May 2019

Pakistan, India restart cross-border train service suspended over tensions

Pakistan and India on Monday resumed cross-border passenger train service that was suspended due to recent tensions over the last month’s suicide attack in the Indian-controlled Kashmir, killing over 40 Indian policemen, officials said.

The “Samjhota Express” train, carrying some 150 passengers, left railway station in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province, for India Monday morning, according to local media.

The train normally runs between the two neighboring countries on Monday and Thursday.

The Pakistan Foreign Ministry announced suspension of the train service on Feb. 28 “in view of the prevailing tensions between Pakistan and India.”

However, a cross-border bus service between Lahore and New Delhi, the capital of India, was unaffected.

The Pakistan army said Sunday there had been calm along the Line of Control, the de-facto border between the two neighbors in Kashmir, after heavy exchange of shelling on the night of March 1 and 2.

The Indian firing had killed two Pakistani soldiers and two civilians on Sunday, according to Pakistan army.

Skirmishes broke out along the LoC after India claimed its warplanes bombed a camp of militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in northwest Pakistan on Feb. 26. JeM had claimed responsibility for the attack in Pulwama, a town in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Feb. 14.

In what appears to be a tit-for-tat action, Pakistan army said its air force shot down two Indian fighter jets on Feb. 27 and captured one India pilot. The pilot was later released and handed over to the Indian authorities in what Prime Minister Imran Khan described as a “goodwill for peace.”

Reports from the Pakistani side of the LoC said that schools were also reopened on Monday as normalcy returned to the area.

Several countries issued appeals for calm between Pakistan and India, and urged both countries to resolve differences through dialogue.

Chinese bid farewell to dead firefighters

A deadly forest fire in Southwest China that claimed the lives of 30 people has been contained and authorities are seeking to honor the victims as martyrs.

Five helicopters and nearly 700 people were deployed to tackle the wildfire, which was completely contained as of midday Tuesday, an official surnamed Hou at China’s Ministry of Emergency Management’s press office, told the Global Times.

The fire broke out at around 6 pm on Saturday in a remote high-altitude forested area in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province. An investigation has been launched to look into the cause, officials from Liangshan said at a press conference on Tuesday.

“Due to the complex terrain, there are still areas that are burning, so it will be some time before it is fully extinguished,” Hou said.

The fire claimed the lives of 27 firefighters, with an average age of 23 and the youngest being just 18. Three local officials were also killed when the winds suddenly changed direction, fanning the flames and trapping the firefighters.

The bodies of 29 of the victims were transferred to a funeral parlor in Xichang, Liangshan, and one person was buried in his hometown according to the family’s wishes.

More than 10,000 people in Xichang lined the streets and some placed chrysanthemums, heart-shaped candles and white scarves on the road in tribute to the heroes.

India-Pakistan economic ties should not be interrupted by terror attack

India and Pakistan need to avoid engaging in a trade war that will deal a blow to their own economies as well as that of China.

Tensions between India and Pakistan skyrocketed after Pakistan was reported to be considering a ban on the imports of some Indian products, as a protest against India’s earlier move to withdraw most favored nation status given to Pakistan.

Last week, a suicide attack claimed by the Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary troopers in the Pulwama district, resulting in India’s economic attacks and Pakistan’s reported tit-for-tat moves.

The suicide attack by a Pakistan-based terrorist outfit cannot be a reason for New Delhi to punish ordinary Pakistani people with economic measures. A possible decision to escalate tensions by carrying out countermeasures against India is also inadvisable.

What can comfort the dead is cross-border cooperation in countering terrorism. A trade war can do nothing but complicate the situation.

The Indian and Pakistan economies will soon feel the pain of a trade war if the two countries further escalate economic tensions. Pakistan mainly imports cotton, chemicals and iron from India – materials that are vital for industry – while India imports fruit, cement and leather from Pakistan. Although their total trade is small, bilateral economic ties are more significant than some people realize.

With a strategic location along a key international trade route, India and Pakistan have some inherent advantages to make themselves a regional logistics hub. But if the two countries isolated themselves from one another, their strategic significance to economies in the region, China included, will be reduced.

Current economic interaction between India and Pakistan is a hard-own achievement that should not be interrupted by a terror strike. Terrorists would be pleased to see that a trade war adds to the instability factors affecting South Asia. Should New Delhi and Islamabad fall into the trap of terrorists? The answer is no.

China is an onlooker of the ongoing India-Pakistan conflict, and it regrets the two countries’ economic losses, which could have been avoided. However, China is not just an onlooker but a participant in the South Asian economy. As an important economic partner of both India and Pakistan, China is willing to make efforts to promote India-Pakistan economic cooperation.

Like China, the primary strategy of both India and Pakistan is to promote economic and social development. Economic cooperation among the three countries still has great potential to generate growth, which will eventually help crack down on terrorism.

WITHIN PELLUCIDAR ONE TIME IS AS GOOD AS ANOTHER. There were no nights to mask our attempted escape. All must be done

in broad daylight—all but the work I had to do in the apartment beneath the building. So we determined to put our plan to an immediate test lest the Mahars who made it possible should awake before I reached them; but we were doomed to disappointment, for no sooner had we reached the main floor of the building on our way to the pits beneath, than we encountered hurrying bands of slaves being hastened under strong Sagoth guard out of the edifice to the avenue beyond.

Other Sagoths were darting hither and thither in search of other slaves, and the moment that we appeared we were pounced upon and hustled into the line of marching humans.

What the purpose or nature of the general exodus we did not know, but presently through the line of captives ran the rumor that two escaped slaves had been recaptured—a man and a woman—and that we were marching to witness their punishment, for the man had killed a Sagoth of the detachment that had pursued and overtaken them.

At the intelligence my heart sprang to my throat, for I was sure that the two were of those who escaped in the dark grotto with Hooja the Sly One, and that Dian must be the woman. Ghak thought so too, as did Perry.

“Is there naught that we may do to save her?” I asked Ghak.

“Naught,” he replied.

Along the crowded avenue we marched, the guards showing unusual cruelty toward us, as though we, too, had been implicated in the murder of their fellow. The occasion was to serve as an object-lesson to all other slaves of the danger and futility of attempted escape, and the fatal consequences of taking the life of a superior being, and so I imagine that Sagoths felt amply justified in making the entire proceeding as uncomfortable and painful to us as possible.

They jabbed us with their spears and struck at us with the hatchets at the least provocation, and at no provocation at all. It was a most uncomfortable half-hour that we spent before we were finally herded through a low entrance into a huge building the center of which was given up to a good-sized arena. Benches surrounded this open space upon three sides, and along the fourth were heaped huge bowlders which rose in receding tiers toward the roof.

Glimmer of hope

Han’s mother, Kang Changxia, takes her to school by bike every morning, then rushes to her cleaning job. Han Qi, Han’s father, is a chef, and they both work as much as they can to be able to afford the cost of their daughter’s medication.

She was diagnosed with the disease when she was 3. Patients with Gaucher disease lack an enzyme needed to break down a certain fatty chemical in the blood, causing build-up of fatty substances in organs, particularly the spleen and liver. This causes them to enlarge, and affects their function. Other complications include blood problems and bone issues. Han Shuo has anemia, and she has a lot of pain in her legs, making it difficult to walk, so she uses walking sticks.

After class end – she is only excused sports – her friends help her get home, as her parents are still at work.

“One injection of Imiglucerase to treat Gaucher disease costs more than 23,000 yuan ($3,434). We have to pay 6,900 yuan,” Han Qi told the Global Times.

In June 2017, Tianjin established an insurance system that included rare diseases, and now the family can claim back 70 percent of Han Shuo’s medical costs. But when she was first diagnosed, the high cost of the medication meant it was out of reach for the family. Eventually, her spleen ballooned to three kilograms, and when she was 9, it was removed.

Even so, since the family’s monthly income is just 8,000 yuan a month, Han Shuo only receives one injection of the life-saving drug. She needs at least five injections every month, according to her height and weight. The underdose aggravates her illness, and the week before, she could not attend school, because her legs hurt so much.

New aircraft ‘to gather intel in S.China Sea’

China has reportedly developed a new type of electronic warfare aircraft with extra antenna installations.

A military expert said that it would gather intelligence on whatever comes near the South China Sea and East China Sea to gain an advantage in case of conflict. A photo of the aircraft was featured in a China Central Television (CCTV) report on Wednesday, which called the warplane “a new type of special mission aircraft,” without giving an exact designation.

The aircraft appears to have been developed from the Y-9, Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst, told the Global Times on Thursday.

The Y-9, a medium-sized tactical transport plane with a maximum range of about 4,000 kilometers, has been modified, including as early warning aircraft, reconnaissance plane and anti-submarine aircraft, CCTV reported in 2018.

But the new variation is unlike the others: It has what seems to be a hemispheric radar dome under its chin, two large antennas on each side of the plane, an antenna on each side of the tailfin and an electronic warfare pod on top of the tailfin.

The devices on the plane mean it could effectively monitor enemies’ radio communication and intercept their radar signals, Wei said.

It can also deliver electronic suppression, supporting China’s aerial strike units by jamming and paralyzing hostile air defense systems, the report said.

However, Wei believes that the aggressive role is better left to electronic warfare aircraft modified from a fighter jet instead of from a transport plane, because the latter is more vulnerable and flies slower.

One important role the new aircraft could play is to gather intelligence and electronic data in the South China Sea and East China Sea on whatever comes near, according to Wei. With the pre-knowledge of hostile electronic signals, China can launch pointed electronic suppression and jamming in case of a conflict, which brings a significant advantage, he said.

The new aircraft could replace the GX-4, an older electronic warfare plane developed from the Y-8 transport plane, because the Y-9 platform can fly longer and carry more devices, experts said.

An airplane with the same traits was photographed years ago, but was grounded and painted yellow, which usually means it was in development. Military observers called it the GX-11.

IT IS SAFER TO SEARCH IN THE MAZE THAN REMAIN IN A CHEESELESS SITUATION.

Haw realised again, as he had once before, that what you are afraid of is never as bad as what youimagine. The fear you let build up in your mind is worse than the situation that actually exits.

  He’s been so afraid of never finding New Cheese that he didn’t even want to start looking. Butsince starting his journey he had found enough Cheese in the corridors to keep him going. Now helooked forward to finding more. Just looking ahead was becoming exciting.

  His old thinking had been clouded by his worries and fears. He used to think about not havingenough Cheese, or not having it last as long as he wanted. He used to think more about what couldgo wrong than what could go right.

  But that had changed in the days since he had left Cheese Station C.

  He used to believe that Cheese should never be moved and that change wasn’t right.

  Now he realized it was natural for change to continually occur, whether you expect it or not.

  Change could surprise you only if you didn’t expect it and weren’t looking for it.

  When he realized he had changed his beliefs, he paused to write on the wall :

  OLD BELIEFS DO NOT LEAD YOU TO NEW CHEESE.

  Haw hadn’t found any Cheese yet but, as he ran through the maze, he thought about what he hadalready learned.

  How now realized that his new beliefs were encouraging new behaviors. He was behavingdifferently than when he kept returning to the same cheeseless station.

   He knew when you change what you believe, you change what you do.

  You can believe that a change will harm you and resist it. Or you can believe that finding NewCheese will help you to embrace the changed.

  It all depends on what you choose to believe.

  He wrote on the wall :

  WHEN YOU SEE THAT YOU CAN FIND AND ENJOY NEW CHEESE, YOU CHANGE COURSE.

  Haw knew he would be in a better shape now if he had embraced the changed much sooner and leftCheese Station C earlier. He would feel stronger in body and spirit and he could have coped betterwith the challenge of finding New Cheese. In fact, he probably would have found it by now if hehad expected change, rather than wasting time denying that the change had already taken place.

  He gathered his will and decided to keep proceeding into the newer parts of the maze. He foundlittle bits of Cheese here and there and began to regain his strength and confidence.

  As he thought back on where he had come from, Haw was glad he had written on the wall in manyplaces. He trusted it would serve as a marked trail for Hem to follow through the maze, if he choseto leave Cheese Station C.

  He just hoped he was heading in the right direction. He thought about the possibility that Hemwould read The Handwriting On The Wall and find his way.

Hebei Baoding Wosen Fertilizer Co., Ltd.

Hebei Baoding Wosen Fertilizer Co., Ltd., founded in July 1994, is the biggest private enterprise in Baoding which produces and sells compound fertilizers and mixed compound fertilizers. “Xianwang” compound fertilizers and mixed compound fertilizers produced by the company are famous in Hebei and well accepted by farmers. By adhering to the strategy of “people-oriented and science ant technology-based development” for over one decade, the company has developed four series with more than 20 types of products. It is able to produce fertilizers with different proportions according to soil conditions and crop nutrient needs to ensure development in agriculture. Over a dozen years, it has made progress through reforms and constantly grown stronger. Due to the good quality of its products and its credible reputation, it has been awarded a number of honorable titles, such as “Famous Brand of Hebei”, “Key Leading Enterprise of Industrialized Agricultural Operations in Baoding”, “Designated Producer for Formulated Fertilization Based on Soil Testing in Baoding”, and “Consumer-Trusted Enterprise”. For years, it has occupied the largest market share in the regional market in Hebei’s fertilizer industry. It has been working hard to expand its market in fertilizer manufacturing and marketing when its products are mainly sold to the provinces in North China, the northeast ant the northwest and part of South China.

Laser weapons ready as China creates cutting-edge military hardware

The newest members of China’s military arsenal are a host of laser weapons, as the country makes a serious commitment to cutting-edge hardware.

China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, the nation’s largest missile maker, has developed a road-mobile laser defense system called the LW-30, which the company is promoting to international markets.

The LW-30 uses a high-energy laser beam to destroy targets ranging from drones and guided bombs to mortar shells. It features high efficiency, rapid response, a good hit rate and flexibility, according to CASIC.

An LW-30 combat unit is composed of one radar-equipped vehicle for communications and control on the battlefield, at least one laser gun-carrying vehicle and one logistical support vehicle.

The laser gun can be deployed with close-in weapons systems and air-defense missiles to form a defensive network free of blind spots, the company said.

It said that in a typical scenario, the LW-30’s radar will scan, detect and track an incoming target before transmitting the information to the laser gun. The gun will analyze the most vulnerable part of the target and then direct a laser beam onto it. Destruction takes place in a matter of seconds.

Fast-moving targets such as guided bombs and mortar shells are difficult to intercept with most types of existing weapons because they are too fast to be caught and usually come in large quantities, said Wu Peixin, an observer of advanced weaponry in Beijing, adding that while advanced air-defense missiles are capable of hitting such targets, it is unreasonable to use an expensive missile to bring down a bomb or shell.

“Therefore, a laser gun is the most suitable weapon to defend against these threats,” he said. “Every military power in the world has been striving to develop laser weapons. They have bright prospects in the international arms market.”

In addition to CASIC, other State-owned defense conglomerates are ready to take their laser weapon systems to market.

China Shipbuilding Industry Corp, the world’s largest shipbuilder, has made another vehicle-mounted laser weapon that integrates detection and control devices and the laser gun in one six-wheeled vehicle. Observers said the system should be fielded to deal with low-flying targets such as small unmanned aircraft.

China South Industries Group, a major manufacturer of ground weapons for the military, is trying to attract buyers for its mine-clearing laser gun, which is carried by a light-duty armored vehicle. Designers said the system is able to dispose of land mines from a distance, avoiding hazards to personnel.

CPEC can play key role in generating jobs in Pakistan

Approximately 1.2 million jobs could be created indirectly in Pakistan because of agreed projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), media reports have said.

The CPEC has been blamed for causing a debt trap and economic distress in Pakistan, but facts have proved that the recent surge in Chinese investment is yielding employment benefits.

This is a hard-won achievement, but 1.2 million jobs aren’t enough. While the first phase of the CPEC concentrated on infrastructure projects, the second part should focus on employment creation by setting up special economic zones (SEZs) and supporting economic integration. The CPEC needs to accelerate the shift of its focus to provide more jobs for Pakistani people.

Although there has been much controversy about the CPEC over issues such as an uneven distribution of interests among Pakistani people, the project can only move forward. But it won’t be plain sailing due to challenges such as Pakistan’s foreign exchange crisis and security problems, and people should be prepared for potential setbacks. However, as long as the CPEC creates a lot of jobs, it will win the favor of Pakistani people.

The construction of transportation infrastructure under the CPEC framework has created many jobs for local people. This is obviously good news for the country’s poverty alleviation campaign. However, infrastructure work provides mainly limited-term employment.

It takes time to complete infrastructure construction, but the country will see a substantial decrease in job creation in the future if it relies heavily on infrastructure construction to generate employment. With about 200 million people, Pakistan needs long-term employment opportunities.

The CPEC has its weak points, but it also offers unique advantages. The CPEC is designed to connect Gwadar Port in southwest Pakistan with China’s inland areas, offering another shipping option for Chinese importers and exporters. Working on the CPEC’s SEZs should be stepped up to promote Pakistan’s manufacturing sector and its industrialization, making the country a new important exporter to China. This will provide more long-term jobs for local Pakistani people.

However, efforts by Chinese companies to expand local production may be hampered by factors such as security problems and the lack of skilled workers. If the Pakistani government can keep improving the business environment for manufacturers, the CPEC may play a better role in yielding employment benefits for local people.