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Former US Secretary of State dies from COVID-19 complications


2021-10-19 浏览

Colin Powell, the first black secretary of state who saw his trailblazing legacy tarnished when he made the case for war in Iraq in 2003, died on Monday from complications from COVID-19.

The 84-year-old retired four-star general was fully vaccinated, his family said in a statement, making him one of the most high-profile US public figures to die of a breakthrough infection.

President Joe Biden led an outpouring of tributes from home and abroad, describing the officer-turned-statesman, who had battled cancer and was reportedly immunocompromised, as a breaker of racial barriers who believed in "the promise of America."

"Colin embodied the highest ideals of both warrior and diplomat," said Biden, who ordered flags flown at half-staff at federal government properties.

"He was committed to our nation's strength and security above all."

After engineering military victory in the 1991 Gulf War, Powell was so widely popular and respected that he was considered a strong candidate to become the first black US president.

He ultimately decided against running for the White House, although he later broke with his Republican Party to endorse Barack Obama.

A son of Jamaican immigrants, Powell frequently shattered glass ceilings in a career that took him from combat in Vietnam to becoming America's first black national security adviser under Ronald Reagan.

He was also the youngest and first African-American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Reagan's successor, George H.W. Bush.

Serving four presidents, Powell made his reputation as a man of honor distant from the political fray – an asset in the corridors of power.

There were glowing tributes from all living ex-presidents except Donald Trump – the pair had a public falling out – with Barack Obama calling Powell "an exemplary patriot."

George W. Bush, who made Powell the highest-ranking black US public official ever when he chose him as secretary of state in 2000, mourned a "family man and a friend."

'Man of ideas'

Powell had a reputation for bipartisanship, straight talk and integrity, and was praised for his officer's instincts of duty and honor.

Israeli former leader Benjamin Netanyahu led the international tributes alongside British current and ex-prime ministers Boris Johnson and Tony Blair, noting Powell's leadership example and dedication to public service.

US Cabinet secretaries paying their respect included Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who said Powell was among the "greatest leaders that we have ever witnessed," and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who recalled how his predecessor had modernized the agency.

"He was a man of ideas but he wasn't ideological. He was constantly listening, learning, adapting. He could admit mistakes," Blinken said.

There were very few glaring missteps in public life, but Powell found it hard to live down his infamous February 2003 speech to the United Nations Security Council about the alleged existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – evidence which was later proven to be false.

"It's a blot... and will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It's painful now," Powell said in a 2005 interview with ABC News.

The statesman's reputation never fully recovered, and ordinary Iraqis interviewed by AFP reacted indifferently or bitterly to the news of his death.

"His failed policy led to the destruction of Iraq and all the destruction that befell Iraq, and we went back to the past because of it, unfortunately," Amin Ahmed, 53, told AFP in Baghdad.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

China's Ningxia reports 1 locally-transmitted confirmed COVID-19 case


2021-10-18 浏览

Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region on early Monday reported one confirmed COVID-19 case returning from elsewhere of the country.

The case surnamed Ai, reported in the regional capital of Yinchuan, was a close contact of a couple who were previously tested positive for the virus in the neighboring Shaanxi Province, according to the COVID-19 prevention and control headquarters of Yinchuan.

The city is further tracing the close contacts of the case and has disinfected the related places.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

5 killed in Norway bow-and-arrow attack, man arrested


2021-10-14 浏览

A man armed with a bow and arrows killed five people and wounded two others in southeastern Norway on Wednesday, police said, adding that they had arrested the suspect.

The motive for the attack, which took place in several locations in the town center of Kongsberg, was not yet known, but police said terrorism could not yet be ruled out.

Local police official Oyvind Aas said he could "unfortunately confirm" that five people were dead. The two wounded were in critical care units in hospital but their lives did not appear to be in danger, he told a news conference.

One of the wounded was an off-duty police officer who had been in a store, one of the several places attacked.

"The man who committed this act has been arrested by the police and, according to our information, there is only one person involved," Aas told the news conference.

He said that "given how events unfolded, it is natural to assess whether this is a terrorist attack."

"The arrested man has not been interviewed and it is too early to say anything about his motives," he said, adding that "all possibilities were open."

Norway's intelligence service PST had been alerted, spokesman Martin Bernsen said.

"It is all conjecture at the moment," he said when asked about the possibility of a terrorist motive.

Police said the suspect had been taken to a police station in the nearby town of Drammen but gave no other details about the man, including whether he had previously been known to the authorities.

Police were informed of the attack at 6:13pm (4:13pm GMT) in the town of 25,000 people, around 80 kilometers west of the capital Oslo. The suspect was arrested at 6:47pm.

"These events shake us," said Prime Minister Erna Solberg on her very last day in office.

On Thursday she will hand over the prime ministership to Jonas Gahr Store, whose Labour Party won parliamentary elections on September 13.

Arrow sticking in wall

The scene of the attack was blocked off by a police, an AFP correspondent said.

Police urged the public to stay at home and several neighborhoods were cordoned off, with television footage showing ambulances and armed police in the area.

Police in the Scandinavian country are not normally armed, but after the attack the National Police Directorate ordered that officers be armed nationwide.

A helicopter and bomb disposal team were also sent to the scene.

The website of public broadcaster NRK published an image sent by a witness of a black arrow sticking out of a wall.

In other pictures from the scene, what looked like competition-grade arrows could be seen lying on the ground.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Conference held to strengthen domestic tourism resources


2021-10-13 浏览

The 6th annual Taihu World Cultural Forum was held from Monday through Wednesday in the city of Bengbu in Anhui Province. Conference attendees shared insight into topics including cultural diversity, the Belt and Road Initiative, pandemic prevention and control, ecologically friendly construction, culture and tourism integration, poverty alleviation and technological development.

The conference was themed "Mutual Learning Among Civilizations: Jointly Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind." Nearly 500 Chinese and foreign politicians, notable scholars, representatives from international organizations and enterprise leaders congregated to brainstorm perspectives on these topics both online and offline.

The conference is designed to promote dialogue and exchange among populations, present a true multidimensional and panoramic view of China, and advance the progress of human civilization.

It included a general meeting, themed forums, dialogues and side events.

"Innovation of cultural legacies will empower social development," said Liu Yuzhu, board chairman of the China Foundation For Cultural Heritage Conservation and former head of the National Cultural Heritage Administration in one of the forums "Belt and Road: History and Future of the Pathway of Civilization."

The protection and inheritance of cultural heritage resources enrich people's culture and tourism experiences, said Liu.

Bengbu has unique cultural traditions, such as flower drum lanterns and Sizhou opera, and efforts will be ramped up in international exchange and cooperation to promote the cultural value and essence of these legacies, said Liu.

There are more than 70 million people working in China's tourism industry, while professionals who can meet the demand for high-quality development of the nation's tourism industry are in urgent need. Also, the education and training of tourism staff needs to be significantly improved, said Wang Zhifa, former deputy director of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China, in a dialogue.

The cultural significance of tourist packages, such as rural tourism and "red" tourism itineraries, is enriched continuously, satisfying people's increased demand for culture and tourism, becoming an important platform displaying the beauty of China, said Zhou Weihong, deputy general manager of Shanghai Spring Tour.

"Culture is the core of tourism, and architecture and areas ideal for walking are important tourist resources in Shanghai which reflect the city's culture," said Zhou.

Shanghai's first shuttle bus taking people to experience the glamor of the city's classic architecture began service in September. The route, popular among residents and tourists, carried over 11,000 passengers during the last Shanghai Tourism Festival.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Australia's Sydney announces 'Freedom Day' after 106 days in lockdown


2021-10-11 浏览

As Sydney, capital of the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW), exited its 106-day lockdown Sunday, residents have re-emerged to celebrate a long-awaited "Freedom Day".

As some lockdown restrictions officially ended at midnight on Sunday and non-essential retail re-opened their doors, local Australians have lined up to get haircuts, visited 24-hour retail stores, and headed to the gym since the early hours of the morning.

Speaking at a press conference held at a bar on Monday, newly instated Premier of NSW Dominic Perrottet referred to the easing of restrictions as the state's "Freedom Day".

"I see it as a day of freedom. It is a Freedom Day, it is. Businesses are opening up. But that means it needs to be done in a measured and safe way," he said.

"There are going to be challenges, we know that. I ask again everybody right across our state to treat everybody with kindness and respect, and take personal responsibility," said Perrottet.

He said vaccinations would make lockdowns a thing of the past.

"We need to learn to live alongside the virus, vaccination rates are the key, we've been doing that in New South Wales," he said.

At present NSW's vaccination rate sits at 73.5 percent of the over-16 population having received both doses, and 90.3 percent having received at least one dose.

The state boasts considerable ground on the national average, which as of Monday sat at 61.9 percent fully vaccinated, and 82.2 percent with at least their first dose.

At the same time, NSW recorded 496 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8:00 pm Sunday night, and eight deaths in the same period.

The neighboring state of Victoria recorded 1,612 new locally acquired cases in the 24 hours to midnight Sunday and recorded a further eight deaths.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Biden rejects bid by Trump to withhold January 6 documents


2021-10-09 浏览

President Joe Biden on Friday rejected a bid by Donald Trump to withhold documents from a congressional committee investigating the January 6 assault on the US Capitol by supporters of the former president.

The House Select Committee warned four former members of the Trump administration meanwhile they could be subject to charges of criminal contempt of Congress if they decline to answer subpoenas from the panel.

Trump is seeking to assert executive privilege to prevent documents relating to January 6 from being handed over to the select committee by the National Archives.

Executive privilege allows a president to keep certain communications confidential. Legal experts are divided on whether it applies to a former president, and Biden declined to assert it on behalf of Trump.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the White House is "cooperating with ongoing investigations" and "has determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not warranted for the first set of documents."

Biden will "evaluate cases of privilege on a case by case basis" but he believes it is of the "utmost importance for both Congress and the American people to have a complete understanding of the events of that day to prevent them from happening again," Psaki said.

The committee investigating the Capitol attack issued a request in August for records related to the attempt by Trump supporters to block the certification by Congress of Biden's November election victory.

Among the records and documents being sought are communications from Trump, members of his family, his top aides, his lawyers and dozens of other former members of his administration.

In a statement on Friday, Trump accused Democrats of using Congress to "persecute their political opponents" and released a letter to the head of the National Archives reiterating his claims of executive privilege.

"This is about using the power of the government to silence 'Trump' and our Make America Great Again movement, the greatest such achievement of all time," he said. "We won two elections, did far better in the second than the first, and now perhaps have to do it a third time!"

'Contempt of Congress'

The committee has issued subpoenas to four former Trump aides: Mark Meadows, Kash Patel, Dan Scavino and Steve Bannon.

Politico and The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Trump has told the four former advisers not to cooperate with the probe.

Representative Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the select committee, said on Friday that Meadows, Trump's former chief of staff, and Patel, a former White House national security adviser, were "engaging with the Select Committee."

But Bannon, a former senior political adviser to Trump, has "indicated that he will try to hide behind vague references to privileges of the former president," Thompson said.

"The Select Committee fully expects all of these witnesses to comply with our demands for both documents and deposition testimony," he said.

"We will not allow any witness to defy a lawful subpoena or attempt to run out the clock, and we will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral," Thompson said.

The committee has held one hearing so far, on July 27, when four Capitol and Washington police officers testified about defending the Senate and House of Representatives from the mob on January 6.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Biden gets COVID-19 vaccine booster shot


2021-09-28 浏览

US President Joe Biden received a COVID-19 vaccine booster on Monday and told Americans still resisting the shots that they are damaging the country.

Biden rolled up his left sleeve in the White House and got a third Pfizer dose in line with the recently approved health guidance, which allows boosters for those 65 or older.

"I know it doesn't look like it, but I am over 65," Biden, 78, joked.

Also eligible for boosters are adults with high-risk medical conditions and those in jobs where they are frequently exposed to the virus.

But the problem, Biden said, is that a significant chunk of Americans continues to refuse even one shot of the vaccine, fueling a deadly nationwide surge of the Delta variant.

Biden said 77 percent of Americans had got vaccines but this wasn't enough, with still nearly a quarter refusing.

"That distinct minority is causing an awful lot of us, an awful lot of damage for the rest of the country," Biden said.

"Please do the right thing," he said.

Biden received his first Pfizer dose last December and a second in January when he was still president-elect.

About 60 million people in the United States are eligible for a Pfizer booster shot, Biden said last week.

He said people who have received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccinations could get boosters once studies have been completed and he expected that all Americans would be eligible "in the near term."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Friday that data on Moderna and J&J boosters would be evaluated "in the coming weeks."
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Xi congratulates Eric Chu on election as KMT chief


2021-09-27 浏览

President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, on Sunday congratulated Eric Chu on being elected chairman of the Chinese Kuomintang party.

Based on the common political foundation of upholding the 1992 Consensus and opposing "Taiwan independence," over the years the two parties have engaged in positive interactions, promoted the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, brought benefits to people on both sides, and achieved notable results, Xi said in his congratulatory message.

Xi expressed his expectations that the two parties adhere to the common political foundation, uphold the national interests, and work together to seek the well-being of the people, maintain peace across the Taiwan Strait and achieve national reunification and rejuvenation.

Chu, in his reply, expressed gratitude to Xi. Noting that the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are all Chinese, Chu voiced his deep hope that the two parties can enhance mutual trust, exchanges and cooperation upon the foundation of upholding the 1992 Consensus and opposing "Taiwan independence."

Chu expressed the hope for advancing the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties, working together to benefit people on both sides, and promoting peace and stability in the Strait.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Germans vote in close election to decide Merkel successor


2021-09-27 浏览

Germans went to the polls on Sunday in a national election too close to call, with the center-left Social Democrats mounting a strong challenge to retiring Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives.

Merkel has been in power since 2005 but will step down after the election, making the vote an era-changing event to set the future course of Europe's largest economy.

A fractured electorate means that after the election, leading parties will sound each other out before embarking on more formal coalition negotiations that could take months, leaving Merkel, 67, in charge in a caretaker role.

"We all sense that this is a very important federal election," Armin Laschet, Christian Democratic Union party's candidate for chancellor, told journalists in Aachen.

"It is a federal election that will decide the direction of Germany in coming years and therefore every vote counts."

Running against Laschet is Olaf Scholz of the SPD, the finance minister in Merkel's right-left coalition who won all three televised debates between the leading candidates.

Scholz, 63, has seen his party's lead over the conservatives squeezed to 1-3 points in final opinion polls, leaving Laschet with a chance of clinching a narrow victory.

"I hope that as many citizens as possible will go and vote and make a very strong result for the SPD possible and give me the mandate to become the next chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany," Scholz said in Potsdam near Berlin.

The election is expected to yield a splintered parliament, which will force the winner to form a three-way coalition to secure a majority.

The most likely coalition scenarios see either the SPD or the conservative CDU/CSU bloc, whoever comes first, forming an alliance with the Greens and the liberal Free Democrats.

Scholz said that his preferred outcome was for the SPD and Greens to secure a majority to rule alone without a third partner.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

COVID-19 might have started to spread in September 2019 in US: study


2021-09-23 浏览

Chinese researchers have discovered by employing big-data analysis that the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States might have started to spread around in September 2019, earlier than the officially announced date of its first confirmed case.

According to a new article published Wednesday as a preprint in ChinaXiv, a series of previous studies showed that the United States, Spain, France, Italy, Brazil and other countries had shown signs of being hit by the virus before its outbreak in China.

ChinaXiv is an online publishing service operated by the National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The article, titled "Dating the First Case of COVID-19 Epidemic from a Probabilistic Perspective," suggested that the qualitative and quantitative analysis of infectious diseases, done by combining mathematical models and artificial-intelligence technology, can reveal the epidemic law of infectious diseases.

The researchers set up an optimized model using the epidemic transmission model and big-data analysis method, and inferred the dates of the first infection cases in 12 northeastern US states and in China's Wuhan City and Zhejiang Province, based on published data.

The result indicated that, for the 12 US states, the possible dates of the first infection, with a probability of 50 percent, fall mostly between August and October 2019, while the earliest is April 26, 2019 on Rhode Island, and the latest is November 30, 2019 in Delaware.

All of the dates indicated by the data are earlier than January 20, 2020, the officially announced date of the first confirmed case in the United States, showing that the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States started to spread around September 2019 with a high confidence probability.

The result also showed that the date of the first COVID-19 case in Wuhan, with a probability of 50 percent, is December 20, 2019, and the date for Zhejiang is December 23, 2019. It infers that the COVID-19 in China is most likely to have started in late December 2019.

The article said this is consistent with the results of the epidemiological investigation, which proves that the calculation method is accurate and reliable.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

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