News & Reports 2012-11-10

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Broadcasting Time: 07:00-08:00, GMT+08:00, 2012-11-10

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

In This Edition

Political parties from different parts of the world send in congratulatory notes following the launch of the party congress in Beijing.
The role migrant workers in China's development gets attention at the Party congress.
Pentagon says Iranian fighter jets opened fire at a US drone flying over the Arabian Gulf this past week.
And China's consumer price index dipped further in October.

Hot Issue Reports

CPC National Congress Gets World Attention

Political parties from different parts of the world have been sending in congratulatory notes following the launch of the party congress here in Beijing.
CRI's Li Jing has more.

Reporter: Party leaders from various countries have been sending in congratulatory messages, with most suggesting the current CPC congress will be significant in outlining China's future development strategy.

The notes are also expressing hope the new Chinese leadership will continue to pursue reforms and act as an active member of the international community.

Sukhbaatar Batbold is the Chair of the Mongolian People's Party.

"China has encountered some challenges during the past few years. The 18th CPC Congress will discuss ways to overcome these challenges. I also believe the congress will put forward relevant policies and development plans, which could help realize Chinese people's expectation of development. I hope the party congress will be a success and a starting point to a new chapter of prosperity."

China's economic reform and growth appear to be garnering most of the attention from foreign experts overseeing the congress.

Eric De La Maisonneuve is the president of the Society for Strategy in Paris.

"China is one of the few countries who succeeded in maintaining a stable economy amongst the global financial crisis. The country has kept close relationships with the rest of the world. Its success in domestic market produces positive influence on world economy. We are looking forward to the party congress which draws a blueprint for China's political and economic development. The more successful China develops, the greater impact it can have on world peace and stability."

At the same time, a leading US economist is suggesting China's new leadership needs to focus its economic strategy toward consumption.

Stephen Roach is a former Chief Economist with Morgan Stanley.

"The strength of Chinese growth, which has drawn great support from investment and exports, is starting to fade in large part because the demand of global economy is weak after series of crisis. China now needs to shift the growth framework to draw greater support from internal private consumption. "

Roach says the current party congress needs to make good on policies outlined in the 12th Five-Year Plan, suggesting the new leadership needs to act quickly to bring in the promised reforms.

For CRI, I'm Li Jing.

Interest of Migrant Workers in China Better Guaranteed

Social researchers and lawyers taking part in the party congress here in Beijing are suggesting the government is now starting to better understand the role migrant workers play in the development of the Chinese society. CRI's Shen Ting has more.

Reporter: The rapid growth of urban economies in China has led to a huge demand for cheap labor, directly attracting surplus workers from rural areas. A recent report sponsored by the China Population and Development Research Center indicates that the number of migrant workers in China reached 230 million in 2011.

That's about 17 percent of the country's total population. The report also notes that the annual growth of the migrant population will be around 10 million during the 12th Five-Year Plan period from 2011 to 2015.

The huge growth in this population is causing problems such as the unfair treatment of migrant workers when it comes to employment. But according to Tong Lihua, one of the three lawyer delegates to this week's 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the complaints from migrant workers regarding unequal treatment in the cases he has handled have changed, and the changes to some extent reflect social development.

"In 2005, migrant workers not getting back pay and workplace injuries were more common than other issues. Now the focus of their attention in protecting their interests has shifted to demands for labor contracts or double pay. I believe these changes are positive and reflect that society is advancing."

Along with this social development, the Chinese government has been seriously working to implement a series of reforms concerning social policies, which signal further progress in the protection of migrant workers' interests. Zhang Zhanxin, a researcher at the Institute of Population and Labor Economics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, explains.

"A series of government policies made in 1995 concerning restrictions on the rural population to work in cities has been made invalid. Later, an implementation of the labor contract law in 2008 began to benefit migrant worker populations, which the labor law failed to cover. And China's social insurance law adopted by the government in 2010 ensures the coverage of social insurance for migrant workers."

Zhang also says migrant workers now enjoy more of the same opportunities as do their urban peers because of the diminishing negative impact of the household registration system.

On the other hand, experts believe the Chinese government must do much more to better accommodate the large number of migrant workers in cities. They say the issue will continue to be a major challenge in the coming decades.

For CRI, I'm Shen Ting.

Chongqing Authorities: Reform and Opening up Policy Will Continue

Authorities in Chongqing are pledging to continue with the reform and opening up policy to further economic growth in the municipality.

Zhang Dejiang, the Party chief of Chongqing, has made the promise during a group session at the ongoing Party congress here in Beijing.

"Chongqing's economy ranks the 23rd among the total 31 provinces and autonomous regions. Per capita GDP and urban and rural income are all below the national level. Based on these figures, we put scientific development as our priority. The purpose is to improve people's livelihood in Chongqing."

State company investment in Chongqing has hit some 6 billion US dollars in the first 9 months of this year.

This is roughly the same as foreign investment during the same period, which marks an increase of some 40 percent.

Pentagon Says Iranian Aircraft Fired upon US Drone in International Airspace

The US Defense Department has confirmed Iranian fighter jets shot at an unmanned US drone flying over the Arabian Gulf this past week.

The missiles missed and the US drone returned to base unscathed.

Pentagon spokesperson George Little says this is the first time an unmanned aircraft has been shot at over international waters in the Arabian Gulf.

"An unarmed, unmanned NQ1 US military aircraft conducting routine surveillance over the Arabian Gulf was intercepted by Iranian SU-25 Frogfoot aircraft and was fired upon with guns."

Little says the incident wasn't disclosed until now because the military doesn't like to talk about its classified surveillance missions.

However, the Pentagon has been forced to answer questions about the incident after news reports surfaced about the shooting.

Little says the engagement occurred over international waters, approximately 16 nautical miles off of the Iranian coastline.

"The United States has communicated the Iranians that we will continue to conduct surveillance flights over international waters over the Arabian Gulf, consistent with longstanding practice and our commitment to the security of the region. We have a wide range of options from diplomatic to military, to protect our military assets and our forces in the region and will do so when necessary."

This is the second incident involving a US drone and Iran.

Late last year, a stealth drone malfunctioned and was later captured by Iran in the eastern part of the country.

The US claims the drone was doing surveilence along the Iran-Afghanistan border when its operators lost contact with it.

Iran insists it shot the drone down in its territory.

Israeli Military Team Search for Survivors in Ghana

An Israeli military team have arrived in Ghana to help search for survivors, a day after a four-storey shopping mall collapsed in capital Accra.

At least 9-people are confirmed dead.

Many others are still thought to be trapped in the rubble of a department store in the mall.

Structural instability is the suspected cause of the collapse.

Ghanaian President John Mahama.

"Yesterday I accepted an offer for the Israeli government to send a team to come and assist our people and they have arrived here and I will urge them to work together with our people, collaborate and let's try and save any more lives that are left in the rubble."

The Israeli military team in Ghana is using trained sniffer dogs and heavy duty equipment in the search for survivors.

Search team leader Uri Kasav.

"We brought basically search machines, we're using sound, we're using vision, sound waves in order to look for people who are trapped inside. Basically we have equipment which is able to locate movement within a building."

The government of Ghana is promising a full inquiry into how the building's owner was able to circumvent building codes.

It's been discovered the construction wasn't approved by municipal authorities in Accra.

Light News

Q&A with Shen Hong

China's consumer price index has dipped further in October.

Latest figures from the National Bureau of Statistics are showing the main gauge of inflation increase just 1.7-percent year-on-year in October.

This is down from the 1.9-percent increase in September.

The continued downturn is expected to allow the government to achieve its full-year CPI figure of 4-percent.

Yuan Gangming is a researcher with the National Center for Economic Research at Tsinghua University.

"CPI increase in the first ten months has reached 2.8 percent, which is more than 1 percent lower than the 4 percent target. Therefore, it's no doubt we can reach the target."

The National Bureau of Statistics is also reporting the producer price index declined 2.8-percent year on year in October.

PPI measures inflation at the wholesale level.

"The PPI decline narrowed in October compared to that in August and September. It shows companies are becoming more active in buying investment raw materials. "

For more on how the CPI has hit its lowest rate of increase in some 3-years, CRI's Peter Smith spoke earlier with Shen Hong, China Bureau Chief of Dow Jones Newswire.

China's Textile Exports Still Difficult

The latest figures from the China Textile Industry Federation are showing total exports have increased just 1-percent through the first 9-months of this year.

The slowdown is being blamed on weak external demand, rising labor costs and high cotton prices domestically.

External competition is also a factor.

Jiang Hui is vice president of China Textile Import & Export Chamber of Commerce.

"Southeast Asian countries may have more opportunities because of a lower labor cost and lower cotton price. However, our companies should do investigation first since their infrastructure construction and regulations are not good enough."

Exports of Chinese-produced textiles to the European Union, China's largest export market, have dropped 1-percent this year.

Gunman Who Gravely Wounded Fmr Ariz. Congresswoman Gets Life Imprisonment

The man behind the shooting in Arizona early last year which critically injured a US congresswoman and left 6-others dead has been sentenced to life in prison.

24-year old Jared Lee Loughner has entered a plea agreement which will see him spend the rest of his life behind bars without the possibility of parole.

By entering the plea, Loughner avoids the death penalty.

US District Attorney for Arizona John Leonardo.

"For the family members of those who were killed and for those who survived this terrible event, it is our hope that the final resolution of this case will be a positive step towards their healing process, physically, emotionally and psychologically."

Loughner, who has been diagnosed as a schizophrenic, went on a shooting rampage at a public event put on by congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in January of last year, killing 6 and wounding 13 others, including the congresswoman herself.

Though shot in the head, Giffords survived and recovered enough to make a stirring appearance at the Democratic National Convention earlier this year.

Irish PM on European Tour ahead of EU Presidency

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has made another stop on his current European tour.

Kenny is making the rounds ahead of Ireland taking the reigns of the rotating presidency of the European Union next year.

Kenny has met with his Austrian counterpart, Chancellor Werner Faymann, in Vienna.

He says the two leaders have agreed that Greece should remain a part of the eurozone, and should be given more time to address economic woes.

"I think Greece will need a little bit more time and we should give them more air to breathe. I think this is also a question of solidarity."

Kenny has made stops in both Austria and Hungary.

He's due to meet with leaders in Germany as well.

In Berlin, Kenny is due to be presented with the European of the Year award.

Djokovic Reach Final Four at ATP World Tour Finals

In tennis, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has reached the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals after defeating Czech Tomas Berdych in straight sets. CRI London correspondent Tu Yun reports.

Reporter: Djokoivc held a head-to-head advantage against Berdych, winning 10 of their 11 previous meetings.

The Serbian extended his lead by beating the Czech 6-2, 7-6.

Djokovic is now in the final four of the year-end finale for the third time.

"It's definitely a step forward for me here in this World Tour Finals. I played only one occasion last couple of years in the semi-finals. But this is the first time I've won all my three group matches. So this is a great confidence boost for me. Hopefully I can go even further."

Also in the semi-finals is home favorite Andy Murray, who outperformed France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2, 7-6.

For CRI, I'm Tu Yun reporting from London.

[Media Digest]


"Airlines Told to Abide by New Safety Rules"

According to new rules set by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, airlines will be punished if their crew continues to offer service during take-off or landing, or if they worked overtime.

Flight attendants in most cases won't turn down a passenger's request for a blanket when the plane is taking off and they won't collect unfinished meal boxes before landing to avoid passenger complaints and keep their customers from flying with their competitors.

The Oriental Morning Post is reporting the CAAC has published new rules which allow flight attendants to start serving passengers only when the plane is flying in cruise mode.

The rules also ban flight crew from working more than 850 hours per year. If airline companies violate the rules, they will not be allowed to buy new planes for three months.

The new rules will take effect on August 1 next year.


"Public Perceives Journalists Have it Hard"

A recent Fudan University survey finding that about 85 percent of the public believes that journalists have a difficult job.

It is reported that the university's Media and Public Opinion Research Center released the survey to mark the 13th annual Journalist Day on Thursday.

According news reports the survey finds that 56 percent of respondents thought being a journalist is a high-risk job.

About 58 percent of respondents say that journalists are doing a "good" or "very good" job and 48.2 percent say that journalists behave professionally. Some 43.7 percent thought that journalists have a high degree of credibility.


"7UP Maker Sued over Antioxidant Claims"

The Dr Pepper Snapple Group, the maker of 7UP, has been sued for allegedly misleading consumers over the supposed health benefits of an antioxidant it uses in some varieties of the soft drink.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group for food safety and nutrition, says the company's advertising and packaging suggest that the drinks contain antioxidants from blackberries, cherries, cranberries, among other things rather than added Vitamin E.

According to the National Cancer Institute antioxidants help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules associated with cancer.

The named plaintiff is David Green, a resident of California. He says he would not have bought the soft drinks had he known their antioxidants did not come from fruit.

In December 2008, the US Food and Drug Administration objected to labeling in which Coca-Cola described its now-discontinued Diet Coke Plus drink as "Diet Coke with Vitamins & Minerals."


"Climate Change Threat to Arabica Coffee Crops"

Climate change could severely reduce the areas suitable for wild Arabica coffee before the end of the century.

It supports predictions that a changing climate could damage global production of coffee - the world's second most traded commodity after oil.

Wild Arabica is important for the sustainability of the coffee industry because of its genetic diversity.

The Arabica crops grown in the world's coffee plantations are from very limited genetic stock and are thought to lack the flexibility to cope with climate change and other threats such as pests and diseases.

Researchers from UK and Ethiopia examined the future distribution of wild Arabica using climate modelling.

Aaron Davis, head of coffee research at the Royal Botanic Gardens from UK says "The extinction of Arabica coffee is a startling and worrying prospect. However, the objective of the study was not to provide scaremonger predictions for the demise of Arabica in the wild.