Explosive detection dogs on duty in scorching heat in E China

Outside the temperature is 39 degree Celsius. But four police dogs are on duty sniffing for hidden dangers at a long-distance bus station in Shanghai, where there are about 30,000 daily passengers and almost 50,000 visitors each day. The police dogs check 2,500 suitcases and bags in the waiting hall and boarding areas every day. If there is anything unusual, they will give a warning to the police.

Their noses are 1,000 times more sensitive than that of human being. Dogs are born with thick skin and lack sweat glands. Therefore, they need lots of attention when working in hot weather. Every 15 minutes the police dogs are given water to drink and are wetted with a towel and ice. After a whole day’s work, their handlers will give them a bath as a reward, Zhang Jun, the handler of explosive detection police dogs told thepaper.cn. 

Pillar-like thunderstorm lights up the afternoon sky in east China

An unusual pillar-like thunderstorm that seemed to connect heaven and earth dazzled folks in Longyan City, east China’s Fujian province, late in the afternoon of July 21, according to CCTV news.

The spectacular sight was actually a thundershower caused by a strong convection of rising moist air. The video was shared online and has attracted various comments from netizens. Some even made fun of it, comparing it to adding spices while cooking.

Joint China-Russia naval maneuvers not aimed at anyone, expert says

Chinese navy frigate Yuncheng leave the port for the drill.

The military exercise held by China and Russia in the Baltic Sea from July 21 to 28 does not target at any third party, a military expert told Global Times after groundless accusations by the West concerning the drill.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) also paid more attention to the drill to be held in Europe’s “hinterland.”

According to the schedule, the joint military exercises would involve 10 warships, more than 10 fighter jets and helicopters, with the objective to improve their research-and-rescue capability and strengthen the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between the two countries.

Three Chinese warships and Russia’s flagships will take turns to hold the maneuvers so as to improve the two naval forces during exercises, military expert, Li Jie told Global Times.

According to an anonymous source, the Baltic Sea has been a hotspot since some Baltic countries joined NATO and shrank Russia’s strategic space. However, the joint China-Russia drill is just a regular activity held every other year and is not aimed at any third party or current situations.

The drill aims to develop China’s and Russia’s comprehensive strategic partnership, deepen friendly and pragmatic cooperation between the two armed forces and improve capability to jointly cope with threats to maritime security by ensuring joint rescue and joint protection of maritime economic activities, China’s Ministry of National Defense said previously.

An observer noted that NATO was friendly to China when the participating fleets passed the North Sea, judging from the message released by NATO’s Maritime Command. China’s use of the North Sea area is lawful and reasonable. NATO probably feels defensive in the face of the joint maneuvers and certainly wishes China-Russia cooperation weakened, the observer said.

China is open to military exchanges with other countries, Li said. China hopes the US will maintain a more open mind during the 2018 Rim of Pacific naval drill, said Shen Jinlong, China’s naval chief when meeting with Scott Swift, commander of the United States Pacific Fleet.

The forthcoming overseas joint military exercises will the farthest from China for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, the anonymous person told Global Times. “It’s not only a test of capability for the PLA Navy, but also an embodiment of confidence and power.”

Hello, Halo!

An all-people photography and graphics design “contest” started in the morning of July 19 when a rare halo occurred in the sky of Ningbo, Hangzhou and other cities of Zhejiang province in eastern China. Citizens posted photos on social media of this spectacular scenery taken from different angles and even designed a creative series of funny pictures about the halo.

Chinese smartphones enjoy huge patronage, earn little profits

Domestic mobile phone brands are shipped abroad in large quantities, but with small profits to show.

The shipment of Chinese mobile phone brands reached 216 million in the first two quarters of 2017, said China’s Mobile Phone Domestic Market Operation Analysis Report in June 2017. The report was recently released by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT).

On the contrary, the profit margins of Chinese brands in the first quarter are less than 5 per cent, according to data from Strategy Analytics.

Chinese brands will continue to suffer supply chain problems as a result of weaknesses in independently developing key mobile phone components, an expert said.

For a long time now, key smartphone components, including clip, screen, internal storage, flash memory and camera clip, have been monopolized by some international brands. China still lacks domestic suppliers of key components like Sonny and Samsung, a telecoms expert, Bo Song, said.

The cost of key components accounts for 60 percent to 70per cent of the total cost of a smartphone. If there is shortage of components or hike in prices, profit margins of mid-low end phones are further shrunken, said an insider. A supply chain dealer estimates that 15 percent net profits for the mobile phone industry in China are hard to achieve.

The development of domestic brands is still limited by supply gap, though the local smartphone industry is striving for self reliance, chinanews.com reported.

Bo suggested that upgrading supply chain also plays a role in improving industrial chain. China should urgently improve its supply chain instead of struggling to cope with supply shortage, he added.

Over half of NW China’s glaciers could vanish in 50 years

Owing to climate change and human activities, Urumqi Glacier No.1 in Xinjiang, northwest China, a river source located in the Tianshan Mountains, is melting at fast rate after the peak in 1993. It is estimated that Urumqi Glacier No.1 will disappear in 50 years and more than 60 per cent of smaller glaciers around will also vanish.

There are many reasons for the melting of glaciers, of which climate warming accounts for 70 per cent. 2016 was the warmest year on record when average global surface temperature was 1.1 degrees above pre-industrial level and 0.83 degree higher than average from 1961 to 1990, according to a statement by WMO on the State of the Global Climate in 2016.

The melting of Glacier No.1 is attributed to rise in global and regional temperatures. If temperature rise can be brought down to 2 degrees or 1.5 degrees, Glacier No.1 can last as long as 90 years, Li Zhongqin, the head of Tianshan Glaciological Station of Chinese Academy of Sciences, told thepaper.com.

Moreover, dust from nearby pasture, mines, coal plants, electric power enterprises and rubbish from visitors, add a layer of grey to the glaciers, thereby accelerating melting speed, Thepaper.cn reported.

Glaciers are important headwaters for rivers and major sources of water supply in extreme drought areas. Their disappearance therefore poses threats to local water supply and even the sustenance of ecological balance.

In the long term, the melting of glaciers is irresistible, but human beings can take prompt measures to slow down the rate, Li said.

Government took a series of measures including calling for limits on glacier tourism, closing surrounding mines and factories and building glacier conservation areas, the expert added. The impact of these measures has been noticeable in the past 10 t0 20 years. Still, experts hope that the protection of glaciers will be stepped up.

 

Expert urges China to develop counter technologies after U.S., Australian hypersonic test flights

A Chinese military expert says China should develop counter technologies after the U.S. and Australia jointly tested at least one flight for their Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HiFIRE) programme.

As a major power, China should carry out research on hypersonic technology and invest sufficient capital and energy in the development of counter technologies, the expert explained.

According to the website, Nextbigfuture, the programme had at least one successful hypersonic flight at Woomera testing range in South Australia last week. The experiments were concluded on July 12, confirmed Australian Defense Minister, Marise Payne.

The report described HiFIRE 4 as a free-flying hypersonic glider designed to travel at Mach 8.

BAE Systems Australia, one of the researchers of the programme, claimed in a statement that “the successful flight trial [was] the most complex of all HIFiRE flights conducted to date.”

The $54m joint initiative involves the US Air Force, Boeing, the Australian Department of Defence’s Defence Science and Technology Group, BAE Systems Australia, and the University of Queensland.

As a matter of fact, the flight is just a small part of the whole HiFIRE programme. The University of Queensland is involved in three flights in the programme. These tests will be known as HyShot, V, VI and VII.

HiFIRE is just the tip of the iceberg of the huge hypersonic research work by the U.S., said the military expert. The U.S. has conducted many experiments on hypersonic vehicles including unmanned research scramjet aircraft X-51, Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) and the crewless experimental hypersonic glide vehicle rocket glider, Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2.

These projects almost cover all theories, forms and technologies of current hypersonic vehicles. With a high engineering degree, their design parameters are leaders in the world.

Though foreign media described the vehicle as hypersonic “missile”, the expert explained that HiFIRE 4 is not a missile, and the HiFIRE programme is not conducted for weapons research. However, the expert pointed out that the data acquired in the programme will help the U.S. to develop hypersonic weapons.

The expert told Global Times that hypersonic technology is a strategic-level technique crucial for national security, and also one important for the development of aerospace. Thanks to their unpredictable flight routes and low trajectory, hypersonic weapons are very difficult to intercept, thus posing huge challenges for early warning systems.

As a result, the expert suggested that China develop its own counter hypersonic technology and invest sufficient capital and energy into it.

China is world’s largest renewable energy producer, consumer

China has become the world’s largest producer and consumer of renewable energy, with its carbon dioxide emissions reduced for two consecutive years, according to Spencer Dale, chief economist of the world oil and gas giant, BP, Thepaper.cn reported on July 12.

The chief economist made the statement at a press conference following the publication of the Chinese edition of the latest BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

China is still the world’s largest energy consumer, occupying 23 per cent of global energy consumption. It has been the fastest growing energy market for 16 consecutive years, according to the economist.

The economist added that renewable energy, excluding hydropower, has grown at very fast pace, although it accounts for only 3 to 4 per cent of global share of primary energy source.

The review shows that petroleum is still the most important fuel in the world. The market witnessed some equilibrium by the middle of 2016 as petroleum consumption increased by 1.6 per cent last year, while production rose by only 0.5 per cent.

In addition, the review points out that production of natural gas in 2016 only rose by 0.3 per cent due to low prices.

Global consumption of coal saw another decrease in 2016, down 1.7 per cent from the previous year, indicating that the glorious times of coal consumption are gone. Although coal is still the core fuel in China, its consumption dropped from 64 per cent to 62 per cent between 2015 and 2016.

Shanghai mall provides “husband storage” facilities for shopping wives

Shopaholic women in Shanghai no longer have to drag their hubbies with them around the mall, thanks to the “husband storage” facilities recently offered in a Shanghai mall.

The “husband storage” facility is a glass box equipped with electronic devices such as monitor, computer and gamepad.

According to an employee with the mall, the facilities serve as rest station for husbands not interested in shopping. On the other hand, wives do not have to worry about their spouses who are always eager to return home.

A citizen surnamed Wu thinks the husband storage facilities are a good idea since he is not a shopping fan. The facilities provide men with space for entertainment while their women take their time in the mall, he added.

However, some users of the facilities also pointed out the shortcomings. A citizen complained about the poor ventilation, while another man said the control of the devices was not very satisfying.

Some women hold that men have their roles as shopping companions. They can carry the heavy bags, give directions, and more importantly, give advice. “Shopping for me will be boring if my husband is busy playing video games,” a woman said.

Currently, four boxes have been placed in free service at the mall for about a month. After optimization of the devices in the second half of the year, the facilities will be charged, mall officials said.

Cute red panda photos posted to promote animal care

A national forest park in southwestern China’s province of Yunan recently took photos of a red female panda named Dudu in a bid to improve public care for animals.

The photos have been viewed nearly 10 million times after being uploaded to the Internet. It is interesting to note that Dudu has “fallen in love” with a male red panda. The animal now pays more attention to its appearance since the “relationship” started as the frequency of her hair-combing has increased.

Presenting the human-like behavior of the red panda, the park said animal lives are as fresh as humans’. It hopes that visitors would show more love to the animals and not hurt them.