Sunday, October 19, 2008

Indonesia strives for place in ABG volley final

Indonesian squad was optimistic about the possibility of making towards the volleyball final against favorite China at the Asian Beach Games , the Jakarta Post quoted a player as saying on Saturday.

"We all know how strong the Chinese squad is. One of its players was China's No. 1 player in 2003," said Koko Prasetyo Darkuncoro, a player of Indonesian squad, on Friday.

His team also expects tough challenges from Thailand, Kazakhstan and Iran, driving Indonesia harder to compete.

Indonesian felt beneficial to have practiced at the venue for one month.

"We had the chance to learn the nature of the venue over other teams," Koko said.

Source: Xinhua

Hamilton on pole at Chinese F1 Grand Prix

McLaren Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain competes during the qualifying session for Sunday's Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai Circuit Oct. 18, 2008. Hamilton took the first with 1 minute 36.303 seconds.
McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix on Saturday ahead of Ferrari rivals Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa.

Britain's Hamilton, who can become Formula One's youngest champion this weekend, put in a flying last lap in final qualifying to head the grid in a time of one minute 36.303 seconds.

The 23-year-old McLaren Mercedes star delivered the fastest time in the dying seconds of a close-fought qualifying session to pip Ferrari's outgoing champion Kimi Raikkonen and title rival Felipe Massa.

It was Hamilton's seventh pole this season and the 13th of his career as he targets the drivers' championship, which he allowed to slip through his fingers despite an even more commanding lead at this stage of the season last year.

With just the Chinese and Brazilian legs to go, Hamilton needs only six points here to wrap up the trophy provided Robert Kubica, the only other title contender, does not win.

Hamilton's McLaren teammate Heikki Kovalaien was only fifth ahead of Australian Mark Webber in a Red Bull. Webber has to drop 10 places because of an engine change on his car in the morning.

Source: Xinhua

Herbal injection recall list expanded

The Chinese producer of the deadly "ciwujia" herbal injection decided on Friday to recall all its injection products, expanding its previous recall list, the national drug safety watchdog said Saturday.

The Ministry of Health and the State Food and Drug Administration said in a statement issued on Saturday the Wandashan Pharmaceutical Company, in the northeastern HeilongjiangProvince, initiated the move "voluntarily" according to the country's drug recall regulations.

The regulations stipulated drug manufacturers should analyze collected information. They should also make investigations and evaluations on drugs with possible hidden safety problems; decisions were required to recall products once hidden safety problems were spotted.

The SFDA also issued a notice to suspend sales and medical use nationwide of all injection products manufactured by the company on Friday.

It ordered its local branches to monitor the recall to make sure these drugs were pulled off shelves and to gather data on any adverse reactions caused by them.

Before the announcement, the administration had ordered the company to recall all its herbal injection products and report the progress on a daily basis.

Six patients in the southwestern Yunnan Province experienced adverse reactions after receiving a ciwujia injection. Their symptoms included vomiting and becoming comatose. Three patients died, according to a report released on Oct. 6. The other three remain under observation.

The medicine is extracted from ciwujia, a type of Siberian ginseng. Injections are often used to treat thrombosis caused by a weak liver and kidneys. It is also believed to be helpful in treating coronary heart disease, nervous exhaustion and menopausal problems.

Testing on ciwujia samples showed the product was tainted with bacteria, said the Ministry of Health and the SFDA earlier this week.

An investigation is underway to determine how contamination happened.

Source: Xinhua

Chinese avant-garde version of "Hamlet" to be on stage again

A popular avant-garde version of Shakespeare's classic "Hamlet" will be on stage again next week after its premiere 18 years ago.

In 1990, the play, directed by Lin Zhaohua, a leading artist of Chinese avant-garde theater, gained huge popularity and roused great controversy in China for its unique perspective and performance.

In the play, the role of Hamlet was divided among different actors, switching from time to time. So did other characters. For instance, Pu Cunxi, the hero, was Hamlet sometimes and the King Claudius for a while.

"I want to demonstrate the concept of 'everybody is Hamlet'," said the 72-year-old director during a rehearsal here Saturday, "All characters shared elements of good and evil, honesty and falsehood. I mean to blur morality difference in apparently opposed characters."

The stage design was quite contemporary. The King and Queen were seated on a barber's chair. A grave maker made a phone call to his colleagues. Ceiling fans are "swords" used by Hamlet.

Actors were not wearing costumes but their own clothes.

"I want to draw Hamlet closer to us as our brother and one of us, instead of making him an alien noble," Lin said. "For me, he is not a prince revenging for justice, nor a humanism hero, but part of us. Facing your truly ego is the most positive, bravest and heroic posture that modern people can have."

The play was not apparently different from the edition 18 years ago except for the actors, Lin said.

Hamlet is played mostly by Pu Cunxin, a renowned actor who played leading roles in several famous Chinese dramas such as "Thunderstorm," "Teahouse" and "The Three Sisters, Waiting for Godot". He was the only one left of all actors in the play's premiere.

King Claudius and Queen Gertrude are played respectively by Zhou Mingshan and Chen Jin, both veterans, while Ophelia go to Gao Yuanyuan, a young starlet who played in several films.

Lin was one of the pioneers of Experimental Theatre Movement that brought Chinese theater into its modernistic stage by introducing non-illusionistic style and techniques in the 1980s and 1990s.

The play will be staged in Beijing from Oct. 21 to 25, in Shanghai from Oct. 27 to 28 and in Shenzhen from Nov. 6 to 8.

Source: Xinhua

No melamine found in new milk powder as China makes 7th round of tests

China's quality watchdog said on Saturday the latest tests on Chinese milk powder found no trace of melamine.

It was the seventh round of tests for the industrial chemical since the report of the tainted baby formula scandal that left at least three infants dead and sickened more than 50,000 others, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

The tests covered 105 batches of baby formula from 20 brands in10 provinces and 161 batches of other milk powder from 52 brands in 15 provinces, the agency said.

So far, 804 batches of baby formula from 66 brands and 1,126 batches of other milk powder from 161 brands produced after Sept. 14 have been tested and none contained melamine.

Earlier on Friday, the agency said the 12th round of tests found that Chinese liquid dairy products met the new temporary restrictions on melamine.

So far, the quality watchdog had conducted sample tests on 5,797 batches of liquid dairy products manufactured after Sept. 14from 136 brands and found all safely under the limit.

Last week, the government set temporary melamine content limits in dairy products of a maximum of 1 mg per kg of infant formula and a maximum 2.5 mg per kg for liquid milk, milk powder and food products that contained at least 15 percent milk.

Melamine, often used in the manufacturing of plastics, was added to sub-standard or diluted milk to make the protein levels appear higher.

Source: Xinhua

Two more samples fail melamine tests in Hong Kong

The Center for Food Safety of Hong Kong released the latest batch of results of melamine tests on Saturday, with two samples found unsatisfactory.

Results available on Saturday showed that of the 66 samples tested, 64 were satisfactory. These included milk and milk beverages, cream, instant drink mixes, biscuits and cakes.

Munchy's Mini Crackers with Peanut Butter and Munchy's Mini Crackers with Cheese Cream failed the test.

The level of melamine detected in the sample of Munchy's Mini Crackers with Peanut Butter was 5.4ppm, while the level in the sample of Munchy's Mini Crackers with Cheese Cream was 3.8ppm.

"Based on the levels detected, people are advised to stop consuming the products concerned," a CFS spokesman said.

Under the Hong Kong's Harmful Substances in Food Regulation 2008, the legal limit for melamine in the concerned products is 2.5ppm.

"We have informed the food trade of the test results and asked them to stop selling the products with unsatisfactory results. We have also sent warning letters to the retailer and the importer concerned. The CFS will take out prosecution if there is sufficient evidence," said the spokesman.

"We will continue to collect samples of dairy products and products with dairy ingredients for testing,"

"Test results for some biscuits, cakes, puddings, pudding powder, milk and instant drink mixes will be available on Monday." he added.

Source: Xinhua

First Asian Beach Games opening ceremony held in Bali

The first Asian Beach Games opening ceremony was held on October 18 in Bali Island of Indonesia, which attracts almost 3000 athletes from 45 countries and regions in Asia.

Thousands of dancers performed traditional program, which featured local arts and cultures at the opening ceremony held at the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park in Bali Island.

Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, Indonesia president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and athletes from 45 countries and regions present the opening ceremony.

The multi-event will be another history for Indonesia in organizing an event under the sanctions of Olympic Council of Asia after the fourth Asian Games in Jakarta, 1962.

Asian Beach Games in Bali is Asia's first multiple sports event situated on beaches. A total of 17 sports and two demonstration sports will be held in the games, which will last nine days at four world renowned beaches, namely Kuta Beach, Nusa Dua, Sanur Beach and Serangan Island.

The biennial Asian Beach Games, together with the Asian Games, the Asian Winter Games and the Asian Indoor Games, organized by the Olympic Council of Asia, are four major sporting events in Asia.

The third Asian Beach Games will be hosted in Haiyang, east China's Shandong province in 2012, after the second in Oman in 2010.

Source: Xinhua