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Macron raises final toast to Merkel in Burgundy wine capital******
French President Emmanuel Macron gave Germany's outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel an affectionate and stylish send-off on Wednesday with a visit to the heart of the Burgundy wine-growing region, a piano recital in a chateau and a private dinner.。
Rather than a grand state dinner at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris, where Merkel has known four French presidents, Macron invited her to the medieval town of Beaune, capital of Burgundy wines, for her farewell visit to France as chancellor.。
"Welcome to Beaune dear Angela. France loves you," Macron said on his Twitter feed.。
Macron and his wife Brigitte welcomed Merkel and her husband Joachim Sauer to the 15th century Hospices de Beaune, a former hospital for the poor which now houses an annual charity auction of Burgundy wines and whose colorful glazed-tile roof is one of France's top tourist attractions.。
Hundreds of wellwishers lined the square at dusk as the two couples visited a wine shop and received flowers and wine.。
"This is a wonderful place where you can really experience France," Merkel said.。
The two leaders were not expected to make any political statements in Beaune, where their predecessors Helmut Kohl and Francois Mitterrand called for closer European integration during a Franco-German summit in 1993.。
Following a reception at the Chateau du Clos de Vougeot and a piano recital by Alexandre Kantorow, Macron was due to present Merkel with France's highest award, the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour.。
Both champions of European integration, Macron and Merkel worked together closely during the COVID-19 crisis, though they were not regarded as being as close as Merkel and her fellow conservative Nicolas Sarkozy, France's president from 2007 to 2012. Their cooperation during the euro zone crisis earned them the moniker "Merkozy."
Merkel, 67, who has led her country for 16 years, will stand down when a new German coalition government has been formed following a September 26 national vote.。
At a joint Franco-German cabinet meeting in June, Merkel's last, Macron thanked the chancellor for all she had done to boost relations between the two countries.。
"Allow me to say how much the Franco-German relationship owes to your commitment, your determination."
China's daily crude steel output hits 3******
BEIJING, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- China's average daily output of crude steel recorded a three-year low in September, according to the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) Monday.
The average daily output in September fell 21.2 percent year on year to 2.46 million tonnes, CISA vice chairperson Qu Xiuli said at a press conference.
She noted the drop in output is a must, as the country continued to control the production and energy cost of the steel industry.
A cut in output, however, did not affect the profits of China's major steel mills. In the first nine months of this year, profits of the country's major iron and steel companies surged 123 percent year on year.
Qu urged more efforts to build up the industrial and supply chains to enhance the coordinated development of upstream and downstream companies.
As part of the green shift by its energy-consuming steel industry, China has vowed to shrink its crude steel output in 2021 from a year earlier. Enditem
CBA regular season second stage matches to be played in Changchun******
BEIJING, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- All second stage matches of the 2021-22 regular season of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league will be held in Changchun in northeast China's Jilin Province.。
These matches had been scheduled to take place in both Changchun and Zhuji in east China's Zhejiang Province on December 25.。
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the league's governing body said the revised decision was made in view of rising COVID-19 cases in Zhejiang Province and other regions of China.。
The statement also left room for minor adjustments to the kick-off times of the second stage matches based on local prevention and control measures, with any adjustments to the schedule to be announced in due course.。
After 13 rounds of matches in the league's first stage, the Liaoning Flying Leopards lead the 20-team table with a 12-1 record. They are followed by the Guangdong Southern Tigers, the Shenzhen Aviators and the Zhejiang Lions, all with a win-loss record of 11-2. Enditem。
The Merkel rhombus: How a hand gesture became a brand******
This file photo taken on November 10, 2021 shows German Chancellor Angela Merkel (center) forming her typical hand gesture, the so-called "Merkel-Raute" (known in English as Merkel Rhombus, Merkel Diamond or Triangle of Power), as she poses with Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (left) and her son, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark during a reception at the Chancellery in Berlin.。
Hands resting in front of the stomach, thumbs and fingertips touching to form a diamond shape – Angela Merkel's "rhombus" hand gesture was her most recognizable trademark.。
The gesture has its own Wikipedia page, its own emoticon, "<>", and the longtime German leader has even been immortalized adopting the pose at London's famous Madame Tussauds waxworks museum.。
But the "Merkel-Raute," as it is known in German, became her signature largely by accident – born from a camera-shy Merkel being unsure how to pose during a photo shoot for Stern magazine in 2002.。
Then head of the Christian Democrats (CDU) but still three years away from being elected as chancellor for the first time, Merkel "didn't know what to do with her hands," photographer Claudia Kempf later recalled.。
"She let them hang down next to her, which made her look a bit exposed, or she joined them together. I said to her, 'You look too much like a pastor's daughter'," Kempf told the Rheinische Post newspaper in 2009.。
A few months before German elections in 2013, Merkel offered her own explanation of how the gesture had come about.。
"It's about the question of where to put your arms," said the trained physicist, adding that the rhombus also showed "a certain love of symmetry."
At the time of that interview, Merkel was campaigning for a third term in office.。
This file photo taken on September 22, 2013 shows people walking by a giant election billboard featuring German Chancellor Angela Merkel's famous diamond-shape hands gesture also known as Merkel rhombus that is displayed on the construction site of a hotel in Berlin.。
The whole parliament comes up for renewal in German federal elections, but her CDU party had decided on a very personalized campaign.。
A billboard 70 meters wide by 20 meters tall was erected near Berlin's central station featuring a giant image of the Merkel rhombus, made up of over 2,000 photographs of hands, with the slogan "Germany's future in good hands."
The rival Social Democrats (SPD) slammed what they called an "empty personality cult" around Merkel, while the Greens lamented: "If this is politics, we have fallen very low."
But the woman affectionately nicknamed "Mutti" (mummy) won the election by a wide margin a few weeks later, with the Merkel rhombus becoming "probably one of the most recognizable hand gestures in the world," according to Britain's Guardian newspaper.。
The gesture has also been likened to a bridge, a protective roof, and even a sign made between Illuminati members to identify themselves.。
"I believe the Merkel rhombus was initially adopted unconsciously," said Jochen Hoerisch, a communications specialist at the University of Mannheim.。
"But once it had been noticed by the public it was then consciously used by the chancellor as a brand."
An employee assembles an incense smoker featuring Angela Merkel making her typical "rhombus" hand gesture.。
Even in the twilight of Merkel's political career, the gesture was once again catapulted into the spotlight during this year's election campaign when SPD chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz adopted it on a magazine cover.。
Scholz used the gesture in a photo shoot for the Sueddeutsche Zeitung – part of his strategy to position himself as the true Merkel continuity candidate, as opposed to Armin Laschet, the challenger from Merkel's party.。
This claim on Merkel's legacy prompted a backlash from the CDU and even from Merkel herself, who was at pains to point out that there were "enormous differences" between herself and Scholz.。