Archive for the ‘standards’ Category

China’s Central Communist Government Even Regulating Pastry Shape?

January 7, 2008

BEIJING (Reuters) – Thousands of Chinese snack vendors are happily digesting news that China‘s ubiquitous steamed bun, or “mantou,” does not have to be perfectly round.

China’s quality watch-dog denied that standards recommending a “perfect shape” for mantou held the force of law.

“There are no specific regulations on the shape of wheat-flour mantou in the standard,” the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said on its Web site.

“The episode offers something for the authorities to chew on — if the public was properly informed … such a situation may not have occurred at all,” an editorial in the China Daily said on Monday.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080107/lf_nm_life/
china_buns_dc_2

Iowa and 2008: Maybe a Time to Vote Your Conscience, Go With Character

January 3, 2008

By Jonathan Turley
For USA Today

With Iowans going today to their caucuses, the beginning of a new year and the presidential primary season dangerously collide for voters. Distraught voters can now couple their prior unrealized weight-loss resolutions with their unrealized political resolutions like finding a new party or moving to Canada. Yet, every four years, we end up fatter and madder by the year’s end. It is not the fact that, in a nation of more than 300 million people, our massive pool of potential presidents never seems to work to our advantage in producing high-quality candidates. It is not even the fact that our elections seem like contests of blow-dried, poll-driven robots. Rather, it is the overt insincerity of American politics. Candidates routinely reinvent themselves for the primary and then reinvent themselves again for the general election — often discarding prior positions like last year’s resolutions.

This election, the nation is debating fundamental moral and constitutional questions that demand something other than the usual transient or opportunistic views of politicians. A candidate’s views on taxation may change with time, even a short passage of time. However, changing one’s view on the use of torture or abortion or gay rights reflects a fundamental flaw in both character and conscience.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/20080103/cm_
usatoday/2008theyearofprinciples;_ylt=
AkVFlCXU_TBxHkIgm_dNjNms0NUE

Related:
Bill Clinton Stumps for Hillary; No Mention of “Character”

Culture: Romney Takes Swipe at Clintons

Culture: Romney Takes Swipe at Clintons

January 2, 2008

WASHINGTON – Republican Mitt Romney said Wednesday that if elected president he and his wife will not embarrass the nation by their conduct in the White House as happened in “the Clinton years.”

In an interview on CNN, Romney was asked about comments he made at recent house parties in Iowa that he and his wife, Ann, would not em
barrass the nation in the White House. He is campaigning for Thursday’s Republican presidential caucuses in Iowa, while Hillary Rodham Clinton is campaigning on the Democratic side.

“We’ll try and represent ourselves and our nation well also to our kids because I think, I think kids watch the White House and there have been failures in the past in the White House — if you go back to the Clinton years and recognize that — that I think had an enormous impact on the culture of our country,” Romney said. “And we’ll do our very best, our whole family will to — well, if we can’t be perfect, we’ll do our best to uphold and to be a good example for the kinds of values I think people expect from our leaders.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080102/ap_on_el_pr/romney_clintons;_ylt=
Aq7ReqmFgUTx.cl8RecrP6as0NUE

China may be losing its edge, survey says

December 14, 2007

SHANGHAI, China (AP) — China may be losing its competitive advantage, mainly because of rising costs, according to a survey of companies compiled by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.

Rampant product piracy was another persistent problem highlighted in a report released Friday that was based on a survey of the group’s 1,600 corporate members.

“Some companies mentioned plans to move offshore to India or Vietnam,” said Norwell Coquillard, president of Cargill Investments China, an investment holding company of agribusiness giant Cargill Inc.

Still, he noted that most companies with operations in China were still planning to expand capacity on the Chinese mainland, often while moving factories and offices inland to smaller cities where costs are lower.

For many U.S. and other foreign companies, finding, paying for and retaining good employees remains the biggest challenge, the report said.

“More investment has come in and stretched the supply of talent,” said Stephanie Liu, human resources director in the Asia Pacific for Armstrong World Industries, a maker of flooring and building products. “There’s no sign of easing in the short term,” she said.

Meanwhile, a new labor law, due to take effect next year, has increased uncertainties over hiring and firing practices.

The Labor Contract Law, which takes effect Jan. 1, gives employees who have worked at a company for more than 10 years the right to sign contracts protecting them from being fired without a legitimate reason.

Some companies worry that the law might restore the “iron rice bowl” of lifetime employment practiced by China’s state sector during the era of central planning that followed the 1949 communist revolution, said Kent Kedl, general manager of the consulting firm Technomic Asia.

But Kedl said most U.S. companies had little to fear because their employment policies were general in line with international standards, unlike those of smaller local companies that often dismiss workers en masse to avoid paying bonuses, among other things.

“We don’t foresee a huge impact here,” he said.

U.S. economic slide hurts Asia

The report also said that the recent spate of product recalls of products ranging from tires to toothpaste due to safety and quality concerns is prompting U.S. businesses to become much more vigilant over how their products are made.

Virtually all the companies surveyed were raising standards, stepping up inspections and requiring more detailed specifications, though few said they would stop using products or materials made in China.

Problems with piracy of technology and products remained more or less unchanged from earlier surveys. Such problems are a perennial headache for both domestic and foreign companies operating in China: U.S. businesses say they lose billions of dollars each year due to the lack of effective enforcement of copyrights, patents and trademarks.

Despite the difficulties of doing business in China’s unpredictable, fast changing markets, most companies said they were profitable in 2007 and that their profitability improved.

“Business performance and financial results show many firms are realizing the market potential that China has long promised U.S. companies,” the report said. To top of page

Military May Lower Standards for Recruits

November 6, 2007

By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – Faced with higher recruiting goals, the Pentagon is quietly looking for ways to make it easier for people with minor criminal records to join the military, The Associated Press has learned.

The review, in its early stages, comes as the number of Army recruits needing waivers for bad behavior — such as trying drugs, stealing, carrying weapons on school grounds and fighting — rose from 15 percent in 2006 to 18 percent this year. And it reflects the services’ growing use of criminal, health and other waivers to build their ranks.
Photo

Overall, about three in every 10 recruits must get a waiver, according to Pentagon statistics obtained by AP, and about two-thirds of those approved in recent years have been for criminal behavior. Some recruits must get more than one waiver to cover things ranging from any criminal record, to health problems such as asthma or flat feet, to low aptitude scores — and even for some tattoos.

The goal of the review is to make cumbersome waiver requirements consistent across the services — the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force — and reduce the number of petty crimes that now trigger the process. Still, some Army officers worry that disciplinary problems will grow as more soldiers with records, past drug use and behavior problems are brought in.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071106/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/
military_waivers;_ylt=AvEIT8tnmM75BcLHEKyrlx6s0NUE

Harry Potter, Gay Life and “Question Authority”

October 24, 2007

By Ben Shapiro
Townhall
October 24, 2007

I  am not a fan of the Harry Potter series. Nonetheless, I, like every other sentient human being, know something about Harry Potter. Most of my friends are fans. My three younger sisters are fans. I’ve seen the movies. I’ve read small portions of several of the books.So when J.K. Rowling announced last week that Albus Dumbledore, the aged headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, was gay, I was somewhat confused. When did the old dude with the funky beard turn into Gore Vidal?  

According to Rowling, Dumbledore was always Gore Vidal. At a Carnegie Hall reading, one of Rowling’s fans asked whether Dumbledore had ever found “true love.” “Dumbledore is gay,” Rowling gleefully responded. Dumbledore was apparently in love with his rival, Gellert Grindelwald, a dark wizard. “Falling in love can blind us to an extent,” Rowling explained. Dumbledore’s homosexual crush, Rowling stated, was his “great tragedy.” Rowling went on to label the Harry Potter books a “prolonged argument for tolerance” and told her fans to “question authority.”

Read the rest:
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/BenShapiro/
2007/10/24/dumbledore_waves_the_rainbow_flag

Related:
Another Reason to Avoid “Harry Potter” Books

Harry Potter: More Worthless Pop Culture

Kids reading fewer books despite Harry Potter hoopla

Priest Says Harry Potter Helps Devil, Evil

Our Nation: Based Upon God, Not Fiction

Standards for food exports: Vietnam on remote island

October 23, 2007

VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam is making great efforts to build up sets of standards for exports, especially food and farm produce, in harmony with international standards.Vietnam’s commercial affairs division in Japan has continuously sent good news from Japan in the last few weeks.Japan may import meat-made products from Vietnam, and Vietnam won a bid to provide 21,000 tonnes of rice to the country. Until now, Vietnam has not been able to export pork-made products to Japan as Vietnam was listed among the countries where foot-and-mouth disease prevailed. However, Vietnamese enterprises have been warned that Japan sets very high requirements on the hygiene of food imports.
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Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has set up 29 requirements on meat imports from Vietnam. Vissan and Duc Viet are the two companies which are believed to be eligible to export products to Japan. The commercial affairs division said that it would persuade the ministry to send staffs to Vietnam to examine production and assess product quality before signing official agreements on importing meat-made products from Vietnam.Every year, Japan imports $200mil worth of processed meat products, and the imports are expected to increase in the coming years due to the higher domestic labour cost. Imports increased gradually from 3.2% in 2002 to 10% in 2006. The main meat exporters to Japan are China, the US, Italy, Thailand, Germany and Spain.Japan now imposes taxes of 8.5% on ham and 10% on sausage.

 As for rice exports, Vietnam has won bids to export 66,050 tonnes of rice so far this year. However, 31,050 tonnes of rice were refused as the consignments were found containing Acetamiprid at higher-than-allowed levels (0.01 pm). As a result, Japan has decided to examine 30% of Vietnam-sourced rice. However, with efforts by the two sides, deliveries of rice to fulfill the contracts were finally completed.Vietnam was able to avoid the dreaded inspection of 100% of rice imports. The fact that Vietnam, once again, has won a bid to export 21,000 tonnes of rice shows that Vietnamese rice exporters have regained the confidence of Japanese importers and consumers. 

Integrating in standardisation to boost exports  Experts have pointed out that in the period of global integration, instead of protecting local production with tariffs, countries will set technical barriers. Vietnam will have no other choice than integrating in standardisation if it wants to boost exports. The problem lies in the fact that there exists a big gap between Vietnam’s and the world’s standards.Soybean sauce is a typical example. According to EU standards, the maximum recommended daily intake of 3-MCPD is 0.02mg/kg of body weight, or 50 times lower than the standard applied in Vietnam (1mg/kg of body weight/day). Soybean sauce produced in Vietnam has a high level of 3-MCPD, and thus is not recommended for use in the EU. International experts have advised Vietnam to bring its standards closer to international standards. 3-MCPD not only exists in soybean source, but in many other Vietnamese export items as well like cereals, dairy products, meat and fish. Otherwise, Vietnam will close the door to the world’s market on itself.

Another Reason to Avoid “Harry Potter” Books

October 22, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
October 22, 2007

Congratulations to Harry Potter series author J.K. Rowling who is now re-writing her best sellers in public pronouncements long after completion the editing and publication process.

Ms. Rowling stunned an audience this weekend by proclaiming that Dumbledore, the wise Hogwarts headmaster and mentor to Harry, is gay.

The liberal media has jumped on this morsel of new information, telling media outlets that now Harry Potter can teach our children about “tolerance.”

Personally, I have come to hate that word “tolerance” as a staple of liberal Democrats, Bill Clinton and others we have no use for at Peace and Freedom.

It might not be politically correct but we much prefer the word “standards” to tolerance – since the liberal media has turned tolerance into “just about anything goes.”

The NBC “Today Show,” the same show that sympathized with gay comedian Ellen about her dog predicament, gleefully reported the new news on Harry Potter and his buddies.

Frankly, we think this is another reason to deny Ms. Rowling any more wealth for producing questionable if not down right detrimental reading material aimed at our children.

Do your kids a favor: get them interested in the facts of history. Real people with real skills and real bravery are a lot better than fantasy, magic and extolling the virtues (?) of gay people.

We don’t hate gay people but we sure do not think they need to be put upon a pedestal or held up as role models for our kids either.

We think one’s sex life — anyone’s sex life — is a private matter.

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Priests Say Harry Potter Promotes Evil

Miguel Sanchez
For Peace and Freedom
July 23, 2007
(Mexico City)

Is Harry Potter really a good thing for your children to read?

At least one member of the Roman Catholic Church clergy has come forward to say Harry Potter could do damage to a child’s mind.

The Reverend Pedro Mendoza is the Director of Exorcists in the Archdiocese of Mexico City.

Peace and Freedom caught up with Father Mendoza after learning he had a strongly contrary view to the masses who turned out Friday night to buy the latest and apparently final Harry Potter book.

“I think a book like this does a lot of damage,” the priest told us. “At its core it is about sorcery. I am sure that is not the best use of a child’s mind.”

Father Mendoza made similar comments at the end of a five-day exorcism conference in Mexico City last week.

”If you put all these ideas in a child’s head, that he can become a wizard, the child believes that, and that is opening an avenue through which the devil can get in,” Mendoza said Friday – the eve of the release of the series’ final book.

He said that Harry Potter ”doesn’t interest us,” but ” unfortunately, it does a lot of damage.”

“When family ties began weakening, the priest said, often the mass media starts to proliferate ”new ideas” and ”abusing sensationalism.

“Without strong, faith-bound families, which he said allow individuals to see God’s work in everyday life, people lose touch with God and seek ‘magical solutions’ to modern problems.”

“There are many demonic influences, curses and forms of witchcraft,” he said. ”And it’s in that field that the devil is able to work.”

“We should not accept sorcery or wizardry as a good thing when there is so much good in the world to embrace.”

Another priest with parallel views is Father John Corapi who says, “It is just not wise to place yourself or your children in the near occasion of evil.”

Related:

Harry Potter: More Worthless Pop Culture

Kids reading fewer books despite Harry Potter hoopla

China’s Counterfeiting Legacy

July 25, 2007

By Les Lothringer in ShangHai
Special to Peace and Freedom
July 25, 2007

Are you certain that the medicine you are taking is authentic? Are you sure your motor car brake repairer installed up-to-specification parts in your car? Western consumers now know otherwise, but when I penned an article a year ago on Chinese counterfeit consumables, Western consumers remained skeptical on something that mainland Chinese consumers have known for countless decades.

As domestic Chinese companies increase their exports worldwide, the supply of counterfeit products is expected to become a flood, posing alarming challenges to global brands. Western customs agencies have witnessed a rise in counterfeit goods, simultaneously with the sharp increase in the rate of seizures. Counterfeiting in China may even account for one fifth of GDP, although no-one can be certain.

Counterfeited products in China include books [President Bill Clinton’s biography in English and Chinese], batteries, apparel, machine parts, industrial consumables, electronics and software, drugs, recreational gear, cigarettes, money, personal care items, food, anti-counterfeiting holograms, software protection keys, motorcycles and more. Of course, counterfeiting spreads know-how, engenders capability, lifts economic performance and addresses historical imbalances between the East and the West. This is the other side to counterfeiting and the reason why it won’t be stamped out, a point I’ll address below.
Flag of the People's Republic of China

Counterfeit products are seductive. A seemingly identical set of American golf clubs, complete with golf bag, may cost one tenth of the genuine article and with the look and feel of the genuine product, more or less!

But the quality will not be the same! Not for that price. Materials and work quality will be inferior and the product will not deliver the same performance nor last as long as the original golf clubs. Even non-counterfeit Chinese products for their domestic market may well not be up to Western specification and are unsuitable for export to the West, where expectations and standards are much higher.

Functionally, there is little risk if it’s a Louis Vuitton handbag being copied. But it is a concern when that counterfeit item is a sub-specification machine part or a chemical product. Under cost pressure, could an airline purchasing manager in a third world country resist purchasing a critical hydraulic seal for $50 instead of the genuine sourced Western seal for $250 or more? Western supply managers are similarly challenged.

Not all counterfeit products are of lower quality. Some actually come from the licensed outsourced manufacturers of the brand owner. The factory may do an extra production run, possibly even at another factory, to sell that product at a higher markup. This undermines the efforts of some foreign outsourcing brand managers who naively believe that they have impressively reduced their own costs through cheap outsourcing arrangements, only to discover themselves competing against their own brand. The use of third party suppliers has always had hidden consequences.

Recent history, as it has been played out, has not been accurately taught in Western schools. The Chinese are more thoroughly instructed in the history of foreign imperial interventions. Visitors to Southern China’s GuangDong Province can take in the Chinese view at the several Opium War Museums of how Britain forced opium consumption upon the Chinese to correct its unfavorable trade balance and further extract economic concessions from China for the removal of resources and products. Other foreign powers did likewise. Now that industrialized Western countries have grown strong, Chinese strategists may well say that the regime of intellectual property rights [IPR] enforcement is intended to remove the ladder of support that Western countries used to elevate themselves. In historical terms, IPR is seen as a modern replay of Western economic imperialism, intended to slow the development of countries whose underdevelopment came about through foreign interventionists seeking to enrich their sovereign economies.

The strong connection that the Chinese exhibit towards their past versus the “here and now” mentality of Western business people is a significant and defining cultural difference that cannot be easily dismissed. In fact, IPR violations did indeed also spread technology and know-how throughout the West, as it is now doing in China and other third world countries.

The introduction into China of foreign products and know-how is enabling the Chinese to develop their applied domestic skills and abilities across the full spectrum of manufacturing, sourcing and supply. Through reverse engineering, advanced CAD software and technical collaboration, Chinese businesses are tearing down foreign products and re-engineering their own replicas. These are the field enabling experiences that the Chinese education system lacks, always with its strong emphasis on book learning.

Currently, this approach bypasses the brand development work and the serious research and development [R&D] that attends Western brand creation. But it is now only a matter of time before the copycat factories progress from their wholly applied industrial approach to the development of their talents in the softer skills of marketing and the subtler skills of R&D, already happening to an extent. It is precisely because of the strategic threat that this poses that the Japanese limit the transfer of their R&D and manufacturing know-how to China, retaining high technology and advanced manufacturing skills at home and, unlike the United States, seeking ways to keep it at home.
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About the Author
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Les is a veteran business consultant with over 30 years of commercial experience including Business Renovation, Management Consulting, Interim Management and Workshop based Training in diverse industries throughout the Asia Pacific Region.

Les may be contacted at director@strategywestasia.com. Website: http://www.strategywestasia.com/

We at Peace and Freedom sincerely thank Les for all his wisdom, advice and this article.