Beijing, Aug 6 (IANS) At least 14 people have died after typhoons Damrey and Saola tore through China's eastern coastal region over the weekend, officials said Monday. Five people died and one is still missing in central China's Hubei province, Xinhua reported. Rain-triggered mudslides have destroyed over 500 houses and damaged 600 others. Over 180,000 local residents have been forced to relocate. Severe rainfall has also cut power supply in the region. In northeast China's Liaoning province, nine people have died and four remain missing. The typhoons temporarily disrupted rail services in Liaoning, affecting more than two million people. In Xiuyan city, where six of the deaths occurred, the typhoons cut off electricity, paralysed road traffic and damaged drinking water facilities, affecting more than 110,000 people.
Beijing, Aug 6 (IANS) China has decided to ban drug addicts from obtaining driver's licenses as part of an effort to reduce the incidence of driving under the influence. Drug addicts who have not recovered from addiction must apply to have their driver's licenses revoked within 30 days. Authorities will revoke the licenses of those who fail to do so in accordance with relevant regulations, Xinhua cited the ministry of public security as saying in a circular. Police will not accept driver's license applications filed by drug addicts. The ministry also said drivers with a history of drug abuse should be disqualified from driving school-buses. Fourteen people died in China in April in one of the most fatal drug-related traffic accidents. A police investigation revealed that a urine sample taken from the driver of the bus tested positive for drugs.
Beijing, Aug 6 (IANS) A state-run Chinese daily Monday said "sporting achievements attest to the country's progress" as the country led the medals tally in the London Olympics. An article in the Op-Ed section of Global Times asked whether Olympic gold medals have a stigma attached to them? Does the Chinese public no longer cherish hard-won Olympic medals? "The answers are no," it responded. The daily admitted that it was true that the ongoing Olympic Games have been viewed from a variety of perspectives by domestic audiences. "Some hold that the funds invested in athletes' training and preparation should be used for public welfare. Some worry that China's dominance over several events may reduce the popularity of the sports," it added. China leads the medals tally winning 30 gold, 17 silver and 14 bronze medals. The daily said: "There is indeed opposition against excessive worship of gold medals. But such voices don't dominate public opinion. Just look at the public's reaction to Sun Yang's two gold medals in swimming, which caused a sensation. After swimmer Ye Shiwen was questioned over her speed, there was a strong backlash against the unfounded allegations." The London Olympic Games have "resulted in new happiness and confidence for Chinese society". "...Chinese athletes continue to win glory overseas. The Chinese public is surer about the country's capabilities. No matter what the critics say, sporting achievements attest to the country's progress," the daily added. It stressed that "patriotism cannot be denied. It is not denied in any country. It is one of the core values of China, helping sustain its civilization for thousands of years".
Beijing, Aug 6 (IANS) At least 13 people died while 14 injured following an explosion occurred at a workshop in China's Zhejiang province, Xinhua reported. According to rescuers, the accident occurred Sunday afternoon in a village in Wenzhou city's Ouhai district about 4.50 p.m. and a fire raged in an area of 200 to 300 square metres after the explosion. The explosion happened after the thick dust in the workshop was ignited by the sparks from the polishing machine, said government officials. Five of the 14 injured were badly hurt in the incident. Government of Ouhai district said that the workshop was illegal and was focused on polishing and processing hardware locks.
Beijing, Aug 5 (IANS) US troops have been "massively and incessantly" engaged in military exercises in the Asia-Pacific region since the start of the year, and this has sent a "dangerously wrong message" to some countries in the region, China's state-run Xinhua news agency said in a commentary Sunday. US warships and fighter jets have participated in almost 20 war games in the Asia-Pacific region in the past seven months, including the just concluded 2012 Pacific Rim Joint Military Exercise, it said. "It seems that the US has developed a fresh yen for waging military exercises with its allies in the Asia-Pacific region," Xinhua said. Apart from the drills' "dazzling intensity", what was "more alarming" was that some of these exercises have even openly taken China as the imaginary enemy, it said. Behind America's "newly-established fondness" of war games in Asia-Pacific is the country's "paranoia" that a fast growing China would jeopardize its interests and its "self-claimed leadership" in the region. "The Obama administration, since its first year in office, has demonstrated a fervent desire to deter China by strengthening its military alliances with countries like South Korea, Australia, the Philippines, as well as some other Southeast Asian nations," Xinhua said. By setting China as its simulated foe and making a parade of its military prowess in the region, the US "intends to send out a message that no one is allowed to challenge its dominant position in the region". The Chinese news agency said that another reason for the rising military involvement of Washington in the region this year was that by trying to play tough against China, "Obama could hopefully woo more voters" in his presidential race. The US moves would only aggravate regional tensions and plague China-US relations, it predicted. Moreover, they would "embolden a few regional countries" to take rather "irresponsible attitudes" when handling their maritime disputes with China, and further push the entire Asia-Pacific area to the brink of military conflict. Xinhua said China has never tried to translate its burgeoning economic power to regional domination, and that Beijing welcomes a constructive and positive US role in the Asia-Pacific region. "Though it is convenient for the Obama administration to play tough with China for political gains, strong and vibrant relations between China and the US bring far more benefits." The US "has to fully understand" that it was impossible to bend China's will to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity in the region, it said.
Beijing, Aug 5 (IANS) Over 1,900 people have been arrested in a countrywide operation in China against the manufacture and sale of fake drugs, the government said Sunday. Fake medicines, trademark logos, packages and instruction manuals estimated at 1.16 billion yuan ($182 million) have been seized, the China Daily reported, citing the ministry of public security. The ministry said that 18,000 policemen were mobilised against gangs involved in circulation of fake medicines. The seized fake drugs were advertised for treatment of hypertension, diabetes, skin diseases and cancer. The ministry sais such fake drugs either delay treatment or cause damage to the liver and kidneys, and can even cause cardiac arrest. However, the ministry acknowledged that methods for manufacturing fake drugs have become more "elusive and deceptive" so as to escape police raids. Rewards of 500 to 50,000 yuan have been announced for whistleblowers who report suspected fake medicine crimes.
Beijing, Aug 5 (IANS) A recent statement by the US State Department on the South China Sea sent wrong signals, and did not help with the peace and stability in the region and Asia-Pacific at large, China's state-run Xinhua news agency said in a comment Sunday. The State Department Friday accused China of taking unconstructive moves in the South China Sea. "China's upgrading of the administrative level of Sansha city and establishment of a new military garrison there covering disputed areas of the South China Sea run counter to collaborative diplomatic efforts to resolve differences and risk further escalating tensions in the region," Xinhua quoted the State Department statement as saying. Xinhua said the statement, which "ignores facts and deliberately confuses right and wrong", is an "apparent interference in the internal affairs of China", and reflects America's "ambition of manipulating Asian affairs". China has persistently called for resolving the maritime disputes through negotiations between countries directly concerned on the basis of historical facts and universally recognized international law, it said. The historical facts that China has "indisputable sovereignty" over the Xisha, Nansha and Zhongsha Islands and their adjacent waters are clear. China set up an office in 1959 to administrate the three islands and their adjacent waters under Guangdong province. The establishment of Sansha city last month was a necessary adjustment to the administrative structure, which is well within China's sovereignty, Xinhua said. It is also well known that China sets up a garrison command in a prefecture-level city in China, and a military garrison in Sansha city "should not be seen as something unexpected". The Chinese news agency said that since the establishment of Sansha city, "the US government and several politicians have repeatedly made irresponsible remarks on the issue, reflecting Washington's attempts to meddle in Asian affairs". In July 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said her country had a "national interest" in the South China Sea. Ever since then, Washington has taken a series of unilateral actions in the region. This year, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced a shift of deployment of the US Navy from its current 50-50 split between the Pacific and the Atlantic to 60-40 by 2020. "And now, Washington has raised its tone again and sent wrong signals to the world on the South China Sea issue," Xinhua said. Although Washington claims that it does not take a position on territorial disputes in the South China Sea, "it selectively takes sides in these disputes". By doing so, Washington intends to alienate China from countries around the South China Sea, the news agency commented. Washington's approach was "obviously not conducive" to the peaceful settlement of the disputes as well as the peace and stability in the area. The news agency suggested that against the backdrop of the global financial and economic turbulence, Washington and Beijing should work together to maintain stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
Beijing, Aug 4 (IANS) Around 867,000 people have been evacuated from the eastern coast of China after gales lashed the region following the arrival of two tropical storms, the government said. The ministry of civil affairs said tropical storm Saola, which weakened from a typhoon, made landfall in Fuding city in east China's Fujian province Friday, packing winds of 90 km per hour, Xinhua reported. Till Friday evening, 214,000 residents in Fujian were relocated. In the neighbouring province of Zhejiang, about 716,000 people were affected by Saola, among whom 349,000 were evacuated, the ministry said.
Beijing, Aug 4 (IANS) Consumption of wild mushrooms in China's Shaanxi province has claimed the lives of least seven people and poisoned more than 50, forcing the country's top food administration to caution people against eating the food. Restaurants across the nation should avoid purchasing and serving wild mushrooms, and consumers should not pick or eat wild mushrooms due to lack of effective measures to detect their toxicity, the China Daily reported citing the State Food and Drug Administration. The statement came after a string of food poisoning incidents hit Hanzhong city in Shaanxi province since late July. From July 19 till Aug 2, a total of 57 residents in Hanzhong have been poisoned after eating mushrooms picked from the mountains. The only effective measure to avoid food poisoning caused by toxic mushrooms is to avoid eating them, the authorities said. Officials said the hot and rainy weather in July has provided rich ground for the breeding of wild mushrooms in mountainous and forest areas in the province. The government has also used local TV and radio broadcasts to create awareness about the harmful effects of eating wild mushrooms.
Beijing, Aug 4 (IANS) Four people were killed in a suspected stabbing and arson attack in northeast China's Heilongjiang province Saturday, police said. The incident took place in a residential area in Harbin, the provincial capital of Heilongjiang, around 6.30 a.m., Xinhua reported