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TMCNet:  News in review Friday, June 13 to Thursday, June 19 [China Daily: US Edition]

[June 20, 2014]

News in review Friday, June 13 to Thursday, June 19 [China Daily: US Edition]

(China Daily: US Edition Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Friday - June 13 Dog meat sales plummet prior to festival Sales of dog meat reportedly have plummeted days before the controversial "Summer Lychee and Dog Meat Festival" in Yulin city, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, and vendors predict greatly reduced profits.


The annual event, which falls on June 21, has attracted a huge public outcry online, and drawn protests from animal right protesters who arrived in the city from various parts of the country.

Many dog meat restaurants covered the word "dog" on their advertising while some put posters on their walls, reading "Protecting the animals". (Photo 1) Wealthy pay a high price for going into space It's just a five or six-minute trip and the cost starts at $599,999, but some of China's wealthy have signed up for trips to outer space.

Orders opened on Thursday to book a trip with the Dutch firm Space Expedition Corp, known as SXC, and 305 buyers purchased trips in the first minutes after the registration opened, according to Taobao.com. Four entrepreneurs from Chengdu and two from Shanghai are among those who signed up for space travel, said the company, which did not reveal their identities.

According to SXC, the spaceship can carry only one astronaut and one tourist, who sits in the co-pilot seat. The craft remains in space for five to six minutes, when the tourist can enjoy a view from space and experience weightlessness.

Fees include the space travel, as well as a round trip from China to the Mojave Civilian Aerospace Test Center in the United States for the launch.

Monday - June 16 Underground pipelines to be upgraded China will upgrade old and massive underground urban pipelines in five years to reduce potential risks in expanding cities.

The massive pipelines running underground play a major role in urban development, carrying the water, sewage, gas, electricity, telecommunications, cable signals and other necessary supplies for daily life as well as industrial production.

With the rapid urbanization in China, larger cities with fast-growing populations witnessed more accidents with severe economic losses and casualties.

An explosion in a gas line in Qingdao, Shandong province, in November killed 62 people and injured 136. Leakage in a petrochemical pipeline contaminated the water supply in Lanzhou, Gansu province, in April. On May 11, a torrential rain hit Shenzhen, Guangdong province, flooding more than 2,500 roads in the city and causing an economic loss of about 80 million yuan ($12.9 million).

Chemical plant closed in lead poisoning probe A chemical plant in central China's Hunan province was shut down on suspicion of being linked to the lead poisoning of more than 300 local children.

Meilun Chemical Materials Limited Co is suspected of discharging untreated water and waste, according to the Hengdong county government.

A report by China Central Television (CCTV) on Saturday said that blood tests on more than 300 children in Dapu township of Hengdong county found excessive levels of lead since 2012, indicating heavy metal poisoning. The blood tests showed that the lead densities among local children reached as high as 501 micrograms per liter, far above the national standard of 100 micrograms per liter for children. Reports from CCTV said that the closer to the factory the children live, the higher the lead levels in the tests.

Tuesday - June 17 Military adjusts recruitment standards The Chinese military has lowered the height requirement and raised the weight limit to attract new recruits with higher education backgrounds. And the policy on tattoos has been relaxed.

The height requirement for a male candidate has been adjusted to 160 centimeters from 162 cm and for female candidates to 158 cm from 160 cm, according to the Defense Ministry's recruitment office.

The upper weight limit for male enlistees was also relaxed to allow more portly young men into the military. The new standards also lowered eyesight requirements because nearly 70 percent of high school and university students in China are nearsighted.

The People's Liberation Army is also more tolerant of tattoos, which had been regarded as a taboo in the military. People who have less than 2 cm of tattoos showing on their body while in uniform or 10 cm of total ink are allowed to join. Tattoos with obscene or violent matter or referring to illegal organizations will disqualify candidates. (Photo 2) UBS will invest in commecial real estate UBS AG, Switzerland's biggest bank, will expand its Chinese property investment business with a move into commercial real estate.

Office, retail and industrial properties are "where investor demand is certainly moving to" in China, Trevor Cooke, head of global real estate for Asia-Pacific at UBS Global Asset Management, said. "The stock of investment grade assets in China is growing at about 35 percent per year." The bank will work with a developer or a company with an ability to source existing assets, he said.

  A man works high up on a high voltage direct current transmission power grid in Wuhan, Hubei province. Xinhua Wednesday - June 18 Adoption of orphans continues downward trend The number of orphans adopted in China has been falling since 2010, according to an annual report from the top civil affairs authority on Tuesday.

In 2013, of the 550,000 orphans living in China, 17 percent were supported by welfare agencies. Only 24,460 families adopted children, 3,230 of which were from foreign countries, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. The number of families who adopted orphans was down 10.4 percent year-on-year.

Of the overseas applicants willing to adopt Chinese children, the majority of them were from the United States, according to earlier reports from the ministry.

In response to the large number of orphans living outside the care of official welfare agencies, Li Qin, a deputy to the National People's Congress, said governments should lower the threshold for adoption to help more orphans find families.

Number of drunk drivers rises during World Cup The number of cases involving people driving under the influence of alcohol have risen sharply since the FIFA World Cup in Brazil kicked off on June 12, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

In the first three days of the World Cup, which runs through July 13, police nationwide dealt with more than 570 cases of drunken driving and 5,200 cases of drinking while driving, an increase of 65 percent over the number for the first three days of the World Cup four years ago.

"The sharp increase should be attributed to intensified police checks and many people falsely believing they can avoid legal punishment," said Liu Chunyu, a press officer from the ministry's traffic control bureau. (Photo 4) Thursday - June 19 Real estate developers delay paying commissions Property developers dealing with a deepening slump in China's housing market are delaying huge fees owed to real estate brokers.

Li Yaozhi, general manager for South China with Centaline Property Agency Ltd, one of the biggest brokerages in China, told reporters last week in Shenzhen that developers owe Centaline more than HK$3 billion ($387million) in commissions.

A sales director with one of the biggest real estate agencies in Shanghai, who declined to be identified due to corporate policy, told China Daily that nearly all brokerages in the city have commissions due from developers, with the proportion in some cases reaching up to 70 percent.

Official data published on Wednesday showed that China's average home prices fell for the first time in two years in May. The National Bureau of Statistics said that home prices dropped 0.2 percent in May from April. (Photo 5) Mismanagement causes loses at wealth fund Management irregularities at China Investment Corp (CIC), the nation's $575 billion sovereign wealth fund, led to overseas investment losses that could widen, the National Audit Office said.

The National Audit Office conducted an audit on CIC last year and identified problems such as dereliction of duty, inadequate due diligence and post-investment management in 12 overseas investments made by CIC between 2008 and 2013. Six of the investments were unprofitable, four of them had unrealized losses, and two may potentially lose money, it said.

Auditors also found irregularities at CIC's domestic units and weaknesses in financial management.

  A deserted statue of Marilyn Monroe is shown at a factory that recycles used goods in Guigang, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on Wednesday. The 26.83-foot-tall stainless-steel statue weighs 8 tons and used to stand at the gate of a shopping mall in Guigang. Huo Yan / China Daily (China Daily USA 06/20/2014 page8) (c) 2014 China Daily Information Company. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).

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