News & Reports 2011-11-13

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Broadcasting Time: 07:00-08:00, GMT+08:00, 2011-11-13

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

In This Edition

Chinese President Hu Jintao delivers a speech at the CEO summit of the APEC Summit calling on Asia-Pacific economies to make all efforts to achieve a balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and safe economic growth.

During the talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao in the APEC ministers' meeting, Donald Tsang, chief executive of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Tsang vows to make efforts to deal with the global financial crisis, develop Hong Kong's economy and improve people's livelihood.

The Arab League votes to suspend Syria in four days and warns it could face sanctions if it does not end its bloody crackdown against anti-government protesters.

Passengers who were held hostage on a hijacked ferry in northwest Turkey for 12 hours are rescued and disembark at the northern Turkish port of Silivri.

Hot Issue Reports

Chinese President Addressing APEC CEO Summit: Work Together to Shape the Future
Chinese President Hu Jintao called on Asia-Pacific economies to make all efforts to achieve a balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and safe economic growth. The leader sent the message in a keynote speech delivered at the APEC CEO summit in Honolulu, Hawaii Saturday.

Our US correspondent Wang Shanshan has the story.

With the theme of "The Future: Redefined," the ongoing two-day CEO summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation or APEC, focuses on advancing trade and economic policy and partnerships for the future of the APEC region.

High-profile participants, including government leaders, private sector chairmen and CEOs from the Asia-Pacific, are attending various sessions during the CEO summit. Chinese President Hu Jintao is in Honolulu for the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, which convenes on Saturday and Sunday. He made a keynote speech entitled "Work Together to Shape the Future" at the CEO summit.

The Chinese leader analyzed the current global and regional economic situation.

The current world economic situation deserves our high attention. Some major economies are experiencing economic slowdown, and some countries are facing acute sovereign debt problems. Volatility in the international financial markets persists.

Rising inflationary pressure confronts emerging markets. Protectionism in various forms is on the notable increase. Global economic recovery is fraught with greater instability and uncertainty.

President Hu Jintao said the theme of the summit, "the future, redefined" is particularly relevant, which will help people gain a deep understanding of the new regional and global development, identify the trend of the global economy and regional cooperation in the time to come and seek solutions to issues of concern to the business community. He made proposals for economic growth and stability.

"Under the current circumstances, we must firmly committed to maintaining growth and promoting stability, with a special emphasis on ensuring strong growth in order to add momentum to the economic development in the Asia pacific and beyond."

The Chinese leader called for improving global economic governance, promoting green growth, deepening the regional economic integration and strengthening public-private partnership to stimulate the global economic recovery.

President Hu Jintao said developed and developing countries should make concerted efforts to achieve balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth of the world economy. To achieve these goals, China will make the following efforts.

"First, deepen economic structural reform and improve business and investment environment. Second, grow a green economy and promote the conservation culture. Third, step up protection of intellectual property rights and make China a country driven by innovation. Fourth, open wider to the outside world and take an active part in global economic governance and regional cooperation."

The Chinese President said China's development constitutes an important force driving economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region and the world and China will work with the Asia-Pacific community with all sincerity to create a better future for the region.

Hu Meets KMT Honorary Chairman in Hawaii
Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, has met with Lien Chan, honorary chairman of the Kuomintang of China's Taiwan province, at the 19th APEC economic leaders' meeting in Hawaii.

Both leaders have reaffirmed the "1992 Consensus" as the foundation for peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Straits.

"I agree that the 1992 consensus is an essential criterion of cross-Straits development, dialogue and cooperation, and also the important basis of the peaceful development of the cross-Straits relationship. In order to maintain the stability of the Taiwan Strait situation, and for the benefit of the people from both sides, we should insist on and maintain the consensus."

Echoing Hu Jintao, Lien Chan said that sticking to the "1992 Consensus" is fundamental for the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations.

"The 1992 consensus is an important basis for the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations, mutual trade benefit and prosperity, and mutual trust in politics."

The Chinese mainland and Taiwan have been separated since 1949 when the Kuomintang regime lost a civil war to the Communists and fled to the island.

In 1992, non-governmental negotiators from across the straits agreed that both sides should verbally express their adherence to the one-China principle.

Their agreement, known as the "1992 Consensus," has been serving the foundation for developing relations across the Taiwan Straits.

Hu Meets HK Chief Executive Donald Tsang
Also in Hawaii, Chinese President Hu Jintao met with Donald Tsang, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China and reaffirmed that the Chinese central government would spare no effort in maintaining Hong Kong's economic stability and prosperity.

Tsang briefed President Hu on Hong Kong's current situation and the local government's efforts in dealing with the ongoing global financial crisis, developing Hong Kong's economy and improving people's livelihood.

"As a small externally oriented economy, and international financial centre, Hong Kong's best protection against the current instability is to keep our own house in order. We must also remain vigilant to the highly volatile market conditions worldwide. The best way to achieve this is to build on our own strengths and shore up our more vulnerable areas."

Tsang said that the Hong Kong government would continue to safeguard the city's financial and economic stability.

President Hu Jintao called on Hong Kong to address its economy and the livelihood of its residents so as to ensure long-term stability and prosperity, while closely following the changing global economic and financial situation in an effort to ward off its impact.

Arab League Votes to Suspend Syria in 4 Days
The Arab League has voted to suspend Syria in four days and warned it could face sanctions if it does not end its bloody crackdown against anti-government protesters.

The decision was a symbolic blow to a nation that prides itself on being a powerhouse of Arab nationalism.

Qatar Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim said 18 countries agreed to the suspension, which will take effect next week.

"Arab League votes to suspend Syria from all meetings, effective from November 16th, until it implements plan to end bloodshed in Syria."

Syria, Lebanon and Yemen have voted against it, and Iraq abstained.

The Arab League also will introduce political and economic sanctions against Syria.

Syria's envoy to the Arab League, Youssef Ahmed criticised the League's decision.

"The decision taken by the Arab League today is illegal and contradicts the Arab League declaration."

The decision comes as November is shaping up to be the bloodiest month yet in Syria's 8-month-old uprising.

More than 250 Syrian civilians have been killed in the past 11 days as the regime besieges the rebellious city of Homs.

The UN estimates some 3,500 people have been killed in the Syrian crackdown since the uprising began eight months ago, inspired by the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.

Atambayev Officially Declared Winner in Kyrgyzstan's Presidential Poll
Incumbent Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev has won a landslide victory in Kyrgyzstan's presidential elections.

The head of the Kyrgyzstan Central Election Commission, Tuigunaly Abdraimov read out the draft decision during the meeting of the Commission members.

"We now consider Atambayev Almazbek Sharshenovich to be the elected president of the Kyrgyz republic, after gaining 62.52 percent of the vote. That is more than a half of all the votes of those who participated in the (presidential) election."

Atambayev's main rival Adahan Madumarov, leader of the "Butun Kyrgyzstan" party, gained 14.78 percent of the vote, followed by Kamchybek Tashiev, leader of the parliamentary faction Ata-Zhurt with 14.32 percent.

Outgoing interim president, Roza Otunbayeva's term will end by the end of the year. According to the law, the inauguration of the newly elected head of state should be held within 30 days after the official announcement of election results.

Under the constitution, the Kyrgyz president is elected for an un-renewable term of six years.

Yemenis Gather to Support President Saleh
Hundreds of Yemenis have gathered in the capital Sanaa to demonstrate their support for embattled President Abdullah Ali Saleh.

The men held up banners and posters of the president while shouting pro-government slogans.

A United Nations envoy is currently in the country to push Saleh to quit under the terms of a Gulf peace plan.

But Sultan al-Barakani, deputy leader of the ruling General Popular Congress, tried to fend off pressure from western countries.

"We heeded the Security Council resolution, and our brothers in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), and we responded to the consensus of the Security Council and respected it, but if pressed by Britain or France or America, don't ask me about it, because we are not fearful, and we have nothing to fear."

A U.N. resolution adopted last month called on Yemeni President Saleh to accept a Gulf-brokered plan to step down.

The plan calls for Saleh to hand power to his deputy, who will oversee the formation of a national unity government ahead of an early presidential election.

But Saleh, who has clung to office despite pressure at home and abroad, has repeatedly avoided signing the deal.

Putin Urges European Central Bank's "Direct Intervention" to Save Eurozone
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has stated that he hopes the European Central Bank (ECB) will intervene directly in an effort to save the eurozone.

"We very much hope that the European authorities, the European countries at first and then the European financial authorities, which includes the European Central Bank, will intervene in due course in what is happening now and block the negative development of current events. We sincerely hope that this will happen."

Putin spoke during a dinner with the Valdai Discussion Club, a private think-tank at a restaurant outside Moscow.

He predicted that Europe would need about 1.5 trillion euros in order to deal with the financial turmoil.

Putin also claims the bank's direct intervention wouldn't cause a "catastrophic" hike in inflation.

Russian officials said that Moscow is willing to support Europe, its key trading partner, and could do so by injecting money into the International Monetary Fund.

Media Allowed to Visit Fukushima Plant for the First Time since Disaster
The media has been allowed into Japan's tsunami-damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant for the first time since the March 11 disaster.

Representatives of the Japanese and international media were allowed into the plant along with the government's chief official in charge of the crisis.

The tour was intended to demonstrate how much the situation at the plant has stabilized in the eight months since the tsunami.

Journalists saw a striking scene of devastation with twisted and overturned trucks, crumbling reactor buildings and piles of rubble.

Officials said the situation at the plant has improved enough to allow the visit, although protection measures against radiation are necessary.

Japanese Environment Minister Goshi Hosono, who is in charge of the government's nuclear response efforts, said it will take decades to decommission the nuclear plant.

"We are looking at a process that will take more than 10 years, perhaps another 30 years to safely decommission the plant. This operation can only be achieved by the employees and contractors, so it is a challenge we must face together. The government gives its full support in the effort to accomplish our common goal."

Workers were only seen at one point of the plant, at a facility which possesses a system to treat the contaminated water which impeded repairs at the damaged plant for the first several months following the disaster.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, which runs the plant, says it will achieve a "cold shutdown" by the end of the year.

That is the first step towards creating a stable enough environment in which work can proceed allowing for the removal of the reactors' nuclear fuel and the closure of the plant altogether.

The nuke plant was damaged when it had been hit by a powerful tsunami following a magnitude 9.0 earthquake in mid-March. The radiated materials leaked from the plant contaminated the nearby sea water and blocked the disaster relief.

Ferry Hijack in Turkey
Passengers who were held hostage on a hijacked ferry in northwest Turkey for 12 hours have been rescued and have since disembarked at the northern Turkish port of Silivri.

The 24 passengers and crew remain unhurt.

Turkish security forces have killed a lone hijacker, believed to be a Kurdish militant, in a pre-dawn operation.

Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin identified the hijacker as Mensur Guzel, stating that he was the head of the youth wing of the Kurdish rebel group PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party in the northwestern Turkey.

Earlier, Turkey's transport minister Binali Yildirim says the hijackers who seized a ferry in the Sea of Marmara are demanding fuel and food.

"The ferry has docked 1 or 1.5 miles off the coast of Selimpasa, a suburb of Istanbul. As they are running out of fuel and they need food, their demands were conveyed by the captain of the ferry."

Five suspected Kurdish militants hijacked a Turkish passenger ferry "Kartepe" carrying 24 people in northwestern Turkey.

The ferry was carrying 18 passengers, five of them women, and six crew members between Izmit and Golcuk when it was earlier hijacked.

More than 40,000 people have been killed in the Kurdish rebel group since it took up arms against the state in 1984.

Floodwaters Still Engulf Bangkok, Residents Struggling
After being submerged under flood waters for weeks, some parts of the Thai capital Bangkok are starting to see water levels fall.

But things are far from being back to normal, and filthy water still swirls ankle deep or higher on many of the city's streets.

Life is still difficult for most of Bangkok's residents who have been affected by the worst floods to hit the country in half a century.

54-year-old street vendor Chaleow Tangmanee says her business was hit hard by the floods,

"Food has become more expensive, so it's more difficult to sell. My customers have left for drier land outside Bangkok. I just get to sell food to those staying behind."

Food prices are reported to have gone up by up to 40 percent in some areas.

The floods have also brought water-borne diseases such as diarrhea and conjunctivitis.

In densely-populated China town in central Bangkok, water poured down alleyways leading from the river, flooding a market area with 40 centimeters of water, government figures showed.

Thongchai Chiaomanat, is a China town resident.

"The flood water in my home is waist high. All the electrical equipment has broken. At the end of the alleyway, people have all had to lift their belongings up to higher ground."

More than 500 people have been killed nationwide and 12 of the 50 districts within the capital city of Bangkok have been evacuated.

The flooding started in July and has steadily worsened over the course of an epic monsoon season.

China Daily: House Prices, Pain and Gain

The nationwide fall in the price of new houses that began recently does not mark the end of China's efforts to stave off a real estate bubble. Rather, this marks the beginning of the end.

An editorial from the China Daily says that Chinese policymakers must brace themselves for loud complaints and the resulting pressure that falling house prices will inevitably create in an effort to effectively prevent a property bubble from crippling the country's growth.

The article says that average home prices in the country's 100 major cities fell for the second consecutive month in October; and price cuts in megacities like Beijing and Shanghai are so sharp that some property developers have faced strong protests from existing homeowners. It is widely expected that if the government continues to maintain its tight restrictions on the real estate market, house prices will reach a turning point early next year.

The article states that such a turning point would not only provide a huge boost to China's current fight against inflation but also facilitate an adjustment of house prices in line with people's income growth.

The writer also adds that the downward adjustment of housing prices will not be painless; and some people will complain about the fact that they have bought their homes at inflated prices as real estate developers cut prices further. But the writer warns against mistaking such reductions as a barometer for the national property market, which, statistically, has witnessed little price adjustment.

In conclusion, the article says Chinese policymakers should resist premature calls for a loosening of policies for the long-term health of both the property market and the Chinese economy.


Why Not Slash Train Ticket Prices for the Disabled?

China's Ministry of Railways recently stated that the country's railway network cannot afford to cut train ticket prices by half for disabled passengers.

The claim has sparked criticism among the general public, many of whom believe the state-run railway network should show more compassion for the disabled.

A commentary on, a news portal based in central China's Hunan Province, says the welfare of disabled passengers should be better accommodated by the railway authority.

It notes that the Ministry of Railways recently decided to set aside seats and berths for disabled passengers on each train.
While it welcomes the new policy, the commentary still points to a shocking negligence in satisfying disabled passengers' special needs on the part of the railway system.

The article goes on to say that the railway authority has yet to renovate some modern train stations across the country, with certain stations still lacking barrier-free facilities.

The commentary points out that the state and state-owned sectors are entitled to create barrier-free services and other facilities for persons with disabilities according to domestic law and international norms.

It urges the railway authority to pay more attention to the benefits of the country's 83 million disabled people and explore ways in which to slash train ticket prices for them.

In conclusion, the commentary stresses a need for compassion and assistance for the disabled, in line with the country's guiding principle of putting the people's interests first.