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China’s defense budget shows Xi’s priority because the economy is getting tighter



China convenes parliament meeting delayed by pandemic

2020 will mark the first time in decades that China has not set growth targets for its economy. Last year, Beijing targeted growth in the range of 6% to 6.5%. GDP grew 6.1%, the slowest pace in almost 30 years.

Then came the coronavirus pandemic and weeks of economic shutdown in much of China. GDP shrank 6.8% in the first quarter, the first contraction reported by Beijing since 1976.

When the economy contracts, external pressure is increasing.

The US military is increasing challenges to Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea, including Back-to-back naval navigation freedom training in April and B-1 bomber flight, which is the heaviest in the US Air Force inventory, is from Guam and the US mainland.

And when the spending figures for 2020 were announced last Friday, Beijing’s priorities were immediately clear.

The military’s share of pain – the increase in its budget is the lowest in decades – but the PLA’s pain is small compared to the blows given to other areas of the Chinese government.

For example, the budget fell 13.3% for general public services, down 11.8% for foreign affairs, down 7.5% for education and 9.1% for science and technology.

“The proposed budget shows Beijing feels insecure and under siege,” said Timothy Heath, senior researcher at the RAND Corp think tank. in Washington.

“The strong increase in spending reflects strong anxiety about deepening tensions with China’s main competitors, the United States, as well as fading hopes for a peaceful union with Taiwan,” Heath said.

“Beijing also has many reasons for increasing defense and security spending to manage this escalating problem domestic chaos in Hong Kong, in the western provinces, or throughout the country due to soaring unemployment and slackening growth due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. “

Wu Qian, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Defense, said Beijing’s defense budget is appropriate for now.

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“It can be said that the world is not peaceful,” Qian said on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress this week.

“China’s internal security and foreign interests also face some real threats …

“It is reasonable and necessary that Chinese defense spending increases moderately and steadily,” Wu said.

Compare with US

Beijing also touted an increase in the military budget as the smallest in several years, and said the overall amount was a fraction of the money spent by some foreign militaries.

In fact, Zhang Yesui, spokesman for the third session of the 13th National People’s Congress, said at a press conference last week that “China’s total defense spending in 2019 is only a quarter of the world’s largest defense expenditure.

The biggest defense expenditure is the United States, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

IISS figures were released in February shows the US spent $ 686 billion on defense in 2019 compared to $ 181 billion by China, number 2 in the IISS world ranking.
But subsequent studies by analysts at IISS and the Washington-based Heritage Foundation say the gap between the US and Chinese military budgets may be as small as 13%.

And when you look at the progress that the Chinese military has made since Xi became President in 2013, the huge gap between the Chinese and American military budgets defies credibility:

– Only in recent years, China has implemented it the first aircraft carrier to be built domestically, Shandong;
– made it J-20 stealth fighter – seen as a challenge for US F-22 and F-35 fighters – ready for combat;
– Increase it a ballistic missile submarine fleet, both with new ships and better missiles in it;
– open it first foreign military base in the African country of Djibouti;
– and building a series of islands in the South China Sea that US Admiral Philip Davidson, the main US commander in Indo-Pacifc, called the “Great Wall of SAM,” or a series of surface-to-air missile bases could make the sky over a very hostile area for any enemy air force.

Lack of transparency

All this costs a lot of money, but in the case of Beijing it is often difficult to see where it came from, analysts said.

“Defense budget data available from Beijing … experiences three different problems: lack of transparency, known and unreliable negligence,” writes Frederico Bartels, a Heritage Foundation researcher, in an April paper was released in The Strategist, website of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Bartels came up with a 13% difference between the US and Chinese defense budgets after analyzing everything from currency rates to labor costs across China.

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He told CNN any defense figures coming out of China must be treated with skepticism because Beijing did not specify specifically where the money was flowing or based on what budget might be allocated.

Bartels gave an example of a new aircraft carrier built in the US versus China.

In the US, the government will declare the price paid to independent contractors to build aircraft carriers. But in China, state-run companies will build warships and only be responsible to Beijing.

Money for new aircraft carriers can be transferred to the company under one of many accounts, not necessarily related to warships.

In the end, outside observers really don’t know what the price of this ship is.

“That’s the kind of game they can play with state-owned companies,” Bartels said.

Police and coast guard troops

Inheritance researchers and IISS analysis also show that other parts of China’s defense formation, such as the growing coast guard, do not see at least a portion of their expenses included in the military budget.

According to the IISS study, the budget for the People’s Armed Police (PAP), which is assigned to law enforcement, border defense and internal security, actually decreases when a large coast guard fleet is under PAP control in 2018.

“This will show that (Chinese Coast Guard) expenditure remains a cost related to extra-budget defense and must be added to China’s total defense spending figures,” said the IISS study.

Meanwhile, the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies shows this annual expenditure figures published by China’s Ministry of Finance and Defense off as much as $ 3 billion.

To enter that number in hardware terms, about three Sophisticated Beijing Type 55 Wreckers, key linchpin in the country’s naval buildup.

The buildup has become part of Xi Jinping’s military modernization that aims to make the PLA at least equal to the United States military in Asia.

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And with the progress made since Xi came to power in 2013 – and especially since he reorganized the Central Military Commission aiming for corruption in 2017 – clearly Beijing will not agree to weakening the PLA.

Bartels said the budget sent a strong message from Xi to the PLA that “we really appreciate what the People’s Liberation Army is doing, and we want to be able to protect them even in less positive economic times.”

Steven Jiang and Laura He from CNN contributed to this report.

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PRR. Banco do Fomento invites companies to offer new financial instruments – Observer



PRR.  Banco do Fomento invites companies to offer new financial instruments – Observer

Banco Português de Fomento started a public consultation this Friday aiming to receive contributions to launch new instruments under the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR) which still has 475 million euros.

In a statement, the organization stressed that it intends to invite companies and all stakeholders to participate in public consultations on “future capital and quasi-capital decisions.”

According to PRR, Banco Português de Fomento (BPF) has been cast in “structuring and distribution of capital decisions and quasi-equity capital of a total of €1,425 million under the Capitalization and Business Innovation component of the PRR.

The Belarusian Popular Front still has 475 million euros to launch new programs, the organization’s press release emphasizes.

The public consultation is aimed at soliciting contributions under “the terms of two pre-structured financial instruments designed to encourage company formation and/or capitalization of businesses, primarily in the start-up phases”, “Venture Capital Program” (an instrument that assumes a fund structure of funds)” and “The Deal Co-investment Program (an instrument that takes the form of direct investment in companies, always in co-investment with private investors)”.


“These tool proposals are aimed at facilitating market entry and growth/expansion of viable companies through the development new products/services or markets and strengthening and professionalization of personnel, including the management team,” the BNF press release further emphasizes.

The public consultation is also aimed at obtaining “other proposals for new capital and quasi-capital solutions in accordance with the terms of the aforementioned capitalization funds, which are considered relevant and necessary because they are considered unavailable at the time, or existing conditions that prevent access and use.”

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Ana Carvalho, CEO of BPF, emphasized that these public consultations “are aimed at building an open dialogue with all actors of the business ecosystem, with to improve workflows and identify market failuresand the most appropriate solutions to overcome them.”

“Although we are actively in contact with various associations and institutions, this public comment allows all interested parties to participate, especially potential beneficiaries and partners involved in these measures,” he added, quoted in a press release.

All information and technical descriptions of the two pre-structured products are available on the Banco Português de Fomento website at the link

Suggestions or offers must be submitted online for a thorough assessment by the Belarusian Popular Front until 18:00 on December 19, this body further explained.

The mission of Banco Português de Fomento is to support the economic and social development of Portugal by creating and providing innovative, competitive and appropriate solutions to the needs and challenges of the business ecosystem, enhancing entrepreneurial potential, investment and job creation, and promoting sustainability and economic, social and territorial cohesion of the country.

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FESTin returns to distribute Portuguese-language cinema worldwide | Cinema



FESTin returns to distribute Portuguese-language cinema worldwide |  Cinema

For the 13th edition, FESTin’s mission remains the same: “Bring cinema in Portuguese to the whole world.” So says co-director Adriana Niemeyer by phone with PÚBLICO on the eve of the start of the film festival, which starts this Friday and runs until next week, ending on Wednesday the 14th at LX Factory at 7:00 pm, in Espaço Talante, inside the bookstore Ler Devagar , with a screening of four Brazilian short films chosen by Antonio Grassi, the actor in charge of the space, followed by a toast.

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VARIOUS. Portuguese project that wears a shirt for mental health



VARIOUS.  Portuguese project that wears a shirt for mental health

Little phrases with big meaning sometimes fit into T-shirtright now in bag da Ivory, a project that began in the year of the pandemic and has been interventionally warning about mental health issues ever since.

Francisco Soares Ganzo, the founder, first suffered a panic attack when he was in 10th grade, but ended up not paying much attention to signs that something was wrong. Then the mental health problem reappeared later, at a different stage in life and with different symptoms.

“Four years ago, I started experiencing constant anxiety, to the point that I couldn’t sleep,” says 25-year-old Francisco Versa. “Basically, I put a lot of pressure on myself from the women with whom I had relationships. It was Wednesday masculinity, competition,” he continues.

Early adulthood began with this “almost obsession to be with women” and get the best. performanceto the point where he became very anxious whenever he had sexual relations with a woman.

“The peak was when I couldn’t sleep. My brain was always on and I started taking pills to help me sleep,” says Francisco.

In 2019, he decided to see a therapist rather than a psychologist because he thought it was only “for wimps”, but it wasn’t, and Francisco later figured it out.

Today, he wants to convey the same message, and to do so, he created the Ivory project in 2020, consisting of clothes and accessories with special messages that form a bridge to the necessary incentive for those in need of help.

“When I finally worked up the courage to ask for help, I was like, ‘Wow, I wish I had started sooner. That’s why I started this project. I lacked something that would motivate me to go to therapy earlier. clothes are meant to spread information,” he says.

But Ivory goes far beyond what is written in sweatshirts and accessories.

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Help that comes in order

“Everyone you know is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”

This is one of the messages recorded in t-shirts e sweats from ivory. It’s simple and affects everyone in their own way, but the focus of the Ivory team – also with a past or present marked by mental health issues – is not the phrases on the T-shirts, but what follows them.

“To say that mental health is talked about a lot is a lie. What I mean? When I hear the news that companies are very concerned about mental health or that it has become fashionable with COVID-19, it is all a lie. What people say is vague. Nobody tells stories. A person who is really bad, like I was, does not need to hear that he should go to the gym or eat well. He needs to hear a story like this.” .

Ivory’s next step is to create a space for sharing testimonies through Appendixjust to address this shortcoming. Until then, the project intends to function as anxiety And further to support in the field of mental health.

“For every order we have, a person receives Email mail to make an appointment. Because our goal is to really open doors, to do something that I didn’t have, ”says Francisco. “I feel like a lot of people buy ivory because they’re in bad condition, but they don’t want to take the next step to take care of themselves.”

If encouragement is not enough, an ivory sweater will be cozy and Email mail gives you the push you need to make an appointment with one of Ivory’s psychologists. All it takes is an Instagram post or an email.

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Sweaters and bags 100% organic cotton and mobile phone cases with phrases coined by Francisco Soares Ganzo and designs created by the whole team can be ordered at website.

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