Johor’s biggest corruption cases: land and housing scandal, slapped with 33 counts of graft

TWO IN COURT: Abd Latif (right) being brought to the Johor Baru Sessions Court by anti-graft officers. He is alleged to have abetted property consultant Amir Shariffuddin Abd Raud (left) in the land development scandal.

After weeks of investigation, state executive councillor Datuk Abd Latif Bandi is finally brought to court to face 33 counts of graft. The land and housing scandal – one of Johor’s biggest corruption cases – is however set to widen as graft busters warn of more suspects to be charged soon.

MACC expected to haul up more people in land and housing scandal

JOHOR BARU: One of the state’s largest corruption scandals is about to get bigger as more people are expected to be hauled up to court in the coming weeks.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki said they might be charged with the case involving Johor executive councillor Datuk Abd Latif Bandi either this month or next.

Among those to be charged, he said, were those who had been arrested previously.

However, he declined to reveal their names so as not to jeopardise MACC’s investigation, saying that no VIPs were involved.

“We are in the midst of completing our probe with the Deputy Public Prosecutor before charging them in court soon,” he told reporters after meeting MACC investigation director Datuk Simi Abd Ghani and Johor MACC director Datuk Azmi Alias here yesterday.

Azam said it was also possible for Abd Latif, who was jointly accused with property consultant Amir Shariffuddin Abd Raud of committing 33 counts of graft yesterday, to face another round of charges then.

It was reported that eight suspects, including Abd Latiff ’s eldest son as well as his special officer, were nabbed by the MACC on Feb 24.

Anti-graft officers detained them after sifting through stacks of documents seized from the state government and developers.

They also seized luxury goods, including 21 cars such as Bentley, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, five high-powered motorcycles and 150 handbags.

On its probe into the purchase of real estate in Australia by Mara Incorporated Sdn Bhd, Azam said MACC called up 24 witnesses and visited seven premises, including a law firm, the offices of both Mara Inc and an appraiser, and their associates.

“All related documents have also been seized. We have gathered more new information, and it is a continuous investigation from the previous case in 2015,” he said.

“We need more time to complete this case as it involves another country.

“We have put in a request under a mutual legal assistance with the Australian AttorneyGeneral’s office but have yet to receive any response.

“We will also prepare the documents to be sent to Australia,” he said.

MACC had previously recorded the state- ment of suspended Mara chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa over the same investigation.

Annuar also handed over several documents relevant to the case.

The issue came to light after Australian newspaper The Age claimed that several senior Mara officials and a former politician had spent millions of Malaysian Government funds to buy an apartment block, known as Dudley International House, in Melbourne

Azam said his officers were also in the midst of preparing a report into alleged match fixing by football players from the Malaysian Indian Sports Council-Malaysia Indian Football Association.

“We expect this case to be completed within two to three weeks after we hand over the report to the deputy public prosecutor for charging.

Source:The Star headline news

Slapped with 33 counts of graft


JOHOR BARU: State executive councillor Datuk Abd Latif Bandi has been charged in the Sessions Court here with 33 counts of graft, the earliest of which stretches back to just six months after he assumed office.

TWO IN COURT: Abd Latif (above) being brought to the Johor Baru Sessions Court by anti-graft officers. He is alleged to have abetted property consultant Amir Shariffuddin Abd Raud (below) in the land development scandal.

Abd Latif, 51, was sworn in to his post as Johor Housing and Local Government Committee chairman in 2013 and according to the list of charges, he allegedly abetted property consultant Amir Shariffuddin Abd Raud on Nov 13 that same year to convert bumiputra lots into non-bumiputra lots.

Yesterday, the court interpreter took about 15 minutes to read the list of charges to each of the accused in the case, considered one of the biggest corruption scandals in the state.

In total, Abd Latif is said to have abetted Amir, 44, to convert 1,480 houses.

He is also accused of helping to reduce the quantum of payment that developers had to contribute towards the Johor Housing Fund for converting these lots.

The offences, the last of which supposedly took place on Sept 13, 2016, involved payments of between RM100,000 and RM3.7mil.

Totalling some RM30.3mil, this involved development projects in Kota Masai, Tebrau, Kulai, Kempas, Nusajaya and Johor Baru.

Among the converted lots were apartments, double-storey terrace homes, cluster houses, cluster industrial lots, semi-Ds and bungalows.

Abd Latif was charged under Section 28 (1) (c) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act for abetment, which was read together with Section 16 (a)(B) for accepting bribes.

Amir was charged with 33 counts under Section 16 (a)(B) for accepting bribes for himself and Abdul Latif.

Judge Mohd Fauzi Mohd Nasir set bail at RM2mil in one surety for each of the accused and ordered their passports to be surrendered until the trial was over. He also fixed May 23 for mention.

At press time, only Amir posted bail while Abd Latif, who was unable to raise the amount, was sent to the Ulu Choh detention centre.

Earlier, 15 minutes after Abd Latif and Amir were ushered into the packed courtroom, a defence lawyer stood up and asked for their “Lokap SPRM” orange T-shirts to be removed.

Both Abd Latif, who took time to hug and shake the hands of several people, and Amir then changed into long-sleeved shirts.

Abd Latif was represented by a six-man legal team led by Datuk Hasnal Rezua Merican while two lawyers, headed by Azrul Zulkifli Stork, stood for Amir.

The case was prosecuted by MACC director Datuk Masri Mohd Daud, with assistance from Raja Amir Nasruddin.

Source: The Star by Nelson Benjamin and Norbaiti phaharoradzi

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China space economy developing rapidly, the most accurate atomic clock in the world

Snail-like progress By Cai Meng

New company set up to develop space economy

The commercialization of rocket launches will boost the industry by bringing space tourism income and attracting private investment, experts said.

ChinaRocket Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, the country’s largest developer of ballistic missiles and carrier rockets, was established on Wednesday, marking the commercialization of China’s space industry, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

“Chinese commercial space enterprises are lagging behind the global market due to lack of complete production chain in the commercial space industry and experience in commercial space activities like space tourism,” Li Hong, president of the academy, said at a press conference on Wednesday.

“Commercializing rocket launches will help develop the industry as many private companies will be interested in the sector,” Jiao Weixin, a professor at the School of Earth and Space Science of Peking University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Jiao said the establishment of the company signals that State-controlled space industry is stepping into ordinary people’s daily life.

Han Qingping, president of ChinaRocket, said at the press conference that the company would focus on keeping the cost 30 percent lower than an average launch through the “standardization of the interface between satellite and rocket as well as advance preparation.”

According to Han, China will develop reusable sub-orbital vehicles in five to 10 years.

Han said the company will launch individual space travel services like “space taxi, free space ride and space shuttle bus” to promote the space economy.

According to Xinhua, ChinaRocket’s individual space travel package would cost about $200,000.

Huang Jun, a professor at the School of Aeronautic Science and Engineering at Beihang University, said that “many countries have been studying the reusability of carrier devices and aircraft, but it will take at least one to two decades before visitors can afford a space trip.”

The market value of commercial space in China would reach 30 billion yuan ($4.6 billion) annually by 2020, Xinhua reported, citing Hu Shengyun, a senior rocket engineer at China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp.

By Leng Shumei Global Times

China’s atomic clock: The most accurate clock in the world

China’s atomic clock: The most accurate clock in the world

China’s cold atomic clock is the most precise time-keeping device ever built. The clock only weighs a couple kilograms and could fit comfortably in the boot of a car. And because it is powered by atoms, it won’t have to be reset for another 30 million years.

China’s cold atomic clock is the most precise time-keeping device ever built. The clock only weighs a couple kilograms and could fit comfortably in the boot of a car. And because it is powered by atoms, it won’t have to be reset for another 30 million years.

Cold atomic clocks are the most accurate clocks in the world. Low-frequency lasers lower their internal temperatures to 273 degrees centigrade below zero, and slow down the movement of atoms inside. Slow-moving atoms decrease the likelihood of counting errors, and result in a more accurate counting of time.

“The frequency of the atom will not change. It is the same wherever it is. Unlike in mechanical clocks and electric clocks, atomic clocks aren’t drastically affected by their surrounding environment. We are going to operate the most accurate cold atomic clock in space. It is the first time ever, not only for our country, but also for the world,” Liu Liang, chief designer of Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, said.

Rubidium atoms count time inside China’s cold atomic clock. Atoms are usually affected by gravity, but the low level of gravity in space will weaken the earth’s gravitational pull and increase the accuracy of China’s cold atomic clock.

“Atoms usually fall because of gravity, making it difficult to keep track of time for a long time. But up in space, we don’t have that problem,” Liu said.

The launch of Tiangong-2 marks China’s transition from a follower in space research, to a pioneer. China’s cold atomic clock project is a good example of that transition.

“The initial plan was brought up in 2006. We have made great efforts over the past ten years. We have been through a lot… and we have been successful” Liu said.

It took years of scientific work to get China’s cold atomic clock into space. Researchers are now devising ways how to use the clock to benefit people down on earth.

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Internet addiction on the rise among Malaysian youths, Asians one of the most addicted to the Internet

Enough evidence to show links to anxiety, decreased job productivity, says expert.

CYBERJAYA: A 14-year-old boy loved gaming so much that he did not leave his home for half a year until his parents hauled him to therapy for Internet addiction.

This sounds like a story that happens in Japan, China or South Korea, where teenagers have died from binging on their computers. But this case happened right here in Kuala Lumpur.

At the International Society of Internet Addiction (Isia) Conference here, researchers said they were most worried that Malaysian youth were increasingly using the Internet in excess, with local studies revealing that 37% of Malaysian parents felt their children’s online life was interfering with their home and school obligations while 18% said their children were sacrificing basic social activities.

The research, led by child psychologist and Isia spokesperson Dr Norharlina Bahar, found that males under the age of 24, from the Klang Valley, Ipoh or Penang, were the most susceptible to Internet addiction in Malaysia.

“Most spend time on online games and browsing social media and there is enough evidence to show links to anxiety, depression, physical health problems, school disconnection, unemployment, decreased job productivity and social isolation,” she said.

Studies have also found frequent use of the Internet could translate to low self-esteem, depression, boredom and attention-deficit hyperactive disorder.

“There is no denying that Internet eases our life but when it affects your mental health capacity and interferes with your day-to-day work, then you need help,” she added.

In the case of the young boy, Dr Norharlina said he became irritable and angry when he was cut off from the digital world by his parents as part of the treatment.

“This is becoming a bigger problem now,” she said.

The challenge for the academic community is translating their data into tangible policies, as definitions of Internet addiction are still being worked out, she added.

That is something the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is seeking to address, by adapting research on Internet addiction into guidelines that can be used by school counsellors or pa­rents to identify addiction in adolescents, said MCMC advocacy and outreach senior director Eneng Faridah Iskandar.

“We want to know when is usage going to be a problem. When should I start regulating my child’s use of the Internet? We want to develop self-help tips that parents can use,” she said.

The conference was attended by 200 researchers and psychologists from 10 countries to present their findings on Internet wellness and discuss policies to address the effects of the digital world on users’ health.

Asians one of the most addicted to the Internet

CYBERJAYA: The Middle East, North America and Asia have the highest number of people addicted to the Internet, said Hong Kong University (HKU) Psychology. Department Associate Dean Prof. Dr Cecelia Cheng.

Dr. Cheng, who presented the findings of a HKU study on Thursday said that findings suggest that the more a country experiences traffic jams, air pollution and low life satisfaction, the more likely its citizens will be addicted to the Internet.

She added that out of 31 countries surveyed, European and South American nations had the smallest number of people addicted to the Internet.

“Basically if the life satisfaction of a country is low, the people in that country are more likely to be addicted to the Internet, particularly gaming,” she said.

Speaking at the International Society of Internet Addiction (ISIA) conference here, Dr Cheng added that there was a link between countries that have high levels of air pollution and Internet addiction.

“The study suggests that the problem of Internet addiction could be linked with the external environment that drives people indoors. Low life satisfaction also suggests that people look to the Internet for escapism when they are dissatisfied with the outside world,” she said.

Dr Cheng pointed out that less people are addicted to the Internet in Europe because pollution and crime rates are generally lower.

“In Europe, and people there can afford to engage in more outdoor activities than those in the Middle East and Asia,” she said.

She added that improving the quality of environmental conditions might encourage residents to engage more in outdoor activities rather than relying solely on browsing the Internet at home for stress relief.

Malaysia was not surveyed in the HKU study, but local authorities suggested that Internet addiction was a rising trend here too.

According to the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), 50.4% of children already have a smartphone by the age of 12 and Malaysians have a 100.4% penetration rate for Internet connectivity and a 143% penetration rate for cellular use.

An ISIA study led by Dr Norharlina Bahar also found that the prevalence of problematic Internet users in Malaysia could be as high as 49.2%, with people spending at least five-hours in front of screens daily.

In last year’s World Happiness Index which measures a country’s general wellbeing, Malaysia ranked 61 out of 161 countries, behind Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

By Nicholas Cheng The Star/ANN

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A new China in the making at Xiamen International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT)

Brisk business: A popular “food cultural village” that sells typical Xiamen food near Xiamen University.

It was a case of chin up, chest out at the recently concluded CIFIT in Xiamen, with the doors swung wide open to foreign sophisticated industries and its private industries poised to venture out.

China’s economic growth may be slowing down after three decades of high growth, but the 19th China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) held at Xiamen from Sept 8 to 11 showcased a “new China” that is confidently restructuring its economy in response to global challenges.

CIFIT 2016 themed “New Concept, New Development: Towards a new world of open economy” clearly signified China’s readiness to embrace reforms, after it has sailed through the exciting period of opening up in the 1980s-1990s, and the 2008 crisis that hit its industries badly.

A new China will discard China-made cheap and low-quality industrial products, and counterfeits – rampant at the beginning of the opening-up and even to this day, but will want to see quality enterprises that can compete internationally with high-end goods and services, such as those provided by Huawei, Lenovo and Haier.

The financial crisis of 2008 and China’s disappearing demographic advantage, as well as external trade friction, have forced industries and the economy to go for structural changes. Slower economic growth backed by quality investments is to be the new norm.

New ventures: Ong (second from left) opening the ACCCIM Pavilion at Xiamen trade and investment fair CIFIT. Joining him on his left are Fujuan province Vice Governor Zhang Zhinan and ACCCIM president Ter. On his right is Xiamen Municipal financial affair director Han Jing Yi.

In fact, emerging industries that focus on quality and technology have gradually replaced traditional industries and become a driving force in economic development. Mobile phones, computers, household electrical appliances, machinery and equipment, property development and rail technology, among others, have gone global.

And the ‘One Belt, One Road’ economic initiative expounded by President Xi Jinping three years ago is offering unprecedented opportunities to companies within the mainland to go global and have a say in the world.

While structural changes are taking place at local enterprises, China is opening up further to usher in more high-tech and high-value foreign brands to stimulate its economic development to a higher plane. This could be discerned from its Government’s policy.

At the main CIFIT forum in Xiamen on Sept 8, vice-premier Wang Yang announced in his opening speech: “From Oct 1, we will grant equal and fair treatment to all local and foreign companies incorporated in China. Our Chinese companies will have to compete with foreign-owned companies on level playing fields in China.”

This is the “new China” exhibited at the four-day CIFIT, touted to be the largest investment fair in the world, where its products and services were displayed alongside leading products from over 50 countries at 6,000 booths.

CIFIT 2016 was organised by the central government almost immediately after China successfully hosted the G20 Summit from Sept 3 to 5 in picturesque Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, with grandeur.

The world’s second-largest economy had been hailed by world leaders for its determination to boldly tackle a number of global issues, including the economy, environment, corruption and poverty.

In fact, China has the basis to be confident.

Despite weak international conditions, flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country – albeit slower – still ranks the highest in the world so far this year, according to Wang Yang.

According to Dr Huang Chenhong, president of Dell Greater China, Dell’s headquarters in the US has committed to investing an additional US$125bil (RM517bil) in China and has pledged to contribute US$175bil (RM724bil) worth of total trade as well as bring in venture capitalists.

Going global: The short but colourful opening ceremony of CIFIT by Wang Yang on Sept 8 at China’s beautiful coastal town of Xiamen.

Huang told a CEO Summit on Sept 7 ahead of CIFIT: “All this shows that Dell continues to view China’s market positively, and will deepen our root here.”

Malaysia’s Second International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan, who was a guest of honour at CIFIT’s official opening ceremony, made this observation to Sunday Star in Xiamen:

“China has evolved. It is a much, much more confident nation now. It is ready to welcome foreign sophisticated industries to promote economic development to a higher plane, and at the same time its private industries are now prepared to venture out.”

Several years ago, only state-owned enterprises and financially-strong conglomerates were ready to expand overseas, he observed.

Citing the example of Kibing Group – China’s largest and highly automated float-glass manufacturer, Ong said this privately-owned listed company is now riding on the wave of the Belt and Road Initiative to expand its manufacturing in Malaysia, research and development in Taiwan and marketing arm in Singapore.

He also noted that while China has not signed free trade agreements with many countries, trade barriers would have to be broken down once China builds rail and other communication systems in all the 65 countries along the Belt-Road route to improve connectivity.

“While it takes 40 to 45 days to ship goods from Spain to China, it only takes a train journey of 16 days for freight from Madrid to be transported to the wholesale market in Yiwu.

“This is the power of the 21st Century Silk Road rail service under the Belt and Road Initiative,” he said.

On Dec 10, 2014, China and Spain was linked by the longest rail link in the world after a train from Yiwu in coastal China completed its maiden journey of 13,053km to Madrid. En route it passed through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany and France before arriving at the Abroñigal freight terminal in Madrid.

Together, the Belt and Road Initiative route covers 65 countries populated by 4.4 billion people. It has been projected that infrastructure development alone will bring in investment of US$160bil (about RM662bil) and China’s annual trade volume with Belt-Road countries will exceed US$2.5 trillion (RM10.3 trillion) in a decade or so.

The Belt-Road strategy could have as much impact on China’s internal economy as it will have internationally. One of China’s top priorities is to export industries with major overcapacity such as steel, cement and aluminium.

Datuk Ter Leong Yap, president of Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM), told Sunday Star in Xiamen: “From the three CIFITs we have participated in, we can sense that China is not only ushering in high-tech, high-value foreign investments now, but it is also encouraging its companies to go global vigorously.”

“As it has economies of scale, it is prepared to buy foreign technology and R&D (research and development) to expedite its current economic transformation.”

He noted China has gone far ahead in the development of Internet services such as e-commerce, e-trade and e-logistics; and its home-grown IT giants led by Alibaba Group and Tencent are leading the IT revolution in the world.

China is seen as building infrastructure in the Belt-Road countries now. Following this, or concurrently, is the influx of investments from its reputable high-tech and high-value industries, observed Ter.

According to Wei Jianguo, vice-chairman of China Centre for International Economic Exchanges, emerging industries that are classifed as “new China-made” are IT industry represented by Huawei, machine building sector represented by XCMG and Sany Heavy Industry, space flight and aviation, as well as bullet train and high-speed rail industries. These industries boast high technology, patents, independent innovation and top talents in the world.

“The new China-made goods not only enter into Asian and African markets, but more importantly also enter into high-end European and American markets,” Wei said in an interview with Economy and Nation Weekly.

While in many sectors China has gained global recognition, Wei noted the country is still falling behind in automobile and chips as it lacks leading enterprises and high-tech talents in these industries.

It is learnt that Chinese auto firms are now on the lookout to take over foreign car manufacturers that are armed with special technology, after the acquisition of Volvo Cars in 2010 proved highly successful in technology innovation and marketing.

Wei opined that in the next 30 to 50 years, the Belt and Road Initiative will be the way forward for successful Chinese enterprises to enter the global market for a win-win co-operation as China’s Government develops strategies with foreign nations.

According to official data, China’s direct investments in Belt-Road nations – including Malaysia – hit US$14.8bil (RM61bil) in 2015, up 18.2% from 2014.

In the first quarter of 2016, direct investments to Belt-Road countries totalled US$3.6bil (RM14.8bil), a rise of 40% compared to the first quarter of 2015. Most of these investments had gone to Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and India.

Ranked by Peking University as “the least investment risk” among the Belt-Road countries, Singapore is ahead of its Asean neighbours in grabbing opportunities: It has already signed with Chinese-funded banks to bring in financing worth over S$90bil (RM270bil) to finance projects for high-speed rail, ports and the communication industry in South-East Asia.

“The Belt-Road vision is that government sectors and enterprises should not seek quick success and instant profits, but should create long-term effects, benefit local enterprises, people and countries, and make China be seen to be a reliable partner,” said Wei.

Sources: Ho Wah Foon The Star/Asia News Network

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China successfully launches Tiangong-2 space lab

  • China’s Tiangong-2 successfully launched

    Crossover: China’s Tiangong-2 successfully launched. Tiangong-2 has just been successfully launched. Let’s live cross to our reporter Han Peng again at the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center. Q: What’s happening there now? …

The Tiangong-2 stands with its carrier rocket on the launch pad at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, northwest China’s Gansu Province, Sept. 9, 2016. China’s second space lab Tiangong-2 is scheduled to be put into space between September 15 and 20, according to the office of China’s manned space program. (Xinhua/Yang Zhiyuan)

The graphics shows China will launch the Tiangong-2 space lab from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China’s Gobi Desert at 10:04 pm on Sep 15. (Xinhua/Qu Zhendong)

JIUQUAN, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) — China’s Tiangong-2 space lab blasted off on Thursday, marking another milestone in its increasingly ambitious space program, which envisions a mission to Mars by the end of this decade and its own space station by around 2020.

In a cloud of smoke underneath a mid-autumn full moon, Tiangong-2 roared into the air at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi desert, on the back of a Long March-2F T2 rocket at 10:04 p.m. Beijing Time.

The Long March-2F T2 is a two-stage launch vehicle that uses four strap-on boosters during its first stage.

About 20 minutes later, the mission was declared a success.

Tiangong-2 separated from the rocket and entered the preset orbit 575 seconds after blast-off, a statement from the mission control read.

While in space, the 8.6-tonne Tiangong-2 will maneuver itself into an orbit about 380 kilometers above Earth for initial in-orbit tests. It will then transfer to a slightly higher orbit of about 393 kilometers above Earth’s surface.

Later, the Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft will carry two astronauts into space to dock with the lab. The astronauts will work in the lab for 30 days before returning to Earth.

In April 2017, China’s first space cargo ship Tianzhou-1, which literally means heavenly vessel, will be sent into orbit to dock with the space lab, providing fuel and other supplies.

Wu Ping, deputy director of China’s manned space engineering office, said on Wednesday that experts will verify and evaluate key technologies involved with in-orbit refueling and equipment repairs, as well as those related to astronauts’ long-term stay in space during the mission.

They will also use the lab, which is designed to operate for at least two years, to conduct space science experiments on a relatively large scale compared to China’s previous efforts.

China’s manned space program has entered a “new phase of application and development,” Wu said.


Measuring 10.4 meters in length and up to 3.35 meters in diameter, the tube-like Tiangong-2 is hardly the size of a palace. But its name means heavenly palace in Chinese, and it symbolizes the dream that the Chinese have long envisioned in the sky.

Originally built as a backup to Tiangong-1, Tiangong-2 looks much like its predecessor launched in 2011, but its interior living quarters and life support system have been improved to allow longer astronaut stays.

It is designed to enable two astronauts to live in space for up to 30 days and to receive manned and cargo spaceships.

Once inside Tiangong-2, two astronauts arriving from the Shenzhou-11 spaceship will carry out key experiments related to in-orbit equipment repairs, aerospace medicine, space physics and biology, such as quantum key distribution, atomic space clocks and solar storm research.

“The number of experiments carried out by Tiangong-2 will be the highest of any manned space mission so far,” said Lyu Congmin with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

According to Zhu Zongpeng, chief designer of China’s space lab system, Tiangong-2’s workload includes POLAR, a collaboration between Swiss, Polish and Chinese institutions to study gamma ray bursts, the most energetic events in the universe.

A cold atomic space clock, which scientists say only loses one second in about 30 million years, is expected to make future navigation more accurate.

Scientists will also conduct a space-Earth quantum key distribution and laser communications experiment, to facilitate space-to-ground quantum communication.

Also, piggybacking on the Tiangong-2 launch will be a robotic arm that can be used for in-orbit repairs. There will also be a micro satellite that will orbit close to the space lab and snap on to Tiangong-2 and the visiting Shenzhou-11 spacecraft crew.

Earlier reports said Tiangong-2 will also carry out three experiments created by the winners of a Hong Kong middle school design contest.

“Tiangong-2 has a designed life of two years, but it is expected to work much longer than that in space,” said Zhu.

Both Zhu and Wu referred to Tiangong-2 as China’s first space lab “in the strict sense.”

Its predecessor Tiangong-1, which docked with the Shenzhou-8, Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 spaceships and undertook a series of experiments, was mainly used to verify technology involved in space docking and serve as a simple platform for a number of scientific experiments, Wu said.

“In comparison, Tiangong-2 will boast many more experiments,” said Zhu.

Tiangong-1 ended its data service earlier this year and will, reportedly, burn up as it falls into Earth’s atmosphere in the latter half of 2017.

Tiangong-2 will drop into the Pacific Ocean at the end of its mission, according to the manned space engineering office.


The successful launch of the Tiangong-2, along with the maiden flight of China’s new generation carrier rocket Long March-7 in June, bodes well for the final phase of China’s three-step manned space program.

The first step, to send an astronaut into space and return safely, was fulfilled by Yang Liwei in the Shenzhou-5 mission in 2003.

The second step is developing advanced space flight techniques and technologies including extra-vehicular activity and orbital docking. This phase also includes the launch of two space laboratories – effectively mini space-stations that can be manned on a temporary basis.

Finally, the third step will be to assemble and operate a permanent manned space station.

It is expected that the space station will consist of three parts — a core module attached to two space labs, each weighing about 20 tonnes.

According to Zhou Jianping, chief engineer of China’s manned space program, one important target of Tiangong-2 is to verify technology involved in the construction of the space station.

“It has the basic technological capacity of a space station,” Zhou said.

“Once the space lab mission comes to an end, China will start building our own space station,” he said, adding this could start in as early as 2017.

Construction of the space station is planned for completion by around 2020.

It will enter into service around 2022, with an initial designed life of at least 10 years, Zhu Zongpeng told Xinhua. By then, astronauts could be stationed in orbit for missions that last more than one year, he added.

The Chinese space station will be much smaller than the current International Space Station (ISS), which weigh 420 tonnes, but it can be expanded for “scientific research and international cooperation,” Zhou said.

With the ISS set to retire in 2024, the Chinese station will offer a promising alternative, and China will be the only country with a permanent space station.

According to Zhou, the Chinese space station will be more “economically efficient and informationized” than the ISS. It will be able to house a maximum of six astronauts at the same time and manned missions will become routine once the space station enters service.

Starting from scratch, China’s ever-expanding multi-billion-dollar space program is increasingly becoming a source of national pride and a marker of technological expertise in the global community.

After launching its first manned mission in 2003, China staged a spacewalk in 2008, and sent Tiangong-1 into space in 2011.

It succeeded in a manned docking in space in 2012, becoming the third country to do so after the United States and Russia, and landed its Yutu rover on the moon a year later.

Now China is preparing Tianhe-1, a core space station module, which may be lifted by the powerful Chinese rocket Long March-5 in 2018. Additionally, Chinese scientists are making a Hubble-like telescope to orbit near the planned space station.

China also aims to send the Chang’e-5 probe to the moon and return with lunar samples in the second half of 2017, and to land a probe on Mars by 2021.


Tiangong-2 experiments: Scientists to test new technologies in space

Full coverage:

China Tiangong-2 Space Lab Launch

Chinese scientists are planning to use the country’s new
space laboratory to conduct over a dozen advanced experiments in space.

are going to use the world’s first in-space cold atomic clock to
measure time more accurately, and increase the precision of navigation
systems here on earth.

Scientists will also test a quantum
communication system that relays encrypted information between the space
lab and stations on the ground — that will be impossible for third
parties to hack.

A materials lab on the Tiangong-2 will take
advantage of zero-gravity conditions to test 18 new-age composite
materials that will be used in future products.

Technical upgrades and innovations

Well for the latest on the Tiangong-2 mission and China’s ongoing space program, we are joined now in the studio by my colleague, Wu Haojun.

Q1. So what is so special about the Tiangong-2 mission that sets it apart from China’s previous space endeavours?

Well, not to dismiss work done previously but Tiangong-2 really is China’s VERY FIRST space laboratory in a literal sense. Tiangong-2 of course builds on the work of the similarly designed space module Tiangong-1, which was sent into orbit five years ago. But scientists are quick to point out that Tiangong-2 is not simply a duplicate of Tiangong-1. For example, Tiangong-2 has upgraded living quarters and life support systems meaning astronauts can stay in orbit for longer periods.

And that’s not all. The space lab is also equipped with robotic arms that can conduct maintenance work outside the lab – so in outer space – in place of the astronauts themselves. And in this digital age of smartphones and selfies. Tiangong-2 doesn’t want to be left behind. The space lab will be accompanied by a small Banxing-2 satellite, which will capture images of the lab in orbit and monitor the space around it for potential hazards such as floating debris.

And last but not least, Tiangong-2 will be used primarily to conduct those all-important space science experiments and this time on a comparitively larger scale. These include a quantum communications experiment, in-orbit propellant resupply and a microwave radiometer for tracking ocean dynamics to name just a few.

Q2. The launch of Tiangong-2 starts a new chapter in China’s space program…so what’s next?

Well this is definitely just the beginning of a series of space endeavours already planned to take place in the near future. The launch of Tiangong 2 will be followed by a crewed spaceflight mission, Shenzhou 11, set to take place next month and that will be followed by an experimental cargo resupply mission, Tianzhou 1, in the first half of 2017. Now these recent plans are just the tip of the iceberg for China’s long-term space ambitions. According to the country’s Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, China is expected to have more than 200 spacecraft in orbit by 2020 and perform on average around 30 launches per year.

China’s robotic or unmanned mission to Mars is due to begin around 2020. However, the ultimate goal is to assemble and operate a 60-ton space station by around 2022. As you can see everything has already been planned out.The key as with everything now is execution and for Chinese space scientists that means taking things one launch at a time.


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about our solar system, outer space and exploration

Be an entrepreneur or a politician?

Let your children decide on their employment choice

Most parents in their fifties are looking at retirement options when their children starts looking for employment after their studies. There is this transition moment in our family circle of life where the baton of employment, career or business is being passed to the next generation.

The older generation after 30 years of slogging, looks forward to easier passing of days without the responsibilities and worries whilst the younger generation looks forward with optimism and high hopes of securing a good career ahead.

As an entrepreneur with businesses and investments, my natural instinct is to rope them into the family business, if any, as any typical old generation Chinese businessman will do. But I made up my mind some 7 years ago when my first born started his A Level, that my children will make their own choice whether they will prefer to seek employment elsewhere or participate in the family business. It will be their choice and decision and I will support whole heartedly whatever decisions they will make. 7 years later, I still have the same conviction.

I had this feeling that the business world and environment will be much different with all these globalization and technological advancement and the businesses that I was in will be operating in a much more competitive and disruptive world order. This has proven to be true.

The traditional brick and mortar businesses are under tremendous stress to keep up with new disruptive technologies and new business ideas.

My children will have to learn new skills and insights and they definitely will not be able to learn from my traditional family business unless I had instituted changes to my existing business to join the new business order. But I did not know how.

So it is better that they decide on their choice of employment in whatever industries they choose as long as they are working for a forward looking company who is able to embrace the new technological changes that is changing the business order across the global markets. And if they do decide later after some years of working experience to venture out as an entrepreneur, I will also support them wholeheartedly.

Assuming they are up to it, with the right attitude and skill sets.

Not everyone is capable of being a ‘successful’ entrepreneur. It is easy to start a business, call yourself a founder and entrepreneur but chances of being successful is limited to the capable few. For most cases, you are better off building a good career in a good organization rather than struggling in a small scale business for the rest of your life.

If you planned to be an entrepreneur, just make sure your business potential is scalable to a size that will earned you nett, double what you would be earning in a good job. Or else it will be a waste of time. The thrill of being your own boss wears thin over time when you are not doing well financially.

I have many friends who have done very well in their corporate careers and they seem very happy when we do meet up. They definitely look younger than me, with less stressful lines, a radiant and happy face. Compared to my aged face filled with worried lines and scars of agony suffered through the years. Was it worth it?

With the wisdom of hindsight, I am now able to advise my children on their decision making process on whether they should be a corporate suit or to go on their own. My only guidance to them is whatever choice they make, just ensure their actions are productive and contribute towards the well being of the economy. Don’t be lazy, do good where you can and be as good as you can be. Then start a family. Circle of life starts again.

The only career that I totally discouraged my children from is the job of a politician. Good politicians are hard to find nowadays. Since integrity left the politicians, good virtues and honesty followed. What is left is a shell of a conniving and corrupted politician using whatever means they can to stay in power supposedly representing the people’s interest.

All over the world, the politicians together with religious and racist bigots have caused total mayhem to our daily lives. People are divided by race, religion and skin colour. Nothing makes sense anymore. Throw in lots of money into a politician’s hands and we have absolute corruption across the ranks. Cash is king. Everybody can be bought. And I mean everybody.

What is really sad is the complete breakdown of morality and integrity of the human politician. Where he suffers no shame when he is openly corrupted. When he can sleep well even though he has done many evil things destroying the moral fabric of the society which he swore to protect. I have nothing but despise for these toxic politicians.

The few genuine politicians who stand up their grounds to all are few and far between. Eventually, they too will engulfed by the all pervasive influence of corruption.

To the younger generation joining the working community, my only advice is to pick a job that fits your personality and your skill sets. Make sure you enjoy the job. Get some proper working experience under your belt and you can evaluate your options in a more leisurely way.

You will know when there is a calling for you to become an entrepreneur. You will be unhappy with your job, your bosses irritates you, there is a burning desire that has just lighted up in your belly, a brilliant idea suddenly appeared and you feel that you are now ready to be an entrepreneur. Are you?

From experience, it takes a long time for an entrepreneur to make big fortune. If you do not have the patience, I recommend you a job that makes money faster than an entrepreneur.

Be a politician.

Source: Tan Thiam Hock, On Your Own/Starbizweek

The writer is an entrepreneur who hopes to share his experience and
insights with readers who want to take that giant leap into business but
are not sure if they should.

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China cracks down on P2P lending to curb illegal activities


BEIJING: China’s banking regulator issued tough new rules on Wednesday to tighten regulation of the country’s $60 billion peer-to-peer lending sector, which has been dogged by scandals and fraud.

The measures mark the latest attempt by China to reduce risks to the world’s second-largest economy by cleaning up the its rapidly growing but loosely regulated online financial sector.

Peer-to-peer lending (P2P) platforms will not be able to take deposits, nor provide any forms of guarantee for lenders, according to a joint document issued by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), Ministry of Public Security, Cyberspace Administration of China, and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The regulator said some P2P firms were running Ponzi schemes and raising funds illegally, and said it would bar firms from 13 “forbidden” activities.

Under the new rules, P2P firms would not be permitted to sell wealth management products which are popular with many Chinese investors, nor issue asset-backed securities, and must use third party banks as custodians of investor funds, the regulator said.

It added that P2P firms cannot guarantee investment returns nor investment principal, and they would be subjected to higher disclosure requirements.

The regulations follow the April passage of a plan by the State Council, or cabinet, to clean up the non-bank financial sector after rare demonstrations by angry investors stoked fears of social unrest.

The banking regulator is responsible for tightening regulations over P2P, online trust businesses and online consumer finance firms

China’s online P2P lending platforms, which match small business and individual borrowers with retail investors with spare funds, has seen rapid growth in the past two years largely due to the lack of regulatory oversight.

The industry raised more than 400 billion yuan ($60 billion)by November last year, CBRC data showed.

But among the more than 3,600 P2P platforms, more than 1,000 were problematic, the CBRC had said.

The rise of P2P lending was originally seen by the government as a type of financial innovation that could make funds accessible to credit-hungry consumers and small businesses, which continue to struggle to get loans from traditional financial institutions.

Beijing’s hands-off approach to promote the rapid development of the sector, however, led to a large number of high-profile P2P failures, scandals and frauds.

The consequences have devastated many retail investors, who dumped their life-savings into P2P platforms in hopes of receiving double-digit returns, threatening China’s social and financial stability.

Ezubao, once China’s biggest P2P lending platform, turned out to be a Ponzi scheme that solicited 50 billion yuan ($7.5 billion) in less than two years from more than 900,000 retail investors through savvy marketing.

Investor funds were squandered by Ezubao executives on lavish lifestyles. Retail investors are still unable to get back their hard-earned money, and many have blamed Beijing for its lack of regulation and scrutiny. – Reuters


Sub-anchor: New guidelines: P2P lending should be small-scale

  •  the China Banking Regulatory Commission are finally laying down the rules. This comes eight months after China started a campaign to crack down on faulty P2P lenders. According to the new rules, P2P lenders should mainly just do small scale lending. The sector should target borrowers who are not serviced…

    • Crossover: P2P financing sector still to develop?

    •  Crossover: P2P financing sector still to develop?. For more on P2P regulations, we talk to Chen Jiahe, chief strategist at Cinda Securities.Q1. The recent series of P2P defaults seriously damaged investors’ faith in P2P financing. Do you think P2P still has a lot of room to develop, after these regulations?…
  • China tightens rules for troubled P2P lending sector

  • China tightens rules for troubled P2P lending sector. China released new rules on Wednesday to tighten regulations covering the country’s scandal-tainted peer-to-peer lending sector. Government officials say reducing risks and illegal activities in the US$60 billion sector has become a key
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