News & Reports 2012-09-15

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Broadcasting Time: 07:00-08:00, GMT+08:00, 2012-09-15

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

In This Edition

China's surveillance ships start patrolling the waters around the Diaoyu Islands.
Japanese government's purchase of the Diaoyu Islands prompts trip cancellation by Chinese tourists.
US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says the 3rd round of quantitative easing is to try and speed up economic growth.
And the new UN-Arab League envoy meets Syrian government officials and members of the opposition in a bid to end violence.

Hot Issue Reports

Japan's Purchase Take Relations Down "Dangerous Road": Chinese Diplomat
A senior Chinese Foreign Ministry official says Japan's move to buy the Diaoyu Islands will take its relationship with China "down an extremely dangerous road".

Chinese assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Yucheng, believes the latest move reflects a change in attitude on Japan's part.

"Japan's 'purchase of the islands' is by no means an isolated event. It's a result of the changing political climate in Japan. There is a sinister tendency inside Japan that is taking Japan and China-Japan relations down an extremely dangerous road."

Le Yucheng has also said Japan's actions will not change the fact that the islands are part of China's territory.

"What Japan is doing is like someone grabbing a bicycle from his neighbor. No matter who rides that bicycle, he or his son, it does not change the fact that the bicycle does not belong to him."

He further says China will take counter measures in the near future to defend its territorial integrity.

China Submits Diaoyu Baseline Announcement to UN
China's UN Ambassador Li Baodong has submitted the baseline announcement concerning the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

"I stressed that the Diaoyu Islands are China's sacred territory ever since the ancient times, and the Chinese people and government have the determination and capability to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity."

The announcement includes base points and baselines of the territorial waters around the islands.

Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, coastal states are required to supply the UN Chief with charts showing baselines as well as lists of geographical coordinates.

China now has completed the whole legal process regarding the announcement of the base points and baselines with the Chinese government establishing names on 17 base points around the Islands.

The first batch of base points and baselines for Chinese territory in the ocean were set up in 1996, delineating the coastal sections of the mainland and the Xisha Islands.

China Surveillance Ships Start Patrol Diaoyu Islands
Chinese surveillance fleets have started patrol and law enforcement at waters around Diaoyu Islands.

It is the first time for Chinese surveillance ships to patrol there after the Chinese government announced on Monday the base points and baselines of the territorial waters of the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islets.

A government statement says these law enforcement and patrol activities are aimed to demonstrate China's jurisdiction over the Diaoyu Islands and ensure the country's maritime interests.

"Patrol ship of the Japanese Coastguard, this is China Maritime Surveillance ship No. 50. The Diaoyu islands and affiliated islets have been Chinese territory since ancient times. China has sufficient historical and legal basis on this."

In response, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda says Japan "will take all possible measures to ensure security".

Earlier this week, Japan announced it had bought the islands in the East China Sea from a private Japanese owner, raising tensions in the region.

China has warned Japan that trade between the two biggest Asian economies could be hurt by the flare-up in tensions.

Japan-China Friendship Association Officials Calls for Non-official Communication
The Vice-President of the Tokyo Japan-China Friendship Association says non-official communications between China and Japan are vital amid the rising tension.

Saionji Kazuteru has told CRI that non-official communications between the two countries started 23 years before the normalization of bilateral relations.

"It is like building a house. It takes a long time to lay the foundation, but it only needs minutes to bring it down. So, in that sense, we can not further damage the bilateral tie after decades of hard work to construct it."

Kazuteru also believes the provocation of several Japanese politicians sparked the dispute.

"The Governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara started this for various reasons. One of them is to break the sense of isolation felt in the country. Meanwhile, the dispute started against the backdrop of America's back in Asia strategy. But no matter what the reason is, the China-Japan relation will be impaired if we take a wrong path to settle the dispute. China and Japan are dependent on each other. If the ties are damaged, it will inevitably have a huge impact on the public."

He adds that non-official communication between the two nations are particularly important given the current situation.

Chinese Tourists Cancelling Trips to Japan
Many Chinese people are cancelling their trips to Japan following Japanese government's purchase of the Diaoyu Islands.

Market insiders estimate Japan will suffer a huge loss of tourism income because of this, especially given that China was Japan's largest tourism consumer last year.

Let's take a closer look with our reporter Liu Min.

Many Chinese people had planned to travel to Japan during the National Day holidays spanning from late this month to early October. However, the escalating anger towards the Japanese government's so-called purchase of the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea has led to as many as sixty percent of the planned trips being canceled. One Shanghai resident surnamed Zhao says he's come to the tour agency to cancel his trip.

"The Diaoyu Islands belong to China, which is unquestionable and Chinese people have reached a consensus on this. That's why I think we should unite to protest against the Japanese government's behavior, especially via economic means."

Tour agencies say that tourists will have a full refund if their visas haven't already been issued. But if their visas to Japan have already been approved, those tourists will suffer from some losses such as the visa fee, and the air fares. However, this hasn't stopped Chinese tourists from scrapping their holiday plans to Japan.

Comfort Travel Service Company is the largest wholesaler of group tours to Japan in China. Earlier this year, they had a plan to send an extra 50 thousand tourists to Japan to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. However, the company announced that all of their 220 branch companies across the country, including more than fifty-five hundred service offices, have ended the sales of such tour packages to Japan.

Manager Hu Hongzhong is from the Guangzhou based Comfort Travel Service Company.

"We've received a notice from our headquarters about the cancellation of such products. So, we aren't selling any products related with tours to Japan. But some of the groups are traveling now in Japan and some are about to board the plane. We fully respect our customers' decisions as to whether they want to continue with their plans. If they want to withdraw, we can help them process the paperwork. Safety is also a priority that we need to consider for our customers. "

Instead of Japan, tour destinations like Korea and other nearby countries have become more popular of late. This isn't the first time Chinese tourists have re-routed in the wake of territorial disagreements. Chinese tour companies suspended all group tours to the Philippines in May due to the fierce disputes over Huangyan Island in China's South Sea.

For CRI, I'm Liu Min.

US Missions Braced for more Protests over Anti-Islam Film
Diplomatic missions of the United States are on high security alert as more demonstrations take place over a US-made film mocking the Prophet Mohammed.

Protesters stormed the US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi on Tuesday, killing four Americans, including the US Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Similar protests were seen earlier in the Egyptian capital of Cairo which have carried on today for a 4th day.

Additional protests have now also spread across the Middle East and North Africa, including countries such as Yemen and Kuwait - even extending into Bangladesh and the Indian-controlled parts of Kashmir.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling for calm and restraint, saying "nothing justifies killings and attacks."

However, he also condemns the film, which he calls 'hateful', saying it is 'deliberately designed to sow bigotry and bloodshed".

US President Barack Obama meanwhile, has urged foreign governments to guarantee the security of US nationals abroad.

" if they take actions that indicate that they are not taking those responsibilities as all other countries do where we have embassies, I think that's going to be a real big problem."

In an interview with a Spanish-language network, Obama raised the wariness of the United States over Egypt's new Islamist president, Mohamed Mursi.

"I don't think that we would consider them an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy. They are a new government that's trying to find its way."

In the meantime, the Libyan authorities have made several arrests in connection with Tuesday's attack.

They however say it is too early to say whether the suspects belong to any particular organization.

New Syria Envoy to Meet Assad
The UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi is set to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, after which he's also expected to speak with opposition groups.

The new peace envoy has already met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem, who has promised to support the UN mission.

Mokhtar Lamani, spokesman for the UN delegation, says the priority of the United Nations is to stop the violence.

"That would be our first fundamental goal, to stop the bleeding. Then, going to a political phase to negotiate and discuss the way of putting an end to this crisis."

Brahimi replaces former UN chief Kofi Annan, who left the job in August.

Thousands of people have been killed in Syria since the unrest broke out last year and clashes are continuing in the capital Damascus as well as the major commercial city of Aleppo.

Federal Reserve to Buy more Debt to Boost US Economy
The US central bank has announced a new round of quantitative easing, with the Federal Reserve set to buy 40-billion dollars a month worth of additional mortgage-backed debt.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says the 3rd round of easing is to try and speed up economic growth.

"The employment situation, however, remains a grave concern. While the economy appears to be on a path of moderate recovery, it isn't growing fast enough to make significant progress reducing the unemployment rate. And at 8.1 percent, the unemployment rate is nearly unchanged since the beginning of the year and is well above normal levels."

Bernake also says the Fed is leaving open the option of further increasing the scope of the QE3 if the US economy doesn't improve fast enough.

"Additionally, the committee emphasized that it expects a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy to remain appropriate for a considerable time after the economic recovery strengthens. In particular, the committee today kept the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 percent to 0.25 percent and stated that it anticipates that exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate are likely to be warranted at least through mid-2015."

The Fed has also confirmed its 267-billion US dollar program to reduce the long-term borrowing costs for businesses and households will continue for the rest of the year.

International Institute for Strategic Studies Assess the World Strategic Situation
The International Institute for Strategic Studies - or the IISS has launched the Strategic Survey 2012, which assesses the global political and military conditions.

It pays special attention to important policy issues such as the implications of the cyber world for intelligence agencies, building cooperation in African defence, and the effectiveness of economic sanctions on Iran.

Here's Dr John Chipman, the IISS CEO, at the press conference.

"The past year has been one of uncertain transitions and hectic crisis-management diplomacy. Weakness and fragility have been the greatest threats to stability and growth; the diffusion of power and lack of leadership the greatest barriers to diplomatic or economic problem-solving. Old certainties and recent conventional wisdoms about international affairs are now under persistent challenge."

As for the recent disputes among the maritime territory in Asia, Tim Huxely, Executive Director at IISS-Asia, believes that maritime disputes will be solved.

"These disputes, I think, are dangerous; and they are also likely to be extremely difficult to resolve. I think the best can be, hopeful, in the medium term is to find some way for managing these maritime contentions to prevent them from out of control."

The institute launches the strategic survey annually to assess the world and the political, economic and military conditions of concerned countries.

Australia Begins to Fly Asylum Seekers to Nauru
Australia has begun to implement its new offshore processing policy by flying dozens of asylum seekers to the small Pacific nation of Nauru.

Thirty Ski-Lankan men will stay there until their asylum claims are processed, and Australia's Immigration Minister Chris Bowen says it is a warning to the asylum seekers seeking to get to Australia by boat.

"The message is very clear. If you arrive in Australia by boat, you can be taken from Australia by aeroplane and processed in another country."

last month, Australia reintroduced the so-called the Pacific Solution that was scrapped in 2008, to stem an increasing flow of asylum boats from Indonesia.
The country is also planning to build another processing center in Papua New Guinea.

Refugee policy is a hot political issue in Australia, although the country receives only a small part of the world's asylum seekers each year.

The country received nearly 12-thousand asylum claims last year, with the global number hitting over 400-thousand.


Increased Internet access aims at closing rural-urban education gap

Education authorities have started a national program on the education development, called the "Connecting Every Class" project, which will cover almost all rural classes by the end of 2015.

The project aims to provide students in rural areas with the same learning resources as those in urban areas.

Internet access and multimedia facilities in classrooms will be provided to schools in remote rural areas.

As part of the project, In Jiangxi Provinvce more than 300 rural primary and middle schools now have Internet access and multimedia facilities that didn't have them before. Teachers at these schools have said that thanks to the facilities, their students have become more interested in their school learning and can participate better in class.

Experts say teaching facilities in some village schools lag 20 years behind those in larger towns in China.

Shanghai Daily

Mid-Autumn cakes: Overpriced, over-packaged and over the moon

Over-packaging of products has long been a bane in China. And despite repeated official attempts to put an end to the practice, it shows no signs of abating.
And with the Mid-Autumn Festival approaching, mooncake producers have gone into overdrive in their push to decorate - rather overdo - their mooncake packages.

At least half of the mooncake boxes in local stores risk breaking national standard rules on size or price restrictions with a single lavishly packed box easily selling for as much as several hundred yuan, according to an investigation.

Multi-layer packaging and over-spacious boxes are a common sight ahead of the Mid-Autumn Festival, which this year falls on September 30 and when Chinese people eat mooncakes as a tradition.

With pleas going unheard, the city government is now moving toward legislation to force manufacturers to toe the line on packaging.

A draft of a future local law suggests imposing a fine of up to 100,000 yuan on manufacturers and sellers each time they are caught wasting resources on unnecessary packaging.

A national standard on food packaging mandates that the packaging cost should be less than 20 percent of the product's selling price.

But the standard comes with no mandatory penalties, which is believed to be the major reason behind the unfettered over-packaging trend.

Channel News Asia: SINGAPORE

Asthma patients may not need daily steroids: study

Asthma sufferers may not need daily doses of inhaled steroids according to a study, a finding that could alter treatment for millions suffering from the respiratory ailment.

Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch found that people who use corticosteroids every day to control mild asthma do no better than those who use them only when they have symptoms.

The research team drew their conclusions after monitoring more than 340 adults with mild to moderate persistent asthma in an attempt to assess different strategies for long-term asthma care.

Currently, asthma patients are generally prescribed a twice-daily dose of an inhaled corticosteroid, such as beclomethasone or fluticasone, as well as albuterol to open the airways in the event of serious symptoms.

Some 25 million people in the United States have asthma. Taking into account medical expenses, missed days of school and work and premature deaths, the illness costs about US$3,300 per individual on an annual basis, according to the statement.

New York Times

New Breed of Robotics aims to Help People Walk Again.

A scientific research company, Esko, have created a wearable robot to help disabled people to become mobile.

The bionic suit consists of a pair of mechanical braces wrapped around the legs and electric muscles that do much of the work of walking. It is controlled by a computer on the back and a pair of crutches held in the arms that look like futuristic ski poles.

Ekso is one of several companies and research labs that are working on wearable robots made to help disabled people or to make the human body superhuman. In 2010, Raytheon released a suit for soldiers that is designed to reduce injuries from heavy lifting. And in Israel, a company called Argo Medical Technologies also makes a robotic suit to help paraplegics walk again.

Ekso says it was the first company to introduce a self-contained robotic suit, without any tethers to, say, a power supply. And though its suits for the disabled are now used only in rehabilitation centers, it is looking ahead to a day when they will let people take to the sidewalks, the shopping malls - and maybe even the woods.

Market Update

U.S. stocks continued to rally on Friday as the decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve to launch more quantitative easing moves boosted risk appetite.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4 percent to 13,593. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock Index was up 0.4 percent to 1,466. The Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 0.9 percent to 3,184.

European markets also traded high. London's FTSE 100 rose 1.6 percent to 5,916. Frankfurt's DAX gained 1.4 percent to 7,412. CAC 40 in Paris advanced 2.3 percent to 3,582.