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Students inNanjing city, in east China’s Jiangsu province, will soon experience a fashionable way of study. They can leave heavy school bags at home, and take iPads into the classroom instead, as necessities such as books and papers will be replaced by the high-tech gadget.

On March 24, teachers at Jinling High School told senior high students who plan to study in the United States that all newly admitted senior three students will be required to use iPads in class once the new term begins in September. The policy, which has been discussed extensively online since the announcement, will possibly be extended to all the school’s students.

Xin Qihua, vice director of the international department of Jinling High School, said using iPads can set students free from the burden of school bags and it can also improve interaction between them and teachers, who can raise questions through the devices and review all answers from the students immediately.

Xin added that iPads can also give students access to many new foreign educational resources, which will contribute to their preparation for the SAT, TOFEL and AP exams, and it can help them spend up to 90 percent less on teaching materials.

The measure was hailed by many young people. Micro-blogger “secret cannot be told” posted on popular micro-blogging site Sina Weibo, “I am so jealous. I have an iPad too, but I am not even allowed to take it to the classroom.”

However, many people expressed doubt in the efficacy of the reform and some worried that it may have side effects on the students.

“Buzhiyubu” wrote, “Although it is worth trying, children who lack self-discipline may waste time in playing games.”

Meng Qun, a teacher involved in the program, said, “The teacher has technical control over all the iPads, and students will be prevented from installing any games.”

In an attempt to lighten the load on students in China’s primary and high schools, several local governments have recently been trying to expand the use of “electronic school bags,” a term which refers to mobile devices such as tablets and laptops.

However, Yin Fei, professor with Nanjing Normal University, said, “It is a fallacy to reduce students’ burdens by introducing electronic devices.The excessive burden on students’ shoulders is not from the weight of school bags, but the flawed educational system itself.”

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Senior police officers in Shanghai are taking English-language training courses to help them better deal with increasing numbers of foreign nationals in the city.

About 100 top-level officers from the city’s public security bureau and district bureau chiefs began their nine-month courses at the weekend.

“More and more foreigners are coming to work and live here, and this presents greater challenges for the city’s police,” said Guo Yonghua, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau.

“The city’s public security departments have been looking to develop high-quality police officers to deal with the demands of foreign affairs.”

English-language training company (ESL jobs here)Wall Street English have developed a range of tailor-made courses, including “senior police officer English ability training”, “Shanghai police officer online English learning and social practice”, and “oral English corner”.

The courses focus on improving English listening and speaking skills, with native speakers providing one-on-one training. Trainees will do the courses in their spare time.

Chen Changjun, deputy director of the command center of the public security bureau, was one of 30 officers who took English training courses in 2009.

“I already had some foundation in English when I was in school, but I used it little after I graduated. This training gave me a chance to improve and helped me to better deal with daily work,” Chen said at the launch of the training program on Friday.

“As Shanghai attracts more people from overseas, so the city has to intensify its efforts to fight an increasing number of international crimes. There is a greater need for language skills,” Chen said.

To the surprise of many, three-year-old Xuanxuan chose a book rather than an iPad when she was offered the two.

It’s admirable as many parents see it. They are upset by their babies’ obsession with iPad and TV.

Xuanxuan’s mother, Lu Xiaoling, fromNanjing, shared her experience online of turning her iPad baby to a book kind of girl.

She said she has bought her daughter more than 600 books at home.

“Unlike other children, Xuanxuan loves to read from the bottom of her heart and she asks me to read books for her every day,” said Lu. “The number of books may be huge for a child but most of the 600 books are what she likes and no one of them is forced by us adults for her to read.”

She also told the reporter that many of her friends’ children are iPad fans. When the adults meet, the children always “forget to eat or sleep” but playing with iPads all the time. She said it’s a result of parents’ guidance. As she thought TV is not good for the eyesight of children, her family would not watch TV at home after her daughter was born and iPad is also a no for her daughter.

All kinds of colorful picture books opened a new world for Xuanxuan. Her love for books has led Xuanxuan to quickly adapt to the life in kindergarten – she never cried. A kindergarten teacher appraised her as “giving, communicable and with her own thoughts”.

Xuanxuan’s story has won many yes’s from parents who are “enlightened” and say will make great efforts in fostering the reading habit for their children by reading books to them from then on.


China’s State Council has approved a draft regulation on school bus safety management.

The draft regulation asks local governments to ensure that students attend nearby schools or boarding schools to reduce traffic risks. For rural areas that cannot ensure nearby schooling or convenient public transport to schools, measures should be taken to ensure students’ access to school buses.

The regulation specifies stricter requirements for the technical conditions of school buses and bus drivers’ qualifications. It also imposes limitations on school buses’ maximum speed and load.

Traffic priority is granted to school buses by the regulation, which also clarifies security staff should accompany students in school buses. The regulation will come into effect after further amendment by the State Council.

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After a city-wide effort to scrub too-literal English translations from street signs ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing authorities are launching yet another linguistic rectification campaign – this time, targeting restaurant menus. CCTV’s Xie SiSi reports.

This may all look so yummy, but the menu might be a shock!

CCTV’s Xie Sisi said, “This Chinese menu was lost in translation. Don’t worry, meatballs don’t smile, ordering Chinese food can be so easy now with this book, so follow me.”

This Book – “Enjoy Culinary Delights: A Chinese Menu in English” was recently published to put an end to the often-too literal English translations seen on Chinese menus. It contains recommended translations for more than 2,000(2,158) ofChina’s most popular dishes.

China’s dish names are infused with its culinary culture, and expressing them in English is not always so easy.

Xie said, “Take this iconicSichuandish – Kung pao chicken for example. ‘Kung pao’ was an official title during the Qing Dynasty, and the inventor of the dish – Ding Baozhen possessed the title, so his title was used to name the dish.”

Foreign visitors inBeijingare welcoming the book.

The municipal government has tried to regulate English menus since 2006 and promoted the translations in more than 1,300 restaurants during the 2008 Olympic games.

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Some college students, a few of whom are even not English majors, battled it out in a competition on Sunday. The competition held jointly by the Communication University of China and China Radio International tested the student’s ability to host an event in English. Now, let’s see how they did.

What does it take to be a good English-speaking host? These college students are confident they have the answer.

These students are contestants of the first English Hosting Competition held at CUC, or the Communication University of China, the cradle of the English speaking anchors and reporters. Some of the graduates are now active hosts and journalists working for CCTV’sEnglish channel,ChinaRadio International and Xinhua News Agency.

 The contestants are asked to watch a piece of video on news delivered in Chinese, after a minutes of preparation, they must give a thirty-second English summary on stage.

 Edwin Maher, the well known foreign anchor for CCTV’s English news channel was on the judge’s panel and gave high praise to the contestants.

 Quick thinking and speaking just like a native speaker is a must for a English hosting, but some may wonder how the contestants get such an fluency in a foreign language?

 Some one hundred students from 60 colleges across the country attended the competition, with twenty making it into the final round.

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Chicken feet, pig knuckles or cow tripe are hardly items that set the cash registers ringing at the export turnstiles. But in the global food markets, it is these leftover animal parts that are shaping the market trends as strong demand fromChinais providing the much-needed prop to meat and grain farmers.

Despite its humble nature, imports of pig offal – including pig’s head and knuckles, often served as a cold, fun snack with beer – stood at 882,200 tons in 2011 and accounted for more than 65 percent of the total pig products imported inChina.

Along with its robust economic growth and dietary enrichment, demand for meat has also been growing steadily inChina. The nation is one of the world’s largest consumers of pork, and its huge demand had a cascading effect on animal feed prices last year, particularly that of corn and soybean.

In 2011,Chinaimported agricultural products worth nearly $95 billion, compared with just $12 billion in 2001. The 2011 figures also represented 30 percent year-on-year growth, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

Along with the rising trade volumes, there has also been a growing trade deficit in the agricultural sector. In 2011, the trade deficit rose 47.4 percent to $34 billion, whereas in 2004,Chinawas still a net agricultural exporter.

“Chinawill become the world’s largest agricultural product importer within the next five to 10 years,” said Cheng Guoqiang, a senior researcher with the Development Research Center of the State Council.

Chinais already the world’s largest importer of soybeans and cotton, and has been the largest agricultural export market for theUSsince 2010, with a total value tripling over the past six years to $17.8 billion. High onChina’s list of imports from theUSare corn, soybeans, cotton and processed animal feed.

But countries with vast arable land for expansion, such asBrazilandArgentina, are also racing to meet demand fromChina.

Chinaimported 19.8 million tons of soybeans fromBrazillast year, accounting for 38 percent of the total imports of 52 million tons from all sources. This helpedBrazilsurpass theUSas the biggest soybean exporter toChina.

Cheng said that rising incomes and the growing number of middle class people inChinaare contributing to a growing demand for food imports. “More than 1 million people every year move into the middle class segment inChina. The higher disposable income will help them to buy more meat, oil and milk. So it is natural that food imports will continue to grow,” he said.

Another reasonChina needs to import more agricultural goods is that the increased output of meat and grains will lead to a decrease in the amount of arable land, water supplies and other natural resources. Grain imports are often seen as a better approach for the wiser use of environmental resources.

“I don’t think self-sufficiency is something that holds in good stead nowadays, as the world is more developed and countries more specialized in what they can produce with good value for the global society,” said Marcos Neves, professor of strategic planning and food chains at the School of Economicsand Business,UniversityofSao Pauloin Brazil.

“Development inChinarequires a tightrope walk between green causes and the need to secure food supplies for the growing masses,” Neves said. “TakeBrazil, for instance. It is already the largest food exporter, and has at least 100 million hectares that can be used for agriculture and biofuel production, in a sustainable manner, being able to supply the needs ofChinain a safe and reliable way.”

Li Guoxiang, a senior researcher on rural development at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, expects a golden window of five to 10 years for food imports, considering that the nation has some $3 trillion in foreign exchange reserves and a strong purchasing ability for imports, coupled with healthy trade balances.

But of late, there has been considerable speculation in the international trade community that China’s inability to feed itself may have long-term consequences on the global food system. Some experts have even predicted that increased imports may lead to global food shortage and hunger.

Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu had earlier remarked that China’s grain imports are primarily to enrich crop varieties in the domestic market, and he stressed that the nation “will not and cannot” rely on imports to feed its 1.3 billion population.

Chinafeeds more than 20 percent of the world’s population despite having less than 10 percent of the world’s agricultural land and less than 6 percent of the water resources. The government has reiterated that it intends to meet about 95 percent of its food requirements from domestic sources.

Li saidChinaaccounts for a very small share of the global grain imports, and hence hardly in a position to shape global grain market trends, and least of all hunger in some less developed countries.

“It is actually a win-win situation rather than some evidence of a faltering agricultural sector,” he said.

“On the one hand, increasing agricultural imports will help China ease pressure on natural resources and increase the country’s grain security,” Li said. “But at the same time, the growing demand for farm food consumption also creates opportunities for international food manufacturers, as the unit prices increase in tandem with consumption patterns.”

Hogging the limelight

Pork imports have already hit the nadir and there seems to be no letup in demand, considering that domestic supplies are likely to remain constrained for some time.

“The gap between supply and demand is bound to increase within the next few years, despite an expected recovery from diseases and the reduction of small-scale pork farmers,” said Wang Xiaoyue, a senior analyst at Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant Ltd.

“China’s pork imports will continue to rise due to strong demand and competitive pricing on imports,” he said.

The sharp decline in pork production last year led to record imports.China’s imports of pork and pork offal reached 1.35 million tons, up 50 percent over 2010, with theUSbeing the largest exporter, accounting for more than half of the total volume, according to the General Administration of Customs.

At the same time,Chinahas also become a top lure for meat exporters as demand has been climbing steadily. Most of the major pork exporting nations from Europe, North and South America are knocking onChina’s doors.

China’s imports of pork and pork offal reached their peak in 2008 with a volume of 910,000 tons. In 2010, the country imported 900,000 tons of pork, withDenmarkbeing the major supplier, followed by theUnited States,CanadaandFrance.

“As a country develops economically, the first quality of life aspect that improves at the household level is the carbohydrate to protein ratio on the daily diet. Greater economic prosperity among consumers on the mainland has directly translated into higher shares of animal protein such as pork,” said Jorge Sanchez, director of agricultural trade office at theUSconsulate inGuangzhou.

“An increase in pork consumption creates opportunities for US pork farmers, because the unit price increases are fueled by consumer demand.”

Ma Chuang, deputy secretary-general of the China Animal Agriculture Association, said that the country’s surging demand for pork and pork offal implies an optimal export scenario because Chinese consumers tend to place higher value on pork offal, which is not eaten in Western countries. As a result, overseas farmers can profit considerably from pork offal exports.

Pork imports stood at 467,000 tons last year, and pork offal stood at 882,200 tons. Pork offal such as pig’s heads, knuckles and haslet (a form of meatloaf), accounted for 65 percent of the total volume.

Not just tofu

Soybean imports byChinaare expected to maintain an uptrend in the next 10 to 15 years with growth being driven primarily by the demand from urban residents.

“Soybean imports are expected to grow substantially in the long term propelled by growing demand for oil and livestock feed,” said Ma Wenfeng, a senior analyst at Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant, a major agricultural consultancy.

According to a US Department of Agriculture forecast,China’s imports of soybean are expected to go up by 62 percent to 90 million tons over the next 10 years.

“Soymeal, produced inChinalargely from imported soybeans, is an integral protein component of the feed necessary to supportChina’s burgeoning pork, poultry and aquaculture industries,” said the US Department of Agriculture in its first forecast 2012-13.

“Their rapidly maturing animal husbandry and feed industries, including aquaculture, expansion in crushing capacity and growing consumption of vegetable oils, are all driving demand which cannot be met by domestic supplies.”

In recent years, each person inChinahas been consuming 5 percent more meat, 10 percent more milk, and 8 percent more cooking oil annually compared with five years ago, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Chinais the largest importer of US soybeans, and buys a quarter of the country’s soybean production. In February, when Vice-President Xi Jinping made a visit to theUS, a Chinese trade delegation signed a deal to buyUSsoybeans with a total value of $4.31 billion and volume of 8.62 million tons.

The nation became a dominant force in the international soy markets in the late 1990s and is now the world’s largest importer and consumer, taking in 55 million tons in 2010, more than 50 percent of the annual global trade. Total soybean consumption has risen 64 percent since 2005, but the self-sufficiency rate stands at about 20 percent, according to Customs.

Ma said it is more efficient forChina to import soybeans than to produce them, as soybean production needs more land and water supplies.

“China will be more susceptible to price fluctuations in the international food market with more soybean imports,” he said. “But during unfavorable weather conditions, the soybean imports will keep the country insulated from international speculation and food-price fluctuations in the global market.”

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China’s Liu Xiang began his new season and Olympic year by beating arch-rival Dayron Robles of Cuba to win the men’s 60-meter hurdles final at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix on Saturday.

 Liu, the Athens Olympic champion ran a new personal best time of 7.41 seconds improving on his previous fastest time by 0.01 seconds.

 Robles claimed the silver in 7.50 and Dexter Faulk of the US took the bronze in 7.54 seconds. The 28-year-old Chinese now holds an 8 to 5 advantage over Robles in head-to-head meetings. The victory is not only a good start for his new season but also bodes well for his outdoor season which this year includes the London Olympics.

Liu’s coach Sun Hai-pin says if Liu could run under7.50 inthe indoor event then the former world-record holder is capable of running sub-13 seconds in the 110 meter event.

Saturday’s victory raises optimism that Liu is in a good position to lower his personal best time of 12.88 seconds and to claim the gold at this year’s Olympics.

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With the approaching of the Spring Festival in the year of the dragon, various countries including the United States, France, Japan, South Korea, Vietnamand the Philippineshave successively issued stamps of the dragon.

As a component of Chinese traditional culture, the twelve Chinese horoscope animals reflect the culture of animal totems in ancient times. In1950, Japan first issued Chinese zodiac stamp in the year of the tiger. After that, East Asian countries with relatively deep influences of Chinese traditional culture become major foreign countries that issue stamps of Chinese zodiac.

In 1993, Chinese zodiac stamps were issued to commemorate overseas Chinese’s contribution to the local society. Afterward, countries around the world began to vie to issue such stamps, which reflects the distribution capacity of Chinese culture and the influence of China’s rapid development.

This year the “dragon stamps” inAustralia,United States, andFrance were designed by Chinese artists and the designs of overseas Chinese could reflect the spirits of Chinese traditional culture and combine Chinese culture with the culture of the issuing country at the same time.

For example, the American “dragon stamp” is in vividly high spirits, which not only employs elements of Chinese culture, but also underlines the confidence and contemporary feelings of American culture.

The Asian countries that have been under the influence of Chinese culture mainly adopt designs of domestic designers, for example, the Japanese “dragon stamp” this year is mainly designed with elements of local toys, which carries a dense feature of Japan.

As one of the name cards for cultural exchange, stamp is a window and epitome of the culture in a country or region. The unique stamps with Chinese zodiac are the “micro-edition” of a country’s understanding of Chinese culture.

Nowadays, China has increasingly deep cultural exchanges and integration with the issuing country, the application of both countries’ symbols of element is more precise and appropriate, and the understanding and explanation of Chinese elements are gradually closer to the original meaning in Chinese culture.
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I saw it coming out of the corner of my eye. Maybe it was the fake Uggs or the velour sweat pants that had “YUMMY” embroidered across the backside.

She was out of place in the small gathering, which was enough to get her the “look” – the human equivalent of an MRI scan, only instead of calculating your current state of health, the purpose is to rate you on the social food chain.

I knew that look well.

Whenever I pop in a Cartier or Louis Vuitton to ask for directions, the shop girls fix their steely gaze on me.

I felt sorry for the Uggs girl. As she approached the group, they pulled in their wagon trains together and closed in ranks.

Mean Girls, we like to believe, are an unpleasant vestige of our youth, that we’ve left behind those days of being socially streamed into either the popular cliques or the after-school clubs of outcasts. But insecurity and status tend to shadow us into adulthood.

Most of us at one time or another have, upon meeting new acquaintances, received the 30-second verdict.

To be fair, we ourselves crank up the scanner, too.

For men, this is the time when bragging rights over their stock market portfolio, property listings, Phuket vacation home and name card details trumps any thinning hairline, rice barrel belly and leather-like man purses.

But women, even commanding women, are made to walk the plank of style over substance.

Hillary Clinton, arguably one of the most powerful women in the world, has to withstand as much criticism over her efforts as the US Secretary of State as in her choice of clothing.

A peaceful end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be appreciated so much more if only she negotiated the pact in a slimming Chanel creation rather than the department store pants suits she favors.

Ironically, Mean Girls who are largely insecure themselves, prey on the cultural messages that heighten our own insecurities.

The modus operandi is to form a power base of selected insiders and grow stronger through excluding others. A poor grasp of manners works to their advantage with unreturned and ignored invitations substituting for outright rejection.

However, with age comes maturity. Or does it? Do we really care if we’re seen as winners or losers? Honestly, many of us do.

We place a value on ourselves according to what we accomplish against the shifting winds of society. We place that same judgment on others in line with their achievements and possessions. And it all becomes an ocean of subjectivity.

Accessing one another by our accomplishments, looks and background, though, is a game for suckers.

It was Ecclesiastes who, viewing mankind’s drive, wrote: “But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless – like chasing the wind.”

He observed tangible items are useless once we die. Our deeds are quickly forgotten by the living. And the wealth we build up is passed to others, whom we have no control over.

It’s comforting to know that the real measure of a man or woman can be made by the positive impact they had on others.

The sibling who always had your back on the schoolyard. The friend who patiently listened to your woes. The chatty neighbor who solicited donations for the homeless shelter. Your boss who acted as your sounding board long after you left the company. Your spouse who forgave you too many times to count.

Our true value is not subject to the prescribed thoughts and conditions of others.

Our true value is the legacy we leave in life and in death.

It cost me a double ice mocha, but the Uggs girl and I ditched the group later and went for coffee.

But I’m no saint. I really wanted to know where to get those velour pants

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