Hot on the heels of cadmium contaminated rice comes the latest health warning. It seems that cucumbers grown in the Shandong Province may contain artificial growth hormones. Farmers produce the liquid hormone using compounds from birth control pills. Although the effects of eating such cucumbers have not been confirmed, it is safe to say that everyone should stay away from them.

These cucumbers with hormones are actually very easy to identify as the flower on top of the cucumber remains healthy, due to the effects of the growth hormones. The hormone injected cucumbers also taste horrible.

Cucumbers with yellow flowers were very popular in wet markets in Jiaonan City, Shandong. The vegetables were considered tender and fresh. “People in the industry all know these cucumbers contain hormones,” a dealer selling cucumbers at a wet market told Qingdao Morning Post. The growth hormone is also available at the market. The seller boasted that the growth hormone makes the cucumber mature 50 percent faster and keeps the flower from drying up.

via Shanghai Daily.

Although long expected by many experts, Japan has finally issued data on Monday confirming that China has surpassed it as the World’s second largest economy.

The reactions to such news has been highly mixed.

In Japan, the moment is seen as another marker of an extended weakening. Before the bubble burst, many Japanese were once proud of their country’s growth in the 80s. Now, they are further saddened as their country continues its economic struggles. Others, welcomed China’s rise; seeing it as an opportunity for trade and growth.

In China, the ruling Communist Party was ever more cautious of such news. China’s growing economic supremacy might seem positive, but it is also becoming an increasing burden as the country is expected to shoulder more global issues (like reducing carbon emissions). The headline on a recent article on the website of the People’s Daily reads: “China Surpassing Japan to Become World’s Second Biggest Economy—But Not the Second Strongest”. This in fact is very true as the GDP per capita in China is still ten times lower compared to Japan. The World Bank estimates that more than 100 million Chinese citizens—nearly the size of Japan’s entire population—live on less than $2 a day. Many in China, are still waiting for the same level of success, their country has achieved economically, to be reflected in their daily lives.

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