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China: WHO Secretariat has no right to decide next COVID origin study

China on Thursday said the World Health Organization (WHO) Secretariat unilaterally proposed a second-phase origins study of COVID-19 and its work plan is only for discussions among WHO member states and is subject to amendment."The responsibility of the Secretariat is to facilitate full consultation and agreement among member states, and it has no right to make decisions on its own," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a daily press briefing amid reports of China rejecting the WHO's next-phase work plan. Zhao reiterated the work plan is inconsistent with the requirements of the resolution of the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA), which stipulates that the next-phase work plan needs to be led by WHO member states.Since the virus broke out, China has highly valued the origin-tracing work and actively and openly participated in global cooperation in origin study, said Zhao, adding that China has twice invited WHO experts to conduct joint research and authoritative conclusions have been reached. In a report released by the WHO in late March after a field study in China's Wuhan, it was concluded that a lab-leak explanation of the origin of the coronavirus was "extremely unlikely." Many countries including China have voiced concerns and objections to the second-phase origin study plan, Zhao added. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said that as an independent and sovereign country, China will not and cannot accept any work plan that is not a real plan to find the virus, but a plan to discredit China. Zhao revealed that China had provided the WHO a work plan of further study on COVID-19 origins before the Secretariat's proposal, adding that the proposal is scientific, professional and practice-tested.The second phase of origin study should be guided by the WHA's resolution, carried out with scientists as the main body and based on evidence, according to the proposal.The Chinese side stressed solid conclusions from the first-phase study on the issue should be respected, according to Zhao."If a clear conclusion has been reached, there's no need to conduct a repeated study," Zhao said. "The China-WHO joint research report has made it clear that a virus leak from a laboratory is 'very unlikely.'"The expert group should be formed on the basis of the experts in the first-phase work, Zhao noted. He stressed the need to respect the experts' professional level, international reputation and practical experience, and said if there is a real need to supplement experts in other fields, they can be added appropriately on the basis of the original composition of experts. The spokesperson also noted China strongly opposes politicization of COVID-19 origins tracing and will continue joining real scientific study on the issue.(CGTN)

APD | Pakistan's potential to take-off economically

Author:  Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. (E-mail: Pakistan's economy is passing through one of its most arduous periods, but struggling hard to revive. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Pakistani economy was at the top in the region. Many countries use to cite the Pakistani model of economic developments. Some regional countries were sending their officals to visit Pakistan and study Pakistani model of rapid developments. Few countries were beneficiaries of Pakistan's experience and economic model. But since 1979, the invasion of the former USSR into Afghanistan, the whole region became under war and victim of unrest and instability. For almost four decades, the situation in Afghanistan has turned the entire region unstable and insecure. As a result, while the rest of world was developing, this region was deteriorating. Pakistan was the hard hit victim of the Afghan situation. The country faced many cahhlenges like intolerance, extremism, terrorism, drug mafia, and gun culture. The Economic activities halted, education, industry, agriculture every sector faced off-sets. Pakistan lost 80,000 precious lives and an estimated economic loss of US dollars 250 Billion. However, Pakistan has learned a bitter lesson and initiated measures to revive its economy and focus on economic developments. The Government has devised new policies and incentives to promote the economy and pull the country out of the severe financial crisis.The Annual Report on Investment Security of China's Belt and Road Construction (2021) was jointly released by China Belt and Road Think Tank Cooperation Alliance, Beijing International Studies University, and other institutions.The report compiles the fruits of researches on the political, economic, social, cultural, and ecological investment security in countries along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).According to the report, Pakistan has reformed to simplify the process of starting a company and obtaining a construction permit, implementing a series of preferential policies in recent years. It has improved the ease of doing business greatly. These measures improved its ability to attract foreign investment and strengthened the ease of doing business year by year, making Pakistan one of the world's top 10 economies with the most improved business environment, China Economic Net (CEN) reported.In terms of political security, the report said that South Asia as a whole is greatly affected by the superpower game. The geopolitics has impacted adversaly. China, the United States, Russia, Japan, and other countries outside the region have historical ties and practical cooperation here, making the geopolitical environment of South Asia complicated.The long-running conflict between India and Pakistan has also intensified pressures on political security in the region. The dispute over Kashmir poses a long-standing risk of war.From the perspective of economic security, Pakistan's economic security scored up by 220% in 2019 compared to 2010, showing an overall growth trend.The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has greatly boosted public confidence, stimulated domestic demand, and driven production. Many foreign countries are also investing in Pakistan and initiating new projects. However, it is worth noting that since 2019, the accelerated marketization of the domestic exchange rate in Pakistan has led to market fluctuations, currency devaluation, sustained inflation, forcing the Government to raise the benchmark interest rate. Besides, the debt burden increased, and the global sovereign rating lowered.As a matter of fact, Pakistan is rich in agriculture and fertile land. The abundance of water, the suitable moderate climate are ideal for Agriculture in Pakistan. With the introduction of mechanization, new varieties, modern practices are being introduced to boost the agriculture sector further. Pakistan is blessed with natural resources and an abundance of minerals and minings. The industrial raw material is available domestically at a very reasonable price. Furthermore, the workforce is well trained and qualified. Almost 70% of the whole population is youth under the age of 4o, the most productive age. The total population is around 220 million. The chaeper labor cost makes the industrial products competitive in the international market.Many Chinese investors are investing in Pakistan liberally and few other countries are also availing the attractive incentive-based policies of Pakistan and shifting their businesses into Pakistan. The future is bright for foreign investors and economic developments in Pakistan. In fact, Pakistan has the potential to take-off economically.(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)

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APD | Weekly top 10 hot news (Jul. 24 - Jul. 30)

Every weekend, Asia Pacific Daily will provide you with a run-down of the latest hot news.This week, the following hot news you should know:Top 1 | Infrastructure deal: Senate suddenly acts to take up billThe Senate has voted to begin work on a nearly $1 trillion national infrastructure plan, acting with sudden speed after weeks of fits and starts once the White House and a bipartisan group of senators agreed on major provisions of the package that’s key to President Joe Biden’s agenda.Biden welcomed the accord as one that would show America can “do big things.” It includes the most significant long-term investments in nearly a century, he said, on par with building the transcontinental railroad or the Interstate highway system.After weeks of stop-and-go negotiations, the rare bipartisan showing on a 67-32 vote to start formal Senate consideration showed the high interest among senators in the infrastructure package. But it’s unclear if enough Republicans will eventually join Democrats to support final passage.Top 2 | White House considering vaccine mandate for federal workersThe White House is strongly considering requiring federal employees to show proof they’ve been vaccinated against the coronavirus or otherwise submit to regular testing and wear a mask — a potentially major shift in policy that reflects growing concerns about the spread of the more infectious delta variant.The possible vaccine mandate for federal employees — regardless of the rate of transmission in their area — is one option under consideration by the Biden administration, according to a person familiar with the plans who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss deliberations that have yet to be made public. The White House is expected to announce its final decision after completing a policy review this week.According to an analysis from the federal Office of Management and Budget, in 2020 there were more than 4.2 million federal workers nationwide, including those in the military.Top 3 | Without the crowd’s roar, Tokyo Olympians search for spiritThe beloved American gymnast Sam Mikulak flipped off the parallel bars, stuck the landing and blew a kiss toward the camera. Those watching the men’s Olympics gymnastic competition on television back home knew they’d seen magic.But all around Mikulak, the stretches of wooden benches meant to seat thousands sat mostly empty. Cheers erupted from a far back corner of the stands, where Simone Biles and the rest of the women’s team screamed as loud as lungs could muster to cut through the eerie quiet of the pandemic Olympic venue.In arenas across Tokyo, athletes accustomed to feeding off the deafening roar of the crowd are searching for new ways to feel Olympic enthusiasm.Top 4 | Take a look at U.S. official Wendy Sherman's visit to TianjinOn Monday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng in the city of Tianjin, to the southeast of China's capital Beijing. As the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit China since President Joe Biden took office six months ago, Sherman emphasized the importance of "guardrails" to ensure competition between China and the U.S. doesn't veer into conflict.The seemingly level-headed message was preceded by conflicting actions by the U.S., including sanctioning Chinese officials over the Hong Kong issue and mustering together NATO allies in accusing Beijing of a cyber-espionage campaign.During his talk with Sherman, Xie said tensions between the two countries are fundamentally caused by the actions of some U.S. politicians who try to establish China as an "imagined enemy." He also urged Washington to "change its highly misguided mindset and dangerous policy."Top 5 | UN chief calls for G20 leadership on climate action UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday called for leadership of the Group of 20 (G20) on global climate action.Science shows that in order to meet this goal, the world must achieve carbon neutrality before 2050 and cut dangerous greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent by 2030 from 2010 levels, but the world is way off track, said Guterres.With less than 100 days left before the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, he urged all G20 and other leaders to commit to net-zero by mid-century, present more ambitious 2030 national climate plans and deliver on concrete policies and actions aligned with a net-zero future, including no new coal after 2021, phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and agreeing to a minimum international carbon pricing floor as proposed by the International Monetary Fund.Top 6 | Sri Lanka finds Sinopharm COVID-19 shots highly efficientResearchers from one of Sri Lanka's leading universities, the Sri Jayewardenepura University, have found that China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine is highly efficient against the Delta variant, which has become the dominant variant across the world.According to the study, 95 percent of individuals who received two doses of the Sinopharm vaccine have developed antibodies similar to a naturally infected COVID-19 person.The study showed that two doses of Sinopharm vaccine produced neutralizing antibodies in 81.25 percent of recipients and that these antibody levels were similar to what would occur after surviving a natural infection of COVID-19.Top 7 | Fauci says US headed in ‘wrong direction’ on coronavirusThe United States is in an “unnecessary predicament” of soaring COVID-19 cases fueled by unvaccinated Americans and the virulent delta variant, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert said Sunday.He said recommending that the vaccinated wear masks is “under active consideration” by the government’s leading public health officials. Also, booster shots may be suggested for people with suppressed immune systems who have been vaccinated, Fauci said.Fauci, who also serves as President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that he has taken part in conversations about altering the mask guidelines.Top 8 | Sun Yiwen wins women's epee individual gold for ChinaSun Yiwen of China won the gold medal in women's epee individual final in the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday. That was the third title Chinese athletes have claimed so far in the Tokyo Games.Sun's rival in the final was world's No. 1 Ana Maria Popescu of Romania – Sun is currently No. 3. The competition remained close in each of the three bouts as neither side could extend their lead to further than one.The match entered sudden death overtime at a 10-10 tie. Sun's attack at 0:50 hit Popescu's left shoulder before Popescu could reached her, getting the decisive score to end the match.Top 9 | First gold at Tokyo Olympics awarded to Chinese shooter Yang QianThe first gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics was awarded to China's Yang Qian, who won the women's 10-meter air rifle final on Saturday.Competing at a steady pace, the 21-year-old Chinese, who made her Olympic Games debut at Tokyo, claimed Team China's first gold medal at Asaka Shooting Range in Tokyo.Anastasiia Galashina of the Russian Olympic Committee and Nina Christen of Switzerland took the silver and bronze medals, respectively.Top 10 | Biden stumps for McAuliffe in early test of political cloutPresident Joe Biden led the kind of campaign rally on Friday that was impossible last year because of the pandemic, speaking before nearly 3,000 people in support of a fellow moderate Democrat whose race for Virginia governor could serve as a test of Biden’s own strength and coattails.Biden motorcaded across the Potomac River to back Terry McAuliffe, a former governor looking for a second term whose centrist leanings in many ways mirror those of the president. The race is seen as an early measure of voters’ judgment on Democratic control of all branches of the federal government.The president stood before an enthusiastic and largely unmasked crowd who gathered around a park pavilion and playground on a warm July night. He emphasized that he shared the same vision as McAuliffe about the need for greater public investments in order to drive economic growth. But Biden was also focused on the political stakes.(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)


First lady leaves Walter Reed after foot procedure

First lady Jill Biden left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Thursday evening after undergoing a procedure on her foot to remove an object she stepped on that apparently became lodged.Biden's press secretary Michael LaRosa said in a statement that the first lady "underwent a successful procedure on her left foot to flush out debris from a puncture wound," according to a White House pool report.LaRosa said it is unclear what the object was that caused the puncture."The wound is now clean, free of infection and it is anticipated that it will heal nicely. She and the President will depart Walter Reed en route to the White House shortly," LaRosa said.Biden stepped on an object on the beach in Hawaii last week. The first lady visited Hawaii on Sunday after leading the U.S. delegation to the Tokyo Olympics.While in Hawaii, the first lady visited a vaccination clinic at Waipahu High School, touring the facility before giving remarks. She then joined military families at Joint Base pearl Harbor-Hickman for a barbecue.Biden returned to Washington, D.C., on Monday.President Biden joined his wife for the procedure on Thursday, leaving for the military hospital in Bethesda, Md., just outside D.C., after giving remarks at the White House on the coronavirus pandemic.(THE HILL)


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Biased coverage of Chinese athletes at the Olympics is simply disgraceful

Editor's note: Hamzah Rifaat Hussain is a former visiting fellow at the Stimson Center in Washington D.C. and serves as assistant researcher at the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) in Pakistan. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.The Olympics has been the leading international sporting event dating back to 1896 in Athens. It is also supposed to be an apex platform to build bridges for peace between states and let soft power define the course of international relations as athletes and sportsmen show case their talent and win admirers across the globe. Yet, the unfortunately biased coverage of Chinese athletes at the Tokyo games of 2021 clearly suggests that anti-China lobbyists are employing deplorable tactics by combining politics with sports through subjective depictions of sportsmen. Such tactics do not bode well for the pursuit of global peace through soft power at international sporting events and underlines an innate bias towards Beijing without any justification or basis. The Olympics should be about shining faces and triumphs as memories of pride for respective countries, for which China is no exception.Yet, in a Reuters report titled "China's Hou wins 49-kg weightlifting gold" disgracefully depicted a photo of Hou struggling to lift the load when in fact her tireless efforts resulted in pride for her country worthy of accolades and acclaim. Similarly, the NBC network used an incomplete map of China during its broadcast of the opening ceremony despite the significance of the one-China policy. While the publishers and Western social media users have defended the depiction and attempted to downplay it, several questions remain unanswered: Why is the spirit of the Olympics being compromised upon by media outlets given that all athletes are to be provided with positive coverage without any consideration for ideology, political systems or orientation? A screenshot of the Reuters report titled "China's Hou wins 49-kg weightlifting gold."Furthermore, what explains such deplorable tactics in international sports and what do they aim to achieve beyond slandering? On both counts, the publishers do not have any answer, and the rebuttal from the Chinese embassy in Colombo Sri Lanka underlines how politicizing an athlete's achievement's and the tedious and cumbersome process involved is simply disgraceful.Similar to diplomatic relations between states which should also be anchored in mutual respect, multilateral sports events such as the Olympics should guarantee universal respect for sportsmen in a depoliticized manner. The reaction from Chinese social media users over Hou's lopsided coverage is an understanding that such coverage is tantamount to a smear campaign with ubiquitous promotion. Note that such campaigning will not dampen the resolve of Chinese athletes who will strive towards winning gold medals and making the country proud in the face of propaganda sprees. Given the importance of diffusing tensions between countries across the world in a pandemic-ridden environment, such coverage clouds the spirit of the Olympics.That is precisely what is happening and warrants international attention given that the publishers lack good reason or justification for such promotions. Upon Chinese shooter Yang Qian winning the first gold medal of the Olympics and setting the trend for global shooters to test their long range capabilities, CNN published a headline titled "Gold for China… and more COVID-19 cases." There is no link between spikes in COVID-19 cases either domestically or internationally and Yang's monumental feat, but one was vindictively established by CNN with no justification for doing so. It leaves the impression that China must be linked with COVID-19 at all costs with numerous theories already exposed, discredited and debunked. The fact that such discredited narratives are being promoted in international sporting events is also unfathomable given that no Chinese media outlet has demonized American athletes or attempted to depict Western achievements in a negative light by linking them with a whole host of issues that America confronts domestically and internationally.An understanding must exist that the sanctity of the Olympics must be safeguarded at all costs despite political tensions. This is true for other sporting events as well with Reuters, NBC and CNN refusing to exercise restraint or divorce politics from sports. If that is the case, then such media organizations cannot claim to be unbiased, impartial or non-partisan if such shameless coverage is promoted. By putting ideologies, clashes and discredited narratives about COVID-19 at the forefront, Reuters and CNN have not done the Olympics, the sanctity of international sports or the achievements of Chinese athletes any justice.(CGTN)


Probe can't disprove lab leak theory as it's political at heart

Editor's note: CGTN's First Voice provides instant commentary on breaking stories. The daily column clarifies emerging issues and better defines the news agenda, offering a Chinese perspective on the latest global events. If the spike in deaths in the Republican parts of the U.S. where people refuse to get vaccinated wasn't enough, the recent indecorous showdown between Senator Rand Paul and Dr. Antony Fauci shows the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic has become fatally politicized.On one side, we have a respected scientist who has served both Republican and Democratic administrations for decades. On the other, we have a climate change denialist who refuses to be vaccinated for COVID-19 and adheres to conspiracy theories, including that the virus was caused by a lab leak.Of course, in the U.S., the pandemic was political from the start. Republicans bet on keeping the economy humming to increase their re-election prospects, rather than heed warnings from China about the threat of COVID-19. That gamble failed wildly, costing hundreds of thousands of lives in the U.S. alone.Divided U.S. politicsGenerally speaking, U.S. politics is now divided into a rational camp and an irrational post-truth camp. The people dying of the virus tend to be the same ones who refuse to get shots, won't wear masks, don't believe in climate change, don't trust science and believe wild claims about Satanic rings of pedophiles running the government and stealing elections. Ironically, these are the very same forces pushing for further "scientific" inquiry into the lab leak theory.An international team of scientists has already visited central China's Wuhan and concluded the lab leak theory is not plausible. They clearly recommended no further time be wasted on it.China has already been transparent about the activities in the lab, and indeed many papers on its research into bats and viruses have been published and are in the public domain.Yet in these highly politicized times, politically motivated conspiracy theorists have been able to take these published papers and twist them into the very conspiracy theory Paul was confronting Fauci about.In this moment, due to the U.S. public's lack of expertise in science and distrust of experts, any politically motivated hack can sift through thousands of pages of documents and spin a narrative that suits their purpose.Top American infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci responds to accusations by Senator Rand Paul as he testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee about the origins of COVID-19 on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 20, 2021. /APConsider the current situation. On the one hand, you have credible scientists, including an international team of Chinese and overseas scientists as well as the top public health scientist in the U.S. and countless other experts, saying the lab leak is so unlikely as to be not worth pursuing further.On the other hand, you have politically motivated people who have come up with a neat conspiracy theory that not only implicates China but also the entire U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) including Fauci with not only covering up of the lab leak but actually causing it. Yes, the Republicans are alleging that the U.S. CDC funded reckless and dangerous experiments in Wuhan that led to COVID-19. What a convenient theory, since conservatives despise Fauci.The bountiful information in the public domain has already been twisted to fit not only an anti-China agenda, but also to fuel domestic partisan battles in the United States.Enough is enoughThese political games have gone too far.Domestic partisan battles have already unnecessarily cost hundreds of thousands of lives, and are still costing lives to this day, as the virus tears through populations who refuse to be vaccinated for political reasons.Enough is enough. Just as the U.S. never gave up on the theory that Saddam Hussein was hiding chemical weapons and insisted on ever-intrusive inspections, including searches of the Iraqi leader's private residences and intelligence offices, lab leak proponents will never give up their belief that China and the U.S. CDC together caused COVID-19.No amount of investigation will change that, because the accusation at its heart is political, not scientific.The U.S. in general is now exerting extreme pressure on its allies to isolate China and stop its rise through whatever means necessary, including trying to incite a "color revolution" in Hong Kong, and making evidence-free claims that China is conducting a "genocide."The WHO's recent turnabout earlier this month requesting a "mulligan" or a re-do on its investigation into the virus origin in Wuhan is purely a result of this pressure. The work plan on the second phase origins study proposed by the WHO contains language that does not respect the conclusions of the first report, which concludes the virus most likely has its origins from an animal host far from Wuhan.Delegates from 20 multinational companies visit Tongji Hospital Guanggu division, Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, September 4, 2020. /Chang Jiang DailyU.S. harms global anti-virus effortsCOVID-19 remains a global threat, and efforts to find its origins in order to give insight into the current risk and prevent another pandemic must be the priority.From the beginning, the U.S. has harmed global efforts to contain COVID-19 with no regard for science. It pulled out of the World Health Organization at a crucial moment. It did not impose global travel restrictions in a timely or effective manner even though it is an international travel hub.Even now, as cases are on the rise and the Delta variant rips through the U.S., Bloomberg News reports that flight capacity in June compared to 2019 levels was down only 20.1 percent, one of the strongest recoveries in the world.Bloomberg reported this as a positive thing, but it really reflects the focus on commerce over human life and indifference to spreading the virus and its variants that has characterized the U.S. pandemic response from the start.The U.S. did not take basic public health measures until the virus was out of control. All of these poor decisions were based on domestic political considerations, not science.WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has declared, "Finding the origins of this virus is a scientific exercise that must be kept free from politics."China agrees wholeheartedly, and will not give energy to politically motivated actors by reopening a matter that has already been plainly settled by an international team of scientists. As a leading country in cooperation with the WHO on origins study, China will continue to actively play a role in the next phase of global origin-tracing cooperation. It's time to resist the retrogressive trend of politicizing the virus and uphold the spirit of science in the global anti-epidemic efforts. (CGTN)


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Germany plans to implement emergency text message warning service

Germany's interior minister has announced a SMS messaging system that will make it possible to send out emergency text alerts to all mobile network users in an emergency area after the country was hit by the worst floods in 60 years.While such a warning service has been used by other countries for decades, Germany has resisted its use over privacy concerns.According to experts, Germany's emergency SMS system will be operational in the next 12-18 months.Clean-up operation beginsEmergency power generators, construction dryers and kids toys - those were some of the items Sebastian Frenkel, along with dozens of volunteers, unloaded from trucks and trailers full of donations for the community of Erftstadt, which was hit by catastrophic floods on July 15.Frenkel, from Potsdam, near Berlin, always had a love for the western Eifel region of Germany, so when it was struck by the country's worst natural disaster in decades, killing at least 180 people, he sprang into action, initiating a crowdfunding campaigning.A few days later, that campaigned had raised $35,314. With that money, he bought machinery and other equipment to help with the mammoth clear-up efforts."We are still moved after the drive," shared Frenkel, who personally drove the donations the 570 kilometers to Erftstadt. "There are no roads anymore, no bridges. We saw some harsh images in Schuld, in Ahrweiler."Volunteers have been coming out from everywhere to help in the relief efforts.Sebastian Frenkel, along with dozens of volunteers have raised money to help with the clean-up efforts. /AFPDid the government warning system fail?The discussion over the German government's preparedness and response is still a hot topic just months before the federal elections in September.One of the country's national papers recently pointed the finger straight at the government, writing that "disaster management failed to warn citizens. Barely functioning sirens, no early evacuations and data protection prevented warning text messages to all affected citizens."The devastating floods, which also hit neighboring Belgium and The Netherlands, caused the deaths of more than 180 people in Germany alone and is expected to cost the country more than six billion euros ($7.06 billion) to rebuild.Some parts of western Germany were hit by catastrophic floods on July 15. /AFPVineyards fearful of futureActs of solidarity in Germany's competitive winemaking industry has helped those who own vineyards in the Ahr valley, one of the regions most severely affected, keep spirits high says Elmar Sermann.His family has been growing wine in the area for almost 300 years."It's just incredible," he says. "The help that we have been offered from other winemakers in the region, people saying they have a press spare, or tanks or pumps. I think that with all this goodwill we will make it again."Yet, others are not so optimistic.Many of the 460 members of the Mayschoss-Altenahr wine cooperative, also near the Ahr river in western Germany, were affected by the rushing waters that flooded cellars and vineyards.Alina Sonntag, a management assistant at the cooperative, said the disaster threatened to end what is believed to be the oldest such organization in the world at more than 150 years old."It is devastatingly threatening to the existence (of our business)" Sonntag admits. "The barrels that were still in the cellar, where there was actually wine in them, are probably no longer usable. We're now trying to save what can be saved. It affects our very substance, that's for sure."(CGTN)


Taliban control about half of Afghan district centers: U.S. general

Afghan Taliban militants now control about half of the war-torn country's 419 district centers, a top U.S. general said on Wednesday."Strategic momentum appears to be sort of with the Taliban," General Mark Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a press conference."There's a possibility of a complete Taliban takeover, or the possibility of any number of other scenarios," Milley said. "I don't think the end game is yet written."While the militants have yet to capture any of the country's 34 provincial capitals, they are pressuring about half of them, he said.Afghan security forces are consolidating their positions to protect those major urban centers including Kabul, he added.Afghan govt, Taliban to meet again after lack of progressThe Afghan provinces have seen heavy battles between the Taliban and government security forces since the start of the withdrawal of the U.S.-led forces from Afghanistan in early May.U.S. President Joe Biden has set a formal end to the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan for August 31, days ahead of his original September 11 deadline.U.S. Central Command said last week over 95 percent of the withdrawal had been completed.More than 2,400 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan over the past two decades, with 20,000 wounded, according to the Pentagon.Estimates show that over 66,000 Afghan troops have been killed, and over 2.7 million people have had to leave their homes.(CGTN)


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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)


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Ancient Chinese ceramics in Philippine museum witnesses Quanzhou's glory along Maritime Silk Road

Bobby Orillaneda, a senior researcher of the Philippine National Museum of Anthropology, fell in love with ancient Chinese ceramics in 1999 when he joined a shipwreck excavation in Palawan, an archipelagic province in the Southeast Asian country.As a ceramic researcher and head of the museum's maritime and underwater heritage division, Orillaneda said China's ceramics collections of the museum date back to nearly 1,000 years ago or the Southern Song and Yuan dynasties.The ancient Chinese ceramics, most of which were found in the Philippines either inland sites or in shipwreck sites, are "very good evidence of the thriving maritime trade between China and the rest of the world, including the Philippines," he told Xinhua in an interview."Most of the collections here are from the port of Quanzhou since the 13th century, when there was increased maritime traffic among China, the Philippines, and the rest of the Southeast Asian region. Ceramics from different areas of China would be carried to Quanzhou first and then shipped towards different destinations such as here in the Philippines," Orillaneda said.Over the past years, Orillaneda has visited many cities in China to arrange cultural artifacts exhibitions. Among those cities, Quanzhou, located in China's Fujian province as the crucial starting point of the ancient Maritime Silk Road, impressed him the most.Dating back to China's Song Dynasty (960-1297) and Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Quanzhou witnessed a prospering maritime trade and economy, serving as a bridge for cultural exchange and mutual learning between China and the rest of the world.On Sunday, Quanzhou: Emporium of the World in Song-Yuan China, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List as a cultural site, bringing the total number of China's UNESCO World Heritage sites to 56.Starting from Quanzhou, silk, porcelain, and tea were ferried out of China, while spices, exotic plants, and other rare treasures were shipped back.Shipwrecks excavated in Quanzhou Bay and the South China Sea also testify to the prosperity and vibrancy of the port, such as the wreck of a sailing ship with a wooden hull unearthed in Houzhu Harbor in Quanzhou Bay.This three-masted ocean-going commercial vessel seems to have been originally built in Quanzhou in the 13th century, and at the time of the wreck, it was returning from Southeast Asia loaded with spices, medicines, and other merchandise.Deeply engrossed in the study of ancient Chinese ceramics, Orillaneda said that out of all the collections in the Philippine National Museum of Anthropology, his favorite one is a blue and white porcelain bowl made during the Yuan Dynasty."It is recovered from a late 15th-century shipwreck here in Palawan, but this one is quite different because it is made during the Yuan Dynasty, which is about 100 years earlier than the shipwreck," Orillaneda said."During the Yuan Dynasty, the blue and whites are of very high quality. The cobalt was taken from Central Asia and imported to China and used during the first batch of the blue and whites. Therefore, the exquisite craftsmanship and the colors are very vibrant. The design inside the bowl shows mythical animals like phoenix and kylin, which are important symbols in Chinese mythology."Orillaneda's mentor, Rita Tan, the former president of the Oriental Ceramic Society of the Philippines, also dedicated her life to studying ancient Chinese ceramics.Born in 1939, Tan has been the curator of a series of exhibitions on overseas ancient Chinese ceramics, particularly those fabricated in Fujian province before being shipped out from Quanzhou and finally discovered in the Philippines.She attributed the discovery of Song-Yuan ceramics in the Philippines to Chinese government policy incentives of those dynasties and the Philippines' strategic location along the Maritime Silk Road due to its proximity to China's coastal areas. Tan believes that these cultural relics are "the most concrete evidence of history.""Song Dynasty is the 'golden era' of Chinese ceramics, which witnessed the blooming of kilns in Southeast China. Moreover, the opening-up policy and emphasis on foreign trade of those dynasties boosted the export of Chinese ceramics," Tan said."Geographically close, the Philippines is a must-pass between China and the rest of the Southeast Asian region, and even Western Asia," Tan added.(中国网英文)


Space tech to monitor World Heritage Sites focus of UN event

A side event of the 44th Session of UNESCO World Heritage Committee was held on Monday focusing on the adoption of space technology on the monitoring and conservation of World Heritage Sites.The International Centre on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage (HIST) under the Auspices of UNESCO and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) jointly hosted this online sideline of the session.The theme of the side event was Space Technologies Towards Sustainable Development of World Heritage. This event was dedicated to exploring ways and means to strengthening the partnership between World Heritage and sustainable development during HIST's second decade of operations, which coincides with the remaining years of the 2030 Agenda on the 17 sustainable development goals adopted by the UN in 2015. The timing of this event is also critical as the world contemplates the adoption of a far-reaching Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.More than 100 delegates from the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, its advisory bodies and category 2 centers, and other international organizations as well as research institutions, heritage sites and governmental agencies from 16 UNESCO member states were present to discuss how emerging advanced technologies such as space technologies could be used for the benefit of the sustainable development of UNESCO-designated sites.HIST and IUCN will also enhance cooperation in nomination, monitoring, evaluation and capacity building for the heritage sites.Guo Huadong, an academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences and director of HIST, delivered a keynote speech to introduce successful examples of space technology in studies, evaluation, management, protection and capacity building on World Heritage Sites.During the side event, participants called for more stakeholders across the globe to join in the next decade of action to employ these technologies to promote academic exchanges, conduct international research and enhance capacity building, in particular for the developing countries, biodiversity conservation and climate change action, thus contributing to the implementation of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, Strategy for Risk Reduction at World Heritage Properties, and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other international landmark agreements.The extended 44th Session of UNESCO World Heritage Committee is being hosted in Fuzhou, Fujian province, from July 16 to 31.(中国网英文)


Sportsmore >>

China's Xu Jiayu falls short of Olympic men's 100m backstroke medal

China's two-time world champion Xu Jiayu didn't make it onto the podium in the men's 100m Olympic backstroke event in Tokyo on Tuesday depsite producing his best performance this year.  The 25-year-old Zhejiang-native hit the wall in 52.51 seconds and finished fifth, while Russian Olympic Committee's Evgeny Rylov edged team-mate Kliment Kolesnikov to win the gold in 51.98. American defending champion Ryan Murphy, who posted the fastest final 50m, could only settle for bronze in 52.19.Xu Jiayu in action during the men's 100m Olympic backstroke event in Tokyo Olympics, Tokyo, Japan, July 27, 2021. /CFPAccording to ESPN, it is the first time since the Moscow Olympics in 1980 that an American has failed to win either gold or silver in the 100m backstroke. Xu had a tough lead-up to the Olympic final, with severe physical discomfort impacting his display. After the backstroke preliminaries on Monday, he was videoed sitting on the ground and vomiting. Multiple media reports revealed that Xu had stomach ulcers in recent days and his discomfort did not subside in the final.  Anyone can be an unlucky loser, but the way Xu handled himself when he was plagued by illness on the grandest stage of the sport said a lot about his mentality and character. It was this never-say-die attitude that earned him two world titles in the 100m backstroke and a silver medal in the event at the Rio Olympics in 2016.Russian Olympic Committee's Evgeny Rylov poses with the gold medal during the medal ceremony for the men's 100m Olympic backstroke event in Tokyo Olympics, Tokyo, Japan, July 27, 2021. /CFPIn women's 100m backstroke, Australia's 20-year-old Kaylee McKeown set a new Olympic record to win the gold medal after touching in 57.47. Canada's Kylie Masse finished second in 57.72 and American Smith third in 58.05. Meanwhile, U.S. young talent Lydia Jacoby stunned defending champion Lilly King to come out on top in the women's 100m breaststroke. Britain's Tom Dean made a near-flawless performance to win men's 200m freestyle gold medal.(CGTN)


Chen Lijun beats desperate trial to win men's 67kg weightlifting gold

Chinese veteran Chen Lijun, who pulled out of the men's weightlifting event because of leg cramps at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and has since struggled with injuries, staged a thrilling comeback and won the men's 67kg gold medal Sunday at the Tokyo Olympic Games.Chen lifted 145kg, 187kg and 332kg in snatch, clean and jerk, and total respectively, breaking the Olympic record of the last two. Luis Javier Mosquera Lozano of Colombia and Mirko Zanni of Italy got the silver and bronze medals.However, victory was hard earned. Chen easily completed his first lift of 145kg in snatch, but failed the following two attempts, challenging 150kg and 151kg. Such an underperformance threw him into huge disadvantage as Chen trailed Mosquera Lozano of Colombia by 6kg.Having no other choice but to push himself, Chen started the clean and jerk with 175kg. He succeeded in the first attempt, but so did Mosquera Lozano, who thus still led by six.Mosquera Lozano challenged 180kg twice in his last two attempts and did it in the last lift, leaving a total of 11kg for Chen to beat.Chen chose 187kg in his second clean and jerk attempt – he lifted that weight before but that is still a risky choice, especially after Zanni failed twice to challenge 184kg.Chen came out, grabbed the barbell, lifted it up solidly over his head and stood straight long enough to claim an epic comeback victory to win the honor.(CGTN)


Science&Militarymore >>

BioNTech using COVID jab technology to develop effective malaria vaccine

The German pharmaceutical group behind one of the most successful COVID-19 vaccines wants to use the same technology to develop a malaria vaccine. BioNTech, who developed the first coronavirus jab with US company Pfizer, is aiming to begin clinical trials for a "safe and highly effective malaria vaccine" by the end of next year.According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there were an estimated 229 million cases of malaria globally in 2019, with about 409,000 deaths that year.Image: Ugur Sahin, chief executive of BioNtech,said the company is in working on a malaria jabThe WHO estimates that children under five accounted for 67% of deaths in 2019 and 94% of cases and deaths were in Africa.Biotech's chief executive Ugur Sahin said: "We are already working on HIV and tuberculosis, and malaria is the third big indication (disease) with a high unmet medical need."It has an incredible high number of people being infected every year, a high number of patients dying, a particularly severe disease and high mortality in small children."But Mr Sahin acknowledged the project is at a very early stage and there is no guarantee of success.He added that the company believes it is "the perfect time to address this challenge" because of insights gained from developing an mRNA vaccine against COVID-19.Image: According to the World Health Organisation, children accounted for 67% of malaria-related deaths in 2019. File picMalaria is a parasitic infection passed on to victims through the bite of infected mosquitos - that evades recognition by the immune system, said Mr Sahin, adding the goal is to develop a vaccine that makes the parasite visible and attackable.There is currently only one malaria vaccine - Mosquirix - which took GlaxoSmithKline several years to develop but is only 39% effective."The genome of Plasmodium, the parasite that causes malaria, is more complex than viruses," cautioned Prakash Srinivasan, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.Researchers at Oxford's Jenner Institute are also developing a potential new malaria vaccine that has shown promise in a year-long trial.BioNTech also plans to run tests on a vaccine for tuberculosis in 2020, as well as nine jabs against nine different infectious diseases.(Skynews)


Commercial EV company Arrival to build electric buses for Anaheim

Arrival, the commercial electric vehicle company that is shaking up the traditional auto production line with AI-run microfactories, has been chosen to build electric buses for the City of Anaheim, California.The Federal Transportation Administration awarded Anaheim a $2 million grant in 2019, and on Thursday the city’s transportation network announced the plan to partner with Arrival to achieve its goal of running California’s first all-electric bus fleet by 2025.The U.K.-based company said Anaheim, which operates transit services to and from Disneyland and other local attractions, would be the first customer for its lightweight-battery bus. Arrival will start with five 40-foot buses, but did not respond to requests for more information about when the buses would launch and when to expect more additions to the fleet.The buses for Anaheim will be built in Arrival’s first U.S. microfactory in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Arrival’s other microfactory is in Charlotte, North Carolina, but the startup aims to have 31 microfactories all over the country by the end of 2024.Arrival’s partnership with Anaheim Transportation Network also includes workforce development programs, according to a statement from the EV company. Local community colleges with electrical and mechanical engineering programs will be able to give eligible students internships to gain experience working with zero-emission transportation.“The Arrival Bus will change the face of public transportation when it hits the roads,” said Mike Ableson, CEO of Arrival Automotive. “Our first order from a U.S. transit operator is just the beginning.”Arrival, which recently went public via a SPAC merger, already has a number of notable partnerships. Last year, it signed an agreement with UPS to roll out an initial order of 10,000 electric delivery vehicles through 2024. In May the company partnered with Uber to create a purpose-built EV for ride-hailing, and just last week, the company announced an initial order of 3,000 EVs from LeasePlan, a Dutch “car-as-a-service” company.(TC)


Businessmore >>

Twitter beats revenue targets with advertisement improvements, shares jump by 5%

Twitter on Thursday reported higher revenue growth than Wall Street had expected, as the social media platform rolled out advertisement targeting improvements to help brands reach potential customers.Shares of Twitter rose by 5 percent to $73 in trading after the bell.Since the start of the year, Twitter has raced to introduce products in new areas like audio-only chat rooms and newsletter publishing in an effort to turn around years of business stagnation and reach its goal of doubling annual revenue by 2023.Advertising revenue totaled $1.05 billion, up 87 percent from the year-ago quarter, and beat Wall Street estimates of $909.9 million.Twitter has worked to improve the effectiveness of its advertisements, introducing 2,500 new topic categories during the quarter to help users find content they're interested in, all of which provides more ad targeting data back to Twitter, the company said on a conference call with analysts.Those improvements, along with higher demand from advertisers seeking to reach consumers as countries reopen from pandemic restrictions, helped propel ad revenue, Twitter said.The strong results from both Twitter and its tech peer Snap, which reported quarterly revenue growth of 116 percent on Thursday, shows "that the overall digital ad market is on fire right now, with the reopening further strengthening advertisers' budgets," said Ygal Arounian, a research analyst at Wedbush Securities.Twitter reported 206 million monetizable daily active users, its term for users who are served advertising, for the second quarter ended June 30, matching analyst targets of 205.9 million users, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.Its U.S. user base declined by 1 million over three months from the previous quarter due to a lighter news cycle in the United States, Twitter said, with total users worldwide in line with Wall Street targets.Total revenue, which also includes revenue the company earns from data licensing, rose 74 percent year-over-year to $1.19 billion, beating analyst estimates of $1.07 billion.(CGTN)


UK wants new EU deal on Northern Ireland Protocol

The UK says it urgently wants a new deal with the European Union to govern trade in Northern Ireland.The current rules – which were agreed between the two sides last year – have led to tensions.They include food shortages in Northern Ireland, increased checks on goods going into Northern Ireland, lengthy queues and backlogs at ports and even the re-emergence of sectarian violence on the streets."We cannot go on as we are," Brexit Minister David Frost told parliament as he announced the UK government's proposals."We see an opportunity to proceed differently, to find a new path to seek to agree with the EU through negotiations, a new balance in our arrangements covering Northern Ireland, to the benefit of all." What is the Northern Ireland Protocol?The protocol is part of the international treaty signed between the UK and the EU last year outlining their relationship after Brexit. It is an insurance policy to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland (part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland (part of the EU).In order to avoid any checks on goods along the land border, the two sides agreed to initiate a trade border in the Irish Sea. That meant Northern Ireland would in effect remain in the EU's single market for goods, while England, Scotland and Wales would not.The protocol was also designed to protect the peace process in Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement, which brought an end to around three decades of sectarian conflict known as The Troubles.The implementation of the protocol has proved onerous for businesses on both sides and has angered unionist politicians in Northern Ireland, who back closer ties with the UK. Frost outlined key changes the UK wants to see to the protocol including keeping an open border on the island of Ireland, an extension of current grace periods to allow goods to keep moving freely across borders and, crucially, no longer having EU institutions and the European Court of Justice governing the protocol.The latest move is unlikely to go down well with Brussels, which has insisted the deal in place must be respected.Speaking to the BBC, Ireland's Minister for European Affairs Thomas Byrne said the protocol "obviously has complications" but that it cannot be redrawn."We're clear there can be no renegotiation of the Protocol. It's been agreed by the British government and the EU. We have to work within the confines of that agreement," he said. Triggering Article 16?Article 16 of the protocol allows either the UK or the EU to unilaterally break the terms of the deal in extreme circumstances. Frost said London would not trigger the clause even though it had the right to."It is clear that the circumstances exist to justify the use of Article 16. Nevertheless ... we have concluded it is not the right moment to do so," he said.U.S. President Joe Biden has also previously weighed in on the issue. His administration has said the Good Friday Agreement – which one of his predecessors, Bill Clinton, helped broker – "must be protected."(CGTN)


chinamore >>

What are China's foreign policy commitments to peace and development?

Editor's note: This podcast series explains how China works. It features key excerpts from Xi Jinping's speech on July 1, 2021 to celebrate the centenary of the Communist Party of China. In the speech, Xi looked back on the lessons of history and explored the Party's role in China's journey to becoming a moderately prosperous society.We will never allow any foreign force to bully, oppress, or subjugate us. Anyone who would attempt to do so will find themselves on a collision course with a great wall of steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people.- Chinese President Xi JinpingWe must continue working to promote the building of a human community with a shared future. Peace, concord, and harmony are ideas the Chinese nation has pursued and carried forward for more than 5,000 years. The Chinese nation does not carry aggressive or hegemonic traits in its genes. The Party cares about the future of humanity, and wishes to move forward in tandem with all progressive forces around the world. China has always worked to safeguard world peace, contribute to global development, and preserve international order.On the journey ahead, we will remain committed to promoting peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit, to an independent foreign policy of peace, and to the path of peaceful development. We will work to build a new type of international relations and a human community with a shared future, promote high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative through joint efforts, and use China's new achievements in development to provide the world with new opportunities. The Party will continue to work with all peace-loving countries and peoples to promote the shared human values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom. We will continue to champion cooperation over confrontation, to open up rather than closing our doors, and to focus on mutual benefits instead of zero-sum games. We will oppose hegemony and power politics, and strive to keep the wheels of history rolling toward bright horizons.We Chinese are a people who uphold justice and are not intimidated by threats of force. As a nation, we have a strong sense of pride and confidence. We have never bullied, oppressed, or subjugated the people of any other country, and we never will. By the same token, we will never allow any foreign force to bully, oppress, or subjugate us. Anyone who would attempt to do so will find themselves on a collision course with a great wall of steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people.(Source: Extract from Xi Jinping's speech at a ceremony marking the centenary of the Communist Party of China in Beijing, capital of China, July 1, 2021.)(CGTN)


Space log: How Chinese tech helps make life in space easier?

Nothing is too trivial when it comes to living in space. For a medium- to long-term mission, daily necessities must be durable and have a long shelf life. That is where science and technology come in. Thanks to China's many independent innovations, the country's astronauts, or taikonauts, can rest easy in space.A tiny lint fuzz could lead to big trouble in space as it could cause the taikonauts to have trouble breathing. The materials for the spacesuit must protect against this and over 10 other requirements, including anti-bacteria, anti-static and good ventilation and sweat absorption, for the duration of the trip.More than 20 researchers have spent three years independently developing the right material for the spacesuits at a research base designated for fabric research and development for special purpose workwear in Huzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province.Besides the spacesuit, the fridge and the microwave oven in the space station are two big helpers that make the taikonauts' space life easier.The fridge has a compound insulation design that is both sturdy and lightweight. It can be monitored and controlled by the ground control center 400 kilometers away. Meanwhile, the energy-saving technology used on the fridge can reduce energy usage by 25 percent and increase the efficiency rate to freeze things by 50 percent.It's the first time a microwave oven was installed for taikonauts to heat food aboard a spacecraft. It took the researchers 10 years to develop and iterate the technology. It usually takes seven minutes to warm up a meal.(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)