But Myanmar still has some obstacles to deal with in order

attract foreign capital. The first is instability in the job market and relatively low labor efficiency. Particularly, the recent years have seen an increasing number of strikes and the failure of the g

overnment to ease industrial relations conflicts with effective measures has crippled investor confidence in the country. Some foreign ent

erprises even withdrew from Myanmar and shifted to neighboring countries, denting the image of the nation.

Second, Myanmar’s backward infrastructure may deter potential investors. A small nu

mber of power generation facilities and fragmented grids cannot ensure stable and sufficient po

wer supply. Access to electricity is limited to only 26 percent of the population, impeding Myanmar’s economic development.

Third, some Myanmese are prejudiced against foreign investment. Worrying that Myanmar’s eco

nomic and social interests may be impaired, they turned their backs on foreign investment. Demonstrators r

allied in Kachin State to demand the government permanently halt the Myitsone dam project, without giving any constructive suggestion on the fo

llow-up arrangements. It’s fair to say some movements against foreign-invested projects, driven by nationalism an

d so-called environmental concern, are of no help in improving the country’s investment environment, and have hijacked economic development. Re

specting the spirit of the contract is a basic requirement for modern states and their people. Myanmar State Councilor Aun

g San Suu Kyi recently said an administration shouldn’t terminate foreign-invested projects approved by its predecessor.

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The BJP has projected Gandhi as a “Chinese propagandist.

raving about China,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra was quoted as saying in The Times of India.

The BJP has also questioned the “request” of the Chinese ambassador to give a ceremonial send-off to Gandhi for his Mansarovar trip. “When Rahul Gan

dhi went for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, a letter was sent by the Chinese ambassador to the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) that he wanted to give Rah

ul Gandhi a ceremonial send-off. This protocol is limited to heads of state or government and leader of opposition. No

w it is clear why China wanted to extend this protocol to Rahul Gandhi. Yatra was just an excuse, he had to meet Chinese ministers and discuss so

mething. The cat is out of the bag today, and the Congress needs to clarify,” Patra told Hindustan Times. The BJP didn’t stop at that. It als

o dug into Gandhi’s earlier meeting with the Chinese envoy in India during the Doklam standoff.

If the developments are any indication, the BJP is desperate to raise any issue which could work in its favor in the elections with the mood of the general

masses not looking positive towards the party. It wants to eliminate the anti-incumbency factor and divert the at

ention of the masses from more pressing issues. The main opposition has alleged the BJP failed to keep its promise of

generating 20 million jobs in a year. The opposition is also repeatedly raising the Rafale fighter jet deal to counter M

odi’s take on corruption. Now the BJP strategists feel playing the China card, to a certain extent, could help the ruling party in this matter.

But experts say such issues are not going to impact the elections. “China card will prove to be of litt

le or just no help for the BJP,” says Ajay Jha, a prominent Delhi-based journalist who is an expert in Chinese affairs.

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Vice premier urges bolder, more effective measures imp

Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng on Friday stressed to take bolder and more

effective measures to implement the proactive fiscal policy.

Han, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Co

mmittee, made the remarks when presiding over a meeting after an inspection of the Ministry of Finance (MOF).

At the meeting, Han studied major issues, including the launch of another round of tax cu

ts and fighting the “three critical battles” against risks, poverty and pollution.

The MOF should stick to the basic tone of seeking progress while maintaining stability, promote

high-quality development and take coordinated steps to ensure steady growth, advance reform, m

ake structural adjustments, improve living standards and guard against risks, Han stressed.

He said that larger tax cuts will be helpful in improving the co

untry’s income distribution system and the tax structure and better serve China’s current macro policy.

The MOF should relieve the social insurance payment burden of firms, strengthen the manag

ement of the fiscal revenue and expenditure and create a sound policy environment for fair competition, Han said.

Han underlined that measures should be in place to effectively prevent and handle financial risks, reinforce the

monitoring of the local government debt risk and deploy more funds to facilitate winning the battles against poverty and pollution.

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Regulator issues guidelines to make loan renewal easier

he China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission Beijing Office announced on Thursday it has issued guidelines for banking institutions on re

newing micro and small business loans to shorten the financing chain and reduce financing costs.

The guidelines aim to cut unnecessary so-called “passageway business” a

nd bridging finance that “bridges” the gap between the time when a company’s m

oney is set to run out and when it can expect to receive an infusion of funds later on, under the premise that banking in

stitutions will meet the requirements on internal control and risk management.

“The loan renewal policy is actually a credit policy to incentivize lending to high-quality enterpri

ses,” said Jiang Ping, a senior official at the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission Beijing Office.

“For companies that have run into temporary operational difficulties but still have enormous potential for development, banks should help them get th

rough the tough times by renewing their loans. However, banks are forbidden from covering or delaying risk ex

posure associated with lending to ‘zombie firms’, which cannot repay loans, in the name of loan renewal,” she said.

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henzhen to strengthen smoking policylayed at a shopping ma

Shenzhen is to strengthen its regulations on smoking in public places, making it the strictest smoking policy in history, Nanfang Daily has reported.

The strenghtening is to focus on five areas of the policy.

Since the implementation of the smoking policy in Shenzhen on March 1, 2014, smoking in public places has been banned, carrying a total fine of 3.745 millio

n yuan, comprising a 3.325 million yuan fine for illegal smokers and 420,000 yuan for public places that failed to control smoking.

In implementing the policy however, problems arose with excessive fines, difficulties

with law enforcement and evidence collection, and complicated punishment procedures.

Deputies of Shenzhen People’s Congress on Jan 18 jointly proposed that Shenzhen should revise the policy to make the regulations more practical and operable.

The revised draft of The Regulation on Smoking Control explicitly expands the de

finition of smoking to include the use of e-cigarettes and other lit tobacco products.

It also expands the scope of smoke-free areas, which now include outdoor p

latforms and areas featuring wait lines for public transport, such as buses, coa

ches, taxis, subways, ships, civil aircraft and other public transport vehicles.

Smoking is also prohibited within five meters of subway entrances and exits.

The draft enhances protection for minors. It stipulates that no tobacco produ

cts are to be sold within 100 meters of kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, and children’s activity centers.

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Judge finds Manafort lied to investigators in Russia probe

WASHINGTON — A federal judge has found that Paul Ma

nafort, US President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, has breached his plea a

greement with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office by intentionally lying to prosecutors.

Then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as his campaign manager Pa

ul Manafort looks on during Trump’s walk through at the Republican National Convention in C

leveland, US, July 21, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]
US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson sa

ys in an order that there’s sufficient evidence that Manafort lied in breach of his plea agreement.

The decision hurts Manafort’s chance of receiving a reduced sentence next month.

Manafort was accused of lying about several matters including his discussions with a longt

ime associate the FBI says has ties to Russian intelligence. Mueller’s prosecutors have said the discussions be

tween Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik about a Ukrainian peace plan go to the “heart” of the Mueller probe.

Manafort was also accused of lying about sharing polling data with Kilimnik during the 2016 presidential campaign.

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Pompeo, Lavrov hold phone talks over INF, Venezuela

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has had a phone conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, reaffirming US stance on the Inte

rmediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and Venezuela, the State Department said on Wednesday.

Pompeo told his Russian counterpart on Tuesday that the INF Treaty would terminate in early August unless Russia com

es back into full and verifiable compliance with the treaty, the State Department said in a statement.

Pompeo and Lavrov also discussed the situation in Venezuela and a peaceful transition to

democracy that is in the best interest of both the United States and Russia, said the statement.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that Lavrov warned Pompeo in the phone co

nversation that Russia opposed US intervention in the internal affairs of Venezuela, including the use of force.

Washington will face violations of international law if the United States intervenes, Lavrov told his counterpart.

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Yueyang Huagu Opera originated more than 200 years ago. It is

mainly popular in a dozen counties and cities in not just Hunan, but also in the adjacent Hubei province and the eastern Jiangxi province.

In its long development process, the opera has widely absorbed features of Yueyang folk tunes and artistic factors of other opera types t

o form its own style. Traditionally, Huagu Opera had no full-time performing troupes, and was only pe

rformed by amateur artists, most of whom were local farmers, during slack farming seasons on temporary stages.

In 2007, Yueyang Huagu Opera was recognized by the State Council, China’s Cabinet, as

a national intangible cultural heritage for its cultural, historical and artistic significance.

In recent years, measures have been taken by the local government to promote the art form.

The One Yuan Theater, which aims to cultivate more audience, has been a successfu

l attempt, says Yi Wen, an expert of Huagu Opera, who works at a local cultural center in Yueyang.

“Traditional culture still means a lot to the local people. Even some younger residents have shown their interest in the opera,” Yi says.

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The shows at the One Yuan Theater are performed by a tro

upe that’s affiliated to the cultural center where Yi works. Currently, there are about 30 members in the opera troupe, with ages r

anging from 20 to over 60. The average age of the per-formers is 40, according to Yi. Being listed as a national int

angible cultural heritage has drawn more efforts toward protecting the art form.

“Most of the young performers were recruited after the opera was listed as national intangible cultural heritage,” Yi adds.

The local government’s support in recent years includes adding to the troupe member

s’ livelihoods and taking on costs for regular shows at the One Yuan Theater into its annual budget plan, Yi says.

Liu Liurong, 50, a leading member of the troupe, says she has witnessed the enhancement o

f the opera over the past years. Having performed such shows for more than 30 years, Liu is recognized as a p

rovincial-level inheritor of the art since 2009. She says she had dreamed of standing on stage since she was in middle school.

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Tiantongyuan redevelopment set to improve lives Wen | Chi

Li, the professor, is a regular visitor, and he and his wife often bring their 3-year-

old daughter to participate in the activities. He

has also established a discussion group in Huilongguan in the hope of using people’s input to build a better area.

“Everyone has an idea of the kind of life they want to live, and to live in a better

community is everyone’s dream,” he said.

In an interview with 21st Century Business Herald, Tian Zaiwei, CEO of Sh

untiantong Co, the company overseeing Tiantongyuan’s red

evelopment, said the neighborhood covers the same area as many medium-

sized cities overseas. That means there is st

ill a long way to go, because construction and improvement of a city can often take

decades or even 100 years.

After 20 years, Tiantongyuan has slowly filled its developmental gaps, and despite

the lack of infrastruct

ure, the congestion and dense population, it remains an area that many

people consider when looking to buy property.

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