Chinese authorities take over closed US consulate in Chengdu

first_imgTensionsTensions have soared between the world’s two biggest economic powers on a range of fronts including trade, China’s handling of the novel coronavirus and a tough new security law for Hong Kong, with US officials warning of a “new tyranny” from China.The last Chinese diplomats left the Houston consulate last Friday, with officials there seen loading large sacks of documents and other items onto trucks, and throwing some in bins.Beijing said Saturday that US agents “forcibly” entered the Houston consulate, which it said was “China’s national property”.Its statement warned that “China will make a proper and necessary response in this regard”.Nationalistic tabloid the Global Times warned in an editorial Monday that if Washington was “determined to push China-US ties in the worst direction… the 21st century will be darker and even more explosive than the Cold War era”.It said the rising tensions could lead to “unprecedented catastrophe”. Chinese authorities took over the United States consulate in Chengdu on Monday, the foreign ministry said, days after Beijing ordered it to close in retaliation for the shuttering of its mission in Houston.Earlier in the morning state broadcaster CCTV showed footage of the American flag being lowered, after diplomatic tensions soared between the two powers with both alleging the other had endangered national security.Beijing later confirmed the consulate had closed at 10am (0200 GMT). “Afterwards, Chinese authorities entered through the front entrance and took it over,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.Relations deteriorated in recent weeks in a Cold War-style standoff, with the Chengdu mission Friday ordered to shut in retaliation for the forced closure of Beijing’s consulate in Houston, Texas.Both consulates closed 72 hours after the original order was made.The road leading to the Chengdu mission was closed on Monday, with police and cordons blocking the way. State media reported that staff members had left the compound at around 6 am Monday morning.Over the weekend, removal trucks entered the site and cleaners were seen carting large black rubbish bags from the consulate, and on Saturday AFP reporters saw workers removing the US insignia from the front of the building.A constant stream of onlookers in the city of 16.5 million flowed past the building over the weekend, many taking photos.The US consulate in the city covered China’s southwest, including Tibet. Many Tibetans accuse the central government of religious repression and eroding their culture.Beijing says closing the consulate was a “legitimate and necessary response to the unreasonable measures by the United States”, and has alleged that staff at the diplomatic mission endangered China’s security and interests.Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters that some US staff in the Chengdu consulate “were engaged in activities outside of their capacity, interfered in China’s internal affairs, and endangered China’s security and interests”.Washington officials, meanwhile, said there had been unacceptable efforts by the Chinese consulate in Houston to steal US corporate secrets and proprietary medical and scientific research. Topics :last_img read more

The Latest: England rugby laying off 139 staff

first_img July 6, 2020 The Rugby Football Union will begin consulting with staff before announcing the redundancies at the end of August, chief executive Bill Sweeey said on Monday.“To ensure we have a sustainable RFU we have announced to colleagues that it is proposed that the total number of roles across the organisation will reduce by 139,” he wrote on the union website.“We have already made some significant cost savings. We furloughed 60% of our organisation; implemented a three-month pay reduction which has been extended for some; introduced pension pauses; and refined business planning and introduced stadium and office running efficiencies to reduce costs.“Unfortunately, this is not enough to run a sustainable operation and safeguard our future.”Sweeney predicts it will take five years for the RFU to recover, and the union will lose 20% of its normal revenue over that period. ___Two players on the Indiana Fever were among the seven positive tests for the coronavirus across the WNBA, the team announced.The league and teams didn’t reveal who the players were. All 137 WNBA players were tested over the past week as the teams prepared to head to Florida on Monday for the upcoming season, which will be played at IMG Academy.The Fever will delay their travel by at least five days to self-quarantine in case any of them came into close contact with the infected players.The WNBA hopes to start training camp later this week, with the regular season set to begin around July 24. Tiafoe, a quarterfinalist at the 2019 Australian Open, will not be paid for this season.______Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis has opted out of the 2020 season.The 36-year-old Markakis said he was uneasy about playing the season without fans and then was swayed by his telephone conversation with teammate Freddie Freeman, who has tested positive for COVID-19 and has fever and other symptoms.“Just hearing him, the way he sounded on the phone, it was tough,” Markakis said Monday. “It was kind of eye-opening. What everything that’s going on, not just with baseball but all over the world, it makes you open your eyes.” Major League Baseball and the players’ association announced Friday that 31 players and seven staff members tested positive for COVID-19 during intake for the resumption of training, a rate of 1.2%. Teams resumed workouts Friday for the first time since the coronavirus interrupted spring training on March 12, two weeks before the season was to start.___The Washington Nationals have canceled Monday morning’s team workout because of COVID-19 testing delays.Players and staff were tested Friday, and general manager Mike Rizzo says the team still hasn’t received its results. Rizzo said it’s not safe to continue holding camp without accurate and timely testing and that the workout was canceled to prevent putting players and staff at risk.Rizzo says: Major League Baseball “needs to work quickly to resolve issues with their process and their lab. Otherwise, summer camp and the 2020 season are at risk.” The Latest: England rugby laying off 139 staff But the Titans say the coronavirus pandemic makes it “increasingly likely” that NFL teams will be playing in front of fewer fans this season.___The National Hockey League says 35 total players have tested positive for the coronavirus over roughly the past month.The league says 23 of 396 players checked for COVID-19 at team facilities have tested positive since voluntary workouts began June 8, a 5% rate. In that same period of time, it is aware of 12 additional positive test results.The NHL and NHL Players’ Association on Sunday night agreed on protocols to start training camps and resume the season. That includes daily testing once games get under way for players, coaches and staff. ___Count the Tennessee Titans among the NFL teams offering season-ticket holders the option of opting out of this season and putting that money toward 2021 or getting a refund.The Titans sent a letter to their season-ticket holders Monday. The team also posted a notice on its website.Tennessee told season-ticket holders the team suspended any payment plans July 1 for this season.Team officials will be working with state and local governments on how many fans will be allowed to attend games at Nissan Stadium, which seats approximately 69,143.center_img Associated Press Markakis became the second Braves player to opt out. Over the weekend, pitcher Félix Hernández said he wouldn’t play this year.Dodgers pitcher David Price, Washington infielder Ryan Zimmerman and Colorado outfielder Ian Desmond are among the other players who have opted out.Following nine seasons with Baltimore, Markakis was entering his sixth season with Atlanta. He was competing for a spot in a crowded Braves outfield following the offseason signing of Marcel Ozuna.Manager Brian Snitker plans to play Ozuna and Ronald Acuña Jr. every game, though Ozuna could be the designated hitter. Markakis, Ender Inciarte, Adam Duvall and others were competing other spots and were joined by rookies Cristian Pache and Drew Waters.Markakis hit .285 with nine homers and 62 RBIs in 2019, a year after he was an All-Star. He said he doesn’t know how opting out could affect his hopes for playing in 2021. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___England rugby will lay off 139 positions because it expects to lose 107 million pounds ($134 million) in revenue in the short term. Resuming is contingent on each side approving an extension of the collective bargaining agreement and the return to play agreement.___Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell says shortstop Luis Urias and pitcher Angel Perdomo tested positive for COVID-19 before the intake process.Counsell says both players are asymptomatic.This marks the second setback for Urias since the Brewers acquired him from San Diego in November. Urias, who is expected to compete with incumbent Orlando Arcia for the starting shortstop job, underwent surgery in January to repair a broken bone in his left hand. ___Frances Tiafoe will not play in the World TeamTennis season after testing positive for the coronavirus.The American was playing in a weekend tournament in Atlanta and was tested after feeling symptoms during his match on Friday. He withdrew from the event the following day and said he was following the recommended quarantine protocol.He was set to play for the Washington Kastles during the World TeamTennis season, set for July 12 to Aug. 2. It’s being played entirely at The Greenbrier in West Virginia because of the pandemic, instead of around the country as usual.Under league rules, a player had to test negative before being allowed to travel to the resort. The league announced Monday that because Tiafoe’s positive test was within the advance travel window, he was ineligible to compete this season. ___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sportslast_img read more