“Quite high enough to play the deuce with us, though,” I replied. “Now what do you suppose they intend doing with us?”

We were not long in learning. As on the occasion of our trip to the village we were seized by a couple of the powerful creatures and whirled away through the tree tops, while about us and in our wake raced a chattering, jabbering, grinning horde of sleek, black ape-things.

Twice my bearers missed their footing, and my heart ceased beating as we plunged toward instant death among the tangled deadwood beneath. But on both occasions those lithe, powerful tails reached out and found sustaining branches, nor did either of the creatures loosen their grasp upon me. In fact, it seemed that the incidents were of no greater moment to them than would be the stubbing of one’s toe at a street crossing in the outer world—they but laughed uproariously and sped on with me.

For some time they continued through the forest—how long I could not guess for I was learning, what was later borne very forcefully to my mind, that time ceases to be a factor the moment means for measuring it cease to exist. Our watches were gone, and we were living beneath a stationary sun. Already I was puzzled to compute the period of time which had elapsed since we broke through the crust of the inner world. It might be hours, or it might be days—who in the world could tell where it was always noon! By the sun, no time had elapsed—but my judgment told me that we must have been several hours in this strange world.

Presently the forest terminated, and we came out upon a level plain. A short distance before us rose a few low, rocky hills. Toward these our captors urged us, and after a short time led us through a narrow pass into a tiny, circular valley. Here they got down to work, and we were soon convinced that if we were not to die to make a Roman holiday, we were to die for some other purpose. The attitude of our captors altered immediately as they entered the natural arena within the rocky hills. Their laughter ceased. Grim ferocity marked their bestial faces—bared fangs menaced us.

We were placed in the center of the amphitheater—the thousand creatures forming a great ring about us. Then a wolf-dog was brought—HYAENODON Perry called it—and turned loose with us inside the circle. The thing’s body was as large as that of a full-grown mastiff, its legs were short and powerful, and its jaws broad and strong. Dark, shaggy hair covered its back and sides, while its breast and belly were quite white. As it slunk toward us it presented a most formidable aspect with its upcurled lips baring its mighty fangs.

A press conference on the coal mine accident is held at Inner Mongolia. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
An accident at a coal mine in Inner Mongolia that claimed 21 lives and injured 29 was caused by a brake glitch that forced a vehicle to go out of control and hit a ramp, according to local authorities.

The accident occurred at about 8:20 am on Saturday at a mining company in North China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region, when a vehicle was transporting 50 workers to the mine.

The cause of the accident is under investigation. All 29 injured were rushed to hospital and were in stable condition.

Fu Jianhua, vice-minister of emergency management, arrived at Inner Mongolia at 22:00 pm on Saturday with a team to supervise the rescue and investigation work.

An emergency center which included four working teams for medical service, security and safety was set up.

When the band had exhausted its repertory it took wing and settled upon the rocks above and behind the queen. Then the business of the day was on. A man and woman were pushed into the arena by a couple of Sagoth guardsmen. I leaned forward in my seat to scrutinize the female—hoping against hope that she might prove to be another than Dian the Beautiful. Her back was toward me for a while, and the sight of the great mass of raven hair piled high upon her head filled me with alarm.

Presently a door in one side of the arena wall was opened to admit a huge, shaggy, bull-like creature.

“A Bos,” whispered Perry, excitedly. “His kind roamed the outer crust with the cave bear and the mammoth ages and ages ago. We have been carried back a million years, David, to the childhood of a planet—is it not wondrous?”

But I saw only the raven hair of a half-naked girl, and my heart stood still in dumb misery at the sight of her, nor had I any eyes for the wonders of natural history. But for Perry and Ghak I should have leaped to the floor of the arena and shared whatever fate lay in store for this priceless treasure of the Stone Age.

With the advent of the Bos—they call the thing a thag within Pellucidar—two spears were tossed into the arena at the feet of the prisoners. It seemed to me that a bean shooter would have been as effective against the mighty monster as these pitiful weapons.

As the animal approached the two, bellowing and pawing the ground with the strength of many earthly bulls, another door directly beneath us was opened, and from it issued the most terrific roar that ever had fallen upon my outraged ears. I could not at first see the beast from which emanated this fearsome challenge, but the sound had the effect of bringing the two victims around with a sudden start, and then I saw the girl’s face—she was not Dian! I could have wept for relief.

And now, as the two stood frozen in terror, I saw the author of that fearsome sound creeping stealthily into view. It was a huge tiger—such as hunted the great Bos through the jungles primeval when the world was young. In contour and markings it was not unlike the noblest of the Bengals of our own world, but as its dimensions were exaggerated to colossal proportions so too were its colorings exaggerated. Its vivid yellows fairly screamed aloud; its whites were as eider down; its blacks glossy as the finest anthracite coal, and its coat long and shaggy as a mountain goat. That it is a beautiful animal there is no gainsaying, but if its size and colors are magnified here within Pellucidar, so is the ferocity of its disposition. It is not the occasional member of its species that is a man hunter—all are man hunters; but they do not confine their foraging to man alone, for there is no flesh or fish within Pellucidar that they will not eat with relish in the constant efforts which they make to furnish their huge carcasses with sufficient sustenance to maintain their mighty thews.

Marco Polo, an original Chinese opera based on the story of the famous Italian explorer, will be staged in the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, Italy, in September.

It will mark the opening of the theater’s 2019-20 season, according to China Arts and Entertainment Group, the opera’s producer.

The play presents the epic adventure of Marco Polo, who traveled along the ancient Silk Road to reach China in the 13th century, with a focus on trade and cultural exchanges between the East and West.

The opera was created by an international team including Danish stage director Kasper Holten, former director of opera for the Royal Opera House in London, German composer Enjott Schneider and Chinese opera writer Wei Jin. It will be performed in Chinese by international singers.

Chen Rui, the opera’s executive producer, said the production connects the cultures of the East and West and employs an international language to tell stories of China.

“The performance in Italy will be the opera’s first foray into the overseas market, and we have high hopes for that,” Chen said.

Giuseppe Acquaviva, artistic director of the Teatro Carlo Felice, said Marco Polo embodies the long-standing ties between China and Italy and he believes it will be a hit with Italian audiences.

Last May, the opera debuted in Guangzhou, capital of southern China’s Guangdong province, and was a huge success.

Reptiles that they are, the rough surface of a great stone is to them as plush as upholstery to us. Here they lolled, blinking their hideous eyes, and doubtless conversing with one another in their sixth-sense-fourth-dimension language.

For the first time I beheld their queen. She differed from the others in no feature that was appreciable to my earthly eyes, in fact all Mahars look alike to me: but when she crossed the arena after the balance of her female subjects had found their bowlders, she was preceded by a score of huge Sagoths, the largest I ever had seen, and on either side of her waddled a huge thipdar, while behind came another score of Sagoth guardsmen.

At the barrier the Sagoths clambered up the steep side with truly apelike agility, while behind them the haughty queen rose upon her wings with her two frightful dragons close beside her, and settled down upon the largest bowlder of them all in the exact center of that side of the amphitheater which is reserved for the dominant race. Here she squatted, a most repulsive and uninteresting queen; though doubtless quite as well assured of her beauty and divine right to rule as the proudest monarch of the outer world.

And then the music started—music without sound! The Mahars cannot hear, so the drums and fifes and horns of earthly bands are unknown among them. The “band” consists of a score or more Mahars. It filed out in the center of the arena where the creatures upon the rocks might see it, and there it performed for fifteen or twenty minutes.

Their technic consisted in waving their tails and moving their heads in a regular succession of measured movements resulting in a cadence which evidently pleased the eye of the Mahar as the cadence of our own instrumental music pleases our ears. Sometimes the band took measured steps in unison to one side or the other, or backward and again forward—it all seemed very silly and meaningless to me, but at the end of the first piece the Mahars upon the rocks showed the first indications of enthusiasm that I had seen displayed by the dominant race of Pellucidar. They beat their great wings up and down, and smote their rocky perches with their mighty tails until the ground shook. Then the band started another piece, and all was again as silent as the grave. That was one

While anti-China sentiment is on the rise, a key question for India is how to deal with made-in-China products: burning them, or replacing them with made-in-India products? The latter is better.

Hundreds of Indian traders reportedly burned Chinese goods on Tuesday, urging consumers to boycott those products. There is anger in India, as people feel dissatisfied with China’s decision to delay a bid at the UN to blacklist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed’s leader as a terrorist. Indian social media users may think that burning Chinese goods is the best way to send a message to Beijing.

However, the facts show that this is not a good way to express their discontent, because the “message” did not attract much attention in China. A search for India on Weibo on Wednesday returned several news items and videos, but not one of the top 10 pieces was related to burning Chinese goods. Why aren’t Chinese people too concerned about the moves against made-in-China products?

The boycott will have little impact on China’s exports. In the short run, Indian consumers can’t find alternatives to products made in China. If they burn Chinese goods to vent their anger, they may have to buy those same products all over again from Chinese companies after their anger cools, shoring up China’s exports. However, the boycott may deal a blow to the confidence of Chinese companies in India’s investment environment, and they may worry about becoming targets of anti-China sentiment.

If Indian people don’t like made-in-China products, they have an alternative to burning those goods: attracting foreign investment from China. Localized production in India will help replace made-in-China goods with made-in-India products, and create more jobs for young Indian people. The average factory wage in India is lower than in China. If India can step up efforts to attract more Chinese manufacturers and make itself a processing base, the country can reduce imports from China and also shore up its exports to China. In that case, India will see fewer made-in-China products, and made-in-India products will become popular in China.

Take China as an example. Its efforts decades ago to promote US investment was the starting point for made-in-China products’ journey to the US, where Chinese products now have a large market share.

If India wants to replace made-in-China products with made-in-India products, the country can copy China’s models of attracting foreign investment. Burning Chinese goods won’t solve the problem.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. [email protected]
Newspaper headline: Burning Chinese goods will hurt investors’ confidence

Chinese experts slammed a recent US media report that claimed Huawei’s telecommunication hardware used by US rural wireless carriers poses threats to its nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), calling the accusation “totally absurd.”

Citing US experts, CNN reported on Tuesday that China could “interfere with ICBM command and control,” by taking control of rural US cell phone towers that use Huawei technologies.

The CNN report noted some of the cell towers using Huawei gear in Montana are located close to a missile silo equipped with more than 100 Minuteman III ICBMs, which are capable of delivering nuclear warheads to targets 10,000 kilometers away.

Huawei’s radio transmitters and receivers on the towers could be weaponized against the missiles and become a new strategic capability for China, the CNN report quoted US experts as saying.

“It is ridiculous to think Chinese technology could penetrate the physical barriers of a nuclear weapon facility which has been purpose-built to be isolated from the outside,” Xiang Ligang, a Chinese telecoms industry analyst, told the Global Times.

Besides, every telecommunication device has a different frequency, so accusing a Chinese company of launching a potential attack against a nuclear facility via some nearby communication stations (without evidence related to frequencies) is groundless, Xiang said, noting that the US wireless carriers will be in full control of the operation of these devices.

While admitting the US missile systems are not likely to be penetrated by Huawei’s devices, the CNN report quoted expert James Lewis as saying “that doesn’t mean our opponents won’t try and figure out if they can do it.”

“I have no evidence [the Chinese] are doing it. But the potential, the opportunity, wow,” CNN quoted a former senior Pentagon information security official as saying.

Xiang slammed these remarks by saying they are the “latest version of the ‘China threat theory.'”

ow serious would US inflation be with a full-blown trade war? The record US trade deficit with China may offer some clues.

Although the US imposed protectionist tariffs on Chinese products starting in July 2018, China announced on Monday that its trade surplus with the US still grew 17 percent year-on-year to $323.32 billion last year, the highest since 2006.

Exports from China to the US rose 11.3 percent in 2018, exceeding China’s overall export growth of 9.9, Chinese customs figures show. Some US importers temporarily increased purchases of certain products to build up their inventories before US tariffs kicked in, so as to minimize losses amid the trade war. This is one reason behind the growth in the US deficit.

Why did the US importers do this? Products manufactured in China offer relatively high quality but the prices are cheap. In the short run, US importers cannot find alternative sources for those products, so they have to continue to import from China despite the tariffs. A build-up of inventories is the best they can do to minimize losses.

But this is only a temporary solution, and both economies are set to feel delayed trade war pain in the coming months.

If the two countries cannot make a deal to end their ongoing dispute, China’s exports to the US will probably slow down this year. As their inventories fall, US importers may have to shoulder a considerable part of US tariffs and pass on the cost burden to US consumers.

What the trade war can bring to the US may not be benefits like manufacturing jobs, but inflation.

The Washington Post reported in September 2018 that the price of a popular Chinese made utility vehicle had risen $1,700 to $12,999 since March. There are many more examples. Some observers suggested that US tariffs could cost the average American household $850 a year.

Inexpensive Chinese products have made a great contribution to helping the US maintain moderate inflation in the past decade.

Trade between China and the US is basically market-oriented, and if the US government wants to intervene in the market with tariffs, the distorted market will hand out punishment.

For the US, a trade war will probably cause an inflationary calamity. The record US trade deficit is a reflection of distorted markets and an omen of inflation, not good news for either side.

The US finally grounded Boeing Co’s money-spinning 737 Max series of aircraft on Wednesday over safety fears, after an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash killed 157 people on Sunday, leaving the world’s largest planemaker facing its worst crisis in years.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cited new satellite data and evidence from the scene of Sunday’s crash near Addis Ababa for its decision to join Europe, China and other nations in suspending 737 Max flights.

The crash was the second disaster involving the 737 Max 8, the world’s most-sold modern passenger aircraft, in less than five months, after a Lion Air flight crashed in Indonesia in October 2018, killing all 189 on board just after take-off.

The new information from the wreckage in Ethiopia and newly refined data about the plane’s flight path indicated some similarities between the two disasters “that warrant further investigation of the possibility of a shared cause,” the FAA said in a statement.

The acting administrator of the FAA, Daniel Elwell, said he did not know how long the US grounding of the aircraft would last. A software fix for the 737 Max that Boeing has been working on since the Indonesia crash will take months to complete, Elwell told reporters.

The single-aisle 737 is central to Boeing’s future in its battle with European rival Airbus SE. The new variant of the 737, the fastest-selling jetliner in Boeing’s history, is viewed as the likely workhorse for global airlines for decades.

“The agency made this decision as a result of the data gathering process and new evidence collected at the site and analyzed today,” the FAA said, shortly after US President Donald Trump announced the planes would be grounded.

It was the second time the FAA has halted flights of a Boeing plane in six years. It grounded the 787 Dreamliner in 2013 because of problems with smoking batteries.

Boeing, which maintained that its planes were safe to fly, said in a statement that it supported the latest FAA move.

“Boeing has determined – out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft’s safety – to recommend to the FAA the temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet of 371 737 Max aircraft.”

Passengers have been spooked by the two disasters happened recently. US travel website Kayak was making changes to let customers exclude specific aircraft types from searches, and booking sites were looking to reroute passengers.

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) on Wednesday urged South Africans suffering from a worsening power shortage to join a national day of action against what “is now a national crisis.”

The DA said it planned to launch the national day of action on March 29, with the aim of urging the government to take real action when the country is being crippled by consistent power outages.

“We call on South Africans in every community, town and city across the country to join us in a collective protest against what is now a national crisis,” the DA said.

As rolling power outages continued, more and more South Africans have vented their anger on social media at the government’s failure to fix the power shortage.

Fear among the public has been mounting following messages circulating on social media that South Africa will run out of electricity soon.

But electricity utility Eskom on Wednesday denied the allegation, calling it “false and misleading.”

“Messages being circulated via social and digital media indicating that there will not be electricity in South Africa are false and misleading,” the utility said.

For the past week, South Africa has been hit hard by continued rolling blackouts. As power outages become more frequent, President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged South Africans to prepare for tougher times in days to come.

Load shedding has turned from bad to worse since Saturday after tropical cyclone Idai struck Mozambique.

South Africa is so dependent on electricity imports from neighboring states that a loss of 1,100 megawatts (MW) from Mozambique forced Eskom to implement stage 4 load shedding, which allows for up to 4000 MW of the national load to be discarded.

Stage 4 is the most severe load shedding that was first implemented in February and now has been in effect for the past five consecutive days.

There have been reports that Eskom is preparing stage 5 and 6 load shedding, which means that the utility will shed 5,000 MW and 6,000 MW respectively. This is an indication that the national grid is on the brink of collapse.

South Africa has never experienced higher than stage 4 load shedding.

Eskom has denied that it would implement stage 5 and 6 load shedding but has acknowledged that there is a race against time to ensure that a national blackout and grid collapse do not occur.

“Load shedding is controlled and managed on a rotational basis for a period of between two or four hours at a time, depending on the schedule that the customer is on, on a particular day,” said the state-run parastatal, which provides about 95 percent of the electricity consumed in South Africa.