Agamemnon’ amazes audiences in Beijingmnon premiered

  The bilingual drama Agamemnon, a co-production of the National Theater Company of China a

nd the National Theater of Greece, represents a refreshing innovation for Chinese theater lovers.

  The play by ancient Greek tragedian Aeschylus, often called the “father of tragedy”, is the first part of his only extant tr

ilogy. It is a story about patriarchy, matriarchy, revenge and justice. In the story, Agamemnon s

acrifices his daughter to win the Trojan War. After his triumphant return, the king is slain by his wife and her lover.

  Directed by Stathis Livathinos, artistic director of the NTG, Agamemnon embodies a pr

ofound cooperation between China and Greece. “To have a bilingual presentation of a play means yo

u hear two languages, two kinds of actors, two schools. Of course it’s a very big risk. But it’s better to go with a risk t

han with safety. Because I really believe the National Theater should always be the avant-garde,” he said.

  ”Agamemnon is a part of something bigger that doesn’t belong only to Greece. This

is a theatrical and artistic meeting of two civilizations on stage,” Livathinos added.

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An announcement by Alibaba Pictures said the Beijing

based company decided to invest in Green Book in July, as the decision-maker

were attracted by its heartwarming theme, positive values and quality narrative.

Following the decision, the Paper said, Alibaba Pictures recommended the film to Hu

axia Film Distribution, and both sides agreed to introduce Green Book to Chinese audience.

Only four days after the film was announced, Chinese audience could watch it in the nearby theaters. Yu said af

ter watching Green Book on Monday that the cooperation between Alibaba Pictures and Huaxia Film Distribution m

akes the fastest release in China for an imported movie, which is also attributed to the country’s reform and opening-up.

As of the publication time, Alibaba Pictures shares increased 1.39 percent to HK$1.46 on Tuesday in Hong Kong.

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Alipay updates anti-fraud functionsscans a quick response

Alipay, the country’s top mobile payment platform, announced on Tuesday a major anti-fraud u

pgrade on its application by teaming up with 26 public security departments nationwide.

The new function, dubbed “Security Guard”, allows users to set up related accounts among f

amily members or close friends. Should any abnormalities on transactions occur, the system would send

out alerts to all related accounts in order to prevent the fraud from materializing and minimize loss of funds.

“Security is the lifeline of Alipay, and we hope to fight fraud in a manner as harsh as dru

nk driving,” said Rui Xiongwen, vice-president of Ant Financial, Alipay’s parent company.

Alipay users can choose to delay payment for two hours or 24 hours and raise an alert

on the platform if they deem such transactions potentially misdirected or fraudulent.

The system has been linked to local public security authorities to help freeze any transaction

s in doubt. The money will be credited back to the user’s account if authorities determine fraud has been committed.

A number of local anti-fraud centers in cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhe

n also pledged to cooperate with Alipay on financial security education and anti-fraud alarming systems.

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The same tactic has also been used within the United State

  said Van Jackson, a former Defense Department official in the Obama administration.

  ”Historically, there have been many — I know of half a dozen instances myself personally — where senior North Korean officials were brought around and shown what capi

talist industrialism looks like. They were shown what the stock market floor looks like on the New York Stock Exchange, or they were brought out to so

me tech lab in Silicon Valley,” said Jackson, author of “On the Brink: Trump, Kim, and the Threat of Nuclear War.”

  ”We’ve shown them what capitalism looks like … the idea that they will see something in Vietn

am physically that triggers something different than what we’ve shown them before is kind of non

sense.”There’s something for both Washington and Pyongyang to like when studying the US-Vietnam relationship.

  For North Korea, it’s an example of a single-party communist country that reformed its economy without democr

atizing. For the United States, it’s an example of how to redefine a relationship and make a buck at the same time.

  In 1995 — the year Hanoi and Washington normalized relations — US exports to and imports from Vietnam were

worth just $252 million and $199 million respectively. However in the first 11 months of 2018, the US exported more th

an $8 billion worth of goods to Vietnam and imported goods worth $45 billion, according to US Census figures.

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Some with extensive experience inside North Korea

  worry about overzealous use of the Vietnam comparison.

  Jean Lee is one of the few Western journalists who has worked in North Korea on a consistent basis. She opened the Associated Press’s bureau in Py

ongyang in 2012 after extensive haggling with the government, spending a total of three years on the ground in the country.

  She says that while Vietnam does boast options that “Kim Jong Un wants to show his people,” North Korea still sees itself as a superior nation.

  ”They will go into this discussion saying exactly that — hey, there’s no comparison here, we’re a nuclear power. And they’re goi

ng to be busting out this image of North Korea as a nuclear state as much as they can because it gives No

rth Korea much more leverage and a much stronger place at the table than if they were just another poor country,” Lee said.

  Andrei Lankov’s assessment is more blunt.

  ”Donald Trump and many other people in Washington essentially say if North Korea s

urrenders nuclear weapons and accepts foreign investment — like China did — it will become a very ric

h country, and the North Korean leaders will enjoy a lifestyle they cannot even dream of now,” Lankov said.

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The problem with this message is simpledead peop

  need money.”Lankov is one of the few foreigners ever to study at Kim Il Sung University, the country’s most pr

estigious institution of higher learning. Today he runs the Korea Risk Group consultancy, teaches at Kookmin Uni

versity in Seoul and is considered one of the world’s experts on the inner workings of North Korea.

  He says Kim and his top advisers are cold, realistic and brutally rational. They believe that nuclear weapons are the key to their survival given the fate of Moa

mmar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein and Ukraine as well as Trump’s decision to ditch the Iran nuclear deal.

  ”For the North Koreans, security comes first. And they believe that their security is imperfect if they don’t have some

nuclear weapons. A reduction of nuclear weapons can be negotiated, but denuclearization is a pipe dream,” Lankov said.

  Jackson, the former Defense Department official, is also unconvinced that Kim Jong Un is the reformer many hoped he would be.

  Though Kim is a millennial leader educated in the West, he has n

ow been in power for seven years — during which time he’s overseen more missile and nu

clear tests than his father and grandfather combined, without “meaningful signs” of economic change.

  ”What is different now than the previous 30 years that makes that control-versus-opening tradeoff worthwhile?” Jackson said.

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he eclectic nature of the winners — including several surprises

  seemed indicative of what was already deemed one of the most wide-open races i

n years, given the lack of consensus among guild awards leading up to Sunday’s event.

  Perhaps no surprise came bigger than best actress, as “The Favourite’s” Olivia Colman upset

seven-time nominee Glenn Close, who had marched through awards season with enough victories to m

ake her a presumptive favorite. (Colman, in an emotional speech, practically apologized to Close for wi

nning.)s for politics, a recurring theme involved the Trump administration’s immigration polices, including an early jo

ke from Maya Rudolph that among the things that wouldn’t be happening during the telecast, “Mexico is not paying for the w

all.” For his part, Malek referenced being a first-generation American, the son of Egyptian immigrants.

  Still, the most overt and rousing rejoinder belonged to Spik

e Lee — a winner for adapted screenplay for his movie “BlacKkKlansman” — who pointed to

the 2020 election, urging people to “be on the right side of history. Let’s do the right thing!” Congressman and civil-rig

hts icon John Lewis also received a prolonged ovation, introducing “Green Book.”

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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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Xi stresses role of finance in serving real economyBEIJING

general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, underscored that China should deepen supply-side

structural reform in the financial sector and strengthen the sector’s ability to serve the real economy.

Xi made the remarks when presiding over a group study session of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau Friday afternoon.

The country should keep a fine balance between maintaining growth and forestalling risks and deal with risks in key areas

in a targeted and effective manner, he said, adding that China should deepen opening-up of the financial sector.

Xie Duo, Party secretary and chairman of Silk Road Fund Co., Ltd, briefed on the issue and made suggestions.

Xi pointed out that finance is a core competitiveness of a country, financial security is an im

portant part of national security, and the financial system is a major fundamental system in the process of economic and social development.

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DPRK leader leaves Pyongyang for Hanoi for second DPRK

PYONGYANG — Kim Jong-un, top leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), left here Saturday afternoon by train f

or Vietnamese capital Hanoi for the second DPRK-US summit, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Sunday.

Kim will meet with US President Donald Trump there on Feb 27-28. Their first meetin

g was held in June 2018 in Singapore, which resulted in improved bilateral relations.

Kim will pay an official visit to Vietnam at the invitation of Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong before his meeting with Trump.

Kim was accompanied by Kim Yong-chol, Ri Su-yong, Kim Phyong-hae and O Su-yong, members of th

e Political Bureau and vice-chairmen of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of K

orea (WPK), Ri Yong-ho, member of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Com

mittee and foreign minister, No Kwang-chol, alternate member of the Po

litical Bureau of the WPK Central Committee and minister of the People’s Armed Forces, among others, said the KCNA.

Kim was seen off at Pyongyang Railway Station by Kim Yong-nam, Choe Ryong-hae and Pak Pong-ju, members of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Cen

tral Committee of the WPK, and other senior officials of the party, government and armed forces, said the KCNA.

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