Daily Archives: April 12, 2011

Restoring sight for the poor

Liu Guangying marvels at the dramatic turn her life has just taken. Nearly blind for almost a year because of a severe cataract condition, she has now had her sight restored and has regained the ability to work thanks to free eye surgery courtesy of a chemical company.

Liu, 58, a farmer from Zhengjia village in Huaiyin district in Jinan, Shandong province, started having problems with her vision and began suffering pain around her eyes in early 2010. Initially she ignored the symptoms but then her eyesight began to deteriorate very quickly. Within a few months she was unable to discern anything but blurred shadows.

Last August, Liu’s son, Zheng Yuanguang, took her to see a doctor in downtown Jinan, where the cataracts were diagnosed. She was told surgery would cost about 10,000 yuan ($1,527). Zheng who feeds his entire family on a monthly salary of about 1,000 yuan, could not afford it and had to take his mother back home in despair.

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First quarterly deficit in seven years

China reported its first quarterly trade deficit in seven years, but analysts said it will not be repeated in the coming months as tighter monetary policies, introduced to combat inflation, slow import growth.

China registered a deficit of $1.02 billion in the first quarter, compared with a surplus of $13.9 billion last year, according to the General Administration of Customs.

This is the first deficit since the first quarter of 2004 when a deficit of $8 billion was reported.

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Counseling aimed at reducing divorces

Experts suggest offering marriage classes to students. In the hope of lowering China’s soaring divorce rate, love counseling will be offered in offices where couples go in Beijing to end their marriages.

“Professionally trained social workers will offer free services, including love mediation and legal aid, to help couples resolve marital strife and seek solutions other than divorce,” said Gu Xiuqin, director-general of the China Association of Social Workers’ marriage and family-affairs committee.

A non-governmental organization named the China Marriage and Family Affairs Consulting and Research Center will train the workers, and the Weiqing International Chain Group Co Ltd, the first marriage and finance firm in China, will carry out the plan.

“The project will go forward in at least five districts in Beijing this year,” said Shu Xin, director of the research center. “We are now discussing details with the districts’ departments of civil affairs.”

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GPS-style map system takes off

China successfully launched its eighth Beidou (Compass) navigation satellite on Sunday, ensuring the basic system for its indigenous satellite navigation and positioning network is in place.

Beidou is being developed to rival the United States-developed GPS, the European Union’s Galileo and Russia’s Global Navigation Satellite System, and is aimed at allowing travelers, drivers and military officials to accurately know their locations.

A Long March-3A carrier rocket bearing the satellite took off at 4:47 am on Sunday from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Southwest China’s Sichuan province, according to a statement on the Beidou navigation system’s official website, beidou.gov.cn.

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