Media Watch 15/2/15

By Rowan Williams

Police in Copenhagen have shot dead a gunman hours after he committed two attacks in which two people were killed and several injured. Danish police say that the killer opened fire on police teams as they approached him, with the gunman shot dead when police returned fire. The gunman’s first attack was against a cafe in which a free speech debate was being held, where one person was killed and three police injured. In the second attack, a Jewish man was killed with two police officers injured near a synagogue. Video surveillance suggests that the same man was behind both attacks, police say. Observers have noted the similarity between the killings and January’s terror attacks in Paris, where the offices of a controversial newspaper and a kosher supermarket were targeted by gunmen.

HSBC has published an apology in several newspapers, after it emerged that the bank’s Swiss arm had colluded in tax avoidance. In the apology letter, signed by HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver, HSBC states that its private Swiss banking system has been overhauled, and aims to provide reassurance. Whistleblower Herve Falciani, who originally leaked the evidence of tax avoidance, has said that the UK government should have known about the scandal as early as 2010. MPs have accused HM Revenue and Customs of failing to properly investigate allegations of tax avoidance when they were first reported, with the tax affairs of both Labour and Conservative Party donors coming under scrutiny.

China’s Minsheng Investment Co Ltd, the country’s largest investment fund, is to invest £1 billion in a Chinese-led project that plans to develop a new financial district for London. Minsheng’s investment is one of the largest Chinese investments in the UK in recent years, and will fund the project originally unveiled in 2013 by Chinese group Advanced Business Park (ABP). The project plans to develop 14 hectares of London’s Albert Dock area into 400,000 square metres of offices and shops – and aims to be London’s third financial centre after the City and Canary Wharf.

The Papers

One week after the scandal of HSBC’s collusion in tax avoidance hit the papers, tax and money matters continue to dominate the front pages, with the Labour Party now the subject of scrutiny. The Sunday Telegraph leads with news that a “Top Labour donor” is facing “‘tax dodge’ accusations”; wind farm tycoon Dale Vince, who has backed party Leader Ed Miliband’s campaign, faces questions over a £3.2 million loan he took from his own company. The Sunday Times’ headline focuses on a separate Labour donor, property tycoon Sir David Garrard, who faces a “tax haven row” over shares he placed in an offshore trust. The Observer leads with a warning from former Conservative Chancellor Ken Clarke – that the “Tory party must shun wealthy donors to avoid scandal”. Clarke has suggested that his party would be stronger with less reliance on donations from wealthy individuals. In other news, The Independent on Sunday writes of a “Serious concern over the ‘academies business'” in its headline, citing the case of a headteacher who enhanced his salary with £160,000 “from a private company he ran on school premises”.

British Media on China

On matchmaking in China: Both the BBC and Financial Times feature reports into Chinese dating this weekend. The FT reports that Chinese tech groups are turning to matchmaking, with companies such as Baidu sponsoring dating events and singles clubs “to keep its young workforce happy and loyal”. Chinese dating websites are the subject of the BBC’s report, meanwhile, writing that China’s web regulator plans to target “fraud on dating websites and other online match-making sites”.

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