Slimy green algae is taking over China’s beaches for an alarming reason

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RocketNews 24/Business Insider:

Every summer for the past eight years, huge algae blooms have taken over the beaches near Qingdao, a city in the Shandong province of China.

The bright green stuff has blanketed at least 13,500 square miles of ocean this summer, according to the South China Morning Post.

And this isn’t the first time it’s happened. In 2013, the blooms got as big as the state of Connecticut! Check out this year’s algae infestation.

The algae blooms every year on the beaches in Qingdao, on China’s northeast coast between Beijing and Shanghai. The first blooms appeared in 2007 after seaweed farmers working south of Qingdao switched up how they clean off their rafts.

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Farmers use the rafts to make nori, a type of edible seaweed that’s popular in Japan. When the rafts are cleaned off in the spring, along comes the algae, which thrives off the leftover seaweed nutrients and the warm conditions in the Yellow Sea.

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Researchers think the reason for the algae growth in Qingdao is that seaweed farmers started cleaning their rafts farther offshore. This gave the algae the chance to spread out and make its way to the shore up near the city.

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Ever since the large blooms started popping up, tourists have viewed it as a summer tradition to head down to the beach and play in the algae.

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While it’s a ton of fun to play in, it’s actually connected to pollution from nearby agriculture and industrial plants that gets in the water.

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But luckily, there are some ways to use the algae to benefit the community: It makes for a good fertilizer and green energy source.

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Cleaning it up is no small feat — it has to be done quickly, because the algae begins to stink like rotten eggs when it decomposes. Here, workers scoop up the algae during the 2014 bloom.

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It’s not just stinky; it’s also incredibly heavy. Workers who cleaned up the 2013 bloom collected more than 19,800 tons of the stuff — about the same weight as 9,900 cars!

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If left where it is, the algae can spread to other beaches and become an even bigger environmental problem.

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Mimi Thorisson, the Chinese-French food blogger causing a stir

Mimi at home in Médoc: 'We are finally laying our foundation here'

Mimi at home in Médoc: ‘We are finally laying our foundation here’

An article about a person Team-Yellow founder knew in Hong Kong!

South China Morning Post:

For Hong Kong-born, global fame began simply, and sweetly – with a vanilla-cream iced cake. One spring evening, the mother of five walked out of her centuries-old farmhouse in France’s Médoc region to find a surprise.

Shaking off a long winter, dozens of miniature white daisies were blooming in the garden. Inspired, she hurried into the kitchen and whipped up a meringue cake, artfully decorating it with flowers, leaves and berries.

I wanted this cake to be a celebration of spring, of the garden, a fairy tale,” she says in a delicate accent that is equal parts Chinese, French and British. When it was ready, she posted a photo of her “Garden Cake” online.

Her seasonal concoction was pinned, posted and tweeted all over the world. She started that night with 69 followers – “they were all my friends”, she says – but within a couple of weeks the numbers exploded, Martha Stewart Living and O magazines contacted her, as did a literary agent who suggested she write a book. That was when her blog, Manger, was born. “It was a gift from spring and I am forever grateful,” she says.

Thorisson has found much to be grateful for since she and her husband, Icelandic photographer Oddur, relocated their family to Médoc from Paris in 2010.

Manger, which features favourite classic recipes for coq au vin and slow-cooked lamb, and a few wildcards such as wonton soup, is followed by foodies worldwide. The photographs, snapped by Oddur, capture her friendship with farmers and villagers in Médoc, and life with their children.

Coq au vin

Thorisson has also been tapped to star in two cooking shows on French television.

It’s not hard to see the appeal. The 40-year-old lives the life many people fantasise about – one afternoon she is chopping vine tomatoes in her farmhouse kitchen and looking smashing in a floral sundress, on another she’s plucking peaches from the garden, chatting with a fishmonger about his secret bouillabaisse recipe, and so on.

No wonder many have described her as the most envied blogger in the world.

The year ended with even more success for the former Happy Valley resident. She published her first book, A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse, which soon topped the ranks of Amazon’s bestselling book in two categories: seasonal cooking and French cooking.

Today, life revolves around her family and her blog, which has become her family business.

Most days, she wakes early to walk the dogs – 14 and counting – and get her five young children off to school.

Then she makes her rounds of the markets, picking up the catch of the day from a fishmonger, or pears from a farmer.

I don’t plan,” she says. “I get my inspiration from what I find.”

Returning home, she writes her blog and catches up with fans and editors. Then she heads to her kitchen and, she says, laughing, “I simply cook all day. With so many children and dogs and cooking, you can imagine it’s quite busy. I don’t have time for a manicure.”

Some might see the endless chopping, measuring, mixing and frying as drudgery, but cooking is a joy for Thorisson.

Spending the whole day doing this never feels like work,” she says. “I want to do it. I wake up in the morning and tell Oddur, ‘I want artichokes today’. It is not a job. It is who we are. It is me expressing my soul.”

Food has always been a big part of Thorisson’s life. Growing up an only child, she and her Qingdao-born father would scour Hong Kong for the best noodles and dim sum.

My favourite dumpling restaurant was around the corner from our flat,” she says. “If my parents couldn’t find me around the house, they knew to look for me there.”

Her French mother didn’t cook much but during summer holidays in France her grandmother and aunt would make classic meals for her.

Mimi Thorisson and her five children.

Mimi Thorisson and her five children.

My parents taught me to enjoy life and food, but it was my grandmother and aunt who taught me about cooking,” she says. “My aunt can whip up anything from scratch. Give her tomatoes and leftover sausages and she will take the butter, garlic and wine she always has in her cupboards and make stuffed tomatoes. She is the kind of cook I want to be.”

Thorisson always looks forward to the New Year because it conjures up deep memories of the wonderful meals she has had in Hong Kong and France.

She and her husband typically start New Year’s Day with a glass of bubbly, before she prepares a huge seafood platter, with the freshest oysters, langoustine and crab. Or in a nod to her Hong Kong roots, she might make e-fu noodles with lobster, her favorite food. “I mix everything because of my heritage,” she says.

Everyone then changes into new clothes and the family then takes a long walk in the nearby forest. “In France, the first day of the year has to be impeccable,” she explains. “You must look your best and eat your favourite foods. The way you start the year inspires the rest of the year.”

She wistfully recalls Lunar New Years of her childhood, when her father would take her to visit her cousins in Qingdao. “We would make those amazing dumplings. My father always insisted that we stay in our cousins’ houses, and not in a hotel, so that I would be closer to them. It was so important to him that I was exposed to Chinese culture,” she says.

It was 1979 in Shandong, and it would feel like we had returned to a different century. Now, I have fond memories. It was a special time.

As it is with so many chefs and food writers, Thorisson connects to the beloved people and places in her life through food and cooking.

It has since also given her a chateau of her own. Earlier in 2014, she and Oddur were visiting friends in a village nearby, when one of them suggested they view a grand old house that was for sale.

As it turned out, the house had belonged to a famed female chef in Médoc. “She had been the mistress of the village mayor, and before he died he gave this house to her as a gift.”

The chef turned it into a restaurant and hotel for wine merchants visiting Bordeaux. Now Thorisson finds madame’s notebooks and recipes in the “weirdest” places.

As soon as I walked in, I felt the recipes I want to cook coming through to me. I already have the draft of my second book [scheduled for 2017]. I believe in destiny, and this house is magic. Médoc has truly become my home,” she says.

MIMI THORISSON’S FABULOUS FRENCH RECIPES

Watercress velouté recipe

Duck-confit Parmentier recipe

Mimi Thorisson’s garden cake recipe

Sweet fritters with orange and dark rum recipe

“A Kitchen in France” (Hardie Grant, £25), by Mimi Thorisson, is available from Telegraph Books

Link

Chinese tycoon takes aim at Hollywood

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Los Angeles has film studios and the best-known movie industry award ceremonies. Orlando has amusement parks and resort hotels. Now, one of China’s richest men wants to copy them with a movie-themed real estate development in his country’s most fashionable beach city.

Wang Jianlin, who is chairman of Dalian Wanda Group and reputed to be China’s wealthiest investor, announced plans on Sunday for the Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis. Costing from $4.9 billion to $8.2 billion, it would encompass film studios, resort hotels, an indoor amusement park, movie theaters with up to 3,000 seats and even a hospital.

Stars like Nicole Kidman, John Travolta, Leonardo DiCaprio and Zhang Ziyi, among others, showed up on Sunday at a ceremony in Qingdao for the development, which Mr. Wang billed as a sign of China’s effort to become the world leader in yet another industry: filmmaking.

Dalian Wanda purchased AMC Entertainment for $2.6 billion in a deal last year that signaled China’s biggest splash yet in the American movie market.

It is estimated that China’s film box office revenue will surpass North America’s by 2018 and will double it by 2023 — that is why I believe the future of the world’s film industry is in China,” Mr. Wang said, according to a text of his remarks.

Dalian Wanda will build a series of movie sound sets, and has reached preliminary agreements with four of the biggest Hollywood movie agent businesses to help negotiate contracts with actors and actresses for the production of 30 foreign movies a year, Mr. Wang said. It is also planning deals with 50 domestic companies for the production of 100 films and television shows a year.

Chinese officials were quick to extol the Qingdao project. “Whether in terms of investment, scale or grade, Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis is an unprecedented project that will create history as it represents the highest level and the future of the development” of China’s film industry, said Li Qiankuan, the chairman of the government-controlled China Film Association.

Mr. Wang also announced plans to host an annual film festival in Qingdao every September, starting in 2016. The festival would include an elaborate awards ceremony.

But the moviemaking aspects of Sunday’s plans appeared to be dwarfed by the real estate project surrounding it. Mr. Wang, who made an estimated $14 billion fortune as a real estate developer, said that he planned to build eight resort hotels, an enormous shopping mall, a 300-berth yacht club, numerous apartment towers, a seaside restaurant row and even a celebrity wax museum — in addition to 20 movie sound sets and the amusement park.

Famed for its gentle coastal climate and located between Beijing and Shanghai, Qingdao has some of the costliest real estate in China. But as it is everywhere in China, all land is owned by the government, and the support of local officials is needed to obtain land at low cost and get permission to build on it.

The movie metropolis plan suggests that China may be shifting direction again, and that projects linked to cultural development and consumer industries may emerge as the next way for developers to obtain land. The country’s new prime minister, Li Keqiang, has promised an extensive effort to expand the consumer sector and limit its dependence on investment spending.

China’s wealthy entrepreneurs, virtually all of whom have strong political connections, have been pressing for more freedom to acquire and use yachts, many of which now sit at their berths for parties almost all year or are used for short trips on lakes, rivers and restricted areas of coastline. But Beijing officials have been nervous about allowing many yacht clubs to open, fearing that they could stir a populist outcry over the country’s income gap between rich and poor, which government statistics show to be one of the widest in the world.

Forbes Magazine lists Mr. Wang as China’s richest man, with a fortune of $14 billion. But ranking China’s richest people is very difficult. Chinese business executives commonly have extensive relationships with government officials that may give these officials a claim to part of their assets. And many officials own extensive but undisclosed real estate and other investments that is hard to identify and value.

Mr. Wang’s project is confirmation of a desire to take his own rags-to-riches story, which resembles a Hollywood tale, and put himself on a global stage. Mr. Wang entered the army at 15, right after middle school. He then became a local government official in Dalian, before borrowing $80,000 in 1988 to start a company that is now the world’s largest operator of movie screens, with $48 billion in assets.

Mr. Wang gave a subtle hint that others should pay attention to the vast market in China, a country that responded bitterly to films, like Brad Pitt’s “Seven Years in Tibet” in 1997, that criticized China’s record on human rights and ethnic minorities.

Those in the world film industry who realize this first and are among the first to cooperate with China,” he said, “will be the first to reap the benefits.”

Check out this link:

Chinese tycoon takes aim at Hollywood

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The latest Chinese beach craze: The Face-kini

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A new kind of swimwear trend is sweeping the Chinese beaches in Qingdao in eastern China‘s Shandong province. As the weather get hotter, both men and women are seen appearing on the beaches wearing full body suits that cover from head to toe. The upper part of the swimsuit has a ski-mask with holes cut out at appropriate places to leave the eyes, nose and mouth exposed, giving the wearer an odd Lucha libre look. The Netizens are calling the swimwear “face-kinis

The mask are a way for Chinese bathers to protect their skin from the sunburn, but it turns out that they are equally handy at repelling insects and jellyfish.

Check out this link:

The latest Chinese beach craze: The Face-kini

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