|Asia News Digest
China Develops New Super-Rice; Yields Are Up
Sept. 21 (EIRNS)China's legendary, 81-year old "father of hybrid rice," Yuan Longping, has developed a new hybrid rice strain, DH2525 (Y two superior No. 2) that has produced 13.899 tons per hectare during trial runs in Longhui county in Central China's Hunan province, the provincial academy of agriculture announced at a press conference on Sept. 19. The breeding will be considered a success after the new breed produces the targeted yield of over 13.5 tons per hectare on at least 6.7 hectares of farmland for two consecutive years, said the team's leader Cheng Shihua.
Yuan, who began developing hybrid rice in the 1960s, and his research team, reached the target unit yield of 10.5 tons and 12 tons per hectare in 1999 and 2005 respectively, setting world records both times. Wang Huayong, a farmer who contracted the trial field, said the field had yielded 12.634 tons and 13.08 tons of rice per hectare over the past two years, and the yield finally exceeded 13.5 tons per hectare this year. "The seed was further upgraded, new manure was used, and we also received guidance from Mr. Yuan himself," Wang said.
Li Guoxiang, an expert on agriculture with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the higher yield target was of great significance for both heavily populated China and the world as a whole.
Putin Is Top Candidate for China's 'Confucius Peace Prize'
Sept. 18 (EIRNS)Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the Panchen Lama, second to the Dalai Lima among Tibet Buddhists, are both leading candidates for an Asian alternative to the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Confucius Peace Prize was first organized last year as anti-Chinese "dissident," Liu Xiaobo, was about to get the Nobel. The Confucius prize was awarded to Lien Chan, a former Taiwan vice president. Awards executive chairman Liu Haofeng told AFP that the prize had been set up by an association overseen by China's culture ministry.
Liu said this year's jury panel consists of 20 Chinese from the fields of arts and literature with an interest in politics. The winner is to be announced on Dec. 9, a day before the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, and awarded 100,000 yuan ($15,700).
Other candidates include German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her contribution to regional peace in Europe, South African President Jacob Zuma, and Yuan Longping, a Chinese agricultural scientist known as the father of hybrid rice.
India, China, Czechia Remain Steadfast on Nuclear Power Development
Sept. 21 (EIRNS)Speaking at the ongoing IAEA conference in Vienna, the chairman of India's Atomic Energy Commission, Srikumar Banerjee, told the audience that nuclear power remains vital for developing countries even after the Fukushima disaster in Japan. "The role of nuclear power as a safe, clean, and viable source to meet energy needs, as well as to adequately address the concerns of global warming and climate change, cannot be undermined. This is all the more so for developing countries and emerging economies, which aim to provide a better quality of life for their people," Banerjee said. He also pointed out that nuclear had caused "far fewer" human casualties than other power-generation methods.
On the same day, The China Securities Journal, a business daily, reported the state media saying that China will start approving new nuclear power projects next year, after suspending them in the wake of the disaster at Japan's Fukushima atomic plant. China's aim to increase its nuclear power capacity to 40 gigawatts by 2015 from 10.8 gigawatts in 2010, is unaffected by the review, the Journal said, citing experts.
Meanwhile, the government-run power giant CEZ of Czechia has announced that it will press ahead with nuclear energy in order to ensure the country's future energy independence. The Czech nuclear program has been opposed by the anti-nuclear mob of Austria, in particular. CEZ, Europe's second-largest power exporter, expects nuclear energy to account for 50% of its output after adding two units at Temelin around 2025. "If the Czech Republic wants to be self-sufficient in terms of energy, there are not many options other than nuclear energy," Daniel Benes, CEZ chairman and chief executive, told the largest Czech broadsheet daily DNES.
Even in Japan, where the earthquake- and tsunami-caused breakdown of nuclear power plants in Fukushima created a new surge of anti-nuclear activities, particularly in the developed nations, the recently elected Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, again emphasized the necessity of reopening of Japan's nuclear power plants, which were shut down in the aftermath of the Fukushima incident. "We must bring them back as best as we can, because if we have a power shortage, it will drag down Japan's overall economy," Prime Minister Noda said.
Wu to Medvedev: China and Russia Need Technological Cooperation
Sept. 20 (EIRNS)"Boosting cooperation on technological innovation is an important element in reaching the target which the [Russian and Chinese] heads of state have set for the next decade," Wu Bangguo, chair of the Chinese National Peoples Congress' standing committee, told Russia Russian President Dmitri Medvedev during a visit to the Skolkovo innovation center near Moscow, Sept. 16. CCTV (China's state-run TV) reported that Wu proposed that both nations expand planning and cooperation on emerging strategic industries. Skolkovo is being developed not only as Russia's Silicon Valley, but also as a center for developing nuclear and other essential advanced technologies.
Wu is touring four key Eurasian partners: Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, and Kazakstan. On Sept. 14, when he arrived in Moscow, Wu had told Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that "As the world's major emerging economies, China and Russia enjoy complementary advantages in areas like capital, technology, market and manpower resources."
On Sept. 16, Wu Bangguo met Acting Chairman of the Russian Federation Council A. Torshin, with whom he discussed not only parliamentary exchanges, but also the need to implement the Outline of Regional Cooperation between Northeast China and the Russian Far East Area and Eastern Siberia, 2009-18, which had been proposed by Hu Jintao in August 2007 and approved by the presidents of China and Russia on Sept. 23, 2009, before Putin's landmark visit to China in October that year. Wu told Torshin that the two sides must speed up infrastructure construction in the border areas, especially key connection projects such as cross-border bridges, oil and gas pipelines, electric transmission lines, and ports.
In Minsk, Sept. 17, Wu announced that China would give Belarus a $1 billion in loans, on favorable terms, to help deal with its financial crisis. The Belarus ruble was devaluated by 36% earlier this year, and Minsk has been trying, unsuccessfully, to get $8 billion from the IMF.