Asia Pacific Daily – Breaking News, Asia Pacific, World, China, Business, Lifestyle, Travel, Special Report, Video, Photo…Asia Pacific Daily – Breaking News, Asia Pacific, World, China, Business, Lifestyle, Travel, Special Report, Video, Photo…

To download APD News app

1. Please scan the QR Code 2. Download and install APD News App

Sinopec's battery swapping station for heavy-duty trucks put into operation in Yibin

China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec) puts its first battery swapping station for heavy-duty trucks into operation in Yibin in Southwest China's Sichuan province on July 20. [Photo by Zhang Linye / For Asia Pacific Daily] China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec), the world's largest refiner by volume, put its first battery swapping station for heavy-duty trucks into operation in Yibin in Southwest China's Sichuan province as the 2022 World EV & ES Battery Conference (WEBC) is being held in the city.The WEBC, drawing some 800 delegates from around the globe participating both online and in person from July 21 to 23, showcases the latest development in electric vehicles and executive sedan battery technology and low-carbon mobility, and explores the way forward for this fast-developing industry.The Baijiawang integrated energy station, developed by Sinopec Sichuan Oil Product Company, covers an area of 2,724 square meters and can provide one-stop services such as refueling, heavy-duty truck battery swapping, and convenience store access.The battery swapping section of the station adopts a top-mounted swapping model and is equipped with seven pieces of 282-kilowatt-hour power batteries, each of which allows a vehicle to run for about 150 kilometers.By using intelligent and automatic precise docking technology, the battery swapping process takes just three minutes. And the station can meet the battery swapping demands of 168 vehicles per day, according to executives at the company."This station marks a new step for our company in its transformation from just an 'oil and gas' supplier to a comprehensive energy service provider," said one executive.To actively implement the national strategy of peaking carbon emissions and carbon neutrality, the company has taken advantage of its network of nearly 600 gas stations and more than 500 convenience stores in Sichuan province to develop new functions such as LNG and hydrogen refueling, photo-voltaic power generation, and vehicle charging and battery swapping.

World Curling Tour to build dryland winter sports stadium in Xindu district, Chengdu

The World Curling Tour, or WCT, the world body for the sport of curling, is to build a dryland ice and snow sports stadium in the Xindu district of Chengdu – capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province – according to district officials.The stadium, the first of its kind in China, will be designed for winter sports including curling, figure skating, ice hockey and skiing, offering a premium sports experience, said Yang Guojie, executive vice president of WCT Asia Pacific.He said the stadium would serve as an important carrier for the diversified development of urban winter sports, effectively reducing the costs of staging them and promoting their growth. Yang said it would not only be used for sports events, but would also meet the needs of locals.Chinese players in action during a women's curling match at the National Aquatics Center in Beijing on Feb 11. [Photo by Feng Yongbin/]With the goal of helping to provide people with a new urban lifestyle, the stadium will develop sports tourism, provide events support and services, and establish a special school for training young people in winter sports, Yang said.Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, the WCT is known as the world's largest and preeminent professional curling league. It holds more than 300 curling events at different levels internationally each year, which has greatly promoted the development of curling around the world.The WCT settled its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Xindu at the start of the year. It will be responsible for the promotion of curling in the entire Asia-Pacific region, as well as hosting various top events under the aegis of the World Curling Tour.Enthusiasts try out a dry snow slope at the Xindu JF DrySki Four Season Resort in Xindu district. [Photo provided to Asia Pacific Daily]Part of the central urban area of Chengdu, Xindu has been introducing ice and snow industry projects since 2016, leading the way for the whole province. This is understood to have been one of the main reasons why the WCT chose Xindu."Xindu district has good ice and snow sports resources and the local government strongly supports the development of ice and snow sports," said Yang, adding that the good investment environment in Xindu ensured the smooth implementation of the project.Yang said the WCT would make good use of its global influence and expertise in the field of winter sports to bring more resources to Xindu, as well as promote their development and related industries in the district.(APD)

Top Stories

Top Newsmore >>

Xi extends congratulations, best wishes to Hong Kong compatriots

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday congratulated Hong Kong compatriots and extended his best wishes on the occasion marking the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland.Speaking upon arrival at the West Kowloon high-speed rail station, Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said he is very pleased to visit Hong Kong once again."Tomorrow marks the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland. People of all ethnic groups across the country will join Hong Kong compatriots in celebrating this joyous event. I would like to extend my warm congratulations and best wishes to the compatriots of Hong Kong," said Xi. (Xinhua News Agency)


Marcos sworn in as 17th Philippine president, vowing food sufficiency

Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos was sworn in as the 17th president of the Philippines on Thursday, vowing to prioritize food sufficiency.The 64-year-old son of former President Ferdinand Marcos wore a native Barong Tagalog formal shirt when he took the oath of office at the National Museum in Manila in the presence of his 92-year-old mother Imelda and other family members."The role of agriculture cries for the urgent attention that its neglect and misdirection now demands," Marcos, who appointed himself as agriculture minister, said after taking the oath.More than 15,000 police and security personnel have been deployed across the capital for the inauguration. Foreign dignitaries, diplomats, and three former Philippine presidents, Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, attended.Ahead of the swearing-in ceremony, outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte received Marcos at the Malacanang presidential palace.On May 25, the Philippine Congress proclaimed Marcos the winner of the May 9 presidential election. He succeeded Duterte who completed the single six-year term permitted by the constitution.The Marcos administration needs to address a slew of problems besetting the Philippines, such as unemployment, inflation, a high debt-service ratio to gross domestic product (GDP), as well as rocketing gas and oil prices.Managing inflation is also on the top of the president's to-do list. Government data showed that 23.7 percent of the country's nearly 110 million population lives in poverty.The new administration will also inherit over $240 billion in accumulated debt by the end of March, mainly due to the COVID-19 expenses.Bureau of Treasury data showed that the country's debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 63.5 percent at the end of March, above the internationally recommended threshold of 60 percent."The priority is the economy," Marcos said earlier this month as he assembled his economic team.The Philippine economy grew by 8.3 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2022, and the government is optimistic that this solid performance will help the country attain its target of 7 to 8 percent growth this year.In a speech early this month, Marcos vowed to foster "stronger and deeper" Philippines-China relations.He said the relations with China are "very important" and "advantageous to both countries," while calling China his country's "strongest partner" in pandemic recovery."We look forward to continuing fostering this relationship. Making it stronger. Making it deeper and to the advantage of our two great countries," Marcos said, adding that he sees the future of Philippine-China relations "developing in many ways."(Reuters)


Insightsmore >>

China's policy on climate change is very comprehensive

Green development will be an important topic of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2022. Janos Pastore, executive director of the Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative, will participate in the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference sub-session on carbon emissions and climate change.Pastore said in a recent interview with the DongA Newspaper that the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference will help build consensus among all parties and push the international community to form joint efforts to tackle the climate challenge.He said China has made great efforts to tackle climate change. "At the domestic level, China's policies on climate change are very comprehensive. China aims to achieve carbon peak by 2030 and carbon neutral by 2060, and accelerate the implementation of the "1+N" policy system. The dual carbon target is motivating Chinese governments at all levels to step up their efforts to reduce emissions nationwide.""China speeds up climate cooperation with the US, EU and other countries and regions." Pastore said that at the same time, China strongly supports the green and low-carbon development of developing countries and has announced no new overseas coal power projects. "I have noted that China and its partners jointly launched the Belt and Road Green Development Partnership initiative" to support developing countries in reducing carbon emissions by increasing investment and improving existing facilities.To support countries in their efforts to combat climate change, the Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative has made specific recommendations such as carbon dioxide removal technologies and artificial solar radiation intervention technologies. Pastore said the latest report of the INTERGOVERNMENTAL Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) noted that despite the progress made at cop26, climate change is still at risk of exceeding the set temperature targets.Pastore said countries should face up to the current challenges of climate change and promote economic recovery and green development in the post-COVID-19 era. To this end, the international community needs to strengthen cooperation, advance the global climate governance process on the basis of inclusive dialogue, and ultimately achieve the goal of temperature control set in the Paris Agreement on climate change.(Sources:Global Times)


China's space development has reached a new stage

On April 16, the re-entry module of China's Shenzhou 13 manned spacecraft landed successfully. Three Chinese astronauts have returned to earth after a six-month business trip, marking the sixth and final success of China's space station mission to verify key technologies, which has drawn wide attention from the international community.Singapore's Lianhe Zaobao website reported that the Shenzhou 13 manned spacecraft is currently China's longest stay in orbit, and the first to use the rapid return mode "home" spacecraft. The safe return of the three astronauts not only marks the successful conclusion of the mission, but also marks the successful conclusion of the verification phase of key technologies in China's space station.Venezuelan southern TELEVISION reported that the Chinese astronauts were in good health after the successful landing of the re-entry module of China's Shenzhou 13 manned spacecraft. The manned mission was a success, setting a new record for the longest single stay in space by A Chinese astronaut.Japan s Kyodo News agency reported that the three astronauts conducted technical tests on the space station and the core module, and that China has repeatedly rotated astronauts and provided supplies to prepare for the operation of the space station.During its stay in orbit, the Shenzhou 13 crew successfully completed the rendezvous and docking test of a cargo spacecraft and a space station, according to Turkish broadcasting Corporation International Channel. The report stressed that China is actively developing its space industry, having successfully launched a Mars probe and become the first country to carry out a soft landing and survey on the far side of the moon.The Shenzhou 13 manned mission is China's longest ever in orbit, and astronaut Wang Yaping has become the first Chinese woman to walk in space, reported. During the six-month mission, the three astronauts conducted two spacewalks, completed more than 20 different scientific experiments, and conducted two "Tiangong Classes" to give lessons in space aboard the space station. Molly Silk, an academic at the University of Manchester in the UK, told the media that the real-time interaction between the audience and the astronauts fully showcases China's space technological achievements, highlights the strength of China's space industry and will encourage and promote the young generation to pursue research. "China has demonstrated its status as a space power and also conveyed its desire to benefit all mankind."Stephen Ndegwa, director of the Think Tank for South-South Cooperation in Kenya, said the successful return of the Shenzhou 13 crew was "another success for China in space exploration". "Space science and technology is not exclusive to developed countries. As a big developing country, China has set an example and instilled confidence in other developing countries." Ndegwa stressed that Wang yaping has taken the first step in China's extraveolar space walk and will also inspire women around the world who are committed to scientific research to continue to move forward. "I hope China will make more achievements in space science and technology and contribute more Chinese strength to the world."The Portuguese newspaper The Observer reported that the Chinese have launched "Tiangong Classes" for young people in their space station to help them learn more about and aspire to science through interaction.Kofi Kuaku, a senior researcher at the Africa-China Studies Center at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, said That China's technological strength in the space field is already at the forefront of the world. The seventh China Space Day will be celebrated on April 24, when the Shenzhou 13 manned spacecraft successfully completed its mission, "marking a new stage in China's space development".The Bangkok Post of Thailand believes that China's "space dream" is gradually becoming a reality thanks to the vigorous efforts of the Chinese government.French science website Futurotech said China welcomes astronauts from other countries to enter its space station and carry out international cooperation."This is another major milestone in China's space exploration, making great contributions to space exploration and human development." Kim Jin-ho, a professor of politics and diplomacy at Dankook University, said that deep space exploration and space development are common causes of mankind and countries should work together to advance them. "China's space industry has made new achievements one after another, which is beneficial to the development and progress of mankind and a concrete practice of promoting the building of a community with a shared future for mankind."Evandro Carvalho, director of the Brazilia-China Research Center of the Vargas Foundation in Brazil, highly appreciates the principle of cooperation and sharing in China's space development. "Scientific and technological innovation must be open and cooperative. China's space industry will adhere to the combination of independence and openness and cooperation, deepen high-level international exchanges and cooperation, and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind in outer space."(Sources:Global Times)


World Newsmore >>

Jan. 6 committee's lawyer leaving the panel for possible Missouri Senate bid

John Wood, a Republican lawyer and former federal prosecutor who has helped lead the House Jan. 6 committee's investigation, is leaving his role with the panel this week amid calls for him to instead enter the Missouri Senate race as an independent candidate.Wood, whose last day with the committee is Friday -- though hearings will continue into July -- is expected to explore a bid for the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Roy Blunt.Previously a U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri and a chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security in the second Bush administration, Wood also worked as an aide to former Missouri Sen. John Danforth earlier in his career.The contest to succeed Blunt is attracting notable names, with former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and state Attorney General Eric Schmitt among the contenders for the Republican nod and Lucas Kunce vying for the Democratic nomination. (Absentee voting in the party primaries is already underway.)Most recently Wood has led the House select committee's investigative "gold" team, which zeroed in on the role former President Donald Trump played in the Capitol riot. Alongside Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., Wood questioned witnesses in the panel's hearing last week focused on the pressure campaign against former Vice President Mike Pence.Danforth told ABC News that his super PAC planned to support an independent in the Missouri Senate election -- and he hoped Wood entered the race."I've known John for decades and I've certainly talked to him about running for Senate," Danforth said, noting that their last conversation was in the spring and he learned of Wood's departure from the House committee in the press."He has a lot of experience in government," Danforth said.Danforth, who said that after the Jan. 6 insurrection he "regrets" backing his former protégé Josh Hawley in the 2018 Senate race against Democrat Claire McCaskill, told ABC News that he believes many Missourians think the country "is too polarized" and that both major parties do not represent them.Those hoping for a Wood candidacy see him as an antidote."We deserve leaders who believe that our democracy must be held together - not torn apart by partisan politics that have divided our country for too long. John Wood embodies this principle," a spokesman for the John Wood for Missouri Committee said. "We are encouraged by John's decision to leave the select committee on Friday as an important next step in providing Missourians a principled, common-sense choice this November."According to the Missouri Secretary of State's office, an independent candidate must file a petition with at least 10,000 signatures by Aug. 1 to enter the Senate race.(ABC)


Texas GOP 'rebukes' Republicans working on gun deal, declares opposition to gay and trans people

The Texas Republican Party this weekend formally "rebuked" multiple GOP senators, including one of their own, for helping lead bipartisan negotiations on new gun legislation.The resolution, adopted at the state's convention on Saturday in Houston, dismissed the Senate compromise announced last week that had the filibuster-proof support of at least 10 Republicans."We reject the so called 'bipartisan gun agreement,' and we rebuke Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lindsey Graham 1601 (R-S.C.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)," the resolution reads.The party's admonishment reflects, in part, the difficulty of congressional action around guns, given some opposition in highly conservative circles. The state GOP's response followed Cornyn being booed, too, by the crowd while speaking at the convention on Friday.Cornyn stepped up to help lead bipartisan negotiations around modest gun reforms following the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students and two teachers were killed. The bipartisan group of senators working on the legislation announced an initial agreed-upon framework on June 12 that would increase funding for school safety and mental health as well as require enhanced background checks for 18 to 21-year-olds and support "red flag" laws enacted by states.The agreement did not include more sweeping restrictions backed by Democrats and President Joe Biden, like raising the legal buying age for assault-style weapons.Work continues on final text of the bill, with leaders in the House and Senate vowing quick votes if Republicans remain onboard -- with hopes to bring text to the floor of the Senate this week.Terry Harper, one of the members of the executive committee for Texas's GOP, voted against the resolution criticizing Cornyn and others -- and even tried to get it taken out -- though he is skeptical of the negotiations around a possible deal on guns."I don't always approve of what my elected officials do, but they are my elected officials. It's kind of like marriage. I've been married for 45 years, and we don't always agree, but we don't part the sheets over it," Harper told ABC News."It was all just a little harsh and embarrassing when they booed," Harper continued in a phone call with ABC News.At Saturday's convention, the Texas GOP also added a series of positions on LGBTQ issues as part of their adopted platform and they officially continued to cast doubts on the validity of Biden's 2020 election victory, rooted in former President Donald Trump's baseless claims of election fraud.The Log Cabin Republicans, a group representing the LGBTQ community in the Republican Party, was denied space for a booth at the event. (The group later shared a statement they said was from Donald Trump Jr. that criticized their exclusion.)The state party's new platform as posted online as of Sunday states that "homosexuality is an abnormal lifestyle choice" and that, as a party, "We oppose all efforts to validate transgender identity." The party also said it opposed various medical treatments for transgender people who are 21 and younger including so-called "puberty blockers," hormone therapy and surgery.The Texas GOP's latest position on the gay and transgender community comes as conservatives across the country have increasingly refocused on LGBTQ issues, particularly as they relate to children – including bans on transgender kids' medical care and discussions of sexuality and gender in classrooms.The party's platform was quickly and widely criticized by LGBTQ advocates after it was adopted this weekend, with some saying it could herald broader discrimination.Following the leaked draft opinion suggesting the Supreme Court will soon overturn Roe v. Wade, Biden argued the high court could next reduce protections for gay and transgender people or reverse other major precedents, such as the national guarantee to same-sex marriage. (The draft of that opinion shows the court majority insisting its ruling on abortion would not affect other cases.)With its new platform, the Texas GOP also continued to push the narrative of a false 2020 election and said they did not believe Biden was legitimately elected -- despite any evidence and multiple recounts and audits in key battleground states.Trump, as the party standard-bearer, has continued to assail the race he lost and promoted those who wish to overturn it, backing various local and state officials who could soon be in charge of overseeing the next elections.During this month's ongoing Jan. 6 committee hearings in the House, testimony from multiple members of Trump's inner circle showed how they repeatedly rejected his claims in private, including former Attorney General Bill Barr.An ABC News/Ipsos poll earlier this year found that 65 percent of Americans believed Biden was legitimately elected, though that number had sharp a partisan divide with nearly three-quarters of Republicans believing the opposite.The final version of the Texas Republicans' platform will be posted in the coming days. Members voted on each part of the platform separately and votes are still being tallied, though staff with the state party told ABC News that no major changes are expected and it is rare for portions of the document to fail in the final vote. The rebuke of Cornyn was a resolution passed by voice vote.(ABC)


Breaking Newsmore >>

Two U.S., one British personnel killed in Iraq rocket attack

Two Americans and one British were killed and about a dozen people were wounded when 18 small rockets hit Iraq's Taji military camp north of Baghdad on Wednesday, according to Reuters's sources.The officials, who cautioned the death toll may rise given the severity of some of the injuries, said it was too soon to assign blame. Any indication that Iran-backed militia was responsible could spark a new round of confrontation between the United States and Iran.The last military escalation led to a U.S. strike in January that killed top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, which, in turn, led Iran to fire missiles at a base in Iraq hosting U.S. forces, leaving more than 100 troops with brain injuries.U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has argued the killing of Soleimani was necessary for part to deter Iran and Iran-backed groups from additional attacks.The U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq said in a statement that 18 107 mm Katyusha rockets struck the base and suggested they may have been fired from a truck.It confirmed three personnel were killed and about a dozen wounded but declined to disclose the nationalities of the casualties or offer any other identifying information."The attack is under investigation by the Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces," the coalition said.Earlier on Wednesday, the Iraqi military said no casualties had been reported in the attack.War powers voteIn a sign of concern that tensions between the United States and Iran could be headed toward open conflict, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation on Wednesday to limit President Donald Trump's ability to wage war against Iran.U.S. President Donald Trump at a news briefing inside the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 11, 2020. /ReutersThe Republican president has been engaged in a maximum-pressure campaign of renewed sanctions and near-constant rhetorical conflict against Iran, after pulling the United States out of the international nuclear deal reached during the administration of his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.Tension between Washington and Tehran has mostly played out on Iraqi soil in recent months.Iran-backed paramilitary groups have regularly been rocketing and shelling bases in Iraq that host U.S. forces and the area around the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.The Kataib Hezbollah militia was blamed for an attack on a base last year that killed an American contractor, which led to retaliatory U.S. strikes against it in Iraq and Syria.Syrian state media reported on Wednesday that unidentified jets hit targets southeast of a Syrian town along the border with Iraq.But there was no indication so far that those strikes were by the United States. U.S. officials told Reuters the United States had not carried out any retaliatory strikes at this point.(REUTERS)


14 killed in jihadist attack on Nigeria military base

Jihadists killed 14 security personnel and civilians in an attack on a military base in northeast Nigeria's Borno state on Wednesday, security sources told AFP.Suspected Boko Haram fighters in trucks fitted with machine guns launched a dawn raid on the army base in the town of Damboa, sparking intense fighting.Sources said six soldiers, four police officers and two members of a government-backed militia were killed along with two civilians."We lost six soldiers in the attack while six others were injured," a military officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.The officer claimed 13 insurgents were killed by a fighter jet as they fled the area.The leader of an anti-jihadist militia said the civilians who died were among more than 50 local residents hit by shrapnel after rocket-propelled grenades fired by the jihadists hit nearby homes.Nigeria's decade-long jihadist insurgency has killed 36 000 people and displaced two million others inside the country, and spilled into neighbouring Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.The United Nations has complained of a surge in violence in the conflict zone in recent weeks.Anger has been growing among local residents about the army's failure to stem the attacks despite repeated claims from officials that the insurgency has been defeated.(CGTN)


Life Stylemore >>

White House: Without funding US will lose COVID treatments

For much of the past two years, America has been first in line for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. Now, as drugmakers develop the next generation of therapies, the White House is warning that if Congress doesn’t act urgently the U.S. will have to take a number.Already the congressional stalemate over virus funding has forced the federal government to curtail free treatment for the uninsured and to ration monoclonal antibody supplies. And Biden administration officials are expressing increasing alarm that the U.S. is also losing out on critical opportunities to secure booster doses and new antiviral pills that could help the country maintain its reemerging sense of normalcy, even in the face of potential new variants and case spikes.Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Hong Kong have all placed orders for treatments and vaccine doses that the U.S. can't yet commit to, according to the White House.Months ago, the White House began warning that the country had spent through the money in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that was dedicated directly to COVID-19 response. It requested an additional $22.5 billion for what it called “urgent” needs in both the U.S. and abroad.The Senate last month closed in on smaller $10 billion package focused on domestic needs. But even that deal fell apart as lawmakers objected to an announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that it would end Trump-era border restrictions related to the pandemic.The White House this week is mounting a push for doctors to get less stingy about prescribing the antiviral pill Paxlovid, which was initially rationed for those at the highest risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19 but is now more widely available. A 20 million-dose order placed last year by the government helped boost manufacturing capacity.Paxlovid, when administered within five days of symptoms appearing, has been proven to bring about a 90% reduction in hospitalizations and deaths among patients most likely to get severe disease. Some 314 Americans are now dying each day from the coronavirus, down from more than 2,600 during the height of the omicron wave earlier this year.The U.S. used similar advance-purchase agreements to boost the domestic supply and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, through what was known in the Trump administration as “Operation Warp Speed.”Now, with a new generation of treatments on the horizon, the U.S. is falling behind.Japan has already placed an initial order for drugmaker Shionogi’s upcoming COVID-19 antiviral pill, which studies have shown to be at least as effective as Pfizer’s treatment and has fewer drug-to-drug interactions and is easier to administer.Because of the funding delays, officials say, the U.S. has yet to place an advance order, which would help the company scale manufacturing to widely produce the pill.“We know companies are working on additional, promising life-saving treatments that could protect the American people, and without additional funding from Congress, we risk losing out on accessing these treatments, as well as tests and vaccines, while other countries get in front of us in line,” said White House spokesman Kevin Munoz. “Congress must act urgently upon return from recess to provide the funding needed to secure new treatments for the American people and to avoid this dangerous outcome.”Complicating matters further are the long lead times to manufacture the antiviral and antibody treatments. Paxlovid takes about six months to produce, and monoclonal antibody treatments used to treat COVID-19 and prevent serious disease in the immunocompromised take similarly long, meaning the U.S. is running out of time to replenish its stockpile before the end of the year.Last month the White House began cutting back shipments of monoclonal antibody treatments to states to make supplies last longer.Administration officials declined to discuss specific treatments they are stymied from ordering because of contracting requirements.The funding debate is also holding up U.S. purchases of COVID-19 vaccine booster doses, including an upcoming new generation of vaccines that may better protect against the omicron variant.Moderna and Pfizer both are testing what scientists call “bivalent” shots — a mix of each company’s original vaccine and an omicron-targeted version — with Moderna announcing last week it hopes to have its version ready this fall.The Biden administration has said that while the U.S. has enough vaccine doses for children under 5, once they are approved by regulators, and for fourth shots for high-risk people over 50, it doesn’t have the money to order the new generation of doses.Earlier this month, former White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Hong Kong had already secured future booster doses.Republicans have shown no signs of backing down from their insistence that before supplying the 10 GOP votes needed for the COVID-19 funding package to pass the Senate, the chamber must vote on their effort to extend the Trump-era Title 42 order. That COVID-linked order, which requires authorities to immediately expel nearly all migrants at the border, is set to be lifted on May 23.An election-year vote to extend that order would be perilous for Democrats, and many hope no such vote occurs. Many say privately they hope Biden will keep the immigration curbs in place or that a court will postpone the rules’ termination, but Republicans could well force a vote anyway.“Congress would have to take action in order for the day not to be May 23,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said early this month that he expected legislation this spring that would wrap together funds for COVID-19 and Ukraine. Aid for Ukraine has wide bipartisan support and could help propel such a package through Congress, but Republican opposition has already forced legislators to strip out pandemic response funding once.There are at least six Democrats, and potentially 10 or more, who would be expected to back the Republican amendment to extend the immigration order, enough to secure its passage.Such a vote would be dangerous for Democrats from swing districts, who must appeal to pro-immigration core Democratic voters without alienating moderates leery of the increase in migrants that lifting the curbs is expected to prompt.Republicans haven’t said what language they would embrace, but they could turn to a bipartisan bill by Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.It would delay any suspension of the immigration limits until at least 60 days after the U.S. surgeon general declares the pandemic emergency to be over. The administration would also have to propose a plan for handling the anticipated increase in migrants crossing the border. Democrats expressing support for keeping the immigration restrictions in place have cited a lack of planning by the administration as their chief concern although the Biden administration has insisted it is preparing for an increase in border crossings.(ABC)


Overdoses, not COVID-19, drive spike in LA homeless deaths

Nearly 2,000 homeless people died in Los Angeles County during the first year of the pandemic, an increase of 56% from the previous year, driven mainly by drug overdoses, authorities said.The findings released Friday in a report from the county’s Department of Public Health showed that despite initial fears, the virus itself was not the main culprit in deaths among California's largest-in-the-nation unhoused population. But it did cut people off from mental health and substance abuse treatment after services were drastically reduced to prevent the spread of the virus.Between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, the county recorded 1,988 deaths of homeless people, up from 1,271 deaths during the same period a year earlier, the report said.During both of those years, drug overdoses were the leading cause of death but increased by 78% during the pandemic's first year. In the pre-pandemic year, the Department of Public Health reported 402 fatal overdoses. In the year after the outbreak, the number nearly doubled to 715, the report said.The report found that 179 homeless people died from COVID-19 during the pandemic’s first year.“The findings in this report reflect a true state of emergency,” said First District Supervisor Hilda L. Solis said in a statement. “In a civil society, it is unacceptable for any of us to not be profoundly disturbed by the shocking needs documented in this year’s homeless mortality report.”A study of San Francisco homeless deaths released last month showed similar findings: Between March 2020 and March 2021, there were 331 homeless deaths recorded in San Francisco, more than twice the number of any previous year, with the leading cause of death being drug overdose, according to a study conducted by the University of California San Francisco and the city’s Department of Public Health.Los Angeles County is home to the Skid Row neighborhood, notorious for poverty and drugs and where LA's homeless population was once largely confined. Now, rows of tents, cardboard shelters, battered RVs and makeshift plywood structures are familiar sights throughout the nation’s second-most populous city.Cities and states across the country are grappling with growing homelessness, as well as mental health crises. California has the largest unhoused population in the country, estimated at 161,000 with nearly a quarter of that number suffering from severe mental illness, according to a 2020 count of homeless people required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.The pandemic likely exacerbated an already growing drug and overdose problem, driven by the prevalence of fentanyl, authorities said. Methamphetamine was involved in the majority of deaths, at 75%, roughly the same as the previous year. But the involvement of fentanyl in overdose deaths nearly doubled to 45%, the report said.“The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on people experiencing homelessness has clearly extended beyond the immediate effects of this new and deadly virus,” said Los Angeles Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. “The pandemic has exacerbated stressors already burdening this vulnerable population.”Young, Latino and Black people experiencing homelessness drove the increases in fatal overdoses, the report said.Coronary heart disease was the second leading cause of death in the first year of the pandemic, accounting for 309 deaths and an increase of almost 30% from the previous year, the report said.(ABC)


Sportsmore >>

PSG make Kylian Mbappe world's highest-paid player after stunning Real Madrid rejection

After months of intense speculation, lobbying and last-minute horse-trading, the Kylian Mbappe soap opera is finally over. The world's best young player has rejected the chance to join 13-time European champion Real Madrid and instead signed a new three-year contract at Paris Saint-Germain.The 23-year-old World Cup winner had reached an initial agreement with Madrid months ago for a much-anticipated switch to Spain, and Real Madrid president Florentino Perez was confident the deal could be confirmed at the end of the season.However, PSG have managed to persuade Mbappe to change his mind in a stunning late twist as the French striker announced his decision to stay in France on Saturday. "I have chosen to extend my contract at Paris Saint-Germain, and I am very happy. I am convinced that here I can continue to grow within a club that gives itself all the means to perform at the highest level," Mbappe said in a club statement. "I am also very happy to be able to continue playing in France, the country where I was born, grew up and flourished."Mbappe joined PSG Monaco in August 2017 and has helped the French giants win four Ligue 1 titles in five seasons. He marked his new deal with a hat-trick in PSG's 5-0 thrashing of Metz later in the day and it took his total of domestic goals for this campaign to 28 in 35 games. He also provided a further 17 assists, which made him the first player to win both the top scorer and assists record in Ligue 1."Since the day Kylian joined our family, he has achieved greatness beyond his years on every single stage," said PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. "In committing to PSG, he will be the foundation of our club's future both on and off the field.""I am incredibly proud and very happy – for Kylian, for our fans, and our entire PSG family worldwide – that we will continue our wonderful journey together. For our fans and our club, the greatest chapters of our future lie ahead," he added.According to multiple media outlets, PSG doubled Mbappe's current salary with a pay package worth $5 million a month and offered over $125m as signing-on fee, which will make him the highest-paid player in the world. PSG have also made financial concessions on image rights, bonus payments for goals, trophies and individual honors.Mbappe's shock turnaround was met with a vehement response from Spanish La Liga, who slammed his new PSG deal as "scandalous" in a strongly worded statement."It is scandalous that a club like PSG, which last season reported losses of more than 220m euros ($232m) after accumulating losses of more than €700m in prior seasons [while reporting sponsorship income at a doubtful valuation] with a cost of sports staff around €650m for this 2021-22 season, can face an agreement of these characteristics while those clubs that could accept the arrival of the player without seeing their wage bill compromised, are left without being able to sign him," read the statement."This type of agreement threatens the economic sustainability of European football, putting hundreds of thousands of jobs and sporting integrity at risk in the medium term, not only from European competitions, but also from our domestic leagues," it added.La Liga also announced that it will "file a complaint against PSG before UEFA, administrative and tax authorities in France and before the competent bodies of the European Union to continue defending the economic ecosystem of European football and its sustainability."Meanwhile, La Liga president Javier Tebas also slammed PSG in characteristically bombastic style."What PSG are going to do by renewing Mbappe with large amounts of money after losing 700m euros in recent seasons and having more than 600m euros in wages, is an INSULT to football," he fumed on Twitter.It remains to be seen who will be Madrid's next transfer target after missing out on Mbappe. After a patient wait for the wunderkind's arrival for years, the transfer saga's incredible conclusion won't please Madrid fans. For Perez, it could be a long summer.(CGTN)


Rome victor Djokovic in 'sunshine double' after son wins 1st tournament

Top tennis star Novak Djokovic had extra joy following his sixth Italian Open title on Sunday after finding out that his son had won his first ever tournament on the same day.Beaming with pride, the world No. 1 revealed that his 7-year-old boy Stefan had claimed the honors at a small club competition back home in Serbia just as Djokovic senior saw off Stefano Tsitsipas in straight sets in Rome.Djokovic had told the crowd at the Foro Italico stadium in Rome that he was awaiting news of his son's performance after beating Greek Tsitsipas 6-0, 7-6 (7/6)."My son actually won the tournament. It's a sunshine double today," Djokovic told reporters."We had a chat the last few days about the routines and the things he should do before a match and leading him into this world... The first official tournament or match always stays very fondly in your memory. We just spoke and he was on cloud nine with all the family. It was nice," he added."He's doing really well so far, he's in love with the sport. He was up late last night and he was showing me forehands and backhands and how he was going to move, playing shadow tennis. I used to do that as a kid."Rome Masters tennis tournamentRome Masters, also called the Italian Open tennis tournament, took place between May 7 and 15 at the Foro Italico stadium in Rome, Italy.Winners:Men's singles: Novak Djokovic of SerbiaWomen's singles: Iga Swiatek of PolandMen's doubles: Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic of CroatiaWomen's doubles: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Veronika Kudermetova of Russia(CGTN)


Science&Militarymore >>

Musk said self-driving taxis could be in mass production by 2024

Robotaxi, a self-driving taxi being developed by Tesla, hopes to reach mass production by 2024, CEO Elon Musk said during the company's first quarter 2022 earnings call today. Musk called it a "huge driver" of Tesla's future growth.Elon Musk has previously said publicly at events that Tesla is building a self-driving taxi that "looks very futuristic" and doesn't have a steering wheel or pedals.Just a few days ago, Tesla announced that it had rolled out a test version of its Fully Automated Driving (FSD) software to more than 100,000 users in the U.S. At the same time, he said tesla would achieve fully automated driving, or L5 level of self-driving technology, this year.Data shows, in accordance with the international association of automotive engineers (SAE) dividing method, self-driving technology increasing levels from 0 to 5, respectively is levels L0 (manual), L1 (auxiliary driving), L2 (partial automation), L3 automation (conditions), L4 (highly automated) and L5 (fully automated). By definition, the L5 is fully adaptive to driving, adapting to any driving environment.It is understood that up to now Germany is the only country in the official level for the vehicle enterprise L3 road certification. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has just released the final version of its Driverless Vehicle Passenger Protection Rules, which will not require manual controls such as a traditional steering wheel for vehicles operated by self-driving systems.It should be noted that Tesla Autopilot, which is still L2 level, has been involved in a number of accidents and has been investigated by NHTSA, NTSB and other departments. In almost all cases, too much trust in Autopilot or a lack of concentration was to blame, according to the investigation.So how far are Musk's self-driving taxis from hitting the road and becoming commercially viable?(Sources:Global Times)


Chongqing's abandoned chimney is transformed into a giant thermometer

A giant thermometer is seen in ciqikou ancient town, Southwest China's Chongqing, April 18, 2019. It is reported that ciqikou Ancient Town in Chongqing has turned an abandoned factory chimney into a giant thermometer with a height of 30 meters. On a scale line on the surface of the giant thermometer, a computer receives information from the temperature sensor and programs the color of the LED light to display the local temperature in real time.(Sources:Global Times)


Businessmore >>

Apple store workers vote to form their first U.S. union

A majority of employees at an Apple store in the U.S. have voted to form a union, a first for the tech giant, which has historically discouraged unionization attempts.Of the 110 employees at the store in Towson, Maryland, 65 voted in favor and 33 against, according to a live count broadcast on Saturday by the federal agency overseeing the vote.The vote comes after a group of employees called AppleCORE (Coalition of Organized Retail Employees) campaigned for unionization."We did it Towson! We won our union vote! Thanks to all who worked so hard and all who supported! Now we celebrate... Tomorrow we keep organizing," AppleCORE tweeted.They are demanding a say in deciding on wages, hours and safety measures.Saturday's result means that the shop's employees, who have been voting since Wednesday, should form their own branch of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) union, once the agency has certified the results.IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr said he applauded the workers' "courage.""They made a huge sacrifice for thousands of Apple employees across the nation who had all eyes on this election. I ask Apple CEO Tim Cook to respect the election results and fast-track a first contract for the dedicated IAM CORE Apple employees in Towson," he said in a statement."This victory shows the growing demand for unions at Apple stores and different industries across our nation."It was not the first time employees at an Apple store have tried to unionize, but it was the first attempt that resulted in a vote.Apple's director of distribution and human resources, Deirdre O'Brien, visited the shop in May to address employees."I want to start out by saying it's your right to join a union, but it's equally your right not to join a union," O'Brien said, according to audio published by Vice."If you're faced with that decision, I want to encourage you to consult a wide range of people and sources to understand what it could be like to work at Apple under a collective bargaining agreement."She said that the presence of an intermediary would complicate relations between Apple and its employees.The Silicon Valley giant told AFP it was "declining to comment" on the news.Unions, on the decline for decades, have won several symbolic victories in the U.S. in recent months, with President Joe Biden voicing his support.After a union was formed at two Starbucks coffee shops in December in the northern city of Buffalo, employees at more than 160 of the chain's locations have filed for similar votes.At Amazon, employees at a New York warehouse surprised everyone in early April by voting overwhelmingly to form a union, a first for the online retail colossus in the U.S.But the company has asked for the result to be cancelled and a second vote to be held. (CGTN)


China aims for 3,500 registered general aviation airplanes by 2025

China will strive to have 3,500 registered airplanes for general aviation by the end of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) period, according to the country's civil aviation regulator.A new plan on general aviation unveiled by the Civil Aviation Administration of China states that the number of registered airports for general aviation will top 500, and no less than 25 provincial-level regions will provide general aviation emergency rescue services by the end of 2025.The plan aims at improving the general aviation emergency rescue services, supporting innovation in the use of drones and further upgrading general aviation services in the agricultural and industrial sectors, among other measures.General aviation refers to aircraft operations in civil aviation other than public air transport, such as aviation services for agriculture, disaster relief and rescue, and recreation.Official data shows that 2,892 airplanes, 339 airports and about 517,000 drones had been registered for general aviation in China by the end of 2020. (CGTN)


chinamore >>

Chengdu boosting efforts for trade in services sector

Chengdu, the capital city of Southwest China's Sichuan province, is ramping up efforts to bolster development of the trade in services sector to push forward high-quality development in the region.The Chengdu Tianfu Software Park plays a key role in supporting the trade in services sector development in Chengdu.So far, Chengdu has established five national export bases focusing on digital services, cultural products, IP services, human resources services and language services to inject vitality into the trade in services industry.In the first half of 2022, the import and export volume of trade in services in Chengdu increased 24.97 percent year-on-year. The export volume of trade in services of the city increased 47.04 percent year-on-year. Its digital products import and export volume increased 20 percent from the previous year and the import and export volume of IP royalties increased 101.37 percent.Local officials said the establishment of the five platforms played an irreplaceable role in promoting the development of Chengdu's trade in services sector.The Ministry of Commerce further certified 40 national professional service export bases in March to support the export of four types of services. They are human resources, geographical information, language and IP services.The Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone, also known as CDHT, was recognized as a professional IP service export base. The Chengdu Human Resources Service Industrial Park and Sichuan Lan-Bridge Information Technology was recognized as a professional human resources service export base and a professional language service export base, respectively.Officials from the Chengdu commerce bureau said the development of professional service export bases will help the trade in services industry of the city to develop toward larger-scale and more intensive operations.Companies with strong competitiveness, market influence and innovation capacity will benefit from those platforms. They will also bolster the overall performance and strength of the trade in services industry of Chengdu.Supported by the Chengdu government, trade in service enterprises are attaching greater attention to new products development and innovation to maintain sustainable development.In May this year, the Chengdu Human Resources Service Industrial Park invited 13 human resources service providers including Risfond and OPT to form the nonofficial alliance named the West Headhunting Valley Alliance. The alliance will support Chengdu in constructing the China West Headhunting Valley, which will feature 100 influential human resources service providers and 30,000 professionals in the CDHT.(APD)


Contest held in Jianyang to promote rural culture vitalization

The second Jianyang Rural Culture Vitalization Charm Contest, sponsored by the publicity department of Jianyang city in Southwest China's Sichuan province, kicked off on Aug 23. It was participated in by teams from towns in the city.The rural scenery of Jianyang city in Southwest China’s Sichuan province. This contest aims to fully display the local culture of Jianyang by excavating and publicizing a group of charming towns and streets, so as to promote the vitalization of rural culture and drive the vitalization of Jianyang's rural areas, said local officials.The event is being held both online and offline. A total of 48 videos participated in the online competition, attracting more than 300,000 viewers. The offline contest includes three parts: township endorsement, characteristic cultural performances, and talent shows.During the township endorsement part, the first secretary from the grass-roots level and new able villagers showcased the folk customs, local specialties, and living environment of their hometown in the new era through speeches and videos, highlighting the development of the local characteristic cultural industry in their hometown.In the characteristic cultural performance part, outstanding artistic talent selected by each town performed skits, dances, sitcoms and other cultural programs with distinctive rural characteristics, showcasing the unique characteristics of their respective towns.In the talent show, local cultural talent discovered in each town showcased skills such as moxibustion, Shu embroidery, dough sculpture, and tai chi, showing the unique folk art and cultural heritage of their hometowns.One first prize, two second prizes, and three third prizes will be selected from among the participants after being evaluated and scored.Jianyang will encourage outstanding award-winning programs to participate in the charm contest in the Chengdu division, said local officials.(APD)


The Belt and Roadmore >>

Belt and Road Initiative paves way for win-win cooperation between China and Czech

By APD Writer He WeiIn July last year, the first China-EU freight train departed from Prague, captial of Czech,to Yiwu, a city in east China’s Zhejang Province. The new cargo train service marked the official launch of “the Belt and Road Initiative” in Czech. Thanks to joint efforts of both sides, the economic and trade ties between China and Czech Republic is heading for a bright future.During the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May 2017, two months before the opening, China signed the Memorandum of Understanding to Jointly Coordinate and Promote Cooperation and Project Implementation with Czech. According to the memorandum, more efforts will be made to set up a China-Czech Cooperation Center under the Belt and Road initiative, a key project bank and a cooperation platform, integrate domestic and foreign resources, as well as adjoin and implement projects On the sidelines of the The Working Conference of China-Czech Jointly Coordinating and Monitoring Cooperation Plan and Projects under the Framework of the “Belt and Road Initiative”, Liu Jielei, vice chairman of the Czech-China Friendship Association, told the Asia Pacific Daily (APD) that besides geographic advantage, Czech enjoys a sound investment environment because of its stable domestic policies, friendly policy toward China, lower business taxes and labor cost than that of in other European countries.The "Yixin’ou (Yiwu-Xinjiang-Europe) cargo train, which began in Yiwu, was hailed as an important bridge linking Asian and European continents and a signficiant achievement in the early stage of the initative by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Xu Jie, general manager of Rongsheng Travelling (Czech) Investment Co., Ltd., said because of its important location, they have launched two projects including the Czech-Chinese Technology Business District (CCTBD) project and the South Moravia Chinese Herbal Spa Project in Prague during the past two years, stressing that initial success has been achieved thanks to the initiative.Transalated by Hu Yahui(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)


Work conference held in Yiwu for China, Czech to coordinate their efforts in promoting Belt and Road Initiative cooperation

By APD Writer He Wei The conference, which jointly organized by the western development department of the National Development and Reform Commission and the second foreign policy department of the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade kicked off on June 6, 2018. It is of great significance in implementing the plan for China-Czech cooperation and promoting bilateral communication and cooperation. Both sides took a review on the development of the plan and held a talk over the cooperation prospects on trade, finance, think tank and projects. The priority work of the China and Czech cooperation in the next phase was discussed during the conference.Both sides reached an agreement on enhancing the cooperation on the field of policy coordination, facility connectivity, economic and trade, investment, finance and culture aiming at boosting the economy of both countries and benefiting the people. Almost 100 people from government officials, financial institutions, think tanks  and enterprises of both countries attended the conference.(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)