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China receives U.S. invitation to hold trade talks!

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BEIJING: China has received an invitation from the United States to hold trade negotiations, said a spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) Thursday.
The confirmation was made by MOC spokesperson Gao Feng at a press conference held in Beijing, saying that China welcomes the attitude and the two countries are in discussion about the details.
“Recently, the negotiation teams of the two sides have maintained contact in various forms and had exchanges on each other’s concerns,” Gao said, stressing that China believes an escalation of the trade conflict goes against everyone’s interests.
Responding to possible US additional levies on all Chinese imports, Gao said the US unilateral tariff hikes will ultimately harm the interests of the people of China, the United States, and the whole world.
The United States has ignored opposition from the vast number of industry representatives and consumers and continued to release news that may lead to an escalation of trade frictions, Gao said.
“This practice of blackmail and pressure does not work on China and will not help solve the problem,” Gao said.
China hopes the United States will follow the people’s will and adopt pragmatic measures to bring China-U.S. economic and trade relations back to normal through equal and honest dialogue and consultation, Gao said.
When answering a question about the US threat to punish Chinese companies using the excuse of intellectual property theft, Gao said China hopes the United States can treat the business activities of Chinese companies objectively and fairly.
“We hope the United States won’t chase the wind and clutch at shadows and does not seek excuses for its trade protectionism, so as to avoid making global companies, including Chinese ones, lose confidence in the business environment of the United States,” Gao said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PM expresses grief over the loss of lives in Kabul blast

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'Few signs of progress' in Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday expressed his grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives in a blast in Kabul, targeting a religious gathering.
He strongly condemned the cowardly act of terrorism and said being the biggest victims of terrorism; he could feel the pain of their Afghan brethren who continued to pay the price of war that was brought to their region.
“Our people and the two countries have paid the heaviest toll, both in terms of human lives as well as material losses, but we stand firm and unshaken,” the PM Office Media Wing in a press release quoted the Prime Minister as saying.
The prime minister also condoled with the bereaved families, saying “Our heart goes out to the bereaved families at this hour of grief.”

 

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Bangladesh photographer freed

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DHAKA: Award-winning Bangladeshi photographer and activist Shahidul Alam was released from prison Tuesday after more than 100 days behind bars, in a closely watched freedom of speech case.
The 63-year-old Alam was arrested on 5th August for making “false” and “provocative” statements on Al Jazeera television and Facebook during student protests.
He was freed from Dhaka’s main jail Tuesday after being granted bail last week, his wife Rahnuma Ahmad told the Media. 
“He is now heading home,” she said.
He was being held under controversial internet laws which critics say have been wielded by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to stifle dissent and harass journalists.
Alam spoke briefly to reporters after he came out of prison to describe conditions inside the jail, Alam’s close associate Rezaur Rahman told the Media.
The photographer had previously said he was badly beaten while in custody.
Although Alam was granted bail for his release on Thursday last week, he had to wait another five days to be set free as the prosecution moved to appeal against the bail order.
He had earlier applied unsuccessfully for bail four times.
Alam, whose work has appeared widely in global media and who founded the renowned Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, faces a maximum 14 years in jail if convicted.
His lawyers have argued Alam’s continued detention was “a clear violation” of his fundamental rights under Bangladesh’s constitution.
The photographer’s arrest triggered international protests – with rights groups, Nobel laureates and academics calling for his release – and came after a series of mass rallies this summer after two teenagers were killed by a speeding bus.
The massive rallies evolved into broader demonstrations against Hasina, who will seek a third consecutive term next month, and her Awami League party.
Alam told Al Jazeera at the time that the protests were the result of pent-up anger at corruption and an “unelected government… clinging on by brute force”.
He was arrested the same day, with many other protesters held on similar charges as authorities cracked down on demonstrators.
Human Rights Watch accused Bangladesh of targeting activists and journalists in the wake of the protests instead of prosecuting those who attacked students with fists and rods.
Michelle Bachelet used her first statement as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to raise the issue of attacks on journalists in Bangladesh.
In recent weeks, Hasina has been accused of stifling dissent further by ratifying a controversial new digital-security law.
And a prominent critic of the government was arrested for defamation last month, days after he helped form an opposition coalition.

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Imran Khan reaches Kuala Lumpur

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KUALA LUMPUR: Imran Khan reached here today on a two-day official visit of Malaysia. It would be the first state visit by any foreign leader since Dr. Mahathir Mohamad assumed office in May.

A relevant piece published earlier: 

Imran Khan leaves for Kuala Lumpur

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