group of German friends claimed a world record on Saturday for the highest number of smurfs gathered in one place.
Fans of the blue elf-like creatures created in a Belgian comic strip during the 1950s, managed to gathe
r 2,762 people dressed and painted blue in regulation smurf attire – curly hats and all.
The gathering took place at the town of Lauchringen, near the German border with Switzerland, the organizers reported on Facebook.
Their record came three years after their first attempt failed to beat the record held by Welsh s
tudents who managed to unite 2,510 regulation smurfs in Swansea back in 2009.
The German’s first effort failed, with only 2,149 turning up.
The rules of the game are strict: The only people counted as the genuine art
icle are those with any bare skin painted blue and the rest of the body clothed in smurf attire.
The group of friends made their second, victorious attempt on Saturday with the backing of the mayor of Lauchringen, they said.
The smurfs, small, impish creatures who live in a village, were created by the Belgian cartoonist Pierre Culliford, known as Peyo.
They became so popular that the stories eventually spilled over into cartoons and even live-action films.
The world has been closely watching the latest round of high-level trade
negotiations between the US and China, which took p
lace in Beijing on Thursday and Friday, for clues as to whether a trade resolution
will be reached before the March 1 deadline.
With the slowdown seen in the economies of both countries and the
world in general, the US and China have a sober under
standing of the importance of reaching a trade deal, which is reflected by the
increasing flexibility shown by both parties. Last week, US Pre
sident Donald Trump even suggested that he could extend the deadline if both
parties are making good progress and are nearing a formal agreement.
As the US and China both have the need to reach a deal, it is generally expected
that both parties will make some compromises to avoid an escalation of tra
de disputes. In this situation, China will most likely significantly increase its
imports from the US in the short term, while at the same time making s
ubstantial changes with regards to issues like market opening and technology transfer.
At present, there is much speculation about what compromises China may
make or which industries the nation will open to more for
eign investment. Last year, against the background of the unprecedented trade war, the National D
evelopment and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planner, published
a new version of the negative list for foreign investment. The negative list, w
hich took effect on July 28, removed foreign ownership limits for special vehicles and new energy vehicle m
anufacturing, with the ownership cap for passenger car manufacturing scheduled
to be lifted by 2022. Moreover, th
e latest list also eased or scrapped foreign investment curbs on sectors like
banking, insurance, ship and aircraft manufacturing, and power grids.
one with the UK in 2017 and another with India the following year. By exploiting the power of these regional countries, Japan aims to secure military provisions for
its SDF in the Indo-Pacific region from the US, Canada, Australia and India and in the North Atlantic region from the US, the UK, France and Canada.
This has laid the foundation for Japan to broaden its SDF activities and ensure military provision with its partners. It is a sm
all-scale bilateral military alliance system centered on Japan. This shows Japan’s long-term strategic plan.
Since the 21st century, Japan has clearly labeled China as its biggest real and potential rival. Esp
ecially since Shinzo Abe took office, he spared no efforts at containing China. During Abe’s first te
rm, the Japanese government raised the idea of the “arc of freedom and prosperity.” When he became prime mini
ster for a second time, the policies advocated by his cabinet, including the values-based alliance, the alliance of m
aritime democracies, the democratic security diamond and the freedom corridor, have all kept China in focus.
Because of the ACSAs with Australia and India, Japan can militarily c
onstrain China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. In the At
lantic, it can also exert forceful intervention in China’s policy in Europe, North Africa and West Africa.
In some areas where China’s military strength has not reached, Japan has crafted its military plan in advance by ut
ilizing its bilateral alliance system, trap-falling China’s military strategy into a passive position.
younger generation of residents－80 percent of them tenants and many of them migrant workers－now occupies Tiantongyuan.
At weekends, a number of community centers on one street in Huilongguan are filled with people. One of the most popular cente
rs is a children’s library called “Happy Book Kid”, whose owner, Wang Yanping, has lived in the community for more than 10 years.
As a migrant worker for more than 20 years, the 40-year-old said she always wanted a sett
led place of her own so she could get to know more people and gain a sense of belonging.
She established the library at the end of 2013 with the aim of providing a range of books that children could read and study after school.
At weekends, the library is packed as parents bring their children to participate in
a range of activities, including drama performances, poetry recitals and handicraft classes.
“If just one kid becomes interested in reading, I will have made a contribution to their life,” Wang said.
“A rising number of families treat the library as a place to gather, and they love being here.”
of major Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. Smaller cities and even townships are capturing the fastest growth, findings from both payment providers showed.
According to Alipay, the quickest expansion rate in per capita overseas spending was logged in
Zhoushan, a port city in East China’s Zhejiang province, which surged 55 percent year-on-year. It wa
s followed by 50 percent in Weifang, Shandong province, and 44 percent in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province.
In contrast, the growth rate in relatively affluent Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou r
eached 27 percent, 30 percent and 24 percent respectively, although they accounted for the greatest outbound spending by volume.
These trends “really highlight how mobile payment is taking root in China’s outbound t
ourism market”, said Chen Jiayi, Alipay’s head of business operation on cross-border business.
WeChat also saw a notable surge in the use of mobile payment in lower-tier cities, with over 40 percent transactions ma
de by residents who work in bigger cities but returned to hometowns for the weeklong annual gathering.