Shane Bigham with you on this Friday, June 30th, 2017
Welcome to the Beijing Hour, coming to you live from the Chinese capital.
Our News Focus this morning...The Chinese President is in Hong Kong for a three-day inspection tour ahead of the 20th anniversary of the city's return to China...
In other news...
The Chinese president will make official visits to Russia and Germany starting early next week...
and the Iraqi government has declared the end of the Islamic State in the country after re-taking an historic mosque in Mosul...
In business...Chinese regulators approve a merger involving a state-run machinery company...
In Sports...the Chinese men's table tennis team will not play the Australian Open...
In Entertainment...Adele has hinted that she will stop touring...
China-Germany relations playing positive role globally: ambassador
The Chinese ambassador to Germany has suggested that both sides share a common stance on major issues, and their cooperation is playing an increasingly positive role in the world.
Ambassador Shi Mingde hailed the two countries' joint effort in promoting economic globalization and multilateralism and their focus on the real economy and structural reform.
He also suggested huge potential still exists for bilateral cooperation in such areas as industrial upgrading, urbanization and the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Shi made the remarks ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Germany in early July.
China again urges India to withdraw troops across border
China has again urged India to withdraw soldiers that illegally entered Chinese territory.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman urged India to comply with the historical boundary convention, respect China's territorial sovereignty and prevent the deterioration of the situation.
China has accused Indian border forces of illegally crossing the Sikkim section of the border earlier this week and obstructing the normal activities of Chinese border troops.
On Thursday, China's Defense Ministry said Chinese border troops have taken corresponding measures to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
China hopes to settle trade disputes with U.S. via talks
China is urging the United States to settle bilateral trade disputes through talks.
The country's commerce ministry said a healthy and stable trade order between the world's top two economies is not only important for both countries but also the world at large.
The Chinese call comes after the US launched a probe into whether imports of China's steel and aluminum have compromised U.S. national security.
Chinese authorities have suggested both sides address each other's concerns according to international rules and in the spirit of no conflict, no confrontation and mutual respect.
Trump to meet with Putin at G-20 summit next week
The White House has confirmed that President Donald Trump will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
But U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said "there is no specific agenda."
The first face-to-face encounter between the two leaders will come amid tensions between the U.S. and Russia as the two countries hold differences on a slew of issues, including the Syrian conflict, the Ukrainian crisis and the expansion of NATO.
In April, Trump said the U.S. was "not getting along with Russia at all" and the relations between the two countries "may be at an all-time low."
Last month, the US president told visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that he desired to build a better relationship between the two countries.
Summer Davos forum closes, highlights inclusive growth
This year's Summer Davos has come to an end in Dalian.
During the three-day Meeting of the New Champions 2017, more than 2,000 participants shared their insights on economic globalization challenges, the sharing economy and new technology.
Attendees also tried to find ways to achieve a more inclusive style of growth that prioritizes meaningful job creation and sustainable development.
News Focus of the Day
"Hong Kong pulls at my heartstrings": Xi Jinping
President Xi Jinping arrived in Hong Kong on Thursday, just two days ahead of the 20th anniversary of the city's return to China.
CRI's Yang Guang reports.
President Xi Jinping started his three-day inspection tour on Thursday to mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return.
During his time in the special administrative region, the Chinese leader will attend the anniversary celebration and the inauguration of the region's incoming government.
Speaking to reporters and well-wishers at Hong Kong International Airport, Xi Jinping extended his greetings to the city and its citizens.
"I am so happy to once again set foot in Hong Kong after nine years. Hong Kong has always been in my heart. In two days it will be the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland. This is a great event, a happy event, for the nation and for Hong Kong."
This is Xi Jinping's first trip to Hong Kong as Chinese president.
He congratulated the city on its past achievements and also encouraged it to achieve greater success.
"The delegation of the central government and I will inspect Hong Kong this time with three major purposes. The first purpose is to express best wishes for the Hong Kong. I congratulate the special administrative region on the great achievements it has made over the past 20 years since its establishment, and hope it would create its glory."
The president also promised the central government will as always support the city in growing its economy and improving its people's wellbeing.
"The second purpose is to show the central government's backing to Hong Kong. The central government has provided a strong backing to Hong Kong over the past 20 years and so will it in the future in growing its economy and improving Hong Kong people's wellbeing."
The president also said he was looking forward to experiencing in person new changes Hong Kong has gone through over the years.
As scheduled, Xi Jinping would join local people from all walks of life to review Hong Kong's development so as to sum up its experience and to envisage its future to ensure the smooth and lasting successful practice of the "one country, two systems" policy.
Hong Kong will mark the 20th anniversary of its return to China on Saturday.
Celebrations scheduled to mark the occasion include artistic performances, a fireworks display and a flag-raising ceremony.
For CRI, this is Yang Guang
President Xi meets HKSAR chief executive
President Xi Jinping has met with Hong Kong's outgoing Chief Executive after arriving in the southern Chinese city.
Xi Jingping has told CY Leung that he believes the "One Country, Two Systems" policy will continue its steady progress.
"This trip is significant, and it is particularly important in looking back at the journey of the past 20 years. There are a lot of things which are worthy of mention, and that will definitely boost our confidence. 'One Country, Two Systems' will definitely continue its steady progress."
The president also said the central government fully acknowledges Leung's work during his five-year term of office.
"I should say over the past five years, the achievements have been fruitful, especially in defending the safety of national sovereignty and the interests of development. You have contributed in persistently practicing the spirit of Basic Law. The central government fully trusts you, and fully recognizes the work of the Special Administrative Region government."
The president expressed his hope that Leung would continue to serve Hong Kong and the country on his new post.
Leung was elected vice chairman of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in March.
He said Hong Kong should complementary development with the mainland and the country's 13th five-year plan, the Belt and Road Initiative and the building of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Also on Thursday, Xi Jinping met with senior figures of the region's executive, legislative and judicial bodies.
Xi attends Hong Kong Palace Museum cooperation agreement signing ceremony
President Xi Jinping has also attended a signing ceremony for a cooperation agreement on the development of the Hong Kong Palace Museum.
The agreement is part of a memorandum of cooperation between the Beijing-based Palace Museum and Hong Kong government.
Under the agreement, the artworks at the Palace Museum can be displayed at the Hong Kong Palace Museum.
During the visit on Thursday, Xi Jinping said that he hopes Hong Kong can promote its traditional culture, play a role as a platform facilitating Chinese and Western cultural exchanges, and promote cultural exchange and cooperation with the mainland.
Chinese aircraft carrier formation to mark 20th anniversary of PLA's stationing in HKSAR
A Chinese naval fleet including aircraft carrier Liaoning will make a port call to Hong Kong as part of the observation of the 20th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army garrison in the city upon its return to China in 1997.
China's Defense Ministry said the visit will be part of the flotilla's trans-regional training.
The aircraft carrier is maneuvering from the East China Sea to the South China Sea along with two guided missile destroyers and one guided missile frigate.
Philanthropy in My Blood
If you take a look at the Forbes profile for George Wong, you'll find him listed simply as a real estate king.
But he's attracted far more attention for his love of art, environmental protection, and for his concern for the welfare of the public.
CRI's Wen Jie has our latest Hong Kong special report.
Gorge Wong has made his name as a real estate tycoon.
Fifteen years ago, he was chair of Hong Kong's Parkview Group, which was involved in building one of the most dramatic urban landmarks in Beijing, The Parkview Green.
"Beijing just suits me, I realized it the moment I stepped off the plane at Beijing airport. I have been living in Beijing now for 15 years. I have deep love for this place."
Right from the start, Wong insisted his team integrate the concepts of environmental protection and art into the architecture of the building.
The materials he uses are particularly expensive, because they are recycled, and are environmentally-friendly.
Wong is also a veteran collector of art.
"A shopping mall is where consumers buy things. I want to make it look like it has cultural information, traditional history and contemporary Art. You are turning these consumers into viewers, so that when they buy things, they will take photos of the mall. That's a success."
As a stunningly-designed and spectacular piece of modern architecture, The Parkview Green allows customers in Beijing to indulge in both sky gardens and appreciate the masterpieces of Salvador Dali.
Public welfare is yet another passion for George Wong.
"Either a businessman or an enterprise, it is necessary to use their instincts, their conscience to do what they feel they ought to do. Public welfare should be in everyone's blood."
Wong says he was profoundly influenced by a documentary about wildlife rescue that he saw several years ago.
From it, he learned that there are about 100 million sharks being killed every year.
Right away, he started looking for curators and artists to study this problem and see what could be done to protect sharks, which he feel are much misunderstood and wrongly feared.
"It will be so sad that one day another animal on the earth is missing and people can only see sharks in books. We thought it would be more touching to spread the message in an artistic way."
Fortunately, with the help of the leading international non-profit organization WildAid, Wong's team came up with an art exhibition "On Sharks & Humanity", which toured to Monaco, Moscow, and Singapore.
The exhibition was also held in the National Museum of China in Beijing in 2015.
His exhibition aimed to educate people about the symbiotic relationship between sharks, the ocean, and human beings, and highlighting the importance of sharks in the marine ecosystem.
George's exhibition was also invited by the Hong Kong Maritime Museum to mark the 20th anniversary of the region's return to China.
For CRI, I'm Wen Jie.
Domestic & International News
Xi to visit Russia, Germany, attend G20 summit
Chinese President Xi Jinping's upcoming tour to Russia and Germany is expected to boost ties and G20 cooperation.
Xi Jinping will pay state visits to Russia and Germany from July 3 to 6, and attend the 12th G20 summit in Hamburg on July 7 and 8.
CRI's Guan Chao has more.
President Xi is visiting Russia at the invitation of his counterpart, Vladimir Putin.
It will be Xi Jinping's sixth tour to Russia since taking office, and will mark the third time the two heads of state have met this year.
Assistant Foreign Minister, Li Huilai, says the trip is expected to be busy and productive.
"The two presidents will sign and issue a joint declaration, and approve the 2017-2020 period implementation plan for the China-Russia Treaty of Friendship. Authorities and enterprises of the two sides will sign a series of key cooperation agreements on economy and trade, investment, energy, interconnection, media and education."
In the first five months of this year, trade volume between China and Russia reached over 32 billion US dollars, up 26 percent year-on-year. Russia has become China's largest supplier of crude oil.
In Germany, Xi Jinping will meet with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and hold talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel. He will also attend the opening of the Panda House at Berlin Zoo, and watch a football friendly between teenage players of the two countries.
Vice Foreign Minister Wang Chao says China regards Germany as an all-round strategic partner.
"Leaders from China and Germany will exchange views on deepening political mutual trust, expanding pragmatic cooperation, strengthening cooperation under the G20 framework. They will also discuss global and regional issues of common concern."
Wang Chao says that with the approach of the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Germany, the Chinese President's visit will provide new targets for the bilateral relationship and give new impetus to Sino-European cooperation.
President Xi will also attend the Group of 20 Summit, from July 7 to 8, in Hamburg.
Wang Shouwen expressed several expectations on economy and trade.
"First, we hope that G20 countries will further strengthen investment and trade cooperation to find out the new drivers of economic growth. Second, we hope to accelerate cooperation in development to promote inclusive and a sustainable development pattern. Thirdly, we hope the G20 Summit will give a clear signal to support multi-lateral trade, so as to build an open world economy."
Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong says G20 members need to keep the focus on innovation and seize the opportunities brought about by the digital economy and new industrial revolution, and carry out the consensus reached at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou last year.
For CRI, this is Guan Chao.
RADIO PACKAGE: Beijing and Berlin look to boost ties
The biannual World Economic Forum meeting in Dalian, China wrapped up on Thursday, and European countries are keeping an eye on Beijing's plans to upgrade its manufacturing industry.
Germany is likely to play a significant role in the build-up, as the two export-driven nations are seeking stronger industrial cooperation.
Ira Spitzer reports from Berlin
This German industrial robot, now owned by a Chinese firm, may offer a glimpse into the potential for future cooperation between Germany and China. When German chancellor Angela Merkel hosted China's premier Li Keqiang in Berlin last month, the two countries spoke of developing closer ties both economically and politically.
Germany and China see the opportunities that globalisation and digitalisation represent and we are convinced that we should work together to bring global progress together.
At the heart of this potential cooperation are two strategies that each government is pursuing. Germany's Industry 4.0 looks to bring more automation and enhanced use of data and connectivity into the manufacturing process. China's Made in China twenty twenty five plan is about upgrading its manufacturing industry, largely through technology. The partnership between German software firm SAP and Chinese telecom company Huawei is one of several high-profile examples where the initiatives converge.
"It's also a chance to find common solutions to common problems. Industry four point oh, it's often not completely clear how that should be implemented exactly…. and the technical challenges are massive. So when that's undertaken together, everyone can learn from the shared experiences."
VO#3 Mergers and acquisitions are another element of the Chinese approach. Two thousand sixteen was a record year for Chinese investment in Germany with Chinese companies spending more than eleven billion dollars to acquire German firms. But that investment, much of it in the high tech sector, has also caused been a source of tension between the two countries.
The central problem is that there's not reciprocity there. That in Europe relatively open investment is possible, whereas in China there's still a lot of restrictions.
VO#4 China was also not happy with German efforts to hinder certain acquisitions. But the rhetoric from both sides has improved since then, perhaps a sign that Beijing and Berlin may see the overall picture as one that benefits both sides of the table.
This is Ira Spitzer for CRI in Berlin.
China to support Philippines on anti-terrorism: FM
China has reiterated its support for the Philippines in combating terrorism, saying that it will give a helping hand without any hesitation.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the remarks at a press conference following a meeting with his Philippine counterpart Alan Peter Cayetano.
"We will continue to push forward and implement the major cooperative projects agreed with the Philippine side, to help the Philippines develop its economy, improve its people's livelihoods, wipe out drugs, and root out the breeding grounds for terrorism."
Wang Yi also said China has already sent the first shipment of emergency supplies and equipment to the Philippines, and will continue to provide necessary help and support.
The two sides also reviewed the cooperation between China and the Philippines since their ties were normalized in October 2016.
China has become the largest trade partner of the Philippines, and the Philippines' exports to China have significantly increased in the past seven months.
According to Wang Yi, the two countries have signed 22 cooperation documents in various fields.
The two sides also agreed to enhance cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.
QA on belt and road
Recent news about two Chinese teachers being kidnapped in a remote region of Pakistan, along with the ongoing spat between Qatar and some of its Person Gulf neighbors have made some western media question whether China is ready to address security concerns that will come with the development of its Belt and Road Initiative.
Reuters says the abduction in Baluchistan is "likely to worry Beijing, as security has been a long-standing concern of China as it builds the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor through the area.
As part of the Belt and Road Initiative, the CPEC is a key cooperation project between China and Pakistan.
For more on this, CRI's Zhou Jingnan spoke with Current affairs commentator Victor Gao.
Iraq declares end of IS after retaking Mosul's historical mosque
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has declared an end of the Islamic State (IS) in the Middle East nation.
The announcement came after Iraqi forces retook the compound of the historical al-Nuri mosque in the city of Mosul.
Iraqi military spokesperson Brigadier General Yahya Rasool said the capture of the landmark mosque is a symbolic win.
"The statement issued by the General commander of armed forces office clearly declared the return of the remaining of Mosul to Iraq and this became evident when our heroes of the counter-terrorism forces liberated al-Nuri mosque and al-Hadbaa minaret, IS's most important symbol."
Al-Nuri mosque was where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the cross-border "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria in his only public appearance in July 2014.
The IS blew up the mosque complex last week as Iraqi forces were pushing closer to the site and its surrounding area.
Haider al-Abadi vowed one day later to rebuild the mosque and its leaning minaret, as well as other archaeological sites destroyed by terrorists.
So far Iraqi troops have liberated 50 percent of the old city in the western side of Mosul.
The city has been under IS control since June 2014, and around 100 thousand civilians are still trapped in the IS-held areas.
Suspects found guilty of murdering Russian opposition leader in 2015
A jury at a Moscow court has found five defendants guilty of murdering Kremlin opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.
Svetlana Petrenko, Russian Investigative Committee spokeswoman, said the conviction is supported by the evidence.
"The investigation's version of the chronology of the events of the day of the crime and the period of time preceding it, as well as the role of each of the suspects, has been proven by a whole complex of evidence, including the results of genetic, biological, video technical and other expertise."
Nemtsov was shot dead on a bridge outside the Kremlin back in 2015.
Nemtsov, who once served as Russia's deputy prime minister, was also a pro-Kiev political figure and an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The jury agreed that Nemtsov was killed by Zaur Dadayev.
According to the jury, two of Dadayev's accomplices were directly involved in organizing the crime, with one of them killed during arrest.
The three other defendants were found guilty of organizing the crime and helping the killers escape police.
The court's ruling said the suspects were promised more than 15-million rubles, but did not establish who ordered the murder.
Next Tuesday, the jury will decide on the sentences of the defendants who may face life imprisonment.
Xi Jinping meets CY Leung
President Xi Jinping has met with the outgoing Hong Kong Chief Executive, saying the central government fully acknowledged his work during his five-year term of office.
Accompanied by CY Leung, Xi Jinping also met with senior figures of the executive, legislative and judicial bodies in Hong Kong.
The president arrived in Hong Kong on Thursday for a three-day trip.
He will attend celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China and the inauguration of the region's fifth-term government.
EU's allegation of China being fake products center irresponsible: MOC
China has refuted a recent report by a European Union agency which alleged China is a major producer of fake goods.
The 74-page report branded the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong as the provenance of 86 percent of global counterfeiting and close to 400 billion U.S. dollars worth of counterfeit goods in 2015.
In response, China's commerce ministry questioned the authenticity and objectivity of the data used in the report.
It also noted the issue is a global challenge due to market and supervision factors, which needs global cooperation to deal with.
7 dead, 2 missing in east China floods
Rainstorms since over a week ago have left seven people dead and two others missing in Jiangxi province.
Local authorities said rivers and lakes across the province have swollen as a result of the rainstorms, forcing nearly 440,000 people to be relocated.
The provincial weather department forecast that some northern parts in the province will see more storms over the coming weekend.
Putin meets Vietnamese counterpart in Moscow
Russian President Vladimir Putin greeted his Vietnamese counterpart Tran (chan) Dai Quang in Moscow on Thursday.
Quang arrived in the Russian capital on Wednesday for a visit that will last until Saturday.
Earlier in the day the Vietnamese President met with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
It is Quang's first official visit to Russia since he took office in April last year.
27 injured in tram accident in Berlin
A tram accident in Berlin has left at least 27 people injured.
The accident happened as two trains of the Line M10 in the German capital reportedly collided when they were supposed to pass each other in Prenzlauer Berg.
No more details about the cause of the accident have been given, but a wrong switch or something in the tracked might be blamed.
The fire brigade was deployed with around 50 staff at the site, including emergency physicians and paramedics.
China airlines introduce facial recognition at airport
China Southern Airlines has become the country's first carrier to use facial recognition.
The technology has been put into service at an Airport in Nanyang City, Henan Province.
With the technology, passengers don't have to get a boarding pass at check-in, as cameras verified their faces with their passport photos.
Also at the boarding gates, the system again confirmed their identities.
The airline will apply the system later at other airports including Beijing's new airport that is under construction.
Stocks in US and Europe
Turning to business news.
We'll start with a check on closing numbers in North America and Europe.
We are joined in the studio by Ding Heng.
U.S. stocks closed lower on Thursday after another day of widespread selling among technology companies.
Investors also sold big-dividend stocks amid jumping bond yields.
Major US banks rose after the Federal Reserve allowed them to buy back more stock and raise their dividends.
In economic data, US GDP grew by 1.4 percent in the first quarter, better than expected.
But the result is down from the 2.1 percent growth achieved by last year's fourth quarter.
It is also well below President Donald Trump's ambitious goal of more than 3 percent.
At the closing bell,
The Dow Jones was down by half one percent. The S&P 500 declined 0.8 percent. The Nasdaq dropped 1.9 percent.
European equities have ended with sharp losses.
A rally by the euro reversed earlier optimism, hitting industrials, utilities and consumer shares.
A stronger euro can hurt sales of goods by euro zone exporters.
At the close,
The UK's FTSE 100 was lower by 0.5-percent. Germany's DAX fell 1.8-percent. CAC 40 in France down by 1.9-percent.
China's stated-owned textile conglomerate to become subsidiary of machinery group
Chinese regulators have approved a merger between the state-owned machinery group Sinomach and China High-Tech Group Corporation.
China High-Tech, a textile conglomerate, will become a subsidiary of Sinomach.
Sinomach is China's largest machinery maker.
China High-Tech's core business is the making of textile equipment.
Chinese authorities are carrying out a massive merger-based campaign to reduce the number of central government-owned enterprises.
The latest deal brings down the number to 101.
China's SMEs scale back in performance in June: report
A new report from Standard Chartered Bank says activities of Chinese small and medium-sized businesses declined in June for the third consecutive month, touching the lowest level in more than a year.
The report says the performance was mainly due to weak demand and tight liquidity in the financial sector.
The bank says its indexes for sales, production, raw materials, inventory and investment all dropped in June.
SAIC Motor to set up its first car manufacturing facility in India
Chinese auto company SAIC Motor has decided to establish a car manufacturing base in India.
Operations of the planned factory are expected to start in 2019.
A former manager of General Motors, which has partnered with SAIC for its Chinese joint venture, will be hired to lead SAIC's Indian subsidiary.
It's estimated India will become the world's third largest auto market by 2020.
SAIC Motor says it is still finalizing a deal for its entry into the country.
The company suggests its vision for the Indian market is to deliver environmentally friendly vehicles under its iconic MG brand.
MG, a British sports car brand, was purchased by a Nanjing-based Chinese car manufacturer in 2005.
SAIC Motor took over the ownership of the brand in 2007 following a merger.
SAIC Motor currently has operations in the US, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.
Warren Buffett is on the verge of becoming Bank of America's top shareholder
Warren Buffett is likely to become Bank of America's largest shareholder after the second largest US bank raised its annual dividend on Wednesday.
The 60-percent dividend increase came in the wake of a positive Federal Reserve assessment of the bank's ability to handle tough market conditions.
Buffett has said a dividend boost would likely prompt him to swap his preferred shares in the bank into common shares.
An exchange is set to make Buffet the largest shareholder.
Shares held by Buffet currently are worth more than 16 billion US dollars.
Bank of America has spent more than 70 billion US dollars since the global financial crisis to resolve legal and regulatory matters, which in return, has restored confidence from its investors.
Buffett bought 5 billion US dollars of the bank's preferred stock with a 6 percent dividend in 2011.
Sony will start making vinyl records again after nearly 30-year hiatus
Sony Music says it is planning to make its own vinyl records again in Japan.
Production is due to get underway in the spring of 2018, nearly three decades after Sony made its last in-house vinyl in 1989.
The company says it is installing record-cutting equipment at a Tokyo studio and seeking help from older engineers who know how to reproduce the best sound.
In 2016, global vinyl sales revenue hit a record-high in 25 years after years of resurgence since 2008.
Years of double-digit growth have left vinyl press plants in the U.S and Japan struggling to meet demand.
STO Express fires deliveryman who beats customers
Chinese delivery company STO Express says it has fired a deliveryman who brutally beat a female customer in Beijing, suggesting it could take legal actions against the man.
STO has also promised to pay for the victim's medical costs.
The deliveryman became outraged after the customer filed a complaint about him to the company.
STO fined him 200 yuan in response to the complaint. The incident escalated when the two then argued over the phone. The man then broke into the victim's home and beat her with a rock.
The attacker has been detained by the authorities.
With more on this, we are joined by Doug Young, company news chief with English edition of Caixin.
Table tennis: Chinese male paddlers withdraw from Australian Open after match boycott crisis
In table tennis,
Table tennis' world governing body ITTF has confirmed that the Chinese men's team will not play the upcoming Australian Open, which starts on July 2.
World champions Zhang Jike, Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin are among these players.
The Chinese table tennis team says they decided to withdraw the men's team from the event since the players were tired or injured.
The withdrawal of the Chinese men's team was confirmed six days after three players and two coaches of the team pulled out of the China Open in protest of an official decision to remove Liu Guoliang as the team's chief.
The top three male paddlers including Ma Long and Fan Zhendong made no appearance in the second round singles matches at the China Open in Chengdu on June 23.
The boycott was later severely criticized by the country's sports ruling body.
An investigation is underway.
The Chinese women's national team will still be competing in the event.
It will be led by world number three Zhu Yuling.
Football: Guangzhou Evergrande to face Tianjin in SCL
In football action here in China,
Round 15 of the Chinese Super League is set to kick off this evening.
The first match will have Shanghai Shenhua up against Liaoning.
Shenhua will be playing for their second win in a row while Liaoning is looking to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat in the league.
Shenhua now sits eighth in the league standings with 16 points.
Liaoning is ranked 12th with 13 points.
Defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande will bid for their eleventh league win on the road against Tianjin Quanjian.
Second placed Shanghai SIPG will take on Jiangsu Suning.
Head coach Fabio Capello of Jiangsu Swill be looking for his second win in China and first in the league.
Germany defeated Mexico 4-1 this morning to reach the final of the Confederations Cup in Russia.
Leon Goretzka scored two quick-fire goals early on in the victory.
Germany will face Chile in Sunday's finale.
Chile is into this match after beating Portugal 3-0 on penalties on Thursday.
The final meeting will be the second time the teams have faced each other in the competition with the sides playing out a 1-1 draw in the group stage.
In other football news,
Former Brazil and Real Madrid great Ronaldo Zazario says Cristiano Ronaldo is unlikely to leave Real Madrid this summer.
Zazario says the reigning European champions will try to keep the Portuguese star for his contributions to the team.
Earlier reports say the 32-year-old Portuguese forward would leave Real Madrid after Spanish authorities accused him of tax fraud.
He has been linked with a summer return to his former club Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored 42 goals in 46 matches across all competitions for Real Madrid last season, leading the club to the UEFA Champions League and Spanish La Liga titles.
Tennis: Johanna Konta rallies to beat Jelena Ostapenko at the Aegon International
Johanna Konta has advanced to the last four at the Aegon International in Eastbourne after beating world number one Angelique Kerber in straight sets.
The British number one also knocked out French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in a tight three-set match earlier in the day.
With the victory, the fifth seed set up a semi-final meeting with Karolina Pliskova.
Konta is now aiming to win her first WTA grass-court title in her home town.
The 26-year-old will be the sixth seed at Wimbledon next week.
She becomes the first British top-10-ranked woman at Wimbledon in 33 years.
Caroline Wozniacki is also through to the semi-finals of the tournament, coming back a set down to beat Simona Halpe in three sets.
She will take on Heather Watson for a place in the final.
On the men's side,
Novak Djokovic booked a place in the semi-finals of the ATP Ageon International in Eastbourne.
The 12-time Grand Slam champion knocked out Donald Young from the United States in straight sets.
Eastbourne is the first grass-court tournament that Djokovic has played before Wimbledon since 2010.
Tennis: Roger Federer speaks ahead of Wimbledon
In other tennis news,
World number five Roger Federer is preparing for Wimbledon, which will officially get underway next week.
The 36-year-old also spent some of his time on the unveiling of the Laver Cup trophy on Thursday.
"When the idea came up to introduce the Laver Cup, I thought it was such a nice way to honour the great man sitting next to me and also integrating other legends of the game, John (McEnroe) and Bjorn (Borg) and I just think that it's great to be together on a team and then playing in their honour, for their honour, for tennis in a nice way and now it's only a few months away."
The first Laver Cup will take place in Prague in September.
It will pit six top European players against their counterparts form the rest of the tennis world over three days of competition.
Four of the six players will qualify based on their ATP singles ranking as of the Monday following Wimbledon.
Each team will be captained by a legend of the sport. For the first three years, Bj?rn Borg will captain Europe and John McEnroe will lead The World team.
It will take place every year, two weeks following the US Open, except in Summer Olympic years.
It will be played in the United States next year.
Basketball: Mike D'Antoni talks about the Rockets acquiring Chris Paul
In basketball news,
Chris Paul is heading to Houston to join James Harden, giving the Rockets two All-stars in the backcourt to lead their chase for a championship.
The Rockets acquired Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday in exchange for seven players including Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams.
Houston coach Mike D'Antoni offered these thoughts on the team's trade for Chris Paul.
"Like I said Chris is really good. I've coached him in the Summer's with USA Basketball for eight years. I kind of know his game and he knows me. I'm just really looking forward to it. You're talking about a sure Hall of Famer. He's one of the best point guards to ever play the game.
The 32-year-old Paul will be playing for his third team after opting in for the last year of his contract so the Clippers could work on a deal.
Paul isn't the only star who may be leaving.
Blake Griffin informed the team last week that he is opting out of the last year of his contract to explore free agency.
JJ Redick also is a free agent.
The Cleveland Indians defeated the Texas Rangers 5-1 in early play this morning, while Kansas fell to Detroit 7-3 and Oakland lost 6-1 on the road in Houston. Games underway now include Baltimore at Toronto, Tampa at Pittsburgh and the Mets at the Marlins.
There are two late games to round-out today's 13-game schedule including Atlanta at San Diego, getting underway just after 9 o'clock Beijing time, and the LA Dodgers visiting the LA Angels just after 10 a.m.
Pop superstar Adele hints '25' tour is her last
Adele fans who didn't catch her on the world tour that will wind up at Wembley Stadium in London on July 2nd might be out of luck in the future.
During her Wednesday show, she told fans.... "I might never see you again at a live show but I will always remember this." But she also admitted: "As of Monday morning, I'm solely a mum, I can't wait."
The 29-year-old also included a signed, handwritten note in the program stating, "I don't know if I'll ever tour again and so I want my last time to be at home."
Her announcement comes at the end of a 15-month tour throughout Europe, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.
The multiple Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter will perform three more shows in London, finishing her tour on Sunday after a total of 123 performances.
Activision CEO on 'Call of Duty: WWII' diversity
The "Call of Duty" games have gotten more diverse as they've grown in popularity, including female soldiers for the first time just four years ago.
The latest games in the first-person shooter franchise, known for its online multiplayer mode have been set in the present day and near future.
But the company is about to go back to its roots with a World War II-set title due out in its new November release.
Eric Hirshberg, CEO of the game's publisher Activision, says developers prioritized making players "feel comfortable and included" over strict historical accuracy -- especially in the multiplayer mode.
"In the multiplayer mode, yes, it's a World War II setting, but it's you. It's you, it's me, it's us. We're playing with our friends. And so we want people to feel comfortable and included. So we're being a little bit looser with the historical rules to make people see themselves in the avatars inside the game. Gaming is an interactive medium. It's unlike any other medium. The gamer is a part of the finished product. So it's not like a movie character, because a movie character – it's that person. It's that person over there. It's not you. And in gaming, you're inhabiting the skin of the hero and the soldier. So we wanted to give people those options.
The very first "Call of Duty" game -- set in World War II -- was released in 2003, and the franchise skyrocketed in popularity with 2007's "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare."
The new release will be the first set in World War II since 2008's "World at War."
Hirshberg says developers decided about three years ago to pull back on the futuristic bent of recent games, which found players floating in space and firing laser guns.
"At the end of the day, 'Call of Duty' is a military franchise. It's a human scale drama. And having that boots on the ground, human scale to the game, it feels fresh all over again. It's where the franchise started. But it's been a while since we played a game in this time period. And with the new technology, with the new hardware, with the graphic fidelity that were able to get – I think in all ways, it's just going to be one of the best experiences we've ever had."
Activision showed off the game for the first time at the recent E3 video game expo in Los Angeles.
Some observers noted that they didn't see any swastikas during gameplay. Hirshberg says the Nazi symbols were intentionally left out of multiplayer modes.
"Call of Duty: WWII" is due out 3 November for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PCs.
Journey to the West gets musical treatment
The Chinese classical novel Journey to the West has been adapted into different performing genres over the years.
Now, the China National Traditional Orchestra is making a show, called Xuanzang's Pilgrimage, telling the story with traditional Chinese instruments.
And this time, the hero is not the monkey, but his mentor, the monk Xuanzang.
It is about the Tang Dynasty monk's pilgrimage to the West to obtain sacred Buddhist texts.
Xuanzang and his three protectors including the monkey suffered the so-called 81 trials during the journey and finally returned to Chang'an, the capital of the Tang dynasty.
Composer Jiang Ying uses the bamboo flute and the vertical Chinese flute to portray Xuanzang; the pipa, a four-stringed plucked instrument is used to depict the Goddess and the konghou, and a harp like Chinese instrument to portray a princess of a Central Asian country.
She also combines Uygur, Kazak, Tajik and Indian music influences to showcase the diverse cultures along the ancient Silk Road.
Tsung Yeh, the music director of the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, will conduct the show which features a multimedia presentation.
The show will premiere at the Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center on July 7 and then tour the country.
First look at the trailer for the upcoming film 'The Greatest Showman' and 'Jumanji'
20th Century Fox has just released the trailer for its new original musical, "The Greatest Showman."
Inspired by the life and imagination of P.T. Barnum in the late 1800's, the film celebrates the very birth of show business. Starring Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum, "The Greatest Showman" follows Barnum's life as he rises from obscurity to create the "Greatest Show on Earth - the Barnum and Baily Circus."
The cast also includes Michelle Williams and Zac Efron and the film's original songs were written by the Academy Award-winning composers of "La La Land."
"The Greatest Showman" will hit theatres across the U.S. on Christmas Day.
Meanwhile Robin Williams' 1995 children's classic "Jumanji" has been rebooted for a new generation "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," has released its first trailer.
Williams, who passed away in 2014, starred in the beloved original 1995 movie as Alan Parrish, who is trapped in a board game for 26 years.
In "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," we get to see exactly where Parrish was.
In the sequel, the board game from the original 1995 movie has been reimagined as a vintage video game, into which four teenagers are drawn.
The teenagers become their video game avatars - played by Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black.
"Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" will be released in December.
That's it for this edition of the Beijing Hour
Our News Focus this morning...The Chinese President is in Hong Kong for a three-day inspection tour ahead of the 20th anniversary of the city's return to China...
In other news...
The Chinese president will make official visits to Russia and Germany starting early next week...
and the Iraqi government has declared the end of the Islamic State in the country after re-taking an historic mosque in Mosul...