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China box office revenue hits $3.6 bn in 2013

China's box office takings leaped to $3.6 billion last year, up 27.5 percent on 2012, as nearly 14 screens were added every day to the world's second-largest film market, state media reported Wednesday. Chinese cinemas raked in 21.77 billion yuan in 2013, the China Daily said, citing the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. The year's highest-grossing film was Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons, an action fantasy adaptation of a Chinese classic novel believed to date from the 16th century.

Taiwan seeking release of two spies detained in China

Taiwan has been striving to free two senior intelligence agents kidnapped by China and held for seven years, the island's spy chief confirmed Wednesday. Chu Kung-hsun and Hsu Kuo-chang, both colonels in the Military Intelligence Bureau, were kidnapped in Vietnam and taken to China in 2006. "The National Security Bureau and Military Intelligence Bureau have set up an ad hoc group tasked with rescuing the pair since I took up the present opening in May 2009," said National Security Bureau director Tsai Der-sheng.

AFP 1400 GMT Economics News Advisory

Duty Editor: Richard Lein Tel: +33 1 40 41 4041 WTO-trade-diplomacy,WRAP GENEVA Negotiators fail to produce a draft deal to put on the table at a crunch World Trade Organization summit next week, casting a shadow over efforts to revive the long-stalled Doha Round talks that aim to slash barriers to global commerce. 650 words 1600 GMT by Jonathan Fowler. Picture. Video. Italy-Russia-diplomacy-business,lead TRIESTE, Italy

AFP 0900 GMT News Advisory

Duty Editor: Jocelyne Zablit Tel: +33 1 40.41.46.36 -- TOP STORIES -- + UN warns of 'complete chaos' in CAR + Thai protesters seize more ministries + Newtown shooter 'obsessed with mass murder' + More lesbian sex please, we're British Centrafrica-unrest,WRAP PARIS France says it will send hundreds of extra troops to the strife-torn Central African Republic after the UN warns the country is descending into "complete chaos".

China envoy visits Taiwan amid protests

China's top negotiator with Taiwan began a visit Tuesday as activists protested against what they described as Beijing's attempt to annex the island by offering economic benefits. Chen Deming, who was China's commerce minister from December 2007 to March 2013, was greeted by dozens of slogan-chanting protestors upon his arrival at Taoyuan airport in the north. "I'm here for economic and trade fact-finding," he told reporters when asked he would push for Taiwan's parliament to approve a controversial services trade pact with China.

Chinese doctor stabbed to death in latest hospital attack

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese man unhappy with the results of an operation on his nose stabbed a doctor to death and wounded two others on Friday, state media reported, in at least the third such attack in a week in which China promised to improve hospital security. The 33-year-old man, surnamed Lian, carried out the attack at a hospital in Wenling city in the wealthy eastern province of Zhejiang, Xinhua news agency reported.

Japan, China hold event to mark 35th anniversary of friendship pact

Japanese and Chinese experts on Tuesday held a low-key event to mark the 35th anniversary of the signing of the bilateral treaty of peace and friendship, more than two months after its actual date, at a time of continued frosty ties stemming from a dispute over a group of tiny islands. The closed-door symposium in Beijing was attended by people from friendship associations of the two countries, including Uichiro Niwa, who was Japan's ambassador to China between 2010 and 2012.

China, Taiwan in 'milestone' talks at APEC

China said on Sunday it was open to a visit by Taiwan's top cross-strait official as it called for a political settlement to prevent their differences being handed down "from generation to generation". Chinese President Xi Jinping met Vincent Siew, Taiwan's former vice president, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Indonesia. They shook hands and smiled for the cameras.

Taiwan crewmen submit testimony in Philippine shooting probe

Three crewmen from a Taiwanese fishing boat that was fired upon by Philippine coastguards in an incident that sparked a diplomatic row submitted their sworn statements to prosecutors in Manila Monday. The prosecutors are preparing homicide charges against eight coastguards over the shooting to death of 65-year-old crew member Hung Shih-cheng on May 9. The charges were a key demand from Taipei as both sides move to mend bilateral ties. The crewmen, two Taiwanese and an Indonesian, were accompanied by diplomats and interpreters as they submitted their statements.

Longer wait for China residency permits irk foreign firms

By Michael Martina BEIJING (Reuters) - Foreign executives in China are upset at a new rule that allows authorities to hold passports for up to 15 working days when processing and renewing residency permits, saying it could disrupt essential business travel within China and abroad. The changes are evidence to those who argue China is becoming a harder place to do business, especially following a wave of antitrust investigations that some executives contend have singled out foreign firms.
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