Econ 102

Continuing the previous article, from page 6 of the Liberation Daily (解放日报), August 13, 2007. The author here is Xie Peng, and it’s from an August 12th Xinhua Press dispatch.

From a larger perspective, because the financial relationships of the more developed economies are very close, the American secondary loan market’s effect is not limited to that country alone. In Germany, France, England, and other countries a few overseas investment funds have clearly been affected.

The recent market changes have also caused large scale fluctuations in the captital costs of every type of market. Moreover, America’s credit market has a wide variety of levels and categories. The eruption of the secondary mortgage market crisis has shown itelf in the housing market. But the question is, will it appear in others like the automobile or credit card markets? Does the secondary market problem exist in regular markets? These doubts may become slightly more pressing, and may assist in inducing a new market panic.

- A Reverse Effect Persists

America’s secondary loan market problem has been building up for years. Today’s disastrous result was the culmination of the downward trend in housing prices, the increase in market interest rates, the lowering of credit thresholds by capital suppliers, the overlooking of risky management, and the avalanche of excessive borrowing. The problem cannot be completely or quickly resolved, and its effect will continue to persist.

According to the Swiss Credit and loan Bank’s tracking data, America’s floating interest rates’ peak period, when secondary loans will reestablish loan conditions, will occur before November of this year. At that time the scale of the monthly replacement loans will increase to US$50 billion. Because interest rates depend on the replacement of borrowing conditions, the amount of loans returned by secondary loan clients should increase by over three tenhs. Also, the housing market, which serves as the foundation for the secondary loan market, has not yet evidenced a “turning point.” Standard and Poor’s prediction is that the average housing price will lower in the first quarter of next year, and with the increase in borrowing rates, the pressure on clients to return loans will probably increase greatly, and the rate of forfeiture will rise.

- It Looks Hopeful that the Crisis can be Controlled

Currently, the secondary loan problem has yet to have a huge efffect on the entire American financial market, the American economy, or even the global economy. It also looks hopeful that the crisis wil continue to be controlled. First of all, the scale of the American secondary loan market is not very large in itself. Collecting data from different organizations, the scope doesn’t reach US$3 trillion, and the CDO bond capital, which forms the base of this market, isn’t worth more than US$1 trillion. The entire American housing loan market volume is worth about US$8 trillion. At the end of 2005, America’s bond market was worth US$25 trillion, and in an expansive difference, using market values to calculate it, the current American financial capital is worth US$46 trillion.

Although there is a retraction of the credit market, several days ago Standard and Poor released a report which stated that this was only a temporary adjustment process. Looking at the entire US business environment, until this year business profits increased on average, there was an increase in capital, and the fund requirements for issuing bonds were on the whole not large. Although there was a portion of the banking industry that suffered losses, bank personae estimate that the proportion wasn’t large. And on the whole the degree of stability of their financial affairs has increased, so the effect was limited.

In addition, after the credit market showed a short term “lack of vitality”, currency authorities threw in a large amount of money, greatly lowering the possibility of a crisis that could erupt and influence the entire system. The stock market also exhibited a positive reaction. Although the future money market is still tense, the Federal Reserve continues to offer promissary note window business, and has even lowered interest rates as a means of ensuring the market’s mobility.

The IMF considers America’s secondary loan crisis to still be within a “controllable scale.” The organization maintains the expectation of an increase in the American and world economies that it formulated before this crisis came about. The American growth will drop from 2.2% to 2%, and the global will increase from 4.9% to 5.2%. Of course, there are many market variables, and whether or not the secondary loan crisis will develop in the future also depends on many uncertain factors: for example the trend in housing costs, the direction of interest rates, and even changes in popular feelings within the market. The next few weeks will see if there are any market changes which deserve particular attention.

Translator’s notes:
- No time more than when I’ve translated this article have I felt more like a computer would feel if it could feel when it translates an article. At points I have had no idea what I am translating exactly, I’m just placing words in the correct syntax. Ah! But this article was a particular challenge, in terms of sentence structure, and was pretty fun. I don’t know if the sentences were a result of the subject itself or the personal style of the author.
- I don’t know what “promissary note window business’ is, or if that’s even close to the correct translation.
- Ah, finished! Interesting!

Comments/corrections welcome.

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Econ 101

From page 6 of the Liberation Daily (解放日报). This one is an economics article in the International Section. I decided to make tentative steps into this field, I’ve always said I’d study it in English, but never brought myself to concentrate on it, so maybe I’ll use studying Chinese as a pretext for studying some econ finally. The author here is Xie Peng, and it’s from an October 12th Xinhua Press dispatch.


America’s Secondary Mortgage Crisis Is “Controllable”

In the last week, America’s second mortgage loan market crisis was expanding its influence, with strong waves appearing in American, European, and even Asian markets. Afterwards, the currency authorities of the strongest developed economies, America, Europe, and Japan poured large sums of money into the financial system in a response to the risk.

The Short Term Effect has Already Happened

At present, the American secondary loan crisis only directly affects the credit market’s short term movements. In America, because the situation isn’t clear, banks–which are the main source of credit funds, have been employing low risk measures, and the entire market is thick with a “loan-saving” atmosphere. According to data provided by the Economist, recently the difference in the interest rates of the American business loan market and the bonds market has been increasing, comparable to the end of 2006 when it flared up one time. The increase in rates was reflected by the tightening of the supply of capital, and “risky soaring prices” were raised. If the increase in market financial capital costs becomes the standard situation, then the effect won’t be limited to the hedge funds and private equity funds that are the supporting levers of the capital. It will also affect consumer credit and businesses’ normal financial requirements, and will go on to injure the entire economy.

Besides, capital securitization manipulation has already spread the secondary loan market risk to a wider territory. The International Monetary Fund’s latest data shows that the major securitization product of this market comes from collaterized debt obligations (CDO) of American issuers. These are basically dispersed into the hands of five types of financial organizations, which include banks (31%), hedge funds (10%), insurance companies (31%), asset management companies (22%), and retirement funds (18%).

(to be continued)

Translator’s notes:
- Some of the terms I’m not quite sure how to translate, since I’m not entirely up on this subject. But what is interesting is that Chinese often breaks down terms into semantic components that effectively describe the concept, even if it’s not what is normally used in English. English actually does the same, but it’s not as in your face as Chinese.
- Wow, and researching some of this stuff would require more time than I have at the moment. Slowly though, I’ll go slowly.
- This was a little much so I’ll be continuing it tomorrow.

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Lost in Space

From the 2007-08-12 print of the Oriental Morning Post (东方早报), on page 9. In the International section. I branched out a little because there were a couple of space articles I thought were more interesting. There was another one on the North Pole affair again but I’m not very excited by that. This piece’s not quite America-related, it’s about a company planning a space hotel! Written by Zheng Jie.

2012, We’ll Stay in the “Milky Way Suite”

-The world’s first space hotel to open for business; you can enjoy 80 minutes of space travel; $4,000,000—The “Milky Way Suite” will be the Milky Way Galaxy’s most expensive hotel, the price for a three day stay is US$4 million.

The “Milky Way Suite”, the world’s first space hotel, plans to open for business, and hotel guests will be able to enjoy the service of 80 minutes of space travel.

- US$4,000,000, Three Days

The architect in charge of design, from Barcelona, Spain, has expressed that the “Milky Way Suite” will be the Milky Way Galaxy’s most expensive hotel, with the price of a three day stay set at US$4 million. Within that time, guests will be able to enjoy the sunrise 15 times a day, and in their suites they will be able to climb the walls of their streamlined rooms like Spiderman.

Xavier Claramunt, the company’s head inspector in charge of operations, has put all his effort into recruiting elements for the design of the “Milky Way Suite” that will add luster to this risky dream. The hotel will have a total of 22 rooms, which includes three bedrooms. The interiors will not contain any straight lines, corners, or windows, and the size of every room is to be determined to fit exactly into the rocket that will blast them into space. This is the world’s first project of the sort, preceded only by Robert Bigelow’s space hotel. Other space capsules will be separately put to use as bars, cafeterias, and reception rooms.

“The zero gravity bathroom was the biggest challenge,” said Claramunt, “Figuring out how to provide for the guests’ more private activities is not an easy thing.” But they have already solved the problem of showering in a weightless environment–the guests will enter a shower room in which water globules will float from all sides.

If the guests don’t like the scenery outside of the portholes, they will be able to participate in scientific experiments on space travel.

-40,000 people Can Afford to Stay

While formerly working as an aerospace engineer, the “Milky Way Suite” was only an amateur hobby for Claramunt, until a space enthusiast wanted to invest US$3 billion in creating this hotel, turning this science fiction novel fantasy into reality. Afterwards, an American company devoted to the development of Mars came on board, and turned the “Milky Way Suite” into the first step of its prospective goals to be realized. There are currently investors from Japan, America, and the United Arab Emirates holding negotiations.

Claramunt is reticent to discuss the identities of the generous supporters behind him, but when he’s talking about his expected guests he’s very frank. “We estimate that there are 40,000 people in the world who can afford to stay in this hotel. Whether or not they are willing to spend the money to fly into space, we don’t know,” he said.

Spending US$4 million for a single vacation certainly seems a little extravagent, but insiders in the up and coming space tourism industry believe that the process of turning hotel management towards the idea is a slow one, because people feel that the costs of space travel aren’t going to decrease very quickly.

The “Milky Way Suite” indicates that the price doesn’t just include the fee for three evenings in space; guests will also carry out 8 weeks of 007-style training at a space camp on a tropical island.

“Going into space can be followed by a feeling of fright,” Claramunt said, “So while the guests are on the space station, the transport rocket will remain fixed to the space hotel so that they will feel they will be able to return home.”

With today’s intense awareness of global climate change, the “Milky Way Suite” still hasn’t planned on how to remedy the pollution created by rockets used to carry only 6 people into space. “However,” said Claramunt, “We hope that after the guests see the planet from such a great distance, it will produce a desire in them to protect and be concerned for our planet.”

There’s also a small picture depicting an artist’s rendition of the space hotel, with the caption:
-Rooms will fit into the rockets that take them into space.

Translator’s Notes:
- The “Milky Way Suite” is what I translated the name as, but it’s actually called “Galactic Suite”. In Chinese it appears as if there isn’t really any distinguishing between the two words.
- The enjoying “80 minutes of space travel” appears to actually mean orbiting the earth every 80 minutes, I don’t know why that got lost in translation.
- I also don’t know why the author says this Spanish project is the first of its type and then says Bigelow’s project was first. Maybe I’m missing something. Bigelow is an American at the head of a different aerospace company interested in the same sort of idea.
- I think the Chinese reaction to this is that it’s really crazy. First off there is the four million dollars which is an option for the smallest percentage of the smallest percentage of the Chinese, and there is that ominous ending about potential pollution. That is something I do feel the government does try and promote an awareness of, at least through official and propaganda channels. Whether or not the average person is aware of extent of China’s environmental crisis, I don’t know. Haha, whether or not the average world citizen is aware of the earth’s environmental crisis, I also don’t know.

Comments/corrections welcome.

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Bombs and Moms

From the 2007-08-11 print of the Youth Daily (青年报), on page 11. Two articles from the Comprehensive International News section. The articles were really short so I did two of them. Both come from the Xinhua Press, neither provided journalist names.


Russian Fighter Planes “Patronize” an American Naval Base

On the 8th a high level Russian Air Force official said that two Tu-95MS “Bear” long distance strategic bombers flew over the United States Guam Naval Base and were intercepted by American fighter planes, after which they returned to Russia.

The Russian Air Force long distance bomber flight commander Pavel Andelusufu said that when the two Bears flew over the US Naval Base in Guam, the American fighters urgently scrambled to intercept, and the pilots of both sides smiled to each other. Andelusifu pointed out that the Russian Guam fly-by is one part of their air force military exercises and in the three days of maneuvers they will perform over 40 sorties and deploy 8 cruise missles.

The Associated Press reports that when the Russian bombers patronized Guam, the American military was conducting large scale military exercises nearby, with a few dozen battleships, over a hundred fighter planes, and 22,000 military personal attending. According to Reuter’s analysis, Russia has been disputing often with the US and NATO recently, and the intention of this action was to display Russia’s military power, and express that Russia’s military has now retained its vitality.

Translator’s Notes:
- So my dictionary says that the term used above is either “flew over” or “flew by”. There’s nothing in the context that says which it was so I’m not sure which to put. I feel that a fly-by would be much more likely than a fly-over, which seems pretty extreme.
- Wait, just looked it up, apparently they flew towards the base, and were intercepted before they got there. Thanks Wikipedia.
- Again, not sure about how to translate “Andelusufu”.
- I don’t know how Chinese people feel about Russia in general. From people I’ve talked to, I’d say they like America better, or imagine that China has a better relationship with America. Perhaps because Russia is so near and has a common border with China, they can’t be helped but be looked upon with slight suspicion. Whereas America’s on the other side of the world and China can be friendly with them without any worry. And I think Americans are viewed as more open. Simplified view of things, but sometimes it’s how people think.


America’s “Anti-War Mother” Will Run for Congressional Representative

On the 9th in San Francisco America’s famous anti-war personage Cindy Sheehan, the “Anti-War Mother”, announced that in the 2008 Congressional election she will run for the Congressional Representative position representing San Francisco’s electoral district. She will be challenging the 20 year incumbent and current Speaker of the House of Representatives, democrat Pelosi.

According to local media reports, Sheehan criticizes Pelosi for catering to the rich and powerful, and distancing herself from the common people. She says that America needs to undergo a major transformation, and that the transformation will start with her running for Congress. Sheehan says she will enter the race as an independent candidate.

Translator’s notes:
- This is actually the first I’ve heard of Cindy Sheehan here in China, and if she already has the cognomens “Anti-War Mother”, I imagine that she’s made an impression on the Chinese media. I feel like she’s the sort of person they’d like, especially since she’s diametrically opposed to Bush.
- These short little articles were from a national newspaper, I’m in Shanghai right now, so I don’t have any access to my normal paper. I’ll just be picking random papers off the street.

Comments/corrections welcome.

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Blast Off!

From the 2007-08-10 print of The Beijing Paper (新京报), on page A30. An article in the International News–Current Politics section. Two part article, news story plus a little mini-bio. The former comes from the Comprehensive Xinhua Press, and the latter was written by Hu Ruoyu, for the Xinhua Press.

America’s “Endeavor” Successfully Launches Into Space

- This marks the return to flight of all three of America’s remaining space shuttles after the Columbia Accident.

On the 8th, at 18:36 Eastern Standard Time (6:36 on the 9th, Beijing Time), the American Space Shuttle Endeavor successfully launched from Florida’s Kennedy space center for the International Space Station, carrying a flight crew of seven. This is the Endeavor’s first flight mission carried out in close to five years.

Supplying Materials for the Space Station

According to NASA Television’s live broadcast, the launch took place at nightfall, and the weather conditions were perfect throughout. As the ignition countdown concluded, Endeavor, which towered above the 39A launch platform, began to rise into the sky. Two minutes later, the Ground Launch Control Center confirmed that the rocket booster and the orbiter had successfully separated, “Endeavor is flying normally.”

This is NASA’s second shuttle flight mission this year. The objectives of this flight include carrying to and installing on the space station a structural component weighing close to 1.6 tons, supplying materials for the space station, and completing a few of the space station’s repairs.

5 years of Repair Overhauls

However, because this is Endeavor’s first flight in nearly five years, she is being watched very closely. The last time Endeavor had a flight mission was in November of 2002, soon after which the Space Shuttle Columbia break-up accident occurred. In the two and a half years following the accident, NASA temporarily stopped all shuttle missions. The Discovery and the Atlantis have already returned to space before the Endeavor. For five years she has been lying prone on the ground, receiving a complete overhaul, with in excess of 200 different technological repairs being made. The Endeavor’s flight marks the return of all three of the remaining space shuttles to flight status after the Columbia accident.

The “Focal Personage” on this flight is flight crew astronaut Barbara Morgan, the head teacher-astronaut. Morgan was the back-up choice behind Christa McAuliffe, the female teacher aboard the Challenger in the 1986 accident.


Female Teacher is Responsible for Operating Mechanical Arm

- Will also answer questions from students while in space.

20 years ago, the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration implemented the “Teacher-in-Space” Program. In 1986 Barbara Morgan was the back-up replacement for Christ McAuliffe, who met with tragedy in the accident. As the Endeavor ascended into space, Morgan was sitting in a seat in the crew cabin. When McAuliffe was on her own ascent, she sat in the very same seat.

When Morgan is in space, she will call some students from Idaho. Before she became an astronaut, she once taught at a middle school there. If it is possible to extend the mission from the planned 11 day flight to 14 days, she will also have an opportunity to answer questions from students of two other states. Morgan also plans to begin a series of educational activities after she returns from space, including giving out the several million seeds she has brought with her to children of different ages, in order to increase their interest in space exploration.

However, Morgan’s main role is still that of astronaut. On this mission her assignment is to serve as the mechanical arm operator, and she is also responsible for overseeing the entire process of moving the Endeavor’s cargo to the International Space Station. Currently, the Endeavor has already entered its planned orbit, and in 10 days will catch up to and link up with the International Space Station. According to the Associated Press, Morgan has already begun all types of preparations and surveys for her upcoming work, regularly updates data from mission control devices, and has successfully begun operations in the cargo hold.

Two additional captions under pictures:
-‘On the 9th, NASA Television pictures show Morgan working in the space shuttle’
-‘On August 8, 6:36 pm EST, the space shuttle Endeavor successfully launches into space from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.’

Translator’s Notes:
-There actually weren’t any Iraq stories at all today! And just this one about the space shuttle. The Chinese are generally very happy with America’s space exploration, they’re looking to do it themselves after all.
-After rereading the article I realized it sounds pretty choppy. In general, Chinese sentence tend to go on and on with commas galore. So I usually break them up. I think it might just be the style of this journalist, but his sentences were relatively straight forward, so I didn’t touch punctuation too much. I suppose from now on I’ll also combine sentences if need be.

Comments/corrections welscome.

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Frontal Assault

From the 2007-08-09 print of The Beijing Paper (新京报), on page A28. An article in the International News–Asia-Pacific/Europe section. Two part article. The author is named Wang Fengfeng, and he wrote the reaction as well. The story comes from Xinhua.

Taliban Makes A Frontal Assault on US Military Base

-Together the American and Afghani army killed 20 members of the armed force

On the 7th an armed force of Afghani Taliban made a strong direct attack on a front line base occupied by American soldiers in the southern province of Oruzgan. Along with fighter plane air support, the American and Afghani forces used mortars, machine guns, and other types of superior firepower to repel the Taliban’s armed assault, killing over twenty of the attackers.

Front Line Bases Have Few Troops

The base that was attacked is called the “Python Heavy Firing-point”. Heavy firing points are usually positioned at forward positions along the battle lines, and have very few deployed personnel. There are some with as few as about ten people. But these bases are frequently supplied with large bore artillery, and use this heavy artillery fire capability to assault enemies, with very effective results. A spokesperson of the allied forces stationed in Afghanistan mentioned in a statement that, “On that day about 75 armed Taliban attacked the Python Heavy Firing-Point from three sides. The weaponry used in the assault included rifles, hand grenades, and 107 mm rocket projectiles.”

Because of the large size fo the armed Taliban force, the American defenders called for air support, and along with the Afghani government troops used superior firepower to repel the attackers. An announcement stated: “We have confirmed that more than 20 armed attackers were killed in this assault.” The combat resulted in two Afghani soldiers being injured, and two nearby Afghani girls were being harmed by Taliban artillery fire.

The Taliban Infrequently Makes Strong Frontal Assaults

Beacause of the large difference with the equipment and tactics of the American and NATO military, the Taliban infrequently makes frontal assaults on foreign forces. In the past they have mostly used mortars and suicide bombs to make surprise raids on foreign military bases. Remotely operated roadside bombs are another one of their favored methods of attack.

Aside from the assault on the “Python Heavy Firing-Point”, a leading officer of the Kandahar police force, Sayeed Afujia Saqipu, announced that on the same day Talibani armed forces also assaulted a police inspection station. The garrisoned police force and the attackers fought a gun battle that drew out for three hours, in which 15 Taliban were killed, along with 6 police officers. Since the beginning of this year, the Taliban has carried out many of these surprise attacks. According to data provided by local Western and Afghani officials, the Associated Press totals a death count of over 3600 people from these attacks alone in this year.

Once Cheney Also Broke a Cold Sweat

The attacks have been mainly concentrated in Southern Afghanistan, where the Taliban’s influence is relatively strong. Armed personnel have even for a time occupied a few cities and towns after having driven off government forces. During this period they have also made assaults in Kabul. For instance on June 17th, suicide bombers killed 35 people within Kabul, which was the largest death toll caused by a car bomb attack.

Aside from this, on the 27th of February of this year, “base personnel,” with the help of the Taliban, made a surpirse attack on Kabul’s Bagram Air Force base, which was being visited by American President Dick Cheney at the time. It resulted in 14 dead, and caused Dick Cheney to break into a cold sweat.

-View Point

The Taliban Has Been Pointed Towards a Dead End

Despite the frequent and insufferably arrogant activities of the Taliban, American and Afghani military and government officials don’t consider these occurrences to be indicative of a problem–the Taliban is already at the “end of its rope.”

After making an announcement about the Taliban’s attack on the “Python Heavy Firing-Point” the Allied Forces spokesperson Wanisha Baoman commented, “The attackers simply had no way of inflicting heavy casualties on the Python Heavy Firing-Point, and at the same time were met with serious losses themselves. This clearly indicates the weak ability of these armed forces.”

At the American President’s Camp David in Maryland, on the 6th Afghani president Karzai made a similar argument, that the Taliban is “an armed power that has already been defeated.” He said that although they can terrorize the populace, they aren’t powerful enough to be considered a threat to the government.

Translator’s notes:
-So, the Arabic name Sayeed Afujia Saqipu is one third what it should be, and two thirds in pinyin. I can’t find this guy on the internet, it’s unlikely he’d be there, and I’m not familiar enough with the Chinese translations of Arabic names to offer a reasonable guess. So I’ll stick with the pinyin, however silly it looks.
-And the allied forces spokesperson Wanisha Baoman, I don’t know either. Something Bauman perhaps?
-So I’m not sure if the “viewpoint” bit is serious, or if it’s really biting sarcasm. For some reason I just automatically assume the latter. But I can’t be sure, there is one phrase, “made a similar argument”, that I want to check with my tutor. My dictionary says it has a derogatory meaning, but it may not necessarily be so. I think that this article is sort of representative of the general Chinese consensus, if there is such a thing, about American influence in the Middle East.

America Being in Iraq = Bad.
Fighting the Taliban and Other Terrorists = Good.
America Being in Afghanistan doing the Above = Sort of good maybe.
Dick Cheney = Bad.

They’re also very respectful of American military power, in terms of equipment and ability. Sort of like they admire our toys but disapprove of the way we use them.

So I’ll hold off on making any conclusions about the inferences made in the viewpoint, I don’t have enough background in written Chinese subtlety yet.

Comments/corrections welcome.

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