Tag Archives: Exclusive

Prince Philip’s Death: New Zealand photographer’s royal family work and memorabilia | Instant News

New Zealand

Kiwi photographer Bill Rowntree, now living in England, with photos of his royal family plastered in newspapers, magazines – and even biscuit tins. Photo / Bill Rowntree

Bill Rowntree thinks of his exclusive visits with the royal family whenever he likes a sweet treat – his picture emblazoned on the biscuit tin.

The former Invercargill man, who now lives in south London, was given exclusive access to photographs of the royal family prior to their 1970 tour of New Zealand, and the photos were included in and on everything from newspapers to magazines to biscuit tins.

Prior to working on the property of the Sandringham royal family, the 81-year-old worked at the NZ Herald in Auckland and then moved to Sydney.

Kiwi photographer Bill Rowntree, now living in England, with photos of his royal family plastered in newspapers, magazines - and even biscuit tins.  Photo / Bill Rowntree
Kiwi photographer Bill Rowntree, now living in England, with photos of his royal family plastered in newspapers, magazines – and even biscuit tins. Photo / Bill Rowntree

He and a fellow journalist then decided to take the slow route to England, put their vehicle on a boat in Perth to Singapore and drive to England.

About six years later, in December 1969, he worked for the Daily Mirror and the royal family was preparing for their New Zealand tour.

Queen Elizabeth decided she wanted a Kiwi photographer to take a family commemorative photo for the tour and Rowntree was contacted.

After arriving and preparing his equipment, he felt himself being pelted with objects.

“When I arrived and started to organize everything, I was attacked by Prince Edward who fired his Christmas present at me which was a ping pong gun.

“I turned around and there was a 5 year old boy who was very smiling with his Christmas present.”

However, photo opportunities were quickly destroyed by the royal retainer.

“That [courtier] looked at me and he said, ‘Bill if you take a picture of the prince shooting a ping pong ball at you, the Daily Mirror will be banned from the royal event for life’.

Rowntree, who worked for the Daily Mirror for 36 years before retiring in 2001, then met Edward’s entire family, including Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, who died on Friday night (New Zealand time), whom he was surprised to find was “very welcoming. and help “.

“What impressed me was how friendly they were even though it was a semi-formal event.

“I am 30 years old and have been in England six years and this is my first contact with the royal family.”

Although he wasn’t sure what their itinerary was at that stage, he had the impression that the royals wanted to meet “ordinary New Zealanders talking about their own country”.

He presented his own life and work history in New Zealand as a 10-month trip around the world, which fascinated them, he said.

The photo shoot went well enough that Prince Philip asked Rowntree to join him and the Queen for some wine that afternoon.

Given the urgency of photo processing, it was an offer she couldn’t accept.

“Unfortunately we can’t because I have to get all those films back in London. That would be great.

“I said ‘I’m really sorry but I have a photo lab waiting to process all the films and sort everything out, but thank you very much.

“It was an amazing experience.”

The photos from the shoot were finally released by the royals about two weeks before the tour and were used for all kinds of promotions and related naks including the biscuit tin left in his kitchen, full of biscuits, to this day.

The tour itself, celebrating James Cook’s bicentennial, notes a few firsts: Charles and Anne’s first visit to New Zealand; and in Wellington, the Queen first tries “the streets”, where she gets off her vehicle about 50m before her destination and mingles with the public.

It has continued since that day.

While visiting family in New Zealand in 1971, Rowntree was given a commemorative biscuit tin by his mother.

She often jokes with her friends that she is the only photographer she knows to get their own photo on the biscuit tin.

“I think I’m always joking, I don’t think many other photographers have published on biscuit tin caps before, and I think that’s what amuses me the most.

“The biscuit tin is a little more durable and is still being used. It lives in our kitchen full of biscuits.”


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State health officials discuss the Brazilian variant of COVID-19 found in Mississippi | Instant News


Presentation of the corona virus through the CDC.

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs and other health officials met on Friday to discuss COVID-19 in Mississippi, and cases of the new Brazilian variant of COVID-19 in the state.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said there had been a downward trend in the number of cases and deaths reported. In recent weeks, long-term care facilities have not reported any deaths from COVID-19, which is a sign of good progress.

“We really believe a lot of that has to do with the vaccinations people receive at those long-term care facilities,” Byers said.

Dobbs urged doctors to think about antibody treatments to use in patients as new variants are exposed and as future spikes develop to prevent hospitalizations and deaths.

“As we collect new cases and look at future booms and as we look at periods where we don’t have really efficient immunizations, doctors ask to think about monoclonal antibody treatment,” Dobbs said.

To hear the full interview, click here.


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Exclusive: Germany wants to buy the Covid Sputnik vaccine if approved by the EU, sources said | Instant News

PHOTO FILE: File labeled “Coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V (COVID-19)”, March 24, 2021. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Photo File

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany will begin bilateral negotiations with Russia for the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, a source told Reuters on Wednesday, adding that any final deal is up to Russia providing the European Medicines Agency (EMA) with key data. .

The European Commission told EU member states’ health ministers on Wednesday that Brussels does not plan to initiate talks with Russia on an initial contract for Sputnik V as it does with other vaccine providers, a person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on condition of anonymity. .

That is why German Health Minister Jens Spahn announced during a virtual meeting that Germany would initiate preliminary negotiations with Russia on a bilateral agreement to secure a vaccine, the source added.

In initial talks, Germany would first like to determine how much Russia could deliver and when, the source said.

After all, Germany will only buy Russian vaccines once approved by the EMA and for this it is imperative that Russia provide the necessary data, the source added.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Bavarian prime minister said German territories would buy 2.5 million doses of the Sputnik vaccine if approved by the EMA.

Markus Soeder, prime minister of the wealthy southern German state, said the purchase would be made in July.

Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Written by Michael Nienaber; Edited by Paul Carrel and Kirsti Knolle


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Italy expects EU to agree to renewal of GACS bad loan scheme in April – source | Instant News

* The GACS scheme helped Italian banks lose 87 billion euros in bad loans

* Set to offset up to 25 billion euros in sales by 2021 – KPMG

* Italy refuses to extend the size of the loan impossible to repay (UTP)

ROME, April 2 (Reuters) – Italy expects the European Commission this month to approve a one-year extension to a state guarantee scheme that has played a key role in freeing Italian banks of bad credit, two sources close to the matter told Reuters.

The move will extend the scheme introduced in 2016 to May 2022 and comes as banks are expected to face a spike in non-performing loans after the government withdrew measures implemented to keep companies afloat through the pandemic.

Italy has guaranteed more than 170 billion euros ($ 199.87 billion) of debt owed by banks to companies hit by the virus.

The government engaged in talks with Brussels earlier this year to renew the ‘GACS’ scheme and both sources said they were confident of getting the green light by the end of April.

By reducing the losses that banks experience when selling bad loans, the GACS scheme allows Italian lenders to overcome the legacy of a recession that pushed non-performing loans to 18% of the total.

Under this program, banks can purchase guarantees from the Ministry of Finance to cover the most risky notes when repacking bad loans as securities.

KPMG consultants said last month the move had helped lenders complete a total of 35 transactions, freeing up a sector of 87 billion euros of bad debt, 16 billion of them in 2020. It is estimated that the extension will allow banks to dump up to another 25 billion euros in bad debt this year. 2021.

Italian banks have lobbied the Ministry of Finance to expand the GACS scheme to include “unlikely to pay” (UTP) loans which, unlike bad loans, are not yet in default and can be recovered by returning borrowers to health.

But sources said earlier that only minor changes were expected for the scheme, with the Ministry of Finance concerned that UTP loans could be treated as default loans by rating agencies and investors, overwhelming borrowers.

The UTP loan falls under Greece’s Hercules program, which replicates Italy’s GACS scheme and under which Athens is also negotiating an 18-month extension with Brussels.

$ 1 = 0.8506 euros Report by Giuseppe Fonte and Valentina Za, edited by Gavin Jones, Kirsten Donovan


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Exclusive: Tencent’s Timi game studio made $ 10 billion in 2020, sources said | Instant News

(Reuters) – Chinese tech giant Tencent’s Timi Studios, maker of the popular video games Honor of Kings and Call of Duty Mobile, generated $ 10 billion in revenue last year, two people with first-hand knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

FILE PHOTOS: The Tencent logo is seen on its booth at the 2020 China International Exhibition for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, China September 4, 2020. REUTERS / Tingshu Wang /

The $ 10 billion in cash will make Timi the world’s largest developer, said the source, who is suspected by many industry observers.

It also provides a solid foundation for its ambition to go beyond mobile gaming and compete head-to-head with global heavyweights developing expensive “AAA” titles on platforms such as desktop computers, Sony’s PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and Microsoft’s Xbox.

In a recruitment notice last month, a Timi engineer wrote that the company aims to create a new AAA game that resembles the virtual community from the movie Ready Player One, and will “compete head-to-head against the mighty powers from Japan, Korea, Europe and the US”

Tencent is building studios overseas, including one for Timi and one for Lightspeed and Quantum, both in Los Angeles, with the aim of creating content with original intellectual property that has global appeal.

Tencent ultimately aims to raise half of its gaming revenue from abroad, from 23 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, the most recent figure available.

Many major studios turn to Tencent for support for converting their “hardcore” desktop or console games to mobile. Such games feature long, storytelling sessions or in-depth battles, with some including multiplayer online role-playing games or online battle arenas.

Last week, Tencent reported 156.1 billion yuan ($ 23.79 billion) in overall online gaming revenue for 2020 but did not break down revenue for individual studios, which run independently and compete with each other.

Timi’s results account for 40% of gaming revenue, the two men said.

Of Tencent’s remaining gaming revenue last year, studios Lightspeed and Quantum, developer of PUBG Mobile, another gross-earning game, accounted for 29%, people said, while 26% was the result of publishing for other developers. Aurora Studios Group, boosted by the Moonlight Blade Mobile title, contributed 3%, said the source.

The source declined to be identified because the information was not public.

Tencent did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment.

Tencent, which has benefited from a surge in gamer payments, said last week online gaming revenue rose 29% to 39.1 billion yuan in the fourth quarter.

($ 1 = 6.5619 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Pei Li and Tony Munroe. Edited by Gerry Doyle


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