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Quake death toll in Turkey, Syria crosses 6,000, with calls mounting to lift US sanctions on Syria


2023-02-08 浏览

The death toll from Monday's devastating earthquakes climbed to 5,434 in Turkey and 812 in Syria on Tuesday, while calls mounted to lift the US sanctions on Syria.

The number of injured rose to 31,777 and 1,449 respectively in Turkey and Syria, according to Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca and the media office at the Aleppo governorate headquarters.

The death toll in both countries is expected to rise further as the rescue operations are hampered by bad weather.

A powerful magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck Turkey's southern province of Kahramanmaras at 4:17am local time (1:17am GMT) on Monday, followed by a magnitude 6.4 quake a few minutes later in the country's southern province of Gaziantep and a magnitude 7.6 earthquake at 1:24pm local time (10:24am GMT) in Kahramanmaras.

Turkey's southern province of Hatay and Syria's northern Aleppo city suffered the biggest loss of lives, while Lebanon, Israel and Cyprus also felt the tremor.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a three-month state of emergency on Tuesday in 10 of the country's provinces hit by the quakes.

The decision was taken in order to ensure that search and rescue activities and subsequent studies can be carried out quickly, he said at a press conference.

Calls for lifting US sanctions

As the rescue effort was underway in quake-hit regions, the Syrian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday slammed the US sanctions for blocking the humanitarian work and rescue operations in the war-torn country.

In a statement, the ministry said that the Syrians, while dealing with the earthquake catastrophe, are digging among rubbles with their own hands or using the simplest tools as the equipment for removing the rubbles is banned by the US sanctions.

It also said that the Syrians are also denied access to medicines and medical equipment that would help them face dangers and diseases.

Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) President Khaled Hboubati on Tuesday called for lifting the US and Western sanctions on Syria to facilitate relief efforts as the country is in dire need of rescue equipment.

Speaking at a press conference in Damascus, the Syrian capital, Hboubati stressed that the SARC needs equipment, ambulances and heavy machinery, but "the main obstacle is the sanctions imposed on Syria, which we demand to be lifted immediately."

The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday called on different countries to pressure the US to lift the sanctions on Syria.

The ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani made the remarks in an exclusive interview with the semi-official Mehr news agency on Monday, parts of which were released on Tuesday.

He urged other countries to force the US to lift the siege of the Arab state so that international humanitarian aid can be delivered to the quake-stricken people without any obstacle and at the shortest time.

International aid pours in

Two days into the deadly earthquake, more countries joined the rescue and relief efforts underway in Syria and Turkey.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the United Arab Emirates, has ordered an aid package totaling US$100 million for earthquake relief in Syria and Turkey, which will split the aid equally, the Emirates News Agency reported on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the operation of an air bridge to provide various aid to help the earthquake victims in Syria and Turkey.

The official Saudi Press Agency reported that the air bridge will provide health, shelter, food and logistical assistance to alleviate the effects of the earthquake on the Syrian and Turkish people.

Jordan, for its part, sent on Tuesday humanitarian aid and rescue teams to Syria and Turkey to help search for survivors.

Lebanon, bordering Syria, also sent on Tuesday morning a delegation to its neighbor to assist the rescue operations in Syria.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi made separate phone calls to his Turkish and Syrian counterparts on Tuesday, extending his condolences to the victims of the deadly earthquakes. On the same day, Egypt sent five military planes loaded with medical supplies to both quake-stricken countries.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Tuesday also made separate phone calls to his Turkish and Syrian counterparts, expressing readiness to offer assistance for the relief efforts.

Iran has already sent three batches of humanitarian aid to Syria, Iranian Ambassador to Damascus Mehdi Sobhani was quoted by the semi-official Tasnim news agency as saying on Tuesday.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Chinese rescuers in Turkey to assist earthquake victims


2023-02-07 浏览

An eight-member Chinese team with a rescue dog and life-saving equipment will reach Turkey on Wednesday to help in rescue efforts following a devastating earthquake in the country.

The first Chinese civilian assistance force sent to Turkey left Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, early today.

Deng Boqing, vice chairman of the China International Development Cooperation Agency, told China Central Television on Tuesday that the Chinese government immediately initiated its emergency humanitarian support mechanism to provide emergency aid to Turkey and Syria.

China will provide Turkey with a first batch of 40 million yuan (US$5.9 million) in emergency aid for earthquake relief and rescue efforts. In addition, the country will send rescue and medical teams to the affected areas.

The Red Cross Society of China will separately provide Turkey and Syria with emergency aid worth US$200,000 each.

Chinese citizens in Turkey have joined disaster relief efforts. They're collecting items like tents, sleeping bags and blankets.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Australia set to pass 100,000 electric vehicle milestone: report


2023-02-07 浏览

New research led by Australia's Electric Vehicle Council (EVC) has said Australia is on track to pass the milestone of having 100,000 electric vehicles, as there are approximately 83,000 light EVs on roads.

In a report released on Tuesday which recapped Australia's EV industry in 2022, the council pointed out that of the 83,000 EVs, 79 percent are battery electric vehicles (BEVs) versus 21 percent plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), while only 44,000 EVs were in circulation at the beginning of 2022.

The report noted that the number of EVs purchased in Australia rose by 86 percent last year, with 3.8 percent of all new cars purchased being electric.

"New EV purchases in Australia almost doubled in 2022, compared to 2021. While this is a promising sign that the local market is continuing to grow," the report wrote.

The range of EV models purchased during 2022 also expanded, with a total of 70 different EV models delivered to the Australian market made up of 38 BEVs and 32 PHEVs.

The top 20 EV models were led by Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model Y and BYD Atto 3.

The report, however, said new EV purchases in Australia still "significantly trail the global average," which is currently estimated to have been between 12 to 14 percent in 2022.

"If you think you're seeing more EVs on the road than you used to, you're right, but if we want to hit our national emissions targets we won't make it on this current trajectory," said EVC Chief Executive Officer Behyad Jafari.

"To achieve the federal government's emission target we'll need a near fully zero-emission vehicle fleet by 2050. To stay on track that means reaching 1 million EVs by 2027 and around 3 million by 2030," Jafari added.

He called for more reforms to transition away from the exhaust pipe.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Pakistan dispatches relief goods, medical, rescue teams to quake-hit Türkiye


2023-02-07 浏览

Pakistan has sent relief goods as well as medical and rescue teams to the earthquake-hit areas of Türkiye, official statements said on Tuesday.

The Pakistani military's media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement that the army has dispatched two contingents including an urban search and rescue team comprising rescue experts, sniffer dogs and search equipment for the quake victims.

The statement added that the army dispatched a medical team of army doctors, nursing staff, technicians, 30 bedded mobile hospital, tents and blankets among other relief items.

The aid contingents have flown to Adana, Türkiye, via special Pakistan Air Force aircraft on Monday night to undertake relief efforts for Turkish people while working in close coordination with the Turkish government, armed forces, and the Turkish embassy in Islamabad, the ISPR said.

The statement added that the contingents will stay in Türkiye until the completion of relief and rescue operations.

A statement from the country's Prime Minister's Office said a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane carrying 15 tons of assistance and a 50-member team comprising personnel from the state rescue organization will leave for Türkiye on Tuesday.

A C-130 aircraft will also take 15 tons of humanitarian aid from Lahore to Istanbul. The assistance will include winter tents, blankets, and other essential items, it added.

From Feb. 8, every day a PIA flight with 15 tons of humanitarian assistance will be sent from Pakistan to Türkiye and Syria, the statement said, adding that the teams from the ministry of health will also leave for the two countries, where a 7.8-magnitude earthquake on Monday had killed more than 4,000 people.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

2 powerful earthquakes hit Türkiye: disaster agency


2023-02-06 浏览

Two powerful earthquakes hit Türkiye early Monday, said the country's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD). There is no immediate report of casualties.

A magnitude 7.4 quake struck the Pazarcik district of southern Kahramanmaras province at 4:17am (1:17am GMT), followed by another magnitude 6.4 quake which hit southern Gaziantep province at 4:26am (1:26am GMT), said the AFAD.

The Turkish authorities have not yet reported any deaths or injuries, but the state-run TRT broadcaster showed damaged buildings and people gathered on the streets.

"We dispatched all our search and rescue teams to earthquake zones. We set the highest alert," Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

HKSAR chief executive sees huge potential for expanding Hong Kong's cooperation with Mideast


2023-02-06 浏览

Chief Executive of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region John Lee said on Sunday that there is huge potential for expanding Hong Kong's cooperation with the Middle East.

He made the remarks during a press conference held on the sidelines of his visit to Saudi Arabia as part of a Middle East tour, which also includes the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Lee leads a high-level delegation organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), consisting of more than 30 business heavyweights from various sectors, including finance and trade, industrial, professional services, infrastructure and development, innovation and technology, as well as transport and logistics.

As the world's freest economy, a major international financial center and the world's largest offshore RMB center, Hong Kong is determined to fully cooperate with and contribute to the Middle East region and other Belt and Road countries "with our world-class financial, business and professional services," Lee said.

"We enjoy the strong support of our country's national strategies while having unparalleled access and connectivity with the world," Lee said.

Hong Kong has been facilitating businesses and investors worldwide to tap into the vast markets in Greater China and Asia, playing a significant role in the global financial system with its special connectivity with the Chinese markets, he said.

Lee also announced the launch of negotiations between Saudi Arabia and the HKSAR government on the legally binding Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement and other partnership agreements.

Meanwhile, HKTDC Chairman Peter KN Lam said that the Middle East has a vital role to play in the global economy, and Saudi Arabia is a significant player in the region.

During Lee's visit, the delegation will explore collaboration opportunities with the business community of Saudi Arabia and discuss ways for Hong Kong to facilitate the Arab country's strategic development through its role as a global financial hub and China's international gateway.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Mainland fully resumes HK, Macau travel, expecting to boost economy


2023-02-06 浏览

The Chinese mainland fully resumed normal travel with the Hong Kong and Macau special administrative regions (SARs) starting Monday, in what is expected to be a strong boost for the two regions' economic development.

Starting Monday, the Lo Wu Control Point, the Lok Ma Chau/Huanggang Control Point and the Heung Yuen Wai/Liantang Control Point opened up, marking the full resumption of the functioning of all seven boundary control points between Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

Monday's first group of travelers included students, cyclists, and people traveling for business and family reunions.

At the Liantang Control Point, red welcome banners and flower bouquets added to the joyful atmosphere greeting commuters. Around 6:30 am, cross-boundary students and their parents, who were about to leave for Hong Kong for the new semester, were already queued up for departure.

Pan Qiaojuan, who lives in Shenzhen's Luohu district, arrived early with her son for the long-awaited trip. "I've been looking forward to this moment. Today, my son will go back to his middle school in Hong Kong and we will also visit his grandparents there. We haven't seen one another for a long time."

Group tours between the mainland and the two SARs also resumed on Monday.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Spicy Chinese delicacies warm winter crowds in London


2023-02-03 浏览

Hot and spicy food from China has been warming up Londoners on another overcast winter day, as "Exploring Yummy Chongqing in London", part of the 2023 UK "Happy Chinese New Year" celebrations, officially kicked off here on Thursday.

The event is aimed to share the joy of the Chinese New Year by introducing authentic Chinese food to the locals.

As people swarmed into Mr. Meng, a Chongqing restaurant near Covent Garden in central London, a big screen showed a live feed of people in Chongqing enjoying the same delicacies. Meanwhile, presenters in both Chongqing and London explained the dishes.

Amira Arasteh, a food journalist working in London, told Xinhua the Mao Xue Wang (assorted meats in hot sauce) and La Zi Ji (fragrant chicken with chilies) she tried were "very spicy," but had "lots of flavor."

The famous dishes from the city of Chongqing, southwest China, are known for their ability to fight the adverse physiological effects of humidity. They also have a mood-lifting effect, since spicy food is believed to boost the production of serotonin, the "feel-good hormone."

"We want to use food to attract people's attention to Chongqing. We hope that one day they can travel to Chongqing ... and taste the great food in China," said Tang Shi, organizer of the London event.

In the run-up to the food-tasting event at Mr. Meng, local foodies and food bloggers were invited to explore Chongqing food in London and share their experiences on social media, Tang said.

Meihua, a food blogger, showed Xinhua the enthusiastic comments on a video of her eating Mao Xue Wang on Instagram six days ago. "I'm definitely going to Chongqing!" Said user "ramyinocencio", while "outandaboutlondon" said: "I love me some spicy vibes."

However, for seasoned foodies, Chinese cuisine is not just about pleasure for the palate; it also signifies sharing and companionship.

Daniel, a Londoner who has been food blogging for 10 years and has more than 43,000 followers on Instagram, said Sichuan Province was his favorite stop when he visited China a few years ago.

"I love Chinese New Year because you get to share a big table with dumplings, noodles and meats," he said. "It's good to introduce to followers that open-mindedness to try new food, and expand your mind to try different cuisines."

Daniel told Xinhua that exploring the different cuisines available in London has allowed him to meet other like-minded people.

"Food always brings people together," said Matija, a Croatian food blogger living in London.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

China's national observatory renews yellow alert for thick fog


2023-02-02 浏览

China's national observatory on Thursday renewed the yellow alert for thick fog in some parts of the country.

Throughout Thursday morning, heavy fog is expected to blanket parts of the Leizhou Peninsula, the Qiongzhou Strait, southwestern Guangdong and northern Hainan, according to the National Meteorological Center.

Visibility in these affected areas will be reduced to less than 500 meters, said the NMC.

Drivers have been asked to maintain safe speeds, while airports, freeways and ports have been instructed to take appropriate safety measures.

China has a four-tier color-coded warning system for severe weather, with red being the most serious, followed by orange, yellow and blue.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Missing schoolboy was depressed, committed suicide


2023-02-02 浏览

A joint investigation team in Jiangxi Province said that the teenage boy who went missing from his dormitory in October had committed suicide.

The 15-year-old high school student with the last name Hu disappeared from his dormitory in Qianshan County, Shangrao City, Jiangxi Province, on October 14.

He was found hanging in a mountain forest 106 days later, on January 28.

A DNA test later confirmed it was Hu.

According to Hu Mansong, deputy director of the Jiangxi public security bureau, "two audio clips recorded by Hu just before his disappearance that were recovered near his body proved his clear intention of suicide."

Hu had repeatedly recorded and deleted the clips multiple times, corrupting some of the data, but no evidence of man-made synthesis or tampering was found, he said.

In one of the clips recorded at 11:08pm on October 14, the day he went missing, Hu said, "Now I want to die, because it feels pointless."

Another clip was recorded in the afternoon on the same day when he was standing on the balcony of his dormitory on the fifth floor and intended to jump off, Hu Mansong said.

'I'm trying to disappear, but nobody cares'

A psychological analysis determined that Hu was "introverted, compassionate, and lonely." He had little social interaction and no one to lean on for emotional support. He frequently jotted down his feelings and thoughts in books.

After joining the Zhiyuan Middle School in September 2022, he experienced a psychological gap brought on by his poor academic performance, coupled with the pressure from interpersonal relationships and adolescent impulsiveness.

He had issues eating and sleeping and had cognitive disorders and a psychological imbalance before he went missing. The investigation also revealed that he was clearly weary of the world and had a propensity toward suicide.

He once noted in his textbook that "My introverted personality is incredibly unpleasant, and it's really hard to adapt to the new surroundings."

"I'm trying to disappear, but nobody actually cares," he wrote in a social media post.

On September 27, he made three phone calls to his mother, crying and complaining that he wanted to stop studying and return home. Hu's mother and brother met him on October 1 in an attempt to calm him down.

No trace of fighting or dragging

Hu had strung up his shoelaces to commit suicide from a tree in the courtyard of a granary on Jinji Mountain, about 400 meters from his school.

The two 147-centimeter-long terylene shoelaces can hold 85 kilograms, according to tests. The body had also decomposed and become lighter.

The investigating team discovered that Hu was wearing the same clothes and shoes when he vanished.

There was no evidence of dragging or fighting at the scene.

An autopsy revealed that the body had severely decomposed but the skeleton was complete. There were no signs of blood, fracture, damage, or poisoning.

After Hu went missing, the search team made four trips to the area, but they were unable to scour the entire 9,300-square-meter forest, which led to the delay in finding the body, Hu Mansong said.

Hu's disappearance garnered national attention after his family reported him missing on October 15. Hu Mansong claimed that there were numerous rumors that were also floating on the Internet.

Over 120 pieces of fake information, many of them fabricated, including voice recordings, and surveillance footage, were discovered by the police. This caused great discomfort to Hu's family and hampered the police investigation.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

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