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Kashmir Government in Turmoil as Coalition Breaks Down

With security in the region deteriorating, India’s governing party, the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, ended a three-year alliance with a Muslim-majority group.

Source: NYT > World | 20 Jun 2018 | 3:49 am

Doors for Refugees Close as Displaced Population Soars, U.N. Says

A refugee agency’s annual report shows no letup in the number of people who fled their homes in 2017.

Source: NYT > World | 20 Jun 2018 | 2:04 am

Audi Names Interim C.E.O. After Rupert Stadler Is Arrested

Mr. Stadler, a member of Volkswagen’s management board, had been placed under formal investigation days earlier in relation to a diesel emissions scandal.

Source: NYT > World | 19 Jun 2018 | 11:48 pm

Kim Jong-un Returns to China, This Time With Leverage

As the United States and China drift into a trade war, Mr. Kim, a week after meeting President Trump, will have the chance to play one power against the other.

Source: NYT > World | 19 Jun 2018 | 11:45 pm

As Europe’s Liberal Order Splinters, Trump Wields an Ax

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany struggled Monday to hold her coalition together. President Trump seemed to take glee in his ally’s troubles.

Source: NYT > World | 19 Jun 2018 | 11:31 pm

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U.S. Protester Held in Vietnam Confesses on State Television

Will Nguyen of Houston was grabbed and beaten by the police this month at an anti-China protest in Ho Chi Minh City.

Source: NYT > World | 19 Jun 2018 | 11:22 pm

Australian man arrested for allegedly offering 'wild boat orgy' in Thailand

Thai police arrest an Australian man in a sting operation after he allegedly offered a sex cruise with prostitutes, advertised as a "wild boat orgy", via a Facebook page.

Source: ABC News | 19 Jun 2018 | 9:40 pm

Two people stabbed during armed robbery at Auckland dairy in Grey Lynn

One person is fighting for their life after two people were stabbed during an armed robbery at an Auckland dairy this evening. The incident happened at the Hylite Dairy on Great North Rd in Grey Lynn about 7.15pm. The diary has...

Source: - National | 19 Jun 2018 | 9:19 pm

Nonfiction: Cyberwarfare — the Latest Technology of Destruction

David E. Sanger’s “The Perfect Weapon” is an encyclopedic account of developments in the cyberworld.

Source: NYT > World | 19 Jun 2018 | 9:00 pm

Fears of housing 'fire sale' as interest-only loans roll into full repayment

Over the next three years interest-only loans worth a combined total of about $360 billion will roll over to interest plus principal — and that could lead to a "nightmare scenario".

Source: ABC News | 19 Jun 2018 | 8:48 pm

VAR — what is it good for? Absolutely some things

The opening few days of the World Cup have been wonderful. Upsets, VAR and goals galore. No 0-0 draws and to be fair, the new technology has played a large part in that. Technology not linked to Optus that is, writes Ed Kavalee.

Source: ABC News | 19 Jun 2018 | 8:23 pm

Bill banning house sales to overseas investors watered down by new exemptions

The minister responsible for planned laws to curb residential property sales to foreigners, David Parker, says it is impossible to work out how they will affect the New Zealand housing market.But he insisted there would be no crash...

Source: - National | 19 Jun 2018 | 7:53 pm

David Cormack: Why we shouldn't worry about our current dysfunctional Govt

Nobody can pretend the Government's last week wasn't dysfunctional. "Humiliating backdown for Andrew Little!" will scream a headline. "Greens internal revolt" says another. "Winston Peters goes crazy with bloodlust, devours crowd...

Source: - National | 19 Jun 2018 | 7:46 pm

Government probe: The SIS and Thompson and Clark emails that sparked an investigation

Email exchanges between somebody at Thompson and Clark and a manager at the SIS's Protective Security branch have prompted an internal investigation after SIS head Rebecca Kitteridge said they raised concerns about professionalism...

Source: - National | 19 Jun 2018 | 7:08 pm

'The jury is out' after Phil Goff faces his Auckland Council critics

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff's council critics are cautiously optimistic about patching up their differences with the mayor after a "free and frank" discussion today.Goff described the meeting, attended by most of the 19 councillors,...

Source: - National | 19 Jun 2018 | 6:52 pm

Close relationship between public service and Thompson and Clark concerning, State Services Minister Chris Hipkins says

The close relationship between private investigators and some parts of the public service is concerning and needs to be investigated, State Services Minister Chris Hipkins says."The use of private investigators and the very close...

Source: - National | 19 Jun 2018 | 6:51 pm

KiwiBuild to embrace challenge of building quality and affordable home: Twyford

The Government says it will embrace the balancing act of building high-quality, energy-efficient KiwiBuild homes, while ensuring they remain "affordable" to buyers."KiwiBuild is all about building quality starter homes for families...

Source: - National | 19 Jun 2018 | 6:10 pm

Self-driven harvesters yield fruits for farmers

Ning Fengfeng only sleeps around five hours a day, keeping himself busy during the wheat harvest season.The 65-year-old combine harvester driver has been busy reaping wheat for farmers in Yuncheng City, northern Shanxi Province, since late last month. His 148-horsepower tractor can reap 1 hectare of wheat in less than two hours.By last Wednesday, 18.5 million hectares of wheat, or over 80 percent of the total area nationwide, had been harvested. Of that, 95.5 percent were reaped by combine harvesters, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said.Ning said he watched a video a few days ago featuring a self-driving harvester. “People only need to press some buttons and all the work will be done. It is very much like a science fiction movie,” he said. “I plan to buy one next year and then I can have a good sleep.” Self-driving harvesting is only one of the processes of agricultural production. China has set a target of gradually building automated farms, utilizing smart technologies to improve quality and efficiency and also reduce costs.Earlier this month, China’s first trial run of automated farming was conducted in Xinghua, eastern Jiangsu Province, with the support of 12 firms and agencies.More than 10 autonomous agricultural machines were involved in the whole production process from plowing the land and transplanting rice seedlings, to spreading fertilizer and pesticide and finally harvesting.“We have a positioning system accurate to a centimeter, which enables us to transform various kinds of agricultural equipment into automated versions,” said Yang Shouqi, the chief of the committee for the Communist Party of China at Jiangsu University.The Telematics Industry Application Alliance, one of the members in the trial program, plans to conduct further farming experiments in Heilongjiang and Hebei provinces as well as Chongqing City.“The automated farming experiment will last seven years,” said Pang Chunlin, secretary general of the non-governmental organization. The agency has more than 600 members from 12 countries and regions.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 19 Jun 2018 | 4:01 am

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Bronze Age village

Chinese archeologists have discovered the ruins of a Bronze Age village dating back more than 3,000 years in Chifeng, north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The ruins cover an area of around 15,000 square meters. Three tombs were also found, along with some pottery and two ditches.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 19 Jun 2018 | 4:01 am

One man’s struggle against desertification

FOR 23 years Ma Xiaohua has been guarding 690 hectares of forest on the edge of the Gurbantunggut Desert to fight against desertification in northwest China. On the southern edge of Gurbantunggut, China’s second largest desert after Taklimakan, a 70-kilometer long belt of forest was grown by thousands of people with the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps in the 1950s. To ensure the saplings survived, they fetched water from up to 50 kilometers away. Ma took on his father’s role as a forest ranger in 1995, when he was 23 and newly demobilized from the army. “Not until my father passed away did I understand why he decided to stay here,” said Ma. “There must be someone to protect the forest, even if he knew how hard the work is.” Ma has no neighbors, not even tap water. To irrigate the forest he sets out at 7am every day. In the past he had to dig sand out of the canal before watering the trees. It took him at least a month to water all the trees. Weather is a big challenge. The skin on his arms peels in the scorching summer and in winter, he has to endure bitter cold as the temperature drops to minus 40 degrees Celsius. On windy and dusty days he can’t even find the way home, and his hair, clothes and mouth are full of sand. The worst woe is, of course, human. To stop illegal logging Ma patrols the forest on his second-hand motorcycle. “Sometimes I am threatened. I was called ‘a savage.’ But I protect the forest, which is so precious in containing the desert,” Ma said. He almost lost his left eye when it was pricked by a thorny branch. He didn’t bother to get treatment and lost much of his eyesight. He had another accident in 2008, when he went to fix a faulty valve but fell off his motorcycle on a slippery road after the rain. He broke his collarbone, but he went back to work just a week after surgery. He also suffers from arthritis because his hands are often immersed in cold water. “I’ve never thought of leaving,” he said, not even when his father was sick in 2006 but he had to finish the irrigation. When he finally made it to the hospital, there were just three days left for the old man. “My father told me to bury him beside the desert,” he said. He seldom goes home to see his wife and his son. “But they are all supportive of me,” he said. Under Ma’s care and protection, survival rate of the trees in the forest exceeds 85 percent. The forest has become an important part of the Three-North Shelterbelt Forest Program. Launched in 1978 and expected to be completed by 2050, the project consists of afforestation in northwest, north and northeast China. By 2015, the project has seen nearly 30 million hectares of forests planted and preserved. China has made great progress against desertification in recent years. The area of desertified land in the country shrank by an annual average of 1,980 square km in the 2010-2014 period.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 19 Jun 2018 | 4:01 am

Drug dealers caught

Police in Yunnan Province said yesterday two Myanmar suspects were caught trafficking 47 kilograms of meth into China. The police in Shidian County, Baoshan City, received information in late May that drug dealers were planning to transport drugs from Myanmar into China. They intercepted a car on June 4, and found meth weighing 47kg in 61 small bags in the city of Pu’er.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 19 Jun 2018 | 4:01 am

Flood control loan for Hezhou

THE World Bank has approved a US$150 million loan to a city in southwest China to help improve flood risk management and reduce water pollution. The loan will supplement government funding worth US$200 million to finance a water infrastructure project in Hezhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, which will be completed within six years and directly benefit more than 100,000 people, according to a World Bank statement. Hezhou currently does not have a flood control system. The project will reduce flood risks along a river by connecting the main stream to tributaries, improving flood drainage capacity, removing obstructions, and upgrading mainstream infrastructure. Water pollution will also be reduced as a new sewage treatment plant and associated facilities will be built to separate wastewater from rainwater and achieve better treatment. Greenhouse gas emissions are expected to go down by 1,697 tons of CO2-equivalent per year. “Globally, cities benefit from integrated approaches to successfully and sustainably reduce urban flooding risks,” said Qin Gang, World Bank senior water supply and sanitation specialist. “This project will tap into the World Bank’s experience and global knowledge, and share international best practices in integrated urban water management to help Hezhou improve its water environment and urban climate resilience,” Qin said.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 19 Jun 2018 | 4:01 am

Relay satellite waits for Chang’e-4 in Halo orbit

A SATELLITE with a huge golden umbrella-shaped antenna is in an orbit more than 400,000 kilometers from Earth, waiting for Chang’e-4, which is set to be the first ever probe to land softly on the Moon’s far side.The relay satellite for Chang’e-4 will establish a communication link between the Earth and the far side of the Moon, and might serve probes from other countries, contributing to international scientific exploration, said Ye Peijian, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and one of China’s leading space experts.The satellite, named Queqiao, or Magpie Bridge, was launched on May 21 and has entered the Halo orbit around the second Lagrangian (L2) point of the Earth-Moon system, where it can “see” both the Earth and the Moon’s far side.The Chang’e-4 probe, including a lander and a rover, is expected to be launched later this year. Its mission to explore the far side of the Moon was proposed by Ye, who has worked in China’s lunar exploration program since Chang’e-1 more than 10 years ago.Chang’e-4 follows on from Chang’e-3, which was launched at the end of 2013 and became the first Chinese spacecraft to soft-land on and explore an extraterrestrial object.After Chang’e-3 accomplished its mission, China’s space sector debated Chang’e-4’s destination. Some were in favor of landing on the near side of the Moon again, because it’s safer.“I disagreed with that. Why should Chang’e-4 repeat what Chang’e-3 had done? We should not be afraid of failure in scientific exploration. We need innovation,” Ye said, suggesting sending the Chang’e-4 to the Moon’s far side. This would be unprecedented and innovative.He believed the United States and Soviet Union had wanted to do that in their lunar programs, but hadn’t because of technological restrictions at the time.Since the Moon’s revolution cycle is the same as its rotation cycle, the same side always faces the Earth, and most of the other side is never seen from Earth. Landing and roving on the far side of the Moon require a relay satellite to transmit signals.The first ever satellite operating on the Halo orbit around the L2 point, Queqiao used relatively small amounts of fuel during its journey to the planned orbit as it was under precise control. Its designed life is three years, but Ye said it might work for seven or eight years.A reliable long-distance data transmission link is a key technological goal for space experts. Queqiao carries an umbrella-shaped antenna with a diameter of 4.2 meters, the largest communication antenna ever used in deep space exploration.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 19 Jun 2018 | 4:01 am

A miniature version of Forbidden City

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 19 Jun 2018 | 4:01 am

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