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World leaders ‘joke’ about Trump at NATO summit

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Donald Trump

London/New Delhi, Dec 4 : US President Donald Trump apparently became the butt of jokes during a light conversation between certain NATO leaders in London.

The issue came to light when a video on the issue emerged. In the footage, UK’s Boris Johnson, Canada’s Justin Trudeau and France’s Emmanuel Macron can be seen attending a function at the Buckingham Palace on Tuesday evening.

The Guardian reported that Johnson asks Macron: “Is that why he was late?” before Trudeau interjects: “He was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference off the top.”

Trudeau adds: “Oh, yeah, yeah yeah…” he announced before he is cut off by Macron, who speaks animatedly to the group. Macron’s back is to the camera and his words are inaudible.

Whom the group is talking about is not known, but it appears that the reference is to the US President, who is known for his long, rambling press conferences and who had an unscripted 50-minute back-and-forth with reporters on Tuesday, the report added.

The footage later shows an incredulous Trudeau telling the group, which also included Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, and Princess Anne: “You just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor.”

It is again not known whom the group are talking about. The leaders also do not appear to realise that their conversation is being recorded.

Meanwhile, President Trump on Wednesday abruptly canceled a press conference scheduled to cap his contentious trip to England for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 70th anniversary meeting.

Trump tweeted on @realDonaldTrump: ….When today’s meetings are over, I will be heading back to Washington. We won’t be doing a press conference at the close of NATO because we did so many over the past two days. Safe travels to all!”

The post got 13.8K responses with 7,500 people talking about it.

The presser was scheduled to come after his series of meetings with NATO members like German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

Health

Coronavirus toll in China reaches 41, 1,287 infected

The others cases outside of China were reported in France (two), Australia (one), Thailand (four including two cured), Japan (two including one cured), South Korea (two), the US (two), Vietnam (two), Singapore (three), Nepal (one), Hong Kong (five), Macao (two) and Taiwan (three).

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Coronavirus

Beijing, Jan 25 : The death toll due to the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak in China has soared to 41, while the number of infected persons were 1,287, the National Health Commission said on Saturday.

The Commission said that 444 fresh cases were reported since Friday, with 237 patients in serious conditions, while 38 had been cured and discharged from hospitals, reports Efe news.

Health authorities have carried out check-ups on 15,197 people who have come into close contact with the infected persons. Nearly 14,000 of them continue to be monitored for symptoms.

The others cases outside of China were reported in France (two), Australia (one), Thailand (four including two cured), Japan (two including one cured), South Korea (two), the US (two), Vietnam (two), Singapore (three), Nepal (one), Hong Kong (five), Macao (two) and Taiwan (three).

The symptoms of the new coronavirus, provisionally designated by the World Health Organization as 2019-nCoV, are similar to those of cold but may be accompanied by fever and fatigue, dry cough and dyspnea (shortness of breath).

The WHO has so far to declared the outbreak as an international health emergency.

Strict measures were being carried out in China, which include complete suspension of transport in around a dozen cities in Hubei province and also cancelling Chinese New Year celebrations.

Traditional events at Lama Temple and Ditan Park in Beijing were cancelled due to the risk of spreading the virus, authorities reported Friday, while the famous Forbidden City has also been closed indefinitely.

Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, where the virus was first reported, has been on lockdown since Thursday to prevent further spread of the virus and the city’s authorities have begun to build a “special hospital” with 1,000 beds for infected patients.

“Construction of the special hospital with a capacity of 1,000 beds for patients with #nCoV2019 has begun in Wuhan,” official China Daily said on Twitter.

The hospital in Wuhan will be based on the model of a similar facility that was built in just seven days in Beijing to deal with SARS in 2003.

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Health

Brent lowest in 7 weeks amid nCoV concern in China

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Coronavirus

New Delhi, Jan 25 : Oil futures came down sharply on fears that the spread of the deadly coronavirus in China will undercut demand for crude further, which has seen prices already under pressure due to worries about a potential oversupply.

Local governments in many cities across China have closed all urban transport network systems and suspended outgoing flights to prevent the spread of the virus. China is the second largest consumer of crude oil.

Brent crude rates dropped sharply to $60.62 per barrel, down by 2.29 per cent from the previous close of $62.07 per barrel on fears of slump in demand. Brent has become cheaper by at least 7 per cent in a week, the biggest drop since December 2018.

West Texas intermediate crude for March delivery fell by 2.5 per cent fell to end at $54.19 a barrel. For the week, the U.S. benchmark fell 7.5 per cent, the largest fall for a most active contract since May.

Angel Broking deputy vice president Anuj Gupta said: “After the trade deal between China and the US, it was believed that the crude rates will pick up due to increased demand. But the outbreak of coronavirus dashed all hopes. Owing to the slump in demand, there is a concern of oversupply which has sent the international crude oil rated in downward spiral.”

However, the fall in crude oil rates has brought cheers to Indian consumers as fuel prices in India saw a sharp decline on Saturday. The price of petrol was cut by 27 paise and that of diesel by 30 paise a litre across all major cities on Saturday.

The petrol now costs Rs 74.16 a litre in Delhi, Rs 79.76 a litre in Mumbai, Rs 76.77 a litre in Kolkata and Rs 77.03 a litre in Chennai after the price cut.

Similarly, diesel costs Rs 67.31 a litre in Delhi, Rs 70.56 a litre in Mumbai, Rs 69.67 per litre in Kolkata and Rs 71.11 a litre in Chennai, according to the Indian Oil Corporation website.

The retail prices of fuel are dependent on the international crude prices and the rupee-US dollar exchange rate as India imports almost 80 per cent of its crude requirements.

Domestic petrol and diesel prices are reviewed by oil marketing companies on a daily basis. Price revisions are implemented at the fuel stations with effect from 6 a.m.

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Old friends picked up tab for Davos trip: Imran

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Imran Khan

Islamabad: Terming his participation in the recently held World Economic Forum (WEF) as the “cheapest” official visit, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan disclosed that his trip was sponsored by two of his friends and well-known businessmen Ikram Sehgal and Imran Chaudhry, it was reported on Saturday.

Addressing the ‘Breakfast at Davos’, an event jointly organised by Pathfinder Group and Martin Dow Group on Thursday, Khan said his trip cost 10 times less than those of the previous leaders, Dawn news said in a report.

He recalled that his trip to the UN General Assembly last November was the least costly with $160,000 as compared to former President Asif Zardari’s $1.4 million expenditure, former premier Nawaz Sharif’s $1.3 million and even $800,000 of former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Thanking Sehgal, a retired military officer and chairman of the Pathfinder Group, Khan said: “He is instrumental in getting me here. Otherwise, I would not have burdened my government to pay a sum of $450,000 for two nights.”

It is perhaps the first time that the expenses of a Prime Minister’s official travel have been covered by private citizens or businessmen.

Reiterating that this was an “austerity programme”, Khan said the government should rely on the over nine million Pakistanis residing overseas.

“The GDP of those nine million overseas Pakistanis in my opinion is almost 50 per cent of Pakistan’s (overall) GDP of 200 million people. So we can use this resource and they can sponsor these things,” he said.

The premier said he had also stopped his ministers from going on junkets, Dawn news reported.

“Whenever they say they want to go somewhere, I immediately cancel the trip until they convince me that it will be productive for the country. I don’t allow them to go anywhere,” he said.

To be able to attend the WEF annual meeting, a person has to be invited – in which case the event is free – or has to be a member of the Forum.

A membership of the WEF costs about $60,000 to $600,000, plus an additional fee needed to acquire an attendance badge, which runs about $27,000 per person to get into the conference.

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