Japanese PM Abe to visit China in sign of improved relations

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Head of the Chinese Communist Party's International Department Song Tao talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their meeting at Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan October 11, 2018. (Reuters)
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Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) shakes hands with China’s President Xi Jinping (R) prior to their bilateral meeting in Vladivostok on September 12, 2018, on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum hosted by Russia. (AFP)
Updated 12 October 2018
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Japanese PM Abe to visit China in sign of improved relations

BEIJING: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is to travel to China later this month for his first formal visit in seven years, in a further sign of improving relations between the regional rivals.
Bilateral ties nosedived in 2012 after Japan nationalized a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea claimed by Beijing, setting off violent protests in China.
Despite close economic ties, many Chinese also resent Japan over its invasion of their country last century. Beijing routinely warms of resurgent Japanese militarism, despite little evidence of that appearing.
Abe’s Oct. 25-27 visit follows a trip to Japan in May by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the ruling Communist Party’s second-ranking official. President and party leader Xi Jinping is also expected to visit Japan at a future date.
“With joint efforts by the two sides, we maintained the momentum of improving bilateral ties,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters Friday.
Along with trade and investment, talks between the leaders are expected to touch on North Korea, which both countries have been pressing to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
Japan hopes to “step up cooperation in all areas and elevate Japan-China relations to a higher level,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Friday. “I hope (the leaders) open their hearts and discuss frankly.”


Storm in a teacup as Dhaka gets taste for ‘rainbow’ tea

Updated 1 min 27 sec ago
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Storm in a teacup as Dhaka gets taste for ‘rainbow’ tea

  • Nutrition experts suggest that spices or food colors must be used to create the tea’s rainbow effect
  • In 2006, Gour opened a tea shop selling five-layered, multicolor tea. The tea proved popular, with people traveling from Dhaka to sample the unique offering
DHAKA: The flavors and traditions associated with tea drinking are well established with a history going back centuries. Now a unique “rainbow tea” developed in Bangladesh looks like it is stirring up a revolution in tea-lovers’ tastes.
The tea, which offers seven distinct layers of color and flavor in each cup, has become the talk of Dhaka.
Rainbow tea was developed by Saiful Islam, 32, a tea vendor from Sreemangal, near Sylhet, about 175 km northeast of the capital.
According to Islam, the tea-producing region where he was born was the inspiration for his new type of tea.
“Since my childhood, I admired the surroundings where tea was produced and then sent to every corner of the country as well as abroad,” he said.
Islam said that after finishing his education, “I was in a fix about what to do. My passion for producing a better tea with better taste grew stronger as the days went by. I was experimenting with different kinds of tea and, finally, I hit the jackpot and realized my dream. I invented the rainbow seven-color tea.”
However, the idea of tea with multicolored layers is far from new in Sreemangal. Romesh Ram Gour, another tea vendor and a neighbor of Islam, had previously developed a five-layered tea.
In 2006, Gour opened a tea shop selling five-layered, multicolor tea. The tea proved popular, with people traveling from Dhaka to sample the unique offering.
Inspired by Gour’s multicolored tea, a young Islam came up with his “rainbow seven-color tea” and opened a shop Sreemangal.
Due to growing demand, after one year he relocated his parlor to Dhaka’s Khilgaon Taltola market. Since launching in the capital, Islam’s rainbow tea has continued to grow in popularity, with the city’s tea-lovers happily paying $1 a cup for a rare drinking experience.
Now, the rainbow tea is adding to Khilgaon Taltola market’s appeal as people of all ages and walks of life visit the tea shop.
“It’s a unique experience to have different tastes with one cup of tea. I have never tasted anything like this,” said Shyamoli Islam Shuverthy, a Dhaka resident.
“I have heard of this rainbow tea many times, but today I finally had the chance to taste it and I’m really excited.”
Arifur Rahman, another tea-lover, told Arab News: “This tea perks me up with its unique flavor. I try to enjoy this tea whenever I meet my friends.”
Islam is determined to keep the recipe for his rainbow tea a secret. In the shop, he prepares the tea in a corner hidden behind a dark screen to avoid prying eyes.
“I use black tea, green tea, coffee, milk, orange and strawberry. But the method is a trade secret,” he told Arab News while working in his stall at Dhaka International Trade Fair.
Nutrition experts suggest that spices or food colors must be used to create the tea’s rainbow effect.
“However, these are not harmful to people,” Abdullah Al-Mamun, of Noakhali University, said.
With his new brand of tea, Islam, the father of two daughters, earns around $600 per month.
With demand growing at home and abroad, Islam is planning to expand his business. Two new outlets at Narayangonj and Gazipur, on the outskirts of Dhaka, are due to open later this year.
One of Islam’s friends, who lives in Canberra, Australia, also hopes to launch the rainbow tea there.
“I hope my ‘rainbow seven-color tea’ can win the hearts of people on every continent,” Islam said.