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China to open green channels, facilitate forex business during Winter Olympics******
BEIJING, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) has approved the Bank of China, the official partner of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to open green channels for foreign exchange business related to the event.。
The launch of the green channels would facilitate the opening of foreign exchange accounts, personal consumption on mobile equipment and other foreign exchange business related to the Winter Olympics, SAFE said.。
According to the regulator, bonus payment and tax refund business related to the event will also be covered by the mechanism.。
SAFE will continue to facilitate foreign exchange business and ensure the smooth organization of 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, it said. Enditem。
Russia, Ukraine express willingness to negotiate amid int'l appeal for peace******
As military conflicts between Russia and Ukraine continue to intensify, both sides have expressed willingness to talk with each other to solve the crisis through dialogue.
Despite the sanctions imposed by some Western countries, there are still members of the international community calling for a peaceful solution to the ongoing problematic issue.
Negotiation possibility emerges
The Russian armed forces have disabled 211 military infrastructure facilities in Ukraine since the operation began on early Thursday, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Friday night, up from 118 facilities reported in his morning briefing.
Konashenkov also announced on the same day that Russian forces have captured the Hostomel airfield in northwestern Kiev and blockaded the Ukrainian capital from the west, and will continue to perform tasks in the areas of other cities.
Russia has also taken full control of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and military units of the two sides there have reached an agreement on the protection of the nuclear facilities and the sarcophagus.
"Fighting is going on all over Ukraine. Let's sit down at the negotiating table," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was quoted by the Interfax-Ukraine news agency as saying on Friday, calling for talks to end the intense conflict.
Later Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to send a delegation to the Belarusian capital of Minsk for negotiations with Ukraine at the level of representatives of the defense ministry, the foreign ministry and the presidential administration.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a briefing that his country has no plan to occupy Ukraine and Moscow is ready to hold negotiations straight after the Ukrainian forces "lay down their arms."
The two sides are currently discussing a date and place of negotiations, according to Zelensky's press secretary Sergii Nykyforov, noting that "Ukraine was and remains ready to talk about a ceasefire and about peace. This is our permanent position."
"The sooner negotiations begin, the more chances there will be to resume normal life," he said.
Some Western countries have announced sanctions against Putin, Lavrov, and some other senior Russian officials over the ongoing military operation in Ukraine, while Peskov noted that the sanctions were not painful for any representative of Russia's top leadership.
The Kremlin spokesman also told reporters that "retaliatory measures will follow," while the details have not been confirmed yet.
United Nations (UN) officials and global leaders are voicing concerns over the issue and calling for a peaceful solution facing the military conflicts and dispute of sanctions.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement that the situation "is not irreversible," appealing to all parties concerned for protecting civilians and upholding international humanitarian and human rights law.
Guterres also appointed Amin Awad, former official in the UN High Commissioner for Refugees with over 30 years of experience in field of humanitarian affairs, as UN Crisis Coordinator for Ukraine.
Abdulla Shahid, president of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), on Thursday called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and peaceful means to settle disputes.
"I call for an immediate ceasefire, deescalation of tensions and a firm return to diplomacy and dialogue," said the UNGA president in a statement.
Underscoring that the UN Charter is based on the principle of sovereign equality, Shahid called on all member states to settle their international disputes by peaceful means.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Friday that China firmly stands for respecting and safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries and earnestly abiding by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, during his phone talks with British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell as well as Emmanuel Bonne, diplomatic counselor to French President Emmanuel Macron.
"The present situation is something we do not want to see," said Wang, stressing that China supports and encourages all diplomatic efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian crisis.
Cairo urges finding a political settlement to the crisis in a manner that preserves international security and stability, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday, affirming the importance of upholding "dialogue and diplomatic solutions."
During his meeting with Putin in Moscow on Thursday, visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said that conflict was not in anyone's interest, underlining Pakistan's belief that disputes should be settled through dialogue and diplomacy, according to a statement released by Khan's office.
Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen said on Thursday that "everything must now be done to avoid further escalation and to protect lives."
Emphasizing that "peace comes first," Van der Bellen said the way to the negotiating table must be open to all sides.
China Focus: "Lighthouse factory" leads the way in China's smart manufacturing******
by Xinhua writers Ye Ting, Zhang Yiyi
BEIJING, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Few operators are needed at the Sany Group's Beijing Rotary Drilling Rig Plant, as industrial robots are the leading employees when it comes to assembling machinery.
The smart factory, located in Changping District of the Chinese capital, was in September added to the World Economic Forum's Global Lighthouse Network, which recognizes factories showing leadership in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Notably, the factory in Beijing is the first heavy industry enterprise to be added to the list globally.
With a workshop area of four hectares, the futuristic plant is well equipped with 12 automated production lines and 150 robots.
Human workers have also been trained as technicians who can operate the robots directly, according to Dong Mingkai, dean of Sany's intelligent manufacturing research institute.
The factory has deployed a new manufacturing model with advanced human-machine collaboration automation, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things technologies.
The upgrade has served as a boost for production efficiency and product quality, as these innovations have managed to increase labor productivity by 85 percent and slash production lead time by 77 percent, accelerating from almost a month to just a week.
On the automatic assembly line for small and medium-sized parts, Automatic Guided Vehicle (AGV) and industrial robots connected to the 5G network can move freely on the ground. Together with truss manipulators, the devices are able to position, grasp and assemble machinery parts in an orderly manner.
Nearly 30 model varieties can be produced with the help of robots and core intelligent technologies including laser and visual sensing, working to meet the growing demand for multi-category and small-batch flexible assembly and take a lead in the whole industry, according to Dong.
The factory's number of human workers has decreased from 2,000 to just a fifth of that, while the annual volume of equipment produced has soared from 1,000 to 3,000 units, said Dai Qinghua, director of the Sany Group.
As China promotes green and low-carbon development, and promises to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, the country has reached a consensus to promote a more eco-friendly engineering machinery industry.
The "lighthouse factories" represented by Sany Group's Beijing Rotary Drilling Rig Plant are just one example of Chinese enterprises' unremitting pursuit of high-quality and low-carbon development through digital transformations.
"The plant is resource-saving and eco-friendly, and its demand for and consumption of electricity are obviously decreasing," said Tang Xiuguo, president of Sany Group. He said the power generated by the group's self-sustaining wind power plant has far exceeded the power consumption of all its factories.
"Sany Group will actively explore the applications of new energy to save energy and improve energy efficiency. And existing construction machinery products built with diesel engines and petrochemical energy are expected to rely on electricity in the future," Dai said. Enditem