Monday, September 22, 2008

Seven listed Chinese banks report $721 mln in Lehman exposure

Seven Chinese listed banks have announced bond holdings of 721 million U.S. dollars in the bankrupt U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers as of Monday, according to Securities Daily.

The individual exposures included 191.4 million U.S. dollars at China Construction Bank , 151.8 million U.S. dollars at the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China , 128.8 million U.S. dollars at the Bank of China , 76 million U.S. dollars at the CITIC Bank, 70 million U.S. dollars at the China Merchants Bank, 70.02 million U.S. dollars at the Bank of Communication and 33.6 million U.S. dollars at the Industrial Bank.

CCB, with the largest exposure, said earlier it would closely monitor developments, prudently assess potential losses, make sufficient provision for impairment losses and protect the bank's legal rights.

The Lehman Brothers bankruptcy would not have a significant impact on CCB's financial situation, the bank said.

ICBC also said it was considering making provisions for its Lehnman exposure.

Source: Xinhua

Survey: More women than men shopping online

More women than men are shopping online, and making purchases more frequently over the Internet, showed the latest survey on online shopping habits issued by MasterCard here on Monday.

The report, which surveyed 4157 respondents across Australia, Chinese mainland, China's Hong Kong, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand, showed that 78 percent of all women surveyed had shopped online, and that women shoppers comprised 57 percent of those who had shopped six times or more over a period of three months.

It also showed that price/value was the top consideration in terms of making an online purchase. In fact, of the 61 percent of women who admitted to shopping impulsively online, the substantial discounts and lower prices found online were often the trigger for this.

Seventy-five percent of female consumers who had shopped on impulse did so because of the lower prices, while 49 percent were attracted by the uniqueness of products which were only available online.

The products frequently purchased by female consumers included ladies' clothing or accessories, books and arts and cosmetics, said the survey.

While female consumers were shown to be more prone to impulse shopping, a slightly higher number of male shoppers were surprisingly more planned with their purchases.

The survey showed that 85 percent of male shoppers had conducted some research prior to their online purchase, compared to 82 percent of female shoppers.

In addition, male shoppers are spending more on their online purchases. Seventy-nine percent of men spent more than 100 U.S. dollars on online shopping over a period of three months compared to 72 percent of women shoppers surveyed.

This is possibly due to the types of products men purchase online, said the survey. Men were shopping for home appliances and electronic products, CDs/DVDs/VCDs and books and arts.

Source: Xinhua

China rejects Nigerian mineral shipment over excess radioactivity

More than 70 tonnes of imported zircon sand, a refractory mineral, was ordered on Monday to be returned to its country of origin -- Nigeria -- for exceeding radioactivity standards, authorities said.

The Gamma-ray equivalent of the 74.25 tonnes of zircon sand loaded in four containers was found to be 100 times the normal standard, a Xiamen inspection and quarantine official said.

The zircon sand had been destined for the coastal city of Quanzhou for ceramic production, he said.

Such high level of radioactivity was rare. Importers should set limits on the radioactive standards of minerals, he said.

Source: Xinhua

Innovation breeds the national strength and state prosperity

The just closed 29th Beijing Olympic Games have successfully fulfilled the solemn promise China pledged to the world, and fully displayed the great idea of 'Green Olympics, Science and technology Olympics and Human Olympics' through the active innovation for the duration of preparing for and hosting the Olympic Games.

It has been learned form our experience in hosting the Olympics that the idea of innovation is not only a historic legacy passed on from generation to generation for more than 5,000 years in China, but possesses unfailing fascination attracting us to pursue in the future.

Hundreds and thousands of nationalities coexist in the world arena, each preserving its historical and cultural uniqueness in its struggle for survival and development. But what determines a nation's historical destiny is nothing but its ability to innovate, which is an all-time truth based on facts.

The fruits form practicing the 'science and technology Olympics' also indicate that the basic research work serves as the sources of innovation. Today's popular application of Light Emitting Diode , a semiconductor material, would remind us of the painstaking efforts made by generations of scientists bending on the basic research in the field. When we lavish praises on the superb species of rice and corn, we should not forget the efforts made by those engaged in bio technology, genetic engineering and any other complicated research work.

Innovation will be bolstering and guiding the progress of the economic society. The ideas of clean energies and energy conservation will be finally integrated into people's daily life and widely promoted in a bid to improve the livelihood in the society at large. The new information technology applied to media transmission in the Olympics again manifests the fact that innovation needs the strategic foresight and advance deployment.

Admittedly, in the Olympic showcase of science and technology, we still need to highlight opening up and cooperation. We have actually taken advantage of many international sources in the application of plenty of our innovative technologies. China is also endeavoring to advance with the entire world to maneuver into a new information age featuring energy conservation and emission reduction and fight a joint combat against global climate change.

The Olympics have concluded with a satisfactory full stop, but the legacies left behind the Games would remain there and expand beyond the confines of time and space. Surviving the tests by the Olympic Games, a newly developed car driven by clean energy will soon be put into massive production. In the mean time, China is currently working on a plan encouraging 10 cities across the country to lead the trend in the mixed use of automobiles and vehicles driven by clean energy. Additionally, the G3 communication technology has also won the testers' approval after its successful application to the Olympics, and it will be further promoted and act as the bellwether leading the general development of China's information industries complex.

Meanwhile, the technologies applied to environmental protection and environment-friendly measures which have been proved effective during the periods of the Olympics will gain a widespread support ensuing the Games. The Capital Iron and Steel Company has moved out of the capital area in an effort to clean the atmosphere in densely populated Beijing.

Olympics have not only pushed forward the innovation in architectural materials but set up a revolution in the architectural concept. Technologies of high-strength elliptic steel structure employed in the construction of Bird' Nest and some other stadiums can also been extended to the civil architecture.

In a nutshell, we have fully realized that, through the practice of hosting the Olympics and through the perfect marriage of science, technology and the Olympic spirits, to build up an innovation-oriented country means to promote the idea of innovation to every household, and call for a concert effort of people from all walks of life; and vise versa, the fruits by innovation will benefit the people as a whole, and innovation will act as a strong driving force to propel the progress of the economic society. Only on this basis, can the idea of innovation acquire renewed vitality and the spirits of innovation remain immortal.

Its author Wan Gang is the Minister of Science and Technology of PR.C. The article is translated by People's Daily Online

Interview: Senior UN official lauds China's contribution to global MDGs

China has made enormous achievements in realizing its Millennium Development Goals ,rendering an important contribution to the global endeavor to meet the targets, United Nations Under-Secretary-General Sha Zukang has said.

"China is the country that has been the most successful and most effective in realizing its Millennium Development Goals, and as an important player and the most populous developing nation, made significant contributions to the global efforts in achieving MDGs," Sha told Xinhua in an interview on the eve of a high-level meeting at the United Nations on the MDGs.

Representatives from more than 150 countries, including about 90 heads of state and government, are expected to take part in the one-day gathering scheduled for Sept. 25.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will deliver a keynote speech at the opening session.

"It is known to all that the Chinese government and people have exerted arduous efforts and made great achievements in realizing the MDGs," Sha said. "China has met the target of halving the number of people living on less than a dollar a day well ahead of schedule."

In 2001-2006, the central government spent a total of 70.9 billion yuan in poverty reduction efforts, Sha said in the interview, which was conducted in Chinese.

China has also fulfilled the target of ensuring all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling. Since 2007, tuition and miscellaneous fees have all been wavered for the country's 148 million pupils in rural areas, a measure being extended to urban areas this fall.

Steady progress has also been reported in reducing by two thirds the mortality rate among children under five and in improving maternal health.

China faces grave challenges in checking the spread of HIV/AIDS and in ensuring environmental sustainability, and the government is beefing up policy measures and increasing input in these respects.

Globally, Sha said, the picture has been mixed in meeting the MDGs -- eight goals to be achieved by 2015 that respond to the world's main development challenges.

While the number of people in abject poverty has been falling, progress has been slow in some countries, especially those in Sub-Sahara Africa. It appears likely that some countries would miss the 2015 deadline in reducing by half the poverty-stricken population, he said.

Though the mortality rate among children under five has dropped somewhat worldwide, more than 60 countries have not met present targets, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, where child deaths account for half of the global total.

The MDGs are drawn from the actions and targets contained in the Millennium Declaration that was adopted by 189 nations and signed by 147 heads of state and governments during the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000.

The eight goals involve eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality and empower women; reducing child mortality; improving maternal health; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability; and developing a Global Partnership for Development.

"We have now reached the mid-point in realizing the MDGs before2015," Sha said. "Although many developing countries have made due progress in meeting some of the MDGs, there have been great disparities among countries and between different areas within some countries."

"The overall situation brooks no optimism, which makes the upcoming high-level meeting all the more timely and important," Sha said.

The event, which includes three roundtables, will provide a forum for world leaders, the civil society, the private sector and other players to review progress, identify gaps, seek consensus, and come up with new measures to honor pledges aimed at facilitating the realization of the eight development goals, Sha said.


Lebanese president arrives in New York, to meet world leaders

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman arrived in New York Sunday afternoon to attend the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly and meet U.S. President George W. Bush and other world leaders, local Naharnet website reported Monday.

Lebanese delegation sources said that the president is scheduled to meet Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Qatari Emir Shiekh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The president is accompanied by his wife and a delegation described by the press as "small" compared with previous Lebanese delegations who accompanied Lebanese leaders in their trips abroad.

Suleiman and the first lady will attend Monday night a welcome ceremony hosted by U.S. President George W. Bush at Waldorf Astoria hotel. They will also meet UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon ahead of a traditional dinner for all delegations.

This is the first time that President Bush has met a Lebanese president. Bush's meetings with Lebanese officials were limited to the prime minister and pro-government leaders, after his administration isolated former President Emil Lahoud who had strong relations with Syria


Post-Olympic traffic faces challenges

Beijing traffic saw radical increase on Sunday, the first day after the city's two-month alternating odd-even license plate system for the Olympic Games ended.

The 3.4 million automobiles and five million drivers in Beijing could put Beijing in serious traffic conditions in the "post-Olympic times", even more serious than before, said Zhang Jingchun, spokesman of the Traffic Management Bureau.

The city would see more challenge after the end of the "odd-even" system which took effective on July 20 and aimed at cut air pollution and jammed traffic during the Games, Zhang said.

The reopen of the accesses to Beijing for vehicles from other provinces would also make the highways, national ways, Fifth and Sixth Ring Road to face traffic jams, he said.

The seven-day-holiday of the National Day might draw an influx of visitors to scenic spots and shopping centers, while the bad weather would also influence the traffic, he added.

Thirty-eight new measures will be taken by the municipal administrations, including an emergency plan for the first rush hours on Monday.

"High-tech measures, including TV monitoring and flexible time control of traffic lights, will continue to be adopted as they have been effective during the Olympics," Zhang said.

The cooperation between traffic administrations and other related offices such as observatory and environmental sanitation administrations would be continued in the post-Olympic times, he said.

Source: Xinhua