Jun 182017
Learning Chinese Trending in Pakistan Amid Deepening Ties With China

ISLAMABAD � China is investing billions of dollars in extensive roads, railways, special industrial zones and energy infrastructure in Pakistan. The massive collaboration dubbed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, is generating interest among Pakistani students and professionals to learn Mandarin.Li Xue Mei teaches compulsory Mandarin lessons to around 300 students ranging from grade five to middle school. She is one of the Chinese instructors at the private Roots millennium schools, where more than 7,000 children are learning the language.They are good and they are very excited to learn Chinese, she said.She adds that writing Chinese language characters is challenging for her students, but they quickly master it. The instructor underscores the urgency of learning Mandarin.I think they need to learn more Chinese to learn Chinese culture and they can communicate more and they can cooperate better with Chinese people and they can work better, she said.China’s investment of around $60 billion under CPEC collaboration is expected to bring around 20,000 Chinese to Pakistan.A large number of them have already moved to the country, mostly running private businesses.Public and private institutions are establishing links with Chinese counterparts to promote exchanges in higher education and provide research opportunities on both sides of the border.Beijing regards CPEC as a pilot flagship project of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is a massive trade and connectivity venture aimed at linking China to the rest of Asia, Africa and Europe through both land and maritime routes.While both countries have traditionally enjoyed close political [Read More…]

Jun 162017
Henderson off to hot start at Meijer Classic

GRAND RAPIDS, United States: Brooke Henderson shot a bogey-free eight-under 63, her lowest round of the season, to take a one-shot lead atop a crowded leaderboard at the LPGA Tour’s Meijer Classic on Thursday. The 19-year-old Canadian is searching for her first win of 2017 and she has a slim lead after the first round of the $2-million event at the Blythefield Country Club. She delivered an eagle and six birdies, in a performance that comes on the back of a tie for 11th in her last outing at the Manulife LPGA Classic. “I felt like today was going to be a really good day,” she said. “Everything was just kind of going my way. I was hitting the ball really well and some putts were dropping, which is kind of a change from the last few weeks. It’s really exciting and I’m looking forward to the next three days.” But the pack is in hot pursuit, with nine players within two shots of Henderson. China’s Feng Shanshan, American Lexi Thompson and Henderson’s Canadian counterpart Jennifer Ha are among six golfers tied for second after shooting 64. New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, Feng Simin of China and Swede Madelene Sagstrom one shot further back. Henderson’s form comes as she prepares to defend her title in a couple of weeks at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. She said Thursday’s round is a confidence booster. “I feel like my game is in a really good place,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to [Read More…]

Jun 152017
China hopes Pakistan and India keep hostility out of SCO

China has expressed the hope that Pakistan and India will keep their bilateral hostility out of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the Times of India reported.Pakistan and India formally joined the SCO at its summit in Astana, Kazakhastan, last week in the first such expansion of the now eight-member group. A ceremony to formally welcome the two countries to the bloc was held at the SCO headquarters in Beijing on Thursday.Dismissing apprehensions by state-run Chinese media regarding the possibility of SCO's unity being disrupted by inclusion of India and Pakistan, China's Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou said he believed "both the countries will abide by the charter of the organisation". The charter states "that the hostility between the bilateral relations should not be brought to the organisation," he told reporters at the ceremony."Between our member states, our interests far outweigh our differences. So, we should not exaggerate the differences between the countries as it is not good for the organisation and cooperation between member states. After becoming members, we all become members of the big family," Kong said.He said China welcomes the inclusion of the two neighbouring nuclear powers to SCO."As a founding member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, we are very happy about the membership of India and Pakistan." China believes the entry of India and Pakistan "will guarantee very good cooperation in the organisation," he added.During the ceremony, the flags of new members Pakistan and India were hoisted, a press release issued by the Pakistan Embassy in Beijing [Read More…]

Jun 112017
Transportation cost

This refers to the article, ‘More vision wasted’ (Jun 9), by Shahzad Chaudhry. According to the writer, “$ 50 billion [spent on the CPEC project] will get them [China] a direct route from the Arabian Sea to Kashgar, reducing distance and the cost of moving goods by half”. This is not true. Comparing distance by sea with distance by road is misleading. In transport economics, it is not distance that matters but it is the cost which is relevant. The cost of transporting a container by road is around $1 to $1.50 per km. This transportation will cost much more in mountainous areas across Karakoram. It will cost at least $5000, excluding the cost of transportation in China, to move a container by road from Gwadar to Kashgar. Abdul Majeed Islamabad Click for detailed story

Jun 112017

Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that Sahiwal Coal Power project is the first initiative completed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in a record short time.He stated this while talking to Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal in Lahore on Monday.The Chief Minister said that CPEC is a game-changer and once completed it will change the destiny of entire region.He said that China is making an historic investment of fifty-five billion dollars under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in Pakistan.Source: Radio Pakistan Click for detailed story

Jun 112017
Pakistan: Slain Chinese Couple Preached Christianity Under Guise of Business

ISLAMABAD � Pakistan says a Chinese couple recently murdered by suspected Islamic State loyalists in southwestern Baluchistan province were preaching Christianity under the guise of doing business in the country.The slain Chinese nationals were kidnapped at gunpoint late last month from the provincial capital, Quetta. There were no claims of responsibility until Thursday when IS, through its global mouthpiece the Amaq News Agency, claimed executing the hostages.The kidnappers later released video footage showing the bloodied body of the Chinese man, Lee Zing Yang, taking his last breaths. Pakistani authorities swiftly evacuated 11 Chinese nationals from Quetta following the incident.On Monday, Pakistani interior minister Nisar Ali Khan chaired a high-level meeting in the wake of the unfortunate incident and directed authorities to review the process of issuance of visas to Chinese nationals, according to an official statement.It said a group of Chinese citizens, including the slain couple, had entered Pakistan on business visas, but instead of engaging in any business activity they went to Quetta and under the garb of learning Urdu language … were actually engaged in preaching.The statement added that a Korean national, Juan Won Seo, who runs an information technology-related company in the provincial capital was hosting the Chinese group.Misuse of visa ‘highly unfortunate’Minister Khan observed that it is highly unfortunate that a misuse of the terms of a business visa contributed to the unfortunate incident of abduction and subsequent murder of two innocent Chinese.He also directed authorities to gather information about Chinese nationals in Pakistan and establish [Read More…]

Jun 062017
Be prepared

This refers to the article, ‘Sri Lanka for sale?’ (June 4) by Farrukh Saleem. The writer has examined how Sri Lanka is weighed under a large amount of debt. The load was given by China for various development projects. These projects didn’t turn to be profitable. The failure of the Sri Lankan government to pay back loans have compelled it to request the Chinese to take over and run these projects. However, China is more interested in getting its money back. Pakistan should learn something from this arrangement. It has also entered into a similar agreement. China is lending money to the country for various development projects. CPEC involves the investment of $46billion. After the loan term is expired, the Chinese will obviously want their money back. Even if these development projects couldn’t yield high returns in the long run, the country would still have to make loan repayments along with interest. Therefore, the country should be careful with the CPEC projects. Sqn Ldr (r) Tarique Mahmood Malak Rawalpindi ***** The article is an excellent analysis of loan taken by Sri Lanka from China for various infrastructure projects. The failure of the Sri Lankan government to generate revenue from these projects is an eye-opener for those who advocate that developed infrastructure is the way to progress. There is no doubt that infrastructure is one of the means of progress of a country. But it is not only good infrastructure that is required for progress; There is a need for the [Read More…]

Jun 032017
Europe deserves to host 2030 World Cup: UEFA president

CARDIFF, United Kingdom: Europe should host the 2030 World Cup, not the country who is the highest bidder, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has told the BBC. The 49-year-old Slovenian, who replaced disgraced Frenchman Michel Platini at the top of European football last September, added he didn’t want to single out China with regard to the money factor. This week, smartphone maker Vivo became the latest World Cup sponsor from China following conglomerate Wanda and electronics company Hisense. That has lent more ammunition to those who believe they will bid for the 2030 edition. China’s President Xi Jinping is a devoted football fan and is eager to host the tournament with his ultimate desire for the country to win the trophy itself. “I didn’t want to speak just about China, but the most important thing is that the World Cup should go to the country that has the best bid,” Ceferin told the BBC ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final here between holders Real Madrid and Italian giants Juventus. “Rules cannot change just because we have some big sponsors.” However, Ceferin is adamant that Europe should host the 2030 showpiece and believes that based on FIFA’s rotational policy, it is their turn. Click for detailed story

Jun 022017
Utilising waste

This refers to the letter, ‘From waste to power’ (Jun 1), by Muhammad Ibrahim. The writer has explained in depth how the trash generated in Pakistan could be used to produce electricity which is already in short supply. In Pakistan, Karachi alone generates more than 12,000 tonnes of garbage on a daily basis. This trash is taken to landfills in the most unprofessional manner and burnt recklessly over there. Why can the authorities not recycle garbage in an organised manner and generate electricity? Many people are suggesting that utilising trash to generate power can be a good step since it will not only meet the electricity demand but it will also help the city deal with the garbage problem. However, the concerned authorities are not paying attention to these recommendations. What to speak of generating electricity, the concerned authorities cannot even transport garbage to the nodal points of the cities and then transport the same to various locations outside the cities to burn it in incinerators. This process has been suggested a while ago but the authorities didn’t take any action. For collection of garbage, we have to get the help of China. Do we really need foreign help for the city’s solid waste management? What a shame. Other countries are trying to find out how they can provide best services to their people, but our country hasn’t provided even basic necessities, including water, electricity, healthcare, education, to its citizens. The suggestion of generating power from trash is good but [Read More…]

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