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Premier says drug costs for chronic diseases to be reimbursable

Outpatient drugs for chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, will be reimbursa

ble by 50 percent through China’s basic medical insurance program this year, Premier Li Keqiang said at a news conference on Friday.

The measure will relieve financial burdens on patients with the two diseases, which number 400 million in China, he said.

The government will also take steps this year to further relieve medical expenditure by

patients with serious diseases through adjusting medical insurance policies, Li said.

The government has been making efforts to improve people’s access to quality medical services and reduce their medical expenditure, Li said.

Last year the prices of 17 anti-cancer drugs were cut by more than 50 percent on av

erage, and were included in the basic medical insurance program so they were reimbursable, he said.

China’s basic medical insurance program has covered almost the entire population in China, he said.

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litical advisers leave the closing meeting of the seco

Economic, social concerns take center stage in National Committee

More than 2,100 national political advisers wrapped up their annual meeting o

n Wednesday in Beijing with more attention devoted to the country’s economic and social issues.

President Xi Jinping and other leaders attended the closing meeting of the second session of the 13th National Commi

ttee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Beijing on Wednesday.

Wang Yang, chairman of the 13th CPPCC National Committee, called on members to better serve as consultants to the gov

ernment, including legislative and judicial organs, to support the development of the country.

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What we still don’t know about the Ethiopian Airlines Flig

  Investigators are combing through debris at the site where Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed on Sunday, attem

pting to make sense of a disaster that claimed 157 lives and left thousands more in grief and shock.

  In the days since the crash, the personal stories of many of those on board have

come to light — highlighting the truly international nature of a tragedy that saw people of 35 different nationalities die.

  The focus on Boeing has also been intense. On Tuesday, the U

K joined several other countries in grounding the company’s newest, big-selling 737 MAX 8 jet o

ver safety concerns. The MAX 8 was also the model involved in October’s Lion Air crash, which killed all 189 people on board.

  But much more about Sunday’s crash remains unclear — including crucial questions over what caused the jet to go down.

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But the move to curtail internet freedom and the crackd

  own on religious minorities reflect broader official paranoia about internal threats. Russia’s top leadership has a conspiratorial view of the world, with Rus

sia opposed by foreign adversaries from without and of fifth columnists from within.

  Putin talks pocketbook issues, but still brandishes missiles

  In a speech last weekend, Russia’s top military officer, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, poi

nted to the “aggressive vector” of the foreign policy of the US and its allies, suggesting they were employing tec

hnology of “color revolutions” and “soft power” to promote regime change around the globe, including in Russia.

  ”Their goal is the elimination of the statehood of unwanted c

ountries, the undermining of sovereignty, the change of lawfully elected bodies of state power,” Ger

asimov said. “So it was in Iraq, in Libya and in Ukraine. Currently, similar actions are observed in Venezuela.”

  Such talk reflects wider worry about internal dissent, particularly in a country where the

political opposition has no access to state airwaves and Putin has a monopoly on power.

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This environment created a black market in which bro

  okers will offer to dispose of waste at below the market rate.

  Brokers charge between $130 and $170 to dump a ton of waste in a sparsely

populated part of the country, says Lee, Kim’s former boss.

  Not only can this be a lucrative source of income, the fines for illegal

dumping are only about $3,000, Lee says.

  Lee estimates that Kim pocketed upwards of $22 million this way, judging by the extra trash that was found at his site.

  A new dumping ground

  Since the China ban, South Korea has been using Southeast Asia as a

dumping ground for much of its non-recyclable waste.

  The country now exports 10 times more waste to the Philippines and

almost 30 times mor

e to Thailand than it did before Beijing’s ban. But not all the waste sent abroad is

disposed of legally.

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Madrazo said in the next 20 years, there will be more innovative

technologies to support farmers to practice sustainable agricultural production.

“The combining chance of advanced breeding technologies that makes the seeds smarter and

more productive, together with modern crop protection products that are friendlier to the envir

onment, coupled with biological technologies that really helps explore the power of microorganisms in the soil, w

ith digital tools as integrators, you bring all of these together.”

In June 2018, Bayer completed its acquisition of Monsanto, a US seeds and agrochemic

als company, and became the world’s largest supplier of seeds and agricultural chemicals.

“We are a leader of agriculture,” Madrazo said, “when you look

at our new, integrated company there are three specific aspects that excite us: First one is our

top innovation ability; Second one is leading the digital transformation in agriculture; and the third one is we have a re

al opportunity to shape sustainability for the benefit of farmers, consumers and our planet.”

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In 2018, the government introduced several policies to offer

 more support to private hospitals. According to the policies, private hospitals will have the same assessment system as

public hospitals, the government will not limit the opening of general clinics, third-party medical insti

tutions will have their own standards, and internet hospitals will be encouraged.

Judging from the policies, opening up the incremental market will c

ontinue to be an important direction for medical reform in the nex

t few years. At the same time, the government will also tighten the supervision of private hospitals, in the ho

pe of forming a diversified system with public hospitals being the main body, supplemented by private institutions.

On Nov 5 2018, President Xi Jinping gave a speech during the opening

ceremony of the China International Import Expo, stating that China is steadily expanding the

opening-up of the financial sector, and will loosen limitations on foreign investment in the medical field.

Market insiders said that this is a positive signal for China’s medical sector to attract foreign investment.

According to the notice issued by the government in 2000, forei

gn capital can contribute up to a 70 percent share of China’s medical institutions.

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Li-Ning’s success during New York Fashion Week inspired man

older Chinese brands, who began seeking ways to reignite their dying brands. For instance, in Se

ptember 2018, candy company White Rabbit and time-honored Shanghai cosmetic brand Maxam teamed up

to produce a lipstick that looked and tasted like traditional milk candy. According to Maxam’s official website, the

first batch of this lipstick, 960 in all, sold out in just two seconds on online retailer T-Mall.

Another example of an unusual alliance was that between bug repellent maker Liushen and Rio cocktail.

In the summer of 2018, these two companies co-produced a special cocktail drink, the gre

en color of which reminded consumers of Liushen’s mosquito repellent. While consumers were a bit hesi

tant to try it at first, this minty mixture of lemon, lime and grapefruit soon proved to be a great success.

Nong Fu Spring, a bottled water and beverage company, chose a different way to attract younger

customers. Instead of coming out with a new product, it invited an overseas design company to produce new packaging featuring the four seasons of th

e Changbai Mountains, where the company gets its spring water. Additionally, the company joined with

popular Chinese smartphone game Onmyoji and the Palace Museum to produce a limited series of water bottles.

These new marketing methods helped push sales of Nong Fu Spring bottled water to new heights.

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Hulu has a special treats on offer for Valentigy eases travSpri

During this year’s Spring Rush (or chunyun), which started on Jan 21 and will end on March 1, Chinese people are expected to make about 2.99 billion trips. Th

is is equivalent to relocating the entire population of Africa, Europe, the Americas and Oceania in 40 days.

That China successfully manages the largest mass migration in the world shows the Chinese e

conomy remains vibrant and the country is moving toward overall prosperity. According to statistics from relevant de

partments, China’s total passenger transport capacity, including the railways, waterways and civil a

viation, during the 2019 chunyun is expected to increase by more than 5 percent over last year’s. Which means C

hina’s transportation authorities have made great efforts to optimize and improve passenger transfer services.

For passengers’ convenience, the authorities are widely applying smart and information tech

nologies to promote closer cooperation among the railways, civil aviation and road networks, and str

engthen the links among different transport modes, in order to provide the passengers with better “last-mile” services.

Hainan Island Circular High-Speed Railway has taken the lead in piloting e-ticket rail travel. The Haina

n railway project is aimed at replacing paper tickets with e-tickets, and making identity cards or certificates the travel vo

ucher, in order to establish a self-service entrance and exit, and self-service ticket change and refund mechanisms.

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Hunan art festival promotes rural culture vitalization

The annual Huaihua Beautiful Country Culture and Arts Festival recently took place in Huna

n province, aiming to involve more villagers in art creation and vitalize local culture.

Hosted by the China Art Association, Hunan Photographers Association and the Huaihua Feder

ation of Literary and Art Circles, this year’s arts festival featured local people performing a vari

ety of disciplines on stage, including wind and percussion music, group dance and Chinese operas.

Unique to this year’s arts festival is a photography exhibition, showcasing 50 pictures taken by mi

grant workers. The photos are selected from the award winners of the 2018 Hunan Province W

orkers Photography Exhibition.
“These photos focus on the extraordinary achievements made by laborers from all wa

lks of life, freeze-framing the wonderful moments of their daily work, presenting their diligence, endeavor and co

mmitment to innovation,” says Liang Xiangfeng, secretary-general of Hunan Photographers Association.

The exhibition is a major measure taken by the association in 2019 in its bid to use the arts to alleviate poverty and promote rural vitalization.

Founder of the arts festival, artist Shu Yong, says: “To vitalize the countryside, we must first vitalize rur

al culture. Only when the local villagers feel proud of their home and culture, can rural vitalization truly be realized.”

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