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Afghan peace talks: Quadrilateral group expected to meet in Oman next week

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KABUL: Representatives of Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the United States will meet in Oman next week to discuss reviving peace talks with Afghan Taliban, foreign ministry said in a statement today

However, the ministry did not mention if Afghan Taliban representatives would join the talks. On the other hand, the Afghan Taliban denied receiving any invitation in a video message.

The four-nation Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QGC) has been trying to ease the path to direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, with little success.

Amin Waqad, a close aide to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and a senior member of the High Peace Council (HPC), said, “HPC and government representatives will participate, and it is an important one because the Taliban representatives will be there. We will go with a clear plan.”

A senior Pakistani foreign ministry official confirmed the talks would take place on Oct 16. Last week, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif told Voice of America the “quadrilateral arrangement will again be in operation” in Muscat in October.

Asia

China’s property market stabilizing on tough curbs

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BEIJING: China’s property market remains generally stable as the government continues stepping-up property curbs.
New home prices in four first-tier cities – Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou – rose  0.2 percent in July from a month ago, 0.4 percentage points lower than that in June, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed today.
New home prices in Shanghai fell while prices in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen rose 0.2  percent, 0.6 percent, and 0.5 percent, respectively.
New home prices in 31 second-tier cities rose 1.1 percent in July, 0.1 percentage points lower than June.
On a yearly basis, first-tier cities reported a 0.2-percent increase in new home prices. Existing prices rose 0.5 percent, 0.4 percentage points higher than a year earlier.
NBS senior statistician Liu Jianwei said local governments continued to step up property regulation in July and strike a balance between demand and supply to promote the healthy development of the sector.
New home prices declined year-on-year in two of the 15 “hotspot” cities where speculative home purchases are monitored, with the most significant price drop of 0.1 percent last month,  with 11 cities posting growth and two staying flat.
During previous years, rocketing housing prices, especially in major cities, fueled concerns about asset bubbles. To curb speculation, the government rolled out various control measures,  including restrictions on purchases and increasing minimum down payments for mortgages.
Major cities announced 260 control measures during the first seven months this year, 80 percent more than the same period last year, according to the research center of the  Centaline Group.
Analysts expect more control measures to be announced as the central authority vowed to regulate the property market order and “firmly curb the rise in home prices” at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee last month.
The government will accelerate the establishment of a long-term mechanism to promote the stable and healthy development of the market, Cong Liang, spokesperson of the National Development and Reform Commission told a press conference on Wednesday.
The property market will continue adjusting amid the increasingly tightened regulation, said Liu Weimin, a researcher with the Development Research Center of the State Council.

 

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Politics

Indonesia expresses support for Turkey, Erdogan

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JAKARTA: The Indonesian Council of Ulama on Wednesday expressed strong support for Turkey against the United States’ recent economic attacks.

Head of the council’s external affairs committee, Muhyiddin Junaidi, told Anadolu Agency that they support Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s stance against the U.S.

Stressing that the U.S. targeted Muslim countries and tried to curb Turkey’s power in the region, Junaidi said that Muslim world must use their own currency in trade among themselves against the U.S. dollar.

Junaidi praised Turkey’s economy and its commercial value and added that Turkey would overcome the U.S.’ attacks.

Turkey and the U.S. are currently experiencing rocky relations following Washington’s imposition of sanctions over the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who is under house arrest in Turkey over terrorism charges.

Brunson’s charges include spying for the PKK — listed as a terrorist group by both the U.S. and Turkey — and the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the defeated coup attempt in Turkey of July 2016.

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Arts & Literature

Book of Xi’s discourses on poverty alleviation published

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BEIJING: A book of extracts from the discourses on poverty alleviation by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, has been published by the Central Party Literature Press.
The book, which was compiled by the Party history and literature research institution of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, will be distributed across the country.

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