Japan Today

Skeptical comments

Posted in: Aso retracts remarks against Kamikawa See in context

Anyone have a background of Taro Aso's former utterances, to help us judge whether this is genuine? Or is this a shuffle-time tap-dance from an experienced politician, who knows how to get out of tight jams?

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Posted in: Senators reach deal on U.S. border policy bill See in context

Deal? Well, cool! Let's see what they came up with! Oh, wait . . . the text is to be released sometime on Sunday? But . . . but . . . didn't they plan to take a first key test vote as early as sometime Monday? 24 hours (or less) to read a budget-related bill? Mercy!

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Posted in: Fixing food systems could produce trillions in annual benefits: report See in context

Researchers estimated total underappreciated costs from food systems of up to $15 trillion a year. That includes around $11 trillion each year from the loss in productivity caused by food-linked illnesses like diabetes, hypertension and cancer.

We interrupt this article, for a footnote about "underappreciated costs."

What is it?

Ignoring the invitation to consider loss of productivity due to food-linked illness, for just a moment, it most often means, within a discussion of food systems, in a consumer context, to be when a household / individual generates food waste; when food containers contain more food than that household / individual consumes in one meal (no, friends, no left-overs considered in the equation); food consumed too quickly (more calories than needed and desired; plus malabsorption syndrome, plus fast eaters are prone towards developing metabolic syndrome and other risk factors); and food is not satiating (not feeling satisfied with what you eat.

Whew.

Computer models have been designed to be able to dissect all of this, on a country, region, and global scale, too. I've sat through a presentation over this, not too long ago, but I'll be the first to admit the algorithms and assumptions built in didn't make much sense to me. But some of the cost numbers they were projecting by 2050 were well into the multiple hundreds of trillions of dollars. So that's when I ducked out for a nice cup of really hot tea and a little fresh air. So by the time I came back, the panel was through (ironic that the sponsors had put out small packages of a popular-brand chocolate cookies (with stuff in the middle) next to the basket of fresh fruit . . . but what can you do?

Okay . . . back to the hidden costs behind my food / your food / everyone's food.

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Posted in: Major automakers may be using Chinese aluminum produced with Uyghur forced labor, rights group says See in context

The report summary is located at: https://www.hrw.org/report/2024/02/01/asleep-wheel/car-companies-complicity-forced-labor-china. While the full report is at:

https://www.hrw.org/news/2024/02/01/china-carmakers-implicated-uyghur-forced-labor.

Perhaps a new rule. Requiring that manufacturers who use forced labor must disclose such to any potential consumer. Maybe require dealers to have on a continuous video loop on the floor-room a video over what these poor, miserable people have already been put through by The Party.

Then if people want cars with blood on metal, that will be a willing choice, and not sheer ignorance.

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Posted in: Northern Ireland to restore government after UK parliament approves deal See in context

The Irish Sea Border? Settled at last? Or just kicked down the road, to be dealt with later on?

Today the House of Lords heard from the DUP peer, Lord Dodds of Duncairn, who told the assembly that there are still important constitutional and economic issues that many unionists are worried about.

Particularly since, under the plan so far, the new agreed upon “green lane” would be mainly for retail goods, while “many goods coming from Great Britain, British goods coming to Northern Ireland, especially in manufacturing, still need to go through full EU compliance checks, procedures.”

He further pointed out lingering concerns over sovereignty, since there continues under the agreement an “application of EU laws over large swathes of our economy in 300 areas, to which the Stormont brake doesn’t apply and we cannot make or amend laws within those areas.”

Much remains to be seen.

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Posted in: Why are so many robots white? See in context

Count me as one supporting the notion of keeping robots – all robots - identifiably robotic with a metalic shine, rather than coated in some humanesque- skin-like material. For me it comes down to ease of quick identification, combined with societal clarity and acknowledgment early on, about who is a sentient being with feelings and rights, and what is a machine that can be turned off, without fear of being hauled into some kind of a International Court of Machinery Rights.

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Posted in: People in the world’s ‘blue zones’ live longer – their diet could hold the key to why See in context

Add to my earlier comment: The authors stressed the importance of additional studies - randomized controlled trials - to confirm the effects and determine the optimal quantity of olive oil to consume in order to reap these benefits. But insists that theirs adds to the body of evidence supporting the benefits of olive oil in the diet.

Plus it tastes great.

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Posted in: People in the world’s ‘blue zones’ live longer – their diet could hold the key to why See in context

Aly Rustom

We cook with a lot of Olive Oil

Excellent choice!

Work coming out of Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health shows that people who consumed more than half a tablespoon of olive oil per day had a 28% lower risk of dying from dementia compared with those who never or rarely consumed olive oil.

And that replacing just one teaspoon of margarine and mayonnaise with the equivalent amount of olive oil per day was associated with an 8-14% lower risk of dying from dementia.

While their work did suggest that people using olive oil generally had healthier diets overall, the authors noted that the relationship between olive oil and dementia mortality was independent of overall diet quality.

Plus it tastes great. Score!

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Posted in: To curb high rates of heart disease and stroke, experts urge prevention and innovation See in context

"We know so much about what works to improve outcomes for patients, but there are still major gaps in translating that into daily practice," said Martin, also a professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "There is a strong need to innovate in our implementation so that we can close those gaps."

I am very glad to see the 2024 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics from the AHA.

Here is a link:

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIR.0000000000001209?utm_campaign=sciencenews23-24&utm_source=science-news&utm_medium=phd-link&utm_content=phd-01-24-24 .

Glad to see it for several reasons.

First, it helps to reinforce what many of us have been strongly urging anyone who will listen, for some time now: to encourage patients – and the public, in general – to take charge of much of their healthcare.

Messaging is very important, and this AHA release helps to advance that narrative. Patients should be encouraged to see that preventative measures do not demand an all-or-nothing approach from them. Simply put, someone can take a good look at their present diet, and make a few small changes, and see noticeable cardiovascular benefits. Someone does not have to follow a strict vegan or vegetarian diet to see tangible benefits . . . but obviously the more reasonable measures over intake that one makes, the greater the heart disease risk protection is seen. Same with exercise.

Why is the AHA release important?

A study released this month shows why. This new study showed a significant uptick in the cardiovascular disease (CVD) death rates, that began back in 2020, has continued. Death rates from cardiovascular disease rose by 9.3% from 2020 through 2022 (in contrast to a decline of 8.9% from 2010 to 2019). And there were more than 228,000 more CVD deaths from 2020-2022 than was expected had the pre-2020 trends continued. The reversal was evident across most ages, both sexes, and several race and ethnicity groups. The pandemic was cited as the primary reason healthcare was uniformly disrupted, resulting in delays in detecting and treating chronic or acute heart disease, but also disrupted many aspects of daily life that made it harder for people to do the right things to prevent heart disease: managing blood pressure, eating well, being physically active, quitting tobacco, getting healthy sleep, managing weight, controlling cholesterol, and managing blood sugar. (CDC and the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine).

The other reason why I’m glad to see this? And for patients to work more towards their healthcare?

Because many things in health delivery are not getting better. They are actually getting worse. There are pressures being seen right now - and are projected in the near to mid future - that will have impact for years to come. And the more preventative measure one can reasonably take, the better off everyone is going to be.

I went back through my reading queue for January (who has time to read anymore?). Here are some of the things that were seated inside that were waiting for me:

First. Older adults are putting off or not having surgery, based not only over fears of pain and recovery, but also major fears about how much they’ll have to pay out of their own pockets, how much work they’ll have to miss, and whether they’ll have an infection from the hospital or surgery center. (University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation).

Second. Burnout and depression, including emotional exhaustion, negative feelings or mental distance from one’s job, and a low sense of accomplishment at work, is being seen at an all-time high among primary care clinicians, since the pandemic. Causes cited are many and involve excessive of paperwork / EHR entry, dramatic increases in patient volumes, all-levels staffing shortages, and unreasonable expectations over followup that progresses into after-clinic hours. (George Mason’s College of Public Health).

Third. A nationwide study of first responders found that: Nearly 40% of respondents reported using substances to relieve emotional discomfort; About 22% of respondents reported using more substances than they meant to use, 21 % reported that they could not cut down on substance use; and over 7% reported neglecting responsibilities because of substance use. (Florida Atlantic University).

Fourth. A study of adults aged 65 years and older found that, on average, older adults spent three weeks of each year getting health care outside their home. A full 11% of older adults spent 50 or more days each year receiving health care services. (Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School).

Fifth. A large seven-country study over how serious people find seven public health menaces showed that people in most countries ranked respiratory illnesses to be a more serious problem than COVID-19. Six of the seven countries had respondents who ranked waterborne diseases as the least serious health problem. In the seventh country (South Africa) it was ranked next to last. In Africa, people felt that alcoholism and drug use were also more serious than COVID-19. (University of Gothenburg).

Sixth. Non-COVID-19-related deaths among people with diabetes increased during the pandemic, as did the diabetes complications, as well as a rise in cases of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) among children and adolescents. Along with more new cases of Type 1 diabetes than would have been expected, and children newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes were much sicker. One author commented: “One of the interesting things about diabetes is, if you’re blood sugars run higher, there can be immediate impacts but also the impacts might not be seen for five or 10 years down the line.” (University of Massachusetts Amherst).

Seventh. A study of approximately 18 million health care industry employees shows “a substantial and persistent increase in health care workforce turnover after the pandemic, which may have long-lasting implications for workers’ willingness to remain in health care jobs.” (Johns Hopkins / Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore).

And this was just the unreads in January.

There is more, but you get the idea.

Stay healthy. And live and enjoy life.

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Posted in: China sees two 'bowls of poison' in Biden and Trump and ponders who is lesser of two evils See in context

What is left unsaid in the article is the public’s perception over China’s governance. Which, frankly, is bad.

One polling service over the past year reported a record-low 15% of Americans view China favorably, while 45% view it very unfavorably and 39% mostly unfavorably. A viewpoint shared by Republicans, Independents, and Democrats, with all three reporting favorables below the 20 percentile mark. (Gallup).

Care for another one? Another pollster said last year that, across 24 countries surveyed, reporting attitudes toward China’s rule, show a median of two-thirds say they have an unfavorable opinion of the country, while just a median of 28% offer positive ratings. A full half or more in each of the North American and European countries surveyed have somewhat or very unfavorable opinions of China. Including majorities of three-quarters or more in Sweden, the US, Canada, the Netherlands and Germany. Australia and Japan? Both coming in with the highest unfavorable ratings, at 87% each. Of those polled, unfavorable opinion of China are at or near their historic highs. (Pew).

So China’s ruling party has a BIG image problem. And ANY politician savvy enough to realize that will respond accordingly to the domestic electorate, no matter how big a bully China wants to make itself.

The world is on to China, and it is up to the Party to finally realize this, come to grips over it, and change so as people will start to trust it enough to want to do business with it again.

Want to talk bowl full to the rim with poison? China, look in the mirror, for a change, instead of blaming everyone else for your failures and shortcomings.

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Posted in: Aso praises Kamikawa but says she is ‘not very beautiful,’ and calls her ‘Kamimura’ See in context

Who wants to be the first to tell this guy that international diplomacy is not a fashion show runway?

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Posted in: The perfect man See in context

The picture doesn't show how much a PM is selling for at Marui Ueno. But looks like one of these guys is going online for anywhere between 2 and 12 USD. Oh, look! The label shows the PM may contain "Tree Nuts and Their Derivatives." And/or "Peanuts and their derivates." Yikes!

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Posted in: Hong Kong court orders liquidation of China's Evergrande See in context

China's construction and property sector once accounted for around a quarter of its GDP.

But Chinese President Xi Jinping deemed the debt accrued by Evergrande and other property firms an unacceptable risk for China's financial system and overall economic health.

Unacceptable risk?

Lots there already.

There awaiting me in the queue, over my morning cup of coffee, was a NYT column from Paul Krugman. About ten days ago (I'm still catching up on some wire stories and columns). Headlining that China’s economy is in trouble. Unusual, in that I don’t remember him having much bad to say about China before.

But there it is.

Why is China’s economy — which only a few years ago seemed headed for world domination — in trouble?

Part of the answer is bad leadership. President Xi Jinping is starting to look like a poor economic manager, whose propensity for arbitrary interventions, which is something autocrats tend to do, has stifled private initiative.

But China would be in trouble even if Xi were a better leader than he is.

Real estate? He mentioned that too.

What happened in China’s case was that the government was able to mask the problem of inadequate consumer spending for a number of years by promoting a gigantic real estate bubble. In fact, China’s real estate sector became insanely large by international standards.

How low, they must have sunk, to have ole Paul swinging 180 from the past, and starting to take pot shots at China's overall laughable economic forecasts?

Take the youth unemployment rate in China, for example. Not reported for a long time, but finally emerged to show 14.9 percent. Over the last summer it was over 21 percent. First instinct is to think it's getting better? Then you see the metrics, and how carefully they are counting who is / who is not being counted anymore.

Time for more coffee.

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Posted in: Hong Kong court orders liquidation of China's Evergrande See in context

For many foreign investors, this will be a key test over how foreign creditors are treated, in a large-scale liquidation. Past experience (nothing of the sheer size of the Evergrande collapse, mind you), has shown an unfortunate tendency for foreign creditors to lose out. And especially since company executives are still making noise that they intend to carry forward despite the HK ruling. Creditors, after needing to wait months / years for the liquidation to happen, will likely see less than a three percent recovery, and off-shore bond and share holders may see even less. Quite a hit, overall, to investor confidence.

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Posted in: Just as empires rise and fall, Japan has just been usurped as the world’s largest car manufacturer by China, which is poised to be even more dominant than Japan ever was in the global car trade. See in context

Odd that this gentleman didn’t mention Chinese EVs as a reliable fire-starter source.

So, just how easy it is for Chinese EV batteries to turn into dazzling-yet-alarming domestic fireworks?

For more on this, we turn to articles that quote China’s own Fire and Rescue Department of the Ministry Emergency Management. Which reportedly relates how 640 Chinese EVs caught fire in the first quarter of 2022, equaling about seven EV fires per day), a 32% YoY increase.

Categories of fires reported? Catching fire while charging, catching fire while driving, catching fire while parked, or catching fire after a collision.

Further reporting, supposedly by the Beijing Institute of Technology, shows that 38.5 percent of fiery incidents occurred while in a static state, while 27.5 percent of incidents occurred while the EV was charging.

No mention of fatalities. Thankfully!

https://www.wapcar.my/news/in-china-640-evs-caught-fire-in-the-first-quarter-of-2022-up-32-percent-45371

https://www.energytrend.com/news/20221018-30074.html

https://e-vehicleinfo.com/global/chinas-electric-explosions-7-electric-vehicles-catch-fire-each-day/

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Posted in: What are the symptoms of an enlarged prostate and how is it treated? See in context

browny1

Thanks for writing.

Your doctor likely already went into this earlier, but:

Important: Please keep in mind that compounds in saw palmetto have been shown to have some blood-thinning capability, particularly if / when combined with an anticoagulant drug, such as (but not limited to) warfarin and /or NSAIDs, or when consuming any food, herb, or OTC supplement that has a potential for increasing a risk of bleeding. Your pharmacist / chemist can help you with this.

Please take steps to see that your intake of saw palmetto is charted in all of your medical, pharmacy and dental records. Dosage may matter, so let them know how much and how often you are taking this.

Please seek the advice of your doctor if you think you may undergo any type of surgical procedure, so as to decrease the risk of postoperative bleeding. Risks can be mitigated, but doctors need to know very early on.

Best of luck with your health. Take good care of yourself.

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Posted in: Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso withdraw from West Africa regional bloc ECOWAS as tensions deepen See in context

Japan has a role to play in this very tense situation. And it will take considerable diplomatic skill to contribute in a positive way, and not to get drawn into a potential nightmare.

About a week ago, Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs met with the Minister of Economy, Planning and Cooperation of the Republic of Senegal. The purpose was to advance economic cooperation by Japan in the region, particularly with projects aimed at food security. But cooperation is also underway in energy sources as well.

During the meeting Minister Kamikawa reportedly expressed her support for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

And as this article said, ECOWAS is loosing effectiveness and support among citizens, who see it as representing only the interests of the leaders and not of the people. Which is a stated reason of the military leaders of the three member countries who are breaking away. ECOWAS, in turn, is using both carrot and stick on the breakaways, saying that they leave military force as an option if the military leaders do not restore civilian rule. In turn, the military rulers have grown more defiant and unwilling to budge.

So Japanese economic and diplomatic efforts on the ground face considerable hurdles, in a rapidly developing situation.

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Posted in: What are the symptoms of an enlarged prostate and how is it treated? See in context

There's not strong evidence for herbal remedies such as saw palmetto.

True.

But there persists some antidotal testimonial evidence by some patients that Saw Palmetto (SP) does works. For them. But they are often the first ones to admit that it didn't work for their friends and family.

Aside from a placebo effect, there might be a reason that it works for a few.

A study done back in 2021, that was not peer reviewed (link below) reported that "saw palmetto and beta-sitosterol have also been suggested to reduce NFκB activity, indicating that NFκB activation may be involved in driving and/or supporting hyperplastic growth." (FNs omitted). But note that their work was on BPH incidence in the presence of auto-immune (AI) disease. And the meaning behind what the authors theorize follows AI's inflammatory effects on tissue growth and resistance.

Takeaway? SP might cause some inhibitition in some BPH in some AI cases. Most that can be said at this point. Particularly since the authors also said that BPH patients uniformly have one or more of a variety of micro-anatomical features that can contribute in combination to cause this condition. Much more work needs to be done, but if the authors are eventually deemed to be correct, then SP might be someday included in the list of things that could work for some, but not for others.

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.03.11.434972v1.full

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Posted in: Social media trends driving Britain's Japanese literature boom See in context

I guess that I was hooked when I first came across Some Prefer Nettles. And later read Heike's Story. Then moved over to Eight Dog Chronicles. Very different than what I was used to, and quite enjoyable.

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Posted in: Alcohol and drugs rewire your brain by changing how your genes work: How to counteract addiction's effects See in context

If you reading this article, and are inspired to do some research on your own, over how some of this may affect you or a loved one, much of the engineering of how this works in your brain is driven by a brain protein, known as the TAAR1 receptor (actually TAAR1, hTA1).

The pathways, in a nutshell, are what is known to regulate serotonin / dopamine signaling, and how activation is key to dopaminergic neuron activity. It’s been less than 25 years that we have started to understood how these pathways work; particularly how it works within the cell membranes themselves, and how it all works (or is supposed to work), especially over what can bind to TAAR1 and under what circumstances, to alter it’s function.

Much is still unknown, and much more work needs to be done. But this is a very promising area, regarding not only to treat drug abuse, but also sleep dysfunction and the mystery surrounding schizophrenia.

OK, back to the good doctor, wanting to talk to you some more about Dry January.

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Posted in: Dizziness during pregnancy: When is it a concern? See in context

Could be many things. Some deserve a clinician’s prompt attention. And when I saw this article, two questions popped immediately into mind: Adequate hydration. And sleeping on the left side (versus right-side) during pregnancy. These and other possible causes deserve to be raised in conversation between a patient (and her care-givers) with a trusted practitioner. Sooner is usually better than later.

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Posted in: U.S. scientist brews up a storm by offering Britain advice on making tea See in context

So, she just wrote a book (who could have seen that one coming). Published last month by the Royal Society of Chemistry?

Nice. Well, humm . . . it has a disclaimer? That the Society “is not responsible for individual opinions expressed in this work and does not endorse or recommend the products mentioned herein. Other products are also available. Products should be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

I’ve got to go back through some of my old chemistry books, to see if any of them have this kind of inside the first several pages.

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Posted in: Experimental gene therapy allows kids with inherited deafness to hear See in context

Corrected to TaiwanIsNotChina

I have had far too many doctors say "sorry, can't help you" to think we are in some kind of a life expectancy asymptote.

I'm sorry that you have had that happen to you. I've heard it from others, too, so you are not alone.

At least to me, it all seems to work best when practitioners are frank when giving patients their best opinions, incorporating differential diagnosis of the individual based on their experience), and also admits when a dx is not clear, but, here is a range of reasonable options open (and some not available for some reason) for preventing and treating symptoms, while working on determining a / some definitive causes, while not making anything worse in the meantime.

Experience matters for a true professional to know that patients need and deserve comprehensive information and honesty in order to make informed decisions over their care.

I wish you good health, friend.

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Posted in: Experimental gene therapy allows kids with inherited deafness to hear See in context

TaiwanIsNotChina

I have had far too many doctors say "sorry, can't help you" to think we are in some kind of a life expectancy asymptote.

I'm sorry that you have had that happen to you. I've heard it from others, too, so you are not alone.

At least to me, it all seems to work best when practitioners are frank when giving patients their best opinions, incrorporating differential diagnosis of the individual based on their experience), and also admits when it a dx is not clear, but here is a range of reasonable options open (and not available for some reason) for preventing and treating symptoms, while working on determining a / some definitive causes, while not making anything worse in the meantime.

Experience matters for a true professional to know that patients need and deserve comprehensive information and honesty in order to make informed decisions over their care.

I wish you good health, friend.

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Posted in: Japan business leaders return to China seeking to bolster cooperation See in context

From RFA and UCA news, we learned two weeks ago that China is engaging in a fresh crackdown against ethnic Tibetans.

This time its their children.

And fresh alarm being sounded over door-to-door inspections by authorities to ensure children are not receiving private informal Tibetan language classes, not receiving any religious instruction, and not participating in any religious activities during their winter break.

Why would any international company of any quality reputation what a piece of any of this?

Source: https://www.ucanews.com/news/china-bars-tibetan-kids-from-private-classes-religious-activities/103791.

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Posted in: Japan business leaders return to China seeking to bolster cooperation See in context

Typo on my earlier 8:48 JST post. It should read:

For those business leaders who have never had to worry about doing business on the Mainland, let’s fill them in, to know some of what they can expect from “China's law enforcement and judicial activities.

Thank you.

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Posted in: Japan business leaders return to China seeking to bolster cooperation See in context

"All of China's law enforcement and judicial activities are carried out based on facts and the law," said the Chinese spokesperson.

For those business leaders who have never had to worry about doing business on the Mainland, let’s fill them know some of what they can expect from “China's law enforcement and judicial activities.

Hare are some of what has already tripped others up: Expressing Radical or Improper Comments on a Public Matter ,Violating Organizational Principles Against The Wind, Resisting Organizational Censorship, Engaging in Superstitious Activities, Violating the Spirit of the Eight Central Regulations, Failing to Uphold a Bottom Line of Honesty, Engaging in Power and Sex Transactions, Engaging in Greed for Pleasure, Corrupting in One's Lifestyle, and Corrupt in One's Work Style, and Making Aggressive or Inappropriate’ Comments.

And our long-time favorite: “Picking Quarrels and Provoking Troubles.”

Also be careful being seen in the same room as any document, data, material or item that could be deemed “relevant to Chinese national security.” So if someone casually hands you something, and asks you to 'take a look at this and see what you think' . . . think twice. Maybe even three times.

And international businesses already know all of this. And some of the above have already landed companies - and it's personnel - in very hot water in China.

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Posted in: Lavrov accuses U.S., S Korea and Japan of preparing for war with N Korea See in context

We can expect to hear much more from Fat Boy for the rest of the year, as he tries to distracts his hungry people from what will happen to them for the rest of the year.

Which sounds pretty grim.

Yesterday, His Great Rotundness told the 19th Enlarged Meeting of the ruling party that they must find ways to get food and other staples to the starving masses, since it is now a "serious political issue." Plus he needs everyone there to "close the gaps" between the hungry urban areas and the starving rural areas.

Fatboy was blunt: "The overall regional economy is in a terrible situation without elementary conditions and there are severe imbalances and huge gaps between regions in terms of their geographical circumstances, economic potential and living circumstances."

His gurgling continued: "We should not sit by and wait till the situation and conditions turn favourable but find more jobs to be faithful to our duty for the sake of the people."

Meaning? We await even MORE threats from the Ultimate Poster Boy for Gluttony with large scale military attack . . . unless . . . well, perhaps . . . the world gets him out of the mess he and his family created for themselves and their long-suffering people. Aka, Fat Boy wants money and food as a price for peace . . . this month. [Thanks Reuters].

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Posted in: Lavrov accuses U.S., S Korea and Japan of preparing for war with N Korea See in context

Lavrov said the objective of the military bloc is clearly stated: “They’re preparing for war with the DPRK

The biggest 'well, duh!' statement of the week (so far, at least). The Lavrovtory outdid himself this time.

Since Fat Boy and his evil entourage threatens everyone in the tme zone with attack whenever he feels like it, it would be foolish to ignore an anticipated attack.

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Posted in: Indigenous faithful and Christians work with environmentalists to conserve India's sacred forests See in context

Meghalaya is 75% Christian in a country that is almost 80% Hindu.

To be clear, the country as of last year is 72.4 percent Hindu. And 14.38 percent Muslim, while 4.81 percent is Christian.

We note in passing that this country has already seen several states who have passed anti-conversion laws designed to regulate religious conversions allegedly accomplished through forcible or fraudulent practices (another is proposing an re-conversion statute, ending prosecution if the person converts back AND the community accepts it). Punishable by imprisonment.

And has a nation-wide anti-blasphemy statute, outlawing the insulting of any religion or religious beliefs, if it intends to outrage a 'religious feelings.' Again, punishable by prison.

And another makes religion a criterion for granting or denying citizenship to migrants and refugees.

So, there are the guard rails. Just be careful out there, while helping to create healthy forests.

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