Thursday, September 11, 2008

HK shares end at 18-month low following regional markets

Hong Kong's benchmark Hang SengIndex plunged 3.06 percent to a near 18-month low below a key support level Thursday, following Asian stock markets.

The Hang Seng Index fell 611.06 points or 3.06 percent to 19, 388.72, its lowest close since March 20, 2007. The index traded between 19,220.28 and 19,854.82 during the session. Turnover rose to 69.60 billion HK dollars from Wednesday's 65.31 billion HK dollars .

Hong Kong followed the decline in Asian stock markets in the aftermath of a disappointing Lehman Brothers turnaround plan, which failed to quell worries about the health of mainstay financial services players.

The China Enterprises Index, which tracks the movement of China- registered companies traded in Hong Kong, fell 4.2 percent to 10, 052.03, after Chinese mainland's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 3.3 percent on institutional sales for client redemptions.

The Hang Seng Properties Index fell 4.1 percent to 22,165.09. Sun Hung Kai Properties shed 1.6 percent to 91.30 HK dollars, ahead of its full-year results. Sun Hung Kai, Hong Kong's biggest developer by market capitalization, said after market close that its net profit in its last fiscal year was 27.60 billion HK dollars, up from 21.23 billion HK dollars in the previous fiscal year.

Cheung Kong Holdings, one of the biggest housing companies controlled by tycoon Li Ka-shing, tumbled 4.0 percent to 99.70 HK dollars. Sino Land fell 7.6 percent to 11 HK dollars, and Hang Lung Properties dropped 5.5 percent to 20.80 HK dollars.

Several Chinese metals producers also fell sharply. Jiangxi Copper fell 7.6 percent to 8.63 HK dollars. Chalco fell 3.6 percent to 5.40 HK dollars.

China Mobile, the largest mobile phone operator in the country and the market's largest stock measured by capitalization, fell 5.29 percent to 77 HK dollars on the rumors that operator portability was to be put in place on the Chinese mainland.

Other Chinese telecom stocks also tumbled, with China Unicom down 4.81 percent, China Telecom down 5.07 percent and Netcom down4.54 percent.

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited, the sole market operator, was down 2.95 percent to 93.85 HK dollars.


President Hu addressed three top concerns in field tour

In the run-up to the opening of the 3rd Plenary Session of the 17th CPC Central Committee to be convened next month in Beijing, and in the days from Sep.8 to 10, China's President Hu Jintao made his field tour to Henan Province, one of the most prominent grain producing provinces in China. On his tour of conducting grassroots investigation, President Hu discussed with the local authorities on wide arrays of issues concerning China's rural reforms under new circumstances.

Grain safety

The first stop of President Hu's investigation tour was Jiaozuo, township at the northern top of Henan Province, where he headed for a test field of corn, a pilot project for corn harvest covering around 10 thousand acres. He talked to the farmers from time to time while touring the field. When asked what they expected most from the preferential policies on farmers already carried out by the State, a farmer told the President they hoped the grain prices would be further raised, subsidies for grain production a little higher, and prices of farming materials more stable. President Hu smiled and promised, ‘I will bring back what concerns you for detailed discussion.'

He reiterated in this inspection trip that grain production should be paid close attention to. To develop grain production, he added, we will have to rely on policies, and science and technology.

President Hu also encouraged the scientific and technical staff to contribute more ideas to high and stable yields of crops. When mentioning grain safety, he addressed the importance of grain reserves and urged all the relevant departments to be bent on the task.

Cooperation along specialized lines

In Jiaozuo, the President also drove for a cooperative economy for grape yards. After a light conversation with several farmers, President Hu said practice has proved that, in a backdrop of persisting contracted responsibility system on the household basis, it is a practical and accessible way to organize farmers to develop massive-scale economy through cooperation along specialized lines. He encouraged local authorities to further explore more favorable ways benefiting more farmers.

President Hu took interest in the countryside enterprises and production bases, and praised the way they pointed to the future of the rural reforms, saying farming-related industries act as the ‘dragon-head' leading and pushing ahead with the industrialization management of farming, and will enlarge the business scope of farming by creating more specialized farming projects. He said this is an effective method to offer farmers more chances to get rich.

Rural reform in compliance with the farmers' aspiration

Towards the end of his three-day investigation tour, President Hu summoned local leaders from Henan Province and the township of Jiaozuo holding an informal discussion centering round rural reforms and development.

He pointed out that China's rural reforms and development are standing on a fresh historical starting point. The reforms to be carried out in rural areas must conform to the new situations brought about by economic and social development in the vast rural areas, comply with the farmers' aspiration for a better-off life, and adhere to propelling the construction of new socialist countryside.

On top of this, the President also stressed that it is equally important to adhere to the route of rural modernization with Chinese characteristics, speed up forming a new layout of the integration involving both urban and rural economic and social development, further promote rural development, and open up a new vista for rural reforms and development.

By People's Daily Online

Dong music and buildings artistic wonders

You cannot leave a village of the Dong minority without being impressed with their songs and buildings.

Many of their songs are a reflection of their lives - about nature, labor, love and friendship.

While relaxing and useful for communication, singing has long played another important role.

Without a written language for more than 2,500 years, the Dong people passed on their history and customs from generation to generation through oral literature and art. Songs are key to their oral tradition.

Not surprisingly teachers of songs are respected as the most knowledgeable in a Dong village.

In particular, their a cappella harmonies with a lead singer and no conductor - which can imitate sounds of nature like streams and insects and inspire listeners' imagination - are considered a gift from the Dong people to the world.

Their art hit the headlines in 1986, when a Dong chorus performed in Paris, changing the idea that harmonies exist only in Western music and cannot be found in Chinese music.

Harmonies have long been valued by the Dong people. They only perform them at special occasions like important holidays, group dates and reception of distinguished guests.

In most cases the harmonies are performed in the drum tower of the village, so they are also known as "drum tower chorus".

Another Dong art form - architecture - is also impressive. Wood and stones are used instead of iron and steel as construction materials.

Dong people's skill in building houses and bridges with stones and wood without a nail or rivet marvel visitors.

The drum tower is a typical example of Dong architecture and a landmark in their villages. Without a drum tower, it cannot be counted as Dong.

As one of the highest and most spectacular buildings in the village, the tower is used for holiday parties and other entertainment.

In important matters or emergencies, the drum is beaten and villagers will gather at the tower for a meeting.

In fact it is so closely related to their lives that the Dong culture is also known as Drum Tower culture.

The Fengyu - wind and rain - Bridge, a common sight in almost every Dong village, is also a demonstration of their advanced building skills.

Entirely made of wood and stones, the covered bridges provide shelter for travelers if needed.

As the style of the bridge is also beautiful, it is known as Flower Bridge, or huaqiao, in Chinese.

Today the 2.6 million Dong people live mostly in Guizhou and Hunan provinces as well as Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Liping county in Guizhou has the highest concentration with a population of 350,000 Dong people.

The county has 320 drum towers and 290 flower bridges, thus winning the reputation of a Dong architectural museum.

With a land area of 180,000 sq m and a population of more than 4,000, Zhaoxing village in the county has one of the biggest groups of Dong in southeastern Guizhou. It has five districts - and so five drum towers and five flower bridges

The drum tower cluster has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Source: China Daily

Zhang Yimou, Gong Li, Jackie Chan fail to make shortlist for Chinese audience film awards

Chinese film veterans Zhang Yimou, Gong Li and Jackie Chan failed to make the shortlist for film awards given by the audience at an annual domestic film festival which opened in China's northeast seaport of Dalian on Wednesday.

Directors Feng Xiaogang, Yin Li, Stephen Chow, Ning Hao and Gao Qunshu will contend for the Best Director of the 29th Full Blossom awards, with their "The Assembly," "Yun Shui Yao," "Crazy Stone," "A Hope," and "Tokyo Trial", respectively.

They were selected and then nominated during a general election campaign organized by China Film Association from April 16 to July 31.

Zhang Yimou, director of "Curse of the Golden Flower," has missed the shortlist, together with Peter Chan and Benny Chan, other two candidates announced by the CFA earlier.

"Curse of the Golden Flower" received heated and mixed reaction after its release in China in December 2006.

Zhang is also the general director of the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic opening and closing ceremonies.

Gong Li was on the longlist for her leading role in "Curse of the Golden Flower" together with Xu Jinglei and Lin Hsilei, but lost out on a shortlist spot to Li Bingbing, Tang Yan, Gao Yuanyuan, Hsu Vivian, Leung Wing Kei, who were nominated for the Best Leading Actress award.

Kung fu star Jet Li will contend for the Best Leading Actor after beating off strong opponents including Jackie Chan, Andy Lau, Chow Yun-fat, Takeshi Kaneshiro and Louis Koo.

He was nominated with Zhang Hanyu for Feng Xiaogang's "The Assembly", Guo Tao for 2006's black horse "Crazy Stone," Chen Kun for love story "Yun Shui Yao," and Liu Songren for "Tokyo Trial."

Li was acclaimed by audience for "The Warlords", depicting a struggle of three blood brothers and their love entanglements with a woman during a time of war and political upheaval in the Qing Dynasty .

He won the Best Leading Actor at the 27th Hong Kong Film Awards on April 13, also for the movie, which was directed by Hong Kong director Peter Chan.

"Yun Shui Yao," "The Assembly," "Crazy Stone," "Tokyo Trial," "Invisible Wings" will vie for the Best Feature Film award.

All the awards will be given out at the closing ceremony of the17th Golden Rooster and Full Blossom Film Festival on Saturday evening.

Programs of the festival include promotion of dozens of films, projection of more than 80 domestic and foreign movies, a film forum and several press conferences.

Source: Xinhua

Chinese language center draws crowds

People from other parts of the world always are fascinated by China's 5,000 year old cultural tradition. At the Paralympics Village in Beijing, the Chinese Language Center has proven one of the hotspots.

The Chinese Language Center has three sections.

The middle section is known as the Learn-it-Quickly Zone. It is the most popular among foreigners. With the aid of specially designed computer software, it becomes easy and fun to master the pronunciation of Chinese sounds. Most visitors leave the language lab with increased confidence and the motivation to learn more Chinese.

The other two sections offer hands-on experience of China's cultural tradition. Visitors can take up a brush and write the Chinese characters they have just learned. Most will carry away their self created calligraphy as mementos.

There are traditional arts and crafts to experience, including opera masks, folk music, and traditional paintings.


More babies across China suffer from kidney stones, fake milk powder suspected

An unknown number of infants in at least seven provinces and regions across China have suffered from kidney stones while doctors and parents suspected it could bea result of drinking milk powder of the same brand, according to media reports on Thursday.

The new findings were reported after Xinhua broke out the news Wednesday that 14 cases of the same kind appeared in northwestern Gansu Province.

The Modern Express, a newspaper based in the eastern Jiangsu Province and affiliated with Xinhua, said similar cases were found in Jiangsu and the northwestern Ningxia, Shaanxi and Gansu, while the Oriental Morning Post based in Shanghai said that infants in the eastern Shandong and Anhui provinces and Hunan in central China were also inflicted.

No official figures are available at this moment on how many babies in the country have been affected.

A spokesman of the Gansu Provincial Health Department said on Thursday that they had received 59 cases of kidney stones in infants so far this year and one baby died. There were no such cases in 2007 or 2006.

It is not clear if the infant drank milk formula being investigated.

Authorities are trying to figure out if there is a link between the milk powder and the kidney stones. Samples of the milk powder have been sent to a state-run lab for analysis.

Sanlu Group, a leading dairy products company in the country, said the milk powder branded Sanlu could be mislabeled. It claims someone might be counterfeiting their product and has sent people to Gansu to conduct its own investigation.

Parents of the affected babies, mostly located in remote and poor rural areas, have bought the milk powder at much cheaper prices than usual.

The No.1 Hospital of The People's Liberation Army , in Gansu provincial capital Lanzhou, received the first case on June 28, which was followed by another 13 cases later on.

However, at least three other hospitals in Lanzhou confirmed they had received similar cases in the past two months.

Doctors of these hospitals had urged local authorities to step up investigations and take possible measures to prevent similar cases.


Baby dies of kidney stones in NW China, fake milk powder suspected

One baby has died of kidney stones in northwest China's Gansu Province, said health officials Thursday.

It is not clear if this infant drank milk formula being investigated for causing at least 14 babies to develop kidney stones.

All of them drank milk labeled with the Sanlu brand.

The company says the milk powder could be mislabeled. It claims someone might be counterfeiting their product.

Health officials are trying to figure out if there is a link between the milk powder and the kidney stones.

So far this year, the Gansu Province had received reports of 59 cases of kidney stones in infants. There were no cases in 2007 or 2006.


Boss' gender can affect workers' stress

Bosses in general can be a pain in the ... well, you know, but a new study finds that your boss' gender can affect just how much pain he or she seems to inflict.

Researchers at the University of Toronto used data from a 2005 national telephone survey of working adults in the United States and compared the stress levels and physical health problems of men and women working in one of three situations: for a lone male supervisor, a lone female supervisor, or for both a male and female supervisor.

The study found that:

* Women who had only one female boss reported more psychological distress and physical symptoms than women who worked for one male boss.

* Women who reported to a mixed-gender pair of supervisors also reported more of these symptoms than their peers who worked for a single male boss.

* Men who worked for a single supervisor, regardless of the supervisor's gender, had similar levels of distress. Men who worked for a mixed-gender pair had fewer mental and physical symptoms than those working for a lone male supervisor.

The analysis, detailed in the September issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, controlled for occupation, job sector and other workplace conditions, meaning the results were independent of these factors.

The findings, specifically those of female subordinates with females bosses, contradict theories suggested by previous studies that demographic similarities between a boss and their subordinate would promote harmony in the work place, while demographic differences would create problems.

The researchers speculated that these contradictions may stem from the stereotype that it is more "normal" for men to be leaders and display the typical leadership characteristics. So while female subordinates may expect more "aggressive" traits from a male leader, they could expect more support from a supervisor who is also female than they actually get, said study co-author Scott Schieman.

Women leaders who "act like men" in terms of society's unconscious expectations may be viewed more negatively, Schieman said. He and other sociologists suspect this was a situation faced by Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary races.

Despite the fact that the researchers tried to control for a worker's occupation, another possibility that could account for the finding is that "something about the nature of the work itself is influencing these health differences," Schieman said. For example, women working with a woman supervisor might tend to be found mostly in the "caring sector or in jobs that tend to be under-resourced, under-funded and under-valued," such as social work or education, creating stress both for the workers themselves and stress for the boss that might trickle down to her subordinates.

But just what is causing these differences isn't know for sure. As Schieman said, "these are speculative points that need to be investigated further."

Source: China Daily/Agencies

Public health incidents claim 34 lives in August

Emergent public health incidents killed 34 people on the Chinese mainland in August with 82 incidents recorded and 1,551 people involved, the country's Ministry of Health said on Thursday.

Emergent public health incidents refers to major epidemics, diseases of unknown origin, major food or occupational poisoning cases, and other incidents like bird flu.

The number of such incidents dropped by 28.07 percent compared with that of July, while the people affected and the fatalities down 43.85 percent and 10.53 percent respectively, the ministry said in a report posted on its website.

Year on year, the figures of fatalities caused by emergent public health incidents dropped by 37.04 percent. The number of such incidents and people involved also dropped by 38.81 percent and 79.73 percent respectively.

The Health Ministry attributed the big drop to "a series of disease prevention work carried out across the country ahead of the Beijing Olympics," it said in the report.

The two-month summer vacation at schools across the country through August also contributed to the drop, the ministry said.

The ministry warned that public health incidents such as cholera, intestinal infectious diseases and food poisoning still have a relatively high incidence rate in September.


"Dark Knight" plans re-release for Oscar push

Batman wants an Oscar.

To be precise, Warner Bros. wants a statuette -- or 10 -- for "The Dark Knight." So the studio plans to re-release its blockbuster Batman sequel in January, the height of Academy Awards voting season.

"It's just a matter of bringing it back as a reminder for people," a studio insider explained.

Warner Bros. domestic distribution president Dan Fellman acknowledged ongoing talks with Imax execs over the prospect of restoring the Christian Bale starrer to some giant-screen venues in January. It's uncertain if "Dark Knight" also will reappear in conventional venues at that point.

Directed by Christopher Nolan, the film's huge commercial and critical success has spurred talk of possible Oscar nominations for its director, producers and cast -- most specifically Bale's co-star, Health Ledger, for the late actor's edgy performance as the Joker.

To date, "Dark Knight" has rung up about 512 million U.S. dollars domestically and 440 million dollars internationally, including more than 55 million dollars in Imax grosses. A pre-Oscars re-release would help assure its topping 1 billion dollars worldwide.

But with the title set to hit DVD in December, it's now apparent anyone hoping the Batman sequel would soar to "Titanic" heights will be disappointed. "Dark Knight" already ranks as the second-highest-grossing movie ever, after "Titanic's" phenomenal 1.84 billion dollars -- a mix of 600.8 million dolalrs in domestic box office and 1.24 billion dollars in foreign coin registered in 1997 and 1998.

Source: China Daily/Agencies

I want more sleep, Brad Pitt moans

Hollywood star Brad Pitt is "longing for" sleep following the birth of his and Angelina Jolie's twins in July.

The "Burn After Reading" star - whose babies Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline are his fifth and sixth children with Jolie - admitted while he is happy with the new additions to his family, he wishes he could spend more time in bed.

Asked how the twins were doing, Brad replied: "They are all good - everyone's healthy, and everyone's great. Sleep is something we long for, but that's alright, we'll get it soon!"

When the 44-year-old actor was questioned about what makes him laugh, he replied: "My kids!"

Brad appears alongside close friend George Clooney in "Burn After Reading."

In the movie, from legendary directors the Coen brothers, Brad plays Chad Feldheimer - a gym employee who finds a disc full of personal financial files and uses it to blackmail Osbourne Cox, played by John Malkovich.

The film is released worldwide later this year.

Source: China Daily/Agencies)

Hathaway spends a week in shock after ex arrested

Anne Hathaway "spent a week in shock" after her then-boyfriend Raffaello Follieri was arrested.

The "Get Smart" actress - who had been dating the Italian businessman for four years, but ended the relationship following him being taken into custody on charges of federal wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering - admits the incident shock her world.

She told W magazine: "As soon as I found out about the arrest, I had to get on a plane to Mexico to do a promotional tour for 'Get Smart'. And then I spent a week in shock at a friend's house. "It's a situation where the rug was pulled out from under me all of a sudden.

But just as suddenly, my friends threw another rug back under me. One said, 'Go stay at my house.' "And Steve Carell, my 'Get Smart' co-star, stepped up for me during an interview when someone asked a question about it.

He said, 'At some point you're going to have to talk about this time in your life. You don't have to do it this week. I'll take care of anything that comes your way.' "

Rafaello - who has been detained since his June arrest because he has been unable to raise the 21-million-U.S.-dollar bail money - is said to be set to strike a deal with lawyers at the Manhattan District court today to ensure he only spends five years in federal prison.

Source: China Daily/Agencies

China readies sea search, rescue for launch of Shenzhou-7 spacecraft

The sea search and rescue teams have prepared for the launch of Shenzhou-7 spacecraft, vice minister of transport Xu Zuyuan said after a drill concluded on Wednesday.

The drill, carried out in the Yangtze River mouth on Wednesday afternoon, aimed to rescue the astronauts in case the re-entry capsule fell into sea after any accidents happened during the launch, said Zhang Jianqi, a senior official with the country's space program.

During the drill, a fixed-wing aircraft was sent to locate the re-entry capsule. Then a helicopter flew to the presumed location, released an orange smock signal and landed rescuers to check the situation of the "astronauts". Finally the "astronauts" were transported to a rescue ship for medical check-up.

The drill aimed to further enhance the search and rescue capability to ensure the safety of the astronauts, said Song Jiahui, an official with the Ministry of Transport.

The manned spacecraft Shenzhou-7 would be launched at an appropriate time between Sept. 25 and 30 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern Gansu Province.

Source: Xinhua

Chinese researchers successfully clone pigs with swine fever-resistant gene

Three cloned piglets with a generesistant to swine fever virus , a fatal disease for the livestock, have been born in northeast China's Jilin Province, Chinese researchers said.

The piglets, weighing 1,050 grams, 1,100 grams and 550 grams, were born Wednesday afternoon in a pig farm of the Agriculture Department, Jilin University.

Experts said the piglets were the first with the gene against swine fever in the world.

Source: Xinhua

U.S. physicists discover new particle

Physicists at U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory have discovered a new particle made of three quarks, the Omega b baryon, the lab's leading scientist Qian Jianming told Xinhua Wednesday.

The particle contains two strange quarks and a bottom quark. It is an exotic relative of the much more common proton and weighs about six times the proton mass.

Qian, originally graduated from University of Science and Technology of China and now a professor at University of Michigan, played a leading role in the discovery of this new particle. It was detected for the first time in a particle accelerator at Fermilab in Illinois.

The heavy particle is scarce today, but scientists believe it was abundant soon after the Big Bang.

"This discovery helps us understand how matter was formed in the universe. It shows the critical success of the quark model and gives us new insight into the strong force, which binds quarks together to form larger particles," said Qian.

Qian is among 600 physicists from 90 institutions involved in DZero, the international experiment at Fermilab that produced these results.

Qian said detecting the Omega b baryon was like finding a needle in a haystack. They developed algorithms that allowed them to analyze almost 100 trillion particle collisions to find 18 events with the distinctive characteristics expected from the decay of the Omega b baryon.

In the collisions in the experiment, protons and anti-protons traveling near the speed of light hit head on, occasionally producing exotic heavy particles such as the Omega b baryon. The baryon travels about 1 millimeter before it decays into other particles.

Baryons are particles that make up the visible matter in the universe today. Protons and neutrons are the lightest baryons. Allbaryons are made of different combinations of three quarks. Quarksare smaller particles that come in six "flavors:" up, down, charm, strange, top and bottom. Scientists organize these flavors into three families.

Protons and neutrons are made of the quarks in the first family: up and down quarks. This new particle is the first baryon ever detected that is made only of quarks from the other two families. The Omega b baryon has two strange quarks and one bottom quark.

The discovery of the doubly strange particle brings scientists a step closer to understanding exactly how quarks form matter and to completing the "periodic table of baryons."

Source: Xinhua

First test-tube monkeys given birth in China

Chinese scientists have given birth to the country's first test-tube monkeys, which is believed to be the first step to engineer gene-modified monkeys.

Dr. Sun Qiang of the East China Normal University led the primate research group to create the seven macaques, a type of monkeys that are fond of eating crabs. Their experiments were published by the latest edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences .

Closest among animals to physique, genetic nature and behavior of human beings, primate models are usually used for studying medical treatment for human diseases.

Under the state-financed program that focuses on the primate reproductive research and bio-engineering, Dr. Sun said, "Our next step is to bring about more test-tube monkeys and eventually make gene-modified monkeys benefiting for medical research."

Chinese scientists are now catching up with leading scientists in developed countries in engineering transgenic monkeys. American researchers have already produced the world's first gene-modified monkey, Andi. The scientific community has tried to use such monkeys to find new ways to treat diabetes, the Alzheimer's, AIDS and breast cancer.

Test-tube technology is the best available way to breed transgenic monkeys, experts said.

Sun's team capitalized on a few new technologies on stimulating more eggs from female monkeys and collecting semen and mammalian oocyte, as well as new ways of in vitro fertilization and embryo transplantation.

The new technologies "can significantly improve the pregnancy rate and live birth of healthy baby monkeys," the scientist said.

Their technique was regarded as an efficient method in constructing various transgenic primate disease models.

All the seven new born monkeys are healthy, Sun said, with the oldest Lele, or Happiness, being aged at one and half years.

Source: Xinhua

Xiamen to be the first wireless network-covered city

Recently Xiamen Municipal and China Mobile's Fujian branch signed a cooperation memorandum named "wireless city", marking the beginning of construction of wireless network in Xiamen, which is based on TD-SCDMA/HSDPA technology.

Broadband wireless LAN of a city, known as "wireless city", with high-speed broadband wireless network covering administrative districts, provides information to public via wireless technology or terminals. TD-SCDMA, a Chinese home-grown standard for third-generation communication, owns the independent intellectual right.

Now the wireless network covers an area of over 800 square km in Xiamen, including main streets, most suburban area and major public buildings. Basic infrastructures and auxiliary facilities are both fully equipped. Before the end of this year, people in Xiamen will enjoy the convenience of living in a wireless city, surfing on Internet, consulting information, sending and receiving emails whenever and wherever there is a cell phone or a laptop.

By People's Daily Online

Over half of Airbus aircraft use made-in-China parts

Marc Bertiaux, vice president of Airbus China Corporations in charge of cooperation with China, revealed that more than half of Airbus aircraft use made-in-China parts.

He also said that Airbus had a purchase of over 70 million US dollars in China in 2007, exceeding the original target of 60 million. This figure is expected to reach 200 million in 2010 and 450 million in 2015.

According to Marc Bertiaux, Airbus has promised to transfer manufacturing technology of A320 wings to China, and is honoring the commitment. Airbus had never carried out such cooperation with other countries before.

In November of 2007 in Beijing, Airbus and National Development and Reform Commission of China signed an understanding memorandum to enhance industrial cooperation of A350XWB wide-body aircraft project. According to the memorandum, China will undertake 5% of the structuring work.

In Tianjin Airport Industrial Park, Tianjin Assembly Line Project of Airbus A320 Series Airplane has succeeded in trial operation, making full preparations for the assembly of the first aircraft.

By People's Daily Online

Chinese hybrid rice introduced to more than 40 countries and regions

Over 40 countries and regions have introduced hybrid rice from China, Ma Shuping, a senior official of Ministry of Agriculture revealed on Sept 10.

Some countries in Southeast Asia have seen sharp increase in rice production after introduction of hybrid rice. In this aspect China played an important role in securing global food supply, Ma said.

Currently in China the area of hybrid rice is 15 million hectares, accounting for 59% of total rice-planting area. Average annual production of hybrid rice amounts to 7200 kilograms per hectare.

President of China Seed Industrial Association Wan Baoguo said seed export reached 29,000 tons in 2007.

By People's Daily Online

Optimal conditions set for spacewalk

Bringing forward the launch date of China's third manned spacecraft by one month will maximize conditions for the country's highly anticipated inaugural spacewalk, experts have said.

The Shenzhou VII spacecraft was first scheduled for take off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu province at the end of October.

The spacecraft was later rescheduled for take off between Sept 25 and 30.

Compared with the initial launching window in October, the position of the sun during the new period would enable astronauts to walk out of the space module in sunlight and avoid returning in "total darkness", the Beijing Evening News recently quoted an expert as saying.

The exact launch date at the end of this month will be decided by the weather conditions at the launch center, said Jiao Weixin, professor with the School of Earth and Space Science at Peking University.
The launch could be postponed because of strong gales that could cause the rocket to veer off from its set course, he said.

The best climate for launching the manned spacecraft include zero rainfall, a ground wind speed of less than 8 m per second, a minimum horizontal visibility of 20 km, and no lightning in nine hours before and after the launch, Jiao said.

Drizzles and the temperature will usually pose no hindrance to the launch, he added.

As for the sandstorm that hit western Gansu province on Sunday, meteorologists said it is unlikely the conditions will interfere with the launch.
The sandstorm had started to wane on Monday and moved to Lanzhou in the south, posing no threat to the launch, meteorologists were quoted by the Beijing News as saying.
Earlier reports had said that the Shenzhou VII spacecraft will be launched on a Long March 2F rocket.

On its return, the spacecraft will reportedly land within Wulanchabu, a city in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

So far, engineers have installed the propellant in the spacecraft, a spokesman of the mission said earlier this week.

The much-awaited mission is the second stage of the country's three-staged manned space program, which seeks to launch a manned spacecraft, set up a space laboratory, and build a space station before 2020.

China became the third country to send a person into space on its own in 2003. In 2005, the country sent two more astronauts on a five-day flight on Shenzhou VI.

On Shenzhou VII, there will be three astronauts, and one of them is expected to conduct a spacewalk.

The astronauts will use a Chinese-designed and Chinese-made airlock module for extra vehicular activity - work done by an astronaut away from the Earth and outside of a spacecraft. The spacesuit is reportedly designed for such missions of up to seven hours.


Field records all refreshed in Bird's Nest at Paralympics

The National Stadium experienced one of the busiest sessions of the Beijing Paralympic Games on Wednesday with 17 gold medals come out all in the evening.

China had been the most gold medalist as three athletes were trophied in two field events and one track event.

Zhang Lixin blazed the tracks in men's 400m T54 with a result of 45.07 seconds to win gold and take the world record.

This has been Zhang's second Paralympic gold medal in Beijing after he won the men's 4x100m relay on Tuesday evening.

In men's javelin F11/12 , there was probably no better way for Zhu Pengkai to begin his competition than to break the F12 world record on his first attempt. His third attempt of 63.07m secured him the gold medal and the new world record title.

Former world record holder Miroslaw Pych from Poland won the bronze with 56.01m, while Croatia's Branimir Budetic took the silver with his best throw of 57.11m.

In women's Javelin F35-38 , China's Wu Qing's throw of 28.84m earned her the F36 world record title and the gold medal. Brazilian Shirlene created a new F37 world record with 35.95m, but it only gave her 1513 points to win a silver medal based on the multi-classification event point system. Poland's Renata Chilewska also set a world record in the F35 class which secured her the bronze.

This was not the end, since there were new world records in all the field events, with some having more than one due to the multi-classification competition format.

In the tracks, Kenyans had proved that they really have a gene in distance running for Abraham Cheruiyot Tarbei paced himself and took a steady route in the Men's 1500m Men's 1500m T46 to win the gold, landing himself the world record title with 3:52.50.

Though competing for the first time in Paralympics, Ireland's 18-year-old Michael McKillop won himself a gold medal and created a world record in the men's 800m - T37. Brad Scott from Australia and Djamel Mastouri of France trailed behind to take silver and bronze respectively.

Another three classifications of men's 400m had also been run on Wednesday evening in which Cuban Luis Manuel Galano and his teammate Freddy Durruthy in T13 took their place on the first and second steps of the medal podium and made their anthem heard in the stadium.

Tunisia also had a double joy when Farhat Chida and Abbes Saidi finished first and second to take gold and silver in the T38, giving Chida the second gold medal in the tournament.

Ukraine's Roman Pavlyk beat Russian Artem Arefyev's world record to clock his own record time of 54.13 seconds to win gold. This is Pavlyk's second gold in addition to the one he won on Tuesday in the Men's 100m T36.

Source: Xinhua

Olympic table tennis champion Zhang leads Chinese team to China Open

Newly crowned dual Olympic champion Zhang Yining is to lead a star-studded Chinese team to compete in the China Open table tennis tournament that starts on Thursday.

Zhang, team and singles gold medalist in the Beijing Olympics, is set to be a top draw in the Sept. 11-14 tourney.

China will send eight women and eight men to the 106-player event. Guo Yue, bronze medalist in women's singles at the Olympics, will also play, while Wang Nan, the silver medalist in Beijing, has retired.

Leading the Chinese men's team are Ma Lin, Wang Hao and Wang Liqin, who combined to win the men's team gold and then finished 1-2-3 in singles in the Olympics.

Source: Xinhua

Rugby team glad to have 'coach mom'

When China's wheelchair rugby team faces its first opponent - the US - tomorrow, no one will be watching more closely than "coach mom" Wen Yan.

"Unlike coaching able-bodied athletes, working with us requires great patience, and more importantly, it requires great love," team leader Cheng Shuangmiao said.

That is apparently what Wen Yan offers to this team that is participating in the Paralympics for the first time.

Sporting a ponytail, the Beijing native looks much younger than her 57 years, and loves to address her team of paraplegic players as her "children".

"Everyday I am touched and inspired by their persistence. They teach me life lessons," she said, keeping a close eye on the athletes who were doing warm-up exercise at the Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium.

The rugby team was established last year and placed 19th in international competition.

"One thing is for sure. We have improved greatly in a short period of time," Wen said.

"The Paralympics is providing a great opportunity for us to learn from others. "

It was not an easy start. Rugby has been played in the West for decades, but was introduced to China only three years ago, Wen said.

When she first took up the job of coaching rugby, the only information she had was a book of rules and some DVDs of matches, she said.

"The accidents which caused their disabilities only lasted a few minutes, but have changed their entire lives," she said.

"They don't want to look back; they look to the future."

At the beginning, many of the players could not hold things in their hands, Wen said.

Training has enhanced upper body strength and endurance, Wen said.

"I think we are pushing the limits of medical science and they can do a lot of things that they couldn't do in the past. This is the power of sports," she said.

A former soldier, Wen coached basketball in the Beijing military region until 2005, when she began to instruct the Beijing disabled people's wheelchair rugby team.

Source: China Daily

Roundup: China table tennis team wins 4 Paralympic golds

Chinese won four out of five table tennis gold medals at the Beijing Paralympic Games on Wednesday.

The Paralympic table tennis tournament is divided into 10 classes depending on various disabilities. The smaller the number is, the more severe the disability is.

Chinese Liu Jing in women's class 1-2 won the first gold after defeating Italian Pamela Pezzutto 3-1.

"After winning the first set easily, I became more confident. My rival was more nervous than I was," Liu said after the match.

"Table tennis makes me a confident and strong person," she added.

In the following gold match in women's class 3, Chinese Li Qian beat Slovakian Alena Kanova 3-0.

The two golds were China's first ever in these classes.

"The Paralympics just proved that we were capable to compete in all different levels. This is a dream team," said Chinese coach Xiong Wei.

Zhou Ying in women's class 4 added a third gold for China after beating Serbian Borislava Peric 3-0.

Peric seemed content with the silver. "This is my first Paralympics, and this is big for me," the 36-year-old Serbian said. She used to play basketball, but an accident in the furniture factory where she worked deprived her of walking ability.

Yet the optimistic woman never succumbed to misfortune. "I have many good friends, my family and my boyfriend to support me, and I am going to play in the next Paralympics, and the one after the next," she said.

In women's class 5, the Chinese team had secured the gold on the previous day, after Ren Guixiang and Gu Gai defeated their semifinal opponents.

The two-time Paralympic gold medalist Ren eventually edged Gui 11-5, 11-9, 15-13.

In women's class 10, however, Chinese Fan Lei was downed by Polish Natalia Partyka 3-0.

Partyka is the only table tennis player who participated in the Beijing Olympic table tennis tourney.

"I don't feel any extra pressure to play against an Olympian," Fan said.

"I played a defensive game at the beginning, and then it became very difficult for me to adjust my tactics," she said.

Partyka is already looking to the 2012 Olympics.

"I am going to play in the European Championships in Russia, and I want to practice more, because I want to take part in the London Olympics," she said.

In Wednesday morning competitions, Chinese Zhang Xiaoling, a five-time Paralympic champion, surprisingly lost to Swedish Josefin Abrahamsson 3-2.

"I believe she threw all she had at me today," Zhang said. "My returns were good enough, but she moved even faster and took all those balls."

German Rainer Schmidt, a seven-time Paralympian, also suffered a semifinal loss to his Danish rival Peter Rosenmeier 3-2 in class 6.

Three finals slated for Thursday will be all-Chinese affairs, while Chinese Feng Panfeng, Ye Chaoqun and Chen Gang have made it to the men's class 3, 7, and 8 final respectively.

Source: Xinhua

Czech Prime Minister receives Bejing Olympic medalists

Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek received Czech athletes who won medals at the Beijing Olympic Games and gave them symbolical brooches and buttons with the Czech lion, the Czech news agency CTK said on Wednesday.

In a brief speech before their dinner, Topolanek thanked them for representing the Czech Republic and indicated that in the following conversation he would like to hear some advice on how to help Czech sport in the future.

"You, the heroes of the Olympics and idols of the youth, should have followers," Topolanek said.

"You should be followed by others who will also have the incredible feeling of touching the gold, silver or the bronze Olympic medal," he added.

The women received brooches, the men shirt buttons. Topolanek gave the gifts to silver sculls rower Ondrej Synek, winner of the javelin throw Barbora Spotakova, silver slalom canoeists Jaroslav Volf and Ondrej Stepanek and golden shooter Katerina Emmons.

The Czech Olympic delegation got three gold medals and three silvers in the Beijing Olympics.

Source: Xinhua

Guides aid visually impaired Paralympians in quest for gold

Wu Chunmiao, a blind Chinese runner, was thrilled to win a Paralympic gold medal, but regretted that her guide runner, who helped her to win, couldn't get one as well.

It is common for athletes to credit families, coaches or friends for their success, but the Paralympians who are visually impaired may have more people to acknowledge -- their guides.

On the podium, Wu placed her gold medal, earned from women's 100m T11 on Tuesday, around the neck of her partner Li Jiayu.

Paralympic rules allow runners and cyclists with visual impairment to be helped by guides in their competition. In running, the athletes and their guides are tied together with strings around their wrists or fingers. In track cycling, the guide rides on the front of the bike while the athlete pedals at the rear.

The athletes work hard to push for their limits, and guides aid them alongside. But rules have been put in place to keep such aid in check to ensure equality. For example, a guide runner can not cross the finishing line ahead of the runner and a guide cyclist can't be chosen from the top-calibre athletes who are believed to be over-enabling.

Before the men's 100m final, Chen Liang, a guide, told his partner Liu Xiangkun where to put his hands at the starting line, and helped Liu to face the right direction. He also kept murmuring to Liu: "Relax, relax."

A string was tied to their hands as the two sprinted down the track in tandem. When the scoreboard flashed a near-personal best for Liu at the fifth place, Chen reported the scores to Liu as both were gasping.

"I work as his eyes. I follow his rhythm. And my job is to make sure he doesn't cross the lanes or foul in any way," said the guide. Chen is not discouraged by his supporting role, but prides himself in representing his country together with a Paralympian, and helping him to perform to his best.

It is true that sports are about individual feats, but the Paralympic Games have aptly proved that they are also about the cooperative spirit. The outpouring of brotherly love brought about by the bond between the guides and the athletes has become one of the most touching scenes at the Beijing Games.

"He is not my brother by blood, but I should say that he is more close than a brother," said Liu Xiangkun of his guide.

The two started training together just about nine months ago. Before having Chen as his guide, Liu had to train by following the hand-clapping sounds of his coach. A competent guide helped him to break the national record earlier this year and move closer to the world record.

Both Liu and Chen said they are like two people in one. "We train together, eat together and share the same dorm," Liu said.

Both were grateful to each other. "I only had to run out there, and he was the one doing all the thinking. And when I get moody during the training, he talks through," said Liu of his guide.

Meanwhile, Chen said that through training with a Paralympian, he has learnt more about how to overcome adversities. "He is a man with will and guts. He is not young, but still manages to keep himself in excellent form. That's what I admire in a Paralympian," Chen said.

For the Paralympians, the guide is a trusted planner. "Barney is a very good tactician. To be the fastest in the world, you have to be very honest with each other," said partially-sighted British rider Anthony Kappes, who won a gold medal on Wednesday with the help of his guide Barney Storey.

The two use non-verbal languages and signs to communicate with each other, and often sit down to analyze technical details, Kappes said.

The guide is also a close friend to the athletes they help. Kenyan runner Henry Wanyoike put a strong performance with his guide to win a bronze in men's 5,000 meters T11.

"We are childhood friends," he said. "We've been training together for seven years."

Sometimes, the role of a guide is taken up by family members of the athletes. For example, Brazilian T11 women's 100m bronze winner Adria Santos has her husband as her co-pilot.

"He is not only my guide in the competition, but also in my life. We are always hand in hand in our lives and it's our fate to be together, both in competitions and life," she told a news conference.

Sometimes, the guide is also the interpreter for the athletes. French judoka Cyril Jonard, who has little sight and poor hearing due to the Usher Syndrome, answers questions through his trainer Patrick Lacombe. The two communicated in a sign-tactile language that is unintelligible to others.

Lacombe was not exactly on the mat competing along with Jonard, but he made movements with his arms besides the mat to guide the Judoka on when to attempt a throw or a footsweep.

"When my coach is on the carpet, he can communicate with me, he can work with me," said Jonard, who also teaches judo to able-bodied children.

Lacombe said he can forward information for his protege, but Jonard himself is also well integrated into the world of full-hearing people. "It's easy to be a good coach when you are dealing with a grand champion," said Lacombe.

The "duet" won a silver in the Judo 81kg event at these Games.

Source: Xinhua

British swimmers win first relay at Beijing Paralympics

The aquatic centre Water Cube produced 12 golds here on Wednesday when Britain's swimmers won the first relay event with a new world record at the Beijing Paralympics.

The fourth day competitions have all eyes on the men's 4X100m freestyle realys. The British quartet, who cruised fastest to the final, took the winning time further down to 3 minutes 51.43 seconds, shaving a shocking 6.85 seconds of the former world mark set in 2006.

Australia grabbed the silver with 2.16 seconds adrift and China took the bronze with a further 0.33 seconds.

The hosts should have go further with a powerful starting spurt. The first leg racer Xiong Xiaoming's second fastest 57.28 among eight lanes gave China a dream start, bettering the British by more than four seconds.

But Xiong's successors Wei Yanpeng and ace swimmer Wang Xiaofu failed to beat the British and Australian counterparts, giving their opponents chance to narrow the gap.

The British final leg Robert Welbourn swam a fatest 53.52 with a strong splash to consolidate the leading place after the turn.

And China had to accept their second bronze of the day after He Junquan failed to grab the gold in his favorite 50m butterfly S5.

"We expected to swim faster. Swimming in Lane 8 has some influence on our performance. But the relay shows strength of the whole swimming team. Everyone in this group has tried their best. But it's not individual can decide a group event," the first leg Xiong analyzed the failure.

Though losing the gold, China's swimmers didn't lose confidence.

"We are improving, so are other countries. The Chinese team has made great progress compared with it in Athens.

"Although we haven't got many gold medals in this Paralympic Games, there are a lot of coming events worth expecting," said Wei after the clash.

China's leader Wang also showed his belief. "It's only a start of the Paralympics. There is still a long way to go. I am confident with the following events. I'm sure we'll get more golds."

Besides the highlight, the Water Cube witnessed 14 world records tumble on Wednesday.

Among them, Kevin Paul of South Africa, Katrina Porter of Australia, Lantz Lamback of the United States, Konstantin Lisenkov of Russia and Heather Frederiksen of Britain all shattered the world records twice.

After four days of competition, the United States led the swimming tally with 11 golds, followed by Britain and Russia both with six. Host China stood 10th with two.

The Beijing Paralympic swimming competition has attracted 560 athletes to its 81 men's and 59 women's events. The nine-day contest runs from September 7 to 15.

Source: Xinhua

Paralympians: sports change our destiny

Back in the Athens Paralympic Games, Erin Popovich has accomplished something her fellow American Michael Phelps had not done at that time -- she competed in seven events and won all the titles.

Popovich, who is 1.34 meters tall, said the charm of the Paralympics lies in the fact that the disabled people can forget their disabilities and compete whole-heartedly to see what they can achieve.

In the ongoing Paralympics, the disabled athletes move the whole world with their optimism, courage and striving spirit. From another perspective, sports and an arena like the Paralympics serve as the cure for the physical and mental recovery of the disabled people. Many of them have thus changed their destiny.

Popovich, born with achondroplasia, claimed her third gold at the Beijing Paralympics after breaking the world record to win the women's 100m breaststroke SB7 competition. Although the outgoing girl has been participating in football, equestrian and other sports since she was a little girl, it is swimming and the Paralympic Games that make her a real star.

For many other people who suddenly became disabled, sports and the Paralympics have an effect of saving them from despair.

Wu Chunmiao, who took oath on behalf of athletes at the opening ceremony, claimed the title at the women's 100m T11 event on Tuesday. When she lost eyesight at the age of 10, she was dispirited to the utmost. But she discovered another side of herself on the track. "Sports help me find the value of life again," she said.

Kim Il-Yeon of South Korea, 41, still chokes up when recalling her childhood. When she suddenly suffered poliomyelitis at the age of four, she was in despair and for a time thought about committing suicide.

"It is sports that help me regain confidence and have faith in life," Kim said. She won a silver in the women's R8 50m sport rifle competition Tuesday. Currently, she is running for membership of the International Paralympic Committee.

Chinese swimmer Li Hanhua, runner-up in men's 200m freestyle S3 event, shares the feeling. The young man who became disabled in traffic accident at the age of six said, "At that time, I was low-spirited and inactive, and stayed at home every day. It is sports that give me a second life."

Sports have changed their destiny, and they are thinking about changing the destiny of more people. The 47-year-old Australian legendary judoka Athony Clarke bid farewell to his fifth, also the last Paralympics at Beijing with two quick losses in the under 90kg class on Tuesday. But his career does not come to an end. He runs a club which trains blind judokas, and helps his students to continue their training in judo clubs for able-bodied athletes.

A boy who lost his right hand in the Sichuan earthquake watched the Paralypic Games on TV. Now his new idol is Chinese swimmer Du Jianping, who won China's first gold at the Beijing Paralympic Games, and his new goal is to compete in the Paralympics.

This is the charm of sports and the merits of the Paralympics. With 174 gold medals claimed on the first four days of the Beijing Paralympics, what is changed is much more than the destiny of the 174 gold medalists.

Source: Xinhua

Nicaraguan sports commentators hail China for Paralympics

Nicaraguan sports commentators hailed China on Wednesday for the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.

Sports commentator Oscar Gonzales from daily "La Prensa" said that China has given a place to the disabled sportsmen during the Paralympics.

Since Sept. 7 China is holding the Beijing Paralympic Games with 4,000 disabled competitors from 147 countries and regions.

Gonzalez said that with the organization of the Paralympics, China is given recognition to the disabled sportsmen.

Gonzalez told Xinhua that he is amazed because Chinese government give enough expenses for the renewal of the shelters and facilities of the competitions.

Photographer from daily "El Nuevo Diario" Felix Aguirre said that China is giving a deserved welcome to the disabled sportsmen.

"Chinese authorities are giving a special treatment to the disabled people," Aguirre said.

Aguirre added that it is wonderful the way how Chinese government made all the necessary adequacies to host the Beijing Paralympics.

Source: Xinhua

Robinho admits to graffito on Chilean dressing-room wall

RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil forward Robinho has owned up to daubing graffiti on the wall of the team's dressing room after Sunday's 3-0 win away to Chile in a World Cup qualifier.

Newspaper pictures showed the words, "There must be respect for the best team in the world," written in Spanish on the walls of the National Stadium.

Robinho told reporters it was a response to the Chilean players, who he said underestimated Brazil before the game.

"I was the one who wrote it," he said. "Chile should have respected Brazil for our tradition, which I don't need to talk about. They thought it would be easy."

"We didn't ask for anything more than respect."

"Maybe if they had played more defensively, they would have made it more difficult for us. But they tried to play us on equal terms and you saw the result."

Brazil had failed to score in its previous three matches before the Chile game and lost to Venezuela in a friendly and Paraguay in a World Cup qualifier in the process.

The forward, who this month joined Premier League club Manchester City for a British record 32.5 million pounds , said he hoped beleaguered Brazil coach Dunga would keep the job he was in danger of losing before Sunday's win.

"He's our coach, our commander and we hope he stays until the World Cup," said Robinho. "The pressure here is great and the only way to relieve it is with victories."

Brazil, which jumped to second in the 10-team South American qualifying group, is to host bottom team Bolivia on Wednesday.

Source: China Daily/Agencies

Zola promises exciting times at West Ham

LONDON: Gianfranco Zola said he wanted to excite West Ham United's fans with an attacking game as he prepared to be named manager of the east London club.

"This is an opportunity in the Premier League and an opportunity I didn't expect, but it's an opportunity I can't turn down," the Italian said.

The 42-year-old former Chelsea and Italy forward is expected to be appointed by West Ham on Wednesday, according to British media reports.

"I only know one way to play - on the floor, attacking football, the way things should be done," said the Italian.

"I want to excite people, that's why we play isn't it? This is a new era, a new chapter for me. I was an offensive player who only knew one way to play. That's how my teams will always play."

Asked what reaction he expected from fans of West Ham and Chelsea, he said: "I know there is a rivalry between Chelsea and West Ham, but that is not a problem. My playing career is in my past.

"This is a new adventure for me. I spent seven years at Chelsea and they were seven of the best years of my career.

"I loved playing there, but the fans must understand that I have a new career now and my playing career is in the past."

Zola has been working with former Chelsea teammate Pierluigi Casiraghi in charge of the Italy Under-21 team.

Zola flew to Italy on Tuesday after his side drew 1-1 in Croatia to win their European Championship qualifying group.

"The hardest thing was to say goodbye to those players in the dressing room," Zola said.

"Everything has to be agreed with the federation, but I am confident that it will be resolved when I return to Italy. There are still talks, but I am sure they will go well."

Source: China Daily/Agencies

Pressure on Patriots' Cassel after Brady season cut short

MIAMI: The New England Patriots began life without Tom Brady on Tuesday, with two free-agent quarterbacks visiting the team, but it will be long-term back-up Matt Cassel who starts against the New York Jets on Sunday.

Cassel, who has yet to start in over three seasons with the Patriots, will finally get his chance after two-time Superbowl MVP Brady was ruled out for the season with a knee injury.

But already, with speculation about a possible signing, Cassel faces intense scrutiny and pressure.

Patriots coach Bill Belichik confirmed on Tuesday that former Tampa starter Chris Simms and Tim Rattay, released by the Arizona Cardinals, had both visited the club but were sent away.

"They visited but we didn't give them a physical and we didn't work them out. I didn't even see them while they were here. They did visit. They did come in, but we didn't end up doing anything with them. We sent them back," he said.

Cassel, a seventh-round draft pick in 2005 who has not started a game since he played in high school, will now get his chance after a professional career so far backing-up Brady.

College career

He spent his college career at the University of Southern California as a back-up to Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer, now with the Cincinnati Bengals, and Matt Leinart, currently with the Arizona Cardinals.

Cassel, who completed 13 of 18 passes for 152 yards and one touchdown after replacing Brady in Sunday's win against Kansas City, faces the charge that he does not have enough "real game" experience but Belichik defended the 26-year-old.

"He started all four pre-season games and he has played quite a bit of football for us," he said.

"He played more than any other quarterback, by far, in the pre-season and has taken a lot of snaps in training camp. I think that is the best preparation he could have for this year.

"I think from an overall standpoint, going back to July and even in the spring, he has had a lot of reps. He'll get some game opportunity this week."

Should he fail to make the most of that opportunity there will be intense pressure on the Patriots to go quickly for an experienced player, given that the third quarterback is rookie Kevin O'Connell - a talent the franchise will want to protect.

One player whose name is already being linked with New England is former Oakland Raiders playmaker Daunte Culpepper, who announced his retirement last week after failing to find a new team during the off-season.

Culpepper played with Patriots wide-receiver Randy Moss at the Minnesota Vikings.

Grooming a new arrival in the team's playbook will take time but Belichik said it was a possible longer-term solution.

"It's a long season. We've got 15 regular season games left, so I don't think that bringing a player in and him taking two, three, four or five weeks to be fairly efficient in the system is out of the question. That would be a possibility."

Source: China Daily/Agencies

'China's soccer sinner' leaves post

Embattled Chinese Football Association vice president Xie Yalong is set to step down following a closed-door meeting on Tuesday.

He will be sent to the China National School of Administration for a three-month academic course, effectively stripping him of the CFA post.

Though fans and the media have been calling on him to quit, Xie expressed surprise at the decision.

"I was told by my superior before the meeting that I would be sent to study," Xie told Titan sports on Tuesday. "It's a kind of training for officials. I have no idea what kind of job I will do after the course."

Xie's colleague Nan Yong has taken over the job but could be just a caretaker boss.

Xie stands accused of leading China's soccer down a dead end since he took charge four years ago.

Due to a rash of bad decisions the national soccer team has shuffled coaches and the team has struggled to find a decent run of form.

His reputation hit rock bottom after the national team failed to make it into the last round of the 2010 World Cup Asian Zone qualifying round. Even worse, the Olympic team was knocked out of the group competition at the Beijing Games.

Since then Xie has been a target of fans' ire.

At domestic league and women's competitions shouts have been heard from the stands such as: "Xie Yalong, Xia Ke . Similar calls have even been heard during Paralympic competitions.

Fans have also opened "Xie Yalong, Xia Ke" forums on websites in a bid to replace "China's soccer sinner".

Xie refused to talk about his future after the Olympics but Tuesday's decision is seen as a signal that officials from the State General Administration of Sports , the governing body of China's sports, have lost patience with him.

It's been a steady slide for Chinese soccer since Xie, who had no previous soccer management experience, took charge in 2005.

China's CFA is part of the government and the appointment of a possible new soccer chief will take time, though the team will have to prepare for next year's Asian Cup qualifiers.

Before leaving, Xie asked his colleagues to support Nan and prioritize the domestic league, a pivotal part of the nation's soccer development.

"There are no international competitions for the remaining part of the year. So I hope you will support Nan in managing the Chinese Super League . We have to make sure the league goes smoothly as it is an essential part of China's soccer."

Xie, however, has presided over a shrinking base for soccer, as sponsorship has dried up and the number of spectators at matches has fallen. There were also match-fixing allegations and lower TV viewing figures.

The latest embarrassment for the CFA is an outstanding payment from the CSL's 2006 season sponsor Iphox.

The British-based IP telecom vendor signed an eight year deal with CFA in March, 2006, but cut the contract from eight years to one in the middle of that season, with a deal of 6 million euros that has seen just 600,000 euros paid so far. CFA decided to sue the company last week.

Adding to the woes, Infront Sports & Media, the exclusive global marketing partner for the Chinese men's and women's national teams until the end of 2010, reportedly deducted 10 million yuan in sponsorship due to the disastrous performances of the men's senior team and Olympic team.

Shang Ruihua, head coach of China women's team during the Beijing Games, said the CFA management system has hindered the sport's development rather than Xie.

"Regarding the current system, CFA should do something but has no right to make major decisions. Xie and Xie's predecessors have proved soccer's problems are not a result of personal mistakes," said Shang, who left his post after the women's team was eliminated in the quarterfinals during the Beijing games.

"Xie should take some responsibility for the coaching switches in both the men's and women's teams and his ideas were sometimes out of date.

"But I don't think things will become better after Xie leaves if the management system does not change."

Source: China Daily/Agencies

More records tumble as Paralympians excel

The Bird's Nest saw several world records broken yesterday.

China's Zhu Pengkai claimed a gold medal in the men's javelin, F11/12, with a new world record, followed by Branimir Budetic of Croatia and Miroslaw Pych from Poland.

"My third throw was 63.07m and that was my best throw ever," Zhu said. "I performed much better than expected. I felt the gold was in my hands when I made it."

Canadian veteran Dean Bergeron finished his last Paralympic Games with a gold medal in the men's 200m T52. Beat Bosch from Swizerland and Peth Rungsri from Thailand finished, respectively, second and third

Abraham Cheruiyot Tarbei from Kenya broke the men's 1,500m T46 record to win gold, while Abderrahman Ait Khamouch from Spain and Samir Nouioua from Algeria finished second and third.

In the field events, Darko Kralj from Croatia set a new world record in the men's shot put F42 and Arnaud Assoumani from France was crowned champion in the men's long jump F46, also with a new world record.

At the water cube, in the men's 4100 freestyle relay 34pts, the British team grabbed gold in the first swimming relay event of the Games and broke the world record with a time of 3 minutes 51.43 seconds. The silver medal went to Australia and China was third.

The 12 gold medals on offer on the fourth day of competition were shared by nine countries, with Britain, the United States and Russia the leading forces, winning two golds apiece.

In the women's 100m backstroke S8 class, Heather Frederiksen of Britain won the gold in 1:16.74 and rewrote the world record marks twice in one day.

Charalampos Taiganidis won Greece's first gold medal at the Games in the 100m freestyle S13 and set a new world record of 53.37, shaving 0.59 seconds off the former record mark.

In track cycling Britain continued to dominate by winning three out of four gold medals on the last day of competition, which helped the country lead the track cycling medal tally by a remarkable 12 golds and 1 silver.

The first gold of the day went to American cyclist Barbara Buchan in the women's individual pursuit, LC3-4/CP3 category.

Britain's Sarah Storey claimed the women's individual pursuit title, LC1-2/CP4 category, with a new LC1 world record of 3:36.637. China was guaranteed a bronze medal by Dong Jingping.

Anthony Kappes and his pilot Barney Storey took Britain's second gold of the day in the men's sprint, B&VI category.

In the last event of the day, a British team brimming with gold medals and world records overcame finalists China in the men's team sprint, LC1-4 CP3/4 category.

In weightlifting, three women set new records one after another at the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics gymnasium.

The show began with Lucy Ejike from Nigeria, who set two world records in a row in the women's 48kg category.

Coached by her husband, 35-year-old Mexican Amalia Perez ended her gold medal drought by winning the women's 52kg, setting a new Paralympic record with 128kg. Egypt's two-time Paralympic champion Fatma Omar, in the women's 56kg category, broke her own Paralympic record with her second and third attempts with 135kg yesterday, then went on to set a world record, also held by her, at 141.5kg.

Source: China Daily/Agencies

SASCOC hails organization of Beijing Paralympics

Officials with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee Wednesday praised the excellent organization of the Beijing Paralympics.

The Chinese government attached no less importance to the Paralympics than the Aug. 8-24 Olympics, said SASCOC second vice-president Mark Alexander, who came to Beijing for the Olympics.

China fulfilled the pledges for two equally brilliant Olympic Games, Alexander said.

People with physical disabilities have always been one of the priorities of the Chinese government and the importance it attached to the Paralympics is respectable, said SASCOC member Dave van der Merwe.

The organization of the Games was just perfect and the excellent performance and one after another new record also spelled out the success of the Games, said Merwe.

Source: Xinhua

Feature: It's never too old to play for para-athletes

With long black hair, delicate makeup, and what's more important, the big smile in her face after winning a bronze medal at the Beijing Paralympic Games, Italian Clara Podda looked much younger than her age.

The 57-year-old beat French player Isabelle Lafaye Marziou to win her first Paralympic medal in the women's individual class 1-2 table tennis event Wednesday afternoon.

"I must win the medal. I'm so happy with it," said the Italian.

Podda said she has been waiting for the medal for eight years. In Sydney and Athens, she was both ranked fouth.

"I might be the unlucky one, but I finally made it," said Podda, who is also a table-tennis coach for two clubs in Italy.

Podda, who was disabled by a car accident 20 years ago, shrugged off the disadvantage of age.

"It doesn't mean anything to me," she said.

It's Podda's fourth Paralympics. She competed in backstroke event at 1996 Atlanta Paralympics and finished sixth.

She played table tennis for fun in 1999. At the beginning, she even didn't know how to use the paddle. However, two months later, she claimed Italian champion and three months later, European champion.

"I must be a natural ping-pong player," she said, blinking.

She said she will continue her Paralympic journey for a long long time.

"I'll participate in the London Games for sure," she said.

Actually, many Paralympians have competed at several consecutive Games and some of them have achieved a lot.

The Beijing Paralympics is Australian shooter Libby Kosmala's 10th Games, with which the 66-year-old has written the longest Games record of all athletes, both Olympics and Paralympics.

She made debut at the Paralympics in Munich's swimming pool, and then tried athletics and archery. It's not until 1980 Moscow Paralympics that she found out her advantage in shooting by winning one gold and two silvers.

She collected four gold medals in Los Angeles and another four at 1988 Seoul Paralympics.

In recent years, she kept training in spite of not-so-good performance at the Paralympics.

This time in Beijing, she was so close to a bronze medal as she was outscored by Puerto Rico player only with a disadvantage of 0.1 point.

However, "it's not bad," said the evergreen Paralympian.

"I had a bitter last year, a long year and that made some challenges and also made me come back again," Kosmala said.

Emilie Gradisek, 69, of the Slovenian women's sitting volleyball team, had an explanation on why the elder athletes are still active at the Paralympics.

"With more experience I know how to relax the team under pressure with jokes," laughed Gradisek.

Gradisek was highly praised by head coach as the spiritual leader of the team, whose players' average age is 39.3.

"I feel pleased with that, I am important to the team," she said.

The "granny" is ambitious about her future at the Paralympics.

"I may be healthy enough to play at the London Paralympics," she said.

Source: Xinhua

Day 4: Neck-and-neck medal race between China and Britain

With sports action at the Beijing Paralympics in full swing, China and Britain are competing for the top spot in terms of the total number of gold medals.

At the end of Day Four, China was in the lead with 24 golds, followed by Britain with 21 and a distant United Sates with 15.

But at one point in the day, Britain leapfrogged overnight leader China, before the host nation returned to the top mostly because of the super performance of their table tennis players.

China's Zhang Lixin greets the audience on the podium during the awarding ceremony for the final of men's 400m T54 of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, at the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, in Beijing, China, Sept. 10, 2008. Zhang Lixin claimed the title of the event with a time of 45.07 seconds and set a new world record.
Liu Jing, Li Qian, Zhou Ying and Ren Guixiang were all victorious in their respective classes, giving China four out of five table tennis gold medals on offer Wednesday.

Polish teenage star Natalia Partyka spoiled a clean sweep by China as she defeated Fan Lei in straight sets to successfully retain her crown in the F10 category.

"In Athens four years ago it was easy. Here I had much better opponents but I concentrated hard and just played my own game," said Partyka.

Gold medalist Heather Frederiksen of Great Britain, silver medalist Jessica Long of the United States and bronze medalist Mariann Vestbostad of Norway pose for photo at the awarding ceremony of women's 100m backstroke S8 during the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games at the National Aquatics Center in Beijing, Sept. 10, 2008.
"Unfortunately, table tennis is not so famous in Poland. I love to play in China. China is my lucky place," added the 19-year-old.

Partyka, born without a right hand and forearm, and South African amputee swimmer Natalie du Toit are the only two Paralympians who competed in last month's Olympics.

However, two other Athens champions - Mateja Pintar of Slovenia and Zhang Xiaoling of China - suffered bitter defeats. Zhang, a 51-year-old veteran who was seeking her sixth straight Paralympic singles title, lost 3-2 to Sweden's Josefin Abrahamsson in the semifinal, and Pintar was beaten 3-1 by eventual winner Li Qian in the battle for a final berth.

Andrea Zimmerer of Germany, Clara Podda of Italy, Kelly Van Zon of Netherlands and Tommy Urhaug of Norway, all seeded No.1 in their respective classes, also fell at the semifinal stage.

There was more Chinese success in track and field, with Zhang Lixin , Zhu Pengkai and Wu Qing all striking gold medals and breaking world records. Wu Guojing added a powerlifting gold for China when he won the men's 52kg division.

In cycling, Britain was just as dominant as China in table tennis. British riders nabbed three more golds at the Laoshan Velodrome on Wednesday to increase their haul to 12.

They won all but one Paralympic track cycling event in which they entered following last month's Olympics where the team won seven out of 10 titles.

U.S. athlete Nick Taylor uses his feet to throw the ball up into the air before hitting it with the racket tied to his left wrist during a Quad Singles quarterfinal match of the Beijing Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis event against Bas van Erp of the Netherlands at the Olympic Green Tennis Center Sept. 10, 2008. Taylor won 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 over van Erp Wednesday.
"For us, the British cycling team, I think we exceeded what expected - eight golds," said Darren Kenny, who led Britain to beat China for gold in the men's team sprint. "Now we've got 12 golds, so we have achieved our goal."

More than 4,000 athletes from 147 countries and regions compete here in 20 sports in five different categories of disability, with a total of 472 gold medals at stake.

The Paralympics will end on Sept. 17.

Related: Paralympic medal tally on Sept. 10

Kevin Paul of South Africa competes in the SB9 final of men's 100m breaststroke during the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games at the National Aquatics Center in Beijing, Sept. 10, 2008. Paul won the gold medal with a time of 1 min 08.58 secs.
Following is the Paralympic medal tally on Wednesday :

1 CHN - China 24 28 25 77

2 GBR - Britain 21 13 9 43

3 USA - United States 15 7 12 34

4 UKR - Ukraine 11 6 13 30

5 RUS - Russia 10 10 11 31

6 AUS - Australia 8 12 12 32

7 BRA - Brazil 8 6 6 20

8 RSA - South Africa 7 1 3 11

9 CAN - Canada 6 3 6 15

10 ESP - Spain 5 11 6 22

Source: Xinhua

Two more Paralympic powerlifters banned for doping

Two more powerlifters have been expelled from the Beijing Paralympics and banned for two years after failing doping tests, the International Paralympic Committee said on Thursday.

Facourou Sissoko of Mali tested positive for boldenone metabolite, a steriod, on September 6, the day of the opening ceremony, and Liudmyla Osmanova of Ukraine returned an adverse analytical finding of 19-Norandrosterone, also a steriod, in a test conducted on August 29, the IPC said in a statement.

So far, four Paralympic athletes have been caught using banned substances. Pakistani powerlifter Naveed Ahmed Butt had been kicked out after testing positive for methandienone metabolites, while German wheelchair basketball player Ahmet Coskun had been sent home for using finasteride.

The German National Paralympic Committee said that although finasteride is a non-performance enhancement medication, it can be used to cover up drugs that do.

A total of 461 tests, both in and out of competition, have been carried out at the Sept. 6-17 Games.

At the Athens Paralympics in 2004, 680 doping tests were conducted, and 10 violations were caught.


Champion: Life like "Olympics that never ring down curtain"

"Life should be like Olympic Games that never ring down the curtain," said Ping Yali, China's first Paralympic champion on Thursday.

Ping won a gold medal in long jump competition in the 1984 New York Paralympics. Now, 20 years later, she has become the owner of a chain massage parlor stuffed mainly with the blind.

However, as a diabled person, a woman at that, her life is a long story full of tears, smiles, failures and successes.

"I became a mother after I came down from the Paralympic podium with a gold," she recalled, "But, unfortunately, my son was born with eye disease."

"At that time, I encouraged myself and thought life should be like Olympic Games that never ring down the curtain."

"Say, life is just like a 4x100m relay," she told herself, "the first phase is to take a good care of my son; the second to start my business; the third to expand my business."

Starting from 2007, Ping has turned her parlor into a chain of successful business though there were ineviatably all sorts of difficulties. And, more than that, after many years of motherly love and patience, her son has now become her pride -- a college student in Beijing!

Ping was born partly blind. Her mother was infected with measles and died of cancer when Ping was only eight years old.

"When my monther was on here death bed, she couldn't help thinking that her daughter would live a dark life. She had her last breath with her eyes open!" Ping remembered.

Fortunately, her high talent for sports was discovered whe she was at a school for the blind children, and thus she began her athletic career.

Ping said with confidence that she will continue her 'Olympic life,' and open more massage parlors after the Beijing Paralympic Games.

"In this way, I could look after job placement for more disabled, particularly blind people, and give ease to more mothers," said Ping.

Expressing her expectations of the young athletes, Ping said they should plan better their training, competition, living and study, "so that everyone of you could be 'ever-lasting Olympic champions.'"


Portugal boccia team cruises to two finals at Paralympics

Boccia powerhouse Portugal is to dominate the medal standing again at the Beijing Paralympics as they clinched two places in the finals of the mixed pairs BC4 and mixed team on Thursday.

It was an coincidence that Portugal met Spain in three semifinals, the mixed team and mixed pairs BC3 and BC4, receiving two wins and one loss in three clashes.

Portugal dominated the medal standing in the Athens Paralympics with two gold medals and four silvers.

Top ranked pairs Portugal and Spain, winning both their matches in Pool A and B, had a hard work in the semifinals of the mixed pairs BC4. Portuguese pair Fernando Perreira and Bruno Valentim, Athens silver medallists, won 4-3 after a tie-break end against the world No. 2 Spanish, Jose Maria Dueso and Maria Desamparados Baixauli.

"Everybody played very well and it was hard to tell who had the obvious advantage, because we were so close. But I guess in the end it was Portugal who were luckier than us," said Spanish Dueso.

The Portugal pair will meet Brazilian Dirceu Pinto and Eliseu Santos in the final on Friday, who upset the Czech Republic 4-1 in the semifinals.

"We have a sure medal and finally we are in the finals. We don't know who will win so we'll try to relax and avoid being nervous," Valentim told the press.

Later in the day, Portugal upset Spain comfortably 8-2 in the mixed team semifinals while China was defeated by Britain 7-3.

In the mixed pairs BC3 category, Portugal confronted with Spain again in the semifinals, but this time Portugal could not continue their good luck in the mixed pairs BC4, suffering an upset loss to Spain 6-4.

Meanwhile, Paralympic title holder South Korea, including individual gold medallist Park Keon-woo, went through to the finals with a big win 15-0 over Thailand.

Spain was defeated by South Korea in the final four years ago in Athens, and they will challenge the old rivals to make a turn over in the finals on Friday.

"Tomorrow's game will be very tight and not easy for us. We will try our best to reach our goal of winning the gold medal," said Spanish player Santiago Pesquera.

Three finals of the mixed team, mixed pairs BC3and BC4 will be held on Friday, the last day of the five-day boccia competition.


Egypt wins 2nd powerlifting gold at Beijing Paralympics

Egypt collected its second powerlifting gold at the Beijing Paralympics here on Thursday, topping the medal standings of powerlifting.

Egyptian hercules made strong performances as Sherif Othman won a gold in the men's 56kg category and Shaban Yehia Ibrahim brought Egypt a bronze in the men's 60kg category, adding Egypt's amount of medals to five with two gold, one silver and two bronzes.

"Egypt is famous for Powerlifting," said Othman. "That is why we have so many excellent powerlifters. The International Powerlifting Committee gives us support and the Egyptian Powerlifting Committee also supports us."

Young Othman, who will celebrate his 26th birthday next Monday, took the limelight of the men's 56kg category competition, as he lifted 202.5kg to win the gold and made a hat-trick of the world record.

Othman asked 195kg in his first attempt, and lifted it breezily to break the old world record of 194kg holding by Chinese Wang Jian. He lifted 200kg in the second attempt and 202.5kg in his third.

"It is the first time I celebrate my birthday in a foreign country," said Othman. "The gold medal is the best birthday gift ever."

"It is my first time to visit China," he said. "I am impressed by the city. People are all very nice to me. I will never forget the Beijing Paralympics."

Othman used to be a shot putter and started powerlifting only in 2005, when he was encouraged by his coach Said Abdelhafez, also an powerlifter in men's 56kg, and the first Egyptian medallist in Paralympics.

"I just started this sport in 2005, and thanks to the fact that I got an excellent coach Abdelhafez. With his help, I could make the achievement today. He told me that the best time for a powerlifter is from age 25 to 29, and I decide to make the best of the period."

Rasool Mohsin of Iraq took the silver in 185kg, which is the first medal for Iraq at the Beijing Paralympics. Jung Keum-Jong of South Korea finished third in 180kg. Wang Jian of China, winner of the event in 2004 Athens Paralympics, finished fifth.

In men's 60kg category, Hamzeh Mohammadi of Iran lifted 202.5kg to win the gold and broke the Paralympic record. The hercules tried 205.5kg in his fourth attempt to challenge the world record, which is 203kg made by himself, but failed.

"I am happy with the result," said the gold medallist. "I trianed very hard in recent 10 months."

Ayrat Zakiev of Russia lifted 200kg to take the silver. Shaban Yehia Ibrahim brought Egypt a bronze in 195kg.

"Egypt is always quite strong in Paralympic powerlifting," said Ibrahim. "We have a powerlifing committee back in Egypt, which gives us full support. We also have a project especially for Paralympics, which launched in 2007. That's why we are very well prepared."

"More medals for Egypt can be expected," he said.

By Thursday, Egypt led the powerlifting medal standings, followed by China with two golds and a sliver. Nigeria ranked third with two golds.


Brazil gets first win over China in men's wheelchair basketball

Brazil snapped their four-match losing streak by outplaying China 65-46 in a group B preliminary game of the Paralympic wheelchair basketball on Thursday at the National Indoor Stadium.

Brazil dominated the winless Chinese team, scoring 40 points in the paint and grabbing 42 rebounds.

Guard Everaldo Lima was the Brazilian team's highest scorer with 20 points, one point more than teammate Leandro Mirando. Mirando, a centre, had the most rebounds of 18 in the game.

Centre Ding Hai was the top-scoring player of the game with 24 points, but inaccurate ball handling cost China 18 turnovers.

"My teammates and I cooperated well. They kept passing me the ball and I got chances to score," said Ding.

On playing for a club in Spain, Ding said: "I gained a lot of experience there and I am working on my Spanish. Life in Spain is not bad."

"I haven't been home for two years, so I want to go home to stay with my parents. My mother will make dumplings, which are my favourite," said Ding for next plan.

China finished their preliminary matches with a record of 0-5.

Both teams missed spot in quarterfinals and will play in the classification round on Friday at the National Indoor Stadium.

Winners of the two classification matches will play for 9th and 10th place on Tuesday. Losers will play for 11th and 12th place on Sunday.


HK spectators show support to Para-equestrian competitions

During five-day Paralympic Equestrian Events in Hong Kong, spectators have enjoyed their time at the Sha Tin equine venue by showing support to paralympic-riders and tasting the ambience of the Games.

"It's great! Wonderful!" said Hong Kong citizen Leung Mo Yee who specially took a half day-off from work to watch the Paralympic equestrian competitions. Leung said it was a scarce opportunity for Hong Kong to hold such a large-scale sport event and was absolutely worth supporting.

Coming from different walks of life, many spectators shared the same sentiment of Leung and having an enjoyable time at the Sha Tin venue, one of them was school teacher Miss Lau.

"I think it's just marvelous," said Lau who also watched the Olympic Equestrian last month, adding that Paralympic riders fully presented their persistence in the performances.

Among the spectators, there were quite a lot of disabled people and they also had a good time attending in the events. Forty members from the Hong Kong Physically Handicapped and Able-bodied Association went to enjoy the dressage tests.

"The overall feedback was good. They thought it was a great experience to have participated in the Paralympic as a spectator," Michael Cheung Ling-fung, Assistant Supervisor of the Association, said that their members were especially happy about the atmosphere and barrier-free facilities provided at the venue.

The 2008 Para-equestrian events have a dual meaning to the Chinese people as it is the first time for China to host such an event and the first time for Chinese riders to show up in the arena.

With spectators waving Chinese national flags and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region flags, and giving big hands, the two Chinese riders contending on their home soil never lack fans to cheer for them.

Local spectator Mr. Yip described Nelson Yip Siu-hong as a "sunshine rider" who has brightened up Hong Kong as he opened up a new page for the Paralympic horse sport in the city.

Miss Chan, a volunteer from the Riding for the Disabled Association Limited of Hong Kong, went to give support to Nelson Yip on purpose. She said that the events were fabulous, and in fact, every rider did very well.

Hong Kong people's zest made Peng Yulian, rider representing the China, fill with joy, "The atmosphere was good and they are so passionate."


Chinese President visits special education, rural schools to mark Teachers' Day

Chinese President Hu Jintao visited a special education school and a rural middle school in the central Henan Province to mark the country's 24th Teachers' Day, which falls on Wednesday.

At the Zhengzhou Deaf-Mutes School in the provincial capital, Hu, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, commended the teachers for bringing sunshine and hope to the handicapped children with their love and hard work.

He said the cause of special education deserved respect from the whole society, urging the 110-strong faculty members to give more care and even better education to the children for their healthy growth.

Chinese President Hu Jintao talks with students at Gaomiao Middle School in Qinghua Town of Bo'ai County under Jiaozuo City, central China's Henan Province. President Hu Jintao made an inspection tour in Henan Province from Sept. 8 to Sept. 10.
In the classrooms, the president told the students about the significance conveyed by the ongoing Beijing Paralympic Games, and encouraged them to build themselves a bright future with the help of the society and the teachers.

Chinese President Hu Jintao shakes hands with a teacher as he visits Gaomiao Middle School in Qinghua Town of Bo'ai County under Jiaozuo City, central China's Henan Province. President Hu Jintao made an inspection tour in Henan Province from Sept. 8 to Sept. 10.
On Tuesday morning, Hu also visited a rural junior high school called the Gaomiao Middle School, in Qinghua Township, Jiaozuo City.

He sent his greetings to the teachers, saying their diligent work has helped many children from the countryside realize their dreams.

Chinese President Hu Jintao shakes hands with a teacher as he visits a school for blind, deaf and dumb students in Zhengzhou, capital of central China's Henan Province, on Sept. 10, 2008, the 24th Teachers' Day of China. President Hu Jintao made an inspection tour in Henan Province from Sept. 8 to Sept. 10.
He promised to further improve rural teachers' working and living conditions and told them to foster more talents for the country.

Hu also expressed concern about children left behind by parents who were working in cities as migrant workers, saying the country was taking measures to give them better care.

The president also visited the school kitchen and the students' dormitory, telling the school to take good care of their life.

Chinese President Hu Jintao shakes hands with a teacher as he visits a school for blind, deaf and dumb students in Zhengzhou, capital of central China's Henan Province, on Sept. 10, 2008, the 24th Teachers' Day of China. President Hu Jintao made an inspection tour in Henan Province from Sept. 8 to Sept. 10.
After playing together with the students on the playground, Hu talked with student Huang Zaizhen, encouraging him to study hard to become a person of use for his hometown and for the homeland.

He led the students in the applause in honor of the teachers.

Source: Xinhua