Archive for October, 2013


Congress should apologise for Muslim ‘terror slur’, says Modi – The Hindu

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Friday lashed out at his key rival Rahul Gandhi at a rally, alleging that the Congress vice-president defamed Muslims by suggesting some Muzaffarnagar riot victims were being cultivated by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate.

Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, party president Rajnath Singh and other leaders at a rally in Jhansi on Friday.

“Instead of levelling allegations at an entire qaum [community],” Mr. Modi said in Jhansi, “he should disclose the names of those who were in touch with the Inter-Services Intelligence.” “If he cannot do that, he should render a public apology to all Muslim youth.”

Mr. Modi’s effort to position himself as a defender of young Muslims against terror-related slurs comes against the backdrop of allegations he was personally complicit in faked encounters, as well as the pogrom of 2002.

Mr. Gandhi had sparked off a still-snowballing controversy on Thursday, saying that an intelligence official told him that the ISI had made contact with a group of 10 to 15 Muzaffarnagar Muslims who had lost kin in the riots. His remarks were made at a rally in Indore.

However, Uttar Pradesh Additional Director-General of Police Mukul Goel had said the authorities “have no such information.”

Mr. Modi criticised intelligence officials for sharing classified information with a Member of Parliament. “The nation wants to know why intelligence services are reporting to him and why they are giving input for his speeches,” he said.

These allegations were mirrored, almost word-for-word, by Uttar Pradesh’s Urban Development Minister Mohammad Azam Khan – ironically himself alleged by the BJP to have been involved in the riots. He said Mr. Gandhi “should reveal the names of the youths who were in contact with Pakistan’s intelligence agency or else he should apologise to Muslims.”

Influential clerics, including Maulana Kalbe Sadiq, Maulana Abdul Iran Miyan Farangi Mahal and Maulana Saif Avbas Naqvi, condemned Mr. Gandhi\’s statement.

via Congress should apologise for Muslim ‘terror slur’, says Modi – The Hindu.


China, Turkey pledge to build Silk Road economic belt – Xinhua |

Chinese and Turkish leaders have pledged to enhance cooperation to jointly build a Silk Road economic belt.

Liu Qibao, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), who is heading a CPC delegation here, met Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Thursday.

Liu, who also heads the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, said China wanted to work with with Turkey and all the other countries along the route to build an economic belt through enhancing policy communication, traffic connectivity, smooth trade flow, currency circulation and people-to-people exchanges.

The potential for bilateral cooperation on culture and tourism is huge, Liu said, calling on the two countries to accelerate the establishment of culture centers reciprocally, share tourism resources, deepen people-to-people exchanges and enhance mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples.

Gul said the Silk Road idea, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, carries great significance and Turkey would cooperate with China to open a new chapter for the legendary Silk Road.

Turkey expected to strengthen cooperation with China on culture, tourism and education as well, he added.

via China, Turkey pledge to build Silk Road economic belt – Xinhua |

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Japan Prime Minister Abe Says Japan Ready to Counter China’s Power –

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he envisions a resurgent Japan taking a more assertive leadership role in Asia to counter China\’s power, seeking to place Tokyo at the helm of countries in the region nervous about Beijing\’s military buildup amid fears of an American pullback.

In an exclusive, wide-ranging interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Abe also defended his program of economic reforms against growing criticism that the package lacks substance—though he offered few details of new programs, or a timetable, that anxious foreign investors have been seeking.

\”I\’ve realized that Japan is expected to exert leadership not just on the economic front, but also in the field of security in the Asia-Pacific,\” Mr. Abe said, referring to his meetings with the region\’s leaders at a series of summits this month.

In his continuing attempt to juggle his desire to enact economic-stimulus policies with the need to pay down Japan\’s massive debt, the prime minister said he was open to reviewing the second stage of a planned increase in the sales tax in 2015 if the economy weakens after the first increase is implemented in the spring.

Less than a year after taking office, Mr. Abe has already emerged as one of Japan\’s most influential prime ministers in decades. He has shaken up the country\’s economic policy in an attempt to pull Japan out of a two-decade-long slump, and plotted a more active diplomacy for a country whose global leadership has been crimped by a rapid turnover of weak prime ministers.

In the interview, Mr. Abe made a direct link between his quest for a prosperous Japan, and a country wielding greater influence in the region and the world.

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\”Japan shrank too much in the last 15 years,\” the leader said, explaining how people have become \”inward-looking\” with students shunning opportunities to study abroad and the public increasingly becoming critical of Tokyo providing aid to other countries.

\”By regaining a strong economy, Japan will regain confidence as well, and we\’d like to contribute more to making the world a better place.\”

Mr. Abe\’s views expressed in the interview reflect his broader, long-standing nationalistic vision of a more assertive Japan, one he has argued should break free of constraints imposed on Japan\’s military by a postwar pacifist constitution written by the U.S.—and that has also been hampered by economic decline.

Mr. Abe made clear that one important way that Japan would \”contribute\” would be countering China in Asia. \”There are concerns that China is attempting to change the status quo by force, rather than by rule of law. But if China opts to take that path, then it won\’t be able to emerge peacefully,\” Mr. Abe said. \”So it shouldn\’t take that path, and many nations expect Japan to strongly express that view. And they hope that as a result, China will take responsible action in the international community.\”

via Japan Prime Minister Abe Says Japan Ready to Counter China’s Power –

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China overhauls consumer protection laws | Reuters

China‘s top legal body has strengthened consumer rights in the country after it revised the nation’s Consumer Protection Law on Friday, the first major overhaul in two decades.

Customers are seen at an Apple store in Beijing August 24, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Lee

The revisions increase consumer powers, add rules for the booming Internet shopping sector and stiffen punishments for businesses that mislead shoppers.

Chinese regulators have been cracking down on real or perceived corporate wrongdoing, with domestic and international infant formula makers and drugmakers particularly coming under the spotlight this year.

via China overhauls consumer protection laws | Reuters.


Chinese scientists unveil energy-generating window | South China Morning Post

Scientists in China said on Thursday they had designed a “smart” window that can both save and generate energy, and may ultimately reduce heating and cooling costs for buildings.


While allowing us to feel close to the outside world, windows cause heat to escape from buildings in winter and let the sun’s unwanted rays enter in summer.

This has sparked a quest for “smart” windows that can adapt to weather conditions outside.

Today’s smart windows are limited to regulating light and heat from the sun, allowing a lot of potential energy to escape, study co-author Yanfeng Gao of the Chinese Academy of Sciences said.

“The main innovation of this work is that it developed a concept smart window device for simultaneous generation and saving of energy.”

Engineers have long battled to incorporate energy-generating solar cells into window panes without affecting their transparency.

Gao’s team discovered that a material called vanadium oxide (VO2) can be used as a transparent coating to regulate infrared radiation from the sun.

VO2 changes its properties based on temperature. Below a certain level it is insulating and lets through infrared light, while at another temperature it becomes reflective.

A window in which VO2 was used could regulate the amount of sun energy entering a building, but also scatter light to solar cells the team had placed around their glass panels, where it was used to generate energy with which to light a lamp, for example.

“This smart window combines energy-saving and generation in one device, and offers potential to intelligently regulate and utilise solar radiation in an efficient manner,” the study authors wrote in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

via Chinese scientists unveil energy-generating window | South China Morning Post.

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China punishes officials for not punishing polluters – Xinhua

China‘s Ministry of Supervision on Thursday revealed 10 major cases of environmental damage in which local officials were punished for failing to prevent or act after severe pollution.

“Promoting the conservation culture and protecting the environment is an important duty for government at all levels,” said a statement from the ministry.

Supervisory departments should ensure local governments fulfil their duties to environmental protection and pollution reduction, with an attitude of “high responsibility for younger generations”.

Iron fist policies should be adopted to punish lawbreakers and audit officials who oversee the matters.

The vice mayor of Hezhou in southwest China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and other 26 officials were disciplined and four were prosecuted for failing to stop scores of mines from illegally discharging wastes, causing serious water pollution to the city itself and the Zhaoqing city downstream.

Three officials from Dagang district of Tianjin city were punished for allowing six factories including the Julong paper mill to operate without passing environmental impact evaluation and discharging waste water without treatment.

There were eight other cases of environmental damage in north China\’s Hebei and Shanxi, east China’s Shanghai and Shandong, and central China’s Henan, due to officials’ malfeasance.

via China punishes officials for not punishing polluters – Xinhua |


New China H7N9 bird flu cases ‘signal potential winter epidemic’ | Reuters

Fresh human cases in eastern China of a deadly new strain of bird flu signal the potential for “a new epidemic wave” of the disease in coming winter months, scientists said on Thursday.

The strain, known as H7N9, emerged for the first time in humans earlier this year and killed around 45 of the some 135 people it infected before appearing to peter out in China During the summer.

But a new case in October in a 35-year-old man from China’s eastern Zhejiang province shows that the virus “has re-emerged in winter 2013” and “indicates a possible risk of a larger outbreak of H7N9 this winter,\” according to Chinese researchers writing in the online journal Euro surveillance.

Flu experts around the world have been warning that despite the marked drop off in cases during the summer months, the threat posed by H7N9 bird flu has not passed.

via New China H7N9 bird flu cases ‘signal potential winter epidemic’ | Reuters.


Forget About Retiring, China’s Economic Planners Say – Businessweek

What if Chinese were required to work an extra five years, or even a decade, before retirement? There are growing calls among officials and academics in China to consider that controversial move as the country’s rapidly aging population puts new stress on its pension program. China must consider “deferred retirement,” said Hu Xiaoyi, a vice minister of human resources and social security, on Oct. 22, speaking to journalists at a seminar in Beijing.

An elderly man carries bottles of water for sale as he makes his way along a business street in Beijing

Right now most of China’s workers retire earlier than those in many other countries. Men, for example, stop working at 60, while many women retire at 50, a precedent set in Mao-era 1950s China. That fact, along with the still strong one-child policy, complicates the task of managing the growing costs associated with an aging population and shrinking workforce.

According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, in 2012 the number of those of employable age—formally classified as those from 15 to 59 years of age—actually fell, dropping by 3.45 million, to 937.27 million. “Last year, the working-age population dropped for the first time, a signal that China needs to make better use of its human resources,” said Hu, reported the China Daily on Oct. 23. ”China should raise the retirement age as soon as possible, but it must take small steps and make the transitional period long enough for the public to adapt,” said Zheng Bingwen, a pensions expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, reported the China Daily.

via Forget About Retiring, China’s Economic Planners Say – Businessweek.


Wal-Mart to open up to 110 new China stores by 2016 | Reuters

Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N), the world\’s biggest retailer, is expanding its China business as it seeks to raise profitability in a slowing retail sector.

Wal-Mart Stores Chief Executive Officer Mike Duke attends a news conference in Beijing, October 24, 2013. REUTERS-Kim Kyung-Hoon

Wal-Mart will open up to 110 facilities in China between 2014 and 2016, in addition to the 30 it has already opened this year, it said at a press event in Beijing on Thursday.

Wal-Mart has closed 11 stores and is looking to close 15-30 others over the next 18 months, said Greg Foran, chief executive of Wal-Mart China, in what he called part of a rationalization process.

The U.S. company is tackling tough global economic conditions and a fundamental change in China\’s retail sector, as annual sales growth slows and consumers move towards shopping online.

Wal-Mart wants to profit from China\’s changing retail landscape by embracing e-commerce, which is expected to record 32 percent composite annual growth between 2012 and 2015, according to Bain & Co.

via Wal-Mart to open up to 110 new China stores by 2016 | Reuters.


In rare move, China regulator voices concern for detained reporter | Reuters

So public protests sometimes works. See also –

“China’s central publishing regulator, in a rare acknowledgement of the rights of journalists, expressed concern on Thursday about a detained reporter, a case that has stirred outrage after a newspaper pleaded with police on its front page to let him go.

Chen Yongzhou was detained after writing more than a dozen stories criticizing the finances of a major state-owned construction equipment maker, a move that coincides with new curbs on journalists, lawyers and internet users in China.

“The General Association of Press and Publishing (GAPP) resolutely supports the news media conducting normal interviewing and reporting activities and resolutely protects journalists\’ normal and legal rights to interview,” the China Press and Publishing Journal, which is overseen by the association itself, said, citing an association official.

“At the same time, it resolutely opposes any abuse of the right to conduct interviews.”

The article said the association was paying “close attention” to the matter.”

via In rare move, China regulator voices concern for detained reporter | Reuters.

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