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Reuters blog archive

from Environment Forum:

New monkey puzzles scientists: why does it sneeze in the rain?

A monkeynew species of monkey has been found in northern Myanmar, puzzling scientists because of a snub nose that means they are often heard "sneezing in the rain".

Why would anyone want -- let alone evolve -- nostrils that fill up with water?

The find of the new type of snub-nosed monkey (story here) coincides with a U.N. meeting in Nagoya, Japan, this week to decide what to do about accelerating losses of species of animals and plants because of human threats, such as loss of habitats to farms or cities or the effects of climate change.

The monkey's habitat is threatened by logging and a planned Chinese-built hydroelectric dam -- conservationists hope it will put pressure on Beijing to protect the rare monkey from an influx of workers. Trees also bind soil together -- logging can cause erosion that could silt up the reservoir behind the dam. That means a big economic incentive to protect the monkey's habitat.

Researchers are mystified by the nostrils.

Local hunters report the monkeys can be located by their sneezing when it's raining. The monkeys often resort to sitting out downpours in trees face down.

from Our Take on Your Take:

Blowin’ in the wind, bridal style

A bride's dress flares during a photo shoot at Beijing's Temple of Heaven May 2010.  Your View/Douglas Bakshian

Timing and composition are key components in this Douglas Bakshian photograph of a bride in Beijing. By allowing the wedding dress to billow out of the frame, Douglas has captured a surprising image with visual interest.

View this week's Your View showcase here.

from India Insight:

Separatists make contact with China to ‘discuss’ Kashmir

The chief of Kashmir's moderate separatist alliance recently met a Chinese delegation in Geneva, the first such contact by Kashmiri separatists with Chinese officials since a simmering discontent against Indian rule broke out in 1989.

Mirwaiz Umar FarooqMirwaiz Umar Farooq, Chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, met the Chinese Director Foreign Affairs, Ying Gang, in Geneva on the sidelines of the 13th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council and discussed Beijing's possible role in the resolution of the dispute.

from Changing China:

Snowboarding the Bird’s Nest

Beijing's "Bird's Nest" stadium, the tangled steel structure that starred as the focal point of the 2008 Summer Games, has been dressed up for winter in hopes of drawing post-Olympics visitors -- and their cash.

Transformed into a winter-themed sports park, the stadium -- which in its glory days packed some 80,000 cheering spectators into row after row of seats -- now includes snowboard and ski slopes inside the inner ring, as well as a short toboggan tube, all covered in man-made snow.

from Changing China:

The Battle for Beijing’s Air (video)

CHINA-TRAFFIC/On the first day of the Copenhagen climate change summit, Beijingers were experiencing what authorities called a 'slightly polluted' day.

Air quality in the capital has improved, thanks in part to the movement of factories elsewhere and new traffic restrictions first experimented with ahead of last year's Olympics.

from Changing China:

Smoking out the flu

Suffering from a bout of winter flu? Chinese traditional medicine has its own answers - you can rebalance your bodies' meridian with moxibustion, the smoky twin to acupuncture, or bleed the bad toxins away with wet cupping.

The practice of burning moxa, the herb mugwort, above or on the skin can treat many ills, according to moxibustion therapist Fan Changwei.

from Changing China:

Obama at the Great Wall

Aides say U.S. President Barack Obama really enjoys sightseeing breaks during the hectic schedules of his foreign trips, since they let him clear his head.

The blustery wind on the Great Wall on Wednesday may have helped as well, as Obama broke away from tour guides and walked alone for a few minutes to Badaling's third watchtower.

from Changing China:

An Unlikely Couple

Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao, arguably the world's two most powerful men, stand shoulder to shoulder for their respective national anthems in Beijing on Tuesday.

But there are few smiles ahead of a morning of bilateral meetings on everything from the value of China's currency to global warming. With their nations' fates so bound to the relationship, and faced with the challenge of juggling trade and Tibet, it's anyone's guess what's going through their minds.

from Changing China:

On Obama’s trail in Beijing

Guan Yongning is a senior cameraman with Reuters Television in Beijing . In  15 years in the field,  he has covered stories ranging from natural disasters to politics and major sporting events.  Guan was one of the chosen few reporters able to follow U.S. President Barack Obama's visit in China up-close.  He tells the story of what reporters have to go through to capture a few precious shots of the U.S. leader.

The reporters able to cover Obama’s visit up close might be considered the lucky ones. Following the American commander-in-chief means long hours working days,  skipping meals, lugging around heavy gear and enduring the harsh Beijing winds. But would they give up the chance?

from Changing China:

U.S. expats discuss Obama’s visit over a beer

Beijing's local Americans believe Obama can maintain his popularity with the Chinese public just as long as he focuses on their main interests - trade relations and the fate of the huge Chinese holdings of U.S. government debt.

Tim's Texas BBQ restaurant offers Beijing's several thousand expat Americans grilled ribs, beer and live TV coverage of the President's visit to China, from  November 15 to 18.  Chinese President Hu Jintao and American President Barack Obama are expected to discuss a wide range of issues from trade to currency imbalance and climate change to human rights.

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