NFF Confirms Receipt Of $1m FIFA COVID-19 Palliatives

A photo combination of NFF President, Amaju Pinnick and FIFA President, Infantino.


President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick on Wednesday confirmed the receipt of $1 million as COVID-19 palliatives from FIFA. 

“Huge appreciation to football’s world governing body, @FIFAcom, for the $1 million (one million dollars) the Federation has received in the frame of COVID-19 palliatives,” Pinnick began in a series of tweets on his handle. “The money was received by the @thenff and we re-confirmed the purpose from FIFA two days ago.”

While noting that the fund is composed of $500,000 for “men’s football and $500,000 for the women’s game,” he said FIFA will equally send another “$500,000 sometime in January 2021” as part of the palliatives.

The world football governing body equally sent in $600,000 for the FIFA Forward 2.0 projects in Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State and Ugborodo in Delta State.

“At $300,000 each, it will enable the mini-stadia in both centers to start at a very good pace, as we earmark completion by the end of March 2021,” the Federation leader added.

CAF Appoints Pinnick As President of AFCON, Media Committee
File photo: L-R: Fifa President, Infantino; NFF President, Pinnick andCAF President, Ahmad Ahmad.


He also said the NFF is expecting $300,000 from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) before November 1st, 2020.

According to him, “With the $200,000 we have already ring-fenced from our sponsors’ funds for the purpose, the coast will then be clear for us to start the disbursement of funds to the beneficiaries, as captured in our approved template, from next week.”

Even though the former Chairman of the Delta State Football Association acknowledged that the funds will be used in line with guidelines from FIFA, he said the NFF will work with its auditing firm to ensure the disbursements follow the best global practices.

“Beneficiaries MUST ensure 100% compliance to guidelines by ensuring that all funds are paid into designated accounts,” the Delta-born Pinnick stated.

“I would also like to thank all beneficiaries for their patience and understanding at these trying times. Finally, I would like to wish @FIFAcom President, Gianni Infantino God’s speed as he recovers.”

See the tweets below:


PHOTOS: Jonathan Leads AU Observer Team To Monitor Tanzania Polls

Jonathan is the head of the AU Observer team for the Tanzania election. Photo: [email protected] Jonathan.



Former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday, led the African Union (AU) Observer Team to some polling stations in Dar es Salaam, as Tanzania holds its general election.

Jonathan tweeted some photos of himself and other members of the AU Observer Team at some of the polling units.

“The African Union sees today’s polls as yet another opportunity for the good people of the United Republic of Tanzania to deepen democracy and peace in the country,” the former Nigerian leader said.

See photos below:

Jonathan is the head of the AU Observer team for the Tanzania election. Photo: [email protected] Jonathan.
Jonathan is the head of the AU Observer team for the Tanzania election. Photo: [email protected] Jonathan.
Jonathan is the head of the AU Observer team for the Tanzania election. Photo: [email protected] Jonathan.

Overshadowed By Malpractice Fears 

Tanzanians began casting their ballots Wednesday morning in an election overshadowed by opposition fears the vote will not be free and fair after years of repression under President John Magufuli, who is seeking a second term in office.

In semi-autonomous Zanzibar hundreds of men and women formed separate queues from before dawn in Garagara neighbourhood outside the capital Stone Town, where on Tuesday police fired teargas, live rounds and beat up civilians in the neighbourhood.

Long deemed a haven of stability in East Africa, observers say Tanzania has seen the stifling of democracy and a crackdown on freedom of speech under the 60-year-old Magufuli and his Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party, which has been in power since 1961.

In the days leading up to the polls, the opposition said 10 people have died in violence in Zanzibar, while major social media networks — such as WhatsApp and Twitter — have been blocked across Tanzania.

Mnao Haji, 48, queuing to vote in Garagara, said she hoped the election “will be peaceful” despite a history of contested polls.

“During the clashes with police teargas fell inside my house. I screamed, crying, I was helpless,” she said as heavily armed officers and soldiers looked on.

On mainland Tanzania, Magufuli’s main challenger among 15 presidential candidates is Tundu Lissu, 52, of the Chadema opposition party.

Boeing To Cut 7,000 More Jobs As It Reports Another Loss

In this file photo the Boeing Company logo is seen on a building in Annapolis Junction, Maryland, on March 11, 2019. Jim WATSON / AFP


Pressured by another quarterly loss, Boeing announced Wednesday additional job cuts as it adapts to a prolonged downturn in the aviation industry.

The planemaker, which has been in belt-tightening mode throughout 2020, plans to eliminate about 7,000 more jobs through the end of 2021. The headcount at that time will be around 130,000, down from 160,000 in January of this year.

Boeing reported a third-quarter loss of $449 million, compared with profits of $1.2 billion in the year-ago period.

Revenues fell 29.2 percent to $14.1 billion.

A sharp drop in commercial plane travel has prompted airlines to cancel plane orders or defer deliveries, crimping Boeing’s revenues.

On top of that, the company’s finances have been under pressure due to the grounding since March 2019 of the Boeing 737 MAX, which is nearing regulatory approval to resume service after a lengthy oversight process with air travel authorities.

“The global pandemic continued to add pressure to our business this quarter, and we’re aligning to this new reality by closely managing our liquidity and transforming our enterprise to be sharper, more resilient and more sustainable for the long term,” said Chief Executive Dave Calhoun.

Boeing did not announce additional reductions in commercial plane production.

Shares in Boeing rose 0.3 percent to $155.65 in pre-market trading.


South African President Ramaphosa In Self-Quarantine

In this file photo taken on March 22, 2020 South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (C) conducts a media briefing at the end of a meeting with various business leaders and political party leaders on matters relating to the COVID-19 outbreak at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Phill Magakoe / AFP
In this file photo taken on March 22, 2020 South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (C) conducts a media briefing at the end of a meeting with various business leaders and political party leaders on matters relating to the COVID-19 outbreak at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Phill Magakoe / AFP


South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has gone into self-quarantine after learning that a guest at a charity dinner he attended tested positive for coronavirus, his office said Wednesday.

“President Cyril Ramaphosa has begun a period of self-quarantine,” acting spokesman Tyrone Seale said in a statement.

“The President is showing no symptoms at this time and will, in line with COVID-19 health advice, be tested should symptoms manifest.”

According to his office, Ramaphosa on Saturday attended a fundraising dinner of the Adopt-a-School Foundation.

One of the guests tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday, prompting Ramaphosa to go into self-quarantine on Wednesday.

The head of southern Africa’s worst coronavirus-hit nation will perform his duties remotely and will observe the guidelines that apply to self-quarantine, the presidency said.

As of late Tuesday, South Africa had recorded 717,851 cases of Covid, including 19,053 fatalities.

Daily cases peaked in July, when more than 10,000 new infections were reported on numerous days.

Strict lockdown rules and travel restrictions imposed in March have since been eased.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi of neighboring Botswana has gone into quarantine several times since the pandemic hit southern Africa in March 2020.

Ramaphosa’s own health minister, Zweli Mkhize, contracted coronavirus last week.


Trump Re-Election Bid Boosted As Senate Confirms Amy Coney

In this file photo Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett testifies during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on October 13, 2020.  JIM LO SCALZO / POOL / AFP


President Donald Trump’s struggling reelection campaign received a boost Monday with the confirmation of his latest Supreme Court nominee, tilting the top body to the right and clinching his judicial legacy in a landmark victory for American conservatives.

The Republican-controlled Senate elevated Amy Coney Barrett to the lifelong position in a 52-48 vote, capping a rapid and deeply contentious process that makes her the sixth conservative, and third Trump appointee, on the nine-member court.

“This is a momentous day for America, for the United States Constitution and for the fair and impartial rule of law,” the president, standing alongside Barrett, said before beaming lawmakers and others who had gathered on the South Lawn of the White House.

Barrett, 48, assures a strong conservative judicial legacy for Trump, who has also been able to appoint dozens of young, right-wing judges to federal courts in his four years in office.

Democrats have fumed over the process that confirmed a justice so close to a presidential election, and warn that Barrett might vote to overturn the landmark 1973 decision that protects abortion rights, or to gut health care provision for millions of Americans.

But Barrett, who took a constitutional oath at a Monday night ceremony, said she would keep her personal beliefs and judicial work separate.

“I will do my job without any fear or favor, and… I will do so independently of both the political branches and of my own preferences.”

– Game-changer? –
With eight days until the November 3 election, the confirmation marks an undeniable victory for the president to tout as he barnstorms battleground states in a final bid to claw back ground against Democrat Joe Biden.

But it remains to be seen whether it can be a game-changer for the Republican president, accused by his rival of abandoning the fight against Covid-19 with polls showing voters overwhelmingly disapprove of his pandemic response.

Trump denied any surrender earlier Monday as he landed in swing state Pennsylvania for a trio of rallies and insisted, despite a new surge in infections, that the pandemic is in retreat.

“We’re absolutely rounding the corner,” he said in Allentown.

But the president betrayed his frustration at the health crisis dragging on his reelection hopes, with a tweet complaining about media coverage of “COVID, COVID, COVID, all the way to the Election.”

– ‘Doom and gloom’ –
While Barrett’s confirmation provided a happy distraction for Trump, the virus is ever-present.

More than 225,000 Americans have died, cases are spiking in several states and hopes have dimmed that a trillion-dollar coronavirus relief package could pass Congress before Election Day.

Jitters over the resurgent pandemic weighed on markets, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing 2.3 percent down, the worst session in weeks.

Trump kept his game face on as he touted his economic record, saying voters had “a choice between a Trump super-recovery and a Biden depression.”

Complicating Trump’s argument that America has the upper hand against the virus, his chief of staff Mark Meadows conceded Sunday that “we are not going to control the pandemic,” and that the focus was now on mitigation.

Meadows’ comments drew a rebuke from the head of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who warned it was “dangerous” to give up on attempts to stamp out the virus.

Biden meanwhile, in a surprise campaign stop Monday at a polling station in Chester, Pennsylvania, seized on the “deadly admission” from the White House.

“The bottom line is, Donald Trump is the worst possible president — the worst possible person — to try to lead us through this pandemic,” Biden said.

Earlier Biden said Trump was waiving “the white flag of defeat” and hoping the virus — which has set records for new cases in recent days, with nearly 90,000 on Saturday — would just go away.

– Historic early voting –
Biden, 77, has mounted a far more cautious in-person campaign than Trump due to coronavirus concerns.

But he said he will hit the trail in coming days beginning Tuesday in Georgia, a reliably red state that is suddenly in play, followed by battlegrounds Florida, Iowa and Wisconsin.

“In 8 days, we’re going to take our democracy back,” tweeted the former vice president, who leads Trump in the polls both nationally and in half a dozen key battlegrounds including Pennsylvania.

As of Monday, 64 million Americans — wary of the health dangers of crowded polling booths, and energized by a race framed as critical — had cast early ballots, far surpassing the total of 58 million pre-election ballots cast in 2016.

And with data showing Democrats have an edge in terms of early ballots cast, even Republican leaders have begun to recognize that Trump’s presidency may be imperiled.

“A lot of what we’ve done over the last four years will be undone, sooner or later, by the next election,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday.

But on Monday, as Democrats lamented Barrett’s confirmation, calling it an “unjustifiable” move that will shatter Republicans’ credibility, McConnell was blunt.

“You can’t win ’em all,” the Republican leader said in a floor speech, “and elections have consequences.”

‘It Is Not True’: Desmond Elliot Says Lagos Assembly Not Deliberating Social Media Bill

Desmond elliot, WAJE, “Make Nigeria Stronger” campaign
Desmond Elliot is urging social media influencers and celebrities not to promote hate with their platforms.


The member representing Surulere Constituency 1 in the Lagos House of Assembly, Desmond Elliot, has debunked rumours that the lawmakers are working on a bill to regulate social media. 

Earlier on Monday, Twitter was agog with tweeple claiming the Lagos Assembly is working on a bill to control the use of social media. The end product of the rumoured bill, some of them claimed, was to water down the shooting of #EndSARS protesters in Lekki.

#EndSARS protesters during a candlelight procession in honour of victims of police brutality.


But in a video on his Instagram page on the same day, the 46-year-old actor described the reports as “unfounded.”

“Please, I beg of you, I beg us. I beg everyone. This is not true, it is totally unfounded,” the actor who has featured in more than two hundred films, many television shows and soap operas, explained.

“Aren’t we going through a lot already? It is not true, period. No State House of Assembly, not one, has the jurisdiction to even deliberate or pass any bill like this; it is not possible.”

READ ALSO: Judicial Panels Must Investigate Lekki Shooting, Other Incidents- UK

While explaining that the passage of such bill can only be done at the Federal level, the lawmaker added, however, that “every member (lawmaker) has a right to say something.”

He equally explained that he only called on celebrities and social media influencers not to use their platforms to promote hate particularly now that the country is going through a lot.

READ ALSO: [#EndSARS:] Nigerians Protest In London Against Violence

“The only thing I said towards social media was to the celebrities, social influencers and motivational speakers,” he stated. “I said, ‘listen, you have followers. Please, can we cut down on the hate narrative?’ Everyone is going through so much right now!”


View this post on Instagram


I never said that No bill to that effect No house of Assembly can develop such a bill

A post shared by Desmond Elliott (@desmondelliot) on

Protests Against Police Brutality

Protests against police brutality and extrajudicial killings had rocked the country, forcing the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu to scrap the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

Despite the disbandment of the loathed arm of the police, the protests gathered steam as demonstrators believed the IGP’s pronouncement was mere rhetorics.

READ ALSO: We Must Ensure Nigeria’s Democracy Remains Stable, Buratai Tells Army Officers, Soldiers

On Tuesday last week, things, however, took another dimension when some armed men believed to be soldiers, opened fire on the demonstrators at the Toll Gate in Lekki, Lagos State.

Governor Sanwo-Olu visits injured protesters at the hospital.


Human rights organization, Amnesty International, put the death toll from the incident and another one in Ikeja,  Lagos at 12. Witnesses claim many died from the shooting with the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu confirming that twenty-eight people were wounded. He later said two deaths were recorded.

But the Nigerian Army said it was not responsible for the shooting at the Lekki Toll Gate.

The incident triggered a looting spree and the burning of buildings, shopping malls and others by some irate persons.

Judicial Panels Must Investigate Lekki Shooting, Other Incidents- UK

UK High Commissioner to Nigeria. Photo: [email protected] Laing


The United Kingdom is insisting on probing the shooting of #EndSARS protesters in the Lekki area of Lagos and similar incidents during the demonstrations. 

In a tweet on its handle on Monday evening, the United Kingdom High Commission in Nigeria equally explained that it is working with stakeholders to ensure justice is served.

READ ALSO: [#EndSARS:] Nigerians Protest In London Against Violence

“We remain concerned by acts of looting & violence in Flag of Nigeria & urge security services use restraint as order is restored,” the High Commission added.

“Working with all stakeholders, judicial panels of inquiry must investigate all incidents, including #Lekki, & ensure accountability for crimes.”


At the beginning of the month, many Nigerians took to the streets across various cities, protesting against brutality and extrajudicial killings in the country.

A Loathed Police Unit

The #EndSARS protests, calling for the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), lasted for weeks.

#EndSARS protesters during a candlelight procession in honour of victims of police brutality.


Following the continuous demonstrations which caused traffic gridlock in major cities in the West African nation, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Adamu Mohammed, dissolved the much-hated unit of the police force accused of human rights abuses.

READ ALSO: We Must Ensure Nigeria’s Democracy Remains Stable, Buratai Tells Army Officers, Soldiers

That, however, did not assuage the protesters. They claimed that similar pronouncements were made in the past. The most recent announcement from the IGP, the protesters argued, will not see the light of day.

They stayed on the streets, insisting they would not leave until their demands are met.

Deadly Dimension

On Tuesday last week, things, however, took another dimension when some armed men believed to be soldiers, opened fire on the demonstrators at the Toll Gate in Lekki, Lagos State.

A combination of pictures of Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on a visit to the #EndSARS protesters shot by soldiers in Lekki on October 20, 2020. Photos: Twitter – @jidesanwoolu.


Witnesses say many of the protesters were killed during the incident. The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, equally noted that twenty-eight persons were injured during the incident.

READ ALSO: I Am Avoiding Debates Over Lekki Tollgate Incident Until All Facts Are Established – Buhari

Although the Nigerian Army denied carrying out the shooting, human rights organization, Amnesty International, pegged the casualty figure from the incident and another at Ikeja at 12.

The shooting sparked the destruction and burning of infrastructure and a looting spree, particularly in Lagos State.


Dubai Introduces Facial Recognition On Public Transport

A handout image provided by United Arab Emirates News Agency (WAM) shows Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (L) during the opening of the smart simulation training station in the Gulf emirate, on October 25, 2020.


Dubai is introducing a facial recognition system on public transport to beef up security, officials said Sunday, as the emirate prepares to host the global Expo exhibition.

“This technology has proven its effectiveness to identify suspicious and wanted people,” said Obaid al-Hathboor, director of Dubai’s Transport Security Department.

The emirate already operates a biometric system using facial recognition at its international airport.

Dubai, which sees itself as a leading “smart city” in the Middle East, has ambitions to become a hub for technology and artificial intelligence.

Both sectors will be on show when it opens the multi-billion-dollar Expo fair.

“We aspire to raise our performance by building on our current capabilities, to ensure a high level of security in metro stations and other transport sectors,” said Hathboor.

Earlier this week, under the watch of Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, the city’s police used facial recognition in a simulated scenario to identify gunmen launching an attack on a metro station.

A special police unit, trained in the United States, helped “evacuate” commuters from the station in the mock attack, before working in tandem with a control centre to apprehend the suspects.

Members of the special unit will be sent to major metro stations during Expo 2020.

The six-month event was delayed by one year due to coronavirus, and is now set to open in October 2021.

It was expected to attract 15 million visitors before the global economy and transport systems were disrupted by the pandemic.

Jamal Rashed, of Dubai Police’s Transport Security Department, said the facial recognition technology will be rolled out in the coming months in all metro stations.

Other technology already in use to combat the spread of the coronavirus, such as helmets with thermal cameras and smart glasses, will also be used to identify and manage large crowds.

“It took at least five hours to identify a suspect before,” said Rashed. “With this technology, it takes less than a minute.”

But while the technology to identify individuals has simplified lives, such as being used for unlocking phones, it has also raised concerns over privacy.

Berlin-based advocacy group AlgorithmWatch says that at least 10 European police forces use facial recognition technology — a trend that privacy and rights groups are concerned about.

China has also been criticised for the facial recognition systems in its public surveillance network.


China’s Ant Group To Raise $34 bn In Record IPO

This photo taken on October 13, 2020 shows the Ant Group headquarters in Hangzhou, in China’s eastern Zhejiang province.


Chinese e-payments giant Ant Group said Monday it plans to raise $34 billion in a joint Asian listing, making it the biggest IPO in history.

The cash raised from the split float between Hong Kong and Shanghai would be far more than the $29 billion chalked up by Saudi Aramco in December.

The financial arm of Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba, Ant Group runs Alipay, the dominant online payment system in China, where cash, cheques and credit cards have long been eclipsed by e-payment devices and apps.

According to statements released by Ant Group, the e-payments behemoth aims to sell 1.67 billion shares each at HK$80 ($10.30) in Hong Kong from Tuesday.

A further 1.67 billion shares will be sold in Shanghai at 68.80 yuan ($10.30).

The total sale would therefore exceed $34 bn, and could be close to $40 bn if over-allotment options are taken up.

The securities will begin trading on November 5.

Ant claims an annual transaction volume exceeding 118 trillion yuan, with more than 700 million monthly active users.

Its entry into Shanghai and Hong Kong comes after Beijing called on national flagships of the technology sector to list on domestic stock exchanges, in a period of sharp economic and political rivalry with the US.

Jack Ma, the billionaire founder of Alibaba, noted the significance of such a large offering happening in two Chinese cities.

“This was the first time such a big listing, the largest in human history, was priced outside New York City,” he told the Bund Summit in Shanghai on Saturday, in comments reported by Bloomberg.

“We wouldn’t have dared to think about it five years, or even three years ago,” added Ma, who stepped down as Alibaba’s executive chairman last year.


Free School Meals: A Political Football In England

The United forward’s mission is to ensure no child goes to bed without a meal. Photo: [email protected]



A campaign by Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford to feed England’s poorest children during school holidays has turned into a political football, throwing the spotlight on increased poverty during the coronavirus outbreak.

“This is not politics, this is humanity,” tweeted the 22-year-old after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government voted against a proposal to give free meals to vulnerable youngsters over school holidays this week.

The multi-millionaire footballer previously forced a government U-turn on providing free school meal vouchers during the summer holidays.

The economic fallout from the virus outbreak is pushing more families into poverty, leaving many unable to afford essentials such as food and heating.

In recognition of his widely praised campaign, he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in Queen Elizabeth II’s recent honours list.

But Johnson is not budging this time around, despite the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales continuing meal provisions to the most needy children during holidays.

On Monday he again pointed out that increased welfare payments to families during the pandemic are helping to feed children when schools are not in session.

Photo: [email protected]


“I haven’t spoken to Marcus since June. I think what he is doing is terrific,” he said.

“We don’t want to see children going hungry this winter, Christmas, certainly not as a result of inattention from the government.”

– 1.3 million kids –

Some 1.3 million children in England benefit from free meals at school, according to the latest official data.

Julie McCulloch, director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, said schools were doing what they could to feed children during the holidays.

But they were suffering from tight budgets.

“We represent 20,000 school and college leaders around the UK so we hear from them first hand about the impact that food poverty is having on their pupils and there are some really heart-wrenching stories to be honest about the poverty that lots of children are living in at the moment,” she told AFP.

“It may be that the only really nutritious meal that they have during the day is the lunch that they eat at school.”

Some MPs in Johnson’s Conservative party have hit out over the government’s stance, amid a wave of public anger directed at them.

One protest saw empty plates dumped outside a local Tory party headquarters with messages including “Tories for few, not the many” and “lunch is not a luxury”.

But the UK government’s refusal to back down has seen local councils — including one in Johnson’s own constituency –, as well as schools and businesses, step in to provide food this week.

“As a local business, I think we have a responsibility for our community because it’s our community that pays our wages,” said one cafe owner in Sheerness, Kent, who is offering free breakfasts for children over the holiday.

“This is just helping out,” he added.

English football clubs and their fans are meanwhile donating large sums of money to food banks, which have become a daily safety net for struggling families since the global financial crisis more than a decade ago.

Rashford meanwhile heads the Child Food Poverty Task Force comprising British food and beverage organisations including Deliveroo and supermarket Waitrose.

– Rising food poverty –

“Marcus Rashford has done a fantastic job in exposing the issues because he has suffered, he has experienced what it’s like as a child to go hungry,” said Andrew Tranter, 76, who runs a food bank in Watford, north of London.

The Trussell Trust, which supports more than 1,200 food banks across the UK including those in Watford, forecasts that 846,000 parcels will need to be provided by its network in the current final quarter — up 61 percent on last year.

Photo: [email protected]

“We’ve seen a very marked increase in the number of people using our facilities, right from the beginning of the lockdown in March,” said one volunteer, Tranter.

Financial donations are being used to pay fuel bills for families whose choice is “heat or eat”.

“We’ve had people who were in very good jobs,” he told AFP while standing next to shelves packed with tinned food, nappies and pasta.

“And when they come to us you can sense the stress and the anxiety because they’ve always been able to provide for their families, they’ve never had to get the begging bowl out.”


China Hits US Media With New Rules In Tit-For-Tat Retaliation

This combination of file pictures created on April 4, 2017 shows US President Donald Trump in St. Louis, Missouri on October 9, 2016 and China’s leader Xi Jinping in Beijing on December 5, 2012. Ed Jones, Paul J. RICHARDS / AFP


China tightened the rules on a number of US media outlets on Monday, in a move it said was “necessary and reciprocal” after Chinese journalists in America were hit with restrictions last week.

The world’s two largest economies, sparring over issues from trade and technology to human rights, have restricted visas for each other’s reporters, while China has expelled journalists.

After the US declared several more Chinese media outlets to be “foreign missions”, Beijing late Monday demanded that six US media groups report to the government about their staffing, finances and real estate.

They included the LA Times, Newsweek and the American Broadcasting Corporation.

Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a statement that the requirements were “legitimate and justified self-defense in every sense”.

“What the United States has done is exclusively targeting Chinese media organizations driven by the Cold War mentality and ideological basis,” Zhao added.

The moves are the latest in a series of tit-for-tat measures between Beijing and Washington.

Last week the US designated a further six Chinese media organisations as propaganda outlets that answer to the state.

It was the third round of US designations of Chinese outlets as foreign missions, which requires that they report details on their US-based staff and real estate transactions to the State Department.

The department earlier imposed rules on nine outlets including the official Xinhua news agency and China Global Television Network.

China has denounced the regulations and retaliated by expelling US citizens who work for major news organisations, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

In May the US shortened the visa for Chinese journalists in the US to 90 days, and last month the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China said Beijing was no longer renewing press credentials for US media employees in the country.


Most EU Members Have Backed Okonjo-Iweala For WTO DG – Diplomats

In this file photo taken on September 19, 2016 former Finance Minster of Nigeria Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala looks on during the Opening Plenary Session: "Partnering for Global Prosperity," at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. Bryan R. Smith / AFP
In this file photo taken on September 19, 2016 former Finance Minster of Nigeria Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala looks on during the Opening Plenary Session: “Partnering for Global Prosperity,” at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. Bryan R. Smith / AFP


Most EU capitals back former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to lead the World Trade Organisation, sources said Monday, but she has yet to receive unanimous backing.

The 66-year was her country’s first woman to hold the finance portfolio, between 2011 and 2015, and also has a long career as a development economist at the World Bank.

The EU had already decided to back either Okonjo-Iweala or South Korea’s trade minister Yoo Myung-hee, and officials from the member states met Monday to seek a consensus.

Most of the 27 governments backed Okonjo-Iweala, around ten preferred Yoo but agreed to follow the majority view and only two remained opposed, a European source told AFP.

European backing would be a considerable boost for the candidacy of the Nigerian economist, who already said she felt “the wind at my back” when she was backed by the African Union.

If successful, she would the WTO’s first African leader.

But it was not clear if Brussels will be able to send an unanimous signal of support before the end of consultations on Tuesday. The appointment will be announced in early November.

The envoy’s meeting was to resume at 1700 GMT to see if the two hold outs, which AFP understands to be Hungary and one of the three Baltic states, will come on board with the choice.