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Explanation – The ways Xi Jinping has amassed power in China over a decade by Reuters

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© Reuters. file image; Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the welcoming ceremony for Brazilian President Michel Temer (not pictured) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, September 1, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping became the country’s leader a decade ago when he was appointed general secretary of the Communist Party and chairman of the Central Military Commission at the 18th Party Congress. The following March he became president.

At the 20th Party Congress, scheduled to begin on Oct. 16, Xi is widely expected to secure a third term of leadership, cementing his position as the country’s most powerful ruler since Mao Zedong, founder of the People’s Republic of China.

The Xi built up strength through specific one-time moves and gradually over time. In doing so, he moved China from a tradition of collective leadership, with the Secretary-General considered first among equals in the Politburo Standing Committee, to what is now widely seen as supreme leadership.

Here are the main ways Xi has consolidated his grip, according to analysts and experts:

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He circumvented the economic policy-making responsibilities normally assumed by the prime minister by chairing various “small leadership groups”, including a new group formed in 2012 after he came to power for “reform and openness”, as well as an existing group on finance.

He undertook a sweeping campaign to purge officials deemed disloyal, corrupt, or ineffective, and built his power base by filling those vacant positions with allies. So far, 4.7 million officials have been investigated.

— Xi puts trusted allies in charge of managing the party’s human resources that control key personnel appointments. Its first organizational department head was Zhao Leji, whose father had worked under Shi’s father; He was followed in 2017 by Chen Xi, a former classmate of Xi from Tsinghua University.

Tighten control of the army by initiating comprehensive reforms and cutting expenditures from 2015.

– He took control of the Internal Security Agency with a continuous “purge” campaign that brought down many police chiefs and judges.

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– Since 2015, the House of Representatives and other bodies including the Council of Ministers and the Supreme Court have ordered to make available to him their annual work reports

To conform to the party line, Xi told state media in 2016 that “their nickname is the Party.” Since then, media freedoms have steadily declined, while Xi-related publicity has steadily increased.

– He formally established himself as the “core” of the party – the party speaks for the supreme leader, in 2016.

– Xi amended the Party Constitution in 2017 to include Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics. Having an ideology bearing his name put him on par only with Mao and Deng Xiaoping.

– He clarified the supreme role of the party by declaring in 2017: “The party, the government, the army, the people, education, east, south, west, north, center: the party leads everything.”

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– He amended the country’s constitution in 2018 to abolish presidential term limits, and remove an obstacle to life ruling.

– The party pledged to support the “two institutions”, the party to which it speaks of loyalty, in a historic decision issued in 2021.

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Hidden Gems: The Most Underrated Tourist Attractions in the U.S.

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When you take your kids on vacation, they’ll probably want to go to a popular theme park.

But theme parks have gotten more expensive these days and the more you spend, the more you expect, which could set you up for disappointment.

In a study by tourism site HawaiianIslands.com, some of most overrated tourist spots are theme parks.

Volcano Bay Water Park at Universal Studios in Orlando ended up the most overrated attraction in the U.S., according to the HawaiianIslands research of more than 17,000 Tripadvisor reviews. Some 39 reviews out of every 1,000 expressed disappointment by their experience and labeled the park “overrated.”

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BP doubles down on hydrogen as the fuel of the future by Reuters

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© Reuters. The BP logo is seen at a BP gas station in Manhattan, New York City, US, November 24, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/Files

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Written by Ron Bousso

LONDON (Reuters) – Bernard Looney, chief executive of British Petroleum (NYSE), is betting on hydrogen to power the low-carbon companies of the future as governments in major economies raise money to develop fuels for decarbonization.

Low-carbon hydrogen already has a large fan base and is expected to play a major role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from heavy industry and some forms of transportation.

But it is expensive to produce and often needs government subsidies to compete against fossil fuels.

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The US, for example, offers significant incentives to produce them under President Joe Biden’s $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

BP has been responsive and is in the early planning stages of developing a large, low-carbon hydrogen center around its refinery in Whiting, Indiana, Tomica McLeod, BP’s newly appointed head of US hydrogen, told Reuters.

When Looney took office nearly three years ago, he pledged to reshape BP and cut carbon emissions by reducing oil and gas production and developing renewables. He is preparing to brief investors on February 7 on the current situation.

BP sources told Reuters that hydrogen will play a starring role alongside offshore wind.

BP has reformed its structure to create a dedicated hydrogen division led by Philippe Arbelaez which has 150 employees. It has also made several investments in large hydrogen projects, including in Australia, Europe and Britain.

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The company told Reuters that it is also studying the potential for developing green hydrogen in Oman, and is also studying projects in Mauritania.

Company sources said BP’s spending on low-carbon hydrogen remains modest but is expected to grow into the hundreds of millions by the end of the decade as projects start.

BP spent nearly a quarter of its $15.5 billion budget in 2022 on the low-carbon business, when it included the $4.1 billion acquisition of US biogas producer Arkea, according to Reuters calculations.

Company sources said that in February Anja Isabel Dutzenrath, head of renewables at Looney and BP will unveil its clean hydrogen production target for the first time, aiming for a 10% share of hydrogen in “core markets” by 2030.

“Hydrogen is going to be a huge focus, and it’s moving much faster than we ever thought,” CFO Murray Auchinclose told Reuters last month.

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Most hydrogen is currently used in oil refining and fertilizer making and is usually made by heating, a highly polluting process known as gray hydrogen.

But gray hydrogen becomes “blue hydrogen” if polluting emissions are captured. There’s also “green hydrogen,” which is produced by splitting water using electrolysis that’s powered by renewable energy.

To expand its blue hydrogen business, BP is drawing on its expertise in oil and gas to build carbon capture and storage facilities, where carbon is injected into depleted reservoirs.

It also plans to boost its renewable energy generation capacity to 50 gigawatts by 2030, which will be partially used for electric power generation.

BP declined to comment on whether it would set a hydrogen production target or its hydrogen spending plans.

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tax credits

McLeod said BP’s project at the Whiting refinery would initially replace about 200,000 tonnes of gray hydrogen used by the refinery each year with blue hydrogen. The project could start operating by 2026-2027 and expand to green hydrogen.

“Our focus in the US, and it’s similar around the world, is how do we decarbonize and reimagine our own assets,” she said.

The low-carbon fuel in the second phase will be used by other heavy industries in the region to reduce about 36 million tons of carbon dioxide emitted there each year.

The project will rely on subsidies, highlighting the challenge hydrogen faces in competing with low-cost fossil fuels.

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The IRA is offering a $3 per kilogram tax credit for clean hydrogen, which makes green hydrogen equal to or even less than the cost of gray and blue hydrogen, according to analysts.

“With the hydrogen production tax credits now in place … it has allowed green hydrogen to be more competitive,” McLeod said.

McLeod said the subsidies would initially allow green and blue hydrogen to compete with gray hydrogen, allowing consumers to switch to cleaner fuels.

“Demand growth for new hydrogen applications will be a function of cost competitiveness,” said Andy Brogan, global head of oil and gas at EY.

“There are physical components to energy demand where hydrogen is the only clear technologically viable alternative to carbon intensive options,” Brogan said. “However, these are often price sensitive, so rapid acceleration will depend on cost.”

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BP is already one of the largest investors in hydrogen projects among the world’s largest oil and gas companies, including Shell (LON:), TotalEnergies, Repsol (OTC:) and Italy’s Eni, according to Globaldata, a data provider.

BP in June acquired a 40.5% stake in a 26-gigawatt renewable energy project in Australia that could produce green hydrogen. It is developing two projects in Britain where it aims to produce 1.5 gigawatts of blue and green hydrogen by 2030.

Hydrogen production by technology https://www.reuters.com/graphics/HYDROGEN-PRODUCTION/gkvlwgymlpb/chart.png

BP Spending Plans https://www.reuters.com/graphics/OIL-MAJORS/ENERGY-TRANSITION/gkvlgnoxdpb/chart.png

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After 23 Royal Caribbean Cruises, What I Learned About Tipping

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Tipping has always been a mostly voluntary practice that is supposed to revolve around customers rewarding service staff for good service. The problem is that restaurants generally consider tips as part of their wages and don’t pay minimum wages to waiters (which is legal in most places). This makes tipping, while usually optional, very demanding.

That’s kind of how tipping works at Royal Caribbean (RCL) – Get a free report and Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) – Get a free report ships. It’s still technically optional, but opting out of daily tips—what cruise lines call the fee added to your onboard account each day for each person in your room—literally takes money out of the hands of the lowest-level workers on cruise ships.



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