News in Brief Mon, 11 Dec 2017 15:20:18 +0000 en-gb Iran opens new trade centers in China

Iran is to open four more foreign-based commerce centers in China in an attempt to further develop economic relations between the two countries.

"The new trade centers will be inaugurated in Chinese cities of Urumqi, Beijing, Hong Kong and Guan ju," the head of Iran-China Joint Chamber of Commerce Assadollah Asgarowladi told Iran's semi-official Mehr News Agency on Wednesday.

Asgarowladi further pointed out that Iran's first trade center, opened in 2009 in Shanghai, plays an already important role in promoting mutual commerce cooperation.

Iran and China enjoy broad economic relationships despite the UN Security Council sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.

With more than 100 Chinese state companies operating in Iran, Beijing aims to increase its presence in the Iranian market.

According to the Iranian Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Mines, bilateral trade between the two countries reached $27 billion in 2008, showing 35% growth over 2007.

Chinese trade in the energy sector is especially strong with Iran as China, which now gets more than 15 percent of its oil from Iran, reportedly has commitments of more than $80 billion in the country's energy sector.

News in Brief Wed, 21 Apr 2010 08:29:46 +0000
Haiti team trains in Texas ahead of Argentina friendly

Haiti's football squad, forced out of Port-au-Prince after a devastating January earthquake, is training in rural Texas ahead of a May 5 friendly against World Cup-bound Argentina.

According to AFP, San Antonio Sports, a non-profit group, organized the training camp for the players, who have gone from sleeping in the streets for three months to being treated to specially prepared meals and shopping trips for precious goods.

"I eat well here. I sleep well. But I cannot help but think of my friends and family who don't have that," Haiti forward Charles Herold said. "I can't get that off my mind."

Families back home are in tents and struggling for basic needs while the players enjoy special treatment even as they think of less fortunate loved ones who might still face danger back home.

"All the guys talk about it," forward Eliphene Cadet said. "There are still tremors now. That's our biggest worry."

While all members of the national team survived, some despite having their homes collapse upon them, 32 people were killed in the collapse of the Haitian football federation's headquarters.

Families have been staying at the playing field in the team's home stadium, where the Haitian team hopes to play a match as soon as August, provided the pitch can be returned to match condition.

Haiti ranks 91st in the world while Argentina is ninth, but for Haitian players, the chance to provide inspiration to a nation in need makes their match-up with the South American squad as important as any World Cup match.

News in Brief Wed, 21 Apr 2010 06:52:25 +0000
Roman sculpture found in Macedonia

Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a stone sculpture at an ancient site in central Macedonia, which they believe dates back to the Early Roman era.

Parts of a man's head and torso were found at an ancient temple in the city of Stobi, believed to be the most famous archaeological site in the Republic of Macedonia, Balkan Travellers reported.

Archeologists hope the find will provide them with clues about the inhabitants of the region during the Roman era and the Stobi temple, which they believe to have been plundered repeatedly since ancient times.

The form of the hair and the body suggests that the sculpture was built to honor an emperor or an important citizen, director of the National Institution Stobi Silvana Blahzevska said.

Macedonia's Culture Minister Elizabeta Kancheska-Milevska said that excavations would continue at the site as long as the weather conditions are normal.

News in Brief Wed, 21 Apr 2010 06:50:43 +0000
China opens 1st vegetable museum

China has opened its first vegetable museum, introducing the country's farming industry from the Longshan civilization period to the modern era.

Accoriding to Press TV, the Shouguang Vegetable Museum uncovers the relation between China's vegetable farming and society, showcasing farming tools, specimens and drawings from 2340 BCE to the contemporary era.

"You can find a 130-million-year-old plant fossil here and see the tools used to farm vegetables in the Han Dynasty, about 2100 years ago," deputy director of the museum's project team Wang Ziran said.

The museum is located in the eastern Shouguang City, known as 'Vegetable Town of China,' where 56,000 hectares of the total 94,000-hectare arable land are used to grow vegetables.

According to the local government, the city produced about 4 billion kilograms of high-quality vegetables in 2009, Xinhua reported.

News in Brief Wed, 21 Apr 2010 06:48:51 +0000
Ferguson sends letter to Iran's Hejazi

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has praised legendry Iranian goalkeeper Nasser Hejazi and expressed sympathy for his disease.

According to Press TV, in a letter dated 14th April, Ferguson explained that he had learned of the matter recently. The 61-year-old Hejazi was diagnosed as having lung cancer a few months ago.

"I was sorry to hear that you have not been feeling too well. I just thought I would drop you a line on behalf of the players and staff, as I wanted you to know that we are all thinking about you," the United boss wrote.

Hejazi is among the most recognized players in Iran. In 2000, he was ranked by the Asian Football Confederation as the 20th Century's second best Asian goalkeeper.

In 1978, Hejazi was approached by Manchester United and trained with them for a month and appeared in the reserves.

"On a personal note, I would like to thank you for your loyal support and devotion to the club over the years, which is very much appreciated," Ferguson added.

"I know that the last few months have been difficult for you but trust that you will gain some comfort knowing that you are in our thoughts and prayers," he concluded.

News in Brief Wed, 21 Apr 2010 06:45:23 +0000
Dazzling Inter stun Barca to take Champions League semi-final lead

Inter Milan produced a stunning performance to beat holders Barcelona 3-1 in the Champions League semi-final, first leg at the San Siro on Tuesday.

According to AFP, goals from Wesley Sneijder, Maicon and Diego Milito extinguished Pedro's opener for Barca and sent the nerazzuri faithful into raptures ahead of next week's second leg at the Camp Nou.

It was a tactical masterclass from Jose Mourinho as his team wiped out memories of the footballing lessons Barca gave them in the group stages back in September and November.

The Portuguese boss said even if his team don't reach the final in Madrid, he will be satisfied.

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola was magnanimous in defeat and refused to blame the team's 14-hour coach journey to get here for the loss.

News in Brief Wed, 21 Apr 2010 06:44:54 +0000
Wimbledon champs to earn £1m prize£1m-prize£1m-prize

Wimbledon organizers say the winners of the men's and women's singles titles at the 2010 Wimbledon tennis tournament will each earn a record $1.54 million.

According to Press TV, All England Club chairman Tim Phillips on Tuesday "Wimbledon exists in a highly-competitive global marketplace, and it's the world's best players who create and drive the interest”.

"It's important that we offer a level of prize money which is both appropriate to the prestige of the event and which gives the players full and fair reward," he added.

"This is arguably the leading tennis tournament in the world and people come here to watch tennis," he further explained. “If people want to watch the World Cup they should go to South Africa or watch it on the TV."

According to the All England Club, the prize money has been increased by £150,000 ($231,348) in an attempt to offset the fall in value of the British pound against the dollar and euro.

This year's Wimbledon Championships will run from 21 June to 4 July.

News in Brief Wed, 21 Apr 2010 06:35:57 +0000
FIFA: Semifinals, final of World Cup sold out

Some 130,000 World Cup tickets have been sold in the first 36 hours of the final phase, and the semifinals and final are sold out.

According to AFP, FIFA announced Friday that 29 of the 64 matches are sold out. That includes all games in the coastal cities of Cape Town and Durban.

"We are very pleased with the interest and with the latest figures," FIFA ticketing subcommittee chairman Horst Schmidt said.

The opening game is also sold out between host South Africa and Mexico at Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium on June 11.

FIFA said tickets were still available for one quarterfinal and the third and fourth playoffs, as well as a selection of final 16 and group games.

Some less popular matches, like South Korea vs. Greece at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth and Paraguay vs. New Zealand in the northern city of Polokwane, are yet to sell out tickets in any of the four seat categories.

Ten matches still have unsold tickets in all four ticket categories, including the lowest priced one for locals. Another eight games have only sold out the cheapest tickets.

FIFA did not say how many tickets had been sold in each category, only that some were "available", some had "few tickets" and some were "unavailable."

The estimated $3.3 billion that the World Cup makes from commercial rights and marketing goes to FIFA.

FIFA and the local organizing committee have previously acknowledged worries over certain "low interest" games where tickets are not selling.

Foreign ticket sales, particularly in Europe, have also been disappointing. Fewer than 350,000 people are expected to travel to the country for Africa's first World Cup, down from initial estimates of 450,000.

Organizers are looking to sell the final 500,000 of the 2.7 million total tickets during the latest phase.

News in Brief Tue, 20 Apr 2010 10:22:56 +0000
China to mourn Yushu quake victims

China is going to hold a national day of mourning as the death toll from a devastating earthquake in northwestern Qinghai Province climbs to 2,039.

According to Xinhua news agency, flags will be flown at half-mast Wednesday throughout the country and at its embassies and consulates around the world. Public entertainment will also be suspended that day.

The temblor, which struck the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu in April, was registered with a magnitude of 7.1 on the Richter scale. At least 12,135 people sustained injuries from which 1,434 remain in serious condition.

Another 256 people are still listed as missing.

Meanwhile, three survivors have been recovered from the rubble in two separate rescue operations a week after the quake the province.

An elderly Tibetan woman and her granddaughter were pulled out alive from the debris on Monday in Xinzhai village. They had been trapped for nearly 130 hours before their miraculous rescue.

The 68-year-old grandmother and the four -year-old Tibetan girl were transferred to the People's Hospital in Yushu County. The child had no injuries and has returned home. The grandmother, however, remains at the medical center recovering from her injuries. Her condition has been reported as 'stable'.

A woman in her 30s was also rescued in Xihang village, a suburb of the devastated town of Gyegu. She has been sent to hospital for examination and treatment.

News in Brief Tue, 20 Apr 2010 10:05:40 +0000
UN ‘troubled’ by Australia’s treatment of asylum-seekers‘troubled’-by-australia’s-treatment-of-asylum-seekers‘troubled’-by-australia’s-treatment-of-asylum-seekers

The United Nations said Monday it was "deeply troubled" by Australia's treatment of asylum-seekers, as rights group Amnesty International condemned the reopening of a remote detention centre.

An influx of immigrants has prompted the government to freeze applications from Afghans and Sri Lankans and to reopen the Curtin Air Base, which was shut down in 2002 following riots, to accommodate them.

The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said these measures were likely to have a negative impact on the health and wellbeing of asylum-seekers, particularly those who had already endured torture or trauma.

"The combination of mandatory detention, suspension of asylum claims and the geographical isolation of detention facilities such as Curtin Air Force Base in Western Australia -- all without any effective judicial oversight -- is a deeply troubling set of factors," regional representative Richard Towle said.

Australia this month announced it would suspend asylum claims from Afghanistan for six months and from Sri Lanka for three months as it reassesses the improving security situations in the war-weary countries.

News in Brief Tue, 20 Apr 2010 10:02:19 +0000