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Broadcasting Time: 07:00-08:00, GMT+08:00, 2010-06-20
Hello and Welcome to News and Reports on China Radio International.
In This Edition
China's Central Bank says it will further promote the reform of its currency exchange rate mechanism.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appeals for 71 million US dollars to help the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the unrest in southern Kyrgyzstan.
The office created to process claims from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico says a plan to handle the remaining damage claims will be in place in 30 to 45 days.
And China's disaster relief authorities raise the level of emergency response following torrential rains and floods strike large parts of Southern China.
Hot Issue Reports
China's Central Bank to Further Promote Reform of Exchange Rate Mechanism
China's Central bank has announced that it will further promote the reform of its currency exchange rate mechanism.
In a statement posted on its website, the People's Bank of China said the decision was made in view of the recent economic situation and financial market developments at home and abroad, and the balance of payments situation in China.
The central bank said it is necessary to strengthen the flexibility of the renminbi's exchange rate given that the global economy is gradually recovering, the foundation of China's economic recovery is more consolidated, and economic activity is stabilizing.
It said that continued emphasis would be placed to reflecting market supply and demand with reference to a basket of currencies. The exchange rate floating bands will remain the same as previously announced in the inter-bank foreign exchange market, which was within half a percent range on either side of the peg.
The central bank said that it will further enable market to play a fundamental role in resource allocation, promote a more balanced balance of payments account, maintain the renminbin exchange rate basically stable at an adaptive and equilibrium level.
Li Daokui, an academic member to the central bank's monetary policy committee, stresses that the exchange rate of yuan will be floating in both directions, ruling out a dramatic appreciation against the US dollar.
"The exchange rate of yuan may either appreciate or depreciate against main currencies. For example, if the euro continues to remain weak against the US dollar or the value of the greenback rises by a large margin, the yuan may depreciate against the dollar to a certain extent."
The economist noted that a more flexible exchange rate of yuan may curb inflation by reducing the cost of imported goods and push the enterprises to optimize and upgrade their growth patterns.
But he also admitted that some export-driven enterprises may run into difficulties in the short term.
"Uncertainties may be seen in the export markets or the fluctuations of exchange rate, so export-oriented enterprises should try their best to raise the added value of products, or consider to open up domestic market as an alternative to foreign markets."
IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn applauded the decision as a very welcomed development, saying it will benefit Chinese consumers.
U.S. President Barack Obama also said it is a "constructive step that can help safeguard the recovery and contribute to a more balanced global economy."
China has moved into a managed floating exchange rate regime based on market supply and demand with reference of a basket of currencies since July 2005.
UN Chief Appeals for 71 Million Dollar Aid for Kyrgyzstan
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appealed for 71 million US dollars to help the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the unrest in southern Kyrgyzstan.
Ban told reporters in New York that in some small pockets in the south of the country, the situation was calmer.
"In the South of Kyrgyzstan, particularly in the city of Osh, it's getting calmer and calmer. That is encouraging, but that does not give us any relaxation of the feelings that we need to be very careful not to see any occurrence of a violent situation in that area."
The UN chief said an estimated 300-thousand people have been displaced by the fighting and up to 100-thousand have fled across the border to Uzbekistan. He said tens of thousands more are waiting to cross the border.
Ban said he has been discussing options for restoring order and preventing further loss of life with the head of Kyrgyzstan's interim government and other leaders in the region.
Kyrgyzstan's Interim President Roza Otunbayeva said the death toll from the ethnic clashes could be near 2-thousand.
Kyrgyz authorities have said the violence was sparked deliberately by associates of Kurmanbek Bakiyev, the president who was toppled in April.
Plan to handle remaining damage claims from BP oil spill to be in place in 30 to 45 days
The office created to process claims from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico says a plan to handle the remaining damage claims will be in place in 30 to 45 days.
Kenneth Feinberg was chosen by US President Barack Obama and BP to oversee the Independent Claims Facility.
Feinberg said he plans to have a program going forward that would guarantee that people making claims in the future would receive them within 30 to 60 days of submitting it.
He emphasised that the commission will work independently of the White House and BP.
"This program that the president has asked me to undertake with the support of BP cannot be run from Washington DC. You have to come down here to the states affected by this spill and hear first hand what's being done."
That news came as little comfort to claimants cross the Gulf Coast who said they have not received a dollar from BP.
Many residents affected by the spill say they're caught up in bureaucratic red tape and have been asked to bring in volumes of documents to claim centres to justify the amount of money they're claiming.
Feinberg has vowed to streamline the paperwork requirements.
IMF Director Gen says he is confident about the Spanish economy
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it is confident about the future of the Spanish economy.
IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn made the comments after talks with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in Madrid, where they attempted to soothe market fears that Spain may be the next country in need of a financial rescue plan.
"I am really confident, really confident in the medium term and long term prospects for the Spanish economy, providing that the efforts that have to be made will be made. And, from what I have seen today, these efforts are on the way."
Investor concerns have shifted from Greece and Portugal to Spain in recent weeks. The country has lost its AAA credit rating. Investors have become especially worried by its budget deficit, which surged to 11.2 percent of the GDP last year.
Under intense pressure from markets and other EU nations, Zapatero has enacted an austerity plan to cut the deficit to 3 percent by 2013.
Some media reports even said Spain would need to draw on the 750 billion euro EU-IMF bail-out fund. But Spain and the European Union repeatedly have denied such reports.
To stem speculation, Zapatero said the publishing of stress tests of financial institutions would be critical to restore market confidence.
"For all the European countries, the credibility of solvency of how we are restructuring the financial system will be a determining factor for the markets and we also trust that ceasing rumors will also help appease the markets."
Spain is the fourth-largest country in the euro zone, accounting for almost 12 percent of the area's GDP. It also hosts significant global banks like Banco Santander and BBVA.
Xi Jinping starts Australia visit
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping arrived in Melbourne, the second largest city in Australia, on Saturday afternoon, kicking off his official six-day visit to the country. CRI's Australia correspondent Chen Feng has more.
Reporter: In a written statement upon arrival, Vice President Xi Jinping says China and Australia are both important countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Bilateral relations have kept a good momentum in recent years, with friendly exchanges and fruitful cooperation in the areas of economy and trade, science and technology, academia and culture, as well as law enforcement.
Xi Jinping adds that he is looking forward to exchanging views on the bilateral relationship and other issues of common concern with Australian leaders and people of all circles in the next few days. He believes the visit will further promote the Sino-Australian relationship to a new high.
During the evening, the Vice President met with Premier of Victoria State John Brumby and attended a dinner hosted by the Premier at the Australian Football league House. After the dinner, he joined the Victoria Premier and the CEO of the Australian Football League in watching the third quarter of the match between Carlton and Fremantle, two well-known Australian football clubs, at the Etihad Stadium.
On Sunday, the Vice President will visit Telstra, a leading Australian telecommunications company, and attend the inauguration ceremony of the Chinese Confucius Institute at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Then the Chinese delegation will fly to Canberra, the Australian capital.
For CRI, this is Chen Feng in Melbourne, Australia.
China Raises Emergency Response for Floods in Southern China
China's disaster relief departments have raised the emergency response to level-three from level-four for the floods that have hit southern China, as authorities forecast more rain to fall over coming days.
Zhao Jianfu has more.
Reporter: As of Saturday morning, downpours that have been pounding southern China for the past week had left 88 people dead and 48 missing. It also forced the evacuation of nearly 760,000 residents from their homes.
The Ministry of Civil Affairs said more than 7 million people in Fujian, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Hunan, Jiangxi, Guangxi, Guizhou and Sichuan provinces and autonomous regions were affected by the heavy rains. Direct economic losses caused by the heavy rains have topped 10 billion yuan or about 1.5 billion U.S. dollars.
Strong rainstorms have led to the collapse of reservoirs, overflowing rivers, landslides, power outages, and damage to highways. The State Flood Control and Disaster Relief Headquarters has called for heightened inspections of reservoirs in the floods regions.
Water levels have been surging over the safety levels in dozens of rivers, including the Pearl River in the heart of China's manufacturing region.
Shu Qingpeng is deputy head of the State Flood Control and Disaster Relief Headquarters.
"Though the water levels of main rivers are still under the warning levels, the water levels of the trunk stream of the Yangtze River, Dongting Lake and Boyang Lake are much higher than those of previous years."
In Nanping city in Fujian, 1,200 students were trapped when floodwater cut off the only road leading to their school. 74 children in a nursery were temporarily sheltered in a cinema and later driven by bus back to the kindergarten.
Pei Jingjia, deputy mayor of the city, is overseeing the relief work.
"We have dispatched 200 paramilitary troops and a group of officials to assist with the relief efforts. We have given food to the school and nursery students."
On Saturday, the National Meteorological Center reiterated the rainstorm orange alert - the second-highest level, warning that more rains and very possibly heavy rainstorms are likely to hit southern China over coming days.
For CRI, I'm Zhao Jianfu.
Shanghai World Expo Takes Various Means to Cool off Visitors
In an effort to make the Shanghai World Expo more enjoyable, the organizers and participants are using various means to keep visitors cool during the hot summer days.
Before entering some of the more popular pavilions at the Expo, visitors have to wait in long lines under the burning sun.
Many pavilions are using environment-friendly ways to keep visitors cool.
At the Shanghai Corporate pavilion, rainwater is collected and recycled and then turned into mist. The mist, spraying from the ceiling of the entrance hall, can lower temperatures.
A visitor surnamed Guo is waiting to enter the pavilion
"It's cool here. I feel that the temperature has come down."
Xu Liangrong, a worker from Guangdong-based Dongfang Qisheng Company, the producer of the nearly 1,000 mist sprinklers installed in the pavilion, says the mist has other functions.
"It can purify air. Also, the mist gives visitors a visual wallop, giving them a feeling of walking in the clouds."
To cool the environment at the Expo, the organizing committee also installed mist sprayers at pedestrian walk ways and common rest areas.
The mist sprayers cover about 5 percent of the total area of the Expo site. If the temperature at the Expo exceeds 30 degrees Celsius, the mist sprayers will automatically activate.
Outside the Madrid Pavilion at the Best Urban Practices Area, visitors are sitting and relaxing inside the Air Tree.
Qi Feizhou who is from the Protocol Department of the Madrid Pavilion says the Air Tree is a replica of the trees on the Eco-boulevard in the town of Vallecas.
"When preparing for the exhibition, we took the large number of visitors into consideration and decided to provide such a public area for visitors to wait or probe Madrid. On hot days, the temperature here will be 6 to 8 degree Celsius lower than the outdoor temperature."
The Air Tree is actually a ten-sided steel hall equipped with self-opening window shades and a fan with a diameter of 7 meters. It creates a comfortable temperature and shade for visitors.
Qi Feizhou says the Air Tree, which is a symbol of Madrid, will remain in Shanghai as a legacy.
For CRI, I am Zhang Ru in Shanghai.
Wil Smith promote China-U.S. collaboration film
Will Smith, one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, has showed up at the Shanghai International Film Festival to promote a China-U.S. collaboration film ?C The Karate Kid.
The film stars Will's son Jaden Smith and Chinese superstar Jackie Chan. Will and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith both serve as producers of the film.
Liu Yan has more.
So far, the movie has been doing really well in the US, taking in more than 56 million USD in its first weekend and easily claiming the top spot on the box office chart in North America.
Director Harald Zwart said one of the major selling points for this movie was Jaden's kung fu skills.
"Yes, I am proud to tell you that there is no manipulation whatsoever. He trained for months and months. All the kung fu you see is exactly how it was done."
Jackie Chan echoed the director.
"So after the movie was finished, I was talking to Will, and I said, 'Don't waste your son's gift'. He's so naturally talented. Now he's still practicing Kung Fu every day at home in the U.S. He is so willing to learn."
Due to popular demand, Jaden showed his kung fu moves on the stage, with his father beat-boxing in the background.
With The Karate Kid doing so well at the box office, it was no surprise that Will Smith expressed his willingness to work with Chan again.
"I'm really looking forward to doing two, or three, or five, or seven more movies with Jackie. Right now, the two projects that we're considering are both Jackie projects, so?? I mean, I just think that this was such a fantastic collaboration, not only for our nations, but for the two of us. And specifically at this point in our careers,. I think it's a great time for us to have met and worked together."
Will also said it was an honor to have been invited into Shanghai, China.
"I think, right now, we're only talking about a movie, but I believe that this collaboration and the accomplishment of this film is far beyond only a movie. I think it speaks volumes for the future of the artists of our two nations and the future of our two nations in general, so we are humbled, and proud, and honored, and thank you."
"The Karate Kid" will premiere in China on June 22.
For CRI, I'm Liu Yan in Shanghai.
China Daily: Demolition Dilemma
A man in Wuhan, capital city of Hubei province, brandished a homemade gun to stop demolishers from forcibly tearing down his house.
The incident took place just a few weeks after the State Council issued a document, asking local governments to demolish structures only through lawful means and after paying reasonable compensation to the displaced residents while also assisting with relocation costs.
The resident, who insisted he was using fireworks, said he took the extreme step after he had read relevant laws and policies and was convinced that he deserved a lot more than the amount offered to him as compensation by the real estate developer.
The man said he would not be able to eke out a living once he lost his land. He was sure that he had not asked for more than he deserved, and said he would defend his house until justice prevailed.
Commenting on the incident, an article in China's leading newspaper, China Daily, says this is a sad story both for the home owner and the sanctity of the country's legal system, as well as the reputation of the local government.
The article argues that if a house needs to be demolished for public interest and the compensation paid is in accordance with the State policy and relevant rules, any person resisting it by force would be violating the law. Otherwise, it would signify that local authorities do not pay heed to the central government's directives, which would only create more volatile situations.
On one hand, it will prompt more people to use arms to stop forcible demolitions if they are sure that the local authorities are not honoring the central government's directives.
On the other hand, if local officials who have been ignoring the State Council document and going ahead with their demolition plans are not punished, they would become even more unscrupulous.
The article concludes that in this case, an investigation is needed to find the truth and the guilty must be punished.
Oriental Morning Post: Wage increase a healthy sign
To reduce frictions between labor and capital, Taiwan's Foxconn announced recently that it would raise employee salaries in China's mainland.
This news led a section of the media to say that private companies could be compelled to raise wages, but the upswing in labor costs could force some to shut down.
But contrary to popular belief, an article in the Shanghai-based Oriental Morning Post says low labor cost is just one of the reasons why foreign enterprises have chosen to invest in China.
It says an enterprise considers many factors before deciding to invest in a location, and labor cost is just one of them. The market order, government services, and even local culture play important roles in the decisions involved with setting up a factory in the targetd area.
The article also says for the past few years, the issue of low wages has been thwarting sustainable development within the Chinese economy.
However, the commentary concluded by saying the rise in salaries would boost consumption, rather than damage the investment environment.