Facts and figures: Belt and Road Initiativetive, proposed

The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, aims at building a

trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the an

cient trade routes of the Silk Road to seek common development and prosperity.

Let’s take a look at some key figures about the initiative.

A new remake of Peking Opera classic Farewell My C

oncubine is expected to premiere for opera lovers in Beijing in late May.

A representative opera piece of the late Chinese theater

mogul Mei Lanfang, Farewell My Concubine tells a love

story based on the legend of Xiang Yu – the warlord of the ancient Chu Kingdom – an

d his beloved consort Yu. Xiang lost a battle for the throne, and Yu committed suicide with his sword.

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Zhang Huoding, one of the most popular Peking Opera

 stars in today’s China, will take the opera makeover to the stage of the Chang

‘an Grand Theater on May 25, as the closing show of this year’s Meet in Beijing inte

rnational arts festival. Celebrated Peking Opera artist Gao Mukun will star as Xiang Yu.

For 48-year-old Zhang, it’s a dream come true.

“It’s always been my dream to play concubine Yu since I was learni

ng Peking Opera in Tianjin in the 1980s, but I didn’t get the chance,” Zhang said at a news conf

erence in Beijing on Tuesday. “I look forward to it very much and I hope the audience will like it.”Zhang is an inh

eritor of the “Cheng School” of Peking Opera, a performing style founded by Cheng Yanqiu (1904-58), one of the great Pe

king Opera masters of the 20th century. While Mei Lanfang’s “Mei School” is fam

ous for his smooth, moderate and poised style in playing elegant female roles, Cheng style is kn

own for interpreting tragic women with frequent changes in sounds and rhythm.

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Though Farewell My Concubine has long been a master

piece of the Mei School, Wan Ruixing, renowned Peking Opera composer and player of the jingh

u (a high-pitched two-stringed fiddle used in Peking Opera), said the Cheng School’s sorrowful tunes a

nd slow rhythm also could be a decent interpretation of concubine Yu’s tragic fate.

“There are more tragedies in the Cheng School’s plays and the characte

r of Yu and her deep sorrow in the legendary story meet very well with the featu

res of the Cheng School,” said Wan, who is also responsible for the new play’s method of singi

ng tunes.A former actress from the China National Peking Opera Company, Zhang has performed in sellout shows acros

s China, including a solo show at the Great Hall of the People in 2007. In 2015, Zhang made her US debut at Lincoln Ce

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reviews naval parade on 70th birthday of Navy

Xi reviewed 18 vessels from 13 countries invited to participate in a naval parade on Tuesday afternoon.

The foreign vessels in the waters off eastern China’s coastal city of Qingdao saluted

Xi, who was on board the destroyer Xining, in their traditional manners as they passed by.

The destroyer Xining sounded its horn to ret

The vessels whistled and officers and soldiers stood in a ceremonial formation, saluting Xi as they passed by.

“Salute to you, comrades,” Xi called out to the officers and soldiers.

“Hail to you, chairman,” they replied.

Xi alternated the greeting with “Comrades, thanks f

or your hard work,” to which the officers and soldiers replied “Serve the peop

urn the salute, and Xi waved to the naval officers and soldiers aboard the vessels

i onboard the destroyer Xining gave an order to commence the naval parade on the sea off Qingdao at about 2:30 pm Tuesday.

A total of 32 vessels of the People’s Liberation Army Navy sailed in six groups, and 39 warplanes of the navy flew in ten echelons.

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It is reported that the IS terrorist organization has clai

med it was behind the horrific attacks. Yet whoever the perpetrators, the attacks on innoc

ent people should be condemned in the strongest terms, and those responsible arrested and punished.

Since Sri Lanka has been facing some political and e

conomic problems, and increasingly acute social conf

licts for the past few years, the attacks seem to reveal not just sectarian disputes but also cer

tain people’s dissatisfaction with the situation in the island nation, and the rest of South Asia.

The motive behind the attacks could be helplessness and desperation of certain sections of Muslims in South Asia.

The rise of Islamic extremism has to some extent fueled the rise of white supremac

ist groups in the United States and some European countries. Perhaps the conflict between Islamic extremism and

the anti-Muslim forces today is greater than that immediately after the Sept 11, 2001, attacks in the US.

And the rising tensions in South Asia and other regions should prompt govern

ments to take sound measures to prevent the spread of extremism inside their borders.、

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Two Chinese nationals were confirmed killed, the

Chinese Embassy in Colombo said.The embassy is verifying the number of Chinese injured in the attacks.

Earlier information from the embassy said that four Chinese nationals were injured

in the multiple church and hotel explosions that ripped through the island nation on the Easter day.

The Chinese Embassy has activated an emergency response mechanism immediately a

fter the blasts, and embassy officials have visited the injured who were in hospital for treatment.

Curfew and ban on social media imposed

The government has imposed a nationwide curfew from 6 pm Sunday to 6 am local time on Monday.

The Sri Lankan government has also imposed a temporary ban on social media to prevent the spread of false information.

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rime scene officials inspect the explosion area at Shangri-La

Of the dead in the blasts, there are 35 foreigners, the police confirmed. Hospital sources

had earlier said nine foreigners were among those killed while 13 others have been injured.

Airline says flights continue despite curfew

SriLankan Airlines is telling passengers boo

ked on flights out of the country that they will be able to fly despite the curfew imposed.

The carrier says in a statement that travelers on all airlines operating out of Bandaranai

ke International Airport can access the airport by showing their tickets and passports at checkpoints.

The airline says security has been tightened at the airp

ort, and it advises passengers to arrive four hours before their scheduled flights.

Both Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Mi

nister Ranil Wickremesinghe have condemned the attacks and appealed for calm.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said t

he tri-forces and the police are conducting a thorough probe into the explosions.

In a special statement, the police urged the publi

c to stay indoors and not gather at the explosion sites which had been sealed off.

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Wheat growing on a farm in Huai’an, Jiangsu province

A threat to the viability of the current WTO dispute settlement system is the unilateralism and

protectionism of the United States. Specifically, this mechanism is in crisis because the Unit

ed States has prevented the appointment of new judges to the appellate body. Experts have warned that if th

e appellate body were to shut down because of a lack of judges, global trade governance will be put back 20 years.

Of course the WTO also needs to continually reforming itself so that it can keep up w

ith the times, and many countries have put forward relevant suggestions. For instance, the European Uni

on has released a paper putting forth ideas for a comprehensive modernization of the WTO, and the United States, Eur

ope, and Japan have together submitted a their own proposed reforms. And in November last year, China ann

ounced that it supported necessary reforms of the WTO and raised five proposals that aim to firmly uphold the rules-ba

sed multilateral trading system, resist protectionism, and let the WTO play a bigger role in world trade.

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The settlement of the dispute over agricultural product

ts between China and the United States is nothing out of the ordin

ary – it is a normal part of China’s engagement with the rules-based trading syste

m. As Mr Pascal Lamy, a former WTO director general put it, “China has delivered an ‘A-pl

us performance’ since its WTO accession,” and no WTO member has been

a perfect performer when it comes to WTO rules as each country has its own interpretation of the rules.

China will regard every dispute settlement within the WTO framework as an opportunity to cont

inuously adjust and improve its trade practices. Through the process, China will consult extensively with oth

er WTO members in order to promote reforms of the WTO that enhance the organization’s authority and effe

ctiveness so that it can better safeguard free trade and the multilateral trading system.

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Shanghai purrs over new Hello Kitty theme park

The world’s only Hello Kitty-themed pavilion brings a fantasy world with a retro decor for fans in Shanghai.

Hello Kitty Shanghai Times was launched by propert

y developer Shimao Group and Japanese animation powerhouse Sanrio on March 29.

By creating an immersive experience of Shanghai during three symbolic periods of the city’s history – the 1930s, 1980s and today – the

indoor theme park provides a unique experience for visitors with Sanrio’s best-known characters, incl

uding Hello Kitty, My Melody, Badtz-Maru, Pompompurin, Keroppi and Cinnamoroll.

The time travel-themed attraction is located at Shimao Festiva

l City on bustling East Nanjing Road, and is expected to attract 2 million visitors a year. S

preading across three floors, the play area takes up a total gross floor area of about 6,000 square meters.

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