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Here are today’s picks from our editors.
President Xi delivers New Year speech rallying nation for great cause
President Xi Jinping delivered a New Year speech Monday evening, calling on the whole nation to strive for "an unprecedented and great cause" in the year 2019, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
"In 2018, we had a fulfilling and focused year," Xi said in the speech, summarizing the progress made in 2018, which saw the country's economy stay "within a reasonable range."
The campaign to prevent and control pollution of air, water and soil went smoothly while the people's wellbeing and their living standards improved, he said.
Around 10 million people in the country's rural areas were lifted out of poverty in 2018, said the president.
Joint efforts are needed as China faces both opportunities and challenges in 2019, Xi noted.
In the new year, Xi said, the policies to cut taxes and fees should be well implemented to ease the burden on enterprises. (Xinhua)
Hainan Province set to become global tourist destination
China aims to build its Southern Hainan Province into a globally influential tourism and consumption destination by 2035, according to a plan released by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
Relying on the advantages of its ecological resources, Hainan will implement more policies to accelerate the transformation and upgrading of the tourism industry, promote the integration and development of tourism and other related industries, and improve the quality of tourism consumption service, NDRC said. (CGTN)
House Democrats have a plan to re-open government
Democrats with the US House of Representatives introduced bills on Monday that would re-open the federal government without approving funding for President Donald Trump’s Mexico border wall.
The House is preparing to vote as soon as the new Congress convenes Thursday, as one of the first acts after Democrats take control, according to an aide who was not authorized to discuss the plan and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Democrats are all but certain to approve the package, making good on their pledge to try to quickly resolve the partial government shutdown that’s now in its second week. What’s unclear is whether the Republican-led Senate will consider it — or if Trump would sign it into law. (AP)
US citizen arrested in Russia on spying charges
Russia’s domestic security agency said Monday that it has arrested a US citizen on espionage charges.
The Federal Security Service, or FSB, the top KGB successor agency, said Paul Whelan was detained in Moscow on Friday. The agency said in Monday’s statement that he was caught "during an espionage operation", but didn’t give any details.
Spying charges carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years in Russia. (AP)
US stocks shed some of their early gains on last day of 2018
US stocks were headed lower in morning trading Monday.
Gains in health care companies outweighed losses in internet companies, energy stocks and elsewhere in the market. The benchmark S&P 500 index was on track for its worst showing in a decade after a volatile year on Wall Street.
Trading has been highly volatile in December, capping a year of turbulence for markets.
The major indexes closed last week with their first weekly gain in what’s been an otherwise painful month.
The indexes are still down by almost 10 percent for the month, and on track for their worst December since 1931. (AP)
China's box office sets revenue record for 2018
China's movie box office revenue rose 9 percent in 2018 generating $8.88 billion US dollars, according to the State Film Administration Monday.
Domestic films contributed just over 62 percent to the market.
The number of movie screens reached 60,079 across the country, up 9,303 from 2017. (Xinhua)
Thanks for listening and be sure to catch us tomorrow.
And now for the Question of the Day:
In which year did the Roman senate declare January 1 to be the beginning of the new year?
Today’s quote is from American athlete Billy Butler.
"You get a new year, you get a new start, you get a new opportunity."
(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Ryan Yaoran Yu, Lance Crayon, and Elaine Yue Lin.)