February 2019

Agamemnon’ amazes audiences in Beijingmnon premiered

  The bilingual drama Agamemnon, a co-production of the National Theater Company of China a

nd the National Theater of Greece, represents a refreshing innovation for Chinese theater lovers.

  The play by ancient Greek tragedian Aeschylus, often called the “father of tragedy”, is the first part of his only extant tr

ilogy. It is a story about patriarchy, matriarchy, revenge and justice. In the story, Agamemnon s

acrifices his daughter to win the Trojan War. After his triumphant return, the king is slain by his wife and her lover.

  Directed by Stathis Livathinos, artistic director of the NTG, Agamemnon embodies a pr

ofound cooperation between China and Greece. “To have a bilingual presentation of a play means yo

u hear two languages, two kinds of actors, two schools. Of course it’s a very big risk. But it’s better to go with a risk t

han with safety. Because I really believe the National Theater should always be the avant-garde,” he said.

  ”Agamemnon is a part of something bigger that doesn’t belong only to Greece. This

is a theatrical and artistic meeting of two civilizations on stage,” Livathinos added.

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driven breakthroughs. Although among the two, the Huawei

Mate X is more practical than Galaxy Fold because the latter is folded inward to lower the risk of br

eaking apart while falling down, which is not so useful when breaking-glass insurance is popular.

More importantly, the “new” foldable smartphones are hardly of any pr

actical use. Of course, one can easily double the display of the foldable smartphone by un

folding it so it has the size of an iPad, but that’s all. In plain words, the foldable display enables users to combine a tablet an

d a smartphone into one. There might be more uses in the future, but at least not for now.

When touchable displays for smartphones was invented, they did not get popularized until certain apps that suit

ed touchable displays only, such as Fruit Ninjia, gained popularity. Now foldable smartphones faces a similar pr

oblem. Only when apps that suit the foldable smartphones are developed will the phones be truly accepted by the market.

Wu Shuyuan, a senior analyst at Sigmaintell, a company specialized in display analysis

Samsung Fold and Huawei Mate X are both foldable smartphones, but they differ greatly in terms of des

ign. The former is folded inward while the latter is folded outward, and each has its advantages and disadvantages.

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In a major scandal last year, Changchun Changsheng Life

Sciences, a vaccine producer in Changchun, Jilin province, faked production records and used expired material for the production of rabies vaccines over the past four years.

The company was ordered to suspend production, and senior executives

were detained and face criminal charges. The company was ordered to pay fines of 9.1 bi

llion yuan ($1.3 billion) for violations, one of the heaviest fines imposed on a pharmaceutical company over the past few years.

Following the revelations, top officials vowed harsh penalties and reform of the vaccine super

vision system to eliminate loopholes. A new law on the management of vaccines was drafted for review.

Fang Laiying, former head of the Beijing Municipal Health Commission, said he has faith in the overall safety of drugs in Chi

na, but individual cases involving violations of the law can tarnish the image of the whole pharmaceutical sector.

“The government is intensifying its efforts in cases involving violations of drug safety laws, including severely puni

shing criminals and setting up strict accountability systems to improve supervision of the sector,” he said.

Gao, the CDC head, said major infectious diseases such as dengue fever and AIDS will continue to be the priority in disease prevention and control this year.

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national zoo holds housewarming event at giant panda house

  WASHINGTON – The Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington DC held a housewarming

event inside the giant panda house on Saturday to celebrate the completion of a new visitor exhibit.

  The celebration featured frozen treats for giant pandas and red pandas, as well as interactive games and activities for visitors.

  The new exhibit, according to the zoo, teaches visitors about the ecology, history, reproduction, conservation and c

are of giant pandas and enables them to learn about these unique bears and their natural habitat.

  It also chronicles “the advances that panda scientists in China and at the Smithsonian have made during the past four decades.”

  ”So much has changed for giant pandas, for the better, in the past decade,” Steven Monfort, the John and Adri

enne Mars Director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, said in a statement.

  ”This updated exhibit is really inspiring because it shows how much of a difference we can

make with science and cooperation,” he said, noting that “Smithsonian and Chinese scientists have bee

n collaborating for decades, and visitors can see the results of our work as they walk through the panda house.”

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Venezuelan troops defect at the border with Colombia

  Three members of the Venezuelan National Guard defected Saturday at Venezuela’s border with Colombia, the Colombian immigration department said.

  The troops abandoned their posts at the Simon Bolivar International Bridge on the Colom

bia-Venezuela border and requested help from Colombia’s immigration officials.

  Also Saturday, soldiers with Venezuela’s National Guard

fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters who were demanding to cross the border at Ur

eña into Colombia to work, according to a CNN crew that witnessed the scene at the Tienditas Bridge.

  Workers faced off with the soldiers, chanting, “We want to work!” before being disperse

d by the tear gas. Men with shirts covering their faces started throwing rocks toward the guard.

  US argues momentum for change in Venezuela is growing despite border violence

  These tense scenes played out Saturday, a day after violence broke out at a Venezuelan town near the border wit

h Brazil over aid delivery, leaving two people dead and 17 others injured, local authorities said.

  Tensions are running high at Venezuela’s borders amid opposition plans to usher aid into the country this weekend

in defiance of President Nicolas Maduro’s wishes. Maduro called on Venezuelans to “mobilize” Saturday. “Let’s

all take to the streets to defend our independence with conscience and joy,” Maduro said on his official Twitter account.

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Bernd H. Knöller, Riff’s head chef and owner, released a stat

  expressing deep regret over the incident and saying that he is collaborating with authorities to determine what happened.

  ”I have taken the decision to permanently close the restaurant until the cause of what happened ha

s been established and we can reopen with the necessary guarantees for the safety of staff and customers.”

  Riff holds one Michelin star, a prestigious award in the restaurant business.

  ”The owner-chef, who despite being German considers himself Valencian, conju

res up innovative cuisine,” reads the Michelin Guide entry for the restaurant.

  ”This is based around the highest quality, seasonal, local produc

ts to create successful culinary combinations and interesting set menus.”Crippling sanc

tions in Iran have seen its effect in the medical sector. CNN’s Fred Pleitgen reports on medical shortages in Tehran.

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This year I saw the greats of the Obama-era Iran nuclear

  deal breeze between meetings in a way impossible at the height of those negotiations.

  Yet a few years later, their sage experience is the valued currency of many backroom conversations.

  John Kerry’s sidekick, Wendy Sherman, strolled down t

he street past former US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, also a member of the Iran nuclear dea

l negotiating team. He was loitering on a street corner waiting for a car. If you had a question for them, you could ask it.

  These people are the unseen grease in the cogs of international diplomacy.

  But the showstopper at the conference was the Yin and Yang of US foreign policy — delivered by Vice President Mike Pence and the guy who had the

job before him, Joe Biden.They spoke on the same day, but could not have been more different in tone, style and substance.

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Australia and New Zealand have already blocked mobil

  using equipment from Huawei, the world’s biggest maker of telecommunications equipment, over security concerns.

  The United States has made it clear that any country that uses Huawei will find its opportunities to work with Was

hington limited. In a speech in Munich on Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence described the company as a “threat.”

  ”Chinese law requires them to provide Beijing’s vast security apparatus with access to any data that touches their networks or equipment,” Pence said.

  The RUSI report reached a similar conclusion, saying that although Huawei may be a pri

vate company, China’s national security laws required cooperation with authorities when requested.

  ”Huawei’s Chinese staff have no choice but to accede to requests from Chinese government departments,” the report said.

  The Chinese government has denied it would demand access to Huawei’s technology for spying, and the company has said it would refuse such a request.

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Will second Trump-Kim summit affect Japant between

The second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong

-un in Hanoi on February 27 and 28 will trigger complicated changes in East Asia’s poli

tics. Though the effect on US-Japan relations will be limited, North Korea-Japan ties will move in a positive direction.

Currently, Pyongyang demands withdrawal of sanctions, signing a peace treaty, an end-of-war declaration, and a security guarantee f

or North Korea. Washington had asked Pyongyang to undertake complete, verifiable and irrev

ersible denuclearization, which might be now relaxed. The US may agree that North Korea fulfill it in stages. Befo

re any progress in denuclearization, the US will not ease sanctions substantially. Therefore, the Hanoi talks co

uld produce substantive results, much more significant than the Singapore summit.

However, it won’t shake the relationship between US and its East Asian al

lies. Even if the US and North Korea forge new relations, it would obviously not be a

s firm as the US-Japan alliance. Once the talks make headway, Washington may gradually lift the sanctions on Pyo

ngyang, helping get North Korea’s economy out of the doldrums. Other areas will be left as they are.

In this context, possible improvement in US-North Korea ties would not have noticeabl

e impact on US-Japan relations. However, it may make Tokyo and Pyongyang move closer.

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Amid the easing ties between North and South Korea, as

as well as between Pyongyang and other stakeholders on the Korean Peninsula, if Japan maintains

its conservative strategy for North Korea, its overall Northeast Asia diplomacy will be affected.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would find it hard to shore up d

omestic support through vibrant diplomacy. Tokyo can take advantage of the positive si

gnals the next Trump-Kim summit generates to win the opportunity to boost its ties with North Korea.

If Washington-Pyongyang ties are significantly enhanced, it will send a conciliatory messag

e to Tokyo. Under the US-Japan-South Korea alliance and under the framework of US-Japan m

ilitary cooperation, if North Korea is still hostile toward Japan, it may find it hard to get a multilateral diplomatic fo

othold in East Asia. In fact, Pyongyang hopes to talk to Tokyo. North Korea’s geopolitics depends on support from tra

ditionally friendly states such as China and Russia. Meanwhile, it also desires to enhance relations with South Korea and Ja

pan, so as to gain maximum advantage in multilateral geopolitics and security in East Asian and Asia-Pacific regions.

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