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XIÁN, CHINA- In the photos, people visit the scenic place of the city wall of Xi'an in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, northwest China, on March 4, 2020.

Liu Xiaoming / Xinhua / Latin America News Agency

Hard Numbers: Chinese cities lift home-buying restrictions, Humanitarian aid ship sets sail, Car gun theft triples, Opposition wins in North Macedonia, Malaysia introduces orangutan diplomacy

230 million: On Thursday, officials in Hangzhou and Xi’an, cities with a combined population of more than 25 million people, lifted all restrictions on buying new homes. The moves are part of a push by many Chinese cities to bolster the country’s sagging property market. The announcements drew more than230 million views on the social media site Weibo.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping and Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev shake hands during a signing ceremony ahead of the China-Central Asia Summit in Xian.

REUTERS/Florence Lo

Central Asia comes to China

The leaders of China and Russia share a vision of a world order the West can’t dominate, and that common goal has brought them closer together in recent years. But there are still areas where the two governments compete with one another for influence, and the Central Asian Republics that lie between them are an obvious example.

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What We're Watching: Chilean beekeepers, bartering in Xian, possible Turkish-Saudi détente

Standing up for the bees in Chile. Chilean beekeepers demonstrated Tuesday outside the presidential palace in Santiago, calling for the government to provide more support for the ailing industry. The protesters set up on the street dozens of hives containing 10,000 bees to draw attention to their plight, and stop police from shutting down the rally. (At least seven police officers were stung.) Beekeepers say that a decade-long “megadrought” has ruined the crops and flowers needed to sustain bees — and they want the government to guarantee honey prices or provide subsidies for producers. This might seem like an obscure agriculture story, but it’s not: bees pollinate some of Chile’s major food exports like avocados, apples and almonds, and thus help sustain an industry worth a whopping $6.46 billion in exports in 2020. Although the government says it has been supporting some communities facing water shortages, the bee industry says it’s not enough. Disgruntled beekeepers might be in luck: the leftist Gabriel Boric, who supports expanding Chile's social safety net, will be sworn in as president in March.

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