News & Reports 2013-04-20

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Broadcasting Time: 07:00-08:00, GMT+08:00, 2013-04-20

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

In This Edition

One of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings is dead, and the other is on the loose.
Hours after being arrested, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was transferred to the police headquarters in Islamabad for questioning.
China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand are set to launch a joint campaign against drug-related crimes on the Mekong River.
And Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe outlines the next steps of his plan for restoring Japan's economic power.

Hot Issue Reports

One Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Killed
One of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings is dead, and the other is on the loose.

One of the suspects was killed in a shootout with police.

The shootout began overnight in Boston, after a campus police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was shot and killed by the suspects.

The suspects then reportedly carjacked a vehicle and began a rolling shootout with police.

"I heard a loud boom and then a rapid succession of pop, pop, pop. It sounded like automatic weapons. And then I heard the second explosion and there was the smell of something burning in the air. We were still going toward it and then residents from the windows, they shouted, 'Hey it's gunfire. Don't go that way'."

The shootout finally ended with the one suspect being shot and killed in the community of Watertown, which is about 15-kilometers outside Boston.

The other suspect is still on the loose.

A transit police officer has also been shot.

His condition remains unclear.

The carjacking victim was released without injury.

The shootout comes after the FBI released images of the two suspects taken from the Boston Marathon on Monday.

The suspects appear to be young men in their early 20's.

Search for Survivors after Texas Blast
The search for survivors and victims from the blast at a fertiliser plant in the US state of Texas is still underway.

Authorities say as many as 15 people are feared dead following the blast at the plant in the town of West, which is about 100-kilometers south of Dallas.

Over 160 others have been hurt in the blast.

Deputy Sherrif Matt Cawthon says they're now in the process of trying to figure out how the original fire at the plant got started.

"What I can tell you about the area where the incident occurred is that it is highly populated, it is a neighborhood, it is devastated, it is still a very volatile situation and our office is working very closely with the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the state fire marshal's office to determine the exact cause of this explosion."

The explosion was so powerful that it was monitored by the US Geological Survey as a 2.1-magnitude earthquake.

Overnight rains have diluted much of the toxic fumes being spewed out from the site.

Authorities say so far there's been no indication the blast was anything other than an industrial accident.

Former Pakistani President Musharraf Questioned by Police
Hours after former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf got arrested for imposing emergency rule in 2007 and placing top judges under house arrest, the police transferred him to the police headquarters in the capital for questioning on Friday.

Earlier in the morningMusharraf appeared before a court of a local magistrate in Islamabad and formally offered his arrest, his defense lawyer, Qamar Afzal said.

Naveed Malik, an advocate with the Islamabad High Court, says Musharraf was on a two-day judicial remand under house arrest.

"This morning Pervez Musharraf turned himself in after which the police presented him in the court of the local magistrate Abbas Shah. There the lawyers gave their arguments. Right now the Judicial Magistrate has given a written verdict saying that since yesterday the High Court had added the Terrorist Act, this court does not have the jurisdiction to take any action. "

A member of Musharraf's legal team says he will file a petition to overturn the arrest order at the Supreme Court later on this Friday.

Musharraf, a former army chief who ruled Pakistan for almost a decade, returned to Pakistan last month from nearly 4-years of self-imposed exile in the hope of running in next month's general elections.

His bid to run for office has been rejected by election officials, though his appeals of that have not been exhausted.

More Efforts Need to Bring North Korea Back to Talks: Experts
Leading Chinese observers are suggesting that a lot more work is needed to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table with South Korea and the U.S.

North Korea has unveiled a list of conditions for talks with the United States and South Korea.

The conditions include an end to what Pyongyang calls nuclear war-games.

The North is also demanding a full apology for what it calls US aggression.

Zhang Liangui is an expert on Korean Peninsula affairs.

"Based on their statements, none of the related parties are actually ready to settle the dispute via talks. Although both South Korea and the U.S. had said they are prepared to talk to the North, they also listed out conditions that could be rejected. For example the U.S and South Korea made it clear that the North must abandon nuclear weapons. And the North is also calling for the U.S to withdraw their nuclear weapons supposedly stationed around South Korea. So things are still in a deadlock at the moment."

Piao Jianyi with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences says any future overtures will need to be adjusted if any headway is to be made.

"The South Korean government has contradicting takes on the North. In some cases, it says the North is open to talks, in other times, it says the North rejects talks. So it is necessary for the government to unify its stance. In addition, the decisions of the U.S government and Russia also weigh heavily."

The South Korean side has rejected the new North Korean conditions as 'illogical.'

The US says it is willing to talk with Pyongyang, as long as it lives up to the previous disarmament agreements.

The Chinese government has also said China hopes talks can be held as soon as possible.

Mekong River Anti-drug Campaign to Begin
China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand are set to launch a two-month joint campaign against drug-related crimes on the Mekong River on Saturday.

The campaign will focus on trans-regional drug-related crimes, major narcotics production chains and transport networks.

The campaign's headquarters is situated in southwest China's Yunnan Province.

Yan Shangzhi is the Deputy Director of the Yunnan Provincial Public Security Department.

"Yunnan police as the main force for the joint campaign has made a comprehensive arrangement and deployment. We will enhance cooperation with the police from the other three countries to take an action in accordance with our plan. We will maintain the security of Mekong River region through information exchanges, public verifying and joint reconnaissance in order to provide a good sailing environment for countries along the river and Chinese ships as well as Chinese people."

The patrol is part of the drug-crimes collaboration established among China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand following the murder of 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong River in 2011.

Abe Reveals Plan for Restoring Japan's Economy
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has outlined the next steps of his grand plan for restoring Japan's economic power.

Abe says his growth strategy will help awaken the country's "sleeping opportunities."

"There are three keywords; to challenge ourselves, expand overseas, or openness, and finally innovation. Regarding various "sleeping opportunities", such as human resources, funding, property, these need to be fully realised. And sectors that have low productivity need to shift their resources to sectors that can have high productivity. Growth requires nothing other than realising such changes."

Abe also says Japan's future growth will depend on further opening up the economy and tapping the under-utilised potential of its women and advanced technology.

Among a slew of initiatives Abe has sketched out are plans for a government-backed national institute of health to help support medical research.

Japan has launched dramatic easing of its monetary policy to try to cope with deflation.

WHO Says Bird Flu Not Spreading Easily in Humans
The World Health Organization says there is still no evidence the new strain of bird flu is spreading through human-to-human transmission.

A dozen of global and Chinese health experts are on a week-long mission in Beijing and Shanghai to try to learn more about the H7N9 bird flu virus that has killed 17 people so far here in China.

Michael O'Leary is the head of WHO's office in China.

"This becomes a different situation if the virus were to change in a way that enabled human to human transmission. Still that is not the case. We hope it will never be the case, but that is what we watch for."

The source of the virus remains unclear because only a handful of birds, out of tens of thousands that have been tested, have been found to carry the H7N9 virus.

Many of the 88 patients that have contracted the virus have had no reported contact with birds.

Wild bird sales have been suspended in China in an effort to try to prevent the spread of the virus.

The team of experts will also study a few "clusters" of confirmed and potential infections that have emerged in the past three weeks.

Chinese Envoy Speaks Highly of Resumption of Oil Production between Sudan, S Sudan
China's special envoy to Africa has arrived in South Sudan.

Zhong Jianhua has taken time to applaud the recent deal between South Sudan and Sudan to get oil flowing once again.

"Sudan and South Sudan finally achieved a major breakthrough, that is the resumption of oil production after more than a year's disputes. South Sudan's oil can be transported by way of Sudanese ports into the market. Other countries also spoke highly of the breakthrough, which makes a great contribution to stability in the region."

South Sudan halted oil production in January of last year following a dispute with Sudan over transportation costs.

South Sudan's oil has to be piped through Sudan before it can be put on ships in the Red Sea.

Both countries have suffered a severe economic downturn as a result of the loss of oil revenues.

South Sudan depends on oil for 98-percent of its revenues.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe Called for Peaceful Voting
Zimbabwe's President has issued a call for a peaceful election.

Robert Mugabe's call has been made at a major celebration in the capital, Harare, as part of the country's Independence Day celebrations.

Mugabe has also taken time to laud the international community for re-engaging with his administration.

"Zimbabwe welcomes the re-engagement efforts that were recently initiated by Britain and the European Union, and now recently also by the United States. And we hope that these efforts will lead to the unconditional lifting of illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe."

Mugabe's government has been hit with sanctions throughout the years amid allegations of vote rigging and the instigation of political violence during past elections.

Mugabe's 33-year hold on power is expected to face its toughest test later on this summer when the country goes to the polls in the general election.

He'll be up against chief rival and current Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangari.

The date for the vote hasn't been set, as the country is appealing for international funds to allow for the vote to take place.

French Family Kidnapped in Cameroon Released Unharmed: Elysee
A French family of seven kidnapped in Cameroon two months ago have been released.

The family, including 4-children, have been released unharmed.

All are said to be in good health.

French President Francois Hollande.

"I want to thank all the authorities who contributed to this good news for the family, and enormous relief for the French people. Along with France, the authorities from Nigeria and Cameroon, through contact over the last few weeks, have managed to obtain release for this family."

Nigeria-based Islamic militant group Boko Haram took the family earlier this year in an attempt to try to get authorities in both Nigeria and neighboring Cameroon to release their fighters.

French nationals have become an increasing target in the Islamic world after its intervention in Mali to restore government power there.

8 French nationals are still in the hands of al-Qaida-linked groups in the Sahel region of northwest Africa.

Kenya Floods Kill Dozens of People
Heavy rains have been causing flooding in many parts of Kenya.

The flooding has been wiping out newly-planted crops.

"Many of us have lost farms to floods, seeds we had just planted, banana plants and even palm trees have been washed away by raging waters."

More than 60 people have been killed and over 34-thousand displaced by flooding across Kenya.

The government has begun distributing food supplies to affected communities.

The most affected regions are in Western Kenya, the coastal region and parts of the Rift Valley.

The heavy rains have washed away bridges and rendered many roads impassable.

Chinese Film Shot in Israel Expected to Boost Tourism
The Chinese film "The Old Cinderella" has begun shooting in Israel.

The film marks the first time a movie has been co-produced between China and Israel.

CRI's Marc Cavigli has more.

The Chinese rom-com "The Old Cinderella" has begun shooting in the Old City of Jerusalem with leading actress Zhang Jingchu, and actors Pan Yueming and Kenji Wu.

Zhang remarks she is overwhelmed by the welcoming people during her second visit to the historical and sacred city.

"To be honest, everybody was asking me and worried about me. They said: are you going to Israel? Is that dangerous there? But because I keep sending photos and blogs back, they say oh it's so beautiful, and very peaceful, and a very artistic place. It's totally another image. I think it's very important for Chinese people to know the true Israel."

Over a sixth of the film's length will feature scenes shot in Israel.

After Jerusalem the production team will travel to Tel Aviv-Jaffa, then the Dead Sea with a local Israeli film production company.

Zhang hopes the film resonates with Chinese audiences and inspires them to learn more about the country.

"I think it's a kind of lucky for Chinese people. In the movie theatre they will be able to see the amazing scenes, those ending parts, to see floating on the Dead Sea, see these sacred places, and all the inspiring improvisations we are going to do in the movie and then show it to the audience. It's great."

Noaz Bar Nir, the Director General of Israel's Tourism Ministry, expects the film will increase the number of Chinese tourists eager to see his country.

"We think this movie is very important. Chinese people will know and recognize Israel, the good parts of Israel. And we're sure that after this movie, after that more than hundreds of millions of Chinese people will be exposed to this movie, I hope that part of them, only a small part of them will come to Israel, it's will be enough."

The Israel Tourism Ministry has invested over 80,000-US dollars to promote the film.

In 2011 and 2012 some 20,000 Chinese tourists visited Israel.

A recent survey shows 8-million Chinese tourists selected their destinations based on the places they see in movies.

For CRI, I'm Marc Cavigli.

China Daily

"Reading rate falling in China"

A report by the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication shows China's comprehensive reading rate was 76 percent in 2012, over 1 percentage points lower than the year before.

The research show Chinese people read a little more paper books and digital books in 2012, however, they read less newspapers.

According to the 2011 International Publishing Blue Book, Chinese read about 4 books in 2011, while Koreans read 11 books on average in 2011, French 8.4, Japanese 8.4.

The 10 most popular writers by Chinese readers in 2012 were: Mo Yan, Jin Yong (Louis Cha), Lu Xun, Han Han, Chiung Yao, Lao She, Guo Jingming, Cao Xueqin, Ba Jin and Bing Xin.

Global Times

"Beijing ranks sixth in 'leftover men'"

Beijing has ranked sixth in the first-ever nationwide poll of "leftover men".

"Leftover men" refers to single men seeking to marry and start a family.

The survey defined 'leftover men' as single men over 20 who considered themselves as 'leftover'.

The Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region topped the poll with 35 percent of its single men classifying themselves as "leftover."

Among Beijing's bachelors, 33 percent identified themselves as "leftover."

Over one-third of "leftover men" aged between 28 and 39 listed their occupation as "senior manager."

Half have neither a car nor property.

The survey also finds most 'leftover women' are in a better position than 'leftover men' regarding assets and education.

The poll was released by the Beijing Municipal Communist Youth League and the Beijing Youth Federation.

"World's oldest person turns 116 in Japan"

The world's oldest person turned 116 on Friday.

Jiroemon Kimura, born in 1897, was expected to celebrate his astonishing milestone with friends and family, and receive a visit from the mayor of his home city of Kyotango in the west of the country.

It's said the centenarian does not smoke and has made it a practice to eat only until he is 80 percent full.

He drinks only a "modest" amount of alcohol.

Kimura's motto in life is "to eat light and live long".

The city of Kyotango is sandwiched between the Sea of Japan (East Sea) and a mountain range.

It is naturally blessed with good seafood and farm products.

Kimura is one of 95 people who will be 100 years old or more in the city.

Daily Mail

"Manchester is the heart disease capital of Britain"

A new report has revealed Tameside in Greater Manchester is the UK's 'heart disease capital'.

The British Heart Foundation has found that people who live in the area are more likely to die from coronary heart disease than anywhere else in the UK.

Another research published this week found that the typical Western diet, high in fat and sugar, really does lead to an early grave.

A study of more than 5,000 civil servants found people doubled their risk of premature death or ill health in old age if they ate the most fried and sweet food, processed and red meat, white bread and butter and cream.

It adds to evidence that 'Western style food' is blamed for the high rate of heart disease, which claims about 94,000 lives a year in the UK - more than any other illness.