Hit Chinese sci-fi novel nominated American Nebula Awards

 

 

 

 

 

 

DUBLIN

>>  Irish PM welcomes China’s decision to lift ban on Irish beef imports

By Xiong Sihao

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny on Saturday of February 21 welcomed China’s decision to lift its ban on Irish beef imports, saying that the news is highly significant for the Irish beef industry.

Describing it as a fantastic breakthrough for the sector, Kenny said it meant Ireland would be the only country of the European Union (EU) to be approved for both the U.S. and Chinese markets.

“While China has formally lifted its ban on Irish beef, the next step will require a Chinese veterinary inspection to approve individual processing plants for export,” he said.

In January this year, Ireland secured access to the U.S. beef market, becoming the first EU member state to achieve this feat.

Beef from the EU has been banned from China and the United States since the mad cow disease epidemic that hit Europe more than 15 years ago.

The China ban on Irish beef was formally lifted on Feb. 11, 2015 when China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) agreed to import Ireland’s deboned beef, derived from animals aged under 30 months.

 

 

 

 

 

LOS ANGELES

>>  Celebrating Chinese Lunar New Year at Disneyland California

By Xue Ying

Even when told the waiting time will be 1 to 1.5 hours, the Zhu family stand without hesitation at the end of the long line to take a picture with Mickey and Mini dressing in red Chinese New Year costume at the Disney California Adventure Park Saturday.

“There is only one time in a year that you can take a picture with Mickey and Mini in Chinese costume,” said Tjoe, a family member who were together with 5 adults and 4 kids of the Indonesian-Chinese family.

They used to celebrate the Lunar New Year by dining together. But this year, they chose the Disneyland as their place for the festival reunion. “It’ s a good way for family reunion and for Lunar New Year celebration,” said Tjoe, looking at the four joyful young kids, also in traditional Chinese New Year dress.

Writing New Year wishes on red tags and hanging them on the wishing wall, Chinese brush painting and calligraphy, red lantern making, live music and dancing performances … nearly a dozen of Lunar New Year cultural events attracted tens of thousands of visitors to the Paradise Pier in the Disney California Adventure Park where the celebration is being on Feb. 19-22.

Mickey and Mini’ s character greeting is the most popular one, even beating the Radio Springs Racer, outside which visitors usually line up in a long queue.

“It is quite unique to experience the Lunar New Year celebration here. You cannot find it anywhere else,” said Patrick and Tatiana, a young couple coming from Los Angeles to Anaheim, waiting for taking picture with Mickey and Mini.

What makes this year’ s celebration different from previous ones is the dancing performance by a group of kids from China’ s Shaanxi province.

“Yangge” and “Waist Drum” dancing by the 20 elementary students aged 9 to 11 brings the visitors authentic flavor of China’ s North Shaanxi culture.

“Their dancing is amazing. I have never seen this kind of dancing before,” said 40-year-old Terra Donahue after watching their performance, though she did not quite understand why the boys wrap white towels on their heads. Farmers in Shaanxi used to wrap white towels on their heads, even when they perform festival dancing “Yangge.”

It was the first time 10-year-old Sun Lingrui, one of the “Yangge” performers, had gone out of her hometown Luochuan County in Shaanxi province. The kids, mostly from peasant families, travelled far to Southern California, first by train to Beijing and then by plane.

“Disneyland is so big, and the buildings are beautiful,” said Sun, who had never dreamed of being in the Disneyland someday.

Sun’s “Yangge” team was sponsored by the Walt Disney company as part of the “Rainbow Bridge Project,” a non-government diplomatic innovation project initiated by the Chinese People’ s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, which is aimed at building a bridge between different cultures and between multinational corporations and rural areas in China.

In vibrant red, yellow, green color costumes and with jubilant North Shaanxi folk songs, Sun and her teammates danced cheerfully in the sunshine.

Li Xinyu, group leader of the “Yangge” and waist drum dancing teams, said that the young performers are trying their best to show American visitors traditional Chinese folk arts and deliver the festival blessing of Lunar New Year.

 

 

 

 

 

HOUSTON

>>  Texas’ largest Chinese New Year celeberation held in Houston

By Wang Hongbin

A downtown park in the U.S. city of Houston was permeated with a festive mood on Saturday of February 21 as thousands of weekenders gathered to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year.

The Texas Lunar Festival, 19th in a row and the largest of its kind in the Lone Star state, was held in Discovery Green Park in downtown Houston Saturday.

Despite drizzles and clouds, several thousand Houstonians joined the annual celebration. People of nearly all ethnicities living in the fourth largest U.S. city crammed the park for a taste of an ancient festivity.

“Happy New Year” was written in multiple languages on a show backdrop, including Chinese, English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Korean. Quite a few were wearing traditional Chinese clothes of Chi-pao or Tang suit. The blare of Chinese folk music filled the air.

Vendor and food booths were lined up around the park’s green fields and the festival has a packed schedule of events throughout the day, including traditional Chinese dances, musical performances and a fashion show.

Houston Mayor Anise Parker, among a slew of local dignitaries attending the opening ceremony, spoke about the purpose of holding the festival in downtown Houston.

“We have many Lunar New Year events across the community, but we are one Houston. And it was time to have one family event, a Pan-Asian event to bring all of us together down to our premier festival park, Discovery Green, so that we can celebrate as one community, as one family,” said Parker.

Chinese Consul General in Houston Li Qiangmin also extended his new year wishes to Houston residents in a stage remark.

The event was hosted by Southern News Group, a multi-media communications company that publishes daily Chinese newspapers.

 

 

 

 

 

RIO DE JANEIRO

>>  Brazil’s Sao Paulo celebrates Chinese Lunar New Year

By Chen Weihua

Brazil’s largest city Sao Paulo held a two-day event on Saturday of February 21 to celebrate the Spring Festival, or the Chinese Lunar New Year.

The celebration took place in the Liberdade neighborhood, an area with great concentration of residents of Chinese and Japanese descents, as well as a number of businesses focused on Asian culture and products.

The Chinese Lunar New Year in Sao Paulo is already a traditional celebration in the city, with about 200,000 people expected to attend the event this year.

Organizers have prepared a number of activities, including traditional parades, fireworks, dancing and choir shows, in a bid to publicize the Chinese culture in Brazil and provide Chinese-style entertainment to the local population.

Brazil has a large community of Chinese immigrants, with an estimated population of some 200,000 people, most of them living in Sao Paulo.

 

 

 

 

 

TORONTO

>>  Chinese Lunder New Year celebrated in Toronto with many activities

By Yan Zhonghua

Chinese Lunar New Year, or the Spring Festival, is planned, executed and celebrated in Toronto, the biggest city in Canada, with as much gusto as the festival deserves.

“Xin Nian Kuai Le (Happy New Year),” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper greeted a group in Chinese Mandarin at Toronto Fo Guang Shan Temple in Mississauga on Friday evening of February 20, extending his wishes and paying his tribute to the Chinese community in the country, which hosts 1,487,580 Chinese, according to Statistics Canada.

Harper recalled the history from 150 years ago when Chinese laborers helped build the Pacific railway to modern days that the Chinese made contributions to the country’s development in industry, commerce and social life.

“The hard work, the creative genius and rich cultural heritage of this community, helped make Canada what it is today the best country in the world,” he said.

Receiving a jade name stamp with his Chinese name inscribed by the temple founder Master Hsing Yun, the prime minister was delighted, “Now that I have an official Chinese name, I feel like as if I am a Chinese.” The joke brought joyful laughters.

“This celebration is also a fitting time for Canadians to reflect on the tremendous contributions that members of the Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and other Asian communities continue to make to our country,” Harper said in a statement marking the Lunar New Year.

Earlier Friday noon, Toronto Mayor John Tory hosted a Chinese Lunar New Year luncheon reception, the first in the history of Toronto’s City Hall.

“Canada has benefited in many ways through its friendship with China politically, economically and culturally,” said Tory, ” Toronto is the most diverse city in our nation, and the Chinese- Canadian community is a cornerstone of this diversity.”

“I wish all the viewers a very happy new year, Xin Nian Kuai Le, Gung Hay Fat Choy (Wishing you a great prosperity in Cantonese),” the mayor said.

He told Xinhua in an interview that “The relationship between Canada and China, and between Toronto and a number of Chinese cities, is very very important, as is the presence of Chinese- Canadian community in Toronto, they contribute in so many ways, and I am happy and proud about that and look forward to making even better.”

Tory, who is to take his first mayoral trade trip to China in 2015, is regaling in his new-found role as the informal ambassador to all things Chinese.

As the guest of honor at the City Hall reception, China’s consul general in Toronto, Xue Bing, said that 2015 will be the 45th anniversary of China-Canada diplomatic ties, the 10th anniversary of the bilateral strategic partnership, and the 30th anniversary of the twinning of Ontario and China’s Jiangsu Province.

The Year of Sheep is expected to see more cultural exchanges and increased trade between Canada and China.

On Saturday evening, a New Year concert featuring Chinese pianist Lang Lang and Canada’s Goodwill Ambassador to China ” Dashan” is to be held at the prestigious Roy Thompson Hall.

Besides the above-mentioned activities, the preparations to welcome the Chinese Lunar New Year, the most important holiday for Chinese family reunion, were well underway ever since the beginning of February.

On Feb. 11, the iconic CN tower in Toronto was lit up in red to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year.

On Feb. 13, Toronto’s Canadian International AutoShow, one of the top five North American shows, was opened by its new president, Benny Leung, who was born in Hong Kong. Leung, also the president of Ontario’s Trillium Automobile Dealers Association, was the first Chinese autoshow president in 100 years.

The autoshow program was written in Mandarin and the lion dancers were there setting the tone for this prodigious year of the sheep.

The Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Toronto are expected to end with a Lantern Festival on March 5.

 

 

 

 

 

COLOMBO

>>  Sri Lanka Air Force rescues Chinese tourist

The Sri Lanka Air Force on Saturday of February 21 carried out a rescue mission to save a Chinese tourist who fell off World’s End in Nuwera Eliya, in the island’s Central Province, an Air Force official said.

Air Force Spokesman Wing Commander Gihan Seneviratne told Xinhua that a helicopter carrying a four member team of the Air Force Special Forces was deployed to the scene to rescue the tourist who had been hanging off a cliff.

The tourist was airlifted and taken to the Diyatalawa Hospital, in the central highlands of Sri Lanka.

“The tourist had reportedly received only minor injuries and he was holding on to a cliff when the Air Force rescued him,” Seneviratne said.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China, ADB can tap “belt and road” potential

By Han Jie and Jiang Xufeng

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and China can make use of the huge potential in infrastructure and energy along the belt and road, said ADB Vice President Zhang Wencai.

“Belt and road” refers to the Silk Road economic belt and the 21st century maritime Silk Road proposed by China in 2013 for improved cooperation between countries in Asia, Europe and Africa.

The belt and road will result in increased investment that will improve connectivity across Central Asia, Zhang said in an interview with Xinhua.

The ADB can work with China to translate the concept into concrete action through the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) program, Zhang said.

The CAREC program is an ADB initiative launched in 2001 to promote regional cooperation in transport, energy and trade between its 10 members, including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

“China can contribute to the economic corridor development in the CAREC region by sharing its experience in logistics, infrastructure, economic zones, spatial economic agglomeration, urbanization and public-private partnerships,” he said.

“Large investment needs for infrastructure in the region create large funding gaps,” he said.

All CAREC countries have substantial needs in energy development, Zhang added.

An ADB study in central Asia found that investment of about 36 billion U.S. dollars is needed before 2022 for power infrastructure in four countries.

“Given the large funding gap, China could look into co-financing with the ADB and other multilateral institutions in CAREC countries, and share its technical and management skills in large infrastructure projects,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Discipline watchdog names 855 for violations during holidays

By Cheng Zhuo

The disciplinary watchdog of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has publicly named and shamed 855 officials for disciplinary violations during the New Year and Spring Festival holidays.

The CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) has a section of its website devoted reporting violations of CPC rules.

As of this week, the section has made public 620 such cases, a large part of which were about malfeasance regarding subsidies and benefits, use of government vehicles and gifts.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese courts punish 2,100 police

By Cheng Zhuo

A total of 2,108 law enforcers with China’s court system were investigated and punished in 2014.

The Supreme People’s Court (SPC) announced on Saturday of February 21 that 180 cases had been handed over for judicial investigations.

Discipline inspectors also held 73 senior local court officials accountable for failures in supervision that led to these violations, the SPC said in a statement.

The inspectors in 2014 have intensified routine checks over the courts’ judicial work and 1,206 enforcers were found to have conducted irregularity practices.

A total of 196 law enforcers were punished for using public funds for personal expenditure or personal use of public vehicles.

The statement reiterated zero tolerance of corruption in the judicial system.

 

 

 

 

 

SHANGHAI

>>  Hit Chinese sci-fi novel nominated American Nebula Awards

By Wang Jian, Xu Xiaoqing and Ji Shaoting

 

Liu Cixin     Photo - http://www.douban.com/group/topic/53672905/?cid=687547820

 

 

The English version of a Chinese sci-fi novel has been nominated in the 2014 Nebula Awards, the publishers announced on Saturday of February 21.

“The Three-Body Problem” by Liu Cixin (刘慈欣) is among six novels nominated by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. The other five nominees are all works by English-speaking writers.

The Three-Body Problem is the first part of Liu’s Three Body trilogy, translated into English by Chinese-American sci-fi writer Ken Liu, a winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards himself.

In the trilogy, the entire solar system is flattened into two dimensions in an apocalyptic battle between humans and aliens. It has been hailed for its extraordinary artistry by Chinese sci-fi lovers.

Liu Cixin said that although his chances of winning are slim, the nomination means a lot to the Chinese sci-fi community.

The Three-Body Problem hit shelves in the United States last November and then 20,000 copies have been sold.

Nebula is a major international award for sci-fi novels. The results are expected in April.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China’s A shares raise 724.9 bln yuan in 2014

By Zhang Xu and Zhao Xiaohui

China’s A shares raised altogether 724.9 billion yuan (118.19 billion U.S. dollars) in 2014, according to the country’s securities watchdog.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said that 47.1 billion yuan was raised through the initial public offering (IPO) of 94 enterprises, and 677.8 billion yuan from the refunding by 609 listed companies.

The CSRC said it continued reforms on phasing out the current approval-based method for IPOs and implementing a registration-based system.

The commission has been lowering the access threshold and improving the funding system of the ChiNext Board, China’s Nasdaq-style board which mainly lists hi-tech companies and those with high growth potentials.

Meanwhile, better policies and regulations for acquisition of listed companies were promoted last year, said the CSRC.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China farm machinery purchase subsidy rises

By Wang Yaguang and Han Jie

China is offering more subsidies on farm machinery to maintain food self-sufficiency as the rural workforce shrinks.

In 2014 23.6 billion yuan (3.9 billion U.S. dollars) went on farm machinery subsidies, up from 70 million yuan ten years before when the subsidy program began, according to the Ministry of Finance.

More than 120 billion yuan has been spent on farm machinery subsidies since 2004, raising mechanization to 61 percent from 34 percent in 2004.

Subsidies will continue for at least the next three years, with more funds going to farmers who grow key staples as well as cotton and sugar.

 

 

 

 

 

GUANGZHOU

>>  One more H7N9 case reported in Guangdong

By Gui Tao and Xiao Sisi

One more H7N9 human case was reported in south China’s Guangdong Province, making the total number to 54, local health authorities said on Saturday of February 21.

A 48-year-old woman from Jinping District in Shantou City was diagnosed with the disease on Friday. She was hospitalized but in critical situation, the provincial health and family planning commission said in a press release.

H7N9 is a bird flu strain first reported to have infected humans in March 2013. It is most likely to strike in winter and spring.

To prevent the epidemic from spreading fast, the provincial government has banned live poultry trade at all markets from Feb. 19 to 28, the first 10 days of the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Human cases of H7N9 have been reported this winter in several other Chinese localities including Shanghai, Fujian, Jiangxi, Guizhou and Zhejiang.

 

 

 

 

 

KUNMING

>>  Thousands affected by SW China earthquake

By Wang Jian and Bai Jingli

Over 10,000 people were affected by a 4.4 magnitude earthquake in southwest China’s Yunnan Province on Saturday morning of February 21, local authorities said.

The quake, at a depth of six kilometers, hit Mojiang Hani Autonomous County at 6:37 a.m.. No casualties have been reported. A total of 276 houses were damaged.

Disaster-relief is underway and losses are being assessed.

As it forms part of the circum-Pacific seismic belt known as the Pacific Ring of Fire and the Eurasia seismic belt, Yunnan is prone to earthquakes. In August, a 6.5-magnitude quake there killed more than 600 people.

 

 

 

 

 

CHANGSHA

>>  Nursing home killer in fury over unpaid wages

By Wang Jiang, Zhou Nan and Shi Weiyan

The man accused of killing three people at a nursing home in central China’s Hunan Province committed the crime after a fight with his boss over unpaid wages, police confirmed on Saturday of February 21.

The tragedy happened around 2 a.m. on Thursday, the first day of the Chinese new year, at Aixin Nursing Home in Shuangfeng County when Luo Renchu, 64, attacked elderly residents and staff with a brick, killing three and injuring 15. Luo fled the scene after the attack.

A preliminary police investigation showed that the attack happened shortly after a quarrel between Luo and Fang Hongchun, owner of the nursing home.

Both Luo and his wife work at the home and were owed a total of 40,000 yuan (6,525 U. S. dollars) in unpaid wages. They had been promised 10,000 yuan before the Lunar New Year. Fang only paid them 6,000 yuan, which led to a dispute on New Year’s Eve.

Privately owned Aixin Nursing Home normally has more than 90 elderly residents, about 70 of whom were spending the holiday with their families.

Residents are mostly in their 70s and 80s and were easy prey in the attack.

County official Liu Pin said, the three died in hospital and among the 15 injured, all were residents except Fang’s mother and younger brother.

Of the injured, mostly suffering from head injuries, six are said to be in a life-threatening condition.

All police in the county have been mobilized in the manhunt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Snow, fog disrupt traffic in northern China

By Wang Jian, Xiao Haichuan, Xu yang and Meng Hanqi

Heavy snow and fog in the northern part of China has disrupted traffic and delayed flights.

The Long Jia International Airport in Changchun, capital of northeast China’s Jilin Province, was closed on Saturday morning due to icy runways. The closure, until roughly 1 p.m., affected about 40 flights.

Snow and ice also closed expressways in Songyuan and Baicheng on Saturday morning.

The provincial meteorological observatory expects more snow in the cities of Baicheng, Songyuan, Changchun, Siping, Liaoyuan, and Lijin in the next 24 hours.

Further north, blizzards swept through the cities of Harbin and Jiamusi in Heilongjiang Province. The expressway linking Harbin and Mudanjiang was closed, and traffic restrictions were imposed on a section of the expressway between Harbin and Tongjiang.

Snow has been falling in the northeastern province of Liaoning since Friday night, closing a dozen expressways. The snow is expected to persist until Sunday night.

Traffic in Beijing has been affected by poor visibility with sections of expressways closed to traffic.

In east China’s Shandong Province more than 20 expressway toll stations were closed on Saturday morning. Most had reopened by noon.

On Saturday morning, the cities of Liaocheng, Heze and Yantai issued fog warnings, with visibility of some areas dropping to less than 200 meters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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