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.

www.gzbbbbb.com


Aid is piling up on Venezuela’s border. Here’s why it’s not

  On February 23, humanitarian aid will enter Venezuela one way or another,” the country’s self-declared president Juan Guaido d

eclared earlier this month. But not so fast — President Nicolas Maduro, who won reelection in a widely-criticized vote last year, has pr

omised to block the supplies, and organizations including the Red Cross and United Nations have refused to help.

  The slow advance of aid toward impoverished Venezuela has become a proxy measure of

the power struggle between its two rival presidents. At the same time, there is little doubt that the Ve

nezuelan people are in need of help. So why is it so hard to agree on aid?

  What is happening?

  Venezuela is dealing with the worst economic crisis in its history. One

in 10 Venezuelans are undernourished, and the economic crisis has triggered an exo

dus of at least three million people, according to the International Organization of Migration.

  Venezuela closes key maritime, air borders with neighbors amid growing aid crisis

  Guaido has thrown all his weight behind a “humanitarian channel” that would bring tons of mu

ch-needed aid from foreign countries into Venezuela. But the plan isn’t just benevolent — it’s als

o a direct jab at Maduro, who for years has denied that a humanitarian crisis was happening in Venezuela.

  ”The impact of the humanitarian aid is highly political,” admits Jua

n Miguel Matheus, an MP for the opposition. “Our first and primary goal is to provide relief for

the Venezuelan population, but after that, with this move we want to checkmate Maduro.

www.qianpadat.com


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.

www.sh419vv.com


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.

sh419jj.com


Modi’s visit to disputed region imperils thaw in ties

Recently, China and India were engaged in a jagged excha

nge of words over Modi’s visit to South Tibet, a mountainous region under substantial dispute b

etween the two Asian giants. Although China’s stance on the boundary issue is cons

istent and crystal-clear that it has never recognized the so-called “A

runachal Pradesh” and is firmly opposed to any Indian leaders’ presence there, it was Modi who has repeatedly touched the raw nerve.

Such exchange – though it has happened in the past during China’s Spring Festivals in February 2015 and February 2018 – is p

articularly noteworthy: Modi’s latest visit followed the in

formal leadership summit in Wuhan in April 2018 which was widely seen as the key effort

from both sides to improve diplomatic ties and rebuild trust since the 73-day-long armed standoff in Doklam.

Such actions by Modi would inevitably affect the progress

ade by both sides, further complicating the boundary issue and exacerbating mutual suspicion.

Modi’s recent presence in South Tibet was largely driven b

y electoral considerations, aimed at mobilizing support for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahe

ad of the general elections, which are due in India in April and May 2019 to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha.

shlfsm.com


Philippines advised to treat Chinese firms fairlyortedly interes

Two Chinese companies are reportedly interested in buying the Philippines’ largest shipyard, once an important US naval base in the Pacific region. Some Phi

lippine politicians have expressed concern over a possible Chinese takeover, saying it will be a very significant national security issue.

An unexpected dilemma is brewing in the Philippines. Since the start of the presidency of Rodrigo Dutert

e, a marked warming of bilateral ties has stoked Chinese firms’ enthusiasm for investing in the Southeast Asian country. In 2018,

China’s outbound investment in the Philippines rose by more than 8,000 percent from a year earlier.

With the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China hopes to shore up economic cooperation and let count

ries and regions along the routes share the dividends of China’s growth. Most countries don’t want to miss the o

pportunity, the Philippines being no exception. If the Philippine government bans Chinese companies from buying the s

hipyard from its current South Korean owner, it will hit Chinese people’s enthusiasm for investing in the country.

However, the explosive growth of investment has triggered concern over China’s increasing presence in the Pacific r

egion. The mass migration of Chinese to Southeast Asia has a long history, and anti-Chinese sentiment has been floating in

those countries. An increased Chinese presence will perhaps intensify anti-Chinese sentiment and complicate the issue.

www.ashbb.com


The 67-year-old princess, the eldest daughter of the late King

Bhumibol Adulyadej and sister of the present King, married an American and relinquished her title in 1972. After returning to Th

ailand in 2001 following her divorce, she resumed royal duties and enjoyed prestige among the Thai people, although her royal title has not yet been restored.

Around 20 military coups have taken place in Thailand since the country became a constitutional mo

narchy in 1932. The Constitution was also amended in 2017 during the military government’s rule.

In this context, the Thai Raksa Chart party (Thai Save The Nation, or TSN) tried to break the v

icious circle in Thailand’s politics by nominating Ubolratana as the prime ministerial candid

ate. The probability of her winning the election would have been high if she were allowed to contest. Her victory would have brought back political sta

bility to some extent. TSN is linked to former Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra, who enjoys popular appeal in the country. Thaksin carried out several pol

icies that benefited the grass roots and won him their support. Even though he was ousted in 2006, his influence remains strong.

In the upcoming election, I believe pro-Thaksin parties can still have high public app

roval ratings. But considering the latest military-drafted constitution which gives considerable

rights to bureaucrats and military, it is still not known whether a pro-Thaksin politician can be elected prime minister.

www.hnxkmh.com


Thailand’s political changes mirror those of Southeast Asiawhich

 is a region in transition. Since the beginning of the 21st century, thi

s region has come across political struggle between new capitalistic groups and old b

ureaucratic factions, as well as political turmoil as a result of the huge gap between the rich and poor.

Indonesia is also going to hold a presidential election in April. These upcoming electi

ons have sent a clear signal that Southeast Asian countries long for political stability and development.

The Thai election can give confidence to other countries in the region. After all, with very few exc

eptions, the junta can return power to the people through elections.

As for China-Thailand relations, historically, no matter which

government came to power after several coups, the direction of bilateral ties has never chang

ed. The cooperation between China and Thailand has become the common  aspiration  of the  two peoples and is in their mutual interest.

hnxkmh.com


With the proscription of Azhar becoming a contentious

t impedes China-India relations, some Chinese scholars advise that China take India’s concern more into account. But Liu Zongyi, a senior fellow of the Shanghai I

nstitutes for International Studies, told the Global Times that India should, first of all, mind its approach. Should New Delhi resort to quiet dipl

omacy instead of extensively directing aggressive rhetoric to pressure Beijing, the Azhar issue could have been better addressed.

Terrorism in India poses a significant threat to Indians. Without solid evidence, India has long accu

sed Pakistan of sponsoring terrorist attacks by Jaish-e-Mohammed and other militant groups and China

of providing uncritical support for Pakistan. Instead of simply blaming other countries, especially Pakistan and China, shouldn’t the Indian government ma

ke more self-introspection on its anti-terrorism policy and dwell more on how to better administer the India-controlled part of Kashmir?

China and Pakistan are not enemies of India in countering terrorism. Despite the India-Pakistan dispute, New Delhi has comm

on interests in fighting terrorism with Islamabad and Beijing. It’s suggested India abandon suspicions and the three countries enhance consult

ations on regional security and strengthen anti-terrorism cooperation. Last August for the first time the militaries of India and Pakistan took part in

a mega anti-terror drill of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Russia aimed at expanding cooperation among member countries to de

al with the growing menace of terrorism and extremism. Such momentum shouldn’t be disrupted.

With the approaching general election in India, nationalism could be easi

ly fanned and used by politicians to woo support. Blaming China and Pakistan for the terr

orist attack will arouse Indians’ anxieties over neighboring countries. A tough stance by the BJP government may help the

ruling party win more support. But this will risk anti-terrorism cooperation being sabotaged for the political interests of parties in India.

www.shlfwab.com


Both sides had specific discussions about a memorandum

of understanding on bilateral economic and trade issues, Xinhua reported. The two sides said they will step up their work

within the time limit for consultations set by both heads of state, and strive for consensus.

Vice-Premier Liu He, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin headed the talks.

After tit-for-tat exchanges of hefty import tariffs, China and the US agreed in December to halt new ta

riffs for 90 days to allow for talks. Since then, the world’s two largest economies have conducted i

ntense negotiations on a wide array of topics, such as trade and structural issues.

Wei Jianguo, vice-president of the China Center for International Economic Ex

changes, said China and the US have maintained close contacts in recent m

onths, which reflects their positive desire to solve genuine problems and foster cooperation.

Wei, a former vice-minister of commerce, underlined the importance of conducting rule-based negotiations and seeking win-win solutions.

Diao Daming, associate professor at Renmin University of China’s School of International Studies, said the world’s two la

rgest economies can deliver positive results in future trade talks to allay global concerns.

hdflower.net.cn