new COVID-19 operational procedures with volunteers before sailing with passengers.

The CDC’s update includes a requirement to increase COVID-19 reporting frequency from weekly to daily. It also updates a color-coding system used to classify ships related to COVID-19 and addresses routine testing of crew based on a ship’s color status. 

“Cruising safely and responsibly during a global pandemic is difficult,” the CDC said in a statement. “While cruising will always pose some risk of COVID-19 transmission, following the phases of the CSO will ensure cruise ship passenger operations are conducted in a way that protects crew members, passengers, and port personnel, particularly with emerging COVID-19 variants of concern.”

The update comes after the cruise industry last week called for CDC to allow cruises to resume from U.S. ports by the beginning of July.

The Cruise Lines International Association industry group said a July restart would bring the industry in line with President BidenJoe BidenThe Hill’s Morning Report – Biden may find zero GOP support for jobs plan Republicans don’t think Biden really wants to work with them Lack of cyber funds in Biden infrastructure plan raises eyebrows MORE[4][5][6][7][8][3]’s goal of “getting the nation closer to normal” by the Fourth of July.

“The lack of any action by the CDC has effectively banned all sailings in the largest cruise market in the world,” the group wrote. “The outdated CSO, which was issued almost five months ago, does not reflect the industry’s proven advancements and success operating in other parts of the world, nor the advent of vaccines, and unfairly treats cruises differently.”

Companies have announced the resumption of cruises in other parts of the world. Royal Caribbean in early March announced it would hold a “fully vaccinated” cruise. The cruise line’s newest ship, Odyssey of the Seas, is set to launch from Haifa, Israel, for the first time in May.[9]

[email protected] (Nathaniel Weixel)