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China tees up G20 showdown with US

November 7, 2010 Leave a comment

By Alan Beattie in Washington, Geoff Dyer in Beijing, Chris Giles in London

Published: November 5 2010 06:56 | Last updated: November 5 2010 19:03

China has curtly dismissed a US proposal to address global economic imbalances, setting the stage for a potential showdown at next week’s G20 meeting in Seoul.

Cui Tiankai, a deputy foreign minister and one of China’s lead negotiators at the G20, said on Friday that the US plan for limiting current account surpluses and deficits to 4 per cent of gross domestic product harked back “to the days of planned economies”.

“We believe a discussion about a current account target misses the whole point,” he added, in the first official comment by a senior Chinese official on the subject. “If you look at the global economy, there are many issues that merit more attention – for example, the question of quantitative easing.”

China’s opposition to the proposal, which had made some progress at a G20 finance ministers’ meeting last month, came amid a continuing rumble of protest from around the world at the US Federal Reserve’s plan to pump an extra $600bn into financial markets.

Officials from China, Germany and South Africa on Friday added their voices to a chorus of complaint that the Fed’s return to so-called quantitative easing would create instability and worsen imbalances by triggering surges of capital into other currencies.

Tim Geithner, the US Treasury secretary, has proposed using what the US refers to as current account “guidelines” to accelerate global rebalancing, partly as a way of changing the debate away from simply pressing China to allow faster appreciation in the renminbi.

But on Thursday and Friday, governments focused instead on the global impact of the Fed’s action. “With all due respect, US policy is clueless,” Wolfgang Schäuble, German finance minister, told reporters. “It’s not that the Americans haven’t pumped enough liquidity into the market,” he said. “Now to say let’s pump more into the market is not going to solve their problems.”

Pravin Gordhan, finance minister of South Africa, a key member of the emerging market bloc, said the decision “undermines the spirit of multilateral co-operation that G20 leaders have fought so hard to maintain during the current crisis”, and ran counter to the pledge made by G20 finance ministers to refrain from uncoordinated responses.

The US Treasury declined to comment on Friday.

Experts say the mood has soured since the G20 Toronto summit in June and worry that unless the summit can patch up differences on trade imbalances and exchange rates, the outlook for international economic agreement is poor.

Ousmène Mandeng of Ashmore Investment Management and a former senior International Monetary Fund official, said: “The G20 will also have to show [in Seoul] it can work on the issue or its very existence will be in question.”

In recent weeks, there had been some hints that China was favourable to the idea of current account targets. Yi Gang, a deputy central bank governor, said China aimed to reduce its surplus to 4 per cent of GDP in the medium-term

But Mr Cui’s comments suggest that China’s senior leaders have decided to reject Mr Geithner’s proposal. “We believe it would not be a good approach to single out this issue and focus all attention on it,” he said.

Separately, the deputy foreign minister also had a stern message for European leaders, warning them not to attend next month’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for Liu Xiaobo, an imprisoned Chinese democracy activist.

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US espionage in Oslo angers Norway

November 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Thu Nov 4, 2010 5:36PM

The US embassy in Norway
Relations between Norway and the US have strained after a TV report accused the US Embassy in Oslo of systematically spying on Norwegian citizens.

According to Norway’s TV2 channel, the US Embassy has employed up to 20 Surveillance Detection Unit (SDU) agents, including police officers, to spy on Norwegians since 2000.

The SDU agents are reported to have been tasked with monitoring Norwegian citizens whom the US Embassy accuses of being ‘suspicious’. The monitoring took place from the sixth floor Handelsbygningen building which is several hundred meters west of the embassy.

According to TV2, the detailed and sensitive information about the so called ‘suspicious’ people would be handed to embassy staff who would then store it on the worldwide anti-terror Security Incident Management Analytics System database a.k.a. SIMAS.

The Norwegian foreign ministry held a meeting with the US Embassy Wednesday to discuss what had happened, the Telegraph reported.

The ministry spokeswoman, Marte Lerberg Kopstad, said in a statement that the ministry had asked for information on whether Norway had been aware of the espionage programmed and what it involved.

The US Department of State spokesman, Philip J. Crowley, confirmed the operation had taken place, but also alleged that Norwegian authorities were aware of the situation and were cooperating with the embassy.

“We cooperate with authorities in the host country to do everything we can to protect our embassies [from terrorist attacks], including Norway,” he says.

MSM/ZHD/MMN

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U.S. Superbase on Guam

November 1, 2010 Leave a comment

German Heinkel He 111s which went into service...

Image via Wikipedia

Source: Cryptogon

Via: Telegraph:

The US is building an £8 billion super military base on the Pacific island of Guam in an attempt to contain China’s military build-up.

The expansion will include a dock for a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, a missile defence system, live-fire training sites and the expansion of the island’s airbase. It will be the largest investment in a military base in the western Pacific since the Second World War, and the biggest spend on naval infrastructure in decades.

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Chinese Supercomputer Likely to Prompt Unease in U.S.

October 28, 2010 1 comment

  • The Wall Street Journal
  • By DON CLARK

    A newly built supercomputer in China appears poised to take the world performance lead, another sign of the country’s growing technological prowess that is likely to set off alarms about U.S. competitiveness and national security.

    The system was designed by China’s National University of Defense Technology and is housed at the National Supercomputing Center in the city of Tianjin. It is part of a new breed that exploits graphics chips more commonly used in playing videogames—supplied by Nvidia Corp.—as well as standard microprocessors from Intel Corp.

    Supercomputers are massive machines that help tackle the toughest scientific problems, including simulating commercial products like new drugs as well as defense-related applications such as weapons design and breaking codes. The field has long been led by U.S. technology companies and national laboratories, which operate systems that have consistently topped lists of the fastest machines in the world.

    [cnvidia1028] NVIDIAThe Tianhe-1A Supercomputer, located at National Supercomputer Center in Tianjin, China, is one of the fastest supercomputers in the world.

    But Nvidia says the new system in Tianjin—which is being formally announced Thursday at an event in China—was able to reach 2.5 petaflops. That is a measure of calculating speed ordinarily translated into a thousand trillion operations per second. It is more than 40% higher than the mark set last June by a system called Jaguar at Oak Ridge National Laboratory that previously stood at No. 1 on a twice-yearly ranking of the 500 fastest supercomputers.

    “I don’t know of another system that is going to be anywhere near the performance and the power of this machine” in China, said Jack Dongarra, a supercomputer expert on the Oak Ridge research staff who is a professor at the University of Tennessee and recently inspected the system in Tianjin last week. “It is quite impressive.”

    The development was not altogether unexpected. China placed 24 systems in the so-called Top 500 supercomputer ranking last June; a system called Nebulae, for example, took second place that also used chips from Nvidia and Intel.

    Editors’ Deep Dive: Businesses Put Supercomputers to Work

    Access thousands of business sources not available on the free web. Learn More

    But Mr. Dongarra and other researchers said the machine should nevertheless serve as a wake-up call that China is threatening to take the lead in scientific computing—akin to a machine from Japan that took the No. 1 position early in the past decade and triggered increased U.S. investment in the field.

    “It’s definitely a game-changer in the high performance market,” said Mark Seager, chief technology officer for computing at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. “This is a phase transition, representative of the shift of economic competitiveness from the West to the East.”

    Nearly all components of the high-profile Japanese system, called the Earth Simulator, were created in Japan. By contrast, most of the Tianjin system relies on chips from Intel and Nvidia, which are both based in Santa Clara, Calif. So U.S. customers could presumably construct a system with similar performance, noted Horst Simon, deputy lab director at Lawrence Berkeley Lab.

    But Mr. Dongarra noted that communications chips inside the machine were proprietary and designed in China, and the country is also working on its own microprocessors.

    Moreover, while the Japanese system was a single machine, Tianjin is part of a multi-year strategy by China to develop a range of machines to create a dominant position in both military and commercial applications. “In that sense, I would say this is a much more important event than the Earth Simulator,” Mr. Simon said.

    The new supercomputer will be operated as an “open access” system, available to other countries outside of China to use for large scale scientific computation, said Ujesh Desai, an Nvidia vice president of product marketing.

    It reflects a major design shift to use graphics chips to help accelerate the number-crunching functions most often carried out by so-called x86 chips, which evolved from personal computers and have long dominated supercomputing. Advanced Micro Devices, which makes both graphics chips and x86 microprocessors, is another company besides Nvidia that is promoting the technology shift.

    Write to Don Clark at don.clark@wsj.com

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    Asian Markets Mixed After Surprise China Interest Rate Increase

    October 20, 2010 Leave a comment

    Heda Bayron | Hong Kong
    20 October 2010

     

    Chinese investors monitor their stock prices at a security firm in Hefei, east China's Anhui province, 14 Oct. 2010

    Photo: AFP

    Chinese investors monitor their stock prices at a security firm in Hefei, east China‘s Anhui province, 14 Oct. 2010

    Stocks in Hong Kong and Japan fell and the U.S. dollar rose a day after China raised interest rates for the first time since December 2007.  Economists interpret the move as a sign that authorities are taking a more aggressive stance against inflation and bank lending.

    Chinese borrowers will now have to pay at least 0.25 percentage points more interest on their loans. China’s central bank increased the cost of borrowing late Tuesday, ahead of releasing inflation figures for September.

    Higher inflation rate

    Market analysts expect the inflation rate to be higher than the 3.5 percent recorded in August – already the fastest pace in nearly two years. They think China hopes higher rates will cool price increases.

    Jan Lambregts, global head of financial markets research at Rabobank, says the central bank is also trying to slow lending.

    “Chinese policy makers are very unhappy about bank lending and they want to curb that more…. It’s really a warning shot, to those banks – ‘curb your bank lending, we’re serious,'” Lambregts said.

    Credit boom

    For the first nine months of the year, bank lending reached $948 billion – just 19 percent shy of the government’s target for the year. The credit boom has sparked a surge in property prices nationwide.

    Last week, the central bank asked six major banks to raise the ratio of deposits they hold as reserves, which reduces the amount available for lending.

    With the increase, the one-year lending rate now stands at 5.56 percent, while the deposit rate climbs to 2.5 percent. China had not moved its interest rates in nearly three years.

    On Wednesday, stock prices in Hong Kong declined just under 1 percent, led by property companies. Japan’s Nikkei index fell by 1.6 percent. But Shanghai managed to claw back losses earlier in the day. And in Seoul and Taipei, main stock indexes closed higher.

    Investment money

    A flow of investment money from developed economies seeking higher returns could complicate China’s efforts to slow its economy. The problem could worsen if the U.S. Federal Reserve increases the amount of money in circulation in the coming weeks to stimulate the American economy.

    Strong foreign investment flows may boost China’s currency. A stronger yuan would make imported commodities cheaper, helping manage inflation. Lambregts says expectations of more rate increases could have an influence on the exchange rate.

    “I think we should take a broader view, that in terms of hot money inflow, any prospect of further tightening on the monetary front only increases the feeling that you should be in China,” he added.

    The yuan’s exchange rate is tightly managed by the central bank, although it has risen 2.5 percent against the dollar since June. But on Wednesday, the dollar recorded its biggest gain against the yuan since June, after the Chinese central bank sharply lowered the reference rate for yuan movements.

    Find this article at:
    http://www.voanews.com/english/news/Asian-Markets-Mixed-After-Surprise-China-Interest-Rate-Increase–105336513.html 

     

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    Videos: From The Fluoride Wars

    October 12, 2010 Leave a comment

     

    Alex Jones

    Alex Jones

     

    From dan

    Most Fluoride added to Americandrinking water comes from . It has many non-fluoride materials that we cannot identify. The government says it is safe but does not know exactly what is in the Chinese fluoride.


    This second and last fluoride video is from Alex Jones.

    The above videos are posted at my new video-only blog here

    http://vidrebel.wordpress.com/

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    China to explore deep space

    October 3, 2010 Leave a comment

    The terrestrial planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth...

    Image via Wikipedia

    Sunday 3rd October, 2010


    Big News Network.com (IANS)     Saturday 2nd October, 2010

    China will set up its own deep space communication network in three to five years which will help in the exploration of the solar system, a top scientist has said.

    With the new system, which includes a network of large antennae and communication facilities to support interplanetary missions and astronomical observations by radio and radar, ‘there will be no problem for China to carry out an exploration of the solar system’, said Qian Weiping, chief designer of Chang’e-2 mission’s tracking and control system.

    He said that Chang’e-2, China’s second lunar probe which was launched Friday, will test the X-spectrum telemetry, tracking and control system, a key technology in the deep space network, according to China Daily.

    ‘If the test succeeds, it means we have mastered the technology of using the X-spectrum to fulfil functions like orbit determination and the remote control of spacecraft in deep space,’ he said. ‘With this technology, we only need to build larger antennae to explore planets in deep space.’

    As part of the network, two ground tracking stations with large antennae are currently under construction in the country – one in Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and the other in Jiamusi in Heilongjiang province, the scientist said.

    Deep space usually means 1.5 million km from the earth, said Wu Weiren, chief designer of China’s lunar exploration programme.

    He said since the moon is 400,000 km away from the earth and there is no large celestial body between 400,000 km and 1.5 million km, the new lunar mission is considered as the starting point for the exploration of deep space.

    According to Wu, the technology used in the lunar mission can be applied in exploring other planets including Mars and Venus.

    ‘So it would be possible for us to explore Mars and Venus in the foreseeable future, as the two planets are the closest to the earth,’ he said.

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