Austria’s ex-chancellor Kurz announces departure from politics

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Associated Press

Laos-China railway to launch as debt to Beijing mounts

Laos, a nation of 7 million people wedged between China, Vietnam and Thailand, is opening a $5.9 billion Chinese-built railway that links China’s poor southwest to foreign markets but piles on potentially risky debt. The line through lush tropical mountains from the Laotian capital, Vientiane, to Kunming is one of hundreds of projects under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative to expand trade by building ports, railways and other facilities across Asia, Africa and the Pacific. The Kunming-Vientiane railway is a link in a possible future network to connect China with Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia and Singapore.

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