Family planning authorities in the eastern city of Wuxi, where Zhang’s wife lives, are preparing a report and will release it soon, Xinhua agency said.Online rumors surfaced earlier that 61-year-old Zhang might have a total of seven children: three with his current spouse actress Chen Ting, three with two other women and a daughter from his first marriage, wrote the People’s Daily. The renowned director may avoid having to pay the penalty if his alleged children were born abroad and have been granted citizenship of the states they were born in.Zhang, who directed the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, won a number of prestigious awards for his films and was nominated for an Academy Award in 1991 for the film “Ju Dou.” He gained international recognition as a highly gifted director with his movie Red Sorghum, which won the Golden Bear at 1987 Berlin Film Festival.The speculation has sparked heated debate in Chinese social media with many users being outraged at how the rich and influential can get around the law and solve whatever they want using their money. In China – with a population of an impressive 1.3 billion people – couples are allowed to have only one child. There can be exceptions to the rule under certain circumstances such as if twins are born, if both spouses come from one-child families or if their first kid has a non-inherited illness. In most rural provinces, couples are permitted to have a second child if their first-born is a daughter or suffers from physical disability or mental illness.Families breaching tough population control policy face severe financial penalties, some may lose their jobs and in some cases women are even forced to abort their babies or be sterilized. According to Beijing, the policy helped to prevent 400 million births since the regulations were introduced over 30 years ago. …
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The Austrian film director and screenwriter, Michael Haneke, has won Spain’s prestigious Prince of Asturias Arts Award.
Presenting the prize, the president of the jury Jose Llado, praised Haneke for making a significant contribution to the cultural heritage of makind.
“Haneke studies, with dazzling light and mastery, sombre aspects of life such as violence, oppression and disease that he treats with extraordinary formal sobriety,” said Llado.
Michael Haneke apparently likes to say that his films are easier to make than to watch and few, if any, would argue.
But although they often make for uncomfortable viewing, his bleak and disturbing style of depicting problems and failures in modern society appears to be gaining critical and commercial success.
Last year his film Amour premiered and competed at Cannes and went on to win the coveted Palme d’Or. It was his second triumph at the festival within three years, and saw him gain entry to an elite club of only seven directors.
The film also received five US Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. It won in the category of Best Foreign Language Film.
Copyright © 2013 euronews
Immunologists expressed concern Friday about the “dangerous” work of scientists in China who created a hybrid bird flu virus that can spread in the air between guinea pigs, and now lives in a lab freezer. The team from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Gansu Agricultural…
http://www.youtube.com/v/QZk6xh_oMgI?version=3&f=videos&app=youtube_gdata Taken from: Teacher: I’m Not a Pedophile, I’m a Racist
During famines, desperate people
often try to survive by
eating things like grass and tree bark. That doesn’t do much to
alleviate their hunger since trees and grass are chiefly composed
of cellulose which people’s guts cannot digest.
Starch, found in wheat, corn, rice, and potatoes, makes up a
big portion of the modern human diet. Now researchers at Virginia
Tech have announced in The Proceedings of the National Academy
of Sciences that they can turn
cellulose into edible starch. From the abstract:
The global demand for food could double in another 40 y owing to
growth in the population and food consumption per capita. To meet
the world’s future food and sustainability needs for biofuels and
renewable materials, the production of starch-rich cereals and
cellulose-rich bioenergy plants must grow substantially while
minimizing agriculture’s environmental footprint and conserving
biodiversity. Here we demonstrate one-pot enzymatic conversion of
pretreated biomass to starch through a nonnatural synthetic
enzymatic pathway composed of endoglucanase, cellobiohydrolyase,
cellobiose phosphorylase, and alpha-glucan phosphorylase
originating from bacterial, fungal, and plant sources. A special
polypeptide cap in potato alpha-glucan phosphorylase was essential
to push a partially hydrolyzed intermediate of cellulose forward to
the synthesis of amylose. Up to 30% of the anhydroglucose units in
cellulose were converted to starch; the remaining cellulose was
hydrolyzed to glucose suitable for ethanol production by yeast in
the same bioreactor. Next-generation biorefineries based on
simultaneous enzymatic biotransformation and microbial fermentation
could address the food, biofuels, and environment trilemma.
R&D Magazine further
Cellulose is the supporting material in plant cell walls and is
the most common carbohydrate on earth. This new development opens
the door to the potential that food could be created from any
plant, reducing the need for crops to be grown on valuable land
that requires fertilizers, pesticides, and large amounts of water.
The type of starch that Zhang’s team produced is amylose, a linear
resistant starch that is not broken down in the digestion process
and acts as a good source of dietary fiber. It has been proven to
decrease the risk of obesity and diabetes.
Thus does human ingenuity conjure new resources and mock the
grim prophecies on Neo-Malthusians. …
Dmitry Medvedev was delivering the report on government performance in 2012 to the State Duma and had to answer MPs’ questions afterwards. Igor Lebedev of the opposition party LDPR asked if the PM had thought about firing Education Minister Dmitry Livanov and backed the questions with sharp criticism of the official’s performance.However, Medvedev defended his subordinate, saying that the criticism was an inseparable part of the government work.“A minister is not a ruble coin for everyone to like him. A lot of positions in the government can be called an execution list and the education and health ministers are examples of such posts,” he responded.Medvedev asked the MPs if they could recall a single occasion when someone in the parliament had said something good about these officials.“I think that the minister who is liked by everyone simply is not fully performing his professional duties,” he added. However, he said that the government officials must remain in contact with the community and praised the criticism, as it was not just the right, but a duty for the State Duma deputies.Medvedev also admitted that the current state of Russian education, especially postgraduate education, could be improved.“There are institutes that will make you feel shame if you walk inside. It is sad to see who lectures there,” the PM noted. He also called for a critical review of the system that has been driven solely by inertia over recent years.Medvedev also warned about the dangers of fully relying on digital systems that were created to fight plagiarism, saying that scientists and scholars could use quotes once it is done properly.Lately, Livanov has been often targeted by colleagues and politicians both for his work and his public statements. His conflict with the Russian Academy of Sciences spilled far beyond the educational sphere after the minister called the academy ‘archaic’ and ‘non-viable’ in a radio interview and likened it to a property-managing institution that was not making any input into the fundamental sciences.Academicians replied with an open letter demanding a public apology and threatening to ask for Livanov’s dismissal from the minister’s post if they did not get one.Livanov apologized, but the demands for his dismissal still followed. …
A warming climate threatens drastic declines for wineries in the Bordeaux and Rhone regions in France, Tuscany in Italy as well as beyond the Mediterranean, in Napa Valley in California and Chile, according to the study published in the American ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’.It requires cool winters and hot dry summers to produce good grapes. However, researchers expect big changes in regions with such conditions.A warming climate will make it harder to grow grapes in traditional wine regions.Hence, nearly three quarters of the world’s wine-producing regions might become unsuitable, the report predicts.The sharpest decline is expected in Europe, where the scientists predict an 85 percent decrease in production in Bordeaux, Rhone and Tuscany.As the average temperature increases by between 2.5 and 4.7° C, “Southern France will see a lot of declining suitability,” Lee Hannah, the leading author of the study, told AFP.The future is also predicted to be less bright for Australian wine growers, with a 74 percent drop, and California’s, with a 70 percent fall.Wine growers in the Cape area of South Africa would also be hit hard, with a 55 per cent decline. Chile’s wine producers would expect losses of about 40 percent, the study found out.”I think wine lovers will find their wines will come from unusual areas, and the varieties they’re used to getting from places like France will be changing,” Hannah says. “Enthusiasts will have to begin thinking about wine in a different way.”However, he stresses the study does not suggest the end of wine, but drinkers might soon be surprised at bottle labels.“Redistribution in wine production may occur within continents, moving from declining traditional wine-growing regions to areas of novel suitability,” the authors wrote. “At higher latitudes and elevations, areas not currently suitable for viticulture are projected to become more suitable.”The climate change may open up other parts of the world to grapes, as producers may start looking for higher, cooler ground.The study predicts traditional France and Italy regions could give way to wilderness areas around Yellowstone Park, or the hills of Central China becoming prime areas for wine production.“Global changes in suitability for wine production caused by climate change may result in substantial economic and conservation consequences,” predicts the report.According to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine, global wine production dropped 6 percent in 2012, the lowest level in at least 37 years, on smaller grape crops in France, Spain and Argentina. …