China trade surplus at new record; Apple watch to trigger wearable tech market; A better world, run by women

1 China trade surplus at new record (BBC) China’s monthly trade surplus hit a record $60.6bn in February, as exports grew and imports slid back. Exports were up 48.3% year on year to $169.2bn, and imports dropped by a fifth to $108.6bn, said the country’s General Administration of Customs. The growth in exports was well ahead of analyst expectations.

China’s economy grew by 7.4% in 2014, its weakest for almost a quarter of a century, and recent indicators show signs the slowdown is continuing. Customs officials put the surge in exports down to a flurry of activities by companies to get orders processed before the Chinese New Year, which fell in the middle of February this year.

The surplus figure stood at $8.9bn in the same period last year. For the first two months of the year, China’s trade surplus has totalled $120.7bn, following the $60bn surplus in January. Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday announced a lowered growth target of “approximately 7%” for this year, and cut the trade growth target for 2015 to “around 6%”.

2 Apple watch to trigger wearable tech market (Trevor Tan in Straits Times) Apple is expected to unveil the final launch details on Tuesday about its highly anticipated Apple Watch. Smart watches have been predicted by experts to be the next big thing, and the leader of this new group of wearable devices is expected to be Apple.

Research firm Business Insider expects the global wearable tech market to explode over the next five years, hitting 148 million units shipped from the current 33 million units. The smart watch will form the bulk of the wearables sold, accounting for six in 10 of total wearable devices sold. Business Insider expects this share to expand to 70 per cent by 2019. The Apple Watch is expected to kickstart the growth of the overall smartwatch sales.

The Apple Watch lets users receive notifications while doubling up as a fitness tracker with its built-in pedometer, accelerometer and heart rate sensors. It is also known that the price starts from $349 and that there are three versions of it – the Apple Watch with its stainless steel chassis, the Apple WatchSport with its anodised aluminium case and the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition.

There is also talk that Apple might launch a new MacBook Air with retina display. With many PC laptops featuring ultra-high resolutions, such as 2,560 x 1,440 pixels, the paltry resolution of 1,440 x 900 pixels of the 13-inch MacBook Air is seriously looking very dated.

3 A better world, run by women (Melvin Konner in The Wall Street Journal) Hillary Clinton seems to be preparing to run for president, and the former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina may yet enter the race on the Republican side. Whoever wins the White House in 2016, today it seems easily possible that within the next decade, the US will follow Britain, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, India, Israel, Thailand, Norway and dozens of other countries in electing a woman to our most powerful office.

Can we predict the consequences? Yes, we can—and the news is good. Research has found that women are superior to men in most ways that will count in the future, and it isn’t just a matter of culture or upbringing—although both play their roles. It is also biology and the aspects of thought and feeling shaped by biology.

All wars are boyish. People point to Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi and Golda Meir as evidence that women, too, can be warlike. But these women were perched atop all-male hierarchies confronting other hypermasculine political pyramids, and they were masculinized as they fought their way to the top. But that’s not all. Sex scandals, financial corruption and violence are all overwhelmingly male.

The great transformation of the past two centuries—the slow but relentless decline of male supremacy—can be attributed in part to the rise of Enlightenment ideas generally. The liberation of women has advanced alongside the gradual emancipation of serfs, slaves, working people and minorities of every sort. But the most important factor has been technology, which has made men’s physical strength and martial prowess increasingly obsolete.

Perhaps it is time for us to consider returning to the hunter-gatherer rules that prevailed for 90% of human history: women and men working at their jobs, sharing, talking, listening and tending children. Men didn’t strongly dominate because they couldn’t; women’s voices were always there, speaking truth to male power every night around the fire. There was violence, and it was mainly male, but it was mostly random, accident more than ideology.

Women won’t make a perfect world, but it will be less flawed than the one that men have made and ruled these thousands of years. My grandson, I think, will be happy in the new world. It will be better for him because women will contribute so much more to running it.


About joesnewspicks

This blog captures interesting news items from around the world for those strained by information overload and yet need to stay updated on global events of significance. The news items displayed are not in order of merit. (The blog takes a weekly off — normally on Sundays — and does not appear when I am on vacation or busy.) I am a journalist for nearly three decades.
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