Media Watch 4/1/15

By Rowan Williams

Prime Minister David Cameron has refused to rule out a future coalition government with the UK Independence Party (UKIP) after the 2015 general election, while defending his party’s record on the National Health Service (NHS). Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, the Prime Minister claimed that Conservative post-election NHS cuts were to be moderate, while reiterating his desire for a referendum on EU membership as early as possible. The Prime Minister refused to answer questions over potential coalition partners ahead of the election, however.

North Korea has denounced the United States for imposing sanctions on the country following its alleged cyber attack on Sony Pictures. On Friday the United States made the decision to sanction ten North Korean government officials and three organisations, including a state-run arms dealer. The US government has also considered adding the country back to its list of state sponsors of terrorism. North Korea’s Foreign Ministry has denied any involvement in the attacks, while some observers have suggest the attack could be the work of hackers or even Sony insiders.

Macau has seen its first ever fall in annual gambling revenue since casinos were liberalised in 2001, a fall attributed by some to the Chinese authorities’ continuing crackdown on corruption and official extravagance. Revenues fell by 2.6 percent to US$44.1 billion in 2014, according to data released by Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. The Chinese government has encouraged the region to diversify its economy by breaking into markets such as culture and retail.

The Papers

Accusations that Prince Andrew had sex with a minor in between 1999 and 2002 make the tabloid headlines for a second day, after Buckingham Palace issued a second official refutation of the claims on Saturday night. The Sunday Times also leads with the story, writing that Andrew may receive “Immunity” from any charges brought in America due to a “Friend’s secret deal”. In other news, The Sunday Telegraph leads with news that pensioners will be allowed to sell their pension annuities for cash under a new “radical plan”. Health stories make the headlines for The Observer and Independent on Sunday, meanwhile. The Observer reports that a “Top eye clinic” has come under scrutiny over a lens believed to be faulty. Patients who underwent artificial lens implant surgery have complained about loss of vision from their new lenses. The Independent on Sunday leads with a Labour Party attack on the government’s NHS policy, saying that the NHS is “missing key targets”, citing “failures on ambulances, A&E and cancer treatment”.

British Media on China

On the aftermath of the Shanghai New Year’s Eve stampede: the BBC reports that President Xi Jinping has “demanded an investigation” into the crush that killed 36 people, while The Guardian writes that there were “5,000 fewer police on duty than last new year”, which “may have contributed” to the incident. The Daily Telegraph writes that the incident has raised questions over “how such a disaster could ever occur in China’s largest and most cosmopolitan city”, while The Independent writes that China’s authorities are “under fire” over the incident.

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