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Biden celebrates rare win with infrastructure bill signing******
US President Joe Biden (center), flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris, takes part in a signing ceremony for H.R. 3684, the "Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act" on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on November 15.。
Battered by critics and dire opinion polls, President Joe Biden signed into law the biggest US infrastructure revamp in more than half a century at a rare bipartisan celebration in the White House on Monday.。
The US$1.2 trillion package will fix bridges and roads, change out unhealthy lead water pipes, build an electric vehicle charging network, and expand broadband Internet. It is the most significant government investment of the kind since the creation of the national highways network in the 1950s.。
"We've heard countless speeches... but today we're finally getting this done," Biden told hundreds of invitees on the White House South Lawn.。
"So my message to the American people is this: America is moving again and your life is going to change for the better."
Most of the crowd were Democrats but there was also a visible handful of Republicans. Notable among the Democrats were senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, two moderates who have warred with more left-wing members of the party, slowing down Biden's agenda.。
The bill is "proof that Democrats and Republicans can come together to deliver results," Biden said. "Let's believe in one another and let's believe in America."
Infrastructure spending is popular, but the goal eluded Biden's predecessor Donald Trump for four years, turning his administration's frequent promises of an imminent "infrastructure week" into a running joke.。
Even now, Biden had to fight for months to get his squabbling Democratic Party to vote, risking a humiliating failure.。
Democrats only narrowly control a bitterly divided Congress, but in a scarce moment of cooperation they were ultimately joined by a significant number of Republicans in the Senate and a symbolic handful in the House.。
"We agreed this would be a truly bipartisan process," Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, told the White House gathering. "This should be the beginning of a renewed effort to work together on big issues facing our country."
Brutal poll numbers。
The feel-good moment may be hard to sustain.。
Biden's ratings are in a downward spiral, with the latest Washington Post-ABC poll showing just 41 percent approving. Most worrying for the White House, support is ebbing away not just among the crucial independent voters but his own Democratic base.。
And despite the reaching out by some Republicans, the bulk of the opposition party is in little mood to declare a truce.。
Trump, who is widely expected to seek to return to the White House in the 2024 election, has savaged the 13 Republicans in the House of Representatives who voted alongside the Democrats.。
He says Republicans who crossed the aisle should be "ashamed" and are not real Republicans.。
Hard-right Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, an especially vocal Trump booster, called them "traitors." She tweeted out office phone numbers of the 13 fellow Republicans, some of whom reported getting torrents of violent abuse.。
The pressure is also on in the Senate, where Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who voted for the bill, was among the prominent figures keeping away from the South Lawn celebration.。
Portman, meanwhile, was freer to make generous comments toward Biden because he has already announced he is not seeking reelection.。
With Republicans almost certain to make gains in midterm congressional elections in just under a year, Biden's already tenuous grip on Washington faces growing strains.。
But the White House hopes the bill signing will give Biden new momentum.。
Still pending is a US$1.75 trillion package for childcare, education and other social spending that Biden says amounts to a historic effort to redress social inequalities.。
Again, internal party divisions are holding that up and the proposal has zero Republican support. However, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the White House gathering that "hopefully this week we will be passing" the bill.。
After a first 10 months in power dominated by COVID-19 and congressional wrangling, Biden is "frustrated by the negativity and the infighting," his press secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters.。
However, Biden's infrastructure sales pitch will aim to change the tune.。
Biden will travel on Tuesday to New Hampshire to visit a bridge set for infrastructure funding and Detroit on Wednesday to meet union workers. Psaki said "the president wants to spend some sustained time out there communicating."
Leaders Slovan Bratislava defeat Nove Zamky in Slovak ice hockey league******
BRATISLAVA, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Leaders Slovan Bratislava edged past bottom-ranked HC Nove Zamky 2-0 in the 22nd round of the Slovak Tipos Extraliga ice hockey league on Friday.。
HKM Zvolen built a comfortable lead against HC Kosice thanks to three straight goals in the first period. Kosice's Pavel Klhufek managed to pull one goal back for the home team, but his rallying call remained unanswered and Zvolen cruised to a comfortable 4-1 victory.。
In other games, HK Dukla Ingema Michalovce lost to HK Poprad 4-5, while HK Dukla Trencin defeated HK Nitra 2-1. MHK 32 Liptovsky Mikulas whitewashed HC Grotto Presov 6-0, and HK Spisska Nova Ves eased past HC '05 Banska Bystrica 6-2. Enditem。
Feature: "I live with Chinese language and culture every day, all the time"******
by Yang Shilong
WASHINGTON, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Seventy-year-old American Stephen D. Allee's total immersion in the Chinese language and culture reminds people of a famous Confucius quote: "I am not one who was born in the possession of knowledge, I am one who is fond of antiquity, and earnest in seeking it there."
"I can read at this point almost any kind of text and most styles of script. I can read a lot of handwriting because at the museum I have to decipher and translate Tiba -- inscriptions on paintings -- works of calligraphy, and collector seals," Allee, who is now associate curator for Chinese painting and calligraphy at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington DC, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
"I study the techniques and practice of painting and calligraphy, and I transcribe and punctuate, as well as translate and annotate, the texts that appear on the paintings in our collection," he said.
"This has not been just a job for me. It has been a life. Indeed, I live with Chinese language every day, all the time, and it is wonderful," he added.
Allee started learning Chinese in 1966, and when he was 16 years old, he challenged himself to translate "Shu Dao Nan," a masterpiece by Li Bai, a great poet of Tang Dynasty, into English with a dictionary.
"I still read classical Chinese poetry as often as I have a chance ... my classical Chinese I feel is fairly solid after all these years, though I still have a lot to learn," said Allee.
Allee was among the first group of U.S. students who studied in China from 1979 to 1980.
"We were the first ones to cross the bridge that we all hoped would grow and strengthen between our two countries over time. We took that role seriously," he said.
During the journey on the flight headed for China, Allee chose for himself a "very Chinese" Chinese name, An Mingyuan. He adopted the family name "An," which has a good meaning of peace or tranquility.
Allee selected Nanjing University for further study.
It was a very different time in China where the trains were slow, Allee told Xinhua, but now, "it is almost faster to take a train than it is to fly to many places. It's a great improvement for people, really wonderful."
Allee said when he was there in 1979-80, few Chinese on the street could have conversation in English freely, but for now, customers in a store who could speak English perfectly are quite common.
"So when I look at what China has accomplished on so many things, since that time, it is truly remarkable and truly something to be proud of," he said. "The lives of ordinary people have improved, they have gotten better ... The achievement to me is really astounding when I look at it from the perspective of 1979."
In his observation, Allee said China has undergone dramatic transformation physically in the past decades but culturally "China has always been China, and it will always be guided in some way by the fundamental core principles enunciated by those ancient philosophers."
"Ren (benevolence), Yi (righteousness), Li (manners), Zhi (wisdom), and Xin (trustworthiness), these are principles that are worth defining and defending," he said, noting those principles "have every application to today."
Noting he was glad to see China has become "one part of a larger matrix of cultural information," Allee told Xinhua that he has worked very closely with Chinese specialists at National Palace Museum, Shanghai Museum and other places like that.
"We talk and confer and send each other questions and images and discuss things that have to do with our research and collections," he said. "The more we can communicate with each other, the better we will be."
As to the current relationship between the United States and China, Allee noted what could be done on the individual level are "to continue to do our jobs, honestly, to the best of our ability and to be open with each other as much as possible, to establish and sustain real communication."
The elder views the 1979-80 bi-national education exchange programs he was a part of as "an extremely positive experience."
"They brought Chinese to America and Americans to China. I'm still in touch with many foreigners who were in China at the time that I was there and beyond," he said.
"All of us benefited from the experience and I believe all my friends and colleagues would agree that the experience changed their lives, led them into new and different directions, and that for most of them those directions were positive," he continued.
Healthy competition between the United States and China helps both sides improve, said Allee. "I hope the competition includes collaboration, cooperation, and other positive dimensions."
"I'm over 70 now. Retirement will come, certainly there are more years behind me at the museum than there are in front. Perhaps there will be opportunities in China where my knowledge and experience might be useful to someone, and we can spend a couple months, or even longer in the country," he said. Enditem
(Xinhua correspondents Hu Yousong, Liu Jie in Washington also contributed to the story.)