Thai voters cast ballots in first general election since 2014 coup

BANGKOK – Thai voters flock to polling stations across the c

ountry on Sunday for the country’s first general election since the 2014 coup.

Eligible voters have been lining up at polling station since 6:00 am local time. Prime Min

ister Prayut Chan-o-cha cast his ballot at a station in Bangkok at about 8:30 am local time.

The prime minister asked voters to use their rights properly to bring about unity and better development of the country.

High ranking government officials and leaders of political parties also showed up at polling stations in the morning.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan reiterated that security of the coun

try is the top priority of the government, ruling out political unrest during election.

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Volunteers inundate blood donation center near explosion site

After an explosion at a chemical plant killed 47, residents of Xiangshui county in Jiangs

u province have flooded centers to donate blood for the severely injured survivors.

There were so many people coming in to donate blood

that the organizers at one center ran out of application forms, China Daily discovered Friday afternoon.

“On average,People wait in line to donate blood at a donation point after

a deadly chemical factory blast killed dozens in Xiangshui county in Jiangsu province on Frid

ay people have to wait for at least five hours for their turn,” said Meng Xianghua, a me

mber of the local labor union that has been assisting in the drive to build up blood supplies following the blast.

He said one of his neighbors came in at 8 am Friday and had to wait until 1:30 pm to d

onate. “There are so many people coming that we failed to count how many people have donated so far,” he added.

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The blast occurred on Thursday at the Chenjiagang Industria

Park in the city of Yancheng, in Jiangsu province, and the fire was brought under control on Friday.

Meng’s union has been offering free food and drinking water to those donating blood since the center was set up Thursday.

Gao Shuibao, a volunteer at the local Red Cross society, estimated at least 280 people don

ated their blood on Thursday and the number stood at more than 200 on Friday morning.

Zhang Yinlong, whose home is about 20 kilome

ters away from the donation point, had come in for the fourth time on Friday to give blood.

“I came at 5 pm yesterday, but only found an extremely long line. I went back home and came ba

ck again at about 8 pm, but had to give it up after waiting for two hours,” said the 38-year-old.

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Vietnamese truck enters China via the Second Beilun River

The bridge will greatly alleviate traffic burden on the First Beilun River Bridge three kilomet

ers away, which was previously the only means of shipping personnel and cargo to or from Dongxing Checkpoint.

Statistics from immigration authorities show that 12.19 million people and 47,056 vehicles passed over the old bridge in 2018, far beyond its maximum capacity.

The new bridge is now designated for freight vehicles, while the First Be

ilun River Bridge is reserved for personnel. This could save 30 minutes or more in custo

ms clearance time for each consignment, according to Huang Xiong, deputy chief of Dongxing Customs.

1.jpgIn early 2015, the Barack Obama administration tried desperately to block the United King

dom and several other European countries from joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank by ac

cusing, without any basis, the then newly established bank of possible low environmental and governance standards.

The real reason, according to former US treasury secretary Larry Summers, was that the Obama adm

inistration could not secure any funding from the Republican-controlled Congress to join the AIIB. And to s

ave itself from embarrassment, the US administration tried to prevent European countries from joining the bank.

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On March 13, CNBC reported that Malta, an island nation i

the Mediterranean that is also a EU member state, has indicated it, too, could join the BRI. The news channel quoted Maltes

e Finance Minister Edward Scicluna as saying that “certain prejudices” should not come in the way of good business.

I am not sure if Marquis, or his boss, US National Security Advisor John Bolton, plan to lecture, warn or th

reaten Malta as they have been doing to Italy these past days. But instead of indulging in such rea

ctionary activities, the US should abandon its Cold War mentality and stop looking for non-existent enemies.

More important, the US should also stop forcing other countries to ch

oose between China and the US, especially as many countries made it clear they do not wan

t to be lectured on what they should do when the Obama administration launched the “pivot to Asia strategy”.

The world needs more infrastructure-building projects such as the BRI, not mo

ves to sabotage such projects, as the US has been trying to do for quite some time now.

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Bank of Beijing planning venture with Dutch lenderCo Ltd said

Bank of Beijing Co Ltd said on Friday that it has got the necessary board approvals for the esta

blishment of a joint venture with Netherlands-based ING Bank NV, in which the latter will be the majority partner.

With a total investment of 3 billion yuan ($448 million), the forthcoming joint-venture bank, whic

h is still waiting for regulatory approval, may become China’s first commercial lender in which a for

eign shareholder has a controlling interest. According to the plan, ING Bank will hold a 51 percent stake, and Bank of Beijing 49 percent.

Drawing on the experience of ING Bank in the successful development of direct ba

nking services, the joint venture will build a brand in the area of digital banking with the help of financial tec

hnologies and try to become a benchmark in terms of the implementation of China’s push to further open

up its financial sector to foreign investors, said the mid-tier commercial lender BOB in an announcement.

Different from the traditional counter-based model, the direct banking model uses e-cha

nnels to provide financial products and therefore has no restriction of time, regions or geographic branches.

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Brexit is costing the UK economy $1 billion a week. And it could

  rexit has been delayed, and may eventually be called off. But it’s already done major damage to the UK economy.

  The vote to leave the European Union in June 2016 caused the pound to weaken drama

tically and ushered in years of uncertainty that has reduced economic activity and triggered a slump in investment.

  The economy is now 2% smaller than it would have been if the United Kingdom had chosen to remain in the bloc, according to the Bank of England. The econ

omic output lost since the referendum is worth about £800 million ($1 billion) per week, or £4.7 million ($6 million) per hour.

  The economic consequences have piled up despite there having been no struct

ural changes yet to Britain’s trading relationship with EU nations or the rest of the world.

  Britain has continued to sell goods and services into the European Un

ion, its biggest trading partner, while politicians worked to negotiate the divorce. It has been

easy for UK companies to hire EU workers, and to maintain supply chains that crisscross national borders

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Kazakh parliament approves renaming of capital to Nursultan

ASTANA – The Kazakh parliament approved a bill to rename the capital of Kazakhstan a

fter former President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Wednesday at a joint meeting of its two houses.

The bill was passed in two readings and the decision was announced by Nurlan Nigmatul

in, speaker of the lower house of the Kazakh parliament, state news agency Kazinform reported.

At the initiative of the new interim president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, it was dec

ided to change the name of the capital from Astana to Nursultan without a referendum.

Earlier in the day, Tokayev took office as Kazakhstan’s interim president following the sud

den resignation of Nazarbayev, who had served as the country’s president for nearly three decades.

After the inauguration, Tokayev proposed to rename the Kazakh capital in honor of the former president.

RIA Novosti news agency quoted Kazakh Justice Minister Marat Beketayev as saying

that the bill has yet to be signed into law by the president in order to become effective.

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Purrfect! A smart shelter powered by AI keeps stray cats warm in

A constant temperature of 27 degrees, a water bowl that never freezes, a comfy mat, and no dogs allowed.

Those are the amenities for felines in a neighborhood in Beijing’s Sh

unyi district, where stray cats can loll around contentedly all winter, nibbling food and sipp

ing water, safe from the weather and provided with love through an artificial intelligence platform. It is purrfection.

Wan Xi, an engineer at Baidu Brain-the open AI platform of Baidu-had the idea of build

ing a smart shelter for strays when he found a kitten huddled on his car tire in the winter of 2017.

Winter is rough for stray animals, as they require extra calories to stay warm. Only around 40 perc

ent of stray cats find enough food and shelter to make it through the harsh temperatures.

Although volunteers offer water, food and even heating pads to stray animals, Beijing’s freezin

g winters can turn a bowl of water into ice before a cat can drink. Many stray cats don’t live more than two ye

ars. Those that are not neutered or spayed face more health problems and spawn more homeless cats.

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He went into hiding in 1996 and was finally arrested in 2008

Serbian capital, Belgrade. Karadzic was heavily disguised by a white beard, long

hair and spectacles, living under a false identity as a “spiritual healer.”

Karadzic is the highest-ranking political figure to have been brought to justice over the bitter ethnic conflicts of the 1990s.

Wednesday’s judgement was handed down by the UN’s international residual mechanism for cr

iminal tribunals, which deals with cases left over from the now dissolved courts for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

In November 2017 the court also sentenced former Bosnian Serb army leader Ratko Mladi

c to life in prison after finding him guilty of genocide for atrocities committed during the Bosnian war from 1992 to 1995.

Mladic was charged with two counts of genocide and nine crim

es against humanity and war crimes for his role in the conflict in the former Yugoslavia fro

m 1992 to 1995, during which 100,000 people were killed and another 2.2 million displaced.

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