In short, thanks to changes in the internal and extern

al environment, China’s monetary policy is expected to sail out of the “reefs” in 2019, becoming more flexible in maintaining its prudent, neutral, and marginally loose stance.

We believe that comprehensive and targeted cuts to reserve req

uirement ratios, reductions in open market rates, and increased use of targeted medium-term l

ending facility will become the main policy tools of China’s central bank in 2019. Only when extreme changes happen in the internal and external env

ironment (for example, the Chinese economy fails to stabilize in the middle of 2019 and the Fed doesn’t raise interest rates),

will the possibility of lowering the benchmark deposit and lending interest rates rise significantly.
hina will take measures to help domestic soybe

an and corn farmers, while also seeking to expand imports of certain agricultural products that are considered in s

hortage through diversified channels, according to a central government guideline released on Tuesday.

The plan, came before a new round of trade negotiations between Chinese and US officials set fo

r Thursday and Friday, shows Chinese policymakers’ determination to be le

ss dependent on US agricultural imports such as soybeans even if a deal is likely to be reached, industry analysts said.

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Germany claims the crown for record gathering of smurfs

group of German friends claimed a world record on Saturday for the highest number of smurfs gathered in one place.

Fans of the blue elf-like creatures created in a Belgian comic strip during the 1950s, managed to gathe

r 2,762 people dressed and painted blue in regulation smurf attire – curly hats and all.

The gathering took place at the town of Lauchringen, near the German border with Switzerland, the organizers reported on Facebook.

Their record came three years after their first attempt failed to beat the record held by Welsh s

tudents who managed to unite 2,510 regulation smurfs in Swansea back in 2009.

The German’s first effort failed, with only 2,149 turning up.

The rules of the game are strict: The only people counted as the genuine art

icle are those with any bare skin painted blue and the rest of the body clothed in smurf attire.

The group of friends made their second, victorious attempt on Saturday with the backing of the mayor of Lauchringen, they said.

The smurfs, small, impish creatures who live in a village, were created by the Belgian cartoonist Pierre Culliford, known as Peyo.

They became so popular that the stories eventually spilled over into cartoons and even live-action films.

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Many private enterprises pledged equity to borrow money

stock or real estate investment, instead of investing in their main business, which is not recommended. What we should encourage is tha

t companies should finance R&D and technology, which is conducive to economic development.

Cai Fang, vice president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

What lies behind the economic slowdown is the disappearance of the demographic dividend, which has ca

used a decline in the potential growth rate, meaning there is no longer a gap between actual growth rat

es and potential rates. Now, the natural unemployment rate has climbed from 4 to 5 percent, indicating there is no cyc

lical unemployment at present and thus excessive strong stimulus is unnecessary.

The government should focus policymaking on public employment services like

training and appropriately use macroeconomic policy tools to regulate the economy.

Lou Jiwei, chairman of the National Council for Social Security Fund

Industrial policy played a certain role in the early economic developmen

t stage, but later, the actual role of industrial policy was not all positive. Take the auto ind

ustry as an example. The current “big three” private car manufa

cturers have basically broken the constraints of industrial policies to grow up.

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Fan Gang, director of China’s National Economic Research

 Institute and vice president of the China Society of Economic Reform

Structural reform on the supply side and the macro adjustment to the demand-side can be done at the same time.

While we must push forward with reforms continuously, whenever there are econom

ic fluctuations, it is still necessary to take some macro-control measures.

That’s what developed countries and market-economy countries have done to stabilize their economies over the years.

We can’t hold back some necessary adjustment me

asures on the demand side just because supply-side reform fails to see results. We need action on both sides.

When we discuss reforms, don’t forget that if the reform isn’t rolled out amid a stable develop

ment environment and the economy doesn’t move at a stable growth level, it will be hard to advance many reforms.

Huang Yiping, deputy dean of the National School of Development of Peking University

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Russia trade hits record $100 billion with m

Bilateral trade between China and Russia last year exceeded $100 billion as of mid-December, a new record, official figures sh

owed Thursday, and an analyst forecast further increases in high-technology trade and e-commerce this year.

Bilateral trade grew 27.8 percent year-on-year in the first 11 months of 2018 to $97.24 billion,

Gao Feng, spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), told a press conference on Thursday.

Projects that China and Russia have been cooperating on include nuclear power and other energy sectors, as well as the aviation industry, Gao said.

China remains Russia’s largest trading partner. In the first 11 months of last year, bilateral trade in electronic pro

ducts and the high-technology sector increased 15 percent and 29 percent, respectively, according to MOFCOM.

Trade in agricultural products increased by 31 percent, Gao said.

Cooperation involving strategic large projects achieved remarkable results. Eme

rging fields such as nuclear energy and aerospace have also increased rapidly, Gao noted.

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According to the guideline, such new-generation hig

in information, biology, advanced manufacturing and new materials will grow into core industries in the area. Several key projects in f

ifth-generation (5G) networks, genetic testing, intelligent robotics, 3D printing and the BeiDou navigation system will be cultivated.

Whether the Greater Bay Area can become an international technology and innovation hub is the key

to the area’s success, according to a research report recently issued by the China Silk Road iValley Research Institute.

The region boasts the most complete manufacturing industry chain and has world-class technol

ogy talent from prestigious universities. Moreover, the favorable location offers convenience an

d benefits to enhance technological and innovation exchanges and cooperation with countries and regions al

ong the routes of the Belt and Road Initiative and other major countries in the world, said the research report.

By comparing the Greater Bay Area with the New York bay area and San Fran

cisco Bay Area in the US, Liang Haiming, chairman of the institute, told the Global T

imes on Monday that balancing the interests of traditional and emerging industries, and helping multiple

industries share the work while cooperating are two things that could be learned from the two US bay areas.

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Nigerians express disappointment at postponement of g

Nigerians on Saturday expressed disappointment at the electoral body’s postponem

ent of the presidential election few hours to the commencement of voting in the country.

Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), announced the shift

ing of the polls until Feb. 23 at a midnight press conference, saying the scheduled proceeding of the voting was not “feasible.”

“Following a careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan and

the determination to conduct free, fair, and credible elections, the Commission came to the co

nclusion that proceeding with the elections as scheduled is no longer feasible,” Yakubu said.

Likewise, the electoral body postponed gubernatorial elections in the country, earlier slated for March 2, also by one week.

Although Nigerians are used to elections being postponed, the postp

onement of this year’s presidential polls in the country was greeted by criticism.

The governing All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council said i

t received with great disappointment and disillusionment the announcement of the postponement of the election by the electoral body.

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bundant mallow harvest a boon for impoverished Iraqis

With rain spreading across Iraq, mallow growing in the northern and eastern parts of the country gives impoverished people food to eat or sell for extra money.

Mallow, or Malva pusilla, is a cosmopolitan weed found principally in temperate regions of

the world. It is a fast-growing annual or perennial herb with the capacity to grow in dense pa

tches in gardens, yards, roadsides, waste ground, orchards, pastures and agricultural fields.

It grows without any assistance and easily harvested and so is often called the “food of the poor.”

It is also delicious and good for one’s health.

Thanks to the heavy rain in Iraq, this year mallow spread and were found for collectors to harvest in winter, without any help from farmers.

Some of poor families are able to collect mallow plants and sell them

due to its medical value, as it is used to treat some sicknesses and to strengthen immunity.

Haydar Sattar, a member of the local council in Eastern Baquba, told the Xinhu

a News Agency that “mallows spread tremendously this winter. It reminds me of Iraq from a long time ago.”

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The BJP has projected Gandhi as a “Chinese propagandist.

raving about China,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra was quoted as saying in The Times of India.

The BJP has also questioned the “request” of the Chinese ambassador to give a ceremonial send-off to Gandhi for his Mansarovar trip. “When Rahul Gan

dhi went for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, a letter was sent by the Chinese ambassador to the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) that he wanted to give Rah

ul Gandhi a ceremonial send-off. This protocol is limited to heads of state or government and leader of opposition. No

w it is clear why China wanted to extend this protocol to Rahul Gandhi. Yatra was just an excuse, he had to meet Chinese ministers and discuss so

mething. The cat is out of the bag today, and the Congress needs to clarify,” Patra told Hindustan Times. The BJP didn’t stop at that. It als

o dug into Gandhi’s earlier meeting with the Chinese envoy in India during the Doklam standoff.

If the developments are any indication, the BJP is desperate to raise any issue which could work in its favor in the elections with the mood of the general

masses not looking positive towards the party. It wants to eliminate the anti-incumbency factor and divert the at

ention of the masses from more pressing issues. The main opposition has alleged the BJP failed to keep its promise of

generating 20 million jobs in a year. The opposition is also repeatedly raising the Rafale fighter jet deal to counter M

odi’s take on corruption. Now the BJP strategists feel playing the China card, to a certain extent, could help the ruling party in this matter.

But experts say such issues are not going to impact the elections. “China card will prove to be of litt

le or just no help for the BJP,” says Ajay Jha, a prominent Delhi-based journalist who is an expert in Chinese affairs.

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sights ranking places six Chinese artificial intelligence

ina is racing to the forefront of the global artificial intelligence sector, with six domestic companies earning their place on a recent list of the top 100 AI startups in the world.

Released by venture capital database CB Insights, the list includes 23 startups headquartered ou

tside the United States, including six each from China, Israel and the United Kingdom.

Chinese companies SenseTime, YITU Technology, 4Paradigm, Face++, Momenta and Horizon Robotics made it onto the list.

CB Insights reported Chinese startups SenseTime and Face++, which focus on facial recognitio

n technologies, are the best-funded companies, followed by California-based tech company Zymergen.

A total of 11 startups on the list are unicorns, startups valued at more than $1 billion, among w

hich five are from China. SenseTime gained the top spot among those 11 with a maximum valuation of $4.5 billion.

With the blossoming of big data, cloud computing and i

nternet technologies, AI has become a new focus of international competition.

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GiottoPress by Enrique Chavez