18/06/2015

U.S. tech firm Cisco to invest $10 billion in China expansion | Reuters

Cisco (CSCO.O) plans to invest more than $10 billion in China along with local business partners over the next several years, the U.S. network equipment maker said on Wednesday, as it seeks to shore up its position against strong domestic rivals.

A visitor walks past a Cisco advertising panel at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona February 27, 2014. REUTERS/Albert Gea

Cisco, the world’s biggest maker of switching equipment and routers that run the Internet, announced the investment plans following high-level meetings between top executives and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang and other government agency leaders.

A statement issued by the Silicon Valley company provided the broad outlines of how it planned to invest but did not detail any specific spending or timelines for doing so.

It said in a statement it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China’s state planner, the National Development and Reform Commission, to expand investment.

This will be used to fund innovation, equity investment, research and development and job creation, Cisco said.

It also signed an MoU with the Association of Universities (Colleges) of Applied Science (AUAS) to advance technical training of information and communications engineers.

The company said it will invest in a four-year network engineer training program with 100 universities and colleges of applied science recommended by AUAS.

Cisco is looking to capitalize on initiatives promoted by the Chinese government including “China Manufacturing 2025″, “Internet+” and its strategy to deliver more services as cloud-based Internet services.

The move comes as pressure has grown on foreign technology firms in the world’s biggest Internet market as Beijing has moved to promote domestic technology suppliers it says are needed to protect state secrets and data.

Earlier this year, a Reuters analysis found Cisco was among U.S. technology firms which had been dropped from state procurement lists in recent years.

Cisco and arch-rival Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL] of China have been battling each other for a decade. Political controversies over ties to their respective governments have raised questions about their futures on each other’s lucrative home turf.

In 2013, John Chambers, Cisco’s long-serving chairman and chief executive, acknowledged that security controversies had stymied the company’s moves to expand in China.

Chambers took part in the recent meetings with Chinese government officials along with CEO-Designate Chuck Robbins, who is scheduled to take over as chief executive in July. Chambers will remain as executive chairman of the company.

via U.S. tech firm Cisco to invest $10 billion in China expansion | Reuters.

18/06/2015

India’s Modi Makes Ramadan Call to Pakistan’s Sharif – India Real Time – WSJ

In the latest gesture between the two nuclear-armed neighbors, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif to greet him ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which starts this week.

During the conversation, which lasted for around five minutes, Mr. Modi announced the release of detained Pakistani fishermen as “an act of goodwill,” Mr. Sharif’s office said in a statement Tuesday evening.

The released Pakistani fishermen “will be able to be with their families to observe this blessed month,” Mr. Modi said on social networking site Twitter. Details on the number of fishermen to be released and the timing were not disclosed.

In response, Mr. Sharif said in a statement that the two nations should “forget their differences and talk of war, and move towards peace and tranquility.”

Pakistan and India should co-exist peacefully as they are neighbors, and they should not let their bilateral differences become hurdles in that path,” the statement added.

Mr. Modi first extended an olive branch to Pakistan when he invited Mr. Sharif to his swearing-in ceremony after his election last year, but since then, the fragile ties have soured with inflammatory remarks from both sides.

 

During a visit to Bangladesh earlier this month, Mr. Modi accused Pakistan of creating “nuisance” and “constantly troubling” India by promoting terrorism. Meanwhile, Indian military action along its eastern border with Myanmar last week rattled Pakistani leaders, who accused India of backing terrorist attacks on their land and slandering Pakistan at international forums.

Further, Pakistan last month refused to grant visas to Indian yoga instructors ahead of the first International Day of Yoga. India retaliated by rejecting the visa application of a Pakistani official to travel to New Delhi.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since the partition of British India in 1947. Two of those conflicts were over the disputed region of Kashmir. New Delhi accuses Pakistan of sponsoring extremist groups that target India, while Islamabad accuses India of supporting terror outfits on their soil.

Cricket has often served as a diplomatic tool to ease relations though.

In February, Mr. Modi called Mr. Sharif to convey his best wishes for the 2015 Cricket World Cup. And in March, he again called the Pakistani prime minister to inform him about the visit of the Indian foreign secretary to his country as part of a tour of India’s neighbors.

Analysts feel Mr. Modi’s telephone call Tuesday could help resume dialogue between the two hostile nations.

“It is an optimistic development, a sign of goodwill in breaking the ice with Pakistan,” said Lalit Mansingh, a former Indian foreign secretary and one-time ambassador to the U.S.

But, “there is far too much a negative experience between the two countries to call it a diplomatic breakthrough,” Mr. Mansingh added.

Referring to Tuesday’s telephone call, Mr. Sharif said it reflected Mr. Modi’s wish “for good ties.”

via India’s Modi Makes Ramadan Call to Pakistan’s Sharif – India Real Time – WSJ.

18/06/2015

China steps up controls in unruly Xinjiang as Ramadan approaches | Reuters

Some local governments in China’s unruly far western region of Xinjiang are stepping up controls on the Islamic faith followed by the Uighur people ahead of Ramadan, including making officials swear they will not fast.

An SVG map of China with the Xinjiang autonomo...

An SVG map of China with the Xinjiang autonomous region highlighted Legend: Image:China map legend.png The orange area is Aksai Chin, a part of Xinjiang which is claimed by India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The holy month, which begins this week, is a sensitive time in Xinjiang following an uptick in deadly attacks blamed by Beijing on Islamist militants over the past three years in which hundreds have died.

In recent days, state media and government websites in Xinjiang have published stories and official notices demanding that party members, civil servants, students and teachers in particular do not to observe Ramadan, something that happened last year too.

In Jinghe county near the Kazakh border, food safety officials decided last week that they would “guide and encourage” halal restaurants to stay open as normal during Ramadan, the government said on its website.

Those that do stay open would get fewer visits from food safety inspectors, it added.

Muslims worldwide observe Ramadan, during which many abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours.

Other government institutions have given similar instructions.

via China steps up controls in unruly Xinjiang as Ramadan approaches | Reuters.

18/06/2015

China military says two more top officers probed for graft | Reuters

China’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that two more former senior officers were being investigated for corruption, as part of a sweeping campaign against graft which has already felled dozens of senior people.

In a brief statement, the ministry said that Kou Tie, former commander of the Heilongjiang military region in northern China, had been put under investigation last November for suspected “serious discipline violations”. He was handed over to military prosecutors last month.

The other officer was named as Liu Zhanqi, a former communications division commander for the paramilitary People’s Armed Police, also suspected of “serious discipline violations”, common wording for corruption. He was handed to military prosecutors last month as well.

The ministry gave no further details. Neither case had been reported before.

Weeding out graft in the military is a top goal of President Xi Jinping, chairman of the Central Military Commission, which controls China’s 2.3 million-strong armed forces.

Serving and retired Chinese military officers have said military graft is so pervasive it could undermine China’s ability to wage war, and dozens of senior officers have been taken down.

The anti-graft drive in the military comes as Xi steps up efforts to modernize forces that are projecting power across the disputed waters of the East and South China Seas, though China has not fought a war in decades.

via China military says two more top officers probed for graft | Reuters.

18/06/2015

Venezuela to get $5 billion in funding from China in next few months: PDVSA official | Reuters

Venezuela will receive a loan of $5 billion from China in the coming months for crude oil projects, a director at state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela said on Tuesday.

The flow of crude oil is seen in a container while an oilfield worker works on a drilling rig at an oil well operated by Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA, in the oil rich Orinoco belt, near Cabrutica at the state of Anzoategui April 16, 2015.  REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

China has become Venezuela’s principal financier over the last decade, lending more than $46 billion to be repaid in oil.

“It is being discussed right now and will come within a few months,” Orlando Chacin, vice president of exploration and production at PDVSA [PDVSA.UL], said in an interview.

The resources should help the oil company as it handles the severe impact of the drop in crude prices.

Oil makes up 96 percent of the country’s foreign income.

The funds seemed to be part of an overall $10 billion loan a PDVSA source earlier this year said Venezuela had negotiated with the Development Bank of China, half for oil projects.

“They are for many projects,” Chacin said. He said many of those would be in the vast Orinoco Belt, which contains most of Venezuela’s crude, but did not offer more details.

Venezuela is looking to increase crude production in the Orinoco region to offset declines in other traditional areas and to stimulate its struggling economy.

The country’s international reserves hit 12-year lows this month as the economy suffers a recession, high inflation and shortages of basic goods.

via Venezuela to get $5 billion in funding from China in next few months: PDVSA official | Reuters.

12/06/2015

India to Widen Its Growth Lead Over China, World Bank Says – India Real Time – WSJ

India will continue to be the world’s fastest growing big economy and expand its lead on China over the next two years, the World Bank said Wednesday.

The bank expects global growth to slow this year, only to rebound next year. However, it expects India’s gross domestic product expansion to accelerate to 7.4% this calendar year, 7.8% next year and 8.0% in 2017.

Over the same three years, the multi-lateral lender predicts China’s growth to slow from 7.1% this year to 7.0% in 2016 and 6.9% the year after that.

While, India’s GDP expansion was faster than China’s during the third quarter of last calendar year and the first quarter of this year, it looks as if 2015 will be the first full calendar year India has outpaced China in decades.

Much of India’s progress on paper has more to do with a radical and controversial rejigging of how it calculates GDP, economists say.

To continue to outpace China—and improve the lives of India’s own billion-person populace—the South Asian nation needs to work harder to revamp its economy and build infrastructure, the World Bank said.

“To the extent that credible reform agendas boost investor sentiment, they will also help create a virtuous cycle of stronger investment (including foreign investment) and output growth in the short term,” the bank said in its Global Economic Prospects Report. “If, however, reforms stall, this could result in significantly lower investment and growth than projected in the baseline.”

Meanwhile the other three BRICS countriesBrazil, Russia and South Africa—do not seem to be living up to the hype from the days that acronym was created.  The World Bank predicts that the Brazilian and Russian economies will both shrink this year while South Africa’s will only expand by 2%. Things will improve for the three economies in the next two years but even then, they will each only see their GDPs expand by 2.5% or less in 2017.

via India to Widen Its Growth Lead Over China, World Bank Says – India Real Time – WSJ.

09/06/2015

China Headlines: How is the Chinese Dream changing the world? – Xinhua | English.news.cn

On the way toward the renaissance of its ancient glory, China is inspiring its people and the world with a new concept: the Chinese Dream.

Put forward by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, in November 2012, the Chinese Dream of Great Renewal has not only struck a chord with the Chinese people, but been, believe it or not, changing the world.

PROFOUND CHANGES IN CHINA, WORLD

The ancient Chinese civilization had a broad influence on the world. Now China is “coming back” as it is reemerging as a great power.

For this reason, many people began to read “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China”, a book that outlines the full political ideas of the top Chinese leadership.

Xi’s book has sold 4.5 million copies worldwide, with an overseas circulation of some 400,000, a record for any Chinese leader’s publication in nearly four decades.

It is becoming increasingly easy to pin down a definition of the Chinese Dream. On cabs and billboards, the Chinese Dream is described as “a prosperous country, a revitalized nation and a happy people”.

The Dream is also elaborated on as “two centenary goals” — to double the 2010GDPand per capita income of urban and rural residents and complete the building of a moderately prosperous society by 2020; and to build a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious by the middle of this century.

If the development plan comes true, it will be one of the most earth-shaking developments since the First Opium War (1840-1842), not only for China but also for global history.

In a report published last year, London-based advertising company WPP said the Chinese Dream “enjoys a much higher level of awareness than the American Dream or British Dream.”

DREAMS OF 1.3 BILLION PEOPLE

China’s population outnumbers that of theUnited States, theEuropean UnionandJapancombined, accounting for about one fifth of the world’s total.

It is unprecedented in the history of human civilization for a country of such a scale to rejuvenate.

The Chinese Dream is the dream for every Chinese individual. In the Three Gorges reservoir region in central China’s Hubei Province, 35-year-old farmer Zhou Xingliang’s dream is quite ordinary: he wants his son to grow up healthy and go to a good college, and for he and his wife to be able to take good care of their parents.

Several hundred kilometers away, in Danjiangkou City, chicken farmer Tan Yong has different aspirations. Dreaming of inventing, the 44-year-old man made a two-tonne submarine with a red star painted on the cabin door. The sub can dive 10 meters below the water surface.

For the entrepreneurial Cantonese Zhang Qinwei, his dream of a “gold rush” in Dubai came true. In 12 years, Zhang expanded his business from a four-square meter shop to a wholesale mall of Chinese products.

As president of the Guangdong Chamber of Commerce in the United Arab Emirates, Zhang now dreams of helping more Chinese companies do businesses there.

via China Headlines: How is the Chinese Dream changing the world? – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

09/06/2015

Police kill 12 Maoist rebels in Jharkhand | Reuters

The police killed 12 Maoist insurgents on Tuesday in a shootout with a group suspected of planning to extort money from mining contractors in Jharkhand, a spokesman said.

Map of India showing location of Jharkhand

Map of India showing location of Jharkhand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Police, acting on a tip-off, tightened up security on the route to the mines. When the group approached a checkpoint in vehicles, the police got out and opened fire.

“We have recovered the bodies of 12 rebels from the spot. This is a big achievement for us,” police spokesman S.N. Pradhan said by telephone from Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand.

Jharkhand is among a dozen states fighting a four-decade old Maoist insurgency that the last government described as the country’s biggest internal security threat.

The Maoists say they are fighting for the rights of peasants and landless labourers. They routinely call strikes, attack government property and target politicians and police, mostly across swathes of rural India’s east and south.

Among the dead in the one-hour gun battle was a rebel leader with a 500,000 rupee ($8,000) bounty on his head. Police said he was wanted for planting an explosive device inside the corpse of a police constable in an incident two years ago.

The police, who suffered no serious casualties, were still searching for 10-12 rebels who fled the scene. It was not immediately possible to verify their account independently.

($1 = 64 rupees)

via Police kill 12 Maoist rebels in Jharkhand | Reuters.

09/06/2015

Modi to launch India’s biggest labour overhaul in decades | Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is preparing to launch India’s biggest overhaul of labour laws since independence in a bid to create millions of manufacturing jobs, at the risk of stirring up a political backlash that could block other critical reforms.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves towards his supporters during a rally in Mathura, May 25, 2015.  REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Three officials at the central labour ministry told Reuters that the ministry was drafting a bill for the upcoming parliamentary session that proposes to loosen strict hire-and-fire rules and make it tougher for workers to form unions.

The changes, if approved by parliament, will be the biggest economic reform since India opened its economy in 1991, but it is likely to meet stiff opposition in parliament and from labour activists.

The prime minister enjoys a majority in the Lok Sabha, but not the Rajya Sabha, hobbling his ability to pass politically contentious measures.

That handicap has stymied his efforts to make it easier for businesses to buy farmland and convert Asia’s third-largest economy into a common market.

Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at IHS Global Insight, said Modi had little option but to push ahead with the measures.

“Without these reforms, the economy would stagnate, and frustrated investors would look elsewhere,” he said.

“You cannot make political opposition an excuse for not taking tough decisions.”

Since taking office in May last year, Modi has taken a series of incremental steps to make labour laws less onerous for businesses, but fear of a union-led political backlash made him leave the responsibility for unshackling the labour market with Indian states.

He let his party’s governments in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh take the lead in this area.

Encouraged by a successful and peaceful implementation of the measures in those states, the federal labour ministry now intends to replicate them at the national level, one of the ministry officials said.

Manish Sabharwal, one of the brains behind Rajasthan’s labour reforms and co-founder of recruitment firm Teamlease, said the federal administration would have been better off without attempting these changes.

“Let states carry out these changes and save your political energy for other policy reforms,” he said.

via Modi to launch India’s biggest labour overhaul in decades | Reuters.

09/06/2015

China’s greenhouse gases could peak early, easing climate fears | Reuters

China’s greenhouse gas emissions could peak by 2025, five years earlier than indicated by Beijing, a development that could help limit the mounting risks of global warming, a study by the London School of Economics (LSE) showed on Monday.

A coal-burning power station can be seen behind migrant workers as they walk carrying their shovels on the construction site of a water canal, being built in a dried-up river bed located on the outskirts of Beijing October 22, 2010. REUTERS/David Gray

The report, more optimistic about curbing the use of fossil fuels than a Chinese industry forecast on Monday, noted that China’s “coal consumption fell in 2014, and fell further in the first quarter of 2015″.

“China’s greenhouse gas emissions are unlikely to peak as late as 2030 – the upper limit set by President Xi Jinping in November 2014 – and are much more likely to peak by 2025,” the report said.

“They could peak even earlier than that,” write the authors Fergus Green and Nicholas Stern, both from the LSE’s Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy.

China, the top emitter of greenhouse gases – that are linked to rising ocean levels, heat waves and downpours – said last year its emissions would peak “around 2030, with the intention to try to peak early”.

Wang Zhixuan, secretary general of the China Electricity Council, predicted in a research report on Monday that China’s emissions from the power sector would keep rising to 2030, spurred by lower prices of coal than natural gas.

The industrial association projected that coal-fired power capacity would rise next decade, to 1,450 gigawatts in 2030 from 1,100 in 2020.

The LSE authors estimated that China’s overall emissions could peak at the equivalent of between 12.5 and 14 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year by 2025, up from about 10 billion around 2012.

That earlier-than-expected high point would help the world get on track for limiting warming to a maximum of two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, they wrote, as long as China introduced sweeping reforms from cities to public transport.

Group of Seven leaders were meeting in Germany on Monday to discuss issues including climate change and how to achieve the 2C target, which many experts say is fast slipping out of reach.

And senior negotiators from almost 200 governments are meeting from June 1-11 in the German city of Bonn to work on a U.N. deal due in Paris in December to limit temperatures.

via China’s greenhouse gases could peak early, easing climate fears | Reuters.

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