The global landmarks given to us by Asian civilization

Asia is the birthplace of the world’s three ancient civilizations: ancient China, ancient India and Babylon. Each gave the world different architectural styles and global landmarks, such as the Great Wall of China, Taj Mahal of India, Angkor Wat of Cambodia and Burj Khalifa Tower of the United Arab Emirates. With the conclusion of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilization, let’s take a look at the architecture of Asian civilizations.

1. The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is an ancient defense project with the longest construction time and the largest workload put into a landmark, stretching out to a total length of more than 50,000 kilometers. Only when you have been to the Great Wall and witnessed its majesty can you truly say you have visited China.

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North-south divide defines Chinese cuisine

Chinese dishes vary in flavor, ingredients and cooking methods depending on the region and ethnicity of their origin. This diversity means northerners and southerners may never be on the same page when it comes to cooking the same ingredients.

Every year, especially when traditional festivals come around, netizens nationwide fall into arguments about which method of preparing, cooking and eating traditional food is most authentic.

For example, during the Dragon Boat Festival, which falls on June 7 this year, it is traditional to eat zongzi – glutinous rice cakes stuffed with various fillings. However, southerners enjoy savory cakes filled with pork and egg yolk, whereas northerners prefer sweet fillings made from dates and bean paste. Many Northern netizens said on Weibo that they find savory zongzi “intolerable” and “disgusting”.

Other contentious foods include tofu pudding – in the North, it is a savory dish that is often eaten for breakfast, but in the South it is a sweet and eaten as a snack – and the classic tomato and egg stir-fry, where people are highly likely to argue about whether salt or sugar should be added.

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Culinary differences aside, Chinese people love eating together.

“Separate dining is common in Western culture, but in China’s dining culture, whether at home or eating out, a grouped dining system is used in most situations,” wrote Ma Guansheng, a nutrition expert from Peking University’s School of Public Health, in a paper published in The Journal of Ethnic Foods in 2015.

Hotpot probably attained its status as the archetypal family-friendly dish because people can just sit around and drop whatever food they like into the pot while catching up with their loved ones. It is this sociable aspect that made “eating hotpot alone” the sixth-loneliest thing to do, according to a recent poll of netizens on Weibo.


Pentagon to present Mideast troops deployment plan to White House: US media

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon is expected to submit plans to the White House to send up to 10,000 troops to the Middle East amid increasing tensions with Iran, US media reported on Wednesday.

The plans will be proposed during a high-level White House meeting on Thursday, reported the Associated Press, citing anonymous Trump administration officials.

The move is for defensive purposes, not a response to any new threat from Iran, said the report. And it remains unclear if the White House will greenlight the proposal.

Washington and Tehran have been locked in a war of words over the past two weeks, and escalating tension that had been stoked up following America’s increasing military buildup in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, senior US senior defense officials hinted that America has no intention of starting a war. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said on Tuesday that America’s actions so far had been deterring Iran rather than seeking a war.

Iran has been under unprecedented sanction pressure by the United States following US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from Iran’s nuclear deal in May last year.

Iran has vowed to withstand the pressures and resist the US “bullying policies.”

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Huawei warns against ‘Berlin Wall’ in digital world

Huawei Technologies Co criticized recent restrictions imposed on the Chinese tech company and warned that there should not be a Berlin Wall in the global digital world.

Hu Houkun, rotating chairman of Huawei, said in a speech at the Potsdam Conference on National Cybersecurity (Germany) on Thursday that “in recent days, restrictions, based on unfounded allegations, have been imposed on Huawei in order to disrupt our business operations. We believe this behavior is totally unjustified.”

According to him, in Europe, approximately three-quarters of smartphone users rely on an Android-based phone. Huawei accounts roughly for 20 percent of this market. Such reckless decisions can cause a great deal of harm to consumers and businesses in Europe.

His comments came after the US imposed a ban on Huawei’s access to US technologies without special government approval earlier this month. Later, Google said it had restricted Huawei from accessing updates for its Android operating system and some mobile apps.

“This sets a dangerous precedent. It goes against the values of the international business community, cuts off the global supply chain and disrupts fair competition in the market. This could happen to any other industry and company in the future if we don’t jointly confront these issues,” Hu said.

“I am honored to speak at this beautiful campus of the University of Potsdam. When I arrived earlier, I was told that we are at a historic site where the Berlin Wall once stood. This reminded me of the fact that we don’t want to see another wall and we don’t want to go through another painful experience,” he added.

“Equally, we don’t want to build a new wall in terms of trade, and we don’t want to build a new wall in terms of technology either. We need an integrated global ecosystem which can help us to promote faster technological innovation and stronger economic growth. Ultimately, it is what we have to rely on in order to maintain prosperity for human society,” Hu said.

Huawei is facing a crackdown from the US government, which accuses it of posing a national security risk. The Shenzhen-based company repeatedly denied the accusation and said these charges were not supported by factual evidence.

Trump allows attorney general to declassify information about origins of Russia probe

WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump on Thursday issued an order allowing Attorney General William Barr to declassify any information Barr sees fit during his review of the events that prompted the FBI to open an investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The order also directed leaders of the US intelligence community and other departments and agencies to cooperate with Barr during his review.


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Death toll rises to 10 in Southwest China boat accident

GUIYANG – Ten people have been confirmed dead and eight others remained unaccounted for as of 2 pm Friday after a boat capsized on a river in Southwest China’s Guizhou province Thursday afternoon, according to local authorities.

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A total of 11 people have been rescued. The owner of the boat, who is among the survivors, has been held by police. All the injured have been sent to the hospital for treatment.

Rescuers composed of police, emergency response officers, people from the transport and health departments in Bouyei-Miao autonomous prefecture of Qianxinan are searching for the missing, and trying to lift up the capsized boat.

The vessel had 29 people on board when it capsized at 6:30 pm Thursday on the Beipan River. Investigation into the cause of the accident continues.

China Sport Show 2019 opens in Shanghai

SHANGHAI – The 37th China Sport Show opened Thursday at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, including for the first time exhibitions of single-sport associations.

Sport associations from kite, tennis, baseball, equestrian, golf, rowing and kayaking showed up at the Expo, which has reached a scale of 180 thousand square meters with 1500 exhibitors.

Thousands of buyers and visitors came to the event. The expo will last four days with the closing ceremony held on May 26. The number of visitors is set to hit 150 thousand.

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This year’s expo also includes winter sports facilities, rehabilitation equipment and services, public fitness facilities, and campus sports facilities.

The China Sport Show 2019 will cover a wide range of fields including fitness, bodybuilding, recreation, nutrition, leisure, ball games and facility construction. It has become a platform for people in the sports industry to seek business opportunities, sense development trends and expand their brand influence.

As the only national-level trade event for sports industry in China, the show has become the largest, most internationalized and professionalized sporting goods exhibition in the Asia-Pacific region.

Li Hua, chairman of the China Sporting Goods Federation, noted in his opening remarks that the source of vitality and momentum for the expo lies in constant adjustments of concepts and methods and continuous optimization of exhibitors and goods.

Chinese air association to help in Boeing compensation claims

The China Air Transport Association said Friday it will assist member airlines to seek compensation from Boeing for the grounding of 737 MAX aircraft as well as the delayed delivery of future planes.

“China’s airlines are the largest user of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, which also caused us the biggest loss during the incident,” said Liu Shuguo, secretary-general of the association. “We will actively support and assist member companies with their compensation claims.”

Thirteen of the association’s airlines by the end of March had grounded 96 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, among them Air China, China Eastern and China Southern.

According to previous plans, more than 130 such aircraft were scheduled to be delivered to Chinese airlines this year.

“It’s estimated that the delayed delivery and continued grounding of 737 MAX aircraft will cause a total loss of about 4 billion yuan by the end of June,” Liu added.

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Central bank bullish on yuan prospects

PBOC has adequate tools to ward off threats from unexpected swings

The People’s Bank of China, the central bank, said on Thursday that a currency crisis was unlikely in the country as the long-term optimistic outlook and adequate policy tools would help ward off any potential threats from unexpected currency swings.

Depreciation and appreciation are both likely for the renminbi in the coming days, and the monetary authority has confidence and capacity to maintain the currency value at a reasonably stable level, Liu Guoqiang, a vice-governor of the PBOC, said in a statement on the bank’s website.

The renminbi’s recent performance is still within reasonable range and the market has remained stable. Wild fluctuations of the currency will not be allowed, said Liu.

“Based on global experience, currency crisis is rare in large countries,” said Liu. “As the second largest economy, there is very little chance of a currency crisis in China.”

Similar views were expressed by Pan Gongsheng, head of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), on Sunday, after the onshore renminbi depreciated to 6.9182 per US dollar on May 17.

“Recent comments from policymakers have emphasized maintaining stability of the renminbi,” said Maggie Wei, an economist with global investment bank Goldman Sachs.

The spot exchange rate of the onshore renminbi stabilized at around 6.91 per US dollar this week, and the central parity rate was set at 6.8994 per US dollar on Thursday.

The central bank said it would issue more debt in Hong Kong, the renminbi offshore market, following a 20 billion yuan ($2.91 billion) issuance on May 15.

The central bank bill is a debt-financing instrument through which the monetary authorities can absorb funds from investors and tighten liquidity. It can lift the offshore market interest rates and increase costs if speculators short the renminbi, especially when the currency is under pressure.

Due to the rising China-US trade friction, the renminbi showed some depreciation recently, said Liu, terming the external uncertainty as a “bump” in China’s development and something that can hardly change the long-term positive outlook.

In the medium to long term, the renminbi’s exchange rate will depend on the economic foundation, which is still resilient, with great development potential, he said.

Renminbi exchange rate’s reaction to market expectations is natural in a market-oriented economy and indicates the foreign exchange rate is playing the role of an “automatic stabilizer” for macroeconomy and international payments, Liu said.

A stable exchange rate can be supported by the latest macroeconomic indicators being maintained within a reasonable range, stable macro leverage level, limited fiscal and financial risks, balanced international payments and sufficient foreign exchange reserves, according to the central bank vice-governor.

Latest data from SAFE indicate foreign exchange inflows of $2 billion in April, with the net inflow supporting a stable currency.

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Feeling Hungary?

The 2019 Hungarian Food Festival is being held at the Evergreen Cafe in Beijing Landmark Towers until May 26. Hungarian chefs prepare authentic traditional cuisine that is heavy on dairy, cheese and meats not easily found in Beijing. The dishes include different kinds of sausages, fish soup, stewed beef tenderloin and goulash.

No 8, North Dongsanhuan Road, Chaoyang district, Beijing. 010-6590-6611.

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