Human tests start on collagen complex to repair spinal cord injury

 

 

 

 

 

 

NAIROBI

>>  Chinese FM’s Africa visit strengthens ties, cooperation

By Deng Yaomin

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi wrapped up his week-long Africa tour on Friday of January 16, which has taken him to Kenya, Sudan, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).

The visit is to strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation between China and African countries in areas such as politics, economy and security, Wang told reporters in Kinshasa, capital of DR Congo, the last leg of his Africa trip.

Africa hosts most of the developing countries, and China-Africa cooperation is an essential part of South-South cooperation, he said.

“China is willing to transform the traditional friendship between China and Africa into impetus for common development, and to work with African countries to convert their potential in human and natural resources into economic strengths,” he added.

 

WIN-WIN COOPERATION

 

Wang said that China cherishes the sincere friendship with Africa, and is willing to work with African countries to pursue common benefits, realize win-win results and achieve common development.

During his first stop in Kenya, Wang stressed that the sides will further promote cooperation in seven priority areas, including agricultural modernization, infrastructure development and renewable energy, so as to deepen bilateral relations and practical cooperation.

In Cameroon, the foreign minister said China will continue to enhance political mutual trust with Cameroon and boost win-win cooperation on the basis of the development needs of Cameroon and the ability of China.

China will further promote cooperation with Equatorial Guinea in energy and other fields and create more win-win achievements, Wang said when visiting the country.

In DR Congo, Wang said China is willing to work with the country to support each other politically, achieve win-win outcomes economically and deepen security cooperation.

 

MEDIATION EFFORTS

 

Besides strengthening political ties and economic cooperation, another highlight of Wang’s Africa visit is China’s support for the efforts of the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) to promote reconciliation and realize peace and stability in South Sudan.

The Chinese foreign minister held a consultation with the IGAD and the conflicting parties of South Sudan on Monday in Khartoum, capital of Sudan, during his visit to the country.

At the consultation, South Sudan’s conflicting parties reached an agreement on accelerating the country’s peace process and expressed welcome to China’s support for the mediation efforts of the IGAD.

Wang said achieving stability in South Sudan at an early date serves the interest of the people and is the common wish of Sudan and other countries in the region as well as China and the world at large.

The foreign minister stressed that China is mediating between Sudan and South Sudan not for its own interest but in line with the responsibilities and obligations of a responsible major country.

He also reiterated China’s support for Sudanese efforts to safeguard its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, to overcome its temporary economic difficulties, and to maintain regional peace and stability.

Meanwhile, Wang said China values its traditional friendship with Sudan, and is willing to promote bilateral ties with a strategic vision and from a long-term perspective.

He said China is ready to explore new potential with Sudan, promote sustainable development in traditional areas of cooperation, actively discuss a new cooperation model, and explore new areas of cooperation.

 

 

 

 

 

BUNGOMA, Kenya

>>  Chinese firm to construct maize miller in Kenya

By Deng Yaomin

Chinese firm Sino-Kenya Engineering Company Limited started to construct a maize milling plant in western Kenya’s Bungoma County, officials said on Saturday of January 17.

Bungoma’s Governor Kenneth Lusaka said the 1.5 million U.S. dollar project will be a relief to the farmers who have been frustrated in maize farming venture dominated by poor prices and high cost of production.

Lusaka said the project will benefit big number of maize farmers in the area as well as others in the neighboring counties.

“This is a critical project; it will help spur development and help keep off middlemen who always exploit farmers by buying their maize at low prices and in later sell back to them at higher prices,” Lusaka said.

The governor noted that equipments for the project will be shipped in from China by February and the miller will be ready before the next harvest period to ensure farmers benefit fully from its services.

Lusaka also disclosed that the investors will also help maintain local roads around the area as well as sponsor 20 students for their school fees as a form of giving back to the society to help improve their living standards.

The governor said the investors will also seek to set up an electricity generating source on river Nzoia, which will help supply electricity to Bungoma County residents.

 

 

 

 

 

HO CHI MINH CITY

>>  Vietnam celebrates 65th anniversary of Vietnam-China diplomatic relations

A meeting to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Vietnam-China diplomatic relations was solemnly held here on Saturday of January 17 by the Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City People’s Committee, aimed at strengthening the friendship and solidity between the people of China and Vietnam in general, and HCM City in particular.

Vice Chairman of HCM City People’s Committee Tat Thanh Cang, and Consul General of Chinese Consulate in HCM City Chai Wenrui, each delivered a speech, in which they reviewed and highlighted development of the mutual traditional friendship of the two countries gained over the past 65 years.

They both asserted that the two countries would continue joining hands to consolidate their long-standing friendship, support each other in reforms and opening-up in the coming years, and promote cooperation in various fields including economy, education, culture, science and technology.

Among participants to the meeting were local authorities and relevant agencies, as well as representatives from foreign diplomatic and business circles in the city.

 

 

 

 

 

HO CHI MINH CITY

>>  65th anniversary of China-Vietnam diplomatic relations celebrated in Vietnam’s HCM City

A reception for the 65th anniversary of China-Vietnam diplomatic relations has been hosted by the Chinese Consulate-General in Ho Chi Minh City with the participation of local authorities and foreign diplomatic representatives.

“Sixty-five years ago, on January 18, 1950, China and Vietnam established diplomatic relations, which opened a new era of the friendly cooperation between the two countries. We supported each other and composed new chapters of socialist revolution and construction, in which the two peoples forged bonds of deep friendship,”Chinese Consul General in HCM City Chai Wenrui addressed the reception held on Friday evening of January 16.

He said that in recent years, China and Vietnam have made efforts to maintain the smooth development of bilateral ties, enhance mutual trust, deepen traditional friendship, handle differences appropriately, which have contributed to developing China-Vietnam comprehensive strategic partnership for cooperation.

Both sides are currently in the critical period of reform, innovation and opening-up, with opportunities for mutual development, Chai added.

The consul general emphasized that the Communist Party of China and Chinese government have attached great importance to friendly and cooperative relations with Vietnam, and made efforts to promote traditional good-neighborly friendship and development of China-Vietnam comprehensive strategic partnership for cooperation.

“The Vietnamese government and people are always keen to join hands with the Chinese government and people to consolidate traditional friendship and further promote the development of China-Vietnam comprehensive strategic cooperation partnership,” said Le Thanh Liem, vice chairman of HCM City People’s Committee.

 

 

 

 

 

COLOMBO

>>  China donates 3 mln USD to Sri Lanka’s flood affected

By Uditha

The Chinese government has donated 3 million U.S. dollars to the flood relief efforts in Sri Lanka, an official said on Friday of January 16.

“China and Sri Lanka are good friends and neighbors. The Chinese government is committed to supporting the Sri Lankan people and government,” said Deputy Head of Mission at the Chinese Embassy Ren Faqiang.

Torrential rains triggered floods in late December that swept over many parts of the island nation, killing over 30.

State-run Disaster Management Center said nearly 800,000 people were affected while about 80,000 displaced people had to be housed in shelters.

President Maithripala Sirisena, who was sworn in on Jan. 9, appointed a 27-member cabinet earlier this week with Public Peace, Disaster Management and Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunga assuming duties on Friday.

“We must work to be prepared for disasters of this magnitude. I thank the Chinese government for its assistance and continued support in Sri Lanka’s times of need,” Amaratunga said during his first speech as minister.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese army to look into corruption in staff housing projects

By Fu Shuangqi

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will start a two-year operation against malpractice and corruption in staff housing projects.

Due to loose supervision, there are a number of problems in staff housing projects, said Friday’s PLA Daily quoting a notice from the PLA General Political Department, the PLA General Logistics Department and the PLA discipline inspection department.

Chinese armed forces have built affordable housing projects for officers and servicemen since 1999. They are supposed to be moderate in size and equipment and should not be sold to civilians.

However, the notice admitted that some housing projects were built out of budgets and aimed for luxury use. Some were sold to staff at unusually cheap prices and others were sold to civilians.

In this operation, the authorities will comb through all staff housing projects, exposing misconducts and closing loopholes, the newspaper said.

Those who do not take this operation serious and refuse to well implement it will not be tolerated but seriously punished, it said.

Gang Fangbin, a professor at the University of National Defense, told Saturday’s Beijing News that housing projects normally involve huge amount of money and provide a big “grey area” for corrupt officers to maneuver.

Several high-profile officers in PLA logistics departments, which take charge of housing projects, have been sacked in the country’s fierce anti-corruption operation.

They included Liu Zheng, deputy head of PLA General Logistics Department, who has been under investigation since November, and Gu Junshan, another deputy head of PLA General Logistics Department, who was charged with embezzlement, bribery, misuse of state funds and abuse of power.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Clone scientist under graft probe suspended from academician title

By Fu Shuangqi and Yu Xiaojie

The Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) announced on Saturday of January 17  that it suspended the renowned clone scientist Li Ning, arrested for swindling research funds, will likely be stripped of the title of academician.

Li, a professor at the Chinese University of Agriculture on genetic breeding and cloning, was arrested in June for cheating state scientific research funds for a trans-gene biology project.

The Supreme People’s Procuratorate confirmed in October that he was suspected of embezzling 20 million yuan (3.26 million US dollars) by producing false invoices and faking expenses.

According to the academy’s constitution revised in June, as long as academicians breach laws, harm national interests or are found scientifically immoral, they will be stripped of the honor title.

Li will be deprived of the title if the court finds him guilty. If not, the CAE presidium will discuss and decide whether to withdraw the suspension.

In its two-decade history, the CAE, China’s top academic institution on engineering, has never kicked out any academics.

Born in 1962, Li was elected the CAE academician in 2007 and considered one of the youngest and promising engineering scientists.

 

 

 

 

 DALIAN

>>  Xiao Shengfeng elected Dalian mayor

By Zhong Qun and Jiang Yongjun

Xiao Shengfeng, acting mayor of Dalian City, northeast China’s Liaoning Province, on Saturday of January 17 was elected mayor of the city at the third session of the 15th Dalian municipal people’s congress, the local legislature.

Xiao, former head of the city’s political advisory body, was appointed the acting mayor on Dec. 29. Li Wancai resigned as the Dalian mayor the same day.

 

 

 

 

 

HANGZHOU

>>  Eastern province links officials’ promotion with air quality

By Zhong Qun and Yue Deliang

The government of east China’s Zhejiang Province has decided to tackle its air pollution in a unique way: by connecting it to officials’ job promotions.

In line with a freshly published guideline on air pollution, starting from 2015, officials of all prefecture-level cities in Zhejiang will have to attain good scores in two separate systems that evaluate local air quality to secure promotions.

According to the document, one system will be based on the average annual PM 2.5 readings in these cities, and the other will take into consideration energy consumption, car emission control and industrial restructuring.

PM 2.5 is a particulate matter with a diameter less than 2.5 micrograms that caused hazardous smog.

Both systems are marked out of 100. There will be four marking levels: excellent, good, borderline and fail.

The Zhejiang government said the evaluation will be an important criteria and will be open to public supervision. The provincial authorities will allocate environmental funds to cities that do well and mete out penalties to those that perform poorly.

In recent years, heavy smog has caused growing concerns over health hazards. China has taken a variety of measures to contain air pollution, including restrictions on industrial production and vehicle use.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Wearable devices have bright future in China: survey

By Liu Xinyong

A latest survey showed that wearable devices will become more popular in the Chinese market in the next five years.

For wearable health devices, 39 percent of respondents worldwide plan to buy one by 2020, but 65 percent of Chinese consumers surveyed already have an interest in buying one, according to a survey filed to Xinhua Saturday by Accenture, a consulting and technology services company.

As many as 67 percent of Chinese consumers are likely to buy wearable fitness monitors and 73 percent wants smart watches in the coming five years, more than doubled 32 percent and 27 percent in the United States.

When buying wearable and other smart devices, Chinese consumers place features and functions as the most important factors.

However, user experience is lacking at the current time, as a staggering 83 percent of those surveyed across the globe reported various problems when they use these new types of devices.

In China, the top three issues consumers face are “too complicated to use,” “set-up did not proceed properly” and “not visually or aesthetically appealing”. Only 1 percent of Chinese respondents said they did not experience any challenges at all, the survey said.

The survey was conducted online between October and November 2014, with 24,000 respondents in 24 countries, including China, Australia, Brazil, France, Turkey and the United States.

At present, wearable devices are marketed by a number of companies, including Apple Inc., China’s Xiaomi and Samsung from the Republic of Korea.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Human tests start on collagen complex to repair spinal cord injury

By Fu Shuangqi

Chinese scientists and doctors began a landmark clinical trial in which they use a collagen complex and stem cells to repair damaged human spinal cord.

Six patients have signed up for the trial and the first surgery was completed on Friday, said a statement from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) on Saturday of January 17.

The research was led by Dai Jianwu, a research fellow with the Institute of Genetics and Development Biology of CAS.

Friday’s surgery went smoothly and the patient is in a good condition, Dai said.

According to Dai, the patient was implanted with mesenchymal stem cells and a collagen complex made up of collagen scaffold fibers, also described as collagen tubes, with collagen binding brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein to support and encourage the growth of neurons.

The collagen complex acts as a bridge for nerves to reconnect and mesenchymal stem cells help tissue recovery, Dai said.

“Previous tests on rats and dogs showed positive results,” he said.

In this stage, scientists aim to test the safety of surgery and perfect its design, he said.

In the next stage, about 20 to 30 more patients will be involved, he added.

The trial is the first in China and probably the first across the world.

“We hope the research can shed light on this clinical challenge,” Dai said.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China economy to grow 7.3 pct in 2015: expert

By Liu Xinyong

China’s economic growth may be as high as 7.3 percent in 2015, partly due to lower cost for growth from dropping commodity prices, an expert with the central bank’s think tank said on Saturday of January 17.

Song Guoqing, an academic advisor for the People’s Bank of China’s (PBOC’s) monetary policy committee, said at a forum that the consumer price index may rise by about 1.6 percent mainly due to low commodity prices.

The sharp decline in the prices of commodities, including crude oil, iron ore and copper, presents to be a large bonus for the China’s economy due to subsequent lower costs, he said.

Song’s views were echoed by Ma Jun, chief economist of the PBOC’s research bureau.

Ma estimates that annual gross domestic output (GDP) growth will increase by 0.12 percentage point if the crude oil price drops by 10 percent year on year, he said at the same forum.

Many institutions have painted a less rosy picture for China’s economy this year, including Nomura, which said in a research note that growth may slow to 7.1 percent in the first quarter of 2015.

The Bank of Communications saw growth of 7.2 percent for the whole year of 2015 partly due to weak external demand and deflation pressures in industrial sector.

China’s GDP expanded by 7.4 percent in the first three quarters of 2014, within the government’d targeted being around 7.5 percent. Data for the whole year of 2014 is expected next Tuesday.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Lock-up shares worth 71 bln yuan eligible for trade

By Shi Hao

Lock-up shares worth some 71.3 billion yuan (about 11.7 billion U.S. dollars) will become eligible for trade on China’s stock markets in the coming week.

A total of nearly 5.2 billion shares of 37 companies will be tradable on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges.

Under China’s market rules, major shareholders of non-tradable stocks are subject to one or two years of lock-up before they are permitted to trade the shares.

The value of the upcoming shares almost doubled the amount released this week, putting some downward pressure on the market due to the increase in stock supply.

China Shipbuilding Industry Company Ltd will see 1.6 billion non-tradable shares hit the market on Jan. 23, the largest size to be released next week.

 

 

 

 

 

JINAN

>>  China’s Shandong reports human H7N9 case

By Wang Haiying and Zhang Yi

East China’s Shandong Province on Saturday of January 17 reported a human infection of the H7N9 avian flu.

The patient, surnamed Meng, is a 60-year-old farmer, the provincial health and family planning commission said.

Meng is being treated at a hospital of his hometown, Linyi City in Shandong.

The commission said he got the avian flu in Jiangsu Province.

 

 

 

 

 

NANJING

>>  22 dead after boat capsizes in east China

By Zhong Qun, Yang Shaogong and Zhu Xudong

A total of 22 people were confirmed dead after a tugboat with 25 onboard sank on the Yangtze River in east China’s Jiangsu Province on Thursday afternoon, local authorities said on Saturday of January 17.

Rescuers found the body of the last missing person in the tug’s cockpit at around 2 p.m. Saturday, according to the Jiangsu Maritime Safety Administration (JMSD).

The boat, the “Wanshenzhou 67″, was extracted from the depths on Saturday morning, 40 hours after it sunk in Fubei Channel, near Jingjiang City.

On Saturday morning, local authorities published the names of those on board, including eight foreigners — four Singaporeans, an Indonesian, a Malaysian, an Indian and a Japanese national. All 25 onboard were men, according to the JMSD.

As of 11 a.m., 19 bodies have been spotted in nearby waters, with two already retrieved. Rescuers have saved three people, all of them Chinese, including an interpreter. All the eight foreigners were killed, the JMSD confirmed.

Pictures on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, show family members crying desperately by the river. Many braved the cold on early Saturday morning to wait for news of their loved ones.

Wang Zhenkai, one of the three rescued, told Xinhua reporters that he was the interpreter for a 60-year-old Japanese engineer.

“Only the two of us were in the cockpit. We had just finished the load test of the boat’s main engine when the vessel suddenly turned on its side. Water immediately flooded in,” he said.

Wang, from Yantai City, Shandong Province, was saved at 5:36 a.m. Friday after rescuers cut through the bottom of the boat. He has been hospitalized and is in stable condition.

Wang survived by clinging to a hydraulic pump. He said he grabbed the Japanese engineer, but later the current broke their grasp as the boat started to sink.

About 30 professional vessels, including patrol boats and tug boats, were dispatched during the rescue work, according to local authorities.

Initial investigations found that the boat capsized due to “improper operations”.

According to the JMSD, the tugboat operators did not complete the compulsory procedures needed for trial operations, nor did they report the tug’s conditions to authorities. The boat sank in the midst of a full circle swinging due to improper handling, the JMSD told Xinhua.

The 30-meter-long boat, with a weight of 368 tonnes, was built by Anhui Bengbu Shenzhou Machinery Co. Ltd. in October.

 

 

 

 

 

DALIAN

>>  4 injured after gas station explodes in NE China

By Zhang Yifei and Zhang Yi

A gas station exploded in northeast China’s Dalian city on Saturday evening of January 17, injuring four people, local authorities said.

The explosion occurred in Jinzhou district of Dalian at around 7 p.m. after an oil tank carrier caught fire. Four gas station workers suffered burns but their injuries were not considered life threatening.

The fire fighting brigade has put out the fire.

The cause of the accident is being investigated.

 

 

 

 

 

INING

>>  Seven killed in northwest China highway collision

By Zhong Qun and Wang Daqian

Seven people were killed after two vehicles collided head-on on Saturday morning in northwest China’s Qinghai Province, local authorities said.

A sedan car collided with an oil tanker on a national highway in Madoi County at around 8:30 a.m., killing all seven in the overloaded sedan, according to the provincial department of public security.

The accident is being investigated.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Typhoon Mekkhala to affect China

By Shi Hao

Typhoon Mekkhala is approaching China, bringing strong winds to the South China Sea, the National Meteorological Center (NMC) forecasted on Saturday of January 17.

Mekkhala, the first typhoon in 2015, is expected to move northwest at a speed of 15 to 20 kilometers per hour after barrelling into the Philippines on Saturday afternoon.

Gales will sweep waters around Huangyan Islands, Xisha Islands, Taiwan and off coastal province of Fujian from Saturday night to Sunday night, according to the NMC.

The typhoon is weakening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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