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News & Reports 2010-11-21

时间:2011-02-14 07:26来源:互联网 提供网友:hm3842   字体: [ ]
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Hello and Welcome to News and Reports on China Radio International.

In This Edition

NATO leaders end their two day summit in Lisbon, Portugal with announcement that the alliance forces will withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014.

Russia has been receptive but stopped short of accepting a historic NATO invitation to join a missile shield protecting Europe against incoming missle attack.

Ireland has conceded that the visiting IMF-EU mission is to examine the prospect of a bailout loan.

And an American leading wedding media company is launching its latest Chinese website help Chinese get married with style and flair.


Hot Issue Reports

NATO Members Agree to Withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014

North Atlantic Treaty Organization leaders have ended their two day summit in Lisbon, Portugal on Saturday with the announcement that alliance forces will withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014.

NATO nations formally agreed to start turning over Afghanistan's security to its military next year in order to give local forces full control by 2014.

US President Barack Obama said for the first time that his goal is to end US combat missions in Afghanistan by that year.

The nine-year war has become increasingly unpopular among NATO's European allies, and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he did not expect NATO troops to stay in the fight against the Taliban after 2014.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper indicated his country did not intend to retain any sort of presence in Afghanistan after 2014.

"I think some allies think it is essential that at least some elements of NATO keep the message to the Taliban that they are prepared to stay if necessary. That is not Canada's position."

Harper has said Canada has been under pressure by NATO allies to continue in a combat role, but a training role was the most he could agree to.

In Lisbon the 28 NATO member states and Afghanistan signed an agreement for the Western alliance to remain in Afghanistan after 2014 to provide military assistance for Afghan security forces - including air support, training, advice and logistics - and to help with economic development and humanitarian assistance.

NATO also reached agreement with Russia on Saturday to expand an overland supply route to Afghanistan to allow for the transport of heavy vehicles and for the return of NATO equipment to Europe.

Rasmussen and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also concluded agreements on establishing a new training centre in Russia for Afghan counter-narcotics agents and for the training of Afghan helicopter crews.


Russia Accepts to Join a Missile Shield Protecting Europe

Russia has been receptive but stopped short of accepting a historic NATO invitation on Saturday to join a missile shield protecting Europe against incoming missile attack.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed to involve technicians in development plans, but did not make a commitment if it becomes operational and warned that Russia might decide against joining the US-led effort if it doesn't feel it is being treated equally as a partner.

"It's either going to be a full-fleged exchange of information being responsible for certain problems or we don't take part at all."

United States President Barack Obama won NATO support a day earlier to build the missile shield over Europe.

Two key unanswered questions about the missile shield - will it work and can the Europeans afford it? -were put aside for the present in the interest of celebrating the agreement as a boost for NATO solidarity.

Under the arrangement, a limited system of US anti-missile interceptors and radars already planned for Europe - to include interceptors in Romania and Poland and possibly radar in Turkey - would be linked to expanded European-owned missile defences. That would create a broad system that protects every NATO country against medium-range missile attack.

What remains in conflict, however, is the question of the future role of nuclear weapons in NATO's basic strategy. The document, members agreed to, says NATO will retain an "appropriate mix of nuclear and conventional capabilities" to deter a potential aggressor.

Germany and some other NATO members want US nuclear weapons withdrawn from Europe.

Ministers from six European countries - Denmark, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Norway and Bulgaria - urged US lawmakers to ratify the stalled nuclear treaty, saying failure to do so would be a setback for European security.

The pact would reduce the limits on strategic warheads held by the US and Russia and would establish an inspection system. It would be a major setback for Obama if he's unable to get it ratified by the Senate after inking it with Russia's president earlier this year.


Anti-NATO Protest in Lisbon

Meanwhile, thousands of people have marched through downtown Lisbon in a peaceful anti-NATO protest during a summit of the alliance's leaders in the Portuguese capital.

The protesters chanted anti-NATO slogans, held banners that read "yes to peace, no to NATO", and banged drums as they passed down the city's main avenue.

Many of the protesters belonged to Portuguese trade unions and local left-of-centre political parties. Joao Lopes is one of the demonstrators.

"In our opinion NATO has no reason to exist. NATO is not a peaceful coalition. NATO is an aggressive coalition."

Police detained about 20 protesters near the cordoned-off summit site after they sat in the road and blocked local traffic.


Irish Gov in Talks with EU Institutions on Bailout Plan

Ireland's Prime Minister Brian Cowen said the Irish Government is holding talks with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.

It was the first time Cowen conceded that the IMF/EU mission visiting Ireland is there to examine the prospect of a bailout loan.

Cowen has insisted that an international aid package for the banks does not mean a bailout or a loss of sovereignty for Ireland.

"I think it's very important to recognize the situation as it is - the government is engaged in discussions with colleagues and European Union institutions about seeing, were Ireland to apply, what would be the shape of the package. We want to make sure that's the best possible one for Ireland."

Cowen said the European Central Bank (ECB) had given "full support" to Ireland's banking system.

Irish Health Minister Mary Harney said that the government's responsibility is now to protect tax payers and to introduce a budget with a fiscal adjustment of 16 billion euro, and to adopt its four year plan.

She said the government's four year financial plan was almost finalized and would show the country had the capacity to plan its way out of the current difficulties to return to a situation of prosperity.

Although the 2011 budget is likely to pass when it come to a vote next month, unease runs deep in Prime Minister Cowen's Fianna Fail party.


Ukraine President Maintains Hope for Energy Project with Russia, EU

The Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych says a proposed project to modernize the aging gas pipeline network in his country should go ahead, but vowed not to cede control of pipelines to Russia.

Yanukovych said the modernization is less costly and a more effective alternative to the South Stream gas pipeline project that would transport Russian natural gas under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and other European countries, which bypasses the Ukraine.

The construction of the South Stream - funded chiefly by Russia's Gazprom and Italy's Eni – has been planned to start this year and expected to be completed by 2015.

Work on the project intensified after price disputes between Russia and the Ukraine caused shutdowns in Russian gas supplies to Europe via the Ukraine.

Yanukovych insists that Kiev is a reliable partner and should not be excluded from energy relations.

He stressed that any possible joint energy ventures involving Russian and European investors will not see the Ukraine ceding control of its pipelines.

Russia signaled interest in helping modernize Ukraine's pipelines, but pushed for control of the sprawling network.

Yanukovych said the "existing balance between Russia, EU and USA" was "very comfortable for the Ukraine".

"I'm saying this to look out for our national interests and protection on every political level."

Speaking ahead of the Ukraine-EU summit in Brussels next week, Yanukovych said his country will continue reforms to deepen economic integration with the European Union and hopes the EU and the Ukraine can eliminate visas for each other's citizens by 2012.

Talks between China and India Hold on Construction of Mega Dams

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said, at a meeting hosted by the National Maritime Foundation in New Delhi, that New Delhi is in a continuous dialogue with Beijing over the construction of mega dams across the River Brahmaputra in China.

A dam which will generate 510 mega watts of power has been reportedly planned by China across the River Brahmaputra.

Rao said that China has assured India that the downstream states would be taken care of.

"They (Chinese authorities) have consistently come back to us to say that this project does not involve the diversion of waters, and secondly, it is not going to affect the welfare of people downstream."

She also spoke about the regional cooperation with China and other countries surrounding the Indian Ocean.

Rao said that China has a huge presence in the Indian Ocean and India is aware and is taking steps towards building cooperation.

"China is our largest land neighbor, and increasingly on seas in the Indian Ocean, we are seeing the presence of the Chinese Navy, Chinese capabilities. Obviously we are conscious of this, when we dialogue with our neighbors, when we seem to build networks of cooperation with our immediate neighbors particularly."

Further she pointed out the importance of building regional ties with the countries, as no country can maintain its maritime security alone.


India Railway Minister Supports 2G Telecom Spectrum Allocation

Mamata Banerjee, India's Railways Minister, assured her full support to the Congress party-led federal government, over the fiasco created over the recent 2G telecom spectrum allocation scam, in India's eastern state of West Bengal.

Banerjee said on Saturday that she had no objection to a debate in the Parliament over this particular controversy.

"If there are questions on the functioning of the government, then there should be discussions in the Indian Parliament about it. We do not have problems with these types of talks. We were always with the Prime Minister, we are with the Prime Minister and we will be with the Prime Minister. There is nothing new to say about it. I think we are the first party who met the Prime Minister to extend our full support for him."

Pranab Mukherjee, the federal Finance Minister, said that Banerjee would support the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in whatever decision he takes.

It may be recalled that A. Raja, the former federal Minister of Communications and Information Technology, was accused of serious irregularities in the allocation of 2G spectrum licenses.

After weeks of demands from opposition parties for his resignation, Raja finally resigned from his office on November 14.


America's Leading Wedding Media Company Debuts Website in China

The Knot, America's leading wedding media company, is launching its latest Chinese website Ijie.com to help Chinese get married with style and flair.

The website's launch in Beijing on Friday featured a bridal fashion catwalk that showcased Chinese and Western wedding gowns and marriage tips.

After its start in 1996, the Knot has grown to the leading wedding website in the U.S., and is a NASDAQ-listed company with more than 80 percent market share.

Given their success stateside, The Knot hopes to venture into China, home of the world's largest wedding market.

According to the China Wedding Industry Development Report, the Chinese wedding industry earns more than 57 billion dollars per year and witnesses more than 10 million weddings annually, which The Knot co-founder and editor in chief Carley Roney said inspired the development of Ijie.com.

"The Knot likes to be somewhere when it's new and where there's a fresh opportunity, so we're going to be working, we have a local team here in Beijing that really will work with all the best designers here to really make sure that the site is truly tailored to what our local brides want, but also keep pushing them a little to try things that are new and fresh."

As the first generation of children from the One-Child policy enters into their marrying age, weddings are a highly anticipated occasion for their parents and grandparents.

On average, couples will spend $12,000 USD on their wedding ceremony and more than 80 percent of weddings combine both Western and Chinese traditions, a trend that Ms. Roney hopes would continue.


Kickbacks in Medical Industry - An Open Secret

The phenomenon of doctors accepting bribes from patients or kickbacks from manufactures is nothing new any more. Recently, a scandal in Hangzhou's medical community in East China's Zhejiang Province was exposed on the internet, in which the name of doctors and hospitals with alleged corruption practice was listed. The incident has brought the persistent issue under the national spotlight once again. In fact, what has happened in Hangzhou may also exist elsewhere in the country.

Our reporter Zhao Jianfu takes us to look into this chronicle issue. Should the public just fix the eyes on a handful of bribe takers? What are the root causes of this intractable social issue?

Reporter: No matter what, people just do not accept doctors, deemed as angels to save lives, to take bribes or kickbacks for what they do to cure patients. However, in reality, this more often than not happens in front of our eyes despite it is unquestionably against moral standards.

Some of those doctors, however, argue that they are left with no choice but to give in when it becomes a common practice.

Low pay positions for many medical practitioners in increasingly expensive cities is one reason to blame but it is not all. On the patient's side, there are those who believe money is the key to secure a doctor's care.

Still, since state funds account for just some 10 percent of what a hospital needs to operate, expensive or over priced medicines became what hospitals resort to. Some doctors took money to prescribe those drugs.

A senior doctor in a well-known hospital in Beijing, speaking under anonymity, further explains.

"Ubiquitous kickbacks can be ascribed to two reasons. First, the evaluation system is in tatters. The public is thrilled to see doctors cure patients at a bare minimum cost, but not many doctors want to do this. Obviously, the evaluation system is broken. If the doctors try their best to minimize patients' expenses, few hospitals could survive and few doctors could get a sufficient income. Secondly, problems also occur in the supply line in which manufacturers of medicines or medical facilities provide their products and services. We have hundreds even thousands of manufacturers produce the same type of medicine, each vie for a deal with the hospital through whatever channel they may have...procurement office or even individual doctors."

Besides, public attitude towards offering bribes formed over many years of ill practice also fuels the wrong doing among medical practitioners. A patient's family member in Beijing says it is an unfortunate fact that people choose to believe in the old saying -- money makes the mare go.

"The surgeon and anesthetist are critical to the success of the operation. As the family member, I used to bribe the doctors for fear of anything going wrong with the operation. Bribe-giving is quite common."

The government has been trying to curb the trend in the medical community for years including adopting universal pricing for medicines, but anything in this effort has yet to materialize and take real effect.

For CRI, I'm Zhao Jianfu.

Police to Sue Media over Distortion Facts

Recently, the police commissioner of Chongqing Municipality,Wang Lijun,has become focus of media attention. His speech on encouraging the public security organization and policemen to sue the media and reporters who publish what they think are distorted facts about the organization and the cops aroused a great debate.

An editorial article on Qilu Evening News says even a just and disinterested law-executor may sometime be misunderstood or criticized wrongly by the public and media. Then is it the reason to allow or encourage state organizations to sue the media whose function is to criticize and supervise the authority at will? The answer is absolutely "no."

The article says people are not angels, which includes government officials. Therefore, they need the public's supervision. If there is no supervision, then absolute power leads to corruption absolutely. And the editorial adds that the public's supervision not only targets corrupt officials, but the state authority as a whole, which includes good officials. It points out that if there is no supervision at all, the so-called good officials may degrade themselves, too.

The editorial on Qilu Evening News further analyzes that the public and reporters are not always correct. Sometimes, they don't know the truth. The article says all correct opinions are based on incorrect views. Therefore, government officials shouldn't sue reporters or the media at will or it becomes the killing of the public supervision, which will slow down the construction of a rule-of-law government.

At the end, the editorial says state organizations must accept the public's scrutiny and supervision, even though they may not be correct or fair at times. And they should open their information to clear any misunderstandings in the process of public supervision. There is no need for a lawsuit to force the media to correct a distorted fact.


Tax Puzzle on iPads

Recently, the disagreement between the General Administration of Customs and the Ministry of Commerce over the legitimacy of a 1,000-yuan tax on iPads purchased overseas and brought into the country for personal use has become a major story for the media in China.

In a statement released on Tuesday morning, the Commerce Ministry said it supports the customs in carrying out its duties, and believes levying the tax is consistent with the latter's duties and current conditions.

Before that, the ministry sent an enquiry to the customs authorities and expressed concerns about the legitimacy of the tax.

Instead of presenting a convincing clarification of the composition of the blanket 1,000-yuan levy, the official from the customs said the sum was determined in consideration of passenger convenience at customs.

An editorial in the China Daily says it is normal for two agencies to have different opinions on certain issues, given their different jurisdictions and authorities in the government.

The article says the ministry's initiative to raise the issue and ask for clarification is a constructive approach that would ensure the consistency of public policies, setting a wonderful precedent that people would like to see more of.

It is understood, says the article that the customs offices must perform their own duties and nobody has attempted to prevent the customs from carrying out their work. People, including those with the Commerce Ministry, were just debating the legal basis of the 1,000-yuan levy on an iPad. The editorial points out that customs should assuredly explain how the decision was made, and on what basis. And that should not be too difficult.

The Commerce Ministry's statement ended a public disagreement between two central government agencies. But the editorial on China Daily thinks it is not a good conclusion, because all the questions and suspicions are still left unanswered.

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