Posts tagged ‘Associated Press’

23/09/2016

Indian-Born Biologist Is Among MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’ Winners – India Real Time – WSJ

Manu Prakash grew up folding origami paper frogs and cranes in his hometown in northern India.

Indian-Born Biologist Is Among MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’ Winners

So it seemed natural for the 36-year-old Stanford University biologist to build an inexpensive microscope for the developing world that can be put together from a single piece of paper.“

I was inspired by tools like pencils, and what it takes to make those tools available to everyone,” he said. “The goal is to enable and inspire others to do science.”

His Foldscope, which costs less than $1 to produce and includes built-in lenses, is now used in 130 countries to help identify infectious diseases, among other things.

The gadget helped propel Mr. Prakash, along with 22 others, into the ranks of the MacArthur “genius” grant recipients, who are awarded a no-strings-attached $625,000 grant by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for showing exemplary creativity in their fields.

Source: Indian-Born Biologist Is Among MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’ Winners – India Real Time – WSJ

Advertisements
25/08/2016

China and US to ratify landmark Paris climate deal ahead of G20 summit, sources reveal | South China Morning Post

China and the United States are set to jointly announce their ratification of a landmark climate change pact before the G20 summit early next month, the South China Morning Post has learned.

Senior climate officials from both countries worked late into the night in Beijing on Tuesday to finalise details, and a bilateral announcement is likely to be made on September 2, according to sources familiar with the issue.

President Xi Jinping will meet his US counterpart Barack Obama for the G20 summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, two days later on September 4.

How China, the ‘world’s largest polluter’, is taking on climate change

“There are still some uncertainties from the US side due to the complicated US system in ratifying such a treaty, but the announcement is still quite likely to be ready by Sept 2,” said a source, who declined to be named.

If both sides announce the ratification on the day, it would be the last major joint statement between the two leaders before Obama leaves office.

China and the US account for about 38 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the World Resources Institute.

By ratifying the Paris Agreement on climate change, Beijing and Washington could generate momentum for the accord to come into effect as a binding international treaty.

The pact agreed by representatives from 195 countries in Paris last December aims to keep the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius on pre-industrial levels.

Countries began the ratification process on April 22, Earth Day, and by Tuesday, 23 nations had joined, but they account for just 1 per cent of emissions.

China and the US create a new climate for international collaboration on the environment

The treaty will enter into force only after 55 countries representing at least 55 per cent of emissions ratify or join the deal in other ways.

China had said earlier it would ratify the accord before the G20 summit in September.

In June, the US said it would “work towards” approving the deal before end of the year, with the White House keen to seal a key part of Obama’s environmental protection legacy before he leaves office in January.

US law allows the nation to join international agreements in a number of ways, including through the authority of the president.

With China and US joining, some civil society trackers say they are confident the deal could hit the 55 per cent threshold before the end of the year.

On Wednesday, investors managing more than US$13 trillion of assets urged leaders of the Group of Twenty major economies to ratify the deal before the end of December.

The 130 investors also called for the G20 to double global investment in clean energy, develop carbon pricing and phase out fossil fuel subsidies.

How a little-known chapter in Sino-US cooperation may have helped save the planet

“Governments must ratify the Paris agreement swiftly and have a responsibility to implement policies that drive better disclosure of climate risk, curb fossil fuel subsidies and put in place strong pricing signals sufficient to catalyse the significant private sector investment in low carbon solutions,” said Stephanie Pfeifer, chief executive at Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change.

Ratification is expected to play out differently in the US compared with China.

While China has “few uncertainties” at home for passing the deal, it could cause controversy within the US, according to Liu Shuang, an officer with Energy Foundation’s low-carbon development programme.But the Obama administration’s commitment to international frameworks suggests the accord would be passed in a way that would make it difficult for his successors to undo, civil society trackers said.

‘I may do something else’: Donald Trump’s threat to renegotiate UN climate deal greeted with widespread dismay

The two countries started extensive cooperation at the leadership level in 2014. In a joint declaration that year, China promised its emissions would peak before 2030, while the US promised to cut emission by at least 26 per cent. That deal is widely regarded as paving the way for the Paris Agreement.

Source: China and US to ratify landmark Paris climate deal ahead of G20 summit, sources reveal | South China Morning Post

02/08/2016

India to impose temporary anti-dumping duty on some steel products | Reuters

An Indian government body has recommended provisional anti-dumping duty on imports of hot-rolled steel products, a government statement said on Tuesday, to reduce overseas purchases of the alloy and shield local mills.

The anti-dumping duty will come into effect after New Delhi formally notifies the tax.

The Directorate General of Anti Dumping recommended the duties on steel products from China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Brazil and Indonesia, the statement said.Indian steelmakers such as the Steel Authority of India (SAIL.NS) , JSW Steel (JSTL.NS) and Tata Steel (TISC.NS) had lobbied for protectionist measures to prevent cheap overseas purchases that were undercutting local mills and squeezing margins.

Source: India to impose temporary anti-dumping duty on some steel products | Reuters

16/06/2016

Disney’s China fairytale begins with $5.5 billion park opening | Reuters

Walt Disney Co has opened the gates to its first theme park in China, prompting a rush from thousands of gathered Mickey Mouse enthusiasts to be the first to storm Treasure Cove, ride the Roaring Rapids or visit Disney’s tallest castle.

Disney’s largest overseas investment at $5.5 billion, the park is a bet on China’s middle class and booming domestic tourism. The U.S. firm hopes it will offset an otherwise lackluster international theme park business, better known for cash-burning sites such as Euro Disney.

“This is one of the proudest and most exciting moments in the history of the Walt Disney Company,” chief executive Bob Iger said at the official ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, where he was flanked by Chinese government officials.

Iger and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang read out letters of support from Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping.

Not everything has gone quite to plan though.The opening gala – meant to be a bonanza of fireworks, live music and dance – was rained off on Wednesday night, while at Disney’s park in Orlando, Florida, a young boy was grabbed by an alligator and killed.

Disney, though, sees China as its biggest opportunity since Walt Disney bought land in Florida in the 1960s for what is now Walt Disney World – the world’s most-visited theme park.

With that in mind, Main Street has been replaced by Mickey Avenue to reduce the feel of Americana while attractions include the Chinese-style Wandering Moon tea house, a Chinese Zodiac-themed garden and a Tarzan musical featuring Chinese acrobats.

Disney estimates 330 million people within a three-hour radius of Shanghai will be able to afford to come to the park: that includes Zhao Qiong, 36, who was one of the first visitors inside the park on Thursday with her 4-year-old daughter.”Since she was young, my little girl has always loved Disney princesses, so I wanted to bring her to the park to fulfill her dream,” she told Reuters.

Source: Disney’s China fairytale begins with $5.5 billion park opening | Reuters

17/02/2016

Free Speech in China Gets an Unlikely State-Media Backer – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China’s ruling Communist Party is cracking down on internal criticism, and the editor of one of the country’s most nationalist tabloids isn’t going to take it anymore.

In a post on his Weibo microblog over the weekend, Hu Xijin, editor in chief of the Global Times, called on Chinese authorities to show greater tolerance for dissenting opinions.

“China should open up more channels for criticism and suggestions and encourage constructive criticism,” Mr. Hu wrote on Sunday. “There also should be a certain amount of tolerance for unconstructive criticism.”

While allowing greater freedom of speech can lead to some problems, it brings greater benefits, he wrote, adding that recent Chinese history since the beginning of Communist rule in 1949 shows that freedom of speech “is inseparably linked to the vitality of society.”

“As for the problems it causes, the state has ample capacity to respond,” Mr. Hu wrote, without elaborating.

The message had received more than 2,000 comments and 1,500 “likes” as of Wednesday afternoon, on par with some of Mr. Hu’s other recent posts.

The posting comes as the Communist Party is doubling down on its efforts to stifle dissent among cadres. The sacking last November of Zhao Xinyu, an editor at a state-run newspaper, drew attention to a new tool in the party’s repertoire: the punishment of members for “groundlessly commenting” on official policies.

Introduced in a set of party rules last October, the prohibition against speaking out on national policies – known in Chinese as 妄议中央, wangyi zhongyang – is likely to have a chilling effect on political discussion within China, experts say.

It wasn’t clear whether Mr. Hu’s posting was in reaction to the new regulation – although some of the comments on his post indicated that the issue is on Chinese Internet users’ minds. “Aren’t you afraid of [being fired for] groundlessly commenting on official policies?” one user wrote.

Source: Free Speech in China Gets an Unlikely State-Media Backer – China Real Time Report – WSJ

01/02/2016

Another Type of Factory-Gate Indicator: Dumpling Sales – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Whether it is the cold drizzle, factory economics or the annual exodus of migrant laborers ahead of Lunar New Year, Lin Xinge is selling fewer dumplings.

Ms. Lin is chief dumpling wrapper, waitress, cashier and dishwasher for Fujian One Thousand Li Fragrant, a tiny restaurant she owns with her husband in an industrial zone of Shanghai. Just over a fence, her neighbors include iPhone maker Foxconn Technology Group and other giant industrial groups that employ legions of workers she counts as customers.

“The workers earn less salary so fewer people come here and our restaurant isn’t doing well,” says Ms. Lin. She says that during the three years she has run One Thousand Li Fragrant, she’s had periods when every seat at her eight tables has been filled. Not lately.

Like her customers who come for $1.50 bowls of noodles and dumplings, Ms. Lin is a migrant worker. On a recent day she was sitting on an orange chair in the restaurant gripping a hand-warmer and thinking of her native Fujian province, where as a young woman she sang opera in the local dialect.

“Our Putian is more comfortable,” she says referring to the ancient city in Fujian where she was born. Though only 34 years old, Ms. Lin said singing in a traveling opera troupe is for the young and made less sense for someone like her, a mother of two.

In the Shanghai factory zone called Songjiang, One Thousand Li Fragrant was among the few restaurants that remained open ahead of the Feb. 8 Lunar New Year. Wind and cold rain whipped across tables placed on the sidewalk that would have been inviting in balmier times. Ms. Lin said the other dozen or so restaurants, also run by migrants and for migrants, had shut a few days before, as their owners departed for the holidays.

China’s mass people movement for Lunar New Year officially began a week ago. Beijing predicts 2.91 billion trips between January 24 and March 3. Ms. Lin’s family will join the throng in coming days.

Economists will be watching how China’s slowdown affects the mass migration. During past years of economic boom in China, until the mid-2000s, cash-rich factory workers returned to interior villages for the holidays, but quickly flooded back to the industrialized east, often along with family members willing to work for low pay. But in more recent years, the monotony of factory work has proved less of a draw, leaving employers to scramble to hold workers, with higher salaries or benefits. This year, jobs themselves are the concern.

Migrants interviewed outside factories in southern Shanghai and northern Zhejiang province this past week provided a mixed picture. Some suggested the economic slowdown is hitting factories. Some noted that workers were sometimes being encouraged to leave for holidays earlier this year while some factories shut outright. Truck traffic in the zones appeared light and some facilities were shut.

Speaking outside some factories, many veteran workers used the word for nothing special, “chabuduo,” to dismiss any suggestion they see dramatic changes this holiday season.

As heavy rain fell in the Zhejiang province industrial city Jiaxing on Friday, a group jostled and pushed an assortment of fancy suitcases, canvas bags and industrial buckets into the hold of a bus. The group was embarking on a 10-hour drive back home to the Henan province city of Nanyang. The mood was upbeat.

One woman, who works in a garment factory, said she was toting gifts for her family, including 100 rice balls. A worker, who said he drives on a construction site, reported he had a pretty good year. They said bonuses had been paid as usual.

Source: Another Type of Factory-Gate Indicator: Dumpling Sales – China Real Time Report – WSJ

10/12/2015

Aging population could shrink workforce by 10% in China|Society|chinadaily.com.cn

The graying of the population could shrink the number of working-age adults by more than 10 percent in China by 2040, a report from the World Bank said on Wednesday. It means a net loss of 90 million workers in the country until that time, according to the report named “Live Long and Prosper: Aging in East Asia and Pacific”.

“Developing middle-income countries in East Asia, such as China, are already aging quickly and face some of the most pressing challenges in managing aging,” it said. East Asia, as the Word Bank’s research showed, is aging faster than any other region in history. Nearly 36 percent of the world’s population aged 65 and over, or 211 million people, live in this region, which is the largest share among all regions in the world.

The bank warned that the rapid pace and sheer scale of aging in East Asia raises policy challenges, economic and fiscal pressure, as well as social risks. “Without reforms, for example, pension spending in the region is projected to increase by eight to 10 percent of GDP by 2070.”

Axel van Trotsenburg, regional vice-president of the World Bank‘s East Asia and Pacific Region, said on Wednesday that “East Asia Pacific has undergone the most dramatic demographic transition we have ever seen, and all developing countries in the region risk getting old before getting rich.” He suggested a comprehensive policy approach across the life cycle to enhance labor-force participation and encourage healthy lifestyle through structural reforms in childcare, education, healthcare, pensions, long-term care and more.

The report also recommends a range of pressing reforms in China, including removing incentives in pension systems that have encouraged some workers, especially urban women, to retire too early. Developing countries in the region can take steps to reform their existing pension schemes, including considering gradual increase in retirement age, it said.

Source: Aging population could shrink workforce by 10% in China|Society|chinadaily.com.cn

18/06/2015

India’s Modi Makes Ramadan Call to Pakistan’s Sharif – India Real Time – WSJ

In the latest gesture between the two nuclear-armed neighbors, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif to greet him ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which starts this week.

During the conversation, which lasted for around five minutes, Mr. Modi announced the release of detained Pakistani fishermen as “an act of goodwill,” Mr. Sharif’s office said in a statement Tuesday evening.

The released Pakistani fishermen “will be able to be with their families to observe this blessed month,” Mr. Modi said on social networking site Twitter. Details on the number of fishermen to be released and the timing were not disclosed.

In response, Mr. Sharif said in a statement that the two nations should “forget their differences and talk of war, and move towards peace and tranquility.”

Pakistan and India should co-exist peacefully as they are neighbors, and they should not let their bilateral differences become hurdles in that path,” the statement added.

Mr. Modi first extended an olive branch to Pakistan when he invited Mr. Sharif to his swearing-in ceremony after his election last year, but since then, the fragile ties have soured with inflammatory remarks from both sides.

 

During a visit to Bangladesh earlier this month, Mr. Modi accused Pakistan of creating “nuisance” and “constantly troubling” India by promoting terrorism. Meanwhile, Indian military action along its eastern border with Myanmar last week rattled Pakistani leaders, who accused India of backing terrorist attacks on their land and slandering Pakistan at international forums.

Further, Pakistan last month refused to grant visas to Indian yoga instructors ahead of the first International Day of Yoga. India retaliated by rejecting the visa application of a Pakistani official to travel to New Delhi.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since the partition of British India in 1947. Two of those conflicts were over the disputed region of Kashmir. New Delhi accuses Pakistan of sponsoring extremist groups that target India, while Islamabad accuses India of supporting terror outfits on their soil.

Cricket has often served as a diplomatic tool to ease relations though.

In February, Mr. Modi called Mr. Sharif to convey his best wishes for the 2015 Cricket World Cup. And in March, he again called the Pakistani prime minister to inform him about the visit of the Indian foreign secretary to his country as part of a tour of India’s neighbors.

Analysts feel Mr. Modi’s telephone call Tuesday could help resume dialogue between the two hostile nations.

“It is an optimistic development, a sign of goodwill in breaking the ice with Pakistan,” said Lalit Mansingh, a former Indian foreign secretary and one-time ambassador to the U.S.

But, “there is far too much a negative experience between the two countries to call it a diplomatic breakthrough,” Mr. Mansingh added.

Referring to Tuesday’s telephone call, Mr. Sharif said it reflected Mr. Modi’s wish “for good ties.”

via India’s Modi Makes Ramadan Call to Pakistan’s Sharif – India Real Time – WSJ.

26/01/2015

1.39 million Chinese receive legal assistance – Xinhua | English.news.cn

The Chinese government provided free legal aid services for nearly 1.39 million people in 2014 to help them safeguard their rights, the Economic Daily reported on Monday.

More than one-third of them are migrant workers who are vulnerable to job dismissal and withheld wages and know little about the legal system, the report said, quoting the Ministry of Justice.

The ministry’s statistics showed that about 10 percent more migrant workers than last year said they would like to seek legal assistance if their rights are violated.

Legal service centers have been springing up in streets, communities and prisons across China. The number of new legal service centers in 2014 totaled 70,000, the ministry said. The country will guide more legal service agencies to provide assistance to suspects and defendants in prisons.

It also promised to lower the eligibility standard for people to receive legal assistance and expand services for military personnel.

via 1.39 million Chinese receive legal assistance – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

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