LESSON 25 - ĐẶNG TIỂU BÌNH (29012019)


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About two-thirds of the economic activity in the United States is created by people who spend money -- consumers. And much of that activity is created this time of year, as consumers buy gifts for Christmas and other holidays.

Government economists say big department stores make about fourteen percent of their sales in the month of December. That may not seem like a lot. But December sales are almost twice the monthly average for the rest of the year.

The holiday shopping season traditionally starts the day after Thanksgiving. It is called Black Friday. Storekeepers used to record profits in black ink and losses in red ink. So being "in the black" on the Friday after Thanksgiving means a good thing, a return to profit.

But it also means that people face crowded stores, which is the other idea of a "Black Friday," a day they do not like. It used to be the busiest shopping day of the year. In recent years the busiest day has been the Saturday before Christmas.

People who do not like crowded stores have another choice. Americans are buying more on the Internet. The Census Bureau says they bought almost fourteen-thousand-million dollars in goods online in the last three months of last year. Still, that was less than two percent of total retail sales.

The National Retail Federation said it expected holiday sales in the United States to increase by five-point-seven percent over last year. The trade group said it expected sales of about two-hundred-seventeen-thousand-million dollars.

Another group, the Conference Board, measures how consumers feel about the economy. In November it said its Consumer Confidence Index increased by ten points, to eighty. That was good news for sellers. But it is still below the starting level of one-hundred set in nineteen-eighty-five.

Holiday shopping is also important to the stock market. Last week, the Commerce Department said retail sales were higher than expected in November. That report helped the Dow Jones Industrial Average to close above ten-thousand for the first time in eighteen months. Last Friday, though, the University of Michigan released its consumer confidence report. The first report for December showed an unexpected decrease in current conditions.

Bob Doughty



As the first Special Economic Zone in China, the city of Shenzhen has been transformed from a fishing village to China's gateway to the rest of the world, thanks to Deng Xiaoping's advocacy of reform and opening up.

Deng Xiaoping has been called "the architect of China's reform and opening-up" for his painstaking efforts in leading the country's modern-day transformation starting in the late 1970s.

Victor Gao, scholar, current affairs commentator, and a man who once worked as the interpreter of Deng Xiaoping, says his influence was far reaching.

"Deng Xiaoping saved the Chinese nation at the end of the 1970s, in my best judgement, Deng Xiaoping was the profit for the Chinese nation. And he charted the roadmap for the reform and opening up to the outside world, which even today, China is still in the shadow of his wisdom and foresight. Without Deng Xiaoping, at the end of the 1970s, China probably would not be able to break out from that huge ideological box, in which China was firmly locked up," he says.

Deng was recognized as the core of the second-generation leadership of the Communist Party of China.

While in office he pursued progressive measures that earned him respect from across the nation. By using pragmatic reforms, Deng came up with unique and innovative solutions.

"He has his particular way of looking at challenges, in a sense he is good at coming up with very unique and innovative solutions by avoiding being deadlocked in any particular situation. We know that his famous saying of it's not that important if the cat is black or white, and the most important thing is the cat catches mice," Gao says.

In June 1984, Deng Xiaoping formulated the concept of "one country, two systems", which later facilitated the peaceful settlement of the Hong Kong issue.

Under the concept, China was obliged to leave Hong Kong's economic status unchanged after the handover on July 1, 1997.

Even now, the policy has been important in framing the Taiwan issue.

"Despite many challenges and major changes in the political situation in Hong Kong, I think most of the people in Hong Kong as well as here in mainland still fully acknowledge the truthfulness and validity of the 'one country two systems' philosophy. Eventually, this great innovative concept may also be applied to Taiwan to resolve the return of Taiwan and the reunification of the motherland," Gao says.

Deng's far-sighted political wisdom has resulted in the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong today. His modernization plans have made China the world's second-largest economy.

These are seen as major milestones for the Chinese nation.

Composed & Edited by Lê Quốc An
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