Sunday, October 31, 2010

Indonesia Tsunami Death Toll Rises to over 400

The tsunami which swept across Indonesia’s northern Mentawai Islands has now claimed at least 413 lives, reports the Jakarta Post, with 298 still missing.

The tsunami, triggered by a 7.7-magnitude undersea earthquake on Oct. 25, destroyed six of 27 villages on islands and displaced 4000 people.

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Chinese Public Warned to Expect Further Inflation

hough inflation exists in China, rarely will an official warn the public to expect it to continue.

A member of the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission recently spoke anonymously to domestic media, saying that further interest rate increases will not control inflation so the public must simply be resigned to it, according to Deutsche Welle.

Subsequently, many media outlets, including China's state-run Xinhua News Agency, reported numerous responses from Internet users. The public decried the NDRC’s warning as illogical.
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US Govt. Investigating China Trade

WASHINGTON—The United Steelworkers union (USW) opposed China’s entrance into the WTO ten years ago, fearing the loss of American manufacturing jobs. Today, the steelworkers are still fighting, saying that by not adhering to WTO rules, China gets an unfair advantage over the United States.

“We fought China’s accession to the WTO because we know that they cheat and they lie and they say we want to be players and play by the rules, and they don’t,” says Gary Hubbard, a spokesperson for United Steelworkers.

In September the U.S. Trade Representative accepted a 5,800-page petition from the USW accusing China's clean energy sector of wide-spread violations of WTO rules.
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Friday, October 29, 2010

New York Real Estate Expo Set to Inspire Industry

NEW YORK—Distress, lending, wealth, green building, new rules… the list of topics covered at the upcoming NYC Network Real Estate Expo reads as an “all you need to know about real estate in New York.”

From Robert Knakal’s talk on the midterm elections and “How They May Impact Commercial Real Estate Values,” to William Procida’s distressed property seminar, the Mariott Marquis in Times Square will be buzzing on Nov. 5.

Many real estate professionals are gearing up for the event, with organizers anticipating up to 4,000 attendees, double the figure from last year.

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China’s ‘Map World’ Without Google

hina’s State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping (SBSM) announced that it will redistribute the market of Internet maps at the end of this year or early next year. Noticeably, Google Maps is not included.

On Oct. 21, China’s Map World, a national, public Internet service of geographic information, was officially up and running. The new Map World has almost the same functions as Google Maps. Information includes roads, water systems, administrative districts, residential areas, and geographic names. It has real-image mode and three-dimensional mode. It also provides information on business locations, such as shops and restaurants. According to the SBSM, Map World will be updated every six months. So far, this website cannot provide high-resolution images of areas outside China.

In March, Google withdrew its Internet search service from China and moved its servers to Hong Kong to avoid Chinese regime censorship. Since then Google’s Internet service market share has been dropping in China. However, mainland Internet users can still access Google, including its map service, through the Hong Kong server.
Chinese Business License

In the past, map information in China has been classified as military secret. And survey and mapping services are still restricted in China. A company must obtain a license before it can provide these services. To apply for the license, the company server that keeps the mapping information must be located inside China, and the company must provide the server’s public IP.

In May, China issued a new regulation called and said all companies who provide Internet geographic information must apply for business permits.

The that were announced in 2007, stipulate that foreign businesses involved in mapping in China, must have joint venture and cooperation with a Chinese business. Also, the Chinese company must be the holding company.

As of the end of September, authorities have issued business permits to 31 companies, including Tencent, Baidu, Sina, and Nokia. Google is not among them.

Since Google Maps did not get a license to operate in China, it has no chance of entering the map service market in China, unless Google moves its servers back to China and agrees to let a Chinese company hold the majority of its stock.
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Same Satellite Images

After China set up Map World, Chinese media said that the software is the intellectual property of the Chinese government. However, a Chinese Internet user found out that the satellite images on Map World and Google Maps are exactly the same in many instances, including the number of cars on highways, the cars’ shapes, positions, and colors. The Internet user surmised that the two satellite maps have to come from the same source.

Jiang Jie, Chief of the Bureau’s Center of National Basic Geological Information, admitted, “the satellite images are purchased from overseas.”

So far Google has not commented.