Posts tagged ‘Burma’

25/06/2015

China says economic losses from drug abuse hit $81 billion a year | Reuters

China on Wednesday gave its first-ever assessment of the scourge of drug abuse, saying it caused annual economic losses of 500 billion yuan ($80.54 billion) and as many as 49,000 deaths last year.

China has intensified a crackdown on drugs as the rise of a new urban class with greater disposable income has fueled a surge in the numbers of drug addicts.

In its fight on drug abuse, the government arrested a string of celebrities, including the son of Hong Kong kungfu movie star Jackie Chan. Jaycee Chan, 32, was released in February, after serving a six-month jail sentence on drug charges.

China has more than 14 million drug users, Liu Yuejin, assistant minister of public security, told a news conference.

“The direct economic losses caused by drug use in the entire country have hit 500 billion yuan annually,” Liu said.

Drug abuse had killed at least 49,000 registered users by the end of 2014 and fueled a rise in crimes such as murder, abduction and rape, Liu added.

China’s share of synthetic drug users eclipsed heroin users for the first time last year, according to an annual report on the drug situation.

By the end of 2014, China had about 1.2 million users of methamphetamine, up almost 41 percent from a year earlier.

Two major overseas drug sources for China are southeast Asia’s “Golden Triangle,” where the borders of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos meet, and south Asia’s “Golden Crescent“, which includes Afghanistan and Pakistan, Liu said.

Heroin and methamphetamine are being smuggled into China’s southwestern province of Yunnan and region of Guangxi, which both border Southeast Asia, Liu added.

To fight this situation, China was strengthening law enforcement cooperation with Afghanistan, Pakistan, Myanmar and other countries, he said.

via China says economic losses from drug abuse hit $81 billion a year | Reuters.

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22/03/2015

Chinese capital shuts third coal-fired plant in war on smog | Reuters

China’s smog-hit capital Beijing has shut down the third of its four coal-fired power plants as part of its campaign to cut pollution, with the final one scheduled to close next year, the official Xinhua news agency said on Friday.

A security personnel walks near Tiananmen Gate on a heavily hazy day in Beijing October 24, 2014.  REUTERS/Jason Lee

In 2013, the city promised in its clean air action plan to bring annual coal consumption down to less than 10 million tonnes by 2017, a reduction of 13 million tonnes in just four years.

It said it would shut down all four of its coal-fired power plants within four years, a move that would cut annual coal consumption by around 9 million tonnes.

Officials also plan to reduce coal combustion in heating systems and industrial facilities, partly by switching to natural gas and by relocating some factories out of the city, and to phase out coal consumption completely by 2020.

A 400-megawatt facility owned by the Guohua Electric Power Co. Ltd was shut on Friday and replaced with a gas-fired plant. It followed the closure of a 93-year-old power station run by Beijing Jingneng Power on Thursday.

It shut its first coal-fired plant, the 600-MW Gaojing facility owned by the China Datang Corporation, last July.

Average levels of hazardous airborne particles known as PM2.5 stood at 85.9 micrograms per cubic meters in 2014, down 4 percent compared with the previous year, but still far higher than the national air quality standard of 35 micrograms.

Beijing plans to bring readings down to 60 by 2017, the municipal environmental bureau said earlier this year.

Only eight of the 74 Chinese cities monitored by the Ministry of Environmental Protection met smog standards in 2014. Seven of the 10 worst-performing cities were in the province of Hebei, which surrounds Beijing.

via Chinese capital shuts third coal-fired plant in war on smog | Reuters.

10/12/2014

China releases one of its longest-serving political prisoners, relative says | Reuters

China has freed one of its longest-serving political prisoners, the ethnic Mongol dissident Hada, who has spent much of the last two decades behind bars, his uncle said on Tuesday.

Beijing fears ethnic unrest in strategic border areas and keeps a tight rein on Inner Mongolia, just as it does on Tibet and Xinjiang in the far west, even though the region is supposed to have a large measure of autonomy.

“He’s not in good health,” the dissident’s uncle, Haschuluu, told Reuters, adding that Hada’s younger brother had told him of the release, which took place on Tuesday morning in the Inner Mongolian capital of Hohhot. He declined to comment further.

Many Mongols in China go by just one name.

Hada was tried behind closed doors in 1996 and jailed for 15 years for separatism, spying and supporting the Southern Mongolian Democratic Alliance, which sought greater rights for China’s ethnic Mongols. He says the charges were trumped up.

After being released in December 2010, he had to serve a separate sentence of four years of “deprivation of political rights”, mostly in an illegal detention center in the northern region of Inner Mongolia, his family says.

via China releases one of its longest-serving political prisoners, relative says | Reuters.

24/11/2014

Property, manufacturing woes help trim China’s shadow banking | Reuters

A bid by China to rein in its “shadow banking” activity is producing results, thanks to slowing economic growth and tighter regulation.

One Chinese yuan coins are seen in this photo illustration taken in Shanghai April 7, 2013. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

But some success for a policy drive to curb risky lending is not all good news for Beijing, as smaller companies may face even bigger struggles to find funding. A cut in interest rates, announced by Beijing on Friday, is unlikely to help them much.

Shadow banking includes off-balance-sheet forms of bank finance plus lending by non-traditional institutions, all of which is less regulated than formal lending and thus considered riskier.

At the end of 2013, China had the world’s third-largest shadow banking sector, according to the Financial Stability Board, a task force set up by the G20 economies. It estimated that Chinese assets of “other financial intermediaries” than traditional ones were then just under $3 trillion.

In the three months ended Sept. 30, the shadow banking portion of what China calls total social financing – a broad measure of liquidity in the economy – contracted for the first time on a quarterly basis since the 2008/09 financial crisis.

via Property, manufacturing woes help trim China’s shadow banking | Reuters.

13/11/2014

US, India end impasse that threatened WTO pact – Businessweek

The United States and India said Thursday they reached agreement on stockpiling of food by governments, clearing a major stumbling block to a deal to boost world trade.

India had insisted on its right to subsidize grains under a national policy to feed its many poor, while the U.S. and others in the World Trade Organization were more focused on liberalizing agricultural trade.

The two countries did not announce details of their new deal, which will be reviewed by the WTO’s general council.

Both countries said, however, their agreement should clear the way for immediate implementation of a global deal that’s designed to increase trade by reducing customs red tape.

“We are extremely happy that India and the U.S. have successfully resolved their differences related to the issue of public stockholding for food security purposes,” the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a statement.

The WTO has said the Trade Facilitation Agreement could boost global trade by $1 trillion, but the possibility of failure in the negotiations had threatened to render the WTO irrelevant as a forum for negotiations after a decade of inertia in trade talks.

via US, India end impasse that threatened WTO pact – Businessweek.

05/02/2014

China’s Oil Pipeline Through Myanmar Brings Energy—and Resentment – Businessweek

Until recently, 80 percent of China’s oil and gas imports were transported by ship through a narrow waterway separating Indonesia and Malaysia, known as the Strait of Malacca. The possibility that hostile forces could one day block that crucial passageway and starve the country of energy has long made China’s leaders nervous.

Oil and gas pipeline

Oil and gas pipeline (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 2009, two state-owned energy giants inked a $2.5 billion agreement to loosen the pinch: China National Petroleum and Myanmar Oil & Gas Enterprise agreed to lay down more than 500 miles of oil and gas pipelines from Myanmar’s western coast to China’s southwestern Yunnan province. When the oil pipeline goes online later this year, tankers carrying crude from the Middle East and Africa will be able to dock at Myanmar’s port of Kyaukpyu and send as many as 440,000 barrels of oil a day overland to China. Industry news service Platts (MHFI) reports that the oil pipeline is 75 percent complete and should be operational by June.

A parallel gas pipeline went into operation last July, capable of transporting as much as 12 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year across Myanmar to China. “China’s piped gas is mainly imported from areas around the Malacca Strait,” Lin Boqiang, a professor with the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, told the state-run Global Times. “Now we have one more pipeline from the land instead of the seabed, which will decrease” China’s energy vulnerability.

via China’s Oil Pipeline Through Myanmar Brings Energy—and Resentment – Businessweek.

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29/07/2013

China opens pipeline to bring gas from Myanmar | South China Morning Post

SCMP: “China has switched on a new pipeline bringing natural gas from Myanmar, a state company said on Monday, in a project that has raised concerns in Myanmar’s nascent civil society about whether its giant neighbour’s resource grabs will benefit local people.

myanmar_china_pipeline.jpg

The 793-kilometre pipeline connects the Bay of Bengal with southwest China’s Yunnan province and is expected to transfer 12 billion cubic metres of natural gas to China annually, according to a news release on the website of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). A parallel 771-kilometre pipeline that will carry Middle East oil – shipped via the Indian Ocean – is still under construction.

China’s investments, largely in energy and mining, have generated controversy in Myanmar because they have done little to relieve that country’s chronic power shortages. In response, last year the Myanmar government abruptly suspended construction of the China-backed Myitsone dam, which would displace thousands and flood the spiritual heartland of Myanmar’s Kachin ethnic minority.

While the pipelines are only expected to provide a small proportion of China’s oil and gas consumption, they are strategically important to Beijing. The gas pipeline that began operating on Sunday offers a nearby source of gas, and the oil pipeline would eliminate the need for tankers from the Middle East to pass through the crowded Malacca Strait between Malaysia and Indonesia.

The two joint ventures are between state-owned CNPC and Myanmar’s national petroleum company Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise. Four other companies from India and South Korea also have stakes in the project, according to CNPC.”

via China opens pipeline to bring gas from Myanmar | South China Morning Post.

13/05/2013

* Myanmar Pipeline Puts China Ahead in Energy Shipping Dilemma

WSJ: “A new crude oil pipeline through Myanmar due to begin operations in September will put China in a favorable position compared to other Asian economic powerhouses challenged by energy security issues.

China’s Myanmar pipeline, which in the photo is under the red dirt trail, means it will be less dependent on the Strait of Malacca for its imported oil needs.

At a capacity of 440,000 barrels a day, the pipeline—running from Myanmar’s coast at the Bay of Bengal to China’s southern Yunnan region—will allow China to send less crude through the Strait of Malacca. The narrow waterway by Singapore, where the U.S. Navy has a strong presence, is considered a major threat to secure energy supplies by major Asian economies dependent on crude shipments from the Middle East and Africa.

China—helped by its own domestic oil production of just over 4 million barrels a day—last year relied on the narrow waters for around 37% of its total demand. That share will drop to about 30% once the Myanmar pipeline comes on stream.

In comparison, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan all rely on the Strait of Malacca for around 75% of their total oil consumption, in part due to their small domestic production.

The Myanmar pipeline, which will run parallel to a major natural gas pipeline, comes on top of a string of oil and gas import pipelines already completed or planned to supply China’s less-developed inland regions.”

via Myanmar Pipeline Puts China Ahead in Energy Shipping Dilemma – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

05/05/2013

* Plans to Harness China’s Nu River Threaten a Region

NY Times: “From its crystalline beginnings as a rivulet seeping from a glacier on the Tibetan Himalayas to its broad, muddy amble through the jungles of Myanmar, the Nu River is one of Asia’s wildest waterways, its 1,700-mile course unimpeded as it rolls toward the Andaman Sea.

The Nu River at Bingzhongluo, China. The government stunned environmentalists by reviving plans to build dams on the river. More Photos »

But the Nu’s days as one of the region’s last free-flowing rivers are dwindling. The Chinese government stunned environmentalists this year by reviving plans to build a series of hydropower dams on the upper reaches of the Nu, the heart of a Unesco World Heritage site in China’s southwest Yunnan Province that ranks among the world’s most ecologically diverse and fragile places.

Critics say the project will force the relocation of tens of thousands of ethnic minorities in the highlands of Yunnan and destroy the spawning grounds for a score of endangered fish species. Geologists warn that constructing the dams in a seismically active region could threaten those living downstream. Next month, Unesco is scheduled to discuss whether to include the area on its list of endangered places.

Among the biggest losers could be the millions of farmers and fishermen across the border in Myanmar and Thailand who depend on the Salween, as the river is called in Southeast Asia, for their sustenance. “We’re talking about a cascade of dams that will fundamentally alter the ecosystems and resources for downstream communities that depend on the river,” said Katy Yan, China program coordinator at International Rivers, an advocacy group.

Suspended in 2004 by Wen Jiabao, then the prime minister, and officially resuscitated shortly before his retirement in March, the project is increasing long-simmering regional tensions over Beijing’s plans to dam or divert a number of rivers that flow from China to other thirsty nations in its quest to bolster economic growth and reduce the country’s dependency on coal.

According to its latest energy plan, the government aims to begin construction on about three dozen hydroelectric projects across the country, which together will have more than twice the hydropower capacity of the United States.

via Plans to Harness China’s Nu River Threaten a Region – NYTimes.com.

31/05/2012

* Myanmar can be link between India, China: Indian PM

Times of India: “Looking to quell speculation about India and China taking their rivalry to gas-rich Myanmar, PM Manmohan Singh said the country was perfectly placed to play the role of an economic bridge between China and India. While Indian officials have often described Myanmar as India’s gateway to Aseancountries, this is the first time Myanmar has been spoken about by the government as a link between India and China.

English: Manmohan Singh, current prime ministe...

English: Manmohan Singh, current prime minister of India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While China alone accounts for more than 70% of investments into Myanmar, India stands at the 13th position in terms of its investments into the country. Despite its attempts to play a larger economic role there, India continues to be looked upon as a Johnny-come-lately whose infrastructure projects, including the ambitious Kaladan multimodal transport facility, have hardly taken off. On the other hand, Beijing is even building a gas pipeline from Myanmar to China.”

via Myanmar can be link between India, China: PM – The Times of India.

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