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quarta-feira, 12 de maio de 2010

Obama deflects criticism of Pakistan

By Anwar Iqbal

At a White House news conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the US president also indicated that Pakistan dominated at least part of his almost three-hour long consultations with the Afghan leader and his team. –Photo by AP
WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that his administration was working with both Pakistan and Afghanistan to break down some of their old suspicions and bad habits.

At a White House news conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the US president also indicated that Pakistan dominated at least part of his almost three-hour long consultations with the Afghan leader and his team.

“In support of the final part of our strategy, a regional approach, we discussed the importance of Afghanistan’s neighbours supporting Afghan sovereignty and security,” he said.

He then recalled that he had hosted President Karzai and President Asif Ali Zardari together at the White House a year ago. “And our trilateral cooperation will continue,” he declared.

“Indeed, Pakistan’s major offensive against extremist sanctuaries and our blows against the leadership of Al Qaeda and its affiliates advance the security of Pakistanis, Afghans and Americans alike,” observed Mr Obama.

One of Pakistan’s bad habits that Mr Obama mentioned in the news conference was its obsession with India.

While the US leader acknowledged that Pakistan was now overcoming this habit to also recognise extremists as a major threat, he forgot to mention that India had an equally unhealthy obsession with Pakistan.

“I think there has been in the past a view on the part of Pakistan that their primary rival, India, was their only concern,” he said.

“What you’ve seen over the last several months is a growing recognition that they have a cancer in their midst; that the extremist organisations that have been allowed to congregate and use as a base the frontier areas to then go into Afghanistan — that now threatens Pakistan’s sovereignty.”

The US, he said, was determined to help improve relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“Our goal is to break down some of the old suspicions and the old bad habits and continue to work with the Pakistani government to see their interest in a stable Afghanistan which is free from foreign meddling,” he said.

Mr Obama urged Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and the international community to work together to reduce the influence of extremists in that region.

What coaxed a lengthy explanation from Mr Obama of his relations with Pakistan was a comment by an Afghan journalist who said that Pakistan was “the only reason that Afghanistan was not civilised” today.

“President Karzai and I have, in the past, President Zardari, as well as their intelligence officers, their military, their teams, and emphasised to Pakistan the fact that our security is intertwined,” said Mr Obama.

“And I am actually encouraged by what I’ve seen from the Pakistani government over the last several months,” he added.

“But just as it’s going to take some time for Afghanistan’s economy, for example, to fully recover from 30 years of war, it’s going to take some time for Pakistan, even where there is a will, to find a way in order to effectively deal with these extremists in areas that are fairly loosely governed from Islamabad.”

Mr Obama said that he had been encouraged by Pakistan’s willingness to start asserting more control over some of the areas where the extremists lived.

“But it is not going to happen overnight,” he warned, recalling that Pakistan too had taken “enormous casualties,” as the Pakistani military fought the extremists “fairly aggressively”.

President Obama, who came to the briefing after a detailed meeting with the Afghan leader at the White House, said President Karzai and he also discussed “the fact that the only way ultimately that Pakistan is secure is if Afghanistan is secure”.

“And the only way that Afghanistan is secure is if the sovereignty, the territorial integrity, the Afghan constitution, the Afghan people are respected by their neighbours.”

He said he believed that the message was starting to get through, “but it’s one that we have to continue to promote”.

Overshadowed by the Afghan obsession with Pakistan was President Karzai’s response to a question about his effort to seek reconciliation with the Taliban.

He said that there were thousands of Taliban who were “not against Afghanistan or against the Afghan people or their country; who are not against America either or the rest of the world”.

Such Taliban supporters, he noted, wanted to come back to Afghanistan if given an opportunity and provided the political means.

“It’s this group of the Taliban that you’re addressing in the peace Jirga. It is this group that is our intention,” said Mr Karzai who wants to hold a grand Jirga on this issue soon after he returns to Kabul.

Mr Karzai did not directly criticise Pakistan, but he made a reference to the Taliban who were “controlled from outside in any manner troublesome to us”.

This, and President Obama’s decision to mention Pakistan in his opening statement as well, confirmed the assumption that Kabul’s problems with Islamabad also dominated the talks between the two presidents.

“Today we are reaffirming our shared goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda and its extremist allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan and to prevent its capacity to threaten America and our allies in the future,” said Mr Obama.

The United States, he said, was working to promote “regional cooperation, including with Pakistan, because our strategy has to succeed on both sides of the border”.



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Australian Dollar Extends Gains After Employment Increases a Second Month

By Candice Zachariahs and Ron Harui - May 12, 2010

Australia’s dollar rose, ending a two-day drop, after a report showed employers added jobs for the seventh time in eight months.

The so-called Aussie strengthened against 14 of its 16 major counterparts on speculation the central bank will raise interest rates further on signs the nation’s economic recovery is gathering momentum. New Zealand’s dollar climbed for the first time in three days after a report showed the manufacturing industry expanded at the fastest pace in more than five years in April amid rising production and orders.

“In Asia, it’s certainly looking as if today might be a ‘risk on’ day,” said Andy Robinson, an analyst at Saxo Capital Markets Pte in Singapore. “In order to get any upward momentum, we need to break the 89.90 level, basically getting back on the 90 big-figure handle.”

Australia’s currency advanced to 89.62 U.S. cents as of 11:34 a.m. in Sydney from 89.36 cents in New York yesterday. It rose 0.3 percent to 83.53 yen. New Zealand’s dollar climbed to 71.59 U.S. cents from 71.32 cents, and strengthened 0.3 percent to 66.71 yen.

Australian employers added 33,700 jobs in April from the previous month, the statistics bureau said in Sydney today. The median estimate of 22 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for an increase of 22,500. The jobless rate was 5.4 percent.



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US to work with China on green economy

BEIJING: The United States wants to work with China to expand the global economy and promote the development of the green economy, said a US Commerce Department official Wednesday in Beijing.

Cameron Kerry, General Counsel of the US Department of Commerce, said at a news briefing at the US embassy that the two countries faced an important time in their relations.

"My visit here this week is an appetizer in the banquet of events between the US and China."

According to US Commerce Department, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will lead the first cabinet-level trade delegation to China next week to promote exports of leading technologies as part of President Barack Obama's state export plan to increase US employment.

The department said the mission was intended to promote exports of leading US technologies related to clean energy, energy efficiency, and electric energy storage, transmission and distribution.

The two sides would also exchange views on issues such as trade and the investment environment, innovation and the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, said Kerry.

Locke will also attend the economic track dialogue of the second round of Sino-US strategic and economic dialogue in Beijing in late May.

Twenty-four US companies will join Locke for the China leg of the trade mission. The delegation will stop in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, and Jakarta.



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‘It’s destiny,’ grandmother of landslide victims says of tragedy

Canwest News Service Richard Préfontaine and Line Charbonneau and their two daughters lost their lives when a landslide destroyed their home.

Montreal -- When Richard Préfontaine set about building by hand his family home in 1995, he knew the property above a ravine was at slight risk of a landslide. But he could never have imagined that one night 15 years later, as he, his wife, Line Charbonneau, and their two daughters, sat in the basement watching hockey, a massive cascade of clay would destroy the house and his family.

"For sure there is always a risk because they were next to the water, but it was the least risk," Line's mother, Louisette Charbonneau, said on Wednesday from her home in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.

The danger, they were told, increased the closer one moved along the Salvail River toward Saint-Jude, a rural village 75 kilometres northeast of Montreal.

"It happened there. What can you do? It's destiny. We are all born with a destiny, and we cannot avoid it."

The landslide, which struck on Monday evening, shifted the Préfontaines' home and left a crater about 400 metres by 600 metres and 40 metres deep.

Rescue workers recovered the bodies of all four victims on Tuesday night.

Autopsies were being conducted to determine the causes of death, which could include drowning, asphyxia and trauma.

On Wednesday, authorities erected a fence around the crater to discourage disaster tourism.

Workers arriving on the scene at dawn had to chase away dozens of people who had come to gawk at the house at the bottom of the chasm.

Local and provincial authorities began a 48-hour operation to inspect the stability of properties along a six-kilometre stretch of the Salvail River Valley.

Mrs. Charbonneau drew on her religious faith as she tried to cope with the loss that she said has left a void in the family. By her description, her daughter, son-in-law and their daughters, Anaïs, 9, and Amélie, 12, made up a family as Canadian as the syrup they produced themselves from a nearby maple stand.

Mr. Préfontaine, 45, was a jack-of-all trades who sounds like a throwback to earlier times. Though he was employed as an electrician, he was a skilled carpenter who built the house with the help of his and his wife's family. He was at ease digging wells and installing plumbing and recently helped his father, Roger, build a maple sugar shack on his neighbouring property.

"He was the kind of guy who if he worked on something, you could be certain it would come out straight," Mrs. Charbonneau said.

Line, 46, who is survived by a son from a previous marriage, worked in a daycare centre in Saint-Hyacinthe and loved children, her mother said. She also enjoyed the outdoors and getting her hands dirty. She grew flowers and vegetables from seed in a greenhouse next to their home and tended a huge garden, Mrs. Charbonneau said, noting that all of that was destroyed in the landslide.

Summer weekends were often spent at a lakeside trailer, where the family engaged in friendly fishing competitions.

"They bet between themselves on who would catch the biggest fish. Line was lucky. She beat him all the time," Mrs. Charbonneau said. The girls also enjoyed the outdoors.

"They liked playing outside, riding Ski-Doos, cross-country skiing," she said. "They were really people who did not sit around on their behinds."

The couple were active at the Saint-Jude primary school attended by their daughters, L'École aux quatre vents. Mr. Préfontaine sat on the school's parents committee.

"These are people who everybody liked. It's a shock," school principal Chantal Gagnon said. Psychologists were brought in yesterday to help Anaïs's classmates. (Amélie had begun high school this year in Saint-Hyacinthe.)

Christian Vanasse, a Saint-Jude town councillor, said that following the recovery of the four bodies on Tuesday night, official efforts are focused on ensuring there is no further danger.

"Specialists over the next 48 hours are trying to investigate every area, every risk, check every crack, every sign of failure, so if there's any little risk people will be informed and action will take place," Mr. Vanasse said.

Although the Saint-Jude region is prone to periodic landslides - as are other parts of the St. Lawrence Lowlands in southern Quebec - the area around the Préfontaine home was not considered to be especially at risk.

Five homes near the chasm that were evacuated have been deemed safe and the owners have returned.

"When something like this happens so close to your own home, it shakes you up - but I'm not losing sleep over it," said Denise Langelier, who lives with her husband, Gilles, three houses down from where the family was killed.

Saint-Jude, with a population of about 1,200, was preparing to celebrate the 175th anniversary of its incorporation this weekend with a horticultural fair and a festive reunion dinner. In light of the four deaths, people will have a hard time celebrating.

"We are calling it a dinner of solidarity rather than a reunion," Mr. Vanasse said.



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Key to bliss

Key to bliss

"It takes time to really understand a piece of music," says Li Yundi, who won the prestigious Chopin Competition when he was just 18. (Photo: China Daily)

BEIJING, May 13 -- People that enjoy fine wines know that 1982 is one of the great vintages for Bordeaux. It also proved an exceptional year for Chinese classical music, as two piano prodigies, Lang Lang and Li Yundi, were born and both were to become international stars some 20 years later.

Their common instrument and the fact that they achieved both international recognition at almost the same time has inevitably led to comparisons between the two, and suggestions that an intense rivalry developed when they both signed for Deutsche Grammophon (DG).

Today, one of them, the wildly popular Lang Lang, is a household name throughout the world, especially among the younger generation, while the other, Li Yundi, resembles a fine red wine appreciated only by those who know it.

One of Yundi's few hobbies is collecting fine red wines and he says that he feels "lucky to be born the same year as the great vintage".

To Yundi producing a fine wine is similar to playing a good piece of music, "both take time, experience and a feeling for it."

"Wine and music have much in common. People classify a wine by the region and year it was produced, while the music written in different times, by different composers from different countries display different characteristics," the usually reserved pianist becomes extremely eloquent when sharing his love and knowledge of wine.

This year musicians around the world are commemorating the great composer Chopin's 200th birthday, and Yundi, who won the 14th International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 2000 - the first pianist in 15 years to be awarded the First Prize and, at 18, also the youngest - is no exception.

In January, he left DG to sign an exclusive recording contract with EMI. The contract embraces recordings of Chopin's complete solo piano works and the first disc, issued in March, is the complete Nocturnes.

Yundi tells China Daily while preparing for his first recital at the National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA) on Saturday, that it's "normal for a pianist to change recording label."

Key to bliss

Yundi is known for his poetic renderings of romantic composers like Chopin and Liszt. (China Daily)

He adds that while he made a number of well-received recordings for DG over the past eight years and DG planed to renew his contract, EMI came up with a much better offer, "almost the best among all the EMI classical artists."

Whatever the reason DG clearly encountered some problem promoting Yundi. Soon after he signed with DG in 2001, his fans were amazed to see DG market him with a forced androgynous look.

"But I am comfortable with my new style now. The image on the new EMI album is much closer to my own personality," he says.

Interestingly he is now known simply as Yundi. From the look to the name, it seems he wants a total change.

"I suggested to EMI that they use the name Yundi. My friends all call me Yundi. It sounds intimate," he explains.

However, he is keen to stress that whatever his name or look, it is the music that is most important to him.

"I chose EMI not only because it offered nice conditions, but because EMI and I share the same concept of music."

Compared to Lang Lang's tight touring schedule, Yundi has until now followed a more relaxed itinerary. But the Chopin anniversary means the Chopin competition winner is much in demand and he has some 70 concerts scheduled around the world this year, most of them, including Friday's recital at NCPA devoted to Chopin.

On March 1, he gave a Chopin birthday concert in Warsaw, following recitals in Hong Kong, Beirut, London, Dortmund, Luxembourg, Strasbourg, Porto, Abu Dhabi, New York, Paris, Frankfurt, Munich and Milan. And the NCPA recital will kick off a tour of more than 15 cities in China.

"I am looking forward to playing those second and third tier cities and sharing Chopin's music with the audiences. To some degree, the acoustics and facilities of a concert hall influence a soloist's performance. I know many cities have new concert halls which will help me interpret Chopin," he says.

Ever since he won the Chopin Competition, Yundi has enjoyed a reputation for poetic renderings of romantic composers like Chopin and Liszt. Occasionally, he plays music by Prokofiev, Ravel, Mozart and Beethoven. But he does not play as wide a repertoire as his rival Lang Lang.

"I am a perfectionist. It takes time to really feel, understand a piece of music and deliver it to audience. My goal is to play perfect music, not be any number one, a ranking that makes sense only in sports. For a piece, you can practice one day or 10 days or a few months. It all depends on your own requirement. Maybe only 1 or 2 percent of audience will notice the slight difference, but I really treasure that 1 or 2 percent."

He compares his pursuit of perfection to motor racing, another of his hobbies: "The different engine speed controls only differ by seconds, but the car manufacturers never stop pursuing the slight differences in feel when driving."

Also different from Lang Lang who it seems will do almost anything to attract young fans, even playing an iPad as a concert encore in the name of promoting classical music, Yundi seldom does quasi-pop crossovers and firmly believes that a classical musician should never be mistaken for a pop performer.

"Pop and classical music are definitely two things. As a contemporary pianist, I try to interpret those great composers' work through my performance. I am also willing to play for young audiences, but I will give them the correct message about classical music, instead of catering to them or confusing them with pop music," says Yundi.

Born into a worker's family in southwest Chongqing, Yundi first learned accordion at 4 and won the top prize at the local children's competition at 5.

Upon his teacher's suggestion, he turned to the piano at 7.

"I was too old to start playing piano. Luckily the accordion is also a keyboard instrument," laughs Yundi.

Two years later he was introduced to Dan Zhaoyi, one of China's most renowned piano teachers, with whom Yundi studied for nine years. Even before the Chopin Competition, Yundi had received numerous awards at various contests both home and abroad.

As a musical prodigy, Yundi says that he feels the pressure all the time, since the very beginning. He says that he has different ways to relax but that one of his favorites is cooking Sichuan cuisine.

"I was born in Chongqing, and grew up in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, both regions are famous for their cuisines. The old Chinese saying goes, 'a person who enjoys tasty food must know cooking himself.' I can cook many famous Sichuan dishes such as mapo doufu and huiguo rou," he says.

While every Sichuan chef can cook mapo doufu and huiguo rou, it takes a special talent to make it exceptional, just like a pianist playing Chopin and Liszt.

(Source: China Daily)



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"Magic" healer seen as a civic ill

BEIJING, May 13 -- A town government in suburban Songjiang District is investigating and trying to shut down a so-called clinic doctor who claims to magically cure diseases.

The man, apparently about 60, claims to be Ji Gong - a monk with magical powers in Chinese legend - with the power to heal incurable diseases, including cancer, by holding exorcisms on a boat docked for years on a community waterway.

Many seniors have believed in the superstition and patronized the "clinic," which has no medical equipment, instead of going to hospitals.

"We've tried to clamp down on the illegal practice a couple of times," said Ye Tangsheng, a town government official, "but the effort was obstructed by loyal patrons."

Community residents said they often find people, especially older women, queuing outside the boat, which is equipped with a kitchen and an air-conditioner.

According to a woman who went to the boat, patients are asked to burn incense before being treated.

They are told that the more they pay, the better the effect will be.

Many people offer at least 200 yuan (US$29). Some even pay 1,000 yuan.

After that, they will be led to the "master," who wears a robe and a hat and carries a broken fan - the typical image of Ji Gong.

Muttering incantations, the man wags his head, waves his fan and runs around, supposedly slaying a demon.

In one case, he shouted to the air, "Kneel down, snake demon."

After that he told an old woman in a wheelchair that he had killed the evil and she would later be able to walk.

Another woman patient suffering rheumatism said that she felt lighter symptoms after the "magic treatment."

He never prescribes any medication or offers any inoculations to the patients.

He says his prescriptions are invisible to mortals. That may help explain why no medical accidents have ever reported, neighborhood officials said.

In the past when medications and health care level were at low levels, many people believed in superstitions and magic power to cure their disease.

The habit has been preserved among many seniors, especially in rural areas.

The Dakun Community on Xingang Road, where the boat is docked, used to be rural land and many residents were farmers in the area.

But many people, especially the younger generations, don't believe any of it.

"It's too ridiculous," said a man surnamed Gao. He was introduced to the boat "clinic" by a friend but was stunned by the scene.

Although no medical accidents have been reported, officials are working out a plan to root out the operation.

(Source: Shanghia Daily)

Editor: Mo Hong'e



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Switzerland upset Canada at ice hockey worlds

BERLIN, May 12 (Xinhua) -- Switzerland scored a confident 4-1 win over Vancouver Olympic champions Canada in the world ice hockey championships Group B actions on Wednesday.

Thomas Deruns claimed a goal and two assists, while goalkeeper Tobias Stephan made an impressive 31 saves to secure the qualifying round for Switzerland.

In the early Group B match, Latvia outscored Italy 5-2 to proceed to the qualifying round, sending their rivals into the relegation group in the process.

In the Group D early match, hosts Germany battled back from a goal down to beat Denmark 3-1 to book their ticket to the qualifying round regardless of the later match's result in front of 18,623 home crowd.

The result forced Vancouver Olympics finalists the United States and 1995 world champions Finland to decide which side would continue playing in the relegation tournament in their head-to-head clash, with Finland prevailing 3-2.

Editor: Han Jingjing



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Britain's leadership change not to affect London Olympics: IOC

NAIROBI, May 12 (Xinhua) -- International Olympics Committee (IOC)president Jacques Rogge told reporters in Nairobi Thursday his association was not concerned about London 2012 Olympics following Conservative leader David Cameron taking over Britain's leadership from Labour's Gordon Brown.

The Belgian national who is on a two-day visit to Kenya disclosed London 2012 Olympics Local Organisation Committee led by Lord Sebastian Coe had engaged all political parties in Britain in dialogue when the city won the bid and change in administration would therefore, not impact on the Games' preparations.

"It is the standard policy of IOC to involve all political groups in a country, government and opposition in dialogue and it was not different in Britain where Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats were engaged. This is due to the fact that today's opposition could be tomorrow's government and we are not worried about London 2012 due to change of Government," Roggesaid at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport upon his arrival from Lusaka, Zambia.

He expressed his wish that an African city would bid to host the 2020 Games without giving assurances it was the continent's chance to host the quadrennial event that is the biggest sporting carnival on earth.

"Cape Town came a credible third when they bid for the 2004 Olympics (that went to Athens, Greece) in 1997 and since then, South Africa focused on and got the FIFA World Cup that will be the biggest event this year. I hope an African city can show willingness to host the 2020 Olympics since we cannot say it is Africa's time."

Rogge noted rugby sevens that was included in the roster for the 2016 Olympics Games would make an impact at the occassion, singling out Kenya as one of the nations that have potential of achieving a medal in the shorterned version of the game in what would be a first team podium finish in the history of the event.

"Kenya should aim to develop into the top nation in Africa and I believe Rugby 7s will be a great success story of the 2016 Games," added the Belgian who played rugby for his national team.

Rogge is in the country to open the Kipchoge Keino Secondary School in Eldoret on Friday and a private visit to world famous Masai Mara National Game Reserve the day after.

It is the second time for the IOC chief who inaugurated a multi purpose training centre in Lusaka during his Zambian visit following his first call in 2005.



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Malaysia edges out Denmark while China powers into Thomas Cup semis

KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 (Xinhua) -- The 2003 All England champion Muhd Hafiz Hashim recovered from the vital loss Tuesday night to lift the host Malaysia into the Thomas Cup semifinals here Wednesday with a thrilling 3-2 win over Denmark, setting up a tough clash with reigning champion China.

The Malaysian shuttlers, with their back to the wall after a surprising 3-2 defeat by Japan in the group stage, continued their journey at home court when Hafiz clinched the winning point, defeating Denmark's Joachim Persson 21-12, 21-10.

"I cannot describe my feelings in securing the winning point to keep Malaysia in the tournament and a place in the semifinals," said an excited Hafiz. It was a similar scenario on Tuesday when Malaysians took a 2-0 lead before they were pulled back to 2-2.

The world's top player Lee Chong Wei opened the victory when he beat Denmark's veteran Peter Gade 21-17, 21-17 in 49 minutes, followed by Koo Kean Keat/Tan Boon Heong's win over Carsten Mogensen/Mathias Boe in the first doubles 21-17, 21-19.

Denmark then pushed the match into a final decider when 21-year-old Jan O Jorgensen outdid Malaysia's veteran Wong Choong Hann 22-20, 16-21, 21-18 and Lars Paaske/Jonas Rasmussen edged out a scratch second doubles Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif/Hoon Thien How in a thrilling clash 24-26, 21-12, 21-19 in 74 minutes.

Their reward will be a semifinal clash against reigning champion China, who overwhelmed South Korea in the quarterfinals, which was a repeated match in 24 hours.

The Chinese shuttlers who defeated South Korea in the group decider 4-1 on Tuesday, locked the victory 3-0, leaving no chance for their opponents to send the second doubles or third singles, which might be both troublesome.

The Olympic and world champion Lin Dan strived for the vital points in both sets to win over Park Sung Hwan, once called "Lin Dan finisher", 21-16, 21-15, compared with a close win Tuesday 21-18, 25-23.

"I am more relaxed today after the tough match yesterday," said Lin. "Both of us played very well today. However, when we are both in good form, it is me that did better."

Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng, the 2006 world champion doubles, again gave China a 2-0 lead when they outdid South Korea's top doubles player Jung Jae Sung and his new partner Shin Baek Cheol in 29 minutes 21-11, 21-16 before Chen Jin, third ranked single in the world, sealed the victory for China by beating South Korea's youngster Shon Wan Ho again 21-15, 21-12.

In the other half zone, Indonesia, the 13-time champion of the men's team tournament, also repeated their win against India in the group stage 3-0, setting up another semifinal with Japan on Friday, who outplayed Germany 3-1 in the quarterfinals.

Editor: Mo Hong'e



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Japan's current account surplus rise 65.1% on year in March

TOKYO, May 13 (Xinhua) -- Japan's current account surplus rose 65.1 percent in March from a year before, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said Thursday.

Japan's March current account widened its surplus to 2.534 trillion yen (27.2 billion U.S. dollars) from a 1.535 trillion yen (16.60 billion U.S. dollars) surplus a year earlier, the ministry said. March's figures beat economists' expectations.

Additionally, the figure for the whole of fiscal 2009 climbed 26.9 percent, according to the MOF.

The current account balance is nation's way of measuring trade in goods and services and is generally the difference between a nation's exports of goods and services and its imports of goods and services.

Positive net sales abroad generally contributes to a current account surplus.



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Danish shipping giant gains unexpected profit in 1Q

COPENHAGEN, May 12 (Xinhua) -- The Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk made an unexpected net profit of 3.4 billion Danish Krones (600 million U.S. dollars) in the first quarter of this year, the group announced Wednesday.

The profit was way above expectations of 1.1 billion Danish Krones (190 million dollars). Last year, the conglomerate recorded a deficit of 2.1 billion Danish Krones (360 million dollars) in the first quarter.

"We expect an improved performance in relation to earlier expectations for a modest surplus primarily due to growth in our container business, which is now expected to be profitable in 2010," Nils Smedegaard Andersen, CEO of A.P. Moller-Maersk, told Danish television TV2 on Wednesday.

However, the shipping group cautioned that uncertainty remains for the development of the container business in the rest of this year given the fragile situation of the global economy.

"But we will continue to improve our competitiveness and we are ready to seize the opportunities arising in the wake of the crisis," said Nils Smedegaard Andersen.

A.P. Moller Maersk Group is one of the world's largest shipping companies which is involved in activities in energy, logistics, retail and manufacturing industries. It is also the biggest enterprise in Denmark.

Editor: Xiong Tong



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Bill Gates visits India

English.news.cn 2010-05-13 09:12:41

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates walks through dusty pavements to reach Guleria village in Aulali, Khagaria District at Patna, Bihal, India, May 12, 2010. Bill Gates visited Indian state of Bihal on Wednesday to carry out Melinda Gates Foundation's plan to adopt local Gularia village of Bihal. (Xinhua/Stringer)

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates arrives at Patna airport, Bihal, India, May 12, 2010. Bill Gates visited Indian state of Bihal on Wednesday to carry out Melinda Gates Foundation's plan to adopt local Gularia village of Bihal. (Xinhua/Stringer)

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates interacts with local community workers at Guleria village in Aulali, Khagaria District at Patna, Bihal, India, May 12, 2010. (Xinhua/Stringer)



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China's wage proportion decreases for 22 years

"Low pay, long working hours and poor working conditions caused conflicts and even mass incidents between labor and management to occur more frequently in recent years, which has already become a major factor affecting current social stability," Zhang said.

On July 24 last year, 3,000 steel workers protested when they were threatened with job cuts following the takeover of their company, the Tonghua Iron and Steel Group, by a private firm in Jilin province. The workers later beat company executive Chen Guojun to death.

A number of strikes staged by taxi drivers citing harsh working conditions and low pay have also been reported in the last two years in many cities and provinces, including Chongqing municipality as well as Hainan, Yunnan and Gansu provinces.

Similarly, in the first quarter of this year, seven provinces and municipalities including Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai increased their minimum-wage standards by 10 percent to 17 percent, while another 20 provinces plan to adjust their minimum-wage level this year, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said.

(Source: China Daily)



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FDA asks gene test kit company to show regulatory approval

BEIJING, May 13 (Xinhuanet) -- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked the Pathway Genomics Corp to show it has regulatory approval for its saliva genetic test kits, according to media reports Thursday.

The agency released a May 10 letter to the privately-held Pathway saying the agency was "unable to identify" FDA approval for its Genetic Health Report.

The letter said the kit appears to be a medical device. If Pathway doesn't think the gene test requires FDA clearance, it should provide its reasoning to the agency.

Pathways Genomics, the San Diego maker, plans to sell its gene test kits on May 14 at Walgreen Co. retail stores, making it the first U.S. drug store chain to put such tests in the local pharmacy.

The company said the test aims to help people assess their risk for inherited diseases.

Pathway's test offers to provide customers information on their ability to respond to drugs and their risk of developing various diseases and passing conditions on to their children.


Editor: Bi Mingxin



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Lula afirma que seu governo fez milagres

11/05/10 - 11h37
Publicado Por: Gabriel Mandel

José Nêumanne

Direto ao assunto
Fique por dentro do que realmente acontece nos bastidores da política e economia, acompanhando "Direto ao Assunto", com o comentarista Jovem Pan, José Nêumanne Pinto.

José Nêumanne
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Para justificar o discurso, ele citou o crescimento da classe média pois, segundo sua visão, a capacidade de consumo da parcela mais pobre dos brasileiros que fez o país superar a crise. Nessa fase de se mostrar irmão mais velho de Deus, o presidente citou inclusive milagre realizado por Jesus Cristo, comparando sua obra à multiplicação dos pães.



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Comportamento do PT chega a ser escandaloso

José Nêumanne

Direto ao assunto
Fique por dentro do que realmente acontece nos bastidores da política e economia, acompanhando "Direto ao Assunto", com o comentarista Jovem Pan, José Nêumanne Pinto.

José Nêumanne
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O delegado Romeu Tuma Júnior está sendo acusado de algo que revela e reflete a familiaridade com que altas autoridades brasileiras lidam com o crime, difuso ou organizado. Sempre que existe contato com o crime, seja Justiça ou polícia, fica mais clara a promiscuidade intolerável e, em qualquer país onde a lei vale, Tuma Júnior já teria deixado o cargo.



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PM atuar como bando de vândalos é lamentável

José Nêumanne

Direto ao assunto
Fique por dentro do que realmente acontece nos bastidores da política e economia, acompanhando "Direto ao Assunto", com o comentarista Jovem Pan, José Nêumanne Pinto.

José Nêumanne
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No sábado, Maria Aparecida Menezes presenciou a agressão e a morte de seu filho, um motoboy de 25 anos com quem ela morava em Cidade Ademar. A PM, que agiu corretamente na punição aos soldados que mataram outro motoboy, há um mês, reconheceu que quatro membros da corporação participaram do crime deste sábado.



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Greve do Ibama destrói gramado em Brasília

Leandro Kleber
Do Contas Abertas

Quem passa em frente à sede do Instituto de Meio Ambiente e Recursos Renováveis (Ibama), em Brasília, tem duas certezas: os funcionários estão em greve e os carros estão estacionados ao longo da Avenida das Nações (via L4 Norte) e em cima do gramado (fotos). A cena inusitada de dezenas de veículos de servidores de um órgão ambiental parados em cima da grama, no entanto, não preocupa parte dos grevistas, como afirma Joaquim Benedito, um dos líderes do Comando de Greve: “discutir o conteúdo da greve é muito mais importante do que falar sobre alguns veículos parados lá fora”. A Companhia de Policiamento Rodoviário (CPRv) informou que o estacionamento é irregular.

O estacionamento improvisado funciona sempre quando servidores do Ibama entram em greve. Isso acontece porque o Comando de Greve restringe a entrada dos funcionários. Assim, eles têm de estacionar do lado externo, em frente à sede. O problema é que do lado de fora não há vagas e, com isso, parte do gramado em frente ao Ibama, assim como a avenida que dá acesso ao órgão, se tornam estacionamento irregular. Enquanto isso, o amplo estacionamento interno fica às moscas.

Aproveitando a ocasião, um “flanelinha” que preferiu não se identificar disse que o local costuma ficar cheio de carros durante as greves. Funcionários do Ibama, que também optaram por não revelar suas identidades e comentar o assunto, confirmaram a versão. A situação do estacionamento improvisado, no entanto, poderia ser diferente, pelo menos para Gustavo Machado, que trabalha no Ibama há sete anos. Segundo ele, a entrada de veículos no estacionamento interno deveria ser liberada mesmo em momentos de greve.

Quanto à aparente contradição de carros de servidores do Ibama estarem parados em cima do gramado em frente ao órgão, Machado acredita que não há controvérsia. “Se você pensar que eventos na Esplanada dos Ministérios, que reúnem milhares de pessoas em cima do gramado, são permitidos, não vejo problema em alguns carros estacionarem aqui”, diz. De acordo com ele, é normal nesta época do ano em Brasília a grama ficar seca e sem vida. “Depois do início das chuvas, a grama volta ao normal. Ela não morre”, afirma.

Para a grevista Maria Gorete, do Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade (ICMBio) – órgão ligado ao Ibama –, estacionar em cima da grama não prejudica o meio ambiente, porque o gramado não tem “função ecológica”. Ela, que afirma ser uma ecóloga, diz que é normal a grama ficar seca neste período do ano e que nas primeiras chuvas a situação irá melhorar. “A luta dos funcionários em greve é muito maior do que essa situação [carros estacionados na grama]. Nesse sentido, acho que vale a pena sim estacionar lá”, diz ela, que deixou seu veículo na parte interna regulamentada.

Em entrevista ao Contas Abertas, Joaquim Benedito, um dos líderes do Comando de Greve, afirmou que não houve qualquer recomendação aos funcionários para estacionarem os veículos em cima da grama. Segundo ele, “existem locais apropriados”. “Essa orientação já foi dada. Quando isso acontece [estacionar em cima da grama], o Comando pede para as pessoas tirarem os veículos. Além do mais, o Detran [Departamento de Trânsito do Distrito Federal] tem passado por aqui, conversado conosco e avalizado que nós estamos nos comportando sem oferecer risco nenhum à sociedade”, argumenta.

Benedito vê “com muita estranheza” não debater o conteúdo da greve – o estágio em que se encontram as negociações, as medidas que foram tomadas pelo governo e pelo Judiciário em torno de não respeitar o direito de greve – e “ficar restrito a coisas menores que não têm a menor pertinência”.

“O comando está na entrada do Ibama de forma ordeira, pedindo às pessoas que estacionem fora, na Universidade de Brasília [próxima ao local] e ao longo da primeira faixa do meiofio da (via) L4. Isso é um instrumento da greve e as pessoas estão concordando conosco e estacionando fora dos portões. Inclusive a direção do Ibama também não tomou nenhuma providência no sentido de intervir no estacionamento em cima da grama”, diz.

Em contato com a reportagem, a Companhia de Policiamento Rodoviário (CPRv), responsável pelo tráfego na avenida das Nações, desmentiu Joaquim Benedito. Segundo a companhia, não houve nenhuma autorização para que os carros estacionassem ao longo do meiofio ou em cima do gramado. “Não está permitido e nem pode ser autorizado o estacionamento ao longo de uma rodovia distrital”, informou. A CPRv ainda afirmou que irá mandar viaturas ao local para averiguar o problema.

Reivindicações dos grevistas

O Comando de Greve do ICMBio afirmou que servidores do Ministério do Meio Ambiente, Ibama, MMA, ICMBio e Serviço Florestal Brasileiro (SFB) estão em greve desde o dia 7 de abril. Eles querem a reestruturação da carreira de especialista em meio ambiente. Segundo o Comando, “a greve é por tempo indeterminado em resposta à intransigência do governo em negociar uma proposta digna de reestruturação da carreira”.

O grupo afirma que “para muitos, a paralisação das atividades dos agentes ambientais federais é um alívio”. “Em greve, deixamos de ‘incomodar’ infratores e aqueles que veem o meio ambiente como mais um dos empecilhos para o crescimento do país”, dizem.

“Apesar da falta de reconhecimento de nossa excelência técnica, da falta de infraestrutura, das deficientes condições de trabalho, dos baixos salários, dos riscos físicos e orgânicos a que estão expostos – incluindo ameaças de morte em lugares remotos, ou por conta dos enfrentamentos com infratores – os servidores da carreira de especialista em meio ambiente têm cumprido a sua parte, superando metas do governo e expectativas da sociedade, gerando resultados positivos para o país”, informam.

Segundo eles, basta verificar a redução histórica dos índices de desmatamento, o número de licenças ambientais concedidas – com critério e rigor – a melhoria dos índices de conservação da biodiversidade e o fortalecimento da gestão das áreas protegidas e ameaçadas, entre outras, para verificar o bom trabalho feito por eles. “Tais resultados deram ao Brasil posição de destaque na reunião sobre o clima em Copenhague e foram, em muito, resultantes do esforço e dedicação dos servidores do Ibama, ICMBio, SFB e MMA espalhados pelo Brasil afora”.



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