Japan: Rohingya activist calls U.S. ban on Myanmar generals a first step

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE JAPAN TIMES)

 

ASIA PACIFIC / CRIME & LEGAL

Rohingya activist calls U.S. ban on Myanmar generals a first step

AFP-JIJI

A formerly imprisoned Rohingya activist said Wednesday that a U.S. ban on Myanmar’s top generals was a welcome first step but urged more action to support the long-targeted minority.

The State Department on Tuesday said that army chief Min Aung Hlaing, three other top officers and their families would not be allowed to visit the United States due to their roles in “ethnic cleansing” of the mostly Muslim Rohingya.

Participating in a high-level State Department meeting on religious freedom, peace activist Wai Wai Nu said it was critical to address the “decades-old impunity” enjoyed by the military in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

“Many of us in Burma welcome this decision of the State Department. However, we think this is a first step and we are hoping to see more concrete and efficient steps in the future,” she told reporters.

This, she said, should include an end to impunity in the country.

“The only way to move forward, I believe, is holding the perpetrators accountable and abolishing institutionalized religious and ethnic discrimination against ethnic minorities,” she added.

Wai Wai Nu founded two groups promoting inter-ethnic harmony and women’s rights. Along with other survivors and witnesses to abuses who are taking part in the ministerial, she met Wednesday at the White House with President Donald Trump.

Wai Wai Nu, whose father was also an activist, was arrested with her family in 2005 when she was a law student.

The family was freed in 2012 amid a political opening in Myanmar as the military junta reconciled with the West and eventually allowed civilian, elected leaders.

In 2017, Myanmar’s military launched a campaign against the Rohingya that led about 740,000 to flee to neighboring Bangladesh amid accounts of brutal attacks on whole villages.

The army denies wrongdoing and says it was responding to militant attacks.

The Rohingya are widely despised in the country and do not enjoy citizenship, with the government calling them “Bengalis,” suggesting they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

4 Terribly Designed International Cities

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

Terribly Designed International Cities

When you’re putting together any kind of urban development project, there are going to be logistical hiccups. That’s completely forgivable. What’s not forgivable is when the plan is completely thrown out the window and buildings and streets just pop up without any kind of flow or guide. But plans are thrown out disturbingly often. These are four of the most terribly designed cities on the planet.

Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta, Indonesia

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Jakarta is the poster child of poorly planned and executed cities. It’s frequently ranked among the worst cities in the world to live in and regularly takes the top spot of Indonesia’s worst urban offerings. Traffic is horrible and constant, the city’s sinking as people extract more and more water from the ground, and a majority of the residents have some kind of respiratory issue thanks to the polluted air. Three things a city needs to conquer to offer even average quality of life for its citizens.

The main problem is that the city government let itself get overwhelmed by small issues, then didn’t properly research the solutions they implemented. For example, when the city tried to alleviate traffic by investing in mass transit, they chose buses. But when they built the bus lanes, they didn’t modify the roads at all, which meant the buses got caught in the omnipresent traffic, which was made worse by the lessening of available lanes. It’s like when they decided to build mass transit, instead of using a common sense solution used by cities all over the world, the Jakartan government left its common sense in the trash and doubled down on making everything worse. Then they did that for every other problem the city faced too.

Naypyidaw, Burma

Naypyidaw, Burma

Credit: Pipop_Boosarakumwadi/iStockphoto

Where Jakarta was poorly built for the amount of people they had, Naypyidaw was built for people no one can see. Everything’s empty everywhere. They have twenty-lane highways that are completely devoid of cars. And we’re not being hyperbolic to prove a point. When Top Gear went to Burma to film a special, they were able to stage a super-sized drag race in the middle of the highway.

On the same Top Gear episode, the three hosts talked about how Naypyidaw wasn’t a waste because it was built in anticipation of massive growth, though they admitted the growth wasn’t there yet. We’d disagree a bit and say it was at least a partial waste because the Burmese government built the massive city for growth without actually doing anything to enable growth in the country. The Burmese people are incredibly poor and it is highly unlikely any of them are going to be able to afford the lifestyle the city’s prepared for. The only people making any money are the ones building the city, and there aren’t enough of them to populate things the way it seems the Burmese government wants.

Chennai, India

Chennai, India

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Chennai’s bad planning manifests itself in the fatal flooding the city has recently experienced. Back in November and December of 2015, the city saw a series of floods that claimed the lives of at least 90 residents. Urban planners maintain this was not a failing on their part, but was instead the result of haphazard planning executed by the local government. A man named RR Kuberan and his New Chennai Project submitted a redevelopment plan that turned Chembarambakkam Lake into a reservoir that would have supplied Chennai with plenty of clean drinking water, a transformation that would also have dried out surrounding land enough for development. But instead of going with that plan, the city allowed private developers to sell off land piecemeal and turn it into housing, which made water management next to impossible. It was a case of a city going for short term economic growth and urbanization instead of long term planning.

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh

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The planning for Dhaka’s expansion is nonexistent, which makes sense when you consider the way it grew. It started as a simple town, then exploded in size after Bangladesh won its independence in 1971. When it did, the city started on a path that would see its population increase a hundredfold, turning it into one of the most densely populated cities in the world. In that explosive growth, Dhaka failed to implement any planning or ordinance laws, which means buildings are often private ventures completely free of regulation or zoning and can be thrown up wherever and wherever, often to the detriment and destruction of any kind of unified sense of community. The city is a sprawling mass of slums, private construction, and traffic traffic traffic. It’s chaos incarnate, though people are slowly starting to realize how destructive that chaos can be.

The Oldest Continually Inhabited Cities on Each Continent

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

The Oldest Continually Inhabited Cities on Each Continent

On every continent we find some of the oldest cities that early human civilizations called home. Successful long-term dwelling habitation occurs from a blending of sources. The region needs a strong economy with quality and consistency in the creation of trade. A perpetual food and water supply, availability of work, enduring infrastructure and uninterrupted peace and harmony are classic explanations.

Maintenance of the ratio of birth and death rates, as well as immigration and migration, must balance the population. All these society-friendly conditions continue to come together in some of the oldest cities on the continents of North America, South America, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

North America: Cholula, Mexico

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In North America, the pre-Columbian city of Cholula is found in the state of Puebla, Central Mexico. It is the oldest continuously inhabited city in North America, expanding from a settlement to a village and is now a regional city. The available data regarding the establishment of first-time inhabitants are conflicting, ranging from anywhere from 2000 B.C., between 800 B.C. and 200 B.C., and from the 7th century. The current thinking is that Toltec refugees settled in the area following the fall of Tula. However, other information indicates that the peoples were the children of one of the seven Aztec tribes.

Eighteen neighborhoods make up the city, and each one has a leader. This city is well known for the Iglesias de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios sanctuary. The local economy continues to endure, thanks to visitors from all over the world.

South America: Quito, Ecuador

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In South America, the oldest inhabited city is Quito in Ecuador. Located at the Guayllabamba river basin, it is the capital of Ecuador. Sources cite varying dates for first-time inhabitants, stretching from the occupation of the Kingdom of Quito from 2000 B.C. to 980 A.D., or the 13th or 16th century.

Despite earthquakes, there is enough water for residential and industrial use that the city’s population continues to replenish itself. A renewing spirit of culture, economy and environmental resources has engaged the 2 million residents and their government. Rebuilding and renovation projects have included a new airport, the Mariscal Sucre International Airport, an ecologically sustainable Metrobus-Ecovia that links the northern and southern edges of the city and a new subway system.

Middle East: Jericho, West Bank

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Based on archeological support, it is suggested that Jericho is among the oldest inhabited cities in the world. Destroyed, abandoned, re-inhabited and enlarged many times, the city dates back to 11,000 to 9000 B.C. with the walled defenses around 6800 B.C. Researchers have uncovered 20 successive communities.

Located below sea level, Jericho has the distinction of not only being the oldest inhabited, walled city, but also geographically the lowest, located 847 feet below sea level. Local springs found near the city from the nearby Jordan River are a welcome water supply to the nearly 20,000 current residents. Considered the oasis of the Jordan Valley, tourists make a pilgrimage to soak in the unique history of this biblical-era city.

Africa: Luxor (Thebes), Egypt

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The oldest continuously inhabited city in Africa, Luxor is home to about 500,000 residents and situated near the Nile River. Estimates place the time of habitation as 7200 B.C. to 3200 B.C. Luxor was established as a sacred religious capital, yet saw decline during the Roman occupation.

Today, visitors travel the globe to explore this ancient Egyptian city. Ruins and classical artifacts abound within the monuments of the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens, the West Bank Necropolis, and the ruins of the temples of Karnak and Luxor. Supported by the tourist economy, Luxor continues to contribute to antiquity art, culture and knowledge.

Europe: Plovdiv, Bulgaria

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Assessments place the establishment of Plovdiv at 6,000 years ago. Rich in history, the city was a travel crossroads for the Roman Empire, connecting Western Europe and the Middle East. The survival of thousands of years of conflicts and occupations have left behind a vibrant cultural tapestry. Architectural landmarks, monuments, statues, art and education unite with the Thracian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman times. Ethnic diversity is still seen today, as Plovdiv, the second-largest city in Bulgaria, is home to 340,000 inhabitants of Roman, Armenian, Greek, Jewish, and Turkish heritage.

The world’s oldest cities evoke thoughts of faraway places and classical times. Archeological discoveries link us to our common ancestry, and there are many histories yet to be revealed. From the seven hills of Rome to the Americas, communities are the cornerstone of humanity.

The Tastiest Asian Dishes You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

The Tastiest Asian Dishes You’ve Never Heard Of

Everyone loves some good Chinese takeout on the right occasion, but there’s a whole lot more out there than Kung Pao chicken and beef-and-broccoli. Depending on where you travel in Asia, people eat just about everything that moves, and a big part of the secret is that they learned how to make it delicious. Without dabbling too far into the bizarre, there are a handful of absolutely decadent dishes within Asian cuisine across the continent that you’d do yourself a disservice not to try.

Nasi Lemak – Malaysia

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Nasi Lemak is the national dish of Malaysia. The literal translation of its name is “oily rice,” but “creamy” makes for a more accurate (and appetizing) contextual translation. The preparation of the dish starts with soaking rice in coconut cream before it’s steamed with pandan leaves. The fragrant rice is served wrapped in banana leaves with garnish of cucumber slices, fried anchovies, roasted peanuts, and fried egg. This is a popular breakfast food.

Kare-Kare – Philippines

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This Philippine stew derives its name from the word “curry,” but it’s nothing like anything you’ve had at an Indian or Thai restaurant. The broth is made from stewed oxtail, beef, and tripe, though it can sometimes be made with seafood, vegetables, or offal. The broth is mixed with savory peanut sauce to make a thick and complex flavor profile.

Char Kway Teow – Malaysia

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If you don’t know about Asian pork buns, then you need to find your nearest dim sum restaurant as soon as possible—but this lesser-known Malaysian street food is just as delicious, though not quite as portable. The name translates to “stir-fried rice cake strips,” which is a somewhat straightforward description. The noodles are browned with soy sauce and served with meat, fish cake, egg, and sausage to create a stir-fried street-food delight.

Amok Trey – Cambodia

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To celebrate the Water Festival in Cambodia, the locals serve their traditional dish, Amok trey—a light and colorful dish. The preparation involves coating a fish with thick coconut milk and freshly ground spices known as kroeung, though many dishes offer variants served with chicken, beef, and other alternatives. It’s then steamed in banana leaves to form a thick curry that features noni leaves and fingerroot.

Gamjatang – Korea

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This spicy Korean soup uses a broth made from pork neck bones with red hot peppers. The high heat of the broth-making softens the meat to its ideal tenderness. Potatoes, cellophane noodles, radish greens, green onions, and perilla leaves are added to the soup to make a savory-spicy treat. Though it used to be nearly impossible to find the soup outside of Korea, these days it’s featured prominently in Korean restaurants in the United States and abroad.

Babi Guling – Indonesia

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There’s a hint of irony to be found in that one of the most delicious pork dishes has its origins in a Muslim-majority nation, but the Balinese know how to cook a pig. The slow-roasted pork is seasoned with ginger, galangal, turmeric, chilies, and shrimp paste to make a sweet, spicy, and savory profile that compliment the tender-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside porcine.

Rendang – Indonesia & Malaysia

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This food of the Minangkabau culture sits on the fence as to its status as a curry, but its classification has no bearing on its flavor. There’s a whole laundry list of ingredients that goes into rendang, including ginger, galangal, turmeric, lemongrass, garlic, shallots, chili’s, anise, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and lime leaves among others. The ingredients are slow-cooked until all the liquid is gone and the meat is well-done, which makes for hefty absorption of the intense flavors.

4 Largest Religious Monuments in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

4 Largest Religious Monuments in the World

There might be one thing that most religions can all agree on: bigger is better.

Practitioners of all faiths have aimed to express the extent of their devoutness through the size of their temples and statues. Competition among the faithful has led to the creation of bigger and bigger monuments all over the world. Just take one look at the massive cathedrals of Europe, mosques in the Middle East, giant Buddha statues throughout Asia, or even modern megachurches across the Bible Belt, and you’ll see plenty of examples of grandiose religious architecture on display.

Case in point, here are four of the largest religious monuments in the world.

1. Karnak Temple Complex – Luxor, Egypt

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One of the biggest religious monuments is also one of the oldest. The Karnak Temple Complex was constructed by the ancient Egyptians over the course of several centuries, beginning during the Middle Kingdom. Parts of the temple were used continuously for more than 2,000 years to worship a panoply of Egyptian deities.

The complex covers more than 200 acres and includes several temples and monumental halls. One of the most well-known sections is Hypostyle Hall, which is supported by 134 columns, each 72 feet tall. The hall was the setting for an iconic movie scene from “The Spy Who Love Me”, in which James Bond is chased by the vicious henchman Jaws.

2. Borobudur – Central Java, Indonesia

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Located on the island of Magelang in Central Java, Indonesia, Borobudur lays claim to being the largest Buddhist temple ever constructed. It was built during the 8th and 9th centuries by rulers of the Syailendra dynasty. The dynasty ruled Java up until the end of the 10th century.

The temple, which is built around a natural hill, covers a total surface area of more than 26,000 square feet. At its center is a large stupa, a domed Buddhist shrine intended for meditation. Surrounding the main stupa are three circular platforms containing 72 smaller stupas, each with a Buddha statue inside. The base is made up of five square platforms, with the main foundation being 387 feet on each side. Symbolic carvings cover the walls and depict religious imagery, including the spread of Buddhism to the Indonesian archipelago.

Following the decline of the Syailendra dynasty, Borobudur was abandoned for centuries and overtaken by the jungle. The monument was rediscovered during a brief period of British occupation at the start of the 19th century. Thomas Stamford Raffles, the appointed governor-general of Java, heard tales of a massive temple hidden deep in the jungle. In 1814, a Dutch engineer sent by Raffles found Borobudur buried beneath vines and dirt.

The first restoration of the site did not start until 1907, after decades of continued decay and looting. UNESCO started a modern restoration of the temple in the 1970s and named Borobudur a World Heritage Site in 1991. Today the temple is a major tourist attraction, bringing in millions of visitors each year.

3. Spring Temple Buddha – Lushan County, Henan, China

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At a height of 420 feet, the Spring Temple Buddha in China’s Henan Province is the largest religious statue in the world. Including its base, which serves as a Buddhist temple, the entire structure reaches a height of 682 feet—more than twice the height of the Statue of Liberty.

The statue opened to the public in 2008. Including the supporting structures, it took 11 years to build and cost around $178 million USD, according to Zhou Mingqi, an analyst with tourism consulting firm Jingjiang Consulting. It took 238 pounds of gold to plate the copper statue. Ironically the statue is located in one of China’s poorest counties.

4. Angkor Wat – Siem Reap, Cambodia

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Built by the Khmer Empire in the 12th century, the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia is widely recognized as the largest religious building in the world. Spanning more than 402 acres, it was originally built as a Hindu temple in honor of the god Vishnu. It was designed to represent Mount Meru, the Hindu equivalent of Mount Olympus. Construction was a monumental undertaking. According to inscriptions, a workforce of 300,000 people and 6,000 elephants toiled to build the temple complex.

By the end of the 12th century, the temple converted to use as a Buddhist temple, as that religion became a stronger force in the region. Unlike Borobudur, Angkor Wat was never completely abandoned and remains an important site of worship for Buddhists to this day. It is also a major tourist destination, drawing more than 2 million people each year.

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3 Things You Must Know Before Visiting Myanmar

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

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3 Things You Must Know Before Visiting Myanmar

Myanmar is a beautiful country with a rich history that you could spend years exploring. Many of its people belong to the Buddhist religion, and almost every aspect of their culture reflects this. While most people from Myanmar are warm and welcoming to travelers, there are certain things that tourists should and shouldn’t do if they don’t want to seem disrespectful. Here are three things you must know before visiting Myanmar so that you and everyone else will have a calm, enjoyable time.

The Fork Is Not Your Friend

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In America, we eat pretty much everything but soup with a fork. In Myanmar, though, forks are not usedfor the bulk of the eating. They are used, but not in a way that is familiar to us. Forks are held in the left hand and used to push food onto a spoon held in the right, which you then eat with. Knives are also largely absent in Myanmar, but this is a bit easier to get used to. Luckily, eating with a fork isn’t as serious as some other faux pas you could make, but it is always best to appear polite and observe the local customs whenever possible.

Money Exchange Can Be Complicated

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Myanmar has a closed money economy, meaning that the Kyat, its official currency, can’t be bought outside of the country. This means that you have to exchange your U.S. dollars inside Myanmar itself, but there are a few catches. The first is that the higher the value on your bill ($20, $50, $100, etc.), the more favorable your exchange rate will be, so the best course of action is to exchange high-value cash if you can. Also, your cash must be pristine. According to the Myanmar government, any marks, stains, or rips on your bills make them useless and worth nothing, so they will not accept them in an exchange.  To make things even more complicated, the U.S. dollars you are exchanging must also have been printed after 2003, and can’t feature serial numbers with CB, BC, or AB because of a counterfeiting scheme carried out by North Korea several years ago. The one good thing, though, is that most trains, boats, planes, etc. accept the U.S. dollar as currency, so you don’t have to exchange everything.

Watch Your Feet

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In America, we don’t tend to think much about where we point our feet. We just walk or stand and that’s about it. In Myanmar, though, it is considered to be extremely rude to point your feet at a person, a statue, or other object, because feet are considered to be “the most disrespectful part of the body.” Be mindful to point your feet in a neutral direction when you are talking to a person (especially a local), so as not to offend anyone. On this same topic, it is also important to remove both your shoes and your socks before entering one of Myanmar’s many breathtaking temples or pagodas. The Myanmarese fought very hard for their right to worship their religion in the way they feel is best and most respectful, so it is only right to follow their rules.

The Murderous Dictators Of: China And Kyrgyz Pledge To Promote Bilateral Ties

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA COMMUNISTS PARTY NEWSPAPER ‘SHINE’)

 

Chinese, Kyrgyz presidents pledge to promote bilateral ties

Xinhua
Chinese, Kyrgyz presidents pledge to promote bilateral ties

Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping is received by his Kyrgyz counterpart Sooronbay Jeenbekov upon his arrival in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, June 12, 2019. Xi arrived here Wednesday for a state visit to Kyrgyzstan and the 19th Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Kyrgyz counterpart, Sooronbay Jeenbekov, met Wednesday evening, pledging joint efforts to promote bilateral ties.

Xi and Jeenbekov had a meeting at the presidential residence in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek right after the Chinese president arrived in the Central Asian country for a state visit and the 19th Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit.

Reflecting on the traditional friendship between the countries, the two heads of state discussed the future of bilateral relations with an in-depth exchange of views on issues of common concern.

Noting that it is his second visit to Kyrgyzstan in six years, Xi expressed the delight of visiting an old friend.

Substantial advances in bilateral ties have been made over the past 27 years since the establishment of the China-Kyrgyzstan diplomatic relationship, Xi said, highlighting the two sides’ strong political mutual trust, mutually beneficial economic cooperation, mutual reliance in security and close coordination in international affairs.

Xi expressed appreciation for Jeenbekov’s public remarks on safeguarding the China-Kyrgyzstan friendship on many occasions.

The Chinese side applauds Kyrgyzstan’s achievements in reform and development, and expects more progress of the country in safeguarding national stability and promoting economic development, Xi said.

China is ready to share experience in state governance with Kyrgyzstan to achieve common development and prosperity, Xi said, hailing the solid outcomes in the joint construction of the Belt and Road.

Xi called for concerted efforts to strive for more fruits in the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership to benefit the people of both countries.

The two sides, he said, should step up coordination within multilateral frameworks including the SCO and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, stick to multilateralism, and oppose protectionism and unilateralism, so as to contribute to the building of a community with a shared future for humanity.

Jeenbekov said he appreciates the great importance Xi attaches to bilateral relations. He expressed warm congratulations on the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China and wished China greater achievements.

Recalling his attendance last week at a release ceremony for the Kyrgyz edition of the first volume of “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China,” Jeenbekov said the book is of great significance for Kyrgyzstan to learn from China’s experience and promote its own reform and development.

Jeenbekov stressed that Kyrgyzstan firmly supports the measures taken by the Chinese government in safeguarding peace and stability in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and cracking down on extremism. He also thanked China for its strong support and assistance to Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyzstan, he said, values China’s influence in international affairs and is willing to deepen cooperation with China in various sectors within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, get on board the express train of China’s economic development, and push for leapfrog development of bilateral relations.

Six Geography Facts That Will Change The Way You Look At The World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

As an avid explorer and Travel Trivia reader, you probably know a lot about the world. Well, this planet hides a few surprises. Here are six geography facts that will change the way you see the world.

Around 90% of the Planet’s Population Lives in the Northern Hemisphere

Around 90% of the Planet's Population Lives in the Northern Hemisphere

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When we think about where people live, we assume each hemisphere has a good number of residents. In reality, most of the world’s population is located in the Northern Hemisphere, leaving the Southern Hemisphere nearly uninhabited by this study’s standards. Around 90% of the people on the planet live in the Northern part of the world in countries such as the U.S. and China, making the rest of the world look a bit sparse.

Continents Shift at the Same Speed That Your Fingernails Grow

Continents Shift at the Same Speed That Your Fingernails Grow

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If you were awake during social studies class, you will remember that the planet’s tectonic plates are in a state of near-constant movement. This is how the earth went from having basically one big continent to having seven. For around 40 million years, the continents were in a slow phase, moving away from each other at a rate of about one millimeter per year. Then, about 200 million years ago, things got kicked into high gear and the plates began to move at 20 millimeters per year, which, scientists say, is equivalent to the speed at which fingernails grow.

Reno, Nevada, Is Farther West Than Los Angeles

Reno, Nevada, Is Farther West Than Los Angeles

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Los Angeles is typically seen as the West Coast city. It is right next to the ocean and it has all those beaches, so it would make sense for it to be farther west than a desert city like Reno, Nevada, right? Wrong! Reno is actually around 86 miles farther west than Los Angeles, due to the curve of California and the placement of the states.

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Asia Is Bigger Than the Moon

Asia Is Bigger Than the Moon

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Continuing on this same shocking track, the moon isn’t as big as it looks either. Still, though, it is around 27 percent of the size of Earth and has 14.6 million square miles of surface area. Although this seems like a lot, it is significantly less than the total surface area of Asia, which is 17.2 million square miles, meaning that Earth’s biggest continent is actually bigger than the moon.

Mount Everest Is Not the World’s Tallest Mountain

Mount Everest Is Not the World's Tallest Mountain

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If someone asks you “What is the tallest mountain in the world?” you will surely answer, “Why, Mount Everest, of course! Everyone knows that!” But sadly, you would be wrong. Technically, Mount Everest is the tallest mountain above sea level, but it isn’t the tallest in the world. This honor goes to Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Mauna Kea rises up 13,796 feet above sea level (compared to Everest’s 29,035 feet), but it also extends down an additional 19,700 feet below sea level, into the Pacific Ocean. To make this mountain even cooler, it is actually a volcano, whose last eruption was 4,600 years ago.

Alaska Is the Westernmost, Easternmost and Northernmost State in the U.S.

Alaska Is the Westernmost, Easternmost and Northernmost State in the U.S.

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This sounds impossible, but I assure you it is true. From looking at a map, it is pretty obvious that Alaska is the northernmost state in the country. What’s surprising? The Aleutian Islands between Russia and Alaska boast the westernmost point of the United States, but in what seems like some sort of geographical oxymoron, they are also home to the easternmost point of the U.S. too. An island called Semisopochnoi (which just so happens to be a collapsed volcano) has a spot that sits so far to the west (around ten miles west of the Prime Meridian) that it actually becomes easternmost spot in the U.S.

UN report finds creative China is booming, supporting Asian trade

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S SHINE NETWORK)

 

UN report finds creative China is booming, supporting Asian trade

Xinhua

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said Wednesday that one of its recent reports on the creative economy shows that China’s trade in creative goods and services is outstripping those of other countries and regions.

This makes it the “driving force behind a prosperous creative economy over the past 15 years”, said UNCTAD in a statement here.

The report tracks the country’s performance in the trade of creative goods and services between 2002 and 2015 and finds that China is the biggest single exporter and importer.

UNCTAD said that China’s trade in creative goods between 2002 and 2015 grew exponentially, at an annual rate of 14 percent.

In 2002, China’s trade in creative goods amounted to US$32 billion. By 2014, this figure had increased more than fivefold, climbing to US$191.4 billion.

There was a drop off in 2015 when China recorded a US$168.5-billion trade in creative goods, but comparatively the country has maintained the lion’s share of the trade in creative goods.

“China’s contribution to the global creative economy is both important and has driven more than a decade’s worth of growth in creative industries and services,” said UNCTAD creative economy head, Marisa Henderson.

Currently, China is the world’s biggest art market, and the film market is set to expand.

The country’s creative economy growth is fueled by internet accessibility, a big consumer marketplace, and a growing digital economy, both closely integrated with the creative economy.

The data also shows that Asia outpaced all other regions, with China and South East Asia, combined accounting for US$228 billion of creative exports, almost double that of Europe.

Besides China, India, Turkey, Thailand, Malaysia, Mexico, and the Philippines were also among the top performing developing economies stimulating global trade in creative goods.

“Generally, South-South trade is on the rise and looks set to be an area of vibrant future growth especially for the creative economy, where the Asian nations are currently very strong performers,” said Henderson.

Among developed economies, the United States, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, and Japan were the top 10 creative goods exporters.

China’s President Xi Says He Is For Dialogue Among Civilizations

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S SHINE NEWS NETWORK)

 

Xi for dialogue among civilizations

Xinhua

Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping holds a welcome ceremony for Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos outside the Great Hall of the People before their talks in Beijing yesterday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday held talks with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who is on a state visit to China and will attend the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations in Beijing.

Xi spoke of the significance of Pavlopoulos’ visit to promote exchanges and mutual learning of civilizations in Europe and Asia, as well as dialogue among civilizations in the world.

Xi underscored the inclusiveness of Chinese civilization since ancient times, noting the entry of ancient Greek civilization, ancient Roman civilization, Mediterranean civilization, as well as Buddhism, Islam and Christianity into the country through the ancient Silk Road.

There has never been any clash of civilizations or any religious war in China, Xi said, adding that the Chinese nation does not have a tradition of aggression. The Chinese people have long upheld the devotion to the country, believing that the country always comes first, before the family. They are convinced there would be no individual and family happiness without a strong unified nation, he added.

He said the Chinese people remain rock-firm determined in safeguarding the national unification and territorial integrity, as well as protecting the national interests and the state dignity.

Describing people of all countries as living in a global village destined to swim or sink together, Xi stressed the need to promote exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations and win-win cooperation of various countries to build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity.

Pavlopoulos said the “clash of civilizations” argument drummed up by certain people in the international arena was a huge mistake. He said different civilizations should respect each other, enhance mutual learning through dialogue and exchanges and draw upon each other’s strengths, which is the way to guarantee lasting peace of the world and harmonious coexistence of humanity.

Xi also met with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Singaporean President Halimah Yacob yesterday who are in Beijing for the CDAC.