Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

15/02/2019

China Focus: Qomolangma reserve bans ordinary tourists in core zone

LHASA, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) — Mount Qomolangma National Nature Reserve in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region has banned ordinary tourists from entering its core zone to better conserve the environment of the world’s highest mountain.

But for travelers who have a climbing permit, the mountaineering activities will not be affected, according to the reserve which was set up in 1988.

Covering an area of around 33,800 square km including a 10,312-square km core zone, the reserve is home to one of the world’s most vulnerable ecosystems.

Recently, a report went viral online claiming the Qomolangma base camp was “permanently closed due to heavy pollution.” But local authorities denied the claim.

Kelsang, deputy director with the reserve’s administration, said ordinary tourists are banned from areas above Rongpo Monastery, around 5,000 meters above sea level. A new tent camp will be set up nearly two km away from the original one.

Between each April and October, villagers from Dingri County usually set up black tents at the foot of Mount Qomolangma, providing tourists accommodation as a means of earning money.

Though ordinary visitors can’t go beyond the monastery, it won’t affect them from appreciating the mountain.

“The new tent camp for ordinary tourists can still allow them to clearly see the 8,800-meter-plus mountain,” Kelsang said.

Travelers who have a climbing permit can go to the base camp at an altitude of 5,200 meters. Kelsang said the mountaineering activities have been approved by the regional forestry department.

Decades after the epic climb to the world’s peak, Tibetans at the foot of Mount Qomolangma have conquered poverty by receiving professional and amateur mountaineers and tourists, who have also posed an environmental challenge to the mountain.

To conserve the environment surrounding Mount Qomolangma, China carried out three major clean-ups at an altitude of 5,200 meters and above last spring, collecting more than eight tonnes of household waste, human feces and mountaineering trash.

This year, the clean-up will continue, and the remains of mountaineering victims above 8,000 meters will be centrally dealt with for the first time.

Meanwhile, the number of people who stay at the base camp will be kept under 300.

Currently, there are 85 wildlife protectors in the reserve, and 1,000 herders have part-time jobs patrolling and cleaning up garbage.

“These measures aim to strike a balance between various demands such as environmental protection, local poverty relief, mountaineering and education,” said Wang Shen, county chief of Dingri at the mountain foot.

Source: Xinhua

Advertisements
15/02/2019

Beijing unveils plan to transform vacated “Steel City”

BEIJING, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) — The Beijing municipal government has published a plan to transform a vacated industrial site in its western suburb into a city landmark by 2035, as part of the preparation for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

The new area, on the basis of the Shougang Park, a former steel plant relocated to neighboring Hebei Province in 2010, covers an area of 22.3 square km, according to the plan released Wednesday by the city’s development and reform commission.

“Building on the existing facilities, we will create a distinct community composed of museums, industrial incubators and leisure facilities,” said Hong Jiyuan, deputy director of the commission.

Sports facilities including a ski site and a training center are under construction in the park for the Winter Olympics. The facilities will be used after the Games to host international events and exhibitions, according to the plan.

Beijing is also building more lakes, forest parks and waterscapes in the area to create an eco-friendly demonstration space.

Shougang Group will cooperate with enterprises both at home and abroad to rejuvenate the old industrial area, said Wang Shizhong, deputy general manager of the company, adding that Beijing’s first 5G network and an artificial intelligence industrial park will be established there.

Source: Xinhua

15/02/2019

Snow hits parts of north China

BEIJING, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) — Parts of north China including Beijing, Hebei Province and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region saw heavy snow on Thursday.

The snow started at around 5 a.m. in Beijing Thursday, following snow on Tuesday.

It started from the western and northern mountain areas, and gradually reached most parts of the city. It is expected to last until Thursday night, with a maximum precipitation of 4 mm in the western and northern mountain areas, and an average precipitation of 1 mm in downtown areas, according to the Beijing meteorological bureau.

The bureau has issued an alert for icy roads as of this morning.

More than one hundred bus lines were affected, and flights have been delayed and canceled at Beijing International Airport due to the snow.

According to the National Meteorological Center, north China is experiencing this winter’s largest and heaviest snow on Thursday, with estimated accumulations of as much as 2.5 centimeters.

Snow and low temperatures have hit most parts of the neighboring Hebei Province since Wednesday. The provincial government has issued emergency notices to require departments of heating, transportation, public security and city management to make preparations for the lingering snow and low temperatures in the following days.

Local power supply companies have strengthened patrols to ensure stable power supply.

Many parts of Inner Mongolia also saw snow early Thursday morning. The capital city Hohhot was covered with snow by 8:00 a.m.

“Although the heavy snow is inconvenient, it is very exciting. Only snow can make the winter feel real,” said Wei Qiang, a resident of the city.

The region has embraced a dry winter with the capital city receiving no prior snowfall. But a round of snow, strong winds and cool weather will continue to batter most parts of the region until Friday, according to the local meteorological observatory.

So far, local traffic and agricultural facilities have been affected by the snowy weather. Relevant departments have been ordered to take precautionary measures and solve problems in a timely manner.

Source: Xinhua

15/02/2019

Job fairs held across China

#CHINA-JOB FAIR (CN)

Aerial photo taken on Feb. 13, 2019 shows job seekers at a job fair in Fancheng District of Xiangyang City, central China’s Hubei Province. (Xinhua/Yang Dong)

15/02/2019

Pulwama attack: India will ‘completely isolate’ Pakistan

India has said it will ensure the “complete isolation” of Pakistan after a suicide bomber killed 46 soldiers in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Federal Minister Arun Jaitley said India would take “all possible diplomatic steps” to cut Pakistan off from the international community.

India accuses Pakistan of failing to act against the militant group which said it carried out the attack.

This is the deadliest attack to hit the disputed region in decades.

Both India and Pakistan claim all of Muslim-majority Kashmir but only control parts of it.

An insurgency has been ongoing in Indian-administered Kashmir since the late 1980s and there has been an uptick in violence in recent years.

How will India ‘punish’ Pakistan?

India says that Jaish-e-Mohammad, the group behind the attack, has long had sanctuary in Pakistan and accuses its neighbour of failing to crack down on it.

It has called for global sanctions against the group and has said it wants its leader, Masood Azhar, to be listed as a terrorist by the UN security council.

Although India has tried to do this several times in the past, its attempts were repeatedly blocked by China, an ally of Pakistan.

Mr Jaitley set out India’s determination to hold Pakistan to account when speaking to reporters after attending a security meeting early on Friday.

He also confirmed that India would revoke Most Favoured Nation status from Pakistan, a special trading privilege granted in 1996.

Pakistan said it was gravely concerned by the bombing but rejected allegations that it was in any way responsible.

But after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a speech that those behind the attack would pay a “heavy price”, many analysts expect more action from Delhi.

After a 2016 attack on an Indian army base that killed 19 soldiers, Delhi said it carried out a campaign of “surgical strikes” in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, across the de facto border. But a BBC investigation found little evidence militants had been hit.

However analysts say that even if the Indian government wants to go further this time, at the moment its options appear limited due to heavy snow across the region.

map

How did the attack unfold?

The bomber used a vehicle packed with explosives to ram into a convoy of 78 buses carrying Indian security forces on the heavily guarded Srinagar-Jammu highway about 20km (12 miles) from the capital, Srinagar.

“A car overtook the convoy and rammed into a bus,” a senior police official told BBC Urdu.

It stands as the deadliest militant attack on Indian forces in Kashmir since the insurgency began in 1989.

The bomber is reported to be Adil Dar, a high school dropout who left home in March 2018. He is believed to be between the ages of 19 and 21.

Soon after the attack Jaish-e-Mohammad released a video, which was then aired on the India Today TV channel. In it, a young man identified as Adil Dar spoke about what he described as atrocities against Kashmiri Muslims. He said he joined the banned group in 2018 and was eventually “assigned” the task of carrying out the attack in Pulwama.

He also said that by the time the video was released he would be in jannat (heaven).

Dar is one of many young Kashmiri men who have been radicalised in recent years. On Thursday, main opposition leader Rahul Gandhi said that the number of Kashmiri men joining militancy had risen from 88 in 2016 to 191 in 2018.

India has been accused of using brutal tactics to put down protests in Kashmir – with thousands of people sustaining eye injuries from pellet guns used by security forces.

What’s the reaction?

“We will give a befitting reply, our neighbour will not be allowed to de-stabilise us,” said Prime Minister Modi.

Mr Gandhi and two former Indian chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir all condemned the attack and expressed their condolences.

The attack has also been widely condemned around the world, including by the US and the UN Secretary General.

The White House called on Pakistan to “end immediately the support and safe haven provided to all terrorist groups operating on its soil”.

Pakistan said it strongly rejected any attempts “to link the attack to Pakistan without investigations”.

What’s the background?

There have been at least 10 suicide attacks since 1989 but this is only the second suicide attack to use a car.

Prior to Thursday’s bombing, the deadliest attack on Indian security forces in Kashmir this century came in 2002, when militants killed at least 31 people at an army base in Kaluchak near Jammu, most of them civilians and relatives of soldiers.

At least 19 Indian soldiers were killed when militants stormed a base in Uri in 2016. Delhi blamed that attack on the Pakistani state, which denied any involvement.

The latest attack also follows a spike in violence in Kashmir that came about after Indian forces killed a popular militant, 22-year-old Burhan Wani, in 2016.

More than 500 people were killed in 2018 – including civilians, security forces and militants – the highest such toll in a decade.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars and a limited conflict since independence from Britain in 1947 – all but one were over Kashmir.

Who are Jaish-e-Mohammad?

Started by cleric Masood Azhar in 2000, the group has been blamed for attacks on Indian soil in the past, including one in 2001 on the parliament in Delhi which took India and Pakistan to the brink of war.

Most recently, the group was blamed for attacking an Indian air force base in 2016 near the border in Punjab state. Seven Indian security personnel and six militants were killed.

It has been designated a “terrorist” organisation by India, the UK, US and UN and has been banned in Pakistan since 2002.

However Masood Azhar remains at large and is reportedly based in the Bahawalpur area in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

India has demanded his extradition from Pakistan but Islamabad has refused, citing a lack of proof.

Source: The BBC

15/02/2019

Fire alarms “faulty” at Delhi blaze hotel, prompting mass reinspections

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A hotel that caught fire in the Indian capital on Tuesday, killing 17 people, passed safety checks 14 months ago, but an investigation has revealed breaches of regulations, such as faulty alarms, prompting a mass reinspection of other hotels.

Poorly enforced regulations lead to thousands of deaths in fires across India every year and officials in New Delhi say an overstretched fire service is hampering safety efforts.

The Hotel Arpit Palace passed a fire safety check in December 2017, but a copy of the initial police investigation seen by Reuters showed several breaches of fire regulations, including a lack of signs to guide guests to exits and fire alarms that did not work.

Delhi’s fire service, which is responsible for safety inspections as well as fighting fires, is now reviewing certificates issued to more than 1,500 hotels in one of India’s tourist hubs, a senior fire official told Reuters.

“Fire officers have to do a lot of work,” said Vipin Kental, Delhi’s chief fire officer. “We have to be inspectors and fight fires. We do not have the manpower.”

The city has around 1,700 firefighters, he said, which is less than an eighth of the number in New York, a city with less than half of Delhi’s population.

PREVENTABLE TRAGEDY

The fire is believed to have begun on the hotel’s first floor, spreading quickly through wood-panelled corridors, police say. Among the dead were members of a wedding party from Kerala and a two Buddhist pilgrims from Myanmar.

“From the outside, the building looked intact, but inside everything was completely charred,” a police officer told Reuters.

Two of the 17 died after jumping out of windows in desperation after failing to find emergency exits, added the officer, who declined to be named as he is not authorised to talk to the media.

“Fire preparedness is a matter of shockingly low priority in most parts of the country,” said an editorial in the Indian Express, one of the country’s leading newspapers.

A 2018 study by India’s home ministry that found the country had just 2,000 of more than 8,500 fire stations it needs.

More than 17,000 people died in fires in 2015, according to data from the ministry, the last year for which figures are available, one of the largest causes of accidental death in India.

Fire safety is an issue for shanty towns and some of the country’s most expensive real estate.

A day after the Arpit Palace disaster, more than 250 makeshift homes were destroyed in a slum in Paschim Puri, a poor area of New Delhi, though no one was killed.

In 2017, 14 people were killed during a birthday party at a high-end bar in India’s financial capital Mumbai.

In several upscale neighbourhoods in Delhi, police shut hundreds of shops and restaurants last year for trading on floors meant for residential use, though many continue to operate illegally, residents say.

By the boarded-up Arpit Palace in the Karol Bagh area of New Delhi, wires from adjacent hotels still trail across the street, though staff there told Reuters they were complying with fire regulations.

Adding to the safety problems, poorly paid staff in the hotel and restaurant industries are often unable to help guests when fires break out, Kental said.

“They are not trained. They don’t know what to do in the event of a fire,” he said.

Source: Reuters

15/02/2019

Kashmir attack: Pak envoy summoned, ‘verifiable’ action against JeM sought

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale told the high commissioner that Pakistan must take “immediate and verifiable action” against the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group that has claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attack in Kashmir.

INDIA Updated: Feb 15, 2019 15:12 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PM Modi Jhansi,Modi Pulwama attack,Pulwama attack
Prime Minister Narendra Modi(PTI file photo)

India on Friday summoned Pakistan envoy Sohail Mahmood to lodge a strong protest over the suicide bombing in south Kashmir’s Pulwama by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale told the high commissioner that Pakistan must take “immediate and verifiable action” against the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group that has claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attack in Kashmir.

A Jaish suicide bomber on Thursday rammed a car packed with explosives into a CRPF convoy on the Jammu-Srinagar highway. The CRPF has confirmed 38 deaths in the suicide bombing, counted among the bloodiest in Kashmir. Initial reports, quoting security officials, had said 44 jawans were feared to have been killed in the attack.

The foreign secretary also told Pakistan that it must “immediately stop” groups or individuals linked to terrorism operating from its territories.

In the hours after Thursday’s attack, New Delhi had issued a strong statement that accused Pakistan of giving “full freedom” to the terror group to operate and expand its terror infrastructure to carry out attacks in India and elsewhere with impunity.

Islamabad responded with a two-line statement that said it had “always condemned heightened acts of violence” in Kashmir. Pakistan also said it will “strongly reject any insinuation by elements in the Indian government and media circles that seek to link the attack to the State of Pakistan without investigations”.

Foreign Secretary Gokhale rejected this statement by the Pakistan foreign office.

Source: Hindustan Times

14/02/2019

State Council releases vocational education reform implementation plan

BEIJING, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) — China has vowed to cultivate more quality laborers and skilled workers by reforming its vocational education systems, according to a plan for implementing the reform issued by the State Council, or China’s cabinet.

Vocational education and training systems will be reformed to match with science and technology development trends and market demands and to promote economic modernization and higher quality employment, the official documents note.

All sectors of society, especially enterprises, are encouraged to support the country’s vocational education, it says, adding that major companies are welcome to run vocational schools and offer high-quality programs.

The plan details measures to improve national systems and policies relating to vocational education and lift the quality of both secondary and higher vocational education in the country.

Moreover, China will establish national standards for vocational education and ensure standards regarding teaching, education materials and teachers are well met, aiming to nurture and pass down “craftsmanship,” according to the document.

Under a trial system set to be implemented from 2019, students at vocational colleges, as well as universities that mainly offer undergraduate programs in applied areas, will be awarded an academic certificate plus diplomas of vocational skills of various levels.

In five to ten years, operators of China’s vocational education institutions, which are now mostly government-run, will be diversified and include more entities or personnel from non-government sectors, according to the plan.

Source: Xinhua

14/02/2019

China’s C919 jetliner to speed up test flights in 2019

SHANGHAI, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) — China’s C919 large passenger aircraft project will see an overall accelerative test flight phase with the test fleet reaching six in 2019, according to its developer on Wednesday.

In 2019, three new airplanes will conduct their first test flights and then join the test fleet. The batch production ramp-up is also underway, said the Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC).

The C919, China’s first self-developed trunk jetliner, conducted a successful maiden flight on May 5, 2017, at Shanghai Pudong International Airport.

By the end of 2018, three C919 airplanes have completed their test flights.

To date, another three are now in the final assembly, part assembly or large parts manufacturing phases respectively and are expected to join the fleet by the end of the year.

The flight test is a key verification phase for an aircraft model to validate its design and performance, especially the safety aspects.

The C919 airplanes will fly to various airports to undergo rigorous testing in complex weather conditions and a series of high-risk test flights, according to COMAC.

To date, COMAC has received 815 orders for the C919 from 28 customers worldwide.

Source: Xinhua

14/02/2019

Chinese envoy underscores importance of political settlement to Iraq issue

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) — A Chinese envoy on Wednesday underscored the importance of political settlement to the Iraq issue while addressing a United Nations Security Council meeting on the situation in Iraq.

“We should continue to adhere to the general direction of political settlement to the Iraq issue,” Ma Zhaoxu, China’s permanent representative to the UN, said at the meeting.

“Achieving inclusive reconciliation and harmonious coexistence among the Iraqi parties is in line with the fundamental interests and the development needs of all Iraqi people,” Ma added.

Noting that Iraq is “at a critical stage” in promoting peace, stability and reconstruction, the Chinese envoy called on the international community to earnestly respect Iraqi sovereignty, independence, unity and territory Integrity, “support the good offices of the UN” and provide constructive assistance for an inclusive political settlement.

“We should continue to support Iraq in its fight against terrorism,” said Ma, noting that “the threats posed by terrorist remnants remain.”

“All parties concerned should strengthen counter-terrorism cooperation, unify standards, crack down on all terrorist organizations listed by the Security Council, consolidate the achievements of counter-terrorism efforts, and resolutely curb the return and spread of terrorist forces and terrorist activities,” Ma added.

“The international community should support Iraq in bringing terrorists to justice in accordance with relevant domestic laws,” the ambassador added.

Noting that the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) “has played an important role” in supporting the Iraqi Government in promoting inclusive political dialogue, national reconciliation and national reconstruction, Ma said that China supports the efforts by UNAMI in its active work in accordance with its mandate.

“In recent years, the Chinese Government has provided Iraq with multiple batches of humanitarian supplies and economic assistance, some of which have been used in areas affected by terrorism,” said the ambassador.

In addition, the Chinese Red Cross also provided medical assistance to the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, which was used to alleviate the difficulties faced by the people of Iraq, he said.

Referring to the current political situation in the country, Ma said that China welcomes the progress in government formation in Iraq and commends the efforts by leaders of Iraq to resolve differences through consultations and dialogue, continuously promoting economic development, improving people’s living standards and accelerating the reconstruction process.

“China will, as always, support any efforts that help the political settlement process in Iraq and fight against terrorism, actively participate in the reconstruction of Iraq, of Iraqi economy, and will continue to provide assistance within our means,” the Chinese ambassador noted.

Source: Xinhua

Law of Unintended Consequences

continuously updated blog about China & India

ChiaHou's Book Reviews

continuously updated blog about China & India

What's wrong with the world; and its economy

continuously updated blog about China & India