Easier UK visas for Chinese proposed: Britain’s finance minister, Chancellor George Osborne, has announced that the UK will relax its visa restrictions for Chinese nationals. He made the announcement at the start of his week-long visit to China, which is being seen as an opportunity to improve business for British companies and increase Chinese investment in the UK.
14 October 2013
In a speech at China’s top university the chancellor said there should be no limits on the number of Chinese students and tourists able to visit Britain if they want to. He also stressed that there was no country in the west more open to Chinese investment than the UK.
The chancellor shared the stage at Peking University with London’s mayor – Boris Johnson. Their high-profile visits are a sign of a diplomatic thaw between the two countries. Beijing was furious after the prime minister met the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader – the Dalai Lama – last year.
The chancellor’s announcement to relax visa rules for Chinese nationals will be welcomed by British businesses. They’ve been calling on the government to ease restrictions as a way of encouraging more high-spending Chinese tourists to visit the UK.
Canadian wins Nobel Prize for Literature: This year’s Nobel Prize for Literature has gone to the Canadian writer Alice Munro. She is highly praised for her short stories which focus on life in the part of Canada where she has spent most of her time.
11 October 2013
Aged 82, Alice Munro has for several years been mentioned as a potential Nobel laureate. The Swedish Academy, which makes the award, spoke of her “finely-tuned storytelling, characterised by clarity and psychological realism.”
Alice Munro has published many books of stories since the late 1960s. And she has often been compared to Anton Chekhov: for many, the greatest of all short-story writers.
She writes almost entirely about society and families and the passing of time in the part of Ottawa which she has known all her life. She is the first Canadian to take the prize: Saul Bellow, who won in 1976, was Canadian-born but became an American citizen.
Alice Munro gave her reaction soon after hearing news of the award, at home.
“It is so surprising and so wonderful, and I don’t think I knew that I was even on the list or anything until maybe yesterday. My daughter woke me up, she said: ‘Mum, you won!’ I kind of was dazed about what had I won, but I came to my senses.”
Alice Munro will get prize money of 8 million Swedish kroner, that’s around 1.2 million US dollars. She is only the 13th woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature since it began in 1901.
People arrested for attempted nuclear site sabotage : The Iranian media says at least four people have been arrested for trying to sabotage a nuclear site. No details have been given so far of their nationality or which nuclear site they are alleged to have been trying to damage.
7 October 2013
This is the latest twist in the saga of Iran’s showdown with the West over its nuclear programme, which has received new impetus after signs that Tehran might be softening its stance.
The country’s atomic energy chief told a security conference that the alleged saboteurs had been under surveillance for some time. He said they were caught red-handed and are now in the process of being interrogated. He gave no further details.
There’ve long been rumours that Israel, which sees Iran’s potential development of a nuclear weapon as an existential threat, has sent spies into Iran to disrupt its programme, with some even accusing its agents of killing Iranian nuclear scientists. Israel has warned the US and the West not to be fooled by the recent charm offensive by the new, more moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who had a historic, icebreaking phone call with President Obama a few days ago.
The Israelis announced their own arrest of an alleged Iranian-born spy in the midst of the new optimism that a genuine resolution of a nuclear standoff could now be on the cards. This latest announcement from Iran shows that underneath the newly hopeful surface, the complex three-dimensional chess game over Iran’s nuclear ambitions continues undiminished.
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