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Over 800 bridges in France 'at risk of collapse': report

About 840 bridges across France are suffering from serious damage and face risk of collapse in the next several years, an audit commissioned by the French government has revealed.A third of the 12,000 government-maintained bridges in France need repair, according to the audit, published Sunday by the Journal du Dimanche newspaper.It warned that about seven percent of those bridges are so badly damaged that they are at risk of collapse in the coming years.The report did not cover thousands of other French bridges maintained by private companies or local authorities.A reoprt shows that about 840 bridges across France are suffering from serious damage and facing risk of collapse in the next several years. The French government has blamed previous administrations for inconsistent and inadequate investment in the country's road network and promised new infrastructure spending. Last week, Transport Minister Elisabeth Norne announced a one billion euro (1.15 billion US dollar) investment plan to "save the nation's roads."The current budget for restoring infrastructure is reported to be 800 million euros (921 million dollars) for 2018, according to The Independent.The audit said France invests more in its road network than countries in southern Europe, but less than countries in northern Europe, such as Austria, Switzerland and Britain.The French government has come under pressure following last week's deadly bridge collapse in the northwestern Italian city of Genoa, which killed 43 people.(CGTN)

APD Exclusive Interview | Philippine Energy Secretary says options being considered for joint exploration at South China Sea

By APD writer Melo M. AcuñaMANILA, Aug. 21 (APD) – Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said there are a lot of options being looked at by the Philippine government for the Philippines to enjoy whatever resources are there at the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea.Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi(L) and APD writer Melo M. Acuña(R).In an exclusive interview, Secretary Cusi said the Department of Foreign Affairs under Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano is “looking for ways to move forward how we can tap resources as well as ways to have a commercial operation.”Asked if the same 60-40 arrangement will be considered for the joint exploration with China, Secretary Cusi said the agreement has been applied with the SC38 Consortium composed of Shell, Chevron and PNOC – Exploration Corporation with the Malampaya project.Sought for reaction whether the joint exploration would somewhat jeopardize the Philippines’ national interest and sovereignty, Secretary Cusi said that is another issue of prime importance.“We have to look at the details of the framework and find out if we are compromising Philippine sovereignty,” Secretary Cusi added.  He said there is nothing worrisome with the Malampaya deep water-to-gas project because “we have full control, we own it.”Asked of possible areas for joint exploration, Secretary Cusi said there are blocks available for exploration.“We have something like five current or existing service contracts with Philex, PXP, Forum and PNOC-EC,” he explained.In a related development, Secretary Cusi said they are building capacity to address the growing requirement for power.“We are encouraging investments in the industry as I have invited Chinese investors to invest in power plants in the Philippines,” he said.  He also confirmed there are a lot of on-going talks as the Chinese have expressed great interest in the Philippines since President Rodrigo Duterte’s first visit last October 2016.“From 2016 to 2022, we will need an additional of 10,000 megawatts and until 2040, we will need up to 43,000 megawatts,” he explained.  He said construction of new power plants are on-going to meet the government’s timeline “because the Build, Build, Build projects such as trains, subway and airports will require power.He said high power rates are due to high tariff being levied by government and they, at the Department of Energy are finding ways to bring the tariff down.  He said it could happen if they can increase the supply so that the law of supply and demand can come in.  Secretary Cusi said using technology especially in the island provinces where diesel is used, “if new technologies would be used, subsidies for diesel and oil and make the people benefit from lower rates.” (ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)

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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)