Chinese icebreaker Xuelong ends odyssey through ‘roar

  The Chinese icebreaker Xuelong with the 126 members of China’s 35th research mi

ssion to Antarctica on board ended on Friday a nine-day odyssey through the infamous “roaring forties.”

  Xuelong is taking the Chinese researchers back to home. The voyage beginning Feb 14 has turned o

ut to be the longest and hardest of its altogether four travels through the westerlies during the research mission.

  After leaving Prydz Bay by which the Chinese research base Zhongshan Station is loca

ted, the Chinese icebreaker almost immediately entered the westerlies.

  ”The westerlies usually are between 40 and 60 degrees south latitude, but this time the winds reached further to near 69

degrees south latitude, and that is where Prydz Bay and Zhongshan are,” said Xuelong’s Captain Shen Quan.

  ”We are currently north to the westerlies, but I’m afraid there is still a rocky, shaky journey ahead because of a tropical low pressure,” he added.

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China issues work plan on national defense education

  BEIJING — China will push forward reform in national defense education in 2019, acc

ording to a circular released by the national defense education office Thursday.

  The circular said a document on deepening reform in national defense education is planned to be released this year.

  The country also plans to revise its national defense education law and work out draft regulations on promoting natio

nal defense education at educational institutions and social organizations participating in national defense education.

  According to the official in charge of the office, the country will hold a series of educational campaigns including lectu

res, contests and learning activities to attract young people to learn more about national defense.

  The country is also planning to open the barracks of the Chinese People’s Liberation Arm

y (PLA) in 10 cities to the public around Aug 1, China’s Army Day. Barracks of the PLA navy and air forces wi

ll also be available for public visits to celebrate the 70th anniversary of their founding.

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HK, Macao legal workers to be arbitrators in Guangzhou

Legal professionals from Hong Kong and Macao will be allowed to work as arbitrators in Nansha district of Guangz

hou as part of an effort by Guangdong province to strengthen cooperation with the two special administrative regions.

Nansha lies within the Guangdong Pilot Free Trade Zone.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security has approved the introduction of the legal professionals, who

will work at the Court of Arbitration for Labor and Personnel Disputes to settle competing claims.

Sources at the court said the Hong Kong-and Macao-based arbitrators will be signific

ant in promoting the business environment of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

“It will help provide high-quality, efficient and fast legal services for busine

sses, especially those whose investors include companies from Hong Kong and Macao,” the court said on Tuesday.

According to the development plan outline for the Greater Bay Area, which was unveiled on Mond

ay, Nansha district will develop into a pilot zone for closer overall cooperation in exchanges of h

uman resources, goods, materials, funds and information between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao.

The court said the first group of labor arbitrators from Hong Kong and Macao will be appointed in late 2019.

vzmla.cn

One key attraction for many academics is the chance to

fulfill their ambition in scientific research. And with China becoming a key driving force in so ma

ny key technology sectors, such as big data and AI, life sciences, clean energy and quantum co

mputing, faculty members can quickly find themselves operating in a cutting-edge research environment, supported by

a larger budget and more-skilled support team than might be possible elsewhere.

This trend reflects steps by the Chinese government to make working in the country more attr

active to overseas academics, including the Thousand Talent Plan, which was initiated in 2008 an

d has already attracted more than 7,000 overseas Chinese and 300 to 500 foreign experts. While the FBI has raised so

me questions about the intentions of this program, it is clear that the vast majority of the participants are largely in

terested in nothing more than open, mutually beneficial, cross-border research collaboration.

At joint-venture universities, all full-time faculty members, irrespective of t

heir nationality, are eligible to apply for domestic Chinese funding to support thei

r research activities. With overall research and development expenditures in China growing at 15 to 20 percent a

nnually over the past few years, this represents a major point of attraction for foreign scholars and faculty members.

vtxkf.cn

NYPD hate crimes task force investigating Nazi drawings

  The New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating Nazi drawings found Friday morning at an elementary school in Queens, Detective George Tourovakas told CNN.

  Dozens of swastikas, a Nazi eagle and the words “Hail Hitler” (sic) were found drawn in chalk on the pavement of PS 139’s schoolyard.

  Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, who represents the district, told CNN her office received photographs from a resident in the apartment building next to t

he school and immediately informed the police. According to Koslowitz, the area is a predominately Jewish neighborhood.

  I am horrified, disgusted, and nauseated, to say the least, of what I have witnessed today. Naz

i imagery and anti-Semitic slurs were drawn at the PS 139 Playground in Rego Park. I was on the sce

ne today and most of the imagery has been washed away. Enough is enough! pic.twitter.com/vteXmlqQyk

  ”This was exceptionally scary today,” Koslowitz said, describing the images as “horrible, just horrible.”

  Koslowitz told CNN she heard stories from her mother, who came from Poland, about anti-Semitic incidents in Europe in the

last century. Koslowitz, who grew up in New York, said she never believed an act of this nature could occur in the city.

  ”This really just has to stop,” she said. “There’s no question about it being a hate crime.”

  There have been 36 anti-Semitic crimes reported in the city so this year, compared

with 21 for the same time last year, according to a New York Times report, which cited police.

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Haley on Friday tweeted congratulations to Craft, writing

  Congratulations to Kelly Craft. She’s done a great job representing us as @USAmbCa

nada and we know she’ll be a strong voice for America at the United Nations. #USstrong.”

  CNN reported earlier this week that Craft was being considered, along with US Ambassador to Germany Richard Gr

enell, US Ambassador to France Jamie McCourt and former National Security Council official Dina Powell.

  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement on Friday applauding Trump’s announcement, say

ing he is “very pleased” and that Craft “has been an outstanding advocate for America’s national security and eco

nomic interests in Canada and she is extremely well-qualified to do the same at the United Nations.”

  ”I look forward to her confirmation and continuing to work with her at the United Nations,” Pompeo said in the statement.

  The Kentucky native and her husband, billionaire coal mining executive Joe Craft, have been hea

vyweight Republican funders. In the 2016 presidential race, they initially backed Florida Sen. M

arco Rubio to be the Republican nominee for president before switching their allegiance to Trump.

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But even if the court and congressional challenges do not

  process, defense officials say it will still be many months before the funds in question could be used to build a wall.

  Senior Defense officials said Friday that the Defense Department is currently awaiting a re

quest from the Department of Homeland Security to provide support for border wall construction.

  ”We’ve asked DHS for input, facts, priorities, we are waiting to receive th

ose, when we do we are going to process that, when I say process that we’ll

match that with our mission analysis and begin the process,” Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan said Th

ursday, adding that the Pentagon would brief Congress on the way forward on Friday.

  While the defense secretary is required by law to make a dete

rmination that any military construction funds tapped for a border wall are being used to sup

port the armed forces, defense officials say that there is no real criteria on which to make that determination.

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The European Union and the United States share the sam

  e diagnosis of the situation,” Czaputowicz said. “They have a similar perspective of problems in the Middle East, and also — let’s b

 

e open — the negative role played by Iran. … Howeve

n Union and the United States differ in terms of modus operandi, esp

ecially via evaluation of JCPOA or Special Purpose Vehicle and their possible impacts.”

  Czaputowicz said that in talks, representatives of Germany, France, and the United Kingdom had spoken about the benefits of the nuclear deal.

  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo backed up Pence’s aggressive stance on Iran during a press conference at the end of the summit.

  Pompeo was asked about Pence’s criticism of three of the US’ closest allies — the UK, France and Germany — and what

the consequences would be, given Pence’s accusation that they were trying to “break up our sanctions.”

  The top US diplomat sidestepped. “Look, we make no bones about” wa

nting Europeans to put more pressure and sanctions on Iran. “We respect the sove

reignty of every nation,” Pompeo continued. “But the United States is determined to convince all nations of the w

orld that it is in our collective best interest to deny” Iranian leaders the money they need, Pompeo said.

  Pompeo took a stab at some damage control, saying there have been “lots of places” where Europea

n countries have taken on Iran forcefully and mentioned Germany’s decision to deny landing rights to Iran’s Mahan Air.

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Second, capital outflow pressure has been gradually allevia

Since October 2018, emerging markets have once again gained favor from international capital.

In this context, the MSCI expansion of A shares and the inclusion of A shares into the FTSE Em

erging Markets Index will likely happen in 2019, with foreign investment attracted by such major international o

pportunities. Latest data showed that in the fourth quarter of 2018, net inflow of direct investment by overseas financial ins

titutions soared to $2.14 billion, marking the highest level since the third quarter of 2015. Thanks to the overseas investment inflow, China’s capital ou

tflow pressure is expected to continue to be eased in 2019, thus reducing the restraint on its monetary policy.

Third, the yuan’s exchange rate continued to return to its normal valuation. In the long

run, the yuan’s rate reflects changes in China’s economic fundamentals, with two-way fluctuations surrounding its eq

uilibrium exchange rate. In the third quarter of 2018, the effective exchange rate of the yuan was greatly lower than the equilibrium rate. I

n the fourth quarter, the yuan’s rate rebounded slightly, indicating the effective exchange rate had started to r

eturn to its equilibrium level. Due to the still existing gap between the effective rate and equilibrium rate, there is room

for the yuan’s rate to return to its valuation, conducive to further buffering of the external exchange rate risk.

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hooks, lines or sinkers: Cambodians go traditional in fishing

Wielding handmade bamboo baskets and nylon nets, hundreds of people waded thigh-deep into a muddy lake in eastern Cambo

dia on February 9 for an annual fish-catching ceremony where only traditional tools are allowed to be used.

The ceremony is held each year in eastern Tboung Khmum Province after the crop

harvest to commemorate the country’s proud fishing history, said local chief Uch Yoeun.

The event – held in Choam Korvean commune, about 250 kilometers

from the capital Phnom Penh – attracts hundreds of farmers from surrounding villages.

They carry weaved baskets of different shapes, eager to try their hand at tr

apping the freshwater catfish and snakehead fish in the muddy Boeung Kroam lake.

“It has been a tradition since our ancestors’ time,” Uch Yoeun told AFP, adding that only one rule applies in this mass fishing event.

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