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At least 19 people killed in New York City major fire******
Photo taken on January 9, 2022 shows emergency personnel from the New York City Fire Department monitoring the scene of a major fire in the Bronx borough of New York City, the United States.。
At least 19 people, including nine children, lost their lives in a major fire in a Bronx apartment in New York City on Sunday, Mayor Eric Adams confirmed.。
"We've lost 19 of our neighbors today. It's a tragedy beyond measure. Join me in praying for those we lost, especially the 9 innocent young lives that were cut short," Adams tweeted.。
The mayor said earlier on Sunday that the fire was horrific.。
"This is a horrific, horrific, painful moment for the city of New York, and the impact of this fire is going to really bring a level of just pain and despair in our city," he told reporters. "This is going to be one of the worst fires we have witnessed during modern times."
Thirty-two people were sent to the hospital in life-threatening conditions. Nine people were also seriously injured, and 22 others sustained non-life-threatening injuries. One member of service was also removed to the hospital, said Adams.。
People are seen in front of the apartment building in Bronx, New York, the United States, on January 9, 2022.。
The fire started from a space heater in an apartment that spanned the second and third floors of the building and only made it to the hall, city officials said.。
But smoke still spread to every floor of the building, likely because the door to the apartment was left open, the city's fire department commissioner Daniel Nigro told reporters at a news briefing.。
"Members found victims on every floor in stairwells and were taking them out in cardiac and respiratory arrest," Nigro said.。
Fire marshals determined through physical evidence and accounts from residents that the fire started from a portable electric heater in the apartment's bedroom, Nigro said.。
He added the heat had been on in the apartment building, and the portable heater had been supplementing that heating.。
Workers clean up at the scene of a major fire in the Bronx borough of New York, United States, on January 9, 2022.。
The catastrophe was likely to stir questions on safety standards in low-income city housing. This was the second major deadly fire in a residential complex in the US this week after twelve people, including eight children, were killed early on Wednesday when flames swept through a public housing apartment building in Philadelphia.。
US Representative Ritchie Torres, a Democrat whose district includes the New York building, told MSNBC that affordable housing developments such as the Bronx one pose safety risks to residents.。
"When we allow our affordable housing developments to be plagued by decades of disinvestment, we are putting lives at risk," he said.。
Adams said many of the residents were from the small West African country of Gambia. The Gambian consulate in New York did not immediately respond to a request for information.。
An investigator of the New York City Fire Department looks out of an apartment at the scene of a major fire in the Bronx borough of New York City, the United States, on January 9, 2022.。
Economic Watch: UK business leaders confident in resilience, vitality of Chinese economy******
by Xinhua writer Sun Xiaoling
LONDON, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Giant consumption driven by middle class, steady economic growth even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, big green investment collaboration under mutual desire for the planet ... These are among the reasons given by British business leaders for their confidence in resilience and vitality of the Chinese economy.
To reduce the impact of the pandemic, British luxury brand Rapport London shifted its focus to digital economy, seeing a strong double-digit percentage growth in its online business across the world, especially in the booming online market of China.
"The Chinese market is set to become the largest luxury market by 2025, and we want to be a part of this growth," said Oliver Rapport, CEO of Rapport London, in a recent interview with Xinhua.
"The importance of the Chinese market is paramount," said Rapport, adding that the luxury goods market in the Chinese mainland saw a significant boost in consumer spending in 2020 and is expected to grow continuously into the year of 2025.
Since his company has set up online stores on Chinese e-commerce platforms, including WeChat Mini-Programs and Alibaba, Rapport said he plans to open offline stores in collaboration with Chinese partners.
Founded in 1972, a London-based market research company Mintel tracked consumer spending across 34 markets worldwide.
"We're seeing a real confidence from a lot of reports that Mintel published in consumer spending going forward," said Matthew Nelson, newly appointed global CEO of Mintel, told Xinhua.
Nelson said the Chinese economy will see a continuous growth in 2021, which has been "driven on the back of the initiatives of technological self-reliance, lifting the living standard, social security, as well as the green economy."
Having taken a closer look at the latest trends in Chinese domestic spending, Nelson said: "We've really been looking as a business at consumers in lower tier cities. Really, they're providing big growth opportunities for brands that enter into that market with increased purchasing power, and as well as a closer alignment to some of the values that are coming along with those brands."
"I mean, any global brand, whether it's Mintel, market intelligence, or whether it's automotive, retail, food and beverage, if you're a global brand, you should definitely have a focus on China," Nelson added.
John McLean, newly appointed chair of the Institute of Directors (IoD) for the City of London, told Xinhua as Britain has left the European Union, it needs to look East.
McLean noted that the emerging middle class in China is attractive to British enterprises.
McLean said things are set to change as tourism resumes with improvements not only in economic cooperation but also in terms of bilateral understanding.
"I strongly believe that in a post-COVID era, China again will be that engine," he said, adding that Britain and China will find a way forward as businesses look for a long-term goal.
China is "wonderful and brilliant" on its carbon emission commitments and the City of London looks forward to continuing strong relationship and strengthening green collaboration with Chinese partners, said William Russell, lord mayor of the City of London.
"It's very important to strengthen the collaboration between the two sides," the mayor told Xinhua in a recent video interview. "One of the areas that we're very keen to strengthen is around green finance."
Talking about the collaboration with Chinese partners in green finance, Russell said, "I think China has made great progress, and it's moving very fast, and we will continue to work with China to help with that progress."
The China International Import Expo (CIIE) has given great access to many Scottish businesses to learn about the Chinese market, and it really has been "an eye-opening experience" for them, Kevin Liu, senior China representative for Scottish Development International (SDI), told Xinhua in a recent interview.
The SDI, Scotland's trade and foreign direct investment agency, will attend the 4th CIIE in eastern Chinese city Shanghai, which is just around half a month away for the second year running.
Speaking of China's recovery from the COVID-19 hit, Liu said, "You're seeing the strength of the rebound of the Chinese retail market, especially the role that e-commerce played in helping ensure that goods and services are still moving across as a fast market."
"The fact (is) that China's domestic market is still so resilient despite numerous external and internal shocks," said Liu. "I think China's market would become even more important, not only for Scotland, but also the rest of the world." Enditem
Virtual tourism event promotes China's Huangshan among New Yorkers******
NEW YORK, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- China's Huangshan Tourism Development Co., Ltd., a tour operator of tourism destination Mount Huangshan, held an online event to promote local culture and tourism among New Yorkers on Friday evening.。
Organizers invited New Yorkers and other Americans to visit Mount Huangshan, also known as Yellow Mountain, a UNESCO world heritage site located in Huangshan City in east China's Anhui Province.。
More than 100 people joined in the event via Zoom link, while the promotion event was also live streamed on Facebook.。
Though the COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented difficulties to cultural and tourism exchanges between China and the United States, it can't stop peoples' aspirations for a happy life and their zeal to understand each other better via tourism, said China's Consul General in New York, Huang Ping.。
The event is the first tourism promotion event of its kind since the outbreak of COVID-19 and marks the recovery of tourism and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, Huang said.。
"We value initiatives that promote tourism, travel, and culture between New York and other nations, which is important to rebuilding and reopening our economy in the post-pandemic era," said New York State Governor Kathy Hochul in a letter written on the occasion of the event.。
The dialogue among representatives of the travel and tourism industries from New York and Huangshan can open networks of communication and progress and "I look forward to continuing to strengthen our culture, social, and economic ties in the future," Hochul said.。
The efforts to promote international trade and tourism between New York City and China are appreciated, said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in a letter presented at the event.。
Peter Koo, a member of the New York City Council and a Chinese American, encouraged people in the United States to visit Huangshan when they have the opportunity or as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic is over.。
Huangshan City welcomed nearly 3 million overseas tourists or visits in 2019, including over 150,000 ones from the United States, said Sun Yong, mayor of Huangshan City.。
Inscribed on the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List in 1990, Mount Huangshan has formed cooperation or amicable relations with peers all over the world, including Yosemite National Park in the U.S. state of California. Enditem。
The Tonga volcanic eruption has revealed the vulnerabilities in our global telecommunication system
In the wake of a violent volcanic eruption in Tonga, much of the communication with residents on the islands remains at a standstill. In our modern, highly-connected world, more than 95 per cent of global data transfer occurs along fibre-optic cables that criss-cross through the world’s oceans.
在南太平洋岛国汤加发生猛烈的火山喷发后，岛上居民的大部分通信处于停滞状态。在我们这个高度互联的现代世界中，超过 95% 的全球数据传输是通过穿越海底的纵横交错的光缆进行的。
Breakage or interruption to this critical infrastructure can have catastrophic local, regional and even global consequences. This is exactly what has happened in Tonga following Saturday’s volcano-tsunami disaster. But this isn’t the first time a natural disaster has cut off critical submarine cables, and it won’t be the last.
What exactly has happened in Tonga?
Tonga was only connected to the global submarine telecommunication network in the last decade. Its islands have been heavily reliant on this system as it is more stable than other technologies such as satellite and fixed infrastructure.
The situation in Tonga right now is still fluid, and certain details have yet to be confirmed – but it seems one or more volcanic processes (such as the tsunami, submarine landslide or other underwater currents) have snapped the 872km long fibre-optic cable connecting Tonga to the rest of the world. The cable system was not switched off or disconnected by the authorities.
This has had a massive impact. Tongans living in Australia and New Zealand can’t contact their loved ones to check on them. It has also made it difficult for Tongan government officials and emergency services to communicate with each other, and for local communities to determine aid and recovery needs.
Telecommunications are down, as are regular internet functions – and outages keep disrupting online services, making things worse. Tonga is particularly vulnerable to this type of disruption as there is only one cable connecting the capital Nuku'alofa to Fiji, which is more than 800km away. No inter-island cables exist.
Risks to submarine cables elsewhere
Cables are laid in the shortest (that means cheapest) distance between two points on the Earth’s surface. They also have to be laid along particular geographic locations that allow easy placement, which is why many cables are clustered in choke points.
Some good examples of choke points include the Hawaiian islands, the Suez Canal, Guam and the Sunda Strait in Indonesia. Inconveniently, these are also locations where major natural hazards tend to occur.
Once damaged it can take days to weeks (or even longer) to repair broken cables, depending on the cable’s depth and how easily accessible it is. At times of crisis, such outages make it much harder for governments, emergency services and charities to engage in recovery efforts.
Many of these undersea cables pass close to or directly over active volcanoes, regions impacted by tropical cyclones and/or active earthquake zones.
In many ways, Australia and New Zealand are also very vulnerable (as is the rest of the world). Australia is connected to the global cable network by a very small number of connection points, from just Sydney and Perth.
In regards to Sydney and the eastern seaboard of Australia, we know large underwater landslides have occurred off the coast of Sydney in the past. Future events could damage the critical portion of the network which links to us.
How do we manage risk going forward?
Given the vulnerability of the network, the first step to mitigating risk is to undertake research to quantify and evaluate the actual risk to submarine cables in particular places on the ocean floors and to different types of natural hazards. For example, tropical cyclones (hurricanes/typhoons) occur regularly, but other disaster such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions happen less often.
Currently, there is little publicly available data on the risk to the global submarine cable network. Once we know which cables are vulnerable, and to what sorts of hazards, we can then develop plans to reduce risk.
At the same time, governments and the telecommunication companies should find ways to diversify the way we communicate, such as by using more satellite-based systems and other technologies.