Underscoring the increasingly important role of railw

way in social and economic development, leaders from China and the CEECs voiced support fo

r moving forward practical cooperation in the development of the China-Eur

ope Land Sea Express Line and making use of European Union (EU)-Chin

a Connectivity Platform to promote development of intermodal freight transportation.

Taking note of the Three Seas Initiative, the participants to the leaders’ meeting expressed their welcome to port cooperat

ion between China and the CEECs, including the opportunities deriving from inland waterways and the interm

odal connections to further enhance the cargo transportation between Asia and Europe.

Leaders from China and the CEECs also expressed their willingness to explo

re the possibilities of establishing a China-CEEC Customs Information Center in Hungary and

their support for the holding of the 5th China-CEEC Transport Ministers’ Meeting in 2020 in Croatia.

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People-to-people contacts, as a non-ignorable compon

ent of the Belt and Road Initiative, are boosted by China and Azerbaijan

via linking people of the two countries in cultural exchange, education, human

itarian dialogue and tourism cooperation. China and Azerbaijan signed a memorandum of understanding to stim

ulate tourism between the two countries. “Data from 2018 shows 15,000 Chinese tourists visited Azerbaijan last year, w

hich is not enough of course, and we aim to do more to attract more visitors in the coming years,” Hajiyev said.

He also highlighted education exchanges between the two countries, as China has sent students to study language in Azerba

ijan and viceAs Azerbaijan has a favorable political and geographic location, the country aims to become a tran

sport hub connecting Europe and Asia under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. “The point of the transp

ortation network is to integrate it with the original countries,” Hajiyev said, adding Azerbaijan has built a network of transp

ortation including seaports, airports, railways and land roads.-versa. “We are looking forward to increase the numb

er of (students) because we see they can play the role of a humanitarian bridge between our countries.”

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Those criticizing the initiative may seek to present themse

lves as having more sense or greater perspicacity and thus able to see the “truth” of the Belt and R

oad. But those who seek to portray it as ill-intentioned are those who habitually speak ill of China.

Those countries and organizations which choose to join the initiative have a mind of thei

r own. They realize the initiative is not an endeavor that has been planned down to the finest detail, it

is a cooperation framework that is being given substance and significance through the collaborations of countries.

Just as China’s veteran diplomat Yang Jiechi said in an interview on the weekend, the Belt and Road Initiative has created ne

w areas for international cooperation based on the principles of mutual respect, justice, equity and win-win outcomes for all.

Yang, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and director of the Office of the Central Commissi

on for Foreign Affairs, rightfully pointed out that the initiative provides a platform for fostering closer ties between countries, and i

t has created new impetus and opportunities for the development of the world economy by helping many of the cou

ntries involved remove development bottlenecks and implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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At least 50 people burned to death in a bus collision in Ghan

  At least 50 people were killed when two commercial buses collided and burst into flames in northern Ghana, police told CNN Friday.

  Ghana Police Service spokesman David Eklu said the accident occurred at about 1:30 am Friday morning when the two lo

ng-distance buses collided head-on on the main highway leading from Kintampo to Tamale, Ghana’s fourth largest city.

  ”The buses went up in flames when they collided,” Eklu said.

  ”It’s too early to ascertain how many died but 50 people have been confirmed dead.”

  He said both buses had about 100 people on board and some of the victims burned to death.

  At least 61 killed in collision of bus, truck in Ghana

  Eklu added that more than 50 people were injured in the crash

and the death toll could rise as police are still assessing the situation at the crash site.

  Victims’ families are being informed, although most of them have not yet been identified.

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An additional report should be produced within three

months on how the petition has been processed, according to the SPP.

Prosecuting authorities have been treating the protection of human rights as being as important as fighting crime, Zhang said.

“Our work is based on facts and laws as well as the principle of ‘no one is let off, no one is wronged’,” he said.

Last year, prosecutors turned down police requests to formally arrest

168,458 people and dropped charges against 34,398 others — up by 15.9 percent and 14.1

percent year-on-year — because of insufficient evidence or because their actions did not constitute a crime.

“Even one wrongful case is too much,” Zhang said, adding that prosecutors will make consist

ent efforts to prevent wrongful cases and make timely rectification once such a case is detected.

“We should be responsible to the law, history and the people,” he said.

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The Addis Ababa-Nairobi route links East Africa’s two

largest economic powers and is popular with tourists making their way to safari and other destinations. Sunburned travel

ers and tour groups crowd the Addis Ababa airport’s waiting areas, along with businessmen from China and elsewhere.

“I came to the airport to receive my brother but I have been to

ld there is a problem,” Agnes Muilu said. “I just pray that he is safe or he was not on it.”

Kenya’s transport minister, James Macharia, said that authorities had not yet r

eceived the passenger manifest. He said an emergency response had been set up for family and friends.

“My prayers go to all the families and associates of those on board,” Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said.

In a statement, Boeing said it was “deeply saddened” to hear of the crash and that a techni

cal team was ready to provide assistance at the request of the US National Transportation Safety Board.

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This photo was taken in a restroom in an airport during a

  ”Good girls” do what they’re told, are quiet, don’t argue or risk embarrassing their families. Reem and Rawan say they had turned being “good girls” into a fine art.

  ”In our house, we (were) always the good girls they wanted us to be. So, if they want us to

clean, we will clean. If they want us to cook, then we will cook,” 18-year-old Rawan says.

  ”The last two years it was really bad, because I just forget who I am, I am just pretending (to be) like an Islamic girl,” says her 20-year-old sister, Reem.

  They went to school, studied hard and avoided confrontation. Of course, the same rules d

idn’t apply to their brothers. Beat your sisters, the siblings say their brothers were told, it’ll make you better men.

  Reem and Rawan are reluctant to talk about the abuse at the hands of their family. They say it

didn’t happen all the time, just enough to remind them of the rules. And enough to fill them with terror ab

out what might happen if anyone found out about their plan or, worse still, caught them carrying it out.

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Saudi investment in Pakistan reflects inclusiveness of

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pledged $20 billi

on investment in Pakistan during his trip to the South Asian country over the we

ekend, the first leg of his Asian tour that also includes stops in neighboring India and China.

The unprecedented Saudi investment, half of which will support a refiner

y and petrochemicals complex in the port of Gwadar, is expected to shore up Pa

kistan’s economy hurt by widening current account and fiscal deficits and strengthen trade ties between the two countries.

Some observers are quick to compare the Saudi investment with the China-Pakistan Economic Cor

ridor (CPEC) project under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). But for Prime Minister Imran Khan, both are welcome.

“We have CPEC. We have links with China. So we welcome Saudi Arabia to participate with us,” he said.

The crown prince also stressed the potential of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which will contribute to the development and prosperity of the region.

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Reportcan extenChina has the capacity to extend local governm

ment bond issuance or implement more tax cuts, Economic Information Daily reported Wednesday, citing the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

A total of 2.61 trillion yuan ($386.46 billion) of bond quota was unused by the end of 2018, accounting for 14.1 percent of total local debt, the academy said in a report.

This means China can extend bond issuance, or undertake 14 percent of tax and fee cuts.

The debt balance stood at 18.39 trillion yuan at the end of last year, well below the official ceil

ing of 21 trillion yuan, and accounting for 109 percent of total fiscal revenue of local governments.

In 2018 local authorities raised a total of 4.17 trillion yuan through bond issuance, down from 4.36 trill

ion yuan in 2017, according to the Ministry of Finance. The local debt ratio was 76.6 percent last ye

ar, significantly lower than the international warning line of 100-120 percent.

Last year local governments’ implicit debt risk was controlled effectively, however, the total debt level was still huge, the academy said.

In 2018 new explicit debts rose 13.5 percent to 2.18 trillion yuan, while the in-balance-sh

eet interest payment reached 734.5 billion yuan, with a 17.1 percent growth rate, about 2.75 times that of fiscal revenue.

A rapid increase in interest payments put pressure on future fiscal guarantees and service capacity, the academy added.

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Consumers are more willing to spend money this year

Whether it is filial piety to the elderly or rewarding children or themselves, trading volu

me has kept growing. Spending on entertainment and travel also grew fast,” said Chen Han, a data analyst at China UnionPay.

Consumption has become the biggest driver for the economy, contributing 76.2 percent of the co

untry’s economic growth last year, up 18.6 percentage points over the previous year, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

“Judging from major economic indicators, domestic demand has become a decisive force of China’s economic gro

wth,” said Wang Bin, deputy director-general of the ministry’s department of market operation and consumption promotion.

Several factors will support steady consumer spending growth in China. Residential inco

me has been increasing fast and deeper pockets facilitate more spending. The second China Int

ernational Import Expo in Shanghai will also offer more access to global products, Wang said.

Wang Jun, a researcher at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, exp

ects more favorable policies to further boost domestic shopping this year as nationwide tax cuts continue.

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