Archive for December, 2013


# Who did China woo in 2013?

Answer: everybody!
Up to the beginning of the 20th century, China was very reclusive. It deemed itself self-sufficient, not needing anything from anyone else. China in the 21st century seems to have turned itself 180 degrees and is seeking to network and collaborate with everyone.
The list of over 100 countries below has been compiled from on-line articles in China Daily and Xinhua News. They are countries that either sent senior leaders to China or to which China sent senior leaders (often the Prime Minister or President) in 2013 to discuss and agree collaboration, or with whom China forged or renewed some significant treaty or alliance.

In other words, China is not leaving matters to chance but taking proactive action. Maybe the Chinese leaders have read and internalised Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People ( or even Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (

On the other hand, maybe China has heard of the saying: “Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.” and since everyone can at some time be a friend or a foe, China wants to keep close with everyone.

By the way, if your country is not one of those listed, either I missed an article OR you better start worrying.

China is making or re-establishing relationships or alliances in 2013 with:

  • December: Pakistan; United Kingdom; Taiwan; USA; France; South Korea; Iran; Thailand; Kenya; Cambodia; Palestine; Bolivia; Malaysia, Saudi Arabia; Tanzania; Vietnam; Germany:, Russia.
  • November: France; Laos; Croatia; Micronesia, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Niue and Fiji; Brazil; Argentina; Hungary; Indonesia; Romania; France
  • October: Indonesia; Malaysia; Brunei, Thailand, Vietnam; Taiwan; Bangladesh; Singapore; Russia; India; Israel; Mongolia; Turkey
  • September: Mexico; Belorussia; Turkmenistan; Kazakhstan; Uzbekistan; Kyrgyzstan; Tajikistan; Sri Lanka; Finland; Mongolia, Taiwan; Nigeria; Indonesia; Bangladesh; Ukraine; Venezuela; France; Romania; Russia; Vietnam; Afghanistan; Nigeria
  • August: Malaysia, Laos & Vietnam; Malaysia; Thailand; Kenya; Jamaica; Argentina: Sudan; Russia; Sudan; Serbia; Pakistan; Indonesia
  • July: Costa Rica; South Africa; South Korea; Turkmenistan; Venezuela; Kazakhstan; Seychelles; Cuba; North Korea
  • June: Trinidad & Tobago; Costa Rica; Mexico; Cuba; Russia; Vietnam; Myanmar; Brazil; Nepal; Surinam; Congo; South Korea; Sudan
  • May: Indonesia; Palestine, Israel; South Africa; Cambodia; Brunei; Senegal; India; Vietnam; Venezuela; Argentina; Russia; Ireland; Greece; India, Pakistan, Switzerland, Germany; Sri Lanka; Thailand, Ethiopia; Israel; Uruguay; Singapore; Fiji
  • April: Canada; Algeria; Brunei; Mexico; ; Zambia; Thailand; Cambodia; Taiwan; Peru; Australia; Finland; New Zealand; France; USA; Iceland; Nepal; South Sudan, Kyrgyzstan; Italy
  • March: Ivory Coast; Laos; Venezuela; USA; Tanzania; Russia; Zanzibar; UAE; South Africa, Republic of Congo;
  • February: Malaysia; South Africa; Taiwan; Brunei
  • January: Russia, France, Portugal, Indonesia, India, Macedonia; Thailand; Myanmar; Kyrgyzstan; South Korea; Cambodia; Brunei; Mongolia

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Review: Indian IT in 2013 – Times Of India

The resilient $270-billion plus Indian IT industry returned to the higher growth trajectory in 2013 and is hoping to gain momentum in the ensuing year for a greater share of the global multi-billion dollar outsourcing market.

Putting behind a turbulent 2012, the industry consolidated its presence in the software services sector, with its top four IT bellwethersTCS, Infosys, Wipro and HCL – posting better results to register a healthy 12-14% growth thus far as against 10% last fiscal (2012-13).

via Review: Indian IT in 2013 – Times Of India.

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BBC News – China country profile – Overview


China is the world’s most populous country, with a continuous culture stretching back nearly 4,000 years.

Map of China

Many of the elements that make up the foundation of the modern world originated in China, including paper, gunpowder, credit banking, the compass and paper money. (See also: Genius of China –

After stagnating for more than two decades under the rigid authoritarianism of early communist rule under its late leader, Chairman Mao, China now has the world’s fastest-growing economy and is undergoing what has been described as a second industrial revolution.

It has also launched an ambitious space exploration programme, involving plans to set up a space station by 2020.

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) was founded in 1949 after the Communist Party defeated the previously dominant nationalist Kuomintang in a civil war. The Kuomintang retreated to Taiwan, creating two rival Chinese states – the PRC on the mainland and the Republic of China based on Taiwan.

Beijing says the island of Taiwan is a part of Chinese territory that must be reunited with the mainland. The claim has in the past led to tension and threats of invasion, but since 2008 the two governments have moved towards a more cooperative atmosphere.

The leadership of Mao Tse-Tung oversaw the often brutal implementation of a Communist vision of society. Millions died in the Great Leap Forward – a programme of state control over agriculture and rapid industrialisation – and the Cultural Revolution, a chaotic attempt to root out elements seen as hostile to Communist rule.

However, Mao’s death in 1976 ushered in a new leadership and economic reform. In the early 1980s the government dismantled collective farming and again allowed private enterprise.

The rate of economic change has not been matched by political reform, with the Communist Party – the world’s largest political party – retaining its monopoly on power and maintaining strict control over the people. The authorities still crack down on any signs of opposition and send outspoken dissidents to labour camps.


Nowadays China is one of the world’s top exporters and is attracting record amounts of foreign investment. In turn, it is investing billions of dollars abroad.

The collapse in international export markets that accompanied the global financial crisis of 2009 initially hit China hard, but its economy was among the first in the world to rebound, quickly returning to growth.

In February 2011 it formally overtook Japan to become the world’s second-largest economy, though by early 2012 the debt crisis in the eurozone – one of the biggest markets for Chinese goods – was beginning to act as a drag on China’s growth.

As a member of the World Trade Organization, China benefits from access to foreign markets. But relations with trading partners have been strained over China’s huge trade surplus and the piracy of goods.

The former has led to demands for Beijing to raise the value of its currency, the renminbi, which would make Chinese goods more expensive for foreign buyers and possibly hold back exports. Beijing has responded with a gradual easing of restrictions on trading in the renminbi.

Some Chinese fear that the rise of private enterprise and the demise of state-run industries carries heavy social costs such as unemployment and instability.

Moreover, the fast-growing economy has fuelled the demand for energy. China is the largest oil consumer after the US, and the world’s biggest producer and consumer of coal. It spends billions of dollars in pursuit of foreign energy supplies. There has been a massive investment in hydro-power, including the $25bn Three Gorges Dam project.

Social discontent

The economic disparity between urban China and the rural hinterlands is among the largest in the world. In recent decades many impoverished rural dwellers have flocked to the country’s eastern cities, which have enjoyed a construction boom. By the beginning of 2012, city dwellers appeared to outnumber the rural population for the first time, according to official figures.

Social discontent manifests itself in protests by farmers and workers. Tens of thousands of people travel to Beijing each year to lodge petitions with the authorities in the hope of finding redress for alleged corruption, land seizures and evictions.

Other pressing problems include corruption, which affects every level of society, and the growing rate of HIV infection. A downside of the economic boom has been environmental degradation; China is home to many of the world’s most-polluted cities.

Human rights

Human rights campaigners continue to criticise China for executing hundreds of people every year and for failing to stop torture. The country is keen to stamp down on what it sees as dissent among its ethnic minorities, including Muslim Uighurs in the north-west. The authorities have targeted the Falun Gong spiritual movement, which they designate an “evil cult”.

Chinese rule over Tibet is controversial. Human rights groups accuse the authorities of the systematic destruction of Tibetan Buddhist culture and the persecution of monks loyal to the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader who is campaigning for autonomy within China.

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India: year in review – 2013: Highs & lows


Thursday, Dec 26, 2013, 13:05 IST | Agency: Zee News

A: Business and Economy


Enduring value: Rupee depreciation and revival in the US economy pitch-forked TCS to be the country’s most valued firm. Currently, the market capitalization of TCS is nearly Rs 4.13 lakh crore followed by Reliance Industries (Rs 2.89 lakh crore), and ITC (Rs 2.53 lakh crore) (as of December 24)

Rs 1 lakh crore quarterly club: While announcing the second quarter results of fiscal 2013-14 (Q2FY14), Reliance Industries became the first private sector company in India to achieve revenues of Rs 1, 06,523 crore in a quarter.

Sensex high on politics: Stock soar a new high on assembly poll verdict: Sensex touched the life-time high level of 21,483.74 in the intra-day trading on December 9, 2013. …
NRN returns: The Board of Infosys approved appointing Narayana Murthy as executive chairman of the board and additional director with effect from June 1, 2013. …
Breaking the glass ceiling: For the first time, 2013 witnessed a woman head at SBI. On October 8 the government cleared the elevation of Arundhati Bhattacharya as the chairperson of the largest public sector bank State Bank of India. …


Free-fall: Rupee touched all-time low of 68.85 against US dollar on August 28. The major reasons behind the sharp depreciation of rupee were: wide current account deficit and slowing growth.

Murthy yet again: On May 21, the board of California based IT outsourcing company iGate Corp announced the sacking of its President and CEO Phaneesh Murthy over alleged sexual harassment claims. Moreover, it was not for the first time that he had been allegedly charged with sexual harassment claims.

Negative for India: According to the ‘Doing Business 2014’ report, India has occupied the 134 position out of the 189 economies surveyed. India’s overall rank in Ease of Doing Business has dropped from 131st position to 134th position.

Biggies say no: In July 2013, South Korean mining giant Posco cancelled plans to construct a steel plant in Karnataka. Similarly, after waiting for seven years, ArcelorMittal scrapped plans for a steel mill in Orissa. Both companies cited similar reasons for pulling out: Weak market conditions and problems in securing land and mining licences in the country.

B: Safety and Security


Death penalty for rape: On September 13, 2013, after a nine-month-long trial, fast track court handed down death penalty to all the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case. …

New anti-rape law: On April 3, 2013, President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to the Anti-rape Bill which provides for life term and even death sentence for rape convicts besides stringent punishment for offences like acid attacks, stalking and voyeurism.

Sexual Harassment Act is a reality: The Sexual Harassment at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act and Rules, 2013 finally got notified by the ministry of women and child development and came into force from December 9, 2013.

Banking on women: On November 19, 2013, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurated the country’s first all-women bank, Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB). …

Food for all: The National Food Security Bill, 2013 received the assent of the President and came into force from 10th September 2013. The scheme is targeted to alleviate the poverty by offering free food to the poor and needy.


Life flooded: In June 2013, a multi-day cloudburst centered on the North Indian state of Uttarakhand caused devastating floods and landslides in the country’s worst natural disaster since the 2004 Tsunami.  According to figures provided by the Uttarakhand government, more than 5,700 people were “presumed dead.”

(In)Secure India: India was ranked pretty low in terms of social security when compared to its Asian neighbours. Asian Development Bank’s 2013 report pegged India’s social protection index (SPI), a ratio of total expenditure on social protection to the total number of intended beneficiaries, at just 0.051, way below the Asian benchmark score of 0.2 and lower than even that of Sri Lanka, Nepal and Maldives.

Hopes dashed: Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh died in a Lahore hospital on May 1, 2013 after being comatose for nearly a week following a brutal assault by fellow inmates in a high-security Pakistani jail. …

Demons at work: Nation was shocked with two back to back cases on alleged sexual harassment of women. Justice Ganguly and Ex Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal faced alleged sexual harassment charges from their colleagues. Tejpal is in judicial custody while Ganguly continues to be in chair as head of Human Rights Commission, West Bengal.

Picture imperfect: On August 22, 2013, five men allegedly raped a 22-year photojournalist inside the deserted Shakti Mills compound in central Mumbai while she was on assignment with a colleague. The girl survived and vows to live her life in dignity.

C: Politics


Jhadoo sweep: The Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) made a stunning debut during Delhi polls as they won 28 out of a total of 70 assembly seats. Kejriwal himself defeated Sheila Dikshit, former chief minister of Delhi by a whopping 22000 votes from New Delhi constituency. He will be amongst the youngest chief ministers in India.

Lokpal is here: In a rare bonhomie between the two major national parties – BJP and Congress made Lokpal a reality after 46 years of wait. Despite a few digs at one another, both parties converged to push the Lokpal Bill through Parliament.

Beware and behave: In a big leap towards cleaning up Indian politics, the Supreme Court ruled that MPs and MLAs would be immediately disqualified if they are convicted in a criminal case by a trial court. The court struck down Section 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which protects convicted MPs and MLAs from disqualification if they appeal before a higher court within three months.

GenX power: In recently held state elections a high voter turnout was recorded. While, Chhattisgarh recorded a polling percentage of over 75, Madhya Pradesh of over 71 and Mizoram about 82 per cent. Rajasthan 75 per cent and Delhi witnessed over 66 per cent in the polls. The chief election commissioner V.S. Sampath believed a significant enrolment of young voters in the electoral rolls has resulted in the unusually high voter turnout in the state polls.

Yes to (NOT)A: The newly introduced NOTA (None of the above) made a notable impact in recently held state assembly elections. More than 15 lakh people exercised the option in Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.


Love for fodder is bad: The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) founder was convicted in a 17-year-old multi-crore fodder scam for allegedly swindling more than Rs 37 crore. He was sentenced to five years in jail by a special CBI court which slapped a fine of Rs 26 lakh on the former Lok Sabha MP. He is currently out on bail.

Forgettable year for Congress: In 2013, the Congress has lost in six out of total nine states went for polls. Interestingly, barring Karnataka, Meghalaya and Mizoram Congress couldn’t increase its tally of MLAs in any state.

Short lived tenure: In a major setback to the UPA government, two senior cabinet ministers Pawan Kumar Bansal (former rail minister) and Ashwani Kumar (former law minister) quit their positions. Bansal stepped down after police arrested his nephew on suspicion of accepting a bribe in a case. Kumar’s departure came days after the Supreme Court said the government substantially changed a report by the CBI into alleged irregularities in the awarding of mining rights potentially worth billions of dollars to private companies.

Women, not the first choice: Of all the assembly polls held during the last five years, as many as 22 states registered less than 10 per cent participation of women candidates in these elections. Worse, three states also observed less than five per cent women participation during assembly elections. It includes all five states went for elections recently.

New low for democracy: Delhi assembly poll has thrown more than one surprise verdict. Apart from denying anyone absolute majority, the poll threw up a whopping 75 per cent (610 out of 808) candidates who lost their deposit with the Election Commission of India (ECI).

D: Entertainment


Low is high: Many low budget movies like Aashiqui 2, Madras Café, Kai Po Che did very well at the box office. This signaled a new positive trend for Bollywood.

Queen Padukone: All three releases of (Ye Jawani Hain Deewani, Chennai Express and Goliyon ki Raasleela, Ram Leela) of Deepika Padukone were super hits. …
Kolaveri Di in Bollywood: Dhanush’s Bollywood debut not just proved to be a hit at the box office but the performances of the actor was also appreciated. Within two weeks of its release, ‘Raanjhanaa‘ had been able to collect Rs 52 crore at the box office.

Young entry in 100 crore club: Ranveer Singh (28) and Anushka Sharma (25) became the youngest lead actors in the 100 crore club. Ranveer

BMB is 100-crore sprint: Bhaag Milkha Bhaag was the first film without a bankable superstar’ to net 100 crore. …


Too young to die: Bollywood actress, Jia Khan committed suicide on the night of June 3, 2013. Was it suicide due to a love story having turned sour or a murder? Courts have to decide yet.

An era ends: On July 12, Bollywood’s villain and popularly known as ‘Pran Sahab’ passed away after a prolonged illness. A man who lived an innocent life outside was feared as a villain as much adored for his supporting role as an actor.

‘Himmat..’ doesn’t’ pay: Sajid Khan’s remake of 1981 film ‘Himmatwala‘ turned out to be the biggest debacle of 2013. After giving hits like ‘Housefull‘, Sajid Khan was quite sure that ‘Himmatwala‘ would do wonders at the box office but it failed miserably.

Couple, that isn’t: Hrtithik Roshan and Sussane Roshan parted ways. They got separated after 13 years of marriage and 17 years of relationship. …
Oh, Ghosh! :Bengali cinema actor, director and producer ‘Rituparno Ghosh’ died on May 30, 2013. His work brought him nation-wide fame.

E: Sports 


Tail-ender has a new tale: In the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge in 2013 against England, Ashton Agar from Australia struck an astonishing 98- the highest Test score ever by a No. 11. In the same match he also made a record of becoming the first teenaged Australian spinner to take a Test wicket.

Openers delight: In October 2013, Team India created a record of scoring 362 for the first wicket against Australia in an ODI match at Jaipur.

Swan song: Sachin Tendulkar broke the jinx in his final encounter as unlike many cricketing greats around the world, he ended his career with a win in his final match. In recent time, after Saurav Ganguly, Tendulkar has become the only Indian to do so.

Bharat Ratna Sachin: Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar became the first sportsperson and youngest to be chosen for Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award.

Back to winning: In September 2013, Leander Paes won his eighth men’s doubles Grand Slam title, and 14th overall, as he combined with Radek Stepanek to clinch US Open trophy with a dominating victory over Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares in the title clash, in New York.


50:50 low: This year, a total of four ODI matches, ended without any result, which is the highest number of matches in the 50 over cricketing history so far.

Unhappy Anand: Five-time title-holder Viswanathan Anand’s reign as the world champion came to a heart-breaking end with Norway’s Magnus Carlsen took the crown after a hard-fought draw in the 10th game of the World Chess Championship match in Chennai this year.

Bowled Out: Fast bowler Sreesanth was found guilty of spot-fixing during the Indian Premier League (IPL) Season Six tournament. The probe was conducted by an internal by the BCCI. He has been banned for life on September, 13 2013.

King arrest; In May 2013, Gurunath Meiyappan, a top official of the Chennai Super Kings franchise and son-in-law of the BCCI president N Srinivasan, was arrested by Mumbai Police on the charges of cheating, forgery and fraud. Along Meiyappan, Bollywood actor Vindoo Dara Singh was also arrested.  He has now been released on bail.

Down & out: In December, 2012 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) at its Executive Board meeting in Lausanne, apparently for ignoring its warning against holding its elections under the National Sports Code. The IOC objected to tainted officials standing for elections and asked the Indian federation to amend its constitution to prevent them from contesting.

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China to enforce new rules tackling corruption and improving transparency | South China Morning Post

Chinese authorities will put into effect on Wednesday a series of new rules aiming to tackle corruption, boost railway safety, curb exaggerated television commercials, and generally improve quality of life for the public, state media reports.


Individuals will be required to declare their overseas financial assets and liabilities to the state through the country’s Administration of Foreign Exchange from January 1.

The new rule comes two days after state news agency Xinhua reported that the authorities had called for “strict enforcement” of a regulation last revised in 2010 requiring officials to report their personal and family assets to the state.

The more than 20,000 civilian personnel within the People’s Liberation Army will be stripped of the privilege of free public transportation and discounts at tourist attractions. They will be issued a new personnel card distinguishing them from the PLA’s servicemen.

Another New Year’s resolution for the authorities is to increase transparency in the country’s legal system. All judgments except those involving state secrets and individuals’ privacy rights will be published online for public scrutiny from next year. Courts across the country will also strive to standardise the sentencing system.

The media control authority will also scrutinise shopping commercials screened on nationwide television channels. It has banned all satellite television stations from running shopping commercials from 6pm to midnight, as well as limiting the screening of such commercials to less than once per hour, for no longer than three minutes each time.

Scams where people are fooled into buying products through shopping commercials in which actors grossly exaggerate product effects have been widely reported in the mainland.

Meanwhile under a new rule imposed by the railway authority, individuals found smoking, disrupting order on trains or engaging in vandalism will be fined up to 2,000 yuan (HK$2,540) while their employers will be subjected to a fine up to 50,000 yuan (HK$63,400).

The finance ministry will lower the tariffs on 760 kinds of imported products to boost consumption from January 1, while the taxation authority said it would adjust purchase tax imposed on cars that see a price drop accordingly from the new year.

via China to enforce new rules tackling corruption and improving transparency | South China Morning Post.


Tainted farmland to be restored |Society |

Farming of contaminated arable land almost the size of Belgium has been halted and the land will be rehabilitated to ensure food security, a senior official said on Monday.

Tainted farmland to be restored

A soil survey by the Ministry of Environmental Protection found that pollution affects about 3.33 million hectares, Wang Shiyuan, vice-minister of land and resources, said.

\”This finding is similar to the geographical environmental survey by the Ministry of Land and Resources,\” Wang added.

Arable land in China totaled 135.4 million hectares at the end of last year, 15 million hectares more than the bottom line set by the government to ensure food security, Wang said at a news conference, citing the results of the second national land survey released on Monday.

However, the amount of stable cultivated land will drop to 120 million hectares, as some farmland will be converted to forests, grasslands and wetlands, while pollution will leave some land unusable, Wang said.

The environment ministry earlier declined to disclose data related to soil pollution, saying further investigation is needed and that the figure is a State secret.

A nationwide survey on soil pollution was carried out between 2006 and 2010, led by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Land and Resources, but the results were never made public.

Bai Chengshou, deputy head of the nature and ecology conservation department at the environmental protection ministry, said results will be published in future, with more data included.

\”The current work is to take more samples in key areas with severe soil pollution, so that the results can be more accurate and representative,\” he said.

Bai said a \”soil pollution action plan\”, similar to the Airborne Pollution Action Plan (2013-17) released by the central government in mid-September, is being prepared.

He said the plan, which will provide a detailed framework for national soil pollution control measures before 2017, is likely to be released around June after being approved by the State Council.

Wang said the swaths of polluted farmland are concentrated in developed eastern and central regions and in the northeastern industrial belt.

He singled out Hunan province which, with its booming heavy industries, had repeatedly reported much higher levels of cadmium found in rice than permitted by national standards.

Answering a China Daily question on whether the tainted land is still being farmed, Wang said no further planting will be allowed on it, as food safety is a top concern for governments at various levels.

Each year, the central government will earmark several billion yuan to rehabilitate farmland tainted by heavy metals and threatened by the over-draining of underground water, Wang said, without giving details.

\”Only rehabilitated farmland that has passed assessment will be used again,\” he said.

via Tainted farmland to be restored |Society |

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Tale of Xi’s dumplings draws crowd |Society |

\”A president\’s set meal,\” said Sun Zhengcai as he waited to be served at the Qing Feng Steamed Dumpling Shop in Beijing\’s Xicheng district.

Tale of Xi's dumplings draws crowd

Just two days earlier, on Saturday, President Xi Jinping had dropped in unexpectedly for lunch, and fame of his visit had spread far and wide.

Sun, a 33-year-old ex-soldier, could have been home on Monday if he had taken a train from Weifang, Shandong province, where he had been on a business trip, straight to Liaoning province. But he chose to change trains in Beijing with his five boxes of green turnips, making the trip six hours longer and more than 200 yuan ($33) more expensive.

Sun spent 50 yuan to store his 25 kg of turnips at the station and arrived at the shop at about noon to join a line more than 50 meters long.

After waiting for nearly half an hour, he took his \”president\’s meal\” and went to the table at which Xi had sat — where Sun joined another line to wait for a chance to sit in Xi\’s seat and have his photo taken there.

Sun then quickly moved to another table because of the large number of people who were waiting their turn to be photographed at Xi\’s table.

The first thing Sun did, however, was not to start enjoying the dumpling stuffed with pork and green onions, but to upload to WeChat, a mobile social networking app, the photo he had asked another customer to take of him.

\”The greatest honor I had during my stay in Beijing was to have a set meal of the president,\” he said in the photo.

After getting one more photo of himself in front of the shop, Sun hurried back to the train station.

\”I usually don\’t eat dumplings, but I finished all of them, just as President Xi did,\” Sun said. \”His deed showed that he is a man of the people,\” Sun added. \”I feel more confident in building a strong China under his leadership.\”

Pan Xinxin, 27, a postgraduate student at the Central University of Finance and Economics, also decided to come to taste the same meal Xi had ordered after hearing of the president\’s visit.

\”President Xi\’s deed makes me feel he is quite close to the young and not reserved, and this makes us like him very much,\” Pan said.

Pan decided to visit the restaurant because it is \”affordable\” and \”it\’s a place we can experience firsthand\”.

According to an online post from Baidu, the largest search engine in China, the term \”Qing Feng Steamed Dumpling Shop\” had been searched for 33,317 times on Saturday.

via Tale of Xi’s dumplings draws crowd |Society |

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BBC News – India country profile – Overview

The world\’s largest democracy and second most populous country emerged as a major power in the 1990s. It is militarily strong, has major cultural influence and a fast-growing and powerful economy.

Map of India

A nuclear-armed state, it carried out tests in the 1970s and again in the 1990s in defiance of world opinion. However, India is still tackling huge social, economic and environmental problems.

The vast and diverse Indian sub-continent – from the mountainous Afghan frontier to the jungles of Burma – was under foreign rule from the early 1800s until the demise of the British Raj in 1947.

The subsequent partition of the sub-continent – into present-day India and Pakistan – sowed the seeds for future conflict. There have been three wars between India and its arch-rival Pakistan since 1947, two of them over the disputed territory of Kashmir.

A peace process, which started in 2004, stayed on track despite tension over Kashmir and several high-profile bombings until the Mumbai attacks of November 2008, carried out by Islamist militants overwhelmingly from Pakistan and organised by the Pakistani movement Lashkar-e-Taiba. India announced that the process was on pause the following month.

Communal strife

With its many languages, cultures and religions, India is highly diverse. This is also reflected in its federal political system, whereby power is shared between the central government and 28 states.

However, communal, caste and regional tensions continue to haunt Indian politics, sometimes threatening its long-standing democratic and secular ethos.

In 1984 Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was gunned down by her Sikh bodyguards after ordering troops to flush out Sikh militants from the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

And in 1992, widespread Hindu-Muslim violence erupted after Hindu extremists demolished the Babri mosque at Ayodhya.

Economic progress

Independent India\’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, dreamed of a socialist society and created a vast public infrastructure, much of which became a burden on the state.

From the late 1980s India began to open up to the outside world, encouraging economic reform and foreign investment. It is now courted by the world\’s leading economic and political powers, including its one-time foe China.

The country has a burgeoning urban middle class and has made great strides in fields such as information technology. Its large, skilled workforce makes it a popular choice for international companies seeking to outsource work.

But the vast mass of the rural population remains impoverished.

Their lives continue to be influenced by the ancient Hindu caste system, which assigns each person a place in the social hierarchy. Discrimination on the basis of caste is now illegal and various measures have been introduced to empower disadvantaged groups and give them easier access to opportunities – such as education and work.

Poverty alleviation and literacy campaigns are ongoing.

Nuclear tests carried out by India in May 1998 and similar tests by Pakistan just weeks later provoked international condemnation and concern over the stability of the region.

The US quickly imposed sanctions on India, but more recently the two countries have improved their ties, and even agreed to share nuclear technology.

India launches its own satellites and in 2008 sent its first spacecraft to the moon. It also boasts a massive cinema industry, the products of which are among the most widely-watched films in the world.

via BBC News – India country profile – Overview.

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BBC News – View from China on the threats to world peace

Which country poses the biggest threat to world peace? Syria? Iran? North Korea?

Well, according to Gallup International\’s end of year survey of nearly 68,000 people in 65 countries, the US takes the top spot, followed by Pakistan and China.

The Chinese people we spoke to on the streets of Beijing weren\’t so sure China deserved to come in at number three.

via BBC News – View from China on the threats to world peace.


Tesco and Vodafone cleared to invest billions in India – Telegraph

An Indian panel has cleared investment plans by Tesco and Vodafone worth more than $1.5bn, as foreign firms show new interest in the country since New Delhi eased barriers to foreign capital.

Sadia Boudries, a Tesco employee poses for a photograph at a Tesco supermarket in London, UK

The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) sanctioned a proposal by Vodafone, the world\’s biggest mobile phone company, to buy its joint venture partners\’ stakes in its Indian arm for 101bn rupees (£1bn).

Tesco, the world\’s third-largest retailer, had applied to the board for permission to invest an initial $110m (£66.6m) in the Tata conglomerate\’s retail business Trent Hypermarket.

\”The board gave permission to Tesco and to Vodafone. Now the applications must go to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs,\” a senior foreign investment panel official told AFP on condition he was not named.

The move by Vodafone to buy out its partners comes after India opened the telecom sector to 100pc foreign ownership five months ago and comes despite a bitter tax row with the Indian government over its Indian investment that is under conciliation.

Before that, foreign ownership in phone firms was capped at 74pc.

New Delhi moved last August to open up its large and potentially lucrative retail sector to foreign companies to try to boost the slowing economy.

via Tesco and Vodafone cleared to invest billions in India – Telegraph.

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