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Experts call for outright cigarette ban over China’s railway network

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BEIJING: Experts called for an outright ban on smoking throughout China’s railway network, after air quality inspections found dangerous levels of harmful pollutants on slow trains, most of which currently allow tobacco use in designated areas, China Daily reported Friday.

Researchers led by the Chinese Association of Tobacco Control examined four slow trains in October. Three of the trains had set up designated smoking areas, and one had banned tobacco use due to an earlier lawsuit filed by a passenger.

Results released on Thursday showed the concentration of PM2.5 in carriages of the three trains where passengers can smoke exceeded 500 micrograms per cubic meter, meaning the air could be considered hazardous to human health.

China’s high-speed rail networks all prohibit smoking, but passengers on slow trains are allowed to smoke in designated areas, often the connecting areas between carriages.

Cui Xiaobo, deputy director of the Beijing Tobacco Control Association, said secondhand smoke is likely to cause life-threatening, acute illnesses.

“A lot of emergency medical requests occurring on trains are linked to vulnerable groups, including the elderly, children, pregnant women and those with chronic diseases who breathe in smoke,” he said.

The researchers also interviewed 94 passengers on the four trains, and found that 77 of them would applaud a complete ban on smoking on slow trains. China saw 3.37 billion railway trips in 2018.

 

 

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Economy

Pakistan seeks greater partnership with WB: PM

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ISLAMABAD:  Imran Khan has told WB that Pakistan looked forward to greater partnership with World Bank (WB) in critical areas including eco-tourism, mountain, and religious tourism.

Talking to a delegation of World Bank headed by Vice President South Asia Hartwig Schafer in Islamabad today Imran Khan said that these sectors which have a huge potential towards the uplift of the poor and poverty alleviation. He highlighted various steps being taken by the government towards economic stability, poverty alleviation and improving ease of doing business in the country. The delegation comprised of Vice President Human Development Annete Dixon, Country Director Illangovan Patchamuthu, Operations Manager Melinda Good and Senior Country Manager IFC Nadeem Siddiqui. Special Assistant of Prime Minister on Political Affairs Naeem-ul-Haq, Secretary Finance Arif Ahmed Khan and others were also present in the meeting.

The delegation appreciated Prime Minister’s vision on the economic stability of the country, human development and addressing the issue of stunted growth due to malnutrition. It briefed the Prime Minister about various ongoing projects of the World Bank in various sectors including water supply, sewerage and waste management, transportation and connectivity, capacity building and ease of doing business in the country.  It also offered WB’s assistance in attracting foreign investments, analytics, sharing of expertise and technical knowledge in various sectors to help the Government translate its vision into reality. Welcoming the offer, the Prime Minister appreciated World Bank’s continued engagement with Pakistan and its support towards capacity building, infrastructure development and economic growth.

 

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NATO condemns Russian ‘build-up’ in Crimea

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BRUSSELS: NATO today condemned what it called Russia’s “ongoing and wide-ranging military build-up in Crimea” on the fifth anniversary of Moscow’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula.
As Russia celebrated what it terms its “reunification” with Crimea, NATO hit out at Moscow over its plans to further militarise the Black Sea.
The annexation of Crimea in March 2014 and Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict sent ties between NATO and Moscow plunging to post-Cold War lows. NATO said there would be no return to “business as usual” with Moscow until there was “a clear, constructive change in Russia’s actions.
“We condemn Russia’s ongoing and wide-ranging military build-up in Crimea, and are concerned by Russia’s efforts and stated plans for further military build-up in the Black Sea region,” NATO’s ruling North Atlantic Council said in a statement. NATO holds that it would never recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea and urged Moscow to return the territory to Ukraine.

 

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Asia

Tokyo stocks open higher!

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Tokyo stocks gain on bargain-hunting

TOKYO: Stocks opened here higher today, tracking gains on Wall Street due to optimism over US-China trade talks, with investors closely eyeing the US Federal Reserve’s meeting later this week.
The Nikkei 225 index added 0.65 percent, or 139.64 points, to 21,590.49 in early trade, while the broader Topix index climbed 0.43 percent, or 6.82 points, to 1,609.45.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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