News & Reports 2011-03-19

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Broadcasting Time: 07:00-08:00, GMT+08:00, 2011-03-19

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

In This Edition

Chinese President Hu Jintao visits Japanese embassy in Beijing to convey condolences for victims of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

People around Japan observe a moment of silence to commemorate the devastating disaster a week ago.

The unfolding nuclear crisis in Japan prompts China's re-examining of its nuclear power facilities, which the authorities claim are working fine.

And business leaders say heavy anti-dumping duties by European Union on Chinese ceramic tiles amount to trade protectionism and will hurt China's ceramic tile industry.

Hot Issue Reports

Japan-nuke: disaster level upgraded to 5; IAEA chief urges more information; WHO warns side effects of iodide tablets
Japan's nuclear safety agency has raised the accident seriousness level of the disaster to 5 from level 4.
The scale defines a level 4 incident as having local consequences and a level 5 incident as having wider consequences.
Meantime, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano has urged Japan to provide more information on its crisis, as the battle to regain control of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant enters a second week.
"We see it as an extremely serious accident. The international community is concerned about this issue. So, it is important to co-operate with the international community in dealing with it."
He made the comments after meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan.
Kan says Japan will try its utmost to disclose more information to the international community.
A four-member team of nuclear experts from IAEA are now monitoring radiation in Tokyo and will conduct further tests in the troubled plant.
Emergency workers at the power plant have been dousing reactors using helicopters and fire hoses, and are now battling to restore electricity.
Japanese engineers now say burying the crippled nuclear plant in sand and concrete may be the only way to prevent a catastrophic radiation release, the method used to seal huge leakages from Chernobyl in 1986.
Meanwhile, in the wake of a salt panic buying across China, Michael O'Leary, the World Health Organization's China representative, says the spread of radiation from Japan nuclear plant remains limited.
He also warns iodine supplements or salt should not be treated as a substitute for prescribed tablets.
"The WHO has recently released a statement like that on its website to encourage the use of potassium iodide or iodine supplementation only if recommended by authorities who are knowledgeable about its use. It does have potential side effects as well, and so it should not be used indiscriminately."
O'Leary adds the amount of iodine in salt is so low that it would not be possible to consume enough salt to get a protective dose.

Japan-locals: "The town full of memories is gone"
People around Japan Friday observed a moment of silence to commemorate the devastating disaster a week ago.
In the town of Rikuzentakata, once a picturesque seaside community, a siren rung as workers stood silent near debris.
The town sits in northeast Japan's Iwate prefecture. Recovery efforts continue in there and residents are still reeling from the devastation.
Minoru Hatakeyama traveled to his hometown to look for missing relatives. He appealed for more aid.
"The town full of memories is gone. Everything has disappeared and this is truly regrettable. Now that this has happened, I would like more aid to come from our country's government and everyone."
Iwate prefecture is one of the worst-hit, with nearly 2-thousand people confirmed dead and more than 4-thousand missing.
"We can't live in our home anymore, and since the stores aren't open anymore, we can't find any food. So we need to come here to get supplies."
Latest official death toll from the catastrophe has topped 6,900 while more than 10,300 others are still unaccounted for.
Around the country, some 300-thousand people were left homeless are staying in shelters, battling freezing cold and facing shortage in clean water and heating oil.

Nuclear Power Stations in China Work Well
Anchor: The unfolding nuclear crisis in Japan has also caused unease throughout the world. China has been examining all operating nuclear power plants in the country, as well as those under construction. Major plants like the Daya Bay nuclear power station are reported working fine.
Liu Min has more.
Nuclear power stations and facilities in China are undergoing stringent safety checks. Ren Junsheng from the State Nuclear Security Expert Committee at the Da Yawan Nuclear Power Stations says the plant is working normally.
"We have carried out checks at different locations, and are comparing the data with the data from January this year. The results show there are no big changes. So far we haven't been affected by Japan's nuclear leakage, and it also means our plants are working quite stably and safely."
Right after the earthquake, the State Council called for "the most advanced standards" to be used in safety checks. Any project failing to meet these standards must be halted.
The nuclear crisis in Japan is mainly due to the Tsunami after the earthquake. The waves hit the engines of the reactors, and shut down the electric supply, which caused the reactors to heat up and release radiation. But in order to meet the demand for large amount of cooling water, many nuclear power stations around the world are located near the sea.
People are starting to ask if plants like the Shenzhen-based Daya Bay power station could also face danger if a tsunami occured. Ren Junsheng explains that Daya Bay is quite different from the Fukushima Daiichi plant's situation in Japan.
"Tsunami is caused by earthquake in the sea, and the depth of sea water should exceed several hundred meters or even thousand meters to generate such a huge wave as high as 10 meters."
Daya Bay is located at the margin of the sea, at a shallow water depth, lower than 100 meters. The highest wave to the seashore near Daya Bay in the historical record was below 0.5 meters. Besides that, many islands near the Daya Bay should also reduce the serious Tsunami's power before it hits the nuclear power station.
Ren Junsheng says many facilities protect the station from being hit by disasters like Tsunami and Hurricane.
"There is a 16 metre high wall to prevent huge waves from the sea. The reactors are built on a 7 meter high base. So far, it shows no record that the waves have ever flowed over the wall."
China is building 12 nuclear plants in addition to the six already in operation, with at least 25 in the pipeline. Production capacity is scheduled to be expanded to 86 gigawatts in 2020 from the current 10.8 gigawatts, and nuclear power is set to be increased to 5 percent of China's total energy output, up from 1 percent now. The ambitious development plan has also aroused questions among the public ever since the Japanese earthquake wrought havoc last Friday. It's now a critical problem for the whole world, and more important than ever to come up with stronger protection throughout the entire nuclear power industry.
For CRI, I'm Liu Min.

Libya: China supports, but has "serious reservations" with UN no-fly resolution
The UN Security Council has backed a no-fly zone over Libya and "all necessary measures" to protect civilians short of an invasion.
It appears to give legal weight to attacks against Muammar Gaddafi's ground forces.
It is not clear what form of intervention will be taken and when it will begin.
The 15-member Security Council voted 10-0 in favor, with five abstentions, including China and Russia.
Chinese UN Ambassador Li Baodong says China supports the action "to halt acts of violence against civilians".
He also explains China's abstention.
"China is always against the use of force in international relations. In the Security Council's consultations on resolution 1973, we and some other council members asked some specific questions. However, regrettably, many of those questions failed to be clarified or answered."
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu says it has serious reservations with parts of the latest U.N. resolution on Libya.

EU to impose anti-dumping duties on Chinese ceramic tiles
Anchor: The European Commission announced earlier this week that it would impose up to 73 percent anti-dumping duties on imports of Chinese ceramic tiles.
Trade experts suspect the tariffs amount to trade protectionism and will have a huge impact on China's ceramic tile industry.
Yingying has the details.
The European Union made the decision based on an anti-dumping probe against imported ceramic tiles from China launched in June 2010. It argued that European tile producers were affected by imports of low-priced Chinese ceramic tiles.
More than 1,400 enterprises were involved in the probe. Eighty percent of them are located in Foshan in southern China's Guangdong Province.
Lan Weibing, Chief of the China Ceramic Industry Association's Foshan Branch, says the average price of Chinese ceramic tiles on the EU market might be five to six percentage points lower than those from Spain and Italy.
Lan contends that up to 73 percent anti-dumping duties are too high.
"The impact will be huge, because according to our statistics in 2009, over 70 million square meters of ceramic tiles were exported to the EU from China. More than three billion U.S. dollars were involved in the trade."
Lan Weibing says the EU accounts for 10 percent of Foshan's ceramic tile overseas market. The new duty will force 15 percent of related enterprises to shut down.
It's reported that the EU is the world's second-biggest ceramic tile producer after China and exports nearly 25 percent of its production.
Li Guangji, a researcher with the China National Institute of World Trade Organization, says the EU's decision amounts to trade protectionism.
"The anti-dumping duties on Chinese ceramic tiles will increase the import of ceramic tiles within the EU region. In other words, the EU aims to protect the ceramic tile production within its own region."
The researcher says in recent years there has been an upward trend in the number of anti-dumping duties the EU has imposed on Chinese exports. This will have a negative impact on related producers in China. But in the long term, it will spur Chinese enterprises to upgrade their products and increase overseas investment.
Lan Weibing, Chief of China Ceramic Industry Association's Foshan Branch, agrees.
"We should develop new products with core competitiveness and high added value. And we encourage qualified enterprises to set up factories overseas."
The anti-dumping duties went into effect on Thursday and will remain in place for six months.
For CRI, I'm Yingying.

Income and Social Security Key in Boosting Personal Consumption
Anchor: Latest figures show that more people in China prefer spending less and saving during the current period of rising housing prices and high inflation.
As Wu Jia reports, some economists say this trend in consumption behaviour poses a challenge to the government's economic transformation efforts.
In its latest quarterly survey of bank depositors, the People's Bank of China says more than 85 percent of urban residents increasingly prefer depositing money in banks.
The central bank finds that residents' willingness to "consume more" has fallen to the lowest point since 1999, when the survey was first launched.
Cao Heping, an economics professor at Peking University, explains the reasons behind the reluctance to consume.
"During the past ten months, China's CPI has consistently been on the rise. With the rise of CPI, consumers become more carefully about spending their money."
China's Consumer Price Index, a main gauge of inflation, has been above the official warning line of three percent since last May. The index remains stubbornly high, rising to 4.9 percent year on year in February.
Cao Heping says the current high housing prices are also restricting people's motivation to spend.
Liu Zhongqing, a salesman living in Hangzhou, says he saves half of his monthly salary and has no intention to increase his personal consumption.
"The home prices are too high, especially in big and medium sized cities. Moreover, the mortgage rates have been raised. So I will not jump to buy a house in the near future. Right now I just want to save as much money as I can."
The newly released figures by the National Bureau of Statistics show that housing prices in most major Chinese cities continued to rise month on month in February. On a year-on-year basis, prices of new homes rose in 68 out of the 70 major cities.
Cao Heping, the expert from Peking University, says the reluctance to spend money will have a negative impact on China's economic transformation.
"If residents don't want to spend their money, our current industrial structure is likely to stay intact. As a result, the government will face a bigger difficulty in transforming its industrial structure."
He advises the government to strike a balance between boosting residents' consumption and curbing the rising inflation and housing prices.
"Policies aiming to combat housing prices and inflation can stimulate people's spending motivation to some extent. But some of the anti-inflation polices may lead to the decline of spending activities. To boost consumption, I think the best and fundamental way is to increase residents' income, improve the medical service and build a universal social security network."
Early this month in the annual parliamentary session, Chinese leadership pledged to pay more attention to people's livelihood over the next five years.
Premier Wen Jiabao assured that the growth of residents' disposable income will outpace the annual economic growth rate during 2011 to 2015.
Official figures show the Chinese economy expanded by 11.2 percent on average during the past five years. At same time people's disposable income increased by less than ten percent.
For CRI, I'm Wu Jia.

Ideal Home Show 2011
Anchor: Spring is in the air and proud homeowners are heading to the Ideal Home Show in London to get the latest inspiration in home fashions. This year the big focus is on sustainable living - in all shapes and sizes.
Our reporter Li Dong has the details.
Reporter: Every spring, as part of annual ritual, many homeowners in the UK decide to do a bit of DIY to improve their living space. Ideal Home Show is such a place where they can showcase creative ideas. It's the country's biggest and longest running home and garden fair.
This year, at the 103rd Ideal Home Show, around 500 exhibitors brought what they believe will be the latest trends and gadgets for the future home.
For example, you can send a text message to the 'Bath-O-Matic Eco Whirlpool Ultimate' bathtub to fill itself up, ready for you to jump in when you get home. By pressing a button on the tub's edge, up pops a 24inch HD screen, or ice-cold champagne from the bathtub's built-in fridge.
According to show presenter Lee Baldry, all our household appliances will soon be customized to suit our every whim.
"The house of the future is going to be designed around one person, and that's you. So it's going to be all about how it can help you, how it can you know how to assist your life, make your life easier, better, more exciting, literally opening up your home to the world via, of course, the Internet."
Managing Director of New World Bathrooms John Thompson explains that his shower is the ultimate must-have luxury appliance for those who don't want to move a finger in the morning.
"Where this one differs from other models on the market and from other models on this stand is that I've specifically designed this one to include a body drier in the roof, a drier system. So that, obviously it's a steam room, you use the steam as you would a steam sauna, then when you finish you have a shower - there's a big monsoon shower there - when you finish the shower press the button and the heat blows and dries your body off completely so you don't need to use a towel, you step out of the shower, nice and dry."
The Ideal Home includes personal gadgets that may or may not come off.
Simple inhaler technology is at the heart of Le Whif, a device for delivering measured doses of vitamins or minerals, in a variety of flavors.
"Le Whif is quite clever actually because we all take vitamins and minerals in tablet form or effervescent in a glass of water, but this way you're literally inhaling the vitamins. So, one they get into your bloodstream quicker, and two, for those who calorie count, if you're on a diet, they are less than one calorie per whiff."
Interior designer and architect George Clarke has designed a completely eco-friendly house. Take the tiles for example,Clarke says, the EFT1 tiles may look like any normal tile, but the technology that lies behind them is anything but ordinary.
"There's a tile in there that's coated in a film of titanium dioxide. And titanium dioxide basically can turn CO2 back into oxygen. So in effect that tile is like a tree: it can absorb the CO2 and emit oxygen. And that is mad, I think it's brilliant, you know, the fact that we've got such great technology in the world now that can do such great things for the environment, I find it so refreshing."
Tiles like these can make a real contribution to the environment: 1,000 square meters of EFT1 tiles can produce the equivalent amount of oxygen as 20 mature trees.
The Ideal Home Show runs until March 27th at the Excel Centre in London.
For CRI, I am Li Dong.

Newspaper Picks
VIP rooms in Shanghai public hospitals, which are popular with wealthy Chinese and expats, are to close.
Instead, VIP beds will be offered in two planned international medical centers in Pudong and Hongqiao. These are currently at the planning stage, with construction scheduled to start this year.
They will feature high-end medical resources including facilities offered by overseas clinics, joint ventures, public and private hospitals.
These changes are part of health reforms in the city that will see public hospitals focus on offering basic health care to all residents.
Under reforms, solely invested medical facilities from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan would get the go-ahead, in an bid to encourage the involvement of private facilities and overseas capital in Shanghai's health care system. .
The Shanghai Health Bureau said the changes ensure a safe, fair and accessible service.