Real estate is king for China’s cities as tax revenues stumble


BEIJING — China’s regional governments are taking in proceeds from land sales that are equivalent to more than half of the country’s combined tax revenue as coronavirus relief measures diminish traditional intake from levies.

This has buoyed the budgets of big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, which are seeing sustained building booms, but has done little to help other cities where real estate markets are in a funk.

Sales of government land brought 16% more in revenue last year at 8.41 trillion yuan ($1.30 trillion), a sum equivalent to the value-added tax and corporate income tax, two mainstays of China’s tax regime, combined.

Due to tax cuts targeted at fighting the pandemic and the slowdown in economic growth, overall tax receipts collected by the central and local governments shrank 2.3% to 15.43 trillion yuan in 2020, the first decline in 44 years. This put the intake from land sales at 55% of that figure, up from 26% in 2015.

Chinese municipalities often sell land to condominium developers. Local authorities also collect five other taxes relating to real estate, including one for using urban land. Revenue from the five taxes quadrupled over the decade through 2019 and expanded to 25% of local government receipts. Figures have yet to be disclosed for 2020.

In the top tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, the extra liquidity from coronavirus relief has sent an influx of money into their property markets. Condo sales have picked up.

Sales of state-owned land by area jumped by double digits last year in all four cities. Beijing’s land sale receipts climbed by 15%, and the other three cities enjoyed 50% gains. Certain inland metropolises like Chongqing and Xi’an also experienced a rise in land sale receipts.

At the other end of the scale, acreage sold in the cities of Tianjin and Zhengzhou shrank in 2020 from the previous year, causing budget receipts there to undershoot forecasts.

The coronavirus left deep scars in those cities, and demand for real estate failed to recover. At a November land auction in Tianjin, no developers showed up to bid, according to local news reports. Tianjin, a northeastern coastal city, ended up with a budget shortfall of more than 40% in 2020 after recording a deficit the previous year.

A lack of land revenue could have an impact on debt repayment by local governments, which fund infrastructure projects by issuing so-called special bonds. Money from real estate sales make up 90% of the pool used to repay the bonds. Local governments sold 3.75 trillion yuan of special bonds last year, up 1.6 trillion yuan from a year earlier.

Infrastructure investment is driving China’s economic recovery from the coronavirus, and this increased investment only raises the pressure for governments to repay the debt.

“If land transactions are underperforming, it will affect the debt management at local governments,” said Yan Yuejin at the E-house China R&D Institute, a real estate think tank, indicating risk to future infrastructure investment.

Some cities are loosening residency rules as a way to prop up their property markets.

In January, Fuzhou stopped requiring applicants to submit their ages, occupations and academic record when they sign up for household registration. The city in southeastern China aims to attract not only more highly skilled professionals, but also additional migrant workers coming from rural areas.

Fuzhou was home to 7.1 million people in 2019 based on household registry data. “Our goal is to top 10 million people by 2035,” a senior city official told Chinese media.

Suzhou will open household registries to those living in rental units, bucking the trend in several cities of limiting this privilege to homeowners. Home registry opens the door to better public services, which would attract new residents.

Suzhou and Nanjing, another city in Jiangsu Province, will mutually honor points toward household registry gained in each city. As long as new arrivals travel between the two cities, the points earned will not be reset. Suzhou and Nanjing aim to increase the mobility of workers between the two cities and expand the metropolitan region.

The coastal city of Qingdao is easing rules that restrict household registries to professionals with superior academic backgrounds. Even Guangzhou, with its robust real estate market, is proceeding with similar measures.

“As the working population contracts, cities look to secure labor and high-level professionals while the cities still project strong appeal,” said an observer.



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Ten-year-old Alice Springs girl stable in ICU after king brown snake bites her twice while in bed


A 10-year-old Alice Springs girl is in a stable condition in ICU after she was bitten twice by a mulga snake in her bed last night.

St John Ambulance was called to the Desert Springs home around 10:00pm Monday.

“The snake had taken refuge in the child’s bed by the sound of it,” St John regional manager Paul Bellman said.

“And they’ve put their legs in. At some stage, the snake’s woken up and not taken too kindly to the interruption to its sleep.”

Local snake catcher Rex Neindorf said the girl had likely touched the snake with one foot, causing the snake to bite her.

“And so she used her other foot to scratch the area where she was bitten, not knowing what had happened… and so the snake has then bit her on the bottom of the other foot,” he said.

Rex Neindorf said the girl “copped two pretty heavy, full bites”.(By Oliver Gordon)

The snake was later caught and identified as a mulga snake, or king brown, and more than one metre in length.

The species has highly toxic venom and Mr Bellman said they were infamous for being savage biters.

“It’s certainly the stuff of movies… finding a snake in your bed in the middle of the night.”

‘Needs a bravery award’

Mr Bellman said the girl was dealing with pain around the bites, and suffering from nausea and vomiting.

He praised the parents’ quick response in providing first aid before paramedics arrived.

“They started pressure immobilisation bandages, and got her well away from the snake, and tried to keep her as calm as possible,” he said.

Three snakes in a large container that have been caught over the weekend by Rex Neindorf from the Alice Springs Reptile Centre.
Rex Neindorf says recent weather patterns have sent snakes ‘beserk’.(Supplied: Rex Neindorf)

Rex Neindorf said the family remained remarkably calm.

“The girl needs a bravery award, and so does the rest of the family,” he said.

“I just can’t believe how calm they were.”

Humidity sends snakes ‘berserk’

Mr Bellman said the girl was resting in hospital after her ordeal.

He said she would be kept in hospital for some time, but the quick identification of the snake would help in her recovery.

Mr Neindorf said the girl “copped two pretty heavy, full bites” and would have required anti-venom.

He said recent humid conditions in Central Australia had led to an explosion of snake activity of late, after attending three callouts just on Tuesday morning — including a dog bite.

“When you get raised humidity … the snakes just go berserk, and that’s what’s happening,” he said.

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Joshua King: Everton sign Norway striker from Bournemouth


Joshua King began his career at Manchester United but did not play a senior game for the club before spending two seasons at Blackburn Rovers then moving to Bournemouth

Everton have signed striker Joshua King from Championship side Bournemouth on a deal until the end of the season.

King, 29, joined Bournemouth in 2015 and scored 53 goals in 184 games, but his contract was due to expire at the end of the 2020-21 season.

Fulham were also interested in the Norway forward but King opted for the Toffees, who have paid a nominal fee.

The deal is believed to be a six-month contract with an option to extend it at the end of the campaign.

King was linked with a move to his first club Manchester United in the January 2020 transfer window but Old Trafford boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer signed Nigeria forward Odion Ighalo instead.

In 2016-17 Bournemouth finished ninth in the Premier League – their highest position – and King’s 16 league goals were a key part of that successful season.

He netted six league goals last season as Bournemouth were relegated to the Championship.

They are sixth in the Championship this season but King has failed to find the net in 12 league matches – although he scored three times in the FA Cup.

Bournemouth made a late move to sign Republic of Ireland forward Shane Long, 34, on loan from Southampton, with the Saints bringing in Japan forward Takumi Minamino, 26, on loan from Liverpool.

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Legendary broadcaster Larry King has died in hospital, aged 87


Larry King, the suspenders-sporting everyman whose broadcast interviews with world leaders, movie stars and ordinary Joes helped define American conversation for a half-century, died Saturday. He was 87.

King died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Ora Media, the studio and network he co-founded, tweeted. No cause of death was given, although he had been hospitalised with COVID-19 earlier this month.

A longtime nationally syndicated radio host, from 1985 through 2010 he was a nightly fixture on CNN, where he won many honors, including two Peabody awards.

With his celebrity interviews, political debates and topical discussions, King wasn’t just an enduring on-air personality. He also set himself apart with the curiosity be brought to every interview, whether questioning the assault victim known as the “Central Park Jogger” or billionaire industrialist Ross Perot, who in 1992 rocked the presidential contest by announcing his candidacy on King’s show.

In its early years, “Larry King Live” was based in Washington, D.C., which gave the show an air of gravitas. Likewise King. He was the plainspoken go-between through whom Beltway bigwigs could reach their public, and they did, earning the show prestige as a place where things happened, where news was made.

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews. In 1995 he presided over a Middle East peace summit with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, King Hussein of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He welcomed everyone from the Dalai Lama to Elizabeth Taylor, from Mikhail Gorbachev to Barack Obama, Bill Gates to Lady Gaga.

Especially after he relocated to Los Angeles, his shows were frequently in the thick of breaking celebrity news, including Paris Hilton talking about her stint in jail in 2007 and Michael Jackson’s friends and family members talking about his death in 2009.

King boasted of never over-preparing for an interview. His non-confrontational style relaxed his guests and made him readily relatable to his audience.

“I don’t pretend to know it all,” he said in a 1995 Associated Press interview. “Not, ’What about Geneva or Cuba?’ I ask, ’Mr. President, what don’t you like about this job?’ Or ’What’s the biggest mistake you made?’ That’s fascinating.”

Melania Trump, Donald Trump, Larry King and Shawn Southwick King.
Camera IconMelania Trump, Donald Trump, Larry King and Shawn Southwick King. Credit: Jemal Countess/WireImage

At a time when CNN, as the lone player in cable news, was deemed politically neutral, and King was the essence of its middle-of-the-road stance, political figures and people at the center of controversies would seek out his show.

And he was known for getting guests who were notoriously elusive. Frank Sinatra, who rarely gave interviews and often lashed out at reporters, spoke to King in 1988 in what would be the singer’s last major TV appearance. Sinatra was an old friend of King’s and acted accordingly.

“Why are you here?” King asks. Sinatra responds, “Because you asked me to come and I hadn’t seen you in a long time to begin with, I thought we ought to get together and chat, just talk about a lot of things.”

King had never met Marlon Brando, who was even tougher to get and tougher to interview, when the acting giant asked to appear on King’s show in 1994. The two hit it off so famously they ended their 90-minute talk with a song and an on- the-mouth kiss, an image that was all over media in subsequent weeks.

After a gala week marking his 25th anniversary in June 2010, King abruptly announced he was retiring from his show, telling viewers, “It’s time to hang up my nightly suspenders.” Named as his successor in the time slot: British journalist and TV personality Piers Morgan.

Larry King and his ex-wife Shaun.
Camera IconLarry King and his ex-wife Shaun. Credit: Stuart Ramson/AP

By King’s departure that December, suspicion had grown that he had waited a little too long to hang up those suspenders. Once the leader in cable TV news, he ranked third in his time slot with less than half the nightly audience his peak year, 1998, when “Larry King Live” drew 1.64 million viewers.

His wide-eyed, regular-guy approach to interviewing by then felt dated in an era of edgy, pushy or loaded questioning by other hosts.

Meanwhile, occasional flubs had made him seem out of touch, or worse. A prime example from 2007 found King asking Jerry Seinfeld if he had voluntarily left his sitcom or been canceled by his network, NBC.

“I was the No. 1 show in television, Larry,” replied Seinfeld with a flabbergasted look. “Do you know who I am?“

Always a workaholic, King would be back doing specials for CNN within a few months of performing his nightly duties.

He found a new sort of celebrity as a plain-spoken natural on Twitter when the platform emerged, winning over more than 2 million followers who simultaneously mocked and loved him for his esoteric style.

“I’ve never been in a canoe. #Itsmy2cents,” he said in a typical tweet in 2015.

Larry King.
Camera IconLarry King. Credit: BRIAN K. DIGGS/AP

His Twitter account was essentially a revival of a USA Today column he wrote for two decades full of one-off, disjointed thoughts. Norm Macdonald delivered a parody version of the column when he played King on “Saturday Night Live,” with deadpan lines like, “The more I think about it, the more I appreciate the equator.”

King was constantly parodied, often through old-age jokes on late-night talk shows from hosts including David Letterman and Conan O’Brien, often appearing with the latter to get in on the roasting himself.

King came by his voracious but no-frills manner honestly.

He was born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger in 1933, a son of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who ran a bar and grill in Brooklyn. But after his father’s death when Larry was a boy, he faced a troubled, sometimes destitute youth.

A fan of such radio stars as Arthur Godfrey and comedians Bob & Ray, King on reaching adulthood set his sights on a broadcasting career. With word that Miami was a good place to break in, he headed south in 1957 and landed a job sweeping floors at a tiny AM station. When a deejay abruptly quit, King was put on the air – and was handed his new surname by the station manager, who thought Zeiger “too Jewish.”

A year later he moved to a larger station, where his duties were expanded from the usual patter to serving as host of a daily interview show that aired from a local restaurant. He quickly proved equally adept at talking to the waitresses, and the celebrities who began dropping by.

Legendary broadcaster Larry King has died in hospital, aged 87.
Camera IconLegendary broadcaster Larry King has died in hospital, aged 87. Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

By the early 1960s King had gone to yet a larger Miami station, scored a newspaper column and become a local celebrity himself.

At the same time, he fell victim to living large.

“It was important to me to come across as a ‘big man’,” he wrote in his autobiography, which meant “I made a lot of money and spread it around lavishly.”

He accumulated debts and his first broken marriages (he was married eight times to seven women). He gambled, borrowed wildly and failed to pay his taxes. He also became involved with a shady financier in a scheme to bankroll an investigation of President Kennedy’s assassination. But when King skimmed some of the cash to pay his overdue taxes, his partner sued him for grand larceny in 1971. The charges were dropped, but King’s reputation appeared ruined.

King lost his radio show and, for several years, struggled to find work. But by 1975 the scandal had largely blown over and a Miami station gave him another chance. Regaining his local popularity, King was signed in 1978 to host radio’s first nationwide call-in show.

Originating from Washington on the Mutual network, “The Larry King Show” was eventually heard on more than 300 stations and made King a national phenomenon.

I made a lot of money and spread it around lavishly.

A few years later, CNN founder Ted Turner offered King a slot on his young network. “Larry King Live” debuted on June 1, 1985, and became CNN’s highest- rated program. King’s beginning salary of $100,000 a year eventually grew to more than $7 million.

A three-packs-a-day cigarette habit led to a heart attack in 1987, but King’s quintuple-bypass surgery didn’t slow him down.

Meanwhile, he continued to prove that, in his words, “I’m not good at marriage, but I’m a great boyfriend.”

He was just 18 when he married high school girlfriend Freda Miller, in 1952. The marriage lasted less than a year. In subsequent decades he would marry Annette Kay, Alene Akins (twice), Mickey Sutfin, Sharon Lepore and Julie Alexander.

In 1997, he wed Shawn Southwick, a country singer and actress 26 years his junior. They would file for divorce in 2010, rescind the filing, then file for divorce again in 2019.

The couple had two sons, King’s fourth and fifth kids, Chance Armstrong, born in 1999, and Cannon Edward, born in 2000. In 2020, King lost his two eldest children, Andy King and Chaia King, who died of unrelated health problems within weeks of each other.

He had many other medical issues in recent decades, including more heart attacks and diagnoses of type 2 diabetes and lung cancer.

Early in 2021, CNN reported that King was hospitalized for more than a week with COVID-19.

Through his setbacks he continued to work into his late 80s, taking on online talk shows and infomercials as his appearances on CNN grew fewer.

“Work,” King once said. “It’s the easiest thing I do.”



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Larry King has died, aged 87


Larry King, the legendary American television and radio host, has died at the age of 87.

He passed away on Saturday morning (local time) at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, after receiving treatment for coronavirus, The Sun reports.

The tragic news was announced on Larry’s official Twitter page.

King was hospitalised shortly before Christmas after testing positive for coronavirus.

His iconic career spanned more than six decades – but the host suffered with Type 2 diabetes and from lung cancer, angina and heart attacks in recent years.

A statement from his representatives said: “With profound sadness Ora Media announces the death of our co-founder, host and friend Larry King, who passed away this morning at age 87 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

“For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry’s many thousands of interviews, awards and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster.

“Additionally while it was his name appearing in the shows’ titles, Larry always viewed his interview subjects as the true stars of his programs, and himself as merely an unbiased conduit between the guest and audience.”

Piers Morgan was among the star names leading tributes to the iconic broadcaster after his death was announced this afternoon.

He wrote: “Larry King was a hero of mine until we fell out after I replaced him at CNN & he said my show was ‘like watching your mother-in-law go over a cliff in your new Bentley.’ (He married 8 times so a mother-in-law expert.

“But he was a brilliant broadcaster & masterful TV interviewer.”

CNN anchor Jim Acosta wrote: “Broadcasting legend and longtime CNN host Larry King has passed away.

“He will be missed by so many CNN employees past and present. #RIPLarryKing.”

Sports journalist Keith Olbermann wrote: “My friend Larry King has died. It is literally true that thousands of us can make that sad statement this morning.

“While he was easily caricatured, I’ve never known anybody who made a bigger deal out of the slightest kindness afforded him.”

Boy George called King a “media legend” while others shared their favourite interviews from the broadcaster’s illustrious career.

HEARTBREAKING TRIBUTES

King was married eight times and had five children.

He was last pictured last month at home with two of his sons during Thanksgiving last November.

The broadcaster was admitted to hospital with Covid-19 shortly before Christmas but passed away after four weeks of treatment.

King was born in New York and started his career as a local journalist in Florida in the 1950s.

He gained global prominence after the launch of The Larry King Show in 1978 and went on to host Larry King Live on CNN from 1985 to 2010.

King interviewed a staggering number of celebrities, political leaders and public figures, including every US president from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump.

Among the celebrities he interviewed over the years were Marlon Brando, Snoop Dogg, Liza Minnelli, Jerry Seinfeld, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra and Sir Paul McCartney.

The statement announcing his death concluded: “Whether he was interviewing a US president, foreign leader, celebrity, scandal-ridden personage, or an everyman, Larry liked to ask short, direct, and uncomplicated questions.

“Larry’s interviews from his 25-year run on CNN’s ‘Larry King Live,’ and his Ora Media programs ‘Larry King Now,’ and ‘Politicking with Larry King’ are consistently referenced by media outlets around the world and remain part of the historical record of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.”

Funeral arrangements for King and a memorial service will be announced at a later date.

His family has requested privacy at this time.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

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US broadcast legend Larry King dies at 87


Larry King, the suspenders-wearing US broadcaster whose interviews with world leaders, movie stars and ordinary people helped define American conversation for decades, has died ages 87.

King died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, his social media accounts said in a statement on Saturday.

No cause of death was given King had been hospitalised earlier in January after contracting COVID-19.

With his celebrity interviews, political debates and topical discussions, King wasn’t just an enduring on-air personality.

He also set himself apart with the curiosity he brought to every interview on radio and on his Larry King Live nightly TV show.

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews with presidents, world leaders, Hollywood celebrities and sports stars during his radio and TV career that spanned more than 60 years.

He welcomed everyone from the Dalai Lama to Elizabeth Taylor, from Mikhail Gorbachev to Barack Obama, and Bill Gates to Lady Gaga.

His shows were frequently in the thick of breaking celebrity news, including Paris Hilton talking about her stint in jail in 2007 and Michael Jackson’s friends and family members talking about his death in 2009.

King boasted of never over-preparing for an interview, and his relaxed style helped his guests feel at east and made him relatable to his audience.

“I don’t pretend to know it all,” he said in a 1995 Associated Press interview.

Funeral arrangements and a memorial service will be announced later in coordination with the King family, according to the tweet on Saturday from Ora Media, the studio and network he co-founded.

King was born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger in 1933, a son of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who ran a bar and grill in Brooklyn.

But after his father’s death when Larry was a boy, he faced a troubled, sometimes destitute youth.

King set his sights on a broadcasting career and in Miami in 1957 he landed a job sweeping floors at a tiny AM station.

When a deejay abruptly quit, King was put on the air – and was handed his new surname by the station manager, who thought Zeiger “too Jewish”.

By the early 1960s King had gone to a larger Miami station, scored a newspaper column and become a local celebrity himself.

At the same time, he fell victim to living large.

“It was important to me to come across as a ‘big man’,” he wrote in his autobiography.

He was married eight times to seven women. He accumulated debts. He gambled, borrowed wildly and failed to pay his taxes.

A three-packs-a-day cigarette habit led to a heart attack in 1987, but King’s quintuple-bypass surgery didn’t slow him down.

Through his setbacks he continued to work into his late 80s, taking on online talk shows and infomercials as his appearances on CNN grew fewer.

“Work,” King once said. “It’s the easiest thing I do.”

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Legendary American talk show host Larry King dead at 87


Former CNN talk show host Larry King has died following a recent battle with COVID-19.

His company, Ora Media, made the announcement on his Twitter account.

The 87-year-old King had undergone treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles. Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported King had moved out of the intensive care unit.

The legendary broadcaster was among America’s most well-known interviewers of celebrities, presidents and other public figures. He hosted Larry King Live from 1985 to 2010.

More to come

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AFL 2021, pre-season news, updates, gym, Max King, St Kilda, Brett Ratten, Ben King, Gold Coast, Stuart Dew


King twins Max and Ben are ready to take another step in their AFL development in 2021.

After impressing over the last two years, the 200cm plus forwards have yet again bulked up across the summer as they continue their growth inside 50.

Max made his debut in the opening round of 2020 booting two goals, ending the season with 22 majors from 18 games, including two finals appearances.

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Round 1

New look Roos hoping to bounce back

2:03

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Tiger King star Joe Exotic doesn’t make list


Joe Exotic’s legal team was so confident the Tiger King star would get a pardon from President Trump that they had a limo parked near his prison — and hair and makeup at the ready.

But one of 2020’s most controversial figures is not being pardoned.

The White House this afternoon released details outlining the Executive Grants of Clemency – and Exotic wasn’t among them.

Mr Trump granted pardons to 73 individuals and commuted the sentences of an additional 70 individuals.

“This time tomorrow, we’re going to be celebrating,” Eric Love, who was leading Exotic’s bid for freedom, told Metro.co.uk in an interview Monday afternoon.

“We have good reason to believe it will come through,” he said of a presidential pardon for the Netflix star, who is serving 22 years for trying to hire a hit man to kill zookeeper rival Carole Baskin.

“We’re confident enough we already have a limousine parked about half a mile from the prison. We are really in action mode right now,” he said of a stretch limo near the Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth in Texas.

RELATED: Follow our live Inauguration Day updates here

Once word of a pardon was to come through, the driver would pick up the legal team as well as a team for the flamboyant star’s hair, makeup and wardrobe, Love told the Sun in a separate interview.

“We are not going to have any cameras with us. It’s going to be a very private moment,” Love said — but purely because Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, wants to be glammed up first.

“Joe is a very flamboyant person — Joe is a colourful personality. And if you look at someone when they’ve been incarcerated, they don’t look like that when they’re coming out,” Love told the Sun.

“So Joe’s got to have that platinum done, and well that’s what we got — hair, wardrobe and makeup. We’ve got the best in the business,” he said.

RELATED: Tiger King star’s tragic past revealed

Telling Metro that the Tiger King star’s hair was “the first order of business,” Love said they would then “probably go and get some pizzas, steak, maybe a McRib.”

They then planned to house him in a ranch just outside Fort Worth.

Love said they believed Trump would issue the high-profile pardon in part to “take most of the limelight away from President-elect Joe Biden” — and said they already had a thank you video recorded.

“We have it queued up and ready to go,” Love told Metro. “As soon as we get the word, we’re going to execute that video to the White House and thank them.”

Maldonado-Passage is a year into his sentence.

Trump previously said he would “take a look” at the pardon request.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and is reproduced here with permission.



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New owners of Tiger King zoo ordered to surrender cubs



Jeff and Lauren Lowe must hand over all tiger cubs and their mothers to the US government.

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