News & Reports 2010-08-14

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Broadcasting Time: 07:00-08:00, GMT+08:00, 2010-08-14

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

In This Edition

Fresh torrential rains bring landslides to more areas in China, as rescue teams comb through the devastated Zhouqu County in the country's northwest.

Flood victims in northwest Pakistan use shrines and mosques as shelter houses, after floods, triggered by monsoon rains, hit the country more than two weeks ago and inundating thousands of villages.

China's Ministry of Health said that it will change the status of the prevention and control of H1N1 flu in China from "emergent" to "normal" level, but it will not cease its efforts in closely monitoring the virus.

And analysts predict that most of the group discounts online shopping sites will either fail or be acquired, leaving only big players in the market in the end.

Hot Issue Reports

China floods update: Rain triggers fresh China landslides

Fresh torrential rains have brought landslides to more areas in China, as rescue teams are still combing through the devastated Zhouqu County.

The death toll in new mudslides across west China, including Gansu, Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces, has risen to 29, with 24 other missing and thousands trapped.

In Longnan, Gansu province, 20 have been killed and 16 other are missing. Some 3-thousand residents are still trapped by floodwater and over 10-thousand have been evacuated.

Back in Zhouqu, last weekend's landslides have left more than 1,144 people dead and 600 missing.

Heavy rains are hindering rescue works. So far, the town has set up 40 drinking water supply stations and heavy machineries have already begun cleaning the mud inside the town.

General Wang Wenjie says over 6-thousand soldiers and army police have been deployed to the town.

"In total 6,281 troops have been deployed to the town, including engineers, medics and epidemic-control experts. 17 airplanes, 35 rescue boats and 144 heavy machineries have also joined the rescue works."

Official numbers show there have been over 26-thousand mudslides in China this year, more than twice than last year. Before the deadly Zhouqu mudslides, this year's mudslide accidents have claimed 540 lives, up almost 70 percent from the year before.

Tao Qingfa, official with the ministry of land resources, says heavy rains are the main reason.

He also calls for much more effective precautionary measures based on weather forecasts.

"The seasonal rains in parts of China are especially strong this year ?? In order to monitor the changing weather, cooperation with meteorological authorities is very important. That could help decide whether to move people from the dangerous spots or evacuate them out of the area completely."

More rain are on the forecast in the mudslides-battered regions.

Pakistan Floods- Flood victims using shrines, mosques for shelter, food distribution

Flood victims in northwest Pakistan were using shrines and mosques as shelter houses, after floods, triggered by monsoon rains, hit the country more than two weeks ago and inundating thousands of villages.

The flood has killed over 1,500 people and left an estimated 7 million people needing emergency assistance. Flood victims in Sukkur, Sindh province, complained that they were struggling to find shelter.

"Flood water entered our village and ruined our house, we don't have a place to live, that's why we came to this shrine to live."

"Flood water washed away our houses. We did not pull out any thing from our house, at midnight we heard the announcement to evacuate but we were not able to get out any belongings. Now we are in God's hands, our situation was very bad."

The United Nations warned the crisis was far from over, saying dams in Sindh province could still burst in the coming days and monsoon season is forecast to last several weeks still.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will arrive in Islamabad this weekend to visit the flood-hit country and oversee flood relief operations.

The United Nations has appealed for nearly 460 million U.S. dollars in emergency aid for victims of the devastating floods in Pakistan.

Iraq: the long way out

Iraq's top army officer has criticized the planned US troop withdrawal as premature.

Lt Gen Babaker Zewbari says the Iraqi military may not be ready to handle the situation for another decade.

But the White House says they are satisfied with the progress made in the country and says US troops can transfer security to local forces as planned.

The US plans to end combat operations in Iraq by the end of August and remove all combat troops by the end of 2011.

64-thousand US troops are currently in Iraqi while about 50-thousand will remain there until 2020.
But violence has not gone away. July was Iraq's deadliest month since 2008 with more than 100 people being killed.

So, after an inconclusive election and increasing violence, why does the US force still want to stick to their timetable? More importantly, do Iraqi people want US troops to stay in the country?

Earlier, CRI's Larry Chen talked to Prof. Li Guofu, head of the Chinese Institute of International Studies middle east department.

That was Prof. Li Guofu, middle-east expert with Chinese Institute of International Studies.

China and Southeast Asian countries to finish linking Pan-Beibu Gulf "Silk Road"

China and some Southeast Asian countries are speeding up efforts to establish a Pan-Beibu Gulf logistic network to boost the rising levels of cross-boarder trade.

Ma Biao is governor of southern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. He says that the Nanning-Singapore Economic Corridor, which is a highway-railway network linking major cities and ports in the region, will benefit the newly built free trade area.

"The corridor will become an economic vessel linking south China and all ASEAN countries on the Indo-China Peninsula. The Pan-Asia railway network will run through the region from Singapore to Hanoi, and then to south China and the whole country. It will increase the connectivity of both land and sea between China and ASEAN countries."

The Nanning-Singapore Economic Corridor project was proposed at the first Pan-Beibu Gulf Economic Cooperation Forum in 2006. Once it is complete, the commerce route will cover China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

Alongkorn Ponlaboot, vice commerce minister of Thailand, believes the corridor will help boost the country's economy.

"The corridor will help sell our agricultural products and develop the whole industry. It can also increase our farmers' earnings and create more job opportunities for all countries involved in the project."

The trade volume between China and Southeast Asian counties reached over $130 billion US dollars in the first half of this year, up 55 percent on the year before.

With the opening of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area that came into effect in January, over 90 percent of goods, accounting for approximately 7-thousand products in total, have become tariff-free.

China continues to Monitor H1N1 Flu: MOH

China's Ministry of Health said that it will change the status of the prevention and control of H1N1 flu in China from "emergent" to "normal" level, but it will not cease its efforts in closely monitoring the virus.

This announcement followed the World Health Organization's judgement that the peak for H1N1 flu pandemic outbreak worldwide is over.

Shu Yuelong, director of the Chinese National Influenza Center, warn that children, pregnant women and patients with chronic illness are still vulnerable to the virus.

"The key point of our work now is to monitor any alternation of the virus so as to prepare for the next pandemic, as this virus would not die out in short term, and that it might break out again in some countries and regions."

Influenza A virus subtype H1N1 caused a large-scale human influenza in the US and Mexico in April 2009, which later developed into a global issue. More than 128-thousand cases have been reported in China's mainland and the death toll stands at 805.

Q&A Chinese Collective Buying Websites Boomed

Group discount websites are burgeoning in China, hoping to copy the success story of Groupon.

The Chicago-based website came up with the idea of online group discounts to costumers, and stunned market with a valuation of $1.35 billion within two years.

More than 400 Chinese websites were set up within the first half of the year to offer similar deals, and more are expected to enter the business.

They are referred to as collective buying websites in China.

However, analysts predict that most of them will either fail or be acquired, leaving only big players in the market in the end.

To help us analyze the development of Chinese collective buying service is Dr. Lu Gang, a Shanghai-based tech blogger and also co-founder of and

Back anchor: That was Dr. Lu Gang, a tech blogger and entrepreneur, also co-founder of and

New Brain Scan Diagnose Autism in Mins

British scientists have developed a new brain scan test that can diagnose autism in just fifteen minutes.

It is twenty times more cost effective and has an accuracy of up to 90%, according to
Professor Declan Murphy, who led the research in the Institute of Psychiatry in King's College London.

"This new method for diagnosing autism is going to help people, especially the people that fall through the cracks or haven't been diagnosed before. Because firstly it can directly measure your brain, it doesn't rely on the history given by somebody else, it's a direct measure in your brain of how autistic you are or not."

Autism spectrum disorder, caused by abnormalities in brain development, affects more than 500,000 people in the UK alone.

People with the condition share an inability to communicate, form social relationships, and may show repetitive use of words or movements.

However sceptics say that more research is needed to prove its effectiveness.

Autism campaigner Martin Hewitt believes that the test has not yet been proven to work on children as all of the patients were adults and, in particular, men.

"My reservations are twofold: One this has only been tried out on 20 adults so we've got a small sample and I guess we have got to roll it out to a larger sample," says Hewitt. "Secondly it has got to be applied to children, and they've not yet done that test. Now of course it may well work with children and they seem to be hopeful."

Each test costs between $160 and $315 US dollars, a huge reduction on the current tests which costs about 2,000 and required a whole day to process the data.

The technique is not expected to be available for general use for another two years.

A Crate of Scotch Whisky was opened after being trapped for a century

A crate of Scotch whisky that was trapped in the Antarctic ice for a century was finally opened, but the heritage dram won't be tasted by whisky lovers because it's being preserved for its historic significance.

The crate, recovered from the Antarctic hut of renowned explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton after it was found there in 2006, has been thawed very slowly in recent weeks at the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch on New Zealand's South Island.

Though the crate was frozen solid when it was retrieved, the whisky inside could be heard sloshing around in the bottles.

Whisky lover Michael Fraser Milne, a Scot who runs the Whisky Galore liquor outlet in Christchurch, described the rare event as a great experience.

"Tasting something distilled in 1896 would be a whisky lover's ultimate dream."

The crate will remain in cold storage and each of the 11 bottles will be carefully assessed and conserved over the next few weeks.

Out of the Shanghai Daily: The Shanghai-Kashgar air route has now opened to business. This route will bridge the eastern coastal area and western border city of China and may help Shanghai fuel Xinjiang's development.

China Eastern Airlines operates the daily flight between the two cities with a stop-over in Urumqi. The one-way trip lasts about 7.5 hours.

The first return flight from Kashgar was scheduled to bring 20 cataract patients for treatment in Shanghai.

From the Washington Post: It has been a decade since the U.S. gymnastics team finished in fourth place at the Summer Games in Sydney.

However, when the International Olympic Committee disqualified the third-place Chinese team because of an underage competitor, they learned they would finally receive the medals they failed to bring back a decade earlier.

The medals were handed out in the ceremony where the team reunited are exact replicas of the 2000 medals because the ones the Chinese team returned had been etched with their names.