Mar 17

China Watch Blog has learnt that Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture (COA) has confirmed that some geese and ducks were found to be fed with growth drugs in 2011.

While the COA did not reveal the names of farms where the geese and ducks were found, stating that they have to make sure the Consumer Protection Act can be used as the legal basis to reveal the names of the farms before taking any action, it is a worrying revelation.

As Hong Kong is famous for its geese and ducks, perhaps, the Hong Kong authorities should similarly investigate whether the geese and ducks sold in the territory have similarly been fed with such growth drugs. Who knows, if no one complains, there will be no probe, and people will keep on eating the geese and ducks oblivious of the “growth drugs”.

According to a report in a China Post report, the COA said, in terms of geese, two out of 374 samples from goose farms were found with leanness-enhancing drugs last year. The COA also conducted inspections of slaughterhouses, but there were no cases to be found of the leanness-enhancing drugs.

As for ducks, one out of 390 samples collected from farms were found to have growth-enhancing drugs in 2011.

According to the COA, all cases found problematic were put under tight scrutiny and fines were issued.

Huang Kuo-ching, the deputy director-general of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, stated that before 2010 not a single instance of growth drugs was found. After 2010 a new inspection method was in practice, which is the reason why several illegal cases were found after 2010.

The new inspection method investigates farms, slaughterhouses and places where ducks and geese stay before entering slaughterhouses, where the animals were most likely to be fed with growth drugs, stated Huang.

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Mar 17

China Watch Blog reports that it is encouraging to see China is making great progress in collection of data from local governments, and this is manifested by the National Bureau of Statistics’ admission that its recent actions to get various bodies, entities and companies to file information directly to it reveals that “some local entities had falsified facts and figures”.

Bravo to the Chinese government, which has kept its word when it pledged to prevent local governments from manipulating economic data.

According to a Shanghai Daily report, the bureau posted two cases on its website involving breaches in relevant statistical laws and regulations, and said it will crack down on such misdeeds to boost people’s confidence in the country’s statistics system.

According to the bureau, the government of Yongchuan District in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality was suspected of violations against statistical laws and regulations, as it required a preview and approval of companies’ data reporting before submission to the bureau.

The other case was about officers at the Hejin City’s statistics bureau in north China’s Shanxi Province ordering companies to submit fake data prepared by the local bureau itself.

“We hope companies will reject and report any acts involving statistical data manipulation, forgery and distortion. Any organizations or individuals who falsify data will face exposure and serious punishment by the national bureau in accordance with the law,” a bureau official said.

In 2011, the 31 provincial-level governments reported a combined gross domestic product of 51.8 trillion yuan (US$8.2 trillion), 4.6 trillion yuan higher than the figure calculated by the National Bureau of Statistics, Economic Daily reported last month.

Too many layers in China’s former data collecting system added inaccuracies and discrepancies. However, China established a unified system on February 18, through which enterprises can upload data directly on to the national statistics database. This is expected to contain the source of data distortion by eliminating redundant submissions and limiting the opportunities for local officials to interfere with data, the bureau said.

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Mar 17

China Watch Blog wishes to convey its New Year greetings to all the Baha’is around the world – Happy Nawruz!!

Nawruz is the New Year of the Baha’is, which falls on March 21. However, it must be noted that for Baha’is March 21 starts, after the sunsets on March 20. Technically, Nawruz starts after sunset on March 20 till the sunset on March 21. So, again Happy Nawruz to all the Baha’is around the globe.

As this Blog is being written, Baha’is around the world are fasting – total abstainence from food and drinks from sun rise to sunset between March 2 till March 20 (the month of Ala (in Persian language) – Loftiness). Happy fasting to the Baha’is too.

Baha’is fast and pray during the fasting month aside from not taking food and drinks.

The Baha’i fasting prayer goes like this:

O Divine Providence! As I am astaining from bodily desires and not occupied with eating and drinking, even so purify and sanctify my heart from the love of anyone save Thyself, and shield and protect my soul from corrupt desires an satanic qualities, so that my spirit may commune with the breaths of holiness, and fast from the mention of all else besides Thee. – Abdul Baha, who revealed this prayer. He is the eldest son of Baha’U’llah, the founder of the Baha’i Faith.

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Mar 17

China Watch Blog has learnt that EBAY Inc’s PayPal unit aims to be the first foreign operator with a license to process electronic payments in China, allowing it to challenge local companies, including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s Alipay affiliate.

“We are cautiously optimistic we’ll be given a license,” after PayPal filed an application to the People’s Bank of China late last year, Senior Vice President for Asia Rupert Keeley said at a briefing in Hong Kong.

No overseas companies have so far been awarded a permit to process domestic payments in China, he said.

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Mar 17

China Watch Blog has picked up this news that a new stem cell therapy treatment to develop new bones for patients with bone loss and new skin for recipients of plastic surgery has been developed in the mainland – major breakthrough in stem cell research.

For the uninitiated in the issue of stem cells, they can read up a book titled “Cracking the Stem Cell code” by Christian Drapeau MSc, America’s leading adult stem cell scientist and author of the Stem Cell theory of renewal, to get a better idea of the topic.

Doctors from Shanghai No.9 People’s Hospital was quoted as saying in a Shanghai Daily report that the medical staff use a special machine to collect stem cells, which adhere to a base made of a special biological material, from a patient’s blood as part of the procedure.

The stem cells are then transplanted into the patient’s body, where they grow into either new bones or skin tissue, while the base is absorbed by the human body.

“So far the practice has been successful in treating patients with bone and skin loss,” said Dr Dai Kerong from Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s translational medicine institute at Shanghai No.9 hospital. “The stem cell technology will be used to develop corneas for blind people as well as treating heart attack and stroke patients by developing new heart and cerebral tissue.”

The technology is patented in China and abroad and will be licensed within one or two years, according to Dai.

China has established 51 translational medicine centers to boost the introduction of laboratory research into clinical use.

The complicated procedures and documentation required often prevent doctors from introducing lab success into clinical practice.

Dai said one reagent developed by No. 9 hospital’s doctors for in vitro fertilization received a license in Europe within six months and has been used in clinical practice “while this would take at least five years in China.”

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Mar 17

China Watch Blog reports that about 1,118,000 purchasers have been invited to attend the 111th session of China’s largest trade fair – China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair), up 12.13% more than the previous fair attendance – which will open on April 15 in Guangzhou.

Guangzhou

A total of 702 booths are added in this session to offer a platform to ease export pressure and promote a steady growth of China’s foreign trade.

According to Liu Jianjun, spokesman of Canton Fair, the fair, which will be held under the economic pressures facing the international economy, is being held at a time of rising risk of fluctuating production costs and other factors.

Although some SMEs have chosen to abandon their manufacturing and are engaged in capital investment, there are still a great number of enterprises which want to deal with the risks and challenges involving the country’s export trade.

“The Import Pavilion of the Canton Fair is very popular, which indicates that the Import Pavilion has great development potential,” said Liu.

Liu was quoted as saying in a GZNews.com report that the Western enterprises are willing to expand exports to China, hoping to revitalize the manufacturing sector and improve the employment rate.

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Mar 17

China Watch Blog reports that although Hong Kong and China does not have tornadoes, it is really informative for people to read it because you might be in the USA visiting one of the states when a tornado strikes. So being prepared is not a bad thing after all.

Do you know that although many parts of the USA are categorized as low risk, tornadoes have hit all 50 states in the US sometime or other.

Map showing tornado prone areas in the US

AccuWeather.com reports that in achilling scenario if a tornado warning is issued for your area, what do the experts feel are the best choices for avoiding serious injury or loss of life?

Options range from seeking shelter in basements to interior above-ground rooms to below-ground storm shelters. However, there are pros and cons to all of these options.

Many experts agree that your odds for surviving a direct hit with a strong tornado (EF-4 or EF-5) are greatest in a nearby below-ground storm shelter.

However, since few individuals have quick access to such a structure or the funds to complete the project, there are other less expensive, close-by options such as an interior safe room within your home or work area that is located above the ground or the same setup in a basement.

Both severe weather experts and Certified Consulting Meteorologists Dr. Charles A. Doswell III and Michael R. Smith agree that risk in an above-ground safe room increases during the strongest tornadoes.

For existing homes that do not have a basement, retrofitting a small, interior room or adding a safe room above ground within a large room may be the only cost effective alternative.

Neither of these is necessarily inexpensive. If you do not have a basement and cannot afford these alternatives, you have no truly safe options and have to do the best you can by sheltering in place.

Studies have shown that when much of a home has been destroyed, often the only surviving part of the dwelling is a small interior room, such as a closet or bathroom. This has to do with more supportive wall framing versus ceiling surface area.

Doswell is founder and President of Doswell Scientific Consulting and is author or co-author of more than 100 formal publications, mostly related to severe storms.

Smith is Sr. Vice President/Chief Innovation Executive of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions and author of the book “Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather.”

Both Doswell and Smith stated that in these storms large, heavy airborne objects, like a vehicle, can be flung at a high rate of speed and can compromise the room if struck.

Fortunately, storms of this magnitude are extremely rare even in tornado-prone portions of the Plains, Midwest and South.

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Mar 17

China Watch Blog has learnt that the National Association of Broadcasters has announced that film and television star Betty White will be inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame during a special breakfast at the 2012 NAB Show, on Tuesday, April 17 in Las Vegas.

With a career that has spanned more than 60 years, the seven-time Emmy Award winner has created unforgettable roles in television and film, authored seven books and won numerous awards. Yes, she is a personality to be remembered.

Renowned actress Betty White

“Betty White is admired by generations of audiences,” said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith. “She has remarkable energy and an incredible ability to connect with viewers. Betty’s contributions to television and entertainment as a whole are extraordinary. Our Hall of Fame would be incomplete without her.”

White’s first comedy series, “Life with Elizabeth,” brought her first Emmy Award in 1952, followed by a daily NBC talk/variety show called “The Betty White Show.” She brought happiness to so many, many people who came to love her show.

She was a recurring regular with over 70 appearances on “The Tonight Show with Jack Paar,” and appeared on “The Merv Griffin Show” and “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.” She also subbed as host on all three talk shows. White was a regular with Vicki Lawrence on “Mama’s Family,” as sister Ellen, a role she created with the rest of the company on “The Carol Burnett Show.”

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