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2020 World AIDS Day: Global solidarity, shared responsibility

This year's World AIDS Day is like no other. The COVID-19 pandemic is threatening the progress that the world has made in health and development, including the gains we have made against HIV over the past four decades. This year, the theme of World AIDS Day is "Global solidarity, shared responsibility."Over the past year, the HIV movement has mobilized to defend our progress, to protect people living with HIV and other vulnerable groups and to push the coronavirus back. In China, we witnessed solidarity and shared responsibility between government and community groups in ensuring continuity of HIV services even during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Such efforts included ensuring multi-month dispensing of HIV treatment; organizing deliveries of treatment and prevention commodities to people living with HIV; and providing financial assistance, psychosocial support and essential personal protection equipment to at-risk groups. These acts of solidarity and shared responsibility were also extended to the world with China sharing its experiences of responding to HIV with other developing countries.It is the sheer determination of the Chinese government, the solidarity of community groups, the dedication of health practitioners and the shared responsibility of all Chinese people that made the impossible possible during this difficult time, and I salute you all!But we know that we cannot rest on our laurels especially because we are now fighting two colliding epidemics of HIV and COVID-19.  As the secretary-general said in his World AIDS Day statement: "Despite significant successes, the AIDS emergency is not over. HIV still infects 1.7 million people each year and kills some 690,000. And inequalities mean that those who are the least able to stand up for their rights are still the most affected."In responding to COVID-19, the world cannot make the same mistakes it made in the fight against HIV.I still remember the early years of the AIDS pandemic when millions of people in developing countries died while waiting for HIV treatment which was available in richer countries. Even today, more than 12 million people are still waiting to access HIV treatment.That is why UNAIDS, with the strong support of the secretary-general of the United Nations, has been calling for a "people's vaccine" against the coronavirus and they are supported by a growing list of current and former heads of state who have signed up to support this call.Global problems need global solidarity.As the first COVID-19 vaccine candidates become available, there are serious threats to ensuring equitable access. The United Nations commends China for joining the COVAX facility and salutes the commitment by President Xi that a vaccine produced in China will become a global public good. Wealth should not determine whether people get the health care they need. We need a COVID-19 vaccine – and HIV treatments and care – that are affordable and available to everyone, everywhere.Our goal of ending the AIDS epidemic was already off track before COVID-19. We must now put people first to get the AIDS response back on track. We must end the social injustices that put people at risk of contracting HIV. And we must fight for the right to health and ensure universal access. Barriers such as up-front user fees that lock people out of health must come down.Women and girls must have their human rights fully respected, and the criminalization and marginalization of gay men, transgender people, sex workers and people who use drugs must stop.In China, I hope to see evidence-based, age appropriate comprehensive sexuality education and early testing and treatment to keep young people away from HIV. I hope to see all babies of HIV-positive mothers being delivered HIV free. I hope to see people living with HIV have access to good quality medicines with less side-effects, so they can have a better quality of life and contribute fully to their families and societies. And I hope to see fear, stigma and discrimination dismantled. These are not my wishes alone but the wishes of all people living with HIV.I hope the new 14th Five-Year Plan for HIV and AIDS reflects all these aspirations as well as the new targets for 2025 just released by UNAIDS in the World AIDS Day 2020 report titled "Prevailing Against Pandemics by Putting People at the Center."A new global AIDS strategy will be approved at the UNAIDS board meeting next month and taken to the United Nations High Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS in June 2021. The United Nations Joint Programme on HIV and AIDS stands ready to support China's efforts and looks to China for its support and solidarity for the global AIDS strategy and the high-level meeting in June.Only global solidarity and shared responsibility will help us beat the coronavirus, end the AIDS epidemic and guarantee the right to health for all.       (CGTN)

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Putting profit over people helped the pandemic spread, but it should not prolong it

Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, some particularly interesting revelations about the structure of the global socioeconomic paradigm, most of which were already obvious to experts and non-experts alike, have been proven true.  Chief among these is the fact that the paradigm of global capitalism is very obviously failing. Capitalism as a socioeconomic model cannot properly manage the most fundamental problems facing the world, such as the current public health crisis. Before the pandemic, the United States was seen as the country most prepared for a global pandemic. Now, the United States has had by far the worst coronavirus infection spikes in the world – the highest number of cases and the highest number of deaths. The reason is simple: under the country's radical capitalist socioeconomic system, it was simply not profitable to be prepared for a pandemic. Capitalist Europe, which has embraced a "capitalism with a human face" model, has fared better in its fight against the coronavirus, but still not well.  While the European Economic Area (EEA) and the United Kingdom together have a much higher population than the United States (by about 200 million), it has still seen nearly 13 million COVID-19 cases and over 300,000 deaths, according to the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) as of November 27.   The European Union (EU), the ECDC and EU member states were hopelessly unprepared. No data was collected at the EU level on member states' national stockpiles of medical equipment and member states themselves also had no idea until it was too late. The reason, especially for an austere Europe, can be broadly described as the same as the United States.  One thing Europe has accomplished over the U.S. is that it has managed to avoid the total disintegration of the real economy through public spending, including wage subsidies for workers, support for small businesses among other key measures.  In the complete reverse, the United States is allowing workers to go unemployed and become dependent on federally-enhanced unemployment benefits, which will soon expire. It also rolled out direct payments to citizens only once and botched its small business protection scheme.  But Europe is not out of the woods – the European banking sector is facing its worst stress since the Eurozone debt crisis, especially now that the second wave of the virus has arrived and bad loans are set to spike.  The only remedy for the pandemic and the global economic recession is to stop the spread of the virus. That's it. Capitalism – whether it be as alienating as the United States or as "human" as in Europe – is not up to the task. On the other hand, every existing country that has dared to pursue a radically different socioeconomic direction is faring far better than either the United States or Europe.  Four countries that adhere to Marxist-Leninist principles stick out: China, Laos, Vietnam and Cuba. China managed to contain its outbreak through strict longdowns, effective technology-driven contact tracing and employing its engineering prowess to construct key medical infrastructure, often in mere days, to name just a few points.  But most importantly it has to do with political will. For example, when even a small outbreak is detected in China now, citizens of millions are tested in a matter of days to isolate the virus.  Something of this order would be politically untenable in the Western capitalist world out of concern for poorly defined concepts like freedom or personal liberty, failing to acknowledge that little freedom or personal liberty can be enjoyed by someone spending the last weeks of their life on a ventilator, alone and isolated from family. The other countries listed are experiencing similar success. As of November 27, Laos has reported 39 cases and 0 deaths; Vietnam, a country of over 95 million has reported 1,339 cases (169 currently active) and 35 deaths; and Cuba, with over 11 million people, has reported 8,110 cases (most recovered) and 133 deaths.  All of these countries have a socioeconomic system in place that places people over profit, which is exactly why the health of average people has been preserved ahead of the profit of corporations in these countries. Even as the global pandemic reaches its end as vaccine candidates emerge, intense politicization is already underway. American vaccine candidates created by for-profit companies, like Pfizer and Moderna, are looking to capitalize and it's for this reason that Western countries are irresponsibly launching public opinion campaigns against, for example, successful Chinese vaccines and coming out against compulsory licensing of their own vaccines.  Thomas Cueni, director-general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), was quoted in a Reuters report on Friday making the case against compulsory licensing of these vaccines.  Motorbike riders with protective face masks travel during the afternoon peak hour, July 31, 2020, Hanoi, Vietnam. /Getty Images"For me this questioning of IP (intellectual property) is really primarily politics, but it's politics which is not helpful because it would send very negative signals in terms of disrespect to the system which allowed the world to react so fast and so responsibly," he said, noting that nearly every company committed to "not for profit" or "socially responsible" pricing (Moderna and Pfizer said they would sell for a profit).  It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what "system" actually "allowed the world to react so fast and so responsibly" to the global public health emergency in this example because it surely was not supply-side capitalism, but describing the debate on vaccine access as political is certainly accurate.  The fact is that the pandemic will only end when a vaccine is widely available and accessible to everyone on the planet, and any other suggestion is nonsense. In order to preserve the basic well-being of people, which is fundamentally linked to the health of the economy and central to the stability of a political system, they must be put ahead of profit. (CGTN)

2020-11-30

Putting profit over people helped the pandemic spread, but it should not prolong it

Editor's note: Bradley Blankenship is a Prague-based American journalist, political analyst and freelance reporter. The article reflects the author's opinions, not necessarily the views of CGTN.Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, some particularly interesting revelations about the structure of the global socioeconomic paradigm, most of which were already obvious to experts and non-experts alike, have been proven true.  Chief among these is the fact that the paradigm of global capitalism is very obviously failing. Capitalism as a socioeconomic model cannot properly manage the most fundamental problems facing the world, such as the current public health crisis. Before the pandemic, the United States was seen as the country most prepared for a global pandemic. Now, the United States has had by far the worst coronavirus infection spikes in the world – the highest number of cases and the highest number of deaths. The reason is simple: under the country's radical capitalist socioeconomic system, it was simply not profitable to be prepared for a pandemic. Capitalist Europe, which has embraced a "capitalism with a human face" model, has fared better in its fight against the coronavirus, but still not well.  While the European Economic Area (EEA) and the United Kingdom together have a much higher population than the United States (by about 200 million), it has still seen nearly 13 million COVID-19 cases and over 300,000 deaths, according to the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) as of November 27.   The European Union (EU), the ECDC and EU member states were hopelessly unprepared. No data was collected at the EU level on member states' national stockpiles of medical equipment and member states themselves also had no idea until it was too late. The reason, especially for an austere Europe, can be broadly described as the same as the United States.  One thing Europe has accomplished over the U.S. is that it has managed to avoid the total disintegration of the real economy through public spending, including wage subsidies for workers, support for small businesses among other key measures.  In the complete reverse, the United States is allowing workers to go unemployed and become dependent on federally-enhanced unemployment benefits, which will soon expire. It also rolled out direct payments to citizens only once and botched its small business protection scheme.  But Europe is not out of the woods – the European banking sector is facing its worst stress since the Eurozone debt crisis, especially now that the second wave of the virus has arrived and bad loans are set to spike.  The only remedy for the pandemic and the global economic recession is to stop the spread of the virus. That's it. Capitalism – whether it be as alienating as the United States or as "human" as in Europe – is not up to the task. On the other hand, every existing country that has dared to pursue a radically different socioeconomic direction is faring far better than either the United States or Europe.  Four countries that adhere to Marxist-Leninist principles stick out: China, Laos, Vietnam and Cuba. China managed to contain its outbreak through strict longdowns, effective technology-driven contact tracing and employing its engineering prowess to construct key medical infrastructure, often in mere days, to name just a few points.  But most importantly it has to do with political will. For example, when even a small outbreak is detected in China now, citizens of millions are tested in a matter of days to isolate the virus.  Something of this order would be politically untenable in the Western capitalist world out of concern for poorly defined concepts like freedom or personal liberty, failing to acknowledge that little freedom or personal liberty can be enjoyed by someone spending the last weeks of their life on a ventilator, alone and isolated from family. The other countries listed are experiencing similar success. As of November 27, Laos has reported 39 cases and 0 deaths; Vietnam, a country of over 95 million has reported 1,339 cases (169 currently active) and 35 deaths; and Cuba, with over 11 million people, has reported 8,110 cases (most recovered) and 133 deaths.  All of these countries have a socioeconomic system in place that places people over profit, which is exactly why the health of average people has been preserved ahead of the profit of corporations in these countries. Even as the global pandemic reaches its end as vaccine candidates emerge, intense politicization is already underway. American vaccine candidates created by for-profit companies, like Pfizer and Moderna, are looking to capitalize and it's for this reason that Western countries are irresponsibly launching public opinion campaigns against, for example, successful Chinese vaccines and coming out against compulsory licensing of their own vaccines.  Thomas Cueni, director-general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), was quoted in a Reuters report on Friday making the case against compulsory licensing of these vaccines.  "For me this questioning of IP (intellectual property) is really primarily politics, but it's politics which is not helpful because it would send very negative signals in terms of disrespect to the system which allowed the world to react so fast and so responsibly," he said, noting that nearly every company committed to "not for profit" or "socially responsible" pricing (Moderna and Pfizer said they would sell for a profit).  It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what "system" actually "allowed the world to react so fast and so responsibly" to the global public health emergency in this example because it surely was not supply-side capitalism, but describing the debate on vaccine access as political is certainly accurate.  The fact is that the pandemic will only end when a vaccine is widely available and accessible to everyone on the planet, and any other suggestion is nonsense. In order to preserve the basic well-being of people, which is fundamentally linked to the health of the economy and central to the stability of a political system, they must be put ahead of profit. (CGTN)

2020-11-29

World Newsmore >>

U.S. DOJ asks court to dismiss Flynn case following Trump's pardon

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday released a copy of President Donald Trump's pardon of his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and formally asked a federal court to dismiss a case against him, U.S. media outlets reported.Trump last week announced he has pardoned Flynn who pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).The president's decision will bring an end to Flynn's dramatic criminal case, three years after he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia during Trump's presidential transition period in 2016 and pledged cooperation with the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.The DOJ in May sought to dismiss the case, arguing that Flynn's lies could not be proved in court and were not material to the FBI investigation in early 2017 concerning the Russian interference. The DOJ's move drew intensifying questions about politicization in the prosecutorial process.(CGTN)

2020-12-01

Biden will get first presidential intelligence briefing on Monday

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will receive his first presidential intelligence briefing on Monday, Biden's office said.Following the briefing, Biden will meet with advisers, according to a short statement released by his office on Sunday.The White House gave approval for Biden to receive the president's daily classified intelligence brief on Tuesday, giving Biden access to the latest intelligence reports about major national security threats around the globe.(CGTN)

2020-11-30

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)

2020-03-06

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)

2020-03-05

Life Stylemore >>

Sequel to sci-fi blockbuster 'The Wandering Earth' set for 2023 release

A sequel to China's 2019 science-fiction blockbuster The Wandering Earth is set for release on Chinese Lunar New Year's Day in 2023, according to an announcement on the movie's official social media account.The Wandering Earth II will see Guo Fan return to the director's chair, with the original novel's Hugo Award-winning author Liu Cixin taking on the executive producer title.Adapted from the Chinese novel of the same name, The Wandering Earth is set in the future and tells of an audacious attempt to save the Earth as the sun is about to expand into a red giant and devour the planet.Released on Feb. 5, 2019, it raked in more than 4.68 billion yuan (more than 710 million U.S. dollars) at China's box office.Widely hailed as a landmark sci-fi movie, it has bolstered passion for the genre among Chinese audiences and across the film industry, boosting confidence in seeing more such outstanding domestic productions.The Wandering Earth won Guo numerous awards, including the Hundred Flowers Award for best director.It was re-released in China under the title The Wandering Earth: Beyond 2020 Special Edition on Nov. 26 as an extended edition with 11 minutes of new content.(中国网英文)

2020-11-30

Festival puts spotlight on young animators

The past few years have seen one Chinese animated film after another bloom into smash hits, wowing audiences of all ages and pumping huge confidence into the country's animators.To keep up this momentum in China's animation industry, young talent is essential.The Genius Animation Art Festival, a three-day event kicking off this Friday at the Beijing Times Art Museum, is ready to play its part in sustaining the momentum by creating a platform to scout animation talents, according to festival organizer Tengen Space Studios, a Beijing-based animation studio specializing in both animation creation and education.More than 100 animated shorts, selected from nearly 300 entries and created by animation students from Beijing's six major art academies including the Beijing Film Academy and the Communication University of China, will be screened throughout the weekend, transforming the museum into an animation showroom.There, animation aficionados can also indulge themselves with dozens of shorts produced by indie Chinese animators and European animation students.We created the fest as a platform for young animators so their works can be seen by both industry professionals and the general public, said Wang Tianshi, the cofounder of Tengen Space Studios who initiated the fest in August.A veteran animator, Wang and his colleagues have noted young animators usually lack platforms to showcase their works and many are awkward at finding them.So at the festival, a roster of participating animation studios such as Shanghai Animation Film Studio, China Film Animation, and Pinta Studios can approach animators whose works have impressed them, Wang explained.Studios can decide if they want to hire the animators upon their graduation, or invest in their ideas and concepts, Wang said in a recent interview with the China Daily website.Six animations from the Shanghai Animation Film Studio, China's oldest, will take festival-goers down memory lane; award-winning animator Sun Lijun will bring to the fest Harvest and Doomsday, two animation shorts inspired by Chinese ink painting and featuring cutting-edge 8K technology. Harvest competed in the Generation program of the 70th Berlin Film Festival earlier this year.Genius Talk, another key element of the fest, will run parallel with the screenings throughout the weekend.Geared toward aspiring animators, a total of 33 talks and roundtables will be given by more than 30 seasoned animators and cartoonists from home and abroad, who will share their career experiences, give advice and discuss important issues facing the industry.Among the speakers will be Chris Bremble, visual effects expert, founder and CEO of Base Media and Li Wei, director of the 2020 animated hit Jiang Ziya: Legend of Deification.Major issues to be explored at the talks include how to create Chinese animation that appeals to global markets and what other inspirations animators can draw from besides Chinese mythology.In addition, six animators from Pixar, Sony Pictures Animation, and DreamWorks Animation will meet fest-goers through e-conference to share behind-the-scenes stories of globally animated hits such as Coco, WALL•E, and Kung Fu Panda.Along with screenings and talks, a medley of pop art booths will add spice to the fest. Visitors can shop and take home cool gifts like animated film posters, designer toys, and comic books.Acknowledging there might be some imperfections because of haste, Wang said he is thrilled to see the efforts of his team materialize soon.I think everyone coming to the fest will have a blast and leave with something meaningful, he said.Looking ahead, the animator said if the first edition works out, we'd like to add competition programs to our festival as major international animation festivals do around the world.(中国网英文)

2020-11-27

Sportsmore >>

Delayed Tokyo Olympics to cost additional $1.9 billion: Report

The coronavirus-delayed Tokyo Olympics could cost about 200 billion yen ($1.9 billion) more than its original budget of $13 billion, a 15 percent increase, organizers have estimated, according to Japanese media the Yomiuri newspaper on Sunday, citing people involved with the event.The International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government were forced to put off the Games for a year in March as the coronavirus spread rapidly around the world.The Games cost 1.35 trillion yen ($13 billion) before the postponement.The organizing committee will decide on a breakdown of the burden of the delay in December, after discussions between the committee, the Tokyo metropolitan government and the central government, the newspaper said.A spokesman for the organizers, asked about the report, told Reuters by text message only that the committee is examining the extra costs associated with the delay.The postponement costs include payment to staff as well as the introduction of new systems for refunding tickets but do not include measures against the spread of the coronavirus, the newspaper said.The organizers had originally estimated that the delay would cost nearly 300 billion yen but they were able to reduce that figure by simplifying some events, the report said.(US$1 = 104.0700 yen)(CGTN)

2020-11-30

Shanghai International Marathon starts under strict COVID-19 protocols 

The 2020 Shanghai International Marathon, the only Platinum Label road race worldwide to run as usual this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, got underway early Sunday morning.However, only around 9,000 runners – less than one-third of the event's usual number of participants – are racing this year in order to reduce the risks imposed by the coronavirus and the organizers have not invited elite international runners. This is the first Shanghai International Marathon since it was given the Road Race Platinum Label by World Athletics, the sport's governing body. And, despite the downsizing, organizers tried to ensure participants enjoyed a safe and unforgettable experience. 'We have to prioritize safety and play safe'This year is the 25th anniversary of the Shanghai International Marathon, but it was very different from the past due to the pandemic. "We initiated the whole pandemic control and prevention work as far back as May this year," said Zhou Jin, one of the event's organizers.Zhou said the organizers have been working with local COVID-19 specialists to set up a screening system to ensure that all the registered runners tested negative for COVID-19, and that they had not traveled to high-risk regions in the past two weeks. "We've been in touch with the pandemic prevention specialists in Shanghai on setting up the whole control and prevention procedure in order to work out every detail."Professor Zhang Wenhong, director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Fudan-Huashan Hospital in Shanghai, was determined that the marathon would be run successfully. His confidence came from the strict control of every detail."We assigned a huge number of staff for the event and only those who had been received COVID-19 nucleic acid tests can work for the event," said Zhou. More than 6,000 people had been tested to work in support of the race, and many more were assigned to posts outside the race route, including security personnel and community volunteers.Part of the pre-race work for the organizers was to identify qualified runners from those who have traveled through or lived in medium- to high-risk regions. "We persuaded some risk-related participants to quit. And we hope runners can understand as we have to prioritize safety and play safe," said Zhou. Moreover, participants were asked to check their temperatures and report to the organizing committee every day 10 days. Those who failed the temperature test could not take part in the event. Real test begins when runners line up All participants were required to wear masks and keep social distancing when they arrived at the event.One of the important reasons to downsize the number of participants was to allow the event organizers to mark different starting points for each runner, allowing them to maintain social distancing from the beginning of the race, instead of the usual crowded mass start.Instead of having only one starting pistol fire, there were three this year to divide the runners into different groups. The supply stands also stretched longer, allowing runners to safely pick up water, chocolates and energy snacks during the race. Volunteers were ready at the finish line to offer hand sanitizers and remind runners to follow social distancing rules. Runners who finished their race and rested for at least three minutes to bring their heart rates back to normal were given face masks, which COVID-19 prevention and control codes required them to wear.This year's Shanghai International Marathon is the first since the event was categorized as a Platinum Label road race. For runners, organizers and audiences alike, it served as a positive signal of China's continuous efforts to overcome the pandemic. (CGTN)

2020-11-29

Science&Militarymore >>

Primer, the fintech helping merchants consolidate the payments stack, raises £14M Series A

Primer, the U.K. fintech that wants to help merchants consolidate their payments stack and easily support new payment methods in the future, has raised £14 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Accel, who I understand were quite proactive in persuading Primer  to take the VC firm’s money.The young company wasn’t actively fund-raising, having quietly raised £3.8 million in funding announced in May. Instead, the team was heads down building out the product and wooing potential customers by holding technical workshops and in-depth interviews over Zoom with 100 merchants — activity that didn’t go unnoticed.Also participating in the Series A are existing investors: Balderton, SpeedInvest and Seedcamp, who were joined in the round by new backer RTP Global. Sonali De Rycker, partner at Accel,  will join Primer’s board.Founded by ex-PayPal employees – via PayPal’s acquisition of Braintree — Primer wants to offer one payments API to (hopefully) rule them all, with the explicit aim of bringing greater transparency to a merchant’s payment stack.The thinking is that larger merchants, especially those that operate in more than one geography, have to support an array of payment methods, which brings with it significant technical overhead, a poor user experience, and lack of transparency.Primer, now described as a “low code” platform, carries out a lot of that heavy-lifting on behalf of merchants and while remaining steadfastly payment method agnostic. By doing so, the idea is to reduce friction when adopting new payment methods as they come to market, and be able to provide better insights into things like how well each checkout option is performing.As well as payment-service-providers (PSPs), the platform has connectors for fraud providers, chargeback services, subscription billing engines, BI tools, loyalty and rewards platforms. Both payments and non-payments services can be “seamlessly connected to the checkout experience and payments flow via workflows, enabling merchants to unify their fraud migration efforts, build sophisticated transaction routing, and solve complex flows – all with no code,” explains Primer.Primer says the additional funding will be used for international business development and scaling its team. Billed as a remote-first company, Primer has 23 employees across six countries, and says it has already picked up traction across mid-market and large enterprise e-commerce merchants across Europe.Comments Paul Anthony, Primer’s co-founder and head of product and engineering: “During our time at PayPal, we saw first-hand the technical burden online merchants face trying to offer the best payments experiences to their customers globally. Our low-code approach enables merchants’ payments teams to manage and expand their payments ecosystems, and maintain sophisticated payments logic with a familiar workflow UI”.Meanwhile, the new investment brings Primer’s total funding to £17.8 million, and comes only a few weeks after the initial launch of the company’s platform.(TC)

2020-11-30

China halts operation at Korean chip plant after worker tests positive for coronavirus  

A Chinese factory owned by South Korean semiconductor giant SK Hynix Inc halted operations on Sunday after a plant worker was found to have an asymptomatic infection of the novel coronavirus, Xinhua reported.The Korean worker based at the plant in Chongqing city since February had departed on Thursday for South Korea and then he was tested at Incheon airport in Seoul and confirmed positive for the novel coronavirus on Saturday, it reported.All factory staff as well as staff and recent guests at the hotel where the worker lived have been isolated and given nucleic acid tests."We're cooperating with the local government on their containment efforts, and at the same time trying to resume production as soon as possible," said a spokesman at SK Hynix.SK Hynix, the world's No.2 memory chip maker, employs about 2,700 workers in the Chongqing facility, including some Koreans.The city has carried out nucleic acid tests on 3,283 people, with 2,674 found negative. Almost 500 environmental samples had also been collected, and all found negative.As of November 29, the Chinese mainland had a total of 93,225 confirmed coronavirus cases. And the death toll from the coronavirus stands at 4,749.(CGTN)

2020-11-29

Businessmore >>

Norwegian Embassy in China organizes Black Friday livestreaming sales

This year's Black Friday around the world might be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was nevertheless an important occasion for many consumers and businesses.It is especially true for some Norwegian brands and the Norwegian Embassy in China.On Thursday night before the actual 2020 Black Friday, the Norwegian Embassy in Beijing put on an online sales event for Chinese consumers on one of China's top e-commerce retail platforms Tmall.What's unique about this event is that it adopted the trendiest e-commerce format in China in 2020, livestreaming sales.Livestreaming is the newest sales approach in China. It has grown from a "nobody" to a whole new profession and sector. It is the biggest trend in Chinese e-commerce today."It is very enlightening for us to see China is very advanced in this part of commerce: e-commerce, livestreaming, closer communication with the consumers," said Rolf Almklov, commercial counsellor of the Norwegian Embassy."So it's very interesting for us to learn how this can be done. I think this concept will also spread more widely around the world.""It is also interesting because you can measure sales; [and] how is the effect of the livestreaming," said Almklov.The Norwegian Embassy is one of the few pioneers among foreign diplomatic missions in China to try out livestreaming sales.Earlier this year, the third China International Import Expo saw two livestreaming sales events, from Italy and some other European countries, as part of the Expo.This time, the Norwegian Embassy partnered with a Chinese livestreaming sales agency whose live streamer Hu Ke is also a well-known actress.With the presence of the commercial attache of the embassy, the two-hour interactive live sales event pitched 22 consumer products ranging from caviar, children's toothburshes to chairs, from 13 Norwegian brands."We think this is the right time to introduce more products of this kind in China because we see that Chinese also pay much more attention to lifestyle and health," said Almklov.Traditionally, Norway mainly exports to China chemicals, marine products, industrial machines and scientific equipment.In 2019, China was the ninth largest export destination, but the largest export destination in Asia, and the third largest import partner of Norway, according to Statistics Norway.The two countries have engaged with each other for free trade zone talks for many years."So, I think if this is a success, we will continue to do it and also to include more Norwegian companies. So the Chinese consumers can taste something even more different," said Almklov.(CGTN)

2020-11-30

China's mutual fund volume tops 18 trillion yuan

The scale of China's mutual funds reached 18.31 trillion yuan (about $2.78 trillion) by the end of October this year, data from the Asset Management Association of China showed. The total assets managed by the funds marked an increase of 2.87 percent from the scale reported at the end of September, according to the association. At the end of last month, a total of 7,682 mutual funds were operated by fund management entities in the country. According to the association, the mutual funds were operated by 131 fund management companies, of which 87 were domestic firms, and the rest were joint ventures. China's asset management business expanded more slowly in recent years as authorities tightened regulations to contain risks arising from wealth management products. In 2017, draft guidelines unified rules covering asset management products issued by all financial institutions, requiring them to set leverage ceilings.(CGTN)

2020-11-29

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)

2018-06-12

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)

2018-06-06