China and Myanmar have agreed to work together to build a community with a shared future, opening a new era of bilateral ties.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi announced the decision during their formal talks in the Myanmar capital of Nay Pyi Taw on Saturday.
Xi said that enjoying a profound "Paukphaw" (fraternal) friendship, China and Myanmar face new development opportunities in bilateral ties as both countries have entered a new stage of national development.
This time, the two sides have decided to jointly build a China-Myanmar community with a shared future, ushering in a new era of bilateral relations, Xi said.
The president urged efforts to implement the decision, systematically plan and deploy next-phase exchanges and cooperation in various fields, and strengthen political guidance for bilateral relations, so as to push China-Myanmar relations to a higher level.
Firstly, Xi said, the two countries should accelerate the alignment of their development strategies and put more efforts into the construction of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC).
The two sides should advance their five-year plan for economic and trade cooperation, effectively dovetail their development strategies, and well implement their economic and trade as well as production capacity cooperation.
Stressing the overriding importance of the CMEC in their Belt and Road cooperation, Xi said the two sides have started the substantive construction of the CMEC, adding that the two sides should work to increase the sense of gain of both peoples, the Myanmar people especially, as soon as possible.
Secondly, the two countries should focus on flagship cooperation projects to strengthen connectivity, Xi said.
China and Myanmar have agreed to allow the Kyaukphyu projects to play a demonstrative and driving role in the CMEC, and accelerate the construction of the China-Myanmar Border Economic Cooperation Zone and the New Yangon City, so as to complete the overall layout of the economic corridor supported by the north, east and west ends.
The two sides should also forge ahead with connectivity projects including highways, railways and power grids, in order to form a structural network for the corridor, Xi said.
Thirdly, China and Myanmar should expand trade and investment and boost local cooperation, Xi said, adding that China has always adhered to upholding justice while pursuing shared interests in its practical cooperation with Myanmar.
China welcomes Myanmar to increase exports to China, supports Chinese enterprises in increasing investment in Myanmar and is willing to enhance bilateral financial cooperation, he said.
Xi encouraged the two sides to give full play to the geographical advantage of their economic corridor and promote exchanges and cooperation between Myanmar and Chinese provinces including Yunnan Province, so as to contribute to the overall development of the two countries.
Fourthly, China and Myanmar should deepen people-to-people and cultural exchanges and promote friendship and understanding between their peoples, Xi said.
He urged the two sides to make the celebration events for the 70th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties and the China-Myanmar Year of Culture and Tourism a success, and encourage more youths to carry out exchanges so as to pass on the "Paukphaw" friendship from generation to generation.
China and Myanmar should endeavor to improve people's livelihood, security and infrastructure construction along the CMEC, to deliver benefits to more Myanmar people as early as possible, he said.
Extending once again a warm welcome to Xi, Aung San Suu Kyi said Myanmar highly cherishes its friendship with China and hopes to continue to be a good friend of China.
Xi's visit, which has boasted milestone significance and yielded fruitful results, will greatly deepen the Myanmar-China "Paukphaw" friendship and promote their practical cooperation, she said.
The Myanmar side is ready to actively advance the construction of the Myanmar-China Economic Corridor, fully implement projects in Kyaukphyu and push forward cooperation in such areas as transportation, energy, production capacity, humanities, border and at local levels, she said.
Myanmar is ready to join efforts with China to forge ahead, build the Myanmar-China community with a shared future and better benefit the two peoples, she said.
Aung San Suu Kyi said that a prominent feature in Myanmar-China relations has been their mutual respect, understanding and support.
China has long been giving Myanmar precious understanding and support at both bilateral and international levels, and the Myanmar people will always remember that, she said.
China's support is not out of self-interest, but to safeguard fairness and justice, which is particularly precious to small countries like Myanmar, she said.
Currently, problems concerning world peace and development, as well as international fairness and justice are yet to be solved, Aung San Suu Kyi said.
Some countries have been wantonly interfering in the internal affairs of other countries in the name of human rights, ethnic or religious issues, she said, noting that Myanmar will never bow to such pressure and interference.
Aung San Suu Kyi expressed hope that China will continue to defend justice for small- and medium-sized countries including Myanmar on international occasions and play a constructive part in promoting the peace process in her country.
Stressing that time reveals a person's heart and adversity tries a friend, Xi said China is a good friend worthy of Myanmar's trust.
Noting that China and Myanmar have jointly championed and practiced the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, Xi said the two sides have not only trusted and helped each other and set a model for exchanges between countries, but also made historic contributions to the promotion of establishing a new type of international relations.
China has always adhered to respecting the people of all countries' independent choice of a development path suited to their national conditions, and insisted on non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, Xi said.
China will continue to speak out for justice for Myanmar in the international arena, and support Myanmar in safeguarding its national dignity and legitimate rights and interests, Xi said.
China supports Myanmar in advancing the domestic peace process and achieving national reconciliation, and is willing to continue to play a constructive role in this regard, he added.
After the talks, the leaders of the two countries attended a ceremony of exchanging bilateral cooperation documents, covering political, economic, trade, investment, humanities, local and other fields.
China and Myanmar also issued a joint statement on Saturday.
According to the statement, both sides agreed to continue to enhance coordination and cooperation in regional and multilateral fora such as the United Nations, China-ASEAN cooperation and Lancang-Mekong cooperation platform.
They agreed to render mutual support on issues concerning each other's core interests and major concerns, to work closely on global issues concerning the challenges faced by developing countries, and to uphold jointly peace, stability and development in the region and the world.
The two sides will continue their close high-level interactions, reinforce mutual political trust, enhance strategic communication, deepen exchanges of experience in governance, and further promote friendly exchanges between their legislative institutions, political parties and localities, says the document.
They also pledged to continue bringing into full play the role of inter-governmental mechanisms for practical cooperation, such as the China-Myanmar Joint Committee on Economic, Trade and Technical Cooperation and China-Myanmar Agricultural Cooperation Committee, and deepen concrete cooperation in fields such as economy and trade, agriculture, forestry, industrial capacity, investment and finance.
Nick Tiano realizes he might have limited chances to show scouts he deserves a chance in the NFL. On Saturday, he was able to take advantage of his playing time.
The Chattanooga quarterback threw for 135 yards and a touchdown en route to being selected the MVP of the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl after leading the National squad to a 30-20 victory over the American team Saturday.
"It was a good night," said Tiano, who spent three seasons at Chattanooga after transferring from Mississippi State. "For us small-school guys, this was a big opportunity to come out here and show what we can do."
Tiano, who was 8 of 10 passing, gave his team a 17-7 lead early in the second quarter with a pinpoint 48-yard TD toss to Kirk Merritt. The Arkansas State receiver was in perfect position to haul it in despite double coverage from cornerbacks Ray Buford Jr. of New Mexico State and Damon Hayes of Rutgers.
"It was a great play call. We thought the defense might be aggressive," Tiano said. "Merritt made a great play by tracking the ball and getting it."
Former Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, who led the National staff, was pleased with the way Tiano was able to handle the flow of the game and play with poise.
"He did a nice job of his accuracy and throwing down the field," Lewis said. "The ball location was good, for the most part, which is what you want. It was on time and coming out of his hand right."
Oregon State's Artavis Pierce, Georgia's Brian Herrien and New Mexico State's Jason Huntley rushed for touchdowns for the National team.
Louisiana-Lafayette running back Raymond Calais provided the American squad's top play with a 100-yard kick return for a touchdown on the opening play of the second half. Nathan Rourke of Ohio was 8 of 15 for 126 yards.
"Playing here does a lot because you're doing NFL stuff and going against high talent," Rourke said. "It's tough to get chemistry within a week, but it can help with the scouts because we were able to do interviews."
The American team, led by former Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson, scored first when Michigan State's Brian Lewerke found Arkansas State's Omar Bayless in single coverage for a 3-yard TD.
The National squad then scored on its next three possessions. Oregon State's Artavis Pierce tied it with a 3-yard touchdown, and Matt Ammendola of Oklahoma State kicked a 45-yard field goal to make it 10-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Herrien extended the National's lead to 23-7 late in the second quarter on a 9-yard run. The score was set up when Iowa State linebacker Marcel Spears Jr. picked off Rourke's pass and returned it 35 yards to the American 9.
Following Calais' return, Huntley put the National squad back up by more than two scores with an 11-yard TD run. UCLA's JJ Molson kicked a pair of field goals — from 34 and 42 yards — to bring the American team within 10.
Lewis lauded his staff — which included Pro Football Hall of Famers Kevin Mawae, Rod Woodson and Jackie Slater — for their work with the players.
"The biggest thing is to give the players an opportunity to show what they can do by learning the plan and do the same thing they did on Saturday night," Lewis said. "There were very few errors and that's great. To play like they did shows what a good job the staff did."
Winter blues 0, joyful color 1.
Tulip growers in the Netherlands beat back winter — if only for a day — with a riotous explosion of color Saturday as they turned an Amsterdam square into a multi-colored feast for cold-dulled senses to mark National Tulip Day.
Several thousand people converged on Dam Square in front of the Royal Palace to enjoy and pick the 200,000 free tulips, making gorgeous bunches for themselves from the rainbow of vibrant colors on offer.
Each person was limited to 20 free flowers. Tulip growers helped visitors make their bouquets.
National Tulip Day marks the opening of the tulip season for the Netherlands' flower industry.
"I came with some of my friends and also my family just for this event, for the National Tulip Day, the start of the tulip season," Fuschia Ramadhanti, a visitor from Indonesia, said.
Flowers are a flourishing business in the Netherlands, the world's biggest tulip producer. The country annually grows between 1.7 and 2 billion tulips, which are exported to more than 100 countries worldwide.
Horticultural products such as fresh flowers, bulbs and plants were the highest-value Dutch agricultural sector in 2019, worth 9.5 billion euros.
Beijing, Jan 19 (AP/UNB) — Seventeen more people in central China have been diagnosed with a new form of viral pneumonia that has killed two patients and placed other countries on alert.
In total, 62 cases of the novel coronavirus have been identified in the city of Wuhan, where the virus appears to have originated. The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported the new cases Sunday.
Nineteen of those individuals have been discharged from the hospital, while two men in their 60s — one with severe preexisting conditions — have died from the illness.
At least a half-dozen countries in Asia have started screening incoming airline passengers from central China. The list includes Thailand and Japan, which have together reported three cases of the disease in people who had come from Wuhan.
Australia's forests are burning at a rate unmatched in modern times and scientists say the landscape is being permanently altered as a warming climate brings profound changes to the island continent.
Heat waves and drought have fueled bigger and more frequent fires in parts of Australia, so far this season torching some 40,000 square miles (104,000 square kilometers), an area about as big as Ohio.
With blazes still raging in the country's southeast, government officials are drawing up plans to reseed burned areas to speed up forest recovery that could otherwise take decades or even centuries.
But some scientists and forestry experts doubt that reseeding and other intervention efforts can match the scope of the destruction. The fires since September have killed 28 people and burned more than 2,600 houses.
Before the recent wildfires, ecologists divided up Australia's native vegetation into two categories: fire-adapted landscapes that burn periodically, and those that don't burn. In the recent fires, that distinction lost meaning — even rainforests and peat swamps caught fire, likely changing them forever.
Flames have blazed through jungles dried out by drought, such as Eungella National Park, where shrouds of mist have been replaced by smoke.
"Anybody would have said these forests don't burn, that there's not enough material and they are wet. Well they did," said forest restoration expert Sebastian Pfautsch, a research fellow at Western Sydney University.
"Climate change is happening now, and we are seeing the effects of it," he said.
High temperatures, drought and more frequent wildfires — all linked to climate change — may make it impossible for even fire-adapted forests to be fully restored, scientists say.
"The normal processes of recovery are going to be less effective, going to take longer," said Roger Kitching, an ecologist at Griffith University in Queensland. "Instead of an ecosystem taking a decade, it may take a century or more to recover, all assuming we don't get another fire season of this magnitude soon."
Young stands of mountain ash trees — which are not expected to burn because they have minimal foliage — have burned in the Australian Alps, the highest mountain range on the continent. Fire this year wiped out stands re-seeded following fires in 2013.
Mountain ash, the world's tallest flowering trees, reach heights of almost 90 meters (300 feet) and live hundreds of years. They're an iconic presence in southeast Australia, comparable to the redwoods of Northern California, and are highly valued by the timber industry.
"I'm expecting major areas of (tree) loss this year, mainly because we will not have sufficient seed to sow them," said Owen Bassett of Forest Solutions, a private company that works with government agencies to re-seed forests by helicopter following fires.
Bassett plans to send out teams to climb trees in parts of Victoria that did not burn to harvest seed pods. But he expects to get at most a ton of seeds this year, about one-tenth of what he said is needed.
Fire is a normal part of an ash forest life cycle, clearing out older stands to make way for new growth. But the extent and intensity of this year's fires left few surviving trees in many areas.
Already ash forests in parts of Victoria had been hit by wildfire every four to five years, allowing less marketable tree species to take over or meadows to form.
"If a young ash forest is burned and killed and we can't resow it, then it is lost," Bassett said.
The changing landscape has major implications for Australia's diverse wildlife. The fires in Eungella National Park, for example, threaten "frogs and reptiles that don't live anywhere else," said University of Queensland ecologist Diana Fisher.
Fires typically burn through the forest in a patchwork pattern, leaving unburned refuges from which plant and animal species can spread. However, the megafires raging in parts of Australia are consuming everything in their path and leaving little room for that kind of recovery, said Griffith University's Kitching.
In both Australia and western North America, climate experts say, fires will continue burning with increased frequency as warming temperatures and drier weather transform ecosystems around the globe.
The catastrophic scale of blazes in so many places offers the "clearest signal yet" that climate change is driving fire activity, said Leroy Westerling, a fire science professor at the University of Alberta.
"It's in Canada, California, Greece, Portugal, Australia," Westerling said. "This portends what we can expect — a new reality. I prefer not to use the term 'new normal'... This is more like a downward spiral."
Forests can shift locations over time. However, that typically unfolds over thousands of years, not the decades over which the climate has been warming.
Most of the nearly 25,000 square miles (64,000 square kilometers) that have burned in Victoria and New South Wales has been forest, according to scientists in New South Wales and the Victorian government.
By comparison, an average of about 1,600 square miles (4,100 square kilometers) of forest burned annually in Australia dating back to 2002, according to data compiled by NASA research scientist Niels Andela and University of Maryland research professor Louis Giglio.
Unlike grasslands, which see the vast majority of Australia's huge annual wildfire damage, forests are unable to regenerate in a couple of years. "For forests, we're talking about decades, particularly in more arid climates," Andela said.
Most forested areas can be expected to eventually regenerate, said Owen Price, a senior research fellow at the University of Wollongong specializing in bushfire risk management. But he said repeated fires will make it more likely that some will become grasslands or open woodlands.
Price and others have started thinking up creative ways to combat the changes, such as installing sprinkler systems in rainforests to help protect them against drought and fire, or shutting down forested areas to all visitors during times of high fire danger to prevent accidental ignitions.
Officials may also need to radically rethink accepted forest management practices,. said Pfautsch, the researcher from Western Sydney.
That could involve planting trees in areas where they might not be suitable now but would be in 50 years as climate change progresses.
"We cannot expect species will move 200 kilometers (125 miles) to reach a cooler climate," said Pfautsch. "It's not looking like there's a reversal trend in any of this. It's only accelerating."