Spain’s govt loses budget vote, paving way for snap election

Spain’s parliament rejected the government’s 2019 draft budget on Wednesday, pushing the country to the brink of a national election.

Sources in the government and the Socialist party of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told Reuters on Tu

esday that he would call a snap election if the draft was rejected, with April 14 or April 28 the most likely dates.

The Socialists hold less than a quarter of the seats in parliament and needed support fr

om smaller regional parties, including the Catalans, to get the budget proposal voted through.

But the Catalan parties, unhappy with the government’s refusal to consider or dis

cuss – amongst other issues – an independence referendum for their nor

theastern region, voted against it, as did the centre-right and the conservatives.

“This shows that the right wing in this country is intent on blocking social progress,” Bu

dget Minister Maria Jesus Montero told reporters, in the government’s first reaction to the vote.

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Wang said his department encourages companies to pr

mote scientific and technology innovation to make them more competitive.

Zhou Yawei, a member of the Standing Committee of the Guangzhou Committee of the Communist

Party of China and secretary of the Party Working Committee of the Guangzhou D

evelopment District, said the district has registered more than 20,000 science and

technology companies and took the lead in innovation among 219 State-level development zones in China last year.

It is the first time the district – which is home to Sino-Singapore Know

ledge City, Guangzhou Science City and Guangzhou International Island – has led State-level de

velopment zones in scientific and technological innovation. It ranked second in 2017.

“The district, in the eastern part of Guangzhou, introduced preferential policies to promot

e scientific and technological innovation years ago,” Zhou said. “Priority was given to the dev

elopment of the information, artificial intelligence and biopharmaceutical industries.

“Scientific and technological innovation are expected to play an even bigger role in

the district’s economic development and industrial upgrading in the years ahead.”

Zhou promised to attract more high-end talent from home and abroad t

his year to help boost the district’s scientific and technological innovation efforts.

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Meanwhile, mobile payment is no longer confined to res

 of major Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. Smaller cities and even townships are capturing the fastest growth, findings from both payment providers showed.

According to Alipay, the quickest expansion rate in per capita overseas spending was logged in

Zhoushan, a port city in East China’s Zhejiang province, which surged 55 percent year-on-year. It wa

s followed by 50 percent in Weifang, Shandong province, and 44 percent in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province.

In contrast, the growth rate in relatively affluent Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou r

eached 27 percent, 30 percent and 24 percent respectively, although they accounted for the greatest outbound spending by volume.

These trends “really highlight how mobile payment is taking root in China’s outbound t

ourism market”, said Chen Jiayi, Alipay’s head of business operation on cross-border business.

WeChat also saw a notable surge in the use of mobile payment in lower-tier cities, with over 40 percent transactions ma

de by residents who work in bigger cities but returned to hometowns for the weeklong annual gathering.

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All of the 606 sewage pits in the new area are now under co

All of the 606 sewage pits in the new area are now under control. The new area has also strengthened

the supervision of 133 water-consuming enterprises and closed 915 polluting enterprises in 2018.

The garbage in rivers of the three counties in Xiongan was also cleaned up, while about 180 million cubic meters of w

ater was supplied to the Baiyangdian Lake as a result of an ecological water supply project last year.

In April 2017, China announced the establishment of the Xiongan N

ew Area, which is about 100 km southwest of Beijing and spans three counties in Hebei Province.

Ecological restoration in Baiyangdian Lake, the largest wetland ecosy

stem in northern China, has been reinforced since Xiongan New Area was set up.

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In addition, Wisconsin has seen a tightening labor market in t

the last few years, with the unemployment rate steadily registering 3 percent or lower in nin

e months, which made it difficult for companies to look for workers, let alone skilled ones or engineers.

Kurt Bauer, president and CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, s

aid that the association has about 3,800 members, half of which are m

anufacturing companies. Around 80 percent of the members have seen a labor shortage in one way or another.

Ian Robertson, dean of the University of Wisconsin-Madison college of Engineering, said the college has 800 gr

aduates every year. They have about 6,000 job opportunities to choose from, most of which are outside of the state.

To meet the demand for engineers, the college plans to expand their enrollment from around 4,500 t

o 5,200 in the next few years. But after graduation, how many of the students will be hired by Foxconn is hard to say.

Robertson said many companies in need of engineers tend to build long-term relationships wit

h the university by establishing labs and offering internships. “Foxconn is just one of them,” he said.

www.howcode.cn

Australian trade minister expresses confidence in Sino-Austra

CANBERRA – Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham has said he has confidence tha

t the relationship between Australia and China will continue to prosper in 2019 in his Chinese New Year Message.

In a statement confirmed by the Australian embassy in China on Friday, Birmingham e

xtended his “best wishes of health, happiness, success and prosperity to everyone who is celebrating the Lunar New Year”.

“With over 1.2 million people of Chinese heritage living in Australia, it is a s

pecial time for many communities and families across our nation,” he said.

“As the Australian Minister for Trade, I am very aware of the strong economic re

lationship between our two nations. China is Australia’s largest trading partn

er and both our countries continue to reap the benefits of the landmark China-Australia Free Trade Agreement,” he said.

Birmingham saw “this strong trade and investment relationship in

action” when he visited Shanghai last November for the China International Import Expo.

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Chinese contemporary dramas to debut in New York for China Frin

The China Fringe Theater Festival will be held in New York City on Feb 8-16, featuring the prem

iere of three Chinese plays in the United States at the La MaMa Experimental Theater Club (La MaMa).

The international event will give young Chinese artists and China’s contemporary arts more exposure ov

erseas, as one show Two Dogs to be staged is a typical work of contemporary Chinese avant-garde plays, which has enj

oyed high popularity in China especially among the young generation since its premiere in 2007.

Featuring physical comedy and improvisation combined with double act and roc

k music, the drama tells a thought-provoking story of two dogs journeying to a big city to pursue their dreams.

Directed by Meng Jinghui, one of China’s most influential playwrights and theater directors, T

wo Dogs has been performed more than 2,000 times throughout China and at international venues and festivals.

Renowned for his experimental dramas, Chinese director Li Ning and his troupe, the Physical Guerrillas, will bring The Dictionary

of Soul to the festival, a pioneering work of physical theater, which highlights storytelling primarily through physical movements.

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The famous Italian opera of Turandot is based on a

story that happened in China. According to Xu Mengke, the Chinese co-director and the actor for Cala

f, “telling it in a Chinese perspective can promote the exchange and understanding between the two

peoples in terms of artistic expression and way of thinking. And it is also a case of Chinese culture ‘going out’.”

“I believe the audience will have a better understanding of Chinese culture and Peking opera,” he added.

“Our Turandot is a fable in which the Chinese and Italian traditional elements can coexist. Our C

hinese colleagues gave the radiance, liveliness and a sense of poetry fiction that are typical of Peking opera,

while the Italian troupe made a more conceptual intervention, trying to put in this beautiful story a more painful and black vein connected to the idea that ‘lo

ve can not be founded by such bloody acts as those Princess Turandot did’,” Marco Plini, the Italian co-director of this new show, told Xinhua.

“It was really a work of cooperation to build mutual trust and esteem between me and the Chinese troupe. We worked with great p

assion and rigor, and there was a very good result from both the artistic point of view and the human point of view,” he stressed.

There will be another five shows at the Argentine Theater in Rome from Feb 6 to 10, which is also the last stop of the troupe’s Itali

an tour. The troupe has toured five cities including Bolzano, Prato, Modena, Ferrara and Casa Maggio since Jan. 10th and have finished

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While China and the US saw escalated trade frictions in 2018, Br

 record high in its soybeans exports to China. As of the end of 2018, the local industry association estimated that the country’s total soybeans output will reach 120 million to 125 million tons – a new high – in 2019.

Brazil will enter the harvest season for soybeans in coming months. As China restarts to im

port more from the US, companies in Brazil have also lowered their expectations for soy oil exports.

Brazil’s exports are expected to fall to 400,000 tons this year versus 1.43 million tons last year in terms of soy oil exports, according to Amaral.

Still, the Brazilian industry representative remained optimistic about the future of soybeans trade with China.

“Even with the more intense participation of US products in the Chinese

market, we believe China will continue to need Brazilian soy to fulfill its domes

tic market,” he said, noting that neither US or Brazil can adequately supply Chinese demand.

“Brazil will keep an important presence in the Chinese market,” Amaral added.

Soybeans have been a crucial element in simmering trade tensions between the two count

ries, CNBC said on Saturday. China, the world’s largest soybeans importer, cut off purchases from the US in 201

8, sending prices tumbling and leaving US farmers struggling to sell off their record harvest, the media report noted.

www.changyuzhineng.cn

Iran unveils indigenous long-range cruise missile

Iran unveiled an indigenous long-range cruise missile on Saturday, Tasnim news agency reported.

The missile, Hoveizeh, was displayed at a ceremo

ny in the capital Tehran, which was attended by Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami.

Manufactured by Iranian Defense Ministry’s Aerospace Industries Organization

, the missile is ready to be delivered to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force.

With a range of 1,350 km, Hoveizeh cruises at low altitudes and is used for ground targets.

It has high precision and accuracy and is capable of inflicting heavy destruction on the targets, Hatami said.

The Iranian minister also described the Hoveizeh missile as “a symbol of self-confide

nce,” saying it is a major defense achievement in world’s military technologies.

Despite western calls to curb its missile program, Iran has vowed to continue to develop and test missiles in line with its deterrence policy.

www.chinajszy.cn

GiottoPress by Enrique Chavez