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CPC charts course for Chinese modernization as key congress opens

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The Communist Party of China (CPC) on Sunday unveiled its blueprint for building a modern socialist China in all respects for the next five years and beyond as the 20th CPC National Congress opened.

The five-yearly meeting is the first national congress of the CPC after its centenary in 2021, when the Party led the Chinese people to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

“From this day forward, the central task of the CPC will be to lead the Chinese people of all ethnic groups in a concerted effort to realize the Second Centenary Goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects and to advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization,” Xi Jinping said in a report at the opening session of the congress.

He urged all CPC members to never forget the original aspiration and founding mission and to have the courage and ability to carry on the fight.

MILESTONE DECADE

Xi hailed the great transformation in the first decade of the new era as “a milestone in the history of the Party, of the People’s Republic of China, of reform and opening up, of the development of socialism, and of the development of the Chinese nation.”

The CPC embraced its centenary, ushered in a new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and eradicated absolute poverty and finished building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, thus completing the First Centenary Goal, he said, calling the three major events “historic feats.”

China’s GDP has come to account for 18.5 percent of the world economy, up 7.2 percentage points over the past 10 years. The world’s second largest economy has become a major trading partner for over 140 countries and regions, leading the world in total volume of trade in goods.

China has also joined the ranks of the world’s innovators with breakthroughs in some core technologies in key fields. With its people-centered philosophy of development, the country has built the largest education, social security, and health care systems around the globe.

As a collaborative endeavor, the Belt and Road Initiative has been welcomed by the international community both as a public good and a cooperation platform.

Other great achievements highlighted by Xi range from comprehensively deepening reform to advancing the critical battle against pollution.

While fully affirming the Party’s remarkable achievements, Xi also urged all CPC members not to lose sight of the shortcomings, difficulties and problems, such as bottlenecks hindering high-quality development and wide gaps in development and income distribution between urban and rural areas and between regions.

CHINESE PATH TO MODERNIZATION

The world’s most populous country is walking on a model of modernization that has not been seen before.

In his report, Xi reaffirmed that Chinese modernization is the socialist modernization pursued under the leadership of the CPC.

Chinese modernization is the modernization of a huge population, of common prosperity for all, of material and cultural-ethical advancement, of harmony between humanity and nature and of peaceful development, he stressed, adding that it offers humanity “a new choice” for achieving modernization.

In its two-step strategic plan, the CPC aims to basically realize socialist modernization from 2020 through 2035 and build China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful from 2035 through the middle of this century.

Xi expounded on China’s overall development objectives for the year 2035, which include substantially growing the per capita GDP to be on par with that of a mid-level developed country, significantly enhancing national soft power, steadily lowering carbon emissions after reaching a peak as well as comprehensively strengthening the national security system and capabilities.

He also stressed tasks and targets in China’s ambitious modernization drive, such as building a high-standard socialist market economy, advancing whole-process people’s democracy, implementing the employment-first strategy as well as exercising law-based governance on all fronts.

“The next five years will be crucial for getting our efforts to build a modern socialist country in all respects off to a good start,” Xi said.

Sean Slattery, one of the foreign experts invited to translate the heavy-weight report, said that to achieve modernization for the 1.4 billion people is a huge step forward for humanity.

“China is underscoring the importance of every country pursuing modernization through a path that suits to their own conditions and that their people would accept and support,” he said.

Aerial photo taken on June 17, 2022 shows a panoramic view of a highway passing through eastern areas in Shenzhen, south China’s Guangdong Province. (Xinhua/Liu Dawei)

BACKBONE OF NATION, ANCHOR OF STABILITY

China has entered a period of development in which strategic opportunities, risks, and challenges are concurrent and uncertainties and unforeseen factors are rising, Xi told the 2,340 delegates and special delegates at attendance representing over 96 million CPC members.

Warning of various “black swan” and “gray rhino” events that may occur at any time, Xi, in the report, urged the CPC to be ready to “withstand high winds, choppy waters, and even dangerous storms.”

He called on the Party, which he said has always remained the “backbone” of the nation, to always stay alert and bear in mind that self-reform is “a journey to which there is no end.”

Describing corruption as “a cancer to the vitality and ability of the Party,” Xi called for winning the tough and protracted battle against it.

Xi underscored that Marxism is the fundamental guiding ideology upon which the CPC and China are founded and thrive.

“Our experience has taught us that, at the fundamental level, we owe the success of our Party and socialism with Chinese characteristics to the fact that Marxism works, particularly when it is adapted to the Chinese context and the needs of our times,” he said.

In a world that “has once again reached a crossroads in history,” Xi reiterated China’s commitment to promoting common development and a human community with a shared future.

“Only when all countries pursue the cause of common good, live in harmony, and engage in cooperation for mutual benefit will there be sustained prosperity and guaranteed security,” according to the report.

China adheres to the right course of economic globalization and opposes all forms of unilateralism, it added.

China stands firmly against all forms of hegemonism and power politics, the Cold War mentality, interference in other countries’ internal affairs, and double standards, Xi said.

“No matter what stage of development it reaches, China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansionism,” he said.

Source: Xinhua

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Bill proposes allocating 33 percent of parliament seats to women

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Addu Meedhoo MP Rozaina Adam has proposed an amendment to the constitution to allocate 33 percent of the seats in the parliament for women.

The bill reads that it is aimed at ensuring female representation among individuals elected to the parliament, increasing the role of women in protecting the interests of the nation and citizens and increasing the participation of women in making crucial national decisions.

It is also aimed at increasing female participation in public, increasing opportunities for women in politics and increasing the percentage of women involved in politics.

The bill proposes adding a section behind Article 71 (b) of the constitution setting down the number of members in the parliament – Article 71 (c) to state that 33 percent of the parliament’s seats should be allocated for women.

Meanwhile, the bill proposes Article 71 (d) to state that the constituencies allocated for women will be decided by a draw and would be on a rotational basis to ensure fairness.

It also proposes Article 71 (e) to state that the parliament must decide on the allocation of seats of women in the parliament during the next election once women elected to the parliament on this quota complete their terms.

There are only four female parliamentarians in the ongoing 19th parliamentary assembly.

Elections Commission (EC) has previously stated only 10 percent of candidates contesting this year’s parliamentary election are females – accounting to 41 candidates out of the total 368 candidates.

Source(s): sun.mv

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Global call for Gaza aid convoy deaths probe; EU cuts UNRWA funds

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wants an independent probe into the deaths of more than 100 people seeking humanitarian aid in Gaza as various countries expressed their concern over the incident. Israel has disputed the account provided by officials in the Hamas-run enclave.

Germany also demanded an investigation, while French President Emmanuel Macron said he was angered by the shooting and demanded “truth and justice” regarding the role of Israeli soldiers in the incident.

Gaza health authorities said Israeli forces on Thursday (February 29) shot dead more than 100 Palestinians as they waited for an aid delivery, but Israel blamed the deaths on crowds that surrounded aid trucks, saying victims had been trampled or run over.

At least 112 people were killed and more than 280 wounded in the incident near Gaza City, Palestinian health officials said.

Israel disputed the account provided by officials in Hamas-run Gaza, which has been bombarded by Israeli forces for months since the Palestinian militant group’s deadly rampage in southern Israel on October 7.

Guterres ‘shocked’

Speaking in St. Vincent and the Grenadines ahead of a regional summit, Guterres said he was “shocked” by the latest episode in the conflict, in which Palestinian authorities say over 30,000 civilians have been killed since October 7.

Responding to questions on the failure of a recent Security Council resolution seeking a ceasefire, Guterres said worsening geopolitical divides have “transformed the veto power into an effective instrument of paralysis of the action of the Security Council.”

“I am totally convinced that we need a humanitarian ceasefire and we need the unconditional and immediate release of hostages and that we should have a Security Council able to achieve these objectives,” Guterres said.

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen Friday tweeted: “Deeply disturbed by images from Gaza. Every effort must be made to investigate what happened and ensure transparency. Humanitarian aid is a lifeline for those in need and access to it must be ensured. We stand by civilians, urging their protection in line with international law.”

‘Mass panic’

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock asked Israel to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident. She wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “The Israeli army must fully investigate how the mass panic and shooting could have happened,” and reiterated calls for a “humanitarian ceasefire.”

The U.S. State Department said it was urgently seeking information on the incident, as did the French foreign ministry. The White House said President Joe Biden discussed the “tragic and alarming incident” with the leaders of Egypt and Qatar.

The strongest reaction from major Western leaders came from Macron, who tweeted: “Deep indignation at the images coming from Gaza, where civilians have been targeted by Israeli soldiers. I express my strongest condemnation of these shootings and call for truth, justice, and respect for international law.”

Macron said it was imperative for an immediate ceasefire in the war to be put in place.

Speaking on France Inter radio on Friday, Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne said Paris would back the United Nations’ call for an independent investigation.

“The humanitarian situation has been catastrophic for several weeks now and what happened is indefensible and unjustifiable. Israel needs to be able to hear it and it needs to stop,” Sejourne told France Inter.

Israel dismisses Palestinian explanation

The Israeli military said the trucks were operated by private contractors as part of an aid operation that it had been overseeing for the past four nights.

One Israeli official said there had been two incidents, hundreds of meters apart. In the first, dozens were killed or injured as they tried to take aid from the trucks and were trampled or run over.

He said there was a second, subsequent incident as the trucks moved off. Some people in the crowd approached troops who felt under threat and opened fire, killing an unknown number in a “limited response”, he said. He dismissed the casualty toll given by Gaza authorities but gave no figure himself.

In a later briefing, Israel Defense Forces spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari also said dozens had been trampled to death or injured in a fight to take supplies off the trucks.

He said tanks escorting the trucks had subsequently fired warning shots to disperse the crowd and backed away when events began to get out of hand. “No IDF strike was conducted towards the aid convoy,” he said.

“The IDF was there conducting a humanitarian operation to secure the humanitarian corridor and allow the aid convoy to reach its designated distribution point.”

The loss of civilian lives was the biggest in weeks. Hamas said the incident could jeopardise talks in Qatar aimed at securing a ceasefire and the release of Israeli hostages it is holding.

Abbas condemns ‘ugly massacre’

Medics in Gaza said they could not cope with the flood of serious injuries, which came as the death toll in nearly five months of war passed 30,000, according to Palestinian health authorities.

Hamas issued a statement rejecting the Israeli account. It said the Health Ministry had presented “undeniable” evidence of “direct firing at citizens, including headshots aimed at immediate killing, in addition to the testimonies of all witnesses who confirmed being targeted with direct fire without posing any threat to the occupying army”.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said it was an “ugly massacre” by Israel.

One video shared on social media, whose location Reuters was able to verify, showed trucks loaded with many dead bodies as well as wounded people.

Another, which Reuters could not verify, showed bloodstained people being carried in a truck, bodies wrapped in shrouds and doctors treating injured patients on the hospital floor.

UNRWA funds held back by European Commission

The European Commission said on Friday it would hold back part of a payment of $89 million for the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) but increase overall aid to the Palestinians by $74 million this year.

UNRWA provides aid and basic services to Palestinians caught up in the war in Gaza but was thrown into crisis after Israel alleged in January that 12 of the agency’s 13,000 staff in the enclave were involved in the Hamas attack of October 7 last year.

Like many of the agency’s other big donors, the EU’s executive body reviewed its funding of UNRWA after Israel made the allegations.

The Commission said in a statement on Friday it now would “proceed to paying” a first tranche of $54 million of the $82 million due to be paid around the end of last month.

It said it would pay two further tranches of $17 million “in line with” an agreement with UNRWA to address concerns raised by the Israeli accusations.

UNRWA dismissed all the accused staff following the allegations. But many major donors, including the United States, Britain and several European Union countries, suspended payments to the agency or said they would not approve new funding until the matter was resolved.

The agency said a total of $450 million in funding was at risk and warned its operations across the Middle East would be “severely compromised” from March

Source(s): CGTN

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Air ambulance service to be available 24 hours

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Health Ministry states air ambulance service will be available 24 hours for emergency cases across all Maldivian regions.

The Ministry added that the air ambulance is equipped with resources to provide emergency care for patients during their transfer to the nearest tertiary hospital from various areas in the Maldives. They also noted the allocation of 15 trained medical professionals in the provision of air ambulance service including doctors, nurses and emergency medical technicians.

As per the Health Ministry, the purpose of this service, introduced under President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s policies, is to ensure the provision of air ambulance in the Maldives in a sustainable manner.

A DHC-8-200 aircraft is utilized for the air ambulance, said the Ministry.

The Ministry added that the inclusion of air ambulance service in medical services will expand emergency care services.

Health Minister Dr. Abdulla Khaleel has said a maximum of two patients can be carried at once on the air ambulance at the commencement of the service.

According to Minister Khaleel, two Island Aviation aircraft; a domestic plane and a seaplane, will be utilized for the air ambulance services.

Source(s): sun.mv

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