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People & Points
Print Edition> People & Points
UPDATED: December 21, 2009 NO. 51 DECEMBER 24, 2009

Ding Back in Frame



China's snooker sensation Ding Junhui beat reigning world champion John Higgins 10-8 in the UK Championship final on December 14, ending a 40-month title drought.

It was the fourth ranking event title the 22-year-old has secured in his seven-year career, following wins in the 2005 China Open, the 2005 UK Championship and the 2006 Northern Ireland Trophy.

The victory brought Ding 100,000 pounds ($163,000) in prize money and lifted him up to sixth spot in the provisional rankings for the 2010-11 campaign.

Ding, from east China's Jiangsu Province, began his professional career in 2003. He was also only the second teenager in snooker history to win three ranking titles, the feat being previously achieved by Higgins.

Goodwill Ambassador



Li Ning, the first Chinese ambassador against hunger appointed by the UN World Food Program (WFP), performed his inaugural overseas mission in Bangladesh on December 4-8, checking the implementation of Chinese funding in the South Asian country.

The Chinese Government donated more than $2 million through WFP to Bangladesh in 2008 and 2009.

"I feel happy and honored to have an opportunity to work for WFP. It is a return to what WFP has done for us," Li said in an interview with Xinhua News Agency, referring to the food assistance his hometown, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southwest China, had received from WFP.

WFP started food assistance to China in 1979 and Guangxi was one of the earliest beneficiaries.

China became a donor in 2005 after WFP ended 26 years of food assistance to it. By the end of 2008, China had donated $33 million to WFP projects throughout the world.

Li, 46, was a sports icon in China. He won three gold medals in gymnastics at the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984 and was chosen to light the Beijing Olympic Games' flame on August 8, 2008.

Big-name Volunteer



Mark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo, half-brother of U.S. President Barack Obama, was named a "volunteer image ambassador" for Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, on December 11 to promote volunteering and charity work in the southern Chinese city.

Before the appointment, Ndesandjo had been honored as a Five-Star Volunteer for his charity work at Shenzhen Social Welfare Center since 2002.

A five-star volunteer requires at least 500 hours of voluntary work. "For all these years, he's come to teach piano to children at the center every week and his service hours have far exceeded the required time for a five-star volunteer," said Wang Hui, Secretary General of the Shenzhen Volunteers Association.

Ndesandjo, born in Kenya and the son of Obama's late father and his third wife, has lived in Shenzhen since 2002.

He announced he would donate 15 percent of the proceeds of his first novel, Nairobi to Shenzhen, which was launched on November 4, to his "Help the Kids" project.

"China's efforts are unconditional and not tied to emissions cuts by other countries. China has made remarkable contributions to the global fight against climate change."

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei, on China's higher carbon intensity reduction target compared to developed countries

"It's a reminder that we still have some headwinds. The global economy is still looking fragile in many ways."

Bill Dinning, head of strategy at Aegon Asset Management in Edinburgh, which oversees 40 billion pounds ($65 billion), after oil-rich Abu Dhabi pumped $10 billion into its indebted United Arab Emirates neighbor Dubai on December 14 to help the latter pay off its debts

"Paul Samuelson transformed everything he touched: the theoretical foundations of his field, the way economics was taught around the world, the ethos and stature of his department, the investment practices of MIT, and the lives of his colleagues and students."

Susan Hockfield, President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, mourning Nobel Prize laureate Paul Samuelson who died on December 13 at 94. Samuelson is considered one of the greatest economists of the 20th century

"We won't let ourselves be stripped of our heritage for the benefit of a big company, no matter how friendly, big or American it is."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, announcing a $1-billion plan to digitize French literature, heading off Google Inc.

"The 787 will be the gamechanger that it was meant to be."

Scott Fancher, Vice President and General Manager of the Boeing's 787 program. 787 Dreamliner made its maiden flight on December 15, more than two years behind schedule

"At least this failed test made some nice fireworks for the Norwegians."

Pavel Felgenhauer, a Russian defense analyst, on the failed test launch of Russia's new nuclear-capable missile that caused a spectacular plume of white light over Norway

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