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Millions around the globe usher in the Chinese New Year of the Rat – except in China

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As the clock struck midnight, millions of Chinese people around the world ushered in the Lunar New Year, marking the start of the Year of the Rat.

Celebrations rang out from Los Angeles to Pyongyang, but in China itself streets remained on lockdown.

It comes after Beijing officials announced major events will be cancelled in a bid to control the spread of the killer coronavirus.

As the clock struck midnight, millions of Chinese people around the world ushered in the Lunar New Year, marking the start of the Year of the Rat. Pictured: Revellers in Thien Hau Temple in China Town, Los Angeles

As the clock struck midnight, millions of Chinese people around the world ushered in the Lunar New Year, marking the start of the Year of the Rat. Pictured: Revellers in Thien Hau Temple in China Town, Los Angeles

As the clock struck midnight, millions of Chinese people around the world ushered in the Lunar New Year, marking the start of the Year of the Rat. Pictured: Revellers in Thien Hau Temple in China Town, Los Angeles

Meanwhile, Beijing's streets were almost deserted as officials announced that major events would be cancelled in a bid to control the spread of the coronavirus

Meanwhile, Beijing's streets were almost deserted as officials announced that major events would be cancelled in a bid to control the spread of the coronavirus

Meanwhile, Beijing’s streets were almost deserted as officials announced that major events would be cancelled in a bid to control the spread of the coronavirus

People pose for pictures in front of an entrance to the Badaling section of the Great Wall, which is closed to visitors

People pose for pictures in front of an entrance to the Badaling section of the Great Wall, which is closed to visitors

People pose for pictures in front of an entrance to the Badaling section of the Great Wall, which is closed to visitors

People walk outside an entrance to a section of the Great Wall of China which is closed to visitors in a bid to contain the disease

People walk outside an entrance to a section of the Great Wall of China which is closed to visitors in a bid to contain the disease

People walk outside an entrance to a section of the Great Wall of China which is closed to visitors in a bid to contain the disease

A woman wearing a face mask leaves a supermarket decorated with Chinese New Year lanterns in Beijing. Face masks are believed by some to limit the transmission of airborne viruses.

A woman wearing a face mask leaves a supermarket decorated with Chinese New Year lanterns in Beijing. Face masks are believed by some to limit the transmission of airborne viruses.

A woman wearing a face mask leaves a supermarket decorated with Chinese New Year lanterns in Beijing. Face masks are believed by some to limit the transmission of airborne viruses.

Celebrations rang out from Los Angeles to Pyongyang, but in China itself streets remained quiet. Pictured: Revellers in Thien Hau Temple in China Town, Los Angeles

Celebrations rang out from Los Angeles to Pyongyang, but in China itself streets remained quiet. Pictured: Revellers in Thien Hau Temple in China Town, Los Angeles

Celebrations rang out from Los Angeles to Pyongyang, but in China itself streets remained quiet. Pictured: Revellers in Thien Hau Temple in China Town, Los Angeles

It comes after Beijing officials announced major events will be cancelled in a bid to control the spread of the killer coronavirus. Pictured: Revellers in Thien Hau Temple in China Town, Los Angeles

It comes after Beijing officials announced major events will be cancelled in a bid to control the spread of the killer coronavirus. Pictured: Revellers in Thien Hau Temple in China Town, Los Angeles

It comes after Beijing officials announced major events will be cancelled in a bid to control the spread of the killer coronavirus. Pictured: Revellers in Thien Hau Temple in China Town, Los Angeles

People wear masks as they walk past rat sculptures outside a shopping mall after Chinese New Year celebrations were cancelled in Beijing

People wear masks as they walk past rat sculptures outside a shopping mall after Chinese New Year celebrations were cancelled in Beijing

People wear masks as they walk past rat sculptures outside a shopping mall after Chinese New Year celebrations were cancelled in Beijing

A nurse waits for transportation as she re-enters the city to return to Wuhan Yaxin General Hospital. Some 56 million people are now subject to restrictions on their movement as authorities expand travel bans in central Hubei province, now affecting 18 cities

A nurse waits for transportation as she re-enters the city to return to Wuhan Yaxin General Hospital. Some 56 million people are now subject to restrictions on their movement as authorities expand travel bans in central Hubei province, now affecting 18 cities

A nurse waits for transportation as she re-enters the city to return to Wuhan Yaxin General Hospital. Some 56 million people are now subject to restrictions on their movement as authorities expand travel bans in central Hubei province, now affecting 18 cities

Thai-Chinese women take photos in Chinatown in Bangkok. Meanwhile, much of China remains on lockdown in a bid to control the spread of the deadly coronavirus

Thai-Chinese women take photos in Chinatown in Bangkok. Meanwhile, much of China remains on lockdown in a bid to control the spread of the deadly coronavirus

Thai-Chinese women take photos in Chinatown in Bangkok. Meanwhile, much of China remains on lockdown in a bid to control the spread of the deadly coronavirus

A section of the Great Wall known as the Badaling section – one of the most visited parts – has been closed to tourists, Al Jazeera reports. Pictured: A street performer spews fire in the Chinatown district of Manila, Philippines

A section of the Great Wall known as the Badaling section – one of the most visited parts – has been closed to tourists, Al Jazeera reports. Pictured: A street performer spews fire in the Chinatown district of Manila, Philippines

A section of the Great Wall known as the Badaling section – one of the most visited parts – has been closed to tourists, Al Jazeera reports. Pictured: A street performer spews fire in the Chinatown district of Manila, Philippines

The death toll in China rose to 41 today from 26 a day earlier and more than 1,300 people have been infected globally with a virus traced to a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife. 

Wuhan, a city of 11 million, has been in virtual lockdown since Thursday, with nearly all flights at the airport cancelled and checkpoints blocking the main roads leading out of town.

Some 56 million people are now subject to restrictions on their movement as authorities expand travel bans in central Hubei province, now affecting 18 cities. 

The 2020 Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, will start from today and ring in the year of the rat, the first of the 12 zodiac signs in the Chinese calendar.

People wearing masks wait for the start of a lion dance performance in Yokohama's Chinatown, west of Tokyo

People wearing masks wait for the start of a lion dance performance in Yokohama's Chinatown, west of Tokyo

People wearing masks wait for the start of a lion dance performance in Yokohama’s Chinatown, west of Tokyo

People burn incense sticks to pray for good fortune at Songshan Ciyou Temple in Taipei, Taiwan today

People burn incense sticks to pray for good fortune at Songshan Ciyou Temple in Taipei, Taiwan today

People burn incense sticks to pray for good fortune at Songshan Ciyou Temple in Taipei, Taiwan today

A lion dance team performs outside a Chinese temple on the first day of the Lunar New Year of the Rat in Banda Aceh, Indonesia

A lion dance team performs outside a Chinese temple on the first day of the Lunar New Year of the Rat in Banda Aceh, Indonesia

A lion dance team performs outside a Chinese temple on the first day of the Lunar New Year of the Rat in Banda Aceh, Indonesia

Dancers perform the traditional Chinese lion dance during celebrations in the Chinatown district of Manila, Philippines

Dancers perform the traditional Chinese lion dance during celebrations in the Chinatown district of Manila, Philippines

Dancers perform the traditional Chinese lion dance during celebrations in the Chinatown district of Manila, Philippines

People crowd under red lanterns during a cerebration to mark the Lunar New Year at Chinatown in Yangon, Myanmar

People crowd under red lanterns during a cerebration to mark the Lunar New Year at Chinatown in Yangon, Myanmar

People crowd under red lanterns during a cerebration to mark the Lunar New Year at Chinatown in Yangon, Myanmar

Spectators, some wearing protective face masks, watch a lion dance performance in Yokohama's Chinatown, west of Tokyo

Spectators, some wearing protective face masks, watch a lion dance performance in Yokohama's Chinatown, west of Tokyo

Spectators, some wearing protective face masks, watch a lion dance performance in Yokohama’s Chinatown, west of Tokyo

The coronavirus death toll in China rose to 41 today from 26 a day earlier and more than 1,300 people have been infected globally with a virus traced to a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife. Pictured: A woman puts a stick of incense in a shrine at the Thien Hau Temple in Chinatown, Los Angeles

The coronavirus death toll in China rose to 41 today from 26 a day earlier and more than 1,300 people have been infected globally with a virus traced to a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife. Pictured: A woman puts a stick of incense in a shrine at the Thien Hau Temple in Chinatown, Los Angeles

The coronavirus death toll in China rose to 41 today from 26 a day earlier and more than 1,300 people have been infected globally with a virus traced to a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife. Pictured: A woman puts a stick of incense in a shrine at the Thien Hau Temple in Chinatown, Los Angeles

Wuhan, a city of 11 million, has been in virtual lockdown since Thursday, with nearly all flights at the airport cancelled and checkpoints blocking the main roads leading out of town. Pictured: People celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year at the Thien Hau Temple in Chinatown, Los Angeles

Wuhan, a city of 11 million, has been in virtual lockdown since Thursday, with nearly all flights at the airport cancelled and checkpoints blocking the main roads leading out of town. Pictured: People celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year at the Thien Hau Temple in Chinatown, Los Angeles

Wuhan, a city of 11 million, has been in virtual lockdown since Thursday, with nearly all flights at the airport cancelled and checkpoints blocking the main roads leading out of town. Pictured: People celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year at the Thien Hau Temple in Chinatown, Los Angeles

The 2020 Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, will start from today and ring in the year of the rat, the first of the 12 zodiac signs in the Chinese calendar. Pictured: Girls play a maypole game on Kim Il Sung Square as part of festivities in Pyongyang

The 2020 Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, will start from today and ring in the year of the rat, the first of the 12 zodiac signs in the Chinese calendar. Pictured: Girls play a maypole game on Kim Il Sung Square as part of festivities in Pyongyang

The 2020 Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, will start from today and ring in the year of the rat, the first of the 12 zodiac signs in the Chinese calendar. Pictured: Girls play a maypole game on Kim Il Sung Square as part of festivities in Pyongyang

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF THE CORONAVIRUS?

Once someone has caught the virus it may take between two and 14 days for them to show any symptoms.

If and when they do, typical signs include:

  • a runny nose
  • a cough
  • sore throat
  • fever (high temperature)

The vast majority of patients – at least 97 per cent, based on available data – will recover from these without any issues or medical help.

In a small group of patients, who seem mainly to be the elderly or those with long-term illnesses, it can lead to pneumonia. 

Pneumonia is an infection in which the insides of the lungs swell up and fill with fluid. It makes it increasingly difficult to breathe and, if left untreated, can be fatal and suffocate people. 

But as the country’s citizens are poised to celebrate their most important holiday of the year, temples have locked their doors, major tourist destinations have announced emergency closures and restaurant reservations are being cancelled.

Shanghai Disney Resort posted on its website: ‘In response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak and in order to ensure the health and safety of our guests and cast, Shanghai Disney Resort is temporarily closing Shanghai Disneyland, Disneytown.

‘We will continue to carefully monitor the situation and… announce the reopening date upon confirmation.’ 

A section of the Great Wall known as the Badaling section – one of the most visited parts – has been closed to tourists, Al Jazeera reports.

Beijing’s Forbidden Palace, which hosts the Palace Museum, will be closed to visitors from Saturday.

China’s National Health Commission has announced it had formed six medical teams totalling 1,230 medical staff to help Wuhan. Three of the six teams, from Shanghai, Guangdong and military hospitals have arrived in Wuhan.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has declared a virus emergency in the Asian financial hub, announcing a package of measures to limit the city’s links with mainland China. 

As  China's citizens are poised to celebrate their most important holiday of the year, temples have locked their doors, major tourist destinations have announced emergency closures and restaurant reservations are being cancelled. Pictured: Celebrations in Pyongyang

As  China's citizens are poised to celebrate their most important holiday of the year, temples have locked their doors, major tourist destinations have announced emergency closures and restaurant reservations are being cancelled. Pictured: Celebrations in Pyongyang

As  China’s citizens are poised to celebrate their most important holiday of the year, temples have locked their doors, major tourist destinations have announced emergency closures and restaurant reservations are being cancelled. Pictured: Celebrations in Pyongyang

A four-day carnival planned in Hong Kong, from January 25 to 28, has been cancelled by the state tourism board amid the coronavirus outbreak. Pictured: Children play with kites during festivities in Pyongyang

A four-day carnival planned in Hong Kong, from January 25 to 28, has been cancelled by the state tourism board amid the coronavirus outbreak. Pictured: Children play with kites during festivities in Pyongyang

A four-day carnival planned in Hong Kong, from January 25 to 28, has been cancelled by the state tourism board amid the coronavirus outbreak. Pictured: Children play with kites during festivities in Pyongyang

Dancers dressed in a costume perform a traditional Chinese dragon during celebrations at the Thien Hau Temple in Los Angeles

Dancers dressed in a costume perform a traditional Chinese dragon during celebrations at the Thien Hau Temple in Los Angeles

Dancers dressed in a costume perform a traditional Chinese dragon during celebrations at the Thien Hau Temple in Los Angeles

People interact with performers dressed in a costume during a traditional Chinese dragon dance in Los Angeles, California

People interact with performers dressed in a costume during a traditional Chinese dragon dance in Los Angeles, California

People interact with performers dressed in a costume during a traditional Chinese dragon dance in Los Angeles, California

Lunar New Year celebration comes in various forms. Chinese people wear red jackets and jumpers to the streets, buy red lanterns and paper-cuttings to decorate their homes and even prepare red steamed buns to be eaten during family reunions. Pictured: A performer in Los Angeles

Lunar New Year celebration comes in various forms. Chinese people wear red jackets and jumpers to the streets, buy red lanterns and paper-cuttings to decorate their homes and even prepare red steamed buns to be eaten during family reunions. Pictured: A performer in Los Angeles

Lunar New Year celebration comes in various forms. Chinese people wear red jackets and jumpers to the streets, buy red lanterns and paper-cuttings to decorate their homes and even prepare red steamed buns to be eaten during family reunions. Pictured: A performer in Los Angeles

Schools, now on Lunar New Year holidays, would remain shut until February 17, while inbound and outbound flights and high speed rail trips between Hong Kong and Wuhan would be halted.

The territory was also treating 122 people suspected of having the disease. 

A four-day carnival planned in Hong Kong, from January 25 to 28, has been cancelled by the state tourism board.

Shanghai Disney Resort posted on its website: 'In response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak and in order to ensure the health and safety of our guests and cast, Shanghai Disney Resort is temporarily closing Shanghai Disneyland, Disneytown.' Pictured: Security personnel wearing face masks stand at the gates of the Resort today

Shanghai Disney Resort posted on its website: 'In response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak and in order to ensure the health and safety of our guests and cast, Shanghai Disney Resort is temporarily closing Shanghai Disneyland, Disneytown.' Pictured: Security personnel wearing face masks stand at the gates of the Resort today

Shanghai Disney Resort posted on its website: ‘In response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak and in order to ensure the health and safety of our guests and cast, Shanghai Disney Resort is temporarily closing Shanghai Disneyland, Disneytown.’ Pictured: Security personnel wearing face masks stand at the gates of the Resort today

Hong Kong's Lunar New Year World Cup football tournament has been called off in a bid to protect the spread of the virus. Pictured: People perform a lion dance in Indonesia

Hong Kong's Lunar New Year World Cup football tournament has been called off in a bid to protect the spread of the virus. Pictured: People perform a lion dance in Indonesia

Hong Kong’s Lunar New Year World Cup football tournament has been called off in a bid to protect the spread of the virus. Pictured: People perform a lion dance in Indonesia

Yesterday, London's Chinese community wore surgical masks as they prepared for the celebrations amid fears that the coronavirus could spread to British shores

Yesterday, London's Chinese community wore surgical masks as they prepared for the celebrations amid fears that the coronavirus could spread to British shores

Yesterday, London’s Chinese community wore surgical masks as they prepared for the celebrations amid fears that the coronavirus could spread to British shores

Lucky lanterns were hung from windows as drivers dropped off deliveries to restaurants preparing for tomorrow's big day.

Lucky lanterns were hung from windows as drivers dropped off deliveries to restaurants preparing for tomorrow's big day.

Lucky lanterns were hung from windows as drivers dropped off deliveries to restaurants preparing for tomorrow’s big day.

Hong Kong’s Lunar New Year World Cup football tournament has been called off.

Yesterday evening, London’s Chinese community wore surgical masks as they prepared for the celebrations amid fears that the coronavirus could spread to British shores.

Face masks are believed by some to limit the transmission of airborne viruses. 

Lucky lanterns were hung from windows as drivers dropped off deliveries to restaurants in preparation.

Preparations came as the UK government held a Cobra meeting over fears the deadly coronavirus, which has already claimed the lives of at least 26 people, could spread to the UK. 

Boris Johnson hosted colourful Chinese dragons in Downing Street earlier on Friday while ministers were nearby discussing the deadly in the Far East.

He hosted figures from the British-Chinese community in the heart of Westminster.

The festivities to herald in the Year of the Rat in 2020 came as the Government held a Cobra crisis meeting to discuss the coronavirus outbreak

The festivities to herald in the Year of the Rat in 2020 came as the Government held a Cobra crisis meeting to discuss the coronavirus outbreak

The festivities to herald in the Year of the Rat in 2020 came as the Government held a Cobra crisis meeting to discuss the coronavirus outbreak

Young students from the Woking Chinese School enjoy a visit to 10 Downing Street, London, in celebration of Chinese New Year

Young students from the Woking Chinese School enjoy a visit to 10 Downing Street, London, in celebration of Chinese New Year

Young students from the Woking Chinese School enjoy a visit to 10 Downing Street, London, in celebration of Chinese New Year

How is Chinese New Year celebrated? 

Lunar New Year celebration comes in various forms.

Chinese people wear red jackets and jumpers to the streets, buy red lanterns and paper-cuttings to decorate their homes and even prepare red steamed buns to be eaten during family reunions.

Around China, family get together to eat different types of dumplings, such as savoury ‘jiao zi’ and sweet ‘tang tuan’ as a way to pray for family unity and happiness.

Red envelopes containing cash are also given out to children by their families to wish them a happy New Year.

Women wearing traditional Chinese costumes prepare to take a photo at a park ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year in Beijing on Saturday

Women wearing traditional Chinese costumes prepare to take a photo at a park ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year in Beijing on Saturday

Women wearing traditional Chinese costumes prepare to take a photo at a park ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year in Beijing on Saturday

The Chinese New Year’s Gala, one of the most popular way of celebration, is the most-watched television programme in the world.

The four-hour-long marathon show gathers the most popular singers, dancers, comedians and magicians in the country from the previous year and has been the Spring Festival tradition in China since its first edition in 1983.

According to latest statistics, 690 million Chinese people around the world tuned in to watch the gala live in 2016. Over one billion people watched the show in total that year.

The festivities usually last for 16 days in China, from the Lunar New Year’s Eve to the Lantern Festival, or the 15th day of the New Year, when people go out to see colourful lanterns.  

The zodiac animal for 2019 is the pig.

In recent years those born in the year of the pig have been born in 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007 and now 2019.

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Prince Harry teases Bon Jovi collaboration in amusing WhatsApp exchange

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Prince Harry has shared an amusing WhatsApp conversation with Jon Bon Jovi as the two prepare to launch the 2020 Invictus Games together.

A fake exchange, posted to the Duke of Sussex’s Instagram page, prompted an excited reaction after the royal joked he would join the rock star behind the mic as he records Unbroken with the Invictus Games Choir on February 28.

The mock conversation opens with the prince making a cheesy pun about one of the singer’s most famous tunes, writing: ‘Hey! I’m good! Just livin’ on a prayer. What’s up?’

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Bon Jovi replies: ‘I’m in London 28th February and have an idea #Invictus’.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Tim Rooke/REX (10459376af) Prince Harry Invictus Games Team Launch at the Honourable Artillery Company, Finsbury Barracks, London, UK - 29 Oct 2019 Prince Harry, Patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, will attend the launch of the team selected to represent the UK at the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 on Tuesday 29th October.The 65-strong team of injured, wounded and sick (WIS) Service personnel, both serving and veterans, will come together for the first time at the Honourable Artillery Company in London. More than 30% of Team UK are still serving and 89% have never competed at an Invictus Games before, demonstrating the ongoing impact of the Games in the recovery journey of those with life changing injuries or illnesses.His Royal Highness will meet the team ahead of the forthcoming Games, and pose for the first official team photograph. The Duke will then spend time meeting competitors and finding out more about their recovery journey and the impact the Games are having ontheir lives, as well as those of their family and friends.
Prince Harry founded the Invictus Games in 2014 (Picture: Tim Rooke/REX)
Mandatory Credit: Photo by MARCELO SAYAO/EPA-EFE/REX (10429994o) US singer Bon Jovi performs on stage during Rock in Rio 2019 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 29 September 2019. Rock in Rio 2019 music festival in Brazil, Rio De Janeiro - 29 Sep 2019
Bon Jovi is due to record his song Unbroken in London on February 28 (Picture: MARCELO SAYAO/EPA-EFE/REX)

When Harry asks if the 57-year-old is playing with his band, he says: ‘Just me for now, but don’t worry – I’ve got some back up that I think will work…’

The father of nine-month-old Archie jokes: ‘Ha! Don’t expect me to sing… BUT I’ll give it a shot!’

Unbroken will being recorded at the Abbey Road Studios in London to prepare for the fifth games which will be held 9-16 May.

The duke founded the event in 2014 as an ‘international adaptive multi-sport event’ for wounded, injured and sick former armed services personnel and veterans.

The recording visit will be one of his last royal duties before he and wife Meghan Markle begin a new life in Canada.

A spokeswoman for the couple revealed today the Duchess of Sussex will mark International Women’s Day a week after the games.

But the pair’s final official engagement comes alongside the entire royal family at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on March 9, before their Buckingham Palace office closes on April 1.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by REX (10346928cq) Prince Harry watches powerlifting competitors during his visit to the Invictus UK Trials at the English Institute of Sport Sheffield Prince Harry visit to Sheffield, UK - 25 Jul 2019
Prince Harry watches power-lifting competitors during his visit to the Invictus UK Trials at the English Institute of Sport Sheffield (Picture: REX)
London, UNITED KINGDOM - The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are reportedly axing up to 15 UK staff members and closing their Buckingham Palace office following their move to North America. Harry and Meghan are said to have told their team in person last month that they would be losing their jobs after announcing their decision to step down as senior royals. It is understood that one or two of those working for the pair would be given new roles elsewhere in the royal household but that most are now negotiating redundancy packages. Pictured: Prince Harry, Meghan Markle BACKGRID USA 14 FEBRUARY 2020 USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will begin their new life on March 31 (Picture: BACKGRID)

A spokeswoman for the couple said the Sussexes would continue to work with their existing patronages as they build a plan for engagements in the UK and the Commonwealth throughout the year.

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Details of their new non-profit organisation will also be announced later in the year.

The new arrangements come after the couple announced their shock decision to step down as senior royals in January.

They will reportedly split their time between Canada and the UK – with the majority spent in North America.

They will keep Frogmore Cottage, which they were gifted following their wedding in 2018, but will repay the £2.4m worth of taxpayers’ money which was spent on renovating the property.

This week, Queen Elizabeth reportedly told her grandson and his wife they wouldn’t be able to use the Sussex Royal label after quitting royal life.

A royal source said the future use of the term by Harry and Meghan ‘needed to be reviewed’ and that discussions were ongoing.

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Source: Metro News

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Home office is trying to deport ‘asylum seekers and victims of trafficking’

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File photo dated 21/01/20 of Home Secretary Priti Patel who has been defended by allies over claims that she bullied officials. PA Photo. Issue date: Thursday February 20, 2020. She is reported to have clashed with the senior mandarin at the Home Office and has been accused of belittling officials, making unreasonable demands and creating an "atmosphere of fear". See PA story POLITICS Patel. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Home Secretary Priti Patel has come under fire (Picture: PA)

The Home Office has deported another flight of people this morning despite warnings from a human rights charity.

There are concerns that those on board may not have been given ‘adequate access to justice’.

Deportation Action and the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) wrote a joint letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel expressing their concerns.

The charity said the government was seeking to remove ‘asylum seekers and vulnerable victims of trafficking’.

With only its navigation lights visible, an aircraft taxis at Stansted airport, before taking-off. Shortly afterwards, the Home Office confirmed that it has proceeded with a planned deportation flight to Jamaica, which had been subject to a legal challenge. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday February 11, 2020. See PA story POLITICS Deportation . Photo credit should read: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire
An aircraft taxis at Stansted airport (Picture: PA)

They said that access to legal advice in Immigration Removal Centres may not have been sufficient before the flight, sending people to Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

It comes after the Home Office attempted to deport 50 people on a charter flight to Jamaica, despite concerns that some of them came to the UK as young children and have family ties to this country.

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Detention Action mounted a legal challenge to the latest flight amid concerns that mobile phone outages near Heathrow Airport prevented many of those due to be deported from accessing legal advice.

The Court of Appeal made an injunction blocking the removal of anyone potentially affected and 25 people were taken off the flight as a result.

Detention Action and the ILPA have now claimed that just one law firm with only three solicitors was on duty in three Immigration Removal Centres last week – Morton Hall, Harmondsworth and Colnbrook.

‘This means that they were the only firm present at three IRCs that combined will have been detaining hundreds – possibly over 1000 – individuals,’ the letter signed by Bella Sankey, the director of the Deportation Action, and Sonia Lenegan, the legal director of the ILPA said.

Lunar House in Croydon, south London which houses the headquarters of UK Visas and Immigration, a division of the Home Office.
There are concerns that those being deported may not have been given ‘adequate access to justice’. (Picture: PA)

‘We have a number of reasons for believing that this firm lacks both the capacity and the capability to provide adequate legal advice within the centres. This is of course of particular concern when clients are facing imminent removal directions, including those due to be on tomorrow’s flight.’

It adds: ‘Taken together, the structural failings of the DDA (Detained Duty Advice scheme) and the documented service failings of the firm on the rota for three IRCs in the w/c 10 February mean we are not confident that the Government can be satisfied that those scheduled to be removed on tomorrow’s charter flight have been given adequate access to justice as required by Home Office policy.’

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Bella Sankey, director of Detention Action, said before the flight: ‘The Government is pressing ahead with another charter removal flight tomorrow, this time to a number of European countries to which it seeks to remove asylum seekers and vulnerable victims of trafficking.

‘This is despite widespread concerns that the Government’s system for the provision of legal advice in detention centres is in meltdown, with minimal solicitors available for at least three IRCs last week and grave concerns that several firms are regularly in breach of their contractual obligations providing either no or poor advice to those detained.’

A Home Office spokesman said: ‘Anyone who makes a trafficking or modern slavery claim has them properly considered and concluded before removal.

‘The UK only ever returns those who both the Home Office and the courts are satisfied do not need our protection and have no legal basis to remain in the UK.’

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Disgraced ex-Donald Trump aide Roger Stone jailed for 40 months

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Photo of Donald Trump next to photo of Roger Stone
Donald Trump’s ex campaign adviser Roger Stone was jailed Thursday for lying to Congress and witness tampering (Pictures: AP/Getty)

A disgraced former campaign adviser to Donald Trump has been jailed for 40 months for lying to investigators.

Roger Stone, 67, was handed the sentence at a federal court in Washington DC Thursday, amid mounting speculation President Trump will offer him a pardon.

The president has branded Stone’s conviction a ‘miscarriage of justice,’ and hit out at it on Twitter during Stone’s sentencing hearing, claiming former FBI bosses James Comey and Andrew McCabe had gotten away with lying.

Trump tweeted: ‘“They say Roger Stone lied to Congress.”

‘OH, I see, but so did Comey (and he also leaked classified information, for which almost everyone, other than Crooked Hillary Clinton, goes to jail for a long time), and so did Andy McCabe, who also lied to the FBI! FAIRNESS?’

Photo of Roger Stone arriving at court Thursday
Stone could now be pardoned for his crimes, amid widespread speculation that President Trump will step in to ensure he does not have to serve his 40 month jail sentence (Picture: AP)

Sentencing Stone, Judge Amy Berman Jackson said the US Justice Departments recommendation that Stone serve between seven and nine years behind bars was excessive.

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But she also hit out at attempts to minimize his crimes, saying: ‘Of all the circumstances in this case, that may be the most pernicious.

‘The truth still exists, the truth still matters. Roger Stone’s insistence that it doesn’t ..are a threat to our most fundamental institutions’

Stone was also convicted of witness tampering in November after he mislead congressional investigators probing Russian meddling into the 2016 presidential election.

He then meddled with a key witness ‘in order to make sure his obstruction would be successful.’

Stone arrived at court Wednesday wearing a smart navy coat, black fedora hat and sunglasses.

The criminal, who was flanked by wife Nydia, has repeatedly blasted proceedings against him as ‘politically motivated.’

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Source: Metro News

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