The day after the attack in Christchurch, Ardern wore a h

  ijab as she stood in the center of a room, surrounded by families desperate to hear words of reassurance. They were tired, worried and m

any were grieving loved ones presumed killed in the hail of bullets fired by a man who singled them out for their beliefs.

  Even before she said a word, Ardern’s simple decision to cover

her hair served to show families she respected them and wanted to ease their pain.

  ”People were quite surprised. I saw people’s faces when she was wearing the hijab — th

ere were smiles on their faces,” said Ahmed Khan, a survivor of the attack who lost his uncle at the Al Noor mosque.

  Ali Akil, a member of Syrian Solidarity New Zealand who came to Christc

hurch to support the community, said wearing the hjiab was “a symbolic thing.”

  ”It’s saying I respect you, what you believe, and I’m here to help,” he said. “I’m very impressed.”

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Her calls for unity and vigilance came amid a rare state

  ment from ISIS spokesman, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, accusing Ardern and other Western leaders of shedding “crocodile tears.”

  Al-Muhajir called upon ISIS supporters to “take vengeance” in the aftermath of the attack in an almost 45-min

ute audio recording. It’s believed to be the first recording released by al-Muhajir in months.

  New Zealand Members of Parliament gathered in the House on Tuesday to share condolenc

es for the victims. They will meet again on Wednesday, the same day Ardern intends to return to Christchurch.

  On Saturday, she visited members of Christchurch’s Muslim community wearin

g a hijab in what observers lauded as a meaningful gesture of compassion and respect.

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I think Chinese basketball needs to get to a place where they

say playing well at one tournament isn’t enough, we want more,” said the Los Angeles Lakers legend, a frequent visitor to China since 1997.

“Now you have to take it to another level … can’t just be comfortable

being here. It’s time to push the next generation to try to get on the medal podium.”

Rescheduled from 2018 to avoid a clash with FIFA’s soccer World

Cup, this year’s tournament has expanded from 24 to 32 teams, who emerged from a revamped quali

fication system that lasted 18 months and aimed to involve as many countries as possible.

“This allows us to go into more markets and to create long-lasting excitement around th

e event,” said FIBA secretary-general Andreas Zagklis, who was appointed in December.

Zagklis is also confident that the joint efforts between FIBA and the CBA will leave a lasting legacy for Chinese basketball after the World Cup.

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hina strengthens financial support for small, micro businesses

BEIJING — China has made solid progress in alleviating the financing

problems of small and micro firms, a senior official said Friday.

Outstanding loans to such businesses amounted to 33.49 trillion yuan ($5 trillion) by the end of 2018, accounting for 23.

81 percent of the total outstanding loans, Zhu Shumin, vice chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, said in a statement.

In particular, outstanding inclusive loans to small and micro firms reached 9.36 trillion yuan

, growing 21.79 percent from the beginning of the year, 9.2 percentage points faster than the total loans.

The number of borrowers increased 4.55 million from the beginning of 2018 to 17.23 million, Zhu said.

Meanwhile, efforts have been made to cut financing costs, with the average interest rate of newly

issued inclusive loans to small and micro firms in the fourth quarter of 2018 down 0.8 percentage points from the first quarter.

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While China is already the world’s biggest gas importer, with

billion cu m of gas shipment last year, a

year-on-year increase of 31.7 percent, it has only 26 gas stora

ge sites with just 8 billion cu m in storage as of 2018, contributing 3 percent of the country’s total gas consumption.

Analysts believe insufficient infrastructure, including underground gas storage an

d natural gas pipelines, is standing in the way of a more open and liberalized domestic gas sector in the country.

Li Li, research director at energy consulting company ICIS China, also suggested that the government should encourage the construction of gas storage ta

nks to prevent future gas shortages during cold snaps, considering the country’s high dependence on oil and gas imports.

To ensure sufficient gas supply, the country’s national oil majors are also ramping up loc

al oil and gas output, adding thousands of wells at oil basins, shale rocks and deepwater fields nationwide.

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ppetite for high-end products rising, says Mengniu

Mengniu Dairy Co Ltd, China’s major dairy maker based in Inner Mo

ngolia, said high-end dairy products tailored to local preferences will be a leading future tren

d in China’s dairy industry, to meet the increasingly diversified demand from quality-conscious consumers.

The dairy maker said it has witnessed remarkable growth in sales of its yogurt, low-temperature milk and cheese produ

cts in the past few years. Products with high added value in terms of flavor, nutrition, packaging and convenience are fav

ored by Chinese consumers, spurred by growing incomes and purchasing power, the company found.

For example, the popularity of Tetra Pak’s eight-sided packaging, which is easy to hold, and boxed dairy products that c

an be consumed directly from the pack, show the demand for more convenient products from consumers.

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The places that Chinese consumers can purchase milk

have expanded. Now, bakeries, cinemas, convenience stores, gyms are all channels that dairy makers are try

ing to access,” said Yu Xubo, chairman of the board of directors of Mengniu, and president of COFCO Group, China’s largest food trader.

“We have also found that the purchase of fresh dairy products is increasing in major

cities among middle to higher-income earners,” said Yu, who is also a deputy to the 13th National People’s Congress.

This year, Mengniu said it plans to establish specific cold chain logistics cha

nnels and strengthen its ability to produce and transfer fresh dairy products.

Meanwhile, the dairy maker has developed some niche products. It has introduced sports milk with a high protein

content tailored to those who work out often, and milk that acts as a meal substitute, both of which have seen high

er-than-expected sales, driven by new and more diversified demand from consumers, the company said.

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There haven’t been too many that are bigger emergenc

  than what we have” at our border, he said.Trump was surrounded at Friday’s event by officials fr

om Customs and Border Protection as well as surviving family members of those who have loved ones

killed by undocumented immigrants. Attorney General William Barr was also at the President’s veto event.

  While some lawmakers — including some Republicans — have argued against the President’s use of national emergency power

s in this instance, the Justice Department set forth a robust defense of the President’s authority to do so in a letter

to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell earlier this month, according to a copy obtained by CNN on Friday.

  ”The President acted well within his discretion in declaring a national emergency concern

ing the southern border,” wrote Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd, setting out the legal

basis for the proclamation under the National Emergencies Act and additional statutory authorities, which larg

ely tracks an internal memo issued by the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department.

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Barack Obama: “We grieve with you and the Muslim communi

  White House official on New Zealand attack: This “seems to be a terrorist attack”From CNN’s Betsy Klein

  National security advisor John Bolton expanded upon the White House’s statement on the

attack on New Zealand mosques, which he characterized as “what seems to be a terrorist attack” and a “hate crime.”

  Bolton said the US is “very concerned” and is following the events “very closely.”

  He told reporters Friday morning:

  “We’re obviously greatly disturbed on what seems to be a terror attack, this hate crime in New Zealand. We’ve been in touch

with our embassy overnight, we’re still getting details, but the State Department and others are following up on it.”

  Bolton continued, “We’re very concerned, we’re going to cooperate with New Zealand author

ities to the extent we can if there’s any role we can play, but we’re obviously following the events there very closely.”

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praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as s

  oon as we’re aware,” she said.CNN has not been able to independently confirm any information about any of the attackers or the the alleged video at this stage.

  A spokesperson for Google and YouTube issued a statement calling the shooting a “terrible tragedy.”

  ”Shocking, violent and graphic content has no place on our platforms, and is removed as soon as we become aware

of it,” read the statement. “As with any major tragedy, we will work cooperatively with the authorities.”

  Twitter has removed an account it believes is linked to the suspect in the shootin

g and is working to keep the video of the incident off its platform, a spokesperson said.

  ”We are deeply saddened by the shootings in Christchurch today,” Twitter said in a stat

ement. “Twitter has rigorous processes and a dedicated team in place for managing exigent and emergency situa

tions such as this. We also cooperate with law enforcement to facilitate their investigations as required.”

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