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Month: February 2019

Trade talks expected to finalize dealNG SHUIYU,ZHONG NA

China and the United States are expected to come to an agreement soon over trade frictions, analysts said, as the negotiating teams a

re reported to be discussing the wording of an accord and considering applying the brakes to their tariff standoff.

They made the prediction after Chinese and US officials said there had been concrete p

rogress on multiple issues in the latest round of trade talks in Washington.

During the latest talks, held from Thursday to Sunday in Washington, the seventh round since February of last year, th

e two sides focused on the text of an agreement, the Chinese delegation said, according to a Xinhua News Agency report.

The negotiators also had made substantial progress on such specific issues as technology transfers, protection of i

ntellectual property rights, nontariff barriers, the service industry, agriculture and exchange rates, the delegation said.

On the basis of the latest progress, the two sides are expected to continue their work

into the next stage, in accordance with the instructions of the two countries’ top leaders, according to Xinhua.

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Critics of the Trump administration’s unconventional North

  Korea policy have assailed the President and his advisers for failing to get the North to agree to anything specific at

their June meeting — the first between a North Korean leader and a sitting US president — in Singapore.

  The US contends that talks have brought the two sides back from the brink of war and created an unprecedented opportunity to cut a deal.

  A handful of analysts believe there is an agreement to be had but question whether either side has the flexibility to compromise.

  Trump touts trust with Kim in TV interview

  ”So far, the negotiations have reduced tensions for a year and slowed the advancem

ent of the arsenal marginally. The trick now is to make those limits permanent and to make th

em strict limits,” said Adam Mount, an expert in nuclear deterrence at the Federation of American Scientists.

  Lee, the former AP Pyongyang bureau chief, likens Trump and Kim’s next meeting to a chess match. The first su

mmit helped establish a “leader-level relationship,” but Hanoi will be time to move beyond smiles and pleasantries.

  ”They (US) need to go into this next summit prepared and having done their homework,” she said.

  ”I know how tough the North Koreans are, and if you don’t understand the history and the motivations of the No

rth Koreans, it’s very easy to be swayed by the propaganda and the drama of the moment.”

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Beyond “Black Panther,” Marvel’s highlights included “Spider

  Man: Into the Spider-Verse” swinging off with best animated movie, as the Sony release topped a pair of Disney sequels, “Ralph

Breaks the Internet” and “Incredibles 2.” “Free Solo,” a hit documentary about daredevil climber Al

ex Honnold, topped the documentary feature category, which also included the Ruth Bader Ginsburg biography “RBG.” In th

eir enthusiasm, one of the filmmakers blurted out an expletive that was promptly bleeped.

  ”Bohemian Rhapsody’s” other wins came in both sound categories as

well editing. Notably, none of the “Rhapsody” winners thanked credited director, Bryan Si

nger, who was accused of sexual abuse in January, allegations that the filmmaker has denied.

  In one of the more expected victories, the team that transformed Christian Bale into former Vice Pr

esident Dick Cheney won in makeup/hairstyling for “Vice.” Visual effects, however, were something of a

surprise, going to “First Man,” the moon-landing drama about Neil Armstrong.

  Lacking a host, the producers relied on music and comedy bits to enlive

n the evening, including a duet from “A Star is Born” by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga — la

ter the winner for best song — which drew a standing ovation from the Hollywood crowd.

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Huawei strongly denies the claims and is trying har

  d to persuade the world to use its 5G technology and not cave to pressure from Washington.

  ”This is not something that should be decided by politics,” Huawei’s chairman Guo Ping said on Sunday, ahead of the formal start of Mobile World Congress.

  Guo said he was hoping “independent sovereign states” will make “independent decision

s based on their own understanding of the situation and will not just listen to someone else’s order.”

  Huawei is taking the center stage at this year’s MWC in Barcelona. The event is expected to attract around 100,000 visi

tors. To get in, they will all need a badge like this, with a Huawei lanyard. pic.twitter.com/D6PRmZpqxe

  — Ivana Kottasová (@IvanaKottasova) February 24, 2019

  The US government is trying to convince its allies to shun Huawei equip

ment, which it says could be used by the Chinese government for spying. The company vehemently denies that claim.

  ”Just because you are from a certain country doesn’t mean your equipm

ent is not secure,” Guo said. He added that Huawei must abide by Chinese law and the

laws of countries where it operates. “Huawei will never, and dare not, and cannot violate any regulations,” he said.

  Vice President Mike Pence described Huawei as a “threat.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned other cou

ntries that using Huawei would make it more difficult for the United States to “partner” with them.

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So the fact that the to-and-fro is still in progress this far

down the line highlight that there is a shared desire to secure an accord that delivers on the rapport that has been established — also perhaps beyond both side’s expectations.

But it would be getting ahead of the situation to consider the final push tow

ard a consensus on principled, mutually beneficial cooperation all done and

dusted. That consensus, which President Xi identified as the objectiv

e of the talks when he met with the US negotiators after the previous round of neg

otiations in Beijing, has still not been completed, and probably will not be until the two leaders meet to agree on the final det

ails. But there is no doubt that both sides are aware of how momentous such a consensus would be, beyond the tangible rewards it would offer both cou

ntries. For if the two sides can iron out their core differences by abiding by the principles of mutual respect and m

utual benefit, it would reset their relationship in a way that would bode well for the future.

History in the past four decades shows that the two countries benefit in an all-around wa

y from harmonious trade and economic relations, as they provide the ballast for their relationship.

There is obviously still more work to be done. However, if neither side puts a foot wrong, a deal will finally be signed sooner or later.

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denounced May’s “disastrous” handling of Brexit, conde

  mned the Conservative Party’s shift to the right and warned it was in danger of being taken over by extremists.

  Their announcement was timed for maximum impact, dropping just before the weekly s

ession of Prime Minister’s Questions. In a move freighted with symbolism, the three ex-Conservative MPs

joined the eight former Labour lawmakers on the opposition benches in Parliament on Wednesday.

  The move could mark the start of a reshaping of British politics as the clock continues to tick down to March 29, when the U

K is due to leave the European Union. With 37 days to go, Parliament has still not approved a Brexit deal.

  In a joint letter to May, Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston blamed their departure on the government’s “dismal failure to stand up to

the hard line ERG [European research Group],” whose members advocate a no-deal Brexit. The three lawmakers, who have

been vocal anti-Brexit campaigners, said that Britain’s exit from the EU had “re-defined the Conservative Party — undoing all the efforts to modernize it.”

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Patients and their families are doubly affected by plum

  meting purchasing power across the country. It’s a situation, Emami says, that has made a lot of treatable cases lethal.

  ”I have a patient upstairs … I diagnosed him with brain cancer. The cost of biopsy, the chemotherapy and medication is

very high. So, the family asked me if I could leave him be,” says Emami. “Every day, we see this story here.”

  Even when families can afford medical equipment they often join long waiting lists. Cardia

c pacemakers are in short supply in the country, and patients must abandon their regular lifestyles, an

d become admitted to hospitals where they are hooked up to a cardiac machine.

  Emami tells CNN that some families are opting out of paying for feed

ing tubes for relatives with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. Without the feeding tubes, the pat

ients spend the rest of their days wired to machines in hospitals, instead of receiving home care.

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Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security

  Council, was critical of Trump at a rally Saturday.

  ”The US has long been dealt blows by our country and our region and thus regularly bares its warmongering teeth,” Shamkhani said, according to state-run Press TV.

  ”And when a missile is tested thousands of kilometers away, after (issuing empty) threats, all their preside

nt does is put out a tweet,” he said in an apparent reference to North Korea’s missile tests.

  Iran Hostage Crisis Fast Facts

  Shamkhani said the United States is rethinking the election of Trump.

  ”American politicians and people are having second thoughts about their choice of presi

dent and acknowledge that the US has been defeated in materializing its foreign policy,” Shamkhani said.

  Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said this week that Iran must resist the United States.

  ”Giving in to the US will make it impudent; the only way is to resist,” Khamenei said.

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Desperate and alone, Saudi sisters risk everything

  It was September 6, 2018. The two Saudi sisters were on a family vacation in Colombo, Sri Lanka. For weeks, they had helped their mother organize the trip, feigning

excitement at the possibility of two weeks away from Riyadh, but knowing that if all went to plan, they’d never go back.

  Failure was not an option. Every step of their escape from Saudi Arabia carried the threat of severe punishment or death.

  ”We knew the first time, if it’s not perfect, it will be the last time,” Reem says.

  CNN has changed the sisters’ names and is not showing their faces, at their request for their safety.

  The sisters say years of strict Islamic teaching and physical abuse at home had convinced them that they had no future in a socie

ty that places women under the enforced guardianship of men, and limits their aspirations.

  ”It’s slavery, because whatever the woman will do it’s the business of the male,” Rawan says.

  That’s why they say they renounced Islam.

  And that’s why aged 18 and 20, they stole back their own passports, hid their abayas under the b

edcovers, snuck out of their holiday home and boarded a flight from Colombo to Melbourne, via Hong Kong.

  The Hong Kong stopover was supposed to take less than two hours.

  Two hours has turned into five months.

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Leaving Saudi Arabia is not a simple undertaking for women

  who rebel against the system. Permission is needed from a male guardian for many basic activities, including international travel.

  Reem and Rawan say they had been planning their escape in secret for two years. They didn’t dare discuss it in case they were

overheard, so, instead, they swapped WhatsApp messages, even while alone at night in their shared room.

  Before they fled, the Sri Lanka vacation was just like any other. They wore their niqabs

to the beach and sat away from the surf while their brothers swam and joked. They cooked the meals, and

spent most of their days inside. It was humid. Their niqabs stuck to their skin and made it hard to see.

  ”We travel to move from a box to another box. From home to hotel, nothing will change,” Rawan says. “They will go o

ut, they will live freely, the men, of course we will sit away, watching them doing what they want.”

Their five-year-old sister played in the sand, but their 12-year-old sister, like them,

didn’t. She too was learning that it’s OK to be a girl in Saudi Arabia — until you grow up.

During the trip, Rawan turned 18. The timing was no accident. The vacation was planned with gentle persuasion to co

incide with a birthday that, unbeknown to their mother, allowed Rawan to apply for an Australian tourist visa.

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