Hong Kong’s return 20 years later breaks the prophecy that sings the blues over its development

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(People’s Daily Online)    19:21, June 26, 2017
Hong Kong’s return 20 years later breaks the prophecy that sings the blues over its development

Hong Kong’s development in the 20 years since its return to China has broken the prophecy that sings the blue over the region’s prosperity, said People’s Daily on June 25.

Time and facts have proven China’s unique contribution to mankind’s political development. As an important reflection of modernized national governance system, the policy of “one country, two systems” has achieved a success recognized by the whole world.

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping as the core has made new achievements on work related to Hong Kong.

“One country, two systems” has become an important area for China’s Central Government in terms of national governance. And the country has supported Hong Kong at every moment the latter needed assistance.

Hong Kong experienced the Asian financial crisis and its peripheral economy decreased shortly after its return to China. Under such background, the Chinese government immediately declared that it would support and protect the linked exchange rate system in Hong Kong at all costs.

In 2003, when the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndromes (SARS) hit both mainland China and Hong Kong, the central government spared no efforts and provided free medicine and protective medical equipment for the special administrative region.

In addition, the Central Government has made timely intervention whenever misunderstandings of and disputes over the region’s Basic Law occurs. So far, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee has made five interpretations on the Basic Law and four decisions on major issues related to Kong Kong’s long-term prosperity.

By doing so, the Central Government has effectively cleared up doubts, promoting the improvement of Hong Kong’s rule of law.

Over the past two decades, local features of Hong Kong have been well preserved. Meanwhile, infrastructure of the region has seen a great improvement.

A total of nine rail lines have been opened since 1997 and seven more are currently under planning. The rail network will cover three quarters of the residential areas when completed.

According to the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2017 Results issued by International Institute for Management Development on June 1, Hong Kong has been recognized as the world’s most competitive economy for two consecutive years.

In addition, Hong Kong was also the second largest economy in terms of direct foreign investment after the U.S., attracting $175 billion from overseas, said the World Investment Report 2016 issued by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

“The stock market of Hong Kong stood at 3.2 trillion HKD in 1997,” said Chan Mo-po, Financial Secretary of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Mainland China’s reform and opening up has created huge opportunities for the development of Hong Kong’s financial sector, and it was China’s development that contributed to the region’s status of international financial center, the secretary added.

Since the return of Hong Kong, the region has enjoyed a high degree of autonomy. Under the support of the Central Government, Hong Kong and its public have gained abundant experiences which substantially improved its ability of governance and management.

A World Bank report issued in 2015 suggested a sharp increase in Hong Kong’s stability, government efficiency, and rule of law after its return. The region ranked 11 in terms of rule of law among more than 200 countries and regions, up from 60 in 1996.

“Hong Kong has witnessed an unprecedented degree of democracy during the past two decades,” said Starry Li, chairperson of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong. The region has held at least five major elections during each 5-year election cycle. In 2016, a total of 2.2 million people voted in the Legislative Council election, with a voter turnout rate of 58%, setting a historical high since 1997.

The past 20 years have fully proved that “one country, two systems” is the best policy to meet national interests and accord with Hong Kong’s conditions.

The policy of “one country, two systems” must not be changed or shaken, and its thorough implementation must be carried out. Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out that to push the policy forward, the government must grasp the essence of it, protect national sovereignty, security, and development interests, and maintain long-term stability and prosperity of Hong Kong and Macao.

Xi said that the premise for rule of law of Hong Kong is to govern the region in accordance with the constitution and the Basic Law. Therefore, the rule of law of Hong Kong must be maintained, and the authority of the Basic Law as well as the Central Government must be protected.

To summarize the past experiences is to embrace a brighter future, and to stay true to the original intention is to guarantee long-term stability. Let us propose a toast to the prosperity and a glorious future of Hong Kong.

 

Source  :  People’s Daily Online

Torrential rain hits south China’s county, causing flood

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(Xinhua)    10:47, June 26, 2017
Torrential rain hits south China's county, causing flood
People transfer goods in Jiujia Village of Qiaoyin Town in Fengshan County, south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, June 25, 2017. A torrential rain hit the county and caused flood from June 24 to 25. (Xinhua/Zhou Enge)

Source  :  Xinhua

NHRC reports serious violations against Qatari students in siege countries

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26 Jun 2017 – 22:00

NHRC reports serious violations against Qatari students in siege countries

QNA

Doha: The National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) said that it had monitored several serious violations committed by educational institutions in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain, especially the UAE, against Qatari students as a result of severing diplomatic relations with Qatar and the subsequent declaration of an illegal siege on the State.

In a statement issued today the Committee said that the arbitrary measures and decisions taken by those countries violate all human right norms, principles and charters resulting in serious violations of a range of civil, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to education.

The Committee pointed out that this unjust siege has affected the right of Qatari students to education and has deprived them of the exercise and enjoyment of this right, as stipulated in international human rights instruments.

It noted that these violations were reported in several ways, such as not allowing Qatari students to complete exams at the end of the academic year, refusal to give certificates of graduation and the closure of their educational accounts as well as the termination of their registration arbitrarily without giving reasons.

The National Human Rights Committee said that these violations led to a series of related complaints to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The Committee called on universities and educational institutions in the three countries to put aside political differences and take into account the rights of Qatari students and do not put obstacles to their right to education.

The Committee said that it would address all relevant international organizations and other international accreditation institutions about the fact that the universities and educational institutions in the three countries are committing a flagrant violation of the right to education which is incompatible with the international norms and standards on which the universities and educational institutions are evaluated, for violating all the codes of ethics of the teaching profession.

The National Human Rights Committee expressed its confidence that all governmental bodies and institutions in Qatar, led by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and Qatar University, will quickly find alternative solutions for these students and exempt them from certain conditions and restrictions in order to preserve their rights and future.

 

Source  :  thepeninsulaqatar.com

List of demands by four Arab states to Qatar very provocative: Germany

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 26 Jun 2017 – 22:11

List of demands by four Arab states to Qatar very provocative: Germany

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel. (REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman/File Photo)

By Andrea Shalal / Reuters

BERLIN: A list of 13 demands submitted by four Arab states to Qatar as a condition to lift their boycott on the Gulf country is “very provocative” because some items challenge Doha’s sovereignty, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Monday.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a boycott on Qatar three weeks ago, accusing it of backing militants – then issued an ultimatum, including demands that it shut down a Turkish military base in Doha.

Qatar denies the allegations against it and says the demands are aimed at curbing its sovereignty. A government spokesman last week said Doha was reviewing the list of demands, but did not view them as reasonable or actionable.

Gabriel told an event hosted by the European Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin that Germany remained in close touch with all sides to try to reduce tensions resulting from the biggest diplomatic crisis in the region in years.

He said some of the demands being made of Qatar were negotiable, but others clearly challenged its sovereignty.

The Arab states are demanding, among other things, that Doha close Al Jazeera television, curb ties with Iran, shut a Turkish base and also pay reparations.

Gabriel said it would be tough for Qatar to accept all 13 items on what he described as “a very provocative list”.

He said efforts were under way to define which conditions Qatar could accept, and which it viewed as problematic.

Gabriel is due to meet Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Berlin on Tuesday.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has voiced support for Qatar in its confrontation with the four states. Qatar says it is being punished for straying from its neighbours’ backing for authoritarian hereditary and military rules.

Zarif told the group earlier on Monday that Europe should use its influence to defuse tensions in the Gulf, arguing that those countries that blamed Iran or Qatar for terrorism were trying to avoid taking responsibility for their own failures.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Alison Williams)

 

Source  :  thepeninsulaqatar.com

Turkey president dismisses pledges over weapons for Kurds in Syria

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Erdogan dismisses pledges over weapons for Kurds in Syria

(Reuters) Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday countries which promised to get back weapons supplied to Kurdish YPG fighters in northern Syria were trying to trick Turkey and would eventually realize their mistake.

Ankara was infuriated by a U.S. decision last month to arm the YPG, which Washington sees as a vital ally in the battle against Islamic State in its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa but which Turkey deems an extension of the outlawed Kurdish PKK.

The PKK, designated a terrorist group by the United States, the European Union and Turkey, has been waging an insurgency in southeastern Turkey since the 1980s.

Turkish defense ministry sources said on Thursday the United States had pledged that weapons provided to the YPG would be taken back once Islamic State was defeated.

However Erdogan, addressing members of his ruling AK Party in a speech marking the start of the Islamic Eid holiday, appeared to dismiss those assurances, saying Turkey’s friends and allies were cooperating with terrorists.

“The ones who think they are tricking Turkey by saying they are going to get back the weapons that are being given to this terrorist organization will realize that they are making a mistake eventually,” he said.

“But it will be too late for them,” he added, saying that if violence spilled over Syria’s border into Turkey, Ankara would hold to account anyone who supplied arms to the YPG.

“We will make the real owners of those weapons… pay for any bullet that will be fired to our country, for every drop of blood that will be shed,” he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump decided to arm the YPG fighters, who form a main part of the U.S.-backed force fighting Islamic State inside Raqqa, despite protests from NATO ally Ankara and a direct appeal from Erdogan at a White House meeting last month.

Erdogan said the decision contravened the military alliance’s framework of cooperation.

Faced with turmoil across its southern border, Turkey last year sent troops into Syria to support Syrian rebels fighting both Islamic State and Kurdish forces who control a large part of Syria’s northern border region.

“I want all the world to know that in northern Syria, on our border, we are never going to allow a terrorist state to be established,” Erdogan said.

 

Source  :  Syria News.media

Syria’s more confident Assad gives Eid prayers in Hama

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Syria's more confident Assad gives Eid prayers in Hama

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad (3rd R) attends prayers on the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, inside a mosque in Hama, in this handout picture provided by SANA on June 25, 2017, Syria. SANA/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) Syrian President Bashar al-Assad delivered prayers for Islam’s Eid al-Fitr holiday in Hama on Sunday, the furthest he has traveled inside Syria in years, showing his growing confidence.

State television broadcast footage of Assad standing to pray in a large mosque in Hama behind its imam, with other clerics standing alongside and a large crowd of worshippers.

State news agency SANA quoted the preacher as saying that Assad’s presence in the city for Eid showed that victory and the return of security were only “a few steps” away.

Syria’s civil war has turned to Assad’s favor since 2015, when Russia sent its jets to help his army and allied Shi’ite militias backed by Iran turn back rebels and win new ground.

Since the war began in 2011, it has killed hundreds of thousands, driven millions more from their homes, sparked a global refugee crisis and drawn in regional and world powers.

The conflict is far from over. Rebels hold swathes of the country, including around Idlib province near Hama, and launched a new attack in Quneitra in the southwest on Saturday.

Rebels also hold the Eastern Ghouta area near Damascus, parts of the desert in the southeast and a large pocket south of Hama around the city of Rastan.

As recently as March, rebels advanced from Idlib province to within a few kilometers of Hama, before the army and its allies pushed them back in weeks of fierce fighting.

However, the army drove insurgents from their biggest urban stronghold in Aleppo in December and have also forced several important rebel enclaves to surrender over the past year.

FOCUS ON ISLAMIC STATE

Assad has not made a declared visit to Hama, which is about 185 km (115 miles) from Damascus, since the war began. Last year he delivered Eid prayers in Homs, about 40km (25 miles) closer to Damascus.

Early in the crisis he visited Raqqa, a city that has since become the Syrian capital of Islamic State and now faces an assault by a U.S.-backed coalition to drive out the militants.

The fight against Islamic State, which has attacked Western cities, has become the focus of Western leaders, some of whom have softened demands that Assad must quit to end the crisis.

In March, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Assad’s fate would be decided by Syrians, a change in rhetoric after years of insisting he step down to allow a political solution.

France’s new President Emmanuel Macron said this month he did not see Assad’s departure as a condition to end the fighting and the priority was stopping Syria becoming a failed state.

The U.S. and other Western states, along with Turkey and Gulf monarchies, have long supported some of the rebels, an array of groups that includes Islamist and nationalist factions. Assad describes them all as terrorists.

His military has said its focus is on the campaign in the desert, where it is advancing against Islamic State to relieve a besieged government enclave in the city of Deir al-Zor.

 

Source  :  Syria News.media

Samvel Babayan approves preparation plan for WC-2018 qualifiers

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Samvel Babayan approves preparation plan for WC-2018 qualifiers

Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) — Head coach of Uzbekistan national football team Samvel Babayan approved a preparation plan for matches of the 2018 Russia FIFA World Cup qualifiers, the Uzbekistan Football Federation said.

According to the plan, Uzbekistan team will hold a training camp abroad from 17 July to 23 July. Within the framework of training camp, the team will hold two friendly matches. Coaching staff plans to trail new players.

In the second half of August, it is also planned to organize a training. On 20 August, the team will gather in Tashkent and on 24 or 25 August hold a friendly match, presumably with one of the teams of South-East Asia.

Uzbekistan will face China on 31 August 2017 and South Korea on 5 September 2017.

 

Source  :  UzDaily