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Trump tries to turn back a tidal wave of early voting

Throughout the 2020 campaign, President Trump has pursued a strategy to try to keep voter turnout low in the general election, which, conventional wisdom holds, helps Republicans.On Wednesday, for example, the president made clear that he wanted states to stop counting ballots soon after Election Day, regardless of whether they had been cast legally.“Hopefully the few states remaining that want to take a lot of time after Nov. 3 to count ballots, that won’t be allowed by the various courts, because you know we’re in courts on that,” Trump told reporters ahead of a campaign rally in Arizona. “We just had a big victory in Wisconsin on that matter, so hopefully that won’t be happening."Trump was referring to a ruling by the Supreme Court that allowed Wisconsin to discard mail-in ballots postmarked before Nov. 3 but not received by the state until after 8 p.m. on that date. The five Republican-appointed justices all agreed with the decision, which turned in part on the question of federal versus state judicial authority over election procedures. The three liberal justices dissented. A concurring opinion by Trump appointee Brett Kavanaugh said the deadline was necessary “to avoid the chaos and suspicions of impropriety that can ensue if thousands of absentee ballots flow in after Election Day and potentially flip the results of an election.”States, he wrote, “want to be able to definitively announce the results of the election on election night, or as soon as possible thereafter.”At the same time, as Yahoo News’ Jon Ward reported Tuesday, Republican officials in some key states are trying to prevent election officials from getting a head start on counting mail-in ballots, or even checking their validity, as they arrive.In 2016, Trump won Wisconsin by approximately 23,000 votes. This year, in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, 1.7 million absentee ballots were requested. Of that number, 1.4 million had been returned as of Tuesday, leaving 320,000 ballots yet to be received by state officials.A Marquette University poll released Wednesday found that while Joe Biden leads Trump by a margin of 48 percent to 43 percent, that lead shrinks to 48 percent to 45 percent when the pollster uses a model that anticipates low voter turnout.In recent weeks, COVID-19 has hit Wisconsin especially hard. On Monday, the state reached 200,000 cases, with more than half recorded in the previous 36 days. While many states required bars and restaurants to close over the summer, Wisconsin did not, leading to one of the worst outbreaks in the Midwest.Despite the worsening pandemic, or perhaps because it has resulted in a large spike in mail-in and absentee voting, Republicans have filed hundreds of voting-related lawsuits across the country in recent months. Many of these cases may be headed to the Supreme Court, which now includes Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who could provide a crucial vote siding with the president’s party.But the court can be unpredictable. Before Barrett’s appointment, it deadlocked 4-4 on a case concerning Pennsylvania election law, letting stand a lower court’s ruling that votes could be tallied up to three days after Nov. 3, even if they lack a legible postmark. With Barrett in a position to tip the balance of the high court, Republicans sought to have it reconsider the case.Late on Wednesday, their petition was denied by a 5-3 vote. Barrett, who joined the court only on Monday, did not participate, but the case could still come before the court in time to affect the outcome in Pennsylvania, a crucial state for both parties.In Texas, meanwhile, where a surge of Democratic voters in urban areas like Houston has helped put the state in play, Republicans have targeted drive-through voting in Harris County, a procedure enacted to help people vote safely during the pandemic.In a year when many states will set early voting records, Texas is leading the way. Nearly 8 million Texans had voted as of Tuesday, which is, astonishingly, almost 90 percent of the state’s total 2016 turnout. Polls show Trump with a lead among voters who plan to vote in person on Nov. 3, while Biden leads among those who have voted or plan to vote early.In many ways, Trump’s efforts to make voting harder are simply a continuation of a long-running battle between Democrats, who have for years pushed to expand voting rights, and Republicans, who seek to restrict access to the ballot.Former President Barack Obama, whose 2008 victory was propelled by a surge in the percentage of Americans who voted, has been highlighting this divide as he campaigns for Biden in states like Pennsylvania and Florida.“Usually, no more than half the people that could be voting vote. We get 50, 55 percent of people voting and then people say, ‘Aw, look, you know, not enough change happened.’ Well, imagine what would happen if 60 percent voted. What about 70 percent?” Obama said last week at a drive-in rally in Philadelphia.Trump, meanwhile, has regularly attacked mail-in voting — the category expected to see the biggest increase this year thanks to the pandemic — as prone to fraud.“Big problems and discrepancies with the Mail In Ballots all over the USA,” Trump wrote in an Oct. 26 tweet flagged by Twitter as “misleading.” “Must have final total on November 3rd.”There is no constitutional requirement for a “final total” on Election Day. The Electoral College, which actually chooses the president, meets on Dec. 14, and the “safe harbor” deadline for states to certify their electors is Dec. 8. And there is little evidence, apart from a few scattered anecdotes, to support the claim of “big problems and discrepancies,” election officials across the country say.(Yahoo)

Azerbaijan, Armenia trade accusations of civilian deaths in Nagorno-Karabakh

Azerbaijan and Armenia accused each other of killing civilians by shelling cities in and around Nagorno-Karabakh on Wednesday, in an escalation of a month-long conflict over the mountain enclave that has defied three ceasefires.Azerbaijan said 21 people were killed when Armenian shells hit the town of Barda, northeast of Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenian-backed officials in Nagorno-Karabakh said Azeri shells had fallen on the enclave's two largest cities, killing one person.Both sides denied each other's claims.The prosecutor general of Azerbaijan's office said 21 people had been killed and 70 wounded in Barda.Azerbaijan said 21 people were killed when Armenian shells hit the town of Barda, northeast of Nagorno-Karabakh. /APThe Emergency and Rescue Service of ethnic Armenian-controlled Nagorno-Karabakh said shells had fallen on Stepanakert, the enclave's largest city. It said a civilian had been killed and two wounded by shelling in another city, Shushi, 15km (9 miles) to the south.Armenia's defense ministry also said a maternity hospital in Pasternak had been hit. There were no reports of casualties. Armenia confirmed on Wednesday that Azerbaijan had seized the strategic town of Gubadli between the enclave and the Iranian border, an apparent military gain that could make a diplomatic solution more difficult.The ruins of buildings in Shushi. /ReutersThe Nagorno-Karabakh defense ministry has recorded 1,068 military deaths since fighting erupted on September 27. Azerbaijan has not disclosed its military casualties. Russia has estimated as many as 5,000 deaths in total.The latest of three ceasefires was brokered in Washington on Sunday. U.S. President Donald Trump called the renewed fighting "disappointing" and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged both sides to pursue a diplomatic solution.The OSCE Minsk Group, formed to mediate the conflict and led by France, Russia and the United States, is scheduled to meet the Armenian and Azeri foreign ministers in Geneva on Thursday. Turkey has demanded a bigger role in the group. (CGTN)

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U.S. expert: You can get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time

As winter approaches, we will have a mixture of COVID-19 and flu season. How can we prepare for flu season in the time of coronavirus?CGTN spoke to Dr.RichardWebby about the difference between flu and coronavirus symptoms and why the flu vaccine is more important this year.Dr.Webby is a member of the faculty in the Department of Infectious Diseases at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital andDirector of World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Studies on the Ecology of Influenza in Animals and Birds.Dr.Webby said: “Technically, the flu can turn into COVID-19. There have been a number of reports of people that have actually been infected with both influenza and COVID.”He also added: “This year, I think it’s incredibly important for people to go out and get the flu shot even if they’ve never had it before.”(CGTN)


Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala gets more support in her bid to become first female WTO chief

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's former Minister of Finance, has received more support in her quest to become the first ever woman and African to lead the World Trade Organization.Reuters reports that a key group of WTO ambassadors, known as "troika", has proposed the 66-year-old to replace Roberto Azevêdo as the next WTO Director-General. Azevêdo stepped down as WTO Director-General on 31 August 2020, a year before the expiry of his mandate.Okonjo-Iweala is in the running against South Korean trade minister Yoo Myung-hee.The Nigerian has already received endorsements from various countries and bodies, including ECOWAS and the African Union.Reuters in its report notes that the troika endorsement will be formally communicated to heads of delegations at a meeting later on Wednesday. It would however still need to be approved by consensus at a meeting of the WTO's 164 members.The race to become the next WTO Director-General started in May 2020 after Azevêdo announced that he would step down early.From an initial eight candidates, only Okonjo-Iweala and Myung-hee made it to the final round.The Nigerian noted that her experience from both the Nigerian cabinet and the World Bank would help her deliver her responsibilities at the WTO."I feel I can solve the problems. I'm a known reformer, not someone who talks about it. I've actually done it both at the World Bank and in my country," she told Reuters.(CGTN)


Insightsmore >>

India-U.S. 'enemy of my enemy' military pact not destined to endure

India and the U.S. have made a premeditated choice to sign a military agreement dubbed the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) to share high-end military technology and classified satellite data.On October 27, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper claimed in a carefully crafted statement in New Delhi that they also seek to counter China for a rules-based international order in the so-called "Indo-Pacific region."As previously, they didn't give any concrete evidence to support their allegations. Instead, they branded China as the most significant security challenge to their interests, and expected their international audience to trust everything.Interventionist escapadesAs with previous agreements, the interventionist pact between India and the U.S. is a textbook profile in absurdity. It risks worsening the situation in the region and setting the stage for escalating internecine skirmishes.In the region's politics, signing an ideological and politically motivated agreement is always a bad idea, and many countries have learned that. They have learned that Washington is knowingly lying to them that it can fabricate a NATO-style alliance in East Asia. They have also learned that any hostile posture against Beijing would be unacceptable and counterproductive. They won't get off scot free or prosper without China. It would be China bashing in return for nothing but more U.S. pressure and false promises of security.Whatever the ideological and organizational disagreements, the reality is that China is actively cooperating with its Asian partners to ensure security in the "Indo-Pacific" and South China Sea peripheries. It's more than a mere nonaggression pact. It's a full-blown political and diplomatic alliance for commerce.Despite the evidence, however, the defense secretary contends that Washington and New Delhi are determined to uphold the principles of a free and open "Indo-Pacific," adding "We advanced our regional security, military-to-military, and information-sharing cooperation."India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (left) greets Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh, as he arrives for an event celebrating the nation's Independence Day at Red Fort in New Delhi, India, on August 15, 2019. /Getty ImagesThis is nonsense. The Trumpsters have given in to the power of the military establishment to upend the standards of China-U.S. relations and to keep regional countries on edge during the pandemic. The self-defeating idea by the hawkish think-tankers and Pompeo is to weaponize the region and do the job for bureaucrats of the national security state.And that's just one extreme goal among many. The wag-the-dog plot also seeks to help Trump. He didn't prevail in pivotal states for his monstrous economic and pandemic mess, and he is desperate to win re-election. Ironically, it's also one of New Delhi's principal goals. No wonder American voters never heard Trump criticize India during the presidential debates with Democratic nominee Joe Biden.Odd bedfellowsThe joint venture to enhance India's geospatial cooperation and improve the accuracy of its missile systems won't weaken China's role in the "Indo-Pacific region." It would be wiser for the political class in New Delhi to take rational steps to reverse the engines of self-deception, stop fueling the fires of mutual distrust, and refrain from bringing uncertainty to a region that is not in conflict with China.Similarly, the U.S. government ought to be thinking genuinely about how to deal with the reality of China and its global rise. That can still be done, if the same degree of effort is put into it that is now being used to frame it as destabilizer.If the history of U.S.-Europe is any reminder, the relationship has always been acrimonious, as Washington has always abandoned its allies. For instance, it launched trade and tariff wars with Europe and walked out of international treaties like the Paris Climate Accord and the Iran nuclear deal. The sad fact is that Washington has equally challenged India's geopolitical interests on many fronts. Just like Brussels, this might as well force New Delhi to stop appeasing Washington in the long term.The uncomfortable truth is that although the security cooperation is growing, such as in the Indian GPS-equivalent system, no U.S. legislation has granted India a status on par with Washington's non-NATO allies. There seems to be no political will to make India a key strategic ally. This has not happened and New Delhi should stop saying it has.More importantly, in Trump's "America first" biosphere, the concept of "enemy of my enemy" friendship has hardly survived the test of time. He has in some instances infuriated friends and befriended ideological enemies. Except for sharing military technology and intelligence, this kind of abrupt politics and procedures of absurdity might not offer New Delhi greater "enemy of my enemy" concessions, either.The understanding is that "the odd bedfellows" are not allies and still have geopolitical differences. India was forced to stop oil imports from Iran to avoid sanctions by Washington, and they are still licking their wounds from the trade and tariff wars.And who said the war department and the interventionist apparatus in Washington have forgiven New Delhi for its mischievousness to purchase the Russian S-400 missile system in formal and legally binding terms?It's a tactical mistake for Indian Defense Minister Singh to hypothesize that the intelligence community, the Pentagon pundit-generals, and their media mouthpieces will move ahead without any resentment.(CGTN)


Newsweek's claims of Chinese political interference are fabricated

On October 26, Newsweek released its four-month investigation into China's alleged "campaign of influence and interference" within the United States. The report claims to have identified 600 government-aligned groups that are used to manipulate U.S. public opinion, conduct economic espionage, and steer election developments to Beijing's apparent advantage."The Communist Party of China (CPC) and other government-linked entities have been working, through multiple channels in the U.S. at the federal, state and local level, to foster conditions and connections that will further Beijing's political and economic interests and ambitions," alleges the report. The blatant attacks, devoid of both fact and consistency, are nothing but an attempt to veer away from the fundamental truth that the threat to U.S. democracy is inherently internal.The report erroneously suggests that 600 identified groups in the U.S. are all in "regular touch with and guided by CPC," offering hypothetical examples of international espionage as its concrete evidence. To further expose this discord, the report taps individually conducted interviews with U.S. government officials and controversial analysts, some of which are linked to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (APSI), a think-tank with a demonstrated anti-China bend."The political goal of the China is to denigrate the standing of the U.S.," states a quoted analysis in the report. But the basis for Beijing's alleged "cross-platform inauthentic activity," and the wild speculation about China's penetration into American universities, think-tanks, and cultural groups, is comprehensively unsubstantiated in the politically motivated observations.As early as August, American intelligence and law enforcement agencies cast a skeptical glance on foreign state interference in the U.S. elections. Reuters reported that one U.S. federal security official had clarified that U.S. agencies "have not seen to date any coordinated voter-fraud effort" by a foreign power or anyone else ahead of the election. This debunks Newsweek's accusation that China's so-called election interference efforts have capitalized on middle ground between institutional processes and voter outcomes. In fact, the report points to the same intelligence community to push a contrarian spin on Beijing.U.S. President Donald Trump (L) speaks on a conference call during a news conference in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., October 23, 2020. /Getty ImagesIn a more bizarre instance, an anonymous U.S. "official" is quoted by the paper to sell the claim that a U.S. governor – with investments in China – could end up influencing policy in Washington on behalf of Beijing. This fictitious claim marks a comical divergence from the report's earlier narrative, which suggested that U.S. governors and lawmakers are resistant to such influence.A broad range of contradictions also surround Beijing's alleged influence-building campaigns for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. The report claims that Chinese leaders "have a favorite in the race," pointing to anonymous members within Biden's ranks that appear potentially less willing to "challenge China quite as deeply as President Trump, if they win."As evident from both lines of argument, the investigation simply invents Beijing's complicity by pitting party differences in the U.S. against each other, hoping that the underlying conjecture passes as proof.More importantly, the report establishes a very strong case for its own partisan appeal to Trump's election prospects, arguing that Beijing's "negative rhetoric about the Trump administration" – legitimate sovereign positions on Hong Kong, TikTok and COVID-19 conspiracies – is an implicit indication of its interference intent.By that logic, China – and other sovereign powers – should immediately relinquish their legitimate opposition to the Trump administration's accusation-heavy rhetoric, and divorce their worldview from factual inquiry. Also, the Newsweek investigation's implicit defense of the Trump presidency turns concrete when it proudly endorses U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as one of the "thorns in the CPC's side" for making U.S. foreign policy advantageous through a "broad pushback against China."Having manipulated the context of a Global Times story on the U.S. elections and blasting China's United Front as a coercive framework for influence and interference, the investigation also claims to unearth over six dozen United Front-affiliated entities in the States. According to the report, the operations of these groups border on "outright espionage."It counts Chinese hometown associations for immigrants, several aid centers, Chinese-language media brands, cross-Strait peace initiatives, and hundreds of Chinese Student and Scholar Associations as part of its imaginary state-backed interference network.In a sign of shifting goalposts, the report also insists on a credible methodology for identifying the alleged influence-building entities. It mentions crossover membership, and the crosschecking of "names, positions and cooperative events described in hundreds of Chinese-language government and party documents."Testifying to the blatant inaccuracies of the misleading investigation is that very last bit. For an investigation that spends its crux accusing the CPC of trying to subvert the U.S. "from within," it is compromising to see the same report endorse party outputs to legitimize its fabricated assessments.(CGTN)


World Newsmore >>

Landslides in Vietnam kill 8, leave 45 missing

Two landslides in central Vietnam's Quang Nam province have killed at least eight people as of Thursday morning, Vietnam News Agency reported.A total of 45 people are still missing due to the landslides, both of which occurred in Nam Tra My district and were triggered by torrential rains brought by the now-devolved typhoon Molave, the news agency reported early Thursday.Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has requested the country's National Committee for Disaster Response, Search and Rescue, among other military and local authorities, to cooperate and use any method necessary to rescue the victims of the two landslides, according to the report.(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)


German officials impose four-week partial lockdown

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday officials had agreed to a four-week shutdown of restaurants, bars, cinemas, theaters and other leisure facilities in efforts to curb further spread of COVID-19.According to AP, Merkel and Germany's 16 state governors met via videoconference to review the country's COVID-19 state.The meeting resolved to partially lockdown the country from Monday until the end of November."We must act, and now, to avoid an acute national health emergency," AP quotes Merkel.Schools and shops will however remain open, while restaurants will be allowed to provide take-away food.The Chancellor urged Germans to adhere to laid down COVID-19 protocols in order to prevent a further rise in the country’s caseload.By Wednesday afternoon, Germany had reported 472,531 confirmed COVID-19 infections and 10,196 deaths, according to a tally by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.(CGTN)


Breaking Newsmore >>

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 >>

'Parasite' wins big, Chinese films shine at 14th Asian Film Awards

Oscar Best Picture winner "Parasite" was the biggest winner at the 14th Asian Film Awards in Busan, South Korea on Wednesday, taking home four trophies, while a lineup of Chinese filmmakers stood out during the online ceremony.Produced by South Korean director Bong Joon-ho, "Parasite" wonBest Film, Best Screenplay, Best Editing, and Best Production Design out of 10 nominations.Chinese director Wang Xiaoshuai beat Bong Joon-ho to take home Best Director for family drama "So Long, My Son."Also from China, Zhou Dongyu and Jackson Yee were named Best Actress and Best Newcomer, respectively, for their major roles in school bully drama "Better Days," while Dong Jinsong received the Best Cinematography award for his contribution to neo-noir crime thriller "The Wild Goose Lake."Lee Byung-hun from South Korea bagged the Best Actor award for his performance in "The Man Standing Next."Launched in 2007, the annual ceremony recognizes the best film achievements in Asia, according to a global jury panel and voting members. This year's ceremony, which was planned to be hosted in Busan was switched online due to the coronavirus pandemic.(Cover image: Zhou Dongyu (R) and Jackson Yee were named Best Actress and Best Newcomer, respectively, at the 14th Asian Film Awards ceremony for their major roles in school bully drama "Better Days." /CFP)(CHINA.ORG.CN)


Film 'Joker' and HBO series 'Succession' gain top honors at 20th WSA

The 20th World Soundtrack Awards (WSA) marked the closing night of Film Fest Ghent in Belgium on October 24, with Hildur Gudnadottir and Nicholas Britell, respectively Film Composer and TV Composer of the Year, taking top honors during the event.Iceland-born, Berlin-based Hildur Gudnadottir once again won the film composer of the year prize for her Oscar-winning score for "Joker." In addition, she won last year's TV Composer of the Year for her Emmy-winning score for the HBO series "Chernobyl." While Nicholas Britell, who won the 2019 Film Composer of the Year, now gains the TV Composer of the Year for his original music for the second season of the HBO series "Succession."A still from the film "Joker". /VCGIt is worth mentioning that Gudnadottir has won the prize for the third consecutive year. In addition to last year's "Chernobyl", she was also nominated for the Discovery of the Year Award in Ghent two years ago for scoring Sicario: Day of the Soldado. In addition, the Belgian composer Hannes De Maeyer won the prize for his original music in Torpedo. The other winners are Joshuah Brian Campbell and Cynthia Erivo, Bryce Dessner, Alfonso G. Aguilar and Ana Kasrashvili. It is notable that Georgian musician Kasrashivili was the first woman to win the Sabam Award for Best Original Composition by a Young Composer. Launched in 2001 by the Film Fest Gent, the World Soundtrack Awards is held yearly in October in Ghent, Belgium. This year's ceremony was streamed online, with winners accepting via video. The award ceremony aims to recognize the original musicians who have made outstanding achievements in film and television in the year, and to inspire new talents in this field.(Cover: Hildur Gudnadottir wins 2019 TV Composer of the Year for her Emmy-winning score for the HBO series "Chernobyl." /AP)(CGTN)


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Reigning champions Guangzhou Evergrande left frustrated by Beijing Guo'an in thrilling stalemate

It was tempting to write it all off as one of those days but that would not do justice to Beijing Guoan's resilience that flourished against Guangzhou Evergrande on Wednesday night.Bruno Genesio's side harried and hassled and could not really have given much more to try to gain a slight edge over the defending champions in the first leg of their Chinese Super League playoff semi-final. But, when the dust settled, there was not enough inspiration to go with all the perspiration.Both sides found themselves on the wrong side of luck as former Barcelona midfielder Paulinho, Anderson Talisca, Renato Augusto and Cedric Bakambu all hit the woodwork in a stirring and fiercely fought goalless draw. Despite their early ascendancy through quick-fire combination play involving Paulinho, Fei Nanduo and Ai Kesen, Evergrande did not have the wit or creativity in decisive areas to tear through their opponent's solid defense. Guoan, However, were quick to the ball, full of energy and managed to run the opposition off their feet.The main drawback when teams play with that kind of ferocity and aggression is that errors and miscalculations can follow. At times, Guoan needed goalkeeper Hou Sen to make last-ditch saves to bail them out and in one crucial moment there was another reminder about Hou's inspired ability to prevent the ball from going into his net.Evergrande fans were already rising to their feet when Wei Shihao cut inside the box five minutes from time to let fly with a powerful shot towards the bottom corner, but in that split second Hou was lightning quick to react and displayed enormous agility to push the ball to safety.Beijing Guoan's Hou Sen (jumping) makes a save during their Chinese Super League playoff game with Guangzhou Evergrande in Suzhou, east China, October 28, 2020. /CFP"I'm very satisfied with Hou's performance. His composure and saves help us a lot," beamed Genesio after the game. "I thought over the course of the game a draw was probably a fair result. We were the better team in the first half and Evergrande responded well in the final 30 minutes."Fabio Cannavaro, by contrast, was in a foul mood. "Guoan have several great players but the best of the bunch today is their goalkeeper," he observed. "I'm pleased about the number of chances we created in the second half but regrettably the ball wouldn't go in for us."Guangzhou Evergrande captain Zheng Zhi (C) in action during the Chinese Super League playoff game with Beijing Guoan in Suzhou, east China, October 28, 2020. /CFPIt didn't help that Evergrande's veteran skipper Zheng Zhi picked up an early booking which means he will be suspended for the second leg on Monday. "We have to deal with the problem and try to find a solution," Cannavaro said."There is little margin for error when we play this kind of game. Every detail counts and the team with the fewest mistake will come out on top." (CGTN)


Champions League roundup: Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Man City march on, Real Madrid recover

Holders Bayern Munich continued their perfect start to their Champions League title defense on Tuesday as Real Madrid had Casemiro's late goal to thank for scrambling a 2-2 draw away to Borussia Moenchengladbach.Liverpool and Manchester City also made it six points out of a possible six in Europe this season, after Bayern needed a late Joshua Kimmich strike to claim a 2-1 win at Lokomotiv Moscow in Group A. Leon Goretzka put the Germans ahead early on in front of a limited crowd in the Russian capital, but Anton Miranchuk tucked in an equalizer for Lokomotiv in the second half – Miranchuk's twin brother Aleksei scored for Atalanta in the Champions League last week.But Bayern were not to be denied a record 13th straight win in the competition as Kimmich controlled a Javi Martinez pass and volleyed home low from outside the box 11 minutes from time.In the same group Atletico Madrid came from behind to beat Salzburg 3-2, with Joao Felix grabbing their late winner. The Portuguese starlet had hit the bar with a stunning overhead kick before Marcos Llorente put Atletico ahead in the Spanish capital.Dominik Szoboszlai leveled before the break and then a Felipe own goal put Salzburg ahead just after half-time. However, Joao Felix equalized on 52 minutes and then won it five minutes from the end.Man City's Aymeric Laporte is shown a yellow card during their Champions League clash with Marseille at Orange Velodrome, Marseille, France, October 27, 2020. /CFPIn Germany, Real were heading for another defeat in Group B, six days after losing 3-2 at home to Shakhtar Donetsk, as Marcus Thuram netted twice for Gladbach, either side of half-time.But Casemiro set up Karim Benzema to reduce the deficit in the 87th minute and the Brazilian midfielder then scored himself deep in injury time to salvage a point for Zinedine Zidane's team.It is Shakhtar who lead the section, though, by two points from Inter Milan and Gladbach, after a 0-0 draw with the Italians in Kiev.Pep Guardiola's City eased to a second straight win in Group C with Kevin De Bruyne setting up Ferran Torres for the early opener against Marseille after the hosts had carelessly ceded possession.Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling added late goals to make it 3-0, leaving Marseille without a point.Guardiola was confident City could build on their victory after an indifferent start to the Premier League season which has seen them come in for criticism. "Part of the criticism was right, but you've got to accept it. It's part of our job," Guardiola told BT Sport.In the same group Porto beat Olympiakos 2-0 in Portugal with Fabio Vieira and Sergio Oliveira on target.Moenchengladbach's Patrick Herrmann (L) and Real Madrid's Luka Modric battle for the ball during their Champions League clash at Borussia-Park, Moenchengladbach, Germany, October 27, 2020. /CFPMeanwhile, Liverpool built on their 1-0 victory at Ajax last week by defeating Danish champions Midtjylland 2-0 in a low-key game behind closed doors at Anfield in Group D.Diogo Jota finished off a fine move to give Jurgen Klopp's team the lead early in the second half, before Mohamed Salah made sure of the points with a late penalty.Klopp rested Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino from his starting line-up but his defensive worries deepened as Fabinho went off with an apparent hamstring injury."It was a tough night," Klopp told BT Sport. "It's a bit like in a marriage, there are good and bad times. It's not a bad time but it's a tricky time."Liverpool now have a double-header against Atalanta, who came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at home to Ajax.A Dusan Tadic penalty put the visitors ahead on the half-hour and Lassina Traore made it two, only for Duvan Zapata to save Atalanta with two goals in the space of seven second-half minutes.(CGTN)


Science&Militarymore >>

Marriott International announces partnership with Grab in six Southeast Asian countries

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the hospitality industry especially hard, and hotels around the world are looking for ways to regain revenue. Today, Marriott International and Grab announced a partnership that will cover the hospitality giant’s dining businesses in six Southeast Asian countries: Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand.Instead of room bookings, Marriott International  deal with Grab  focuses on about 600 restaurants and bars at its properties in the six Southeast Asian countries, which will start being added to GrabFood’s on-demand delivery platform in November. A joint announcement from the companies said the deal represents Marriott International’s “first extensive integration with a super app platform in Southeast Asia and Grab’s most comprehensive agreement with a hospitality group to date.”Marriott International is the world’s largest hotel company. During the second quarter, as the pandemic curtailed travel and in-person events, it reported a loss of $234 million, compared to the profit of $232 million it had recorded a year earlier. Chief executive Arne Sorenson called it “the worst quarter we have ever seen,” even though business is gradually recovering in China.Ride-hailing was hit hard by COVID-19 — Grab’s Russell Cohen on how the company adaptedThe Marriott-Grab integration means the two companies will link their loyalty programs, so GrabRewards points can be converted to Marriott Bonvoy points, or vice versa. Marriott International’s restaurants and bars that accept GrabPay will also have access to Grab’s Merchant Discovery platform, which will allow them to ping users about local deals and includes a marketing campaign platform called GrabAds.Other hospitality businesses that Grab already partners with include and Klook. Klook is among several travel-related companies that have recalibrated to focus on “staycations,” or services for people who can’t travel during the pandemic, but still want a break from their regular routines.COVID-19 pivot: Travel unicorn Klook sees jump in staycations(TC)


Mophie introduces a modular wireless charging module

Here’s a clever addition for Mophie, one of the longstanding battery case makers, which is now a part of the same smartphone accessory conglomerate as Zagg,  Braven, iFrogz and InvisibleShield. The Juice Pack Connect is a modular take on the category, with a battery pack that slides on and off.For $80 you get a 5,400mAh battery (that should get you plenty of additional charge time) and a ring stand that props the phone up. Mophie may offer additional models at some point, but right now, the biggest selling point is less about add-ons and more the fact that you can slip the battery off the device when not needed and still use the case.Image Credits: MophieIt’s not entirely dissimilar from the modular uniVERSE case OtterBox introduced a bunch of years ago, but the big advantage here is that the charging works via Qi, so you don’t have to plug it into the phone’s port.It’s not cheap (Mophie isn’t, generally). And, no, it’s not a MagSafe accessory. Instead, the add-on attaches to your case (needs to be one thin enough to support the charging, mind) using adhesive. The upside is that it works with a much larger number of phones, including multiple generations of iPhones and wireless-capable handsets like Samsung Galaxies and Google  Pixels.(TC)


Businessmore >>

Sovereign default risks to rise further in 2021: Goldman Sachs

Sovereign default risks are on course to rise further in 2021, with Iraq, Sri Lanka, Angola and Gabon at a high probability of default, say Goldman Sachs analysts.Five sovereign debt defaults or distressed debt exchanges - in which investors swap their debt for new bonds, often with longer maturities and a reduced value – have already happened in 2020 in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, the most in around two decades.Although most of the emerging market high-yield sovereigns examined still came in below the probability levels previously associated with defaults, recent defaulters Ecuador, Argentina and Lebanon were among those with high probabilities of distress, the analysts said in a report. It defined distress as ranging from default to distressed debt exchanges.Iraq, Sri Lanka, Angola and Gabon also had a relatively high probability of prolonged debt distress and a relatively high probability of default.Belarus, Mozambique, Mongolia, El Salvador and Pakistan were also flagged by the report as having a high probability of debt distress, although still relatively low default probabilities.Across all emerging market high-yield credit, the probability of debt default was on course to rise further in 2021 based on the IMF's forecasts for high public debt levels and current account deficits, Goldman Sachs said.But while the probability of broad sovereign distress pricing had also increased through 2020, it appeared to have peaked, the analysts noted.In part, that reflected the fact that the worsening in debt levels left a more longer-lasting risk of default probability compared to distress probability.Goldman Sachs also pointed to a rise in predicted haircuts in default episodes in 2020 due to rising external debt.(REUTERS)


China's NEV sales to account for half of new car sales by 2035

Sales of new energy vehicles (NEV) in China, the world's biggest auto market, will jump to 20 percent of overall new car sales by 2025 from just 5 percent now, and to 50 percent by 2035, China Society of Automotive Engineers (China-SAE) said on Tuesday.The association also predicts 95 percent of NEV sales in 2035 will be battery electric vehicles, while hybrid vehicles will make up the rest, China-SAE president Li Jun told its annual conference in Shanghai.Li's presentation slide showed that China-SAE had slightly lowered its outlook for NEVs for 2025 to 20 percent, from a 25-percent goal mentioned in a policy proposal published by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology last year.The influential industry body, whose members include senior auto executives and academics, is involved in setting the country's mid- to long-term electric vehicle policies. The technology roadmap is not government policy, but is a key reference for policy makers, companies and investors.Li also said carbon dioxide emissions from China's auto industry were expected to peak around 2028, and drop to 20 percent of peak levels by 2035.China's electric vehicle market has been experiencing a boom in the third quarter of 2020 as one after another carmakers reported new highs in monthly deliveries despite subsidy cuts and a shakeout since the pandemic struck.Thanks to the better-than-expected market recovery from the blow by the pandemic, China's NEV sales surged by 26 percent year on year in August.NEVs include battery electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. The industry expects China to sell around 1.1 million NEVs this year.Li expected China to have around 1 million hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles between 2030 and 2035.(CGTN)


chinamore >>

International Chinese students stuck in limbo ride out pandemic

Huo Dawei, a freshman at the University of Chicago, has been attending online classes in Beijing since the fall semester began in late September. This March, the 19-year-old, a senior high schooler in Massachusetts the year before, became one of the first international students to return to China when the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S."I built a mathematical model together with my classmates, based on the number of 200 confirmed COVID-19 patients in Massachusetts in early March," said Huo. "We estimate that by May, Massachusetts alone would see around 130,000 cases and nationwide there would be over a million because transmission rates for infectious diseases are fairly predictable, doubling every six days, and also the core philosophy the U.S. has in fighting coronavirus is 'flattening the curve.'"He bought one of the last few direct flights back to Beijing days before his school closed. Social distancing, remote learning, working at night and sleeping during the day became the new normal for him and his peers. Moreover, they couldn't see an end to these tough times, as the pandemic continues to unfold amid souring China-U.S. ties in academia long before COVID-19 hit.Huo Dawei is doing mathematics during an online class in Beijing, China, October 14, 2020. /CGTNStuck in limbo, Huo wanted to set up a physical space where students like him could have a better learning environment in addition to a social life. "I was mulling over a 24-hour place where young people mired in the gridlock could study on workdays and attend group activities like card games and jigsaw puzzles over the weekend," Huo told CGTN.This idea coincided with that of Li Zhenpeng, who was admitted into the University of Pennsylvania earlier this year. Together they leased an office space in Zhongguancun – home to the city's tech startups and best schools – spruced up the place and posted pamphlets online. They call it "Zoom Center," in a nod to the popular telecommunication software that is being widely used during the pandemic."It's both a study lounge and an activity center," Li noted. They currently have 45 members who regularly come to review their lessons, exchange the latest academic information, and also express their concerns about whether they can eventually study in the U.S. and when.Chinese students stuck in limbo are playing a game at Zoom Center in Beijing, China, October 14, 2020. /CGTNFor these Chinese students headed for U.S. campuses, 2020 is a typically tough year. Apart from COVID-19 lockdowns that have restricted global movement, Beijing-Washington relations have further deteriorated amid crippling trade conflicts and a looming tech decoupling. Four decades of engagement is fast becoming a relic of a bygone era, giving way to belligerence and uncertainty.Education, which is supposed to be free of politics, has become the latest battleground between the two powers. Starting February, the Trump administration sought to reduce overstays by foreign students, followed by a plan to deport Chinese graduate students majoring in concentrations deemed crucial to national security, and then sweeping restrictions to some 1.5 million international student visas. In 2019, nearly 400,000 Chinese students were enrolled in U.S. universities, making up over a third of all its international students.Yang Zeyuan, another student at UChicago, jokingly calls himself a "refugee" of studying abroad, since he's one of many people who are waiting for approval to study in the U.S."It's difficult to get an interview, and what's worse, even if you get it, the embassy will scrap it at any time," said Ma Liwei, who had just received a new Form I-20 from New York-based Rochester University. As the processing of student visas slowly resumes, his concern is common among Chinese freshmen attending U.S. universities.Sheng Yunhan, a Zoom Center organizer in eastern China, told CGTN that he was no longer checking the website of the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai. "If there's an interview opportunity, they will let me know." The 18-year-old freshman majoring in mathematics at UChicago is weighing his future plans. "I had planned to seek further education or work in the U.S. upon graduation, but now I'm reconsidering. Many Chinese companies, especially in the hi-tech sector, are doing quite well. Recently I found several jobs posted by Huawei to be very interesting."A visa stamp in a foreign passport. Many Chinese students in the U.S. have had their visas revoked. /AFPOver the past decade or two, China has come a long way in both higher education as well as research and development. The booming development of tech firms is attracting international students back to China with tantalizing positions, especially now that the confusing patchwork of policies from the White House spells broader doom for international students.A sophomore in applied mathematics and economics, Han Tianyang is staying in the U.S. since he received an internship offer on Wall Street. "Besides the offer, I'm afraid I couldn't return once I left for China, so I chose to stay." Working in this bellwether of the world's stock markets, he sensed how pandemic exacerbated the involution of the financial sector. "I need to think over whether to cling to this 'old money' occupation after graduation," he said.Despite all these headwinds, these young adults haven't changed their minds to study abroad. They said they still want to experience a different campus culture and an international education because most American professors don't judge their students based on politics and education knows no borders.Lu Feng is taking an online class at Zoom Center in Beijing, China, October 14, 2020. /CGTN"When one of my professors found out that I have to get up at 3:00 in the morning to attend his writing class, he said, 'You don't need to take this class. I'll find time to give you one-on-one classes on Friday,'" said Wang Xiaochen, a freshman of the University of Pennsylvania who's currently studying at the Zoom Center.Amid the COVID-19 upheaval, these young people have learned that they have to make the best of things – perhaps one of the few good things to have come out of the pandemic.Huo launched an app to simulate U.S. middle school classes for teenagers after discovering that many parents who had planned to send their children to study abroad weren't as eager anymore given the pandemic situation in the U.S. "I hope the app can offer an alternative for these families. Huo calls it "New Wave Class" in Chinese since, in his eyes, these teenagers are a younger and more decisive generation.(CGTN)


Hotel industry business leaders see opportunity in Chengdu

Business leaders in the domestic and international hotel industry saw the excellent investment potential in Chengdu, home to giant pandas and the capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province, during a promotion event on the city's hotel industry.The 2020 Chengdu Hotel Industry Global Investment Promotion Conference convened on Oct 28, attracting hundreds of experts and business leaders from the hotel industry. During the two-day event, Chengdu released the development plan for a batch of major cultural and tourism industry functional zones and the list of key cultural and tourism projects. Officials also introduced Chengdu's relevant hotel industry-related policies.Attendees were invited to inspect the development of the cultural and tourism industry and the hotel industry's investment projects in Chengdu's districts, counties and county-level cities."I have come to Chengdu many times over the past few years, and every time I come, I discover new things and have new feelings," said Liu Shijun, secretary-general of the World Tourism Alliance (WTA). He added that WTA is willing to work with all parties to deepen cooperation with Chengdu and support the development of the city's hotel and tourism industry.Liang Jianzhang, chairman of online travel agency Ctrip, said Chengdu has unique advantages globally thanks to its outstanding natural and cultural resources. He believes that Chengdu is to become one of the top destinations in China for international visitors."Chengdu has always been one of the top Chinese cities for Japanese people to visit. Everyone in Japan dreams of holding a giant panda in Chengdu in their lifetime," said Bika Han, general manager of Hoshino China GSA, via a video connection. She added that Chengdu is one of the markets that her hotel values most in China.Qu Qiang, executive vice president of Brilliant Group, said the group conducted in-depth research on major cities in China after the COVID-19 epidemic and finally picked Chengdu as their first investment destination among China's new first-tier cities.Through cooperation with the Chengdu Culture and Tourism Group, Brilliant Group will build a high-end hotel in Kuanzhai Alleys. This famous cultural landmark features distinctive cultural characteristics of Chengdu.Brilliant Group's new accommodation will be under the Brilliant brand, while two other hotel brands under the group are also to settle in Chengdu soon, said Qu.Duoyang Namu, chief director of Chengdu's municipal bureau of culture, radio, television and tourism, said that Chengdu will focus on the introduction and cultivation of personalized, high-quality, creative and characteristic leisure resort hotels and boutique home-stay hotels and that the city welcomes top resort hotels around the world to invest in Chengdu.(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)


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)