Qantas changes website to recognize Chinese territories

The Australian airline said it was amending an “oversight,” following in the footsteps of several other international corporations who were in the past week called out by Chinese authorities. (AFP)
Updated 16 January 2018
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Qantas changes website to recognize Chinese territories

SYDNEY: Australia’s Qantas has changed its website classification of Taiwan and Hong Kong from separate countries to Chinese territories after Chinese regulators scolded several foreign firms over similar listings.
The airline said Tuesday it was amending an “oversight,” following in the footsteps of several other international corporations who were in the past week called out by Chinese authorities.
“Due to an oversight, some Chinese territories were incorrectly listed as ‘countries’ on parts of our website,” a Qantas spokesperson said. “We are correcting this error.”
Shanghai’s cyberspace authority last week sent a stern message to international firms when it ordered Marriott to shut down its Chinese website for a week and amend what it termed the “illegal” categorization of regions Beijing claims under its authority.
Spanish clothing giant Zara, Delta Air Lines and Medtronic — a medical device company — were also called out for listing Tibet, Taiwan and Hong Kong as separate countries.
The firms were urged to “immediately alter their illegal content and publish apologies.”
They have since apologized and changed their websites.
In a separate rebuke, the Civil Aviation Administration of China noted in an online statement that Tibet and Taiwan were listed as countries on Delta’s official website.
The airline issued a public apology and amended its classification of the regions.
The backlash was triggered on Chinese social media after Marriott established a customer questionnaire in Mandarin asking members of the hotel chain’s rewards program to list their country of residence, offering Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan as possible options.
This drew the ire of authorities as Tibet is an “autonomous region” firmly under Chinese control since the 1950s.
Hong Kong and Macau are former British and Portuguese colonies, respectively, that are now “special administrative regions” of China.
Taiwan has been self-ruled since splitting from the mainland after a 1949 civil war, but Beijing continues to claim sovereignty over the island.


Iraq, Iran discuss boosting bilateral trade

Updated 17 November 2018
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Iraq, Iran discuss boosting bilateral trade

  • Both countries could raise annual bilateral trade to $20 billion from the current level of $12 billion
  • Iraqi President Barham Salih arrived Saturday and met with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani

DUBAI: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday Iran and Iraq could raise annual bilateral trade to $20 billion from the current level of $12 billion, in remarks carried live by state television.
“Today, the economic relations between the two countries reach about $12 billion (per year) and, through bilateral efforts, we can raise this figure to $20 billion,” Rouhani told visiting Iraqi President Barham Salih.

Salih's Iran visit comes less than two weeks after the United States restored oil sanctions that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal.
State TV says Barham Salih arrived Saturday and met with his Iranian counterpart, President Hassan Rouhani.
Iran, which has had major influence over Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, is hoping to maintain exports to its neighbor despite the renewed sanctions. Iraq is Iran’s second-largest market after China, buying everything from food and machinery to electricity and natural gas.
Trade between the two countries was some $7 billion in 2017, and they have vowed to boost it to $8.5 billion this year.

(With AP)