News & Reports 2011-03-12


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Broadcasting Time: 07:00-08:00, GMT+08:00, 2011-03-12

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

In This Edition

A latest Japanese National Police Agency tally says 178 people were killed and 547 others were missing following the magnitude 8.8 quake. There are no reports of casualties of Chinese nationals.

Rescuers in China continue to search for survivors, after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit Yingjiang County in Yunnan.

China's inflation kept rising in February despite government efforts to reign in price hikes.

And the authorities in Beijing release draft health guidelines aimed at getting people to live healthier lifestyles.


Hot Issue Reports

Major Tsunami Damage in North Japan after 8.9 Quake
A latest National Police Agency tally said that 178 people were killed and 547 others were missing following the magnitude 8.8 quake.

There are no reports of casualties of Chinese nationals.

Kyodo news agency reports that more than 1,000 people were feared killed by the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck northeastern and eastern Japan and a massive tsunami it triggered on Friday.

The massive quake triggered huge tsunami along Japan's Pacific coast, and enormous waves smashed the northern parts of the coast in particular. The tsunami has swept away houses, cars and ships.

The death toll is likely to surpass 1,000 as about 1,800 houses in Fukushima Prefecture were found to have been devastated.

The quake has been followed by at least 19 aftershocks, most of them larger than magnitude-6. Dozens of cities and villages along the 21-hundred kilometer stretch of the country's eastern shoreline has been shaken by the violent tremors that reached as far away as Tokyo, hundreds of kilometers from the epicenter in the sea off the northeastern coastal city of Sendai.

The quake was also strong enough to rattle buildings here in the Chinese capital, as well as in Tianjin.

In Japan, large fishing boats and other sea vessels rode high waves into the cities, slamming against overpasses. Upturned and partially submerged vehicles can be seen bobbing in the water.

Waves of muddy waters have swept over farmland near the city of Sendai, carrying buildings, some on fire, inland as cars attempted to drive away.

Sendai airport, north of Tokyo, has been inundated with cars, trucks, buses and thick mud deposited over its runways. Japan's public broadcaster NHK is reporting that fires have been spreading through a section of that city.

A large fire has also erupted at the Cosmo oil refinery in Chiba prefecture near Tokyo and continues burning out of control, with 30 meter-high flames whipping into the sky.

Its' believed the magnitude 8.9 quake is the biggest earthquake to hit Japan since officials began keeping records in the late 1800s.

Wang Yujing, a Chinese citizen working in Osaka, earlier told CRI the southern region in Japan was not greatly affected by the quake.

"Of course we are all very worried about it, not only about the northeastern side but about ourselves. Because maybe we will get involved in it too some time. We are not in such an emergency now. So far I think I will just stay here. I have no plans to leave Osaka. We'll just wait and see".

Rescuers Search for Survivors after Yunnan Quake
In China, meanwhile, rescuers are still searching for survivors, after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit Yingjiang County in Yunnan.

The tremor, which jolted the county which lies near the border with Myanmar, has left 25 people dead and some 250 others injured.

The county has a population of around 300-thousand.

The earthquake destroyed more than 18-thousand houses and damaged around 50-thousand others.

Thousands of people have been deployed in the rescue operation, and have managed to pull around 40 survivors from the rubble.

Meanwhile, volunteer rescue teams are also making their way to the quake zone.

Su Xiao is a member of the Blue Sky Rescue Team, a Beijing-based non-governmental rescue organization.

"We have sent two batches, a total of 16, rescuers to join the quake rescue efforts. They are now marching towards the quake zone with professional search and rescue equipment, like life detectors and hydraulic tongs."

Meanwhile, local officials are appealing for 5-thousand more tents for the homeless.

The central government has already allocated 55 million yuan in quake relief for the county.

The money will be used to relocate people, as well as provide them with living subsidies.

Dai Chuan, a reporter with Kunming-based Spring City Evening News, says the survivors' moods seem fairly stable.

"The more than 130 seriously injured people have been well treated. Now some residents worry about the occurrence of aftershocks. But on the whole, there is no scare among the public as they have get used to the frequent quakes in recent months. Moreover, the business service is still operating as normal in general."

Prior to the 5.8 magnitude quake, more than 12-hundred minor tremors had been recorded in the region over the last two months.

Experts have not ruled out the possibility that stronger quakes might still hit the region, saying they're not sure if the 5.8 magnitude tremor is the main quake.

China's A/H1N1 Deaths Tripled in February
The A/H1N1 flu virus has started to take its toll again in China, with 46 deaths reported in February, more than triple the number of deaths in January.

Data from the Ministry of Health now shows the number of patients with confirmed A/H1N1 flu has topped 38-hundred across the country in February.

In Hunan, 6 new deaths have been reported in February, and the number of patients with the flu virus doubled that of January to hit 124.

For more about the flu situation, we spoke earlier with Peter Cordingley, WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific.

China's Feb. CPI
China's inflation is still on the rise in February, amid the government efforts to reign in price hikes.

The National Bureau of Statistics says consumer prices have risen 4.9% from a year earlier, the same rate as in January.
Spokesperson from the Bureau, Sheng Laiyun, says inflation pressure remains intense.

"It's first from imported inflationary pressure from other countries, as some countries are still holding loose monetary policy. The price of increase of commodities exerted big pressure to domestic price increase. What's more, cost increase, including labor, land, and raw material is difficult to turn around in short time. There's also carryover effect from last year."

The central bank has raised interest rates three times in recent months to try to battle the high inflation.

It has also increased bank reserve requirements in an effort to stop them lending as freely.

But central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan says though interest rates are an important policy tool, prices are not the only factor the PBOC considers when hiking the interest rate.

"The adjustment of interest rate can not only consider CPI, there're more policy goals to take into account, such as the impact to capital inflow, and to savings, loans and the whole economy."

Zhou says the People's Bank of China will continue to use various tools to try to soak up liquidity this year, as it shifts to a "prudent" monetary policy.

He adds the exchange rate can have an impact on prices, but it is not a major tool for managing inflation.

Draft Health Guidelines Aim to Change Habits of Residents
The authorities in Beijing have now released draft health guidelines aimed at getting people to live healthier lifestyles.
Zhang Wan has more.

Doing exercise at least three times week, get more than seven hours of sleep daily, feeling happy and a stable mood ?? how many items of these health guidelines do you think you have?

Some people say they feel sub-healthy, others say they don't live a healthy lifestyle, since they can't guarantee a certain time for sleeping, eating or exercising. Due to busy work schedules, they face much stress.

The guidelines refer to 34 items, including healthy behavior and lifestyle, such as suggestions on exercises, diets, smoking, drinking and sleeping, and indicators to measure basic health conditions, such as body mass index and blood pressure.

In the draft guidelines, Beijingers are urged to halve their daily intake of salt and oil. Statistics released by the capital's health bureau show the average citizen eating the equivalent of more than 54 grams of oil every day, roughly double the recommended level. Average daily salt consumption is 13.4 grams, compared to a suggested amount of just 6 grams.
Zhou Zhe, a doctor from Beijing No.6 Hospital, explains:

"Having too much high fat and high cholesterol food could increase the possibilities of obesity and hypertension, which bring negative effects on many parts of your body."

Zhou Zhe says nowadays 30 percent of hypertension is attributed to the intake of too much salt. He suggests people control the amount of salt they eat everyday with the measuring spoon included in each salt bag sold.

In addition, the guidelines suggest people drink water no less than 1,200 milliliter every day, go for annual health checkups, stop smoking and say no to second-hand smoking, and last but not least, have more than seven hours of sleep a day.

Here is Wei Tianni from the Chinese Society of Respiratory Diseases.

"The quality of sleep is extremely important. High-quality sleep indicates people have deep sleep without dream, with deep sleep, the brain could fully-rest at night."

The guidelines can be downloaded from the official website of the health bureau, www.bjhb.gov.cn, and is open for critics and suggestions until March 25.

After being reviewed by the public, a final version will be released and sent to citizens with details of each item in a bid to help people achieve their healthy goals.

For CRI, I am Zhang Wan.

With Price Reduced, Ipad Is Still Having Its Day
Apple was set to launch its second-generation Ipad on Friday in the US.

With its more powerful functions and thinner design, the iPad 2 is expected to spark a renewed purchasing craze from Apple fans around the world.

Our Zhou Jingnan now on how conumers in Beijing have reacted to the launch of the iPad 2.

Apple's tablet Ipad has been among the top-selling electronic products around the world since it hit the market last year. Yet its 4000 yuan price tag has scared away many potential buyers. Recently, with the unveiling of Ipad 2, Apple has decided to lower the price of its first generation model by 1100 yuan, for a grand total of around 2,900 yuan or less than $450 US dollars. The price cut is placing strains on the retailers at Beijing's electronics districts, such as Zhong Guancun.

Liuchang is an Apple store manager in Hilong Tech Market at Zhong Guancun. He says those sellers who have purchased too many Ipads are the ones suffering most from the price reduction.

"I know one of the sellers have hoarded over 800 Ipads. They bought them at around 3600 yuan for each one through special channels, when the local batch purchasing price is around 3700 yuan. But they never could foresee that Apple would decrease the price of Ipad so sharply. The total cost for them would be enormous."

Other sellers are complaining about Apple's sudden price adjustment as well, but they know they have no choice except to try to sell as many of their remaining Ipads as possible.

Ms. Meng is the sales manager at one Apple store in Zhong Guancun E World.

"We have to shoulder the loss. It's true that we'll lose more than 1000 yuan for selling one Ipad, but if we don't sell them at all, the loss is even heavier, which would be around 3800 yuan for each."

However, what's bad for the sellers is good for consumers.

Office worker Shi Lei says he plans to buy an Ipad because it's so cheap now, and he doesn't think Ipad2 is as powerful as advertised.

One salesman at Zhong Guancun says for ordinary users who care most about the entertainment value of the tablet, the first generation model could be a better choice than Ipad 2 since it has a larger screen than the new version.

In an Apple store, college student Xiao Yan enthusiastically tries out an Ipad. He decides to take one home.

"I'm quite satisfied. As a regular user, I believe Ipad is more practical than Ipad 2, especially when it costs so much less than before."

It is hard to predict the future of Ipad 2, but what's for sure is that with the price advantage, the first generation Ipad is still having its day in the current tablet world.

For CRI, I'm Jingnan.

Cirque du Soleil Brings the Circus to Africa
World famous Canadian troupe Cirque du Soleil has now opened in Johannesburg, South Africa, marking the first time the Montreal-based performance group has held a show in Africa.

The company's spokespersson, Maxime Charbonneau, says they are trying to reach out to new audiences worldwide.

"We're always trying to find new markets for Cirque du Soleil, and before the company was limited to a certain amount of markets with the show was touring only under the big top, but now that we have shows touring into venues like this, the shows are much lighter since we don't carry our own theatre. So it allows us to go into more places, new markets, open new markets and touch new audiences."

The traveling circus is renowned for creating surreal atmospheres and showing awe-inspiring stunts. The troupe, with 1,200 artists, has performed in almost 300 cities across the world.

Newspaper Picks

KFC China has denied accusations that it had misled customers over the ingredients used to prepare its newly launched crab dish.

The food, named "Golden Crab," was added to the KFC menu on the Chinese mainland on Valentine's Day as a temporary seasonal choice.

It is described as ground crab meat served fried and stuffed in a crab shell.

Many customers however complained that the meat tasted unpleasant and could be substandard.

One of the online messages that has been widely reposted on many popular websites made the accusation that the company had cheated diners by using much "cheaper" fish meat instead of sea crabs.

However, KFC said in a statement yesterday it "highly suspects" that the fish bone photo story is not from a real dining experience at KFC and very likely a prank by netizens.

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From the Shanghai Daily:

Five people, including three mainland residents, have been detained in Hong Kong for a public fight when they scrambled to purchase milk powder at a pharmacy 2 days ago.

Hong Kong police said the fight involved two sides, one with two Hong Kong women and a mainland man, and the other comprising two mainland men. They quarreled when rushing to purchase the last tins of milk powder on the shelves. It was reportedly the two mainland men who started the fight.

All five were detained for brawling in a public place.

Milk powder has become a most sought-after product in Hong Kong for mainland visitors in recent days. Domestic demand has been rising but a series of food safety scandals, including melamine-contaminated milk powder, have turned the public away from domestic dairy products.

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From San Francisco Herald:

A Harvard University professor has been awarded a top technology prize for research that has paved the way for computers that more closely mimic how humans think, including the one that won a "Jeopardy!" tournament.

Leslie Valiant, who teaches computer science and applied mathematics at Harvard, was awarded the A.M. Turing Award for 2010. The $250,000 award is considered the Nobel Prize of computing and is named after the famous British mathematician Alan M. Turing.

Some of Valiant's biggest contributions are in the mathematics of computer learning, an area of study that led to breakthroughs such as 'Watson', the machine built to play "Jeopardy!". In matches aired last month, the computer breezed past two of the game show's top winners in a display of how far computers have come understanding the subtleties of human language.

Market update
US stocks nudged higher Friday as investors gauged the fallout from a massive earthquake that struck off the coast of Japan.

The Dow Jones industrial average 0.5 percent, to 12,044. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 0.7 percent, to 1,304. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.5 percent, to 2,716.

In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.3 percent to 5829. Germany's DAX was down 1.2 percent to 6981, and France's CAC 40 dipped 0.9 percent to 3929.


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