03/09/2015

China military parade commemorates WW2 victory over Japan – BBC News

China has held a lavish parade in Beijing to mark the defeat of Japan in World War Two, showcasing its military might on an unprecedented scale. President Xi Jinping in his opening speech paid tribute to “the Chinese people who unwaveringly fought hard and defeated aggression” from Japan. He also said the People’s Liberation Army would be reduced by 300,000 personnel, but gave no timeframe.

Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) march at the beginning of the military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, in Beijing, China, 3 September 2015

China’s growing military power is being keenly watched amid regional tensions. China has several territorial disputes with neighbours in the South China Sea, as well as with Japan in the East China Sea. Ahead of the parade, the US said five Chinese ships had been spotted in the Bering Sea off Alaska for the first time. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is the world’s largest military, with 2.3 million members. China also has the second biggest defence budget after the US.

Source: China military parade commemorates WW2 victory over Japan – BBC News

03/09/2015

The Successful Indian Tech Companies You’ve Probably Never Heard Of – India Real Time – WSJ

The lofty valuations of India’s consumer-focused startups like Flipkart and Snapdeal have gotten a lot of limelight lately, but the country’s up and coming software product technology firms are also growing rapidly, says iSpirit Foundation, a Bangalore-based technology lobby group.

An index capturing the 30 most-valuable Indian software product-makers has risen by 28% in eight months since Oct. 30, a report released by iSpirit, which puts together the index, said Thursday. These companies, as estimated by iSpirit, were worth a total of $10 billion at the end of June. “There has been an acceleration since 2010 in the pace of creation of B2B (business-to-business) companies,” the report said.

More In Technology The Successful Indian Tech Companies You’ve Probably Never Heard Of Are You Addicted to the Internet? Take the Test Internet Addiction: How to Help Protect Your Children 5 Things to Know about Foxconn’s Ambitions in India Uber to Invest $1 Billion in India Indian techies and venture capitalists often rue that though Indians occupy top positions in global tech companies like Microsoft Corp.MSFT +3.55% and Oracle ORCL +2.05% Corp, the country hasn’t produced a major software firm up to the caliber of these multinationals.

In December, a Silicon Valley-based entrepreneurship trade body, the Indus Entrepreneurs, launched a program to help grow a select number of Indian product companies to become worth a billion dollars or more each. To help garner attention for software-product makers, iSpirit created its index last year. For this, it considered more than 300 Indian companies that make and sell software or provide applications that support other businesses. The index doesn’t include technology outsourcing firms like Infosys Ltd.500209.BY +3.56% and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.532540.BY -0.08%, or consumer-oriented technology companies, like Flipkart and ANI Technologies Pvt Ltd.-owned Ola, a taxi-hailing application, which use technology to sell products to individuals. Companies included are firms like Bangalore-based InMobi Technology Services Pvt. Ltd., which competes with Google Inc.GOOGL +2.69% and Facebook Inc.FB +2.96% globally to provide a mobile advertising platform, and Delhi-based Wingify Software Pvt. Ltd, which analyses web-user data to enable companies to create more effective webpages.

Other companies are Capillary Technologies, which creates software that helps retailers manage customer data and counts shoemaker Nike NKE +1.91% and Pizza Hut among its customers, and Druva Software Pvt. Ltd., which provides data backup and other services to companies like Dell Inc. The index also has a few companies which have been around for more than two decades, such as Delhi-based Newgen Software Technologies Ltd, and accounting software-maker Tally Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

These software companies have also caught the eye of international investors in recent years. “There’s a consistent amount of capital going in…I wouldn’t say it’s a flood,” said Dev Khare, managing director of Lightspeed India Partners Advisors LLP, a venture-capital firm. Mr. Khare volunteers with iSpirit and helped put together the report on technology firms. In rupee terms, the 30 most-valuable companies as estimated by iSpirit were worth 655 billion rupees ($10 billion) at the end of June, versus 375 billion rupees at the end of October. The composition of the index has changed, to include some companies whose valuations have grown rapidly since the fall. To be sure, these valuations pale in comparison to that of Indian consumer companies. Flipkart alone was valued at $15 billion in May following a round of capital raising, up from $10 billion in December. Mr. Khare said that though consumer-focused tech companies have gotten a larger share of investor capital in recent years, historically, both consumer and software-product companies have provided good returns to investors. Many of the new Indian software companies are creating products for the tech consumer companies, such as software to manage customers who buy online, or software to manage logistics. Two-thirds of the 30 companies in the iSpirit index are based in India, while others are domiciled in Singapore and Silicon Valley. Most of the companies sell their products to clients globally. “As the conditions become more favorable, more capital will flow into these companies as well,” said Mr. Khare.

Source: The Successful Indian Tech Companies You’ve Probably Never Heard Of – India Real Time – WSJ

31/08/2015

Fewer crimes to be subject to death penalty|Society|chinadaily.com.cn

China’s top legislature has adopted an amendment to the Criminal Law removing the death penalty for nine crimes and limiting the ability of those convicted of corruption from continually seeking reduced sentences. The revisions, passed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Saturday, will take effect on Nov 1.

Crimes that will no longer subject to the death penalty include: ・ smuggling weapons, ammunition, nuclear materials or counterfeit currency; ・ counterfeiting money and fraudently raising funds; ・ arranging for or forcing another person to engage in prostitution; ・ obstructing military personnel from performing their duties; ・ fabricating rumors to mislead others during wartime. When the law takes effect, the number of crimes subject to capital punishment will be reduced to 46.

Since the late 1990s, there has been a consistent move to reduce the use of the death penalty and gradually reduce the number of capital crimes, said Lang Sheng, deputy head of the Law Committee of the NPC Standing Committee. Lang said the decision to abolish the death penalty in the nine crimes was made after thorough research. “After deliberation on the sentencing of the nine crimes, we found the death penalty was rarely applied,” he said. In other cases, few crimes of that type were prosecuted. The revision reflects the changing views of society and the legal community, Lang said.

The legislature also sought to restrict the ability of people convicted of corruption to repeatedly seek reduced sentences. Currently, those who are convicted of serious corruption offenses might receive a death sentence with a two-year reprieve. During the suspended death sentence period, felons typically apply for sentence reductions, often leading to sentences of life imprisonment. The law allows them, thereafter, to appeal for further reductions-commutation of their sentences, parole or non-prison sentences. The amendment changes that, allowing the courts to decline further sentence reductions. “Courts will be allowed to pass a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of commutation or parole in corruption cases,” the Law Committee said in a report to the NPC.

The amendment to the Criminal Law also changed rape laws so that sex with girls under 14, whether consensual or not, is rape. The change comes amid public outrage over recent offenders who were charged with lesser crimes in such cases.

Source: Fewer crimes to be subject to death penalty|Society|chinadaily.com.cn

27/08/2015

Why India Stands to Benefit From China Slowdown and Global Reaction – India Real Time – WSJ

India’s economy has been insulated from the turmoil in emerging markets by a long-standing handicap: It isn’t an export powerhouse. For years, growth in India has been fueled more by domestic demand—not, as in China, by manufacturing goods for sale abroad. Now India’s resilient consumer spending is an advantage as demand decelerates almost everywhere else. It is luring companies to produce in India and, the government hopes, can help spark a belated industrial revolution in the country of 1.2 billion.

Jayant Sinha, India’s minister of state for finance, said this week the Chinese slowdown and its world-wide fallout could provide a chance for India to “take the baton of global growth.” Mumbai’s benchmark stock index ended Wednesday down 1.2%, having slid 8.5% in total since the People’s Bank of China moved to devalue the yuan on Aug. 11. The rupee has lost 3.4% since then. India hasn’t been rattled as badly as Brazil, Russia or South Africa. Its international reserves are ample, and it isn’t highly dependent on foreign capital to fund imports.

Source: Why India Stands to Benefit From China Slowdown and Global Reaction – India Real Time – WSJ

27/08/2015

India’s Hard-Working Expat Army – The Numbers – WSJ

Compared with expatriates from other countries, expats from India are younger, better-educated, harder-working and much more likely to be male. A new survey of people working far from home by the expat social group InterNations also suggests Indian expats are much more likely to pick a partner from home and less likely to settle in the country in which they currently work. While there is debate about exactly how expats differ from other migrant workers, any definition would have to include many of the millions of Indians who help run companies, build software and erect buildings across the globe. Indians have proven to be the highest ranked group of migrants to the U.S., in terms of education and pay. Indian-born leaders now run everything from Microsoft Corp. to Google Inc.

The InterNations survey of 14,400  self-declared expats living in 64 countries  offers some interesting insights into what India’s world-wide web of non-resident road warriors looks like. Here are a few numbers from the survey.

80% Around 80%, or four out of five, Indian expatriates who responded to the InterNations survey are male. That’s really lopsided. The average for all countries combined in the survey was about 47% male.

36.5 years Indians that took part in the survey were 36.5 years old on average. That is younger to the broader expat populace, which had an average age of 40.9 years. 45.2 hours Indian expats said they worked an average of

45.2 hours a week. While that is probably not enough overtime to get you to the top of Google like Sunder Pichai, it’s 3.2 hours more than the average expat.

92% More than 90% of those surveyed had a college degree or higher. On average only 83% of the world’s expats graduated from university. Data on Indians enrolled in U.S. schools show they are often more likely to go for advanced degrees. The education of globe-trotting Indians is also seen in their language abilities.

Close to half (48%) of the people surveyed said they could speak four or more languages. 9 out of 10 Compared with other expatriates,

Indians were much more likely to pick a partner from home. Around 89% of Indians in the survey said they were with someone from their home country. On average, expatriates around the world are usually more likely not to choose someone from home. Only 43% of those surveyed said they had a partner from their countries of origin.

12% Nearly a quarter of expats say they would consider settling in the country where they are currently working. For Indian expatriate workers, however, the number is just around one in eight.

Source: India’s Hard-Working Expat Army – The Numbers – WSJ

26/08/2015

The World Struggles to Adjust to China’s ‘New Normal’ – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China’s leaders have warned their people they need to accommodate a “new normal” of economic growth far slower than the rate that propelled the economy into the world’s second-largest in the past two decades. As WSJ’s James T. Areddy and Lingling Wei report:

Now, the rest of the world also needs to get used to the new normal: a China in the midst of a tectonic shift in its giant economy that is rattling markets world-wide.

The slowdown deepening this year is part of a bumpy transition away from an era when smokestack industries, huge exports and massive infrastructure spending—underpinned by trillions in state-backed debt—powered China’s seemingly unstoppable rise. Today, debt has swelled to more than twice the size of the economy, and some of those industries, such as construction and steel, are reeling.

Instead of them, China is pushing services, consumer spending and private entrepreneurship as new drivers of growth that rely less on debt and more on the stock market for funding.

via The World Struggles to Adjust to China’s ‘New Normal’ – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

24/08/2015

What the Indian and Pakistani Media Said About Canceled NSA Talks – India Real Time – WSJ

With talks set for Monday between India and Pakistan called off, the blame game is in full swing. Newspapers in both countries spilled a lot of ink on the vitriolic back-and-forth between New Delhi and Islamabad and tried to predict what would happen next.

India’s Amar Ujala, a Hindi-language daily newspaper, said Pakistan’s stubbornness had derailed the planned meeting between the two countries’ national security advisors.

The paper pointed to a joint statement by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, when they agreed to the talks in July, saying the two sides would discuss terrorism. “If Pakistan had an objection, it should not have signed the joint statement,” the paper wrote.

“Pakistan took India’s sovereignty too casually,” said another editorial in Navbharat Times, one of the most-widely read Hindi dailies, referring to a Pakistani demand that its security advisor be allowed to meet separatists from the disputed region of Kashmir ahead of the talks. “Now it can’t expect India to show respect.”

Some in India’s English-language press took a milder tone.

The Times of India, India’s most widely circulated English-language daily described the cancelation of talks as a “temporary setback.” In an editorial, it described the days before the talks were finally called off as a “prolonged game of chicken to see who blinks first.”

 

“There’s a more than even chance Pakistan will seek to escalate tensions on the so-far quiet northern stretches of the Line of Control,” said the Indian Express in an editorial published Monday referring to the border which divides India-and Pakistan-held Kashmir. The paper advised both countries of the need for “maturity and self-reflection” which it said was “little in evidence this past week.”

On the other side of the border, some in the Pakistani media held India accountable for the failure of the talks.

In an editorial, Dawn, one of Pakistan’s biggest newspapers, said the Indian government’s anger against “a fairly innocuous and standard meeting” between Pakistan and Kashmiri separatists was a sign of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “true intentions.”

“He does not really want dialogue with Pakistan, but does not want to be seen rejecting talks outright in front of the international community,” Dawn said.

In Pakistan’s the Nation, an editorial said Pakistan’s decision to pull out of the talks mean it was “finally taking a stand” against India. “Enough is enough,” it said.

India was “not ready to settle” and Pakistan was now quitting its “good cop routine,” something the paper said Monday was the “right move.”

“India will make sure to repackage the situation as Pakistan refusing to talk, rather than India reneging on its promises. As the bigger country, as the more globally popular country, India will get away with that,” the paper concluded.

The Nawa-i-Waqt, a prominent national Urdu-language daily, said in an editorial Sunday that “from day one, it has been India’s policy to indicate its willingness to talk to Pakistan on all issues including Kashmir to deceive the world, but whenever the time nears for talks at any level, it makes some excuse to sabotage them.”

via What the Indian and Pakistani Media Said About Canceled NSA Talks – India Real Time – WSJ.

24/08/2015

Are the Best Days Over for China Tech Startups? – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Over the past year, China has seen a boom in its startup scene, thanks to plenty of capital flowing into the sector.

But some investors and entrepreneurs say that could be changing as Beijing struggles to restore confidence in its economy and faltering stock market.

In Shenzhen, hundreds of entrepreneurs and investors gathered on Sunday at an event called Big Salad, where local startups talked about their business ideas, including high-tech underwear and affordable smart glasses. Everyone was full of enthusiasm and the mood was upbeat throughout, but some of them were also bracing for tougher times.

“Raising new money is difficult now,” said Mosso Lau, vice president of Shenzhen-based Firebird Institution, which runs funds that invest in early-stage startups while also serving as an incubator that helps startups develop their business ideas.

Firebird set up its last investment fund two years ago by collecting 12 million yuan ($1.9 million) from local businesses and wealthy individuals. It invested that money in tech startups such as mobile apps for food delivery and massage services.

As Firebird is now preparing to set up a new fund for next year, Mr. Lau expects it will be a lot harder to collect money this time, because potential investors have been hit by the recent stock market turmoil. “From last year until this June, there was so much money in venture investment. It was unusual,” he said.

Last year, venture-capital investments in China’s tech sector more than doubled to $6 billion from $2.8 billion in 2013, according to Hong Kong-based AVCJ Research, with both foreign and domestic funds putting in more money than the prior year. Total early-stage funding for Chinese tech startups surged to nearly $2 billion last year from $313 million in 2012 as deals increased to 299 from 172, according to AVCJ.

In January, when Jerry Dai founded a startup in Shenzhen that operates a crowdfunding platform similar to Kickstarter, there was nothing but optimism.

Entrepreneurs around him who had already raised capital told Mr. Dai that fundraising for his new venture wouldn’t be a problem because angel investors — individuals or funds that provide capital for early-stage startups before formal investment rounds — were financing just about any business idea.

But now, just as his startup is trying to find an angel investor, things are looking tougher.

“There are still many angel investors, but they are getting more selective,” he said. “Some investors think there is a bubble in China that may break in one or two years.”

Mr. Dai said he expects the process of securing funds to take longer than it would have several months ago.

“Last year was crazy. There was so much money in China,” said Heatherm Huang, a cofounder of MailTime, which makes emails easier to use on smartphones. Even though his startup is based in San Francisco, it raised much of its early funds from Chinese investors. “In some ways, things are going back to normal now.”

via Are the Best Days Over for China Tech Startups? – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

23/08/2015

Spectacular Images of Mars From India’s Most-Ambitious Space Mission – India Real Time – WSJ

Next month, India’s mission to Mars is expected to complete a year in orbit around the red planet and its photo album so far is out of this world.

The spacecraft, named Mangalyaan, Hindi for Mars craft, has already completed more than 100 orbits since it arrived at the planet on Sept. 24, 2014.

At a cost of $74 million, the Indian Space Research Organization’s mission to Mars was the cheapest of recent missions to Mars mounted by other space agencies.

The satellite is healthy and continues to “glean data,” Debiprasad Karnik, a spokesman for ISRO, said Friday.

Apart from a few days in June when it lost touch with Earth after moving behind the Sun in a phenomenon called “solar conjuncture,” Mangalyaan has remained in contact and been sending photographs taken by the Mars Color Camera back to scientists in India.

The photo above, taken in July, is of the Ophir Chasma, part of what the National Aeronautics and Space Administration describes as the largest canyon system in the solar system, known as the Valles Marineris.

NASA calls the geographical feature the Grand Canyon of Mars. At a length of more than 1,800 miles, it is almost 3.5 times the length of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The walls of the chasma, that is described by the International Astronomical Union as “an elongate steepsided depression,” are multi-layered, the floor too contains large deposits of layered materials.

via Spectacular Images of Mars From India’s Most-Ambitious Space Mission – India Real Time – WSJ.

21/08/2015

China’s love for Chariot’s Of Fire hero Eric Liddell

A clutch of elderly Chinese pensioners, three Canadian women in their 70s and 80s and a British film star gathered in the courtyard of a school in the obscure industrial town of Weifang on Monday to witness the unveiling of a statue of a running man.

Statue of Scottish Olympic running hero Eric Liddel

The athlete immortalised in bronze in China is Eric Liddell, the legendary Olympian whose achievements were marked in the 1981 fi lm Chariots Of Fire.

The Canadians were there because Liddell was their father and the presence of the actor, Joseph Fiennes, was because he plays the Scottish sprinter in The Last Race, a new movie about his life to be released in March.

But why would the Chinese authorities be interested in venerating such a man? The truth is that Liddell is as much Chinese as he is Scottish.

Born in Tianjin in 1902 he went on to spend more than half his life in the country as an evangelical Christian missionary. And so while he is known as the Flying Scotsman in the UK in China he is remembered as the country’s first Olympic champion.

It is rare indeed that a person has the good fortune to meet a saint but he came as close to it as anyone I have ever known

Eight years before Beijing sent its first team to the Olympics, Liddell won a memorable gold medal in the 400m as part of the British team in the Paris Games of 1924. His victory was all the more poignant because he had been forced to pull out of his best event the 100m as soon as the timetable for the Games was announced.

Liddell, the son of Scottish missionaries, was such a devout Christian that he would not countenance breaking the Sabbath to take part in heats held on a Sunday. Aware this meant he wouldn’t be able to participate in the qualifying rounds for the sprint Liddell devoted all his energy to training for the 400m.

As he took to the starting blocks for the final a masseur with the American Olympic team is said to have slipped a piece of paper into his hand with the Book Of Samuel quotation: “Those who honour me I will honour.”

The fates were certainly on Liddell’s side that day.

He not only won but broke the existing Olympic and world records with a time of 47.6 seconds.

His sporting success did not divert him from his chosen course however and within a year he travelled to China to take up a posting as a missionary teacher in Tianjin’s Anglo-Chinese College, a school popular with the local elite.

The missionaries believed that by teaching Christian values to the children of the wealthy they might promote them later when they reached positions of influence.

Liddell also got involved in the sporting curriculum and even advised on the construction of Tianjin’s Minyuan Stadium.

He proposed an exact copy of the then football ground of Chelsea FC, said to have been his favourite running venue in the UK. He met and married a Canadian woman called Florence, also a child of missionaries, and they had daughters Patricia and Heather.

When Florence was pregnant with their third, war broke out and, with the Imperial Japanese Army sweeping through China, Liddell insisted she and the girls leave for Canada .

Typically Liddell refused to leave his beloved China in its hour of need and was interned and placed in a camp in Weifang, where he dedicated himself to the welfare of fellow inmates.

One of these, Langdon Gilkey, a 19-year-old American who went on to became a prominent theologian, said of Liddell: “Often I would see him bent over a chessboard or a model boat or directing some sort of square dance – absorbed, weary and interested, pouring all of himself into this effort to capture the imagination of penned-up youths.

“He was overflowing with good humour and love for life with enthusiasm and charm.

“It is rare indeed that a person has the good fortune to meet a saint but he came as close to it as anyone I have ever known.”

Liddell even turned down the opportunity to return to Britain after the prime minister Winston Churchill brokered a deal for his release. True to form Liddell arranged for a pregnant woman from the camp to take his place. His tireless efforts on behalf of both the children of the camp and the older generation took its toll to such an extent that in early 1945 he had to be admitted to the camp hospital.

A few days later he sat up in bed and wrote to his wife in Canada: “… was carrying too much responsibility… had slight nervous breakdown… much better after a month in hospital. Special love to you and the children, Eric”.

But in fact he was not much better. He had a brain tumour and within an hour of writing the note he was gone.

His friend and colleague Anne Buchan reported that he uttered the words, “It’s full surrender”, before lapsing into a coma from which he would never recover. He was just 43.

via China’s love for Chariot’s Of Fire hero Eric Liddell | History | News | Daily Express.

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