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Brett Hall murder trial abandoned after police fail to disclose evidence to defence

A police slip-up has forced the abandonment of a murder trial in Palmerston North today.Halcombe man David Owen Lyttle, 53, was on trial for allegedly murdering his friend of 20 years, Brett Hall, seven years after his disappearance,...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 18 Oct 2018 | 2:49 pm(NZT)

Rise in hardship benefits due to lack of cheap housing

The lack of cheap accommodation is being blamed for a sharp rise in hardship assistance grants.The latest Ministry of Social Development figures for the September 2018 quarter, released today, show that the number of people on a...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 18 Oct 2018 | 2:24 pm(NZT)

Dramatic arrest at sea as beachgoers watch in Mt Maunganui

Police commandeered a surflifesaving IRB to make a dramatic arrest at sea of a man in a stolen "kayak" off Omanu beach this afternoon. A witness, a builder on a building site overlooking the beach, said it started when a man came...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 18 Oct 2018 | 2:21 pm(NZT)

Fleet murder trial: Missing meth suspected set up, witness says

Days before he was murdered, Raymond Fleet told his son's partner he was going to come into a bit of money and give her some.She subsequently discovered Raymond Fleet and others began a methamphetamine cook-up in her Mamaku home,...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 18 Oct 2018 | 2:18 pm(NZT)

Watch: MPI investigates cow clamping

Federated Farmers says a cow being left hoisted in hip clamps for hours and alone would be "totally unacceptable" but most people are pretty responsible.Claims a South Westland farmer left a cow hoisted for an unacceptably long...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 18 Oct 2018 | 2:16 pm(NZT)

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Environment Minister accused of misleading Parliament over alleged Pacific cash slur

Melissa Price denies insulting a Pacific leader in a Canberra restaurant by apparently saying: "I know why you're here. It's for the cash".

Source: ABC News | 18 Oct 2018 | 2:03 pm(NZT)

Unemployment rate drops to 5pc as jobs boom rolls on

While the number of jobs created in September was less than expected, a drop in the number of people looking for work helps drive the unemployment rate down to a six-and-a-half-year low.

Source: ABC News | 18 Oct 2018 | 1:57 pm(NZT)

Sad end for stray cat found with huge head wound in Kaitaia

A stray cat found with a massive head wound in the Far North had social media audiences fired up about animal abuse, but all was not as it appeared.The word on social media earlier this week was the cat, found at the southern end...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 18 Oct 2018 | 1:55 pm(NZT)

Pro-life groups to target MPs who voted to legalise abortion

In the wake of last night's historic debate in Queensland Parliament, pro-life groups say they will work to oust MPs from office who voted to remove abortion from the criminal code.

Source: ABC News | 18 Oct 2018 | 1:55 pm(NZT)

National Leader Simon Bridges said he is 'gutted' over new details of Ross' alleged inappropriate relationships

National Leader Simon Bridges was "gutted" to read about allegations of sexual impropriety by Jami-Lee Ross and has praised the women who have come forward with their stories. This morning, Newsroom reported Ross had relationships...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 18 Oct 2018 | 1:24 pm(NZT)

Warning after man fined for fishing in Whangārei marine reserve

The Department of Conservation warns it will get tough on people tempted to fish inside marine reserves after a man was fined $500 for catching snapper in the Whangārei Harbour Marine Reserve.Jeremy Adams, aged 40, was convicted...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 18 Oct 2018 | 12:51 pm(NZT)

Auckland high schools face 10% teacher shortfall within seven years

Auckland secondary schools will have 10 per cent fewer teachers than they will need in the next seven years, new official projections show. Ministry of Education projections show a national shortage of all teachers widening from...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 18 Oct 2018 | 12:44 pm(NZT)

Accused robber Reilly Bowler jumps out of Auckland court dock, flees in getaway car

A "dangerous" man facing aggravated robbery charges made a dramatic escape from an Auckland courtroom yesterday, leaping over the dock and bolting outside to a waiting car.The Herald has learned Reilly Bowler was appearing in...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 18 Oct 2018 | 12:41 pm(NZT)

National MPs 'shocked' at Jami-Lee Ross' behaviour, still back Simon Bridges

National MPs remain fired up today about their former colleague Jami-Lee Ross' behaviour - and are still backing leader Simon Bridges.Ross yesterday released a secret recording he made of a conversation with Bridges in which they...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 18 Oct 2018 | 12:16 pm(NZT)

Fatal helicopter crash near Wanaka Airport

Police have confirmed there are fatalities after a fiery helicopter crash near Wanaka Airport.Flames and smoke could be seen coming from the wreckage. There are reports that Department of Conservation staff were believed to be...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 18 Oct 2018 | 12:09 pm(NZT)

Home fires, exhaust fumes, blight NZ's air quality

Warming our homes in winter with wood and coal, and the fumes we pump from our cars, remain the biggest threats to New Zealand's air quality.But a new report out today shows pollution levels have been dropping in many areas.The...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 18 Oct 2018 | 12:00 pm(NZT)

Rooftop raider who admitted $280,000 Christchurch jewel heist jailed for more than two years

A sneaky rooftop raider who admitted a $280,000 jewel heist has today been jailed for more than two years. Craig Murray Shaw crept on to the roof of The Tannery, a Victorian-style shopping complex in the Christchurch suburb of Woolston,...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 18 Oct 2018 | 11:55 am(NZT)

New e-scooters claim first injury after one-handed faux pas

Concerns over the safety of new Lime e-scooters have been raised after one user met the pavement in Auckland this morning. The Blind Foundation also had concerns that the swift scooters pose a real concern and risk for those who...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 18 Oct 2018 | 11:41 am(NZT)

Paula Bennett says 'incredibly brave' women spoke out on National Party MP Jami-Lee Ross

Simon Bridges says Jami-Lee Ross would have been kicked out of the National Party much sooner if he had known about claims of sexual relationships and harassment that emerged today.National's leader said he was "gutted" to read...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 18 Oct 2018 | 11:09 am(NZT)

Turangi man jailed for at least 17 years for murdering his baby daughter

A Turangi father has been jailed for life, with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years, after inflicting a violent death on his 9-month-old daughter.Maija Puhi Duff was killed by her father, Donovan (Donny) Michael Duff, who inflicted...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 18 Oct 2018 | 10:56 am(NZT)

Second arrest for murder of King Cobras gang member Luke Riddell at Charing Cross, Canterbury

A second man has been charged with the murder of King Cobras gang member Luke Riddell, who was killed at a rural Canterbury property on Saturday.The body of 28-year-old Riddell was found on the side of Grange Rd in Charing Cross...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 18 Oct 2018 | 10:52 am(NZT)

Road closed after truck and trailer crash near Ōpōtiki

A large truck and trailer and a ute have collided in the Eastern Bay of Plenty near Ōpōtiki and a section of State Highway 2 is closed. A police spokeswoman said police were called at 9am to Waiotahi Beach Rd near Pohutakawa...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 18 Oct 2018 | 10:51 am(NZT)

AOS swarm Oamaru property in 'gang-related' meth raid

Police, including armed offenders squad members, swarmed on an Oamaru address this morning as part of a methamphetamine raid.Detective Sergeant Hannah Booth, of Oamaru, said police, including armed offenders squad members, carried...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 18 Oct 2018 | 10:51 am(NZT)

Three things you need to know before you go to Canada for some legal weed

A guide for Americans looking to celebrate the start of marijuana legalization up north.

Source: WorldViews | 18 Oct 2018 | 6:07 am(NZT)

Life expectancy in China to rise by 2040

LIFE expectancy in 2040 is set to rise at least a little in all nations but the rankings will change dramatically, with Spain taking the top spot while China and the United States trading places, researchers said yesterday. With a projected average lifespan of nearly 85.8 years, Spain, currently in fourth place, will dethrone Japan, which sits atop the rankings now with a lifespan of 83.7 years, and drop to second place in 2040. The world’s two largest economies will swap positions compared to 2016: in 2040 the US will drop from 43rd to 64th (79.8 years), while China rises from 68th to 39th (81.9 years). The researchers found other nations and regions that are set to lose ground in the race for longevity including Canada (from 17th to 27th), Norway (12th to 20th), Australia (5th to 10th), Mexico (69th to 87th) and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea 125th to 153rd). Moving up the ranking are Indonesia (117th to 100th), Nigeria (157th to 123rd), Portugal (23rd to 5th), Poland (48th to 34th), Turkey (40th to 26th), Saudi Arabia (61st to 43rd). Assuming its interminable and devastating war comes to an end, Syria is set to rise from 137th in 2016 to 80th in 2040. For the world as a whole, the researchers’ study projected a five-year gain in lifespan, from 73.8 in 2016 to 77.7 in 2040. They also forecast more optimistic and pessimistic scenarios, in which life expectancy increases to 81 years in the first case, and essentially stagnates in the second. “The future of the world’s health is not pre-ordained,” said lead author Kyle Foreman, head of data science at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. “But whether we see significant progress or stagnation depends on how well or poorly health systems address key health drivers.” The top five “drivers,” or determinants, of average lifespans two decades from now are all related to so-called “lifestyle” diseases: high blood pressure, being overweight, high blood sugar, along with alcohol and tobacco use. More generally, the world will see an acceleration of the shift already under way from communicable to non-communicable diseases, along with injuries, as the top cause of premature death. Ranking a very close sixth is air pollution. The world’s poorest countries in 2018 will continue to fair poorly when it comes to life expectancy, according to the study, published in The Lancet. With the exception of Afghanistan, the bottom 30 countries in 2040 — with projected lifespans between 57 and 69 years — are either in sub-Saharan Africa or small island states in the Pacific. Lesotho, the Central African Republic, Zimbabwe, Somalia and Swaziland are in the basement of the rankings. “Inequalities will continue to be large,” said IHME Director Christopher Murray. “In a substantial number of countries, too many people will continue earning relatively low incomes, remain poorly educated, and die prematurely.”

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 18 Oct 2018 | 5:01 am(NZT)

Output value of civil nuclear tech soars

The annual output value of China’s civil nuclear technology application has exceeded 300 billion yuan (US$43 billion).Nuclear technology has been used in such areas as industry, agriculture, medical treatment and environment protection, according to an ongoing international conference on the application of nuclear technology.More than 400 organizations are directly involved in the research and development of civil nuclear technology.“The annual output value of the application of nuclear technology accounts for about 0.4 percent of China’s GDP, and there is still huge potential for development,” said Yu Jianfeng with the China Nuclear Energy Association. In less than 20 years, the value of nuclear technology application could expand to 1 trillion yuan, said Wang Naiyan with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.“Most of the companies involved in the sector are medium- and small-sized ones,” Wang said. “More private companies should be encouraged to enter the sector, and additional favorable policies should be issued.”

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 18 Oct 2018 | 5:01 am(NZT)

Xi pushes for redoubled efforts as 85 counties taken off poverty list

PRESIDENT Xi Jinping urged redoubled efforts to win the battle against poverty. He made the call yesterday on the occasion of China’s fifth National Poverty Relief Day, when he announced that another 85 counties had been taken off the list of impoverished areas. China should stick to its target of eliminating poverty by 2020 and work harder for victory, Xi said when giving instructions on poverty reduction work. The nation has gradually been eradicating poverty since the country’s reform and opening-up policy was launched in 1978, Xi said. Continued hard work for 40 years has helped more than 700 million of the population shake off poverty and created miracles in human poverty reduction history, he added. The extreme poverty that had existed for thousands of years is now close to being solved, Xi said, and China’s tough battle against poverty has entered its most crucial stage. “What the most critical moment needs is the firm belief in success and determination to summon up courage. “As long as all regions and departments take on responsibilities and conduct solid work, cadres and masses in poverty-stricken areas forge ahead and work hard, the whole Party and the people of all ethnic groups unite as one and stick to the poverty relief target and work harder for a victory, we will win the tough battle against poverty on schedule,” Xi said. Premier Li Keqiang said all regions and departments should intensify poverty alleviation through integration with the rural vitalization strategy, offering more support to deeply impoverished regions. Li also called for stronger measures to help special groups in poverty-stricken areas, stricter supervision of poverty relief funds and improvement of poverty relief work evaluation and inspection. The latest counties to be taken off the poverty list bring the total number of counties removed to 153 since a 2015 pledge to win the battle against poverty. “This is an important achievement in the decisive stage of fighting the tough battle against poverty,” said Xia Gengsheng, deputy director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development. The 85 counties, from nine provincial regions, were assessed by third-party institutions before their removal. Seventy-four are in the country’s less-developed western regions while 25 are in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, more than any other provincial region. A county is removed from the list if less than 2 percent of its population lives below the poverty line, defined by a per capita annual income of 2,300 yuan (around US$333) at 2010 prices. In the country’s western regions, a county will be removed if less than 3 percent of people live in poverty. “Removing the 85 counties from the poverty list was in line with local economic and social development. The decision can stand tests and is recognized by the public,” Xia said. He called for continued poverty relief policies and efforts in these counties. Poverty reduction is high on the government’s agenda and various means have been adopted, including e-commerce, relocation and improved infrastructure. Over the past five years, more than 68 million people had been lifted out of poverty, including 8.3 million relocated from inhospitable areas, and the poverty ratio has dropped from 10.2 to 3.1 percent, according to this year’s government work report. The counties that have shaken off poverty have seen improvements in infrastructure, including water and electricity supplies, and decent growth in rural residents’ disposable income. Authorities plan to eliminate poverty in about 270 counties this year, 330 counties in 2019 and 70 in 2020, according to Xia. China has pledged to increase policy support to eradicate abject poverty persisting in places such as the Tibet Autonomous Region and parts of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region as well as the provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan and Gansu.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 18 Oct 2018 | 5:01 am(NZT)

Point made as 6,000 non-natives on course to gain Beijing hukou

Around 6,000 non-natives of Beijing will be able to get the city’s hukou, or household registration status, through a new points-based household registration reform.The Beijing municipal bureau of human resources and social security on Monday announced a name list of 6,019 people who had the most points among over 124,000 applicants for a Beijing hukou.If no questions are raised about their points, these people, aged between 31 and 58 and from sectors including technology, manufacturing, finance, media, education and public health, can receive their hukou starting from October 23 until the end of 2020, said the bureau.The status, much coveted by many non-natives, is a crucial document entitling residents to social welfare in Beijing.The highly anticipated application for the household registration status in the country’s capital started on April 16 and ended on June 14.For Wang Yong, chairman of Brand Union (Beijing) Consulting Co Ltd, Monday was a memorable day as his name was on the list.“This is a positive trial as it opens a new door for non-natives working in the city,” said the doctorate holder who has been working in Beijing for 22 years.“The points-based household registration system is a win-win,” said a woman surnamed Hu, who was also on the list. “The city can hardly develop without the contribution of non-natives and, meanwhile, non-natives working in the city also need social welfare provided by the city government in all aspects,” said Hu, who has been working at a think tank in Beijing for 19 years.Under the new policy, non-natives under the legal retirement age who have held a Beijing temporary residence permit with the city’s social insurance records for seven consecutive years and don’t have a criminal record, are eligible to accumulate points for the hukou.Those with good employment, higher payment of tax, stable homes in Beijing, strong educational background, and achievements in innovation and establishing startups in Beijing can get higher scores in the points-based competition for the city’s hukou.The points-based household registration policy is a practical choice for megacities like Beijing which have population control targets but still need to attract talent for quality growth.In the pilot period, Beijing’s quota for new hukou holders is set at 6,000 each year based on the city’s development planning and population capacity, according to the bureau of human resources and social security.By the end of 2017, the number of people holding a Beijing hukou reached 13.59 million, while the city’s permanent population totaled 21.7 million.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 18 Oct 2018 | 5:01 am(NZT)

Poor on the rise in wealthier countries

DESPITE progress in reducing extreme poverty, nearly half the world’s population lives on less than US$5.50 a day, with a rising share of the poor in wealthier economies, the World Bank said yesterday. The bank took a broader look at poverty to see where countries were lagging, even though the share of those living in extreme poverty — defined as earning less than US$1.90 a day — has continued to come down in recent years. Under the expanded criteria for poverty, the report found the number of poor worldwide was still “unacceptably high,” while the fruits of economic growth were “shared unevenly across regions and countries.” Even though global growth in recent years has been sluggish, the total count of people in poverty declined by more than 68 million people between 2013 and 2015 — “a number roughly equivalent to the population of Thailand or the United Kingdom.” Despite the improvement, the report said current trends indicated the World Bank’s goal of reducing extreme poverty to less than 3 percent of the world’s population by 2030 may be unattainable. “Particularly distressing findings are that extreme poverty is becoming entrenched in a handful of countries and that the pace of poverty reduction will soon decelerate significantly,” the report said. East Asia and the Pacific saw a 60-point drop in the poverty rate to 35 percent, but they are unlikely to achieve that pace going forward as growth has moderated.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 18 Oct 2018 | 5:01 am(NZT)

Never too old to learn: senior colleges a rage

Wanna feel young when your grandchildren are already in kindergarten? How about enrolling in a college that teaches you how to be a youngster?Attending “elderly college” is in vogue at the moment in fast-aging China — just take a look at one institution in central Hunan Province, whose classes on ballroom dance, yoga and how to take a selfie using smartphones are luring legions of retirees.At Happy Seniors University, youngsters become teachers while seniors become inquisitive students. At the same age as their teachers’ parents, the elderly students are eager to learn anything that can help them live like teens and 20-somethings.Some have to start from the very basics. Xin Yu, a teacher with Happy Seniors, said the university’s smartphone course teaches students how to text and download apps before proceeding to more advanced content like shopping online and taking photos. “We found that many old people have the most advanced iPhones but only know how to make phone calls. They can’t even send messages or take photos that are not blurry,” she said.More ambitious learners can opt for courses like catwalks and Latin dance. There is even a class that teaches senior tourists how to communicate in English when traveling abroad.Huge marketLiu Jianjian, headmaster of Happy Seniors, said since opening in 2016, more than 10,000 senior students have attended classes at their 41 branches across the province. Booming demand is now feeding their ambition to expand to other provinces.China has around 60,000 elderly education institutions, according to the China Association of Universities for the Aged. Apart from those funded by governments, privately-run institutions like Happy Seniors are also cropping up, suggesting there is a huge market for elderly education yet to be saturated.And they are expecting a bigger boost, as China’s 2016-2020 development plan for elderly education has called on every city to have at least one university for senior citizens, and for 50 percent of towns and 30 percent of villages to have schools or learning centers for the elderly by the end of the decade.Behind the later-life learning fever is a quickly aging society. China’s population aged over 60 reached 241 million at the end of 2017, and the number is expected to peak at 487 million around 2050, or a third of the total population.Though a significant number of retirees manage to keep their life busy by taking care of their grandchildren, many others are left idle in their “empty nests” as their children flock to other cities to seek better-paying jobs.How to spend their spare time has become not only a family matter, but also a societal matter. In recent years, mahjong rooms in the name of “community centers for the aged” have sprung up in droves, city squares and parks have been invaded by “nanny dancers,” and neighboring countries like Thailand and Japan have been seeing more gray-haired Chinese tourists arriving.Zhao Baoquan, director of Happy Maturity, a Hunan-based newspaper for elderly readers, said the good news is that most of China’s “empty nesters” are not feeling lonely, as they are actively seeking socialization.The raging popularity of educational institutions also suggests an increase in healthy, energetic and educated Chinese seniors, thanks to rising prosperity and medical advances, said Liu Hongchen, an expert on seniors at the China Volunteers Association.“The elderly universities also meet seniors’ great psychological and social needs. They don’t want to be marginalized and want to prove their worthiness by joining the classes,” he said.Feng Guangqian agrees. An active student in four music classes at Happy Seniors, Feng said after retirement, he and his wife constantly felt the urge to learn something other than “their grandchildren’s study.”“We care more about the process than the results. Studying makes us feel much younger,” said Feng, 68.Li Danyang, the Latin dance teacher at Happy Seniors, admits that most of her students are good learners. “Old people study hard in class and practice a lot out of class,” she said.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 18 Oct 2018 | 5:01 am(NZT)

Warning over US links with Taiwan

CHINA is resolutely opposed to official contacts and military links between the United States and Taiwan, a spokesman said yesterday. Ma Xiaoguang, of the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office, was responding to the news that a US Navy research vessel had docked at the Port of Kaohsiung in Taiwan to refuel and make crew changes. Ma warned the parties concerned to avoid undermining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, while commenting that the US Navy had planned to send warships to the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait in November. “The Taiwan issue bears on China’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and core interests, and we have firmly resolved to safeguard state sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Ma said. Taiwan was also warned against holding a so-called “referendum on a proper name” to be used at the Olympics, saying it would only undermine the interests of people on the island. Ma stressed that the “Olympic model” was the principle that had been observed by international sports organizations as well as sports persons from the mainland and Taiwan. Under the model, established under International Olympic Committee rules, the island takes part in the Olympics as “Chinese Taipei.” However, some political forces on the island are seeking a so-called “referendum” for the island to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics “under a proper name,” a denial of the one-China principle. “A very small number of separatist elements advocating ‘Taiwan independence’ on the island, with the connivance of the Democratic Progressive Party administration, have disregarded the stern warnings issued by the IOC and the East Asian Olympic Committee, and insisted on seeking the ‘referendum’,” Ma said. “The move will only damage the interests of Taiwan residents, particularly Taiwan athletes.” The spokesperson reiterated opposition to “Taiwan independence” separatist activities in any form. “Taiwan has never been and will never be a country,” Ma said.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 18 Oct 2018 | 5:01 am(NZT)

If Australia moves its embassy to Jerusalem, it could put an $11 billion trade deal at risk

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters this week that he was “open-minded” about such a move.

Source: WorldViews | 18 Oct 2018 | 4:18 am(NZT)

The orphans left behind by the Islamic State

In orphanages in Baghdad and Mosul, children born to both foreign and local fighters are learning to cope with abandonment and reentry into a society they can hardly understand.

Source: WorldViews | 18 Oct 2018 | 4:15 am(NZT)

Saudi Arabia’s spat with Canada was a lesson. Trump ignored it.

What the U.S. can learn from that time Riyadh picked a fight with Ottawa.

Source: WorldViews | 18 Oct 2018 | 2:01 am(NZT)

Hungary bans homeless people from living in public spaces, in law described as ‘cruel’ by the U.N.

Hungary argues that it offers sufficient space in emergency shelters to accommodate all individuals without a home.

Source: WorldViews | 18 Oct 2018 | 12:18 am(NZT)

Eastern Europe is trying to break its dependence on Russian gas. Western Europe is doing the opposite.

Will a gas pipeline help Europe repair its relations with Moscow — or make it more susceptible to Russian interference? That question is dividing the continent.

Source: WorldViews | 18 Oct 2018 | 12:00 am(NZT)

The real Brexit breakdown

Yet again, there's little hope for major progress on Brexit talks. Will that ever change?

Source: WorldViews | 17 Oct 2018 | 5:59 pm(NZT)

Crimea has a solution for its poor economy: Tourism by Syrians

A Crimean delegation visited Damascus for two days, bearing gifts for Bashar al-Assad.

Source: WorldViews | 17 Oct 2018 | 5:57 am(NZT)

Rural artist brings alive the beauty of bumper harvest through colors

In Xie Zhenhui’s home studio, a plastic oil bottle serves as a pen wash, while a rickety table functions as a drawing board. Xie puts the final touches on a painting with a Chinese shepherd boy alongside a buffalo carrying rice paddies, pumpkins and watermelons.“I am painting my idea of a bumper harvest in rural China,” said Xie, 56, a farmer in Jiaoyuan Village in east China’s Jiangxi Province.China celebrated its first-ever national harvest festival last month. Xie said he created the painting in commemoration of the festival.Xie learnt to paint from his father, a decorator, in the late 1970s. He said among all the things he painted over the decades, his major focus was food. “The more I desired something, the more I painted it,” he says.Xie has seven brothers and sisters, and in the early days when materials were lacking, food was never sufficient to support the big family.“My mother would always sell the sweet potatoes and vegetables she grew in our field to trade for more sweet potato residue to feed us because the food she grew was simply not enough to feed so many family members,” Xie recalls.“At that time, if I could eat a complete sweet potato, I would feel so lucky.”Xie says he vividly remembers his mother toiling in the field, and he poured all his desires for a bumper harvest into his paintings. “This is a painting I created more than 30 years ago in commemoration of my hardworking mother and all those hard years,” Xie says, as he displays a painting of a woman holding a baby, with needles, thread and a dustpan placed in front of her, surrounded by chickens and ducks.The picture is called Mother, and it was exhibited at a provincial art show for its simplicity and exquisiteness.China has seen rapid progress in industrialization and urbanization since the country began its reform and opening-up 40 years ago, becoming the second-largest economy in the world. With only 7 percent of the world’s arable land, China manages to feed 20 percent of the planet’s people.“I remember in 1982, authorities in the village began contracting production output quotas to households, and our lives started to turn for the better,” Xie says of the reform which started in the late 1970s.“We began to have enough food, and I even got married two years later,” he says. “We repaid our debts and accumulated enough money for the wedding banquet.”The wedding was held after a bumper harvest in the autumn, and Xie says many guests spoke highly of the quota system.Lives continued to improve in rural China after the reform, and in the 1990s, many farmers left the countryside to seek better-paying jobs in China’s more developed coastal areas. Many farmer painters like Xie jumped on the migrant worker bandwagon. But Xie chose to stay and stick with his painting hobby while continuing to work in the fields. During this period, the content of his paintings also took a new direction.“I painted domestic appliances, or even cars, which were not yet frequently seen in rural areas,” Xie says. He also painted modern-dressing girls.Xie has been invited to paint walls in neighboring villages. In 2013, Xie was invited to Yangjialing Village to help record the bumper harvests through paintings on the walls.“Yangjialing is in the same county as my village,” Xie says. “The local villagers were relocated there due to a water facility project in the 1970s, and life was really hard in the barren place at first.”After more than 40 years of development, the mountains there have seen fruit gardens spring up.Xie’s paintings have also been included in art exhibitions in metropolises like Beijing and Shanghai.“No matter how times change, harvests will always be the main theme of my paintings,” Xie says.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 17 Oct 2018 | 5:01 am(NZT)

Tainted vaccine company hit with hefty US$1.32b penalty

CHINESE authorities yesterday imposed penalties totaling more than 9.1 billion yuan (US$1.32 billion) on a company that illegally produced a rabies vaccine. Changchun Changsheng Life Sciences Limited violated laws and regulations on drug management and production supervision, national and local drug authorities said. Violations included blending different batches of vaccine, falsifying production dates and using expired fluid to produce some batches, the authorities said. The National Medical Products Administration annulled the company’s rabies vaccine approval document and certificates for related products. It imposed a fine of 12.03 million yuan. Jilin Food and Drug Administration revoked the company’s pharmaceutical production license, confiscated illegally-produced vaccines and the income of 1.89 billion yuan from defective vaccine sales. It imposed a fine of 7.21 billion yuan, three times the value of the defective vaccines produced and sold by the company. Individuals directly responsible for the violations will be banned from drug manufacturing and operating activities, and those suspected of committing crimes will face criminal charges. Li Jiang, an NMPA legal adviser, said: “Serious punishment for the case will serve as a warning for drug safety and shows the authorities’ resolution to crack down on drug violations and protect people’s health.” The China Securities Regulatory Commission said yesterday it will fine Changchun Changsheng’s Shenzhen-listed parent company 600,000 yuan, along with punishments for responsible individuals. The commission said it will decide on final penalties after hearing statements from the parties involved. It warned other companies to learn a lesson from the case to promote healthy growth of the capital market.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 17 Oct 2018 | 5:01 am(NZT)

Experts appeal for healthy US, China bilateral ties

JOINT efforts have to be made by both the United States and China to maintain healthy and stable development of bilateral ties, which are not only mutually beneficial but crucial for a stable world order, American experts said. Considering the changing dynamics of the global political and economic order, China and the United States should not be a threat to each other but explore how they rely on and compete with each other for the benefit of both countries and the world as a whole, said professor Joseph Nye at a forum held on Monday at the Loeb House, Harvard University. “I fear that what we are going through now in the current time of trouble is that we’re going to lose some of that capacity to appreciate each other’s soft power, and thereby jeopardize some of our longer-term capacity to cooperate,” he said. “China and the United States can work together, and we are not going to have an international order where either country can prevail.” Nye, who coined the term “soft power” in the late 1980s, said that much of the current rhetoric in the United States and the West regarding China’s use of soft power is based on misperceptions. “If China and the United States are going to cooperate on major problems of the future, such as climate change or rules for cyberspace or pandemics, we’re going to have to have an attitude towards each other of being able to cooperate,” he said. William Overholt, senior research fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, Harvard Kennedy School, and author of “The Rise of China: How Economic Reform is Creating a New Superpower,” said: “The China-US relationship has contributed to some of the most significant accomplishments in the world today. If we recognize that, we can overcome the challenges facing our two countries today. We can take the past successes of the previous 40 years and bring them to the next level.”

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 17 Oct 2018 | 5:01 am(NZT)

Pangolin’s genome sequencing achieved

An international research team has completed genome sequencing of the pangolin, uncovering the possibility of another function of the animal’s scales — improving its skin immunity.“The pangolin genome had not been sequenced until now, in part due to the difficulty in obtaining DNA samples,” said Siew Woh Choo, a researcher with Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) who led the team. Due to a selective diet and poor immunity, it is difficult to keep pangolin in captivity.Scientists obtained DNA samples from two critically endangered species of pangolin — the Chinese pangolin and Malayan pangolin — and mapped out genome sequencing. The data was analyzed by an international team of scientists, who were needed due to the large size of the pangolin genome, which is nearly equal in size to the human genome.Choo said that some genes may have lost their functions due to mutations during evolution. The team found that this was the case with certain genes related to pangolin immunity, such as the IFNE gene.“But this gene is functional in humans,” Choo said, adding that it works as the first line of defense against pathogens attempting to enter human bodies.Researchers believe that the pangolin’s scales not only can protect it from predators but also from injuries as well as subsequent microbial infections. The impact of evolution on scales may have caused skin immunity loss, due to a loss in function of the IFNE gene.An article on the XJTLU website said the investigation of pangolin genetics is continuing, while Choo’s team is exploring the possibility of making the pangolin a comparative model for understanding human immunity and diseases.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 17 Oct 2018 | 5:01 am(NZT)

Directive issued to curb oil, gas theft

A DIRECTIVE has been issued to crack down on the theft of oil and gas and sabotaging facilities, a source with the Supreme People’s Court said yesterday.The document, jointly issued by the SPC, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and the Ministry of Public Security, aims to clarify the application of criminal law to such offenses.Those who cut open, smash or dismantle oil and gas pipes, or drill holes into them with the intention of stealing oil and gas, will be considered compromising public security.Those who enable or encourage others to commit these offenses will also be considered prime culprits, while low-ranking employees of oil and gas firms who help criminals approach such facilities will be deemed accomplices.The public security ministry said in a statement in July that oil and gas thieves were mostly subject to administrative fines rather than criminal penalties, which served little deterrence.An increasing number of oil and gas thefts have been committed by cross-regional, well-organized underground syndicates, the ministry said.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 17 Oct 2018 | 5:01 am(NZT)

Man held for fire that killed 5

A MAN was arrested yesterday by police in Shantou in south China’s Guangdong Province for charges of allegedly starting a deadly fire that killed five people.The accused, who was identified by surname as Zheng, 54, is suspected to have set fire to a residential building in Jinping District in the city on October 13.The suspect was cohabiting with a woman who lived on the first floor of the building. He allegedly locked the entrance to the house for mahjong-playing, which was owned by the woman, poured gasoline on the house and set the building on fire before leaving on Saturday.Five people were killed in the fire, including the woman who owned the mahjong house. Nine others were also injured.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 17 Oct 2018 | 5:01 am(NZT)

2 top former generals expelled from CPC

CHINA yesterday expelled two disgraced former generals from the Communist Party of China for corruption — one of them posthumously — saying the pair’s disloyalty and greed had damaged the military. One was Fang Fenghui, a former member of China’s Central Military Commission and former chief of staff of the CMC Joint Staff Department. Fang’s expulsion was approved by the CPC Central Committee, while the CMC had already expelled him from the People’s Liberation Army and stripped him of his rank of general, according to a CMC statement yesterday. “Fang severely violated political discipline, the political code of conduct, the eight-point frugality code of the CPC Central Committee and the regulations and discipline of the military,” the statement read. Fang, 67, was suspected of offering and taking bribes and possessing a large amount of property from unidentified sources, which are “extremely serious violations involving a huge amount of assets and had caused an extremely bad influence,” the CMC said. Neither loyal nor honest to the CPC, Fang was found to “have been duplicitous, disintegrated politically and grown greedy economically, severely damaging the Party’s cause and the image of the military,” according to the statement. The investigation into Fang’s case has concluded, and the case will be transferred to a judiciary committee for prosecution. The other one was Zhang Yang, a former member of the CMC and former head of the CMC Political Work Department who killed himself in November last year. Property involved in Zhang’s case will be confiscated in accordance with laws and disciplines, a statement said. The CMC decided to expel Zhang from the military and strip him of his rank of general, it said. Zhang committed suicide at his home in Beijing after authorities launched an investigation into his links to two corrupt former senior military figures Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou. With the approval of the CPC Central Committee, the CMC investigated Zhang’s case and found he had violated the Party’s political discipline and rules, organizational discipline, and discipline on upholding integrity, as well as national laws and regulations. He was also suspected of offering and accepting bribes and holding a huge amount of property from unidentified sources, said the statement, describing Zhang’s case as “extremely serious” with “extremely vile” influences. Disloyal and dishonest to the Party, Zhang was a person of duplicity who was politically decayed, economically greedy, and lived a degenerate life. He committed suicide to evade punishment, the statement said.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 17 Oct 2018 | 5:01 am(NZT)

Irish students unite to save their classmate from being deported to Nigeria

Nonso, 14, grew up in Ireland and was "terrified" of returning to Nigeria.

Source: WorldViews | 17 Oct 2018 | 4:28 am(NZT)

British Parliament is populated by bullies, gropers and sexual harassers, says government report

The House of Commons is is populated by members of Parliament and their senior staffs who are groping, vulgar, serial sexual harassers, says independent inquiry.

Source: WorldViews | 17 Oct 2018 | 3:39 am(NZT)

Better solution found for liver graft rejection

Chinese scientists have probably found a more effective solution to liver transplant rejection, which often prove fatal.Liang Gaolin, head of a research team at the University of Science and Technology of China, has developed a new treatment for liver transplant rejection in collaboration with two other teams led by Wang Xuehao and Wang Fuqiang from Nanjing Medical University.The findings, which were published in the latest issue of Advanced Materials, a Germany-based scientific journal, have been proved effective in rats, but are yet to be tested in clinical trials.Rejection is the biggest problem of organ transplants. Immune suppressive drugs such as tacrolimus are directly administered to patients after their surgery for T-cell inhibition.However, direct oral administration of tacrolimus can result in severe side effects.Cell experiments on rats have shown that tacrolimus encapsulated in two hydrogels when applied to the scar surface of the transplant has a better inhibition effect on the activated T-cells than free drug tacrolimus.Liver transplant experiments indicate that, with the same dose of tacrolimus, rat recipients in the gel group showed a significantly extended median survival time of 22 days, while the rats treated with conventional tacrolimus medication only had a median survival time of 13 days.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 16 Oct 2018 | 5:01 am(NZT)

Landslide-hit township gets new link road

A NEW road has been built to transport disaster relief supplies to a township in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region after it was struck by a landslide last Thursday that caused the formation of a barrier lake, local authorities said yesterday.Construction of the road started on Friday after part of the only road to Bolo Township in Jomda County was submerged by the barrier lake.Spanning 8 kilometers on a pasture at an altitude of over 4,000 meters, the new road enables vehicles with large quantities of relief supplies to enter the disaster-hit township.Before its completion, disaster relief supplies were transported in small quantities to the township by ships.Local authorities said on Sunday the water level of the barrier lake had returned to normal, but the safety of the old road could not be guaranteed.More than 21,000 people had to be relocated while no casualties were reported. Some 7,000 tents, 30,000 cotton-padded coats, 50,000 quilts and 5,000 folding beds were sent to the landslide-affected area, the Ministry of Emergency Management said.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 16 Oct 2018 | 5:01 am(NZT)

Top legislature to convene next week

China’s top legislature will convene its bi-monthly session from October 22 to 26, according to a statement issued after a chairpersons’ meeting yesterday.Participants at the meeting, which was chaired by Li Zhanshu, chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, suggested that legislators would deliberate a draft amendment to the Criminal Procedure Law and draft revisions to the Organic Law of the People’s Courts and the Organic Law of the People’s Procuratorates, according to the statement.They will review a draft on international criminal judicial assistance, draft regulation on the rank of firefighters, draft revisions to the laws on rural land contracts, basic medical care and health promotion, as well as a bill on draft revisions to the civil servant law and a report on the NPC Standing Committee empowering the State Council to pilot a system on drug marketing in some regions.Lawmakers will decide whether to ratify treaties of criminal judicial assistance and extradition between China and Grenada, which are submitted by the State Council. They will also consider a number of reports, including those on state-owned assets in 2017, enforcement of the law on earthquake prevention and disaster reduction, as well as deputy qualifications and official appointments and dismissals, the statement said.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 16 Oct 2018 | 5:01 am(NZT)

Olympic opening gala ideas sought

Beijing Winter Olympic organizers have invited proposals for the opening ceremony of the 2022 Games. The campaign for proposals began yesterday and will end at 4pm Beijing time on December 31, 2018, the Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games said.“We are looking for creative proposals that could fully embody the vision of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games and the Olympic spirit, fully demonstrate the inheritance and development of Chinese culture, and fully reflect China’s achievements in the new era,” said Liao Quan, an official with Beijing 2022.Liao said any individual, institution or even non-Chinese nationals or organizations are welcome to participate. To reduce the cost of the participants, only text proposals within a limit of 8,000 Chinese characters can be submitted.The proposal can be a design for either the whole ceremony or one element of it. Liao said they hope the proposals will be innovative and use high-tech methods to achieve the best artistic effects.The opening ceremony is scheduled for February 4, 2022, at the National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest, which also hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics.Beijing 2022 will organize a review board for the proposals between January and March in 2019. The participants who come up with the best 10 proposals will be rewarded. Related documents can be downloaded at www.beijing2022.cn.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 16 Oct 2018 | 5:01 am(NZT)

Huarong Asset chief expelled from CPC

LAI Xiaomin, former board chairman of China Huarong Asset Management Co Ltd, has been expelled from the Communist Party of China and dismissed from office for multiple violations. The CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission said in a statement yesterday that they had conducted an investigation into Lai. “Lai’s illegal gains will be confiscated, and he will face prosecution for suspected crimes,” the statement said. Lai was found to have violated the central authorities’ political discipline and rules, as well as principles and policies on financial work, the statement said, adding the company’s pell-mell expansion and out-of-order operations had resulted in a serious deviation from its primary business. “He pursued personal glorification, engaged in superstitious activities and refused to cooperate in the investigation,” the statement said. By attending banquets paid with public funds, visiting private clubs and luxury restaurants, and allowing relatives to travel using public funds, he violated the Party’s eight-point rules on improving Party and government conduct, it said. The eight-point rules, issued by the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee in December 2012, aim to reduce bureaucracy, extravagance and undesirable work practices of Party members. Other offenses included not reporting personal matters to authorities, accepting money and gifts, seeking profits for relatives’ businesses and trading power for sex. His acts of accepting huge amounts of money and gifts, and illegal possession of public assets also put him on the radar for alleged crimes of bribery and embezzlement. “As a Party member in a position of leadership, Lai lost his ideals and convictions, showing no Party consciousness or commitment to Party principles,” the statement said.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 16 Oct 2018 | 5:01 am(NZT)

Long March’s 287th mission carries twin BeiDou-3 satellites

China sent twin BeiDou-3 navigation satellites into space on a Long March-3B carrier rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province at 12:23pm yesterday.The satellites entered their planned orbit after flying more than three hours, and will work with the 14 BeiDou-3 satellites already in orbit. The satellites are the 39th and 40th of the BeiDou navigation system, and the 15th and 16th of the BeiDou-3 family.The satellites and the rocket for yesterday’s launch were developed by the Innovation Academy for Microsatellites of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, respectively.The launch was the 287th mission of the Long March rocket series.This year has seen an intensive launch of BeiDou satellites. China plans to send another three BeiDou-3 satellites into space to form a basic system to provide services for countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative by the end of the year.Named after the Chinese term for the Big Dipper, the BeiDou system started serving China in 2000 and the Asia-Pacific region in 2012.Over the past five years, the system has helped rescue more than 10,000 fishermen. More than 40,000 fishing vessels and around 4.8 million commercial vehicles in China are equipped with BeiDou. The system is also helping monitor the structural integrity of highways, pipelines, dams and bridges. More than 300 million mobile phones, 40 percent of all smartphones in China, can connect to BeiDou.The system now covers more than 50 countries with a total population of more than 3 billion. By 2020, BeiDou will provide first-class services around the globe.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 16 Oct 2018 | 5:01 am(NZT)

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