Group to map way out of vaccine morassational w s to ens

China has set up a national work group for immunization planning that will suggest ways

to ensure vaccines are safe, the head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday.

The work group, led by a vice-minister of health, will analyze all incidents involving vaccine safety over the past few years to find

the root sources of problems, Gao Fu, head of the center, said at a news conference. He didn’t name the minister.

“Vaccines made in China are some of the best in the world,” said Gao, who is also a member of China’s top poli

tical advisory body. “We should have no doubt about the role of vaccines in disease prevention or the quality of vaccines made in China.”

For example, he said, by promoting immunization, some infectious diseases that

once seriously harmed people’s health in China, such as smallpox, have been eliminated.

Hepatitis B once infected more than 10 percent of the population of China, but now only 0.3 p

ercent of children under 5 years old are carriers because of mandatory immunization.

Gao made the comments in light of a series of incidents involving vaccine safety over the past few years.

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In a major scandal last year, Changchun Changsheng Life

Sciences, a vaccine producer in Changchun, Jilin province, faked production records and used expired material for the production of rabies vaccines over the past four years.

The company was ordered to suspend production, and senior executives

were detained and face criminal charges. The company was ordered to pay fines of 9.1 bi

llion yuan ($1.3 billion) for violations, one of the heaviest fines imposed on a pharmaceutical company over the past few years.

Following the revelations, top officials vowed harsh penalties and reform of the vaccine super

vision system to eliminate loopholes. A new law on the management of vaccines was drafted for review.

Fang Laiying, former head of the Beijing Municipal Health Commission, said he has faith in the overall safety of drugs in Chi

na, but individual cases involving violations of the law can tarnish the image of the whole pharmaceutical sector.

“The government is intensifying its efforts in cases involving violations of drug safety laws, including severely puni

shing criminals and setting up strict accountability systems to improve supervision of the sector,” he said.

Gao, the CDC head, said major infectious diseases such as dengue fever and AIDS will continue to be the priority in disease prevention and control this year.

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The country will also push for high-quality developmen

of the sector with a focus on improving financial services and forestalling financial risks.

Opening-up of China’s financial factor has sped up, as the country re

moved foreign ownership caps of banks and financial asset management firms last year.

Richard Turnill, global chief investment strategist of BlackRock, an American global investment man

agement corporation, is also positive on China’s stocks market, according to the Barron’s report.

Turnill said stronger inflows into Chinese A-shares, and China’s efforts to boost credit growth and sti

mulate its economy are also helpful to a bullish stock market.

However, selectivity of stocks is needed, Turnill said, adding that BlackRock favors b

rokers and companies related to the domestic consumer that can benefit from the efforts to stimulate growth locally.

Major securities traders in China, such as the Merchants Securities, CITIC Securities, and Fo

under Securities are all optimistic about China’s stocks market this year, according to a report from finance.sina.com.

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ike Lee jumps in the arms of Actor Samuel L. Jackson as

  Marvel’s “Black Panther” looked like a contender by claiming a pair of early awards, and made

history in the process: Ruth E. Carter and Hannah Beachler became the first African-American w

omen to win for costume design and production design, respectively. The film was also honored for its musical score.

  ”Roma” didn’t walk away empty handed, earing best foreig

n-language film. Its director, Alfonso Cuaron, was honored for directing and cin

ematography for the black-and-white period drama, a deeply personal look back at the women who raised him.

  Cuaron’s marks the fifth time a Mexican director has won that

award in the past six years, a stretch that includes his previous win for “Gravity” in 2014.

  Guillermo Del Toro — who presented the statuette to Cuaron — was t

he victor last year for “The Shape of Water.” The third member of the “Three Amigos,” as the

y are affectionately known, is Alejandro G. Iñárritu, a winner for “Birdman” and “The Revenant.”

  Mahershala Ali received his second Oscar in three years for “Green Book,” and the film al

so won for original screenplay, despite separate controversies related to its director and w

riter. With his prior award for “Moonlight,” Ali becomes only the second African-American actor with multiple Os

cars, joining Denzel Washington. A tearful Regina King took the first award of the night, winning supporting actress f

or “If Beale Street Could Talk,” director Barry Jenkins’ adaptation of the James Baldwin novel.

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Beyond “Black Panther,” Marvel’s highlights included “Spider

  Man: Into the Spider-Verse” swinging off with best animated movie, as the Sony release topped a pair of Disney sequels, “Ralph

Breaks the Internet” and “Incredibles 2.” “Free Solo,” a hit documentary about daredevil climber Al

ex Honnold, topped the documentary feature category, which also included the Ruth Bader Ginsburg biography “RBG.” In th

eir enthusiasm, one of the filmmakers blurted out an expletive that was promptly bleeped.

  ”Bohemian Rhapsody’s” other wins came in both sound categories as

well editing. Notably, none of the “Rhapsody” winners thanked credited director, Bryan Si

nger, who was accused of sexual abuse in January, allegations that the filmmaker has denied.

  In one of the more expected victories, the team that transformed Christian Bale into former Vice Pr

esident Dick Cheney won in makeup/hairstyling for “Vice.” Visual effects, however, were something of a

surprise, going to “First Man,” the moon-landing drama about Neil Armstrong.

  Lacking a host, the producers relied on music and comedy bits to enlive

n the evening, including a duet from “A Star is Born” by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga — la

ter the winner for best song — which drew a standing ovation from the Hollywood crowd.

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It’s all about Huawei. World’s biggest mobile tech show g

  Over the next four days, about 100,000 people in Barcelona are expected to traipse through the halls of Mobile Worl

d Congress, one of the tech industry’s biggest events. All the biggest players in the world use it to showcase new products.

  One company really stands out this year: China’s Huawei. Walking

out of the Barcelona airport, there’s a Huawei hospitality stand. The company’s bran

ding dots the city. The lanyards conference attendees wear around their necks are decorated with the Huawei name.

  There’s a good reason everyone is focused on Huawei, one of the world’s largest makers of telecom equipment.

  Huawei is a crucial part of China’s efforts to advance superfast 5G wir

eless networks and today is caught in a life or death battle with the US government.

  The United States claims that Huawei poses a potential national security threat. Last month, US prosecutors revealed cri

minal charges against the company, alleging that Huawei stole trade secrets and worked to skirt US sanctions on Iran.

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Soubry said the issue could prompt more defections. “There

are a number of our colleagues that are deeply unhappy, particularly about no-deal Brexit,” Soubry said, responding to a quest

ion about whether more Conservative MPs would follow their lead. “We do expect people to stand up for w

hat they know is right for our country, which is not a no-deal Brexit.”
The question now is whether the now 11-stron

g Independent Group will establish itself as a new party, and it if does, whether it will have any success at general election.

Britain’s electoral system makes it tough for any new political party to win re

presentation in Parliament. A group that broke from Labour in the 1980s, the Social Democratic Party, fizzled after some early successes.

But small parties can nevertheless wield significant influence over larger ones. “UKIP is an example of a party that won su

fficient votes to frighten the Conservatives into changing its policy very significantly, ultimately forcing a vote

on Brexit,” Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, told CNN on Tuesday.

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But dreams of a new reality for Iran screeched to a halt in

  But dreams of a new reality for Iran screeched to a halt in May 2018 when President Donald Tr

ump pulled the United States out of the nuclear deal. Despite repeated certifications that Iran was

sticking to its end of the bargain, Trump unleashed several rounds of stinging sanctions on the country.

  The US president said the penalties aimed to force Iran to end its military adventurism in the region, a demand that Iranian officials have repeatedly brushed off.

  Officially, the sanctions exempt humanitarian goods, such as food, medicine and medicin

al instruments. But in reality, shortages in essential goods have affected households across the country.

  Ali now gets the medicines to treat his daughter’s rare genetic disease, from friends living abr

oad. Her medical bill has more than doubled, forcing him to sell his car, work two jobs, and accu

mulate loans. He says that his entire salary from his day job as a waiter goes toward Dory’s treatment.

  ”I am a wedding singer at night. I try to stay cheery and

keep a smile on my face, but on the inside all I can think about is my daughter,” says Ali.

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Iran parades missile during anniversary of US Embassy takeover

  Iran commemorated the 38th anniversary of the US Embassy takeover Saturday with a potent missile display as thousands of de

monstrators gathered in Tehran to mark the event that triggered the hostage crisis and sparked the decades-old rift in US-Iranian relations.

  On November 4, 1979, Iranian student revolutionaries climbed over the walls of the US E

mbassy in Tehran and seized dozens of Americans, holding them hostage for 444 days.

  The former embassy compound is known locally as the “den of espionage,” and protests take place in front of it annually.

  One of Iran’s most powerful missiles, the Qadr, was prominently featured Saturday, along with anti-US and anti-Israel signs and chanting.

  The medium-range missile is liquid-fueled, with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles), a

ccording to the semiofficial Fars News agency, which says it can reach as far as Israel.

  ”The new version of Qadr H can be launched from mobile platforms or silos in different positi

ons and can escape missile defense shields due to their radar-evading capability,” Fars reported.

  Trump says Iran violating nuclear agreement, threatens to pull out of deal

  Crowds chanted slogans condemning Washington’s policies toward Iran and shouted “Down With the US.”

  The US-Iranian relationship has grown even more strained in recent months, espec

ially after President Donald Trump publicly renounced the Iran nuclear deal in October, refusing to recer

tify the 2015 multilateral agreement in an effort to initiate tougher and more wide-ranging restrictions on Tehran.

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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.

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