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Anti-dumping probe into US rubber not countermove to Section 301 investigation: Ministry of Commerce

China’s recent anti-dumping investigation into hydrogenated butyl rubber from the United Sates, the European Union, and Singapore is not a countermove to the Section 301 investigation initiated by the U.S., according to China’s Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng.

At a routine press conference held on Aug. 31, Gao said that the case is just a normal trade remedy investigation and it has no relation with other cases.

In mid-August, the ministry received an application from related domestic enterprises that requested the organ to launch an anti-dumping probe into these rubber imports, Gao noted.

The ministry later approved the application and announced the investigation on Aug. 30.

Gao stressed that the ministry will deal with the case fairly based on WTO rules.

Japanese deputy PM Aso slammed for controversial Hitler remarks

Japanese Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso sparked outrage on Tuesday after his pro-Nazi remark, even though he later retracted it. China’s Foreign Ministry responded by saying that no wrong words or deeds that deviate from the international social ethics and human conscience will be tolerated.

Aso’s comment was interpreted as defending the reasoning behind Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany carrying out the Holocaust during World War II. He later retracted it.

On Aug. 31, Japan’s national daily the Mainichi Shimbun published an editorial titled, “Aso’s Hitler remark can’t be let slide,” saying it is not something Aso can get away with by just retracting his comment because it caused misunderstanding.

The article said it was not the first time Aso made comments in support of Nazi Germany. In 2013, Aso said Japan should learn from Nazi Germany. The comment later sparked an international outcry, with a Jewish human rights group releasing a statement condemning his remarks.

The latest remarks are just proof that he has not learned anything from the 2013 gaffe, the editorial argued, emphasizing that arguments in support of the Nazis can also be seen and heard in Japan.

Japan’s daily newspaper Asahi Shimbun also criticized Aso for his incredible and disturbing thoughtlessness. Since Aso doesn’t do any serious soul-searching over his remarks, he will commit similar gaffes again, the newspaper said.

“In the West, senior government officials would immediately face strong pressure to resign if they make any remark expressing a positive view about the Nazis or Hitler,” it added.

“There is still a group of Japanese politicians clinging to the wrong perception of history,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in response to Aso’s statements at a regular press conference on Aug. 31.

“I have seen relevant reports. We always say that history is the best textbook and it is also a bright mirror. When it comes to historical issues that concern cardinal matters of right and wrong, no wrong words or deeds that deviate from the international social ethics and human conscience will be tolerated,” Hua said.

“We once again urge those forces in Japan to straighten their view on history, genuinely learn lessons from history, and take concrete actions to win the trust of its Asian neighbors and the international community,” she stressed.

Chinese netizens expressed their outrage toward Aso’s remarks. “A lot of common Japanese people are also victims of Japan’s militarism,” some commented on China’s social media giant Sina Weibo.

“Japan claims itself a democratic country, but what kind of democracy would choose a politician like Aso?” others questioned.

(The story is also published on People’s Daily Online)

Chinese university, international top publisher to co-establish academic journal

The global publishing company John Wiley & Sons Inc recently signed a first-of-its-kind agreement with a Chinese university to co-establish InfoMat (Information Material), the subordinate academic journal of its top journal, Advanced Materials, Xinhua News Agency reported on Aug. 30.

The company, established in 1807 as the world’s leading publisher in science, technology, and medicine, hopes to build the journal into a top one in the fields of engineering, information, and materials.

Guido F. Herrmann, vice president of the company, said that the company will cooperate with the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China to establish the journal in order to present high-quality research results.

University president Li Yanrong was chosen to be the editor-in-chief, and some world top scholars will be responsible for editing.

Herrmann added that the first publication of the freely accessible journal will cover engineering, information, materials, and chemistry and will be out by the end of the year.

The university, a key one in China, has formed a complete technology and innovation chain in the electronic information field, including electronic materials, devices, components, and systems.

Human talents in China hit 175 million

The nation human talents hit 175 million after steady growth in recent years, according to statistics released by China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and National Bureau of Statistics, People’s Daily reported on Aug. 31.

Statistics shows that the number of human talents in China accounts for 15.5 percent of all human resources, basically attaining the planning objectives.

Talents in politics, business, and tech; and high-skilled talents, rural talents, and social work professionals reached 7.29 million, 43.34 million, 73.28 million, 45 million, 16.92 million, and 759,000, respectively, with respective growth rates of 4 percent, 45.5 percent, 32.0 percent, 57.2 percent, 61.4 percent, and 272.1 percent compared with 2010 figures.

In addition, data shows that the number of returned overseas Chinese talents totaled 2.65 million by the end of 2016.

BRICS cooperation still has promising future: People’s Daily

BRICS cooperation still has a promising future given its significant contribution to the world economy and an ever-improving cooperation mechanism, despite pessimistic voices from some Western media, People’s Daily reported on Aug. 30.

Although some BRICS countries underwent economic slowdown and development problems in recent years, some Western media are still short-sighted, saying BRICS cooperation has reached its limit.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) pointed out that the BRICS economies contributed to more than half to the world economy growth in the past decade, and their average economic growth reached 5.1 percent in 2016, well above the global average of 2.4 percent.

The economic slowdown of the BRICS countries was to a great extent caused by change in international financial circumstances and economic structural adjustment in order to achieve sustainable growth, and not by cash flow problems, debt crises, and insufficient demand like in the developed countries.

BRICS countries have three long-term advantages in future development, including a large population—42.88 percent of the total world population, abundant natural resources, and a huge market.

The BRICS cooperation mechanism continues to improve, and close cooperation among members on economic and trade, politics, culture, and network security, as well as on counter-terrorism, all of which have contributed greatly to world peace, stability, and prosperity, has been established in recent years.

The establishment of the BRICS Business Council, New Development Bank (NDB), and the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) all offered important impetus for development of BRICS cooperation in the future.

In addition, it is biased for some media to say that China plays a dominant role in the BRICS bloc because it has the largest economic volume and the most rapid development among the five countries.

NDB, for example, was established based on equal contribution of capital and democratic decision-making, a sharp contrast to some Western countries’ monopoly in the IMF and the World Bank.

Although NDB’s headquarters is in Shanghai, its first president and chairman of the council are elected from other member countries rather than China for the sake of fairness.

BRICS members always seek reciprocity, mutual benefit, and win-win results through cooperation based on equality, democracy, mutual respect, and common progress instead of dominance.

Chinese firms seen outstripping overseas rivals

Chinese e-commerce giants and retailers are ushering in a new era of logistics services that will see packages delivered by drones, heralded by Inc’s new agreements in recent days with aviation companies, research institutions and local authorities to build the country’s largest drone network.

Domestic companies may have started drone deliveries later compared with foreign rivals such as Amazon, but they are expected to take the lead with the new system and apply it widely, while foreign multinationals are still researching the technology, experts said on Thursday.

As part of the strategy for pushing ahead with drone delivery, e-commerce retailer JD has signed cooperation contracts with China West Airport Group, Northwestern Polytechnical University and local authorities in Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province on Tuesday, with the aim of developing pilot projects, training staff and cultivating the next stage in drone delivery, according to a press release the company sent to the Global Times on Thursday.

The e-commerce platform is also offering 100 million yuan for winners of a competition to find the best solutions to introduce widespread drone delivery services in China, the press release said.

At the launch ceremony for the competition in Xi’an, Shaanxi where JD’s drone research and development center is based, the company also announced plans to develop a new VT1 drone that can carry packages weighing as much as 200 kilograms, meaning that it can load large home appliances such as TVs, fridges and washing machines, news website reported on Thursday.

The new drone has a hybrid gas-electric engine, is 3.4 meters long and can fly 150 kilometers with only 2 liters of fuel, said the report, citing JD’s vice president Xiao Jun.

JD also has several smaller types of delivery drones that are being tested and operated in four provinces across China, according to media reports, including V2 and Y3 drones that can deliver parcels weighing from 5 to 30 kilograms.

The company also announced in May that it has begun testing a new “heavy-lift” drone capable of carrying a ton of cargo to Chinese customers in rural areas.

Trial deliveries using drones started in Xi’an and Suqian, East China’s Jiangsu Province in June.

From June to July 31, delivery drones were used more than 800 times and traveled 4,000 kilometers in Xi’an, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Thursday.

Similar to JD, e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and courier firm SF Express are also launching massive drone delivery trials. The latter received the country’s first drone airspace license in June.

“Like JD, domestic firms are aiming to expand drone deliveries in rural areas where infrastructure is poor and delivery costs are high… so it’s cost-effective to send drones into the countryside,” Jiang Hongchang, an independent industry analyst based in Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong Province, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Using drones could help the company cut costs by more than 70 percent, Liu Qiangdong, JD’s founder, said in an interview in June.

However, “it may take some years for commercial use [of drones] to become widespread in the domestic market,” Jiang said, given difficulties such as the duration of battery power, the stability of flights and loading limits, as well as regulatory obstacles.

Taking the lead

Chinese companies are not the only players looking to conquer aerial deliveries.

US-based Amazon was actually the first company to propose delivering packages with drones in 2013, Xu Yong, a delivery industry analyst, told the Global Times on Thursday.

“In fact, the future prospects for application of drone deliveries are more economic and feasible in the US compared with China, because the labor costs there are higher and the country is more sparsely populated,” Xu explained.

However, “JD drones started flying last year, yet those of Amazon are still being researched and tested,” Xu said, adding that JD is actually way ahead of Amazon in the drone delivery realm.

Besides, China is home to a complete industry chain for producing drones, and domestic firms have already taken a lead over their foreign rivals in terms of technologies related to drones, experts said.

For example, the Amazon Prime Air, the latest type of drone unveiled by Amazon in 2016, is only able to carry packages of up to 2.5 kilograms, far below the loading capacity of the JD drones.

Source: Global Times

Ray of Hope: Scientists Train Immunity to Fight Off Heroin Effect

A group of American scientists is working on a vaccine that can make the human brain immune to heroin and synthetic opioid fentanyl. Two types of the vaccine have already been tested in mice and monkeys, and the results are quite promising for human trials.

The new vaccine can neuter the mind-altering effect of certain drugs for several weeks, reports Science Alert. The body’s own immune system is trained to block addictive chemicals from entering the brain.

Heroin knows how to hit receptor molecules in the brain’s neurons that induce a surge of euphoria, after which a person feels deep, unmatched tranquility. That is what drug addicts keep returning for. But, having been vaccinated, a person will feel literally nothing after a dose of heroin. Wouldn’t it be way easier to break the drug-taking cycle?

The new method, which was developed by Kim Janda, a professor in the department of chemistry and immunology at Scripps, trains the immune system with a series of vaccination shots. The immune system learns to recognize molecular structures that resemble opioids. Therefore, it sends out antibodies, which prevent the drugs from crossing the blood-brain barrier and having any impact on the brain.

That is a breakthrough solution. Scientists had been trying to achieve a similar result since the 1970s, but their efforts were hampered by the size of the molecules that opioids consist of. These molecules are far too tiny for the body’s immune system to identify, so it won’t stand against them.

Where Does Heroin in the US Come From?

To provoke the defensive reaction of the body’s immune system, Janda’s team designed small molecules that resemble the opioid molecules, but with carrier proteins attached that act as a binding site for antibodies produced by the immune system.

The new vaccine will be timely for two reasons. Firstly, statistics say that drug problems are exacerbating. The number of heroin users in the US tripled between 2003 and 2014, with fatal overdoses having tripled in the past 15 years. Only in 2015 drug overdoses killed more than 50,000 Americans.

Secondly, synthetic opioids are a new threat. They are cheaper and faster to manufacture, as there is no need to grow opium poppies. These are hard drugs – for example, fentanyl is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Synthetic drugs are dangerously accessible, which may provoke drug use rates to hit the ceiling.

Nowadays drug addiction is frequently treated with drug substitution therapy that implies replacing heroin or fentanyl with less potent opioids like methadone. The substitute drug is less deadly: the risk of overdose is reduced, as it doesn’t bring the euphoria of heroin. However, such treatment is costly and requires daily injections. In addition, methadone and its analogues are still addictive.

In contrast, creating vaccines is very inexpensive, while its concept is game-changing. Of course, vaccination itself wouldn’t make a person get off the needle. But, provided that a patient is eager to recover, it can become a valuable tool for overcoming addiction.

(Source: sputniknews)

Pollution as Bad as Smoking During Pregnancy, UK Baby Study Reveals

Babies exposed to toxic gases and particulates belched out through car exhausts are being born with smaller heads and shorter bodies, according to Scottish scientists.

Pollution and air quality hot-spots in many British cities have become so alarmingly high, it is almost as damaging as mothers who smoked during pregnancy, researchers in Edinburgh and Aberdeen Universities have discovered.

Scientists gathered data on foetal growth from ultrasound scans and maternity records involving almost 14,000 pregnancies in Scotland over a nine year period.

Lifestyle factors, such as smoking, were considered alongside air quality in the area.

Air pollution contributes to the growing global burden of noncommunicable diseases, e.g. heart & lung diseases, cancer & diabetes #BeatNCDs

— WHO (@WHO) July 13, 2017

​​Dr. Tom Clemens, who led the study, has urged the World Health Organization and EU to urgently review their definition of “acceptable” emissions levels amid concern they remain too high.

​​”Our findings suggest that there may not be a truly ‘safe’ level of exposure during pregnancy. A foetus with a non-smoking mother exposed to high pollution levels is only slightly better off than one with a smoking mother exposed to low levels of pollution.

“This implies that the effect of exposure to the highest levels may be almost as bad as smoking,” Dr. Clemens said.

The study, published in the scientific journal Environmental International, has ignited calls to bring forward the UK Government ban.

It has already been estimated two thirds of the British population are living in towns and cities where nitrogen dioxide pollution breaches the lawful level of 40 micrograms per cubic metre of air.

British ministers have already pledged to outlaw diesel and petrol cars by 2040 in a bid to tackle growing environmental risks to public health.

“Since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, outdoor air pollution has been recognised as a problem and the evidence we need to tackle it continues to pile up. It is time to do something about it,” warned Dr. Steve Turner, a co-author of the study from the University of Aberdeen.

In February, the European Commission admitted air quality laws had been flouted in more than 130 cities across 23 of the 28 EU member states, including the UK.

Poor air quality in Scotland is already estimated to reduce average life expectancy by three to four months compared with seven months in England and Wales.

(Source: sputniknews)

Enigmatic 1-Minute Selloff Sends Gold Spiralling Downward, Rattling Bull Market

Gold had nearly surpassed its threshold of $1,300/oz. on Friday, when a sudden one-minute trade operation of large volumes of the metal sent prices cascading – just ahead of Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech.

Kristian Rouz — A mysterious operation on the international gold market ahead of US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s speech sent gold prices lower, with roughly two million ounces being traded within one minute. Possibly reflecting the perceived near-term decline in haven assets, the selloff in gold spurred market volatility, highlighting the importance of recent developments in stocks, where overpriced assets are stirring bubble concerns.

About 20 minutes ahead of Yellen’s speech at the central bankers’ meeting in Jackson Hole on Friday, some two million ounces of gold changed hands. The increased market volatility kept mounting during and after Yellen’s speech, where she expressed her disagreement with President Donald Trump’s economic policy agenda.

Gold had been steadily gaining in price this year despite, or thanks to, the political standoff in Washington and the Trump administration’s lack of progress on reform. Market volatility had been at its lowest since 2005, but this massive sale of gold pushed stock futures higher.

“Between now and the end of the year, the story is going to be the Fed. The Fed was pretty hawkish coming into the year. Now it feels like they are backing away from September,” Bob Haberkorn of RJO futures said, adding that the market is “bipolar” at this point.

Indeed, Yellen’s speech left the impression that the Fed will abstain from an interest rate hike in September — always a good sign for stock market speculators. Tighter monetary policies support the demand for haven assets, yet, how would the mysterious traders know that Yellen would send a dovish signal, 20 minutes before she spoke?

One of the reasons somebody wanted to get rid of such large volumes of gold might be a report from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) released on Friday. The report showed that the US dollar is poised to weaken — potentially pushing the gold prices up in the near-term — with speculator net-short bets against the greenback having risen to $9.4 billion in the past week, compared to $8.84 billion the week before.

Yet gold failed to break through the threshold of $1,290-1,300/oz. that same week because of other major world currencies’ strengths against gold. A speculative dollar selloff might have helped gold extend its rally above $1,300/oz., meaning the one-minute selloff was aimed at containing gold prices below their resistance mark.

“Momentum has been against the dollar this whole summer and with volume low and not too much happening before today’s Jackson Hole meeting that momentum is going to continue with nothing to stop the dollar from falling,” John Doyle of Washington-based Tempus Inc. said.

This means dollar-denominated gold price could still surpass the $1,300/oz. threshold, but the heightened market volatility stemming from the one-minute selloff on Friday will effectively prevent such a development.

Gold futures for December delivery settled at $1,297.90/oz. on Friday after only briefly surpassing the $1,300/oz. mark during the day after the Dallas Fed President said the central bank should start decreasing its balance sheet “soon.”

“Kaplan was dovish and sent it higher,” Robin Bhar of Societe Generale AG said. “I don’t know if anyone then got wind of what Yellen was going to say, but it then dropped like a stone. And then, when she didn’t mention monetary policy, things started to stabilize again.”

Since early March 2017, the US dollar and gold have been tightly interconnected, with the dollar weakening and gold gradually gaining in value. However, at this time, the predictions for further weakening of the dollar contradict gold price dynamics, as bullion traders have become excessively optimistic of the gold price in the near-term.

At this point, a strong move up or down in gold prices is not expected, the rising volatility opens up various possibilities of major one-time sales and purchases. Precious metals are poised to gain in value at least until the Trump administration implements the first elements of its fiscal policies, whilst the dollar’s weakening is unlikely to snap until December, which is when the markets expect the Fed to hike interest rates.

(Source: sputniknews)