Parts of northeast China and eastern Shandong province were hit by heavy snowstorms triggered by a strong cold current from Wednesday to today.
The China Meteorological Administration or CMA warned the strong cold front could also bring sand storms to the western provinces of Xinjiang, Gansu, Shaanxi, as well as Ningxia Hui autonomous region and Inner Mongolia autonomous region.
Thai PM steps down
Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat was banned from politics for five years Tuesday by the Constitutional Court.
The court also disbanded Wongsawat’s political party and two others for vote fraud in the 2007 general election.
A new election will be held on December 8.
The court’s decision prompted anti-government protestors to end their siege of Bangkok’s two airports. we'll have more details on the story later.
Obama adds more names to Cabinet
On Monday President-elect Barack Obama announced Hillary Clinton would be the next Secretary of State. He also said Republican Robert Gates would stay on as Secretary of Defense in a news conference in Chicago.
Washington lawyer Eric Holder will be the new attorney general, and Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano the next homeland security secretary.
More than 260,000 have HIV/AIDS in China
The Ministry of Health says over 264,000 people contracted HIV in China.
But the ministry along with UNAIDS and the World Health Organization estimate that roughly 700,000 Chinese had the disease by the end of 2007. They believe many do not even know they have already contracted the disease.
Health minister Chen Zhu said unsafe sex had become the main mode of transmission, jumping to 45 percent now from 28 percent in 2006.
Fifth SED talks in Beijing
China and the United States began their fifth strategic economic dialogue or SED on Thursday in Beijing amid the financial crisis and change in US government.
Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan and US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson co-chaired the dialogue.
The two sides signed seven agreements on ecological partnerships.
Wang said it was important to implement the consensus reached at the G20 summit last month in Washington.
While Paulson said the two countries will continue to promote balanced growth, strengthening food and drug safety, as well as cooperation on energy and the environment.
This will be Paulson’s last appearance in the talks before the Obama administration takes over in January next year.
Protest siege at Thai airports ends
More than 3,000 Chinese nationals stranded in Thailand returned to China Wednesday, after anti-government protestors ended their siege at two Bangkok airports. Twelve flights from the mainland including carriers Air China, China Southern and Shanghai Airlines picked up passengers.
Some 230,000 foreign tourists remain stranded.
On November 25 the People’s Alliance for Democracy stormed Survarnabhumi and then Don Muang airport in a bid to oust the government. Concerned authorities shut down both airports, stranding up to 300,000 travelers.
PAD supporters claimed victory Tuesday when the Constitutional Court found the prime minister and three political parties guilty of fraud.
Mumbai attacks end
Tensions between India and Pakistan flared after attacks last week that killed at least 171 people and wounded 239 others. Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari said the terrorists who attacked Mumbai had no links to any government.
Meanwhile police searching through abandoned baggage at the main train station found two bombs on Wednesday. They were taken away and safely detonated.
Police also found several unexploded bombs at several sites including two luxury hotels and a Jewish center. Rallies were held in Mumbai and other Indian cities calling for war against Pakistan.
High sea levels in Venice
Earlier this week parts of the Italian coastal city of Venice were under water.
Heavy rain and wind caused sea levels to rise 1.56 meters, a level not seen in 22 years. Ferry and water taxi services were suspended and the mayor urged people to stay indoors.
Residents and tourists got around by wading through the city on raised walkways.
（英语点津 Helen 编辑）
Bernice Chan is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Bernice has written for newspapers and magazines in Hong Kong and most recently worked as a broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, producing current affairs shows and documentaries.