Updated: 2011-07-29 11:43

(China Daily European Weekly)

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Diplomatic pouch: With Mike Peters

Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini wrapped up a four-day visit to China

last week after stops in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. In addition to meeting

Vice-Premier Li Keqiang and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and signing trade agreements, Frattini paid a reciprocal visit to the Party chief of Guangdong province Wang Yang, who led a delegation to Italy in June. Frattini also conferred with representatives of Chinese sovereign wealth funds. Frattini's China trip is the latest in a flurry of high-level visits as Italy celebrates the 150th anniversary of its unification. Vice-President Xi Jinping visited Rome and Milan recently for the official ceremonies. Recently signed accords include a bilateral agreement on visa exemption for diplomatic passports and an agreement for a co-production of a documentary on Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci, believed to be the first Westerner invited to the Forbidden City in 1601.

The UK has launched a new program to attract "exceptionally talented leaders" in science, humanities, engineering and the arts to come to Britain. "The UK is a global leader in science, humanities and engineering," UK Immigration Minister Damian Green said last week, "and we are a cultural center for the arts: we will continue to welcome those who have the most to offer and contribute to our society and economy". The program begins on Aug 9 for up to 1,000 migrants - "not only those who have already been recognized but also those with the potential to be recognized as leaders in their respective fields", the embassy says. Candidates from China and other countries need not be sponsored by an employer but must be nominated through one of four agencies: The Royal Society, Arts Council England, The Royal Academy of Engineering or The British Academy.

To celebrate "One year to go to the Olympics", the British Embassy, Visit Britain and the British Council in China partnered with and British Airways last week to offer one lucky winner two round-trip tickets to the UK. The five-day online campaign showcased London's Olympic facilities and showed how the concept of sustainability lies at the heart of their design and construction.Visitors to the site could compete for flights to the UK by answering a set of questions related to the London Olympics and the UK more generally. The feature pages were updated daily with previously unseen video interviews of popular Chinese Olympians: Equestrian Alex Hua Tian, gymnast He Kexin, 2008 Olympic men's weightlifting champion Lu Yong, 2008 Olympic women's judo champion Yang Xiuli and snooker player Ding Junhui.

Norway's University of Bergen and Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou co-hosted a workshop on work/life balance in Guangzhou at the end of June. "Work/life balance is a relatively new concept in China," the embassy says on its website, "and the aim of the workshop was to bring together scholars and experts to exchange views on why this topic should get more attention also in China. China is facing demographic and structural changes such as an aging population, low fertility rates and a smaller workforce. Work is characterized by long hours with extensive overtime."The academics gave presentations about the experiences in reconciling work and family in Norway and Europe.

Embassy news can be sent to

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