Elon Musk Slammed Online by Chinese – Latest news headlines


Chinese citizens lashed out online against billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk’s space ambitions on Monday after China complained that its space station was forced to take evasive action to avoid collision with satellites launched by Musk’s Starlink programme.

The satellites from Starlink Internet Services, a division of Musk’s SpaceX aerospace company, had two “close encounters” with the Chinese space station on July 1 and October 21, according to a document submitted by China earlier this month to the UN’s space agency.

“For safety reasons, the China Space Station implemented preventive collision avoidance control,” China said in a document published on the website of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.

The complaints have not been independently verified. SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a post on China’s Twitter-like Weibo microblogging platform on Monday, one user said Starlink’s satellites were “just a pile of space junk”, while another described them as “American space warfare weapons”.

With nearly 30,000 satellites and other debris believed to be orbiting the planet, scientists have urged governments to share data to reduce the risk of catastrophic space collisions.

SpaceX alone has deployed nearly 1,900 satellites to serve its Starlink broadband network, and is planning more.

“The risks of Starlink are being gradually exposed, the whole human race will pay for their business activities,” a user posting under the name Chen Haiying said on Weibo.

US space agency NASA was forced to abruptly call off a spacewalk at the end of November, citing risks posed by space debris. Musk tweeted in response that some Starlink satellite orbits had been adjusted to reduce the possibility of collisions.

China began constructing the space station in April with the launch of Tianhe, the largest of its three modules. The station is expected to be completed by the end of 2022 after four crewed missions.

Musk has become a well-known figure in China, though Tesla’s electric-vehicle business has come under growing scrutiny from regulators, especially after a customer climbed on top of a Tesla car at the Shanghai auto show in April to protest against poor customer service.

© Thomson Reuters 2021




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Latest News Today – China to Send 3 Astronauts to Its Space Station Tianhe


A three-man crew of astronauts will blast off in June for a three-month mission on China’s new space station, according to a space official who was the country’s first astronaut in orbit.

The plans for the station’s first crew were confirmed to state television by Yang Liwei, the manned space programme’s deputy chief designer, as an automated spacecraft was launched with fuel and supplies for the Tianhe station.

Tianhe, or Heavenly Harmony, is the third and largest space station launched by China’s increasingly ambitious space program. Its core module was launched into orbit April 29.

The Shenzhou 12 capsule carrying the crew will be launched from the Jiuquan base in China’s northwest next month, Yang said in comments broadcast Saturday by China Central Television.

They will practice spacewalks and conduct repairs and maintenance as well as scientific operations.

Yang, who orbited Earth in 2003, gave no details of the astronauts’ identities or a flight date and said the crew will come from the program’s two earliest groups of astronauts.

Asked whether women would be in the crew, Yang said, “on Shenzhou 12 we don’t have them, but missions after that all will have them.”

The Tianzhou-2 spacecraft that docked with Tianhe on Sunday carried 6.8 tons of cargo including space suits, food and equipment for the astronauts and fuel for the station, according to the space program.

The space agency plans a total of 11 launches through the end of next year to deliver two more modules for the 70-ton station, supplies and the crew.

Beijing doesn’t participate in the International Space Station, largely due to US objections. Washington is wary of the Chinese program’s secrecy and its military connections.

China has sent 11 astronauts, including two women, into space beginning with Yang’s flight in October 2003. The first female astronaut was Liu Yang in 2012.

All of China’s astronauts to date have been pilots from the ruling Communist Party’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army.

Astronauts on the Tianhe will practice making spacewalks with two people outside the hull at one time, according to Yang. China’s first spacewalk was made in 2008 by Zhai Zhigang outside the Shenzhou 7 capsule.

Also this month, the Chinese space programme landed a probe, the Tianwen-1, on Mars carrying a rover, the Zhurong.


It’s an all television spectacular this week on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, as we discuss 8K, screen sizes, QLED and mini-LED panels — and offer some buying advice. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.



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Latest News Today – 7.4-Magnitude Earthquake Hits China’s Qinghai Province


An earthquake of magnitude of 7.4 jolted China’s Qinghai province today.

Beijing, China:

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.4 jolted China’s northwestern Qinghai province early Saturday, the US Geological Survey said — following another tremor in the country’s southwest that left at least two dead.

The epicentre of the quake in Qinghai, which struck at 2:04 am (1804 GMT Friday) at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometres (six miles), was located about 400 kliometres southwest of the city of Xining, US seismologists said.



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Latest News Today – Tesla Cars Said to Be Barred From Some China Government


Staff at some Chinese government offices have been told not to park their Tesla cars inside government compounds due to security concerns over cameras installed on the vehicles, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

The people said officials of at least two government agencies in Beijing and Shanghai have been instructed verbally by supervisors not to park their Tesla electric cars at work. It wasn’t clear how many cars were affected, the people said, declining to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether all government offices in Beijing have imposed such restrictions, nor whether the measure was a formal government injunction or a step adopted by agency officials. It was also unclear whether curbs applied to state agencies nationwide.

While sensors and cameras that can assist driving feature in many automakers’ vehicles, the people with knowledge of the matter said the restriction currently only applies to Tesla cars. In March, Tesla vehicles were banned from entering some military complexes in China, sources told Reuters then, citing security concerns over vehicle cameras.

Neither the State Council Information Office (SCIO), which handles media requests for China’s government, nor Tesla China officials immediately responded to requests for comment.

The restriction provides a fresh indication of China’s continued wariness of the US electric carmaker amid tensions with Washington.

Facing greater scrutiny after safety and highly publicised customer service complaints in China, Tesla is boosting its engagement with mainland regulators and beefing up its government relations team, industry sources told Reuters previously.

China, the world’s biggest car market, is the electric car maker’s second-biggest market, accounting for about 30 percent of its sales. Tesla now makes electric Model 3 sedans and Model Y sport-utility vehicles in a Shanghai plant.

Automakers like Tesla have been equipping more vehicles with cameras and sensors that capture images of a car’s surroundings. Control of how those images are used and where they are sent and stored is a fast-emerging challenge for the industry and regulators around the world.

Tesla cars have several external cameras to assist drivers with parking, changing lanes, and other features. Chief Executive Elon Musk has commented frequently on the value of the data that Tesla vehicles capture which can be used to develop autonomous driving.

Days after the March ban on Tesla cars in military complexes, Musk appeared by video at a high-level Chinese forum, saying that if Tesla used cars to spy in China or anywhere, it would be shut down.

Tesla said it would open a data centre in China and is developing a data platform for car owners in China.

© Thomson Reuters 2021
 




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Latest News Today – Bitcoin Tumbles Below $39,000 After China Issues Warning


Bitcoin plunged below $39,000 for the first time in more than three months on Wednesday

Bitcoin plunged below $39,000 for the first time in more than three months Wednesday after China said cryptocurrencies would not be allowed in transactions and warned investors against speculative trading in them, despite the country powering most of the world’s mining.

The comments sent the unit diving more than 10 percent and dealt it another blow soon after being battered by comments from tycoon Elon Musk and his Tesla car company.

And in a statement, three state-backed industry associations said “cryptocurrency prices have skyrocketed and plummeted, and cryptocurrency trading speculation activities have rebounded”.

The notice warned consumers against wild speculation, adding that the “losses caused by investment transactions are borne by the consumers themselves”, since Chinese law offers no protection to them. 

Linghao Bao, analyst at Trivium China, said despite the ban Chinese investors can still find ways to buy cryptocurrencies through illegal vendors.

Bitcoin tumbled Wednesday from $45,600 to $38,570, its lowest since early February, and well off the record high of $64,870 seen last month. It later edged back above $40,000 but analysts have warned it could test as low as $30,000.

Bitcoin has had a torrid few days. It took a heavy hit at the start of the week after Musk appeared to suggest Tesla was planning to sell its huge holdings of the unit. And that came days after the electric car giant said it would halt using it in transactions because of environmental concerns.

Mining cryptocurrency is a hugely energy-intensive process requiring large amounts of electricity in giant data centres.

“If bitcoin was a country, it would use around the same amount of electricity a year to mine as Switzerland does in total,” Deutsche Bank analysts said in a note.

“This has happened before and it happens every year… Crypto is here to stay,” said trader and ex-tech industry worker Zeng Jiajun. 

China is in the midst of a wide-ranging regulatory crackdown on its fintech sector, whose biggest players – including Alibaba and Tencent – have been hit with big fines after being found guilty of monopolistic practices.



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Latest News Today – Xiaomi Removed From US Blacklist, Reversing Late China


The US Department of Defense will remove China’s Xiaomi from a government blacklist, a court filing showed, marking a noteworthy reversal by the Biden administration of one of Donald Trump’s last jabs at Beijing before exiting office.

The filing stated that the two parties would agree to resolve their ongoing litigation without further contest, bringing to an end a brief and controversial spat between the hardware company and Washington that had further soured Sino-US ties.

A Xiaomi spokeswoman said the company is watching the latest developments closely, without elaborating.

Shares in the company rocketed over 6 percent in Hong Kong as news of the decision spread. The company’s share price has tumbled roughly 20 percent since it was placed on the blacklist in January in the waning days of the Trump administration.

Department of Defense officials weren’t immediately available for comment after US business hours.

The department had designated the firm as having ties to China’s military and placed it on a list that would restrict US investment in the company.

Seven other Chinese companies were also placed under similar restrictions.

Xiaomi went on the offensive by filing a lawsuit against the US government, calling its placement “unlawful and unconstitutional” and denying any ties to China’s military.

Soon after that victory, Reuters reported that other Chinese firms placed on the same blacklist were considering similar lawsuits.

Xiaomi was among the more high-profile Chinese technology companies that former President Donald Trump targeted for alleged ties to China’s military.

Trump had made countering the rise of Beijing a centrepiece of his administration’s economic and foreign policy.

Xiaomi’s local smartphone rival Huawei was also put on an export blacklist in 2019 and barred from accessing critical technology of US origin, affecting its ability to design its own chips and source components from outside vendors.

The measures effectively crippled the company’s smartphone division.

Later, the US Department of Defense placed similar restrictions on China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, a firm key to China’s national drive to boost its domestic chip sector.

Prof. Doug Fuller, who tracks China’s semiconductor sector at the City University of Hong Kong, says that Xiaomi’s win was “low-hanging fruit” for the Biden administration in its efforts to correct the excesses of Trump’s China policy as his term ended.

“I think it is a sign that Biden will be a bit softer,” he said.

“Calling Xiaomi a Chinese military company was always ridiculous. For firms tied to more legitimate defence concerns, or Xinjiang, however, it will be more difficult.”

© Thomson Reuters 2021
 




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Latest News Today – China’s Population Grows To 1.41 Billion: Census Data


China conducts a census every ten years to determine population growth.

Beijing, China:

China’s population has grown more than five percent over the past decade to pass 1.4 billion people, Beijing said Tuesday, as it unveiled its census results.

China’s birthrate has been in steady decline since 2017, despite Beijing’s relaxation of the decades-old “one-child policy” in order to try and avert a looming demographic crisis.

Ning Jizhe, an official from the National Bureau of Statistics, said “the data showed that the population of China maintained a mild growth momentum in the past decade.”

The increase of 5.4 percent over the last 10 years comes amid fears that an ageing population and a slowing birth rate pose a looming demographic crisis for the country.

China conducts a census every ten years to determine population growth, movement patterns and other trends. The sensitive data plays a major role in government policy planning.

The 2020 survey was completed in December with the help of over seven million volunteers who surveyed residents door-to-door.

Beijing changed family planning rules in 2016 to allow families to have two children as fears grew about China’s fast-ageing population and shrinking workforce.

But there has been growing concern that the policy change is yet to produce the expected baby boom to help offset the country’s ageing population.

This is partly due to falling marriage rates in recent years, couples struggling with the high cost of raising children in major cities, as well as women naturally delaying or avoiding childbirth due to their growing empowerment.

China recorded its slowest birthrate since 1949 for the year 2019, at 10.48 per 1,000 people.

And preliminary data published in February suggested the birthrate was also down significantly in 2020, although the number of actual births has not yet been announced.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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Latest News Today – China Plays Down Concerns Over Rocket Debris Falling In


China said some countries, including America, are hyping up the issue

Beijing:

Accusing the US of maintaining “double standards”, China on Monday played down global concerns over its out-of-control rocket remnants re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere and crashing into the Indian Ocean near the Maldives.

The remnants of China’s biggest rocket, Long March 5B, crashed into the Indian Ocean near the Maldives on Sunday with no reports of damage, but Beijing was criticised by US space agency NASA for its failure to “meet responsible standards” regarding its space debris.

Reacting to NASA Administrator Senator Bill Nelson’s criticism, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying at a media briefing in Beijing said some countries, including America, are hyping up the issue even though the rocket debris was burnt on re-entry into the atmosphere.

“You mentioned some comments from the NASA administrator. It is currently common practice across the world for launch vehicles of spacecraft to undergo natural orbital decay after passing orbital altitude and then eventually be ablated upon re-entry into the atmosphere”, she said in updated comments posted on the Foreign Ministry website.

“China has been following closely the upper stage’s re-entry into the atmosphere. The upper stage of this rocket has been deactivated, which means that it will not explode in orbit and produce space debris, and most of its parts will burn up upon re-entry, making the likelihood of damage to aviation or ground facilities and activities extremely low,” she said.

China monitored closely the re-entry trajectory throughout the process and released a notice on the re-entry in advance. So far no damage has been reported, she said.

“In fact, the Chinese side shared its re-entry forecast through international cooperation mechanisms. We always conducts activities for peaceful uses of outer space in accordance with international law and customary practice,” she said.

Hitting out at the US, Hua said individuals in the US clearly hold double standard on this issue. “You may recall that in March this year, when a piece of a SpaceX rocket crashed on a farm in the country, American media used such romantic descriptions as ”lighting up the night sky like a meteor, producing a spectacular light show”, she said.

“But when it comes to China, the tune is completely different. I noticed some jesting online in China, saying that US politicians may be forgetful, but the Internet has a long memory. We stand ready to strengthen cooperation with other countries including the US, but we reject double standard on this issue,” she said.

Responding to a question on whether China has notified India and the Maldives about the crash, Hua said.

“China’s space authority has released information several times on the re-entry of upper stage debris of the Long March-5B Y2 rocket and shared re-entry forecast via international cooperation mechanisms. To date no damage by the landing debris has been reported,” she said.

The space vehicle re-entered the atmosphere on Sunday morning and the debris from the 18-tonne rocket, one of the largest items in decades to have an undirected dive into the atmosphere, landed in the Indian Ocean.

The uncontrolled fall of the Chinese rocket sparked concerns among US officials, NASA and international astrophysicists that it could hit inhabited areas.

Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell, who tracked the debris of the rocket part for the past few days, said that it was a reckless gamble by China.

“An ocean reentry was always statistically the most likely. It appears China won its gamble…But it was still reckless,” he tweeted.

There has been intense speculation over where the rocket debris might land, and US officials and other experts warned its return risked potential casualties.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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Latest News Today – On Video Call From China, Wife Watched Covid Victim’s


The consent letter was obtained online from his wife, the police said. (Representational)

Indore:

As the second wave of the pandemic in India brings stories of devastation and heart-break, an Indian woman in China went through the most painful and traumatic process on Tuesday. She had to watch the cremation of her husband on video-call.

Manoj Sharma, who worked in a bank in China, was in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore to take care of an unwell relative. It was during this visit that the 40-year-old contracted COVID-19.

He died at Indore’s Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Sciences on Monday.

A day later, his body was cremated in Indore with the consent of his family in China, the police said.

While the last rites were carried out by a volunteer, Mr Sharma’s wife attended it through video-call from China. The consent letter for the last rites was obtained online from his wife and a local social worker, Yash Parasher, consigned the body to flames, senior police officer Prashant Choubey told news agency PTI.

Heart-breaking visuals showed the woman – watching the cremation on a video-call – sobbing as Mr Sharma’s pyre was lit. Clips of the woman watching the cremation and of the cremation were circulated on social media.

Madhya Pradesh reported 12,727 COVID-19 cases and 77 deaths in the last 24 hours. The state has seen 4,713 Covid-linked deaths. A “corona curfew” has been imposed in capital Bhopal till April 26 due to the rising cases.



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Latest News Today – Jack Ma’s Double-Whammy Marks End Of China Tech’s Golden


Jack Ma’s company will likely have to apply and register to get into any new areas of finance in future.

The full implications of Beijing’s rapid-fire moves against Jack Ma’s internet empire in recent days won’t be apparent for weeks, but one lesson is already clear: The glory days for China’s technology giants are over.

The country’s government imprinted its authority indelibly on the country’s technology industry in the span of a few days. In landmark announcements, it slapped a record $2.8 billion fine on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. for abusing its market dominance, then ordered an overhaul of Ant Group Co. On Tuesday, regulators summoned 34 of the country’s largest companies from Tencent Holdings Ltd. to TikTok owner ByteDance Ltd., warning them “the red line of laws cannot be touched.”

The unspoken message to Ma and his cohorts was the decade of unfettered expansion that created challengers to Facebook Inc. and Google was at an end. Gone are the days when giants like Alibaba, Ant or Tencent could steamroll incumbents in adjacent businesses with their superior financial might and data hoards.

“Between the rules for Ant and the $2.8 billion fine for Alibaba, the golden days are over for China’s big tech firms,” said Mark Tanner, founder of Shanghai-based China Skinny. “Even those who haven’t been targeted to the same extreme will be toning down their expansion strategies and adapting many elements of their business to the new bridled environment.”

Tech companies are likely to move far more cautiously on acquisitions, over-compensate on getting signoffs from Beijing, and levy lower fees on the domestic internet traffic they dominate. Ant in particular will have to find ways to un-tether China’s largest payments service from its fast-growth consumer lending business and shrink its signature Yu’ebao money market fund — once the world’s largest.

Even companies that have been less scrutinized so far — like Tencent or Meituan and Pinduoduo Inc. — are likely to see growth opportunities curtailed.

The watershed moment was years in the making. In the early part of the last decade, visionary entrepreneurs like Ma and Tencent co-founder Pony Ma (no relation) created multi-billion dollar empires by up-ending businesses from retail to communications, elevating the lives of hundreds of millions and serving as role models for an increasingly affluent younger generation. But the enormous opportunities coupled with years of hyper-growth also fostered a winner-takes-all land-grab mentality that unnerved the Communist Party.

Regulators grew concerned as the likes of Alibaba and Tencent aggressively safeguarded and extended their moats, using data to squeeze out rivals or forcing merchants and content publishers into exclusive arrangements. Their growing influence over every aspect of Chinese life became more apparent as they became the conduits through which many of the country’s 1.3 billion bought and paid for things — handing over vast amounts of data on spending behavior. Chief among them were Alibaba and Tencent, who became the industry’s kingmakers by investing billions of dollars into hundreds of startups.

All that came to a head in 2020 when Ma — on the verge of ushering in Ant’s record $35 billion IPO — publicly denigrated out-of-touch regulators and the “old men” of the powerful banking industry.

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The unprecedented series of regulatory actions since encapsulates how Beijing is now intent on reining in its internet and fintech giants, a broad campaign that’s wiped roughly $200 billion off Alibaba’s valuation since October. The e-commerce giant’s speedy capitulation after a four-month probe underscores its vulnerability to further regulatory action.

Chinese titans from Tencent to Meituan are next up in the cross-hairs because they’re the dominant players in their respective fields. Regulators may focus on delivery giant Meituan’s historical practice of forced exclusivity — particularly as it expands into burgeoning areas like community e-commerce — while investigating Tencent’s dominant gaming service and whether its messaging platform WeChat excludes competitors, Credit Suisse analysts Kenneth Fong and Ashley Xu wrote Tuesday.

“The days of reckless expansion and wild growth are gone forever, and from now on the development of these firms is likely going to be put under strict government control. That’s going to be the case in the foreseeable future,” said Shen Meng, a director at Beijing-based boutique investment bank Chanson & Co. “Companies will have to face the reality that they need to streamline their non-core businesses and reduce their influence across industries. The cases of Alibaba and Ant will prompt peers to take the initiative to restructure, using them as the reference.”

The revamp of Ant — a sprawling financial titan once worth as much as $320 billion — is a case in point. In its ruling, the People’s Bank of China said it wanted to “prevent the disorderly expansion of capital” and ensure that all of Ant’s financial business will be regulated under a single holding company.

What Bloomberg Intelligence Says

Ant Group’s prospects could wane further after China halts improper linking of Alipay payments with Ant’s other products. New curbs on Yu’ebao also hurts its wealth business. Alipay’s 711 million active users are its potential fintech-product buyers. Ant’s valuation could now be near banks we cover (average 5x forward earnings) compared with over 30x at its IPO attempt.
– Francis Chan, analyst

Ma’s company will likely have to apply and register to get into any new areas of finance in future — a potential ordeal given the infamously creaky wheels of Beijing bureaucracy. It faces restrictions in every key business — from payments and wealth management to credit lending.

The company’s most lucrative credit lending arm will be capped based on registered capital. It must fold its Huabei and Jiebei loan units — which had 1.7 trillion yuan ($260 billion) of outstanding loans between them as of June — into a new national company that will likely raise more capital to support its operations. And Ant must reduce its Yu’ebao money market wing, which encompasses a self-operated Tianhong Yu’ebao fund that held $183 billion of assets as of the end of 2020, making it one of the largest pools of wealth in the world.

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Alibaba appears to have got off lightly in comparison. While the $2.8 billion was triple the previous record set by Qualcomm Inc.’s 2015 penalty, it amounts to under 5% of the company’s annual revenue. Far more insidious however is the threat of future action and the dampening effect it will have on Alibaba.

The fine came with a plethora of “rectifications” that Alibaba will have to put in place — such as curtailing the practice of forcing merchants to choose between Alibaba or a competing platform. Executives also volunteered to open up Alibaba’s marketplaces more, lower costs for merchants while spending “billions of yuan” to help its clients handle e-commerce.

Ant will likewise have to tame its market share grab in payments. Changes to that business, which is fending off Tencent’s WeChat Pay, were among the top priorities regulators outlined. Ant pledged to return the business “to its origin” by focusing on micro-payments and convenience for users.

The most amorphous yet dire threat lies in the simple principle implicit in regulators’ pronouncements over the past few days: that Beijing will brook no monopolies that threaten its hold on power.

The central bank warned in draft rules released previously that any non-bank payment company with half of the market for online transactions — or two entities with a combined two-thirds share — could be subject to antitrust probes. If a monopoly is confirmed, the State Council or cabinet has powers to levy a plethora of penalties, including breaking up the entity.

That’s an entrepreneur’s ultimate nightmare.

“Everyone is on the regulators’ radar, and it really depends on each one’s reaction next,” Chanson & Co.’s Shen said. “It’s better to take the initiative to self-rectify, rather than having to go through restructuring ordered by the regulators, which may not have your best interests in mind.”

–With assistance from Coco Liu.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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