'I need a team that knows how to compete' – Dani Alves aims jab at PSG

The 36-year-old defender is considering leaving the Ligue 1 champions this summer in search of a longer contract elsewhere

Dani Alves says he needs to play in a team that can achieve its ambitions as he nears a departure from Paris Saint-Germain.

The 36-year-old full-back recovered from a cruciate ligament injury to play a key role in the French side’s campaign, making 32 appearances as they claimed the Ligue 1 title but lost to Rennes in the Coupe de France final and crashed out of the Champions League and Coupe de Ligue in the early stages.

The Brazil international’s contract with PSG expires at the end of the month and while the capital club want to extend his deal by another 12 months, the ex-Barcelona star wants a contract for at least two years.

PSG are determined to realise their dream of winning the Champions League, but Alves is unsure if the club can achieve that, suggesting he could leave for another top club this summer.

“I am passionate about the people of PSG, the people who care and are part of the club,” he told Sport. “But sportingly speaking we did not get the results we expected and I need a team that really knows how to compete for what we aspire to achieve.

“Now I’m focused on the national team, having a great Copa America and then I can decide my future and where I’m going, if I stay or leave.

“Right now I don’t know what is going to happen. My future will depend on the proposal made to me.”

Alves has already won six trophies with PSG since joining in 2017, adding to the large collection of silverware he has amassed in his professional career, playing for Sevilla, Barcelona and Juventus before heading to France.

And the experienced full-back dismissed the idea that he is getting too old for the top level, insisting he is only improving with age.

“I’m like good wine, time goes by and I’m getting better,” he said.

Alves played the full 90 minutes for Brazil as their 2019 Copa America campaign began with a 3-0 win over Bolivia on Saturday. The Selecao’s next game is against Venezuela before they finish the group stage with a clash against Peru.

Debt financing to sustain fiscal spending

Proactive policies to offset external headwinds like trade tensions, say economists

Economists expect debt financing to be the mainstay of China’s fiscal spending, after the government saw monthly income decline in May for the first time this year.

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Conflicts between moderate revenue growth and stronger expenditure may increase, they said.

The value-added tax reduction, effective since April 1, became a major factor that slowed government income. The VAT declined to 394.2 billion yuan ($56.9 billion) last month, down by 19.9 percent year-on-year, according to data of the Ministry of Finance on Friday. The VAT revenue growth rose to 17.5 percent in April, up from 9.3 percent in March.

The VAT rate for manufacturing, wholesale and retail industries was cut to 13 percent from 16 percent, benefiting businesses in these areas a lot, according to a statement from the ministry.

For the first five months, the overall fiscal revenue growth pace retreated to the year’s slowest level of 3.8 percent, down from 5.3 percent from January to April. The fiscal spending maintained a high-speed growth at 12.5 percent by the end of May, the data showed.

The first five months’ fiscal income growth rate reached the lowest level since 2010, which was also much slower than the GDP growth rate. In May, the total fiscal income declined by 2.1 percent year-on-year. And the total tax income declined by 7 percent year-on-year.

The financing gap, between fiscal revenue and expenditure, will be enlarged in the first half this year, mainly due to the more aggressive tax and fee reduction and the accelerated government spending, a senior official from the Ministry of Finance told China Daily.

“At the moment, the key task is continually implementing the fiscal policies that have been announced, and we will keep a close eye on the changes in the economy and the external situation,” he said, without revealing any further policy adjustment plan.

Economists said that the proactive fiscal policy will play an important role in offsetting external headwinds, especially after the United States escalated trade tensions with China. Government spending can support investment in infrastructure construction, and some social welfare areas such as healthcare and education.

Some of them speculated that if the “extreme scenario” happens, or the economic pressure increases dramatically amid external shocks, Chinese local governments may apply for additional quota of bond issuance, and it should be approved by the country’s top legislators.

Increasing the annual bond quota in the middle of a year is rare, but it is possible and advisable, said Robin Xing, Morgan Stanley’s chief economist in China. Besides, he said the government’s deposits or some financial surplus from previous years could be used for stimulus.

The local government bond quota was set at 3.08 trillion yuan in 2019, and about 47.5 percent of the annual quota had been issued by May. And 859.8 billion yuan of special bonds has been issued in the first five months, according to the Ministry of Finance.

The tax-cut policy has helped to counter economic headwinds, but whether enterprises or households will use the saved money for investment and consumption will depend on their confidence for the future, said Xing.

Otherwise, direct fiscal stimulus could support economic growth, including encouraging automobile and home appliances consumption, and accelerating spending on social security and infrastructure construction, he said.

Policymakers relaxed funding restraints on local governments’ off-budget channels, encouraging the issuance of special bonds and financing through local government financing vehicles.

The government released a document on Monday which allows funds raised by local government special bonds to be equity for infrastructure projects.

The authorities also encourage financial institutions to support these projects, especially through bank loans and insurance funds. The measures demonstrated the government’s incremental efforts to counter downside risks amid renewed trade uncertainty, supporting infrastructure investment in the coming months, according to economists.

Street Heat

Pioneering Japanese street style label White Mountaineering brings 1990s hip-hop back to the runway with the spring/summer 2019 collection

Japanese designer Yosuke Aizawa, a protege of Junya Watanabe, has long been committed to blending traditional and street culture elements.

His brand, White Mountaineering, has become a top choice when for outdoor activewear with creative patterns and color matching.

After its initial success in Japan, it has become a worldwide phenomenon and has undertaken big-name collaborations with famous brands including Adidas and Timberland.

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At Paris Fashion Week, the brand’s spring/summer 2019 collection took to the runway with the theme “Connecting the Past and Future”.

Inspired by the street-style standards of the 1990s, it centered on bright colors, plaids and stripes of various sizes.

Outerwear, trousers, shirts and shorts made of functional fabrics also caught the crowd’s eyes. To hammer home the ’90s style, the brand invited renowned Japanese hip-hop icon DJ Muro to produce the show’s music; classic tracks by famed New York hiphop collective DITC added some heat from the street.


Assange to face US extradition hearing in February 2020: report

LONDON – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is expected to face an extradition hearing in February next year to decide whether he should be sent to the US, local media reported Friday.

According to British newspaper The Guardian, Emma Arbuthnot, the chief magistrate at Westminster magistrates court, ordered on Friday that a full extradition hearing should begin on Feb 25, which would last for 5 days.

British Home Secretary Sajid Javid told BBC’s Today Program on Thursday that he has signed a US request for the extradition.

Australian-born Assange, 47, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each charge. He was initially accused of violating the US Espionage Act.

He was sentenced to 50 weeks in jail in May for breaching the Bail Act in Britain after having been expelled from Ecuador’s Embassy in London, where he was granted refuge in 2012 while on bail in Britain over sexual assault allegations against him in Sweden.

Assange has said that he does not consent to being extradited to the US over charges related to leaking government secrets.

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Gold Cup Experts Preview: The inside scoop from each Concacaf nation

Get up to date with perspective and insight from someone who knows each team taking part in the Concacaf championship well

When the Gold Cup comes around, there’s often a simplistic question fans ask: Mexico or the United States?

While those two regional powers have won every edition save one since the tournament took its current form in 1991, there’s far more to the tournament than simply a pair of North American teams. That’s even more true now that the tournament has been expanded to 16 teams and the teams had to earn their spot in Concacaf Nations League qualification.

Goal reached out to experts on each team taking part in the Gold Cup and asked six questions to get a feel of what their expectations are for their team, what the controversies are that have dominated the headlines and who the big names are to watch out for during June and July.

Check out our preview of Group A below. Group B, Group C and Group D will be added the first matchday of each group.



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Expert: Salvador Perez, Correspondent, Goal Mexico

Twitter: @YoSoyChavaPerez

Who is the biggest star on the team?

Raul Jimenez. After an excellent season with Wolves in the Premier League, during which he scored 13 goals and helped the team earn a place in Europe, there’s no doubt Jimenez is the man to watch. 

Who is the most important player on the team from a tactics standpoint? 

Andres Guardado. The captain makes things happen, helping both the attack and the defense as the left interior midfielder. His experience also will be invaluable with El Tri having a relatively young group in the United States.

Which key players are missing because of injury or other reason?

Carlos Vela is out because of not wanting to be called up to the national team. Miguel Layun was on the provisional roster but left to have a surgical procedure stemming from the discovery of a cancerous tumor.

Coach Tata Martino also is missing star winger Hirving Lozano because of a knee injury. Left back Jorge Sanchez had to be replaced on the roster because of an ankle issue, while center back Hector Moreno and midfielder Edson Alvarez are still on the squad but won’t play in the first several games.

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez is out because of the birth of his first child. Midfielder Hector Herrera requested not to be called up as he looks to recover after a long season with Porto and finalize a transfer to Atletico Madrid. His club teammate Jesus “Tecatito” Corona was not called up as part of an ongoing dispute with Martino. Tigres winger Javier Aquino also reportedly turned down a call-up.

What are the expectations for the team in the Gold Cup?

To be the champion, to keep up the good rhythm that Gerardo Martino’s process has started with and to put themselves on the path toward a perfect Concacaf World Cup qualification cycle ahead of Qatar 2022.

Are there any controversies surrounding the team?

The absences of national team players for different factors (see above), many of whom have put other interests ahead of representing their country or not feeling a certain identification or belonging with their national team.

What would success be for this team?

To be champion. That’s it. Mexico has no option other than winning the title. 


Expert: Rudi Schuller, Editor, Sporting News Canada. Host, Canada FC on Sirius XM.

Twitter: @RudiSchuller

Who is the biggest star on the team?

Alphonso Davies has become the face of the team even if he’s not quite yet the most important Canada player. The teenager broke out in the 2017 Gold Cup, becoming the first player born in the 2000s to score in a major international tournament en route to a share of the Golden Boot at just 16 years old. Since then Davies’ stock has skyrocketed, leading to his transfer to Bayern Munich (garnering the largest fee in Canadian history) and his assuming the mantle of Canada’s Next Great Hope.

Look for Davies to use his blistering pace to burn defenders down the left flank for the Canadians this summer.

Who is the most important player on the team from a tactics standpoint? 

With head coach John Herdman rightly building his squad around the plethora of attacking options in Canada’s ranks, a steady, experienced hand will be invaluable. Captain Scott Arfield, who is coming off a stellar campaign in Scotland with Rangers, will be the one who dictates the play from his spot in central midfield, and his penchant for jumping into the attack provides another variable that opposing defenses need to account for.

Arfield’s well-rounded abilities compliment the rest of the squad, and his consistency is something the young players on the team can strive to emulate.

Which key players are missing because of injury or other reason?

Most of Herdman’s call-ups for this tournament are the best that Canada has to offer, although midfielder Stephen Eustaquio would’ve definitely been included had he not suffered an ACL injury in his debut game with Mexican side Cruz Azul in January.

In addition to Eustaquio, central defender Manjrekar James would have been a shoo-in for Canada’s 23-man roster if not for a knock he picked up with club side FC Midtjylland.

What are the expectations for the team in the Gold Cup?

Canada surprised many with a run to the quarterfinals of the 2017 Gold Cup, as most looked at the team as in full-on rebuilding mode. But a breakout performance from Davies, and superb play from the likes of Lucas Cavallini and Mark-Anthony Kaye propelled the Canadians out of the group stage for the first time since 2009.

With more talented youngsters joining the fray, and several of the team’s key pieces enjoying good form with their clubs, Canada is expected to replicate its quarterfinal showing at the bare minimum. In reality, expectations for Herdman’s men are higher, with a spot in the semifinals considered a reasonable goal for the rising nation.

Are there any controversies surrounding the team?

With the team’s increase in notoriety, fans have been clamoring to see the players in action ahead of the Gold Cup. Despite a commitment from the coach to play more friendlies, the Canadians played just one unofficial training match less than a week ahead of their first game of the tournament, and have competed just once in an official match in 2019. 

It’s a strange situation stemming from before Herdman’s time in charge, but the new boss’ tenure has seen Canada’s number of exhibition matches dry up even more, leading some fans to wonder whether the team will be adequately prepared.

What would success be for this team?

As noted above, the Canadians will consider a spot in the knockout round a success, but ultimately they are gunning to win the whole thing. Realistically, a positive result against Mexico (whether it’s a draw or win) would be a pleasant surprise, but overall the goal is to show the rest of the region that Canada can compete with its squad of young up-and-comers.


Expert: Mario Lara, Proprietor of El Nuevo Blog del Futbol Cubano. Coach of Fortuna SC, club team based in Miami comprised largely of Cuban players, including ex-national team members.

Club’s Facebook: Fortuna SC

Who is the biggest star on the team?

Well, really, the most important player would be Yordan Santa Cruz right now, but he didn’t travel. For those who are present right now? Without a doubt we have players like (midfielders) Andy Baquero and Daniel Luiz Saez. I think they’re the most important players to the team right now. Technically, the ball has to touch Baquero’s feet. He’s a really technical and creative player. He profiles as an 8 but can play as a playmaker. He’s played as a 10.

Who is the most important player on the team from a tactics standpoint? 

It’s a bit tough to say, because we’re still trying to figure out what the national team coach is getting at. He played with a 4-3-3 during the Nations League qualification with Daniel Luis Saez in charge of winning the ball back, playing as a 5 and associating with two midfielders, Baquero and Aricheel Hernandez.

In the last few preparation matches against the Dominican Republic, he changed the whole tactical scheme and Saez played as one of the central defender. That left a big hole in the midfield with nobody able to win the ball. He used a player named Luismel Morris, who is a bit more of an attacking player. He didn’t win the ball back as much and he had problems keeping the form of the team.

Which key players are missing because of injury or other reason?

There’s Yordan Santa Cruz, who the United States didn’t give a visa to come to this tournament. There’s Onel Hernandez, which is definitely the biggest one. He’s the Cuban player in the best form right now. He just was promoted to the Premier League with Norwich City. You also have the case of Christian Joel Sanchez, a goalkeeper with Sporting Gijon who just made his debut in the second division as well. Carlos Vazquez, center back for Alcorcon. Marcel Hernandez, who was just named best foreign player in the Costa Rican league with 23 goals this season.

We’ve also got Oswaldo Alonso in MLS, Jose Luis Corrales, also in MLS. Alonso, it’s well-known that he’s not called because he left several years ago. Corrales didn’t. He got his paperwork to play in the United States but hasn’t been included in the national. There’s Ariel Martinez, Dario Suarez, Arturo Diz Pe, Frank Lopez who plays with LA Galaxy 2. Arturo Diez Pe who plays with Portland’s second team and then Ariel Martinez and Dario Suarez who play with Miami FC.

You also have Cesar Munder, a young guy who plays with Universidad Catolica in Chile who now could play for Chile’s U-20, they want to include him for the next game in South America. Samuel Camacho, who plays in the first division in Finland.

Are there any controversies surrounding the team?

Right now the big controversy is the inclusion of these players playing abroad. All the Cuban fans are asking those players I mentioned be included. The whole country is frustrated with this and wants them to be brought in to play with the national team because it definitely would raise the level.

I also know that the team still hasn’t gotten their uniforms, just 24 hours before their debut. There are the things that happen, like when they take the players’ passports. This year they’re also forbidding players to go shopping or leave the hotel. They’re going to be watching. They used to be able to leave in a group. This year they’re not even letting them do that. They’re taking their cell phones, as well, so they can’t have contact and they’re also saying maybe they’re going to restrict internet access.

What would success be for this team?

I think getting to the next round would be the pinnacle. We know the situation against Mexico. We’re expecting a win from the Mexicans. The best hope is to be able to beat Martinique and play a good game against Canada. Cuban teams have a history of playing well against Canada. We know Canada has progressed a lot and in the Gold Cup we’ve got mixed results against them. 


Who is the biggest star on the team?

Kevin Parsemain is the all-time leading scorer and probably the biggest name on the squad. The former Seattle Sounders forward, now with Golden Lion, is Martinique’s all-time leading scorer with 34 goals over 52 caps.

Who is the most important player on the team from a tactics standpoint? 

While Parsemain is a familiar name to fans and still is rolling along, it’s been Kevin Fortune putting in most of the work for the attack lately. He scored 11 goals for Troyes in Ligue 2 in the past season and has looked like the most dangerous player on the squad in Martinique’s warm-up matches.

Which key players are missing because of injury or other reason?

Wesley Jobello has been replaced on the squad by Gregory Enelda. Jobello recently completed a move from Ajaccio to Coventry City. 

What are the expectations for the team in the Gold Cup?

Martinique landed in League A after getting through Nations League qualification unscathed. However, only two teams that reached the Gold Cup had a worse goal difference. Unless Fortune and Parsemain can get in gear, it’s going to be difficult for the team to get out of the group.

What would success be for this team?

Getting out of a group that includes Mexico and Canada would be an enormous success and would match the best-ever finish for Les Matinino. Despite strong showings during Nations League qualification, achieving that mark won’t be easy. 

-Jon Arnold

‘Hazard sale a big loss but no disaster for Chelsea’ – Former Blues star sees others stepping up

Mark Schwarzer admits the Belgian forward will be missed at Stamford Bridge, but he believes another top-four challenge is on the cards in 2019-20

Eden Hazard is a “big loss” for Chelsea, admits Mark Schwarzer, but the Belgian’s move to Real Madrid is not considered to be disastrous for the Blues as others can now step up to fill the void.

The talismanic presence at Stamford Bridge had become the go-to man in west London.

Hazard often delivered and established a reputation as one of the finest players on the planet across his seven years with Chelsea.

He has now moved on, making a €100 million (£88m/$112m) switch to Madrid, and finding someone to step into his boots will not be easy – especially with a transfer ban hanging over the Blues.

Schwarzer, though, believes that those who have been operating in the shadows will now step into the spotlight, with another top-four challenge to be expected in the 2019-20 campaign.

The former Chelsea goalkeeper told talkSPORT: “It goes without saying how important Eden Hazard has been for the team over the last couple of years.

“But I just know that sometimes a player of that magnitude, a player of that importance, a player who needs to be on the ball so often, can sometimes be such a focal point that it takes responsibility away from other players.

“What’s going to happen now is there are other players in that squad who have to step up and start delivering more consistent performances.

“There are guys at Chelsea who have been hot and cold for a number of seasons, and now they have an opportunity [to prove themselves].

“They’ve lost one of the best players in the world and it’s a big loss, no doubt about it whatsoever.

“However, Chelsea have still got a very strong squad and then you take into consideration the amount of players they have out on loan.

“Frank [Lampard] is in a position, if he were to be the next manager, to say, ‘right, what’s going to work, how are we going to slot this in, how are we going to mix and match for the next 12 months?’

“I still believe Chelsea will be looking for a top-four finish.

“They are more than capable with the quality of players they have in their squad, it’s just finding the right mix.”

Chelsea already have a deal tied up for United States international Christian Pulisic, with that transfer agreed back in January.

There have been calls for the Blues to avoid putting too much pressure on the 20-year-old playmaker, but his arrival will help to counter the absence of Hazard and brings another proven creative influence onto the club’s books.

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Arsenal the ‘main goal’ for Nelson as he seeks to catch Emery’s eye

The talented teenager took in a loan spell at Bundesliga side Hoffenheim in 2018-19 but is now looking to make his mark back in north London

Reiss Nelson says Arsenal are his “main goal” again, with the 19-year-old looking to make his mark at Emirates Stadium after taking in a productive loan spell at Hoffenheim.

The highly-rated youngster found himself down the pecking order with the Gunners in the summer of 2018.

He was allowed to head for Germany as a result, with Unai Emery eager to get competitive minutes into the England U21 international.

Nelson managed seven goals in 19 Bundesliga appearances, with his obvious potential being noted outside of his homeland.

Arsenal had been sure to tie the academy graduate to fresh terms before sanctioning a move elsewhere and there is now a desire on his part to prove that he can be a useful asset to his parent club.

“Arsenal is my main goal,” Nelson, who is currently preparing for the European U21 Championship, told Sky Sports.

“After the Euros I’ll look to go back to pre-season, do that very strong and hopefully play for the team I love.

“I haven’t spoken to [Emery] yet. The recruitment team said I need to concentrate on the Euros and then we’ll get back into Arsenal later on.”

Nelson believes his time with Hoffenheim has benefited him, adding: “It’s a different style the way the German players play. I think the English players like to play a lot of one and two touch and we can find each other in the pockets.

“In Germany it’s more physical. It’s a lot of aggressive runs in behind and getting into the box. I was happy I got that experience out there and I’m happy to be back.

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“I learnt a lot on the pitch and I’ve had to deal with a lot off the pitch as well – the culture, the German [language] barrier, but I thought all in it has been a good experience and I’m ready to come back.”

Domestic matters must wait for now, though, with Nelson chasing down international glory as part of an England U21 squad that boasts plenty of senior experience at club level.

“We have a great team – a lot of players that are playing regularly for first teams, a lot of older lads and I think everyone has got high expectations,” said Nelson of the campaign that starts with a game against France on Tuesday.

“I think it’s good going into such a big tournament and there’s a lot of big teams so I think we need to have confidence going into it.

“There’s a great atmosphere and I think we’re ready for the tournament. We want to go out to win but we want to play our style and bring the trophy back to England.”

California Legislature approves $214.8 billion budget

SACRAMENTO, California — California lawmakers on Thursday approved a $214.8 billion state budget that would spend more on health care and education, bolster the state’s top firefighting agency following devastating wildfire seasons, and boost state reserves.

The spending plan was passed with separate votes by the state Assembly and Senate. It now goes to Governor Gavin Newsom, who is expected to sign it in the coming days.

“What a luxury we have, to get to stand here and argue over where we should put our savings, how we should spend some of the additional money we have to support struggling Californians,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins, a San Diego Democrat.

Democrats in both chambers overwhelmingly backed the budget, while Republicans rejected it, arguing it spends money on the wrong priorities.

The massive bill, totaling more than 900 pages, divvies up tax dollars in the nation’s most populous state. Lawmakers must still pass more than a dozen other trailer bills to implement it.

The measures could contain important details, including implementing a monthly fee on cellphone bills to pay for upgrades to the 911 system.

The spending plan is the first under Newsom, who took office in January and has positioned himself as resistor-in-chief to Republican President Donald Trump.

The Trump administration has sought to weaken former President Barack Obama’s health care law by eliminating a tax on people who refuse to purchase private health insurance.

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The proposed budget before Newsom would bring that tax back, using part of the money to make California the first state in the country to help middle class families pay a portion of their monthly health insurance premiums.

While the Trump administration continues to crack down on illegal immigration, the budget passed Thursday would make California the first state to give some adults living in the country illegally government-funded health insurance.

Health care for those people is part of Democrats’ plan to eventually get everyone in California to have health insurance.

The proposal has angered Republican lawmakers, who argue it’s not fair to tax people in the country legally for not buying health insurance while making people living in the country illegally eligible for taxpayer-funded health insurance.

“I just don’t get the prioritization,” Republican Senator John Moorlach of Costa Mesa said ahead of the vote. He noted he legally immigrated to the US from the Netherlands in 1960.

The budget proposal includes increases in public education, which would bring state spending to $12,018 for every student in K-12 public schools. It would give grants of up to $20,000 to students studying to be teachers if they promise to teach subjects impacted by the teacher shortage, including science, technology, math and engineering.

Democratic Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi of Torrance said the state should invest even more in public schools, though he voted to pass the spending plan.

“Let’s not be fooled by the dollar amount. We are just allocating the minimum,” he said. “That is not bold, Mr. Governor.”

Following the state’s deadliest wildfire season in history, the plan includes $40.3 million for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to buy 13 new fire engines and hire 131 people to operate them.

It also includes $13.1 million to accept seven used C-130 air tankers from the federal government. The aircraft are free, but the state must pay to maintain and operate them.


Beyond going global

Chinese publishing industry seeks bigger impact abroad, Mei Jia reports.

An episode of Topics in Focus was aired on China Central Television on June 7, prompting Chinese publishers to talk about how their industry could influence global readers.

Among the country’s most successful authors with an international appeal is Liu Cixin. The TV program discussed data from China Educational Publications Import and Export Co, the science-fiction writer’s representative agency that sells his Three-Body trilogy abroad. According to the data, by the end of 2018, 1.48 million copies of Liu’s books had been sold worldwide in 25 languages, including 1 million in English and 200,000 in German.

The Heyne publishing house released the third book’s German version in April.

On a recent visit to Beijing to attend the Storydrive China talks, the book’s German editor Sebastian Pirling, himself a science-fiction writer, said he had not expected Liu’s books to be so successful outside China. Sinologists Martina Hasse and Karin Betz were also part of the translation team.

Pirling says besides the contribution of foreign translators and Chinese authors’ originality, their success in the domestic market, among other factors, are drawing readers from his country.

“I find his (Liu’s) writing, his mix of high-concept literary metaphors and unabashedly straight forward science-fiction, absolutely intriguing. I have not read something like this in years,” Pirling says.

Liu has opened the door for Chinese science-fiction to travel abroad, and younger authors such as Chen Qiufan, Hao Jingfang, Xia Jia, Baoshu are expected to take the genre forward, he adds.

The book, Death Notice, by Zhou Haohui, also represented by China Educational Publications Import and Export Co, was named among “100 crime novels and thrillers to love since 1945” by the Sunday Times in May.

Besides science-fiction, the Chinese publishing group under which China Educational Publications Import and Export Co is placed, has been offering 45 kinds of language-learning books in 120 countries, earning the group 1.1 billion yuan ($159 million) since 2015.

“We’re not just ‘going abroad’, we’re also trying to ‘walk inside’ to provide products that are localized and tailor-made,” Su Yuheng, director of the group says.

The group’s success has largely come from its careful selection of translators, topic-pitching with experts, presence on Western social media and active participation in world book fairs.

Attending book fairs, writers’ forums and literary festivals are also ways that Tie Ning, chairperson of China Writers Association, says will aid Chinese writers’ image-building abroad.

During the Second China-Portugal Literature Forum in Beijing on Wednesday, Tie Ning said such forums, as well as mutual-translation projects and writer-in-residence programs have helped.

She says there are 11,700 members in the association, which on average publishes 5,000 novels in the country annually.

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Second patient dies of Ebola in Uganda

The grandmother of the 5-year old boy who was the first confirmed case of Ebola in Uganda has also succumbed to the deadly disease while undergoing treatment in Uganda, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

The news has sent shock waves through the region because the virus has jumped from the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo, where health organizations have been battling to contain an epidemic for the past 10 months.

A three-year old boy, a relative to the two deceased, is still alive and undergoing treatment at Bwera Hospital Ebola treatment unit in western Uganda. The Health Ministry said in a statement that the three were in a group that crossed over to Uganda through the western border post at Bwera.

The family of six, including four children, then sought medical assistance. A blood sample was drawn and sent for testing at the Uganda Virus Research Institute. It tested positive for Ebola. So far, 27 people, who had been in contact with the first victim, have been listed as infected. The DR Congo team has delivered 400 doses of the Ebola vaccine to Uganda, said the WHO.

Ebola is a hemorrhagic viral disease with an incubation period of 2-21 days, beginning from contact with body fluids of an infected person. Once in the blood, the virus attacks immune cells, then infects vital organs.

In Kenya, all airport arrivals are screened while truck drivers and others crossing the Kenya-Uganda border in Malaba must undergo Ebola screening. The Kenya Health Ministry has issued an alert and said an Ebola contingency plan is in place to guide the implementation of prevention and response activities.

Earlier, the Kenyan government had revealed that the 170 medical personnel who were sent to Sierra Leone and Liberia in 2015 will man points of entry to detect Ebola cases. The team that returned in June last year was part of the African Union mission in Ebola in West Africa.

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Contingency plans

Contingency plans had long been put in place in Uganda for possible imported Ebola cases, according to WHO. The government has vaccinated about 4,700 health workers in 165 health facilities, including the one where the dead boy was treated.

“This is a sobering development that everyone has been working to avoid and highlights the complexity of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” Robert Redfield, director of the country’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a statement.

Redfield had issued a warning, a week ago, that the outbreak in the DR Congo could spread outside the country. He added that there was a risk of the current supply of vaccines running out before more is produced.

The new developments have put increased focus on the region’s preparations against cross-border diseases. This week, the East African Community, encompassing Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan, launched a cross-border disease preparedness exercise in the Kenya-Tanzania border.

Earlier this week, the WHO had announced that there could be signs of the pandemic transmission slowing down in the DR Congo, following improved security and access to medical personnel in high-risk areas.