China stops buying US farm products

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

China stops buying US farm products

Shine

China’s Commerce Ministry said on Tuesday that Chinese companies have stopped buying US agricultural products, and that China will not rule out imposing import tariffs on US farm products that were bought after August 3.

“Related Chinese companies have suspended purchases of US agricultural products,” the ministry said in an online statement posted shortly after midnight in Beijing on Tuesday.

The statement said China hoped the United States would keep its promises and create the “necessary conditions” for bilateral cooperation.

US President Donald Trump said last Thursday that China had not fulfilled a promise to buy large volumes of US farm products and vowed to impose new tariffs on around US$300 billion of Chinese goods, abruptly ending the China-US trade truce.

In response to the US accusations, an official with the China’s top economic planning agency said “such accusations are groundless.”

Cong Liang, secretary-general of the National Development and Reform Commission, said from the conclusion of the Osaka meeting to the end of July, a total of 2.27 million tons of US soybeans were newly shipped to China, and another 2 million tons of soybeans are expected to be loaded in August.

Since July 19, Chinese companies have made inquiries about purchasing US soybeans, sorghum, wheat, corn, cotton, dairy products, hay, ethyl alcohol, soybean oil, wine, beer, fresh and processed fruits and other agricultural products.

By the evening of August 2, a number of deals had been concluded, including 130,000 tons of soybeans, 120,000 tons of sorghum, 60,000 tons of wheat and 40,000 tons of pork and pork products, Cong said.

“China and the United States are highly complementary in the agricultural sector and the trade of agricultural products is in line with the mutual interests of both sides,” said Cong.

Cong said the reason that some US products, including ethyl alcohol and corn, failed to clinch a deal in the Chinese market is because their prices are less competitive.

“We hope the United States will do more to clear obstacles and create conditions for China’s purchase of US agricultural products,” said Cong.

5 Cities Most at Risk With Rising Sea Levels

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 Cities Most at Risk With Rising Sea Levels

There are 570 coastal cities that could be impacted by rising sea levels by the 2050’s, affecting some 800 million people, according to C40 Cities. Cities along the Atlantic coast in the U.S. and various parts of Asia are under the greatest threat. Here’s a look at the cities most at risk if sea levels rise significantly.

Miami, Florida, U.S.A.

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Located on the southeastern tip of Florida, this low-lying city will be completely inundated with flood waters if sea levels rise as some predict. With a population of over 2.7 million, the entire Miami-Dade county is only an average of six feet above sea level, making it an easy target for flooding.

The city is trying to address the problem with $500 million worth of infrastructure changes and the installation of pumps and floodgates, according to NPR.

Alexandria, Egypt

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Located on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt, the city of Alexandria is already feeling the effects of climate change. If sea levels continue to rise at the current rate, an estimated 3 million people would be directly affected, and millions more would eventually be displaced, according to The Guardian.

The drastic impact from rising sea levels is worsened by the Nile, the longest river in the world, which empties into the Mediterranean Sea near Alexandria. The low-lying river delta in this area continues to flood, causing the loss of much-needed crops in this heavily populated city, according to NPR. Climate change is also causing hotter temperatures and beach erosion. This is hampering tourism in the area, which is a very important aspect of the city’s economic livelihood, according to NPR. Making matters worse, the average elevation of the area is only 16 feet above sea level.

Osaka, Japan

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This large port city on the Japanese island of Honshu has been aware of the threat of climate change for a while. There has been massive coastal flooding in areas of the city, including its airport. According to The Guardian, an estimated 5 million people will be directly impacted by the rising sea levels, and an additional 6 million could be displaced in the city’s surrounding region.

Like other major coastal cities, Osaka has been updating its infrastructure in an attempt to combat the rising waters. Unfortunately, in a study by the Institute for Global Change Adaptation Science in Japan, it was found that the current designs for these walls may be insufficient against a prospective higher sea level.

Hong Kong, China

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The fate of this global financial hub depends on how high temperatures rise. A rise of just 2 degrees Celsius puts Hong Kong’s entire population of 7.4 million people at risk, along with many more in the surrounding coastal areas, according to The Guardian. A warm-up of more than 2 degrees could be catastrophic. The average elevation of Hong Kong varies, but it is typically only about 4 feet above sea level, worsening the situation.

Shanghai, China

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All of China’s coastal cities are at risk, according to GBTIMES. Its largest city, Shanghai, with a population of 24.2 million, is unfortunately at the forefront. Scientists have been warning the city for many years that it is already a major flood risk due to its dense population on the low-lying coast and its abundance of rivers, canals and other waterways, according to The New York Times.

According to The Guardian, 17.5 million people will be affected if sea levels rise to the current expectation. At just 13 feet above sea level, the city has been installing massive flood prevention walls in an attempt to prevent future problems. Only time will tell if these efforts help.

4 Best Museums Not Focused on Nature and Science

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

4 Best Museums Not Focused on Nature and Science

Nature and science museums make up some of the most prestigious collections in the world. From San Francisco’s Exploratorium and the Science Museum in London to the Deutsches Museum in Munich and the Field Museum in Chicago, there are plenty to choose from. But there are a ton of lesser-known, quirky and odd museums that pack a punch. Here are four of the best and funkiest museums not focused on nature and science:

Idaho Potato Museum

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In a place known for its potatoes, it’d be a shame if Idaho didn’t have a potato museum. Luckily, it does. Located in Blackfoot, Idaho, the potato museum holds the world’s largest potato chip, measuring in at 25 inches by 14 inches. There’s a timeline of the history of potato consumption in the U.S. In fact, the introduction of fries to the White House menu was selected way back during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson. Peruvian-made 1,600-year-old vessels believed to be the first containers to be used specifically for potato storage are also on display, along with a hall of fame.

Ramen Museum

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The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum in Osaka, Japan, is dedicated to instant noodles and Cup Noodles, as well as the company’s creator and founder Momofuku Ando. Admission is free, and you’ll see more ramen than you could even imagine in one place. There is even a noodle factory where visitors can assemble their own personal cup.

Museum of Bad Art

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With “art too bad to be ignored,” the Museum of Bad Art, with multiple locations around eastern Massachusetts, is a privately-owned museum featuring the work of artists “whose work would be displayed and appreciated in no other forum.” It’s so bad that it’s good. Or maybe not. In any case, a famous piece of theirs, Lucy in the Field With Flowers, was acquired from the trash in Boston. Others were donated by the artist or perhaps by a relative. The museum has spurned a trend in other areas, and it’s sometimes described as “anti-art.” However, the owners dispute that, saying the collection is a tribute to the sincerity of the artists who persevered despite something going wrong in the process.

Cancun Underwater Museum

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Devoted to art conservation, the Cancun Underwater Museum features 500 underwater sculptures, mostly by the British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, but also by local Mexican artists. Known as MUSA (Museo Subacuatico de Arte), the project demonstrates the interaction between art and environmental science. They have three different galleries submerged 3-6 meters deep in the ocean at Cancun National Marine Park. The objective of the museum, opened in 2010, was to save nearby coral reefs by providing an alternative destination for divers. The statues also have holes in them, allowing marine life to colonize and feed off of the coral growing at the site.

10 Most Populated Cities in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

10 Most Populated Cities in the World

Earth is home to more than 7.7 billion people and we have to put them somewhere. For millions of people, cities are that somewhere, with everyone existing next to each other with varying degrees of comfort. These are the 10 most populated cities in the world, according to the World Population Review.

Osaka, Japan | 19.2 Million

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For tourists, Osaka is about two things. The first is eating. The Japanese term “kuidaore,” which translates to “eat yourself broke” or “eat until you drop,” is frequently used to describe the city. The second is shopping. The city is full of stores, outlets, malls, bodegas, stalls and vendors. Between those two, you should have a pretty good idea of what your itinerary will be full of in Osaka.

Beijing, China | 20 Million

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There’s some irony in the fact that 20 million people have such ready access to the Forbidden City, a palace that traditionally carried strict, and often fatal, punishment for unauthorized visitors. Though not ironic is the fact that Beijing remains the seat of the Chinese government. That was the original point of the Forbidden City, after all.

Mumbai, India | 20.2 Million

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Mumbai is another one of those old cities that was renamed by the British empire, and has made the modern decision to change back. That’s why some readers may recognize the name Bombay, which was the name of the city up until 1995, when the political party Shiv Sena came to power in the city. Whatever you call it, there are a lot of people living in the city.

Dhaka, Bangladesh | 20.3 Million

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For a city with so many people, we haven’t heard a whole lot about Dhaka. It’s the capital of Bangladesh, so that’s something. It kind of makes it seem like a city of more than 20 million people is some kind of well-kept secret. Not to Bangladeshis, obviously, but to the rest of us.

Cairo, Egypt | 20.5 Million

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Unlike the other cities on this list, Cairo’s population growth is apparently on track for disaster. Just 11 years from now, in 2030, the city’s projected to hit 119 million and the government’s scrambling for solutions. Hopefully they figure something out quickly because 11 years is pretty much the blink of an eye when it comes to city planning.

Mexico City, Mexico | 21.7 Million

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Mexico City’s origins are in some very cool terraforming done by the Aztecs. They expanded a small natural island in Lake Texcoco into an island large enough to house their fortified city, Tenochtitlán, by dumping dirt into the lake until the island was big enough. Today, the sprawl of Mexico City has far exceeded what the island could have held.

São Paulo, Brazil | 21.8 Million

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São Paulo’s size caught us a little off guard. Rio de Janeiro is in the news so often that it’s almost like the default Brazilian city. But São Paulo’s population beats Rio’s by millions. It’s a financial center for Brazil but doesn’t sacrifice culture to achieve it. Case in point, São Paulo’s ethnic diversity is huge, with reasonably large Jewish, Japanese, Italian and Arab populations, among others.

Shanghai, China | 26.3 Million

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The fact that Beijing wasn’t the most populous city in China was a little surprising, though we’d say Shanghai would have been our second guess for “largest Chinese city.” Shanghai’s a great place to experience the convergence of old and new Chinese culture and certainly has enough going on that you won’t be bored. Lost maybe, but not bored.

Delhi, India | 29.4 Million

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Delhi is expanding so much that it’s approaching the next step in the development of cities, where the word city may not even apply anymore. Megacity gets closer, but we’re almost thinking that a modernized form of city-state might be more appropriate. City will work for now, but we imagine there’s going to be an etymologically significant conversation happening in the Indian government soon.

Tokyo, Japan | 37.4 Million

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Tokyo was the only city that could possibly be expected to top this list, even if you didn’t know the exact population. It’s huge and full of people, two things that seem like simple statements until you actually put them in context. It’s constantly brought up in conversations about population density, city planning and the psychology of living in a huge modern city and is the place to watch if humanity’s going to understand its urban future.

3 Things You Need to See in Japan Before They’re Gone

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Things You Need to See in Japan Before They’re Gone

If you ask most people to name something synonymous with Japan, they’ll probably say “geisha, anime, and sushi.” And while all three of these items are originated in the land of the rising sun, and are popular abroad, they’re not the only things that represent the island nation. If you’re planning a trip to Japan, you’re going to want to make sure that you time it properly so you can experience one of these popular festivals and immerse yourself in Japan’s vibrant culture.

Tenjin Matsuri in Osaka

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If you’re planning a trip in late July, then be sure to book your dates around the 24th and 25th for Tenjin Matsuri (“matsuri” means festival), which takes place in Osaka on the same dates every year. It’s one of the most popular festivals in the country, ranking in the top three events for locals and visitors. Just like anywhere else, summer is a popular season for festivals, and this one has a history dating back 1,000 years. Tenjin Matsuri celebrates the Sugawara Michizane deity, who presides over scholarship and learning.

While Tokyo and Kyoto are considered to have more reserved residents that might be shy to interact with foreigners, Osaka is considered more laid-back, making it a welcoming option for visitors who don’t speak Japanese. The two-day festival includes outdoor events, theatrical performances, and processions as well as plenty of opportunities to eat, drink, and be merry.

Awa Odori Matsuri in Tokushima

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Find us a nation that hates dancing and we’ll be very shocked. Just like anywhere else, dancing in Japan is a way to celebrate, connect with loved ones, and share cultural traditions. Awa Odori Matsuri is a festival that takes place every August in Tokushima and is specifically focused on celebrating various dance forms that originated in Japan. Often ignored in favor of more fast-paced cities like Tokyo, Tokushima transforms into a vibrant oasis as processional dances take place daily throughout the six-day event.

Performance troops come from across the nation to showcase their well-crafted dances. Awa Odori Matsuri has become so popular that the event attracts millions of visitors from around the world. In addition to processional dances, there are stages with riser seating set up for easier viewing as well as the occasional dance competition between competing troops. If immersing yourself in Japanese culture is your goal, consider this festival a crash course.

Sapporo Autumn Festival in Sapporo

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Sapporo is a city located on the northernmost major island within Japan—Hokkaido. Most people might be only vaguely familiar with the city because of the beer that has the same name (and yes, that beer is brewed there!). But Sapporo is also well-known for its numerous festivals that take place throughout the year. You might be aware of their winter festival, Sapporo Yuki Matsuri, which often features astounding structures etched entirely from ice or snow—but we’re not here to talk about that.

If you come to Sapporo in September, then you’re in for a real treat because you can plan your trip to coincide with the Sapporo Autumn Festival. Foodies, wine lovers, and craft beer fans will rejoice at this event because it centers around good food, drinks, and camaraderie. However, plan accordingly because the festival dates can shift depending on when autumn is set to start each year. While this is usually in September, the specific dates can change. In 2019, the Sapporo Autumn Festival will take place from September 6 through the 29th. But since that’s almost the entire month, you have a bit more flexibility and won’t feel pressed to create an itinerary focused on a small window of time.

12 Chinese Fishermen Are Missing After Collision At Sea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS-SHINE)

 

Fears for Chinese fishermen

TWELVE people were missing after a fishing vessel from the Chinese mainland collided with a Hong Kong tanker early yesterday in international waters some 400 kilometers north of the Oki Islands in west Japan, according to the Chinese Consulate-General in Osaka.

Four of the 16 crew members on board the fishing vessel have been rescued, while 12 others were still missing, said the consulate-general.

The Japan Coast Guard has set up a response unit and sent three patrol vessels to the area where the accident happened.

The consulate-general sent a working group to the scene to help with the rescue and is keeping contact with the Japan Coast Guard.

The fishing vessel was identified as the 290-ton Lurong Yuanyu 378.

The tanker was identified as Bright Oil Lucky, a 63,294-ton ship carrying 21 crew members.

The tanker’s crew were believed to be safe, a Japanese coast guard official said.