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Daily Archives: September 1, 2022

Music Video: Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)

The Temptations

Watch video at You Tube (3:48 minutes) . . . .

Chart: Where U.S. Student Debt Is Highest and Lowest

Source : Statista

Taiwan Shoots Down Drone for First Time Off Chinese Coast

Shiyu Islet (獅嶼)

Taiwan’s military for the first time shot down an unidentified civilian drone that entered its airspace near an islet off the Chinese coast on Thursday, after the government vowed to take tough measures to deal with an increase in such intrusions.

Beijing, which claims Taiwan as its own against the strong objections of the Taipei government, has held military exercises around the island since early last month in reaction to a visit to Taipei by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Taiwan’s government has said it will not provoke or escalate tensions but has been particularly angered recently by repeated cases of Chinese drones buzzing islands controlled by Taiwan close to China’s coast.

The defence command for Kinmen, a group of Taiwan-controlled islands opposite China’s Xiamen and Quanzhou cities, said in a statement released by Taiwan’s defence ministry that the drone entered restricted air space over Lion Islet just after midday (0400 GMT).

Troops on the islet tried warning it away but to no effect, so shot it down, with the remains landing in the sea, it added.

Taiwan fired warning shots at a drone for the first time on Tuesday shortly after President Tsai Ing-wen ordered the military to take “strong countermeasures” against what she termed Chinese provocations.

China’s foreign ministry, which on Monday dismissed Taiwan’s complaints about drones as nothing “to make a fuss about”, referred questions to the defence ministry, which had yet to comment.

Chiu Chui-cheng, deputy head of Taiwan’s China-policy making Mainland Affairs Council, told reporters in Taipei that Taiwan had the legal authority to take “necessary defence measures”, as Chinese aircraft were not allowed into Kinmen’s air space.

Those measures include forcing aircraft to leave or to land, he said.

Speaking to the armed forces earlier on Thursday, Tsai said China was using drones and other “grey zone” tactics to try to intimidate Taiwan, her office cited her as saying in a statement.

Tsai again emphasised that Taiwan would not provoke disputes but that did not mean that it would not take countermeasures, the statement added.

“She has also ordered the Ministry of National Defense to take necessary and strong countermeasures in a timely manner to defend national security,” it said.

“Let the military guard the country without fear and with solid confidence.”

Taiwan has controlled Kinmen, which at its closest point is a few hundred metres (feet) from Chinese territory, since the defeated Republic of China government fled to Taipei after losing a civil war to Mao Zedong’s communists in 1949.

During the height of the Cold War, China regularly shelled Kinmen and other Taiwanese-held islands along the Chinese coast, but they are now tourist destinations.

Source : Reuters

Gorbachev’s Legacy

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, passed away at the age of 91 in Moscow on Tuesday.

Born in 1931, Gorbachev became general secretary of the Communist Party in 1985, and was best known for ending the Cold War and allowing the reunification of Germany.

In 1990, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role “in the radical changes that have taken place in East-West relations”

See more pictures and write-up at Caixin . . . . .

Could Black Tea Lengthen Your Life?

Steven Reinberg wrote . . . . . . . . .

A cup of tea can soothe your spirit, but drinking a couple of cups each day may also lower your chances of dying early, new research suggests.

In the study of nearly 500,000 men and women who took part in the U.K. Biobank, researchers found that compared with people who didn’t drink tea, those who drank two or more cups a day lowered their risk of dying by 9% to 13%. And it made no difference if they took milk and sugar with their tea, or also drank coffee.

These results suggest that black tea, even at higher levels of intake, can be part of a healthy diet. Yet, “while these findings may offer reassurance to tea drinkers, they do not indicate that people should start drinking tea or increase their tea consumption for health benefits,” lead researcher Maki Inoue-Choi said during a recent media briefing by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. She’s a staff scientist in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

Although this study can’t prove that tea alone is responsible for extending your life, it does contain compounds that have been linked to reducing inflammation, Inoue-Choi said.

“Compounds such as polyphenols and flavonoids, namely catechins, have the potential to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, which protect against cancer, cardiovascular disease and other health conditions,” she said.

“If you drink one cup per day already, I think that is good,” Inoue-Choi said. “Please enjoy your cup of tea.”

The U.K. participants in the study were ages 40 to 69, and 89% reported drinking black tea.

Researchers also found that drinking tea reduced the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease but didn’t appear to have the same benefit when it came to deaths from cancer or respiratory disease, Inoue-Choi said.

The report was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“I think it’s really good confirmation that tea can be a part of a good diet, a healthy diet,” said Lauri Wright, a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and an assistant professor at the University of South Florida.

It goes back to inflammation, she said, which seems to trigger so many chronic diseases. Tea has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that help offset inflammations that can lead to disease.

Wright, who wasn’t part of the study, added that tea by itself won’t counteract the effects of an unhealthy diet, but tea can amplify the benefits of a healthy diet.

“We’re looking at the whole diet and making sure that you include a lot of foods that have anti-inflammatory properties like fruits and vegetables and healthy fats from nuts and avocados,” she said. “So, it really is more of the whole diet that tea is a part of in helping decrease inflammation.”

Dr. Guy Mintz, director of cardiovascular health and lipidology at Northwell Health Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., said a recent study in China also found benefits from tea. However, in that case, it was green tea.

“In China and Asia and Japan, they’re drinking more green tea. So, this study gives black tea a place on the mantel,” said Mintz, who had no role in the new research. “I think the takeaway message is tea may be protective.”

He cautioned that tea alone is not a substitute for keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol low. “Tea has beneficial cardiovascular and vascular benefits as an adjunct to medical recommendations,” Mintz said.

Source: HealthDay

China Plans $29 Billion in Special Loans to Troubled Developers

China will offer 200 billion yuan ($29.3 billion) in special loans to ensure stalled housing projects are delivered to buyers, people familiar with the matter said, ramping up financing support for its beleaguered property sector.

The previously unreported size of the lending program, which was announced with scant details by China’s housing ministry, finance ministry and the central bank late Friday, would make it the biggest financial commitment yet from Beijing to contain a property crisis that’s seen home prices slump and real estate sales plummet.

Hundreds of thousands of middle-class Chinese have been caught in limbo after making down payments and taking out loans on properties that cash-strapped developers are now struggling to complete. Some homebuyers have started to boycott mortgage payments, a threat to social stability during the politically sensitive run-up to the Communist Party’s leadership transition later this year.

The People’s Bank of China and the Ministry of Finance will channel the money through policy banks such as China Development Bank and Agricultural Development Bank of China, said the people, who asked not be identified discussing private information. The special loans will only be used on homes that have already been sold but are yet to be finished.

The PBOC, the Ministry of Finance and the housing ministry didn’t immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

“We view the central government’s introduction of bailout funding as the first meaningfully positive development in the past five to six weeks,” said Jizhou Dong and Stella Guo, analysts at Nomura Holdings Inc. in a note on Sunday. They expected the funding would need to reach at least 200 billion yuan to 300 billion yuan as an initial investment to be effective.

Urged to boost overall lending to support the nation’s flagging economy, Chinese banks cut their benchmark lending rates for a second time since May 20. That came after the central bank last week unexpectedly lowered its key policy rate to support growth.

The rate cuts were the latest in a series of actions intended to help the real estate sector as the liquidity crisis is exacerbating a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy. China is poised to miss its growth target of around 5.5% this year and youth unemployment is at a record 20%.

Earlier this year, China allowed banks and bad-debt managers to loosen restrictions on some loans to ease a cash crunch. In April, the central bank held a meeting with about 20 major banks and asset-management firms to help resolve crises at a dozen large real estate firms including China Evergrande Group. Local authorities have offered a variety of housing incentives, including lowering down-payment requirements and even encouraging families with more children to own multiple properties.

However, China’s dogged pursuit of Covid zero, including reoccuring lockdowns, and an increase in bad debt have dimmed confidence and made banks reluctant to lend. Bank loans to the real estate sector have dropped for the first time in 10 years, and the decline could persist, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Kristy Hung.

Source : BNN Bloomberg