President Barack Obama Weekly Address August 29, 2015 (Video/Transcript)

President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
August 29, 2015
Hi, everybody.  This Monday, I’m heading to Alaska for a three-day tour of the state.

I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time.  Not only because Alaska is one of the most beautiful places in a country that’s full of beautiful places – but because I’ll have several opportunities to meet with everyday Alaskans about what’s going on in their lives.  I’ll travel throughout the state, meeting with Alaskans who live above the Arctic Circle, with Alaska natives, and with folks who earn their livelihoods through fishing and tourism.  And I expect to learn a lot.

One thing I’ve learned so far is that a lot of these conversations begin with climate change.  And that’s because Alaskans are already living with its effects.  More frequent and extensive wildfires.  Bigger storm surges as sea ice melts faster.  Some of the swiftest shoreline erosion in the world – in some places, more than three feet a year.

Alaska’s glaciers are melting faster too, threatening tourism and adding to rising seas.  And if we do nothing, Alaskan temperatures are projected to rise between six and twelve degrees by the end of the century, changing all sorts of industries forever.

This is all real.  This is happening to our fellow Americans right now.  In fact, Alaska’s governor recently told me that four villages are in “imminent danger” and have to be relocated.  Already, rising sea levels are beginning to swallow one island community.

Think about that.  If another country threatened to wipe out an American town, we’d do everything in our power to protect ourselves.  Climate change poses the same threat, right now.

That’s why one of the things I’ll do while I’m in Alaska is to convene other nations to meet this threat.  Several Arctic nations have already committed to action.  Since the United States and China worked together to set ambitious climate targets last year, leading by example, many of the world’s biggest emitters have come forward with new climate plans of their own.  And that’s a good sign as we approach this December’s global climate negotiations in Paris.

Now, one of the ways America is leading is by transitioning away from dirty energy sources that threaten our health and our environment, and by going all-in on clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar.  And Alaska has the natural resources to be a global leader in this effort.

Now even as we accelerate this transition, our economy still has to rely on oil and gas.  As long as that’s the case, I believe we should rely more on domestic production than on foreign imports, and we should demand the highest safety standards in the industry – our own.  Still, I know there are Americans who are concerned about oil companies drilling in environmentally sensitive waters.  Some are also concerned with my administration’s decision to approve Shell’s application to drill a well off the Alaskan coast, using leases they purchased before I took office.  I share people’s concerns about offshore drilling.  I remember the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico all too well.

That’s precisely why my administration has worked to make sure that our oil exploration conducted under these leases is done at the highest standards possible, with requirements specifically tailored to the risks of drilling off Alaska.  We don’t rubber-stamp permits.  We made it clear that Shell has to meet our high standards in how they conduct their operations – and it's a testament to how rigorous we've applied those standards that Shell has delayed and limited its exploration off Alaska while trying to meet them.  The bottom line is, safety has been and will continue to be my administration’s top priority when it comes to oil and gas exploration off America’s precious coasts – even as we push our economy and the world to ultimately transition off of fossil fuels.

So I’m looking forward to talking with Alaskans about how we can work together to make America the global leader on climate change around the globe.  And we’re going to offer unique and engaging ways for you to join me on this trip all week at  Because what’s happening in Alaska is happening to us.  It’s our wakeup call.  And as long as I’m President, America will lead the world to meet the threat of climate change before it’s too late.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.


Healthy eating in traditional Chinese medicine

Source:  Deutsche Welle
With so many healthy diet theories flying around these days, it can be hard to know what is actually good for our bodies. Here's a completely different view of food, one that's been established for thousands of years. 

Living in a world with countless healthy diet theories are flying around, it's sometimes hard to know what is really good for our bodies. Butter is bad, butter is good; diet coke is good, diet coke is bad; raw food is bad, raw food is good.

Our views on healthy food change all the time, often depending on the newest clinical research findings. We know all about fat, carbohydrates, proteins, minerals and vitamins, but no matter how advanced our knowledge on food is, there are always studies that introduce something new and diet theories that get debunked. What do our bodies really need? That's a question to which we could never seem to find an answer.

The Chinese have their own answer to healthy eating, with concepts strongly related to traditional Chinese medicine. They are probably the most hard-core supporters of the saying “You are what you eat,” regardless of whether they really follow that advice.

I asked a Chinese Medical Practitioner in Hong Kong, Chan Kei-fat, and Guo Qiming, a practitioner from Beijing with a shop in Cologne, to describe to what extent food and medicine are related, and to what extent are these concepts applicable to places outside China.

1. Food is medicine, medicine is food
In contrast with western medicine, the role of food and medicine in traditional Chinese medicine overlap. For example, a water melon is food, but it can also have a medical effect during hot days because of its hydrating properties.

The ancient clans of China, dating back to 2200 BC, started to discover the different medical values of herbs while they were still hunting and gathering. Some foods relieved their illness, some caused death. Over time, and in concourse with the growth of Chinese philosophy, medical theories were developed.

However, there are also some foods that are considered more "medicine" than "food," for example, ginseng. When it comes to this "medicine," a person should consult a practitioner, since eating it could make your body worse. Why? Foods have different natures, and all of us have different bodies that interact differently with different foods.

2. The four natures of food
In traditional Chinese medicine, food is divided into five natures, called "siqi": cold, cool, neutral, warm and hot. The nature of food is not determined by their actual temperature, but rather by what effects they have on a person's body after consumption. When a person continually eats one type of food, it creates an imbalance in their body, and affects their immune system. Thus, one of the keys in Chinese medicine is to keep our body "neutral."

Foods that are warm and hot bring heat to our bodies -- e.g. beef, coffee, ginger, hot chilies and fried foods -- while cold and cool foods cool down our bodies-- think of salad, cheese, green tea, and beer. Neutral foods are foods like oil, rice, pork and most kinds of fishes.

A person who has too much heat in their body usually feels hot, sweats all the time, is grumpy, has a swollen tongue, or could be constipated. People who have too much cold in their bodies appear pale, have cold hands and feet, might feel weak, or have bad blood circulation. When this happens, we are advised to stop eating that kind of food.

3. It's more than just a taste
Similarly in the western world, the Chinese divide tastes into five different kinds (Wuwei): sour, bitter, sweet, spicy and salty. But for the Chinese, these are more than just senses. In traditional Chinese medicine, each bite of foods sends the nutrition to corresponding organs: sour food enters liver and helps stop sweating, eases coughing; salt enters the kidneys, and can drain, purge and soften masses; bitter food enters the heart and the small intestine and helps cool heat and dry any dampness; spicy food enters the lungs and large intestine and helps stimulate appetite; sweet food enters the stomach and spleen and helps lubricate the body. Thus, it is important to have each flavor in the diet.

Does that mean to be healthy we just eat just neutral food in all flavors? Not necessarily. "Food choices are affected by your body's construction, the season and the place where you live" said Chan. The condition of the body could also be affected by age and sex. In other words, Chinese medical practitioners adapt their recommendations to different conditions.

4. One size does not fit all
Just like we all have different personalities, we also all have different body constitutions (tizhi). And just like you cannot communicate with all people in the same way, we also cannot feed our bodies with the same food in the same way.

What is a "constitution"? The categorizations have been in constant flux ever since traditional Chinese medicine first began. Currently, one of the most popular divisions is developed by Huang Qi, who introduced nine types of bodies in 1978.

A person with a lot of "dampness and phlegm" (tanshi) in their body tends to be overweight, might sweat a lot and might have an oily face. These people are usually more mild-tempered.

However, a person with a lot of "dampness and heat" (Shi-Re) is usually short-tempered and often presents with an oily and acned face. Both of these people need different food to take away their dampness, which means sweets, which "lubricate" the body, might worsen the situation.

Each type of food, depending on its nature, might better or worsen the situation. "There is no substance which is good for anybody. Many consider ginger to be healthy, but when you are already a very dry person and you have so much heat in your body, the more ginger tea you drink, the drier you get," says Guo.

5. Eat according to season
The season and time of year is another factor when it comes to food choices. For instance, spring is often wet and sticky in China, which means we need food that can take away the dampness in our body, such as corn, white beans and onion.

Summer is hot, so we need food to cool us down, such as watermelon and cucumber. Autumn is dry, which means we need food to "lubricate" us, such as snow peas and honey. Winter is cold, so we need food which warms up the body, such as beef or shrimps.

In the globalized world, one can easily buy foods that are not in season. But traditional Chinese practices dictate might not be that best way to feed ourselves, since seasonal foods bring us the nutrition that we need in that particular season. A similar concept also exists generally in the western world.

6. Climate also matters
The climate of a place can also affect our food choices. For example, Guo said, the Sichuan province in China: "(Sichuan) is a province where the climate is very wet and cold. So, Sichuan people love to eat spicy food since spicy food makes us sweat and thus removes the dampness in our body." He added that if people from temperate areas eat too much spicy food, the body will be too hot, which is not very healthy.

7. Finding the golden mean
At the end of the day, what is considered to be healthy, what should be avoided? In traditional Chinese medicine, every food is nutritious, and as long as a healthy person doesn't eat too much of any one food, nothing is unhealthy. Chinese philosophers tell us always to take the "golden means"; never take extremes. In traditional Chinese medicine, it's also important not to eat too much (only up to seventy-percent of your capacity), and have food that is in a moderate temperature, so as to avoid overstraining the digestive organs.

This also applies to food. After all, it's all about balance.

There's a saying in Chinese: "The five grains provide nourishment. The five vegetables provide filling. The five domestic animals provide enrichment. The five fruits provide support." It means a balanced diet, where foods are consumed in appropriate combinations according to their natures and flavors, serves to supplement the essence that human body needs.


Ready for Take-Off: China Steers Course Between Prestige and Profit

Source: Der Spiegel

 China's slowing economy has German industry worried about its exports to Asia. But as it goes about beefing up the transportation sector, the country poses a completely different threat in the longer-term.

For a military site, the Dachang Air Base in the northern part of Shanghai has a very civilian appearance, a little like the campus of an American university, with widely spaced bungalows and buildings, plane trees, ponds, lawns and the Volvos, Jeeps and Buicks of employees.

Along with several assistants, aviation engineer Li Jieke, 66, a tall, elegant man, is giving a tour of the grounds along with an assistant. Foreigners are an uncommon sight here, and foreign journalists are especially rare. "No photos, please," says Li, as we approach the airfield, where several People's Liberation Army jet fighter are parked in formation. "Let's take a drive over to our building instead, to the civilian aircraft."

In Dr. Li's hangar, photographs are only permitted in selected locations, and only from specific angles. The ARJ21 Xiangfeng is being assembled there. It is China's first domestically developed modern airliner, the pride of its engineers and the hope of its aviation industry. ARJ stands for "Advanced Regional Jet," and Xiangfeng means "Flying Phoenix." The number 21 stands for the 21st century.
Development of the short-haul aircraft began in 2002, and it took off on its first test flight in 2008, after a few delays. But then the wings proved to be too weak, and there were problems with the aircraft's electronics, landing gear and ice testing. Certification had to be postponed several times.
COMAC, the Chinese state-owned aviation company, plans to deliver the first aircraft this fall, five years later than planned. "It wasn't easy to get the Phoenix off the ground," says Li Jieke. "Building a safe airliner is the biggest challenge for a modern industry."

China, the world's second-largest economy and largest trading nation, produces steel and cement, manufactures garlic presses and soccer jerseys and assembles smartphones, tablets and computers. But if the government planners in Beijing have their way, China will also develop and build pacemakers, high-performance cameras and industrial robots in the future. And eventually it will also build a large jet with engines that are not produced by General Electric, like those on the ARJ21.
Beijing is extremely ambitious. No matter how difficult it is, China must build its own large aircraft after the ARJ21, said President Xi Jinping during a visit to COMAC in Shanghai last year. The president currently flies to state visits on an American aircraft, a Boeing 747. He doesn't seem to like that. "In the past, someone said the best choice for us is to rent (passenger aircraft) from others and then buy (them) and that the last option is to make our own," he said. "We have reversed this notion. We will invest more to develop and produce our own large aircraft."

A Turning Point
The world is currently very interested in the economic issues associated with this claim. Exactly how strong is China's economy? Will the country remain the "workbench of the world," dependent on ideas and orders from the West? Or will it manage to complete the jump to an innovative economy, one that can compete in high-tech fields? And will this make the country, which is mainly a buyer of high-quality German products at this point, a threat to German industry?

China's ambitions as an industrialized nation are especially apparent in the three major areas of the transportation sector: the automobile, railroad and aviation industries. This is where it becomes evident how Beijing's planners are proceeding, what they have so far achieved and what setbacks they have already endured.

All three industries are currently at a turning point. The Chinese auto market, a guarantee of growth and profit for 35 years, is in crisis. Growth rates are noticeably declining for the first time, both those of domestic automakers and of some of their international partners and competitors. The Volkswagen Group, which generates almost two-thirds of its profits in China, reported a 4-percent decline in sales in the first half of 2015. And as a result of two devaluations of the Chinese currency, the yuan, the prospects for German carmakers have been further dampened in their most lucrative market.

In contrast, the Chinese railroad industry is fast becoming a world leader. Chinese railroad companies are receiving more orders than ever before. The country's rail, locomotive and rolling stock manufacturers are not just selling their products in China and in the developing countries of Asia and Africa, but are beginning to receive orders from the United States and Europe. German national railroad Deutsche Bahn will open a purchasing office in China this fall, which is alarming news for its main supplier, Siemens.

The civil aviation industry, the youngest of China's transportation industries, is about to undergo the greatest transformation of all. Boeing estimates that Chinese airlines will buy about 6,000 passenger aircraft in the next 18 years, or about six aircraft a week. More than 60 of the country's current 200 airports are now being expanded and modernized, and there are plans to build 30 new ones. It is only a matter of time before China becomes the world's largest aviation market.

However, technical innovation cycles are longer in aviation than in the automobile and rail sectors. China will have to hurry up if it hopes to break the global duopoly of Boeing and Airbus -- and benefit from its own boom in the process. What lessons is the Chinese leadership learning from the two other industries? And what will the consequences be for Americans and Europeans?

The Automobile Boom
It's summer 2015 at a car show in Xiamen, a prosperous port city in Fujian Province. The first visitors are already standing in line outside the convention center at 7 a.m. Despite the ticket price of 50 yuan, or €7 ($8), per person, entire families are there.

The convention center consists of two large buildings. Cars made by Chinese manufacturers are exhibited in one building. Outside China, the domestic brands -- Chery, Geely, Great Wall, Dongfeng, SAIC -- are known only to industry experts. The dealers are advertising their small and mid-sized cars with ear-splitting presentations. Some exhibitors are sitting in their model cars with the windows closed, playing with their mobile phones while they wait for customers.

International brands -- BMW, Peugeot, Porsche, Daimler and Ford -- are on display in the other building. It is quieter there, even though the crowds of customers are significantly larger. "Demand fluctuates," says Xie Xiaoping, who is touting an SUV at the Toyota booth, "but interest has grown steadily over the years."

Western manufacturers clearly dominate the luxury category. German brands Audi, BMW and Mercedes alone command 70 to 80 percent of the premium market. About half of all of Daimler's S class models are now sold in China, where the S class is the first car purchased by 12 percent of customers. Unlike Audi and VW, which recently suffered significant setbacks, Mercedes saw its sales grow by 20 percent in the first half of 2015.

But foreign companies also dominate the small-car or so-called volume segment. About two-thirds of all automobiles sold in China have international brand names, while only 38 percent of the 1.5 million cars sold in June were entirely Chinese-produced.
Graphic: Chinese Automobile Sale Zoom
Graphic: Chinese Automobile Sale

This Western dominance was never planned, and certainly not by the Chinese. The government in Beijing drafted three goals when it began building its own auto industry in the early 1980s. The first was to import Western technology. The second was to establish a clearly structured automobile market with a small number of efficient manufacturers. The third was to make money -- especially foreign currency, which China lacked at the time -- by exporting vehicles.

To achieve these goals, Beijing brought foreign manufacturers into the country, but it also forced them to enter into joint ventures with Chinese companies. To be a part of China's automobile boom, foreign companies had to enter into relationships with Chinese state-owned businesses.

Lessons Learned
Most of these goals were not achieved. There is no ongoing technology transfer, and Chinese cars have not become export hits, as planned. Even the Chinese have trouble distinguishing among their domestic manufacturers' logos.

Nevertheless, Beijing long adhered to the joint-venture requirement, because the Chinese-international joint ventures have reached, and even exceeded, another objective: They have been more money with the production of Western, brand-name cars for the Chinese market than both sides had ever dared to hope.

As US expert Gregory Anderson writes in his seminal book on the Chinese auto industry, "Designated Drivers," "it is more profitable in the short-term for state-owned enterprises to produce foreign-branded cars than it is for them to pour money into development of their own." If the money is right, Beijing's practitioners of state capitalism are apparently more interested in the capital than in state objectives, acquiring Western technology or international market dominance.

Anderson's explanation is that China's state-owned carmakers are geared toward quick profits, growth in absolute figures and preserving jobs. Entrepreneurial risks are systematically avoided. The managers of state-owned companies appointed by the government "have been most content to allow their foreign partners to contribute complete vehicle designs, which are then assembled by Chinese workers and sold under foreign brands."

There are three lessons to be learned from the development of the Chinese auto industry to date.
Firstly, the political leadership's objectives are important, but they are less influential than often assumed in the West. China has a large auto industry today, but it doesn't resemble what the government planners wanted at all.

Secondly, if the market develops differently than expected, the system is flexible enough to adjust. Even if Beijing would prefer something different, the Chinese like Western car brands better than their own. As a result, Chinese state-owned companies are still producing Western brands after 35 years, and they are making money in the process.

Thirdly, the party wants to preserve its power and, in times of declining growth rates, is increasingly oriented toward social stability. Technology transfer and the development of domestic industrial capacity are seen as desirable, but it is more important to China's provincial and city governments that companies can guarantee jobs.

Railroads for the World
A high mountain valley in Qinghai Province, two hours from the village where the Dalai Lama was born. The D2704 express train from Ürümqi to Lanzhou has reached an altitude of 3,600 meters (11,811 feet) when it rushes through the first of two tunnels through the Qilian Mountains, traveling at 250 kilometers per hour (155 miles per hour). The train travels in darkness for one-and-a-half minutes, then it's light outside for a few seconds, and then dark again, as the train enters the second tunnel, the world's highest, and one that can accommodate high-speed trains.

"Four minutes," says civil engineer Ren Shaoqiang, 48. "It takes only four minutes for a train to travel along a stretch of rail that took us four years to build." Ren, a muscular man with a crew cut and a wrinkled jacket, supervised the construction of the most difficult segment of the 1,800-kilometer Lanxin route, which connects the sparsely populated western provinces of Ganzu, Qinghai and Xinjiang. Thanks to the work he and his 2,000 men put in, Ren appeared on the cover of an industry journal from Japan, a country that sets the highest standards in railroad construction.

"The Japanese are still a few steps ahead of us," says Ren, "but we are probably the best by now under conditions like those up here." The Qilian Mountains are a young, geologically unstable range. "It's as if we had driven two tubes through a mountain consisting half of sheer rock and half of millet gruel," he says. "But as you can see, it works."

The development of China's high-speed network is an epochal achievement. The first ultra-high-speed train began operating only eight years ago, and today the network covers 16,000 kilometers of track, more than the high-speed routes of all other countries combined. Some 2.5 million travelers use these routes every day, or a total of about three billion by the end of 2014. China has the longest and highest-altitude high-speed railroads, and the country's (and the world's) longest railroad bridge spans a distance of 164 kilometers.
Map: China's High-Speed Rail Network Zoom
Map: China's High-Speed Rail Network

As with the development of its auto industry, Beijing also courted Western and Japanese partners in the rail sector, and as with the auto industry, the government demanded that they enter into joint ventures with Chinese state-owned companies and share their technology.

The railroad executives of the four world market leaders, Siemens (Germany), Bombardier (Canada), Alstom (France) and Kawasaki (Japan) faced a dilemma: Should they hazard their know-how, or access to possibly the world's largest railroad market?

In the end, all four companies and many suppliers went to China. They adhered to a logic that then Deputy Premier (and the current head of the government's anti-corruption unit) Wang Qishan summarized in a meeting with European business executives in 2009: "I know you have complaints. But the charm of the Chinese market is irresistible."

The results of this cooperation are completely different than in the auto industry, and became apparent much faster. There were also setbacks in the construction of the rail sector, including a severe train accident in 2011 and a series of corruption scandals. Nevertheless, Beijing has achieved what it wanted: a modern high-speed network and an internationally competitive railroad industry.

Ambitions and Criticisms
From railroad construction to signaling technology to locomotive and railcar construction, in almost every field the Chinese have managed to expand foreign construction plans (which they also continue to buy) and adjust them to their needs. Many engineers in middle management, like Ren Shaoqiang, have worked abroad, and some are now invited to the West to share their expertise. "We are standing on the shoulders of other giants," says Ren, "but now we have gathered experience and massive amounts of data, which others cannot have to this extent."

China's railroad companies have since become competitors to their former mentors. China is building railroads in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Argentina, and subways in Kuala Lumpur, Ankara and Boston. It is bidding for major projects, with international partners in some cases, like the planned high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

On June 1, China combined its two rail giants, CSR and CNR, creating a railroad company that is larger than the rail divisions of the previous world market leaders combined.

But as ambitiously as Beijing is pushing its way into the world market, there is still persistent criticism within China of the country's railroad policy. "The project to build high-speed rail lines no longer makes economic sense," says transportation expert Zhao Jian of Jiaotong University in Beijing. "I would stop further construction immediately."

A few of the 33 high-speed routes, such as the one between Beijing and Shanghai, are profitable, says Zhao, but the majority of the routes are losing money. "Of the planned 160 pairs of trains, only 27 now travel between Xi'an and Zhengzhou." Instead of its high-speed network, he explains, China should expand freight traffic by rail, which now accounts for only half as much freight volume as in 1998. "It's time that we started budgeting more reasonably."

There are also three lessons to be learned from the short history of China's high-speed rail routes.
Firstly, Beijing now has a better idea of what it wants from foreign companies than when its car industry took off, and it is concluding agreements with them that are advantageous for its own companies. Its engineers are also more advanced than they were 30 years ago, and the time when they merely copied what others had invented is drawing to a close.

Secondly, in contrast to the early stages of its industrialization, China now has the financial resources to implement projects that promise more prestige than economic gain. If the leadership feels it is appropriate, as it did after the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, it can mobilize resources the way the United States did when it expanded its national highway network in the 1950s.

Thirdly, even the Chinese central government's assets are not unlimited. Beijing still wastes billions on infrastructure projects that will probably never pay off. But calls for efficiency and sustainability are getting louder. The leadership's master plan to transform China from an investment and export-driven economy to a consumption and service economy will only reinforce this tendency.

The Dream of Flying
With the possible exception of the Internet economy, civil aviation is currently the biggest challenge for the industrialized nation. "If China can succeed fully in aerospace, then in principle there is very little that it cannot do," US aviation expert and Atlantic journalist James Fallows writes in his book "China Airborne."

Unlike the auto and railroad industry, where Chinese manufacturers compete with a large number of international brands and companies, the competition in aviation stars one, or rather, two names: Boeing and Airbus. It would be unrealistic to assume than an economy as big as China's today could accept an American-European duopoly in the long run, especially in a sector that Beijing declared a "key industry" 10 years ago.

Today Beijing has divided up the domestic market almost equally between the Americans and the Europeans. Boeing produces its aircraft in the United States and has Chinese suppliers. In 2008, Airbus and a joint venture partner built an exact copy of its Hamburg final assembly plant in Tianjin, where it has already assembled more than 200 jets in the A320 family. A planned A330 cabin equipment center is expected to become operational in 2017.

The nucleus of what will one day become China's Boeing or Airbus is the hangar on the edge of the Dachang air base in Shanghai, where Li Jieke works. A model of the new COMAC headquarters stands in the lobby. The site will be located directly at the fifth runway of Shanghai Pudong International Airport. "The buildings that are already complete, and where we will assemble the ARJ21 regional jet in the future, are in blue," says Li. "The planned production line for our medium-range aircraft is in white and the long-haul aircraft production facility is in red."

The timetable, typology and nomenclature for Chinese civil aviation have already been determined. The C919 short- and medium-range jet is being advertised at aviation conventions. After several delays, the aircraft is now scheduled to complete its first test flight this year, and the C929 widebody jet will be ready by 2020.

"I don't want to hazard a prediction as to whether these plans will succeed," says Wang Yanan, 45, of the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics. "Chinese aviation managers are big on setting fixed dates for maiden flights, dates that they don't stick to." The embarrassing delays with the ARJ21 regional jet have injected a dose of humility into the patriotically charged atmosphere in the industry, he adds.

"In aviation, we have learned that it isn't enough to take apart a foreign product to be able to copy it perfectly," says Wang. For instance, minute details in alloys are critical when it comes to the blades in aircraft turbines. This, according to Wang, is good news for European and Americans concerned about their intellectual property. Certain things simply cannot be copied and need to be independently developed, he explains.

Finding a Balance
"Perhaps the aerospace industry will reveal the limits of the Chinese model rather than its limitless power," writes US expert Fallows. "A China capable of creating its own Boeing, its own Airbus, would have to be a transformed China from the one we know now." The recipes the country used to develop into a major economic power -- high volume, quick profits, low cost and a great tolerance for product defects -- are precisely the opposite of what is needed in this sector, Fallows explains.

It does not appear that China will be able to make do without foreign expertise in high technology in the foreseeable future. But it would be just as premature to assume that the country will continue producing only mass-produced goods into the future.

Aviation engineer Li, who spent a long time working in the United States, returned to China 10 years ago and is optimistic. "We will cooperate with international companies in all fields," he says, "but there will be areas in which we have to press ahead alone." They include electronics and, most of all, a central element in the civil aviation industry, the development of domestically produced engines. Li suspects that this development will probably take longer to achieve than by the current target of 2020.

Perhaps this is the lesson that China, as an industrialized nation, will learn from its experiences in auto and railway construction: That even a country of its size and its ambition must find a balance between political expectations and economic reality, and between prestige and profit. It can study this relationship in economies that also began their path to becoming highly industrialized nations as imitators of foreign products, and as the "workbench of the world": Germany, Japan and South Korea.

A red banner hangs from the ceiling above the "Flying Phoenix," the first modern airliner that China will deliver this fall. The motto on the banner could have been expressed by an engineer in any of these countries: "Relying on quality = success."

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan


President Barack Obama Weekly Address August 22, 2015 (Video/Transcript)

President Barack Obama  
Weekly Address
The White House
August 22, 2015
Hi, everybody.  Seven years after the worst economic crisis in generations, our economy continues to grow and create jobs.  In fact, our businesses have created 13 million new jobs over the past five and a half years.

But if we want to keep this momentum going – to make sure that working families feel like their hard work is being rewarded with a basic sense of security – then we all need to do our part.
That’s why my Administration has been partnering with states and cities to help grow the middle class.  Over the past few years, nearly 20 cities and counties have implemented paid sick days.  Six states have enacted paid sick days or paid family leave.  Seventeen states, and more than two dozen cities and counties, have raised their minimum wage.  All of this will help working families.  And across the country, folks are proving that preparing all our kids for the future doesn’t have to be a partisan issue.  Seattle, a city with a Democratic mayor, just passed universal pre-k, while Indianapolis, a city with a Republican mayor, is starting citywide preschool scholarships.  All told, 34 states have increased funding for preschool.  And that’s good for all of us.

Now, we need Congress to do its part to boost the economy, as well.  Unfortunately, Congress left town for five full weeks – and they left behind a stack of unfinished business.  For the first time ever, Congress failed to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.  That left thousands of business owners and their employees at a serious disadvantage compared to their competitors overseas.  That’s not good for jobs. It's not good for our economy.  When it returns from recess, reauthorizing the bank ought to be a top agenda for members of Congress. 

Congress also hasn’t passed a budget – and when they return from vacation, they’ll only have a few weeks to do so, or shut down the government for the second time in two years.  They’ve had all year to do this.  Months ago, I put forward a detailed plan to strengthen our economy and our national security in a fiscally responsible way.  And for months, I’ve said I will veto any budget that locks in the sequester—those senseless cuts to domestic and national security priorities.  Remember, we can’t cut our way to prosperity.  We should be investing in things that help our economy grow today and tomorrow, like education or infrastructure or scientific research.

Democrats in Congress have made it clear they’re ready to sit down and work with Republicans to find common ground on this.  After all, Americans expect Congress to help keep our country strong and growing – not threaten to shut down our government.  When Congress gets back, they should prevent a shutdown, pass a responsible budget, and prove that this is a country that looks forward – a country that invests in our future, and keeps our economy growing for all Americans.

Thanks, everybody and have a great weekend.


People have been angry with the American Politics

People have been angry with the American Politics.

However, as we have seen with President Barack Obama, no matter how well intended a President might be, he/she still is dependent on the Lawmaking Body, the Congress.

As long as Representatives as well as Senators are reelected over and over again, and are more concerned with keeping their job, rather than representing the people, nothing will change in the U.S. Politics. 

So what would possible change this gridlock?

Limit the terms a member of the Congress can be reelected, similar to the two terms of the President.
Make the popular vote count instead of using the old system of the U.S. Electoral College!


Islamic State: The Dutch Teen Who Maps the Jihadists

By in Amsterdam
Source: Der Spiegel

One of the foremost cartographers of Islamic state conflict is a 19-year-old from Amsterdam. Now that he's graduated from high school, he's preparing to take his activism to the next level.

Islamic State fighters have conquered Rahabi in Iraq. They control the Libyan coast near Sirt. In Syria, they just lost Tall Abyad to the Kurds, but are spreading out in the center of Palmyra. Thomas van Linge is keeping an eye on their movements. The 19-year-old wears a hoodie and, although he only just graduated from high school, he already knows better than most people where the Jihadists are heading, which areas they are occupying and where they've been beaten back. That's because van Linge makes some of the world's best maps of chaotic war zones from the desk of his childhood bedroom in Amsterdam. He has never been to Syria, Iraq or Libya, and he learned Arabic on YouTube.

The young Dutchman isn't just keeping an eye on Islamic State and its "caliphate," he also knows what the rebels of the Free Syrian Army, al-Nusra Front and Lebanon's Hezbollah are doing. In Libya he's monitoring the Zintan Brigades, in Nigeria he's watching Boko Haram, in Eastern Ukraine he's keeping an eye on the separatists. "All places where people are rising up," he says.
His maps have been used by CNN, the New York Times and even SPIEGEL. The question is: Why is a 19-year-old interested in the situation at Syrian front lines? And how does he manage to depict these conflicts so precisely, with more details than almost any other professional cartographer?
Thomas van Linge still lives at home, in a small house near Schiphol Airport, where Star Wars DVDs line the shelves. When he looks out the window, he can see hazelnut bushes and a slide in his front yard. He shrugs with his shoulders -- he has no answer to the question. He's a practical person and believes that everyone should just do what interests them. Afraid of failing at something? No, he says. He claims not to know that feeling.

At school he did theater. He learned the anthroposophical movement art known as eurythmy and completed an internship in a home for senior citizens. He has collected money for species in danger of extinction and memorized the names of all the birds and mammals of central Europe. He attended a school called the Free School, a Waldorf institution where lessons follow the principles of Rudolf Steiner. One of the ideas of these progressive educators is that students shouldn't only be made to learn how to think and feel, but also how to want -- i.e., how to do things.

Moving into the Real World
One evening four years ago, van Linge saw a show on CNN about the Arab Spring in Egypt. He saw furious young people fighting for their freedom on Tahrir Square in Cairo. His mother is a psychologist, his father an economist, and they raised him to be a free thinker who views the world as a place of promise. He says he often wished that others were as free as him.

So he selected the Syrian civil war as the subject for his specialized work at school. He looked up a map of Syria on Google and began inputting front lines and rebel groups. He used different colors. He established contact with activists and gained their trust. They, in turn, sent him information. Then he continued tinkering with the map. In January 2014, he released it for the first time on his Twitter account, @arabthomness. Now he has over 14,000 followers from around the world. He regularly updates the maps.

A flood of information flows together on his mobile phone from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. He Skypes with fighters on the front, corresponds with activists and charities and even gets messages from other cartographers. In all, he claims to use over 1,100 sources for his Syrian maps.^tfw

Now that he is finished with high school, van Linge has been doing a lot of thinking about what he should do next. He says he's like to work freelance, be outside and travel. During his research he learned about a young Syrian whose parents died. She now needs to take care of her little sister alone. Thomas van Linge often thinks about the two. He knows, he says, that his maps don't help the girls. That has inspired him to think about traveling to one of the places soon he so far has only known from his maps -- possibly into the Kurdish region in northeastern Iraq. He believes he's spent enough time monitoring the situation from afar. He feels that it's now time for him to help people where their suffering is actually taking place.

NSA Surveillance and What To Do About It


New insights on poverty

  Source: TED

I told you three things last year. I told you that the statistics of the world have not been made properly available. Because of that, we still have the old mindset of developing in industrialized countries, which is wrong. And that animated graphics can make a difference. Things are changing and today, on the United Nations Statistic Division Home Page, it says, by first of May, full access to the databases. (Applause) And if I could share the image with you on the screen. So three things have happened. U.N. opened their statistic databases, and we have a new version of the software up working as a beta on the net, so you don't have to download it any longer.

And let me repeat what you saw last year. The bubbles are the countries. Here you have the fertility rate -- the number of children per woman -- and there you have the length of life in years. This is 1950 -- those were the industrialized countries, those were developing countries. At that time there was a "we" and "them." There was a huge difference in the world. But then it changed, and it went on quite well.

  And this is what happens. You can see how China is the red, big bubble. The blue there is India. And they go over all this -- I'm going to try to be a little more serious this year in showing you how things really changed. And it's Africa that stands out as the problem down here, doesn't it? Large families still, and the HIV epidemic brought down the countries like this. This is more or less what we saw last year, and this is how it will go on into the future.
1:53 And I will talk on, is this possible? Because you see now, I presented statistics that don't exist. Because this is where we are. Will it be possible that this will happen? I cover my lifetime here, you know? I expect to live 100 years. And this is where we are today. Now could we look here instead at the economic situation in the world? And I would like to show that against child survival. We'll swap the axis. Here you have child mortality -- that is, survival -- four kids dying there, 200 dying there. And this is GDP per capita on this axis. And this was 2007.

  And if I go back in time, I've added some historical statistics -- here we go, here we go, here we go -- not so much statistics 100 years ago. Some countries still had statistics. We are looking down in the archive, and when we are down into 1820, there is only Austria and Sweden that can produce numbers. (Laughter) But they were down here. They had 1,000 dollars per person per year. And they lost one-fifth of their kids before their first birthday.

  So this is what happens in the world, if we play the entire world. How they got slowly richer and richer, and they add statistics. Isn't it beautiful when they get statistics? You see the importance of that? And here, children don't live longer. The last century, 1870, was bad for the kids in Europe, because most of this statistics is Europe. It was only by the turn of the century that more than 90 percent of the children survived their first year. This is India coming up, with the first data from India. And this is the United States moving away here, earning more money. And we will soon see China coming up in the very far end corner here. And it moves up with Mao Tse-Tung getting health, not getting so rich. There he died, then Deng Xiaoping brings money. It moves this way over here. And the bubbles keep moving up there, and this is what the world looks like today. (Applause)

  Let us have a look at the United States. We have a function here -- I can tell the world, "Stay where you are." And I take the United States -- we still want to see the background -- I put them up like this, and now we go backwards. And we can see that the United States goes to the right of the mainstream. They are on the money side all the time. And down in 1915, the United States was a neighbor of India -- present, contemporary India. And that means United States was richer, but lost more kids than India is doing today, proportionally. And look here -- compare to the Philippines of today. The Philippines of today has almost the same economy as the United States during the First World War. But we have to bring United States forward quite a while to find the same health of the United States as we have in the Philippines. About 1957 here, the health of the United States is the same as the Philippines. And this is the drama of this world which many call globalized, is that Asia, Arabic countries, Latin America, are much more ahead in being healthy, educated, having human resources than they are economically.

  There's a discrepancy in what's happening today in the emerging economies. There now, social benefits, social progress, are going ahead of economical progress. And 1957 -- the United States had the same economy as Chile has today. And how long do we have to bring United States to get the same health as Chile has today? I think we have to go, there -- we have 2001, or 2002 -- the United States has the same health as Chile. Chile's catching up! Within some years Chile may have better child survival than the United States. This is really a change, that you have this lag of more or less 30, 40 years' difference on the health.

  And behind the health is the educational level. And there's a lot of infrastructure things, and general human resources are there. Now we can take away this -- and I would like to show you the rate of speed, the rate of change, how fast they have gone. And we go back to 1920, and I want to look at Japan. And I want to look at Sweden and the United States. And I'm going to stage a race here between this sort of yellowish Ford here and the red Toyota down there, and the brownish Volvo. (Laughter) And here we go. Here we go. The Toyota has a very bad start down here, you can see, and the United States Ford is going off-road there. And the Volvo is doing quite fine. This is the war. The Toyota got off track, and now the Toyota is coming on the healthier side of Sweden -- can you see that? And they are taking over Sweden, and they are now healthier than Sweden. That's the part where I sold the Volvo and bought the Toyota. (Laughter) And now we can see that the rate of change was enormous in Japan. They really caught up.

  And this changes gradually. We have to look over generations to understand it. And let me show you my own sort of family history -- we made these graphs here. And this is the same thing, money down there, and health, you know? And this is my family. This is Sweden, 1830, when my great-great-grandma was born. Sweden was like Sierra Leone today. And this is when great-grandma was born, 1863. And Sweden was like Mozambique. And this is when my grandma was born, 1891. She took care of me as a child, so I'm not talking about statistic now -- now it's oral history in my family. That's when I believe statistics, when it's grandma-verified statistics. (Laughter) I think it's the best way of verifying historical statistics. Sweden was like Ghana. It's interesting to see the enormous diversity within sub-Saharan Africa. I told you last year, I'll tell you again, my mother was born in Egypt, and I -- who am I? I'm the Mexican in the family. And my daughter, she was born in Chile, and the grand-daughter was born in Singapore, now the healthiest country on this Earth. It bypassed Sweden about two to three years ago, with better child survival. But they're very small, you know? They're so close to the hospital we can never beat them out in these forests. (Laughter) But homage to Singapore.

  Singapore is the best one. Now this looks also like a very good story. But it's not really that easy, that it's all a good story. Because I have to show you one of the other facilities. We can also make the color here represent the variable -- and what am I choosing here? Carbon-dioxide emission, metric ton per capita. This is 1962, and United States was emitting 16 tons per person. And China was emitting 0.6, and India was emitting 0.32 tons per capita. And what happens when we moved on? Well, you see the nice story of getting richer and getting healthier -- everyone did it at the cost of emission of carbon dioxide. There is no one who has done it so far. And we don't have all the updated data any longer, because this is really hot data today. And there we are, 2001.

  And in the discussion I attended with global leaders, you know, many say now the problem is that the emerging economies, they are getting out too much carbon dioxide. The Minister of the Environment of India said, "Well, you were the one who caused the problem." The OECD countries -- the high-income countries -- they were the ones who caused the climate change. "But we forgive you, because you didn't know it. But from now on, we count per capita. From now on we count per capita. And everyone is responsible for the per capita emission."

  This really shows you, we have not seen good economic and health progress anywhere in the world without destroying the climate. And this is really what has to be changed. I've been criticized for showing you a too positive image of the world, but I don't think it's like this. The world is quite a messy place. This we can call Dollar Street. Everyone lives on this street here. What they earn here -- what number they live on -- is how much they earn per day. This family earns about one dollar per day. We drive up the street here, we find a family here which earns about two to three dollars a day. And we drive away here -- we find the first garden in the street, and they earn 10 to 50 dollars a day.

  And how do they live? If we look at the bed here, we can see that they sleep on a rug on the floor. This is what poverty line is -- 80 percent of the family income is just to cover the energy needs, the food for the day. This is two to five dollars. You have a bed. And here it's a much nicer bedroom, you can see. I lectured on this for Ikea, and they wanted to see the sofa immediately here. (Laughter) And this is the sofa, how it will emerge from there. And the interesting thing, when you go around here in the photo panorama, you see the family still sitting on the floor there. Although there is a sofa, if you watch in the kitchen, you can see that the great difference for women does not come between one to 10 dollars. It comes beyond here, when you really can get good working conditions in the family. And if you really want to see the difference, you look at the toilet over here. This can change. This can change. These are all pictures and images from Africa, and it can become much better. We can get out of 

  My own research has not been in IT or anything like this. I spent 20 years in interviews with African farmers who were on the verge of famine. And this is the result of the farmers-needs research. The nice thing here is that you can't see who are the researchers in this picture. That's when research functions in poor societies -- you must really live with the people.

  When you're in poverty, everything is about survival. It's about having food. And these two young farmers, they are girls now -- because the parents are dead from HIV and AIDS -- they discuss with a trained agronomist. This is one of the best agronomists in Malawi, Junatambe Kumbira, and he's discussing what sort of cassava they will plant -- the best converter of sunshine to food that man has found. And they are very, very eagerly interested to get advice, and that's to survive in poverty. That's one context. Getting out of poverty. The women told us one thing. "Get us technology. We hate this mortar, to stand hours and hours. Get us a mill so that we can mill our flour, then we will be able to pay for the rest ourselves." Technology will bring you out of poverty, but there's a need for a market to get away from poverty. And this woman is very happy now, bringing her products to the market. But she's very thankful for the public investment in schooling so she can count, and won't be cheated when she reaches the market. She wants her kid to be healthy, so she can go to the market and doesn't have to stay home. And she wants the infrastructure -- it is nice with a paved road. It's also good with credit. Micro-credits gave her the bicycle, you know. And information will tell her when to go to market with which product. You can do this.

  I find my experience from 20 years of Africa is that the seemingly impossible is possible. Africa has not done bad. In 50 years they've gone from a pre-Medieval situation to a very decent 100-year-ago Europe, with a functioning nation and state. I would say that sub-Saharan Africa has done best in the world during the last 50 years. Because we don't consider where they came from. It's this stupid concept of developing countries that puts us, Argentina and Mozambique together 50 years ago, and says that Mozambique did worse. We have to know a little more about the world. I have a neighbor who knows 200 types of wine. He knows everything. He knows the name of the grape, the temperature and everything. I only know two types of wine -- red and white. (Laughter) But my neighbor only knows two types of countries -- industrialized and developing. And I know 200, I know about the small data. But you can do that. (Applause)

  But I have to get serious. And how do you get serious? You make a PowerPoint, you know? (Laughter) Homage to the Office package, no? What is this, what is this, what am I telling? I'm telling you that there are many dimensions of development. Everyone wants your pet thing. If you are in the corporate sector, you love micro-credit. If you are fighting in a non-governmental organization, you love equity between gender. Or if you are a teacher, you'll love UNESCO, and so on. On the global level, we have to have more than our own thing. We need everything. All these things are important for development, especially when you just get out of poverty and you should go towards welfare.

  Now, what we need to think about is, what is a goal for development, and what are the means for development? Let me first grade what are the most important means. Economic growth to me, as a public-health professor, is the most important thing for development because it explains 80 percent of survival. Governance. To have a government which functions -- that's what brought California out of the misery of 1850. It was the government that made law function finally. Education, human resources are important. Health is also important, but not that much as a mean. Environment is important. Human rights is also important, but it 
 Now what about goals? Where are we going toward? We are not interested in money. Money is not a goal. It's the best mean, but I give it zero as a goal. Governance, well it's fun to vote in a little thing, but it's not a goal. And going to school, that's not a goal, it's a mean. Health I give two points. I mean it's nice to be healthy -- at my age especially -- you can stand here, you're healthy. And that's good, it gets two plusses. Environment is very, very crucial. There's nothing for the grandkid if you don't save up. But where are the important goals? Of course, it's human rights. Human rights is the goal, but it's not that strong of a mean for achieving development. And culture. Culture is the most important thing, I would say, because that's what brings joy to life. That's the value of living.

  So the seemingly impossible is possible. Even African countries can achieve this. And I've shown you the shot where the seemingly impossible is possible. And remember, please remember my main message, which is this: the seemingly impossible is possible. We can have a good world. I showed you the shots, I proved it in the PowerPoint, and I think I will convince you also by culture. (Laughter) (Applause) Bring me my sword! Sword swallowing is from ancient India. It's a cultural expression that for thousands of years has inspired human beings to think beyond the obvious. (Laughter) And I will now prove to you that the seemingly impossible is possible by taking this piece of steel -- solid steel -- this is the army bayonet from the Swedish Army, 1850, in the last year we had war. And it's all solid steel -- you can hear here. And I'm going to take this blade of steel, and push it down through my body of blood and flesh, and prove to you that the seemingly impossible is possible. Can I request a moment of absolute silence? (Applause)