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We’re in an age of climate disaster. Now what?

Study after study lays out the evidence for a planetary emergency. Slowly, global elites are getting their act together.

Source: World | 18 Jan 2020 | 6:00 am(NZT)

11 U.S. troops were hurt in the Iranian missile strike, reversing assurances of no injuries

Officials previously said the attack, which flung some U.S. troops from towers with powerful blasts, did not cause injuries.

Source: World | 18 Jan 2020 | 3:31 am(NZT)

Officials: Iraq’s top cleric discharged from hospital

Medical officials say Iran’s most revered Shiite cleric has been discharged from a hospital after undergoing a risky surgery for a fractured bone

Source: World | 18 Jan 2020 | 2:36 am(NZT)

‘Days of God’: A look at Iran’s mounting crises

Iran’s supreme leader says his nation is living through “days of God

Source: World | 18 Jan 2020 | 1:53 am(NZT)

Locust outbreak, most serious in 25 years, hits East Africa

The most serious outbreak of desert locusts in 25 years is spreading across East Africa and threatening food security in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries

Source: World | 18 Jan 2020 | 1:34 am(NZT)

Protests against citizenship law continue unabated in India

Hundreds of demonstrators have perched themselves on the steps of an iconic mosque in the Indian capital to protest against a new citizenship law that excludes Muslim immigrants

Source: World | 18 Jan 2020 | 1:25 am(NZT)

Zimbabwe gripped by drama of vice president’s nasty divorce

Black magic, drug addiction, attempted murder and wrestling over luxury cars and overseas properties

Source: World | 18 Jan 2020 | 1:19 am(NZT)

Ukraine’s prime minister offers to resign after audio leak reveals his criticism of Zelensky

At closed-door meeting with Ukrainian ministers, Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk said President Volodymyr Zelensky “doesn’t understand how the economy works.”

Source: World | 18 Jan 2020 | 1:00 am(NZT)

In rare Friday sermon, Iran’s Khamenei says U.S. suffered blow to ‘superpower image’

The supreme leader spoke in Tehran, where he led Friday prayers for the first time in eight years.

Source: World | 18 Jan 2020 | 12:56 am(NZT)

Australians celebrate 'most welcome and beautiful sounds' of rain

People in Queensland and New South Wales enthusiastically celebrate the return of rainfall to their towns and cities, dancing and jumping as rain falls on regions hit by rainfall and bushfires.

Source: ABC News | 18 Jan 2020 | 12:52 am(NZT)

When Xi met Suu Kyi: China embraces Myanmar as Western nations recoil

The Chinese leader’s visit to Myanmar aims to send a signal that Beijing is back in the driver’s seat — at the West’s expense.

Source: World | 18 Jan 2020 | 12:31 am(NZT)

Putin wanted Russian science to top the world. Then a huge academic scandal blew up.

At least 869 academic papers have been retracted for flaws that included plagiarism. More could come.

Source: World | 18 Jan 2020 | 12:00 am(NZT)

Southern Response claimants furious with boss Casey Hurren's offer of apology

By RNZ Too little, too late.That's how many at the centre of issues with Southern Response have characterised the state insurer's offer of an apology.Southern Response's new boss, Casey Hurren, offered the public apology while...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 17 Jan 2020 | 8:57 pm(NZT)

Latest talks between Taliban and U.S. expected to last for days

Friday’s announcement comes after statements from Pakistani and Taliban officials that the insurgent group is prepared to reduce violence to reboot stalled negotiations.

Source: World | 17 Jan 2020 | 8:07 pm(NZT)

Animal rescue teams finding koala survivors 'totally shut down' after fires on Kangaroo Island

It was a scene that broke the hearts of a small animal rescue team on Kangaroo Island — an injured koala sitting nearby a furry friend who did not survive in the aftermath of the bushfires.

Source: ABC News | 17 Jan 2020 | 6:54 pm(NZT)

Motorway mayhem: Long delays for Aucklanders after car fire and crash

Traffic on SH1 on Auckland's North Shore remains at a near stand-still after a car caught fire late afternoon.The incident is one of three which has caused lengthy delays for commuters heading home on Friday afternoon and evening.Motorists...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 17 Jan 2020 | 6:24 pm(NZT)

Police name 57-year-old victim in Favona, South Auckland, homicide as investigation continues

Police have named the 57-year-old female victim in a South Auckland homicide this week.Today, police revealed 57-year-old Meliame Fisi'ihoi was located deceased at a property on Calthorp Close, Favona, in the early hours of Wednesday...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 17 Jan 2020 | 6:13 pm(NZT)

Dad who lost two girls in fiery crash on safety mission

Reality has hit Jason Alexander.He can't stop crying. He has barely slept. He can't "unsee" the images of his dead daughters.On November 27 Alexander's eldest daughter, Tayla died instantly in a fiery car crash. Her sister, Sunmara...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 17 Jan 2020 | 6:12 pm(NZT)

Former CYFS worker, who once cared for murdered teen, named over allegations he abused 17 boys

A former Child, Youth and Family worker accused of abusing nearly 20 boys can now be revealed as a man who once cared for a teen murdered in the back of a prison van.Earl Opetaia's name suppression lapsed at 5pm todayafter his legal...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 17 Jan 2020 | 6:00 pm(NZT)

'Can I have some money please?': Man discovers picture of his own driver's licence being used on Optus website

Australian telecommunications giant Optus has apologised for publishing a man's former driver's licence, including his date of birth and photo, on their website without his permission.

Source: ABC News | 17 Jan 2020 | 5:59 pm(NZT)

'Well if that's your attitude you can f*** off now': Apprentice claims boss' rant meant he was fired

An apprentice electrician who claimed his boss told him to "f***-off now" during a heated argument said the outburst meant he had been fired.Rafe Fannin filed an unjustified dismissal claim with the Employment Relations Authority...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 17 Jan 2020 | 5:36 pm(NZT)

NGO social work agencies feeling the pinch after Oranga Tamariki pay rise

An under-staffed social work agency has been turning away applicants because it can't afford to pay them enough.The struggles at Birthright Hawke's Bay and other agencies have intensified due to the huge pay gap with Oranga Tamariki...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 17 Jan 2020 | 5:21 pm(NZT)

Film-maker's legal 'funds running low' ahead of defamation trial with Sir Bob Jones over 'hate speech'

More money is being raised for a Kiwi film-maker's legal fund as she prepares for a courtroom showdown with Sir Bob Jones after calling for his knighthood to be revoked for "hate speech".The well-known businessman filed defamation...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 17 Jan 2020 | 5:14 pm(NZT)

TV veteran's sex assault trial: Complainant threatened to 'take down' accused, company

A woman who claims her entertainment industry boss sexually assaulted her had threatened to "destroy" him and his company "a lot" and seemed to hate me, a witness says.The woman is one of three former employees who went to police...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 17 Jan 2020 | 4:17 pm(NZT)

Whakatāne Just Jeans assistant 'yelled at' doctor's toddler, apology sought

A Whakatāne doctor is demanding an apology from a retail worker she claims repeatedly "yelled at" her young son for playing "peekaboo" behind a shop sign.The doctor and mother, who works in the town's hospital but did not want...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 17 Jan 2020 | 4:11 pm(NZT)

Herald afternoon quiz: January 17

Test your brains with the Herald's afternoon quiz. Be sure to check on nzherald.co.nz tomorrow for another trivia fix. To challenge yourself with more quizzes, CLICK HERE.

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 17 Jan 2020 | 4:00 pm(NZT)

Tangoio fire '100pc controlled' as rain eyes up northern Hawke's Bay show

A_0817012020HBTPTfire.JPG Fire and Emergency NZ have left the scene of the 350 hectare Tangoio fire. Photo / FileDoomsayers who reckon it only takes a major cricket game to Napier prompt a Hawke's Bay downpour were expected to go...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 17 Jan 2020 | 3:53 pm(NZT)

Oamaru could be the next destination for flights into space

Flights into space could be taking off from Oamaru Airport as early as this year.Christchurch-based space launch company Dawn Aerospace today signed a memorandum with Waitaki District Council which will allow the company to begin...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 17 Jan 2020 | 3:43 pm(NZT)

'I feel so guilty': Wellington woman fields 200 messages from desperate flat hunters

A woman was inundated with 200 messages in one week after advertising rooms for rent in her Wellington flat. Reports of queues out the door and flats being rented in minutes have already started to emerge as the capital enters the...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 17 Jan 2020 | 3:43 pm(NZT)

Round two: Kiwis, expats reveal why New Zealand is better than Australia

Kiwis and expats have come out and defended New Zealand following an article revealing the reasons why Kiwis living in Australia would rather live across the ditch. On a Facebook page, New Zealanders living Down Under NZ, Kiwi...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 17 Jan 2020 | 3:32 pm(NZT)

Camping ambassadors tackle freedom camping troubles in South Island

Responsible camping ambassadors are having a big effect on campers' behaviour and locals' attitudes towards them, authorities in the south's freedom camping hotspots say.Many previous problem spots - such as the Queenstown Lakes,...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 17 Jan 2020 | 3:27 pm(NZT)

Auckland lawyer suspended, ordered to pay nearly $36,000 after tenth breach over career

An Auckland lawyer is appealing after he was suspended and slammed with nearly $36,000 in costs after the tenth conduct breach of his career.The New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal ordered solicitor Boon Gunn...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 17 Jan 2020 | 3:01 pm(NZT)

Auckland Island pigs: 'It's a big call to eradicate them'

By Katie Todd for RNZ The Department of Conservation's efforts to cull Auckland Island pigs are being labelled a crime against humanity by the Rare Breeds Conservation Society.The pesky porcines are killing native plants, insects...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 17 Jan 2020 | 2:57 pm(NZT)

'Sheer incompetence': District Health Boards continue financial nosedive into deficit

The financial situation for New Zealand's District Health Boards is continuing to deteriorate, with newly released data showing all but one are in the red. And the overall position is expected to get worst too, with the Ministry...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 17 Jan 2020 | 2:50 pm(NZT)

One of New Zealand's oldest people dies in Dunedin at 108

Moy Kim Ng experienced demanding work in Cantonese rice paddies and raised eight children, but even in her last years, the 108-year-old was a swift hand at poker.Mrs Ng, who may have been New Zealand's oldest person, died on January...

Source: nzherald.co.nz - National | 17 Jan 2020 | 2:31 pm(NZT)

Death for man who killed doctor

A MAN was sentenced to death by a Beijing court yesterday after being convicted for killing a doctor in a hospital where his mother was being treated. The defendant, who was identified as Sun Wenbin, harbored a grudge and intended to retaliate as he was not satisfied with his mother’s treatment at the General Hospital of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, the Third Intermediate People’s Court of Beijing Municipality was told. Sun showed up at the emergency room of the hospital carrying a concealed knife at 6am on December 24 and repeatedly stabbed Yang Wen, a woman doctor who was on duty at the time. Sun then called the police by phone to turn himself in. He was later arrested. Yang succumbed to multiple injuries in her neck. The court said in an open trial that the defendant had committed a grave case of murder crime for unlawfully depriving other’s life on purpose and should be punished according to law. Despite Sun’s voluntary surrender, his act of intentional homicide is extremely cruel and has caused great harm to society, therefore he does not qualify for a lesser punishment, the court concluded. Sun pleaded guilty in court.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 17 Jan 2020 | 12:00 pm(NZT)

Famous TV personality dies at 78

ZHAO Zhongxiang, a famous Chinese news anchor, television host and reporter, died at age 78 in Beijing yesterday. He joined the China Central Television (CCTV) in 1960, becoming China’s first male television presenter. Zhao was the first Chinese reporter to accompany Deng Xiaoping during his visit to the United States in 1979. He was invited to the White House during that trip. Since 1984, Zhao hosted the Spring Festival Gala over 10 times, featuring a balanced and calm style. He also hosted some well-known shows like “Animal World,” “Human and Nature,” “Zhengda Variety Show.”

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 17 Jan 2020 | 12:00 pm(NZT)

Senate approves new North American trade deal with Canada and Mexico

In December, the House overwhelmingly voted in favor of the pact after Democrats negotiated with the White House on several revisions.

Source: World | 17 Jan 2020 | 5:59 am(NZT)

Broadband satellite put into orbit

A BROADBAND communication satellite, developed by a Beijing-based company, was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China at 11:02am yesterday.The satellite, the first of many from Beijing-based GalaxySpace, was sent into its planned orbit by a Kuaizhou-1A carrier rocket.Deployed in low-Earth orbit, the satellite has a communication capacity of up to 10Gbps. Relative technological tests will be conducted on the satellite.GalaxySpace aims to build a LEO broadband satellite constellation and create a global 5G communication network.KZ-1A is a low-cost solid-fuel carrier rocket with high reliability and a short preparation period. The rocket, developed by a company under the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, is mainly used to launch LEO small satellites.Yesterday’s launch was the eighth mission of the KZ-1A carrier rocket.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 17 Jan 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Pandas in the wild

Footage of a pair of giant pandas in the wild was released yesterday by the Wolong National Nature Reserve in Sichuan Province. The video clips, captured by an infrared camera, showed a panda mother and her 6-month-old cub in the Laoya Mountain about 2,800 meters above sea level.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 17 Jan 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Gambling crackdown

Chinese police cracked more than 7,200 criminal cases of online gambling and detained 25,000 suspects in 2019, the Ministry of Public Security said yesterday. The police seized and froze more than 18 billion yuan (US$2.62 billion) of gambling-related money last year, a ministry official said.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 17 Jan 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Explosives found in HK, 2 arrested

Hong Kong police said yesterday explosives were found in Sheung Shui in North District and two female suspects had been arrested. Ten male suspects had also been detained since Tuesday for conspiring to make explosives, “possession of dangerous drugs” and “unlawful assembly,” Hong Kong police said on its official Facebook page. Police said that they were acutely concerned about the case and reiterated that the manufacturing and storage of explosives was extremely dangerous.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 17 Jan 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Lam eyes panel to review unrest

Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Carrie Lam yesterday called for the formation of a committee to look into the root causes of the ongoing unrest in the city. “We are inviting community leaders, experts and academics to form an Independent Review Committee. Preparation work is nearly complete,” she said, adding that the names of the panel members will hopefully be announced next month.Lam made the remarks at the Legislative Council while taking questions from local lawmakers. The chief executive said she was sad to see the “shocking” level of violence and destruction some radical protesters have brought to the island city.Since June, Hong Kong has been wracked by often violent anti-government protests that began as dissent against the now-defunct fugitive bill.“Numerous inaccurate reports and fake information circulated online have seriously damaged Hong Kong’s international reputation for peace, rationality, safety and lawfulness,” Lam said.She also said that she was worried about the city’s economy given the recent closure of several businesses, hoping that the economy could recover if social order returns back to normal.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 17 Jan 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Military conscription

China will change its military conscription from once a year to twice a year, starting from 2020, according to a statement from a teleconference on the recruitment work yesterday.Recruitment for the first half of the year will run from mid-February to the end of March, and the recruitment for the second half will run from mid-August to the end of September. Retirement for military personnel, therefore, will also change to twice a year, according to the statement. Conscripts shall serve in active service for two years, according to the country’s Military Service Law. The statement stressed that the total number of recruits will remain stable compared with previous years.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 17 Jan 2020 | 5:00 am(NZT)

Two Democratic senators will call on Trump to impose sanctions on Egyptian officials after jailed U.S. citizen dies

Mustafa Kassem died this week during a hunger strike after six years in an Egyptian prison.

Source: World | 17 Jan 2020 | 4:09 am(NZT)

Lawsuit says Jeffrey Epstein trafficked and abused girls on his private island as recently as 2018

Airport personnel in the Virgin Islands reported seeing Epstein leaving his private plane with victims who looked as young as 11, the lawsuit claims.

Source: World | 17 Jan 2020 | 1:00 am(NZT)

Taliban ready to reduce violence to advance the peace process, Pakistan says

After months without peace talks, U.S. and Taliban negotiators appear to be making progress.

Source: World | 17 Jan 2020 | 12:14 am(NZT)

Iran’s supreme leader will lead Friday prayers for first time in eight years. In the past, he’s doubled down on hard-line rhetoric.

The last time Khamenei spoke at prayers, Iran was facing down sanctions from the Obama administration.

Source: World | 16 Jan 2020 | 10:39 pm(NZT)

‘It’s triggering’: Australian community razed by fire dreads a sequel to its darkest hour

The residents of Kinglake, devastated in the ‘Black Saturday’ blazes of 2009, have worked hard to get back on their feet.

Source: World | 16 Jan 2020 | 10:22 pm(NZT)

Prince Harry, now back at work, is part of a long tradition of disgruntled ‘spare heirs’

He made his first public appearance on Thursday since announcing he wanted to step back from his royal duties.

Source: World | 16 Jan 2020 | 9:15 pm(NZT)

Putin’s plans post-presidency could see him wielding influence for life

How Vladi�mir Putin is laying the groundwork to keep his grip on Russia’s autocracy.

Source: World | 16 Jan 2020 | 8:49 pm(NZT)

Firms share tips on sustainability and innovation

Multinational companies exchanged their experiences on innovation, sustainability and corporate social responsibility at the “Innovation and Sustainability” 2019 Corporate Social Responsibility Forum held by Shanghai Daily yesterday.The event aims to showcase various initiatives and cases of enterprises’ innovation and sustainable development, and contribute to the sustainable and healthy development of the city’s economy and society. A total of 30 companies were given the honor of Honored Partner of the 20th Anniversary of Shanghai Daily, including UFI Filters Group, 3M China, Bayer, JP Morgan China, Merck and Sabic.Twelve companies won Excellence Awards for Innovation 2019, including Corning, the State Grid Shanghai Municipal Electric Power Company and LANXESS.Excellence Awards for Sustainability were given to 21 companies, including Covestro, Bright Dairy and Dow.Innovation awards are selected based on the city’s favorable investment environment factors (including policy, talent, market, capital, etc) in the construction of a “technological innovation center with global influence,” while taking into account the multinational enterprises’ actual development in Shanghai.Sustainability awards are chosen on the basis of multinational enterprises’ contribution to the city’s green development. Initiatives, methods, mechanisms and experiences of the award-winning companies will be shared among enterprises and promoted by media.Wang Liming, director from the Corning Research Center China, shared his experience on driving innovation through research and development. “Focusing on the most critical problems of the daily life and trying to find ways to solve them works in helping accelerating innovation,” Wang said.In the eyes of Dr Wang, air pollution is a tough and urgent problem and therefore innovative air purification systems were invented.Lin Renjie, head of Covestro’s material science center, shared Covestro’s experience on driving sustainability in the chemical industry. Replacing traditional fuel oils with biofuel and turning waste material into feedstock for production are feasible solutions.Luca Biagini, chief operating officer from UFI Filters Group shared his view on corporate social responsibility.“Corporate social responsibility is a self-regulating business model that helps a company be socially accountable — to itself, its stakeholders and the public,” he said.Instead of setting a special time, Luca said, CSR should be treated as a daily mission, which means products should help the planet.Yang Jing, chief of the International Communication Division and Service Development Division of Shanghai Information Office, said: “Shanghai Daily has been a bridge connecting the government and multinational companies. Through the forum, we get to know the latest innovation and sustainability achievements by enterprises.“We also know that, besides striving for business success, they care about the society and help to tackle with difficult problems in the fields of low carbon, clean energy and healthcare.”

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 16 Jan 2020 | 5:05 am(NZT)

Unity with Taiwan ‘unshakable’

Adhering to the 1992 Consensus that embodies the one-China principle is the unshakable foundation for the peaceful and stable development of relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, a mainland spokesperson said yesterday.Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, made the remarks at a regular press conference while asked to comment on remarks regarding cross-Strait ties made by Tsai Ing-wen, the Democratic Progressive Party candidate, following her win in Saturday’s Taiwan leadership election.Ma said “Taiwan independence” secessionist forces and their activities are the biggest threat to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and the greatest scourge to the interests and wellbeing of people on both sides of the Strait and must be resolutely curbed.The tide of the times — the cross-Strait situation moving toward peace and stability and cross-Strait relations continuing to move forward — cannot be stopped by any force or anyone, he said.“The future of Taiwan lies in national reunification and the wellbeing of the people in Taiwan hinges on the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” the spokesman said. “Taiwan is the Taiwan of all Chinese people, including Taiwan compatriots, and Taiwan’s future is jointly decided by all Chinese people,” he added. The Chinese mainland will continuously promote cross-Strait exchanges in various fields, seek positive outcomes and solve difficulties of Taiwan compatriots in 2020, Ma said.Noting that the personnel exchanges across the Taiwan Strait remained stable at around 9 million last year, Ma said Taiwan compatriots’ expectations for strengthening cross-Strait exchanges stood in strong contrast with the restrictions imposed by the Democratic Progressive Party authority.The mainland authorities issued new policies last year, known as the “26 measures,” to provide more convenience for Taiwan compatriots to study, work and live on the mainland, said Ma. The Chinese mainland will never give up on the young people in Taiwan, he added.The mainland will continue to promote cross-Strait communication and carry out policies to enhance mutual understanding between the young people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.“Guided by the conviction that we are all of the same family, the mainland has rolled out a series of policies to provide Taiwan compatriots, especially young people, with equal treatment and development opportunities on the mainland,” Ma said.The trade volume across the Strait was US$207.06 billion in the first 11 months last year, Ma said, adding that the mainland approved 4,765 Taiwanese investment projects in the same period, a year-on-year increase of 7.9 percent.Ma also said the mainland’s actual use of investment from Taiwan hit US$1.52 billion in the first 11 months last year, up 26.8 percent from the year before, ranging from manufacturing to services.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 16 Jan 2020 | 5:05 am(NZT)

Unrest forces HK to cancel fireworks show

China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government announced yesterday the cancellation of the 2020 Lunar New Year Fireworks Display.“Having regard to public safety considerations, the Lunar New Year Fireworks Display originally scheduled to be held at Victoria Harbor on January 26 has been canceled,” the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of the HKSAR government said.This is the third time since the unrest in Hong Kong started in June, 2019 that traditional fireworks displays were canceled due to concerns over public safety.The Leisure and Cultural Services Department earlier canceled the National Day Fireworks Display originally scheduled to take place at the Victoria Harbor on the evening of October 1, 2019 in view of the security situation and having regard to public safety.The well-known New Year’s Eve fireworks display over Victoria harbor held annually by the Hong Kong Tourism Board was also canceled for the first time in its 10-year history.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 16 Jan 2020 | 5:05 am(NZT)

Yangtze belt polluters busted

Chinese procuratorates have stepped up efforts to punish offenders polluting the environment along the Yangtze River Economic Belt, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate announced yesterday.Prosecutors in 11 provincial regions along the economic belt filed charges against 22,310 people for suspected crimes involving destroying environmental resources in 2019, up over 20 percent year on year, said Zhang Xueqiao, deputy procurator-general of the SPP, at a press conference.They approved the arrests of 7,084 suspects involved in such cases, an increase of 43 percent from the previous year, according to figures from a white paper on ensuring the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt.Zhang said, citing the document, that 11 provincial procuratorial organs along the economic belt filed 30,212 cases infringing on the public interest related to the environment and resources in 2019.Official statistics also show that litigation helped deal with a total of 7,627 hectares of forests, farmland, wetland and grassland that had been polluted or illegally occupied.Prosecutors in the economic belt region helped remove hidden dangers and eliminate pollution across over 87,333 hectares of water source regions, and nearly 3,500 enterprises and farms, which cause pollution, were improved and rectified through filing cases.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 15 Jan 2020 | 5:05 am(NZT)

Wanting a quiet place to study? Just rent a table

Instead of studying at home or in a library for free, an increasing number of people in China are choosing to go to paid self-study rooms in an effort to improve study efficiency.Equipped with customized tables and chairs, adjustable lighting, air purifiers and quiet computer keyboards, these study rooms are attracting learners with their professional services and setups.“We aim to create an undisturbed learning space for people who are eager to study but cannot find ideal spaces,” said Wang Yi, founder of a 24-hour paid study room.“Over the past six months since we opened, the market demand is beyond expectation and we are opening branches to deal with the shortage of lounges,” Wang added.Tranquil and friendlyIn Shanghai, there are over 80 paid study rooms charging around 2 yuan (US$0.3) to 20 yuan per hour.To create a tranquil and friendly learning atmosphere, some rooms have low light to aid concentration, while some are sunrooms where customers can enjoy views from large windows. In addition, staff will help remind customers to keep quiet while in the study areas.Liu Kangcan is an owner of a paid study room which has over 8,000 members. Most of his consumers are white-collar workers aged between 22 and 30 who want to pass postgraduate entrance exams or get certain qualification certificates.“Fierce competition in the workplace motivates white collars to learn more. A quiet and professional learning space is needed,” said Liu. His study rooms also offer wake-up call services.“Seats are hard to get in public libraries and there are also a lot of distractions,” said Feng Jia, an employee in a financial media company who was preparing for a financial certificate examination. “At home, there were more distractions, such as mobile phones, snacks and pets.”“I did not have much time to prepare for the exam, so I must be efficient with my time. So, a paid study lounge is ideal for me,” said Feng.Yu Xuefeng, who recently quit his job, goes to paid study rooms almost every day.“I feel fulfilled when I learn something new. It is worth paying for a private and quiet study environment,” said Yu.Shanghai’s public libraries have encountered a rising number of library users.Pudong Library has about 3,000 reading seats. “Over 80 percent are occupied on workdays and it is almost impossible to find a vacant seat during weekends and holidays,” said a deputy director of the Pudong Library, surnamed Shi. “Sometimes, the steps of the library are even full of readers.” At the Shanghai Library, there are about 1,900 reading seats with tables and chairs and about 1,400 seats with no tables.The Shanghai Library receives around 3.6 million people annually, which breaks down to 5,000 to 8,000 on weekdays and 11,000 to 15,000 on weekends, according to Xu Qiang, director of the Shanghai Library’s reader service center.“People are lined up outside before we open every day. There are often quarrels and disputes over getting a seat,” said Xu.Shi said paid study rooms are a new model of learning consumption, different from the services of public libraries.As young people have more personalized needs, it is a supplement to the cultural facilities offered by the government.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 15 Jan 2020 | 5:05 am(NZT)

163,000 held for telecom, Internet fraud

Chinese police cracked 200,000 telecom and Internet fraud cases and captured 163,000 suspects in 2019, China Police Daily reported yesterday.The figures marked a year-on-year increase of about 52.7 percent and 123.3 percent, respectively. Police across the country registered 782,000 telecom and Internet fraud cases in total in 2019, down 3.1 percent from 2018.The public security organ participated in a campaign against cross-border telecom fraud with foreign police. In a three-year joint operation with Spain, 229 suspects, including 222 from Taiwan, had been handed over to Chinese police by 2019. Chinese police destroyed 90 overseas telecom fraud dens in 2019 in cooperation with police from Southeast Asian countries and arrested 4,276 suspects.The Ministry of Public Security alerted 1.7 million potential victims of telecom and Internet fraud.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 15 Jan 2020 | 5:05 am(NZT)

High-speed railway making life easier for migrants

China’s fast-expanding high-speed railway network is helping Wu Aiping, a 50-year-old worker in east China’s Anhui Province, reunite with his family sooner than ever.In the Spring Festival travel rush this year, the largest annual migration in the country, the travel time of Wu has been cut to nearly three hours from the previous 10 hours, thanks to a high-speed railway in his home city of Fuyang.“It used to take nearly 10 hours by train to visit my son working in the city of Wuxi in east China’s Jiangsu Province,” said Wu, who has been working in dozens of provinces across the country. “Now it’s really convenient to go anywhere.”As a major exporting city of labor, Fuyang, with a total population of about 10.7 million, exports about 3.5 million migrant workers to the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta and other developed regions in China. In December 2019, the city was included in the country’s high-speed railway network.“It will be more convenient for me to travel between home and Hefei City where I am working not only during the travel rush but anytime since the opening of the high-speed railway,” said Xiong Zhuoxia, a 32-year-old migrant worker.“The passenger flow at Fuyang West Station can reach 43,000 people per day and the station is expected to receive about 28,000 passengers at the peak of the Spring Festival travel rush,” said Zhang Yuliang, head of the station. “We are confident in ensuring transport capacity and serving passengers well,” Zhang added.There will be 3 billion trips during the travel rush from January 10 to February 18 for family reunions and travel, slightly up from last year, according to a forecast from the National Development and Reform Commission.China plans to expand its high-speed railway network, already the world’s biggest, by adding 2,000 kilometers of new lines in 2020, according to the country’s railway operator.By the end of 2019, the country’s high-speed railway network stretched 35,000km.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 15 Jan 2020 | 5:05 am(NZT)

China was never currency manipulator

CHINA has never been a currency manipulator, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said yesterday, adding the United States’ dropping its designation of China as a currency manipulator was in line with the facts and international consensus. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang made the remarks at a press briefing when answering a question regarding the United States on Monday removing the currency manipulator label it imposed on China last summer. Noting that the department assessed developments over the last several months with China and its currency practices, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement that “China has made enforceable commitments to refrain from competitive devaluation, while promoting transparency and accountability.” “China has never been a currency manipulator. The latest US conclusion is in line with the facts and the consensus of the international community,” Geng said. Geng added that the latest International Monetary Fund assessment concluded that the yuan’s exchange rate level is generally in line with the economy’s fundamentals, objectively denying the claim that China is a “currency manipulator.” China is a responsible country, Geng said, adding that, “We have reiterated time and again that we will not engage in competitive currency devaluation and we have not and will never use the currency exchange rate as a tool to address trade conflict.” China will unswervingly deepen the market-oriented reform of the yuan’s exchange rate mechanism, continue to improve the managed floating exchange rate system based on market supply and demand and reference to a basket of currencies, and keep the yuan’s exchange rate basically stable at a reasonable and balanced level, Geng added. Mark Sobel, US chairman of the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum, an independent think tank, said on Twitter that this is “good news,” calling the designation “blatant” and “errant” political act. “China shouldn’t have been designated to start with,” said Sobel, who was the US representative at the IMF, and served as deputy assistant secretary at the US Treasury Department. He noted China’s current account surplus is small as a share of GDP, and there is “scant intervention.” Amid heightened trade tensions, the US Treasury Department decided to label China a currency manipulator in August.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 15 Jan 2020 | 5:05 am(NZT)

9 dead in Xining road collapse

THE death toll has climbed to nine last night after a bus fell into a hole caused by a road cave-in in northwest China’s Qinghai Province, according to local government. Ten people are still missing. Local authorities said the identification process for the deceased is underway. The cave-in happened at 5:36 pm on Monday, when a road section collapsed on the heavily-trafficked Nandajie Street in the city of Xining, the provincial capital. A public bus fell into the hole and an explosion ensued, local authorities said. The hole stretched nearly 10 meters in diameter. Nearly 1,000 rescuers, 30 vehicles and two excavators have been dispatched to the site. It’s not clear how many people were inside the bus when the cave-in occurred. The cause of the incident remains unclear.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 15 Jan 2020 | 5:05 am(NZT)

Palace palate treat

Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner, also known as “reunion dinner,” at the Palace Museum during the Spring Festival has sold out, according to the People’s Daily. The dinner service is put on sale by the Corner Tower restaurant and will last from January 19 to February 8. The dinner combo is priced at 6,688 yuan (US$970) for 10 people and 680 yuan for each additional person. The menu has not been released but will include Chinese dumplings, as well as some dishes related to the history of the museum.(Xinhua)

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 14 Jan 2020 | 5:05 am(NZT)

We will never be derailed, says Lam

Hong Kong’s strength and resilience have not been undermined in the face of social unrest and challenges in recent months, Chief Executive of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Carrie Lam said yesterday.While opening the 13th Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong, Lam said Hong Kong’s core competitiveness and status as one of the world’s premier financial centers continue to be internationally recognized.Hong Kong was ranked third in the world in the Global Financial Centers Index last September, just behind New York and London. In December 2019, the International Monetary Fund reaffirmed Hong Kong’s position as a global financial center and regional trading hub, and one of the most open economies in the world.The chief executive spoke highly of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area development, saying the Greater Bay Area, with a population of about 70 million and a combined GDP equivalent of around US$1.6 trillion dollars, and its huge market potential, presented boundless promise for Hong Kong, particularly the financial services sector.“Coupled with the Belt and Road Initiative, the Greater Bay Area development will ensure long-term prospects for Hong Kong’s economy,” she said, adding that through the two national policies, Hong Kong will enhance its role as a business bridge between the Chinese mainland and the rest of the world.Lam said she is “confident that we will bridge our divide, that we will realize the common goal of a reunited community and a flourishing economy” through the concerted efforts of the HKSAR government and the people of Hong Kong.The two-day event was themed with “Redefining Growth: Innovation Breakthrough Inclusiveness.”

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 14 Jan 2020 | 5:05 am(NZT)

Spring has sprung and the annual rush is on

Millions of Chinese are traveling smarter, faster, more efficiently and more comfortably than ever before after one of the world’s largest human migrations began on Friday.The Spring Festival travel rush, which sees families and friends reunite around the country for China’s most important traditional holiday, began 15 days ahead of Chinese New Year on January 25.The high-speed rail link between Beijing and Zhangjiakou, co-host city of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in northern Hebei Province, opened on December 30.The travel time between the two cities has been greatly shortened and Zhangjiakou is now within Beijing’s one-hour economic circle, according to Li Shengwu, head of the Infrastructure Development Department of Zhangjiakou Development and Reform Commission.A core part of the “eight verticals and eight horizontals” rail network, the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed service connects with the Zhangjiakou-Hohhot and Datong-Zhangjiakou high-speed lines, helping to reduce the holiday travel pressure in Beijing, eastern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Shanxi Province and northern Hebei Province.Travel is becoming more efficient for travelers this Spring Festival, who are expected to make 3.6 billion trips during the period.Ticket sale is the first big test. The rapid technological development has accelerated online ticket sales and ticket checking.In the 2020 holiday rush, the daily ticketing capacity of the official 12306 online booking service will increase from 15 million to 20 million.Ticket checking is faster as e-tickets are quickly replacing paper tickets.The checking of e-tickets, a service now available at all high-speed railway stations, takes 30 percent less time compared with manual checking of paper tickets.Facial recognition technology has also been used in some stations to speed up the ticket checking process.Travel services are also becoming more intelligent with robot information services and intelligent storage facilities further improving travel efficiency.

Source: Shanghai Daily: Nation | 14 Jan 2020 | 5:05 am(NZT)


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