Participants arrive for the national public service examination, in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China, on Sunday. Photograph: Reuters

Appeal of ‘Iron Rice Bowl’ may be waning as lure of private sector grows

Reorganising: The cuts of around 300,000 troops will reduce the ranks of the PLA to around two million members –  down from 6.27 million at the time of the 1949 revolution. Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty Images

Demobilisation of 300,000 troops comes as disputes continue in South China Sea

 Qinghai Lake in China:  environmental researchers are asking  whether the lake is getting bigger due to more rainfall or because the glaciers at the roof of the world are melting faster – a dire foreboding of climate change. Photograph: China Photos/Getty Images

Tibet plateau will be high on climate conference agenda as it is the source of Asia’s water

Chinese journalist Gao Yu has suffered heart problems during her detention. Photograph: Filip Singer/EPA

Gao Yu (71), winner of Press Freedom award, earlier had sentence reduced to five years

Chinese president Xi Jinping: has launched a major crackdown on official corruption Photograph:  Noel Celis/Pool Photo via AP

College leaders ‘named and shamed’ for hedonism and fancy cars

China’s outbound direct investment to Africa totalled €1.12 billion in the first half of this year

Falling commodity prices and weak global demand hit Chinese spending

A woman looks at handbags on sale at a shop in Beijing:  Growth in China’s industrial production, a measure of output at factories, workshops and mines, fell to a six-month low in October. Photograph: Wang Zhaowang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images

Report by Conference Board and Nielsen is downright dark in its assessment

This combination of undated images taken from Islamic State’s online magazine Dabiq purports to show Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad (48) from Oslo, Norway and Fan Jinghui (50) from Beijing, China. IS had demanded ransoms for the two men. Photograph: Dabiq via AP

Islamist terror group also executes Norwegian citizen Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad

A file photograph of armed paramilitary policemen running in formation during a gathering to mobilise security operations in Urumqi, in China’s resitive Xinjiang province, on June 29th, 2013. Photograph: Reuters

Suspects killed in raid following manhunt after attack on colliery in which 50 died

A  man blocks a line of tanks  after Chinese forces crushed a pro-democracy demonstration in Tiananmen Square on June 5th, 1989. Photograph: Jeff Widener/AP

Any commemoration to be low-key as Hu Yaobang remains divisive figure

Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi: Russia has been hit by sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine while India has not performed as brightly as expected. Photograph: Ahmad Masood/Reuters

The closure of fund by Goldman Sachs is a sign fortunes could be changing

Alibaba founder Jack Ma: “Singles Day has shown the power of China’s consumers.” Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

The sales event created by Alibaba’s Jack Ma could become a global phemonenon

China’s president Xi Jinping: “Terrorism has become the most serious and pressing security challenge for us.” Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Xi wants end of West’s ‘double standards’ on China’s fight against terrorism in Xinjiang

China’s president Xi Jinping: his government has taken a hard line on human rights and dissent. Photograph: Joseph Nair/EPA

Forced confessions remain a key part of the criminal justice system, rights group says

Time of change: an Aung San Suu Kyi T-shirt is printed in Rangoon. Photograph: Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty

Test will be how the generals who run the country react to Aung San Suu Kyi’s victory

A  woman wearing a mask is reflected in a glass panel on a smoggy day in Beijing on Wednesday.  Beijing’s environmental protection bureau warned of poor air quality that could continue in the coming days. Photograph: How Hwee Young/EPA

Blamed for dire pollution, coal makes up two-thirds of China’s energy consumption

Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma and actor Daniel Craig pick some ‘Singles Day’ winners.

James Bond and Frank Underwood help sell the event, an invention of Jack Ma

Miss Canada Anastasia Lin. Photograph: Miss World Canada

Anastasia Lin alleges Beijing is delaying her visa for pageant for views on Falun Gong

Supporters of Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi celebrate as they look at the official election results outside the National League of Democracy headquarters in Rangoon. Photograph: Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images

No guarantees junta will hand over power despite landslide win for opposition

Jameson: one of the Irish whiskey companies taking part in the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair

Hong Kong residents love their whiskey, offering opportunity for Irish distillers

Singapore: named the most successful economy in the world by the Legatum Prosperity Index. Photograph:   REUTERS/Edgar Su

Prosperity Index shows Norway wins in overall rankings,with Ireland 10th

Supporters of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) celebrate in Mandalay. Photograph: Hkun Lat/AP

Nobel laureate faces difficult task in balancing expectations following emphatic victory

Presidents    Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan (left) and  Xi Jinping of China  in Singapore. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters

Talks in Singapore, the first between the states in seven decades, could signal new era

Taiwan’s president Ma Ying-jeou said the US had responded positively to the news of the talks. Photograph: Reuters/Pichi Chuang

Taiwanese leader Ma Ying-jeou denies aim of meeting is to improve his election chances

File photographs of Taiwan’s  president Ma Ying-jeou (L) and  Chinese president Xi Jinping. Photograph: Reuters

Saturday’s encounter will be the first meeting of leaders from both countries since the Chinese civil war ended in 1949

Irish Ambassador to Republic of Korea Aingeal O’Donoghue:  launched Concern Worldwide’s new fundraising office in South Korea

Move presents new opportunities for Irish-Korean collaboration, says Irish Ambassador

A screenshot from the Monty Python-esque video ‘Song of Shisanwu’ featuring Chinese president Xi Jinping

Ruling Communist Party hopes young people will like its ‘hip’ approach to economics

Migrant worker Huang Feng (52) with her grandson. She welcomed the decision to drop the one-child policy. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Change won’t lead to baby boom, but may help to reverse shrinking workforce

Li Yan (L), pregnant with her second child, lies on a bed as her daughter places her head on her mother’s stomach in China, in this 2014 file photo. China will ease family planning restrictions to allow all couples to have two children after decades of the strict one-child policy. Photograph: China Daily/Files/Reuters

All couples to be allowed two children in move to kickstart flagging economy

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) is welcomed by China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang in Beijing, China. Photograph: Soeren Stache/EPA

China and Germany agree political solution in Syria is urgently required

A protester holding a sign that reads ‘Americans get off South China Sea’, is confronted by police outside the US Embassy in Beijing. Photograph: Rolex Dela Pena/EPA

Beijing says it is prepared for conflict as US Navy patrols near Spratley Islands

A file photo of the USS Lassen, a guided-missile destroyer. The US navy sailed the vessel within 12 nautical miles of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea as part of a series of ‘freedom of navigation’ exercises. Photograph: John Hageman/US navy via The New York Times

US ‘freedom of navigation’ exercises are coercing military conflict, says Chinese colonel

 The destroyer USS Lassen sailed within 12 nautical miles of Subi Reef in the Spratly archipelago, one of the areas where Beijing has allegedly been building artificial islands, according to media reports. Photograph:Martin Wright/US Navy /EPA

Beijing summons ambassador after incident that it describes as a ‘serious provocation’

Dubai Celts GAA / Thailand GAA  vs Hong Kong Gaelic Football Club competing in the Camogie Final at the Asian Gaelic Games. Photograph: Aly Song

What began in 1996 as a gathering of 72 GAA fans in Manila is now the largest gathering of the Irish community in Asia and the Gul(...)

 Chinese students: there are 2,700 Chinese students studying in Ireland.  Photograph: Richard Stonehouse/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Number of Chinese students coming to Ireland was up 34% last year

China’s President Xi Jinping: wants to rationalise state-owned enterprises. Photograph: Leon Neal/PA Wire

As SOEs face global competition, China is trying to attract private investors

Some 150 people attended the annual Asia Pacific Ireland Business Forum in  Shanghai on Friday. Photograph: Getty

Carlow venture capitalist says China remains great place to do business, despite slowdown

Head of the ecommerce giant Alibaba Jack Ma was one of Wang Lin’s supposed admirers.  Photograph: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images

Liu Wei detained in case relating to martial arts master who claimed supernatural powers

Minister for Education  Jan O’Sullivan. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan on mission to China

Wang Yu and her husband Bao Longjun have been detained under a form of solitary confinement without access to a lawyer for more than 100 days.

Bao Zhouxuan, son of prominent dissident lawyer Wang Yu, was detained in Burma

Chinese and British flags fly in front of Buckingham Palace on the Mall in London, Britain October 19th, 2015. Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

David Cameron hopes investment deals during visit will create over 3,900 jobs in UK

Jack Ma: Alibaba boss caused a stir. Photograph: Reuters

Yes, Chinese consumption is rising, but maybe not by as much as ecommerce company boss Jack Ma reckons

 Shanghai, China: September saw a sharp fall in imports and a lower-than-expected decline in Chinese exports, as lower commodity prices and weaker domestic demand made themselves felt.  Photograph: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

Worlds’ second largest economy flags as policymakers manage cooling of debt-fuelled property market

Tourists walk past Chinese and British flags on the Mall in London on Monday, ahead of the state visit to Britain by China’s president   Xi Jinping. Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

Xi’s visit celebrated in some quarters, but activists protest human rights issues

A police officer uses pepper spray on demonstrators during a protest outside the Central Government Offices in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong in November 2014. File photograph: Billy HC Kwok/Bloomberg

Alleged victim of assault also served with five charges including resisting police

Chinese president Xi Jinping’s speech is detailed in its praise for traditional modes of art and critical of contemporary art, which he feels lacks morality and depth. Photograph: Bloomberg

Art should serve the people and not be slave to market, says president

Customers browse goods in a supermarket in Fuyang, east China. Wealth per adult in China has quadrupled to about €19,650 since 2000. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Some 109 million Chinese have wealth of between €43,672 - €436,715

Jiang Jiemin, who was also former head of the state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission was jailed for bribery, possessing a large number of assets from unidentified sources and abuse of power.  Photograph:  Bloomberg

Former head of China National Petroleum Corp jailed for 16 years as part of a widespread crackdown on graft

The population of China could drop to 1.3 billion in 2050. Photograph: Reuters

Slow econmic growth could mean the end of the one-child policy

 Trade representatives  during the closing press conference after an agreement was reachef by 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) member countries. Photograph: EPA/ERIK S. LESSER

The Trans-Pacific Partnership aims to cut trade tariffs for 12 countries

The Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum was renovated in 2007 and gets up to 1,000 visitors a day. Photograph: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty

Role of Chinese financial hub as a safe haven for Jews is being recognised

Wang Yu, whose son Bao Mengmeng (16) has been abducted from his guesthouse in Burma.

Bao Mengmeng (16) had been trying to get out of China to study overseas

A cast iron Hong Kong post box is seen with British royal cipher in Central District, Hong Kong, China, October 2015. Photograph: Alex Hofford

Decision over colonial-era royal insignia stirs controversy as some fight to ‘retain heritage’

A 2012 file photograph of Fujian province governor Su Shulin. Photograph: Reuters

Inquiry into former head of state energy giant is seen as part of wider crackdown

A sculpture  at the Memorial Hall of the Victims in the Nanjing Massacre in Nanjing, China. China applied to Unesco to list material relating to the 1937 Nanjing Massacre and wartime sex slavery the Memory of the World programme. Photograph: China Photos/Getty Images

Tokyo wants Beijing to stop entering material relating to wartime atrocities

Hong Kong University students, faculty members and staff take part in a protest on Tuesday  after the university’s governing council rejected the appointment of pro-democracy professor  Johannes Chan Man-mun as a pro-vice-chancellor. Photograph: Alex Hofford/EPA

A year on since the tear gas and democratic struggle still seen as a long-term campaign

Beijing traffic: China has halved sales tax on small cars in a bid to revive flagging economic growth. Photograph: EPA/HOW HWEE YOUNG

Sales tax cut amid various positive signs for the Chinese economy

Billionaire Li Ka-shing: his focus is moving towards developed markets such as Europe. Photograph: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg

Asia’s richest man warns against state media attacks over investment decisions

China biker held after record-breaking circuit of Beijing ring road. Screengrab.

Daredevil reaches speeds of three times the legal limit for feat which went viral on social media

Trees are blown by Typhoon Mujigae on a street in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province. Photograph: Reuters

Storm wreaks trail of destruction and flooding as authorities issue ‘red alert’

Residents look at damage caused by a parcel bomb  in Liucheng county, Guangxi province, China. Police said the attacks were related to a “criminal case”. Photograph: EPA

Attack in Guangxi province appears to be the work of a disgruntled citizen

Fergus Clarke of Lamplight Analytics: “We created a platform that aggregates what people are saying across millions of social media websites in nearly 200 languages and technology that draws meaning from these posts.”

Fergus Clarke’s Lamplight Analytics uses social media data to draw insights

A man looks at the Pudong financial district of Shanghai: China’s economy has registered its slowest growth in a quarter century. Photograph: REUTERS/Carlos Barria/Files

Bank cuts its GDP growth forecasts for Developing Asia to 5.8 per cent for 2015

 UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, China’s president Xi Jinping and Mexico’s president Enrique Pena Nieto at the global leaders’ meeting on gender equality and women’s empowerment at the UN General Assembly. Photograph: Andrew Gombert/EPA

Clinton calls Xi Jinping ‘shameless’ for hosting forum in wake of feminist arrests

Two students at Beijing University delvier their contribution to the video praising  Xi Jinping. Photograph:  Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Communist Party organ ‘People’s Daily’ makes clip for Chinese leader’s US visit

US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping: finding ways to co-operate fruitfully is high on the agenda.  Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

Phalanx of top corporate leaders will be mix of state and private sector companies

China’s August industrial production posted slightly better year on year growth at 6.1 per cent, but still below what markets were expecting. Photograph: Reuters

Better, smarter investment expected to form core of Five Year Plan to encourage growth

     Rupert Murdoch and Chinese president Xi Jinping: Xi offered  assurances to the News Corp chairman that China would remain open to overseas journalists, despite the government withholding residence visas for foreign reporters. Photograph: China Daily/Reuters

Both sides emphasise positives of relationship but establishing rapport will be difficult

Hong Kong financial secretary John Tsang with Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton and Ambassador to China Paul Kavanagh at the official opening of Ireland’s first consulate-general in Hong Kong.  city in Asia, according to local media. Photograph: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

Diplomatic mission will look to build on longstanding Irish connections with Hong Kong and Macau

Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton. “We are getting traction on the trade side and the investment side. Things are heading in the right direction”

Some 40 Irish companies are involved in trade mission to China along with Minister

Chinese premier Li Keqiang  told  the World Economic Forum  in Dalian that China would “not see a hard landing”. Photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters

Authorities try to calm fears as they aim to balance stimulus with need for reform

Uber in China: drivers have been logging in bogus rides Uber in China: drivers have been logging in bogus rides

Best con of the past week was when a farmer claimed to be a princess of the Qing dynasty

Guo Meimei in front of one of her Maserati  sports cars: it was a very different-looking Guo who appeared in  court this week. Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty Images

Guo Meimei was convicted on gambling, fraud and prostitution charges

Tourists in Bangkok: a growing number of Chinese are visiting Thailand. There have been concerns about the potential damage that some tourists are doing to China’s image abroad. Photograph: Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images

State news agency accuses passengers accused of humiliating country

The People’s Bank of China in Beijing:  the bank,  the ministry of housing and urban-rural development and the ministry of finance have lowered the downpayment required on a second apartment  to 20 per cent. Photograph:  Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images

Chinese government hopes new stimulus will lead to investment in economy

The dramatic sell-off in Chinese stocks caused turmoil in markets. Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Investigation led to many prominent figures being arrested for online rumour-mongering

Anti-tank missiles are displayed at the military parade in Beijing on September 3rd, 2015. Photograph: Damir Sagolj/Reuters

Troop cut announced as Beijing marks 70th anniversary of victory over Japan

The Long Room, Trinity College: inspiration for the set of Harry Potter

Documentary an excellent way of showcasing Ireland, says Tourism Ireland chief

 North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. Photograph: AFP

Residents living in zone within 20km of border will be allowed to trade

The “rumour-mongering” arrests come after China’s stock market has seen huge losses since it peaked in mid-June, and worries about economic growth have added to jitters. Photograph: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg

Arrests relate to ‘rumour-mongering’ about stock market collapse and Tianjin explosions

Ups and downs: stock-market prices at a Chinese securities firm. Photograph: AFP/Getty

Communist Party newspaper says economy is sound but stock market disagrees

Overheating: an investor cools herself as she monitors share prices at a securities firm in Shanghai. China’s key indices lost a fifth of their value and wiped out nearly all of this year’s gains in six days. Photograph: Stringer/AFP/Getty

As volatility stalks global markets, China tries to restore confidence in economy

The aftermath of the chemical warehouse explosion in Tianjin: at least 145 were killed in the blast  this month. Photograph: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images

Officials accused of oversight failure in port explosions that killed at least 145

 Chinese actors play Japanese soldiers in a film.  China is to  mark in style  the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, or the second World War. Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

China suffered terribly in the second World War but ceremony will display its confidence

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average closed  on August 25th at 17,806.70, down 733.98 points, while the US dollar traded in the upper 191 yen range. Photograph: Kiyoshi Ota/EPA

Fifth interest rate cut since November expected to boost activity

China crisis: an investor at a brokerage house in Shanghai yesterday. Photograph: Aly Song/Reuters

Stock market slide is worst since 2009 global financial crisis

Thai soldiers inspect the scene after a bomb exploded outside the Erawana shrine in central Bangkok

The government is hoping tourists will forget the blast before the season begins in October

A damaged fire truck at the site of the massive explosions in Tianjin, the world’s 10th largest port. Photograph:  Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

Binhai’s economy could face downturn pressure on its trade and logistics industries

Caged rabbits, placed by the authorities as a test of the living conditions near the site of last week’s blasts in Tianjin. Photograph: Reuters/Stringer

The death toll from the blasts stands at 116 and another 60 people are missing

Bomb-damaged Brahma statue at the Erawan shrine in central Bangkok. Photograph: Jerome Taylor/AFP/Getty Images

Officials believe at least 10 people planned Erawan shrine blast, including foreigners

A policeman  works  in heavy smog in Harbin,  northeast China. Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty Images

Despite good news China overtook US to be biggest producer of greenhouse gases

An image released by the Royal Thai Police  shows a sketch of the main suspect in Monday’s deadly blast. Reuters/Royal Thai Police

Identikit sketch released of man sought in connection with explosion that killed 20

Thai police at work after a second bomb was thrown at Sathorn pier in the city yesterday. No one was hurt. Photograph: Diego Azubel/EPA

Targeting a tourist area would be a surprising move by any disaffectied domestic group

An image released by Thai police shows a man wearing a yellow T-shirt near the Erawan Shrine before the  explosion occurred on Monday in Bangkok. Photograph: Royal Thai Police via AP

Thai police ‘not ruling out anything’ in search for those responsible for blast

A woman in central Bangkok offers a prayer for the victims after the bombing on Monday. Photograph: Ritchie B Tongo/EPA

Department of Foreign Affairs cautions ‘strong level of security awarness’ after blast

In April, about $5 million (€4.5 million) was removed from a Ryanair account by electronic transfer via a Chinese bank. The Criminal Assets Bureau in Dublin was asked to assist in its recovery via counterpart agencies in Asia, and the authorities were able to track down the funds, which were reportedly returned. Photograph: Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images

Police talk of a wave of sophisticated fraud

Vehicles burnt in Tianjin’s warehouse explosion on August 14th. Photograph: ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

VW, Renault among badly hit firms

 Relatives of people missing at the scene of the explosion in central Bangkok. Photograph: Ritchie B Tongo/EPA

Member of ruling junta says bomb was aimed at damaging Thai economy

A resident affected by the explosions that hit a nearby chemical warehouse last week cries as she joins a protest outside the hotel where authorities are holding a press conferences in Tianjin on Monday. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

After the blasts in China, 698 people remain in hospital, 57 in critical condition

A damaged building is seen among debris at the site of Wednesday night’s explosions in Tianjin. Photograph: Reuters/China Daily

Majority of the 95 people known to be still missing after disaster are firefighters

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