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PostPosted: 11 Jun 2018, 04:54 
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German Chancellor and leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Angela Merkel makes her keynote speech during the CDU party congress in Karlsruhe Goncalo Guedes Mundial Camisola , Germany Dec. 14, 2015. (XinhuaLuo Huanhuan)
BERLIN, March 27 (Xinhua) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday hailed her party's triumph in the southwestern state of Saarland, saying it boosted the morale of Christian Democratic Union (CDU) ahead of the coming federal election in September.


"The CDU has demonstrated an outstanding result with 40.7 percent of votes with a significant growth in turnout when compared with the previous election in the Landtag (State Diet) and with a growth in support numbers," Merkel said.


SWEEPING VICTORY


She called the state election the day before "encouraging" and "great."


With six months to go before the federal election on Sept. 24, Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party won 40.7 percent of the vote in the Saarland state parliament, an improvement on the 35.2 percent achieved in the 2012 election.


The rival Social Democratic Party's (SDP) share of the vote fell from 30.6 percent to 29.6 percent.


There are 800,000 eligible voters in Saarland, Germany's smallest non-city state in the southwest of the country bordering France and Luxembourg. The CDU has governed the state for 18 years. State Premier Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer took office in 2011 and since 2012 has been in a "grand coalition" with the SDP (mirroring arrangements at the national level).


Turnout was 71 percent, up from the 61.6 percent in 2012.


SCHULTZ EFFECT ON DOUBT


Merkel, seeking a fourth term in September, is facing a close race with SDP candidate Martin Schulz, the former president of the European Parliament. This election was the first since he was named as candidate. An Infratest dimap voter intention poll on Friday had both parties neck-and-neck at 32 percent. His success in the polls has been called the "Schultz effect."


Deustche Welle quoted Schulz's reaction to the result in Saarland as saying "getting a goal does not mean the match is over."


The Left Party took 12.9 percent of the vote, Alternative for Germany 6.2 percent and the Greens 4.5 percent, short of the 5-percent threshold required to hold seats in the parliament.


This outcome calls into question voters' appetite for a so-called r2g governing coalition, or a red, red, green alliance of the SDP, Left, and Green parties. However, the small state may not be representative of the 62 million voters nationwide.


Political sentiment as tracked by Infratest dimap's ARD-DeutschlandTrend points to high levels of satisfaction in Saarland. Some 85 percent rated their personal economic situation as good and, in the face of a campaign in which Schulz has put justice center stage, 60 percent feel the country is fair (the highest score ever recorded before a state parliament election).


Nevertheless, 64 percent believe he has brought "visible differences" between the CDU and SDP, 72 percent think it is good he is seeking to "correct" the SPD's labor market policy, and 76 percent rate positively the "fresh air" he has blown into German politics.


Voter sentiment towards the federal election will be further illustrated by state elections in Schleswig-Holstein on May 7 and North Rhine-Westphalia (with its 13 million voters) on May 14.




TAIPEI, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- The manufacturing sector in Taiwan declined slightly in September as the typhoon season reduced the number of working days, the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER) said Monday.


The composite index of the island's manufacturing sector dropped 0.2 points from a month earlier to reach 11.41 points in September, showing a yellow-blue signal on the index's color-code system for the third consecutive month, according to a TIER survey.


The decline was due to a string of typhoons that cut the number of working days, as well as a drop in export and wholesale prices, the institute said.


The survey also showed that imports of manufacturing equipment increased, as semiconductor producers were in heavy demand with expanded production expected.


The institute uses a five-color system to describe the island's economic activity, with yellow-blue indicating sluggish growth, and blue,the lowest color, signalling recession. Yellow-blue is given when the index is between 10.5 to 13.


The index, which evaluates indicators such as the business environment, costs and demand, surpassed 10.5 points for the first time in July, bringing an end to 15 months of recession. Enditem


HOHHOT, June 28 (Xinhua) -- Having worked in Ordos in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region for nearly six years, Zhang Xin, a clerk at a property management company, is relieved to have bought a new apartment last year.


"The price we bought at was 5,900 yuan (860 U.S. dollars) per square meter. Today it is worth almost 9,000 yuan per square meter," Zhang's father Zhang Wenquan said.


Zhang is a native of Qiqihar City, in neighboring Heilongjiang Province. Her new apartment is well located, next to a middle school in Kangbashi District, once labelled a "ghost town" by international press.


With an area of some 30 square kilometers, Kangbashi was a futuristic town built on a wasteland in Ordos. Work began in 2004. Facilities of the town were widely put into use only in 2009.


At the very beginning, the population of Kangbashi was no more than 30,000. The town was notorious for the pointless construction and the resulting housing bubble.


The city government came up with a series of measures, including curbing new building work, improving local schools and health facilities, beautifying the environment and, perhaps most crucially, attracting businesses and investment to encourage people to settle down.


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