Posts tagged ‘United States’


China’s soaring potential a springboard for budget airlines | Reuters

The chairman of Spring Airlines requires his employees to use both sides of a sheet of paper before throwing it away and even removed most of the bulbs lighting the corridor to his office – all part of his quest to save money.

A Spring Airlines crew member sells food onboard an Airbus A320 aircraft near Shanghai July 6, 2012. REUTERS/Aly Song

China’s first low-cost airline has been profitable since 2006, its first full year of operation, but the budget aviation market is about to get a lot more competitive as the government moves to promote low-cost travel to meet a surge in demand from an increasingly wealthier population.

Over the last 18 months, Spring has been joined by two new competitors. China’s big state-backed carriers are also looking at launching budget carriers, a strategy industry executives say would be an additional boon to plane makers Airbus Group (AIR.PA) and Boeing Co. (BA.N).

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) plans to add nearly 80 new airports by 2020, including a $14.5 billion second airport in the capital Beijing, and is urging other airports to build new terminals and convert existing facilities to handle budget airlines.

The initiative, industry observers say, would usher in a new era for low-cost carriers (LCCs) in a country where one in four people travelled by air in 2013. That number is set to rise to almost the whole population in the next two decades, according to Airbus executives, with China to replace the United States as the world’s largest aviation market during the same period.

via China’s soaring potential a springboard for budget airlines | Reuters.

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10 Vital Things Politicians Should Talk About – WSJ


Indian politics is disconnected from what India actually wants. A week before the largest democracy on Earth goes to the polls, here are 10 things the electorate is talking about even though most politicians aren’t.

1.     Unfulfilled Aspiration

If there is one thing two decades of liberalization has given us, it was a sense of hope that things can get better, but not at any cost. People want cheaper food, not cheap food. They want cheaper education, not cheap education. When people in villages have a little money, they prefer to send their children to a private school where there children are taught in English over public school where they learn in Hindi, staff are often absent and standards are low. People across India are aspirational.

They will give their vote to whoever taps into a person’s desire for a better future.

2.     Employability

India’s problem is no longer about employment, it is about employability. The trade association, National Association for Software and Services Companies says 75% of technical graduates and 80% of general studies graduates don’t have the skills to get a technical or call center jobs in a country where more than half of the 1.2 billion population is under the age of 25.

Young people want their lives to get better through the jobs they get. But we have to improve their skill sets first. The government has to take a step back and look at the lack of standards and quality that has overtaken our education system. Why are people still flocking to unaccredited colleges and institutes? Because they don’t have a better choice. It is easy to see where their frustrations come from. Unless someone fixes the lack of skills, a demographic nightmare is on its way.

3.     Food wastage and underweight children

Let us connect the dots between India’s inability to build granaries and cold storage centers and the hunger that exists in large parts of the country. India has the largest number of underweight and malnourished children in the world but it also wastes as much wheat each year  as Australia produces – 21 million tonnes.

People want someone to say they will fix this imbalance. Has a single candidate talked about this? You cannot argue that India cannot fix these things in the 21st century.

4.     Drinking Water

In 2012, the Water Resources Ministry essentially told Parliament that in time,groundwater will not be fit for human consumption. The aquifers are drying up and underground water is increasingly polluted or going saline. With India being the world’s largest user of ground water, there is a huge scarcity in the offing.

Add to that, 80% of untreated sewage in India flows straight to into drinking water sources such as rivers and groundwater.  Be it farmers or people living in the cities, access to clean water is by far one of the biggest issues for people across the country. There are ways to address this, such as rain water harvesting, but has a politician promised that on a war footing we can solve it?

5.     Electricity

Three hundred million Indians have never had access to electricity. So when theblackout in 2012 plunged nearly 600 million in darkness – for at least about half of them, it was just another day.

Meanwhile, in a coal abundant nation, all we have heard about energy in the last two years is that the mismanagement of the allocation of coal blocks to private companies resulted in a presumed loss of 1.85 trillion rupees ($31 billion) to the exchequer.

6.     Healthcare

India has barely one hospital bed per 1,000 population compared to the global average of nearly three beds per 1,000. We have one operating theater per 1,000 people. This at a time when the World Health Organization estimates that India is one of the few countries in the world where people have to pay the maximum proportion of their wages for private healthcare – and the Harvard School of Public Health calculates that the country’s economic losses due to non-communicable disease between 2012 and 2030 will be $6.2 trillion. There is an unprecedented crisis of public health and it cannot be resolved in a hurry.

7.     The Disease Burden

Our disease burden is one of the largest in the world. We lost 9.2 million productive years to heart disease in 2000. By 2030, the number is likely to rise to 17.9 million productive years. There are no immediate solutions for India and it spells potentially huge economic losses.

8.     Civilian Safety

Gun violence is one of the biggest killers in India. Nearly 40 million Indians own guns. Barely 15% of these are registered weapons. India has the second largest civilian ownership of guns, second only to the United States. Around 80% of all murders in India are carried out using these illegal guns. This is one of the biggest security challenges of India – but it is hardly addressed because many of those guns are connected to politics and politicians.

9.     Outdated Justice System

There are 30 million court cases pending in courts across India and a backlog of 66,000 cases in the Supreme Court. The system is sluggish. People don’t feel there is a justice system that can back them up or give them any sense of closure. India needs at least 75,000 new judges in the next 35 years and Indians want a government that can create more courts and hire more judges.

  1.  Inefficient bureaucracy

Communicating with an Indian bureaucrat is a terrible experience. They are unapproachable. You have to argue for your rights. Citizens want a voice and any way for them to be heard now is entirely absent.

Other than the elections, there is no other way for the electorate to show their frustration towards a system that is willfully unresponsive; that does not care about accountability. There is incredible frustration here – people, and businesses, are not willing to put up with such inefficiency much longer.

Hindol Sengupta is a senior editor at Fortune India magazine and author of “100 Things To Know And Debate Before You Vote” (Harper Collins). Follow India Real Time on Twitter @WSJIndia


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Civil service jobs in less demand – China –

The number of applicants for civil service jobs has dropped in most places so far this year, according to information released by provincial-level governments.

Sixteen of the 18 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions that released employment information on Thursday saw a decrease in applicants year-on-year.

The number of applicants in Zhejiang province was down 37 percent from 360,000 last year to 227,000 this year, according to the human resources and social security department.

Most other provinces saw a decrease of between 10 and 30 percent this year, the Beijing News reported.

Only Shaanxi province and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region have seen increases in the number of applicants this year.

Meanwhile, 15 provincial-level governments have cut the number of civil service positions available. The number of posts in Zhejiang province, for example, is about 1,500 less than last year.

Civil service jobs have long been deemed ideal for many college graduates. The central authorities, provincial-level governments and city governments respectively recruit civil servants once a year.

In 2013, for example, 1.52 million graduates took the national civil service exam. On average, about 77 applicants competed for each available position. The most desirable posts saw a competitive ratio of 7,192 to 1.

Gu Ruocun, a graduate from Shandong Normal University who works for a private company, said that more than half of his classmates applied for positions in the provincial government last year.

“In my opinion, civil service is a decent job with decent pay,” he said, adding that he is preparing for this year’s application exam after failing a year ago.

Xu Yaotong, a professor of public administration at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said that the central government has begun reforms to streamline public agencies. Local governments will tend to follow suit to decrease the number of new civil posts, Xu said.

The decrease in applicants this year shows that the public has been changing its attitude toward such jobs, he said, adding that it is good news that more young people want to work outside of the government.

via Civil service jobs in less demand – China –

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Americans Must Adjust to a World Dominated by China – Fed’s Bullard – China Real Time Report – WSJ

This post originally appeared on Real Time Economics.

It won’t be long until the U.S. is eclipsed economically by China—and Americans need to start thinking about how to adjust to such a world.

That’s according to Federal Reserve Board of St. Louis President James Bullard, who spoke to the Wall Street Journal on the sidelines of a conference during a recent visit to Hong Kong.

“Attitudes in the U.S. are going to have to change, because the U.S. will not permanently be the global leader,” Mr. Bullard said.

China is already the largest economy in the world after the United States, and is growing much faster than the U.S. Not too far in the future — estimates range from as soon as 2016 to as “distant” as 2028 — it will surpass the American economy in size.

Most likely, China will eventually match the U.S. in per capita income terms as well. With a population about four times as large as America’s, that would imply a massive shift in the global balance of power.

In that case, “the U.S. would be playing a role to China similar to the role the U.K. plays to the U.S. today,” Mr. Bullard said. “People think it’s 50-75 years away but it’s probably only 25 or 20 years away, something like that.”

China’s economy currently is a little more than half the size of America’s, IMF data show, clocking in at $8.9 trillion in 2013 versus $16.7 trillion for the U.S.

But China’s economy is growing much more quickly, targeting growth of about 7.5% this year. In contrast, the U.S. economy will be lucky to grow by 3%.

Then there’s India, another economy of a billion-plus people that’s also growing quickly. Eventually, Mr. Bullard said, he can foresee a tri-polar world in which China and India are the major economic powers, counterbalanced by a bloc of the United States, Europe and Japan, whose populations together will total about one billion people.

“We’ve said the U.S. is a superpower, an economic superpower. But these are giants, they’re bigger than a superpower,” he said. “What would that world be like, both economically and politically? I think that’s really hard to understand. How much would the Western bloc be willing to cooperate politically to be a counterbalance to China and India?”

Mr. Bullard offered few specifics of what such a world would look like, but did acknowledge that it might require some adjustment on the part of ordinary Americans like those he serves in the heartland.

via Americans Must Adjust to a World Dominated by China – Fed’s Bullard – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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Fashion contest the focus of ‘first lady diplomacy’ during Michelle Obama’s China visit | South China Morning Post

The closely watched day spent together by the first ladies of China and the United States have sparked lively online discussions this week. Comparison of the two women kicked off the moment Peng Liyuan, the glamorous singer wife of Xi Jinping, welcomed her counterpart Michelle Obama at a Beijing high school on Friday morning.

That the two have much in common is obvious: both women, in their early 50s, are lauded for their sense of style, are highly-educated and managed successful careers before their husbands became leaders. Both are active in charity initiatives in public health, and both have daughters.

Commenting on everything from their choice of outfits to the details of their visits, the curious online public were amazed by the juxtaposition of these two women with strong personalities.

Thomas Ye, a widely followed fashion blogger on Chinese social media platforms who tweets under “Gogoboi”, graded their attire:

Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) and his wife Peng Liyuan (R) show the way to US first lady Michelle Obama (L) as they proceed to a meeting room at a guest house in Beijing on March 21, 2014. Photo: AFP

“Fashion contest first round: Michelle Obama’s casual black waistcoat, shirt and wide-legged trousers were eclipsed by a dignified Peng, exemplified by her formal navy blue suit, decorated with a red purse. Top points to Peng,” he wrote on Sina Weibo over the weekend.

The second round, however, went to Obama, who “hit back” with a joyful red dress by designer designer Naeem Khan  when she showed up for a banquet at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on Friday evening.

Several official media outlets joined the discussion.

The official China Daily said in a photo caption showing their dresses: “The first ladies of China and the US … have much in common: They are symbols of glamour in their own countries and stand uneclipsed by their more powerful husbands. They are loved by the public not because of their spouses but for who they are. Each woman has created a ‘power centre’ – a kind of soft power – from a combination of femininity and self-assertion”.

China once again embraced the idea of “first lady diplomacy” since Xi Jinping took power in 2013, in the hope of giving a soft touch to the country’s rising assertiveness. The country’s last visible “first lady” was the charismatic Wang Guangmei, wife of Liu Shaoqi, who held the presidency between 1959 and 1966.

Peng’s increasing popularity with the public – thanks to her gracious manners and elegant style gained through her years as a professional performer – raises questions about the extent of her role.

via Fashion contest the focus of ‘first lady diplomacy’ during Michelle Obama’s China visit | South China Morning Post.

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India’s arms imports almost three times of China, Pak: SIPRI report – The Times of India

India’s continuing abject failure to build a robust defence industrial base (DIB) has come to into focus once again, with an international thinktank holding its arms imports are now almost three times as high as those of the second and third largest arms importers, China and Pakistan.

C-130J Super Hercules showing scimitar propell...

C-130J Super Hercules showing scimitar propellers with raked tips (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As per the latest data on international arms transfers released by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the volume of Indian imports of major weapons rose by 111% between 2004-08 and 2009-13, and its share of the volume of international arms imports increased from 7% to 14%.

The major suppliers of arms to India in 2009-13 were Russia (accounting for 75% of imports) and the US (7%), which for the first time became the second largest arms supplier to India, said SIPRI. As earlier reported by TOI, the US has already bagged defence deals close to $10 billion over the last decade in the lucrative Indian defence market, with the latest being the $1.01 billion one for six additional C-130J “Super Hercules” aircraft.

via India’s arms imports almost three times of China, Pak: SIPRI report – The Times of India.

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Decoupling Happened: U.S. Stocks Soared, China’s Shrugged – Businessweek

The idea that emerging markets could keep growing smartly despite the collapse of the U.S. was something romanced quite a bit in recent years. Decoupling, as it’s called, was at least numerically possible. After all, China, Brazil, India, and Russia—the planet’s four biggest emerging economies, which chipped in two-fifths of global economic growth in the year leading up to Wall Street’s 2008 collapse—stood out as the least dependent on exports to America. Upwards of 95 percent of China’s double-digit growth was attributable to domestic demand.

Turns out a decoupling did transpire in the five years since peak meltdown—only it’s the U.S. market that seems to be doing fine while China founders. It’s a divergence of fortunes few would have predicted.

The benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index has produced a total return of 207 percent to touch a record high in the five years since the market set a low unseen since the 1990s. Citigroup is clocking U.S. shares at “euphoric” territory. By comparison, the MSCI Emerging Markets Index has returned 125 percent.

via Decoupling Happened: U.S. Stocks Soared, China’s Shrugged – Businessweek.

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China tries a new role in the missing plane saga—Asia’s policeman – Quartz

In the aftermath of the March 8 disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines plane with 239 people on board, 153 of them Chinese nationals, Beijing is flexing its muscles. The Chinese government has dispatched two warships, 10 satellites, over 50 marines to the South China Sea, and—although the Malaysian government didn’t formally invite them—a 13-member delegation to advise search and rescue efforts from Kuala Lumpur.

The assertive response marks a new stage in China’s ascension as a regional superpower, a role the country hasn’t fully embraced despite its expanding military and trade power in East Asia. While China has made claims over disputed territory (in the air, the sea, and in passports), it has rarely deployed its military and officials in such a public way.


On March 10, Chinese officials said they had “a responsibility to demand and urge the Malaysia side to step up search efforts…and provide relevant information to China correctly and in a timely manner.” In response, the Malaysian government re-issued its pledge to fly Chinese relatives of the passengers on board to Malaysia.


China’s show of strength may simply be an effort to show angry Chinese families that their government is actively pushing for answers and participating in, if not leading, search operations. Chinese officials have already been pelted with water bottles thrown by the frustrated relatives of passengers. But the crisis is also an occasion for Beijing to continue what has been a decade-long expansion (pdf) of militarily and diplomatic engagement in Southeast Asia, a region that’s traditionally been part of the United States’ realm of influence.


Some observers have hailed the last few days of cooperation between the countries more accustomed to arguing over islands and shoals as a hopeful sign for future negotiations. But it’s not likely that China’s stance toward its neighbors has softened much over that time.


Just last week, Chinese officials said that peace in the region could only be “maintained by strength.” Part of that strength, it seems, involves an aggressive Chinese response when disaster strikes.

via China tries a new role in the missing plane saga—Asia’s policeman – Quartz.

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Opinion: China’s awkward banana slip –

Editor’s note: Eric Liu is the founder of Citizen University and the author of several books, including “The Gardens of Democracy” and “The Accidental Asian.” He served as a White House speechwriter and policy adviser for President Bill Clinton. Follow him on Twitter @ericpliu The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

Watch this video

(CNN) — Have you heard about China’s banana slip?

A few days ago in Beijing, as Gary Locke wrapped up his tenure as United States ambassador to China, he was lambasted in a Chinese state media editorial. The piece called Locke a “guide dog.” It said he had stirred an “evil wind.” Worst of all, it called him a “banana.”

As in yellow on the outside and white on the inside. It’s a slur, akin to “Oreo” for African-Americans or “coconut” for Hispanics, used by people of a given ethnic group to judge another member of that group for being insufficiently, well, ethnic. The point of saying a person of color is “white inside” is to accuse him of being a race traitor, ashamed or in denial of his true heritage.

Eric Liu

In this case, the idea was that Locke, though of Chinese descent, wasn’t Chinese enough. Why? He couldn’t speak the language. Oh, and he apparently didn’t do the bidding of China’s leaders, choosing instead to go to Tibet, work with dissident human rights activists, point out smog levels in Beijing and generally represent the interests and values of the United States.

That’s what the editorialist meant when he called Locke a banana. Many Chinese citizens disavowed the slur, calling it an embarrassment. But what it revealed was that despite modernization and burgeoning wealth — or perhaps because of them — China still has a fragile identity. (And America still has some advantages.)

Let’s start with the fact that the editorial was published in an organ of state media. It got attention because in a country where the government controls the press, editorials are assumed to express the views of top national leaders. They may not, in fact. It’s quite possible this particular opinion writer was just an individual. But in the absence of a free press, who can really tell?

This is the price of propaganda: No one believes what you say, but they believe you meant to say it.

A second notable aspect of the banana rant was that it completely conflated ethnicity and nationality, and in a particularly Chinese way. The Han Chinese are the overwhelmingly dominant ethnic group of China, and their ethnocentrism frames Chinese political culture. (Just ask Tibetans.) It also fuels the nationalism behind China’s territorial disputes with Japan and other Asian nations.

So the premise of the banana comment was that someone of Chinese ethnicity, wherever he may live, should be considered Chinese to the core and therefore in the end loyal to the Chinese nation.

Of course, that’s a notion white Americans have often used to justify mistreatment of “indelibly alien” Chinese immigrants, whether during the era of Chinese exclusion in the late 19th century or the persecution of Wen Ho Lee at the turn of this one.

But it’s as wrong now as then and as wrong here as there. Even if Locke could speak perfect Mandarin, even if he could read the Chinese classics and write calligraphy, this Eagle Scout, child of public housing, prosecutor, state legislator, governor, Cabinet secretary and diplomat was made in America.

via Opinion: China’s awkward banana slip –

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China’s media says deployment of troops for war with Japan is now complete; waiting for opportune time to attack

keeper @ chindia-alert:

Let’s hope this is mere “sabre ratling” rather than real. But given China’s past conflicts with neighbours around border/territorial issues (India, Russia, Vietnam – see this may be genuine preparation.

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Originally posted on China Daily Mail:

Queue of Chinese in Japan to register for possible withdrawal

Queue of Chinese in Japan to register for possible withdrawal

The following is a translation from Chinese media:

China has completed military deployment for its war with Japan. All its deployments of troops for the war have been carried out in the name of military drills to fool the enemy. China is now waiting for the opportune timing for the war.

It begun to register its citizens in Japan on November 8, 2013 and is now fully prepared for emergency withdrawal of them.

For full deployment, first it carried out a military drill to deploy many advanced fighter jets and bombers in areas near Xiamen, Fujian and has in addition conducted intensive training for long-distance military attack from there;

Second, it has replaced the weapons in its warships with advanced ones and filled them with ammunition. Now, all the warships are fully loaded.

Third, it carried out a military drill not…

View original 216 more words


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