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People & Points
Print Edition> People & Points
UPDATED: July 24, 2009 NO. 30 JULY 30, 2009

Top Forex Regulators Shuffled

Yi Gang, a scholar-turned-official, has been named director of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), replacing Hu Xiaolian.

Yi, 51, received a phD at the University of Illinois in 1986. A prominent expert on monetary affairs, he joined the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the country's central bank, in 1997 as deputy secretary general of the bank's Monetary Policy Committee. He was appointed head of the Monetary Policy Department of the PBOC in 2003, assistant governor in July 2004 and vice governor in December 2007.

Hu, 51, is also a vice governor of the PBOC. She began to serve as director of SAFE in March 2005, and is considered a key figure in China's fight against international speculative funds, known as "hot money," in past years.

SAFE, under the jurisdiction of the PBOC, is a major agency for foreign exchange regulation in China and manages some of the country's $2.13-trillion foreign currency holdings.

Yao Nets Sharks

Yao Ming, the seven-time National Basketball Association all-star center of the Houston Rockets, received surgery on July 21 to repair a broken bone in his left foot.

Though Rockets doctor Tom Clanton, who helped perform the surgery, said Yao was doing well, many medical experts believe the 28-year-old Chinese sensation is very likely to be sidelined for the whole 2009-10 season.

Fortunately, Yao had found another way to tighten his connection with the sport even before the surgery—he bought his former team in east China's Shanghai.

According to a framework agreement signed on July 15, Yao, now worth about 700 million yuan ($100 million), will buy all stakes in the financially strapped Shanghai Sharks for 20 million yuan ($2.9 million). Yao said in an interview with news portal sina.com that he agreed with the deal in hopes to pay back the team where his career started.

Before joining the Rockets in 2002, Yao played five seasons with the Sharks and inspired the team to secure the title of China's top-level league in the 2001-02 season.

Ex-Sinopec Chief Gets Reprieve

Chen Tonghai, former Chairman of the China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. (Sinopec Corp.), was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for taking huge bribes by the Beijing No.2 Intermediate People's Court on July 15. State-owned Sinopec Corp. is Asia's largest oil refiner.

The court said that Chen, 60, who had held various senior posts in Sinopec Corp. and its parent China Petrochemical Corp. since April 1998, took about 196 million yuan ($28 million) in bribes from 1999 to June 2007.

Xinhua News Agency quoted court sources as saying that the reprieve was given because Chen had paid back all the bribes he had taken and helped prosecutors investigate others' crimes.

"Primarily, what we see with all these soothsayers and astrologers is that they're looking for opportunities to enhance their business with predictions of danger and calamity."

Sanal Edamaruku, President of the Indian Rationalist Association, dismissing popular eclipse-related doomsday predictions in Indian society before the longest full solar eclipse in this century crossed Asia on July 22

"What I want to remember most is the glance between Neil [Armstrong] and myself, with the engine shutoff, just those seconds after we touched down, because we had just completed the most critical door opening for exploration in all of humanity."

Buzz Aldrin, the second person to step onto the Moon after Neil Armstrong, speaking on the Fox News Sunday program on July 19. Forty years ago on July 20, the crew of the Apollo 11 mission completed mankind's first walk on the surface of the Moon

"The tendency is to think of security only in military or state security terms. But the security of people themselves is threatened not just by conflict and civil unrest, but also by environmental degradation, discrimination, unemployment, poverty and hunger."

Amat Al Alim Alsoswa, Director of the UN Development Program's Regional Bureau for Arab States, in response to the Arab Human Development Report 2009 released on July 22 that says what's missing in the Arab world is "human security—the kind of material and moral foundation that secures lives, livelihoods and an acceptable quality of life for the majority"

"If the foreign exchange reserve can produce reasonable returns, it is good enough."

Zhou Xiaochuan, China's central banker, rejecting to use the country's $2.13-trillion foreign exchange reserves as a profit-oriented investment fund in a speech at Peking University on July 17

"In terms of the pace of improvement, it means they've been doing more than the United States over the last five years."

Jonathan Lash, President of the World Resources Institute and former Co-chairman of the Council on Sustainable Development during the Clinton administration, recognizing China's "huge step" in reducing its carbon footprint in an interview with Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post on July 21

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