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China center Zhou hopes more Chinese players move abroad******
CANBERRA, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- Looking forward to playing in the Australian National Basketball League (NBL) soon, Chinese center Zhou Qi says he would like to see more Chinese players playing abroad.
"The chance [to play overseas] is valuable for one to improve," Zhou told Xinhua in a recent interview after arriving in Australia to begin a two-year stint with the South East Melbourne Phoenix.
Zhou, 25, made his debut with the Chinese national team in 2014. He signed with the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 2017 and played as a center.
He returned to the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) for the 2019-20 season where he averaged 20.7 points, 11.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 2.5 blocks per game, according to statistics from the Phoenix.
Discussing the NBL, Zhou said his overall impression was one of "fierce confrontation".
"It seems that their style is slightly changing," he added. "The pace is now faster. So I have to give full play to my speed advantage so as to adapt quickly."
After signing the deal, Phoenix CEO Tommy Greer said Zhou, at 2.16 meters tall, whose skill set is something the club hasn't had before, can help the team cement their position at the top of the NBL this year.
Zhou revealed that the Phoenix outfit had given him a lot of support, including visa processing and flight coordination, which made him feel at home.
"I will try to show my best form in the new season," he said.
Zhou's goal is to improve himself as much as possible in the coming matches. Compared to his NBA experience, he believes he is likely to get more chances in Australia. "Playing in the NBL is a good opportunity to maintain and improve my form," he said.
The new season starts in December, meaning Zhou will have to get up to speed soon.
"This is not the first time I have gone overseas, so mentally I can prepare quickly," he said.
After his 14-day quarantine, Zhou will be left with only around 20 days to prepare for matches. "How to physically get ready is a big challenge."
Currently confined to a hotel in Melbourne, Zhou said he would do strength training every day inside his room and try to maintain his condition.
There had been reports that Zhou would like to return to the NBA, although the player replied that his focus is on the present. "I would like to see a steady improvement in myself, both in terms of skill and physical confrontation," he said.
As one of the key players in China's national team, Zhou said that before coming to Australia, he made it clear when negotiating his contract with the Phoenix that he must be able to return to China whenever he is needed by the national team.
"If the national team needs me, I have no hesitation in going," he said. Enditem
Biden celebrates rare win with infrastructure bill signing******
US President Joe Biden (center), flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris, takes part in a signing ceremony for H.R. 3684, the "Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act" on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on November 15.。
Battered by critics and dire opinion polls, President Joe Biden signed into law the biggest US infrastructure revamp in more than half a century at a rare bipartisan celebration in the White House on Monday.。
The US$1.2 trillion package will fix bridges and roads, change out unhealthy lead water pipes, build an electric vehicle charging network, and expand broadband Internet. It is the most significant government investment of the kind since the creation of the national highways network in the 1950s.。
"We've heard countless speeches... but today we're finally getting this done," Biden told hundreds of invitees on the White House South Lawn.。
"So my message to the American people is this: America is moving again and your life is going to change for the better."
Most of the crowd were Democrats but there was also a visible handful of Republicans. Notable among the Democrats were senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, two moderates who have warred with more left-wing members of the party, slowing down Biden's agenda.。
The bill is "proof that Democrats and Republicans can come together to deliver results," Biden said. "Let's believe in one another and let's believe in America."
Infrastructure spending is popular, but the goal eluded Biden's predecessor Donald Trump for four years, turning his administration's frequent promises of an imminent "infrastructure week" into a running joke.。
Even now, Biden had to fight for months to get his squabbling Democratic Party to vote, risking a humiliating failure.。
Democrats only narrowly control a bitterly divided Congress, but in a scarce moment of cooperation they were ultimately joined by a significant number of Republicans in the Senate and a symbolic handful in the House.。
"We agreed this would be a truly bipartisan process," Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, told the White House gathering. "This should be the beginning of a renewed effort to work together on big issues facing our country."
Brutal poll numbers。
The feel-good moment may be hard to sustain.。
Biden's ratings are in a downward spiral, with the latest Washington Post-ABC poll showing just 41 percent approving. Most worrying for the White House, support is ebbing away not just among the crucial independent voters but his own Democratic base.。
And despite the reaching out by some Republicans, the bulk of the opposition party is in little mood to declare a truce.。
Trump, who is widely expected to seek to return to the White House in the 2024 election, has savaged the 13 Republicans in the House of Representatives who voted alongside the Democrats.。
He says Republicans who crossed the aisle should be "ashamed" and are not real Republicans.。
Hard-right Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, an especially vocal Trump booster, called them "traitors." She tweeted out office phone numbers of the 13 fellow Republicans, some of whom reported getting torrents of violent abuse.。
The pressure is also on in the Senate, where Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who voted for the bill, was among the prominent figures keeping away from the South Lawn celebration.。
Portman, meanwhile, was freer to make generous comments toward Biden because he has already announced he is not seeking reelection.。
With Republicans almost certain to make gains in midterm congressional elections in just under a year, Biden's already tenuous grip on Washington faces growing strains.。
But the White House hopes the bill signing will give Biden new momentum.。
Still pending is a US$1.75 trillion package for childcare, education and other social spending that Biden says amounts to a historic effort to redress social inequalities.。
Again, internal party divisions are holding that up and the proposal has zero Republican support. However, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the White House gathering that "hopefully this week we will be passing" the bill.。
After a first 10 months in power dominated by COVID-19 and congressional wrangling, Biden is "frustrated by the negativity and the infighting," his press secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters.。
However, Biden's infrastructure sales pitch will aim to change the tune.。
Biden will travel on Tuesday to New Hampshire to visit a bridge set for infrastructure funding and Detroit on Wednesday to meet union workers. Psaki said "the president wants to spend some sustained time out there communicating."