China ‘waterfall’ skyscraper hit by torrent of ridicule

An aerial view of a 108-meter-high (350 feet) artificial waterfall on the facade of the Liebian International Building in Guiyang in China's Guizhou province. (Reuters)
Updated 27 July 2018
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China ‘waterfall’ skyscraper hit by torrent of ridicule

  • Latest building in China to draw ridicule
  • President called for end to 'weird architecture' in 2014

BEIJING: A skyscraper in southwest China that boasts what its owner calls the world’s largest man-made waterfall has become the latest example of over-the-top architecture to draw national ridicule.
The tower in the city of Guiyang was built with a spectacular 108-meter (350-feet) cascade tumbling down its face — but cash flow could prove a problem for the ostentatious design.
Although the Liebian International Building is not yet finished, the water feature was completed two years ago.
However it has only been turned on six times, with the owners blaming the high cost — 800 yuan ($120) per hour — of pumping water to the top of the 121-meter-high structure.
Constructed by the Ludi Industry Group, the building will house a shopping mall, offices and a luxury hotel.
Its signature artificial waterfall uses runoff, rainwater and groundwater collected in giant underground tanks.
The company said the feature pays homage to the local region’s rugged nature, but Chinese netizens have mocked the project as a waste of money.
“If they could just turn it on once every few months, the company would save on cleaning windows,” one user wrote on China’s Twitter-like social network Weibo.
China’s rapid economic growth has been accompanied by a construction boom, often including outlandish buildings that are criticized as a waste of public or shareholder funds.
The Beijing headquarters of state broadcaster China Central Television features a futuristic design now nicknamed “The Big Underpants” due to its resemblance to a giant pelvis.
Web users also noted last year a building on the campus of a water-resources university gained notoriety for resembling a toilet.
The issue prompted President Xi Jinping in 2014 to call for an end to what he called “weird architecture.”


US-China trade deal hopes grow as oil prices decline

Updated 19 June 2019
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US-China trade deal hopes grow as oil prices decline

  • Data suggested a smaller-than-expected fall in American crude inventories
  • Preparations underway for Donald Trump to meet Xi Jinping next week at the G20 summit in Osaka

LONDON: Oil prices declined on Wednesday as data suggested a smaller-than-expected fall in American crude inventories, as hopes for a US-China trade deal continue to grow.
Brent crude futures were down 51 cents at $61.72 a barrel.
US West Texas Intermediate crude fell 25 cents to $53.65 a barrel. On Tuesday, it had recorded its biggest daily rise since early January.
After weeks of swelling, US crude stocks fell by 812,000 barrels last week to 482 million, the American Petroleum Institute said on Tuesday, a smaller fall than the 1.1-million-barrel drop analysts had expected.
Official estimates on US crude stockpiles from the US government’s Energy Information Administration are due during afternoon trading.
US President Donald Trump offered some support, saying preparations were underway for him to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping next week at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, amid hopes a trade deal could be thrashed out between the two powers. Trump has repeatedly threatened China with tariffs since winning office in 2016.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi also offered a boost, saying on Tuesday that he would ease policy again if inflation failed to accelerate.
Tensions remain high in the Middle East after last week’s tanker attacks. Fears of a confrontation between Iran and the US have mounted, with Washington blaming Tehran, which has denied any role.
Trump said he was prepared to take military action to stop Iran having a nuclear bomb but left open whether he would approve the use of force to protect Gulf oil supplies.
On Wednesday, oil markets shrugged off a rocket attack on a site in southern Iraq used by foreign oil companies.
“It is interesting to note that the crude oil futures market could not rally on hawks planting bombs in the Strait of Hormuz but could rally on doves planting quantitative easing,” Petromatrix’s Olivier Jakob said in a note.
“This is an oil market that doesn’t know how to react when an oil tanker blows up but knows how to react when the head of a central bank makes some noise.”
Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have agreed to meet on July 1, followed by a meeting with non-OPEC allies on July 2, after weeks of wrangling over dates.
OPEC and its allies will discuss whether to extend a deal on cutting 1.2 million barrels per day of production that runs out this month.