Archive for June, 2012

28/06/2012

* Robot restaurant established in China

AAJ News: “Robots bringing up food, doing dishes and preparing food, doesn’t it remind you of a cartoon from the 90s called ‘The Jetsons’? What if the very same concept is no longer fiction but something real?

A restaurant in downtown Harbin, China, Owned by the Harbin Haohai Robot Company, has 18 types of robots, each sliding out of the kitchen to serve your dish, with specialty robots including a ‘dumpling robot’ and a ‘noodle robot’.

The restaurant has become a center of attraction due to its specialty of having robots performing various tasks, from cooking to serving and even singing while you have your dinner.

Chief Engineer Liu Hasheng, said they invested 5 million Yuan (about £500,000) in doing the restaurant, with each robot costing 200,000 to 300,000 Yuan (around £20,000 to £30,000). Having costly robots serving the dinner might seem like a costly idea but that isn’t the case. The average cost of a dinner is £4 to £5, with over 30 dishes on the menu to choose from.

Liu Hasheng, comments, “Staff in the computer room can manage the whole robot team.

‘After the busy times during the day, the robot will go for a “meal”, which is electricity’. Liu added that after a two-hour charge the robot can work continuously for 5 hours.

The first robot restaurant established was also in China; in a city called Jinan, which had a dozen of robots that served food and drinks and also danced and entertained customers.”

via Robot restaurant established in China | AAJ News.

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28/06/2012

* Chinese Migrant Workers Unrest Flares

NY times: “A fight between a teenager from a migrant worker family and a local boy in southern China escalated into rioting and protests this week.

The unrest, which followed the teenagers’ fight on Monday and the subsequent beating of the migrant boy by local villagers, occurred in the area of Shaxi in Guangdong Province. Migrant protesters smashed storefront windows and overturned cars, including police vehicles and ambulances, according to photographs of the rioting posted on the Internet. Caijing, a Chinese news organization, also reported that hundreds of riot police officers clashed with villagers in the Foshan area of Guangdong on Tuesday after the villagers protested illegal land seizures.”

via China – Migrant Unrest Flares – NYTimes.com.

See also: Have not’s patience

27/06/2012

* China punishes officials over late-term abortion case

BBC News: “A Chinese official has been sacked and others punished over the case of a woman forced to have a late-term abortion, state-run media report.

A relative said the couple were being harassed, with banners apparently calling them traitors in Shaanxi

An investigation showed that officials “used crude means” to persuade Feng Jianmei to agree to the abortion, Xinhua news agency reports.

Ms Feng’s pregnancy was terminated at seven months because she had violated the one-child policy law.

Photos of her with the foetus caused widespread condemnation online.

China’s one-child family planning policy aims to control the country’s population, which now stands at around 1.3bn. Rights groups say the law has meant women being coerced into abortions, which Beijing denies.

Ms Feng’s case has come to symbolise the extreme measures some officials take in order to meet population targets, reports the BBC’s Martin Patience in Beijing.

Officials punished

Officials in China’s north-west province of Shaanxi were punished for having “violated the laws of central and local government on family planning”, Xinhua reports.

The head of the family planning bureau in Zhenping county, Jiang Nenghai, had been sacked. Another family planning official had also been given “administrative demerits”, Xinhua said.

Other officials in connection with the case had also been punished, Xinhua said, without elaborating further.

“According to the investigation, while persuading Feng to receive the abortion, some staff of the township government used crude means to violate her intentions,” Xinhua says.

“There was also no legal basis for the township government’s demand that Feng and her family pay a deposit of 40,000 yuan [$6,300] for a certificate allowing her to have her second child,” it added.

Ms Feng will be given compensation, Xinhua adds, without providing the details.”

via BBC News – China punishes officials over late-term abortion case.

See also: Listening and responding to the people

26/06/2012

Craig Hill Training Services

On June 20th 1900, in response to widespread foreign encroachment upon China‘s national affairs, Chinese nationalists launched the so-called Boxer Rebellion in Peking. Calling themselves I Ho Ch’uan, or “the Righteous and Harmonious Fists,” the nationalists occupied Peking, killed several Westerners, including German ambassador Baron von Ketteler, and besieged the foreign legations in the diplomatic quarter of the city.

By the end of the 19th century, the Western powers and Japan had forced China’s ruling Qing dynasty to accept wide foreign control over the country’s economic affairs. In the Opium Wars, popular rebellions, and the Sino-Japanese War, China had fought to resist the foreigners, but it lacked a modernised military and suffered millions of casualties.

In 1898, Tzu’u Hzi, the dowager empress and an anti-imperialist, began supporting the I Ho Ch’uan, who were known as the “Boxers” by the British because of their martial…

View original post 206 more words

26/06/2012

China Daily Mail

In the new cold war, it could be seen that there are two groups: the autocracy camp, centring around China, Russia and the SCO, and the democracy camp, centring around most western democracies in Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan and South Korea. This article will focus on the autocracy camp.

China: Well-known for persecution of dissidents. Examples: Extralegal house arrest of blind rights activist Cheng Guangcheng; Hunan democracy movement leader Li Wangyang imprisoned for 23 years and died a weird death (described in my post Bizarre “suicide” in Hunan of June 4 leader is suspected murder); and too many other examples, though there are people inside the Party fighting for democracy and human rights.

Russia: Much better than China in having universal suffrage, but Vladimir Putin wants to be always in power by various tricks and restrictions of people’s democratic rights For…

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26/06/2012

More power to BRICS (less to the US Dollar).

See also – Ascendancy of Yuan over Dollar:

China Daily Mail

Brazil and China will sign an agreement in the coming weeks to swap as much as $30 billion in their two currencies, Brazil Finance Minister Guido Mantega said.

The currency swap, worth 60 billion reais or 190 billion yuan, will be the first step in a broader agreement with Russia, India and South Africa to allow members of the so-called BRICS group of emerging markets to pool resources to better weather the global financial crisis, Mantega told reporters yesterday in Rio de Janeiro.

The agreement, which was discussed this week by leaders of the BRICS at a Group of 20 summit in Mexico, marks another step in a deepening trade between the world’s two largest emerging markets. China overtook the U.S. in recent years to become Brazil’s biggest trading partner, though Mantega said yesterday that the $76 billion in bilateral commerce last year, 17 percent of Brazil’s total, is…

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26/06/2012

My very own sentiments.

See also: Chinese challenges

China Daily Mail

In China, two well-known sayings make despotic officials very happy.

One is “the heaven is high and the emperor, far away”; therefore even if the central government is good and has formulated good laws, regulations, rules, codes, policies, etc., a despotic official may still do whatever he wants. China is too large and the central government is too far away to be aware of their malpractices; while the God who always upholds justice, is too high away to meddle.

What about an official’s colleagues and superiors? Will his malpractices be exposed by them? He can rest at ease as there is another saying: “Officials shield one another.” That is why even the officials in Beijing quite near the central authority can still safely grab land from common people.

SCMP gives a report entitled “Demolition leaves family scattered, defenceless” on how helpless common people are when their…

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26/06/2012

* Chinese in Talks to Fund U.S. Homes

WSJ: “Lennar Corp., one of the U.S.’s largest home builders, is in talks with the China Development Bank for approximately $1.7 billion in capital to jump-start two long-delayed San Francisco projects that would transform two former naval bases into large-scale housing developments, according to people familiar with the discussions.

The negotiations aren’t final and the financing arrangement could still fall through. But if completed, the deal would reflect a changing dynamic between the U.S. and Chinese economies, as an American company turns to China for help funding a long-delayed and partially publicly funded project that otherwise wouldn’t get done.

The developments, Treasure Island and Hunters Point Shipyard, also have the potential to alter San Francisco’s housing market by providing nearly 20,000 new homes, a sports arena and millions of square feet of office and retail space in a market that is land-constrained and has had limited new construction. The city has committed hundreds of millions of dollars, in the form of tax-increment bonds, to the projects, which in total are expected to cost $10.5 billion over the next few decades.

In recent years, Chinese state money—in large part provided by CDB and its counterpart the Export-Import Bank of China—has been pivotal in funding major infrastructure and resource projects around the world, but the bulk of that activity has been in developing countries in Africa, South America and Asia.

That has resulted in the construction of dams, airports, railways, highways and sports arenas that otherwise wouldn’t get built, primarily in developing countries. Funding is typically conditional upon Chinese developers and contractors being used to build the projects. And in order to keep costs down, and in many cases to ensure the necessary expertise, at least a portion of the workforce is flown in from China.

This would be difficult or impossible in San Francisco, where local regulations and deals cut with local governments generally require developers to use local labor and pay prevailing wages.

The CDB and the Lennar partnership have been in discussions to include China Railway Construction Corp., a state-run contractor, in the development of Treasure Island and Hunters Point, according to people familiar with the matter. While it is unclear what CRCC’s role would be, the company could serve as an adviser or in an consulting role, or could possibly even invest in a local construction company that employs U.S. workers, these people said.

With Chinese firms increasingly eyeing opportunities in the U.S. and other developed markets, CDB will likely find itself being approached to fund more deals in the U.S. People familiar with the negotiations said CDB was using the Treasure Island and Hunters Point projects—which both include “green” building and affordable housing components that are of interest to Chinese builders—as a test case to become familiar with what’s required for doing such deals in the U.S.”

via Chinese in Talks to Fund U.S. Homes – WSJ.com.

See also: 

24/06/2012

* Ikea Applies for Big Indian Investment

WSJ: “Swedish housewares giant IKEA Group asked India for permission to invest €1.5 billion ($1.9 billion) in the country to set up 25 retail stores in coming years, a commitment that provides some relief for New Delhi policy makers who have been trying to boost sagging foreign-investor sentiment.

IKEA’s foray into India, made possible by a policy change last year that allowed some retailers to own 100% of their Indian units, could help transform India’s largely unorganized, $500 billion retail sector. But the company will face significant challenges, including meeting the government’s mandate that it source 30% of inventory from local small-scale industries.

IKEA, which has 290 stores in 26 countries and is known for selling affordable, modern-looking furniture and housewares, said that if the Indian government approves its application it could have a significant effect on the country’s retail sector, “vastly improving availability of high-quality, low-price products not available in India.”

The company announced its decision after its chief executive, Mikael Ohlsson, met with Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma on Friday at a conference in St. Petersburg, Russia.”

via Ikea Applies for Big Indian Investment – WSJ.com.

See also: Consumerism grows in India

22/06/2012

* China adds more trains for holiday travel rush

Xinhua: “China’s Ministry of Railways said Friday it has put more trains on to ease transportation pressure during the three-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday from June 22-24.

The ministry added 196 provisional passenger trains for the travel rush Thursday, one day ahead of the holiday, 70 more than the eve of last year’s holiday, it said in a statement.

China’s railways are expected to carry 6.75 million passengers on Friday, the travel peak of this holiday, up 4.7 percent from the holiday travel peak last year, the ministry has said.

It estimated a daily average passenger flow of 6.1 million from June 21 to 24, up 5 percent from that during last year’s holiday travel rush.

The Dragon Boat Festival, also called Duanwu Festival, is traditionally celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month on the Chinese lunar calendar.

The festival commemorates the famous ancient Chinese poet Qu Yuan. Chinese people prepare and eat zongzi, or leaf-packed glutinous rice dumplings, drink wine and race dragon boats on the day.

The festival falls on June 23 this year.”

via China adds more trains for holiday travel rush – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

Although the festival commemorates a historic Chinese event – see http://mandarin.about.com/od/chineseculture/a/dragon_boat.htm – over recent years it has become an international sporting event http://www.dragonboatcalendar.com/ . Not dissimilar to the Greek Marathon now an international sport.

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