Archive for ‘Chindia Alert’

25/11/2014

Massive Himalayan hydropower dam comes on stream in Tibet | South China Morning Post

Tibet‘s biggest ever hydropower project has begun generating electricity, state-run media reported, the latest dam developed on Himalayan rivers to prompt concern in neighbouring India.

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The first generating plant at the 9.6 billion yuan (HK$12.1 billion) Zangmu Hydropower Station, which stands more than 3,300 metres above sea level, went into operation on Sunday, Xinhua said.

The dam on the Yarlung Zangbo River, known as the Brahmaputra in India where it is a major waterway, will be 116 metres high when completed next year, according to reports.

It will have a total generating capacity of 510,000 kilowatts.

“The hydropower station will solve Tibet’s power shortage, especially in the winter,” Xinhua quoted an official from Tibet Electric Power Company as saying.

India has previously expressed concern about damming the Brahmaputra, one of the largest Himalayan rivers and a lifeline to some of India’s remote, farm-dependent northeastern states.

India’s Foreign Ministry last year urged China “to ensure that the interests of downstream states are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas” of the river after state media reports that China planned several more dams there.

Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said yesterday that New Delhi had been aware the dam was “coming up”.

“The Chinese have told us that it should have no implications for us,” he said.

Dam construction in China has been blamed for reduced flow and sudden flooding on the Mekong River, which flows into Southeast Asia, claims Beijing has denied.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters: “The hydropower stations China builds will not affect the flood prevention and ecological system of downstream areas.”

via Massive Himalayan hydropower dam comes on stream in Tibet | South China Morning Post.

25/11/2014

News Corp. invests in India real estate website – Businessweek

News Corp. says it has invested in a real estate website in India as it tries to grow its digital business.

The New York-based media company, which is controlled by Rupert Murdoch, owns the Wall Street Journal newspaper and HarperCollins book publisher and runs the real estate website realtor.com.

News Corp. said Monday that it paid $30 million for a 25 percent stake in Elara Technologies Pte Ltd., which owns the Indian website, PropTiger.com. A News Corp. executive will join Elara’s Singapore-based board.

Last year, News Corp. split its newspaper and publishing business from its more-

via News Corp. invests in India real estate website – Businessweek.

25/11/2014

India to Double Renewables in Energy Mix, Minister Says – Businessweek

India plans to more than double the share of renewables in the mix of fuels it consumes, an effort to reduce the dominance of coal.

Renewables such as solar and wind may account for 15 percent of India’s energy supply in the next five years, up from 6 percent currently, said Piyush Goyal, a government minister in charge of power, said at a conference in New Delhi.

“While coal will continue to dominate our energy mix for sometime, we are taking steps to protect the environment,” Goyal said today. “Neither India nor the world has the luxury of time when it comes to protection of the environment.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to speed up clean energy deployment in India as it tries to attract more than $100 billion of investment for the industry in the next four years. At present, coal generates 60 percent electricity in a nation that suffers from chronic blackouts.

The minister reiterated his previously stated view that renewables can’t count on government subsidies for too long. He said the industry should focus on convincing banks to make funding for projects as easily available as loans for cars.

Modi’s administration reintroduced a tax break for the wind industry earlier this year. Goyal said he hopes those will help turbine installers add 8 gigawatts of capacity every year, a level that would make India one of the biggest wind markets in the world.

India plans to require power purchasers and generators to include renewable energy in their suppliers and will penalize those that don’t, he said.

India will host a renewables conference from Feb. 15 to Feb. 17 to encourage growth in the industry.

via India to Double Renewables in Energy Mix, Minister Says – Businessweek.

25/11/2014

Nepal to ink India power deal during Modi visit – Businessweek

Nepal’s government is signing an agreement Tuesday with an Indian company to build a hydroelectricity plant that will export power to India and also boost supplies in the energy starved Himalayan nation.

The inking of the deal with Indian company Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd. to build the 900 megawatt Arun III hydropower station will coincide with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s visit to Nepal for a South Asian regional summit.

The $1.04 billion project is expected to begin producing electricity in 2020. More than three quarters of its output will be exported to India, said Ghanashyam Ojha, external affairs official at the Investment Board Nepal.

The Arun III agreement, which was endorsed by Nepal’s Cabinet late Monday, comes just two months after a similar deal with another Indian company.

They are the two biggest private foreign investments in Nepal, and put India ahead of neighboring China, which has long shown interest in developing Nepal’s power industry.

In September, Nepal signed an agreement with Indian company GMR to build the $1.15 billion Upper Karnali Hydro power plant.

via Nepal to ink India power deal during Modi visit – Businessweek.

25/11/2014

India-Pakistan Sparring Opens Door for China in South Asia – Businessweek

For a senior Afghan diplomat sitting in India’s capital, it’s easy to explain how a region with a quarter of the world’s people can account for only five percent of global trade.

Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping

“India and Pakistan need to overcome their problems,” M. Ashraf Haidari, deputy chief of mission at Afghanistan’s embassy in New Delhi, said in an interview ahead of this week’s meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, or SAARC. “Summits happen, leaders come, there’s all this consensus and declarations announced. But unfortunately it doesn’t happen in reality.”

As leaders of eight SAARC countries meet in Nepal this week for the first time since 2011, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has more reasons than ever to turn the bloc into a regional force to counter China’s growing influence in South Asia. Doing so will require him to overcome differences with Pakistani leader Nawaz Sharif.

So far, things aren’t looking good. Modi’s government scrapped talks with Pakistan in August, which was followed by the worst border fighting between the countries in a decade. At the same time, China has promised SAARC nations part of a $40 billion Silk Road fund to finance infrastructure investments.

“SAARC won’t be able to counter China’s influence,” said Nishan de Mel, executive director and head of research at Colombo-based Verite Research Pvt., a policy research group. “China tends to have an approach that isn’t too demanding and isn’t politically difficult for the partner country and where the partner country will tend to see benefits quite quickly. India’s approach tends to be more hard-nosed.”

via India-Pakistan Sparring Opens Door for China in South Asia – Businessweek.

25/11/2014

China’s Railroad Ventures Abroad Project Soft Power – Businessweek

Last week state-owned China Railway Construction Corp. (CRCC) signed a lucrative contract with Nigeria to build an 870-mile coastal railroad from Lagos to Calabar, two of the West African nation’s leading cities. The price tag: $12 billion. That makes it the largest single overseas engineering contract awarded to any Chinese company, according to state-run Xinhua newswire.

Chinese and Venezuelan construction workers build an elevated platform at China Railway Engineering Corporation's (CREC) Tinaco-Anaco railway project in Los Dos Caminos, Venezuela in 2012

Beijing hopes many more deals will follow. In recent months, Chinese leaders on overseas missions have often bragged of the country’s prowess in building railroads, including high-speed bullet trains.

In May, Li Keqiang made his first diplomatic trip as China’s premier to Africa, visiting Ethiopia, Nigeria, Angola, and Kenya. At the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, he said he envisioned a bright future for the continent when African capitals would be connected by high-speed rail. And China, he added, according to Xinhua, could “help make this dream come true.”

In early November, a consortium of Chinese companies led by CRCC won a $3.7 billion contract to build a bullet train in Mexico; that contract was canceled a few days later due to suspected corruption on the Mexican side. But the aborted deal is still a sign of overseas demand for China’s rail technology.

Nor are rail deals limited to developing nations: In October, Boston’s transit authority signed a $567 million contract with China’s CNR Corp. to build 284 subway cars.

In addition to stimulating domestic manufacturing demand for steel and rail equipment exports, China’s leaders hope the flurry of railway deals will have soft power benefits as well. The Nigerian railroad will be “a mutually beneficial project,” as CRCC Chairman Meng Fengchao told Xinhua. He pledged to hire at least several thousand workers from Nigeria; in the past, Chinese companies have been criticized for bringing in Chinese workers to complete large engineering projects, thus denying work opportunities to local populations.

via China’s Railroad Ventures Abroad Project Soft Power – Businessweek.

25/11/2014

Priyanka Chopra in Pink Rubber Gloves Joins Modi’s Clean India Campaign – India Real Time – WSJ

In pink rubber gloves and a surgical mask, former Miss World and Bollywood movie star Priyanka Chopra is the latest celebrity to be enlisted to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Clean India Campaign.

In an 11-minute-film posted on YouTube, Ms. Chopra can be seen beginning a cleanup of an area where she filmed part of the movie “Agneepath.”

“I remember that there are people who live here and children who play on mounds of garbage and that is their life,” Ms. Chopra says in the short film as she directs a group picking up garbage in Versova in Mumbai. “The idea of doing this is to create something that is long-lasting,” Ms. Chopra adds during the video. “ I wanted to do something a little more than just cleaning a few piles of garbage.”

The film ends with shots of the area spruced up with murals and flower pots.

The Clean India campaign is Mr. Modi’s plan to create a sanitized India by 2019 in honor of the 150th anniversary of independence leader Mahatma Gandhi’s birth. Ms. Chopra is the latest Bollywood star to get involved after Salman Khan and Amitabh Bachchan who have both been pictured with brooms in hand pledging support at the prime minister’s request.

via Priyanka Chopra in Pink Rubber Gloves Joins Modi’s Clean India Campaign – India Real Time – WSJ.

25/11/2014

Mrs. Modi, This Is What You’re Entitled to as Wife of India’s PM – India Real Time – WSJ

Narendra Modi’s wife wants to know what privileges she is entitled to as the spouse of India’s prime minister.

Six months into the role, Jashodaben Chiman Modi has asked police why she must use the bus when her security detail travels in a government car and what perks she should be getting as the wife of the country’s most-powerful man.

“I am the wife of the prime minister and as per formal procedure, I want to know what other services am I supposed to get,” Mrs. Modi wrote in a submission under India’s right to information law, according to a spokeswoman at the police station where the document was received.

An odd request for such a person to make you might think but here’s the thing.

Until he filed election nomination papers in April ahead of national polls, Mr. Modi had never mentioned his wife publicly.

The pair had an arranged marriage in their teens and Mr. Modi left her soon after the ceremony. The couple have lived apart since though they are not divorced.

But, after Mr. Modi swept to power in May, his wife, a retired school teacher, was allotted 24-hour protection from five security commandos by the Gujarat police.

In the RTI application submitted Monday, Mrs. Modi stated that “I want to know under which legal clauses/provisions and acts of [Indian] Constitution have I been given the security cover,” according to the police spokeswoman. Mrs. Modi could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for the prime minister was not immediately available for comment.

Referring to the assassination of former prime minister of Indira Gandhi by her security guards in 1984, Mrs. Modi said she “is frightened by the presence” of the commandos and “asked for all the details of her personal bodyguards,” the spokeswoman said.

Besides, she also asked for information about the “other honors and benefits” she is authorized to receive as the prime minister’s wife.

via Mrs. Modi, This Is What You’re Entitled to as Wife of India’s PM – India Real Time – WSJ.

25/11/2014

India names special envoy for China border talks | Reuters

India on Monday named its powerful national security adviser as a special envoy on China, opening the way for resumption of talks on the disputed border, where tensions have risen in recent months over border patrols and stiffer defenses.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with India's National Security Adviser Ajit Doval at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing September 9, 2014.  REUTERS/Lintao Zhang/Pool

Ajit Doval, a close aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will lead the negotiations with Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi to try and reach a settlement on dispute over the 3,500-km (2,175-mile) border that has clouded rapidly expanding commercial links.

In September, the two armies were locked in a faceoff in the Ladakh sector in the western Himalayas just as Chinese President Xi Jinping was visiting India for the first summit talks with Modi.

Both leaders vowed to work together to resolve the border row that has defied a solution even after 17 rounds of high level talks over the last decade and negotiations even earlier between the diplomats of the two countries.

China lays claim to more than 90,000 sq km (35,000 sq miles) disputed by New Delhi in the eastern sector of the Himalayas. India says China occupies 38,000 square km (14,600 sq miles) of its territory on the Aksai Chin plateau in the west.

Doval, a hardliner on national security issues, will conduct boundary negotiations as well as strategic consultations with China, Modi’s office said in a statement.

New Delhi has vowed to beef up defenses along the border to narrow the gap with China’s network of roads and communication links. Beijing has expressed concern about India’s plan to build roads and border outposts in Arunachal Pradesh in the east, which it refers to as south Tibet.

Indian officials say Chinese border patrols have been intruding deeper into their side of the de facto border, in a sign of assertiveness that has fueled concern in the region.

(Reporting by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

via India names special envoy for China border talks | Reuters.

25/11/2014

China considers tougher tobacco controls: Xinhua | Reuters

China, the world’s biggest tobacco market, is considering a draft regulation that would ban indoor smoking, limit outdoor smoking and end tobacco advertising, the state-run Xinhua news agency has reported.

Girls stand next to a ''No Smoking'' sign at a park downtown Shanghai April 27, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

The draft, published by the legislative affairs office of the State Council, or cabinet, and open for public consultation, included plans to curtail smoking scenes in films and TV shows, Xinhua said in a report published late on Monday.

China faces a smoking-related health crisis, with more than 300 million smokers and hundreds of millions more exposed to second-hand smoke each year. However, cigarettes are part of China’s social fabric and advocates of tougher smoking regulations have faced difficulty pushing through controls.

The government’s heavy dependence on tobacco taxes has been a major impediment to anti-smoking efforts. Last year, the tobacco industry contributed more than 816 billion yuan ($131.70 billion) to government coffers, an annual rise of nearly 14 percent.

Sources told Reuters in September that intense lobbying by the powerful state tobacco monopoly had resulted in the weakening of controversial legislation that had meant to introduce a complete advertising ban.

The draft regulation would ban indoor smoking in public places and outdoor spaces in kindergartens, schools, colleges, women’s and children’s hospitals and in fitness venues, Xinhua said. The draft also prohibits selling cigarettes to minors through vending machines.

It urged civil servants, teachers and medical staff to take the lead in tobacco control, saying teachers and medical workers would not be allowed to smoke in front of students or patients.

via China considers tougher tobacco controls: Xinhua | Reuters.

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