Posted by On 8:30 PM

China Says Hopes to Get Japan Ties Back on Track

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, left, and Chinese counterpart Wang Yi pose for photograph before their meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China Jan. 28, 2018. REUTERS/Andy Wong/Pool Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - China hopes to work with Japan to get relations back onto a normal track, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono on Sunday during a meeting in Beijing.

China and Japan have long sparred over their painful history, with Beijing frequently accusing Tokyo of not properly atoning for Japan's invasion of China before and during World War Two.

Ties between China and Japan, the world's second- and third-largest economies, have also been plagued by a long-running territorial dispute over a cluster of East China Sea islets and suspicion in China about efforts by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to amend Japan's pacifist constitution.

However the two countries have sought to improve ties, and Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in November on the sidelines of a regional summit in Vietnam.

Wang told Kono that his trip, coming so early in the year, showed Japan's strong wish to improve relations, and China approves of this as improved ties are in both nation's interests, according to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

However, while there has been positive progress there are also many "disturbances and obstructions," Wang said, while also noting comments from Abe on wanting to improve relations.

"China-Japan relations have always been like a boat going against a current, and if there is no progress then things go backwards," he added.

China hopes that Japan does not slacken its efforts and puts its words into action, and works with China to get ties back onto a normal, healthy track as soon as possible, Wang said.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Chris Reese)

Copyright 2018 Thomson Reuters.

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Posted by On 2:15 AM

Why Hungary and Poland are turning “illiberal”

Viktor Orbán, prime minister of Hungary, speaks at a political party conference in October 2012. Photo credit: European People’s Party

Viktor Orbán, prime minister of Hungary, speaks at a political party conference in October 2012. Photo credit: European People’s Party

Analysis: Western Europe has looked on with mounting bewilderment and exasperation over the past few years at the political trajectory of Hungary, Poland and several other former communist states. Countries that, since 1989, were committed to common European values, including liberal democracy, respect for human rights a nd the rule of law, are now implementing an altogether different political model. The perceived interests of the “nation” are taking centre stage and governments are subject to far fewer checks and balances.

Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, was once a fiery student leader and champion of liberalism. Now he preaches the virtues of “illiberal democracy”. Orbán routinely portrays himself as the defender of “Christian values” that, in his view, are threatened by globalisation, mass immigration and the supposedly sinister machinations of international business leaders. George Soros, the Hungarian-born financier and philanthropist has become a particular target of baseless attacks.

In Poland, the ruling Law and Justice Party has assumed political control over state-funded radio and television. By July 2016, 164 journalists and news anchors had either resigned or been dismissed. In December 2017, the government’s continuing efforts to curb the indep endence of the judiciary prompted the EU Commission to formally declare that there is “a clear risk of a serious breach of the rule of law in Poland”.

In the same month, the EU launched infringement proceedings against the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary for failing to take appropriate steps to resettle limited numbers of asylum seekers, in accordance with decisions previously taken by member states.

Some months earlier, the European Court of Justice dismissed cases brought by Slovakia and Hungary in which the latter had sought to argue that the EU’s scheme for the mandatory relocation of asylum seekers was unlawful. In characteristically robust language, Hungary’s serially undiplomatic foreign minister, Péter Szijjártó, described the judgement as “outrageous and irresponsible”.

A number of ex-communist states, particularly Hungary and Poland, have rejected an ideology founded on individualism, human rights, economic transparency and multicultu ralism. They are turning instead towards an alternative social, political and economic model in which the cultivation of “traditional values” and distinct national identities is of paramount ideological importance. The new model is also frequently characterised by widespread, often systematic corruption and an increasingly authoritarian political culture.

Winners and losers

The reasons for this shift lie both in the communist and pre-communist past. Following the collapse of communist governments in 1989, little thought seems to have been given to the troublesome historical baggage that these societies would have to contend with in effecting a successful transition to liberal democracy. There seems to have been an unspoken assumption that the removal of the communist apparatus of repression would be largely sufficient to allow western values, such as liberal democracy and respect for human rights, to flourish.

Yet, with the exception of the former Czechosl ovakia, there had been little sustained experience of genuine democracy in the region prior to the establishment of communist regimes following World War II. Even before the imposition of communism, Poland, Hungary and Romania, along with most other countries in Central and Eastern Europe, were heirs to a repressive and overwhelmingly authoritarian political culture.

This may go some way towards explaining the relative ease with which Hungary’s Fidesz government, for example, has been able to undermine democratic checks and balances without eliciting more vigorous or sustained opposition from the general public. As the powers of Hungary’s constitutional court were drastically curtailed and public broadcasting increasingly treated as a government mouthpiece, there was little real sense among ordinary voters of anything important having been lost.

Central and Eastern Europe’s predominant historical experience as victims, rather than beneficiaries, of colonialism m ay help to explain the region’s resistance to admitting non-European asylum seekers. As identified by István Bibó in The Misery of the Small States of Eastern Europe, published shortly after World War II, there is an enduring sense among the peoples of the region of having had to fight for independence and even for the preservation of national identities during a succession of alien occupations, whether Ottoman, Hapsburg, Russian or Prussian.

This overwhelmingly traumatic historical experience has been compounded by almost a half century of Soviet domination as well as subjection to Nazi German tyranny during the Second World War. None of this has helped to foster openness to other cultures, let alone a willingness to embrace multiculturalism as experienced in many countries in Western Europe.

Economic factors, particularly the plight of many pensioners and of other economically vulnerable sections of central and eastern European societies, have also contributed t o the current political climate. The establishment of market economies in the region created clear winners and losers in countries such as Poland.

These societies are now far less egalitarian than under communism. While a new class of businessmen, lawyers and media personalities can indulge their taste for expensive foreign holidays and luxurious German automobiles, there is widespread poverty. In particular, residents of many rural areas and of towns and cities that have been ravaged by deindustrialisation are struggling.

As Jacques Rupnik, a former adviser to Czech president Vaclav Havel, recently observed: “the ‘decoupling’ of liberalism and democracy in Central and Eastern Europe has a lot to do with the post-1989 confusion, and indeed collusion, between political and economic liberalism”. Rupnik poses the question: “Does this explain why Central Europe travelled from (economic) neo-liberalism to (political) illiberalism?”

The answer, at least in part, must be “yes”.

Stephen I Pogany, Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Warwick.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Posted by On 2:15 AM

ISL 2017-18: Delhi Dynamos' Miguel Angel Portugal rues individual mistakes and set-piece vulnerability

Delhi Dynamos FC coach Miguel çngel Portugal speaks during the press conference The coach of the beleaguered outfit felt that his system is working but individual mistakes have cost Delhi Dynamos...

Delhi Dynamos coach Miguel Angel Portugal feels that his team's struggles in the Indian Super League (ISL) season is down to vulnerability in set-pieces and individual mistakes from his players.

The former Real Madrid player asserted that his methods are working but errors have let the team down.

"We have had two problems so far - in defence and in attack. We have had a lot of opportunities to score but we have not done so. We play well in midfield but the defence has a problem," he said ahead of Delhi Dynamos' away tie against Chennaiyin FC.


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"The problem in defence is our setpiece defending. Chennaiyin FC will try to exploit that weakness. But we will try to defend well. The teams have been scoring from our own mistakes rather than their skill.

"We are trying to rectify this situation."

The 62-year-old went on to defend his methods at the capital-based club and pointed out that silly errors have let the team down.

"It is a bad Christmas for me. It is not nice when you lose six matches on a trot. But I think the team played well during these games.

"I think our system is good and if our players play well, we will win. The success of the system depends on the players. If all players played well, you will win," re-asserted Portugal.

Article continues below

He expressed hope that Delhi will put an end to their losing streak on Sunday against Chennaiyin FC and backed his players to come good.

"Chennaiyin are playing for the first position but we are going for a win. I think my team will play well and we have confidence in ourselves," he said. "Probably, we might bring in some different players (for the Sunday game).

"This game is a must-win for us after the losses. When you win five or six times, it is possible that you might win the next game. It is also possible that you might win the next game after losing five or six games."

Source: Google News Portugal | Netizen 24 Portugal


Posted by On 2:14 AM

Saudi Arabia, UAE claim some of the tallest skyscrapers completed in 2017

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Cities in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have featured among the top 144 for the tallest skyscrapers completed in 2017, according to a report filed by the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.
The report pl aced the UAE in fourth, fifth and sixth place, with Marina 101 tower (425m), the Address Boulevard hotel (370m), and Ahmed Abdul Rahim Al Attar Tower (325m) claiming their positions respectively.
“With the help of these tall beautiful structures, Dubai creates new records and these in turn give Dubai global recognition... These tall structures help boost the real estate and tourism economy too, the two factors that majorly drive and effect the country’s GDP,” Imrann Nawab, director of sales, Gulf Sotheby’s International Realty, told Khaleej Times.
Saudi Arabia was placed at 124 and 144 for Al Rajhi Bank Tower (205m) and Al-Obeikan Hilton Tower Hotel (200m) skyscrapers respectively.
Turkey also featured in the report with Istanbul’s Skyland Office Tower (284m), Skyland Residential Tower (284m) and Metropol Tower Istanbul (280m) claiming the 20th, 21st and 25th spots respectively.
The top spot was occupied by China’s Ping An Finance Center which looms over the city of Shenzhen at 599m.
In the UAE, Dubai Creek Tower is under construction, which once complete, will reach a height of 928m.
And Saudi Arabia is currently building the Jeddah Tower, previously known as the Kingdom Tower, which aims to become the world’s tallest building by hitting the one-kilometer mark.
Middle East's tallest towers completed in 2017
Regional rank Overall rank Tower name City Height (m)
1 4 Marina 101 Dubai, UAE 425
2 5 The Address Boulevard Dubai, UAE 370
3 6 Ahmed Abdul Rahim Al Attar Tower Dubai, UAE 325
4 20 Skyland Office Tower Istanbul, Turkey 284
5 21 Skyland Residential Tower Istanbul, Turkey 284
6 25 Metropol Tower Istanbul Istanbul, Turkey 280
7 124 Al Rajhi Bank Tower Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 205
8 144 Al-Obeikan Hilton Tower Hotel Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 200

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Source: Google News Saudi Arabia | Netizen 24 Saudi Arabia

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Posted by On 2:14 AM

Romania's Competition Council slaps big fines on electricity meter cartel

Romania’s Competition Council has fined local electricity holding Electrica and five electricity meter providers with some EUR 15.8 million, for anti-competition behavior.

Six electricity meter providers were found responsible of setting up a cartel-like deal in which they agreed not to compete against each other in tenders organized by electricity providers. This has led to higher prices for electricity meters and higher electricity costs for end-consumers, according to the Competition Council.

The six companies that participated to the agreement were AEM, Energobit, Elster Rometrics, Landis+Gyr AG, ECRO, and Electromagnetica. AEM cooperated with the Competition Council and provided evidence of the agreements, and was thus exempted from the fine. Meanwhile, the other companies received fines between EUR 114,000 and EUR 5.9 million.

Electromagnetica was fined EUR 2.15 million, representing 4.23% of the company’s 2016 turnover. The company said it would challenge the sanction in court. The company was also fined by the Competition Council in early 2016 with a RON 9 million fine after a bigger investigation that targeted the bilateral contracts between power producer Hidroelectrica and ten electricity traders.

State-controlled electricity holding Electrica also received a fine of RON 10,8 million (EUR 2.32 million), representing almost 3% of its non-consolidated turnover, for allegedly breaking the law in several tenders for the purchase of electric meters and auxiliary equipment. The company collaborated with the Competition Council’s investigation and said the irregularities were caused by lower-level employees, according to a report Electrica sent to the Bucharest Stock Exchange. The company also said it would challenge the Competition Council’s sanction. Electrica serves over 3,6 million clients.

[email protecte d]

Source: Google News Romania | Netizen 24 Romania