China’s Ambassador to Iceland arrested by state security for passing secrets to Japan

China’s Foreign Ministry refused to say on Wednesday where its ambassador to Iceland was or who was even representing Beijing in the country, following reports he had been arrested by state security for passing secrets to Japan.
New York-based Chinese language portal Mingjing News reported on Tuesday that China’s envoy to Iceland, Ma Jisheng, and his wife had been taken away by Chinese state security earlier this year.
It said Ma was suspected of having become a Japanese spy while working in the Chinese embassy in Tokyo between 2004 and 2008.
The story was then picked up by Hong Kong’s Ming Pao newspaper and subsequently carried by some mainland Chinese news sites, though many of those stories were later deleted.
Asked whether the reports were true, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said, “I have no information on this”.
Hong gave the same reply when asked where Ma currently was and who the Chinese ambassador to Iceland was if Ma was no longer there.
It was not possible to contact either Ma or his wife for comment.
The Japanese government declined to comment.
“We are aware of the media report,” a Japanese government official told Reuters. “But it’s basically China’s domestic issue and therefore the Japanese government would like to refrain from commenting.”
A spokeswoman for Iceland’s foreign ministry, Urdur Gunnarsdóttir, said an announcement from the Chinese embassy in Reykjavik in May had stated Ma would not return to his post for personal reasons.
There has been a caretaker ambassador since then, Gunnarsdóttir said, adding that Ma left Iceland in January and was to have returned in March.
A link on the website of the Chinese embassy in Iceland to the ambassador’s resume showed up blank. A welcome address on the site’s front page was attributed only to the Chinese ambassador to Iceland, without giving a name.
However, the site gave prominent display to an article written by Ma in an Icelandic newspaper in February, in which he criticized Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine last year.
The Yasukuni shrine honors Japan’s war dead, including 14 leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal, and relations between China and Japan plunged to a new low after Abe’s visit there.
Ties between the two nations, long at loggerheads over what China calls Japan’s failure to properly atone for its behavior during World War Two, have also been affected by a dispute over ownership of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea.
Sources: Reuters via JapanToday

Japan - A year of beer at Tokyo restaurant offering all-you-can-drink for 12 months....

Thanks to its refreshing flavor and crisp finish, Asahi is the kind of beer you can drink glass after glass of, and if you take advantage of a special offer from Brasserie Beer Boulevard, you’ll only have to worry about paying once. The restaurant is currently offering a limited but undisclosed number of “One-Year Passports” that’ll let you enjoy as many Asahis as you’d like for the next 12 months.

The one small catch is that the offer is only good if you’re willing to drink in the restaurant’s standing area or seated at the counter. On the upside, there’s no stated limit on how long you can hang around or how many beers you can order. 

Granted, Brasserie Beer Boulevard’s one-year deal is more expensive than the two-hour versions ordinarily offered by their competitors, with a price of 29,800 yen ($282). 

Still, in downtown Tokyo a draft Asahi will generally run you about 500 yen ($4.74), if not more, so if you can see yourself drinking 60 beers this year, this offer will basically pay for itself.

Restaurant information
Brasserie Beer Boulevard /ブラッセリービアブルヴァード
Address: Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Shinbashi 5-10-8, Culture Center Building 2nd floor
東京都港区新橋5-10-8 カルチャーセンタービル 2F
Open: 5 p.m.-midnight Monday-Friday, noon-10 p.m. Saturday
Closed Sunday

Source: Entabe

Taiwan - Gutter oil mooncakes scandal spoils Mid-Autumn Festival

The great annual Mid-Autumn festival celebration typically involves buying and giving mooncakes. 
However, Taiwanese authorities sound the alarm bell after finding 782 tonnes of gutter oil made from waste and lard oils. 

In mainland China, the Party orders its officials not to give or accept gifts for the holiday that might be construed as graft.

Taipei (AsiaNews) - Taiwan has ordered cooking oil supplier Chang Guann to pull all lard oil products - especially mooncakes -from shop shelves, including those in Hong Kong and mainland China.

The order follows reports that the edible oil firm had blended "gutter oil" - illegally produced oil usually made from recycled kitchen waste - with fresh lard oil to produce 782 tonnes of Chuan Tung brand oil. If ingested in large quantities, the latter can cause nausea, internal bleeding, and cancer.

Announced yesterday, this latest food scandal comes after Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released test results involving oil used in Chuan Tung brand products.

The authorities tested three samples and found that two had more than three times the acceptable limit of benzo(a)pyrene, a carcinogenic compound.

The scandal has badly affected Taiwan's local food industry, with close to 1,000 food manufacturers, bakeries, restaurants and night markets found to have used the oil to process a huge variety of food products.

Taiwan's government ordered checks on all of the island's food manufacturing and processing plants, which will take about 30 months.

In addition, it also called on Hong Kong and mainland authorities to do the same with those shops that might have had dealings with the company under investigation.

However, carrying out such an order would be hard. Dr Philip Ho Yuk-yin, a community medicine consultant with the Centre for Food Safety, said the centre had phoned more than 100 businesses and sent emails to 10,000 or so others to verify whether they had used the oil. Only "dozens" returned calls and none replied to emails.

The term "gutter oil" first caught the mainland public's attention in 2010 when a professor in Wuhan revealed that up to 10 per cent of cooking oil used on the mainland could be made from recycled kitchen waste. He Dongping, of Wuhan Polytechnic University, estimated then that restaurants and food stalls throughout the country used about three million tonnes of illegally produced oil every year.

The scandal is even more serious considering that the oil is used by different companies that produce mooncakes, sweets typically made with lotus paste and eaten during the Mid-Autumn (or moon) Festival.

The festivity was celebrated yesterday in most of East Asia with hundreds of millions of workers going home bringing traditional sweets to parents and children.

According to the authorities, it is impossible to know how many cakes made with gutter oil have been sold and presumably eaten.

Giving mooncakes has sparked criticism in mainland China in relation with the anti-corruption campaign launched by President Xi Jinping.

For decades, low-ranking Communist officials spent a lot of money on luxury items (accompanied by cash) to give to their superiors.

To prevent this practice, the Party has ordered its members not to give or accept mooncakes.

However, as a result of the controversy, state media have tried to downplay the controversy, claiming that officials had overreacted and misinterpreted the central authorities' call.

"There are only several holidays a year, so it is considerate of employers to greet staff and give out some benefits that will make everyone happy at this time. How is this related to corruption?" the People's Daily wrote in an editorial.

China - Giant Flying Bug With Fangs Discovered.....

This is reportedly a giant Dobsonfly, the world's largest, with a wingspan of 21 centimeters
(8.3 inches), large enough to cover your face.

The world's largest aquatic insect has reportedly been found in China. This cute/terrifying little creature, which is definitely worth writing home about, was found in the the mountains of Chengdu in Sichuan province, Scientific American reports.

It boasts a wingspan of 8.3 inches. That breaks the previous record held by a species of South American helicopter damselfly, with a wingspan of 7.5 inches. (Helicopter damselflies, by the by, feed on spiders, one species of which makes fake spiders in its web, likely to scare the predators away.)
There seems to be some confusion about exactly what this new insect is. Scientific American reports that they have only been identified as being the order Megaloptera, which includes alderflies and Dobsonflies, while CNN quotes a local museum as saying they are giant Dobsonflies (note: these are not mutually exclusive).

North Korea - Pyongyang furious over viral Chinese video of Kim Jong-un dancing, singing and kung fu fighting - This is very funny!

The North Korean government has asked Beijing to remove the video, in which their leader walks hand in hand with Osama bin Laden, is beaten by Obama and ends up in a pool with a basket on his head. The Chinese government responds laconically: "We cannot."

Seoul (AsiaNews) - North Korea has asked China to stop the spread of an Internet video that pokes fun at their leader, the "Young Marshal" Kim Jong-un. The government in Pyongyang, says a Chinese source, believes that the video "will seriously undermine the dignity and authority of Kim." The images show the North Korean dictator dancing and kung fu fighting.

Beijing has responded that it is "unable" to stop the spread of the video.

The video, which has gone viral, is in Chinese and of poor quality: in reality, Kim's head has been pasted onto bodies that are dancing or fighting. In one scene, the dictator, always smiling, is beaten by U.S. President Barack Obama; in another he finds himself with a basket on his head and is pushed into a swimming pool. Finally we see him dancing, hand in hand, with Osama bin Laden. The movie was produced by a Chinese man who signed himself as Zhang and who lives in Suzhou; the author reportedly studied at the South Korean Kyonggi University.

“That’s normal!” – Angry waitress voluntarily munches cockroach after customer finds it in his food, [VIDEO]

Cross Posted From:

What would you do if you found a cockroach in your food while dining in a restaurant?

If you said “complain to the management” or “report the place to the department of sanitation”, you’d be wrong. Well, at least according to one waitress at a restaurant in Chengdu, China who told a customer that it was “normal” for creepy-crawlies to make it into restaurant food, and promptly swallowed the cockroach he had found to prove her point…

Businessman Zhang Yen was dining with his friend at the Shichuan Province restaurant earlier this week when he spotted a cockroach in his food. He immediately called the waitress over and showed it to her, demanding to know how she could serve up food containing bugs.

Rather than apologising and whisking the plate away, however, the waitress flew into a rage, telling Zhang, “No matter which restaurant you go to, you’ll find things like cockroaches in the food. It’s normal!”

Unable to contain his anger and amazed at her barefaced insolence, Zhang told the waitress to eat the cockroach herself if it was the everyday ingredient she claimed it to be.

Which is exactly what she did.

Japan - Child poverty rate hits record high...

TOKYO — Japan’s child poverty rate has hit a record high, according to a government survey, prompting criticism that Tokyo wasn’t doing enough to fix the problem.
The health and welfare ministry report showed the child poverty rate rose to 16.3% in 2012, the worst result since the survey started nearly three decades ago and one of the highest levels among the 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The rate measures the percentage of children living in households with an annual net income below the poverty line—1.22 million yen per person.

Japan - Politician proposes giving newlyweds pierced condoms...

funny condom photo: funny 18.jpg

Cross Posted from:

A Japanese politician in Aichi Prefecture has landed himself in hot water after suggesting that deliberately punctured condoms be distributed to married couples to counter the country’s dwindling birth rate, local media reported on Friday.

Shinshiro city municipal assembly member Tomonaga Osada received a stern warning and was forced to apologize after making the bizarre proposal, which triggered a flurry of phone calls from enraged locals.

Japan unveils new stealth jet fighter...Your Move China!

Mitsubishi ATD-X Shinshin stealth fighter has rolled out.

Last month, a leaked, blurry image provided an interesting preview of the first prototype of the Advanced Technology Demonstrator-X (ATD-X), the indigenous war plane that Japan Air Self-Defense Force will operate in the air defense role, replacing the ageing Mitsubishi F-2.

On Jul. 12, the first official photos of the ATD-X (serialled 51-0001) were released by the Japanese Ministry of Defense Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI), the Ministry of Defense’s agency that has developed the Shinshin (“spirit of the heart”, an early codename within the Japan Self Defense Force) for research purposes.

Indeed, the ATD-X will be used for the development of the F-3, Japan’s next generation stealth jet.

Noteworthy, the “new” images were taken on May 8, 2014, when the painting of the canted vertical tails radar-evading air superiority fighter with enhanced maneuverability ended.

A ‘new Cold War’: China’s top "Drama Queen / Propaganda Paper warns of ‘slippery slope’ towards conflict with U.S.

As diplomatic talks in China come to a close, one of the country’s biggest newspapers is warning citizens against a “new Cold War” with the United States.

“Both China and the United States realize that today’s world has already undergone profound changes, and there is no longer a market for a ‘new Cold War’”, the People’s Daily, the ruling communist party’s official paper, said Saturday.

The commentary was written under the pen name “Zhong Sheng,” which means “Voice of China” and is often used for bylines on foreign policy op-eds, Reuters reported Saturday.

“If we deal with (the relationship) well, it could benefit both sides. But if we deal with this badly, that could be a slippery slope to terrible competition and even conflict,” the writer said.

The article went on to call for enhanced communication on both sides to strengthen relations. While the U.S. and China agreed to increase military ties and ramp up counter-terrorism cooperation during the annual talks in Beijing, there seemed to be little sign of progress on cyber-security or maritime issues, Reuters reported.

The writer added that foreign relations were unlikely to ease any time soon and suggested positive steps to amend shaky ties, including boosting bilateral investment, deepening cooperation on environmental issues, strengthening military ties and making travel easier between the U.S. and China.

Japan - TEPCO Stigmatized nuclear workers quit...

“TEPCO has grown into a target of people’s hate,” 

Cross Posted From:

Stigma, pay cuts, and risk of radiation exposure are among the reasons why 3,000 employees have left the utility at the center of Japan’s 2011 nuclear disaster. Now there’s an additional factor: better paying jobs in the feel good solar energy industry.

Engineers and other employees at TEPCO, or Tokyo Electric Power Co, were once typical of Japan’s corporate culture that is famous for prizing loyalty to a single company and lifetime employment with it. But the March 2011 tsunami that swamped the coastal Fukushima Daiichi plant, sending three reactors into meltdown, changed that.

India - No 1 in the world for Modern-day Slavery although it's been illegal for almost 40 years- What a DISGRACE! [Video]

It is a form of modern day slavery otherwise known as forced labour. Millions of men, women and children are made to work against their will for little or no pay.

The UN's International Labour Organisation says there are 21 million people worldwide in forced labour.

Nearly half of them are in India even though the practice has been illegal for almost 40 years.

It is estimated more than four million of them are children.

The BBC's Humphrey Hawksley reports from the village of Pipalguda in the Indian state of Orissa.

China 'admits' trading in tiger skins

A young male Sumatran tiger in the US (2014)

China has for the first time admitted in public that it permits trade in skins from captive tigers, according to participants and officials at a meeting of an international convention to protect endangered species.

They said the Chinese authorities had never before reported this to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites).

However, during the convention's standing committee meeting in Geneva, China reportedly said that it still banned tiger bones.

"A Chinese delegate said, 'we don't ban trade in tiger skins but we do ban trade in tiger bones,'" a participant in the meeting said.

Cites secretariat sources confirmed that a member of the Chinese delegation had said this.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told the BBC Chinese Service he could not verify the reported admission, but he said that China will "investigate and combat" any illegal trade in tiger skins.

Between 5,000 and 6,000 tigers are believed to be in captivity in China. Wildlife conservation organisations have long demanded an end to the trade in skins.

Saudi Arabia prove they're just as bad as China towards human rights...
This photograph shows Yemeni prisoners in ‪‎Saudi‬ ‪‎Arabia‬, tortured and abused, where is the ‪‎UN‬ or ‪‎Human‬ ‪‎Rights?

Activist Waleed Abulkair sentenced to 15 years in prison : The well-known lawyer has been battling in the defense of human rights and political reforms of the Saudi dictatorship. He is president of the "Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia." 

Jeddah (AsiaNews) - Waleed Abulkhair, a lawyer involved in the defense of human rights in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. 

Related Link: Shame on China: Protestant pastor gets 12 years for opposing the seizure of church land

The activist, whom Amnesty International describes as a "prisoner of conscience", was arrested last April 14. The condemned man has challenged the verdict.  The sentence also includes a ban on foreign travel for 15 years and a fine of 200 thousand rials (about 54 thousand U.S. dollars). 

The charges, all related to his battles in defense of human rights in Saudi Arabia, range from seeking to undermine "the legitimacy of the State"; "inciting public opinion and insulting the diminution of the judiciary"; "producing documents and declarations that harm the reputation of the Kingdom [Saudi]"; setting up "an unauthorized association, of which he is president and spokesman."  This last charge refers to the "Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia," which has a profile on Facebook with thousands of members.  The association aims to document and criticize human rights violations, especially in the field of justice.  Abulkhair is known for his reformist positions for the Saudi kingdom which is ruled like a tribal dictatorship. In recent years he campaigned for political reform. Political parties are banned in the Kingdom.

2 Faces Of China - Chinese Hackers penetrated U.S. government networks- While John Kerry visits for talks...

Cross Posted from:

As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visits Beijing for bilateral talks, Chinese hackers penetrated the computer networks of a U.S. government agency in March, gaining access to databases that store the personal information of all federal employees, in one of the only security breaches of government servers in the past year, senior Washington officials disclosed to the New York Times.

It is unclear how far the hackers delved into some of the databases of the Office of Personnel — which stores applications for security clearances that list personal information such as financial data, former jobs, past drug use and foreign contacts of tens of thousands of employees — before the threat was discovered and thwarted by federal authorities, officials said. It is also not known if the hackers were connected to the Beijing government.

India ups the ante in the stakes of being the worst Asian country towards Womens rights; Arrests over 'revenge rape'

Women protesting the rape and murder of two teenage girls are sprayed
with water cannons by police in Lucknow

Your Play Pakistan! 

A teenage girl in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand has been raped in apparent revenge for an alleged assault on another woman, police say.
Three people were arrested, including a village head who is accused of approving the alleged crime.

The 14-year-old girl was allegedly raped this week after her brother was accused of assaulting a woman.
Violence against women remains deeply entrenched while calls to address the problem have grown in recent years. Scrutiny of sexual violence in India has grown since the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus.

Burma, (Myanmar) - Journalists who exposed Sino-Burmese Chinese Assisted chemical weapons plant get 10 years of hard labour...

For defence lawyers, the ruling by a court in Magway Division, central Myanmar, is disproportionate. They plan an appeal. Former dictator Than Shwe was behind the Sino-Myanmese joint venture. 

Ruling outrages human rights activists, who slam it as a backward step in terms of civil liberties.

Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) - A court in central Myanmar has sentenced five people - four journalists of the Unity Journal, plus the weekly's owner - to ten years of hard labour for compromising national security after they published articles about an alleged chemical weapons plant built thanks to Chinese assistance.

North Korea Life Conditions are so bad even the wildlife are making abreak for it


A desperate tiger was recently caught on camera making the treacherous swim across the Yalu River from North Korea towards China.

Odd Japanese Products Over The Years....


Shame on China: Protestant pastor gets 12 years for opposing the seizure of church land

Shaojie Zhang was arrested along with 20 other members of the official Christian church in Nanle in November 2013. Nothing had been known about his whereabouts until his trial. Officially, the court convicted him for "fraud" and "gathering crowds". His lawyer slams the "fabricated charges".

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The Nanle People's District Court, in Henan province, sentenced an official Protestant pastor to 12 years in prison on charges of "fraud" and "gathering crowds."