April 2019

Cannavaro coy on long-term plans

Nanning city, southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, March 21, 2019. [Photo/IC]
But double-jobbing Italian says he’s open to making China role permanent

Fabio Cannavaro says it would “be a great honor” to make his impromptu appointment as Team China head coach a permanent position, but when and how that might happen is shrouded in uncertainty.

The Italian on Wednesday broke his silence after suddenly, and without fanfare, being installed in the hot seat last week, with the Chinese Football Association not disclosing what arrangement it has made with the Guangzhou Evergrande boss.

However, speaking ahead of Thursday’s China Cup clash against Thailand in Nanning, the 45-year-old confirmed he will continue to coach Evergrande in tandem with China-at least for the time being.

“I want to tell everyone clearly that I’m still the head coach of Guangzhou Evergrande, but now I’m also the head coach of Team China at the China Cup,” Cannavaro said at a pre-game media conference at the four-nation invitational tournament in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

“Later on, the situation will have developed more. We will have more conversations and negotiations. But now results in Nanning will have nothing to do with the question of who will be the head coach of Team China in the future.

“If I can continue to be China’s national team coach, that will be a great honor for me. But I don’t know what will happen. It’s a question with no answers now.”

Cannavaro’s appointment as compatriot Marcello Lippi’s successor only emerged after the former Italy defender’s name appeared on China’s squad list for the China Cup, which also features defending champion Uruguay and Uzbekistan.

The news that he will continue as boss of Chinese Super League heavyweight Evergrande has not been well received, with many observers questioning if he can handle the workload without appearing to favor his club, which accounts for eight players on the China Cup squad.

It is unprecedented in Chinese soccer for the national team boss to have such a dual role, while similar arrangements have historically been extremely rare in world soccer.

Sniping back

Young Chinese more aware of elderly care issues: survey

BEIJING, March 16 (Xinhua) — Young people in China are more aware of the issues regarding elderly care and more of them are making early preparations, according to a survey by China Youth Daily.

Among 1,876 surveyed people aged 18 to 35, 52.1 percent have bought insurance for themselves or their parents in preparation for life after retirement.

Some of them said they had bought insurance for fear that they wouldn’t be able to afford the elderly care services they or their parents would need after retirement.

For many of them, medical service expenditures remain a major concern. Wang Yuanyuan (pseudonym,) an interviewee from Tianjin, said her father’s heart operation cost her family more than 100,000 yuan (about 15,000 U.S. dollars).

For this reason, apart from purchasing insurance, many interviewees also chose to take better care of their own health, or encourage their families to do so.

About 57.1 percent of the interviewees urged their elderly family members to take part in medical examinations on a regular basis, and 47.8 percent opted for a healthy diet and more physical exercise.

Weaver brings traditional ethnic dyeing crafts to outside world

In a dyeing center located in Sanbao Dong stockade of Rongjiang county, Southwest China’s Guizhou Province, Lai Lei records various data on a pad including temperature, humidity, air speed, and soaking time.

The weaver seems more like a technician conducting a chemical experiment than someone dyeing cloth.

Lai was preparing to dye a batch of “24 solar terms” cloths. “For the last few thousand years, Chinese people have used the ’24 solar terms’ to guide their farming methods. People think the system is obsolete because we now have weather forecasts,” said Lai.

Lai, 46, organizes local women of various ethnic groups in Guizhou to weave traditional Dong cloths with indigo dye. Their products have been exhibited in a number of international fashion shows.

“I can create 24 different shades of blue corresponding to the 24 solar terms,” she told the China Weekly in the dyeing center. “The blue appears in various ways in different solar terms under different temperatures and climates.”

“On the first day of the Spring Festival this year, which was the fifth day of the Beginning of Spring, a green nuance can be seen in the indigo cloth, indicating that spring is just around the corner,” she said.

Indigo cloth representing the “24 solar terms” woven by women of the Dong ethnic group in Southwest China’s Guizhou Province Photo: VCG

Lai is the fifth and youngest child of a farmer’s family in Sanbao Dong stockade. Lai and her four siblings all did well in school, but her family was not able to send all of them to university. In order to save money for her brother’s tuition fees, Lai had to abandon her opportunity to go to Minzu University of China in 1995, and chose Yunnan Arts University, which was cheaper and closer to her hometown.

She returned to her hometown and became a teacher for the next 15 years.

While teaching in a Miao stockade in Rongjiang county, Lai found that her students were particularly good at painting. This was because the stockade still retains traditional wax painting and herb dyeing skills, which astonished her. She decided to learn painting and dyeing from her students’ mothers.

After teaching in the Miao stockade, Lai was transferred to the intangible cultural heritage office of Rongjiang county. Because of her family tradition of weaving Dong cloth, the drawing and dyeing skills learned from the Miao stockade, and her job, Lai decided to be a Dong cloth weaver.

Pakistan to focus on promotion of economic growth: PM

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said here on Tuesday that trade and investment is one of the main focuses of his government’s foreign policy and he wants to further promote it to attract foreign investment, local media reported.

In a meeting with local business community, the prime minister said that after coming to power last year, the government successfully overcame the challenge of stabilizing the economy, and now their next focus is to promote economic growth in the country.

There is positive vibe regarding improvement of Pakistani economy in the international community, and the positive sentiment is needed to be capitalized for bringing more foreign investment in the country, Khan said in the meeting aimed at facilitating business community to strengthen the country’s industrial sector.

The prime minister also said that the government is working on a comprehensive plan to encourage non-tax payers and informal sectors to join the documented economy and sought recommendations from the business community to bring more people under the tax net.

Participants from the business community expressed confidence in the policies of the government and the steps being taken to reduce the cost of doing business in the country.

President of the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry Shazia Syed also suggested the government hold an international investment conference to highlight Pakistan’s economic potential in front of the global community.

China will fulfill opening-up promises in trade war with US, will Washington do likewise?

At this year’s Central Economic Work Conference, top policymakers will set the tone for the next year’s macroeconomic policy.

Amid a testing time of economic uncertainty, some observers believe China’s growth outlook will play a big part in deciding the direction of the trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

Following a truce reached on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina, China has begun working out its trade differences with the US. We believe Beijing will fulfill its promises, regardless of the outlook for the Chinese economy next year.

Although multiple factors such as an escalating China-Canada dispute relating to the detention of a Huawei executive have led to a complex external environment for the Chinese economy, China’s promises on trade issues won’t be empty talk.

The key issue is the US. If the US economy loses steam in 2019, will Washington be willing to reach a trade cease-fire with China in exchange for restarting its own economic engine?

Bloomberg News reported Wednesday that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the administration was focused on securing structural changes in the Chinese economy that would help balance trade.

As US economic growth slows, the country will be in greater need of a trade surplus. This won’t be good news for the trade war.

Some US experts have said much more will have to be offered by China to meet US demands. As China celebrated its 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up this week, some Americans were urging China to seize the opportunity of the trade truce to further open up its markets to the US.

It seems the US side has specific requirements for China in the trade war, and it thinks China’s opening up of its economy should meet US demands. If Washington sets higher requirements for China to end the war amid a cooling economy, should China unconditionally accept it?

It doesn’t make sense to let China shoulder the responsibility of the US economic slowdown. The Chinese government will fulfill its opening-up promises, but it won’t pay the bill for the US economy.

Recent indicators have shown the US economy is slowing down as the impact of the trade war intensifies. That’s Washington’s own fault. China will watch closely to see whether the US tries to shift responsibility during the trade truce and avoid fully fulfilling its own promises.

It must be noted that load shedding is implemented as a last resort measure to protect the national electricity system, Eskom said.

“We will continue to provide regular updates about the state of the power system through various media and through the official Eskom social media platforms,” it said.

On Wednesday, hundreds of people gathered at outside Eskom headquarters in Johannesburg, demanding an end to load shedding and protesting against the government’s failure to provide this basic service to the nation.

It is a complete failure of governance that has brought the country to the brink of collapse, with nationwide electricity blackouts becoming the new normal, DA leader Mumsi Maimane said.

“As South Africans, we must take a collective stand before it is too late,” he said.

The DA, he said, will mobilize the nation to pressure the government to take the action required to fix this national crisis.

“South Africa needs this change, and we need it now. And I urge every citizen who loves this country to join this national day of action so that we can usher in change and save our nation from the brink of collapse,” said Maimane.

Maimane reiterated the DA’s call to privatize Eskom and allow a diverse range of energy to enter the grid, thus increasing competition and lowering costs.

Ramaphosa has ruled out the possibility of privatizing Eskom that has long been hampered by alleged corruption and poor management.

Eskom is facing debts amounting to 420 billion rand (about 30 billion US dollars). The utility has urgently appealed to the government to help it repay the debt so as to prevent it from bankruptcy.

Eskom has been accused of using load shedding to blackmail the government, but the utility has denied the allegation, saying the recent load shedding was caused by the breakdown of several power stations.

Previous attempts by the government to bail out embattled Eskom have failed.

On Wednesday, Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni confirmed in a letter to the DA that the National Treasury does not know how big the new proposed bailout to Eskom will be.

In his budget speech last month, the minister said that the government will bail out Eskom with 23 billion rand (about 160 million dollars) yearly over the next three years.

However, this bailout is now likely to increase given Eskom’s current situation, Mboweni said.

Notwithstanding our danger I could not help but laugh at Perry’s frantic capers as he essayed to gain the safety of the lower

branches of the trees he now had reached. The stems were bare for a distance of some fifteen feet—at least on those trees which Perry attempted to ascend, for the suggestion of safety carried by the larger of the forest giants had evidently attracted him to them. A dozen times he scrambled up the trunks like a huge cat only to fall back to the ground once more, and with each failure he cast a horrified glance over his shoulder at the oncoming brute, simultaneously emitting terror-stricken shrieks that awoke the echoes of the grim forest.

At length he spied a dangling creeper about the bigness of one’s wrist, and when I reached the trees he was racing madly up it, hand over hand. He had almost reached the lowest branch of the tree from which the creeper depended when the thing parted beneath his weight and he fell sprawling at my feet.

The misfortune now was no longer amusing, for the beast was already too close to us for comfort. Seizing Perry by the shoulder I dragged him to his feet, and rushing to a smaller tree—one that he could easily encircle with his arms and legs—I boosted him as far up as I could, and then left him to his fate, for a glance over my shoulder revealed the awful beast almost upon me.

It was the great size of the thing alone that saved me. Its enormous bulk rendered it too slow upon its feet to cope with the agility of my young muscles, and so I was enabled to dodge out of its way and run completely behind it before its slow wits could direct it in pursuit.

The few seconds of grace that this gave me found me safely lodged in the branches of a tree a few paces from that in which Perry had at last found a haven.

Did I say safely lodged? At the time I thought we were quite safe, and so did Perry. He was praying—raising his voice in thanksgiving at our deliverance—and had just completed a sort of paeon of gratitude that the thing couldn’t climb a tree when without warning it reared up beneath him on its enormous tail and hind feet, and reached those fearfully armed paws quite to the branch upon which he crouched.

The accompanying roar was all but drowned in Perry’s scream of fright, and he came near tumbling headlong into the gaping jaws beneath him, so precipitate was his impetuous haste to vacate the dangerous limb. It was with a deep sigh of relief that I saw him gain a higher branch in safety.

Detractors cannot thwart ties as Beijing and Rome forge ahead

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Italy – Europe’s third and the world’s eighth largest economy – has taken place at a most favorable juncture in relations between the two countries though raising a few eyebrows among the South European nation’s traditional allies.

Concerns have been voiced about a memorandum of understanding Italy and China signed during Xi’s visit putting the seal on Italy’s official involvement in the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s massive infrastructure project designed to connect Asia, Africa and Europe through a “belt” of overland corridors and maritime routes.

Some European politicians and opinion-makers are speculating that China aims to hold sway over Italy by pouring in large amounts of money and gaining control of infrastructure projects. Washington has warned Rome against lending legitimacy to what it describes as “China’s infrastructure vanity project.”

It is of course a misleading representation of Italy’s interest in being part of BRI for the indubitable economic gains it can reap from it and the possibility of availing itself of China’s investments and technological inputs.

Italy’s formal BRI engagement has sprung from the thriving bilateral relations the two nations have been forging, particularly in the last few years.

The state visit to China by Italian President Sergio Mattarella in February 2017 and the participation of then Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May 2017 – the only head of government of a major European country to do so – marked the climax of Italy’s proactive steps to join BRI.

Eight centuries ago, Marco Polo was the first Western businessman to reach China via the original Silk Road opening the way to lucrative trade links between the Republic of Venice and Imperial China. Today, Italy is the first of the seven top Western economic powers to join the 21st century Silk Road project.

This should not come as a surprise since Italy and China are already mutually involved in a large number of economic activities including innovative and advanced sectors such as healthcare, environmental protection, green farming, industrial upgrade, urban planning and sustainable development. Building new interdependencies and leveraging new and old complementarities will allow China and Italy to remain at the forefront of the global economy.

The two nations are united by an ever-growing synergy that reflects the policy of international cooperation and openness being carried forward by the Chinese government under the leadership of President Xi who has committed his country – to quote just one of his many pronouncements – to “continue to foster an open economy that benefits all. Openness brings progress while self-seclusion leaves one behind.”

Deepening relations between Rome and Beijing are also the result of the vision pursued by Italy’s Ambassador to China Ettore Sequi under whose tenure interaction between the countries has progressed considerably at all levels, and Italy’s exports have constantly risen reducing its trade deficit with China.

DPRK, U.S. leaders end Hanoi summit with no deal, more efforts needed in future

HANOI, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) — Leaders of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States ended their second summit in the Vietnamese capital Thursday with no deal reached.

Differences over details of denuclearization and easing of sanctions hindered Kim Jong Un, top leader of the DPRK, and U.S. President Donald Trump from reaching an agreement. However, their respective teams “look forward to meeting in the future.”

SUMMIT CUT SHORT ABRUPTLY

The two leaders started their second day of the summit Thursday morning at Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, where they had a brief one-on-one chat and a dinner for about two hours the previous night.

The event, which has been widely expected to produce some sort of agreement on denuclearization and easing sanctions on the DPRK, was cut short abruptly, with the planned working lunch and a signing ceremony for a possible joint document canceled.

A scheduled press conference by President Trump was subsequently brought forward by two hours to 2:00 p.m. local time (0700 GMT).

Trump told the press conference he cut short his summit with the DPRK leader as the two sides could not agree on details about denuclearization and sanctions.

The U.S. president said, “We had some options, and at this time we decided not to do any of the options, and we’ll see where that goes.”

Speaking at the same press conference, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the two leaders had made “real progress” during their talks. “We are certainly closer today than we were 36 hours ago,” he told reporters.

After the earlier-than-scheduled ending of the summit, the White House said though the two leaders ended their meeting without any agreement, they had “very good and constructive meetings” and discussed various ways to “advance denuclearization and economic driven concepts,” adding the two countries’ respective teams looked forward to meeting in the future.

Chinese Air Force aerobatics team arrives in Pakistan

A Chinese military aerobatics team arrived in Pakistan Saturday for a scheduled performance on March 23.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force’s August 1st aerobatics team was invited to participate in a national day air show, which will further deepen the practical cooperation between the air forces of the two countries, according to a press release.