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Wires crossed over Zambia's power utility


2018-12-18 浏览

China hopes the United States can learn a lesson and “not blurt things out,” the foreign ministry said Monday.

The comment came after Zambia denied claims by a White House official that China is about to take over its state power utility to recover debt.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton earlier said China was poised to take over utility company Zesco to collect a US$6 billion to US$10 billion debt in Zambia.

Zambian presidential spokesman Amos Chanda said China was not planning to take over Zesco and that the figure of US$6-10 billion given by Bolton was wrong. Zambia’s total external debt was now US$9.7 billion, including US$3.1 billion owed to China, he said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said this wasn’t the first time a US official had been caught out on this kind of issue, though she gave no details.

“I hope that they can learn a lesson and reflect on things, and going forward not blurt things out again,” Hua said.

In June, Zambia decided to delay all planned borrowing indefinitely, slowing down the accumulation of new debt amid worries about the risk of debt distress.

President Edgar Lungu said last month that Zambia was committed to improving the transparency of its debt management and would ensure that debt levels remain sustainable.

The IMF rejected Zambia’s borrowing plans in February, saying they risked making its debt load harder to sustain.

Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe said last month that the government plans to send a delegation to China by the end of this year to discuss Zambia’s debt and debt restructuring.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Dictionary does justice to word of the year


2018-12-18 浏览

Merriam-Webster has chosen “justice” as its 2018 word of the year, driven by the churning news cycle over months and months.

The word follows “toxic,” picked by Oxford Dictionaries, and “misinformation,” from Dictonary.com.

Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s editor at large, said “justice” consistently bubbled into the top 20 or 30 searches on the company’s website.

While it’s one of those common words people know how to spell and use correctly in a sentence, Sokolowski pointed to other reasons that drive search traffic.

Among them is an attempt to focus a train of thought around a philosophical problem, or to seek aspirational motivation.

Such well-known words are often among the most looked-up every year, including those that are slightly abstract, including “love,” he said.

The designation for “justice” came soon after US President Trump’s one-time fixer, Michael Cohen, was sentenced to three years in prison for crimes that included arranging the payment of hush money to conceal his boss’ alleged sexual affairs. He told a judge he agreed time and again to cover up Trump’s “dirty deeds” out of “blind loyalty.”

It also came ahead of a Senate vote on the “First Step Act,” a criminal justice reform bill with broad bipartisan support.

Earlier in the year, Kim Kardashian West not once but twice paid a White House visit to Trump to discuss prison and sentencing reform.

Sentencing for drug crimes, treatment for opioid addiction, a loosening of cannabis laws, a Tesla probe, the Mueller investigation into the Trump campaign will ensure searches for Justice remain high.

“These are stories that connect to the culture and to society across races, across classes,” Sokolowski said. “We get this word that filters in.”

That includes Twitter in a big way. Often, when Trump tweets about the Department of Justice, he uses simply “Justice.” On August 1, when he tweeted his wish for then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to stop the Mueller investigation, searches spiked significantly.

Searches for “justice” throughout the year, when compared to 2017, were up 74 percent on the site that has more than 100 million page views a month and nearly half a million entries, Sokolowski said.

To be word of the year worthy, an entry has to show both a high volume of traffic and a significant year-on-year increase in searches — as opposed to, say, a word that merely buzzed or felt lofty, he said.

“We are not editorializing, we looked at our data and we were ourselves surprised by this word,” Sokolowski said.

“This is a word that people have been thinking about for this entire year.”

The word “justice” comes from Latin, unlike a lot of the more emotional words that rose in Old English. Old English did have “law,” “fair” and “right,” but never “justice,” in reference to a system of laws.

“It’s not a coincidence that it comes from the 12th century, which immediately follows the Norman conquest,” he said.

Other words that experienced lookup spikes this year are: “maverick” (US Senator John McCain died); “respect” (Aretha Franklin died); “excelsior” (Stan Lee’s signature battle cry. He died); “pissant” (A radio host described Tom Brady’s daughter that way); “pansexual” (Janelle Monae described herself that way); “laurel” (Remember laurel vs. yanny?); “feckless” (What Samantha Bee called Ivanka Trump, combined with a pejorative that begins with “c”); “epiphany” (The title of a BTS K-pop song that dropped this year); “lodestar” (used in reference to McCain in the New York Times op-ed identified as coming from inside the Trump administration); and “nationalism” (At an October 22 rally in Texas, Trump declared himself a nationalist).
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Huawei predicts 250 million sales next year


2018-12-18 浏览

Huawei Technologies will sell 230 to 250 million smartphones next year, the company said on Monday at a new product release event.

He Gang, Huawei’s smartphone business president, said he expects sales this year to exceed 200 million by December 25 to achieve the company's annual target.

In the third quarter, its global mobile phone sales surged 32.9 percent from a year ago.

Huawei is already the world’s No. 2 smartphone vendor after surpassing Apple in the second quarter.

Samsung and Apple rank first and third. Apple’s quarterly numbers were down 13.4 percent year on year while Samsung managed 0.5 percent growth, according to US-based research firm IDC.

Huawei's latest model is the Nova 4, which has a 48-megapixel camera, a self-developed Kirin 970 processor and AI or artificial intelligence features. It will be on sale from December 27 at a starting price of 3,099 yuan (US$450).

In 2016, Huawei sold over 100 million phones globally. In 2017, it sold more than 150 million smartphones. It now has several sub-brands in the smartphone category including Mate, Nova and Honor to target different consumer groups.

Besides the new smartphone, Huawei also launched a portable picture printer, a security monitor and a body fat scale.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

16 injured after 5.7-magnitude earthquake hits Sichuan


2018-12-17 浏览

China's emergency regulator on Sunday initiated a national emergency response to a magnitude 5.7 earthquake in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

The Ministry of Emergency Management activated a level-IV emergency response, and work teams have been dispatched to guide and assist emergency rescue work.

The earthquake hit the county of Xingwen in the city of Yibin, Sichuan Province, at 12:46pm Sunday, with a depth of 12 km, according to the local government.

The epicenter was monitored 70 km away from Yibin and 270 km from Chengdu, capital city of Sichuan Province, the China Earthquake Networks Center said.

By 5:30pm Sunday, 16 people had been reported injured in the earthquake, the ministry said.

A total of 378 people have been evacuated and more than 300 rescuers have been sent to the quake site, according to local authorities.

Residents in areas near the epicenter felt strong tremors, some houses collapsed and some roads were cut off by landslides.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Wanda in 'patriotic tourism' venture


2018-12-17 浏览

China's Wanda group has signed a deal to build a sprawling complex for patriotic tourists to visit a site to which the Communist Party’s traces its revolutionary roots in the northwestern Shaanxi Province.

At a ceremony in Beijing, China Wanda Group and the Yan’an city government agreed to start work on a 12 billion yuan (US$1.74 billion) “red tourism” project next year, the company said in a statement.

It was unclear from the announcement what portion of the money would be invested by Wanda.

Work on the site will begin next year and it should be open to the public by 2021, in time to take part in celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party’s founding.

The complex will include sections dedicated to revolutionary spirit, military entertainment, intangible cultural heritage and the early days of the party, as well as five squares themed on different stages of Yan’an’s history.

The troops led by the Chinese Communist Party based themselves in Yan’an from 1935, before winning the Chinese civil war and establishing the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

The city, known as the cradle of the Communist revolution in party mythology, is a popular site for patriotic tourists.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Vietnam and China agree to develop bonds


2018-12-17 浏览

China and Vietnam have pledged to properly manage maritime issues to create a good atmosphere for the development of bilateral relations.

The pledge was made in Luang Prabang, Laos, on Sunday at a meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Pham Binh Minh, Vietnamese deputy prime minister and minister for foreign affairs.

Wang said the leaders of the two countries had exchanged historic visits last year which had led to top-level designs for the development of a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

China and Vietnam should fully implement the strategic consensus reached between the leaders of the two countries so as to lay a solid foundation for the development of bilateral ties, said Wang.

China and Vietnam have far more common interests than differences.

The two sides should continue to promote strategic mutual trust and deepen strategic cooperation which serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and the two peoples, Wang noted.

Looking forward to the new year, Wang said the two sides should keep the positive momentum of exchanges at a high-level, fully explore the tremendous potential of economic and trade cooperation, speed up the strategic connection between China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Vietnam’s Two Corridors and One Economic Circle plan, and push forward cooperation projects on connectivity and communication so as to achieve substantial progress.

China is willing to strengthen communication and coordination with Vietnam within the framework of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Mechanism and further enrich the content of the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, Wang said.

For his part, Pham Binh Minh said development of the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between the two sides has resulted in satisfactory achievements in 2018, with close exchanges conducted at all levels, two-way trade expanded and the structure of trade becoming balanced.

Vietnam is ready to work together with China to make good preparations for high-level exchanges next year, make good use of the mechanisms of bilateral cooperation and coordination as well as conduct closer communication and coordination on Lancang-Mekong cooperation.

This will further advance the development of the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries.

Both Wang Yi and Pham Binh Minh will attend the fourth Lancang-Mekong Cooperation foreign ministers’ meeting to be held in Luang Prabang on Monday.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Multiple locations in US receive email, phone bomb threats


2018-12-14 浏览

Multiple institutions across the United States on Thursday received emails and phone calls threatening bomb attacks, which caused evacuations and law enforcement actions.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement it was aware of the recent bomb threats made in cities around the country. "We remain in touch with our law enforcement partners to provide assistance."

"As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety," the FBI said.

The New York Police Department tweeted that it was monitoring "multiple bomb threats," and "these threats are also being reported to other locations nationwide & are NOT considered credible at this time."

The CNN reported that it was not yet clear whether these threats, which had been received in San Francisco, the University of Washington in Seattle, the Pennsylvania State University in Pennsylvania, were connected.

"We have received information that several other cities across the United States have received similar threats," police from San Francisco Police Department said.

The University of Washington in Seattle issued a campus-wide alert saying the FBI had "advised that the email is not a credible threat," and concluded sweeps of possibly affected buildings.

The Pennsylvania State University said in a statement its police was coordinating with the FBI in "investigating a message received by individuals in multiple locations on campus and across the state," adding that the threat "does not appear to be a legitimate threat, however, an investigation is ongoing."

The police later said that the threat "appears to be a hoax."

Earlier in the day, a false bomb threat was made against Columbine High School in Colorado, causing the school and 23 other schools nearby to be placed on lockdown.

More threats were still being reported across the country.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Justice for Chinese student beaten to death


2018-12-14 浏览

A 21-year-old has been convicted of first-degree murder and other charges for his role in the 2014 death of Xinran Ji, a Chinese graduate student at the University of Southern California.

The jurors handed down the verdict after two hours of deliberation, convicting Alberto Ochoa of one count each of first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon, second-degree robbery and attempted second-degree robbery. Ochoa, who faces life in prison without parole, will be sentenced on March 8 next year.

“We’re very satisfied with the outcome,” Deputy District Attorney John McKinney said.

Ochoa and three others confronted 24-year-old Xinran Ji, who was walking home from a study group near the university campus early on July 24, 2014. Ochoa struck the victim with a metal bat before he ran away.

Andrew Garcia, another defendant in the case, eventually caught up to Ji and hit him repeatedly with the bat. Ji made his way back to his apartment where he was found dead hours later by a roommate.

Garcia and other members of the group have also been jailed.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Climate action trumps Trump


2018-12-14 浏览

Now is not a good time to be a climate-change denier like US President Donald Trump, given all the recent evidence that the atmosphere is warming faster than expected.

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, for example, Trump’s own government published a major report warning that unchecked climate change will impose massive economic and human costs on the United States. And that came on the heels of an alarming study by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that painted a dire picture of Earth’s near future.

The IPCC finds that if greenhouse-gas emissions continue at current rates, the additional costs due to coastal flooding, droughts, storms, extreme heat, and wildfires will reach an estimated US$54 trillion by 2040. Shockingly, the world has only about a dozen years to keep global temperatures within 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a goal of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

Beyond that limit, even small temperature increases will raise the risk of catastrophic events, threatening millions with poverty and displacement.

For his part, Trump refuses to believe his own administration’s assessment that climate change is man-made and poses an existential threat. He has unilaterally withdrawn the US from the Paris climate agreement, leaving the country standing completely alone on the issue (though Brazil under incoming far-right President Jair Bolsonaro could follow suit). And he has dismantled environmental regulations and strengthened subsidies to boost the US fossil-fuel industry.

Federal opposition

Yet despite federal opposition to climate-change mitigation, cities and states are responding. Governors of states representing 40 percent of the US population and 46 percent of US GDP have committed to implementing the Paris agreement.

Through the America’s Pledge project, cities, states, and businesses accounting for over 35 percent of US carbon-dioxide emissions are adopting measures to cut them. State and local agencies are introducing new incentives and policies to encourage the use of renewable energy.

A multistate task force has committed to putting a minimum of 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025. And several states are preparing lawsuits to challenge the Trump administration’s plans to roll back regulations on emissions from power plants and vehicles. Both the law and the facts favor the states.

State governments are also developing climate-adaptation plans. California, for example, is exploring ways to improve the health of its forests so that they will be more resilient to wildfires — timely, since scientists predict that the state’s wildfires could be five times worse by mid-century, given base-case temperature rise simulations.

And the California Coastal Commission is even considering a massive “managed retreat” plan to move residents away from the shoreline.

In the private sector, business leaders representing 20 economic sectors and upwards of US$1.3 trillion in revenue have publicly affirmed their commitment to combating climate change. A broad range of companies have joined the Climate Leadership Council and endorsed a carbon tax and dividend plan.

Since 2014, the number of firms pricing carbon into their internal risk assessments has increased eightfold. And now, more than 90 large US companies have set, or have committed to setting, emissions-reduction targets consistent with the Paris accord, with over half of them reporting gains in competitiveness as a result.

Investors, too, are pushing for action on climate change. Globally, more than US$22.8 trillion — one quarter of all funds under professional management — has been channeled into sustainable investment. And with climate change already posing a threat to around US$4 trillion worth of financial assets, the Financial Stability Board has created a task force to encourage more companies to disclose climate-related risks.

In recent years, the US has actually outperformed most other industrialized countries in reducing its CO2 emissions. But that is largely due to its natural-gas boom, and the US is still the world’s second-largest per capita emitter.

Unprecedented changes

At the global level, CO2 emissions increased in 2017 after three years of stability and are headed to a record high in 2018. In most countries and regions, the Paris agreement’s pledges, which already are insufficient to keep the increase in global temperatures below the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold, are not being fulfilled.

According to the IPCC, to stay within this limit would require a reduction of human-caused net CO2 emissions by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, and by 100 percent by 2050.

This is “possible within the laws of chemistry and physics,” notes Jim Skea of the IPCC, “but doing so would require unprecedented changes.” For example, emissions from industry would need to fall by 75-90 percent by 2050, while the share of renewable energies in the electricity mix would have to increase to 67 percent, from around 20 percent today. Fortunately, innovation, investor pressure, the growth of green finance, and falling renewable-energy prices all give cause for guarded optimism.

Carbon pricing

Solar power is already the cheapest form of energy for new electricity capacity in the US and around the world, and it is half the price of fossil fuels in some emerging-market economies.

By 2020, the cost of renewables already in commercial use is expected to fall within or below the cost range for fossil fuels. Ongoing innovations in electric-vehicle and jet-engine technologies will further reduce carbon emissions from transportation.

In addition to reforestation and new carbon-capture technologies, carbon pricing has an essential role to play in reaching the IPCC’s threshold target.

Yet, despite a broad consensus among economists that carbon pricing is the most efficient and effective way to reduce emissions, it faces huge political obstacles.

In the US, cap-and-trade and other carbon-pricing tactics remain confined to California and a few other coastal states. Worldwide, the 71 countries and regions that have introduced a carbon price account for only around 20 percent of total emissions.

At a recent climate summit in California, former US Vice President Al Gore argued that we can combat climate change with both old and new technologies, and that we must do so, because it poses an existential threat to us all.

Whether we will, however, depends on the behavior of political and business leaders in the US and around the world. In the absence of federal leadership, American states, cities, businesses, and citizens are rising to the challenge.

Laura Tyson, a former chair of the US President’s Council of Economic Advisers, is a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior adviser at the Rock Creek Group. Lenny Mendonca, chairman of New America, is senior partner emeritus at McKinsey & Company. Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2018. www.project-syndicate.org. Shanghai Daily condensed the article.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Chinese eves aim to make golf history


2018-12-13 浏览

China’s top golf talents will have their eyes on the prize this week as the Women’s China Open presented by World Golf Series tees off on Thursday in what will undoubtedly be an exciting conclusion to the China LPGA Tour season.

With no Chinese having won the country’s national championship in its 11-year history, this season marks the first time the 2.1-million yuan (US$304,843) tournament won’t be co-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour of Korea whose players have dominated the event.

Instead, the 34 Chinese pros and amateurs in southeastern Fujian Province will compete against a field of 108 players from 12 different countries and regions at Orient Xiamen.

Among the notables in the field this week are super rookie Liu Wenbo; Liu Ruixin, winner of the Symetra Tour’s Order of Merit; Olympian Lin Xiyu; former US LPGA Tour regular Feng Simin; Sui Xiang, the current No. 4 on the CLPGA Tour money list; and Huang Ching, who captured the Wuhan leg in May for one of her three wins around the region this year.

Following her practice round on Wednesday, 17-year-old Liu Wenbo said that she was looking forward to having a strong finish to her season.

“I have been working on my swing at Mission Hills Shenzhen. I felt that it is my normal level now. I had a practice round yesterday and had plenty of good feelings,” said the Beijing native who turned pro in October and immediately made an impact in finishing equal runner-up at the Buick LPGA Shanghai.

“This is my final event of the year. Hopefully I can have a wonderful ending. I will try not to think about my swing change during the competition and just play well. This is a great chance for every Chinese player to make history. Hopefully I can be in the mix down the stretch on Sunday.”

Liu Ruixin, who earned her US LPGA Tour card for 2019 after winning three times this year on the feeder Symetra circuit, was another looking to make her mark.

“As a Chinese player, I definitely wish that my compatriots triumph on Sunday. We are friends. If the winner is not me I will cheer for them,” said the second-year pro. “A Chinese winner would make all of us proud but golf is hard to predict. There are many good international players out there.”

Strong group of Thais

Looking to spoil the Chinese party this week is a strong group of Thais led by US LPGA Tour member Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras and Saranporn Langkulgasettrin, the CLPGA Tour money leader who has won twice this year. Others include English veteran Florentyna Parker, a three-time winner on the Ladies European Tour, as well as Chinese Taipei’s Babe Liu and South Korean Lee Solar, both of them past winners on the CLPGA Tour.

In addition to the 315,000-yuan in first-prize money, there is much at stake at this week’s tournament. The winner will receive at least six Rolex world ranking points, three times as many as a regular tournament. More importantly, the top three players on the CLPGA Tour Order of Merit will earn a spot in next year’s US Women’s Open in Charleston. The top 80 players on the money list will receive fully exempt status for the 2019 CLPGA Tour season.

The national championship also marks the introduction of the World Golf Series. Tapping into the period that traditionally has been the golfing offseason, the WGS will be staging a series of professional women’s tournament that will attract top talents from all the pro tours.

The WGS’s inaugural season will run from December 2019 to February 2020. Players will qualify not through their respective tour membership but by the Rolex world ranking.

With so much to play for this week, Feng Simin, who lost her US LPGA Tour card this year, said she felt it was her responsibility as a Chinese to be here for the Open.

“This is a new chapter of the Woman’s China Open. You can say it’s a new start,” said the 23-year-old Beijing native who was the first amateur to win on the CLPGA Tour in 2012.

“Obviously Chinese players have a greater opportunity to triumph than before. The last thing you want is to miss such a good chance to be the first Chinese winner here.”
来源: Shanghai Daily  

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