n.34 February 2011

The signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement in 2010 brought Beijing and Taipei closer together than they’ve been in half-a-century. China sees the trade agreement as a first step toward the political reunification of the two countries, which had been bitter adversaries until recently. But the view in Taiwan is considerably more cautious. Most still see improved ties with Beijing as a means of fortifying a weak economy. Unification, while lurking in the background, is still considered a hands-off subject.

Pet ownership is on the rise in urban China. Many want pets as a way of confirming their entry into the country’s middle class. Pet accessory stores are booming. At the same time, much of the rural population resists the trend. Dog and cat meat is considered a delicacy. New legislation to protect animal rights is angrily resisted by those who see such laws as a Western intrusion on China’s traditional ways. Despite the urban pet craze, it’s still dog-eat-dog when it comes to fair treatment of pets.

Xinjiang, which literally means “New Frontier,” is an autonomous region of China that shares borders with Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

Thirty years after the military took power in Turkey in September 1980, voters went to the polls to approve an overhaul of the country’s constitution, intended to bring the country more closely into line with European Union norms. . Among the changes was the lifting of legal immunity from those responsible for the 1980 coup.