Media Watch 26/4/15

By Rowan Williams

In Nepal, rescue and aid efforts are continuing after an earthquake struck the country and surrounding areas on Saturday. Over 2,300 people are known to have been killed, with the death toll expected to rise. The earthquake also triggered avalanches in the Himalayas, with 17 mountaineers and guides known to have been killed on Mount Everest. Relief efforts are being hindered by damage caused to Nepal’s infrastructure. Aftershocks hit the region on Sunday, with one of magnitude 6.7. Saturday’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake is Nepal’s worst in 81 years, and has also caused casualties in India, China, and Bangladesh.

Rent increases in Britain would be capped at the rate of inflation under a Labour government, Party Leader Ed Miliband has said. Under the scheme, tenants would have a right to know the rent paid by a property’s previous tenants. Typical tenany agreements would also be extended to three years, with estate agents’ fees for tenants abolished.  Clashing with Miliband on television on Sunday, Mayor of London and Conservative parliamentary candidate Boris Johnson claimed that Labour’s housing policies would reduce housing supply. Johnson and Miliband later traded blows on Labour plans to end the non-domiciled tax status. Miliband also ruled out the possibility of his party making post-election ‘deals’ with the Scottish National Party.

The Philippines has called on neighbouring Southeast Asian nations to unite in urging China to halt its land reclamation programme in the South China Sea. The Philippines made its request to regional Foreign Ministers ahead of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit. Satellite photos have shown China to be undertaking land reclamation near disputed territories in the South China Sea, with some images appearing to show the construction of an airstrip. The Philippines’ request failed to raise widespread support for discussion of the issue, however.

The Papers

Front pages are dominated by news and photographs of the earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday. The Sunday Telegraph reports that the earthquake and subsequent avalanches have left “at least 1,300 dead”, with ancient cities “devastated”. British climbers are also missing, the paper writes. The Observer writes that the quake has also spread “terror on Everest”, with guides and climbers trapped in ice falls. The Independent on Sunday leads with the headline “Shaken to the core”; the race is on to help thousands of Nepalis, “many trapped beneath collapsed buildings in and around the capital Kathmandu”. In other news, The Sunday Times leads with news that a future Labour government would “bring back rent controls” if elected. Under such rules, landlords would not be permitted to raise rent rates beyond the rate of inflation.

British Media on China

On the reprieve of Li Yan: The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian have both covered the two-year death sentence reprieve of Li Yan, a victim of domestic abuse who killed her husband. Li’s death sentence would be commuted to a prison term following two years of good behaviour. The Guardian reports that “China has little history of tackling domestic violence through the justice system or practical assistance for victims, but Li Yan’s case garnered huge public sympathy”. The Daily Telegraph’s agency piece writes that human rights groups have cautiously welcomed the news.

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