News & Reports 2011-10-23


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Broadcasting Time: 07:00-08:00, GMT+08:00, 2011-10-23

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

In This Edition

Fallen Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's body goes on display in Misrata as revolutionary authorities argue about what to do with his remains.

Reactions to the announcement of troop withdraw by US President Barack Obama has been mixed in the United States.

Euro zone finance ministers and officials gather in Brussels to discuss the crisis in the euro zone ahead of a major summit of EU leaders on Sunday.

And the 2011 International Horticultural Exposition concludes in Northwest Chinese city of Xi'an after six months of grandiose display of flowers and plants from around the world.


Hot Issue Reports

Gaddafi's Body on Display in Misrata
Fallen libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's body has been on display in Misrata as revolutionary authorities argued about what to do with his remains, and questions deepened over official accounts of his death.

Residents formed long queues to view Gadhafi's corpse, which was laid out on a mattress on the floor of an empty refrigerator unit at a shopping centre.

Nearly every aspect of Thursday's killing of the former leader remains mired in confusion.

The top UN rights chief raised concerns that Gadhafi may have been shot dead after being captured alive.

The fate of his body seemed tied up in squabbles among Libya's factions, forcing the delay of a planned burial on Friday.
Libyan transitional officials have said Gadhafi will be buried according to Islamic tradition, but his burial place will be kept secret.

Ahmed Gebreel is the ruling National Transitional Council's foreign affairs spokesman.

"There are consultations between the NTC and Gadhafi's family, and I think this is for the interests of his family and for the interests of the whole country to bury Gadhafi in a secret place. But this has not been decided yet."

Meanwhile, statues that used to stand in Gaddafi's fortified compound in Tripoli have been brought to Misrata as trophies of war.

The statues were put up in a public space for general viewing.

Misrata residents said the space was an open air museum dedicated to the victory of Misrata rebels in the struggle to oust Gaddafi.

"The rebels of Misrata and the heroes of Misrata were able to bring these items over to Misrata and they are now in a museum for everyone to see - in order to say that this era has gone by and is finished in Libya, the era of tyranny and one-party rule and we can start a new life."

The National Transitional Council is expected to declare liberation on Sunday, the starting point for Libya's transition to a new interim government.

The long-awaited declaration of liberation was stalled by fierce resistance of Gadhafi loyalists in his hometown of Sirte, Bani Walid and pockets in the south.

Sirte was the last to fall, but Gadhafi's son and one-time heir apparent Seif al-Islam and many of his fighters have apparently escaped, raising fears they could continue to stir up trouble.

Reaction to Obama's Troop Withdrawal from Iraq Mixed
Reactions to the announcement of troop withdraw by US President Barack Obama has been mixed in the United States.

Some combat veterans in California said they would like to see all US fighters back on American soil. Angelo Padina is one of them.

"I think that's great, honestly. It's been a long-fought, hard war. We're very proud of what we've done and accomplished and it's great to have our boys back home."

However, Adam Mausner, an expert on Middle East security, warned that a power vacuum will ensue once American troops pull out.

"Iraq has virtually no capability to defend itself externally. The United States is really the only thing protecting Iraq from its neighbors. The Iraqi army lacks armor, air power. It has no air defense capability and no plans to create it any time soon. It really will be a decade or more before Iraq can defend itself."

The action also triggers controversy in Iraq.

"If the US forces withdraw from Iraq the country will be all right. US forces were no good for Iraq and its people. So to leave Iraq is for their own good because we did not see anything good from them."

"I see that the Iraqi forces are not ready now. Until now we don't have a complete air force that can protect the Iraqi skies from any aggression and they are not qualified as the Iraqi borders are still under violations from the neighbouring countries for many years so I think it is not the right time to withdraw troops."

Under a security agreement reached with Iraq in 2008, the United States would pull out all its troops from that country by the end of this year after nine years of operation.

In August 2010, Obama declared the US combat mission over.

More than 4,400 members of the US military have been killed and more than 32,000 have been wounded in the longest and most divisive war in the U.S. history.

Euro Zone Finance Ministers to Discuss Crisis in Greece
Euro zone finance ministers and officials have arrived in Brussels to discuss the crisis in the euro zone ahead of a major summit of EU leaders on Sunday.

The finance ministers said they would discuss how to increase the clout of the European Financial Stability Facility bailout fund and deal with the economic situation in Greece.

EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary affairs Olli Rehn.

"It's essential that we realize that no piecemeal solution will do anymore. We need a comprehensive package of measures including a sustainable solution on Greece, reinforcement of financial firewalls, related to the EFSF to contain contagion. And also a coordinated approach on a bank recapitalization exercise."

Eurogroup Chairman and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, however, said the delay in a breakthrough was not only the result of differences between France and Germany, emphasizing that all 17 countries would have to agree to a new plan.

"We have to deal with 17 governments and 17 states and 17 countries and 17 parliaments. There is not just a parliament in Berlin and in Germany, but elsewhere too. For everything that is brought to us, we also have to weave the parliamentary views into the overall solution."

Leaders will also attempt to reach agreement on a new package of aid for Greece on the summit, which is already receiving 110 billion euros of loans from the EU and International Monetary Fund. The second rescue package, originally intended to amount to 109 billion euros, is now likely to be larger; though it is not yet clear how much the final sum will be.

The Finance Ministers are also expected to prepare a framework for stricter rules for keeping national finances in check, including fines for those countries that breach a debt limit of 60 percent of their national GDP.

Queen Elizabeth Presents Royal Colors to Cadets in Australia
Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh have visited a military college at the Canberra suburb of Duntroon, where the Queen presented new royal colors to cadets.

This was the fourth time the Queen has presented colors to the institution, coinciding with the Royal Military College's 100th anniversary.

Five hundred military personnel joined a parade for the Queen and the Duke.

At the ceremony, Queen Elizabeth spoke of the importance of the presentation of colors.

"The presentation of colors is a special opportunity to recognize the past achievements, to give thanks to a commitment and loyalty today, and to express confidence in the future."

The royal colors are a military tradition in Australia, historically used as the rallying point for soldiers on the battlefield. They are made from silk.

The Royal Military College is an elite institution founded in 1911, and is the Australian equivalent to Sandhurst in Britain. The college trains army officer cadets who graduate as lieutenants.

Queen Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh are in Australia for a 10-day visit, at the end of which they will attend the biennial meeting of leaders of the 54 Commonwealth nations in Perth next week.

An Old Bangkok Airport Converted into Evacuation Center
An evacuation center in a Bangkok suburb is bursting at its seams, as more flood victims pour in seeking refuge while their homes are flooded.

The old airport in northern Bangkok was turned into an evacuation centre, taking in more than 3,000 people from the hardest-hit provinces such as Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi as well as residents from surrounding areas.

The centre is itself at risk of being heavily flooded, as waters continue to flow from the north.

An evacuee describes the dire situation.

"I stayed in the house without electricity and water for two days with my children."

"We fled with belongings that we had prepared earlier."

Officials say Thailand's worst flooding in 50 years has killed at least 342 people and devastated seven industrialized areas to the north of Bangkok. They say they hope to divert floodwaters into the sea.

An official says the already overloaded evacuation center expects even more flood victims from surrounding areas to seek shelter there.

"We cannot estimate how many people staying around this area will seek refuge here. They come here because this center is close to their houses. It is quite difficult for us to do a headcount."

27 of Thailand's 77 provinces have been affected by the flooding, with water covering an area 16 times the size of Hong Kong.

The damage incurred is estimated to be at least $3.3 billion, leaving tens of thousands of Thais temporarily out of work.

Joint Operation Uncovers Drug Trafficking Group in Mexico
A daring joint raid by soldiers, marines and police in the northern Mexico state of Nuevo Leon has uncovered an elaborate ranch, which authorities believe was used by the notorious Zetas cartel to control lucrative trafficking routes to the United States and train new members.

Authorities engaged in a fierce firefight with those inside, resulting in the deaths of at least nine suspected cartel members. Their bodies were strewn across the ranch's grounds, just some 100 kilometers away from U.S. Texan border.

As drug violence spreads across the country from its traditional hotspots, vulnerable small towns near the U.S. border have become the new breeding grounds for traffickers. Nuevo Leon's security spokesman, Jorge Domene says rural communities are the ideal headquarters for Mexico's billion-dollar cartels.

"Many rural municipalities have a small population and very little or no police. For criminals it' easy to find these spaces and manage themselves in these areas. We have detected many of them. There they utilize the area to train people and control drug trafficking routes. So, amongst these organized criminals are groups or different teams, looking after different things like production, crime and fighting rival cartels."

Around 44,000 people have died in Mexico's drug wars since President Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006. Calderon has deployed the military to the streets to attack the powerful cartels.

UN Official Appeals for Food Aid to North Korea
The United Nations' top relief official has urged donors to put politics aside and fund aid for millions of North Koreans going hungry from food shortages.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos renewed the appeal for aid at the end of a five-day visit to North Korea.

"When you are dealing with a humanitarian situation, this is about helping the people who are most in need. So, first of all, this is a situation where millions of people are in need; our data tells us that. I have seen it for myself, so we need to support and assist the people. "

Rising global commodities prices coupled with summer floods and typhoons have compounded the emergency this year, and the United Nations estimated in March that more than six million North Koreans urgently needed food aid.

A UN request in April for 218 million US dollars in aid has largely gone unmet as the US continues to shun the aid partly due to North Korea's stance on nuclear disarmament.

Critics accuse the North's leadership of siphoning off aid to feed its army or stockpiling in the event of further tightened sanctions.

But Amos said she saw no evidence of hoarding. She said food aid should be delivered based on the needs of people, not their government's policies.

Xi'an Expo Finally Says Goodbye
A closing ceremony was held Saturday night for the 2011 International Horticultural Exposition in Northwest Chinese ancient capital city of Xi'an. People from all over the world danced and sang on the flower shaped stage as they bid farewell to this six-month long international event.

Wang Tianyi has more.

The closing ceremony of the 2011 Xi'an Expo took place Saturday night at the Xi'an official Expo garden. More than 1500 people have come to see this fabulous visual feast and pay a final visit to the Xi'an Expo.

Zhao Zhengyong, Chairman of the Organizing Committee of Xi'an International Horticultural Exposition, Deputy Secretary of CPC Shaanxi Provincial Committee and Acting Governor of Shaanxi Province delivered his speech at the closing ceremony. He says Xi'an has tried its best to present to the world a green and fashionable Expo.

"The 2011 Xi'an Expo has been a grand international event indeed. Through the vivid display of garden architecture designs, we've been able to get a taste of wonderful cultures from different parts of the world. Visitors were also impressed with our effort to promote a green and low carbon life style. "

Doeke Faber, president of the Association of International Horticultural Producers, praises the achievements of the Xi'an Expo. He says in the past six months, this Expo has brought pleasure and happiness into the hearts and minds of visitors from all walks of life, young and old, from China, and from the rest of the world.

"It has brought millions of visitors to this beautiful ancient city of Xi' an. It has put Xi'an on the map for millions of tourists, visitors who came in the footsteps of Marco Polo, and enjoyed the Xi'an hospitality, friendship, and the Xi'an culture of music and food."

The main stage of the closing ceremony has been designed in the shape of a flower. With different colors of light shining brightly around performance area, viewers feel as if though they are among a sea of flowers. Lin Zhenyu, chief director of the closing ceremony says he hopes people can really enjoy the atmosphere of this final moment of the Xi'an Expo.

"I hope the ceremony can make people feel the real beauty and charm of Xi'an. It's an international city not only because of its quick development but also because of its image as a blooming and ecological city."

The theme of the 2011 Xi'an Expo is "Eternal Peace and Harmony between Nature and Man", and over the course of the past 178 days, the overall number of visitors exceeded 15 million, setting a new record for attendance among all previous exhibitions.

For CRI, I'm Wang Tianyi reporting from Xi'an.

China Needs to Break Inequality of Rural & Urban Education

China's prestigious Tsinghua University has declared that it will introduce preferential policies for students from the country's poverty-stricken areas this year.

All high schools in the 592 poverty-stricken counties defined by the central government will be allowed to nominate one of their students for enrollment at Tsinghua University. The qualification grades for their enrollment will be lower than their peers from cities and richer rural areas.

An editorial from China Daily Newspaper says such a move would help balance rural and urban education and improve the allocation of resources across the country. However, it also warns that an institutional reform of the country's education is the real solution to the inequality of rural and urban education.

China's higher learning institutes normally recruit more urban students because they are considered better academically. But rural students find it hard to get access to top-class universities. The article points out that the phenomenon demonstrates a wide gap between rural and urban students. The distance between the two groups is an outcome of the unfair distribution of urban-rural educational resources. Extreme poverty-stricken areas lack a standardized and universal primary education system.

The editorial criticized the widening urban-rural gap in terms of education resources distribution, which has resulted from more choice and privileges for urban students. The unfair education system will no doubt hinder the ability of rural students to better themselves through education and the attainment of knowledge.

The commentary encourages more higher learning institutions to join Tsinghua University in opening their doors to students from less developed areas.

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Why Medical College Is No Longer A Popular Choice

A recent survey issued by a prestigious medical college in Shanghai reveals that the number of high school graduates applying to medical colleges has seen a sharp decrease in the past few years. Similarly, a number of medical college graduates are choosing not to enter into the medical profession by becoming doctors, choosing instead to engage in other lucrative fields.

An editorial from China's People's Daily analyzes the heavy pressure that medical students experience during their studies, the large salary gap between doctors from China's urban & rural hospitals, and the tense relations between doctors and patients are factors that have led to fewer and fewer students choosing to study medicine.

The commentary says that medical school students will spend more time completing their courses compared with students of other majors. Medical students often need to work much harder because their courses are extremely difficult. But upon graduation, doctors who work at top-class urban hospitals earn much more than those at small county-level hospitals in remote rural areas. Most medical graduates therefore hope to start their careers at larger hospitals which have a higher academic status and offer more opportunities.

Another editorial from news.eastday.com says the competition in top class hospitals has forced a number of graduates to engage in other more profitable professions, such as pharmaceutical representatives or medical insurance brokers rather than being doctors in rural hospitals.

The article also points out that many refuse to be doctors because they fear that patients will file complaints over their conduct or possibly retaliate with violence.

Moreover, compared with doctors from western nations who can choose to work in other countries, Chinese doctors have no choice but to find work inside China because the medical qualifications they receive are not recognized outside of the country.

Both editorials suggest that the only solution to the problem is to seek an equal distribution of medical resources between urban and rural areas. Doctors from both rural and urban areas should receive equal pay, while laws and regulations should be put in place to avoid doctors falling victim to patient complaints. Furthermore, medical colleges, especially those at the county-level, need to raise academic levels so as to ensure that graduates are able to compete with those from prestigious colleges.


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