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Russia blasts US for ratcheting up Ukraine tensions with troop alert******
Members of the Ukrainian armed forces deployed on the border.
Moscow on Tuesday accused the United States of ratcheting up tensions over Ukraine after Washington put several thousand troops on alert for possible deployment to boost NATO.
The West is accusing Russia, which has massed 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, of preparing a potential invasion of its pro-Western neighbor.
The troop build-up has sparked the biggest crisis in East-West ties since the Cold War, with US President Joe Biden holding a long call with European leaders on Monday.
Biden said there was "total unanimity" on how to deal with Russia, as the Pentagon announced that 8,500 US troops were being put on standby and NATO said it was sending ships and jets to bolster eastern Europe's defenses.
In Moscow, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said these actions were only adding to an already tense atmosphere.
"The United States is escalating tensions," he told reporters. "We are watching these US actions with great concern."
Russia denies it has any plans to invade Ukraine, where Russia already seized the peninsula of Crimea in 2014.
Moscow has instead accused the West of increasing tensions with deployments and support for Ukraine, a former Soviet republic.
It has put forward a list of security demands, including for a guarantee that Ukraine never be allowed to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and that alliance forces pull back in Eastern European countries that joined after the Cold War.
The US and NATO have rejected the demands and told Russia to withdraw from Ukraine's borders, warning that an attack will trigger damaging economic sanctions, as well as a beefed-up NATO presence in eastern Europe.
A series of talks in various European cities this month have failed to ease tensions, though US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agreed at a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, last Friday to keep talking.
The US has promised to provide written answers to Moscow's demands this week, but has rejected calls for a ban on possible NATO expansion as a non-starter.
The crisis has laid bare divisions in the West, with some European Union members appearing less willing to take severe action against Russia, which supplies about 40 percent of the bloc's natural gas supplies.
The new government in EU economic powerhouse Germany in particular has faced criticism from Kyiv over its refusal to send defensive weapons to Ukraine, as well as hesitating over one of the harshest economic sanctions under discussion – cutting Moscow from the global SWIFT payments system.
Biden held a one-hour-and-20-minute video conference with allied leaders from Europe and NATO on Monday, telling reporters afterwards: "I had a very, very, very good meeting – total unanimity with all the European leaders."
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office also said there was unity "in the face of growing Russian hostility," while German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for Russia "to undertake visible de-escalation."
There were hopes for some easing of tensions after the French government announced that Russian and Ukrainian officials would meet, along with French and German counterparts, in Paris today to try to find a way out of the impasse.
French President Emmanuel Macron "thinks there is a space for diplomacy, a path to de-escalation," an aide said.
Both the aide and Kremlin spokesman Peskov said Macron would speak to Putin soon.
In Kyiv, the families of US, British and Australian diplomats had been ordered to leave, though the EU and Ukrainian government said that any withdrawal of foreign embassy personnel was premature.
The Kremlin has accused NATO countries of "hysteria" over the crisis.
It also claimed this week that Ukrainian troops in the east of the country could launch an offensive, prompting President Volodymyr Zelensky's office to insist that Ukraine will not "succumb to provocations."
The US has stepped up security assistance to Ukraine, with Blinken on a visit to Kyiv last week confirming another US$200 million in aid.
A shipment arrived last Saturday and another batch was due later on Tuesday which the US embassy in Kyiv said would include "equipment and munitions to bolster the defensive capacity of the Ukrainian armed forces."
Curling athletes praise China for doing "an extremely brilliant job"******
BEIJING, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- Halfway into the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2021 in Beijing, Scottish Gregor Ewan expressed his firm trust in the upcoming Winter Paralympics.
Adding a tough victory over Canada on Monday to their sheet, Scotland temporarily climbed to the top of the standings after winning three out of the last four games.
"It's been a hard couple of days, but my team played really well. The ice is so good here," Ewan said.
After experiencing and seeing the transportation services, pandemic prevention measures and sanitation work, the Scots highly praised what China has prepared for this tournament.
"As I've seen in China, people of Beijing the last couple of days have been mask-wearing, cleaning and sanitation. They have done an extremely brilliant job and if this is what they are bringing to a Worlds, a lot to see what they bring to the Paralympics to make it go ahead," Ewan said.
For Ewan, Beijing Winter Paralympic Games gives him hope to stand on the pinnacle, which also delivers the opportunity to lots of curling athletes to chase their ambitions. "For me, it's a great privilege to be able to represent my country at this Games."
Canada's Ina Forrest also has strong confidence in the upcoming Beijing Winter Paralympics.
The bus service especially set up for athletes surprised Forrest. "We're just amazed by how the buses coordinate to make it, so we make it on time. So we have all the confidence that going into Paralympics."
"There are such a great support to us, so I expect that there will be the same support for next year again and help us get as ready as we can be and have a comfortable and successful competition here," Forrest added. Enditem
China pledges to promote cultural relics protection through sci******
BEIJING, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- China will improve the application of sci-tech in cultural relics protection during the country's 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025), said an official with the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST).。
A plan on cultural relics protection and sci-tech innovation will be released. China will continuously strengthen the basic research and interdisciplinary research to deepen the understanding of civilization and cultural relics and improve the theoretical system of cultural relics protection, Wu Yuanbin, director-general of science and technology for social development with MOST, told a press conference on Wednesday.。
China will achieve new breakthroughs in safety and protection of cultural relics, monitoring and early warning, archaeological discovery and residue analysis, structural stability evaluation of cultural relics, and rescue and protection of cultural relics, Wu said.。
"The country has made good progress and achievements in the study of cultural relics, including isotope analysis, trace element analysis, organic residue analysis and DNA research," he added.。
China will also enhance the display of cultural relics through sci-tech means, Wu said. Enditem。
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