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Comments: Thank you for helping me through the scary London winter, New Zealand | Instant News

Spectators at Auckland’s Hauraki Bay on December 20. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Marcus Wheatley is the head of financial services at Yellow Jersey PR in London.


Thanks New Zealand. Thank you for showing us what good looks look like. Thank you for giving the world the optimism that a brighter future is out there. Thank you for appearing in America’s Cup. Thank you to all the volunteers who gave up their summers for this. Thank you to the many people who packed the AC village. Thank you for giving hope to audiences around the world. Thank you for being enthusiastic. Thank you for encouraging. Thank you for watching. Thank you for hosting the America’s Cup so brilliantly.

I’m writing this from London drenched in rain on the shortest day of the year, locked in the highest tier 4 category with the rampant and highly contagious new Covid virus running rampant in the capital and the country. Turning on the television, we are greeted by adversity and seemingly endless calamities. I am afraid to leave my house. I am very worried about the welfare of my family. I fear, yes fear, a way out. The shops are closed. The bars will break and break. The theater closed with a barricade. The streets are quiet. The economy is in drastic decline. Really scared people. We’ve never seen anything like this before. Friends are dying. Many people are sick like never before. It’s a nightmare. Unspoiled nightmare.

Crowds at the Viaduct in Auckland gathered to watch the second day of race in the American Cup world series.  Photo / Alex Burton
Crowds at the Viaduct in Auckland gathered to watch the second day of race in the American Cup world series. Photo / Alex Burton

So, what got you through? Well, everyone has their own poison. For me, I have several. Exercise puts me in a positive mood. I buy an exercise bike and spend up to three hours a day on it. Get me off the street. I walk the dog – he’s a lovely dog. I play computer games with my child. I am blessed with the best wife who is my rock. We’re talking. We support. In The Verve’s words: “I am a lucky man.” We’ll get through this. I’d love to go and see my boat in Cowes, but I can’t. I really want to go to a restaurant but I can’t. The list of restrictions is unlimited. But we are still positive.

Briton Sir Ben Ainslie returns to the water with Team NZ for their first American Cup trials. Video / Michael Craig

But what gives me hope and encouragement more than anything else are the photos transmitted back from Auckland, broadcast free on YouTube. Getting up at 2 a.m. isn’t really your homework when the entertainment is so inspiring. It’s another world. Through visible glassware. And the smiling faces of Kiwi, sipping a beer or two, cheering at the Copa America really made it. And the faces of incredible children, wearing team shirts two sizes too big under adult hats and layers of sunscreen, faces painted with their national flags, cheering and screaming, free of masks and cleaners that literally brought them home.

The British Ineos team is out on the water.  Photo / Michael Craig
The British Ineos team is out on the water. Photo / Michael Craig

I wish I was in New Zealand now – although I might get a visit from a grinder or two of Ineos – but I want to be there enjoying the sun and the atmosphere. A country at the bottom of the world but at the top. It’s amazing what you show.

Yes, the America’s Cup is an expensive thing to wear right now. Yes, there are social issues that need to be addressed and you have the right to question any public money that goes to the New Zealand Team. But please, don’t get under any illusion what is being accomplished here.

American Cup fan at Kennedy Park on Auckland's North Coast.  Photo / Alex Burton
American Cup fan at Kennedy Park on Auckland’s North Coast. Photo / Alex Burton

New Zealand presents itself on the world stage as a beautiful, progressive, intelligent, intelligent, forward-thinking, fast-acting, compassionate country rich in culture, heritage and with the best five million people on the planet. A flare shining in the dark. Leading the way on the water and beyond. Example. Where others can’t, New Zealand can.

Thank you New Zealand, it’s your time to shine and boy, boy, did you shine.


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US accuses Switzerland, Vietnam of currency manipulation | Instant News

(MENAFN – AFP) The US Treasury Department on Wednesday accused Switzerland and Vietnam of manipulating their currencies, in part to gain trade gains on American exports.

In its semiannual foreign exchange reports, the Ministry of Finance found that both countries intervened in the currency market to influence the balance of payments, and in the case of Vietnam, also aimed to “gain an unfair competitive advantage in international trade.”

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called the decision a “strong step … to safeguard economic growth and opportunities for American workers and businesses.”

China remains on the Ministry of Finance’s “Watchlist”, along with Japan, Korea, Germany and others. The Ministry of Finance added three countries to the list: India, Taiwan and Thailand.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly denounced countries that have trade surpluses with the United States, accusing many of them of using weaker currencies to sell their goods cheaper at the expense of US producers.

He primarily targets Beijing for criticism, but also Berlin, even though Germany uses the common euro currency.

The Treasury Department removed China from a list of currency manipulators in January, just before Washington and Beijing signed a “phase one” trade agreement to resolve part of a months-long destructive trade war.

But the report called on China to “increase transparency” of its exchange rate management, particularly intervention in the currency market.

The findings in the report are largely symbolic and do not require sanctions. Instead, it triggered “enhanced bilateral engagement” with each country to urge “development of plans … to address the underlying causes of currency undervaluation and external imbalances.”

– Swiss protest –

The Treasury Department reviewed 20 major US trading partners with bilateral trade in goods with the United States of at least $ 40 billion per year.

The criteria are a large trade surplus with the United States, a significant current account surplus, and evidence of “on-going unilateral intervention” in the foreign exchange market.

Switzerland and Vietnam were found to meet all three of these criteria, the report said.

The Swiss National Bank immediately rejected charges of manipulating its currency and said authorities had contacted their US partners “to explain the economic situation and our country’s monetary policy.”

The Treasury Department said officials consulted the IMF in preparing the report, and cited an IMF analysis of the currency’s value across.

In Switzerland, the report noted that “IMF staff found the franc overvalued around 3.5 percent on a very effective basis.”

The SNB emphasizes that its intervention in the foreign exchange market is in no way aimed at influencing the balance of payments, or at gaining an unfair competitive advantage for the Swiss economy.

“Swiss monetary policy requires this intervention to ensure suitable monetary conditions and thus price stability in Switzerland,” the bank said in an email to AFP.

The Swiss franc has long been considered a safe haven currency, meaning investors rush to buy it in times of crisis, driving up its value, causing the SNB to intervene.

The US Treasury Department also said “Switzerland maintains tariff and non-tariff barriers that restrict US companies’ access to the Swiss market, particularly those related to agriculture, but also to intellectual property.”

“We strongly urge Switzerland to use substantial fiscal space to reduce economic dependence on SNB policy measures, rebalance the external sector, and increase growth potential.”

– Underestimate please –

The Treasury Department said the latest IMF assessment shows the value of the Vietnamese Dong to be 8.4 percent lower in effect in 2018, and nearly flat against the US dollar since then.

The report called on Vietnam to “reduce its currency intervention and allow exchange rate movements.”

In addition, it “must equalize American workers and companies by diligently removing barriers to US companies and US exports.”


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Pakistani army prepares to gain Belt and Road authority | Instant News

KARACHI – Pakistan will pass a law that will place the supranational body overseeing the $ 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s main Belt and Road Initiative, under the control of the Pakistan Army which will also gain immense power. .

A parliamentary committee earlier this month passed the CPEC Authorities 2020 Bill despite strong opposition from some lawmakers. According to Junaid Akbar, chairman of the parliamentary committee, the bill will be submitted to parliament for a final vote in the second week of December.

The Pakistani government under Prime Minister Imran Khan and Pakistan’s ruling party Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which are seen as aligned with military interests, have been working for months to get the bill through the committee. The proposed law seeks to restore the controversial CPEC Authority – which has been closed since the end of the presidential order in May.

If enacted, the law will shift control of the CPEC project from the ministry of planning and development run by the civilian bureaucracy to the CPEC Authority headed by retired army General Asim Saleem Bajwa. In addition, Bajwa will report directly to the prime minister instead of the ministry and replace the planning minister as co-chair of the joint Pakistan-China committee.

Even though the presidential order has ended, Bajwa continues to lead the CPEC Authority as chair, a situation that has led opposition legislators to question the legality of his position. In a briefing to the committee, the planning ministry denied having a chairperson of the CPEC Authority; they also denied that they gave Bajwa a salary or allowance.

Retired General Asim Saleem Bajwa is on the brink of gaining the power to carry out investigations into any incumbent he considers not cooperating with the CPEC Authority. © Getty Images

Outside observers say intrigue reveals a military proclaiming itself to be an attempt by the elected government to find its footing.

“Civil leadership [under Khan and PTI], who never held national power until winning the 2018 election, has struggled with public policy on multiple levels, “Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia program at the Wilson Center, a Washington think tank, told Nikkei Asia was seen in part as a play of military power to asserts greater influence over key projects that are believed to be more eligible for supervision.

“In Pakistan, retired military officers often stay close to their former employers, and the military can exert influence through these retirees. [officers]. So, while General Bajwa formally reports to the civilian leadership, one cannot ignore the influence his former boss will exert over his decisions and actions. “

The CPEC authority was originally formed in 2019 by a presidential order that passed through parliament, just before Prime Minister Imran Khan went to China for the third time in a year to appease China due to a lack of progress along economic corridors.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, left, greets Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in October 2019, right after the presidential order creating the CPEC Authority. (Photo courtesy of Government of Pakistan)

The CPEC project came to a halt for months after Khan took power in 2018, mainly due to allegations of corruption related to the handling of the project by the previous government. There are also accusations that the deal unfairly benefits Beijing. Khan’s government is struggling to overcome twin deficits and unsustainable foreign debt. Prior to his election, the former cricketer had been a vocal critic of the corridor, citing a lack of transparency.

But with Bajwa at the helm and Khan now making CPEC the cornerstone of its development plans for Pakistan, CPEC’s power and transportation projects have begun.

Since its inception, the CPEC Authority has drawn criticism from opposition parties, notably the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party, which advocate strengthening of the existing civilian institutions involved in CPEC.

Parties allied to the bill have also raised brazen opposition to the military’s role in politics. They have organized countrywide rallies under an alliance called the Pakistan Democratic Movement, alleging that the ruling PTI had framed them in a bogus corruption case with the backing of the army.

Supporters of the Pakistani Democratic Movement raise flags as they listen to their leaders during anti-government rallies in Karachi on October 18, 2020. © Reuters

The proposed law is controversial for two reasons: It grants CPEC Authority officials impunity, rendering them responsible for the tens of billions of dollars that would be spent on corridor projects and placing them outside the purview of Pakistani courts. In addition, the bill stipulates that if a public official does not cooperate with the CPEC Authority, the chairperson will have the power to order an investigation into the incumbent.

“The lack of oversight and regulation by civilian authorities is worrisome, as it allows the CPEC Authority to operate with impunity and is not accountable to elected officials,” said Kugelman. “Some might argue that taking CPEC’s portfolio from an inexperienced civilian leadership and putting it in military hands would make CPEC policy more efficient. Maybe so, but also make CPEC policy less democratic.”

“The military wants CPEC authority when the project starts [in 2015], but the PML-N government is against it, “said Ayesha Siddiqa, a researcher at the SOAS South Asia Institute at the University of London who has written extensively on the Pakistani Army’s business interests.” They argue that authority will add to the extra bureaucracy. Now, the CPEC Authority [under the army’s control] was established to streamline the share and control of the military. “

According to the Pakistan Army’s official website, the Frontier Works Organization, the construction and engineering armed forces, “has built 3,797 km of roads” in the last 30 years, “in addition to preparing 8 completely new and upgraded airfields.”

Said Siddiqa: FWO “has a contract for road construction as part of CPEC, and has also registered an interest in copper mining. So, any mining that will be carried out under the rubric of CPEC, the FWO will benefit.”


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GO NZ: New Zealand summer festivals and events to order now | Instant News

We’ve all spent more than enough time looking inside our homes this year. With long awaited warm weather finally creeping up on us, it’s time to let go of those cobwebs and take advantage of all the exciting events and festivals happening around New Zealand this summer – because we’ve had a little fun.

The epicenter for all things edible: Hawke's Bay Food and Wine Classic.  Photo / Kirsten Simcox, Provided
The epicenter for all things edible: Hawke’s Bay Food and Wine Classic. Photo / Kirsten Simcox, Provided

Summer FAWC!

November 6-15

Arguably New Zealand’s center for great food and fine wine, Hawke’s Bay hosts 10 days and over 60 events for this delicious festival. The Food and Wine Classic features the best of local restaurants, wineries, brewers and producers joining forces for an unforgettable program, in some of the country’s most stunning locations, from street food festivals to exclusive evenings combining art and food and honeycomb to tables high tea. see fawc.co.nz for details.

Nothing says Summer like the Black Hats at Oval Bay.  Photo / Andrew Cornaga, Photosport, Files
Nothing says Summer like the Black Hats at Oval Bay. Photo / Andrew Cornaga, Photosport, Files

Summer Cricket

starting 27 November

Nothing says Summer is like the start of a five-day trial match, and despite what 2020 throws at the world, the Black Caps will face Australia, Bangladesh, West Indies and Pakistan in the upcoming 2020-21 season. Games will be played across the country, and include T-20, ODI and test matches. see nzc.nz for all the details.

The biggest exhibit in the history of the Auckland Art Gallery: Toi o Tamaki at Britomart.  Photo / Patrick Reynolds, Given
The biggest exhibit in the history of the Auckland Art Gallery: Toi o Tamaki at Britomart. Photo / Patrick Reynolds, Given

You you you or

December 5 – March 31

Staged in the heart of Britomart, this is the official Toi tū Toi ora satellite show at the Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand’s largest contemporary Māori art exhibition in nearly 20 years, including 300 works by more than 120 Māori artists. see aucklandartgallery.com for more details.

Incredible creation: The World of Wearable Art at Te Papa.  Photo / Provided
Incredible creation: The World of Wearable Art at Te Papa. Photo / Provided

Wearable Art World: Up Close

12 December – 14 February

If you’ve ever wondered what actually goes into these incredible creations, here’s your chance to experience a World of Wearable Art like never before. The in-depth exhibition at Wellington’s Te Papa showcases more than 30 extraordinary outfits from the world’s leading clothing arts competitions, with visitors able to explore the creativity and extraordinary detail of the clothes and the stories behind the designs. see

for more information.

It's finally here: The America's Cup World Series takes over Auckland's waterfront.  Photo / Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com, Files
It’s finally here: The America’s Cup World Series takes over Auckland’s waterfront. Photo / Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com, Files

America’s Cup

starting December 17th

Finally it’s here. Auckland is set to host the 36th Copa America and the action starts this December. There are three events that round out the race for the Cup – the Auckland American Cup World Series brings together three challengers against the Emirates New Zealand Team for the Christmas Cup starting 17 December, before the Prada Cup – and the scramble to take on Team NZ for the big – starts on January 15. The final series of races for the America’s Cup runs from March 6 to 21. There will definitely be a lot of events going on in and around the Viaduct as the action heats up. check aucklandnz.com for details when released.

Great acoustics, unbeatable atmosphere: Black Barn Amphitheater, Havelock North.  Photo / Glenn Taylor, Hawke's Bay Today
Great acoustics, unbeatable atmosphere: Black Barn Amphitheater, Havelock North. Photo / Glenn Taylor, Hawke’s Bay Today

Black Barn Concert Series

Starting December 19

This amphitheater in the Hawke’s Bay vineyard is widely considered to be one of New Zealand’s best outdoor spots, with great acoustics and an unbeatable atmosphere. This summer, check out an outdoor cinema that opens as part of the Hawke’s Bay Outdoor Film Festival from December 27th. If you want a little music, summer queues are still in the works, but it’s confirmed, Kiwi legend Dave Dobbyn will be performing alongside 2020 local darling The Beths on December 19. Tickets start at $ 69, look blackbarn.com for details.

Distinction Hotels Te Anau Tennis Invitational

December 28-29

It’s a shame the ASB Classic has been postponed for 2021 (thanks Covid), but this annual tournament features some of New Zealand’s strongest male tennis players over two days of action in a relaxed atmosphere, perfect for the whole family. General admission is $ 15.00 per adult and children are free. see teanautennis.co.nz for details.

The Other Side Festival

December 30 – 31

Whangamatā, usually considered a quintessential Kiwi beach town, holds this two-day music festival at the mysterious-sounding Joe’s Farm, just outside the summer hot spot. Visitors can camp on site, or take a bus to see a lineup of famous Kiwi artists such as Shapeshifter, LAB, David Dallas and JessB. Tickets start at $ 118 from theotherside.nz.


January 22-24

Happy 20th birthday to Raglan’s favorite. This summer’s favorite celebrates milestones in style, with lineups of local legends including Fat Freddy’s Drop, Ladi6, Che Fu and Home Brew taking to four stages at the Wainui Reserve, while markets also return. see soundsplash.co.nz for more details.

Saturday Six60 Tour

Various dates in January and February

They are arguably New Zealand’s biggest band, and now Six60 have their gigs on the road, visiting new cities and big venues on six Saturdays in January and February. Starting in Lower Hutt and stopping at Waitangi, Hastings, New Plymouth, Christchurch, Wellington and Hamilton along the way, they’ll have special guests and big hits of their own. see six60.co.nz for details.

    The Tussock Traverse is one of New Zealand's most beautiful courses.  Photo / Kurt Matthews, Given
The Tussock Traverse is one of New Zealand’s most beautiful courses. Photo / Kurt Matthews, Given

Tussock Traverse

January 30th

The Ruapehu region is an outdoor lover’s paradise and the Tussock Traverse is one of New Zealand’s most beautiful and diverse courses. Events for hikers and runners – ranging from 6 km to 50 km – offer something for everyone who wants a different challenge. This event supports the Tongariro Project (Tongariro Natural History Society), and the work they are doing to preserve this spectacular area. see tussocktraverse.co.nz for entry details.

A celebration of cunning and speed: Burt Munro Challenge, Invercargill.  Photo / James Jubb, Given
A celebration of cunning and speed: Burt Munro Challenge, Invercargill. Photo / James Jubb, Given

Burt Munro’s challenge

February 10-14

This Southland classic has cemented its name as one of New Zealand’s premier motor sporting events. Over the course of five action-packed days, a number of racing disciplines will race including hill climbing, beach racing, sprint racing, speedway and road racing. And the whole festival honors the legendary Burt, his ingenuity, determination and love of speed and motorbikes. see burtmunrochallenge.co.nz for more details.

Two great nights: Hamilton Garden Arts Festival.  Photo / Mark Hamilton, Supplied Visit Waikato
Two great nights: Hamilton Garden Arts Festival. Photo / Mark Hamilton, Supplied Visit Waikato

Hamilton Park Arts Festival

February 19 – March 1

What is now an iconic outdoor summer festival for the city, the Hamilton Park Arts Festival combines visual arts, music, comedy, film, theater, literature and dance for two weeks of fun. This festival has been Waikato’s premier arts event for over 20 years and the 2021 list will be released any time. see hgaf.co.nz for the latest news and announcements.

Flying circus: New Zealand's best viewing team at Wings over Wairarapa.  Photo / Provided
Flying circus: New Zealand’s best viewing team at Wings over Wairarapa. Photo / Provided

Air Wing Festival Over Wairarapa

February 26 – 28

With the Wānaka sisters’ event canceled this year due to Covid-19, this Wairarapa favorite will be New Zealand’s first major air show in two years. In addition to the spectacular flying program, there are fantastic ground shows, as well as activities for kids little and big. Previous events have drawn crowds of 25,000 people – almost the equivalent of the entire Masterton population – so we know it’s the weekend Kiwis will be lining up to be a part of. see wings.org.nz for more details.

For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, visit newzealand.com

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Karachi United, GPA gets promotion to PPFL | Instant News

KARACHI: Karachi United earned promotion to the Pakistan Major Football League (PPFL) after they drew 1-1 against the Gwadar Ports Authority in the closing match of the 12th Division B ‘Pakistan Football Federation League.

Karachi United finished second nine points behind Departmental Leg winner Masha United, who moved up to the PPFL after a goalless draw against Pakistan Railway on Friday.

At Drigh Union Football Stadium in Karachi, the first half ended goalless between KU and GPA. It was GPA striker Parvaiz who scored the game’s first goal in the 65th minute. However, KU managed to equalize thanks to Amir’s towering header in the 86th minute.

GPA were also promoted after finishing level points with Railway with their 2-1 win against the latter earlier in the competition. From Club Leg, Quetta’s Baloch FC was promoted to PPFL last week.


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