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Chinese first lady calls for global efforts to combat TB

by admin   |   Posted on Friday, September 28th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping. REUTERS/ Denis Balibouse

Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan called for a global effort to eradicate the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic on Wednesday as she addressed the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) High-Level Meeting on the Fight to End Tuberculosis via video while also explaining at length China’s endeavor to combat the disease.

Peng, who was appointed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) goodwill ambassador for TB and HIV/AIDS in 2011, shared her thoughts and experiences with the attendees of the meeting, which took place at the UN headquarters in New York City. She also shared the touching stories of unsung heroes in China who have been selflessly dedicated to the cause of combating TB.

The first lady, who is also China’s national ambassador for TB control and prevention, said that the control and prevention of the disease in China has made rapid progress, and its victims are being diagnosed and treated in a more timely and effective manner.

Such progress has been made, she pointed out, because of the great importance the Chinese government and the entire society has attached to the cause, as well as the enthusiastic participation of about 700,000 volunteers.

In some parts of China, TB prevention has become one of the key tasks in the government’s poverty alleviation program, said Peng.

Now, China has seen continuous increases of case detection and cure rates for TB and decreases in morbidity and mortality, as many TB victims in the country have had their lives renewed, said Peng, adding that the awareness rate of TB control and prevention knowledge has reached over 75 percent in China.

Thanks to the joint efforts by governments, international organizations, NGOs, specialists and volunteers, the control and prevention of the tuberculosis epidemic at the global level has scored significant achievements, but mankind still faces severe challenges in this aspect, said Peng.

The WHO has adopted the End TB Strategy, she said, urging all countries in the world to join hands and do their best to change the lives of the millions of people who are affected by TB and end the global epidemic.

The high-level meeting was chaired by Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces, president of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly. A political declaration on the control and prevention of TB was endorsed at the meeting.

In interviews after the meeting, attendees said that Peng’s speech was very impressive. Attendees also said they really appreciated China’s achievements in the fight against tuberculosis, as well as the country’s support and contribution to the global fight against TB.

“As WHO goodwill ambassador on TB and HIV/AIDS, the first lady is doing a lot within her country to raise awareness about the problem, to encourage, to provide necessary treatment to these people, and, of course, it demonstrates a very good example,” said Teresa Kasaeva, WHO Global TB Program Director.

“I saw very well the things that she highlighted, and I know the efforts that are happening in China. I want to say to China to support as well TB programs in the world,” said Lucica Ditiu, executive director of the Stop TB Partnership.

“In the future, we hope that China can achieve the goal of eliminating TB by 2030 and keep TB under control at a very low level. We hope China can continue to make more efforts and contribute to the global community,” said Ren Minghui, WHO Assistant Director-General for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases. — Reuters

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Eleven pulled alive from rubble in China building collapse

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2019

A team of rescuers are trying to find survivors under rubble after a building collapsed in Shanghai, China on May 16. | Photo grabbed from Reuters footage

Rescue services pulled out 11 people alive from a collapsed building in China’s financial hub of Shanghai on Thursday (May 16), and about same number are believed to be still trapped in the rubble.

The building in Shanghai’s Changning district was being renovated when it collapsed late in the morning, trapping some 20 people inside, fire services said in a statement.

Witnesses heard a big bang which lasted for five to six second and a cloud of dust that enveloped the building.

“The accident happened at 11 am and a big bang lasted five to six seconds. I immediately ran to the balcony and saw the entire factory was surrounded by dust. After the dust dispersed, I found the factory collapsed. As it was my first time to witness this, I was quiet shocked,” said Zhang Lei, who was working in an office next to the collapsed building

More than 150 rescuers are on the scene but they have not said how the building collapsed. (REUTERS)

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Trump: China “broke the deal” in U.S.-China trade talks

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 9th, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday (May 8) that he would be happy to keep tariffs on Chinese imports as the two countries prepare for new talks to try to rescue a faltering trade deal amid a sharp increase in U.S. duties as he charged China with “breaking the deal.”

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office announced that tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods would increase to 25 percent from 10 percent at 12:01 a.m. ET (0401) GMT on Friday (May 10), right in the middle of two days of meetings between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and Trump’s top trade officials in Washington.

Beijing announced it would retaliate if tariffs rise.

“The Chinese side deeply regrets that if the U.S. tariff measures are implemented, China will have to take necessary countermeasures,” China’s Commerce Ministry said on its website, without elaborating.

The world’s two largest economies have been embroiled in a tit-for-tat tariff war since July 2018 over the U.S. demands that the Asian powerhouse adopt policy changes that would, among other things, better protect American intellectual property and make China’s market more accessible to U.S. companies.

Expectations were recently riding high that a deal could be reached but a deep rift over the language of the proposed agreement opened up last weekend.

Reuters, citing U.S. government and private-sector sources, reported on Wednesday that China had backtracked on almost all aspects of a draft trade agreement, threatening to blow up the negotiations and prompting Trump to order the tariff increase.

Trump, who has embraced largely protectionist policies as part of his “America First” agenda, warned China on Wednesday that it was mistaken if it hoped to delay a trade deal until a Democrat controlled the White House.

The United States is demanding that Beijing make sweeping changes to its trade and regulatory practices, including protecting U.S. intellectual property from theft and forced transfers to Chinese firms, curbs on Chinese government subsidies and increased American access to China’s markets.

Trump also has sought massive hikes in Chinese purchases of U.S. farm, energy, and manufactured products to shrink a gaping U.S. trade deficit with China.

Sources familiar with the talks said China’s latest demands for changes to a 150-page document that had been drafted over several months would make it hard to avoid the U.S. tariff hike on Friday.

That increase would affect Chinese imports from computer modems and routers to vacuum cleaners, furniture, lighting, and building materials. (REUTERS)

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Thousands take to Hong Kong streets to protest new extradition laws

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, April 29th, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

Thousands of people marched to Hong Kong’s legislative council on Sunday to protest against proposed extradition rules that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial.

Some feared the move puts the city’s core freedoms at risk.

Opponents of the proposal fear further erosion of rights and legal protections in the free-wheeling financial hub — freedoms which were guaranteed under the city’s handover from British colonial rule to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.

Several thousand people had joined the march along Hong Kong island from Causeway Bay to the council in the Admiralty business district.

Protesters expressed fears that the new legislation would put ordinary Hong Kongers at risk.

“Once this law has been passed it won’t matter if you are an average person or a foreigner coming through Hong Kong, there will be a real possibility you’ll be taken and sent off to the mainland,” said Jayson Shing, a bank employee.

“It basically won’t matter whether you travel into the mainland. Just staying here in Hong Kong it’s hopeless anyway. The way they have organized this, as soon as they want to extradite you, it’s hopeless. The scariest thing is that in the mainland they can detain you via executive order, no crime is needed,” legal clerk Edward Wen said.

The peaceful marchers also chanted demands for Hong Kong’s executive Carrie Lam to step down, saying she had “betrayed” Hong Kong.

Many sported yellow umbrellas — the symbol of the Occupy civil disobedience movement that paralyzed parts of Hong Kong for 11 weeks in 2014. (REUTERS)

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