Beijing warns foreign countries not to meddle in Hong Kong

China’s foreign minister made it clear Beijing would not allow other countries to meddle into its ‘internal affairs’, responding in this way to US Secretary of State’s call for Beijing to grant Hong Kong the “highest possible degree of autonomy.”

The American and the Chinese heads of foreign offices exchanged their views on the massive protests in Hong Kong before their talks at the US State Department on Wednesday.

Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said. “All countries should respect China’s sovereignty. And this is also a basic principle governing international relations. I believe for any country, for any society, no one will allow those illegal acts that violate public order.”

Wang added he believed the current Hong Kong leadership was able to handle the large-scale sit-ins by itself.

Read more » http://rt.com/news/192404-china-us-internal-affairs/

Indian girl, 7, survives being buried alive

A seven-year-old Indian girl who was allegedly buried alive by relatives in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh has been rescued by a villager.

Police say relatives first tried to strangle her and then left her to die in a shallow grave. It is unclear why.

The man who found her in Sitapur district alerted police – she was taken to a hospital and is said to be doing well.

Police are looking for her mother, uncle and aunt who they say have fled.

The villager who rescued her followed the sound of muffled cries to the middle of a cane field where he found the soil moving.

Police allege the girl’s uncle and aunt had promised to take her to a fair, but then strangled and buried her near the village of Semri Gaura where she lives.

“When the girl became conscious, she began to remove the soil on top of her and clambered out of the shallow grave. Then she sat there and cried loudly when the villager spotted her,” Sitapur police chief Rajesh Krishna told BBC Hindi.

“There are strangulation marks around the girl’s neck.”

Reports say the girl lived with her mother. Her father apparently had no idea about the attack and has told police he is estranged from his wife and lives separately.

Police say they have yet to establish a motive for the attack. But cases of baby girls being killed are not uncommon in India, where women are often discriminated against socially and girls are seen as a financial burden, particularly among poor communities.

In 2012, the father and uncle of a baby girl in Uttar Pradesh allegedly tried to bury her alive, apparently as a sacrifice to protect the health of their other children on the advice of a spiritual guru.

Courtesy: BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-28948296

Should we follow the German way of free higher education?

Against the international trend, Germany has announced it will abolish tuition fees and higher education will once again be free for its citizens. Could the same happen in Australia?

In a shortlived experiment, Germany’s public universities – funded by state (Länder) governments – introduced fees in 2005. But as early as 2008, following public outcry, individual states started backtracking. The last two of the Länder still levying them will phase them out this year.

Fee-reversal could happen in Australia. We have only one government funding 37 public universities, compared to Germany’s 16 Länder funding more than 100. But perhaps the question for Australia is: should higher education be free?

The UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights supports the implementation of free higher education on the basis that higher education should be equally accessible to all. But free doesn’t necessarily mean equal.

What’s the point of having a free education if only a few can access it? Or if the quality of higher education is sub-standard? On the other hand, what if a country charges high student fees, but ensures that anybody needing financial support gets it?

Read more » theconversation.com
http://theconversation.com/should-we-follow-the-german-way-of-free-higher-education-23970

Australia has proved Solar power can replace fossil fuels

World first: Australian solar plant has generated “supercritical” steam that rivals fossil fuels’

A CSIRO test plant in Australia has broken a world record and proved solar power could efficiently replace fossil fuels.

A solar thermal test plant in Newcastle, Australia, has generated “supercritical” steam at a pressure of 23.5 MPa (3400 psi) and 570°C (1,058°F).

CSIRO is claiming it as a world record, and it’s a HUGE step for solar thermal energy.

“It’s like breaking the sound barrier; this step change proves solar has the potential to compete with the peak performance capabilities of fossil fuel sources,” Dr Alex Wonhas, CSIRO’s Energy Director, told Colin Jeffrey for Gizmag.

The Energy Centre uses a field of more than 600 mirrors (known as heliostats) which are all directed at two towers housing solar receivers and turbines, Gizmag reports.

This supercritical steam is used to drive the world’s most advanced power plant turbines, but previously it’s only been possible to produce it by burning fossil fuels such as coal or gas.

“Instead of relying on burning fossil fuels to produce supercritical steam, this breakthrough demonstrates that the power plants of the future could instead be using the free, zero emission energy of the sun to achieve the same result,” Dr Wonhas explained.

Read more » Science Alert
http://sciencealert.com.au/news/20140506-25618.html

Anger grows as wages soar for health-care CEOs while services cut for patients.

Kathleen Wynne must clean up home-care mess: Hepburn

Workers on the front lines of health care are angry that executive salaries are soaring while vital health services are silently slashed.

By:

She sits in her car and cries after telling a war veteran suffering from Parkinson’s disease that she can’t approve visits by a nurse to his home to give him the insulin he needs.

Read more » The Star