News & Reports 2010-01-05

源 稿 窗
字号 +
字号 -
Broadcasting Time: 07:00-08:00, GMT+08:00, 2010-01-05

Hello and Welcome to News and Reports on China Radio International.

In This Edition

China's health ministry has warned of a grim outlook on the country's A/H1N1 prevention and control situation in the near future.

The United Sates and Britain have carried out precautionary measures to fight against terrorism in Yemen.

Heavy snow and low temperatures have stricken North China, putting pressure on transportation and supply of daily necessities.

And Dubai opens the world's tallest skyscraper in the midst of a deep financial crisis.

Hot Issue Reports

Chinese Health Official Warns of Possible A/H1N1 Outbreaks

China's health ministry has warned of a grim outlook on the country's A/H1N1 prevention and control situation in the near future.

Liang Wan'nian is director of emergency response office under the health ministry.

"So far, we have not discovered obvious mutations of A/H1N1 virus within China. But according to our monitoring, effective immune barrier has not formed among the people. So the general public is still vulnerable to the virus. Over a certain period in the future, the spread of the disease will be active and massive outbreaks might happen in some places. We face a serious situation of preventing and controlling the pandemic."

Liang Wan'nian says China has so far vaccinated nearly 50 million people. The number is only a small proportion compared with the country's 1.3 billion population.

The official adds that health authorities will prioritize the prevention of the spread of A/H1N1 in rural areas and at schools.

He also warns that the travel rush during the upcoming spring festival will put pressure on China's pandemic prevention operation.

Figures from the health ministry show that the total number of A/H1N1 infections across China has amounted to more than 120 thousand. The disease has killed at least 659 persons in the country.

US and UK Tighten Precautions against Terrorism in Yemen

The United States and Britain have tightened precautions against the emerging terrorist threat in Yemen.

The two countries have both closed their embassies in Yemen amid fears of the ongoing threats posed by al-Qaida.

John Brennan, U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, said the move is for security concerns.

"We know that they've been targeting our embassy, our embassy personnel. We want to make sure we do everything possible to safeguard our diplomats and others down there."

This move comes two weeks after the failed attempt by a Nigerian man to bomb a Detroit-bound U.S. airliner on Christmas Day.

Washington has linked the failed attack to the al-Qaida group stationed in Yemen. It suspects that al-Qaida has built up strongholds in remote parts of the impoverished, mountainous nation.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says his country has been working with the US to tackle a new source of threat.

"This is a new threat, a new type of threat, and it's from a new source, which is obviously Yemen, but there are many other potential sources, like Somalia, as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan."

Meanwhile, the two countries have also strengthened security checks at airports to ensure the safety of flights.

US officials said all passengers on U.S.-bound international flights will be subject to random screening.

Kip Hawley, former administrator for the Transportation Security Administration, says the move is to minimize possible danger.

"I think you may see different thresholds for what makes you a selectee or what makes you a no-fly. Right now those are very, very limited. I suspect they will probably broaden those definitions."

Washington demands anyone traveling from or through nations regarded as "state sponsors of terrorism" and "other countries of interest" to go through enhanced screening.

The tightened security checks include full-body pat-downs, carry-on bag searches, full-body scanning and explosive detection.

The U.S. State Department lists Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria as "state sponsors of terrorism." Other countries whose passengers will face enhanced screening include Nigeria, Yemen and Pakistan.

U.S. Seeks Sanctions on Iran

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the US has begun discussing with other countries on fresh sanctions against Iran to curb Tehran's nuclear programs.

Speaking to reporters at the State Department, Clinton said it is clear that U.S. efforts in 2009 to engage Iran in nuclear talks were not fruitful.

U.S. President Barack Obama had said he would move toward tougher sanctions against Iran if the Iranians did not show signs of a willingness to engage in negotiations on the nuclear program by the end of 2009.

Clinton, however, said there is no firm deadline because the U.S. wants to "keep the door to dialogue open."

"We want to keep the door to dialogue open, but we have also made it clear we can't continue to wait and we cannot continue to stand by when the Iranians themselves talk about increasing their production of high-enriched uranium, and additional facilities for nuclear power that very likely can be put to dual use."

Clinton's remark came after Tehran rejected a Dec. 31 deadline set by the United States for Iran to accept a deal for swapping its low-enriched uranium for nuclear fuel outside Iran and demanded a simultaneous exchange inside the country.

Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has said that the international community has "only one more month" to decide whether it wants to sell nuclear fuel to Iran or swap nuclear fuel for Iran's low-enriched uranium.

UN Calls for Cooperation Between Afghan President and Parliament

A spokesman for the United Nations in Afghanistan says he hopes the country's president and parliament work closely to iron out their differences so Afghanistan can have a functioning cabinet as soon as possible.

Aleem Siddique, spokesman of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, made the comment after the country's parliament dealt a stinging rebuke to President Hamid Karzai on Saturday.

"Afghanistan is a country in conflict that faces multiple challenges, and there is a need to have a functioning cabinet as soon as possible. We hope that the president working closely with the parliament, they will be able to iron out these differences, so that we can have these key cabinet positions approved as soon as possible, so we can get on and push ahead with meeting some of the crucial challenges that both the Afghan people and the international community want us to meet over the coming months and years."

In 10 hours of voting Saturday, parliament rejected 70 percent of the Karzai's nominees for a new cabinet, including a regionally powerful warlord and the country's only female minister.

The vote was a setback for the president, although lawmakers approved his retention of incumbents in the key portfolios of defense, interior and finance.

Karzai will submit new nominations for the empty ministerial posts, but it was not clear when.

Japan Wants More Equal Ties with US

Japan's prime minister said on Monday he wants to press for more equal ties with the United States this year, which marks the 50th anniversary of the security treaty between the two nations.

Yukio Hatoyama says he wants the alliance between the two countries to become more open.

"We do not seek ties with the U.S. where we cannot say what we want because it complicates the issue and where we just follow their decisions. Rather, we seek a tie for both sides to be able to firmly say what needs to be said, and increase the relationship of trust."

The Japan-U.S. Security Treaty was signed in 1960, and tens of thousands of U.S. troops are still stationed in Japan.

Hatoyama's relationship with Washington has recently come under scrutiny over the relocation of an American military base on the southern island of Okinawa.

The U.S. wants Tokyo to stick to a 2006 agreement that would move the base to a different part of the island, but Tokyo's new leaders have suggested it be relocated elsewhere.
Light News

Heavy Snow Hits Northern China

Heavy snow and low temperatures have swept across North China, putting pressure on local transportation and supply of daily necessities.

Meanwhile, relevant authorities have taken immediate and effective measures to alleviate the impact of the cold weather on people's lives.

Roundup of First Trading Day in New Year

The Chinese mainland stock markets closed lower Monday, the first trading day of the New Year.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index lost one percent, to 3,244.

The Shenzhen Component Index shed 1.2 percent, to close at 13,534.

In Hong Kong, Hang Seng index lost about one third of a percent to 21,810.

In addition, Japan's Nikkei average hit a 15-month closing high on Monday, with a ceremony to welcome the launch of its new high-speed trading system "Arrowhead".

The system can process trades in five milliseconds, 600 times faster than the two to threeC seconds required until now.

Atsushi Saito, President and CEO of Tokyo Stock Exchange Group, Inc. hopes the exchange will take the lead of the global market.

"As of this moment, this day, we launched the new computer system with which Tokyo Stock Exchange will be able to compete with any other markets in the world. And, we will do our utmost to become the leader of the global market in this New Year."

The Nikkei 225 rose more than one percent, to 10,655.

The broader Topix added nearly one percent, to 916.

Francis Lun, General Manger of Fulbright Securities, said that people were looking forward "to growth in the major economies".

"People are looking forward for growth in the major economies like the US and Europe, so the sentiment is much better, and I think although we don't expect that much growth in the share prices, but still, I think, for the whole year, we expect at least twenty per cent growth in the stock market."

Elsewhere around the world.

The Australian sharemarket closed marginally in the black, boosted by gains among energy stocks amid expectations the oil price will continue to improve this year.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up a fraction of a percent, at 4,876.

The broader All Ordinaries index put on 0.2 per cent, to 4,890.

Georgia, Russia Resume First Post-War Direct Charter Flights

Georgian Airways says Georgia has received the permission from Russia to resume air links following the war between the two countries in 2008.

Last month, Moscow blamed Tbilisi when charter flights planned for Dec. 29 and 30 were cancelled by Georgian Airways, which said Russian permission came too late to organize the flights.

The Interfax reports that Russia's Transport Ministry gave permission for new charter flights between Tbilisi and Moscow on Jan. 8, 9 and 10 and between St Petersburg and the Georgian capital on Jan. 9 and 10.

Georgian Airways spokeswoman Nino Giorgobiani said the airline hopes to have direct flights on 16, 20 and 24 of January.

"We also hope that the talks between Russian and Georgian aviation authorities will be held regarding the restoration of the regular flights as well. And we are happy that Georgian and Russian population will need less time and energy to fly to different cities of Russia and Georgia."

Ties between Georgia and Russia have been frozen since the two countries fought a brief war in 2008 after Tbilisi tried to retake the breakaway South Ossetia.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced by the end of last year a series of moves to restore ties between the Georgian and Russian peoples, but said there would be no official contacts as long as Mikheil Saakashvili remained Georgian President.

Colombia's Most Active Volcano Erupts

Colombia's most active volcano Galeras has erupted, forcing the evacuation of 800 people who live close to Mount Galeras.

Diego Alvarado, the mayor of Pasto, a town about 10 kilometers from Galeras, says no one was injured after Saturday's eruption.

"We don't have any reports of damage or people injured, despite the fact that incandescent rocks were seen last night in a very important part of the Galeras mountain."

The Red Cross is tending to some of the evacuees at a refuge center in Pasto.

The Red Cross's national aid director says officials might need to evacuate 8,000 people as a precaution. He says temporary shelters and aid supplies are available.

Galeras has been considered Colombia's most active volcano since it came back to life in 1989. The 4,276-meter-high volcano has a long history of activity, including several eruptions in the first months of 2009.

Dubai Opens World's Tallest Building

Dubai has opened the world's tallest skyscraper in the midst of a deep financial crisis.

In a surprise move, it renamed the gleaming glass-and-metal tower Burj Khalifa in a nod to the leader of neighbouring Abu Dhabi - the oil-rich sheikdom which came to its rescue during the financial meltdown.

Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the ruler of Abu Dhabi and serves as the president of the United Arab Emirates, the federation of seven small emirates, including Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi has pumped billions of dollars in bailout funds into Dubai as it struggles to pay its debts.

Chairman of the developer Emaar Properties, Mohamed Alabbar said that the tower is a sign of strength in Dubai's economy after "difficult times".

"The message is very simple, the message is that, you know, we build for tens of years to come. Crisis come and goes and the world has gone through two years of difficult times, we have some hope and optimism that we must move on."

The developer also revealed the height of the building is 828 metres, which was kept a closely guarded secret before the opening.

The tower boasts the most stories and highest occupied floor of any building in the world.

Emaar Properties said it cost about 1.5 billion US dollars to build the tapering metal-and-glass spire billed as a "vertical city" of luxury apartments and offices.
Media Digest The Dangers of Helping

The Southern Metropolis Daily reports that a 19-year-old boy was beaten up by thieves for exposing their activities on the streets of Guangzhou. The next day, the boy and his uncle met with the thieves again and got into a fight that ended in the thieves killing the uncle.

A commentary on says the tragedy is partly due to the public's irrational readiness to help others.

Considering the possible dangers of provoking desperate thieves, the public should be very prudent in trying to stop them.

It emphasizes that it's the police's job to crack down on crime, as they are equipped and trained to fight criminals.

As it seems that thieves will still be rampant in the streets in the near future, the government should enhance the police's ability to maintain public security rather than call ordinary people to throw themselves into breach.

Meanwhile, the author also points out that the media should take responsibility for warning the public of the dangers in fighting violent crimes, although they can also help in many other wise ways.

China Daily: Gov't Must Improve Living Standards for Farmers and Migrant Workers

The central government's recent conference on rural and agricultural work made it a priority to incorporate rural migrant workers with permanent jobs into the urban public welfare system.

This means that those who receive household registrations as urban citizens will enjoy the same social security benefits as their urban counterparts.

An editorial in China Daily says the move is more than just a step forward in expediting the pace of the country's urbanization. It also is an attempt to address the injustices that farmer-turned workers have long suffered.

The editorial says while it has become unimaginable for many cities to function without migrant workers, it is unjust to treat them as outsiders. But the editorial also adds that such a task is easier said than done. In carrying out the policies, local governments will inevitably face financial pressure. But making things easier and improving the living standards of migrant workers in various ways are definitely the aims of the government policies.

The editorial says whatever difficulties currently exist, the government must press ahead to increase the income of villagers and raise the living standards of migrant workers, which are key to the country's prosperity.