China urges US not to allow Taiwan delegation to attend Trump inauguration

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In Bhutan, Happiness Index as Gauge for Social Ills


U.S. Ambassadors in Asia Make Final Plea for Dead Trans-Pacific Trade Pact

Customers lining up outside an Apple store in Tokyo. The Trans-Pacific Partnership would have set new terms and standards for trade for the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations, including Japan. Credit Kazuhiro Nogi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

When hope of enacting the ambitious Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact ended in November, Max Baucus, the United States ambassador to China, was among the officials who had to grapple with disappointment.

The partnership, called the TPP, was a hallmark of the Obama administration. It would have been one of the largest trade agreements in history, covering about 40 percent of the world’s economy and setting new terms and standards for trade for the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations. China was not included but would have been able to join.

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China’s Top Economic Official Braces for Possible Trade War

Liu He in Beijing in 2010. As the top economic adviser to China’s president, Xi Jinping, Mr. Liu has sought to make China’s growth less reliant on rising debt and public spending. Credit Nelson Ching/Bloomberg

BEIJING — Over the last year, Liu He, a soft-spoken, American-educated technocrat, has consolidated his status as President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, amassing influence that some believe rivals that of the prime minister.

But as his star has climbed, Mr. Liu has struggled to overcome resistance to a program of measured economic liberalization and more open markets that he argues is critical to China’s long-term economic health — and that is generally favored by Washington.

Now, as President-elect Donald J. Trump prepares to enter the White House renewing warnings of China’s economic menace, it will be even more difficult for Mr. Liu to achieve his agenda, which could be overwhelmed by fears of fallout from a trade war.

There is little in his public record to suggest precisely how he would advise Mr. Xi to handle Mr. Trump’s threats to raise tariffs on Chinese products.

Continue reading on New York Times

China’s top judge calls judicial independence an ‘erroneous Western ideal’

japan times

AP, Jan 18, 2017

China’s top judge has drawn criticism from legal professionals after he dismissed the concept of judicial independence as an “erroneous Western ideal,” a statement seemingly aimed at emphasizing the ruling Communist Party’s ultimate control over all areas of public life.

Zhou Qiang, the head of the Supreme People’s Court, has at times been seen as a reformer keen on limiting the influence of government officials on the courts.

However, Chinese state media quoted him over the weekend as instructing leading judges to “draw your sword” against words and actions running counter to the ruling Communist Party’s dictates. Tiếp tục đọc “China’s top judge calls judicial independence an ‘erroneous Western ideal’”

In final speech, Hong Kong leader warns on independence push

Japan Times

AFP-JIJI, Jan 18, 2017

Hong Kong’s unpopular pro-Beijing leader Leung Chun-ying faced protests Wednesday as he spoke out against the city’s independence movement in his final policy address.

Leung will step down in July after a four-year term marked by anti-Beijing rallies as fears grow that Chinese authorities are squeezing Hong Kong’s freedoms.

Frustration at lack of political reform has sparked movements seeking self-determination or even independence for the semi-autonomous city, angering Chinese authorities. Tiếp tục đọc “In final speech, Hong Kong leader warns on independence push”

Philippines defense chief calls China arms on South China Sea islands ‘troubling’

Japan Times

Reuters, Jan 17, 2017

China’s recent installation of weapons on artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea was “very troubling”, the Philippines’ defense minister said Tuesday, after Manila quietly protested Beijing’s activities.

The Philippine Foreign Ministry sent a note verbale to the Chinese Embassy last month after confirming a report from the U.S.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies about China’s arms buildup in the Spratlys. Tiếp tục đọc “Philippines defense chief calls China arms on South China Sea islands ‘troubling’”

Bomb database useful for past, present wars

Boston Globe
JULY 30, 2012

Lieutenant Colonel Jenns Robertson’s project is aiding efforts to spot unexploded bombs that still endanger civilians.
Lieutenant Colonel Jenns Robertson’s project is aiding efforts to
spot unexploded bombs that still endanger civilians. MEG MCKINNEY

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. — Six years ago it seemed a zany idea when Lieutenant Colonel Jenns Robertson, 45, a bespectacled Minnesota native with an outsized gee-whiz quality even by military standards, began a rather unusual hobby: documenting a century of US air power — bomb by bomb. Tiếp tục đọc “Bomb database useful for past, present wars”

Chuyên đề: Cà phê Việt Nam – loay hoay từ giống

22/04/2013 06:30 (GMT + 7)
TTCTMột nửa diện tích trồng cà phê ở Đắk Lắk đang trồng những giống cây cà phê già cỗi, năng suất thấp; mới có 13% diện tích trồng cà phê ở Lâm Đồng được tái canh.

tt1Công nhân tưới cà phê giống tại vườn ươm của Viện Khoa học kỹ thuật nông lâm nghiệp Tây nguyên – Ảnh: Thái Bá Dũng

Nhiều thế hệ nông dân trồng cà phê vẫn còn nguyên mối lo cũ về cây giống… Tất cả đang đặt lại nhiều câu hỏi cho tương lai một ngành nông nghiệp quan trọng với giấc mơ trở thành một quốc gia dẫn đầu về xuất khẩu cà phê.

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Top Trump adviser Bolton backs U.S. forces in Taiwan, says move could lessen Okinawa burden

Japan Times

by Staff Writer

Jan 18, 2017

Amid increasingly tense Sino-U.S. ties, John Bolton, a former American ambassador to the U.N. and a top adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, has called for a closer U.S. military relationship with Taiwan to help counter a “belligerent” Beijing.

In a commentary published Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal likely to stoke anger in China, Bolton said Washington “could enhance its East Asia military posture by increasing U.S. military sales to Taiwan and by again stationing military personnel and assets there.”

In the commentary, Bolton also noted that the stationing of U.S. military personnel in Taiwan could help alleviate other problems in East Asia, including in Okinawa Prefecture, which hosts the bulk of U.S. forces in Japan. Tiếp tục đọc “Top Trump adviser Bolton backs U.S. forces in Taiwan, says move could lessen Okinawa burden”

Trồng người – Số 40

Số 40 – February 2016


December 8, 2006
© Vu-Duc Vuong

In this season of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, who counts upward of two billion followers around the world today, it may be sobering to look at religions from a more humanist perspective: it is humans who create gods out of the necessity to believe in something higher, more lasting and more powerful than their short lifespan.

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Đi chùa, đi cúng tháng Giêng




Ở đất Sài Gòn, vào những đêm giao thừa xa xưa hầu như gia đình nào cũng bỏ lệ nhắc bọn trẻ đi ngủ sớm. Ở nhà tôi, trong khi mấy đứa em được tha hồ xem chương trình ti-vi đặc biệt với chủ đề mừng năm mới, tôi được phụ mẹ tôi chuẩn bị mâm cúng đón giao thừa đúng 12 giờ khuya. Rồi khi mẹ tôi cùng mấy bà hàng xóm đi Lăng Ông Bà Chiểu, tôi cũng được tháp tùng. Ngoài đường đông vui hết sức! Tiếp tục đọc “Đi chùa, đi cúng tháng Giêng”

The rise of the cashless city: ‘There is this real danger of exclusion’

theguardian_Cities from Sweden to India are pushing for a totally cash-free society. But as more shops and transport networks insist on electronic payments, where does this leave the smallest traders and poorest inhabitants?

Homeless man begs in London
A two-tier city: as many go increasingly cash-free, others are left behind. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images