‘US rethinks Chinese investment in AI start-ups’
China / June 19, 2017

The Pentagon has raised concerns about China’s access to artificial-intelligence-based technology developed in the US, according to Reuters. The news agency says a leaked report proposes that export controls be updated to stop Chinese organisations being able to invest in some start-ups. It suggests the move is needed to prevent their advanced algorithms being repurposed for the military by Beijing. One expert said the report sounded credible. “Quite a few people in the US security establishment see China as a likely potential adversary,” Prof Trevor Taylor, from the UK’s Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, told the BBC. “A message that’s come through clearly from the Pentagon is that artificial intelligence and man-machine interfaces are going to be crucial for the US to restore the gap between its capabilities and that of others. “So, it’s understandable that they would not want the Chinese to get access to American expertise. “And that innovation is widely associated with small firms that are seeking to secure funding.” Reuters’ report follows an appearance by Defence Secretary Jim Mattis at a Senate hearing on Tuesday. “For decades, the United States enjoyed uncontested or dominant superiority in every operating domain or realm… today,…

China cracks down on moneylenders targeting students
China / June 19, 2017

China is cracking down on online moneylenders who target university students, following concerns about the largely unregulated industry. A recent government directive has ordered such lenders to suspend all activities wooing student borrowers. The move follows reports of exorbitant interest rates and unsavoury practices in the industry, including demanding “nude selfies” as collateral. Online peer-to-peer moneylending has grown popular in China in recent years. Known as “wang dai” in Chinese, it sees strangers providing small loans to others via websites and phone apps. ‘Severely harmed their safety’ The directive (in Chinese) was made by China’s banking, education and social security authorities, according to a copy released by the Jiangxi provincial government on its website on Friday. It said the measures were needed to address moneylenders “making extortionate loans” and other behaviour that has “severely harmed the safety of university students”.

Turbulence on Paris-China flight injures 26
China / June 19, 2017

At least 26 people were injured, four seriously, when turbulence hit a China Eastern Airlines flight from Paris on Sunday, state media reports. The turbulence struck as flight MU774 was on its way to Kunming, in the southern Yunnan province. Passengers suffered broken bones, cuts to the scalp and soft tissue injuries, the Xinhua state news agency reported. China Eastern Airlines later said it was crucial passengers wear seatbelts as flights descend. “I was on the flight, and I felt like I would not survive,” the Hong Kong- based South China Morning Post quoted one passenger as saying on the Weibo microblogging site. “Many people were injured, and among them, many had not buckled up.” Xinhua said (in Chinese) that two violent bumps and many small bumps occurred over about 10 minutes. It said that during the turbulence, several passengers’ heads and shoulders collided with the luggage racks, some luggage racks broke from the impact, and some luggage fell off the racks and hit customers. The airline said on its Weibo account (in Chinese) that the Airbus A330, that had taken off from Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport, landed safely in Kunming.

China steadily moves ahead in global innovation rankings
China / June 16, 2017

GENEVA – The first-ever middle-income country to join the world’s top 25 innovative economies in 2016, China this year continues moving ahead on the list by three notches, displaying a strong performance in several indicators, according to the latest Global Innovation Index (GII) released on Thursday. Ranking 22 on the GII this year, China again becomes the only exception in the top 25 of the innovation list, with the rest 24 all being high-income economies. A closer look into the general index shows that China moves up one spot to the 16th position in innovation quality, retaining its position for the fifth consecutive year as the top middle-income economy and getting closer to high-income economies. This movement can be attributed to a number of strong indicators, including domestic market scale, knowledge workers, patents by origin, high-tech exports, and industrial designs by origin, all of which top their sub-rankings. European countries take eight places out of the top 10, with Switzerland remaining its No. 1 position in the GII for the seventh consecutive year. It’s followed by Sweden and Netherlands, the latter having leaped from the ninth last year to the third in 2017. The United States remains at the fourth,…

Online anger in China over breast-fondling ‘magician’
China / June 16, 2017

A video blogger has ignited a debate about women’s safety in China, after he posted videos of himself pretending to be a street magician so that he could fondle women’s breasts. The man, who calls himself “Chris”, is shown approaching young women in the city centre of Chengdu. He asks them if he can show them a coin trick. As he talks, the women appear to relax in his presence. Then he presses a coin to their chests and begins to fondle their breasts. A local shop owner told local media that he had spotted the videos online and contacted police. State-run news website The Cover said police had found the man – identified in media reports as a video blogger from Shanghai with the surname Xu – and were carrying out an investigation. They are calling for women to come forward if they have been approached by him. Who is this ‘magician’? The blogger has more than 40,000 followers on microblogging network Sina Weibo, where he describes himself as an “online prankster”. Image caption“Chris” posts videos on his social media channels of himself asking women inappropriate questions Since March, he has been posting videos in which he is shown…

Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park to turn into an ‘arts wonderland’ at this year’s PAssionArts Festival
China / June 15, 2017

The sixth edition of the People’s Association’s community arts festival will also be heading to places such as Science Centre Singapore, Pasir Ris Beach, and Aljunied. Dance, music, and visual art come together at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park during the media preview for PAssionArts Festival 2017. (Photo: Mayo Martin)  Share this content SINGAPORE: Next month, visitors will see more than verdant greenery at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park when the site becomes an “arts wonderland”. This year’s edition of PAssionArts Festival will kick off with a three-day site-specific event called LandArts, which will see various types of installations and performances scattered all over the park. It will run from Jun 30 to Jul 2, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong gracing the official opening on Jul 1. This is one of the many events lined up by People’s Association (PA) for its sixth edition of the annual community arts event, which will run until Aug 5. Carrying the theme Arts of Wonder, One Nation, the festival includes around 500 art activities and programmes to be held island-wide, including 48 festival villages. PA group director for arts and culture, Nah Juay Hng, said the festival aims to “bring arts of quality and…

China billionaire Wu Xiaohui reportedly under probe
China / June 13, 2017

Chairman of Anbang Insurance taken away for investigation, sources say, amid graft crackdown on financial sector Wu Xiaohui, the chairman of Anbang Insurance who married a granddaughter of former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, was taken away by mainland authorities for investigation, the Chinese language magazine Caijing reported on Tuesday, citing unidentified sources.  This article is powered by DBestInfo Wu, one of the most high-profile mainland billionaires, has been involved in a war of words with the leading magazine Caixin and its editor-in-chief, Hu Shuli, in the last few weeks about whether Wu and his company, Anbang, had been involved in ­irregularities. Caijing reported on Tuesday that the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, the regulator of Anbang, had held a meeting with its executives on Saturday and informed them that Wu had been taken away, although detailed reasons were not given. Anbang did not immediately reply to a request for comment. A source who was familiar with the matter told the South China Morning Post that Wu had been “assisting relevant investigations” for a while, but had always managed to return to his office or home after a few hours of questioning. But Wu hadn’t returned since he was taken away at…