Dallas

Leaving Saudi Arabia is not a simple undertaking for women

  who rebel against the system. Permission is needed from a male guardian for many basic activities, including international travel.

  Reem and Rawan say they had been planning their escape in secret for two years. They didn’t dare discuss it in case they were

overheard, so, instead, they swapped WhatsApp messages, even while alone at night in their shared room.

  Before they fled, the Sri Lanka vacation was just like any other. They wore their niqabs

to the beach and sat away from the surf while their brothers swam and joked. They cooked the meals, and

spent most of their days inside. It was humid. Their niqabs stuck to their skin and made it hard to see.

  ”We travel to move from a box to another box. From home to hotel, nothing will change,” Rawan says. “They will go o

ut, they will live freely, the men, of course we will sit away, watching them doing what they want.”

Their five-year-old sister played in the sand, but their 12-year-old sister, like them,

didn’t. She too was learning that it’s OK to be a girl in Saudi Arabia — until you grow up.

During the trip, Rawan turned 18. The timing was no accident. The vacation was planned with gentle persuasion to co

incide with a birthday that, unbeknown to their mother, allowed Rawan to apply for an Australian tourist visa.

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uventus beaten at Atletico to leave Ronaldo on brink

  Cristiano Ronaldo was supposed to be the final piece in the Juventus Champions League winning jigsaw.

  For so long, Juventus has dominated in Italy, winning seven successive league titles with an eighth almost inevitable.

  But it is the Champions League crown that it craves. Ronaldo was s

upposed to be the man to deliver for a club that has lost out twice in the final in the past four years.

  When Juventus turned to Ronaldo, a five-time winner, chasing a record-equ

aling sixth Champions League title, it was to inspire the team on nights like Wednesday.

  Only Sevilla (27) and Getafe (23) have conceded more goals to Ronaldo than Atletico Madrid.

  Yet, on a Wednesday night in Madrid, the city where he enjoyed such success with Re

al, he was unable to add to his career tally of 22 against the former neighbor.

  For Atletico Madrid, a team that has felt the full force of Ronaldo’s irrepressible scor

ing record during his time at Real, this 2-0 victory in the first leg of the last 16 tie was particularly sweet.

  Two second-half goals from Uruguayan defensive duo Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin secured the advantage for Diego Simeone’s side.

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Both sides have showed their strength and volition in

 unprecedented trade war: The US didn’t easily stop and China was not that fragile to be defeated. How

ever, it has proven no empty talk that in a long-term trade war, both sides would eventually lose.

President Xi and President Trump reached consensus on December 1 and put the two countries back onto the win-win track. Th

e consensus has responded to the situation, conformed with people’s wishes and reversed the pessimism of the market.

Starting December 2018, rounds of consultations resolved a large n

umber of divergences. The outcome has been sufficient to outline a new face of China-US econo

ic and trade cooperation and to bring an incalculable impetus to both sides’ economic development.

In the final phase of the talks, both sides must keep calm, treasure the already-made ach

ievements and promote smoother and fairer China-US trade cooperation.

US demand for China’s structural reform must stay in line with China-US trade coo

peration and coordinate with China’s reform and opening-up. The talks must not tr

y to force Beijing to change its economic governance or even its development path.

The final deal should attend to the interests of nongovernmental organizations that ultimately carry out economic and trade cooperation.

China and the US must sign an agreement that will inspire their peo

ple,  heralding accelerated economic development. Only such deals can withstand the test of history.

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In recent years, Japan and North Korea have interact

mainly on the issue of past abductions of Japanese nationals, and over Pyongyang conduc

ting nuclear and missiles tests which have Japan within their range. Whenever tensions soared on the Korean P

eninsula, Japan took a hard-line stance toward North Korea and proposed to enhance sanctions.

If Washington-Pyongyang ties improve, Tokyo may rethink its policy toward North Korea, participate in

efforts with other East Asian countries to push for peace on the Peninsula and ease geopolitical strains.

After the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Tokyo has been marginalized over the Korean Peninsula.

Furthermore, on the abductions issue and North Korea’s nuclear issue, Japan’s right to speak is waning.

If the US’ basic request on North Korea is met, Japan may seek to normalize relations w

ith North Korea. Furthermore, Tokyo may help Pyongyang’s economy later by offering fin

ancial aid and investment. With these moves, Japan may intend to increase its influence on the Peninsula.

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One of the goals of Pompeo’s visit is to rebuild the political

relationship between the US and Central and Eastern Europe. The US will also launch a Future Leaders Ex

change Program, providing one-year academic scholarships for Hungarian high school students to study in the US.

There are many aspects to US strategic return to Central and Eastern Europe. First, the US can

enhance energy cooperation with the region. The regional countries would prefer not to become overly dependent on Russia.

The US has already voiced strong opposition to the energy cooperation between Germany and Russia via the Nord Stream 2 project.

Given that the US is set to become a net energy exporting country in 2020, it could become a major source of energy for Central and Eastern European countries.

Second, the US will strengthen political cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries.

The region has undertaken multifaceted diplomacy, hoping to win more policy initiatives in tod

ay’s volatile geopolitical dynamic. As they receive less political and economic promises from the EU, they are turning to e

xternal powers such as China and Russia. The US wants to get back in as quickly as possible to make up for its absence.

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ina’s monetary policy to sail out of the ‘reefs’ and into

The year 2018 saw China’s monetary policy carefully sail through the “reefs,” as economic slowd

own and surging exchange rate risk left little room for adjustment. However, since the be

ginning of this year, major internal and external changes have broken the dilemma.

From the internal perspective, in January 2019, the “loose credit s

upply” saw improvement in terms of both volume and structure, barriers to implem

enting monetary policy removed, which is expected to guide the Chinese economy to stabilize in the first quarter.

First of all, China’s outstanding broad money supply, or M2, grew 8.4 percent year-on-year in January, while new yuan loans and social fina

ncing both soared to historic monthly highs at 3.23 trillion yuan ($478 billion) and 4.64 trillion yu

an, respectively. The figures showed that “loose fiscal policy” has had a positive effect on credit supply to the pri

vate sector, thus pushing up the growth rate for total social financing. It is expected that in the first quarter of 2019, wi

th the gradual implementation of “loose fiscal policy,” the volume of “loose credit supply” will remain at a high level.

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wasting US’ wealth. In the near future, Washington may no

 assistance to the World Bank and quit the organization. The World Bank is a multilateral institution which was establ

ished under US leadership, and guided by the US Treasury Department. Its heads have traditionally been

appointed by the US government. The World Bank reflected US global strength and was a key instrument for

Washington’s global governance, and increasing its influence as a soft power. However, currently Washington seems to de

molish the structure it built itself by exiting international organizations that signal globalism.

Based on the experiences of the late 20th century, there are several drawbacks of globalism and globalization.

First, globalization enables strong nations to consolidate their d

ominance and lead the international order. It is an instrument that induces weaker states to ob

ey the will of the stronger ones. Globalism is keen on promoting universal values, taking the moral high gr

ound, blaming countries whose actions do not accord with universal values and even intervening militarily in some natio

ns. What does international intervention bring to global politics? It can be explained by hot button issues in Eurasia.

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ow to sustain positive economic development inlimited to

The 2019 Annual Meeting of the Chinese Economists 50 Forum was held in Beijing on Saturday, with the theme “How to achieve the six stabilities and keep positive economic development in the lo

ng run.” Below are excerpts from speeches given by several renowned scholars and officials at the event.

Fang Xinghai, vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission

The current IPO system has led to highly consistent investor expectation in the secondary market as they mindlessly buy into

roaring stocks, aggravating price distortions and resulting in low long-term returns on newly listed shares.

Reform to secondary market prices will create a good groundwork for IPO price reform in the future.

Liu Shijin, vice president of the China Development Research Foundation

If we compare [China’s] high-speed growth of the past three decades to eating fatty meat, after we e

ntered a phase of medium-speed growth, transitioning to high-quality development, which will be t

he hard part, is like nibbling on hard bones. There are five sources of growth momentum during the high-quality d

evelopment stage. First, the improvement in low-efficiency growth sources. Second, the income growth of low-in

come groups and the upgrade in human capital. Third, the upgrade to the consumption and industrial structures. Fourth, cuttin

g-edge innovation. Fifth, green development, which is not limited to pollution control and environmental protection.

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Meanwhile, Japan continued signing agreements with other

one with the UK in 2017 and another with India the following year. By exploiting the power of these regional countries, Japan aims to secure military provisions for its SDF in t

he Indo-Pacific region from the US, Canada, Australia and India and in the North Atlantic region from the US, the UK, France and Canada.

This has laid the foundation for Japan to broaden its SDF activities and ensure military provision with its par

tners. It is a small-scale bilateral military alliance system centered on Japan. This shows Japan’s long-term strategic plan.

Since the 21st century, Japan has clearly labeled China as its biggest real and potential rival. Especially since Shinzo Abe took office, he spared no efforts at contai

ning China. During Abe’s first term, the Japanese government raised the idea of the “arc of freedom and prosperity.” When

he became prime minister for a second time, the policies advocated by his cabinet, including the values-based alliance, the alliance of

maritime democracies, the democratic security diamond and the freedom corridor, have all kept China in focus.

Because of the ACSAs with Australia and India, Japan can militarily constrain China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. In the A

tlantic, it can also exert forceful intervention in China’s policy in Europe, North Africa and West Africa.

In some areas where China’s military strength has not reached, Japan has crafted its military pla

n in advance by utilizing its bilateral alliance system, trap-falling China’s military strategy into a passive position.

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It is natural that Europeans consider more of their own

interests, but they should stick to justice in major affairs otherwise double standards will prevail.

Europe does not feel any threat from China’s missiles. In security, Europe is caught in the middle of Moscow and Washington.

Europe is not the source of China’s security pressure. But Germany has dragged China into its own security pli

ght, which not only damages China’s interests, but also leads Europeans in the wrong direction for their security concerns.

Globalization has remolded the existing power pattern and will also change the world’s political landscape. The era that Europe’s interest

s are tied with the Western camp is ending. America First will become the dominant principle in tr

ans-Atlantic ties. Europe is destined to fall behind the US and needs to recalculate its orientation.

As the world’s second largest economy, China needs defense capabilities which should be more powerful than it has now so as t

o build peace in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. A peaceful and stable Asia-Pacific region will benefit Europe.

The Asia-Pacific is far from reaching a balance of power. Germans are clear abo

ut the wide gap between the Chinese and US militaries. Merkel’s words are nothing but a bubble in thin air.

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