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1 Chinese citizen killed in US bus crash


2019-03-21 浏览

The Chinese Embassy in the United States confirmed Wednesday that one Chinese citizen was killed in a bus crash in the US state of Virginia.

The crash, which took place early Tuesday, also led to injuries among several other Chinese passengers, but none was life-threatening, the embassy said in a statement to Xinhua.

A commercial bus carrying 57 people, including the driver, crashed on a ramp of the Interstate 95 highway 60 kilometers south of the city of Richmond, killing two people and injuring dozens. Local police said a significant number of passengers on the bus were Chinese-speaking.

A team from the Chinese embassy has been dispatched to the scene of the crash to offer consular services and has expressed heartfelt greetings on behalf of Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai to the Chinese passengers, according to the statement.

The driver, 40-year-old man named Yui Man Chow, was taken into custody and is charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

China has confidence in ties with Kazakhstan


2019-03-21 浏览

China has full confidence in its relations and future cooperation with Kazakhstan, a foreign ministry spokesman said yesterday.

Responding to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s resignation on Tuesday, spokesman Geng Shuang said China understands the decision made by Nazarbayev.

Committed to advancing the China-Kazakhstan friendship, Nazarbayev promoted the establishment of the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership, and supported and actively participated in the Belt and Road cooperation, Geng said, adding that China highly values his efforts.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who was just sworn in as Kazakhstan’s president, has been an old friend and a good friend that Chinese people are familiar with. China hopes and believes Kazakhstan will constantly make new achievements in national development and construction, he said.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Alternative foods eye Chinese market


2019-03-21 浏览

Startups specializing in alternative protein, from eggless eggs to pea-stuffed burgers and cell-grown fish products, are piling into Hong Kong to tap the Chinese mainland’s booming multibillion-dollar food market.

At a time when traditional meat farmers have seen profits hurt by the US-China trade tensions and the spread of swine fever, companies such as Impossible Foods, JUST and Beyond Meat are luring affluent Asian consumers with products they say are more sustainable and environmentally friendly than conventional meat.

The global meat substitutes market was estimated at US$4.6 billion last year and is predicted to reach US$6.4 billion by 2023, according to research firm Markets and Markets. Asia is the fastest-growing region.

Backed by some of the world’s top billionaires, including Hong Kong businessman Li Ka-shing, philanthropist Bill Gates and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, plant protein firms are expanding into the Chinese mainland for the first time this year.

San Francisco-based JUST, valued at US$1 billion, is planning to launch its mung bean faux egg product in six Chinese cities starting next month. “China is the most important market to JUST globally,” said Cyrus Pan, JUST’s China general manager.

JUST has inked deals with Alibaba’s Tmall and JD.com to distribute its egg product in Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Shenzhen before expanding elsewhere.

The company says the use of mung bean as its key ingredient is important for food security and appeals to the Chinese given its tradition as a dietary staple.

Nick Cooney, managing partner of Lever VC, a US-Asian venture capital fund focused on alternative protein startups, said firms like his are eyeing joint ventures, exports and product technology licensing opportunities in China. “Chinese consumers seem to be more open to novel foods than those in nearly any other country,” he said.

Beyond Meat, which makes burgers and sausages from pea protein, has seen sales in Hong Kong increase 300 percent last year, said David Yeung, Beyond Meat’s distributor in the city.

Backed by Tyson, the world’s largest meat processor, Beyond Meat filed for an initial public offering on the Nasdaq in November and plans to start distributing on the mainland in the second half of this year.

Rival Impossible Foods, which makes burgers out of soy, has said plant-based meat will eliminate the need for animals in the food chain and make the global food system sustainable.

The group has received around US$450 million in funding since 2011 with investments from Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures and Google Ventures.

Since launching in five restaurants in Hong Kong last April, the group’s products are now in more than 100 restaurants in Hong Kong and Macau. Impossible Foods plans to open on China’s mainland in the next two years.

Hong Kong-based Avant Meats, which uses cell technology to replicate fish and seafood products, is developing a cell-based fish maw prototype due for launch in the third quarter of this year, its Chief Executive Carrie Chan said. Fish maw, or swim bladders, are popular in Asian soups and stews, and are used to add collagen to food.

Asia’s favorite meat

Right Treat, another Hong Kong company headed by Yeung, is replicating Asia’s favorite meat — pork — using mushrooms, peas and rice for use in dumplings and meatballs. The company has seen its sales of its Omnipork triple since launching in Hong Kong in April 2018. It has since expanded to Singapore, Macau and Taiwan, and plans to sell on the Chinese mainland this year.

“If we want to change the world, we must find ways to shift Asian diet and consumption, which means we must find ways to reduce Asia’s dependence on pork and other meat products,” said Yeung, who also runs Green Monday, a startup tackling global food insecurity and climate change.

Omnipork is available at more than 40 stores and will be stocked in major Hong Kong supermarket chains by the end of March, Yeung said.

Advocates say meat substitutes are healthier and also use less water, produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions and use less land than producing the same amount of meat but come at a price.

Omnipork retails for HK$43 (US$5.48) for 230 grams versus HK$37 for the same amount of minced pork. Impossible Foods’ burger at HK$88 is more than double the price of a Shake Shack burger in Hong Kong.

Yet the explosion of alternative protein products across Hong Kong has given consumers such as executive recruiter Shazz Sabnani greater variety. “Before I had to rely more on vegetables and tofu-based products, whereas now I’ve introduced more of these fake meats to my diet.”

Still, not everyone is convinced about the “fake meat” trend.

Tseung So, a retired 70-year-old, said the spaghetti bolognaise made with Omnipork at Green Monday’s Kind Kitchen in Hong Kong, was not as tasty as real meat. “Why would we eat this when we can eat the same dish but with normal pork? I don’t think this will make meat eaters eat less meat but they will probably become more popular with real vegetarians.”
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Artificial island for housing


2019-03-20 浏览

Hong Kong plans to build one of the world’s largest artificial islands with a US$79 billion price tag, city officials announced yesterday.

The government’s HK$624 billion (US$79 billion) proposal to reclaim 1,000 hectares of land around the city’s largest island, Lantau, has been touted as a solution to the pressing housing shortage in the city.

Authorities said they hope to start work on reclaiming land in 2025, with an eye on allowing residents to move to the island in 2032.

The manmade island would be nearly three times the size of New York’s Central Park and provide up to 260,000 flats, more than 70 percent of which would be used for public housing, the government has said.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Xi's Europe visit set to boost Sino-EU ties


2019-03-20 浏览

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Europe is expected to further boost the China-EU Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.

Wang made the remarks at a joint press conference with Federica Mogherini, EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, in Brussels.

According to the Chinese foreign ministry, Xi will pay state visits to Italy, Monaco and France from tomorrow to next Tuesday.

Choosing Europe as the Chinese president’s first overseas trip this year shows that China attaches great importance to Europe, Wang said.

Italy and France are important EU members, and the upcoming visit will be a moment of highlight in the China-EU relations for the year, said Wang.

The visit sends a clear message that, regardless of changes in international circumstances, China always regards the EU as an important partner for strategic cooperation, and treats its ties with Europe as a diplomatic priority, he said.

Wang said China’s respective relationships with France, Italy and Monaco have withstood the tests of transformations of international situations, and have stood out as examples of friendly cooperation between countries of different systems.

He noted Xi’s visit coincides with the 55th anniversary of China-France diplomatic relations and the 100th anniversary of the work-study program in France, adding that next year marks the 50th anniversary of China-Italy diplomatic ties and the 15th anniversary of comprehensive strategic partnership between Beijing and Rome.

The visit to Monaco will also be the first trip by a Chinese president to the country, said Wang, adding that it demonstrates China’s long-standing view that all countries are equal regardless of their size.

The three-country European visit will be “a journey to consolidate friendship, deepen cooperation and engage in strategic communication,” added Wang.

He said the visit will promote stability and multilateralism in a fast changing world.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Paris joins Singapore, HK as priciest cities


2019-03-20 浏览

Paris has climbed to the top of the world’s priciest city for expatriates, tied first with Singapore and Hong Kong, according to a survey yesterday that named the capital of Venezuela as the cheapest.

The French capital was the only eurozone city in the top 10, rising from second-most expensive last year and from seventh position two years ago.

Paris is “extremely expensive to live in,” with an average two-piece business suit for men setting buyers back around US$2,000 and a typical women’s haircut costing US$120, it found.

Only “alcohol, transport and tobacco” offer value for money compared with other European cities, the survey said.

The Economist Intelligence Unit said it was the first time in more than three decades of the survey that three cities were equally ranked top, after Singapore led the chart outright a year earlier.

The top 10 list was dominated by Asian and European cities, with Osaka and Seoul in joint fifth and joint seventh places, respectively, and Zurich (fourth), Geneva (joint fifth) and Copenhagen (joint seventh) also in the elite club.

North America was represented by the US cities of New York, seventh, and Los Angeles, tied 10th with Israel’s Tel Aviv.

Currency appreciation, inflation and devaluation as well as political upheaval played a part in this year’s rankings, said EIU, which surveyed 133 cities worldwide.

It compared 400 individual prices across 160 products and services, including food and drink, clothing, home rental, transport, schooling and recreation.

The survey is aimed at helping companies calculate compensation packages and allowances for expatriate staff and business travelers.

Caracas dethroned Damascus as the world’s cheapest city amid a power struggle in Venezuela. “As Damascus and Caracas show, a growing number of locations are becoming cheaper because of the impact of political or economic disruption,” EIU said.

Asia’s economic divide was underscored, with cities including Bangalore (129th), Karachi (127th), Chennai (125th) and New Delhi (123rd) ranking near the bottom. “Put simply, cheaper cities also tend to be less livable,” EIU said.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Warner Bros Entertainment chief to step down amid sex scandal


2019-03-19 浏览

Warner Bros Entertainment's Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara will step down amid an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations.

"Over the past week and a half, I have been reflecting on how the attention on my past actions might impact the company's future," wrote Tsujihara in a memo published by American entertainment trade magazine and website, Variety, on Monday, adding that it is in Warner Bros.' best interest that he steps down as Chairman and CEO.

"It has become clear that my continued leadership could be a distraction and an obstacle to the company's continued success," he said.

Tsujihara was being investigated by WarnerMedia for allegations that he used his power to help British actress, Charlotte Kirk, with whom he had an affair. AT&T-owned WarnerMedia is the parent company of Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Text messages leaked suggest that the 26-year-old actress was promised roles by 54-year-old Tsujihara during their fling, which is said to have begun in 2013.

Kirk appeared in two Warner Bros. films, including 2016's romantic comedy "How to Be Single" and 2018's heist comedy "Ocean's 8."

Tsujihara's personal attorney noted that Tsujihara had no direct role in the hiring of the actress. But an outside law firm continues to investigate the claims made against Tsujihara, according to another American digital and print magazine and website, the Hollywood Reporter, which was the first to report the sex scandal earlier this month.

WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey noted in a separate memo that "it was a decision made with the best, long-term interests of the Company, our employees and our partners in mind."

"Kevin has acknowledged that his mistakes are inconsistent with the Company's leadership expectations and could impact the Company's ability to execute going forward," wrote Stankey.

Tsujihara has worked for Warner Bros. over the past 25 years. He became CEO of the company in March 2013, and chairman in December the same year. As a Japanese American, Tsujihara was the first top executive of Asian descent to head a major Hollywood studio.

Ranked only second to Disney, Warner Bros. earned around 5.6 billion U.S. dollars in ticket sales in 2018, the biggest year for the company at the worldwide box office.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Utrecht shooting suspect in custody, motive still unclear


2019-03-19 浏览

The man suspected of shooting three people dead and injuring five others on a tram in the Dutch city of Utrecht on Monday morning has been arrested, local police said.

The arrest coincided with the conclusion of a joint press conference held by Utrecht Mayor, Jan van Zanen, the public prosecutor and the police, who were just describing the continuing hunt for the suspect.

Prior to the arrest, Utrecht police described the suspect as Turkey-born, 37-year-old Gokmen Tanis.

"Finding the suspect is our top priority," said van Zanen. "It is not over yet."

At that point, Rob van Bree, head of operations of the Central Netherlands Police, received a note from a colleague.

"We just heard that the suspect is arrested," van Bree announced. The suspect was arrested at a house in Utrecht's Oudenoord Street.

Following the arrest, the Dutch National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security (NCTV) reduced the threat level for the province of Utrecht from the maximum possible 5 to 4, and for the Netherlands as a whole to 4.

"There are still many questions and rumors," Prime Minister Mark Rutte said after the arrest in The Hague. "It is still not clear what the motives were. We can still not exclude terrorism. We don't know yet. But we have seen what happened, three dead, some seriously injured. That is an attack. Let's not make it smaller."

Rutte added that the flags on all government buildings will be flown at half mast on Tuesday. "It was literally an attack in the heart of the country," he said.

The shooting on the tram occurred at around 10:45am local time. The square in the western part of Utrecht and the surrounding area was rapidly cordoned off by the police and emergency services arrived at the scene. The incident made all the alarm bells ring at Dutch authorities, also in The Hague, the eat of the Dutch government.

From the very beginning, the police said that it could not exclude a terror motive.

Since the incident came on the heels of the attack on a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, some mosques in Utrecht kept their doors closed, and so did universities and schools.

The roads leading to the city were only partly accessible and public transport was halted. Trains were blocked from entering Utrecht Central Station and the police were present at several locations.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Market concentration is threatening US economy


2019-03-19 浏览

The world’s advanced economies are suffering from a number of deep-seated problems. In the United States, in particular, inequality is at its highest since 1928, and GDP growth remains woefully tepid compared to the decades after World War II.

After promising annual growth of “4, 5, and even 6 percent,” US President Donald Trump and his congressional Republican enablers have delivered only unprecedented deficits. According to the Congressional Budget Office’s latest projections, the federal budget deficit will reach US$900 billion this year, and will surpass the US$1 trillion mark every year after 2021. And yet, the sugar high induced by the latest deficit increase is already fading, with the International Monetary Fund forecasting US growth of 2.5 percent in 2019 and 1.8 percent in 2020, down from 2.9 percent in 2018.

Many factors are contributing to the US economy’s low-growth/high-inequality problem. Trump and the Republicans’ poorly designed tax “reform” has exacerbated existing deficiencies in the tax code, funneling even more income to the highest earners.

At the same time, financial markets continue to be geared toward extracting profits (rent-seeking, in economists’ parlance), rather than providing useful services.

But an even deeper and more fundamental problem is the growing concentration of market power, which allows dominant firms to exploit their customers and squeeze their employees, whose own bargaining power and legal protections are being weakened.

CEOs and senior executives are increasingly extracting higher pay for themselves at the expense of workers and investment. For example, US corporate executives made sure that the vast majority of the benefits from the tax cut went into dividends and stock buybacks, which exceeded a record-breaking US$1.1 trillion in 2018. Buybacks raised share prices and boosted the earnings-per-share ratio, on which many executives’ compensation is based. Meanwhile, annual investment remained weak, while many corporate pensions went underfunded.

Evidence of rising market power can be found almost anywhere one looks. Large markups are contributing to high corporate profits. In sector after sector, from little things like cat food to big things like telecoms, cable providers, airlines, and technology platforms, a few firms now dominate 75-90 percent of the market, if not more; and the problem is even more pronounced at the level of local markets.

As corporate behemoths’ market power has increased, so, too, has their ability to influence America’s money-driven politics. And as the system has become more rigged in business’s favor, it has become much harder for ordinary citizens to seek redress for mistreatment or abuse. A perfect example of this is the spread of arbitration clauses in labor contracts and user agreements, which allow corporations to settle disputes with employees and customers through a sympathetic mediator, rather than in court.

Multiple forces are driving the increase in market power. One is the growth of sectors with large network effects, where a single firm can easily dominate. Another is the prevailing attitude among business leaders, who have come to assume that market power is the only way to ensure durable profits.

Lack of meaningful competition

Some US business leaders have shown real ingenuity in creating market barriers to prevent any kind of meaningful competition, aided by lax enforcement of existing competition laws and the failure to update those laws for the 21st century economy. As a result, the share of new firms in the US is declining.

None of this bodes well for the US economy. Rising inequality implies falling aggregate demand, because those at the top of the wealth distribution tend to consume a smaller share of their income than those of more modest means.

Moreover, on the supply side, market power weakens incentives to invest and innovate. Firms know that if they produce more, they will have to lower their prices. This is why investment remains weak, despite corporate America’s record profits and trillions of dollars of cash reserves. And besides, why bother producing anything of value when you can use your political power to extract more rent through market exploitation? Political investments in getting lower taxes yield far higher returns than real investments in plant and equipment.

Making matters worse, America’s low tax-to-GDP ratio means a dearth of money for investment in the infrastructure, education, health care and basic research needed to ensure future growth. These are the supply-side measures that actually do “trickle down” to everyone.

The policies for combating economically damaging power imbalances are straightforward. Over the past half-century, Chicago School economists, acting on the assumption that markets are generally competitive, narrowed the focus of competition policy solely to economic efficiency, rather than broader concerns about power and inequality. The irony is that this assumption became dominant in policy making circles just when economists were beginning to reveal its flaws. The development of game theory and new models of imperfect and asymmetric information laid bare the profound limitations of the competition model.

The law needs to catch up. Anti-competitive practices should be illegal, period. And beyond that, there are a host of other changes needed to modernize US antitrust legislation. Americans need the same resolve in fighting for competition that their corporations have shown in fighting against it.

Joseph E. Stiglitz is University Professor at Columbia University and the 2001 recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics. Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2019.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

China issues white paper on anti-terrorism, human rights protection in Xinjiang


2019-03-18 浏览

The State Council Information Office on Monday issued a white paper on the fight against terrorism and extremism and human rights protection in Xinjiang.

The Chinese government stands firmly against all forms of terrorism and extremism, and is relentless in striking hard, in accordance with the law, at any conduct advocating terrorism and extremism and any action that involves organizing, planning and carrying out terrorist activities, or infringing upon citizens' human rights, the white paper said.

For some time China's Xinjiang, under the combined influence of separatists, religious extremists and terrorists, has seen frequent incidents of terrorist attacks, which have been detrimental to the life and property of people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang and have trampled on people's dignity, it said.

A country under the rule of law, China respects and protects human rights in accordance with the principles of its Constitution, said the document.

China's fight against terrorism and extremism is an important part of the same battle being waged by the international community, the white paper said, adding that it is in keeping with the purposes and principles of the United Nations to combat terrorism and safeguard basic human rights.

In today's world, faced with the severe challenges of terrorism and extremism, no country can shy away from them, it said.

"Only by strengthening our community of shared future, abandoning double standards, enhancing political mutual trust, reaching strategic consensus, and promoting exchanges and cooperation, can we effectively curb and combat terrorism and extremism in the interests of world peace and stability," the white paper said.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

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