Sunday, March 19, 2017

China reaffirms anti-protectionist stand; US school changes map to end 500 years of distortion; Camel as the new cash cow

1 China reaffirms anti-protectionist stand (Gulf News) China opposes various forms of trade protectionism and supports free trade, Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli said on Sunday, reaffirming Beijing’s stance amid worries over weak global demand.

“China is willing to work with other countries to oppose various forms of trade and investment protectionism,” Zhang told the China Development Forum in Beijing. “We should unwaveringly push forward economic globalisation ... we cannot stop our footsteps because of temporary difficulties.”

Zhang said world policymakers should make the globalisation process more “inclusive” by putting more emphasis on equality. Beijing is struggling to cope with weak global demand and faces risks from growing US trade protectionism as the administration under new President Donald Trump shows an aversion to globalisation.

In January, Chinese President Xi Jinping, as a keynote speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, offered a vigorous defence of globalisation and signalled Beijing’s desire to play a bigger role on the world stage.

2 US school changes map to end 500 years of distortion (Joanna Walters in The Guardian) When Boston public schools introduced a new standard map of the world this week, some young students’ felt their jaws drop. In an instant, their view of the world had changed.

The USA was small. Europe too had suddenly shrunk. Africa and South America appeared narrower but also much larger than usual. City authorities are confident their new map offers something closer to the geographical truth than that of traditional school maps, and hope it can serve an example to schools across the nation and even the world.

For almost 500 years, the Mercator projection has been the norm for maps of the world, ubiquitous in atlases, pinned on peeling school walls. Gerardus Mercator, a renowned Flemish cartographer, devised his map in 1569, principally to aid navigation along colonial trade routes by drawing straight lines across the oceans.

An exaggeration of the whole northern hemisphere, his depiction made North America and Europe bigger than South America and Africa. He also placed western Europe in the middle of his map.

Mercator’s distortions affect continents as well as nations. For example, South America is made to look about the same size as Europe, when in fact it is almost twice as large, and Greenland looks roughly the size of Africa when it is actually about 14 times smaller. Alaska looks bigger than Mexico and Germany is in the middle of the picture, not to the north – because Mercator moved the equator.

Three days ago, Boston’s public schools began phasing in the lesser-known Peters projection, which cuts the US, Britain and the rest of Europe down to size. Teachers put contrasting maps of the world side by side and let the students study them.

The respective merits of the Mercator and the Peters maps have long been debated. A spirited discussion about their implications even featured on an episode of the West Wing, in which characters argued for the Peters map to be used in US public schools and told the administration the Mercator projection had “fostered European imperialist attitudes for centuries”, creating an “ethical bias” for “western civilization” against the developing world.

3 Camel the new cash cow (Farhana Chowdhury in Khaleej Times) The price of camel milk may be twice as much as traditional cow milk in the UAE market, but it is slowly gaining attention of health-conscious residents for its nutrient-rich features.

Mutasher Awad Al Badry, business development manager of Emirates Industry for Camel Milk and Products, explains the reason behind the cost: "Camel milk production is less than cow milk production, taking note that it is only up to 30 per cent of cow milk production.

“Also, camel breeding costs are more than cows. Cows produce milk over the year, but with camels, the cycle is repeated once every three years. Therefore, the cost of a litre of camel milk may exceed the cost of three litres of cow's milk."

While Al Badry states that there are no accurate figures about the camel milk industry as of yet, a general report by Euromonitor titled 'Dairy in the UAE' reveals that drinking milk products recorded a value CAGR of two per cent in 2016 and are expected to reach sales of Dh1.6 billion in 2021.

To date, camel milk is available in original as well as flavoured varieties - such as chocolate, strawberry and dates - to appeal to demanding tastebuds. It is further blended into other appetising treats such as laban, cheese, and even ice cream.

One of the key players in the consumer market is the Emirates Industry for Camel Milk and Products with an assortment of dairy items under the brand Camelicious. According to Al Badry, Camelicious stands as the only camel milk brand and dairy production facility in the world to receive EU Commission approval to export to the EU zone.

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