Archive | September, 2014

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HK PROTEST: Defiant protesters bring HK to a standstill

Posted on 30 September 2014 by admin

Publication Date : 30-09-2014

 

Swathes of Hong Kong remained paralysed, with protesters unmollified by the government’s gesture of withdrawing riot police.

In the worst political crisis in recent history, tens of thousands of people occupied the streets, vowing to stay “as long as it takes” to get Beijing to reverse its decision on the city’s constitutional reform.

But chief secretary Carrie Lam yesterday ruled out such a possibility, calling it “unrealistic”.

Black-clad protesters, mainly students, last night packed Harcourt Road and Connaught Road in Admiralty, all the way to the financial district of Central, in a largely peaceable sit-in.

They also occupied sections of residential area Wan Chai, shopping mecca Causeway Bay as well as Mongkok in Kowloon.

It was not just anger over Beijing’s tough rules, which will restrict the choice of Hong Kong’s chief executive to candidates who meet its approval, that drove the protesters. The use of tear gas by the police on Sunday appears to have backfired and brought many out onto the streets.

Student Solar Lau, 15, who joined the protesters yesterday after seeing the developments on television, cried as she spoke to The Straits Times: “How could they do this to us? We did nothing wrong. We just want the government to listen to our voices.
“Hong Kong is sick, seriously sick.”

Hong Kong police said “minimum force” was used, and that warning was given before tear gas was unleashed.

Yesterday, the government sent negotiators to engage the protesters but they were jeered at by the crowds.”Go, go, go, go,” the protesters chanted.

The protests resulted in some 200 bus services being diverted or suspended. The tram service was halted. Also closed to traffic were roads such as Queensway and Cotton Tree Drive in front of skyscrapers like Lippo Centre and Cheung Kong Centre.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority announced the temporary closure of branches of 17 banks in affected areas.  DBS shut its branch in Admiralty.

Companies like Singapore Airlines, which has an office in Admiralty, were also affected. Employees were told to work from home or from the airport, affecting ticketing counter service.

There were fears that tourism and retail trade could be hit, as China’s Golden Week begins tomorrow.

Stocks were sharply down at the open, reflecting investor jitters. Analysts are, however, sanguine about any lasting impact with the Standard Poor’s agency predicting “minimal credit implications in the short term”.

But all this depends on how protracted the crisis could be. Pundits believe the government will let them stay on till at least Thursday, the day after China’s National Day. Both are public holidays.

Already, the celebratory fireworks show tomorrow has been cancelled “in view of the latest situation”.

This means that Hong Kongers will not get to see the skies light up with this year’s most highly anticipated design which sketches out the words “zhong guo ren” – or “Chinese people” – in simplified Chinese characters.

- See more at: http://www.stasiareport.com/the-big-story/asia-report/china/story/hong-kong-protests-defiant-protesters-bring-parts-city-standst#sthash.23KoNb1f.dpuf

 

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S’pore condemns ISIS in strongest possible terms

Posted on 30 September 2014 by admin

Publication Date :ಞ-09-2014

 

Singapore Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam has reiterated Singapore’s strong stand against the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) at the United Nations General Assembly.

Speaking moments ago at the UN meeting in New York, Shanmugam told the other world leaders that Singapore condemns the terrorist actions of the groups “in the strongest possible terms”.

“It is brutal, cruel and a travesty of all that religion stands for,” he said while backing international efforts and UN resolutions to combat the group.

He also endorsed the view – voiced by US President Barack Obama at the beginning of the UN summit – that military strikes alone were not a sufficient solution for the problem of extremism.

“The threat of such terrorism and radical ideology is not confined to the Middle East. It affects the whole world,” said Shanmugam, citing the estimated 15,000 foreigners from Southeast Asia and around the world that have travelled to the Middle East to join forces with ISIS.

“That ISIS can attract so many foreign fighters highlights the need for a comprehensive strategy to counter them. In addition to military and intelligence efforts, we must also combat the radical ideology used to recruit foreign fighters, and which fuels their extremist agenda,” he said.

Shanmugam added: “No country can insulate itself from these problems. We need to combat them at all levels. Critically: fair economic development, good governance, political and, social stability will increase a country’s resilience against them.”

ISIS aside, the Singapore foreign minister focused the bulk of his speech on the push for sustainable development and the UN’s ongoing task of drafting a new development agenda to replace the Millennium Development Goals blueprint that ends in 2015.

The eight Millennium Development Goals include eradicating extreme poverty, achieving universal primary education and ensuring environmental sustainability.

In discussions on the post-2015 development agenda, Shanmugam said Singapore would focus on those areas it can contribute. He cited, for example, three principles critical to the country’s growth that he thought might be relevant to other developing nations.

The three are: An honest, and competent government, effective institutions, and policies that are “pragmatic, not dogmatic”.

On the third principle, he said that Singapore has never been an advocate for any standard model of government or economic structure.

“The only model is to work with what you have within the context of your culture and resources, prudently and for the benefit of the people,” he said. “Policies must be judged by theiroutcomes, not according to ideological content.”

He also stressed that no one approach will work for every country: “Each society must draw its own lessons from its own experiences, and find solutions according to its national circumstances. Naturally, there will be differences of opinion but we must not lose sight of the ultimate goal of ending extreme poverty in our lifetimes.”

- See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/world/more-world-stories/story/singapore-condemns-isis-strongest-possible-terms-shanmugam-tells#sthash.3bOgKTnu.dpuf

 

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Indonesian Court rejects PDI-P’s judicial review request

Posted on 30 September 2014 by admin

Publication Date : 30-09񮖮

 

The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggleâ€�s (PDI-P) attempt to secure the House speaker post has collapsed with the Constitutional Court’s (MK) rejection of its judicial review request.

On Monday, seven Constitutional Court justices, including Chief Justice Hamdan Zoelva, rejected a request to review a number of articles of Legislative Institution Law No. 17/2014, which went into effect in July 2014.

The judicial review of the law, which is known as the MD3 Law, was filed by the PDI-P, which was represented by its chairwoman, Megawati Soekarnoputri, and secretary-general Tjahjo Kumolo.

During Monday’s hearing, Constitutional Court justice Aswanto said that the 쌙 Constitution did not specifically regulate the best mechanism for determining the House speaker.

�€œWe do not apply the parliamentary system, where a House speaker should come from the winner of the legislative election. The mechanism to choose the house speaker is up to the lawmakers to decide,” he said.

He added that he questioned why the PDI-P had filed the judicial review of the MD3 as it had been a part of the law’s deliberation in the House of Representatives.

“The law was transparently discussed in the House and the court is sure that the PDI-P, as the judicial review applicant, was also involved in that process,” Aswanto said.

The PDI-P, which won the most seats in the April legislative election, challenged the mechanism established by the MD3 Law that strips the majority party in the House of the right to appoint the speaker, allowing the House to choose the speaker through a vote.

The PDI-P demanded that the court scrap this provision, along with six others that established similar voting mechanisms for deputy speakers, leaders of the House’s 11 commissions and other House bodies.

The articles challenged by the PDI-P were Article 84 on House speaker seat, Article 97 on commission heads, Article 104 on legislation body head, Article 109 on budget body head, Article 115 on House inter-parliamentary body, Article 121 on House honor tribunal head, Article 152 on head of committee in charge of household affairs and inquiry committee head.

Commenting on the verdict, Constitutional Court justice Maria Farida said that political parties should keep in mind that the MP3 was not a political tool and should be implemented to serve the interests of the people.

“The MD3 Law should have been drafted and passed long before the legislative election. This law replaced the previous Legislative Institutions Law when there was no urgent reason to do so. I believe the judicial review should have been granted,� said Maria Farida, who issued a dissenting opinion.

Also on Monday, the court partially granted a separate judicial review request filed by, among other complainants, PDI-P lawmaker Rieke Diah Pitaloka and a politician from the National Awakening Party (PKB), Khofifah Indar Parawansa.

The applicants challenged the law, which they said failed to accommodate gender-based affirmative action.

“Gender-based affirmative action is a serious attempt to ensure that women are proportionately represented in the House of Representatives,” Constitutional Court justice Wahiduddin Adams said.

With the court’s decision, a number of positions, including the leadership of House commissions and the budget committee, must take equal representation from female lawmakers into consideration.

Separately, PDI-P senior politician Effendi Simbolon said that the party could still win the House leadership race.

Effendi said that the PDI-P could still strike a deal with political parties from the rival camp. â€�There’s a big chance that the Democratic Party and the PPP [United Development Party will join our coalition,” he said.

 

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Stronger reforms needed, says Vietnamese PM

Posted on 30 September 2014 by admin

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â—� HONG KONG: HK PROTEST: Defiant protesters bring HK to a standstill

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�

 

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HK PROTEST: ‘Illegal acts’ will not change China’s stance, says chief executive

Posted on 30 September 2014 by admin

Publication Date : 30-ǩ-2014

 

Hong Kong’s civil disobedience protests will not change China’s position on political reform and are instead affecting the city’s emergency services, economy and international reputation, Chief Executive Leung Chun-Ying said in his first comments since the start of Occupy Central movement.

“The central government will not change its mind as a result of such tactics,” he said on Tuesday morning before chairing a weekly Executive Council meeting.

He called on leaders of the Occupy Central movement to stop the blockage of major roads, warning that Hong Kong is “paying a price” as the street protests entered its third day.

He said patients could not receive quick medical help as major roads are sealed off by the protesters. He urged the crowds to vacate some of the roads to allow emergency vehicles to pass through.

He also said Hong Kong’s economy is being affected, although he did not give details. The city’s global image has also suffered, he added.

“Occupy Central founders had said repeatedly that if the movement is getting out of control, they would call for it to stop. I’m now asking them to fulfil the promise they made to society, and stop this campaign immediately,” Leung said.

But protest co-organiser Chan Kin Man said the campaign has not lost control. It is, he said, the government that has lost control, in reference to the heavily criticised police actions on the protesters, including the use of tear gas on Sunday.

“So we don’t see the need to stop the movement. Stopping it is in the hands of the government; it’s up to the government to listen to the people.”

Young protesters – the driving force behind the protests – are also digging in their heels, saying they will continue to stay put.

The protesters, mainly students, packed Harcourt Road and Connaught Road in Admiralty, all the way to the financial district of Central. They also occupied sections of residential area Wan Chai, shopping mecca Causeway Bay as well as Mongkok in Kowloon.

In his speech, the Hong Kong leader gave a strong hint that he would not give in to demands for him to resign in order to stop the protests.

“Any personnel change before the implementation of universal suffrage is achieved would only allow Hong Kong to continue to pick its leader under the Election Committee model,” he said.

The protesters are demanding that Hong Kong be allowed to freely choose its next leader. China’s “one country, two systems” formula guarantees Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy and freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland, with universal suffrage set as an eventual goal.

But on Aug 31, China’s legislature, the National People’s Congress, laid down strict rules on how Hong Kongers can elect their Chief Executive in 썡, which effectively meant that candidates must be approved by Beijing. This prompted threats from activists to shut down the central business district in Hong Kong.

In his remarks on Tuesday, Leung again sought to dispel circulating rumours that the People’s Liberation Army or mainland police could be mobilised – images that are emotive in Hong Kong given its affinity with the student protesters of the Tiananmen incident in 1989.

At the main protest site on Harcourt Road in Admiralty on Tuesday morning, the crowd had dwindled as many went home to rest.

But it is expected to swell again in the afternoon, amid talk that a crackdown could come at night, ahead of China’s National Day on Wednesday. The South China Morning Post reported that military planes and helicopters were seen over the Victoria Harbour.

When The Straits Times team visited the protest site on Harcourt Road, warehouse assistant Hsu King Wing, 23, was taking a breather from stacking garbage into giant bags.

“We are trying to figure out what to do if that (crackdown) happens. We don’t have much tools, except perhaps to use the rubbish as some kind of barrier.”

On its potential efficacy, he said: “We have a lot of garbage! Because the garbage trucks cannot access the road.”

Failing that, the students are pondering where they can retreat to. “We will probably head to Central because it is more concentrated – after all this is supposed to be Occupy Central,” Hsu said.

Others, such as design student Tat Lau, 23, told The Straits Times that they are “willing to fight to the end”.

“I’m prepared for violence, for bloodshed – even death,” said Tat Lau. “We can use wooden sticks or rocks,” he added, pointing to the stone pavement.

“Or umbrellas,” said his soft-spoken girlfriend Miranda Chan, 22.

Much of such talk is driven by a sense of desperation that Hong Kong is “lost” to China, with many of the students saying that the city’s government is “just listening to Beijing, and not to us”.

“Yes, it will be very bad,” Lau said of any clashes. “But now, Hong Kong is already in a very bad state.”

Additional reporting by Pearl Liu in Hong Kong

 

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NTU scientists find way to help electric cars drive farther on a single charge

Posted on 30 September 2014 by admin

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 HONG KONG: HK PROTEST: ‘Illegal acts’ will not change China’s stance, says chief executive

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 DHAKA: Bangladesh police arrest Syria-linked jihadist

 BEIJING: 100 foreigners get Chinese Friendship Award

� HONG KONG: HK PROTEST: ‘Umbrella revolution’ raises fears of more political conflicts to come

 HONG KONG: HK PROTEST: Defiant protesters bring HK to a standstill

 NAGANO : 550 rescue workers search on Mt. Ontake

 TAIPEI: HK PROTEST: Beijing should heed opinions of people of Hong Kong, says Ma

 

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S’pore jumps from 16th to fifth on Global Food Security Index

Posted on 30 September 2014 by admin

» Other News

 BEIJING: China releases images from advanced satellite

 HONG KONG: Xi likely to visit Nepal next year, says Nepali FM

 TOKYO: Low-frequency quakes serve as warning to Ontake eruption?

 SINGAPORE: NTU scientists find way to help electric cars drive farther on a single charge

 HONG KONG: HK PROTEST: ‘Illegal acts’ will not change China’s stance, says chief executive

� HANOI: Stronger reforms needed, says Vietnamese PM

�—Â�JAKARTA: Indonesian Court rejects PDI-P’s judicial review request

 NEW YORK: S’pore condemns ISIS in strongest possible terms

 DHAKA: Bangladesh police arrest Syria-linked jihadist

 BEIJING: 100 foreigners get Chinese Friendship Award

 HONG KONG: HK PROTEST: ‘Umbrella revolution’ raises fears of more political conflicts to come

 HONG KONG: HK PROTEST: Defiant protesters bring HK to a standstill

 NAGANO : 550 rescue workers search on Mt. Ontake

 TAIPEI: HK PROTEST: Beijing should heed opinions of people of Hong Kong, says Ma

 

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 KAJANG: MH17 CRASH: Investigators have less than a month to gather evidence

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 PESHAWAR: Thousands of archaelogical sites in Pakistan yet to be registered

 JAKARTA: Next threat: Scrapping direct presidential polls

 TOKYO: Keep big picture in mind, say experts on Sino-Japan ties

 HANOI: Germany optimistic about Vietnam economic ties

 VIENTIANE: Chinese tourists to Laos continue to increase

 KATHMANDU: China to extend rail to Nepal

 DHAKA: [breaking] Another ‘IS man’ held in Dhaka

 HONG KONG: Hong Kong democracy protests turn violent

 TAIPEI: Taiwan, S. Korea may sign investment treaty ‘soon’

 MANILA: Asia-Pacific said to dominate oil demand by ’20

 JAKARTA: ‘Undervalued’ rupiah may attract investors

 ISLAMABAD: Floods, political chaos to stifle growth in Pakistan, warns ADB

 


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Low-frequency quakes serve as warning to Ontake eruption?

Posted on 30 September 2014 by admin

Publication Date : 30ᆝ-2014

 

Low-frequency earthquakes were among the volcanic quakes recorded at Mt. Ontake since the start of September, according to analysis by the Japan Meteorological Agency, prompting some experts to say the phenomenon could be a warning sign for upcoming hydrovolcanic explosions and that the data should be used to predict future eruptions.

Earthquakes often increase as a precursor of a volcano eruption. Earthquakes that occur when underground magma moves upward and cracks parts of the bedrock layer are known as type-A earthquakes and have a similar seismic waveform as general earthquakes.

On Mt. Ontake, 52 volcanic earthquakes were observed on September 10 and 85 on September 11, all of them type A.

Volcanic earthquakes decreased after September 12, but a so-called type-B earthquake occurred twice on September 14. Thirteen such earthquakes were recorded by Friday.

Type-B earthquakes are caused by underground water and volcanic gas movements at shallow depths. They indicate increased pressure due to increasing water vapour and gas underground. Type-B earthquakes have a waveform specific to volcanoes and tend to occur more frequently before hydrovolcanic eruptions.

But the meteorological agency did not raise the alert level for the risk of a possible volcanic eruption because there were no major changes in the depth of type-A earthquake epicenters, and only a small number of type-B earthquakes had occurred.

Toshitsugu Fujii, the head of the Coordinating Committee for Prediction of Volcanic Eruptions, said at a press conference Sunday that low-frequency earthquakes “could serve as a guideline for us to suspect a possible connections with eruptions.”

According to the meteorological agency, there were 521 volcanic earthquakes – including types A and B – from Saturday, when the mountain erupted, until 10am Monday. Volcanic earthquakes have been decreasing since Sunday but the agency said, “As long as volcanic earthquakes occur, eruption activity is continuing.”

Watching for volcanic gas

The meteorological agency started monitoring volcanic gas around Mt. Ontake, which includes toxic sulfur dioxide (SO2), on Sunday.

The Nagano prefectural police, the Self-Defense Forces and others were engaged in rescue efforts around the mountain’s summit on the same day, but their work was halted after volcanic gas was detected.

The meteorological agency had not monitored volcanic gas around the mountain until now, so it hopes rescue workers can utilise the observations to judge if they should carry out rescue operations.

Monitoring spots set up by the Nagano and Gifu prefectural governments constantly monitor air-pollution substances such as SO2 and airborne particle matter less than 10 micrometres in diameter. According to the Environment Ministry, no major changes were observed before or after the eruption.

At a monitoring spot in Kiso, Nagano Prefecture, about 17 kilometres east of the summit of Mt. Ontake, there were no sudden rises in levels of such substances after the eruption.

“The levels have remained at about one-tenth of Japan’s environmental standards,” a prefectural government official said.

Similar levels were observed at another monitoring spot set at the Takayama municipal government’s building in Gifu Prefecture, 34 kilometrse northwest of the mountain.

 

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Xi likely to visit Nepal next year, says Nepali FM

Posted on 30 September 2014 by admin

» Other News

 BEIJING: China releases images from advanced satellite

 TOKYO: Low-frequency quakes serve as warning to Ontake eruption?

 SINGAPORE: NTU scientists find way to help electric cars drive farther on a single charge

 SINGAPORE: S’pore jumps from 16th to fifth on Global Food Security Index

 HONG KONG: HK PROTEST: ‘Illegal acts’ will not change China’s stance, says chief executive

 HANOI: Stronger reforms needed, says Vietnamese PM

� JAKARTA: Indonesian Court rejects PDI-P’s judicial review request

 NEW YORK: S’pore condemns ISIS in strongest possible terms

 DHAKA: Bangladesh police arrest Syria-linked jihadist

 BEIJING: 100 foreigners get Chinese Friendship Award

 HONG KONG: HK PROTEST: ‘Umbrella revolution’ raises fears of more political conflicts to come

 HONG KONG: HK PROTEST: Defiant protesters bring HK to a standstill

 NAGANO : 550 rescue workers search on Mt. Ontake

 TAIPEI: HK PROTEST: Beijing should heed opinions of people of Hong Kong, says Ma

 

» Most Viewed

 HONG KONG: HK government withdraws riot police; protesters urged to disperse

 KAJANG: MH17 CRASH: Investigators have less than a month to gather evidence

 JAKARTA: Indonesian Democratic Party in spotlight over walkout plot

 PESHAWAR: Thousands of archaelogical sites in Pakistan yet to be registered

â�� JAKARTA: Next threat: Scrapping direct presidential polls

 TOKYO: Keep big picture in mind, say experts on Sino-Japan ties

 HANOI: Germany optimistic about Vietnam economic ties

 VIENTIANE: Chinese tourists to Laos continue to increase

 KATHMANDU: China to extend rail to Nepal

 DHAKA: [breaking] Another ‘IS man’ held in Dhaka

 HONG KONG: Hong Kong democracy protests turn violent

 TAIPEI: Taiwan, S. Korea may sign investment treaty ‘soon’

 MANILA: Asia-Pacific said to dominate oil demand by ’20

 JAKARTA: ‘Undervalued’ rupiah may attract investors

● ISLAMABAD: Floods, political chaos to stifle growth in Pakistan, warns ADB

 


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China releases images from advanced satellite

Posted on 30 September 2014 by admin

Publication Date : 30-09-2014

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Images taken by the country’s most advanced civilian Earth observation satellite were released on Monday as a senior official announced that an orbiting high-definition network will be created by 2020.

The images were shot by the Gaofen-2 satellite between Aug 21 and Monday. They show parts of cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Harbin, as well as famous sites abroad including the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

There are also images of temporary settlements in Ludian, Yunnan province, the epicentre of a 6.5-magnitude earthquake that struck in August.

Gaofen-2, which was launched at the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in Shanxi province on Aug 19, can distinguish a 1-metre-long object and photograph it in full color from 600 kilometres above the Earth, according to the China National Space Administration.

“It is China’s most advanced high-definition Earth observation satellite for civilian purposes,” Xu Dazhe, the administration’s director, said in Beijing.

“The country will accelerate the development of other high-definition Earth observation satellites that will form a network before 20Ǵ.

“We are working with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp and Chinese Academy of Sciences on the development of Gaofen-3, a round-the-clock, all-weather, radar-based Earth observation satellite.”

Xu said Gaofen-4 and GaofenLJ, which will have higher resolution imaging equipment than the existing satellites, are also under development.

“We plan to send these three satellites into orbit in 2015 and 2016, while speeding up research on Gaofen-6 and Gaofen-7,” he said.

China initiated the Gaofen program in May 2010 and listed it as one of the nation’s 16 most important science and technology projects.

The first satellite, Gaofen-1, was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in Gansu province in April last year.

Wu Yanhua, the administration’s deputy director, said Gaofen-2′s instrument settings are currently being optimised, a task that is due to be completed by November.

Its systems and equipment will then be tested, and it is expected to become fully operational by next February.

More than 20 government departments and industries will use images provided by Gaofen-2. The satellite will carry out land monitoring and mineral, urban management and disaster prevention surveys in conjunction with Gaofen-1.

Gao Ping, deputy head of international collaboration at the ministry of land and resources, said: “With the Gaofen satellites entering service, we have gained reliable access to high-quality, high-definition images and have commenced trial application projects in eight provinces.”

The images will also be used during relief operations and for environmental protection and agricultural planning purposes.

� 

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