Navy’s hospital ship makes stop in Angola
China’s naval hospital ship made its first visit to Angola on Oct 19 to provide free medical services and humanitarian aid, the Defense Ministry said.
The CNS Daishandao, also known as Peace Ark, made the eight-day goodwill visit to the southwestern African country as part of its first voyage around the continent, codenamed Harmonious Mission 2017.
The ship visited other African countries, including Djibouti, Sierra Leone, Gabon and Congo. Mozambique, Tanzania, and Timor-Leste in Southeast Asia, will also be visited during the 155-day mission.
“This mission is an important military diplomacy event that can test and sharpen our medical ship’s overseas capability,” Ding Haichun, deputy-commissar of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, said at the ship’s departure ceremony in July.
Facility to find ripples from the Big Bang
China is building a facility to detect primordial gravitational waves — tiny ripples in the fabric of space-time that were generated during the birth of the universe.
The facility is located 5,250 meters above sea level in Ngari prefecture, in the western part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, where the air is thin and dry. “(It is) an ideal place to detect possibly the weakest type of gravitational waves,” said Zhang Xinmin, the project’s lead scientist.
Its first telescope is set to be completed by the end of 2019, and the facility will be operational in 2020, said Zhang.
“It will be the world’s highest observatory for primordial gravitational waves,” he said, adding that there are only four ideal locations on Earth suitable to detect such waves. The other three are in Antarctica, Chile’s Atacama Desert and Greenland.
Jointly developed satellite almost ready
Chinese and French space scientists are working in Beijing on the final assembly of their first jointly developed satellite, which is due for launch in the second half of 2018 to assist in oceanographical research.
Based on China’s CAST 2000 satellite platform, which has been applied to dozens of satellites successfully, the China-France Oceanography Satellite, known as CFOSAT, will be equipped with two major high-tech instruments — French-developed surface waves investigation and monitoring radar, and a Chinese-developed wind scatterometer.
The China National Space Administration said in a news release that the French-developed parts were delivered to their Chinese partner in August and the two nations’ science teams are working together on the final assembly in Beijing.
The satellite will operate at an orbit 500 kilometers above Earth for three years, according to the administration.
Regulators approve Ebola virus vaccine
China’s top food and drug authority announced on Oct 20 that it has approved the country’s first vaccine for the Ebola virus disease.
This makes China the third country, after the United States and Russia, with vaccines available to combat the deadly infectious disease, the China Food and Drug Administration said.
The vaccine, named recombinant Ebola virus disease vaccine (adenovirus type 5 vector), is available in powder, and, compared with liquid vaccines in the other two countries, is more stable. This highlights its advantages in transportation for use in tropical regions like Africa.
The most serious outbreak of the disease, which hit West Africa in 2014, caused at least 11,300 deaths, according to the administration.
Machines take over jobs in cotton fields
Machines are replacing hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who pick cotton in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, the nation’s biggest cotton production base.
At this time of year, Xinjiang’s growers usually begin hiring workers to pick the crop. However, 116,000 hectares of cotton fields in Shawan county have already been harvested using machines.
“In the past, the cotton harvest lasted at least 45 days from October to November. Now, the machines can harvest a 15-hectare cotton field in a day,” said Lin Hongru, head of Caohu village.
One machine can do the work of 2,000 manual laborers every day, he said.
“The cotton harvest was once the busiest time of the year. Cotton growers in my village hired migrant workers from Gansu, Sichuan and Henan provinces to help. People worked in the fields from dawn to dusk,” Lin said.
Global talent flocking to China, says report
China is becoming attractive to global talent on an unprecedented level because of the nation’s economic size and vibrancy, according to a report released on Oct 21 by US business magazine Forbes.
The 2018 Global Talent Mobility and Wealth Management Report predicts the country will be a major exchange hub for global talent flow by 2022.
“By that time, China will be not only the largest export country of students studying abroad, but also a major destination for global talent to settle down,” said Russell Flannery, Shanghai bureau chief of Forbes China.
It is the third year in a row the report has been jointly released by Forbes and Wailian Overseas Consulting Group, a Shanghai-based investment and immigration company.
Anti-cancer effect in popular TCM fungus
Chinese scientists have found evidence that a fungus used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), widely sought by the public for its healing powers, also carries anti-cancer benefits.
The scientists found there was an interaction between two anti-cancer compounds in the fungus, Cordyceps militaris.
The first, cordycepin, was noted in Cordyceps militaris in 1950, but how it interacted remained unknown. The second, pentostatin, was first identified from a bacterium and was developed as a commercial drug to treat leukemia and other cancers in the 1990s.
“For the first time, we decoded the biosynthesis mechanism of cordycepin in the fungus, and during the research we unexpectedly discovered pentostatin,” said Wang Chengshu, head of the research team at the Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, a branch of the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Tesla in talks to open auto plant in Shanghai
Tesla confirmed on Oct 23 that it is in talks with the Shanghai authorities for local production of electric vehicles.
The US-based automaker is exploring the possibility of establishing a manufacturing facility in Shanghai to better serve the Chinese market, said a representative at its China operations, referring to a statement made by the company in June. “As we have said before, we expect to more clearly define our plans for production in China by the end of the year.”
The representative declined to comment on a Wall Street Journal report on Oct 22 that Tesla has already reached a deal with the Shanghai city government and would build a wholly owned manufacturing facility in the city’s free trade zone.
Chinese team wins big at WorldSkills contest
China won 15 gold, seven silver and eight bronze medals at the 44th WorldSkills Competition in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, the best performance by a Chinese delegation since the country joined WorldSkills in 2010.
It is a historic breakthrough that shows the growing strength of the country and the improvement of skilled Chinese talent, Tang Tao, vice-minister of human resources and social security, said during the team’s welcoming ceremony in Beijing on Oct 21.
The competition is the world’s biggest vocational education and skills excellence event.
China earned gold medals for the first time at the 43rd WorldSkills Competition in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2015, taking home five gold, six silver and three bronze medals.
Tang also said that the purpose of joining the WorldSkills Competition is not to win medals but to help build a team of skilled workers for the country’s development.
BYD bags mass transit rail contract in Egypt
Electric vehicle maker BYD plans to start trial runs of its SkyRail monorail mass transit solution in Egypt soon, making it the second overseas destination for the Chinese company after the Philippines.
Demand for mass transit systems has been increasing in both the countries.
The transportation authority of Alexandria, Egypt’s second-largest city, signed a memorandum of understanding with BYD for the project on Oct 21. The agreement envisages a monorail project spanning 128 kilometers and plans to conduct feasibility studies. It also marks the first time that SkyRail is being showcased in the African continent.
Alexandria is a well-known historic and cultural city, but plagued by frequent traffic jams. In 2013, local authorities began exploring options to relieve transportation pressure.
Shipbuilding industry sails toward recovery
China’s shipbuilding sector experienced a strong momentum in the first three quarters of this year with growth in both completed orders and new orders, according to data by the China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry (CANSI).
Chinese shipyards executed orders amounting to 35.15 million deadweight tons (DWT) in the first nine months, up 41 percent year-on-year, while they received 20.13 million DWT of new ship orders, an 8.7 percent increase from the same period a year earlier, statistics from Beijing-based CANSI show.
Total revenue of China’s shipbuilding industry reached 212.5 billion yuan ($32 billion), with net profit totaling 1.1 billion yuan during the January-September period.
The Baltic Dry Index, a barometer of global bulk shipping business climbed to 1,566 points on Oct 18, a new high since March 2014.
Irrational outbound investment curbed
Irrational outbound direct investments (ODI) made by Chinese enterprises have been curbed as the world’s second-largest economy strives for the healthy development of this field, high-ranking officials said.
In the first three quarters, the ODI in nonfinancial sectors reached $78 billion, with structure prioritized and no increase in real estate, sports or entertainment, Ning Jizhe, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, said at a news conference hosted at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China on Oct 21.
Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan said irrational ODI has been curbed with strengthened risk management in such deals.
Zhong, also a delegate of the 19th National Congress, said on Oct 19 that China has overseas assets of $6 trillion and the ODI increased by $660 billion in the past five years.
Xinjiang GDP growth beats national average
The Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in Northwest China has seen rapid growth in its economy and will continue to increase the construction of new infrastructure, senior officials said.
Shokrat Zakir, chairman of the regional government, said Xinjiang’s GDP increased by 7.2 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2017, higher than the national level of 6.9 percent.
Investment in fixed assets, a major gauge of economic vitality, saw a year-on-year rise of 27.8 percent during the period, the highest in the nation, he said, adding that the region’s fiscal revenue in the six months was 29.4 percent higher than that in 2016.
This year alone, more than 50,000 companies have been established or set up branches in Xinjiang.
The number of travelers to Xinjiang from January to July rose by more than 30 percent compared with the same period last year.