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WASHINGTON, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- China's successful launch of the world's first quantum satellite was "very exciting" and can help conduct experiments that may lead to "much more secure" quantum communications, a U.S. quantum expert said.


"The event is indeed very exciting and does carry global importance because this would be the first such experiment," said Alexander Sergienko, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the Boston University.


The satellite, Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS), lifted off from China's Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 1:40 a.m. Tuesday, local time.


Sergienko said the quantum communication race has been going on for the last 20 years since the initial demonstration of quantum key distribution link under Lake Geneva in 1995.


After that, metropolitan secure communication networks have been developed and demonstrated in Boston, Vienna, Beijing, and Tokyo, and many more examples of quantum metropolitan networks have been demonstrated in the last five years covering Canada, Italy, U.K. and Australia, he said.


"The race is now moving in the near space in order to cover longer distances between different metropolitan areas," he said.


"I know there were plans to develop multiple point-by-point multi-city quantum communication segments to cover the distance between Shanghai and Beijing. A successful implementation of the satellite project would allow covering it in one step."


Sergienko also predicted that quantum communication and cryptography will be first used to ensure the most important communication lines such as used by the government and by major business in their communication.


China said the 600-plus-kilogram QUESS, nicknamed "Micius," is expected to circle the Earth once every 90 minutes after it enters a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500 kilometers.


In its two-year mission, QUESS is designed to establish "hack-proof" quantum communications by transmitting uncrackable keys from space to the ground, and provide insights into the strangest phenomenon in quantum physics -- quantum entanglement. Enditem


HANGZHOU Ron Duguay Jersey , Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- The second mate of a Maltese cargo ship, Allan Mendoza Tablate, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison Monday in eastern China's Zhejiang Province for an accident, which left 14 dead and five unaccounted for.


The verdict was handed down by the Ningbo maritime court, and is believed to be the first criminal case ever tried in a maritime court in China.


Trial of Tablate opened in early July. The court heard that Tablate was at the helm of cargo ship Catalina in the early hours of May 7, 2016 en route from Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province to Indonesia. In spite of low visibility and difficult conditions in the East China Sea, he was found to not have kept a proper lookout, maintained a safe speed or taken effective measures to avoid other ships in the fog.


The court believed that Tablate's negligence led to the collision with Chinese fishing boat Lurongyu 58398, resulting in 14 deaths, with five others missing.


Direct losses from the accident totaled 5 million yuan (about 750,000 U.S. dollars).


Tablate gave himself up to maritime police in Zhejiang on Sept. 22 last year. The court decided to give him a lighter punishment given his voluntary confession and proactive compensation to the families of the victims.


In February China's supreme court allowed Ningbo maritime court to try maritime criminal cases. In the past, local maritime courts only heard civil cases.


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by Will Koulouris


SYDNEY, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- With the global economic outlook improving by leaps and bounds in recent times, driven by extraordinary growth in Asia, ongoing collaboration and partnerships with the broader worldwide economy will continue to be crucial to ensuring positive outcomes of prosperity around the globe.


China has a critical role to play in this positive growth and is currently on track to exceed the 6.5 percent GDP growth target set for this year, prominent former Australian federal minister Andrew Robb said.


Meanwhile importantly, China will serve as the "centre of gravity" for global political, and economic life, Robb told Xinhua in an interview recently.


While the stellar growth that China has been able to achieve has had a remarkable impact around the world, the domestic impact of the economic success in recent times has also shaped the entire nation for the better, in particular, the emergence of the burgeoning middle class.


"The maintenance of very strong growth rates has led to the continued introduction of millions and millions of more people into the middle class," Robb said.


"These previously impoverished people are now, in many cases, starting to experience the quality of life that many other people in the developed world experience."


This growth in China has a measurable impact around the world, with a recent IMF report in April outlining that China's absorption of trade since the year 2000 has been "increasingly important in accounting for growth in other emerging market and developing economies."


But Robb said that the focus should not lie solely on China's trade benefits, but rather the ongoing willingness to collaborate with nations around the world.


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