Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Fortified Manors of Yongtai Selected to WMF 2022 World Monuments Watch

 Fortified Manors of Yongtai in southeast China’s Fujian Province was listed on 2022 World Monuments Watch issued by World Monuments Fund (WMF) on Tuesday.

Three manors of Yongtai, built by Huang Family in 1860, 1890, and 1905 respectively, stood out among 225 nominated sites around the globe. Experts hold that the world could learn about the survival wisdom of traditional Chinese family and architecture from these manors.

From Fortified Manors of Yongtai, new models for sustainable development based on the exploration of heritage values of modern Chinese villages can also open a new possibility of expanding international cooperation, according to experts.

The large collection of Fortified Manors, known as Zhuangzhai, well preserved in the mountainous region of Yongtai, were built to house and protect the members of an extended community.

There are 153 fortified manors in Yongtai, of which five have been listed as key cultural relics under national protection.

Launched in 1996, the World Monuments Watch is a biennial program that advocates for heritage sites in critical need of protection and galvanizes action and support for their preservation.

Return of tiger dance revitalizes Chinese cultural heritage in Malaysia

 The night has fallen as the last sun rays shrank into the dark. Situated in an industrial park located at the outskirts of Subang near Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, the lights are still on in a warehouse, and the persistently reverberating drums and cymbals can be heard outside of the fence.

A yellow furry body with tiger stripes leaps up onto the stilts effortlessly, as if it is gravity-defying while dancing to the rhythms of beating drums. It is not the usual Chinese Lion in an array of colors that the society is familiar with. Instead, it is the dancing “king” — a tiger who has returned to people’s vision after years.

The tiger, looking fierce with its pair of bushy eyebrows that are a little similar to angry birds, is instead endearing with its pair of blinking eyes and smiley-looking while it shows its cute white fangs.

Siow Ho Phiew, 67, who remains passionate about the art of Chinese Lion Dance for more than half of his life, is training his apprentice while more practice is ramping up as the Chinese New Year approaches closer.

Master Siow, as he is often called for his expertise, has been actively promoting traditional lion dance performances in Malaysia. Under his guidance, the Muar town Kun Seng Keng lion dance troupe from Johor has earned the reputation of being “kings of lions” with dozens of wins in the Lion Dance championships both home and abroad.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Master Siow said that Chinese lion and dragon dances have become a fixture during Lunar New Year celebrations in Malaysia.

Siow told Xinhua the idea of tiger dance could be traced back to 2010, as he was hoping to inject some new elements into the inheritance of Chinese culture in Malaysia.

“No one has ever seen dragons, but the lion and dragon dances created by the Chinese are deeply rooted in the hearts of the people and are very popular. So tiger dance shall work too,” said Master Siow.

However, it was never an easy journey for Master Siow, arguably the creator of tiger dance in Malaysia to choreograph the dance.

Siow said that the design, rhythm and moves for tiger dance are different from lion dance even if there are some resemblances. He created dance moves that highlighted the characteristics of a mighty and nimble tiger based on the actions of the real tiger. He also adjusted the drumming for tiger dance to be relatively mild with just a hint of roaring cymbals.

“Malaysia is a country with beautiful tropical rainforest. There are tigers in our national emblem as well. I believe this land is definitely suitable for the creation of tiger dance,” Siow said.

Master Siow emphasized that he wished his apprentice would inherit more than just techniques in lion dance, but also to inherit the Chinese culture and the spirit in it. He summarised his philosophy into eight virtues, consisting of loyalty, integrity, perseverance, courage, wisdom, sincerity, harmony and etiquette.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tiger dance crafted by Master Siow 12 years ago has been given new meanings rather than just an auspicious greeting festive performance.

“We hope to spread more positive vibes through our whimsical tiger dance, and put a smile on everyone’s face. Stay safe, and have a happy and peaceful year ahead,” Siow said.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Port of Piraeus shows strong resilience in the epidemic

 The Port of Piraeus is a demonstration project for China and Greece to jointly build the “Belt and Road” and a model of mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation between the two countries. During the epidemic period, the Port Authority of Belgium, which is jointly operated by China and Greece, worked hard to ensure the normal operation of the port while preventing and controlling the epidemic. Not only does Bigang use its professional operation and management experience to help itself and its local cooperative enterprises overcome difficulties, but it also provides strong support for local governments and communities to fight the epidemic, and actively fulfills corporate social responsibilities. Recently, the main Greek media “Daily” stated that Piraeus has demonstrated strong resilience with its good performance under the epidemic.

The “Daily” article stated that although the new crown pneumonia epidemic and the restrictive prevention and control measures adopted by governments have adversely affected world trade, the decline in container throughput at the Piraeus Port terminal in 2020 is only 3.75%, which is good at the level of northern Europe and other parts of the Mediterranean.

At the same time, the container throughput of Spain and some major ports in northern Europe has been affected by the epidemic. Many large shipping companies in Northern Europe have reduced their shipping volume due to the reduction of regular shipping routes connecting Asia, America and the world. Piraeus Port continues to attract customers from large companies and other routes, and therefore gets a larger share of the “small cakes” of European cargo traffic.

The article stated that in the context of the current epidemic, global economic activities are expected to continue to be blocked for at least half a year, but the port of Piraeus has demonstrated “strong resilience” by virtue of its high-quality services and its geographical advantages. As the largest shareholder of the Port Authority of Piraeus, COSCO SHIPPING has continuously enhanced its competitiveness by strengthening maritime route design and freight arrangements, and has won the trust of all large international shipping alliances.

source: Trade

Fuyao Glass plans to issue H shares to qualified investors

 Fuyao Glass Industry Group Co. said Friday that it plans to issue and place up to 101.1 million H-shares, or 20% of its H-share capital, to qualified investors.

The Chinese manufacturer of automotive glasses said the issue price will not be lower than 80% of the average closing price for the preceding five days before the issue price is set.

Fuyao Glass, which is also listed in Shanghai, plans to use the proceeds for several purposes, including capital replenishment, debt repayment and reinvestment.

The fundraising plan comes after the company’s Hong Kong-listed shares have gained 63% over the past three months alongside a broad auto-sector rally.

source: Trade

Trump promises to transfer power on January 20

 US President Trump issued a statement on Thursday morning promising to transfer power to President-elect Biden in an orderly manner on January 20.

Before the announcement, after hours of debate and challenge, Congress completed the certification of the electoral votes. Related work was postponed Wednesday afternoon due to riots caused by Trump supporters in the Capitol.
Trump said in a statement issued by the White House: “Although this represents the end of the greatest first term in the history of the US president, it is only the beginning of our struggle to make America great again.” He said that he was still completely. Disagree with the results of this election.

source: Trade

EU and UK reach a post-Brexit trade agreement

 According to European media, the EU and the United Kingdom reached a post-Brexit trade agreement on the 24th. After the two parties reached an agreement, the President of the European Commission von der Lein quoted the famous British poet Shakespeare saying that the EU will bring a “light worry” to the United Kingdom. Goodbye.

The British government and the European Union announced on the 24th that the two sides have reached a consensus on a post-Brexit free trade agreement, confirming that Britain will withdraw from the European Union. European Commission President Von der Lein said at a press conference: “This is a long and tortuous road, but we have a good agreement to show the world.”
British Prime Minister Johnson tweeted a picture of himself giving a thumbs up in front of the Union Jack. The picture is also accompanied by the text, “Complete the transaction.” According to a British source, the agreement is “the largest bilateral trade agreement signed by both parties, covering a trade value of 747 billion euros.”
The agreement also ended the 11-month transition period negotiations. After Britain officially withdrew from the European Union on January 31, it set a transition period for the two sides to negotiate on future trade and competition terms. Through this agreement, the EU and the United Kingdom can avoid resorting to disputes in the WTO trade terms.
Trade agreement details
The entire trade agreement is said to have about 2,000 pages, and neither party has made the content of the agreement public. However, the leaders of the two sides mentioned the main aspects of the agreement at a press conference on the 24th. The United Kingdom said the agreement protects its goal of regaining control of its own funds, borders, laws and fishing waters. After the end of the transition period, the UK will no longer be subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
Von der Lein said that this agreement protects the European Union’s single market and includes safeguards to ensure that the United Kingdom will not weaken the European Union’s standards through unfair means.
Controversy over fishing rights
On the key issue of fisheries, the EU will abandon its quarter of its quota in British waters. This is far below the 80% originally required by the UK. The system will be implemented for 5.5 years, after which the two sides will reassess the quota share.
The British government will support its fishing with an investment of 111 million euros, thereby realizing the process of fishery modernization. British Prime Minister Johnson said: “We will be able to catch and eat an incredible amount of fish.”
Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator for Brexit, said that the EU “will fight side by side with European fishermen and provide them with support” and promised that the EU-UK trade agreement “lays the foundation for obtaining water and resources through reciprocal means. And readjust the catch quota and fishing opportunities”.
Future trade relations between the EU and the UK
Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator for Brexit, said: “From January 1, 2021, many citizens and companies will face some real changes. This is the consequence of Brexit. ” There will be no tariffs between the UK and the EU. Free trade. Barnier said at a press conference that a new set of rules called “level playing field” will become the hallmark of all relevant EU free trade agreements.
European Commission President Von der Lein said that the UK and the EU will continue to cooperate in areas with shared interests, including climate, energy, security, intelligence and transportation.
British Prime Minister Johnson pointed out that this agreement protects the ability of the police to cooperate and share intelligence. However, the two politicians have maintained a certain degree of vagueness in details. The British Prime Minister said he “believes that this is definitely an agreement that can protect the police cooperation between the two sides, and also ensure the ability of Britain and the European Union to catch criminals and share intelligence on the European continent, because the relevant matters have been established for many years.”
It is reported that Britain will no longer participate in the Erasmus project. This program enables EU university students to study for a period of time at different European universities and practice language skills. Johnson said that the UK plans to replace the Erasmus Project with the Turing Project named after the mathematician Alan Turing. Students will be able to study in universities around the world for a period of time.
The President of the European Commission, von der Lein, said that after a long and exhausting negotiation, she finally felt “free”. She also quoted an English poet saying in Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, saying that “this parting is so sweet and sad.”
In addition, Von Delane also quoted the British-American poet Eliot, emphasizing that “what we call the beginning is often the end, and the end is the beginning.” She said: “It’s time to put aside Brexit. Our future will be created in Europe.”
Barnier, the chief negotiator of the European Union, said that “time will not pass anymore.” This is completely different from the warning stance he issued after the two sides broke up during the trade talks in August. Barnier said he regrets that the agreement between the two sides on freedom of movement does not reflect the close historical relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
British Prime Minister Johnson called the agreement a “huge Canadian-style free trade agreement.” He reshaped Britain as an “independent coastal country.” Johnson said: “We have regained the power to control our own laws and destiny. We will no longer be bound.”
He said that the EU is “a very noble group”, but the relationship between Britain and the group has been difficult. Under the framework of the new agreement, the UK has now become the best backing for the EU. He added: “This agreement represents the result that the British people desire in 2016.”
In the trade and business section, Johnson said: “For the EU, Brexit will not be a bad thing, because on their doorstep, there will be a prosperous and vibrant Britain.”
Johnson refuted questions from reporters about the UK’s compliance with EU rules in taxation, workers’ rights and tariffs, and also refuted the argument that London had accepted the long-term boycott of “a level playing field with the EU”.
Merkel and Macron speak out
German Chancellor Merkel said after the EU and the United Kingdom reached a trade agreement that the agreement was “historic.” She emphasized that she was “very confident” and this was a good result.
French President Emacron thanked Barnier, the chief negotiator of the European Union, on Twitter, emphasizing that he was “persistently committed to safeguarding the interests of Europeans.” He added: “Europe shows its power through solidarity.”

Monday, July 13, 2020

Promising Suzhou venture projects attractive to investment, partners

The 20th edition of the Suzhou Venture Week for International Elites and the celebration of the first Suzhou Scientists Day were held concurrently in the city on the afternoon of July 12.
The events saw the signing of agreement for ten landmark projects which will settle down in Tangqiao Town in Zhangjiagang City, Suzhou Digital Health Industry Park and other locations, such as the R&D and design of high-speed optical communication chips.
During the Suzhou Venture Week for International Elites, deals for 1,581 projects in different categories, such as 149 cooperative innovation undertakings, were reached. In addition, deals for 1,242 projects were made face to face, the rest agreed online.
The live streaming of the Venture Week attracted more than 3.2 million viewers and over 20.89 million participants in various activities and online interactions in just three days. On the opening day, a total of 2,062 innovation and start-up projects were submitted on the Cloud Entrepreneurship platform, part of the city’s all-in-one online hub for high-end talent introduction initiative,  Meanwhile, the city’s 187 S&T platforms reached out to interested projects for 37,000 interactions, a new record.

China University of Mining and Technology joins UNESCO educational initiative

China University of Mining and Technology (CUMT), located in Xuzhou City of Jiangsu Province, became a Flagship University of the International Competence Centre for Mining-Engineering Education Under the Auspices of UNESCO, following the agreement signing ceremony on the afternoon of July 9.
CUMT’s President Song Xuefeng and Vice President Zhou Fubao joined V.S. Litvinenko, rector of Saint Petersburg Mining University and also Chairman of the Board of Governors of the International Competence Centre for Mining-Engineering Education joined the signing ceremony. Kirill Molodtsov, Deputy Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation, also attended the ceremony online and congratulated on the cooperation between two sides.
Since 2016, the two sides have maintained high-level visits to promote the development of the International Competence Centre for Mining-Engineering Education. Since January 2020, Song Xuefeng and V.S. Litvinenko have held several video conferences to the cooperation on a broad range of issues to be included into agreement.

Suzhou, Nanjing rank top 10 cities of good ecological environment for innovation

Suzhou and Nanjing, both cities in Jiangsu Province, ranked among the top 10 cities with the best ecological environment for innovation, according to a research report released on July 10.
The “100 Chinese Cities: Urban Ecological Environment for Innovation Index” was an outcome of joint efforts of many research institutions to look at key factors affecting a city’s performance in innovation, vitality, and competitiveness. The 100 cities in the report were selected from the China Statistical Yearbook 2019, based on the GDP ranking.
A team of more 300 experts from China’s well-known organizations completed the study in over three years. The research focused on three first-tier innovation indicators, namely players, co-ordination and environment, and consisted of seven perspectives for the rigorous assessment. They finished the report after monitoring and comparing nearly 40 specific indicators including the number of hi-tech enterprises, listed companies, “double first-class” universities and books owned by 10,000 people and the average housing price.

Nanjing airport’s passenger flights rebound to 60% of pre-pandemic levels

Eastern Airport Group has reported a stable recovery of domestic passengers from late April after the COVID-19 lockdown. Since June, Nanjing Lukou International Airport, the bedrock of the group, has seen the number of daily passengers to rise from 4,000, the lowest during the pandemic, to 50,000, or 65,000 on a peak day. This represented a rebound to 60 percent of the pre-pandemic levels. Other airports in the group also had more and more passengers, with the average growth rate at 20 percent. Yangzhou Taizhou International Airport took the lead with a growth of 32.7 percent. As a highlight, the cargo transported in the first half of the year still rose nearly one percent year on year, ranking 9th in the country, although the freight hauled by passenger flights dropped 50 percent due to the pandemic. Nanjing Lukou International Airport operated a total of 674 international and regional flights by 41 airlines during the period, which reached 59 cities in 33 countries and regions.

More than 3.3 million cases of new coronavirus infection in the United States

States across the U.S. reported rising numbers of coronavirus cases, while India recorded another record single-day increase.
Total U.S. coronavirus cases topped 3.3 million Monday and the nation’s death toll exceeded 135,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. World-wide, more than 12.9 million confirmed cases have been recorded, according to Johns Hopkins.
Florida reported 15,299 new cases on Saturday–an uptick of nearly 5,000 over Friday’s numbers. The state, which has seen a surge in cases in recent weeks, hadn’t topped 12,000 new cases in any prior day since the start of the pandemic. California, Texas, and Arizona reported near-record daily Covid-19 cases on Saturday.
Other states across the country were beginning to see significant rises in new infections as well. Case counts in 13 others–Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia–were up more than 20% in the past week, according to Johns Hopkins. Thirty-two states had increases of at least 10% in the past week.
Measures to contain the spread have varied. In Wisconsin, after the state Supreme Court in May limited the Democratic governor’s ability to declare statewide mandates or restrictions during the pandemic, local governments across the state implemented orders of their own, varying in size and scope.
Starting Monday, residents in Wisconsin’s Dane County will be required to wear face coverings in public indoor settings, with certain exceptions. Public officials in neighboring Iowa County have strongly encouraged face coverings, but haven’t required them.

Jiangning District increases governmental procurement of public services

For the first time, the Civil Affairs Bureau of Jiangning District in Nanjing City started governmental procurement of public services for 128 projects with a total spending of 15 million yuan on July 9, through the way of competitive consultation to boost venture philanthropy.
A total of 201 residential communities in ten sub-districts of Jiangning will allocate a pool of 56 million yuan for various projects open to governmental procurement, setting a new record for the region as well as the largest such initiative at the district-level in Jiangsu.
 Venture philanthropy, as a new form of social investment method, means providing seed capital to start-ups and small and medium-sized social purpose organizations to help maximize the social impact. Then through public bidding and targeted commissioning, the government transfer its function of offering public service to be in the hand of professional providers.
 Amid efforts to control the fiscal budget, the district still increases the input to improve people’s livelihood, earmarking 15 million yuan to support public welfare projects, up 33.9 percent year on year.
The projects cover elderly care, assistance to the disabled, orphans and the poor, community governance, rural revitalization and urban management. The funding for a single project also reaches 11,800 yuan on average, up 27 percent, and more projects involve funding of over 200,000 yuan.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Prudential PLC Profit Climbed in 2018, Led by Asian Growth

Prudential PLC (PRU.LN) said Wednesday that its profit rose in 2018, led by increasing new business in Asia.
The insurance-and-investment business said its operating profit came to 4.83 billion pounds ($6.35 billion), rising 6% on a constant-currency basis from 2017. Net profit rose 30% to GBP3.01 billion.
New business profit in life insurance rose 11% in constant currency to GBP3.88 billion. Annual premium equivalent sales rose 1% to GBP6.80 billion on the same basis.
“In 2018, our financial performance, again led by our Asia operations, is testament to the scale of our opportunity set, the depth of our capabilities and our unrelenting focus on executing our strategy at pace,” Chief Executive Mike Wells said.
In Asia, new business profit rose 14% to GBP2.60 billion and annual premium equivalent rose 2% to GBP3.74 billion.
Prudential said it continues to make progress on the planned demerger of its U.K.-and-European business M&G Prudential, where operating profit rose 19%, boosted by changes to life-expectancy assumptions.
The company’s full-year dividend rose 5% to 49.35 pence a share. Prudential said its Solvency II surplus, a key measure of balance-sheet strength, stood at GBP17.2 billion at the end of the year, equivalent to a cover ratio of 232%.
Shares at 0850 GMT were up 0.4% at 1,535.50 pence.
source: Uk Insurance

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Tyson-starring action film "China Salesman" to hit big screens

The Chinese action film "China Salesman" starring Li Dongxue, Mike Tyson, Steven Seagal and Janicke Askevold will hit Chinese mainland cinemas next Wednesday, the film's director and producer said.
The film tells the story of Yan Jian, a Chinese engineer who explores faraway markets in Africa and wins contracts with remarkable courage and wisdom.
"Yan epitomizes the spirit of hard-working Chinese and paints a true picture of Chinese salesmen overseas in our times," said the film's director Tan Bing in a press event in Beijing.
Tan said the film also captured China's emergence in the global high-tech scenes and the rise of Chinese multinational companies.
Zhao Jianguo, the producer, said the film is based on true stories. The cast and production team has visited Chinese companies in more than 10 countries in Africa and Europe, Zhao said, adding that they were deeply touched by the hard work and achievements of the Chinese who work for their companies' international businesses.
"China Salesman" enters the market more than a year after another Africa-themed Chinese action film -- "Wolf Warrior 2" -- set domestic box office records.
Raking in 5.68 billion yuan (829 million U.S. dollars) in ticket sales in 2017, the film tells the fictional story of a former Chinese Special Forces' operative who ventures into Africa's war-torn regions, defeating mercenaries and rebels to rescue fellow Chinese and their downtrodden local friends.

Artificial intelligence adoption gathering momentum in China

Artificial intelligence adoption by Chinese businesses has outpaced the global average thanks to increased spending on research and development and industry growth, said a PwC report.
Over 47 percent of the CEOs in China that participated in a survey said there are some forms of AI initiatives currently in place in their organization, compared with 42 percent globally. In addition, 39 percent of the Chinese executives indicated that they have plans to start introducing AI initiatives in their organization in the next three years, 4 percentage points higher than their global counterparts.
Only 14 percent of the Chinese executives said they have no plans to pursue any AI initiatives at the moment, much lower than the global average of 23 percent, according to the report.
The report covered responses from 176 executives based on the Chinese mainland and in Hong Kong between September and October 2018.
Zhou Xing, PwC North China and Beijing office lead partner, said AI adoption in Chinese companies has benefitted from the rapid growth in R&D expenditure. PwC's 2018 Global Innovation 1000 study showed that Chinese companies' R&D spending increased by 34.4 percent year-on-year to $60.08 billion last year, marking the largest growth globally.
"Over the last decade, China has made remarkable progress to become the world's artificial intelligence powerhouse. Advances in data collection and algorithms, and the prevalence of mobile devices, coupled with aggressive R&D spending, have helped the country achieve major breakthroughs in the AI realm," the report said.
The market value of China's AI industry reached 23.7 billion yuan ($3.54 billion) in 2017, up 67 percent year-on-year, and it was expected to grow by 75 percent in 2018. The top three segments of the market were computer vision, voice and natural language processing, said a report on AI development issued by the China Institute for Science and Technology Policy at Tsinghua University.
As of June 2018, the Chinese mainland ranked second in the world in terms of the number of AI enterprises (1,011), although still far behind the United States (2,028), according to the institute.
PwC found that the businesses in China are believers in AI, with 84 percent of the Chinese executives surveyed agreeing that the technology is likely to have a larger impact on the world than the internet revolution.
Most Chinese executives expect the government to play a critical and integral role in AI development. More than 90 percent of them said governments should incentivize organizations to retrain workers whose jobs are automated by AI. Other expectations for the government include providing a safety net to people displaced by AI (82 percent) and introducing incentives to accelerate the development and use of AI (84 percent).
Chinese business leaders are also hoping for regulatory relaxation. More than 80 percent of the respondents agreed that the government should limit data collection regulations to facilitate AI development, the PwC report said.
Global investment in financial technology ventures more than doubled in 2018 to $55.3 billion, led by a surge in funding in China and strong gains in several other markets as investors placed larger bets in more mature startups, according to Accenture analysis of data from CB Insights, a global venture-finance data and analytics firm.
The tremendous growth was due to a ninefold increase in the value of deals in China to $25.5 billion, which accounted for 46 percent of all fintech investments last year, Accenture said.
More than half of the country's fintech investment came from the record $14 billion funding round of Ant Financial, a financial services company of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Tax cuts expected to spur business

China's "aggressive" tax cut plan for 2019 highlights the central government's determination to promote high-end manufacturing and could motivate enterprises to increase investment despite the temporary slowdown in industrial profits, experts said on Tuesday.
The comments came after Premier Li Keqiang said in the Government Work Report on Tuesday at the opening of the second session of the 13th National People's Congress that the nation aims to reduce the tax burden and social insurance contributions of enterprises by nearly 2 trillion yuan ($298.4 billion) this year.
Fan Yong, a professor at Central University of Finance and Economics, said the tax reduction goal sends a clear signal that the government is doing its best to buoy the development of manufacturers.
According to Li's report, China will deepen value-added tax reforms, reducing the current rate of 16 percent in manufacturing and other industries to 13 percent, and lower the rate in the transportation, construction and other industries from 10 percent to 9 percent.
"A 3 percentage point tax cut for manufacturing companies is far more aggressive than most of us had expected, and will considerably reduce production costs. Such a strong and clear message from the government will also improve enterprises' prospects for future growth and encourage them to invest more into the real economy."
In his report, Li said that to better reduce tax burdens on companies, especially small and micro businesses, the government will also lower the share of urban workers' basic elderly care insurance borne by employers.
The move comes after China cut about 1.3 trillion yuan in taxes and fees last year, including the value-added tax, individual income taxes and corporate income taxes for small and medium-sized firms.
Cheng Shi, chief economist at ICBC International, said that bigger-than-expected steps to slash taxes can help manufacturers move upward in the global industrial value chain and better deal with temporary difficulties.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, industrial profit in December retreated by 1.9 percent from a year earlier, worsening from a 1.8 percent drop in November. Against such a backdrop, entrepreneurs said the aggressive tax reduction will ease their burden and stabilize their expectations for future operations.
Nan Cunhui, chairman and founder of Chint Group, China's leading industrial electrical equipment maker, said the new round of tax-cutting policies are more inclusive, practical and targeted, which will help strengthen companies' competitiveness.
Lei Jun, chairman and CEO of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp, said slashing taxes will inject new vitality into companies, boosting their enthusiasm to innovate. And it's likely to ignite a new creativity boom.

China's new huge solid rocket booster completes test

China announced Tuesday that the country's new solid rocket booster, with 200-tonne thrust engine, completed hot firing tests, proving its readiness for commercial launches.
With a diameter of 2.65 meters, the booster engine is expected to be used on the modified version of the Long March-11 rocket.
The rocket is the only series in the Long March family that uses solid propellants, and it can be launched within 24 hours.
Developed by the Academy of Aerospace Solid Propulsion Technology under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, it will be China's most powerful rocket booster engine, delivering a maximum thrust of 200 tonnes and carrying an explosive payload of 71 tonnes.
To increase its carrying capacity and market competitiveness, the new booster is covered with filament winding composite shell, which is better and can be applied more widely than metal shell, said Wang Jianru, chief designer of the booster.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Sex and blackmail - Jeff Bezos takes on tabloid

The stunning extortion claims made by Amazon and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos against the Trump-friendly National Enquirer tabloid have spotlighted a fierce behind-the-scenes media feud, taking place in an ever more toxic US political climate. The story recounted by Bezos -- the world's richest man -- touches on political intrigue, sexual indiscretion, the murder of a Saudi journalist and bitter charges of media bias. The supermarket tabloid last month reported Bezos had an extramarital affair with a former news anchor, publishing a trove of private text messages. The report appeared days after Bezos and his wife Mackenzie announced their divorce. That prompted Bezos to launch an investigation into the Enquirer, and how it was able to obtain such intimate material. In a post on the online platform Medium, Bezos said Enquirer publisher American Media Inc (AMI), led by David Pecker, a friend of President Donald Trump, was now threatening to publish intimate photos of him, if he did not call off the probe. "Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I've decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten," Bezos wrote. He maintained that the Enquirer demanded that he and his security consultant Gavin de Becker, who is leading the probe, publicly state they had "no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI's coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces." The revelations appear to show the gossip tabloid trying to smear Bezos -- whom Trump has repeatedly attacked as the owner of The Washington Post, a paper he claims is biased against him. Bezos meanwhile hinted he may have been targeted by pro-Trump forces in part because of the Post's coverage of the murder of its contributor Jamal Khashoggi, strangled and dismembered by Saudi agents in the kingdom's Istanbul consulate in October. "The Post's essential and unrelenting coverage of the murder of its columnist Jamal Khashoggi is undoubtedly unpopular in certain circles," he wrote. Although Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is accused of ordering the assassination, the Trump administration has maintained there is no irrefutable evidence of his involvement, while stressing the importance of the strategic partnership between Washington and Riyadh.1 Pointing at connections between Pecker, AMI and the government of Saudi Arabia, Bezos said he learned that "Pecker is 'apoplectic' about our investigation," and that "the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve." American Media said in an emailed statement that it "believes fervently that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of Mr Bezos" and made "good faith negotiations" with the US billionaire but had decided nonetheless to "promptly and thoroughly investigate the claims" by the Amazon CEO. Bezos pointed out that Pecker recently entered into an immunity deal with federal prosecutors on his role in so-called "catch and kill" stories -- in which reports are quashed by paying off sources -- about Trump and his alleged mistresses. But Pecker and his Enquirer colleagues could face fresh criminal investigations based on the Bezos allegations, according to former federal prosecutor Jacob Frenkel. The allegations "easily could fall into possible violations of federal criminal statutes involving extortion or wire fraud," the attorney said. Bloomberg News reported that federal prosecutors were already reviewing the matter, including whether the tabloid breeched its immunity agreement. Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti said however on Twitter he didn't believe they would pursue the company. "Was AMI's action slimy? Yes," Mariotti posted. "Is it consistent with some of the questionable practices that AMI engaged in on behalf of Trump and others? Yes. But is this the sort of case federal prosecutors would charge as extortion? No." The case highlights a politically-tinged feud between the Post owner and the supermarket tabloid, with Bezos asserting that he would not be intimidated. Releasing the email exchanges, he said, shows "the precise details of their extortionate proposal: They will publish the personal photos unless Gavin de Becker and I make the specific false public statement to the press... And there's an associated threat: They'll keep the photos on hand and publish them in the future if we ever deviate from that lie." The disclosures are also likely to deepen the rift between Bezos and Trump, who claims that the tech entrepreneur is using the newspaper for his own purposes. Taking aim last month at Bezos, Trump alluded to Enquirer reporting of the billionaire's relationship with the former news anchor and entertainment reporter, Lauren Sanchez. "So sorry to hear the news about Jeff Bozo being taken down by a competitor whose reporting, I understand, is far more accurate than the reporting in his lobbyist newspaper, the Amazon Washington Post," he tweeted. (AFP)

Trade worries, economic jitters weigh on Dow

Wall Street stocks finished little changed on Friday, bouncing back somewhat from earlier declines amid worries over US-China trade tensions and the weakening global growth outlook. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 0.3 percent at 25,106. The S&P 500 edged up 0.1 percent to 2,707, and the Nasdaq Composite Index also added 0.1 percent at 7,298. After a torrid January, analysts have been anticipating a pullback in stocks. Wall Street fell the last two sessions and spent much of Friday in the red before a late-day bounce lifted two of the three indices narrowly into positive territory. On Thursday, US President Trump said he did not expect to meet his counterpart, Xi Jinping, before a March 1 deadline for the two economic powers to reach a deal before new tariff actions come into effect. With the outlook for a US-China trade deal uncertain, "the logical approach is to take some risk off the table," said Maris Ogg, analyst and portfolio manager at Tower Bridge Advisors. Shares of Amazon dropped 1.6 percent after Chief Executive Jeff Bezos accused the publisher of the National Inquirer of trying to blackmail him with lurid photos. A note from CFRA Research rated Amazon a "buy" based on the company's prospects despite viewing Friday's drop as evidence of investor unease. "We surmise that such developments have thus far not meaningfully detracted from a relatively swift reversion of investors' predominant focus on Amazon's fundamentals," the note said. Shares of Mattel surged 23.2 percent following an unexpected fourth-quarter profit following cost-cutting efforts and strong sales for Barbie and Hot Wheels toys.

Trump says next summit with Kim will be in Hanoi

President Donald Trump said on Friday that he will hold his second summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-un in Hanoi and predicted that the authoritarian country would someday become "a great Economic Powerhouse" under Kim's leadership. In a pair of tweets, Trump praised Kim and said his representatives had just left North Korea after a "productive meeting" on the February 27-28 summit. Trump added, "I look forward to seeing Chairman Kim & advancing the cause of peace!" The president had previously announced Vietnam as the summit location, but the city hadn't been identified. It will be the pair's second summit, the first coming last June in Singapore. Kim pledged then to work toward the "complete denuclearisation" of the Korean Peninsula, without providing a clear timetable or roadmap. While in Asia, Stephen Biegun, the US special representative for North Korea, is thought to have discussed specific disarmament steps that Pyongyang could promise at the Vietnam summit and what corresponding measures the United States is willing to take. In announcing the location of their second meeting, Trump showered praise on Kim, whom he used to derisively call "Little Rocket Man." Months after their Singapore summit, Trump said that Kim had written him "beautiful letters" and that the two "fell in love." "North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong-un, will become a great Economic Powerhouse. He may surprise some but he won't surprise me, because I have gotten to know him & fully understand how capable he is. North Korea will become a different kind of Rocket - an Economic one!" Trump tweeted on Friday. (AP)