Tag Archives: China

Thai divers advance as cave search for lost boys gains ground

Rescue divers inched closer to a spot in a flooded cave where 12 boys and their football coach have been missing for more than a week after days of bad weather beset the grueling search.

The children, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old assistant coach have not been heard from since they ventured into the recesses of the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand on Saturday and were blocked by heavy rains.

But the clouds parted on Sunday and with the help of water pumps divers were able to established a forward operating base inside the twisting chambers, raising hopes that the “Boars”, as the team is known, could be located soon.

“Today is a bright day for me and our team. We have sunlight today, roads are easily walkable,” Narongsak Osottanakorne, governor of Chiang Rai province, told reporters on Sunday afternoon.

He said water levels in the cave had decreased and that almost 60 foreign and Thai divers were involved in the rescue effort.

“Today what we have to do is to rush to the kids,” Thai Navy Seal commander and Rear Admiral Apakorn Yookongkaew said earlier at the site. “We will not stop until we find them.”

Responders are placing extra oxygen tanks, strong ropes and LED lights along the cave’s walls in hopes they can provide a path to an airy chamber called Pattaya Beach where officials believe the 13 are taking refuge because of its elevation.

Rescuers have advanced 600 metres from the base towards the Pattaya site, while heavy drilling at separate chimneys outside the cave has started in an attempt to establish communication with the boys.

The upbeat attitude comes after a week of heavy rains pounded the area near the Myanmar and Laos borders, making it difficult to reach deeper into Tham Luang.

“I’m feeling happy like I’ve never felt in a long time. Many good signs,” the football team’s head coach Nopparat Khanthavong, 37, told AFP on Sunday.

“The rain has stopped and rescue teams have found potential ways to reroute the waterway”, diverting its flow so no more enters the cave, he said. “The families are feeling much better too.”

– ‘I miss them’ –

The dramatic wait has transfixed Thailand, capturing the attention of social media users, dominating front pages of newspapers and grabbing international headlines.

Buddhist monks from all over Chiang Rai gathered at a local school to pray for the football squad.

Teams of foreign experts from including more than 30 US military personnel, have descended on the remote mountainous site to join some 1,000 Thai rescuers.

The field where the Boars used to practice is now a helipad used to lift up heavy machinery.

“Every single day the conditions are changing,” Jessica Tait, a spokeswoman for the US troops, told AFP. “With the improvement with the weather, hopefully some other areas and some of the efforts are becoming easier.”

Large pumps were installed in a nearby village to drain water from the area.

At 10 kilometres (six miles), Tham Luang is one of Thailand’s longest and toughest caves to navigate, but drilling experts hope its limestone formations could make a series of holes and alternative entrances explorable by camera.

“We still expect some difficulties, because we have to drill not vertical, but inclined,” Suthisak Soralump, a geotechnical engineer leading up the effort, told AFP. “But anyway we put our best team in Thailand to come. So let us try.”

Officials said the boys know the site well and have visited many times, so they may have been able to find shelter.

Rescuers discovered footprints and handprints in a chamber earlier in the week, farther in from where they recovered the kids’ football boots, backpacks and bicycles.

Relatives and friends have held vigils and prayed for their safe return.

“I miss them,” said 15-year-old Thananchai Saengtan, a friend of one of the boys. “I want them to come back so we can play football together again.”

Source: JC News


Trade wars won’t fix globalization. Here’s why

The Trump Administration’s announcement in February of new steel and aluminium tariffs on national security grounds, including on imports from allies like the EU, have set the stage for escalating trade tensions. The EU recently imposed retaliatory tariffs on products ranging from bourbon whiskey to motorcycles. The US President hit back with a tweet threatening a 20% import tariff on autos and auto parts, telling manufacturers: “Build them here!”

A number of US-based firms have voiced concerns over supply chain disruptions from trade wars. Harley Davidson stated that it would be shifting production aimed at the EU market outside the US to avoid the additional tariff burden, exemplifying the unintended consequences of this approach.

Earlier this month, the US announced a 25% duty on around $50 billion worth of Chinese imports on the grounds that they utilize intellectual property obtained from US firms through forced technology transfers or theft. China’s Made in China 2025 plan was named and scrutinised in the report. UNCTAD estimates that, like China, more than 100 countries have formal industrial policy strategies, many of which involve joining and benefitting from global value chains (GVCs). Tariff wars undermine growth models that rely on the benefits and efficiencies of globalization.

We asked policy experts and business leaders: how can countries really reap the economic and social benefits of GVCs, while avoiding inequality and environmental damage?

Don’t neglect services : Much of the recent talk of bilateral trade deficits has overlooked the importance of services to the global and national economies. Factors affecting services competitiveness have become important for economic growth and development more generally. Investment in human capital, digital infrastructure (including reliable mobile broadband), efficient and flexible domestic regulation and connectedness with international markets (including open cross-border flow of data, visa facilitation and mutual recognition agreements) are key. The services sector has strong inclusiveness dimensions: it is more SME-intensive than the goods sector is and has more women workers, owners and managers.

Co-operate on competition policy : Various anti-competitive activities by firms impede the efficient operation of value chains. Today, there are over 100 jurisdictions administering competition law. In the absence of global rules on competition, each jurisdiction applies its own system. Firms can find themselves facing conflicting decisions from different authorities with respect to the same merger or other activity. This leads to the most interventionist ruling of a major economy being enforced. In the case of digital products, questions of jurisdiction and enforcement are all the more challenging. Greater cooperation between agencies would improve clarity and reduce gaps in enforcement.

Prioritise tax certainty over incentives : In an attempt to attract GVC-linked foreign direct investment (FDI), many countries engage in harmful tax competition to woo multinational enterprises (MNEs). However, for the most part, FDI tends to be more sensitive to tax certainty than to tax incentives. Enhanced consistency in tax rules, interpretation and enforcement across economies and better cooperation between authorities help foster certainty. That being said, tax credits for education and training could help build a workforce suited for high-demand tasks through public-private partnerships. These and other programmes would need to be designed and monitored carefully to avoid tax evasion or aggressive tax planning by MNEs.

Incentivise sustainability : MNEs play a key role in coordinating activities and actors along the value chain. They set private standards that suppliers and affiliates have to meet. An increasing number (over 550) of these standards are sustainability-related. As these can be difficult for small producers to navigate and meet, coherent standards and simplified procedures are needed. Many big, consumer-facing brands are seeing greater demand for sustainably-sourced products from their customers. Others are finding ways to raise capital by tapping into investor appetite for sustainable business operations.

Implement doing-business reforms : Since MNEs play such an important role in GVCs, creating an enabling environment that attracts and sustains FDI is crucial. This involves reforms that cut red tape and corruption, improve infrastructure, provide quality education to the workforce to enable them to work in modern production chains and ensure that companies operating in the country have access to foreign exchange so that they can pay suppliers and repatriate profits.

So far, the tariff war has been just that: a tariff war, limited to the use of import duties on goods. Soon, though, the US is expected to release details of how it plans to restrict Chinese investment in US companies where it deems it a threat to national security. Meanwhile, the Chinese government could make things difficult for US companies operating in China – by imposing regulatory burdens or encouraging consumer boycotts. It could choose to block mergers , such as the one proposed between the US firm Qualcomm and Dutch firm NPX. The EU could consider retaliating against US banking and insurance companies and taxing digital services, hurting US tech companies.

Short-sighted, protectionist measures ignore and erode the opportunities that GVCs provide for driving inclusive and sustainable growth and do nothing to optimize outcomes.

SOURCE: World Economic Forum

By Aditi Verghese and Sean Doherty

Nigeria to shut border over ‘poisonous’ rice

Authorities in Nigeria say they will close their border with an unnamed neighbouring country within the next few days to stop foreign rice being smuggled in.

“Poisonous materials” and “arsenic” are among the substances Nigeria’s agricultural minister Audu Ogbeh claims are present in rice imported from China and South East Asia into Africa.

The minister, who says he has prior expertise on the topic as “the first Nigerian rice grower to mill rice free of stones”, added:

In South East Asia where they grow the rice, if you plant rice in the same place for four to six years continuously, the quantum of arsenic begins to increase.

Arsenic causes cancer and that is what they are dumping for us. Some people say they prefer Thai rice because they are very sophisticated. Welcome to poison!”

Will Ethiopia be the next China?


© REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri Ethiopians at a political rally.

Ethiopia is embarking on a set of extremely ambitious liberal reforms. All of them sound wonderful on paper, but there are serious risks involved. You should care about what happens next — not just because of Ethiopia itself, but because Ethiopia is set to be a rising economic and geopolitical force in the world.

Ethiopia is led by an authoritarian regime under one-party rule. The prime minister is typically only a figurehead for a small group of party and military bigwigs who actually run the country behind the scenes. When I write “behind the scenes,” I mean it. Even country experts aren’t quite sure who exactly really runs the show.

Unrest is frequent, and often leads to casualties. When I was last in Ethiopia this year, a few days after a state of emergency was declared, the northern city of Gondar (where I was) was shut down because of a strike prompted by the arrest of an opposition leader. The man was eventually released, which I guess was a harbinger of things to come, leading to a spontaneous celebration march — which was promptly put down by military men riding into town in pickup trucks. The crowds dispersed quickly — as the locals explained, everybody knew that after the show of force would come the batons, and after the batons the guns.

But now Ethiopia is reforming, and the number and scope of the reforms are dizzying. The new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has announced the end of the state of emergency and the release of a large number of political prisoners and regime opponents. For good measure, the government has also announced that it will accept a peace settlement with Eritrea, its neighbor and enemy, as well as the privatization of a large number of government-owned monopolies. Suddenly the country’s journalists find themselves able to write what they want. As I said, dizzying.

Why the flurry of reform? Well, Ethiopia’s leaders have long had to manage a tricky balance. Ethiopia is on a rocketship trajectory of growth, clocking in at 10 percent year after year after year. Ethiopia’s rulers understand that too much oppression would be self-defeating, and they do not want a return to the days of civil war and crushing poverty.

At the same time, most development experts, chastened by too many examples to count, the most prominent being Iraq, have, rightly in my view, turned sour on the idea that instant democracy is a cure-all for poor countries. Functioning democracy is a political culture first and foremost, and not a ballot box, and in countries without an educated middle class, the ballot box tends to empower demagogues and kleptocrats — and foster ethnic strife, as people vote on ethnic lines for patronage since ideologies don’t mean much.

In Ethiopia, there is an ethnic undercurrent as well. The regime is dominated by the Tigrayans, who defeated the Derg, which the country’s Amhara, more numerous and historically the country’s rulers, resent. All of which means that if Ethiopia liberalizes too much, too fast, that might not be as good a thing as you might think — it might lead to chaos, and thence economic deprivation, or sectarian conflict.

Now, why does it all matter beyond Ethiopia?

Because, if Ethiopia manages to keep its act together, it could be one of the most important countries of the 21st century. Ethiopia has 100 million inhabitants and its economic growth is booming. Everything about Ethiopia is unique: It has its own language, Amharic, a Semitic language related to Arabic and Hebrew, written in its own script, Ge’ez, and a nearly unbroken history of organized rule dating back millennia. Ethiopia has been Christian longer than almost any European country, and its own variant of Christianity is enormously powerful spiritually and culturally. It also happens to have one of the world’s richest food cultures — and as a Frenchman, you can trust me on this.

This is all quite the contrast to many other African countries, whose borders were originally created by colonial powers as arbitrary lines and are, in the best cases, only now struggling to establish a cohesive and significant geopolitical identity of their own.

Ethiopia’s regime self-consciously models its development strategy on China, and it’s easy to see why. China is heir to one of the world’s richest civilizations and has every asset to be a major global player. That this didn’t happen for so long was the result of a sclerotic imperial regime, followed by a madman ruler, Mao, who did his very best to utterly destroy the country — as with the 20th century emperors and the Derg in Ethiopia. China’s halting rise to superpower status strikes us in the West as an unanticipated event, but it’s really a return to what should have been normalcy all along. (“When China awakens, the world’s foundations will shake,” Napoleon is said to have remarked, already in the day.)

Given the expected demographic decline of every region in the world except Africa, what happens in Africa will shape the future direction of the world, for good or bad. And within that, Ethiopia, with its size, strategic position in East Africa, and history, has all the assets to be a transformative country within a transformative continent.

That is, if its rulers manage to steer the ship of state. They have just banked the rudder hard in one direction. As with all large ships, we will only see the outcome some time from now.

By The Week

Central Bank of Nigeria have finally signed the currency swap deal



I know Most of You don’t know the meaning of Nigeria dollars, yuan swap with China.. And why American government is desperately smoothing the relationship with Nigeria.

Let’s me get it clearer to you before the enemies of Progress twist it for you.

Soon you will be buying that techno phone you bought at N80,000 for N12,000.

This is why even the oppositions, haven’t say anything about it.

The Central Bank of Nigeria have finally signed the currency swap deal we have been expecting for the past 2 years into existence with the Chinese government.

The importance of this is that since almost 70% of the goods we import come from China and Asia and 12% America why must we use Dollars to transact with China? from now instead of using dollars at N350 to 1dollar to import those goods, we can now buy Yuan at 47 naira to 1 Yuan and import those stuffs directly.

Instead of buying these goods in dollars in China, we will now buy them in Yuan which is 5times cheaper than dollars.

As usual, another giant stride which Print Media, Electronic Media and Nigerian looters will not report or allow you to understand this victory over supremacy of dollars in our daily lives and economic activities.

Up coming reality is that from tomorrow, try to monitor exchange rate. Some of those guys who hoarded foreign currencies to make gains will off load them in order not to have heart attack over their huge loss arising from the currency swap deal with china.
Dollars and pounds will flood everywhere with no buyers, as the buyers will draw naira from their accounts in banks with presence in China.

Many NIGERIA banks will be seeking to have their representative office in China like first bank who saw to the future and already have office in China.
Inflation will go down drastically because of the price of commodities that will drop.

By Emma Emeba

Mozambique targets Chinese mining firm

Leading rights group Amnesty International has welcomed a decision by Mozambique’s government to suspend the activities of a Chinese company which it had accused of irresponsible mining.

Haiyu had put an entire village in Nampula province at risk of being washed into the Indian Ocean, Amnesty said.

The mining of sand dunes for various minerals altered the landscape so severely that this likely caused the flash floods in 2015 which destroyed almost 50 homes, the rights group added.

The Chinese government had previously dismissed Amnesty’s claims.

The company is suspended pending an environmental impact study.

Amnesty International

US citizens ‘pay most for Nigeria visas’

Nigeria levies some of its highest visa fees for American and Saudi Arabian citizens, according to the Abuja-based Daily Trust newspaper.

US nationals pay up to $270 (£200) for a single-entry visas while Saudi Arabians are expected to cough-up $441 (£326), according to a data obtained from the Nigerian Immigration Service by newspaper.

Malaysia, which is a popular destination for Nigerian students, is charged one of the lowest fees of approximately $6 (£4).

Here’s what a sample of countries are expected to pay, according to Daily Trust:

Saudi Arabia $441 (£326)

US $270 (£200)

Bangladesh $253 (£187)

India $253 (£187)

Indonesia $245 (£181)

Belize $200 (£148)

Chile $200 (£148)

Ireland $170 (£126)

Israel $169 (£125)

UAE $150 (£111)

United Kingdom $144 (£107)

South Africa $58 (£42)

China $64 (£47)

Malaysia $6 (£4).

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By Daily Trust

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