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Finland picks youngest-ever prime minister

芬兰推选史上最年轻总理

2019-12-09 浏览


Finland's Social Democrats elected a 34-year-old former transport minister to the post of prime minister on Sunday, making her the youngest head of government in the country's history.

Sanna Marin narrowly won Sunday's vote to replace outgoing leader Antti Rinne, who resigned on Tuesday after losing the confidence of the coalition partner Centre Party over his handling of a postal strike.

"We have a lot of work to do to rebuild trust," Marin told reporters on Sunday night, while deflecting questions about her age.

"I have never thought about my age or gender, I think of the reasons I got into politics and those things for which we have won the trust of the electorate."

At 34, Marin also becomes one of the world's youngest state leaders, ahead of Ukraine's prime minister Oleksiy Honcharuk, who is currently 35.

Former PM Antti Rinne had headed Finland's center-left five-party coalition since June, and Marin's appointment is unlikely to lead to significant policy changes by the Social Democrat-led administration.

"We have a shared government programme which we have committed to," Marin said.

The SDP won April's legislative elections on promises to end years of economic belt-tightening introduced by the Centre Party to lift Finland out of a recession.

Rinne stepped down after several weeks of political crisis over a plan to cut wages for 700 postal workers.

Finland's postal service withdrew the reform plans in November after widespread strikes, but questions emerged over whether or not Rinne had previously endorsed the cutbacks, leading to the Centre Party declaring it had lost its trust in the prime minister last Monday.

Parliament is expected to formally swear in the new prime minister on Tuesday.
 
来源: Shanghai Daily  



US probe finds Cambridge Analytica misled Facebook users on data

美国认定剑桥分析误导facebook客户

2019-12-09 浏览


US regulators have concluded that British consultancy Cambridge Analytica — at the center of a massive scandal on hijacking of Facebook data — deceived users of the social network about how it collected and handled their personal information.

The Federal Trade Commission said its investigation launched in March 2018 concluded that the now-defunct political consulting firm "engaged in deceptive practices to harvest personal information from tens of millions of Facebook users for voter profiling and targeting."

The FTC said the British firm, which worked on Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, made "false and misleading" claims when it offered Facebook users a "personality quiz" — stating it would not download names or any personally identifiable information.

The case created a firestorm over data protection when it was disclosed that Cambridge Analytica was able to create psychological profiles using data from millions of Facebook users through the harvesting of the data.

The personality prediction app was downloaded by 270,000 people but also scooped up data from their friends, and fed into an effort by the firm to predict the behavior of individual US voters.

It was not immediately clear what impact the FTC findings would have.

The FTC issued an order which prohibits Cambridge Analytica — which closed in 2018 — from making false misrepresentations on how it handles personal data, and requires compliance with a US-EU privacy agreement.

The FTC reached a settlement earlier this year with Cambridge Analytica's former CEO Alexander Nix and app developer Aleksandr Kogan that requires them to delete or destroy any personal information they collected.

The company claimed in 2018 it had been ruined by "numerous unfounded accusations" that made it impossible to keep the business afloat.

Facebook's own investigation found that some data from 87 million users in the US and elsewhere had been compromised by the firm, and claimed the practices violated the social network's terms of service.

Facebook, which did not immediately respond to a query on the FTC decision, paid a record US$5 billion penalty early this year in a settlement with the regulator over mishandling users' private data.
 
来源: Shanghai Daily  



Trainees in Xinjiang education, training program have all graduated: official

新疆官方称:参加“三学一去”教培学员已全部结业

2019-12-09 浏览


Trainees participating in education and training programs of standard spoken and written Chinese, understanding of the law, vocational skills and deradicalization at vocational education and training centers in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have all graduated, a regional official said Monday.

With the help of the government, they have achieved stable employment, improved their quality of life and been living a happy life, said Shohrat Zakir, chairman of the regional government, at a press conference in Beijing.

Faced with the severe situation of frequent violent and terrorist activities, Xinjiang established vocational education and training centers to teach skills in accordance with the law, the official said, adding that the number of attendees continuously changes, with students coming in and out of programs frequently.

Foreign media reports claiming that there were "up to 1 million or even 2 million" trainees at the centers are purely fabricated and totally groundless, the official said.

"Practice has proven that the establishment of vocational education and training centers is a useful move to explore measures for counter-terrorism and deradicalization," Shohrat Zakir said.

Next, in order to meet the wishes of primary-level officials and the people for self-improvement, Xinjiang will offer regular and open education and training to village officials, Party members in rural areas, farmers and herdsmen and unemployed middle school graduates who have the willingness and need for such education, the official said.

The education and training will be carried out based on principles under which trainees' wishes and independent choices are respected, he said, adding that attendees are free to join or quit programs at any time.

Training programs will be tailored to meet trainees' needs, and the periods of programs will vary based on the courses, the official said.
 
来源: Shanghai Daily  



World's supermarket welcomes foreigners

全球超市欢迎外来户

2019-12-06 浏览


Foreigners helping maintain traffic, doing community service and mediating business disputes.

Scenes like these may be rare in many parts of China but are common in the country’s small commodity hub of Yiwu.

The city in east China’s Zhejiang Province, dubbed as the “World’s Supermarket,” receives more than 550,000 overseas buyers and sells commodities to more than 210 countries and regions every year.

There are about 30,000 foreign buyers in Yiwu each day, half of whom live in hotels and the rest as residents, said Lin Yi, secretary of the Yiwu Committee of the Communist Party of China.

While sharing the dividend of China’s reform and opening-up policy in the world’s small commodity capital, foreign businessmen have also been contributing their efforts and wisdom to the city’s development and social governance.

Each year, the local legislature invites more than 10 foreigners to attend its annual session.

“In fact, we are not just watching as bystanders,” said Kok Chit Hock, a Malaysian businessman who has been living in Yiwu for 15 years and who has attended the legislative sessions multiple times.

“The authorities seriously listen to our advice and have even adopted some.”

Kok said he proposed building a new type of nursing home to give the elderly more freedom for contact with the community at the legislative session this year.

“I didn’t expect the Yiwu Market Development Group would call me to learn about the matter the next day,” he said.

Iranian businessman Hamid Dehghani, another regular attendee of the legislative sessions, said during his 16 years in Yiwu, authorities have taken his advice multiple times.

It took him eight months to set up the first wholly foreign-owned business in Yiwu as he made many trips to the provincial capital of Hangzhou and even Beijing to get the approval.

Later the local government adopted his advice to set up a one-stop international trade service center to handle all foreign-related businesses.

Hamid, with a PhD in psychology and proficient in six languages, also helps mediate disputes between residents in the Jimingshan residential community, home to over 2,300 foreigners from 74 countries and regions.

“I love mediation. I’m thrilled to see people who come for help in anger but leave with hugs and smiles,” he said.

The massive small commodity market in Yiwu, home to 75,000 wholesalers, has set up a mediation committee for foreign-related disputes and recruited foreign mediators.

Chen Jinyan, director of the mediation committee, said it now has 13 part-time foreign mediators from 12 countries.

Over the six years since its establishment, the committee has mediated over 400 foreign-related cases worth a total of 58.7 million yuan (US$8.3 million).

The mediation model can not only solve foreign-related disputes efficiently but also provides a platform for foreign businesspeople to learn more about Chinese laws and regulations as well as culture, said Chen.

In order to promote in-depth integration of foreign businessmen and local people, authorities in Yiwu have also hired foreigners to serve as “street chiefs” along with locals to patrol to see if there are any environmental or traffic issues.

Many foreigners have also joined voluntary blood donations and taken part in community activities including taking care of the elderly.
 
来源: Shanghai Daily  



3 in court over record US$900m meth haul

澳大利亚查获史上最大毒品走私案

2019-12-06 浏览


Two customs agents and an information technology worker appeared in a court on Thursday on drug offenses over Australia’s largest seizure of methamphetamine, which had been smuggled to Melbourne from Bangkok in stereo speakers.

Police estimate the 1.6 metric tons of the drug also known as ice and crystal meth had a street value of AU$1.2 billion (US$818 million). The 37 kilograms of heroin also seized was the largest haul of that drug in Australia since 2017.

“It’s almost a quarter of the annual usage in Australia, so this will have an impact,” Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan told reporters, referring to the crystal meth.

Married customs agents Rachel Cachia, 37, and Donovan Rodrigues, 38 appeared with their co-accused Stephen Mizzi, 37, in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on drug importation charges that carry potential life prison sentences.

They did not enter pleas or apply for bail. They were remanded to May 7.

Contractors

Customs agents are private-sector employees who facilitate cargo movements through ports.

They do not have security clearance at ports but operate as independent import-export experts who know how the system works.

Gaughan alleged the couple were “middle-to-high up” in the drug trafficking operation.

“They are trusted insiders in the industry. They used their position of trust to circumvent the border controls that exist within Australia,” Gaughan said. “This vulnerability has been fully removed.”

Police were now working toward bringing the bosses of the operation to justice, Gaughan said.

The three were arrested after police executed search warrants on Wednesday at several Melbourne properties.

Australian Border Force officers detected the haul in vacuum-sealed packages concealed in speakers at the Melbourne waterfront in April.

The drug shipment came from Thailand but Australian authorities suspect it originated from another Southeast Asian country.
 
来源: Shanghai Daily  



Top Democrat pulls trigger on impeachment, Trump defiant

民主党魁南希通过对特朗普的弹劾

2019-12-06 浏览


Top US Democrat Nancy Pelosi gave the green light on Thursday to draft articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, as the embattled president vowed he would "win" the coming fight.

By asking the House Judiciary Committee chairman to draw up the charges, Speaker Pelosi signaled that a formal vote on impeaching the 45th American president is all but assured.

With a majority of the Democratic-controlled chamber already expressing intent to back the divisive procedure, Trump is likely to become just the third president in US history to be impeached by the House of Representatives.

"Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairman to proceed with articles of impeachment," Pelosi said in a televised statement.

Trump "has engaged in abuse of power, undermined our national security and jeopardized the integrity of our elections," she said, adding that "the president leaves us no choice but to act."

A defiant Trump dared Democrats to press ahead with impeachment "now, fast" — so he can have a "fair trial in the Senate" where his party holds power and he is confident of being exonerated.

"The good thing is that the Republicans have NEVER been more united," Trump tweeted. "We will win!"

Pelosi's address was short and somber. But America's most powerful female politician, facing a high-pressure moment of reckoning, concluded a follow-up press conference by showing flashes of anger when a reporter asked if she hated the president.

"I don't hate anyone," she fired back, pointing at the journalist in an extraordinary confrontation.

"I pray for the president all the time. So don't mess with me when it comes to words like that."

Pelosi did not announce the charges against Trump, but they could include abuse of power, obstruction of Congress and obstruction of justice.

'Absolute control' in Senate

"The president abused his power for his own political benefit," Pelosi said, by withholding military aid and a White House meeting in exchange for Kiev's commitment to investigate Joe Biden, his potential Democratic rival in the 2020 election.

"If we allow a president to be above the law, we do so surely at the peril of our republic," added the speaker.

The White House, which has refused to cooperate with the inquiry, said Democrats should be "ashamed" for pulling the impeachment trigger.

The process is expected to move rapidly from here on, with articles likely presented for a full House vote later this month after weeks of hearings.

Democrats do not want impeachment and a subsequent Senate trial to suck up too much political oxygen just as voting kicks off to determine their party's presidential nominee for 2020.

On Wednesday, three constitutional scholars told the Judiciary Committee that the president's actions seeking foreign interference in US elections were clear grounds for removal.

But a fourth scholar, called by Republicans to testify, told the panel there was "inadequate" evidence for impeachment.

Top House Republican Kevin McCarthy agreed.

"No bribery, no extortion, no obstruction of justice, and no abuse of power," he told reporters.

"Why are we going through this nightmare?"

Polling shows Americans are about evenly split on impeaching and removing Trump — and the process has the potential to backfire on Democrats who face reelection in districts won by Trump.

According to a FiveThirtyEight.com poll average, 46.8 percent of respondents support Trump's impeachment and removal, versus 44.5 percent who do not.

Longtime Democratic analyst David Axelrod, who served as president Barack Obama's chief campaign strategist, offered a blunt prediction for the impeachment timetable.

"The House will impeach @POTUS by the end of the year because what he did warrants it," he tweeted.

"The Senate will hold a trial in January but not convict, regardless of evidence, because he has absolute control of his party. And then we will move on."
 
来源: Shanghai Daily  



China urges US to learn lessons from 9/11 attacks, stop double standards on anti-terrorism

中国奉劝美国勿忘“911”,停止反恐的双重标准

2019-12-05 浏览


China warned on Wednesday if the United States continues to play with double standards on anti-terrorism or even try to infringe upon other countries' sovereignty and security, it will end up swallowing a bitter fruit with its own interests harmed.

"It hasn't been long since the September 11 attacks. The US should not forget the pain as wounds heal," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a press conference.

The US House of Representatives has just passed the so-called "Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019". US Representative Chris Smith called the Chinese government's preventive counter-terrorism and deradicalization efforts in Xinjiang "modern-day concentration camps." US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the efforts "an outrage to the collective conscience of the world."

Asked to respond to the US moves and comments, Hua said, "I've heard that some of the US lawmakers do not even have passports. They haven't been to China, let alone to China's Xinjiang. How can they speak for the 1.4 billion Chinese people or the 25 million people in Xinjiang? And yet they are making unwarranted allegations and false comments on Xinjiang. How arrogant!"

Hua said that Xinjiang-related issues are by no means about human rights, ethnicity or religion, but about the fight against separatism and violent terrorism.

Since the 1990s, especially after the September 11 attacks, elements of terrorism, separatism and extremism forces launched several thousand violent terrorist attacks in Xinjiang, causing massive casualties as well as property loss, she said, noting that in the "July 5" incident in 2009 alone, 197 people were killed and more than 1,700 injured.

"On the basis of borrowing international counter-terrorism experience, China started vocational education and training in Xinjiang, which is a step answering the call of the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism," Hua said.

The measures taken in Xinjiang are useful exploration of the UN action plan, she said. "The security situation there has significantly improved, with not a single terror attack for three years."

The preventive counter-terrorism and deradicalization efforts have not only gained the support of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, but also received international recognition.

"The US should also recognize and learn from China's effective measures, not discrediting them," Hua said.

Besides, US politicians are talking about "conscience" with China on ethnic minorities. "What ignorance, what brazenness, what hypocrisy!" Hua said.

"Have they forgotten? The two-century long American history is tainted with the blood and tears of native Indians, who were originally masters of the continent."

She said that starting from the 19th century, the US army occupied millions of square kilometers of land and grabbed countless natural resources by expelling and slaughtering native Indians through the Westward Expansion.

Apart from that, the US also conducted forced assimilation of native Americans, killing, expelling and persecuting them and denying them their due civil rights.

"Today, they only account for 2.09 percent of the total US population. They are facing numerous difficulties, including backward infrastructure in reservations, shortage of water and electricity, lack of Internet access, unemployment, poverty, diseases and poor living conditions. In front of all these shocking facts, can the US politicians feign ignorance? Where is their conscience?"

While in China, the country implements the system of ethnic regional autonomy, upholds ethnic equality and unity, respects and protects freedom of religious belief, protects normal religious activities and safeguards religious groups, religious venues, and believers' rights in accordance with law, she said.

People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang enjoy equal legal status and constitutional and lawful rights, including right to elect and be elected, to participate in management of state affairs, to use the spoken and written languages of their ethnic groups, to inherit their ethnic culture, as well as freedom of religious belief and right to education.

The United States has selectively forgotten its brutal acts of persecuting the Native American Indians, turning a blind eye to the bloody history and tragic reality. Instead, it slanders and smears China's successful ethnic policies without any bottom line, especially Xinjiang-related policies, said Hua.

"Their attempt to use Xinjiang-related issues to drive a wedge among China's ethnic groups, undermine the prosperity and stability of Xinjiang and prevent China from growing stronger will only further expose its double standard on the issue of counter-terrorism and will only further expose its hypocrisy and sinister intentions to the world," she said.

Hua added that in recent years, the US used human rights and counter-terrorism as a cover to wage wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, killing millions of innocent civilians and turning more into displaced refugees.

"Such acts in total contempt of people's right to life and development are a real 'outrage to the collective conscience of the world'!" she said.

"Terrorism and extremism are the common enemies of human beings, and the international community has a common responsibility to fight terrorism and eliminate extremism," Hua noted.
 
来源: Shanghai Daily  



Fireworks factory blast kills 7, injures 13

烟花厂爆炸,7死13伤

2019-12-05 浏览


An explosion has killed seven and injured 13 on Wednesday morning at a workshop of a fireworks factory in central China's Hunan Province, according to local publicity department.

The blast occurred at 7:50am in the factory in the city of Liuyang due to illegal production.

The injured have been sent to the hospital for medical treatment.

The site of the accident has been closed and those in charge of the fireworks company were taken into police custody.

A team was formed to investigate the accident.
 
来源: Shanghai Daily  



In the name of beauty: Spray on a fresh face

以美丽的名义:脸部喷雾

2019-12-05 浏览


A Japanese cosmetics company on Wednesday unveiled what it said was the world’s first spray-on skin for consumers, a moisturizing facemask of fibers one-100th the thickness of a human hair.

After applying an absorbent lotion, users spray the fibers onto their face and a thin translucent sheet is quickly formed, acting as a “greenhouse” for the real skin below to soak up the moisture and still be able to breathe.

The “second skin” can be worn overnight or peeled off after about a minute.

“This is the world’s first cosmetic product using such technology,” according to Masayuki Uchiyama, skincare researcher at Kao, the firm behind the innovation.

The hand-held diffuser was 10 years in the making, said Uchiyama: “We struggled to make the device small.”

Kao researchers did not initially think of using the technology of ultra-thin fibers to create a layer on the skin, he said, adding that the precise material from which they were made was a secret.

“But we learned that the skin can still breathe under the thin fibers for many hours” in an environment akin to a greenhouse. But it does not come cheap, with each diffuser costing 50,000 yen (US$460).

But Kao predicts cosmetic sales could reach 100 billion yen if the technology is applied to the medical field, although spray-on skin is already used for burns patients.
 
来源: Shanghai Daily  



Xi meets foreign attendees to Imperial Springs Int'l Forum, calls for upholding multilateralism

习近平会见从都国际论坛外籍嘉宾,倡导多边主义

2019-12-04 浏览


Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday that all countries should shoulder their respective responsibilities, carry out constructive dialogue, seek common ground while shelving differences, and uphold multilateralism, to build a community with a shared future for humanity.

Xi made the remarks when meeting in Beijing with foreign attendees to the 2019 Imperial Springs International Forum held in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province, on December 1 to 2.

The international order is now at a critical crossroads, as the world is facing a choice of either multilateralism or unilateralism, Xi said.

He noted that although the current international order is not perfect, it can be carefully maintained with reforms and improvement, instead of being scrapped or started all over again.

As the world is undergoing profound changes rarely seen in a century, the relations between China and the rest of the world are also experiencing historic changes, the Chinese president said.

"As a big nation with a population of nearly 1.4 billion, China can make the biggest contribution to human society by running its own affairs well," he said. "We are also willing to shoulder our due international obligations and responsibilities."

Xi briefed the delegates on China's state governance as well as his opinions on the current international situation.

He said upholding the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the fundamental reason why the People's Republic of China had achieved continuous development and stability over the past 70 years.

"We will unswervingly continue down the path that we have chosen," he said, reiterating the country's commitment to reform and opening up and expressing his full confidence in China's future.

China has always maintained that people of various countries have the right to choose a development path that suits their own national conditions. No country or nation could achieve its development and prosperity through copying others', nor is there a particular path that could guide all countries and nations towards prosperity, he noted.

China is determined to prove with its own practice that a strong nation is not necessarily a hegemony, and this is decided, first and foremost, by China's 5,000-year historical and cultural tradition, which advocates the ideal of "pursuing a just cause for the common good," instead of I-win-you-lose zero-sum games, Xi said.

He said China is committed to maintaining equality and mutual benefit in international relations, increasing mutual understanding and carrying out mutually beneficial cooperation with all countries for the joint building of a community with a shared future for humanity.

The foreign delegates, including former Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, former Tanzanian President Benjamin William Mkapa, and former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, spoke highly of China's important contribution to safeguarding world peace and promoting sustainable development.

They expressed the hope that China will continue playing a key leading role in tackling global challenges, including climate change.

They told Xi that the world needs to uphold multilateralism, improve global governance, and build a more just, fair and diversified international order.

The foreign delegates also pledged to work with China to uphold multilateralism, and jointly build the Belt and Road as well as a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect and win-win cooperation.
 
来源: Shanghai Daily  



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