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Fans of pop stars out of control


2019-04-22 浏览

China's Ministry of Public Security has called on fans of pop stars to be "rational and civilized" after a group smashed the glass side partition of an auto-walk escalator at Hongqiao airport.

The ministry warned those disturbing public order or infringing personal rights could face detention, fines and even criminal charges.

A large crowd of fans, including some believed to be organized by agents, gathered at a terminal of Hongqiao International Airport on Saturday to welcome or say farewell to a dozen pop stars.

When a pop star appeared, the fans would scream and rush toward them, blocking passageways. The glass on an auto-walk escalator was smashed in one surge. No one was injured.

"I was really shocked by the large crowds of people filling the first and second floors of the terminal at 6pm," said a witness surnamed Lu. "It looks even more bustling than the Spring Festival travel rush."

There had been publicity that 10 pop stars would appear at the airport on Saturday.

Photos of the broken glass have been widely circulated on Weibo.

Netizens claimed agents may have motivated to create an Internet sensation to publicize their clients.

"It is such an uneducated and life-threatening activity," said a popular commentator on the Weibo.

The Shanghai Airport Authority declined to comment yesterday.

In July 2018, the Civil Aviation Administration of China asked domestic airports to enhance the management of fans after flights were delayed and facilities damaged.

The industry regulator requested that the schedules of famous passengers such as pop stars be kept secret.

In a previous case in May 2018 at Hongqiao airport, more than 20 fans rushed onto a plane without having their tickets checked to accompany their idol, which led to a more than two-hour flight delay.

In 2015, a glass door at the arrival terminal of Hangzhou airport was broken by a group of fans who dashed toward their idols. Some fans were injured by glass shards.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Easter blasts at Sri Lanka hotels and churches kill at least 207


2019-04-22 浏览

A series of eight devastating bomb blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka on Sunday, killing at least 207 people, including dozens of foreigners.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the attacks -- the worst act of violence since the end of Sri Lanka's civil war a decade ago -- as "cowardly", as the government imposed an immediate and indefinite curfew across the entire country of 21 million people.

The powerful blasts -– six in quick succession and then two more hours later -- left hundreds injured and wrought devastation, including at the capital's well-known St Anthony's Shrine, a historic Catholic Church.

At least two of the explosions were carried out by suicide bombers, according to police sources and a hotel official, and police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said the authorities were investigating whether suicide attackers were involved in all eight of them.

Gunasekera told a press conference the death toll had risen to at least 207, with over 450 people wounded and that three people had been arrested.

Ravinatha Aryasinha, secretary to the foreign ministry, told reporters there were 27 bodies of suspected foreign nationals in the Colombo National Hospital.

A police official said earlier that 35 foreigners were among the dead and hospital sources said British, Dutch and American citizens had been killed, with Britons and Japanese also injured. A Portuguese man also died, the country's LUSA news agency reported.

'Horrible scenes'

An AFP photographer at the scene at St Anthony's saw bodies lying on the floor, some draped with scarves and clothes.

Much of the church roof was blown out in the explosion, with roof tiles, glass and splintered wood littering the floor along with pools of blood.

At the Shangri-La hotel, an AFP photographer saw extensive damage on the second floor restaurant, with windows blown out and electrical wires hanging from the ceiling.

The injured flooded into local hospitals, where officials reported hundreds of wounded were being admitted.

Sri Lanka's Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution, Harsha de Silva, said he had been to two of the attacked hotels and was at the scene at St Anthony's, where he described "horrible scenes".

"I saw many body parts strewn all over," he tweeted, adding that there were "many casualties including foreigners".

"Please stay calm and indoors," he added.

Police chief warning

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the blasts, but documents seen by AFP show that Sri Lanka's police chief Pujuth Jayasundara issued an intelligence alert to top officers 10 days ago, warning that suicide bombers planned to hit "prominent churches".

"A foreign intelligence agency has reported that the NTJ (National Thowheeth Jama'ath) is planning to carry out suicide attacks targeting prominent churches as well as the Indian high commission in Colombo," the alert said.

The NTJ is a radical Muslim group in Sri Lanka that was linked last year to the vandalisation of Buddhist statues.

The government ordered a nationwide curfew to start immediately and last "until further notice", and a "temporary" social media ban was imposed "in order to prevent incorrect and wrong information being spread".

The first blast was reported at St Anthony's, followed by a second deadly explosion at St Sebastian's, a church in the town of Negombo, north of the capital.

Soon after, police confirmed that a third church in the east-coast town of Batticaloa had been hit, along with three high-end hotels in the capital -- the Cinnamon Grand, the Shangri-La and the Kingsbury.

A manager at the Cinnamon Grand, near the prime minister's official residence in Colombo, said a suicide bomber blew himself up at people at the hotel's restaurant.

"He came up to the top of the queue and set off the blast," he told AFP.

Later in the afternoon, two died in a strike at a hotel in the south of Colombo, while a police source said a suicide bomber killed three officers in the suburb of Orugodawatta in the north of the capital.

'Cowardly attacks'

President Maithripala Sirisena said in an address that he was shocked by the explosions and appealed for calm.

On Twitter, Wickremesinghe wrote: "I strongly condemn the cowardly attacks on our people today.

"I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong. Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation."

The Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Ranjith, described those behind the attacks as "animals" and called on the authorities to "punish them mercilessly".

US President Donald tweeted his condolences on the "horrible terrorist attacks", and Pope Francis in his Easter address at the Vatican spoke of his "affectionate closeness with the Christian community, attacked while it was at prayer".

Embassies in Colombo warned their citizens to shelter in place, and Sri Lankan Airlines told customers to arrive at the airport four hours ahead of flights because of ramped-up security in the wake of the attacks.

Only around six percent of mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka is Catholic, but the religion is seen as a unifying force because it includes people from both the Tamil and majority Sinhalese ethnic groups.

There have been no attacks in Sri Lanka linked to foreign Islamist groups, despite local media reports that a 37-year-old Sri Lankan was killed in Syria in 2016 while fighting for the Islamic State group.

In January, Sri Lankan police seized a haul of explosives and detonators stashed near a wildlife sanctuary following the arrest of four men from a newly formed radical Muslim group.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

China city relocates 13 steel mills to cut pollution


2019-04-22 浏览

The major steel city of Tangshan in north China's Hebei Province has kicked off a campaign to relocate and upgrade 13 steel and iron mills in a bid to reduce pollution and energy consumption.

The 13 mills near the main urban areas of Tangshan have a total production capacity of 51.4 million tonnes, said Lang Wenchang, deputy director of the city's development and reform commission, on Sunday.

The 13 firms will be relocated to coastal industrial parks in Laoting and Fengnan in Tangshan, said Lang.

The major steel base in Laoting is under construction and is scheduled to start operation in the second half of the year. It will use more energy-saving and environmentally-friendly techniques and churn out more high-end steel products.

The steel industry has been a major driver of local economic growth but has also led to severe pollution and high energy consumption.

Highly polluting companies, including steel mills and coking firms, in and within 25 km of urban areas, contributed to 70 percent of local air pollutants, said Lang.

The relocation and upgrading in Tangshan will help cut coal consumption by 1 million tonnes and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 20 million tonnes a year, according to the city's ecology and environment department.

The city plans to reduce the number of local steel and iron companies to within 30 from the current 38 by 2020 and to within 25 by 2025, with more moving up the value chain to produce high-end products.

Between 2013 and 2018, Tangshan cut its steel and iron production capacity by more than 78 million tonnes in a bid to reduce excess capacity.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Photo agency charged for free images


2019-04-19 浏览

Visual China Group, a Beijing-based photo agency, has been fined 300,000 yuan (US$44,735) by the Internet watchdog of Tianjin for selling images that were in the public domain.

VCG has suspended its service and it is not known when it will resume, it said in a statement.

It was putting things right, it said.

VCG came under fire after many images and photographs available for sale on vcg.com were found to be problematic, said the Tianjin Cyberspace Administration.

These included the recently released image of a Black Hole and China’s national emblem and flag. VCG was charging fees for their use.

The image of the Black Hole, based on observations made by the Event Horizon Telescope, can be downloaded free from the website of the European Southern Observatory, and the national emblem and flag are prohibited from being commercially used by law.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

6.7-magnitude quake hits Taiwan, injuring at least 17 people


2019-04-19 浏览

A 6.7-magnitude earthquake rattled Hualien county in eastern Taiwan at 1:01pm Thursday, injuring at least 17 people, tilting two buildings in Taipei, and spooking many others across the island.

The 17 people were injured either by falling objects or shards of glass, including a 40-year-old Malaysian tourist who was severely injured by falling rocks when trekking in Taroko park in Hualien, according to Taiwan's emergency operation center.

A woman, a 54-year-old Taiwan resident who was also on the hiking trail, was hospitalized with a head injury, according to the center.

The other injured people were reported in Taipei and New Taipei cities.

The temblor, the strongest that rocked Taiwan so far this year, lasted for one minute in Hualien and other areas.

Lamps at home were shaking sharply inside buildings in Taipei and many people were dining and screaming when the earthquake occurred. Some scared residents ran out of buildings to dodge the quake.

Wines and other items inside stores, or even rocks and ceilings, were widely reported to fall across Taiwan.

The quake caused landslide near the epicenter in Sioulin township in Hualien.

"It was the strongest earthquake I've felt in Taipei since the Sept. 21 earthquake," a Taipei resident surnamed Kao said, referring to the earthquake that shook Nantou county in 1999 and killed more than 2,400 people and injured thousands of others.

All elevators of the Taipei 101, the island's tallest building, were once suspended after the earthquake.

Two buildings in Taipei, one on Chang'an East Road and the other in Xinyi District, tilted after the quake, forcing the evacuation of more than 100 people from inside.

The operation of all lines on the Mass Rapid Transit system in Taipei, as well as the line linking Taipei with Taoyuan International Airport, were suspended for safety concerns, and service was resumed as of 2:30 p.m. after safety checks.

In New Taipei city, seven cases of people stranded inside elevators were reported and they were rescued later.

The powerful earthquake also forced the high-speed railway service to partially suspend and operation was later resumed in the afternoon.

A section of Provincial Highway No. 8, between Kuanyuan and Taroko Gorge in Hualien, has been closed until Friday at the earliest due to the risk of falling rocks, according to the center.

The epicenter was monitored at 24.13 degrees north latitude and 121.52 degrees east longitude, at a depth of 24 km, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.

According to the island's seismic agency, data of the past 10 years showed that an average of three earthquakes measuring above 6 degrees on the Richter scale hit Taiwan each year.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Japan will invite US President Trump to visit Japan May 25-28


2019-04-19 浏览

Japan will invite US President Donald Trump to visit Japan May 25 to 28, its top government spokesman said on Friday.

Trump will meet Japan's new emperor and empress as well as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his visit, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Disney pledges US$5m for rebuilding of Notre-Dame Cathedral


2019-04-18 浏览

The Walt Disney Company announced Wednesday that it will donate US$5 million to help rebuild the fire-ravaged Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.

"Notre-Dame is a beacon of hope and beauty that has defined the heart of Paris and the soul of France for centuries, inspiring awe and reverence for its art and architecture and for its enduring place in human history," said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Walt Disney Company, in a statement.

"The Walt Disney Company stands with our friends and neighbors in the community, offering our heartfelt support as well as a US$5 million donation for the restoration of this irreplaceable masterpiece," he announced.

Notre Dame is considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture which receives about 12 million visitors every year. The 850-year-old historic landmark was severely damaged by a devastating fire on Monday.

French President, Emmanuel Macron, vowed to rebuild the cathedral after the inferno. In two days following the devastating blaze, nearly a billion dollars have been reportedly pledged by donors from across the world, including some major companies.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Xi wants greater efforts in fight against poverty


2019-04-18 浏览

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for greater efforts to win the battle against poverty on time and realize the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects as scheduled.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the statement during an inspection tour to southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality from Monday to yesterday.

During the inspection, Xi also presided over and delivered a speech at a symposium to address the problems concerning the basic living needs of rural poor populations and their access to compulsory education, basic medical services, and safe housing.

After arriving in Chongqing, the president took a three-hour trip, by train and then by road, to a mountainous village in Shizhu Tujia Autonomous County on Monday. When visiting a primary school there, Xi promised to ensure children in poor mountainous regions manage to go to school and have a happy childhood.

Priority of projects

Stopping by the house of Tan Dengzhou, an impoverished villager, Xi learned that Tan and his wife were unable to work due to illness and thus faced financial difficulties.

People who still live under the poverty line or slip back into poverty due to illness should be the priority of poverty alleviation projects, Xi said, adding that they should receive support such as minimum-living allowances, medical insurance and medical aid.

At the home of Ma Peiqing, a veteran CPC member who has shaken off poverty, Xi sat in the yard, chatting with the villagers, primary-level officials and village doctors.

“Not a single person should be left behind in the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects,” Xi said. “Socialism means development. Development must serve the common prosperity for everyone.”

He told the CPC members and cadres to work on the frontline in fighting poverty.

At the symposium on Tuesday afternoon, Xi said that the basic requirement and key indicator for the poverty alleviation goal by 2020 are that rural poor people have no worry about food and clothing and have access to compulsory education, basic medical services, and safe housing.

At the crucial stage in winning the battle against poverty, heads of Party committees and governments at the provincial level should take up their responsibilities, he said.

Efforts should be made to work out detailed and concrete measures, target genuinely poor households, and prevent the reoccurrence of poverty to those who had been lifted out, according to Xi.

In addition to deepening the campaign against corruption and improper conduct in poverty alleviation, Xi also called for timely compensation and long-term support to families of officials who have sacrificed their lives to the cause.

After hearing the work reports from Chongqing’s Party and government officials yesterday, Xi hoped that Chongqing will act as a major drive in boosting the development of China’s western region in the new era, play a leading role in promoting the joint construction of the Belt and Road, and become a model in advancing green development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt.

Xi asked Chongqing to take the lead in the western region to firmly promote the reform and opening-up and meticulously prepare for and carry out the events celebrating the 70th founding anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.

The officials were told to address issues closely related to people’s lives, such as education, employment, social security, health care, housing, environmental protection and public security.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

At least 28 killed in bus accident on Portuguese island


2019-04-18 浏览

At least 28 tourists were confirmed dead on Wednesday in a bus accident on the Portuguese island of Madeira, with three others seriously injured, local media SIC TV reported.

The 28 people are 11 men and 17 women of German nationality, Mayor of the municipality Filipe Sousa said, quoted by SIC.

The driver and guide are both Portuguese and they are injured.

The tourist bus, carrying 55 German tourists, overturned and fell on the roof of roadside residence.

Speaking outside the Palace of Belem in Lisbon, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa told reporters that it was his intention to travel immediately to Funchal, the capital of Madeira, in a plane of the Portuguese Air Force, "but a priority emerged" that led him to postpone the trip.

"I was very sensitive to this priority, which is the need for airplanes, namely the airplane that was to be used by the Portuguese Air Force to transport the injured people," he said.

"So I will, but I will not go immediately, because there is this priority," added Rebelo de Sousa.

On behalf of the Portuguese government, Prime Minister Antonio Costa conveyed "deep condolences" to the families of the victims of the tourist bus accident in Madeira and expressed his regret and condolences to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"At learning of the tragic accident in Madeira, I feel deeply regret. To all the families involved, I convey on behalf of the Portuguese government the deepest condolences," Costa wrote on Twitter.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

More funds to be made available for elderly care


2019-04-17 浏览

The Chinese government said yesterday it would push for more financing support for the elderly-care sector to help accelerate the development of a fledging industry and ensure that the needs of an aging population are met.

The regulation stressed the need to establish a supervision system for elderly-care services, deepen reform of public-funded elderly-care organs, and improve precise investment by the government.

China’s elderly-care infrastructure is ill-equipped to deal with a fast-graying population, expected to hit 400 million by 2035, prompting Beijing to expedite reforms and draw up policies to speed up the development of the sector.

“The vitality of the elderly-care sector has not been adequately stimulated. Development has been unbalanced and inadequate, while supply is insufficient and quality of service remains low,” the State Council, or Cabinet, said in a statement.

The regulation requires the extending of channels for investing and financing, and achieving expanding employment and entrepreneurship.

Obstacles to the development of the sector must be removed, it said.

The regulation has made it clear that a long-term care and service system will be created while enabling public-funded elderly-care organs to play their due role, said Gao Xiaobing, vice minister of civil affairs, at a State Council news briefing.

In order to expand social capital in elderly-care services, the regulation pledged to streamline the procedures for the establishment of elderly-care organs, Gao said.

The government will cut fundraising costs for elderly-care institutions, and encourage others to raise capital through public listings and bond issues, the council said.

The government would also allow more insurance funds to invest in elderly-care projects, and encourage financial institutions to extend affordable loans to elderly-care service providers, it said.

Banks, trusts and other financial institutions will be supported to help them develop financial products that can meet the long-term needs of the elderly, the council added.

That will include greater access to bank loans for the elderly and more pension-targeted mutual funds to help people invest for retirement.

A system will be formed to recognize the skill of caregivers and provide them with more education and training opportunities, it said.

It also demanded the protection of the elderly rights and interests, while dealing with illegal fund-raising in the elderly-care sector.

Efforts should be made to advance high-quality elderly care and improve elderly-care facilities, it added.

At least 55 percent of the public welfare lottery funds by the local civil affairs authorities and local government should be used to support elderly care by 2022, the official said.

The number of people in China aged 60 and above has reached 250 million.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

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