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Two critical after two separate Matamata crashes

Two people are in a critical condition after two separate crashes in the Waikato.Northern fire communications shift manager Scott Osmond said the first crash occurred about 5km south of Matamata at the intersection State Highway...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 10 Dec 2018 | 1:46 pm(NZT)

Engineers assessing sudden collapse of Hastings cool store

Emergency services are attending a partial collapse of a large warehouse in Hastings.The building is believed to be the former Whakatu cool store near Mega Mitre 10 on Caroline Road.Photographs show the roof has caved in and the...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 10 Dec 2018 | 1:29 pm(NZT)

Rogue bat and sunglasses-eating monkey: Some of 2018's unusual travel insurance claims

An encounter with a bat and a monkey eating sunglasses are among some of the stranger travel insurance claims received in the past year.Southern Cross Travel Insurance has released a list of unusual claims, with cases involving...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 10 Dec 2018 | 1:28 pm(NZT)

House price collapse would 'pressure the whole economy', warns OECD

Australian regulators should be drafting contingency plans for a collapse in house prices, with a "hard landing" looming as a key risk to the wider economy, the OECD warns.

Source: ABC News | 10 Dec 2018 | 1:03 pm(NZT)

Roger the ripped kangaroo dies after 'lovely long life'

He crushes buckets and flexes his famous muscles in plenty of social media posts, but now thousands are mourning the alpha kangaroo and passing their condolences to the keeper who calls him his "son".

Source: ABC News | 10 Dec 2018 | 12:54 pm(NZT)

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Armed men rob Rotorua BP station of cash and cigarettes

The BP staff held up at gunpoint remain "quite shaken" after the overnight robbery.Police are still looking for two men who robbed the Te Ngae Rd BP at 2am.A police media spokesman said the men were armed with a firearm and "made...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 10 Dec 2018 | 12:28 pm(NZT)

Grace Millane murder: Accused appears in Auckland District Court

A judge has addressed the grieving family of slain British backpacker Grace Millane, saying "your grief must be desperate".And the accused was labelled a "scumbag" by a person in the public gallery as he appeared before the court...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 10 Dec 2018 | 12:25 pm(NZT)

Live: All eyes on Marsh as Australia seeks an unlikely victory in Adelaide

Australia loses an early wicket as it suffers a blow in attempting to chase down India's total. Follow the day five action as it happens in our live blog.

Source: ABC News | 10 Dec 2018 | 12:02 pm(NZT)

One of the last people to see British backpacker Grace Millane says she planned to visit the South Island

One of the last people to see Grace Millane alive has spoken to the Herald exclusively about the young British backpacker's unfinished plans to explore the South Island.The police homicide inquiry into Millane's disappearance...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 10 Dec 2018 | 11:25 am(NZT)

New Zealand's list of shame: Grace Millane and other tourists allegedly murdered here

New Zealand is considered a safe country to visit, but a number of tourists have died violently during their stay here.Grace Millane, 22, a British tourist, was allegedly murdered. • Kayo Matsuzawa, 29, a Japanese woman...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 10 Dec 2018 | 10:14 am(NZT)

Opposition leader Simon Bridges is not worried about the latest National Party leak

Opposition leader Simon Bridges says he is "unfazed" by the latest tranche of internal National Party information that has been leaked to media. Speaking to RNZ this morning, Bridges called the leaked details of party policies "minor...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 10 Dec 2018 | 9:56 am(NZT)

The horrific memories return for Lesley Elliott as country digests Grace Millane's killing

Sophie Elliott's mother Lesley has joined the outcry of voices aghast at the needless killing of a British backpacker.Kiwis and travellers alike have hit social media saddened and now angry that Grace Millane's life was suddenly...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 10 Dec 2018 | 9:22 am(NZT)

Judge tells family of murdered British backpacker Grace Millane 'your grief must be desperate'

A judge has addressed the grieving family of slain British backpacker Grace Millane, saying "your grief must be desperate".Judge Evangelos Thomas told Millane's family, "all of us hope justice for Grace is fair, swift and ultimately...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 10 Dec 2018 | 9:20 am(NZT)

Skylines, sunsets and sunrises become a moving vigil for British backpacker Grace Millane

People all over the world have posted pictures of skylines, sunsets and sunrises as a sort of digital vigil for 22-year-old British backpacker Grace Millane.The hashtag #herlightourlove is being used to remember Millane and last...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 10 Dec 2018 | 8:38 am(NZT)

Tauranga paraglider killed in Mount Maunganui crash named

Police have released the name of the person who died in a paragliding crash at Mount Maunganui on Friday.He was 48-year-old Richard Leslie Marriner from Tauranga. Marriner was paragliding from the summit of Mauao on Friday afternoon...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 10 Dec 2018 | 8:24 am(NZT)

Auckland City Mission Christmas giving starts today at Eden Park and Papakura Marae

The Auckland City Mission starts giving out Christmas presents and food parcels from today- at sites around the region, rather than its usual venue in the central city.From Eden Park, to marae in South Auckland, the wider community...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 10 Dec 2018 | 8:03 am(NZT)

Suspected pet cat killer on the loose in Mamaku, Rotorua

The Rotorua SPCA is investigating the shooting, maiming, and killing of at least two pet cats in Mamaku in two weeks. Animal welfare inspector Talia Jenkins told the Rotorua Daily Post "The cats have been left with horrific injuries"....

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 10 Dec 2018 | 8:00 am(NZT)

Crash blocks flyover in Mount Maunganui

A crash involving two cars is blocking the Mount Maunganui flyover.A police media spokesman said a two-car crash was blocking a lane near the Hewletts Rd and Aerodrome Rd end of the flyover.The crash was reported just after 6am.The...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 10 Dec 2018 | 7:45 am(NZT)

Mike Hosking: They're lining up to slam KiwiBuild

OPINION: I have three names for you: Cameron Bagrie, Stephen Barclay and Gareth Kiernan. All three have problems with KiwiBuild. We, of course, have had problems with KiwiBuild for a year now, because it would have appeared relatively...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 10 Dec 2018 | 7:06 am(NZT)

Barry Soper: World order becomes world of disorder

OPINION: The world order's become the world of disorder, particularly when it comes to politics, and it's all happened within the past couple of years.It seems 2016 will go down in history as the year where people we could never...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 10 Dec 2018 | 7:00 am(NZT)

One in five Kiwi kids still live without access to food: report

The Childrens' Commissioner says he's disappointed child poverty statistics have remained stagnant as children continue to grow up in deprived households.Commissioner Andrew Becroft says information the latest Household Income Report...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 10 Dec 2018 | 7:00 am(NZT)

Kiwi with disease cannot get treatment, doctors say she's faking her symptoms

Stephanie Aston was told the debilitating illness she experienced existed in her head. She rejects that and says the diagnosis has adversely affected the care she gets, writes Natalie Akoorie. Stephanie Aston had never met Dr Chris...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 10 Dec 2018 | 6:00 am(NZT)

Grace Millane remembered by those who knew her as a 'beautiful person inside and out'

There are no shortage of tributes for Grace Millane - the murdered British backpacker who clearly loved life and was always smiling in photographs.Today, churches across Essex, where Millane comes from, are reportedly saying prayers...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 10 Dec 2018 | 6:00 am(NZT)

What do most U.N. ambassadors have in common? Decades of experience.

“We have never had anyone remotely as underqualified as Heather Nauert,” Daniel Benjamin, a State Department counterterrorism official during the Obama administration, wrote on Twitter.

Source: WorldViews | 8 Dec 2018 | 5:01 am(NZT)

‘Bye!’: Young boy drops to his knees and crawls out of meeting with Queen Elizabeth II

Video of the boy's emergency exit was warmly welcomed on social media, where many people empathized with his overwhelmed reaction.

Source: WorldViews | 8 Dec 2018 | 4:35 am(NZT)

That awkward moment when you rail against undocumented immigrants and it turns out you hired one yourself

It usually doesn't bode well for an immigration-skeptical migration minister to employ a migrant without a valid visa.

Source: WorldViews | 8 Dec 2018 | 2:25 am(NZT)

Activists feared Brazil’s Bolsonaro would accelerate Amazon deforestation. Now they think it’s already happening.

The Brazilian president-elect enters office Jan. 1.

Source: WorldViews | 8 Dec 2018 | 1:00 am(NZT)

Bad air kills more than a million Indians a year, study says

New research found that 1 in 8 deaths last year were attributable to air pollution.

Source: WorldViews | 8 Dec 2018 | 12:24 am(NZT)

Trump’s gamble on MBS looks worse by the day

The president's defense of the Saudi crown prince has fueled a rebellion in Congress.

Source: WorldViews | 7 Dec 2018 | 6:59 pm(NZT)

‘Dismantling of democracy from the inside’: It happened in Venezuela, Russia — and Wisconsin?

The Republican maneuvers resemble power plays by autocrats around the world.

Source: WorldViews | 7 Dec 2018 | 9:33 am(NZT)

Most of the Philippines is Catholic — and Duterte said Catholic bishops should be killed

The Philippine leader has previously called God "stupid" and insulted the pope.

Source: WorldViews | 7 Dec 2018 | 8:44 am(NZT)

The world doesn’t trust Putin, but Russian influence is still perceived as growing

Newly released polling data outlines how Russia is seen around the world.

Source: WorldViews | 7 Dec 2018 | 8:00 am(NZT)

What to know about China’s Huawei Technologies

Explainer on what Huawei is

Source: WorldViews | 7 Dec 2018 | 7:02 am(NZT)

Threatened sea eagles return to northwest

Two rare white-tailed sea eagles have been spotted in northwest China’s Gansu Province.The two eagles were noted by a local herdsman at Gansu Qilianshan National Nature Reserve. Photos of the two birds were also taken, marking the first time that photos of the birds have been captured from within the reserve. The white-tailed sea eagle, listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list, usually lives at an altitude of 2,500 to 5,300 meters and is mainly found in northern China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province and northwest China’s Gansu Province.“White-tailed sea eagles were once spotted in the 1980s in this area, in small quantity,” said Zhao Jun, who is with the nature reserve. “However, they gradually disappeared in the 1990s as a result of a deteriorating natural environment.“In recent years, with ecological protection measures such as closing mines and hydropower stations, many rare animals are being seen again.”

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 7 Dec 2018 | 5:05 am(NZT)

‘Green’ construction for Beijing Winter Olympics

Beijing’s Yanqing District, one of the three host sites for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, has implemented 54 environmental protection measures during venue construction in a bid to deliver a “Green Winter Olympics.”Located in the northern suburb of Beijing, more than 70 percent of Yanqing District is mountainous. Alpine skiing, bobsleigh and luge will be held in the district during the Winter Games.Fifty-four percent of the Olympic infrastructure construction will take place in Yanqing, most of which will need to be finished before the end of 2019.The venue construction includes the transplanting of trees 800 meters above sea level. To better protect the trees, experts from Beijing’s Forestry University conducted an ecological survey and worked out a protective transplanting plan, according to Xie Wenzheng, deputy head of Yanqing District.Finally, 54 environmental protection measures have been carried out before and during the construction.Xie noted they have built a base for flora off-site conservation and set up management and monitoring system for every transplanted tree. The monitoring data shows the survival rate of transplanted trees in the venue is over 90 percent.Yanqing plans to build the Winter Olympic Forest Park to better protect and display those transplanted trees, especially rare species, according to Xie.Construction workers have stripped and preserved more than 70,000 cubic meters of topsoil, which will be used for ecological restoration.To curb the construction dust and ensure air quality, Yanqing also has implemented 66 “clear sky” measures covering all districts and also set up the first automatic detection station in Beijing for vehicle exhaust.“The ‘Green Winter Olympics’ means that sticking to the principle of ecological protection is our first priority in the planning and construction process,” Xie added. “We paid a lot of attention to the survey of natural water systems and ecological diversity, pursuing targeted protection of unique landscapes and the integrity of the surrounding ecology.”

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 7 Dec 2018 | 5:05 am(NZT)

Fraudsters told victims they had cancer

Chinese police have detained 132 suspects for allegedly committing more than 2,000 cross-border medical frauds in nationwide raids since April, the Ministry of Public Security has announced.The suspects belonged to a fraud syndicate initiated by a company named “Silande,” based in the city of Dalian, northeast China’s Liaoning Province.The firm allegedly developed a national fraud network through beauty salons. To lure victims into the fraud, the salons offered some of their clients free tours to the United States and Thailand and then persuaded them to take what were fake medical examinations. People impersonating doctors then warned the victims they were at a high risk of developing cancer and tricked them into buying expensive “anti-cancer medicines,” which were, in fact, the pigments lycopene and anthocyanin.“The scheme targeted high-income and healthy clients who did not speak English nor had medical or legal backgrounds,” it said.The illegal money involved in the cases totaled nearly 1 billion yuan (US$145.7 million), according to the police.During the raids, police froze about 500 suspicious bank accounts with more than 70 million yuan.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 7 Dec 2018 | 5:05 am(NZT)

Swine fever breaks out in Shanxi

AN outbreak of African swine fever in the northern province of Shanxi has been confirmed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.At a farm in Yaodu District of Linfen City, 45 pigs were confirmed infected with the highly contagious viral disease and 35 were dead, the ministry said.A team was dispatched to Shanxi immediately, and local authorities have initiated an emergency response to block, cull and disinfect the affected pigs.African swine fever is believed to infect only pigs, and no humans or other species have thus far been infected.China reported its first case of the disease in August in the northeast province of Liaoning. Later outbreaks were reported in several other provincial regions.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 7 Dec 2018 | 5:05 am(NZT)

Second-tier cities top of the ratings for future

A SURVEY has revealed that 63.4 percent of respondents are optimistic about the future development of second-tier cities compared to first-tier cities, third-tier cities, and rural areas.A total of 2,014 people participated in the survey, which was conducted by China Youth Daily.There are no unified standards to categorize Chinese cities but the National Bureau of Statistics monitors the housing prices in 70 Chinese cities and has categorized the cities into three tiers.According to the NBS, China has four first-tier cities — Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Capital cities of provincial regions and some other major cities are listed as second-tier cities, including Hangzhou, Chengdu, and Xiamen.China’s urbanization rate (the percentage of permanent urban population) surged to 58.52 percent by the end of 2017, up from 17.92 percent four decades ago before the reform and opening-up policy.The growth of China’s urbanization rate will maintain a relatively high speed, reaching 68.5 percent in 10 years, said Hu Xiaowu, an expert of urban development at Nanjing University.“The cities will see progress in terms of the ecological environment, education, employment, elderly care, and traffic,” he said.The respondents consider rail transit, employment policies, and job opportunities as the most important factors when evaluating the prospect of a city’s development.Hu said high-speed trains can bring new development opportunities.“High-speed trains significantly reduce travel time between cities, which can promote business exchanges and tourism,” Hu said.“In addition, cities with both high-speed railways and subway lines have more advantages.”

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 7 Dec 2018 | 5:05 am(NZT)

Police raid on factory was shoo-in

Police in east China’s Anhui Province have destroyed 500,000 pairs of fake sneakers with a market price of 600 million yuan (US$87.5 million).In December 2015, police in the city of Bengbu received a tip-off that counterfeit Converse shoes sold in some Middle East countries were produced in the city. After a month of investigation, police found that the factory was in a suburban county. Several hundred shoemakers worked on nine production lines every day.On December 26, 2016, more than 200 police officials launched an operation, during which they arrested four suspects, destroyed the production lines and seized 500,000 pairs of counterfeit Converse and Vans, as well as more than 60 million fake brand labels and packing boxes.Another seven suspects were arrested, and five factories destroyed in following raids in the provinces of Guangdong, Fujian and Zhejiang. More than 40,000 pairs of sneakers about to be shipped to the Middle East were seized at Guangdong customs.All the counterfeit sneakers have been destroyed.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 6 Dec 2018 | 5:09 am(NZT)

Suspect in bribes case surrenders to officials

Zheng Dongqiang, a fugitive crime suspect, yesterday returned to China to surrender to authorities, according to a statement on the website of the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.Born in September 1953, Zheng was the former deputy head of the public security bureau of Xiamen, southeast China’s Fujian Province. Suspected of taking bribes, he fled the country in January 2016.Zheng was the fourth fugitive to return to China to turn himself in after the office in charge of fugitive repatriation and asset recovery publicized clues related to 50 fugitive duty crime and economic crime suspects.The office reiterated in the statement that it will continue to take vigorous action to repatriate fugitives and recover assets.It urged corrupt fugitives to turn themselves in as soon as possible as they would be treated leniently.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 6 Dec 2018 | 5:09 am(NZT)

School band provides fulfilment and hope for the vision impaired

With sunglasses on and drumsticks in his hand, Li Ming, 16, burst into action, bobbing his head to the rocking beat.On stage, he is accompanied by five other band members. They all wear sunglasses — not just to appear cool — they are a team of students and teachers with visual impairments in the city of Wuhu, eastern China’s Anhui Province.The band, comprised of 18 students and teachers ranging in age from 9 to 34 in the Wuhu School for the Blind, is named Dark Eyes, after a well-known verse from a Chinese poem.“I was given dark eyes by night, yet I use them to search for light,” said Chu Haolan, the electric guitarist and founder of the band. “Our name is taken from this verse we all love.”Except for lead singer Zhou Zhenzhong, all of the band members have varying levels of visual impairment, and most are students.Founded in 2016, the band has been invited to perform at a local Spring Festival Gala to be aired live on television in two months.“Blind people, just like everyone else, can play and enjoy music,” said Chu, who is proficient in more than 10 instruments and teaches at the school.After attending a rock concert in 2015, Chu came up with the idea to set up a band at his school. He recruited members, bought instruments and teaches music to the students.Practicing music requires more effort for the visually impaired. Chu breaks the music scores into different parts for different instrument and teaches each part to his team members, who memorize the notes for their respective instrument.Orchestrating a piece of music can take the band at least two months and hundreds of rehearsals. So far, the band knows 10 songs.“Nothing can stop our yearning for music, and it’s music that has helped us find ourselves,” said 28-year-old Zhu Hongwei, a guitarist in the band.Some band members were born with visual impairments, but Zhu became blind due to optic atrophy after graduating from university. He later chose to study in the school.Zhu suffered from depression for a long time, and his demeanor was different from the way he looks now, according to his bandmates.Laying foundation for lifeNow Zhu finds joy in music. Apart from playing the guitar, he also sings.“Sometimes I find an empty classroom to record my songs and upload them online, even if I don’t get many high ratings,” Zhu said with a smile.After each rehearsal, Li, the drummer, carefully puts the drumsticks in his bag and carries them around.“I feel relieved only if the drumsticks are in a safe place that I know,” Li said, “Because, like basketball, music is something I love and I’ll never give it up.”The band has inspired many students in the school and received support from local institutions.“I can imagine how cool they look,” said Chen Qiongqiong, a 16-year-old blind student in the school. “I am also learning guitar; hopefully I can join the band one day.”The local federation for people with disabilities provides all the musical instruments for the band and offers many music courses in the school.“We hope blind students can lay a foundation for lifelong well-being here,” said Xi Weijing, head of the school, “We hope the power of music can accompany them throughout the journey of life.”

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 6 Dec 2018 | 5:09 am(NZT)

Region is on way to eliminating poverty

Forty years after China started its reform program, more than 18 million people living in the rural areas of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region have been lifted out of poverty.The southern autonomous region, which marks its 60th anniversary this December, reported a rural population of 2.67 million living in poverty at the end of 2017, down from 21 million in 1978.“The rural poverty rate fell from 70 percent to 5.7 percent in this period,” said Huang Weijing, secretary-general of Guangxi Regional Committee of the Communist Party of China.Improving infrastructure has been the highlight of Guangxi’s anti-poverty campaign. Huang said the region now operates 1,771km of high-speed railway while 91 percent of the counties have access to expressways. The autonomous region, inhabited by China’s most populous ethnic minority Zhuang and many other minority groups, was established in 1958. It has been a major front in China’s ongoing battle against poverty.Poverty reduction has been high on the agenda of the Chinese government, which aims to eradicate absolute poverty by 2020. The country’s poverty line stands at 2,300 yuan (US$335) in annual income.The official said the region’s GDP reached 2 trillion yuan in 2017, almost tenfold that of 1958 upon its founding.It has been boosted by prospering industries including food processing, machinery as well as electronic information.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 6 Dec 2018 | 5:09 am(NZT)

China, Portugal vow to push forward B&R construction

CHINA and Portugal pledged yesterday to jointly push forward the construction of the Belt and Road to strengthen Asia-Europe connectivity and boost global trade. The consensus was reached during a meeting between visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa in Lisbon. The two governments signed a memorandum of understanding on jointly advancing the construction of the Belt and Road after the meeting, which was witnessed by the two leaders. On Tuesday, Xi held talks with Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. They agreed to take the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties next year as a new historical starting point, to promote the friendly cooperation to score more progress and open up a new chapter in the development of China-Portugal relations. Xi said the two countries enjoy a long history of friendly exchanges, adding that since the establishment of diplomatic ties 39 years ago, China and Portugal have always witnessed win-win cooperation with mutual understanding, respect and trust. The bilateral ties stood the test of changes in the international landscape and have been developing in a healthy and stable way. Quoting an ancient Chinese saying “A partnership forged with the right approach defies geographical distance; it is thicker than glue and stronger than metal and stone,” Xi said China and Portugal are such kind of good friends and partners who are getting along with each other. Xi also laid a wreath at the tomb of famous Portuguese poet Luis de Camoes inside the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon. On Tuesday evening, Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan, together with the Portuguese president, also visited a cultural relics exhibition of the Forbidden City and the Maritime Silk Road, which was temporarily showcased in a Portuguese museum.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 6 Dec 2018 | 5:09 am(NZT)

China not going ‘Crazy’ about ‘Rich Asians’

CHINESE audiences aren’t exactly going nuts over the US box office hit “Crazy Rich Asians,” despite its all-Asian cast and theme of rising Asian prosperity. Industry data show the film made just US$1.2 million over the three days of its initial release, far behind local productions in the world’s second-largest movie market. That compared with the US$24.2 grossed by the Chinese crime drama “A Cool Fish,” according to figures from the consultancy Artisan Gateway cited by Variety, an industry journal. Chinese film industry veteran Wei Junzi says the romantic comedy’s focus on Southeast Asian culture did not resonate with Chinese mainlanders, despite the cast’s ethnic make-up. “It’s a good genre movie,” Wei said. “It’s also an interesting comparison with the current China-US relationship. You think you know about China, but in reality you don’t.” The film’s poor performance in China contrasts sharply with its near-rapturous reception in the Chinese diaspora, especially in the United States where it was hailed as the first all-Asian box office smash. Critic Shi Hang said Chinese audiences are so used to all-Asian productions that the casting didn’t hold much novelty. “What the public was excited about abroad was all-Asian-faces, but, sorry, we watch all-Asian-faces every day so it is less valuable here,” Shi said. The Warner Bros’ breakout romantic comedy earned US$173 million in the US and was a box office hit in Singapore, where it is set. Like most comedies, John M. Chu’s film hasn’t been as much of a sensation elsewhere. It took months to secure a China release date. That time lag may also have enabled many Chinese viewers to access pirated versions online or through streaming services, diminishing their desire to splash out on theater tickets. The film’s performance in China is potentially worrisome for Warner Bros. Its planned sequel, “China Rich Girlfriend,” is expected to better capitalize on the world’s second-largest film market. Another upcoming film targeting Chinese audiences is a live-action version of Disney’s 1998 animated classic “Mulan,” which told the story of a Chinese girl who took her father’s place in battling invaders from the north. That film also boasts an almost entirely Chinese cast, led by actress Liu Yifei in the title role. Wei said the film’s success will depend on how authentic it feels to Chinese audiences. “Will this be just another movie about Chinese culture, with you Americans’ own interpretation?”

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 6 Dec 2018 | 5:09 am(NZT)

China to roll out 23 measures to back innovation

THE Chinese government yesterday decided to implement a new set of reform policies and measures to boost innovation and creativity, according to a statement released after a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang. Reform measures in boosting innovation have been piloted in eight Chinese cities and regions, including the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, Shanghai and Guangdong. The first pilot program covering 13 policy measures were rolled out nationwide in 2017. It was decided during the meeting that another batch of 23 reform measures will be rolled out to mobilize innovation resources, incentivize innovation activities and nurture new drivers of growth. A number of reform measures will be rolled out across the country. More efforts will be made to incentivize the commercialization of R&D findings. Commercialization professionals will participate in the whole process. Universities and research institutes will be encouraged to participate, through commercial deals, in business research on technological breakthroughs. New fintech services will be introduced to explore more financing channels for small and medium-sized tech companies, including asset-light firms and firms yet to make profits. Local government equity funds will be channeled to support seed and early-stage high-tech startups. Insurance companies will be encouraged to develop products that cover patent enforcement and patent infringement to forestall patent holders’ losses from IPR violations. Market-based operation of state-owned scientific research instrument and equipment will be promoted. Mechanisms will be established to allow for innovation-related decision-making on a trial-and-error basis. It was also decided at the meeting that the three reform measures, which have so far been piloted in one or two places, will be extended to all the above-mentioned eight cities and regions. Such measures include granting scientists and researchers a certain share of ownership of their findings proportionate to their job positions, setting up science and technology innovation sections in regional equity markets, and allowing greater autonomy for universities administered by local governments to attract talent and confer academic titles. Participants in the meeting also passed a draft amendment to the Patent Law in an effort to protect property rights and crack down on infringement, the statement said. The draft amendment, in learning from international practice, substantially raised penalties for patent infringements. It stipulated that Internet service providers should take on joint responsibilities when they fail to stop the infringements on a timely basis. It also specified the incentive mechanism that would allow inventors or designers to reasonably profit from yields out of their service invention and creation. The amendment will be submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress for review. A draft regulation on emergency response to work safety accidents was also passed at the meeting.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 6 Dec 2018 | 5:09 am(NZT)

Action over intellectual property theft

Dozens of China’s government agencies have signed a memorandum of cooperation for joint efforts to strengthen punishment for intellectual property infringements.Dishonest conduct from individuals or enterprises such as repeated patent infringements and falsification of documents during patent applications will be subject to joint punishment, according to the memorandum posted on the website of the National Development and Reform Commission.The wrongdoers will be put on a blacklist, which will be shared among the government agencies for enforcement and made public on the website of www.creditchina.gov.cn.They will find it harder to get government financial support, participate in government procurement, issue corporate bonds and acquire government land supply.This is the country’s latest step in strengthening the protection of intellectual property rights as the nation values entrepreneurship and innovation as new drivers of development.A total of 38 government agencies including the NDRC, the People’s Bank of China and the National Intellectual Property Administration signed the memorandum.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 5 Dec 2018 | 5:19 am(NZT)

Pet resorts can benefit owners having a ruff time

Melissa Brown, an American pet care professional, trains and looks after 60 dogs at the Garden Pet Resort and Hotel on the outskirts of Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang Province.“Starting with socialization classes, a dog is a better dog, and you will have an easier time raising it,” said Brown, who has won many awards at dog shows worldwide.Star-level pet resorts with experienced handlers like Brown cater to China’s growing demand from middle-class pet owners.Qi Yuge, the co-founder of the resort, said it includes a pet boarding area, a pet swimming pool and a playground on a fenced lawn covering 6,666 square meters. It can accommodate up to 80 dogs. “A lot of pet beauty shops popped up around China as the pet industry started to boom,” said Qi. “Many pet owners have become more and more interested in ensuring their pets’ overall health, like whether they are happy or have good behavior.”It is estimated that there are a total of 91.5 million pet dogs and cats in China’s cities and towns. The rising number of pets in cities, however, has brought many problems. Conflicts between dog owners and residents are not uncommon.Hangzhou’s urban management authorities are launching a campaign to ensure dog owners are aware of their responsibilities, such as registering their dogs for quarantine checks and walking them on a leash in public areas.The clampdown comes in the wake of a dog owner brutally attacking a woman who tried to separate an unleashed dog from her children in the city last month. The attack has triggered a public outcry for better dog-raising habits.Many Chinese cities specify rules on the size of dogs, as well as where they can live. For example, Beijing bans large dogs from the city center and requires owners to leash their dogs in public places.Brown suggested a points system for pet dogs.“If a dog has so many points against it, either for being caught without a leash or biting somebody, after so many points, the dogs will need to be reevaluated and so should their owner,” she said.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 5 Dec 2018 | 5:19 am(NZT)

Urban planners refining land use for better future

With more residential high-rises and industrial plants being built as a result of China’s rapid economic development, planners have stepped up efforts to refine land use.Likening such refinement to an “embroidery type of work,” Huang Yan, deputy minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, said the efforts were aimed at increasing the livability of cities and reflecting local characteristics.Instead of rampant demolition and construction, the refined urban planning should retain the history of a city, focus on minor renovation when necessary and take into consideration residents’ opinions.The old practice of drastic urbanization based on high debts should be abandoned, Huang said.After 40 years of economic reform, China’s urbanization rate has surged to 58.52 percent in 2017, up 40.61 percent from that in 1978, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.Currently, China has more than 660 cities. Some 20 city clusters of different sizes host 75 percent of urban permanent residents and generate about 88 percent of the country’s total gross domestic product.Each year, some 16.44 million people move into cities from rural areas. By the end of 2017, China’s total urban permanent residents amounted to 810 million.To meet the growing land use demand in cities, the Chinese government has been encouraging the utilization of abandoned or poorly-used land, especially mining sites and obsolete industrial premises and warehouses.Data from the Ministry of Natural Resources showed seven provincial regions have finished 14,800 redevelopment projects, covering an area of 46,100 hectares by the end of 2017.An MNR survey based on around 560 Chinese cities showed China’s land consumption per unit of GDP fell from 104.8 hectares per billion yuan in 2011 to 90.7 hectares per billion yuan in 2016.Such refinement has caused the proportion of construction land to overall land supply in eastern China’s Zhejiang Province to rise from 32.3 percent in 2014 to 37.2 percent in 2016.The renovation of poorly-used land also attracted the inflow of private capital. In Jiangsu, an aggregate fund worth some 202.38 billion yuan (US$29.6 billion) has been raised from private enterprises, which facilitated the increase of investment and fostered new growth engines.Higher use efficiency of construction land also allowed Shanghai to expand the city’s green land area by 30 percent. Guangdong Province in southern China used these lands to build 1,201 public utilities and add a green land area of 597.35 hectares.In Chongqing, the local municipal government plans to reconstruct some 133.33 hectares of garbage sites into 92 sports and culture parks for local communities.Cheng Andong, former governor of Shaanxi Province, said the key to boosting urbanization is to advocate differentiated development, improve the quality of urbanization and optimize the spatial layout so that cities, large or small, can develop side by side.By 2020, about 60 percent of Chinese will live in cities permanently, which is still lower than the 70 percent for the developed economies, he said. “That means a potential for future development,” said Cheng.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 5 Dec 2018 | 5:19 am(NZT)

Prison for telecom lottery fraudsters

Courts in northeast China have jailed 282 members of a massive telecom fraud network that swindled 153 million yuan (US$22 million) out of its victims.The Intermediate People’s Court in the city of Baishan, Jilin Province, said the gang had operated in south China’s Guangdong Province as well as in Indonesia and Fiji.Between March 2016 and July 2017, the gang sent out online messages luring victims to a fake platform to buy lottery tickets. The victims’ accounts were later seized by the gang.The gang was busted in 2017 in a sweeping police action, which saw 77 suspects repatriated from Fiji for trials.Baishan’s intermediate court and six lower-level courts on November 27-29 handed down life imprisonment to the two ringleaders, and prison terms ranging from six months to 15 years to the other 280 members.Another nine received criminal detention, and eight others were freed from criminal punishment considering their minimal involvement.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 5 Dec 2018 | 5:19 am(NZT)

Xi calls for more business cooperation with Panama

CHINESE President Xi Jinping has urged the business communities in China and Panama to expand cooperation and achieve common development. Xi made the remarks on Monday when he and his Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela met with a group of entrepreneurs from the two nations who were in Panama City for a China-Panama business forum. The establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Panama in June 2017 has opened up broader prospects for bilateral cooperation in various fields, Xi said. Economic and trade cooperation between the two countries has never been so rich, and the connections between their business communities have never been so close, Xi said. China, he added, opens its market to all nations in a sincere manner, welcomes companies in Panama as well as other countries across the world to invest in China, and also encourages Chinese enterprises to do business in Panama, so as to achieve common development and prosperity. The Chinese president called on entrepreneurs from both countries to shoulder their social responsibilities, help promote friendship and create a better future for cooperation.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 5 Dec 2018 | 5:19 am(NZT)

China-Portugal ties withstand the test of time

CHINESE President Xi Jinping arrived in Portugal yesterday for a two-day state visit aimed at carrying forward friendship and expanding cooperation between the two countries. It is the first visit by a Chinese head of state to the European country in eight years. While delivering a written speech upon arrival, Xi praised the traditional friendship between China and Portugal, saying that the bilateral relations have withstood the test of time and international vicissitudes and become even stronger. In 1999, the two countries properly resolved the question of Macau through friendly consultations, setting an example for other nations to tackle issues left over from history, Xi said. In 2005, China and Portugal established a comprehensive strategic partnership, which enabled their mutually beneficial cooperation to embark on a fast lane of development and deliver substantial benefits to the people of the two countries, Xi said. He said next year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, which is a new starting point in history for the bilateral relations. Xi said he is looking forward to meeting President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Prime Minister Antonio Costa and other Portuguese leaders to draw up the blueprint for future bilateral cooperation. He added that he believes with the concerted efforts of both sides, the China-Portugal comprehensive strategic partnership will enjoy an even brighter future. Portugal is the final stop of Xi’s Europe and Latin America tour, which has already taken him to Spain, Argentina and Panama.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 5 Dec 2018 | 5:19 am(NZT)

Mainland to allow wider access to Taiwan

THE mainland will only open wider and wider to Taiwan, with ever-improving policies and services, according to top political advisor Wang Yang. Wang, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks yesterday at the annual conference of the summit for entrepreneurs across the Taiwan Strait. Noting the close bond between the mainland and Taiwan compatriots, Wang said the orientation of the mainland’s policies has always provided excellent services to entrepreneurs from Taiwan. He highlighted the mainland’s efforts in implementing a series of preferential policies, and the willingness to bring more convenience to cross-Strait trade and investment, as well as support to Taiwan businesses in sharing the opportunities brought by the Belt and Road Initiative. In contrast to the increasing uncertainty and destabilizing factors in the world economy this year, the robust growth in cross-Strait trade volume demonstrated the solid foundation and impetus of cross-Strait economic cooperation, said Wang. “As long as we stick to the conviction that we are all of the same family, give full play to the role of entrepreneurs, and strengthen opening-up and cooperation, common development could be achieved,” said Wang. Identifying peace and stability as a precondition for development and cooperation, he called on compatriots across the Strait to follow the tide of history, work together for the greater national interests, uphold the 1992 Consensus embodying the one-China principle, resolutely oppose and contain “Taiwan independence,” and keep the nation’s destiny and the compatriots’ well-being firmly in their own hands, so as to contribute to the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The conference attracted over 1,000 attendees across the Strait.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 5 Dec 2018 | 5:19 am(NZT)

Poorly translated signs slide carefully to the export

Do not glissade when you see a sign in a washroom telling you to “Slide carefully!” as it actually means “Caution wet floor!”Likewise, do not look for a bowl when a bank sign asks you to “wait outside a rice noodle.” Instead, search for a yellow line, or “one-meter line,” which is spelled the same as “a (serving of) rice noodle” in Chinese. Such mind-boggling mis-translations on public signs, once commonplace in Beijing, are quickly disappearing thanks to a corrections campaign to make the city more foreigner-friendly.Beijing’s foreign affairs office has vetted more than 2 million Chinese characters on signs and notices that have English versions since a national standard for English translations in public service took effect on December 1, 2017.Working with Chinese and foreign experts and volunteers, the city this year has run translation checks in the central business district, international hotels and other areas frequented by foreigners, as well as public venues like schools and hospitals.The public can also report mistakes on a website that offers rewards. “Translations of public signs not only help foreigners, but their quality also shapes the image of a city,” said Chen Mingming of the Translators Association and advisor to the corrections campaign. Some mistranslations were a result of verbatim translations such as a shop sign that read “name smoke name liquor” (branded cigarette and liquor), while some others stumbled at polysemantic Chinese words like an emergency exit whose English translation sign reads “export” (export and exit share the same word in Chinese).Private businesses using the Internet for a cheap literal translation were also at fault.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 4 Dec 2018 | 5:06 am(NZT)

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