Investment can create ‘virtuous circle’ for CPECtan-based Is

After a suicide attack claimed by the Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) ki

lled at least 40 Indian paramilitary troopers in the Pulwama district, India has said it will en

sure the isolation of Pakistan in the international community and withdraw the Most Favored Nation status given to Pakistan.

China firmly opposes and strongly condemns all forms of terrorism. The country, also a victim of terrorism, is exp

ected to do what it can to provide support and assistance to India to enhance anti-terrorism cooperation.

However, if the terror attack leads to political and economic isolation, ordinary Pakistani p

eople will become the scapegoat of JeM. Poverty has more of a role in terrorism than some Indian ex

perts may believe. If foreign aid and investment can help Pakistan eliminate poverty, the growth environment for terrorism will be destroyed.

“China is promising about $3.5 billion to help bolster Pakistan’s dwindling foreign cash reserves” and pay fo

r the country’s socioeconomic development plans, the US-based Voice of America reported last week. Although the Chinese government ha

s not confirmed the news, it is unlikely that China will change its supportive attitude on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

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Nigerians express disappointment at postponement of g

Nigerians on Saturday expressed disappointment at the electoral body’s postponem

ent of the presidential election few hours to the commencement of voting in the country.

Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), announced the shift

ing of the polls until Feb. 23 at a midnight press conference, saying the scheduled proceeding of the voting was not “feasible.”

“Following a careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan and

the determination to conduct free, fair, and credible elections, the Commission came to the co

nclusion that proceeding with the elections as scheduled is no longer feasible,” Yakubu said.

Likewise, the electoral body postponed gubernatorial elections in the country, earlier slated for March 2, also by one week.

Although Nigerians are used to elections being postponed, the postp

onement of this year’s presidential polls in the country was greeted by criticism.

The governing All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council said i

t received with great disappointment and disillusionment the announcement of the postponement of the election by the electoral body.

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bundant mallow harvest a boon for impoverished Iraqis

With rain spreading across Iraq, mallow growing in the northern and eastern parts of the country gives impoverished people food to eat or sell for extra money.

Mallow, or Malva pusilla, is a cosmopolitan weed found principally in temperate regions of

the world. It is a fast-growing annual or perennial herb with the capacity to grow in dense pa

tches in gardens, yards, roadsides, waste ground, orchards, pastures and agricultural fields.

It grows without any assistance and easily harvested and so is often called the “food of the poor.”

It is also delicious and good for one’s health.

Thanks to the heavy rain in Iraq, this year mallow spread and were found for collectors to harvest in winter, without any help from farmers.

Some of poor families are able to collect mallow plants and sell them

due to its medical value, as it is used to treat some sicknesses and to strengthen immunity.

Haydar Sattar, a member of the local council in Eastern Baquba, told the Xinhu

a News Agency that “mallows spread tremendously this winter. It reminds me of Iraq from a long time ago.”

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Nation’s property sector remains robustperty models in Donggu

Experts said the Spring Festival holiday was the major factor behind the significant drop in property sales perfor

mance nationwide in the first month of 2019 and did not necessarily represent a negative market trend for the industry.

According to Centaline Property Agency’s research, in January property sales declined by 38 p

ercent year-on-year in the first-tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

Among the four cities, Guangzhou saw the most dramatic decrease of 65 percent year-on-year, followed by Beijing, where home sales dropped by over 40 percent.

Country Garden, one of the country’s biggest developers, sold 33 billion yuan ($4.88 billion) of prop

erty in January, a 52.2 percent yearly decline. Vanke, whose monthly sales were 48.8 billion yu

an, saw a 28.1 percent drop year-on-year, while Evergrande Group’s sales performance shrank by 32.9 percent.

Third and fourth-tier cities accounted for most of the sales, but these had also slowed down com

pared to the same period in 2018. Zhang Dawei, chief analyst at Centaline, said the lack of e

nthusiasm from buyers was caused by the overheated market during last year’s Spring Festival.

“During the Spring Festival in 2018, housing prices in first and second-tier cities suddenly increased, triggering price

rises in lower-tier ones too,” said Zhang. “Back then, buying properties in one’s lower-tier hometown became a trend.”

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Hunan art festival promotes rural culture vitalization

The annual Huaihua Beautiful Country Culture and Arts Festival recently took place in Huna

n province, aiming to involve more villagers in art creation and vitalize local culture.

Hosted by the China Art Association, Hunan Photographers Association and the Huaihua Feder

ation of Literary and Art Circles, this year’s arts festival featured local people performing a vari

ety of disciplines on stage, including wind and percussion music, group dance and Chinese operas.

Unique to this year’s arts festival is a photography exhibition, showcasing 50 pictures taken by mi

grant workers. The photos are selected from the award winners of the 2018 Hunan Province W

orkers Photography Exhibition.
“These photos focus on the extraordinary achievements made by laborers from all wa

lks of life, freeze-framing the wonderful moments of their daily work, presenting their diligence, endeavor and co

mmitment to innovation,” says Liang Xiangfeng, secretary-general of Hunan Photographers Association.

The exhibition is a major measure taken by the association in 2019 in its bid to use the arts to alleviate poverty and promote rural vitalization.

Founder of the arts festival, artist Shu Yong, says: “To vitalize the countryside, we must first vitalize rur

al culture. Only when the local villagers feel proud of their home and culture, can rural vitalization truly be realized.”

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Also on Tuesday, Lavrov said Russia had prepared a Uni

ted Nations Security Council (UNSC) draft resolution supporting dialogue in Venezuela, contrary to a US proposal that paves the way for an invasion.

On Jan 23, the Trump administration recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the nation’s “interim pre

sident,” a move that came after Maduro was inaugurated as president of the Latin American country earlier that month.

US President Trump has also warned that “all options are on the table” regarding Venezuela.

On Feb 1, the Trump administration announced that the United States is withdrawing fro

m the INF Treaty with Russia within six months, starting from Feb 2. In response, Russian President Vl

adimir Putin announced on Feb 2 that Moscow would also suspend its participation in the INF Treaty.

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 between the Soviet Union and the United States on the elimination of land-based intermediate-range missiles.

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old Hunan art form sees revival during Lunar New Year

Deng Xia, a fan of Huagu (“flowery drum”) Opera, a local art form of Yueyang in

Central China’s Hunan province, barely misses such shows at the One Yuan Theater.

“It has enriched the cultural life of residents like me,” Deng, 35, says.

“In the past, we could appreciate the Huagu Opera, mostly during important festivals such as Lunar New Year, but now we can watch it often.”

The One Yuan Theater, located in Rongjiawan town of Yueyang, has staged 30 to 50 Huag

u Opera shows annually since 2012, with the audience numbers for each show sometimes touching 1,000.

“Some people bring along stools or are even willing to stand through a show of two or three hours,” says Deng of the theater that has a seating capacity of 800.

To enjoy a show, each viewer has to pay only 1 yuan ($0.15) as admission fee to the theater, as the prog

rams are covered by government funding. The initiative to provide regular and nearly-free shows to lo

cal residents has been successful in bringing the once-dead cultural heritage back to life.

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France advanced to the top 10 markets where WeChat P

ay was mostly adopted for the first time since WeChat started tracking the data in 2015.

A Nielsen survey released in January suggested that 93 percent of Chinese travelers are likely to increase their spen

ding overseas if mobile payment is more widely accepted, which would consequently boost local businesses.

Alipay and WeChat Pay accounted for almost 94 percent of the count

ry’s third-party payment market, according to consultancy iResearch. The duo are ga

ining market share by making ambitious forays overseas where mobile payment is yet to mature.

Among the latest developments, Tencent is looking to work with more smart solutions and s

ervice providers this year to make the app function run as smoothly in foreign markets as it does in China, by in

corporating a variety of tools developed by third-party providers, said Fan Wei, overseas business director of WeChat Pay.

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An old Hunan art form sees revival during Lunar New Year, Liu Xian

Deng Xia, a fan of Huagu (“flowery drum”) Opera, a local art form of Yueyang

in Central China’s Hunan province, barely misses such shows at the One Yuan Theater.

“It has enriched the cultural life of residents like me,” Deng, 35, says.

“In the past, we could appreciate the Huagu Opera,

mostly during important festivals such as Lunar New Year, but now we can watch it often.”

The One Yuan Theater, located in Rongjiawan town of Yueyang, has staged 30 to 50 Huagu O

pera shows annually since 2012, with the audience numbers for each show sometimes touching 1,000.

“Some people bring along stools or are even willing to stand through a show of two or three hours,” says Deng of the theater that has a seating capacity of 800.

To enjoy a show, each viewer has to pay only 1 yuan ($0.15) as admission fee to the theater, as the pr

ograms are covered by government funding. The initiative to provide regular and nearly-free shows to lo

cal residents has been successful in bringing the once-dead cultural heritage back to life.

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More outcomes expected from trade talksVice-Premier Liu

He will hold a new round of high-level China-US economic and trade consultations with United States Trade Re

presentative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Beijing from Thursday to Friday.

Analysts said the two sides are likely to propose weightier measures to address economic and trade differences and to broaden overall cooperation.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, based on recent talks in Washington, China and the US will eng

age in further discussions on issues of common concern. The US delegation arrives in Beijing on Monday.

China and the US have been embroiled in trade frictions for several months. The two sides are now in the midst of a 90-day tariff truce, which began on Dec 1, wh

en President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart, Donald Trump, met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

Wei Jianguo, vice-chairman of the China Center for International Economic Ex

changes, said China-US trade consultations have made “a big stride forward”.

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