The conference also saw the launch of a scientific alli

lliance on international disaster risk reduction, which included around 30 institution

s and universities from countries including Italy, Belgium, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The alliance will serve as a new platform for international coordinati

on and provide scientific support for disaster relief and sustainable development.

The conference was co-hosted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the China Association for Science and Technology, the U

nited Nations Environment Program, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Alliance of Int

ernational Science Organizations, a group created to connect the scientific communities of BRI participants.

Bai Chunli, president of the academy, said in the conference’s opening ceremony on Saturday that areas along the Si

lk Road are prone to various natural disasters that have resulted in massive loss of life and economic damage.

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With the 1,000-day countdown celebration comes a ne

ew stage of preparation for the Games,” said Chen Jining, mayor of Beijin

g and executive president of the 2022 Winter Olympics Organizing Committee. “We will end

eavor to deliver a fantastic, extraordinary and excellent Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.”

The 1,000-day countdown — launched near the iconic Bird’s Nest and the

Water Cube, both 2008 venues — underlined Beijing’s focus on sustainability in prepa

ring a second time for an Olympic extravaganza by reusing existing resources built for the Summer Games.

According to the 2022 Winter Olympics organizing committee, 11 of the 13 v

enues needed in Beijing’s downtown, where all ice sports will be staged, will use existing faciliti

es built for 2008. Repurposing projects, such as transforming the Water Cube (which hosted swimming in 2008) into a

curling arena by filling the pool with steel structures and making ice on the surface, are well underway.

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At least 41 dead in Russian passenger plane fire

Russia’s Investigative Committee says 41 people died in fiery airliner accident at Moscow airport.

The Russian Superjet 100 was flying from Moscow to Murmansk when a fire broke out on board. Aeroflot Flight SU1492 ret

urned to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, making a hard landing, news agency Interfax reported.

“According to our data, more than 10 victims needed medical

care,” Tass news agency quoted a source in the medical services as saying.

Earlier, the regional emergency services reported six victims.

The plane reportedly took off from the Sheremetyevo airport at 18:00 local time (1500 GMT) and

made an emergency landing after circling over the Moscow region for about 40 minutes.

It was “engulfed in flames” before the emergency landing, Tass quoted a source as saying.

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NTSB team has expertise in aircraft operations, structure

powerplants, human performance, weather, airports and other ar

eas,” the agency said, adding that it expects to brief the media later in the day.

The plane, chartered from Miami Air International, was attemp

ting to land at about 9:40 pm local time amid thunder and lightning when it slid off the runway and

came to rest in the shallow water of the river, authorities and passengers said.

The military base is on the western bank of the St. Johns River about 8

miles (12.87 km) south of central Jacksonville, about 350 miles (563.27 km) north of Miami.

Miami Air International is a charter airline operating a fleet of the Boeing 737-800, diffe

rent from the 737 MAX 8 aircraft that has been grounded following two fatal crashes involving that plane.

Representatives of the airline did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

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The Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations, whic

will be held later this month following the proposal of President Xi Jinping, demonstrates China’s deep thinking and resp

onsibility for promoting the development of civilization in Asia and the world. The conference will have great and

far-reaching significance to the construction of a community of shared future for mankind.

The history of humanity is one of the coexistence and joint development of multiple civilizations. In his article on excha

nges among civilizations and mutual learning, published by the Qiushi journal on May 1, Xi wrote that “civiliz

ation becomes colorful because of exchanges, and abundant because of mutual learning”. He urged nations to “seek wisd

om, absorb nutrition from different civilizations, provide the people with spiritual support and comfort for thei

r soul, and join hands to resolve common challenges of various kinds confronting human beings”.

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Xi also called for the two countries to further enhan

ce exchanges between their legislatures, political parties, youth, think tanks, media

and local authorities to cement their people’s support for friendly bilateral ties.

Bhandari said the joint building of the Belt and Road is a historic initiative and has an important global influence.

The initiative has served as a good platform for Nepal-China cooperation, she said.

The Nepali president expressed her congratulations on the 7

0th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, and s

aid it is admirable what the Chinese people have achieved under the leadership of the Communist Party of China.

China is a true friend of Nepal, and Nepal sees opportunities in China’s prosperity and stability, Bhandari said.

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He called on the two countries to deepen all-aroun

 cooperation and build the comprehensive strategic par

tnership between China and Portugal to a higher-level, with broader vision and greater vitality.

Xi said the two countries should strengthen high-level exchanges and value th

eir respective core interests and major concerns based on mutual respect and understanding.

Saying China views Portugal as a significant partner in jointly building the Belt and Road, Xi called for the stren

gthening of bilateral cooperation in fields such as trade, investment, energy and infrastructure.

He also urged the two nations to strengthen coordination on major inter

national issues, firmly uphold the multilateral system and build an open global economy.

Xi added that China stands ready to work with the European nation

to advance more productive cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries.

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Those involved in the BRI will strengthen synerg

y in development plans and initiatives of various countries and international organizations and in

tensify bilateral and the third-party market cooperation to help more countries raise their level of connectivity, Xi said.

He added that participants agreed that Belt and Road forums are an important platform for multilateral co

operation and should be held on a regular basis.

President calls for countries’ joint efforts in building Belt, Road in forum speech

President Xi Jinping pledged on Friday to take strong measures such as easing market

access for foreign capital and increasing imports to promote the higher-level opening-up of the country.

While delivering the keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the

Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, Xi said that the p

urpose of building the Belt and Road is to achieve win-win cooperation and common development.

China will increase imports of goods and services on a larger scale, and it will further lower its tariff rates, Xi said.

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Xi underlines studies on May Fourth Movementnjiang

The call made by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, for more study of the

May Fourth Movement, will help younger generations better understand the value of its spirit, observers said.

Xi underlined the need to strengthen studies of the May Fourth Move

ment and its spirit during a speech at the group study session of the Political Bureau of the C

PC Central Committee on Friday, according to a news release issued on Saturday.

This year is the 100th anniversary of the movement launch

ed by young intellectuals and participated in by people from all walks

of life. It was a political, anti-imperialist movement that stemmed from student demonstrations in Beijing on May 4, 1919.

Presiding over the session on the historical significance and modern value of the movement, Xi said the studies shoul

d elaborate on why the movement is of great and far-reaching significance for development and progress in conte

mporary China, and why Marxism has become a guide for the cause of the Chinese people’s revolution, construction and reform.

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Wang, the Chinese think tank member, said many of

nternational relations scholars of his generation think of the US

as an example of the value of “freedom, democracy, fairness and human rights”.

“But those words are no longer applicable to describe the US today,” he said.

Wang said that for him, cancellation of the visa is nothing m

ore than a short-term absence from US academic activities, and “it is the US’ loss, not ours”.

He also said the decision would not affect the Chinese think tank he leads in continuing aca

demic exchanges with the US, and he suggests that China should not take countermeasures over such matters.

“No matter how petty the US becomes, China should still stick to its open attitude rather compete for who’s worse,” he said.

The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative is not a geopolitical tool or a debt trap for particip

ating countries, but a platform for cooperation, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Friday.

Wang made the remark at a press conference ahead of the second Belt and Road F

orum on International Cooperation, which will be held in Beijing next week.

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