uventus beaten at Atletico to leave Ronaldo on brink

  Cristiano Ronaldo was supposed to be the final piece in the Juventus Champions League winning jigsaw.

  For so long, Juventus has dominated in Italy, winning seven successive league titles with an eighth almost inevitable.

  But it is the Champions League crown that it craves. Ronaldo was s

upposed to be the man to deliver for a club that has lost out twice in the final in the past four years.

  When Juventus turned to Ronaldo, a five-time winner, chasing a record-equ

aling sixth Champions League title, it was to inspire the team on nights like Wednesday.

  Only Sevilla (27) and Getafe (23) have conceded more goals to Ronaldo than Atletico Madrid.

  Yet, on a Wednesday night in Madrid, the city where he enjoyed such success with Re

al, he was unable to add to his career tally of 22 against the former neighbor.

  For Atletico Madrid, a team that has felt the full force of Ronaldo’s irrepressible scor

ing record during his time at Real, this 2-0 victory in the first leg of the last 16 tie was particularly sweet.

  Two second-half goals from Uruguayan defensive duo Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin secured the advantage for Diego Simeone’s side.

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ears later, Geovanis worked for the Russian oligarch Oleg

  Deripaska, whose ties to Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort have also been of interest to investigators.

  Moscow-based businessman David Geovanis

  Two witnesses who have given evidence to the Senate Intelligence Committee say the

y were asked about Geovanis’ past relationship with the President during interviews last year. The

interviews were conducted by staff working for both the Republican and Democratic sides of the committee, ac

cording to the sources, who wish to remain anonymous due to the confidential nature of the Senate inquiry.

  This is the first time that Geovanis’ name has been reve

aled in connection with the various investigations underway into Russian influence on US politics, wh

ich include a sweeping new House investigation into Trump’s financial interests.

  The Senate Intelligence Committee’s interest in Geovanis indicates its inv

estigation is delving further back into Trump’s past in Russia than previously thought.

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A businessman, three women and Joseph Stalinttee has

  One of the two witnesses says the committee has a photograph of a younger Geovanis apparently posing in a portrait with three partially clo

thed women. The portrait, once displayed in a Russian gallery under the title “The Capitalist,” depicts the subjects in front of a picture of th

e former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. It’s not clear whether the portrait is a single photograph or a composite.

  The witness told CNN that they were shown the photograph during questioning.A thi

rd witness has alleged in written testimony, seen by CNN, that Geovanis may be valuable in the mystery of

whether Russia has material on Trump that could be personally embarrassing to him.

  Known by the nickname “Geo” to his friends, Geovanis was born in Brockton, Mass

achusetts, and is a graduate of Trump’s alma mater, the Wharton School at the Un

iversity of Pennsylvania. After starting his career in finance, Geovanis went to Moscow to work for a Russian ve

nture of a company called Brooke Group, which owned land earmarked for the site of a proposed Trump Tower. W

hen Trump came to town to promote the project, sources say, it was Geovanis’ job to show him around.

  Also on the trip were Brooke Group’s owners, the real estate moguls Bennett LeBow and How

ard Lorber, who went on to become substantial donors to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Trump pers

onally acknowledged the pair from the podium after he won the 2016 New York Republican primary.

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When contacted by CNN via telephone, Geovanis declin

  ed to comment on his relationship with the President or talk about the photograph said to be in th

e possession of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He would not disclose his location, although CNN w

as able to confirm he was in the Moscow area as recently as this month. Asked whether he had been approached by t

he committee and whether he was aware of its interest, Geovanis told CNN he had “no comment.”

  A spokeswoman for the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Republican chairman, North Ca

rolina Sen. Richard Burr, declined to comment on whether Geovanis was of interest to it. A spo

keswoman for the committee’s Democratic Vice Chair, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, also declined to comment.

  It’s not known whether Geovanis is also of interest to the invest

igation into alleged Russian election meddling by special counsel Robert Mueller.

  The President’s legal team declined to comment on his relationship to Geovanis. A lawyer for the Trump Organization also declined to comment.

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Will second Trump-Kim summit affect Japant between

The second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong

-un in Hanoi on February 27 and 28 will trigger complicated changes in East Asia’s poli

tics. Though the effect on US-Japan relations will be limited, North Korea-Japan ties will move in a positive direction.

Currently, Pyongyang demands withdrawal of sanctions, signing a peace treaty, an end-of-war declaration, and a security guarantee f

or North Korea. Washington had asked Pyongyang to undertake complete, verifiable and irrev

ersible denuclearization, which might be now relaxed. The US may agree that North Korea fulfill it in stages. Befo

re any progress in denuclearization, the US will not ease sanctions substantially. Therefore, the Hanoi talks co

uld produce substantive results, much more significant than the Singapore summit.

However, it won’t shake the relationship between US and its East Asian al

lies. Even if the US and North Korea forge new relations, it would obviously not be a

s firm as the US-Japan alliance. Once the talks make headway, Washington may gradually lift the sanctions on Pyo

ngyang, helping get North Korea’s economy out of the doldrums. Other areas will be left as they are.

In this context, possible improvement in US-North Korea ties would not have noticeabl

e impact on US-Japan relations. However, it may make Tokyo and Pyongyang move closer.

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By trying to consolidate foothold in CEE, Washington

After the aggressive speech by US Assistant Secretary Aaron Wess Mitchell in late October advocating the US to win influence in

Central and Eastern Europe, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo recently visited Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia.

Although Pompeo’s visit covered a wide array of issues including the Middle East, China, Russia, energy

, and security, they pointed to US ambitions in winning the race for influence in Central and Eastern Europe.

Since US President Donald Trump took office, US capabilities have been on the decline along with its willingness to prov

ide public goods to the international community. Although Washington clings to America First doctrine, it doesn’t mean it f

ollows a path of isolationism. The US sometimes provides regional goods to rebuild rules that are more favorable to it.

The US strategy in Central and Eastern Europe follows this logic.

The most important US presence in Central and Eastern Europe i

s the security cooperation under the NATO security framework. If the US wants to s

trengthen its clout in this region, it must win favor from those countries that strike a balance among major powers.

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Although the idea of Huawei engaging in espionage is te

ically possible, it does not make any sense from a commercial or political point of view.

Such a practice would be tantamount to suicide for a high-tech giant. If the Chinese governme

nt forced Huawei to do this, it would be stifling the country’s emerging industries. But intelligence can

not be mentioned in the same breath as Huawei’s contribution to China’s industrial prosperity and national interests.

Hyping the alleged Huawei threat has violated the basic spirit of seeking truth from facts. The West is prioritizing ide

ology and considering excluding China as political correctness. Many people in Europe are aware of the lies, but

still beating the drum for a certain value orientation rather than conducting an objective analysis.

The world is changing, and if Europe keeps prioritizing ideology and political correctness in dealing with every new situation, that would be dangerous.

What Europe needs is not only the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, but also the co

urage to make its own independent choices. Europe’s cooperation with Huawei on construction of a 4G

network is already an established fact, but it seems now that beneficial collaboration has become one of the biggest risks.

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Sci-fi blockbuster showcases Chinese vision of cooperation

China’s sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth broke Chinese film’s five-year box office record on th

e North American market. Based on the novel by Liu Cixin, the movie is said to usher in China’s sci-fi blockbuster era.

Does this film resonate simply because it is a good sci-fi film made by Chinese? Of course not. It is mainly because the story reflects the co

mmon concern of people of different color, belief and nationality in the world. That is: the fate of the Earth. We

share a common destiny because we are living in the same global village. The movie has struck a responsive chord in the hearts of its audiences.

American sci-fi filmmakers have a prolonged enthusiasm about the fate of the Earth from the early stage to recent years.

From The Day of the Earth Stood Still in the 1950s to Armageddon (1998) and MegaFault (2009), a long list can be m

ade. Of course, the heroes who saved the planet were all Americans without exception. But this time it is Chinese.

The Wandering Earth shows that Chinese people are sentimentally attached to their mother pl

anet and foreigners feel the same. Indeed, Chinese people offered their own solution in the film. But in fact, the

success of The Wandering Earth is not who saved the planet, but people resolving a severe problem faced by mankind.

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Guo Fan, director of The Wandering Earth, once said that a

film is a reflection of a nation’s comprehensive strength.” The Guardian published an article headlined “China challenges Hollywood with own sci-fi blockbuster.”

This is in line with how people see today’s global affairs. China is making contributions to global development with its own strength and its own way.

Different from the US sci-fi blockbusters which advocate individual heroism, The Wandering Earth pro

poses China’s collective spirit. Take the climax of the movie: When all the plans to save Earth faile

d and Earth is about to hit Jupiter, many other countries, which had decided to give up, were moved and inspired by a br

ave Chinese girl. They then chose to salvage Earth from its doom together with Chines

e. Such a Chinese blockbuster presents a new appearance of sci-fi and successfully moves audiences of different countries.

Likewise, the key to improving the world’s understanding of China is to find a

n echo in each other’s hearts. Today, mankind still faces many international hot

issues, such as environmental protection, anti-terrorism and the reconstruction of the world financial o

rder. To solve these problems, we need global participation and cooperation, and China should play a constructive role.

These problems are also common challenges facing China and the US. Both Chi

na and the US should take their responsibilities. The two countries are mo

re likely to cooperate on these issues which could be the basis for building mutual trust.

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ntal programs and inaugurated several large-scale infrast

projects, including highway, railway, airport and power stations. However, in the face of local protests, the effectiveness of Modi’s economic package, delivered just a few months before the

election, seemed very suspicious. Interestingly, because of the tremendous opposition against the Bill and the frustrating situation on the g

round, BJP’s top local politician who was defending the bill changed his tune almost as soon as Modi left.

Clearly, Modi’s twin election trick, which comprised both nationalistic and developmental ele

ments, was clearly at work during his visit to disputed South Tibet. However, sacrificing the pa

instakingly earned mutual trust and progress in Sino-Indian relations for the sake of ephemeral political benefits seems unwise.

Even though India and China have so far held 21 rounds of talks to resolve the border dispute, and Modi and President Xi have met at least four times in 2018 to bring b

ilateral ties back on a stable footing, the border issue remains the single-most sensitive topic between the two countries. While

the dispute between China and India remains too large to be resolved altogether, both sides would better carefully manage it.

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