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End over-politicization of global trade: Xinhua commentary

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Beijing: If excessive politicization of global trade takes root, “that would easily breed mounting protectionism and even risk triggering a destructive trade war”, said a Xinhua commentary that called for an end to the slide towards toxic over-politicization.

The commentary “Stay alert against over-politicization of global free trade” in Xinhua news agency on Thursday said that for centuries, free trade, both as a theory and as a practice, has been widely accepted as a powerful tool for nations worldwide to grow their wealth.

“However, an alarming propensity to over-politicize the policy, which has served as an indispensable engine of the world economy, is emerging and threatens to derail the global endeavor to achieve a strong and sustained recovery,” it warned.

It said that in the eyes of some countries, “a free trade agreement is no more than a political tool to help implement its foreign policy agenda, and to win over a battle over who can clinch the power to write the rules of the global economy”.

“And it was such a mindset that has given rise to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), from which China, the Asia-Pacific country that is the world’s top trader and second largest economy, is conspicuously absent,” the commentary added.

Xinhua said that right now, the trans-regional trade protocol still needs to struggle through the turbulent domestic legal procedures in many of these signatories before it can be effective in real terms.

“Yet even after the deal becomes operational, excluding China in this gigantic trade alliance which makes up 40 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) will almost undershoot its targets.”

It went on to say that such a “parochial trade arrangement can be even more infectiously poisonous as it could easily be repeated by other countries as a shortcut to gain self-interests regardless of the negative effects the rest of world may suffer”.

“It would further dampen the world’s confidence in how free trade can help revitalize the global growth, especially at such a moment when economic recovery remains weak and uneven seven years after the outbreak of the global financial crisis.”

The commentary warned that “should the trend of excessive politicization of trade take root and grow, that would easily breed mounting protectionism and even risk triggering a destructive trade war, an outcome that would cost everyone dearly”.

“Thus it is imperative that those flirting with that attitude stop doing so before it is too late, and join other countries with good faith in promoting global free trade.”

(IANS)

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Israeli Parliament bars entry of pro-Palestinian activist from Britain

The statement said Lanning's organisation leads a campaign for boycotts, divestments, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel

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chairman of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) Hugh Lanning, Wikimedia

Jerusalem, March 13, 2017: A week after the Israeli parliament approved a law banning entry of foreigners who call for boycotting Israel, Jerusalem on Monday said an anti-occupation activist from Britain was denied entry into the country.

Hugh Lanning, chairman of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), was barred from entering Israel at Ben Gurion Airport, near Tel Aviv, late on Sunday, according to a joint statement by the Population and Immigration Authority and the Strategic Affairs Ministry, Xinhua reported.

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The statement said Lanning’s organisation leads a campaign for boycotts, divestments, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

“The organisation (PSC) works in cooperation with other organisations that work to delegitimise Israel in order to advance boycotts and other activities against Israel,” the statement said.

“In addition to advancing boycotts, Lanning maintained ties with the heads of Hamas in Gaza,” the statement added.

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Last Monday, Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, approved a law to enable authorities to bar entry of foreign nationals who have publicly supported the BDS campaign.

First launched in 2005, the Palestinian-led campaign calls for ending the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which Israel seized in 1967, and acknowledging the Palestinians refugees’ right of return to their pre-1948 lands. (IANS)

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Over 100,000 civilians flee homes in Mosul due to ongoing operations to free it from Islamic State (ISIS) Terrorist Group

Nearly 1,00,000 residents have been forced to flee their homes because of the ongoing operation to free western Mosul from IS militants

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Islamic State militants flaunt an armored vehicle seized from Iraqi security forces in the northern Iraq city of Mosul on June 23, 2014. VOA

Baghdad, March 13, 2017: The ongoing operations to free the western side of Mosul from Islamic State (IS) terrorists have pushed up to 100,000 civilians to flee their homes, the Iraqi government said on Sunday.

“The latest statistics of the Iraqi ministry of migration shows 99,852 displaced people since the launch of operations to free the neighbourhoods of Mosul’s right bank (western side),” Xinhua quoted a statement by Jassim Mohammed al-Jaf, Minister of Migration and Displaced.

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On Sunday, teams affiliated to the ministry received 10,607 civilians who left their homes from the battleground of the neighbourhoods of western Mosul, Jaf said.

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The migration ministry prepared appropriate places to shelter the displaced people and provided emergency supplies, including food and medicine, Jaf added.

The announcement came as the Iraqi security forces were pushing deeper into the IS-held western side of Mosul, locally known as right bank of Tigris River, which bisects the city.

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The troops dislodged IS terrorists from several neighbourhoods in the southern part of Mosul’s western side, including the main government buildings in the old city centre. (IANS)

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Japan hotel removes Controversial books on ‘comfort women’ before 8th Asian Winter Games (AWG) in the Country

Controversial material on "comfort women" is being removed from a hotel in japan ahead of the 8th Asian Winter Games because of diplomatic issues

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In Japan, Pixabay

Tokyo, Feb 16, 2017: Controversial material on “comfort women” that sparked diplomatic tension between Japan and South Korea is being removed from a hotel ahead of the 8th Asian Winter Games (AWG) in this country, a media report said.

The APA hotel is designated to host athletes during the AWG to be held in Sapporo and Obihiro between February 19 and 26.

The hotel recently sparked fury among Chinese and South Koreans for placing history-distorting books in its guest rooms, Xinhua news agency reported.

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The books, authored by Seiji Fuji, the pen name of APA Group CEO Toshio Motoya, has denied that the Nanjing Massacre and the forced recruitment of “comfort women” ever happened.

Comfort women were women and girls who were forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army in occupied territories before and during World War II.

The process of removing controversial books from its guest rooms has already started and will complete before the athletes check in, said Nabeshima, a staff of the organising committee.

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To save costs, the organising committee chose two local hotels as official designated hotels for the athletes, and the APA is one of them.

The Chinese Olympic Committee (COC) urged the organisers of Games to solve the “APA hotel problem” swiftly and properly.

The COC pointed out that the APA Group’s behaviour violates the rule 50 of the Olympic Charter, which stressed that the athletes should compete “without being drawn into political controversies”.

It also says that the competition should “provide a Games environment that lets athletes compete without distractions from divisive and emotional issues outside the world of sport.”

South Korea’s top sports body Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KSOC) also demanded Japan not to accommodate its athletes taking part in the 2017 AWG in the right-wing Japanese hotel chain.

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The organising committee made arrangements for athletes from China and South Korea to stay in the Sapporo Prince Hotel during the games at the request of top sports bodies of the two countries.

The “Comfort Woman” statue near the Japanese Consulate in Busan, stoked old tensions between Japan and South Korea in January. The Comfort Woman is a silent reminder of the plight of hundreds of thousands of women forced into sexual slavery by Japan during World War II. (IANS)