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Cuba's president unveils new cabinet

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who took office on April 19, presented his new cabinet to the National Assembly, Cuba's parliament, on Saturday.The 34-member Council of Ministers, including nine new appointments, was approved by lawmakers.Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel visited Venezuela at a ceremony in Caracas on May 30, 2018.Among the new ministers are Iris Quinones Rojas, heading the ministry of the food industry; Betsy Diaz Velazquez in domestic trade; and Alejandro Gil Fernandez, leading economy and planning in place of Ricardo Cabrisas, who remains the council's vice president.Jose Angel Portal Miranda heads public health, with his predecessor, Roberto Morales, now serving as vice president of the cabinet; and Raul Garcia Barreiro leads energy and mines.Former President Raul Castro (2-L) attended the National Assembly's session to present the new Council of Ministers and discuss the draft of 224 articles prepared by a parliamentary committee, at Havana's Convention Palace on July 21, 2018.Jorge Luis Perdomo Di-Lella becomes minister of informatics and communications, promoted from deputy minister.Some others of the cabinet members were previously appointed by Raul Castro, former Cuban president and current first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba.(Cover: Cuba's National Assembly held a session for important constitutional amendment in Havana on July 21, 2018. /VCGPhoto)(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)

China’s second-largest rabies vaccine maker to stop output after drug safety scandal

China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) has issued an announcement asking Changchun Changsheng Life Sciences, China’s second-biggest rabies vaccine maker, to terminate the production of its Vero-cell rabies vaccines.The announcement came after authorities carried out a snap inspection and found the company forging production data and violating the country’s drug production quality management protocols.CFDA's investigation annoucement against Changchun Changsheng's ravies vaccines. /Screenshot via CFDACFDA has asked the provincial food and drug administration of Jilin, where the company bases, to revoke Changchun Changsheng’s Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certificate, an international recognized license for drug production.CFDA stated that the batch of rabies vaccines involved in the inspection had not been put on the market and had been “effectively controlled.” Inspectors from both state and provincial food and drug administrations have been stationing at the company for further investigation.The investigated rabies vaccine produced by Changchun Changsheng Life Sciences. /Screenshot via Changchun Changsheng's official websiteChangchun Changsheng’s parent company, Shenzhen-listed Changsheng Biotechnology, has made a public apology and voluntarily recalled all their rabies vaccines available at the market.The company stated the recall would cost over 200 million yuan (approximately 30 million US dollars) of the company’s business income. Zhao Chunzhi, secretary to the president at Changsheng Biotechnology, told China Securities Journal that sales revenue from rabies vaccine products counted for half of Changchun Changsheng’s gross revenue.This is not the first time Changsheng Biotechnology and its subsidiaries got involved in drug safety scandals. On July 18, Jilin provincial food and drug administration announced the investigation result into Changchun Changsheng’s DTaP vaccine.Last year, a batch of the vaccines immunizing children against whooping cough, diphtheria and tetanus was found failing to conform to standards for biological potency. According to the report, 252,600 vaccines in the batch had been sold to disease control and prevention centers throughout east China’s Shandong Province.(CGTN)

Trump lashes ex-lawyer, calling taping client 'perhaps illegal'

US President Donald Trump lashed out at his former lawyer on Saturday, saying Michael Cohen may have acted illegally in secretly taping their discussion about a payment to hush up an alleged affair with a Playboy model.Trump's early-morning tweet was his first direct reaction to a New York Times report Friday that the FBI had seized the recording during an April raid on Cohen's office amid an investigation of possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia.Cohen has not yet been arrested or charged with any crime, but his cooperation with the government could prove vital to prosecutors -- a scenario that could be made more likely by an open split with Trump.Michael Cohen arrived in a hotel in New York, US on May 21, 2018.While Cohen was once quoted as saying he would "take a bullet" for the president, Trump's tweet and the sharp reply from Cohen's lawyer Lanny Davis could signal that the bond between the two has been damaged if not broken."Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer's office (early in the morning) - almost unheard of," Trump tweeted Saturday."Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client - totally unheard of & perhaps illegal."The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!"Screenshot of Trump's tweet.Former Playboy model Karen McDougal claims she had an affair with Trump after they met in 2006, shortly after Trump's wife Melania gave birth to their son Barron.Rudy Giuliani, Trump's current personal attorney, confirmed to the Times that the Cohen tape existed, but said it showed the president had done nothing wrong. He called it "exculpatory" because it showed Trump had no advance knowledge of a possible payment.Regarding Trump's claim of illegality, New York state law permits the recording of a phone call or an in-person conversation as long as one party consents, according to attorney John B. Harris, who authored an article on the subject for the New York Legal Ethics Reporter.President Trump spoke at the White House to US Congress members on July 17, 2018.Yet "it remains murky whether and when a New York lawyer can ethically tape without advance disclosure," Harris said.Stephen Gillers, an authority of legal ethics and professor at New York University School of Law, told The American Lawyer in April that such recordings are "an issue on which the national profession has not come to a common agreement," but he argued that law firms should forbid the practice except in very narrow circumstances.The FBI raided Cohen's home and office on a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller, who is looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.Michael Cohen left federal court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York on April 16, 2018.The Justice Department says Cohen has been under investigation for months for criminal conduct largely centered on his personal business dealings.Prosecutors are apparently interested in payments he made on Trump's behalf to porn actress Stormy Daniels, and other business dealings related to Trump.Daniels and McDougal allege they had affairs with Trump around the same time, in 2006.Stormy Daniels seen on May 23, 2018 in West Hollywood, California.Cohen, who became Trump's personal lawyer in 2007, paid 130,000 US dollars to Daniels -- real name, Stephanie Clifford -- shortly before the 2016 election to keep her quiet about her alleged affair with Trump.Her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, told MSNBC Saturday the Cohen recording put Trump in an uncomfortable legal position because it was evidence he may have broken campaign finance law."If Donald Trump knew that Michael Cohen was going to be making payments on his behalf, or others were going to be making payments on his behalf, in order to influence the 2016 election, that may, in fact, constitute evidence of direct campaign finance violations which can be criminal in nature," he said.(Cover: President Donald Trump waited for reporters to leave the room after he spoke with US Congress members on his summit with Russian President Putin on July 17, 2018, at the White House, Washington DC. /Reuters Photo)(AFP)

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The Belt and Road

2018 Belt and Road International Forum held in Beijing

Masood Khalid, Pakistani Ambassador to China, speaks at 2018 Belt and Road International Forum in Beijing on June 28.The Belt and Road International Forum was held in Beijing on June 28, with the theme of “The Win-Win of the Belt and Road Initiative”. Nearly 200 Chinese and foreign guests attended, including officials, diplomatic envoys, experts and think tanks.Topics of discussion included international economic cooperation corridors, economic integration, regional connectivity, and cultural exchange.At the forum, the BRI Think-tank Alliance Presentation Platform, BRI Entrepreneurs’ Alliance and the BRI Fund of Beijing International Peace Culture Foundation were launched. "The Belt and Road" Think-Tank Alliance Presentation Platform is also launched here today in Beijing.“The Belt and Road” Think-Tank Alliance Presentation Platform aims to draw on the wisdom of the Belt and Road Initiative through further interactions with experts from various research institutions at home and abroad. It will conduct policy analysis, political consultation as well as sharing platforms for information, resource and achievement.Wang Xiaohui, Editor-in-Chief of CIIC, believes this platform will promote win-win cooperation among Asia, Europe and Africa by carrying out the Silk Road spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit.”“By facilitating exchanges between entrepreneurs and think-tank experts, we mobilize domestic and foreign experts to make targeted subject research and risk assessment reports on enterprise investment projects, provide “one - to -one” strategic consultation, to help solve their problems when going aboard, “he said. Honored guests jointly launch "The Belt and Road Entrepreneurs' Alliance" in Beijing, June 28th. “The Belt and Road” Entrepreneurs Alliance was co-established by CIIC, China World Peace Foundation (CWPF) and Beijing International Peace Culture Foundation (BJIPCF), and supported by China Enterprise Confederation and China Enterprise Directors Association. It will promote business case and experience sharing, inviting experts to give lectures, issuing country-level big data reports, holding analysis report on overseas investment environment and Belt and Road entrepreneurs forum, etc, as a move to enhance global cooperation on production capacity and help Chinese enterprises go global.Li Fugen, Vice President of CIIC, said that under the principles of policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity, the Alliance will draw on information, resources, capital, business opportunities and talents to facilitate enterprises to increase visibility in global market. He also disclosed that this alliance would maintain close connection with embassies to China. Projects recommend by the embassies will be assigned to entrepreneurs by "The Belt and Road" Fund of Beijing International Peace Culture Foundation, co-initiated by Beijing International Peace Culture Foundation, Beijing Jiangyin Enterprise Chamber of Commerce, and ZZ HD Health Industry Group, is also launched here today. “The Belt and Road” Fund of Beijing International Peace Culture Foundation was co-initiated by Beijing International Peace Culture Foundation (BJIPCF), Beijing Jiangyin Enterprise Chamber of Commerce, and ZZ HD Health Industry Group. With the funds donated by entrepreneurs, more favorable environment will be fostered for cultural exchanges among countries along the Belt and Road, thus advancing the Belt and Road Initiative and win - win cooperation.the most urgent one. For that reason, the Foundation will play an active role in providing investment and financing support for and preventing risks in economic and trade cooperation, bilateral or multilateral connectivity.The forum was co-hosted by China Internet Information Center (CIIC), China World Peace Foundation (CWPF), Beijing International Peace Culture Foundation (BJIPCF) and Jiangsu Normal University (JSNU); jointly organized by and China Development Gateway, and supported by Bulletin of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Belt and Road Research Institute of Beijing Normal University, ZZ HD Health Industry Group and Beijing Hanyihuang Cloisonne Crafts Co. Ltd. (XINHUA)


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)