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Putin Warns of Degrading European Security System, Growing Risk of New Arms Race

Vladimir Putin has written a major article for the German newspaper Die Zeit, marking the 80th anniversary of the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union, in which he made a warning about the deteriorating security situation in Europe."The whole system of European security has now degraded significantly. Tensions are rising and the risks of a new arms race are becoming real. We are missing out on the tremendous opportunities that cooperation offers – all the more important now that we are all facing common challenges, such as the pandemic and its dire social and economic consequences", Putin said in his article Being Open, Despite the Past.He said that Russia opted for beneficial relations with the EU, believing it is possible to build Europe in accordance with Charles de Gaulle's idea - "from the Atlantic to the Urals", or even "from Lisbon to Vladivostok".However, the European Union decided to go in a different direction, which resulted in the ascension of Germany to NATO, this "relic of the Cold War" and the subsequent expansion of the bloc in Eastern Europe."Since 1999, five more waves of NATO expansion have followed. The organisation granted membership to 14 new countries, including several republics of the former Soviet Union, which effectively buried hopes of creating a continent without dividing lines", Putin explained.The president noted that this policy had forced many countries to make an unnatural choice between Russia and the West."The Ukrainian tragedy of 2014 is an example of the consequences that this aggressive policy has led to. Europe actively supported the unconstitutional armed coup in Ukraine. This was where it all started. Why was it necessary to do this? Then incumbent [Ukrainian] president [Viktor] Yanukovych had already accepted all the demands of the opposition. Why did the USA organise the coup and the European countries weak-heartedly support it, provoking a split within Ukraine and the withdrawal of Crimea?", Putin said.According to Putin, Moscow is ready to restore partnership with Europe, since there are many topics of mutual interests."I reiterate that Russia is in favour of restoring a comprehensive partnership with Europe. We have many topics of mutual interest. These include security and strategic stability, healthcare and education, digitalisation, energy, culture, science and technology, and the resolution of climate and environmental issues", he added.(SPUTNIK)

Obama backs Manchin's voting rights compromise

Former President Barack Obama put his weight behind Sen. Joe Manchin’s voting rights proposal in Congress, urging Republicans to join with Democrats to pass the legislation.Obama said that the Manchin proposal is “a product of compromise,” and that it is “an effort by maybe the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, or maybe the most conservative Democrat in Congress … to come up with some commonsense reforms that the majority of Americans agree with, that Democrats and Republicans can agree with.”Obama said he was taking the unusual step of commenting on a debate in Congress because the stakes for the country are high, in his view.“I have tried to make it a policy not to weigh in on the day-to-day scrum in Washington, but what is happening this week is more than just a particular bill coming up or not coming up to a vote,” the former president said.“I do want folks who may not be paying close attention to what’s happening ... to understand the stakes involved here, and why this debate is so vitally important to the future of our country.”Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, has opposed the sweeping For the People Act since it was introduced earlier this year, but last week he released a list of compromise measures he would be willing to back. He would favor 15 days of early voting and making Election Day a public holiday, as well as automatic voter registration. But he also backs requiring voter ID and does not favor universal no-excuse absentee voting, two positions favored by many Republicans.Manchin’s compromise would also ban the practice of partisan gerrymandering, in which state legislatures redraw congressional districts in irregular shapes that are designed to give their party an advantage. Good-government advocates say that nonpartisan commissions should redraw the lines every 10 years, and this is what Manchin is supporting.His memo also contained proposed changes to a separate bill — the John Lewis Act — which deals with restoring the Voting Rights Act, whose provisions were weakened in 2013 by the U.S. Supreme Court.Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has been outspoken already in opposing Manchin’s compromise. That will make it hard, maybe impossible, for Democrats to win over the 10 Republicans they need to pass the legislation. But the bill is expected to be introduced Tuesday, and the views of Republican senators will become clearer as the Senate debates it and amendments are offered.Obama framed his support for the legislation in the context of a larger history, in which voting rights have periodically come under assault, and at a moment when democratic norms and freedoms are threatened in the U.S. and abroad.He traced the evolution of the Republicans’ stance on voter fraud, and the insistence by GOP lawmakers over the last 20 years that obstacles to voting were needed to prevent fraud, despite their ongoing failure to document any meaningful examples of cheating.Obama also admitted that both Democrats and Republicans have abused the redistricting process.But he said that in addition to Republican-controlled states where the legislatures are rolling back access to early voting and voting by mail, there is a startling rise in Republican legislatures passing laws that would make it easier for politicians to overturn, change or meddle with election results after Election Day.“Republican politicians who didn’t like the outcome of the presidential election … now want to change the rules for how ballots are counted, and who gets to count them,” Obama said.He admitted that “individually, each one of these laws making it harder to vote may not seem like a big deal” and that “a lot of people voted in the last election.” But, he cautioned, “the violence that occurred in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, just a few months ago, should remind us that we can’t take our democracy for granted."“Around the world, we’ve seen once-vibrant democracies go in reverse,” Obama said. “It is happening in other places around the world, and these impulses have crept into the United States. … We are not immune from some of these efforts to weaken our democracy."“If we have the same kinds of shenanigans that brought about Jan. 6, you know — if we have that for a couple more election cycles, we’re going to have real problems in terms of our democracy long term.”(YAHOO)

Slain Journo Khashoggi Covered Afghan Mujahideen With ‘Good Friend’ Osama Bin Laden

A new podcast raises questions about slain Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi and his relationship with a close family friend - al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden - with whom he traveled to Afghanistan in the 1980s. Was bin Laden simply a gateway to a career-launching story, or a brother-in-arms on behalf of Islamic fundamentalism?“I collapsed a little while ago crying in sorrow for you Aba Abdullah, you were beautiful and courageous in those beautiful days in Afghanistan before you succumbed to anger and passion,” Khashoggi tweeted on May 2, 2011, using the nom de guerre of Osama bin Laden from his years as a mujahid in Afghanistan. Hours earlier, then-US President Barack Obama had announced the death of bin Laden during a raid in northern Pakistan by US Navy Seals.“His fault began with his acquaintance with the Egyptian [Islamic] Jihad group, Peshawar, and we used to call them the infidels,” Khashoggi lamented. “Sheikh Abdullah Azzam was an impenetrable dam in the face of Osama and others with advice and gentleness.”According to the latest episode of Yahoo News’ “Conspiracyland” podcast, friends of Khashoggi have described a conflicted man who was at times unsure about condemning bin Laden’s terrorist activities in later years, as the two largely shared the same political goals: establishment of an Islamic state.‘A Beautiful Thing to Me’Bin Laden had traveled to the Central Asian country as early as 1980 for the US-backed insurgent war against the socialist Afghan government and its Soviet allies, called into the country in 1979 to save its collapsing authority as soldiers abandoned their posts and rallied to the cause of radical preachers in the countryside who condemned the government’s secular policies, such as the education of women. However, while bin Laden clearly came to take up the mission of a religious war against atheism, Khashoggi was, at least formally, there as a journalist to cover the war for the Saudi press, although he came in 1988 at the personal invitation of bin Laden.“Arab youths fight shoulder to shoulder with Mujahedeen,” was the title of one story by Khashoggi written for Arab News, an English-language publication, on May 4, 1988. According to Conspiracyland, his writings tended to lionize mujaheddin like bin Laden, who he especially portrayed as playing a central role in the war.According to journalist Lawrence Wright, who recorded several conversations with Khashoggi in 2005 for his book “The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11” that were quoted in the podcast, Khashoggi spoke fondly of his time with bin Laden in Afghanistan, where the lines between covering the war and taking part in it became blurred.“It was moving because we were in a cave,” Khashoggi told Wright about one of his fondest moments with bin Laden. “It was dark at night, on candlelight. He had a sentiment of Muslims, a concept of jihad, and of being close to God. Knowing that you’re doing the right thing ... fighting those bloody Soviet infidels. It was a beautiful thing to me, particularly at that age.”Family FriendsThe friendship of bin Laden and Khashoggi was no accident: decades earlier, Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, the founder of the Saudi Binladin Group and father of Osama, had helped jumpstart the career of a young businessman who facilitated the timely purchase of $500,000 in trucks from American automaker Kenworth: Adnan Khashoggi.As Saudi Binladin became the kingdom’s premier construction firm following Mohammed’s appointment as minister of public works, Adnan Khashoggi became more deeply intertwined with the US-Saudi military relationship, becoming a representative for defense giant Lockheed Martin, who most infamously helped coordinate the secret flow of American arms to Iran during the Iran-Contra scandal.According to Egypt Today, Jamal Khashoggi joined the Muslim Brotherhood while in college. For decades, the Saudi monarchy and the Brotherhood enjoyed a mutually-beneficial relationship, but as differences emerged in their approaches to purging the Muslim world of its European and secular influences, they grew apart until 2012. That was when the Brotherhood was swept into power in Egypt’s first democratic elections, made possible by the overthrow of longtime US and Saudi ally Hosni Mubarak. A year later, when Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown by US-trained army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, relations between Riyadh and Cairo were quickly restored and the Brotherhood grew all the more critical of the monarchy.The Arab Spring movement sparked a major resistance movement in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, which is majority-Shiite, and the Sunni Saudi monarchy regarded criticisms against it by the Shiites and the Brotherhood to be one in the same. A series of restrictive new laws clamped down on internet organizing by activists from both camps, and by 2017, the Saudis had declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.These divisions manifested in Khashoggi’s paper, Al Watan, from which he was booted as editor in 2003 after publishing an article that criticized a prominent historical figure from the Wahabbist Sunni tradition followed by the Saudi monarchy. Khashoggi went into voluntary exile in London and began to establish a reputation for himself as a democrat and a progressive. However, his views on democracy were nothing like those of the Westerners who celebrated him, arguing in a Washington Post op-ed a little more than a month before he was assassinated that “the eradication of the Muslim Brotherhood is nothing less than an abolition of democracy.” ‘We Are No Better Than Him’After the duo returned to Saudi Arabia from Afghanistan, their paths sharply diverged. While Khashoggi’s journalistic career took off and he became editor of Al-Watan, bin Laden followed Egyptian Islamic Jihad to Khartoum, Sudan, to plan a military campaign against the US forces that had been stationed in Saudi Arabia in conjunction with the US war and continuing confrontation with Iraq through the 1990s.According to Wright, Khashoggi was sent to Khartoum by the bin Laden family to convince Osama to give up the terrorist’s path and return to the kingdom. He reportedly stayed with bin Laden for three nights to argue his case, but found him intransigent and unconcerned by Khashoggi’s warnings he would be ostracized.According to Yahoo News, although Khashoggi never condoned al-Qaeda’s killing of innocent people with its terrorist acts, he also never renounced his friendship with bin Laden, either.Nawaf Obaid, a Saudi academic and colleague of Khashoggi's, told Yahoo that after Al-Qaeda carried out the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which killed more than 3,000 people in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, Khashoggi faced a moment of reckoning on his former friend.“‘If we cannot come out and condemn this, then we are no better than him,’” he continued. “And [Khashoggi] took the pictures and he went quiet. And then several hours later, I saw him again and he said, ‘Yeah, you're right.’” However, Khashoggi's connections to bin Laden were well-known, and Jordanian journalist and former Khashoggi colleague Salameh Nematt told the Washington Post that sometime in the early 2000, he had been forced to convince Jordanian authorities not to deport Khashoggi after suspecting him of having ties to al-Qaeda.“He was getting into trouble all the time because of his connections with al-Qaeda groups, but he was doing that as a journalist,” Nematt said. “He was very well linked, to the point where some people suspected he was financing extremist groups. I personally was convinced he was doing his job as a journalist and covering both sides.”(SPUTNIK)

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North Carolina political operative pleads guilty to ballot fraud

A campaign operative at the center of the 2018 North Carolina ballot fraud scandal pleaded guilty on Monday to illegally accepting Social Security benefits while concealing other money that he had earned, The Associated Press reported.Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. pleaded guilty to theft of government property and Social Security fraud and faces up to 15 years in prison. His sentencing hearing has been set for Aug. 23.Dowless was indicted last year after evidence revealed that he had received around $135,000 in 2017 and 2018 for his work on both state and federal campaigns, the AP reported. At the same time, he applied for Social Security benefits in 2018 and claimed to have not been working for the past few years.Dowless worked on the 2018 congressional campaign for Republican candidate Mark Harris. Harris initially led his Democratic opponent Dan McCready by several hundred votes before it was revealed that Dowless had collected and filled out hundreds of absentee ballots in a rural North Carolina county.In February 2019, Dowless was arrested and charged with multiple counts of obstruction of justice, conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and possession of absentee ballots.Harris has claimed not to have been aware that Dowless's ballot fraud scheme was illegal. John Harris, Mark Harris's son, later testified that he had informed his father that he believed Dowless's actions were illegal, though the elder Harris went on to hire Dowless anyway.After the scandal broke, the North Carolina State Board of Elections voted unanimously to call for a new election, which Harris did not run in, even though he himself had requested the redo after months of initially calling for the election board to certify him as the winner.Republican Rep. Dan Bishop (N.C.) went on to win the new election.(THE HILL)


Putin Warns of Degrading European Security System, Growing Risk of New Arms Race

Vladimir Putin has written a major article for the German newspaper Die Zeit, marking the 80th anniversary of the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union, in which he made a warning about the deteriorating security situation in Europe."The whole system of European security has now degraded significantly. Tensions are rising and the risks of a new arms race are becoming real. We are missing out on the tremendous opportunities that cooperation offers – all the more important now that we are all facing common challenges, such as the pandemic and its dire social and economic consequences", Putin said in his article Being Open, Despite the Past.He said that Russia opted for beneficial relations with the EU, believing it is possible to build Europe in accordance with Charles de Gaulle's idea - "from the Atlantic to the Urals", or even "from Lisbon to Vladivostok".However, the European Union decided to go in a different direction, which resulted in the ascension of Germany to NATO, this "relic of the Cold War" and the subsequent expansion of the bloc in Eastern Europe."Since 1999, five more waves of NATO expansion have followed. The organisation granted membership to 14 new countries, including several republics of the former Soviet Union, which effectively buried hopes of creating a continent without dividing lines", Putin explained.The president noted that this policy had forced many countries to make an unnatural choice between Russia and the West."The Ukrainian tragedy of 2014 is an example of the consequences that this aggressive policy has led to. Europe actively supported the unconstitutional armed coup in Ukraine. This was where it all started. Why was it necessary to do this? Then incumbent [Ukrainian] president [Viktor] Yanukovych had already accepted all the demands of the opposition. Why did the USA organise the coup and the European countries weak-heartedly support it, provoking a split within Ukraine and the withdrawal of Crimea?", Putin said.According to Putin, Moscow is ready to restore partnership with Europe, since there are many topics of mutual interests."I reiterate that Russia is in favour of restoring a comprehensive partnership with Europe. We have many topics of mutual interest. These include security and strategic stability, healthcare and education, digitalisation, energy, culture, science and technology, and the resolution of climate and environmental issues", he added.(SPUTNIK)


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How will battery revolution power our future? Promising applications

Editor's note: Djoomart Otorbaev is the former prime minister of the Kyrgyz Republic, a distinguished professor of the Belt and Road School of Beijing Normal University, and a member of Nizami Ganjavi International Center. This is the second piece of his series on modern batteries. The article reflects the author's views and not necessarily those of CGTN.Two main reasons are driving the current trend for massive investments in the battery industry: the explosive demand for electric vehicles (EVs) and the dramatic rise in the cost of industrial metals. Thanks to strict emission standards set by regulators to bring new cars to market, global EV sales have more than doubled over the past year. In addition, an increasing number of countries, such as Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland and India, have confirmed banning gasoline and diesel vehicles from 2030.A record 1.3 million electric vehicles were sold in China in 2020, representing 41 percent of global EV sales, just behind Europe with 42 percent. The U.S. was far behind with just 2.4 percent. Analyst firm Canalys predicts that 1.9 million EVs will be sold in China in 2021, up by 51 percent from the year earlier, and the EV's share of all cars sold in China will reach an impressive 9 percent. "We are no longer talking about subsidies; they now represent a small fraction of the total cost of a car, only about a tenth," says Mark Mao, an analyst at JPMorgan Asset Management.This optimism is further reinforced by the fact that battery manufacturers are cutting production costs. For the traditional lithium-ion battery – the most expensive component in an electric vehicle – cell prices have dropped by nearly 90 percent over the past decade to about $110 per kilowatt per hour (kWh) last year, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence consultancy.Today, on average, EVs are 45 percent more expensive than conventional gasoline-powered vehicles. But this gap is constantly closing. According to analysts at UBS, there are only three years left before price parity is reached. After that, the demand for EVs will increase even more, which automatically means an increase in the need for batteries.It is solid-state batteries that will replace lithium-ion counterparts soon. Solid-state batteries will be safer, cheaper and last longer without sacrificing performance, requiring fewer raw materials. They are lighter, fully charge in about 10 minutes, and have a higher energy density to provide double or more range. Much less copper and aluminum will be needed. In addition, it is possible to exclude graphite and cobalt from the production process. Finally, disposing of solid-state batteries is much easier and safer.Attendees in front of a Porsche SE Taycan luxury electric automobile using an LG Energy Solution Co. battery at the InterBattery 2021 in Seoul, South Korea, June 9, 2021. /GettyOn average, solid-state batteries will be able to store 80 percent more energy than lithium-ion ones of the same weight and volume. The energy density of conventional batteries has increased annually by 4 percent over the past two decades to 0.7 kWh per liter (kWh/L). It corresponds to a range of about 500 kilometers for a passenger car. But further expansion was challenging to achieve due to the volume occupied by the cells and liquid electrolytes.Solid-state batteries offer step-change. Not only will they increase the energy density of the battery cells to 1 kWh/L – for a driving range of 800 km – but they can also withstand more charge cycles before degradation begins. They will also store more energy over a much longer lifespan, allowing the usage of just one battery for 1 million miles.Silicon Valley startup QuantumScape, backed by Volkswagen and Bill Gates, is currently attracting the most attention. The company aims to commercialize batteries as early as 2024. Since its listing last year, its shares have gone up by more than 1,000 percent, and at one stage, it had a market capitalization of nearly $50 billion, more than GM's value.An analysis of the number of acquired patents makes it possible to understand how close the manufacturers are to commercialization. Since 2005, according to the European Patent Office, the number of new patent applications for batteries and energy storage equipment has grown four times faster than the average for all other technology areas. The highest growth rates were achieved in solid-state batteries, indicating a faster-than-expected time to market.Nine of the top 10 patent holders are Asian companies. Seven of them, led by Panasonic and Toyota, are based in Japan, with Samsung and LG in South Korea. The only representative of another region was the German concern Bosch, which ranks at fifth place.Companies that currently dominate the traditional sectors of battery, vehicle and accessory manufacturing and have access to materials sourcing are at substantially better starting positions for mass production of batteries.For these reasons, several Asian companies appear to be in the best position to win the solid-state battery competition. This year, Toyota will unveil a prototype battery that takes only 10 minutes to charge and will last for 500 km. Their Lexus LF-30 compact solid-state battery concept model has introduced two years ago and now holds 1,000 patents for solid-state battery technology. Solid-state batteries deteriorate much less over time, and Toyota aims to achieve 90 percent of the battery's performance over a 30-year lifetime.A similar development from Samsung may offer a battery capable of supporting up to 800 km on a single charge. Moreover, their life cycle of more than 1,000 charges is qualitatively different from existing batteries, which lose capacity after 60 charges. In no time, we will see revolutionary changes in the development of advanced batteries that will change our world forever.(CGTN)


Sooner or later, Chinese astronauts will walk on the Moon

Editor's note: Yang Yuguang is vice chair of the Space Transportation Committee of the International Astronautical Federation. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.On June 17, China sent the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft and three astronauts to an orbiting space station module. After more than 60 years of development, China has already become a big player in space.It has been number two in launches several times in recent years, and sometimes even number one. The scale of the space industry and correlated production has played a very important role in the national economy and in daily life.However, China is not yet an advanced country in space. The only two advanced countries, or space superpowers, are the U.S. and the former Soviet Union/Russia. China still has a lot of things to do to achieve that designation.Remote sensing/Earth observation satellites, communication satellites and navigation satellites can serve the economy directly. Although China has already launched and is now operating many of these satellites, and some of them have very high performance as good as those in advanced countries, the downstream industry still needs to be enhanced. More advanced satellites are planned and will be developed, but applications will also be booming.For instance, China has completed the construction of Beidou-3 Navigation Satellite constellation and begun to provide accurate positioning and timing services to the whole globe, but we still have a long way to achieve the scale of GPS. With more and more mobile phone providers adopting chips that support Beidou navigation signals, we can visualize forming a huge industry like GPS.Concerning lunar exploration and deep space exploration, in certain fields, China has already become an advanced country. China is the first country in the world that achieved a soft landing on the far side of the Moon. Chang'e-4 lander and its Jade Rabbit-2 rover are still working there. China's Chang'e-5 sample return mission brought back 1.731kg of lunar soil and rocks – much greater than the sum of all samples returned by Luna-16, 20 and 24 missions of the Soviet Union.Astronauts Nie Haisheng (C), Liu Boming (L) and Tang Hongbo are on China's first crewed space station mission. /CMGMoreover, the Chang'e-5 achieved the world's first unmanned automatic rendezvous and docking in circumlunar orbit. China is also the second country in the world, just behind the U.S., to put a probe on the Martian surface and perform scientific research. For manned space flights, China has sent 11 astronauts to space and safely got them back in six Shenzhou flight missions.But we should also aware that the Soviet Union sent the first cosmonaut into space 60 years before, and U.S. astronauts had walked on the Moon more than half a century before. The International Space Station (ISS) has been crewed for over 20 years continuously. To be an advanced country in human space flight, China must have its own space station.Because China is still a developing country, China's Tiangong space station is much smaller than ISS. Its initial phase will have three modules, the Tianhe core module, Wentian experimental module and Mengtian experimental module, plus the Tianzhou cargo ship and Shenzhou crewed spaceship. The combination will be about 100t, about 1/4 of the size of ISS. But this station is expandable. By adding another core module, and the other two experimental modules, the whole scale can reach 180t after 2030.After being launched on 29 April,  the Tianhe-1 core module is already orbiting the Earth. With Tianzhou-2 cargo ship docking to it, we now have supplies that can support 3 astronauts to stay in the station for 3 months. The Shenzhou-12 spaceship will bring three Chinese astronauts to the Tianhe-1 and perform scientific and engineering research, including regenerative life support, long-term residence and robotic arm operations. Although we do not construct the station directly, Shenzhou-12/13 and Tianzhou-2/3 missions will help verify all the necessary technologies to operate the station. Only when all these have been approved will the name of Tianhe-1 change from "experimental core module" to formal "core module", or another core module will be launched to replace Tianhe-1.For China, the mark of an advanced country in human space flight is to complete the construction of the Tiangong space station and operate it properly. But leaders of China aerospace and some Chinese astronauts have also expressed their wish to have human missions to the Moon. Although Chang'e-5 sample return mission is only a robotic one, its mission profile is very similar to Apollo missions. China is also performing much preparatory work for potential human lunar missions, such as the 500t level rocket engine and a prototype of a new generation manned spaceship. Sooner or later, Chinese astronauts will walk on the Moon.While it can be concluded that China still has a long way to go before becoming an advanced country in space, it's certain that Chinese aerospace will achieve this goal in coming decades.(CGTN)


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Iran says parties 'closer than ever' to agreement on reviving JCPOA

Negotiators for Iran and six world powers will adjourn their talks on reviving their 2015 nuclear deal on Sunday and return to respective capitals for consultations as remaining differences cannot be easily overcome, Iran's delegation chief said."We are now closer than ever to an agreement but the distance that exists between us and an agreement remains and bridging it is not an easy job," Abbas Araqchi, Iran's envoy and deputy foreign minister, told Iranian state TV from Vienna. "We will return to Tehran tonight."Since April, negotiations have been going on in Vienna to iron out steps Iran and the United States must take on nuclear activities and sanctions to return to full compliance with the nuclear pact, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).Washington withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Tehran. In response, Iran gradually stopped implementing parts of its JCPOA commitments from May 2019.Sunday's meeting, the sixth round of talks in the Austrian capital, took place a day after Ebrahim Raisi, a hardliner,won the presidential electionin Iran. Negotiators have said the election is not expected to influence the talks, though Raisi's views are widely seen as a break from the more moderate stances of outgoing President Hassan Rouhani.Supporters of Ebrahim Raisi celebrate for his victory in the Iranian presidential election in Tehran, Iran, June 19, 2021. /Getty"Bridging the gaps requires decisions that mainly the other party (Washington) has to take. I hope in the next round we will travel this short distance – albeit a difficult one," Araqchi said.U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday that there are still disagreements between Iran and the world powers, reiterating that the ultimate decision on the issue lies with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei."There is still a fair distance to travel on some of the key issues, including on sanctions and on the nuclear commitments that Iran has to make," Sullivan said in an interview with broadcaster ABC News, adding that the question of which sanctions on Iran were to be lifted was still being discussed.Mikhail Ulyanov, the Russian envoy at the EU-chaired talks, said Sunday's meeting would "decide on the way ahead." "An agreement on restoration of the nuclear deal is within reach but is not finalized yet," he wrote on Twitter on Saturday.China has stressed that in order to resume full compliance with the JCPOA, the U.S. should first lift its unilateral sanctions against Iran, including "long-arm jurisdiction" against third-party entities and individuals.Iran's arch-enemy, Israel, on Sunday condemned Raisi's election. In a televised statement at the start of the government meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Raisi's victory is a "final wake-up call" for the world powers not to renew the nuclear deal.Like his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu, Bennett is an opponent of the renewal of the nuclear deal between the world powers and Iran.(CGTN)


APD | Indian media faces backlash in Nepal again for calling 'Chinese Flood'

By APD writer Shristi KafleAs Nepal has been struggling against the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the monsoon-induced calamity has added more tragedy.Floods and landslides across the country have created havoc since last week, as many lives have been lost and hundreds of families have been displaced. Amid such, the Indian media has once again created a false narrative which has upset the Nepali public, who are already suffering with impacts of pandemic and disaster. Indian Media News24 reported last week that China has designed a plan against India via Nepal through the use of water. It accused China of building a hydro electric project in the bordering Sindhupalchowk district by deviating the way of at least 11 rivers. "Thus, the increasing pressure in the rivers has increased the risk of floods in Nepal," it further said.The media reported that the latest flood has impacted not just Nepal, but even India, particularly the Bihar state. "Half of the Bihar can face the inundation," it said. It also shared that at least 1.8 million Nepali could be affected this time. Monsoon-induced disasters in Nepal are yearly phenomenon in the Himalayan country, due to vulnerable geography and most importantly, the gradual impacts of climate change. The rivers flow from north to south, Nepal to India, since centuries, which is a basic information ignored by the Indian media. However, the Indian media tried to reject the natural disaster stating that it’s a "Xi Jinping's Water Plan" against India via Nepal. It also repeatedly used the terms like "Dragon's Ploy" and 'Nepal-India in Danger" to create a false narrative among the public. Discarding the natural factors, the Indian media accused China of making plans against India through floods, stating that China is working in at least 6 hydropower projects in Sindhupalchowk district. The 15-minute- long report presented the baseless reporting, which has been viewed for at least 32,000 times in its YouTube channel alone, and filled with hateful comments.The Indian media has been facing a lot of criticism for its coverage of the tragedy. People have taken the social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to express their anger over such false and insensitive narratives. Priyasha Maharjan commented in YouTube, "Shame on you and your journalism. Stop blaming China for everything your government cannot manage and stop using Nepal in your fight.""Please don’t make the natural disaster as propaganda. Please try to be conscious and control your madness," another comment reads.Nepali People have complained that the coverage had been insensitive and shameful, among other things. There are stories aplenty of how the Indian media, mostly the TV channels, have covered the latest flood. People have mostly commented with "Rest in Peace Indian Media."Anjali Rajbanshi said, "You should first learn about Nepal and Indian geography."Arun Budhathoki, a Nepali journalist, tweeted, "I've many friends in India but please this sort of garbage is too much to handle." Another journalist Santosh Ghimire tweeted, "Propaganda machine."Krishna Kumal, an engineer, said, "Are they so insensitive towards Nepalese?"Many in Nepal feel that the "outsized" coverage of the Indian media is done with an aim to shade the efforts being made by the northern neighbor China to help Nepal fight the pandemic.  China has been supporting Nepal through vaccines and essential medical supplies to battle the shortage of public health infrastructures and help save lives. It has already sent 1.8 million doses of vaccines to Nepal as part of grant assistance. This is not the first time that the Indian media has faced criticism in Nepal. It had received similar backlash in the past several times including the insensitive coverage of devastating earthquake of 2015.Even the Indian audiences have enough frustrations against the Indian TV channels. Amid such, experts believe that it is time now for India's news channel to introspect and do some credible and factual reporting and enhance the declining quality of Indian media.(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)


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14 killed in jihadist attack on Nigeria military base

Jihadists killed 14 security personnel and civilians in an attack on a military base in northeast Nigeria's Borno state on Wednesday, security sources told AFP.Suspected Boko Haram fighters in trucks fitted with machine guns launched a dawn raid on the army base in the town of Damboa, sparking intense fighting.Sources said six soldiers, four police officers and two members of a government-backed militia were killed along with two civilians."We lost six soldiers in the attack while six others were injured," a military officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.The officer claimed 13 insurgents were killed by a fighter jet as they fled the area.The leader of an anti-jihadist militia said the civilians who died were among more than 50 local residents hit by shrapnel after rocket-propelled grenades fired by the jihadists hit nearby homes.Nigeria's decade-long jihadist insurgency has killed 36 000 people and displaced two million others inside the country, and spilled into neighbouring Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.The United Nations has complained of a surge in violence in the conflict zone in recent weeks.Anger has been growing among local residents about the army's failure to stem the attacks despite repeated claims from officials that the insurgency has been defeated.(CGTN)


One dead, multiple injured shot near skate park in California

A 23-year-old male was shot dead and five others were injured following a shooting at a party near a skate park in Tulare County, California, late Wednesday night, ABC News reported citing local police.The conditions of the other shooting victims are unclear, including a 7-year-old girl who is suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, police said at a press conference.Police said a "solo suspect shooter" walked up to the party and fired multiple rounds.(CGTN)


Life Stylemore >>

Instruments of change

Xu Yachong plays the guqin in Xuchang village of Lankao county, Henan province.[Photo by Zhu Xingxin/China Daily]Trees ease desertification in Henan province, and have also helped locals tune into a more prosperous life.Paulownia trees in Lankao county, of Henan province stand as stoic reminders of dedication and the ability to survive in harsh environments.Back in the 1960s, when locals suffered in the hands of strong winds and sandstorm, the late Party secretary Jiao Yulu proposed planting paulownia trees across the county as part of the fight to stave off desertification, drastically improve the natural environment and change the lives of future generations.It's also a testament to surviving poverty. As a plant, it is hard to deform or crack, and with its porous wood, capable of a full resonance and stentorian sound, paulownia is a suitable material to make musical instruments. In recent decades, many residents have, literally, carved out a better life and escaped poverty by doing just that.Now, rows of tall paulownia trees stand straight along the streets of Lankao, with their leaves whispering in the wind, as if telling legendary stories of the county while symbolizing a decadeslong friendship between humans and nature.(中国网英文)


Charity fund to preserve, promote ancient Chinese books

A special fund was launched in Beijing on Thursday to promote protection of ancient Chinese books.As per an agreement reached among China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation, National Library of China, and ByteDance, the internet company which owns TikTok, the fund will be used for conservation, studies, and digitization of key collection of ancient books housed in the national library. Training of experts in ancient book restoration, and promotion of relevant knowledge cultural resources will also be involved in the program.ByteDance will donate 10 million yuan ($1.56 million) to start the charity fund. The focus of the first phase plans to cover restoration of copies of Yongle Dadian, a Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) encyclopedia, a tome that largely got scattered during the years but was gradually collected in recent decades. Operators of the fund also expect the project to encourage more follow-up cooperation between public institutions and wider sections of society to restoration of ancient books.(中国网英文)


Sportsmore >>

China beat Chinese Taipei again to close out Asia Cup qualifiers

China beat Chinese Taipei 91-73 in their last FIBA Asia Cup qualifier game in the Philippines on Sunday, finishing the tournament with four straight wins.China's victory over Japan on Saturday had already secured the team a spot in the coming Asia Cup that will start on August 17 in Indonesia.However, coach Du Feng did not want to give up the last game. Though he did not send Zhou Qi or Ren Junfei to the court, Du remained demanding of his players in Sunday's game. Twenty-one-year-old Zhang Zhenlin was even criticized for his underperformance on the floor.China's players were in the best shooting form in the first half, but Zhou Peng's tough 2-plus-1 play, Wu Qian's 3-pointer, plus Wang Shaojie's last-second floater gave their team a 12-point lead (28-16) in the first quarter. Chinese Taipei enhanced their charging of the paint in the second quarter and narrowing the deficit down to 10 points (49-39).Hu Mingxuan (#3) of China dribbles the ball in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifier game against Chinese Taipei in the Philippines, June 20, 2021. /FIBAChina showed more aggressiveness in the second half as Zhou Peng and Hu Mingxuan continued to hurt the opponents' defense by drawing fouls. By the time Zhou Peng finished an alley-oop in the fourth quarter, China's lead had grown to 26 points. That's when the game was long gone for the Chinese Taipei team.Zhou Peng scored a game-high 21 points, six rebounds and four assists. Shen Zijie had a double-double of 18 points and 14 rebounds.China will fly to Canada directly from the Philippines to prepare for the Tokyo Olympic basketball qualifying tournament in Victoria. They will meet Greece and Canada in the competitions.(CGTN)


Heavy blow for Wimbledon as superstars Naomi Osaka and Rafael Nadal pull out

Just hours after 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal announced he was withdrawing from Wimbledon to preserve his health, another superstar Naomi Osaka also confirmed her exit, dealing a huge blow to the oldest tennis tournament in the world."Naomi won't be playing Wimbledon this year," read a statement from her management company IMG late Thursday. "She is taking some personal time with friends and family. She will be ready for the Olympics and is excited to play in front of her home fans."Last month, Naomi shocked the tennis world by withdrawing from the French Open after being fined $15,000 for failing to fulfill her post-match media duties at Roland Garros. The 23-year-old revealed she had "suffered long bouts of depression" since winning her first Grand Slam title in 2018, gathering widespread support for her candor and sparking an intense debate about mental health problems in sports.Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open last month in the wake of the controversy caused by her decision to skip mandatory postmatch news conferences. /CFP"Naomi Osaka will be greatly missed by all of us at Wimbledon this year, but we completely understand her decision," read a statement from the Wimbledon organizer. "We wish her a happy time with her friends and family and look forward to welcoming her back to Wimbledon next year."Despite her recent struggles, Osaka remains No. 2 in women's tennis. As the world's highest paid female athlete, she has won two titles each at the Australian Open and U.S. Open, which is set to begin weeks after the Tokyo Games end.Before the withdrawal announcement came out, Osaka was one of the clear favorites to win the Wimbledon, which was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, world number one Ashleigh Barty, who was forced to retire hurt from her second-round French Open but will be fit to compete at Wimbledon, is widely tipped for the prestigious title.Rafael Nadal admits the fortnight gap between the French Open and Wimbledon this year played a big part in his announcement to pull out of this year's Wimbledon. /CFPEarlier in the day, Nadal confirmed he won't play Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics following his first defeat at the French Open in five years. "It's never an easy decision to take but after listening to my body and discussing it with my team I understand that it is the right decision," the 35-year-old Spaniard wrote on Twitter."The goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy, that is to compete at the highest level and keep fighting for those professional and personal goals at the maximum level of competition. The fact that there has only been two weeks between Roland Garros and Wimbledon didn't make it easier on my body to recuperate," he added.Nadal's exit is expected to make it much easier for his closest rival Novak Djokovic to clinch all four major tournaments in a calendar year plus the Olympics, known as a "Golden Slam.""Everything is possible. Definitely in my case I can say that what I've been through in my career, in my life, this journey has been terrific so far,' said Djokovic after winning the French Open. "I've achieved some things that a lot of people thought it would be not possible for me to achieve."(CGTN)


Science&Militarymore >>

One million jabs booked in two days - now, social networks encouraging young people to get theirs

Snapchat, YouTube, TikTok and Reddit are involved in a new campaign encouraging more young people to get their coronavirus jab.The social networks have teamed up with the government as it pushes ahead with the final stage of the vaccine rollout.New data shows that one million vaccine appointments were booked in the two days after the NHS began offering COVID-19 jabs to all over-18s in England.Although Health Secretary Matt Hancock has praised the "continued enthusiasm young people are showing for vaccines", data suggests Britons aged 16 to 29 have the highest levels of vaccine hesitancy.According to the Office for National Statistics, 13% of people in this age group are unsure about getting a jab, despite the fact that the virus is spreading fastest among the nation's youngest.It is hoped the collaboration with social networks will help prevent the spread of misinformation.Snapchat users will be able to use new NHS stickers and a filter that says "I've had my vaccine".Links will also be offered to reliable sources of information about how the jab works, and a series of Q&As with medical experts are going to be held on the prime minister's Snapchat account.TikTok is also rolling out vaccine stickers and is working with a group of scientists who are using the video-sharing site to share clips about the jab.However, Facebook and Instagram - two of the biggest social networks in terms of users - are not among the platform's involved in the government campaign.Dr Karan Rangarajan, an NHS surgeon and influencer who has 3.9 million followers on TikTok, said: "Misinformation affects all groups equally and there is a large user base that is in their late teens or early 20s."They are also in the UK the last cohort to be eligible for the vaccine so it's a really important group to target."He also warned that the most "dangerous and potent" combination of misinformation happened when falsehoods mixed some small level of truth.The new campaign comes on the day when the final stage of England's roadmap out of lockdown - which would have removed all remaining legal limits on social contact - was meant to take place.This milestone has now been pushed back four weeks to 19 July after cases of the Delta variant, first detected in India, began to rise sharply.The rush of vaccine appointments meant that an average of 21,000 bookings an hour - or six every second - were seen on Friday and Saturday.Four in five adults have now received their first vaccination, NHS England figures suggest, with three in five adults now fully vaccinated.NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens says "the finishing line is coming into sight" - and almost nine million people in their 20s and 30s have already had their first dose.(Skynews)


Dozens of women sue Pornhub - alleging explicit videos were uploaded without their consent

Two women have told Sky News they were left feeling ashamed and suicidal after explicit videos of them were posted on the world's biggest online porn website - they claim without their consent.In a legal case filed in the US, more than 30 women have accused MindGeek, the parent company of Pornhub, of profiting from non-consensual sex videos.Their lawyer says the women are suing for damages which could amount to "hundreds of millions of dollars" if successful, and he believes it is a moment of reckoning for the online porn industry.Image: Leigh Nicol is one of a number of women suing the site‘s parent companyLeigh Nicol is one of three British women involved in the case. A video she filmed of herself having sex aged 18 was stolen following an iCloud hack and, without her permission, posted on sites owned by MindGeek, a company believed to be worth more than £1.2bn."Even at this point, I look at myself in the mirror and I feel sick because that's no longer private to me," she said."Because a large part of the population has seen something that they shouldn't have seen. There's shame, there's embarrassment, there's disgust, sickness, there's doubts that I'm not good enough."I feel like no one would ever potentially want to actually be my future husband, because I've got these videos attached to me."Leigh claims she tried repeatedly to have the video removed from Pornhub, a website which has 130 million users each day - more than Netflix or Amazon.She says that even when the video was taken down it would be reposted elsewhere."My question was why and how is this allowed," she said."This isn't legal. I haven't put this out there and I'm trending on some of the world's biggest adult websites."MindGeek says it is investigating the complaint filed in California.In a statement, the company said: "Pornhub has zero tolerance for illegal content and investigates any complaint or allegation made about content on our platforms."The fact is, Pornhub has in place the most comprehensive safeguards in user-generated platform history, which include the banning of // from unverified users, expanding our moderation processes, and cooperating with dozens of non-profit organisations around the world."Of the 34 women suing the company, 14 said they were underage in videos uploaded to Pornhub, and 14 were victims of people charged with or convicted of sex crimes.Image: The legal team representing the women is led by lawyer Michael BoweOne woman, from America's Midwest, told Sky News she was sex trafficked around different states and videos filmed of sexual encounters were later posted onto MindGeek websites."I was homeless and very vulnerable. If I didn't make enough money, he would rape me and beat me and put me down," she said."I didn't ask to put those videos up there, I didn't want them put up there and it shouldn't be happening."There were times I was suicidal. I was very depressed and I suffered with PTSD from all this."I feel very emotional as this has been a long time coming," she added. "I want them to be held accountable, because this is women's lives."The legal team representing the 34 women is led by lawyer Michael Bowe, who represented former US president Donald Trump during the investigation into alleged Russian interference into the 2016 election."This has been hidden in plain sight," he said."You get away with it until the world's eyes turn on you, and you don't have an answer. I think it's bigger than the 'Me Too' movement, it's more serious."You have a handful of men who are making a lot of money exploiting God knows how many hundreds of thousands of women."(Skynews)


Businessmore >>

Carrie Lam: Hong Kong to support RMB internationalization, provide financing services

Hong Kong can support the internationalization of the renminbi (RMB) and provide diversified financing services for companies on the Chinese mainland, Chief Executive of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam said on Sunday.As the largest hub for offshore RMB business across the globe, Hong Kong takes the lead in RMB settlement, financing and asset management with the support of the central government. Hong Kong will continue to communicate with the mainland authorities to expand the channels for the cross-border two-way RMB funds, and continue to optimize and broaden the interconnection mechanism of the financial markets of both sides, and seize the opportunities brought by the construction of the Greater Bay Area, Lam said during Finance Summit 2021 held by said Hong Kong can provide reliable and diversified financing services for enterprises from the Chinese mainland, as it serves as an ideal listing platform. The total annual initial public offering (IPO) funds raised in the past 12 years have ranked first seven times in the world.Currently, more than half of the companies listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) are from the Chinese mainland, accounting for approximately 80 percent of the total value of the Hong Kong stock market.The HKEX has implemented a new listing system. So far, 50 companies in emerging and innovative industries have been listed in Hong Kong under this system, with the total funds raised exceeding HK$510 billion ($65.7 billion), she said.Meanwhile, Hong Kong is accelerating the implementation of Wealth Management Connect, a cross-border wealth management investment pilot scheme, for people living in the Greater Bay Area, Lam said.In addition, Hong Kong can also serve as a risk management center. The HKSAR has implemented a series of measures in the first half of the year, including halving the profit tax rate of some businesses. It is also promoting the establishment of after-sales service centers in the insurance industry in cities in the Greater Bay Area as soon as possible, she said.(CGTN)


China reports success in curbing surge in some commodity prices: NDRC

China has achieved preliminary success in curbing a commodity price surge, the country's top economic planner said on Thursday, as market speculation has begun to cool down and some prices have declined. Global prices for some bulk commodities have risen in recent months, with officials saying the increases have deviated from the fundamentals of supply and demand. China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) stepped up supervision of the spot and futures markets of bulk commodities, talked with key industry players, and investigated price movements to safeguard normal market order. Through these cooling measures, the cost of iron ore, steel and copper has started to come down.The top economic planner revealed at a regular press briefing that the authorities will release national reserves of copper, aluminum and zinc at an appropriate time for mid- and downstream processing and manufacturing enterprises through open bidding. The move will take care of small- and medium-sized enterprises, help boost market supply, ease cost pressure on firms, and enable stable prices of commodities, according to the NDRC. The top economic planner also said it will speed up the revision of the negative list for foreign investment access and further shorten it to promote further opening-up of the services sector.China has maintained a steady and positive trend in attracting foreign investment since the beginning of this year, and foreign investors' confidence in the country has been further strengthened, the commission said. The country has attracted 481 billion yuan (about $74.9 billion) of foreign investment in the first five months of this year, up 35.4 percent from a year earlier and 30.3 percent from 2019, according to the NDRC. A survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in China showed that nearly two-thirds of companies surveyed had a plan to increase investment in the country this year. Meanwhile, a survey by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China showed 60 percent of companies surveyed would expand their business in the country, with an increase of 8 percentage points from the previous year. The top economic planner also briefed that it has approved five fixed-asset investment projects worth 74.9 billion yuan in May, mainly in the transportation and power sectors.(CGTN)


chinamore >>

Iron-willed and unbending, China continues its Long March into space

"One should strive continuously to be stronger and advance bravely."Those were the core values that pushed the Chinese Red Army through the Long March from 1934 to 1936, laying the foundation for what would become a new nation – the People's Republic of China.A century later, in an era of peace, fast economic growth and tremendous social change, the Chinese people's long march continues – this time, into outer space.The journey was not easy, though."We have experienced more than 60 years of development," said Xu Yansong, former director for international cooperation of China National Space Administration (CNSA). He is now with Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization.In 1957, the same year the Soviet Union launched humanity's first artificial satellite, Chinese scientists started exploring space-related technologies.After 13 years, in 1970, China successfully launched its Dongfanghong-1 satellite into space – a historic moment for the nation.The rocket carrying Dongfanghong-1 was also the country's first carrier rocket – the Long March-1. China's space rocket was based on missile and sounding rocket technologies.Geopolitical competition caused by Cold War tensions made it tough for Chinese scientists to advance, as the U.S. knuckled down for a space race, hoping to leapfrog and gain an advantage over the Soviet Union."It came a long way from the 1960s when we had a pace-taking stage, and in the 80s and 90s, we had external constraint policies from the U.S. and other countries," said XuBut Chinese scientists never lost hope that one day the unknown would be within reach.With Long March-1 already retired, the Long March line-up has become larger, more advanced and runs on greener energy with 15 models still in service.The country has successfully sent rovers to Mars and the moon.In 2004, China launched its mission to explore the moon. And the country's Chang'e satellites have successfully orbited the moon. The Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, landed on the moon in 2013.In 2016, China started its Mars mission, and the Zhurong rover was carried off Earth by Long March-5and successfully landed on Mars' surface in May 2021.The scientific aims are simple and could one day help all of humanity. For one, China wants to gather key information and data to see whether humans could one day migrate from Earth."So that we can study the possibilities to migrate people to other planets or at least travel to those planets to become what we call an interplanetary species. So that we can better understand how the world functions, how the climate would change and how global disasters can be prevented," said Xu.China is currently launching a new space station.It is expected to be up and running by 2022, and China says it welcomes developing nations to come on board.Chinese scientists say the long march into space should not be done alone, as the achievements matter to all people.(CGTN)


Chinese veteran rock band Miserable Faith on musical journey and more

Chinese indie rock band Miserable Faith is about to release a charity music video to raise awareness about village doctors. The band's popularity has endured since its inception over two decades ago. We caught up with them during one of their recent tours in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, where they talked about their musical journey and more.As one of China's leading rock bands, Miserable Faith has been inspiring generations of Chinese rock fans since its inception in 1999. The band adopted the symbol of Nezha, the rebellious boy god from Chinese mythology. The image has stayed with them from the hard rock of their youthful days to their more mellow, world-music-infused tracks in later years.For the band's frontman Gao Hu, he discovered not just rebellion in the spirit of rock music but also love. He told CGTN that when he first listened to rock music, he liked the power and resistance it brought about."But gradually, especially when I was at an all-time low, I could feel the warmth, love and that all-embracing element that rock music has," Gao said.The band has spent a lot of time on the road, touring cities big and small across the country. Gao said nothing compares to the feeling when playing for a live audience and the unpredictable situation that allows them to improvise a little bit.Chinese rock band Miserable Faith talks to CGTN during their charity concert in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. /CGTNGao recalled that the power went off in the middle of their performance in Urumqi when the band was about to play "Don't Stop My Music." So they just did an unplugged version, and everyone joined in because they knew the song so well."Right when we finished the song, the power went back on. If you didn't know the backstory, you would have thought that it was planned that way," he said.From their metal-hardcore rock origins, the four-piece band has evolved, integrating new literary and musical elements into their brand of rock. The 2008 album "Don't Stop My Music" was inspired by American novelist Jack Kerouac's novel "On the Road." Their 2014 album "May Love Be Without Worries" combined world music and reggae.The band has always risen to new challenges. In 2018, they wrote a song for the English football club Wolverhampton Wanderers, commonly known as Wolves, on its rise to the super-rich English Premier League."In a way, music and football are the same. They require teamwork and the spirit of persistence," Zhang Jing, the band's bassist, said.Gao joked that it's strange that people who like rock also watch football and those who like hip hop dig basketball.While other rock bands break up or re-group, why has Miserable Faith endured? For Gao, the answer is that they complement each other."Through the years, our characters and the way we do music are all in line. And that's what sets us apart from commercial bands."Gao says as long as the four of them stay together, the future holds infinite possibilities.(CGTN)


The Belt and Roadmore >>

Belt and Road Initiative paves way for win-win cooperation between China and Czech

By APD Writer He WeiIn July last year, the first China-EU freight train departed from Prague, captial of Czech,to Yiwu, a city in east China’s Zhejang Province. The new cargo train service marked the official launch of “the Belt and Road Initiative” in Czech. Thanks to joint efforts of both sides, the economic and trade ties between China and Czech Republic is heading for a bright future.During the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May 2017, two months before the opening, China signed the Memorandum of Understanding to Jointly Coordinate and Promote Cooperation and Project Implementation with Czech. According to the memorandum, more efforts will be made to set up a China-Czech Cooperation Center under the Belt and Road initiative, a key project bank and a cooperation platform, integrate domestic and foreign resources, as well as adjoin and implement projects On the sidelines of the The Working Conference of China-Czech Jointly Coordinating and Monitoring Cooperation Plan and Projects under the Framework of the “Belt and Road Initiative”, Liu Jielei, vice chairman of the Czech-China Friendship Association, told the Asia Pacific Daily (APD) that besides geographic advantage, Czech enjoys a sound investment environment because of its stable domestic policies, friendly policy toward China, lower business taxes and labor cost than that of in other European countries.The "Yixin’ou (Yiwu-Xinjiang-Europe) cargo train, which began in Yiwu, was hailed as an important bridge linking Asian and European continents and a signficiant achievement in the early stage of the initative by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Xu Jie, general manager of Rongsheng Travelling (Czech) Investment Co., Ltd., said because of its important location, they have launched two projects including the Czech-Chinese Technology Business District (CCTBD) project and the South Moravia Chinese Herbal Spa Project in Prague during the past two years, stressing that initial success has been achieved thanks to the initiative.Transalated by Hu Yahui(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)


Work conference held in Yiwu for China, Czech to coordinate their efforts in promoting Belt and Road Initiative cooperation

By APD Writer He Wei The conference, which jointly organized by the western development department of the National Development and Reform Commission and the second foreign policy department of the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade kicked off on June 6, 2018. It is of great significance in implementing the plan for China-Czech cooperation and promoting bilateral communication and cooperation. Both sides took a review on the development of the plan and held a talk over the cooperation prospects on trade, finance, think tank and projects. The priority work of the China and Czech cooperation in the next phase was discussed during the conference.Both sides reached an agreement on enhancing the cooperation on the field of policy coordination, facility connectivity, economic and trade, investment, finance and culture aiming at boosting the economy of both countries and benefiting the people. Almost 100 people from government officials, financial institutions, think tanks  and enterprises of both countries attended the conference.(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)