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Russian president backs China's Silk Road proposal
By ZHANG YUNBI ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-04-09 04:53:13

Russian President Vladimir Putin has voiced support for China's Silk Road Economic Belt initiative, which is aimed at reviving the ancient Eurasian trading route.

Putin told visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in the Kremlin on Tuesday that Moscow supports the initiative, proposed by President Xi Jinping, and "steadfastly supports China's efforts in championing core interests".

An official release issued after an earlier meeting between Wang and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov said both countries are ready to "proactively explore" cooperation on the Silk Road plan and Russia's idea of creating a "passage" between Asia and Europe and integrating Eurasian economies.

Countries including Russia and Central Asian nations have shown increasing interest in the Silk Road Economic Belt, proposed by Xi in 2013.

Xing Guangcheng, a senior scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the consensus on Tuesday indicates the two countries are "taking a tangible step forward".

They are shifting from preliminary supportive language for each other to joint efforts in initiating working-level liaison on the two concepts, Xing said.

In late March, the State Council authorized a landmark document — "Vision and Actions on Jointly Building the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road—to be issued, outlining the blueprints.

At his meeting with Putin, Wang suggested "docking" the Chinese and Russian initiatives "in order to tackle new changes in the international and regional situation".

Wang told a joint news conference that Russia's "look East" policy and China's accelerated westward openings "have created historic opportunities for docking the two countries' development strategies".

Li Hui, China's ambassador to Russia, said in a speech to university students in Moscow in February that "the Belt and Road" could meet bilateral cooperation programs halfway, such as Sino-Russian oil and gas pipelines and China's participation in the development of Russia's Far East.

Yang Cheng, deputy director of the Center for Russian Studies at East China Normal University, said the bilateral readiness on "docking" shows that Russia has a deeper understanding of the strategic benefit to come.

Putin also said he expects that Xi will visit Moscow in May for celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of victory in World War II.

Wang, who laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow's Red Square earlier in the day, said

the 70th anniversary of victory in WWII is an opportunity to strengthen coordination on international affairs and to uphold mutual interests.

Both countries agreed after the foreign ministers' discussions that they "have both the duty and obligation to support each other" when they host the commemorations jointly or separately, in order to remember history, inspire following generations and better ensure world peace.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

Russian president backs China's Silk Road proposal -
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CPC Central Committee calls to institutionalize education campaign

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-03-29 07:36

BEIJING - The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee has said the ongoing education campaign on Party management should be institutionalized.

According to a circular issued by the general office of the CPC Central Committee made public on Tuesday, the campaign was launched in 2016 and focuses on the study of the Party Constitution and code of conduct, as well as the speeches made by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee.

A series of remarks made by Xi are the latest achievements in the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and they mark the latest development of contemporary Marxism in China, it said.

The remarks are considered important thought for Party building and advancing the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, it said, adding that they will also serve as guiding principles for all Party organizations and members.

Party organizations at various levels should fully realize the importance of institutionalizing the campaign and put ideological education high on their agendas, it said.

Efforts should be made to standardize actions of Party organizations and members in accordance with the Party Constitution and code of conduct.Efforts should also be made to ensure Party organizations fully play their roles and leading officials are clean, honest and bold in assuming responsibilities.

Party organizations should evaluate results of the campaign annually, it said.

The circular asked Party committees at all levels to lead grassroots Party organizations and members to unite more closely around the CPC Central Committee with Xi as the core.

Party committees at all levels should make annual study schedules while leading officials should have their own individual study plans, it noted.

Party organizations should guide members to strengthen their ideals and beliefs, implement the Party's decisions and observe Party discipline and rules, according to the statement.

Those who fail to act accordingly will be criticized seriously or held accountable, the document added.
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CPC creates four-tier system to measure political discipline

BEIJING -- China's Communist Party of China (CPC) is creating ways to gauge the political soundness of its more than 88 million members, a move experts believe could help the ruling party to maintain a clean political system.

The CPC's disciplinary branch released, for the first time earlier this month, nationwide breakdown figures of the "four forms" of discipline supervision and enforcement, first put forward by the branch in 2015 before making their way into regulations on intra-Party supervision in late October.

The four forms refer to four levels of punishment and supervision: criticism and self-criticism as well as inquiries through interview or letters should be the most common; minor disciplinary penalties should make up the majority; severely punished or demoted officials should be a small proportion; and those prosecuted for law-breaking should be extremely few.

In the first quarter of this year, disciplinary organs nationwide dealt with 179,000 people via the four forms, with 92,000, or 51.7 percent, falling in the first form after being tipped off about breaches of discipline, said the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).

People subject to the other three forms accounted for 36.3 percent, 6.4 percent and 5.6 percent of the total respectively.

Such data was only made possible after the CCDI put a statistical indicator system into trial use, comprising of 56 indices, at the end of last year.

Xin Ming, a professor with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, said the regular release of the data and other statistics of rules violators could provide an accurate picture for the Party to identify risks, spot loopholes and facilitate solutions in Party governance.

Aiming for "green hills and clean water" in political discipline, the CPC has used analogy of managing trees in a forest, saying that the Party must "pluck rotten trees, cure sick trees and straighten crooked trees."

"Before the four forms concept was put forward, inspectors only fixed their eyes on a few sick or rotten trees instead of the entire forest," said Jiang Jinquan, a senior CCDI inspector. "Now they are turning their attention to trees in the entire forest."

Jiang described the transition from targeting "big tigers" to a comprehensive supervisory and discipline enforcement approach as "an important theoretical innovation."

As the battle against corruption has gained crushing momentum, the CPC said it would continue to reduce existing corruption and contain any rise in corruption in 2017, vowing to clear out sources of corruption and establish an effective prevention system.

"The first of the four forms is an important embodiment of the CPC's strict governance of the Party," said Xie Chuntao, a professor from the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.

"It is expected to dispel the dated distinction between 'good comrades' and 'prisoners' by having a preventative effect, spotting and giving warning to CPC members engaging in petty misconduct at an early stage," he said.
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Mombasa-Nairobi railway

Infrasctructure construction - Mombasa-Nairobi railway
Photo taken on May 10, 2017 shows the Emali station on Kenya's Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

NAIROBI, May 29 -- The 480 km railway linking Kenya's largest port city Mombasa to capital Nairobi, slated to be officially launched on May 31, will be a key infrastructure project that will push forward the East Africa nation's modernization drive, a senior company executive said Monday.
"The launch of the standard gauge railway (SGR) will undoubtedly contribute to Kenya's economic and social development as well as improve people's livelihoods and lead the country to prosperity," said Chen Yun, Vice President of China Communications Construction Company, parent company of the China Road and Bridge Corporation which built the mega-project.
In an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of a ceremony held here in Nairobi for the release of the company's social responsibility report regarding the SGR project, Chen said that the company has endeavored to build the Kenya SGR project into a quality project that will endure the test of time.
"The Mombasa-Nairobi railway is also a way of cooperation, mutual benefits and prosperity," Chen said.
According to the report, the SGR project has created more than 46,000 jobs for the locals and the number of local workers who received training hit 45,000, gaining the much-needed skills and technical knowhow to help them grow. The SGR project is also estimated to be adding 1.5 percentage points to Kenya's GDP growth, a figure the Kenyan government reckons with.
As Africa strives for integration, Chen believed that Africa will continue to see the birth of many more railway projects on the continent.
He revealed that during a recent talk between him and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, the president said he would promote SGRs in the east Africa region so that the region can upgrade and renovate existing railways and enhance transport capacity.
Chen added that the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China, which aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along and beyond the ancient Silk Road trade routes, will also provide immense opportunities for African countries, and companies involved.
Interview: Chinese-built railway pushes forward Kenya's modernization drive - Xinhua |
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Aerial view of Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway May 29, 2017
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Looking to China as a template for industrializing

By Edith Mutethya | China Daily Africa | Updated: 2017-08-04 10:13

As Africa gears up for industrialization, analysts say the continent should take a leaf from China's book, taking advantage of their growing cooperation.

Within a period of 30 years, China became the world's largest producer of manufactured goods, an achievement that took the United Kingdom 150 years to achieve.

Currently, China is Africa's biggest trade partner, and so the continent has a precious opportunity to replicate the Asian country's success story.

Bob Wekesa, steering committee member of the Chinese in Africa, Africans in China Research Network, says it would be possible to replicate China's model in developing Africa's manufacturing sector.

Wekesa notes that China started off with the establishment of special economic zones, which eventually drove innovation throughout the country.

"This is a model that calls for the intervention of governments in matters of development. We call it the developmental state model. It is a model that African countries should emulate," he says.

Similar sentiments are shared by Sikhumbuzo Zondi, research assistant at the Institute for Global Dialogue, associated with the University of South Africa. Zondi says the establishment of special manufacturing hubs in the early 1970s, as part of China's policy to open up to international trade, played a key role in the country's industrialization process.

"Such reforms became the turning point toward its market-oriented economy, as thorough research was done, including the establishment of special economic zones which became the driving force for growth," he says.

Zondi says African countries should work toward setting up and implementing sound policies. This is in addition to improving regulatory frameworks and tax policies in order to attract and encourage investment.

This is because many African states produce similar raw materials, resulting in strong competition between them. To minimize such competition, Zondi says they should develop strategies based on competitive advantage that can maximize potential.

Manaseh Otieno, policy analyst at the Kenya Institute for Public Research and Analysis, says the Chinese industrialization model can be replicated in Africa but within each country's specific context.

"The political environment might play a significant role in their development, but the same might not be replicable in other countries. There are, however, a lot of lessons developing countries can learn from China," he says.

Otieno says developing countries need to learn how efficient and effective use of resources can enhance manufacturing productivity and economic growth.

This, alongside investment in both hard and soft infrastructure, is important for enhancing value chains and value addition for exports.

Looking to China as a template for industrializing

"Developing countries need to enhance their value addition potential," he says.

A report by the World Bank, titled China's investment in African Special Economic Zones: Prospects, Challenges and Opportunities, states that China's recent moves to establish SEZs in several African countries could make a significant contribution to industrialization in Africa.

However, the success of zones is by no means guaranteed. Meeting the objectives of both China and African countries will require an active partnership and a framework for collaboration that includes engagement from host governments.

This is in addition to processes for phasing in local control, communication and enforcement of standards, and support for integration with local economies.

In 2006, the Chinese government announced that it would support the establishment of as many as 50 overseas "economic and trade cooperation zones". Of the 19 approved so far, five are in sub-Saharan Africa: in Ethiopia, Mauritius, Nigeria (two) and Zambia.

The Chinese SEZ projects in Africa might be practical, considering that China is the world's foremost success story in using SEZs as a tool for attracting foreign direct investment and promoting export-oriented industrialization.

However, Jack Ma, the Alibaba Group founder and executive chairman, says replicating China's model may not work for Africa.

"For Africa to develop, Africans should not follow any other country's model," he says. "The continent should come up with its own model, focusing on the use of the modern technology and protecting the environment."

If Africa copies China in building its manufacturing hub, Ma says, it has no future because world manufacturing is shifting from business-to-consumer to consumer-to-business.

"The future of a manufacturing line is not how many T-shirts can be made in one assembly for one hour but how many different, tailor-made T-shirts can be made," he says.
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Soubre hydroelectric power station

Cote d'Ivoire on Thursday inaugurated the Chinese-built Soubre hydroelectric power station, the largest of its kind in the West African country. The 4.5-km-long hydropower dam at Naoua Falls on the Sassandra River, with an installed capacity of 275 megawatts (MW).
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Mauritius and China Sign Exchange Note for Multi-Sports Complex At Cote d'Or

Mauritius and China signed an Exchange Note for the Multi-Sports Complex Project at Cote D'Or yesterday at the Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel, Port Louis in the presence of the Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, M Pravind Kumar Jugnauth. The signatories were the Financial Secretary, Mr Dharam Dev Manraj, and the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China in Mauritius, Mr Sun Gongyi.

The project which will cost some Rs 3.1 billion, will be developed over 53 acres of land and financed by Government of China. Construction works will begin in January 2018 and are expected to end in July 2019. Additionally, the Mauritius Multisports Infrastructure Ltd has been set up by Government as a special vehicle under the aegis of the Ministry of Youth and Sports for the implementation of the project.

The complex is expected to include a multi-sport stadium, an athletic track and multi-sport arena providing basketball and volleyball courts, with facilities for boxing, judo, karate, taekwondo, weightlifting, wrestling, yoga, and gymnastics. It will also include a swimming arena with Olympic size pool, diving facilities and training pools.

After its completion, the Cote d'Or Sports Complex will not only be the centre of sporting activity in Mauritius but a flagship for sporting achievement and training across the east-African and Indian Ocean region.

These facilities will be designed and planned to the highest international standards and are expected to become a catalyst for sporting achievement from across the country. The activities and events at Cote d'Or are expected to inspire people of all ages and communities to get involved in sport, fitness, and healthy lifestyle programmes. The facilities at the complex will be used at the forthcoming Indian Ocean Island Games that Mauritius will be hosting in 2019.
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China to still help Africa to boost ability to fight virus
China will continue to offer help to African countries to improve their ability in combating the novel coronavirus outbreak, said an official with the National Health Commission.

Li Mingzhu, an official at the commission's department of international cooperation and exchanges, said China has been sending medical teams to African countries for 57 years and there are around 1,000 Chinese medical workers in African countries.

They have conducted more than 250 training sessions for more than 10,000 African people, Li said at a news conference on Thursday.

For example, the medical teams conducted training at local hospitals to improve local medical workers' knowledge on diagnosis and treatment of the epidemic, and the Chinese medical team in Ethiopia has helped the country to adjust testing equipment and Ethiopia has become the second African country capable of conducting nucleic acid testing for COVID-19, he said.

Medical experts in China have also held video conferences with local experts in 54 African countries to offer them technological support, he said.

African countries have expressed their appreciation for the help from China and said China's experiences in combating the outbreak are very valuable to them, he added.

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China's medical supplies for 18 African countries arrive in Accra, Ghana
Staff unload Chinese medical supplies from an airplane at the Kotota International Airport in Accra, capital of Ghana, April 6, 2020. China's medical supplies for 18 African countries have arrived here on Monday, and are scheduled to be delivered to the other 17 countries within a few days. The beneficiary African countries are Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Gabon, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, Gambia, Liberia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Togo, Benin, Cape Verde, as well as Sao Tome and Principe. (Xinhua/Xu Zheng)
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Xi hails role of community workers
President encourages grassroots staff to continue anti-virus efforts in reply letter

President Xi Jinping has called on community workers to continue their steadfast efforts to combat COVID-19 as communities remain an important line of defense against imported cases and a rebound of the outbreak in China.

Xi made the remark in a letter of reply on Wednesday to community workers at a neighborhood which he visited last month during his inspection tour of Wuhan, the Chinese city hit hardest by the outbreak.

During his visit he spoke with community workers, police officers, doctors, officials and volunteers at Donghu Xincheng residential community in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province.

In his letter to the community workers, Xi said he was glad to know that life in Wuhan was gradually returning to normal.

Wuhan has lifted its 76-day lockdown, but Xi cautioned against any slackening of epidemic prevention work. He noted that routine adoption of epidemic control measures should play a key role in these new circumstances.

The city's urban and rural community workers have, together with other front-line workers, fought the virus regardless of the risks they faced, he said.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said that Party members and officials in communities took the lead in this battle.

The widespread prevention and control measures adopted by the public fully reflected China's capability to win the people's war against the pandemic, Xi added.

He urged the community workers to continue their efforts in containing the outbreak and serving the people wholeheartedly.

Tao Jiudi is one of the community workers at Donghu Xincheng residential community who wrote to Xi. In the letter they invited him to return to Wuhan when it was possible to do so.

"We hope General Secretary Xi can take a walk on our street, and taste Wuhan hot dry noodles and grain liquor after the pandemic," she said.

Tao said she believed that all community workers across the country will feel the same encouragement and excitement that she did when reading Xi's letter of reply.

Acting as the commander-in-chief in the "people's war" on the pandemic, Xi has said on various occasions that communities hold the key to curbing the spread of the virus and praised community workers for their important role in the battle.

Since the start of the outbreak, about 4 million community workers have been working at the front line in 650,000 urban and rural communities nationwide, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

They are responsible for monitoring the outbreak, controlling access to their communities, education campaigns to increase public awareness of the virus and helping disadvantaged residents.

Mao Zongfu, director of Wuhan University's Global Health Institute, told China Youth Daily that community-based pandemic control was an important factor in combating COVID-19 in Wuhan as the community level is a weak point in preventing diseases and treating patients.

A comprehensive mechanism should be established to prevent major disease outbreaks in cities and communities, Mao said.

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Africa can benefit from China-Africa trade expo, says expert
NDOLA, Zambia, June 27 (Xinhua) -- An expert on Thursday urged Zambia and other African nations to utilize the first China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo and gain tangible benefits.

Naison Ngoma, Copperbelt University Chancellor, said in an interview that China has demonstrated all it takes by building road infrastructure in Zambia to indicate the Asian country's commitment to strengthening bilateral relations.

"It was China that came to the aid of Zambia by constructing a railway line to the sea coast for last four decades and to date the railway line still remains a vital route for exports and imports of goods," he said.

He said China assisted Zambia in a most profound way.

The expert expressed optimism that China's agenda for Africa will benefit most African states.

The first China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo opened Thursday in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province.

The three-day event has attracted more than 10,000 guests and traders, including those from 53 African countries, according to the organizing committee.

International organizations including the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the World Food Programme, and the World Trade Organization, have sent representatives to the expo.

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Mutual trust is key to China-Brazil cooperation

After a week of stunning accusations leveled by the Brazilian Education Minister Abraham Weintraub against Beijing, the Chinese Embassy issued its response, offering clues on how to get COVID-19 cooperation back on track. Toxic claims of declaring COVID-19 as the "Chinese virus" and veiled threats of Beijing's "world domination" added a layer of strain in diplomatic ties. This defeats the purpose of a united front in testing times.

The Chinese government is correct to state that "no single country can meet challenges of the pandemic on its own" – which is why Beijing has always been open to facilitating Brazil's quest for medical supplies. However, reports of 15,000 ventilators that "failed to get through" gave rise to unwanted speculation that Chinese medical equipment makers were "profiting" from the pandemic and were reluctant to prioritize Brazil's needs.

"Practically all our purchases of equipment in China are not being confirmed," Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said at a news conference last week – making it convenient for the matter to be vastly politicized.

If there was any truth to the development, Chinese companies would never have successfully delivered about 40 tonnes of masks and test kits to Brazil in the middle of the country's supply crunch. The six million masks were accompanied by other protective equipment, totaling 30 million U.S. dollars. Thus, it is the Brazilian government's interest to keep these positive facts well integrated in the existing national discourse, and sustain a mutually beneficial environment that furthers reciprocal trust as a key priority.

Brazil, which is at the center of Latin America's fight against COVID-19, has been consistently recognized by Beijing as a crucial partner in the global pandemic fight. A stellar example of this recognition is Chinese President Xi Jinping's correspondence with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro last month.

"China has always adhered to the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind. China has released the epidemic information in a timely, open, transparent and responsible manner, and shared the experience of prevention, control, and treatment with the World Health Organization and the international community and provided assistance to many countries," said President Xi. "I am very concerned about the development of the pandemic in Brazil and hope that Brazil can stop the spread of the disease as soon as possible," he added.

To sustain this sentiment, a major precondition is to avoid stigmatization of COVID-19 vis-a-vis China. Numerous attempts by Brazilian officials, including lawmaker Eduardo Bolsonaro, held China at "fault" for the pandemic, while claiming "freedom is the solution."

The hostilities, echoed weeks later by the country's Education Minister Abraham Weintraub, gave rise to a degree of speculation which ran contrary to the health ministry's supply talks with Beijing. "If they [China] sell us 1,000 ventilators, I'll get down on my knees in front of the embassy, apologize, and say I was an idiot," said Weintraub in a radio interview.

This line of attack must stop for the better.

It is also important to note that Beijing has never generalized any groundless assertions on the entire Brazilian leadership during the pandemic. This is because China recognizes the meritorious stand taken by Brazil's wider political and civilian establishment to further the cause of cooperation.

Support ranged from public majorities to opposition parties, scholars, and media outlets – where major stakeholders spoke against the unfair stigmatization of COVID-19, mirroring the World Health Organization's (WHO) consensus that viruses must not be linked to specific countries and regions. It is this very sentiment that deserves to be carried forward between two long-standing partners, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic takes its toll globally.

Evidence from other countries reflects the usefulness of intergovernmental coordination in overcoming medical supply reservations. A case in point is China's close cooperation with the Dutch government last month, where reservations over 600,000 China-manufactured face masks were subject to a formal investigation, only to be handled in the best interests of both parties. Close diplomatic coordination and rapid Chinese assistance to Mexico – a close ally of both Beijing and Brasilia – has again reinforced the merits of intergovernmental coordination during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Note that a malicious campaign is also underway to exploit China's COVID-19 support to Latin America. Sensational reports surfaced last week claiming that President Xi "refused to speak" to President Bolsonaro when the latter reached out. Data on public sentiment has also been skewed to falsely indicate "damage to Chinese image" within Brazil's social media circles.

In reality, over 90 percent of social media posts in the country condemned racially provocative positions by serving officials, accompanied by categorical endorsement of Chinese support.

It is against this backdrop that Brasilia should leverage Beijing's willingness to engage in direct, state-to-state coordination in the event of any future assistance or reservations. Resorting to unnecessary outrage on public forums not only undermines the potential for overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, but lends fuel to the divisive agendas of select Western entities.

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Huawei donates high-tech solutions to boost S.Africa's COVID-19 fight
JOHANNESBURG - Leading ICT solutions provider Huawei donated four Huawei Cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI) diagnostic systems and four thermal scanning systems to help South Africa's fight against COVID-19.
South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said AI was an important diagnostic method that would boost his team's efforts to successfully diagnose and treat infected patients.
"Using Information and communications technology (ICT) is another important weapon in our arsenal to fight against this virus," he said when receiving the donation at Huawei's Johannesburg headquarters on Tuesday.
"We are grateful to Huawei for sharing this innovative system. We look forward to exploring the capabilities of these solutions as we are constantly looking to capacitate our facilities with technology that improves efficiency and accuracy in our health care delivery," said the minister.
The AI Cloud solution which leverages the Huawei Cloud that was built in South Africa allows for fast, highly accurate diagnosis of coronavirus pneumonia by analyzing CT scans of a patients' lungs.
This system has been implemented successfully in countries like UK, Mexico, Thailand and China.
Huawei also donated four thermal scanning systems that can be used in high-density pedestrian areas to conduct body temperature monitoring, which is a critical early detection method.
"Early detection helps to reduce the spread of the virus and to flatten the curve. Speeding up diagnosis time from hours to minutes with a 98 percent accuracy rate, is a powerful tool for treating, monitoring and management of the disease," said Huawei South Africa CEO Spawn Fan.
"The crisis of COVID-19 presents a huge challenge to all humankind in a globalized world, the pandemic we face today can no longer be resolved by any individual country. Rather, we need to combat the virus by working hand in hand. At this moment, we can't beat this virus unless we eliminate boundaries to resources and share our know-how and hard-learned lessons," concluded Fan.
South Africa's Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor on Tuesday thanked Huawei, along with other Chinese companies and the Chinese government, for their donations and contribution to South Africa to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

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China, Africa in communication on situation of Africans in Guangdong: spokesperson
BEIJING, April 15 (Xinhua) -- China said here Wednesday it is in close communication and friendly talks with the African side on the situation of Africans living in south China's Guangdong Province, reiterating that all foreigners are treated equally as Guangdong is enhancing anti-epidemic measures in the face of mounting pressure caused by imported cases of COVID-19.

"Many African people living in Guangdong are gradually returning home for house quarantine while complying with the Chinese epidemic prevention regulations, and proper arrangements have been made for some African people who have difficulties, said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian at a press briefing.

Zhao reiterated China's friendly policy toward Africa, saying China will not apply differential treatment to any special groups in epidemic prevention and control.

Over the past few days, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a phone call with Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong held a group meeting with ambassadors and representatives from over 20 African countries to discuss the situation of Africans in Guangdong Province with regard to the local COVID-19 response, and China's embassies in African countries were also engaged in active communication with the African side, the spokesperson said.

Zhao noted that many African countries and African diplomats in China agree that Guangdong Province's measures are aimed at protecting the health of all Chinese people and foreigners, and that foreigners in Guangdong should cooperate and support the local anti-epidemic measures.

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Brazilian soybean exports to China unaffected by COVID-19: industry leader
SAO PAULO, April 7 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's soybean industry has not been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue exporting to China, its top client, at an "expansive" pace, a senior official at the Brazilian Association of Vegetable Oil Industries (Abiove) said on Tuesday.
"Brazil is striving to supply its domestic market and also guarantee its exports. All of the coronavirus prevention measures in the country are not causing any problem for soy exports," Abiove's chief economist, Daniel Amaral, told Xinhua.
Abiove's monthly report in April maintained its harvest forecast for 2020 at a record 123.7 million tons, compared to the 120 million harvested in 2019.
"Sales to China continue in an expansive way," said Amaral, whose association gathers Brazil's soy enterprises, including those who make soybeans, soybean oil and soybean meal.
China accounts for nearly 75 percent of Brazil's soybean exports, said Amaral.
"International trade in soybean will expand again. Brazil's sales to China are constantly evolving. In 2014, they stood at 32 million tons. In 2018, they stood at 68 million tons and in 2019, at 58 million tons. For 2020, we estimate somewhat over 55 million tons," he said.
"Brazil is a historic and strategic partner for China in the realm of soy," said Amaral.
"The bilateral trade data reflects the mutual trust we have with China, both in Brazil's export capacity and in Brazil's confidence in the Chinese market," he added.
While Brazil's export outlook appears solid, it remains to be uncertain how the COVID-19 health crisis will impact domestic demand for such products as cooking oil and biodiesel, he said.
Abiove has not seen any changes in logistics regarding soy shipments to China and other destinations amid the outbreak.
However, the association did launch a campaign to support truck drivers during the lockdown with lunchboxes as restaurants and fast-food stops along the highways were closed in line with quarantine measures.

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Chinese entrepreneur in Brazil experiences changes amid epidemic
Liu Beibei is an entrepreneur living in Brazil. She decided to join a startup after graduating in 2013, and later became a co-founder of a fintech company. The company has been growing for the past seven years with its business expanding globally. Two years ago, Liu went to Brazil under the company's blueprint, starting to live and work in the country.
Liu was spending Spring Festival in Guangxi, her hometown, when COVID-19 broke out in China. Though hard to leave family, she flew back to São Paulo in early February as planned. She paid close attention to the situation in China while working in another hemisphere.
At that time, the atmosphere in São Paulo was totally different from the push notifications in her cellphone. On the weekend of Feb 22, Brazilians were celebrating the annual carnival. "Coronavirus is merely horrific news from the other side of the world, 16,000 kilometers away from here."
On Feb 26 and 29, Brazil confirmed two COVID-19 cases. Both patients were residents of São Paulo who had recently traveled to Italy. In the middle of March, companies started implementing a work from home policy after being called on by local and state governments. Residents were encouraged to limit their trips outside and try to self-isolate.
However, wearing masks is not common among Brazilians. At the early stage of the outbreak, the government issued guidelines specifically asking people not to wear masks, so they could be spared for medical workers and patients in need. Liu visited several pharmacies, but they were sold out with no promise of being restocked.
The Brazilian aerospace industry ranks third in global aircraft manufacturing, trailing Boeing and Airbus. São Paulo is the third-largest city after New York and Tokyo in terms of helicopter traffic. "Normally, you'd see flights or helicopters dashing through the sky every several minutes. Now it seems a lot more silent."
Stores on the street have mostly closed, including flower carts, restaurants and barber shops. Even soccer fields that used to be occupied every day are empty now. Brazil's football confederation had announced on March 15 that all national tournaments would be suspended from March 16.
Like many cities, the food delivery platforms in Brazil are still providing services. The bikes of food delivery workers are the most common sight on the street. Supermarkets are still open, properly stocked with daily necessities. Liu observed that people are already keeping their distance while queuing.
However, the lockdown measures taken by states have been strongly opposed by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who launched on social media a campaign titled "Brazil'seconomy 'can't stop' for coronavirus", calling on people to go back to work soon and recover the economy. Liu said the Brazilians around her hold polarized opinions, and the gap remains as wide as that between the president and health minister, who are already on the verge of parting ways.
To express their dissatisfaction at the inaction of the Bolsonaro government, quarantined Brazilians started banging pots and pans in protest. They screamed, yelled and played the national anthem to express their anger.
Early on March 23, the Brazilian gang Comando Vermelho issued a curfew notice on a social media platform.
The message goes like this: "Guys, stay home. The situation is getting serious and there are people who are taking it as a joke......Now you will stay at home under any circumstance. There is a curfew every day from 8 pm. People caught on the street will learn how to respect others (will suffer punishment). We want the best for the population. If the government does not have the capacity to manage it, our group (mafia organization) will manage it."
Living in São Paulo, Liu also heard the news of "gangs calling for curfews". But the areas that gangs frequent are too dangerous, and she keeps a great distance from them, as other Chinese do. "That's a completely different world." Liu said.

Chinese entrepreneur in Brazil experiences changes amid epidemic - World -
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Jack Ma Foundation delivers second consignment of donations to Botswana
GABORONE, April 16 (Xinhua) -- The second consignment of medical supplies from Jack Ma Foundation to Botswana government arrived in Gaborone, the capital city on Thursday evening.

The consignment consists of 18,912 extraction kits, 18,900 swabs and viral transport medium, 10,320 N95 masks, 9,500 medical gloves, 3,800 face shields, 3,700 medical protective clothing, 36 thermometer guns and two ventilation machines.

After receiving the donation at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, Morrison Sinvula, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, said with the second helping from the Chinese foundation, Botswana now has enough protective clothing for front liners.

Lemogang Kwape, Minister of Health and Wellness, on Thursday morning announced that the southern African country has registered two new confirmed Coronavirus cases, bringing the total cases to 15 since the first case was identified in mid March. Of the 15 cases, one, a 79-year-old woman, has died.

The country is now on a 28-day lockdown that will end on April 30.

Parliament has also recently adopted a motion that President Mokgweetsi Masisi tabled requesting for a six moths period of state of emergency, which he argued will help government better fight the scourge. Enditem

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Roundup: COVID-19 cases nudge 80,000 in Iran, Turkey; More Chinese medical aid received in Mideast
CAIRO, April 16 (Xinhua) -- The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases nudges 80,000 both in Iran and Turkey on Thursday, but with different speed. Meanwhile, more countries in the Middle East have received medical aid from China.
Iran's health ministry said on Thursday that 1,606 more people tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number to 77,995.
The death toll of the pandemic in the country has hit 4,869, up by 92, while 52,229 have so far recovered and left hospitals.
The increase in infections in Iran, the worst-hit country in the Middle East, has been declining continuously. But some Western media disagreed.
Iran's parliament dismissed the reports of Western media about the number of infections and death toll over the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country.
"The figures released by foreign media about coronavirus cases and casualties (in Iran) are wrong and invalid," said Mohammad Qassemi, the caretaker director of the Parliament's Research Center, who accused foreign media outlets of distorting the figures.
Turkey on Thursday witnessed another daily increase of over 4,500 new cases, posing a trend of surpassing Iran in the tally of total infections soon.
Turkish health minister confirmed 4,801 new COVID-19 cases and 125 more deaths from the virus, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 74,193 and the death toll to 1,643.
And 7,089 patients have recovered, while 1,854 others are being treated in intensive care units.
As part of efforts to curb virus' spread, Turkey started to release thousands of prisoners.
Egypt received on Thursday the first batch of China's anti-coronavirus materials including 20,000 N95 masks, 10,000 protective suits and 10,000 testing kits for COVID-19.
Mohamed Shawky, undersecretary of Egyptian Health Ministry, expressed his "appreciation to the Chinese side for the aid and its support for Egypt amid the ongoing difficult conditions."
Chinese Ambassador to Egypt Liao Liqiang said China will provide information and technical assistance for Egypt to contain the pandemic, adding more batches of aid will be sent to Egypt in the coming days.
So far, Egypt has confirmed 2,673 COVID-19 cases, of whom 196 have died and 596 recovered.
Also, China has donated medical supplies to Syria and Lebanon.
China has donated 3,000 testing kits and 200 manual thermometers to Lebanon, and donated 2,016 COVID-19 test kits to Syria, to help them fight against COVID-19.
Lebanon has registered 663 COVID-19 cases with 21 deaths. Syria has confirmed 33 cases, including five recoveries and two deaths.
Israel, the third worst-hit country in the region, on Thursday reported 257 new COVID-19 cases and 12 new deaths, raising the total cases to 12,758 and death toll to 143.
It's largest business organization said the pandemic has so far caused a damage worth 12 billion U.S. dollars to the Israeli business sector.
The main sectors affected are tourism, hospitality industry and non-food retail.
Kuwait on Thursday reported 119 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number to 1,524.
The death toll remained at three, and 225 patients have recovered while 1,296 patients are receiving treatment, including 32 in ICU.
In Doha, the health ministry said 392 new cases were detected, pushing the tally to 4,103, of whom seven have died and 415 other recovered.
Oman reported the same day 109 new cases of the pandemic, and the death toll remained at four.
The Iraqi health ministry confirmed 19 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections to 1,434.
So far, out of the total confirmed cases, 80 died and 856 others recovered, said the ministry.
The United Arab Emirates, the first among the Gulf countries to report COVID-19 cases, registered 460 new COVID-19 infections, as the tally hit 5,825.
Its health ministry also confirmed two more deaths, pushing the country's death toll to 35.
In Saudi Arabia, the situation is also threatening. So far, 6,380 cases tested positive for the virus, and 83 have passed away.
Morocco reported 259 new cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 2,283.
The death toll from the virus reached 130, while the number of cured cases stood at 249, its health ministry said.
Algeria said 12 deaths and 108 infections with the virus have been reported in the past 24 hours.
The death toll of COVID-19 in the country hit 348, and the total infections rose to 2,268 as 783 patients have recovered.
Tunisia's total cases of COVID-19 reached 822 after 42 new cases were detected. The death toll now stood at 37.
The total cases infected with COVID-19 in the Palestinian territories reached 376 on Thursday, including 282 in the West Bank, 13 in the Gaza Strip and 81 in East Jerusalem. Enditem

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Anti-epidemic cooperation to strengthen China-Africa friendship: spokesperson
BEIJING, April 17 (Xinhua) -- China will continue to send medical teams to relevant African countries, continue to provide anti-epidemic materials in short supply within its capacity, and support African countries and people in their fight against the epidemic, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Friday.
He made the remarks in response to a question concerning media reports that said during a recent meeting with the media, Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama spoke positively of China's achievements in fighting the epidemic as well as measures taken by China to properly address the situation of African citizens in Guangdong Province.
Zhao confirmed the reports, saying that Onyeama also called on the Nigerian people to view the situation of African nationals in Guangdong objectively and rationally and clarified some untrue remarks.
Many African foreign ministers, ambassadors to China and consul generals in Guangzhou have expressed their understanding of the epidemic prevention measures taken by Guangdong and their appreciation of the measures taken by China to address the concerns of African countries, they also required their nationals to abide by the local epidemic prevention regulations, Zhao noted.
"China and Africa are a community of shared future. At the critical moment of China's fight against the epidemic, our African brothers have given us strong solidarity and support. At present, the epidemic situation in Africa is still developing, and China is highly concerned," Zhao stressed.
The two teams of medical experts sent by the Chinese government had arrived in Ethiopia and Burkina Faso on Thursday. "We believe that cooperation in battling the epidemic will further strengthen the friendship between China and Africa," he added. Enditem

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