Author Archives: Admin

China offers riot informers cash, honorary titles, chance to obtain urban residency

BEIJING, China – Informers who help identify participants in a three-day riot by migrant factory workers in southern China could be rewarded with cash, honorary titles and a chance at official urban residency status, an official announcement said.

The police notice published on the website of the Zengcheng Daily newspaper indicates authorities are having trouble tracking down those behind the violence that broke out June 10, in which vehicles were torched, government offices ransacked and at least 25 people arrested.

Authorities are offering up to $1,500 in cash together with “outstanding migrant worker” titles and urban residency permits that allow better access to schools, subsidized housing, health care and other public services, the notice said.

“The public security departments call on the broad masses of city residents not to be incited by people with ulterior motives, but to keenly struggle against criminal lawbreakers and actively reveal the identities of these criminal lawbreakers,” said the notice, dated Saturday.

It wasn’t clear whether the offer has led to any useful information and calls to police and telephone numbers attached to the notice rang unanswered Monday.

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Yet it was a clear sign of the lack of trust between security forces and citizens at a time of growing unease over corruption, abuse of power and a worsening income divide.

The Zengcheng riot was sparked by a confrontation between security guards and a pair of migrant sidewalk vendors in Zengcheng’s Xintang township. Tensions grew over the following two days as more and more fellow migrants from the southwestern province of Sichuan rushed to the area, culminating in a night of violence on June 12.

Migrant workers usually perform the most dangerous and least desirable work in China and are widely seen as vulnerable to abuse and discrimination by authorities and local residents.

A number of apparently unrelated cases of unrest have broken out around China in recent weeks, some involving migrant workers. The government’s response has been to meet them with overwhelming force while being slow to address underlying causes.

However, such stopgap measures will grow increasingly ineffective unless fundamental tensions between citizens and the Communist government are addressed, said Liu Shanyin, who studies social unrest at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

“If these problems are not addressed, the government’s legitimacy will come into question and political and criminal forces could get involved, leading to big trouble,” Liu said.

IAEA wants to improve nuclear safety, but implementation will depend on individual states

VIENNA – The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Tuesday urged a worldwide safety review to prevent new nuclear disasters, but acknowledged that since the IAEA lacks enforcing authority, any improvements are only effective if countries apply them.

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano’s comments to a meeting of government ministers and other senior delegates of the 151-member IAEA, reflected the fact that most countries want any new safety measures to be voluntary – and that they work only if observed by nations with nuclear reactors.

“Even the best safety standards are useless unless they are actually implemented,” Amano said. And Ecology Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet of France – a strong opponent of outside regulation – told the meeting that “the implementation of commitment on nuclear safety depends of the willingness of each state obviously, since nuclear safety is primarily a national responsibility.”

An IAEA report compiled by international experts ahead of the Vienna conference reflected the limitations of depending on voluntary compliance. It faulted Japan for failing to implement a number of IAEA safety measures and recommendations in the years leading up to the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

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Asked outside the meeting if he would like to see the IAEA have the same authority against safety violators as it now has against nuclear proliferators – which includes referral to the U.N. Security Council – Amano said: “I do not exclude that possibility.”

But he said a sense of post-Fukushima urgency dictated action now under existing rules.

“We have to move by days, weeks, months, and I cannot wait years” – the time it would take to revise the IAEA’s mandate for the 35-nation board – he said. “We need to have a sense of urgency.”

A statement adopted by the conference also showed that the gathering was content to work on upgrading present safety practices and emergency measures without giving the IAEA an enforcing role.

It called for a commitment to “strengthening the central role of the IAEA in promoting international co-operation and in co-ordinating international efforts to strengthen global nuclear safety, in providing expertise and advice in this field and in promoting nuclear safety culture worldwide.”

Outlining a five-point plan to strengthen nuclear reactor safety, Amano called for bolstering IAEA standards and ensuring they are applied; establishing regular safety reviews of all the world’s reactors; beefing up the effectiveness of national regulatory bodies; strengthening global emergency response systems, and increasing IAEA input in responding to emergencies.

Amano also urged that the INES scale – which classifies nuclear incidents on a seven-point scale – be revamped. The March accident at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi accident was upgraded to seven – the highest on the scale – only on April 12. That was more than a month after a 9-magnitute earthquake and a devastating tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima reactor’s cooling system and radiation started leaking into the atmosphere.

“Safety standards … in particular those pertaining to multiple severe hazards such as tsunamis and earthquakes should be reviewed,” Amano told the meeting. He proposed “IAEA international expert peer reviews” to complement national safety checks, and establishing stockpiles of emergency equipment by reactor operators to try and prevent a replay of Fukushima.

“Many countries have accepted (peer reviews) already; European countries, Japan, the United States,” he told reporters outside the meeting. “I would like to expand it, so that all nuclear power plants will see a peer review on a random basis.”

Speaking for Japan, Economics Minister Banri Kaieda pledged that his country “will take drastic measures to ensure the highest level of safety” for its reactor network.

Philippine troop clashes with communist rebels leave 7 dead, 17 wounded

MANILA, Philippines – Clashes between government troops and communist rebels have killed seven people and wounded 17, military officials said Monday.

The government and the rebels resumed talks in February to end one of Asia’s longest-running Marxist rebellions, but clashes have continued in the countryside.

Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, an army division commander, quoted field reports as saying six rebels were killed and 11 others wounded and subsequently captured in two clashes Saturday in central Negros Oriental province. A soldier was slightly wounded.

Bautista said the first clash broke out early Saturday in Pamplona township’s Banawe village. The New People’s Army rebels withdrew after a 40-minute gunfight, leaving behind their two dead and five wounded comrades.

Some 10 hours later, soldiers caught up with the fleeing guerrillas in the same village of Banawe, sparking another battle that killed four rebels and wounded six others.

Bautista said the rebel fighters were under the command of Marilyn Badayos, a guerrilla front leader arrested on Saturday in a hotel in the adjacent province Negros Occidental while recuperating from a gunshot wound sustained during a clash with troops in May.

Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, an army spokesman, says on the same day in southern Compostela Valley province’s Pantukan township, a soldier was killed and five others were wounded when troops on combat operation clashed with around 70 guerrillas.

Paniza said the rebels also suffered casualties, but their number was unknown.

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Asia stock markets down amid Greek bailout impasse

BANGKOK – Asian stocks were mostly lower after European finance ministers delayed a decision to extend emergency help to prevent Greece from defaulting on its debts.

Oil slipped below $92 a barrel while the dollar rose against the euro and the yen.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.2 per cent to 9,368.16 despite data showing Japan’s exports dropped for the third straight month in May due to massive production losses following the March 11 earthquake.

Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s No. 1 automaker, rose 0.2 per cent after it announced expansion plans aimed at ramping up production and sales in India, top business daily the Nikkei reported on its website.

South Korea’s Kospi sank 0.3 per cent to 2,027.10, although autos helped staunch the fall. Hyundai Motor Co., the country’s biggest car maker, rose 2.2 per cent after data showed the company sold more vehicles in Europe last month than any other Asian brand, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.4 per cent to 21,614.04, with oil-related shares dropping. Sinopec, Asia’s biggest oil refiner by volume, and China National Offshore Oil Corp., known as CNOOC, were both down 0.1 per cent.

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Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was 0.5 per cent lower at 4,461.90. Benchmarks in Singapore and Indonesia were higher while those in Taiwan, New Zealand and mainland China were down.

Early Monday, Eurozone finance ministers postponed a decision on a vital installment of rescue loans needed to avoid bankruptcy next month. Greece will get the next euro12 billion of its existing euro110 billion bailout package in early July, but only if it manages to pass euro28 billion in new spending cuts and economic reforms by the end of the month, said Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg.

“All eyes remain on Greece,” strategists at Credit Agricole CIB wrote in a research note. “News this morning that the Eurogroup’s final decision on the country’s second bailout package has been delayed until early July will result in more uncertainty filtering through markets.”

Aside from the risk that Greece poses, markets were jittery as the end of the Federal Reserve’s $600 billion bond-buying program draws near. The quantitative easing program, dubbed QE2, was intended to keep interest rates low and encourage economic growth. It ends in late June.

Another factor adding to investor uncertainty, analysts said, was whether China’s attempts to cool its runaway growth to more sustainable levels would result in severe consequences such as significant job losses.

“We are looking at some other concerns – how the end of QE2 will affect the market overall and on the China side, whether it will be a hard or soft landing,” said Lee Kok Joo, head of research at Phillip Securities in Singapore.

On Wall Street last week, the U.S. stock market eked out its first week of gains since April, helped by signs a solution to Greece’s debt problems were near.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 0.4 per cent at 12,004.36. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.3 per cent to 1,271.50. The technology-focused Nasdaq composite index lost 0.3 per cent to 2,616.48.

Oil prices fell below $92 a barrel as a stronger U.S. dollar made commodities priced in the greenback more expensive to investors spending foreign currencies.

Benchmark oil for July delivery was down $1.36 to $91.65 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost $1.94, or 2 per cent, to settle at $93.01 on Friday.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.4231 from $1.4315 in late trading Friday in New York. The dollar rose to 80.21 yen from 80.06 yen.

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AP Business Writer Kelvin Chan contributed from Hong Kong.

Miles of dikes close to overflowing as official says China at critical point in flood control

BEIJING, China – More than 40 miles (70 kilometres) of dikes are in danger of overflowing in an eastern Chinese province where floods have caused $1.2 billion in losses, authorities said Monday as the country neared a critical point in battling seasonal rains.

Heavy rains pounded Zhejiang province over the weekend, and the level of a river that passes through Lanxi city has risen sharply, said Zhao Fayuan, deputy director of the provincial flood control headquarters.

The level of Lanjiang river has now hit 110 feet (34 metres), the highest since 1966, the headquarters said.

Several sections of the dikes in Lanxi city are barely holding, Zhao said. More than 20,000 people could be affected if the dikes are breached, he was quoted as saying by the Xinhua News Agency.

The flood control headquarters advised Lanxi officials to evacuate all residents near the dikes that are at risk of overflowing, and to repair them immediately.

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Recent flooding has destroyed 600,000 acres (241,600 hectares) of farmland and caused 1,846 companies to stop production in Zhejiang, incurring 7.69 billion yuan ($1.19 billion) in direct economic losses, the flood control agency said. Of these, 3.4 billion yuan were agricultural losses. Coastal Zhejiang is one of China’s richest provinces and its economy grew 11.8 per cent last year.

Flooding in eastern and southern China this month has triggered landslides, cut power and telecommunications and left more than 180 people dead or missing. Five more people were killed Sunday and one remains missing after surging floodwaters swept them away in their southwest villages, Xinhua reported.

China’s minister for water resources said Sunday that the country was entering a crucial period for flood control as severe floods triggered by heavy rains threatened southern areas.

It is likely that more frequent and more intense downpours will continue, Chen Lei told a meeting in Beijing, Xinhua reported.

He urged local authorities to improve weather forecasting and ensure dikes, reservoirs and dams are safe.

China’s national weather agency said Monday that torrential rains will continue in southern and eastern areas for the next three days.

However, while the deadly flooding continues, a persistent drought is still plaguing five provinces in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. It has left 630,000 people without safe drinking water and affected 11.9 million acres (4.8 million hectares) of farmland, Chen said.

Internet custodians approve vast expansion in domain names, biggest change since the mid-80s

SINGAPORE – Internet minders voted Monday to allow virtually unlimited new domain names based on themes as varied as company brands, entertainment and political causes, in the system’s biggest shake-up since it started 26 years ago.

Groups able to pay the $185,000 application can petition next year for new updates to “杭州夜网” and “杭州夜网” with website suffixes using nearly any word in any language, including in Arabic, Chinese and other scripts, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers decided at a meeting in Singapore.

“This is the start of a whole new phase for the Internet,” said Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of ICANN’s board of directors. “Unless there is a good reason to restrain it, innovation should be allowed to run free.”

ICANN’s decision culminates six years of negotiations and is the biggest change to the system since “杭州夜网” made its debut in 1984. The expansion plan had been delayed largely because of concerns that new suffixes could infringe on trademarks and copyrights.

High-profile entertainment, consumer goods and financial services companies will likely be among the first to apply for their own domain name in a bid to protect their brands, experts said.

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“It will allow corporations to better take control of their brands,” said Theo Hnarakis, chief executive of Melbourne IT, which manages online brands for clients such as Volvo, LEGO and GlaxoSmithKline. “For example, .apple or .ipad would take customers right to those products.”

The surge in domains should help alleviate some of the overlap of names in the most popular suffixes, especially “杭州夜网”, which has 94 million sites registered.

More than 300 suffixes are available today, the bulk of them country-specific codes, such as “.jp” for Japan and “.fr” for France. Those are typically restricted to groups or individuals with a presence in the countries. Only a handful are open for general use worldwide.

In March, ICANN approved “.xxx” for pornography, but some porn sites have declined to adopt the suffix, fearing it will make it easier for governments to ban them. Conservative groups opposed the “.xxx” name too, arguing it could attract children to adult sites.

Analysts said they expect between 500 to 1,000 new domain names, mostly companies and products, but also cities and generic names such as “.bank” or “.hotel.” Groups have formed to back “.sport” for sporting sites, and two conservationist groups separately are seeking the right to operate an “.eco” suffix.

ICANN plans to auction off domains if multiple parties have legitimate claims. However, it expects companies will likely strike deals among themselves to avoid a public auction.

“I think we’ll see much more of that going on than see auctions generating circuses,” Dengate Thrush said. “But there is that prospect that there will be a couple of identical applicants and applications.”

The application process is arduous – the fee is $185,000 and the guidebook is 360 pages – and meant to prevent scammers from grabbing valuable domain names. ICANN will receive applications for new domains for 90 days beginning Jan. 12.

“It’s a significant undertaking. We’re calling it the Olympic bid,” said Adrian Kinderis, chief executive of AusRegistry International, which helps companies to register domains and manages names such as “.au” for Australia.

“But it’s worth it for corporations that have suffered from things like trademark infringement, and can now carve out a niche on the internet,” Kinderis said.

ICANN said it has set aside up to $2 million to assist applicants from developing countries.

“The board’s very enthusiastic about providing support for applicants from developing areas where the evaluation fee or access to technical expertise might be somewhat of a bar,” ICANN senior vice-president Kurt Pritz told reporters after the meeting.

ICANN said in a statement that it will mount a global publicity campaign to raise awareness of the opportunities of new domain names.

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Associated Press writer Heather Tan in Singapore contributed to this story.

India’s foreign minister heads to Myanmar to boost bilateral trade, security ties

NEW DELHI – India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna headed to Myanmar on Monday as New Delhi reaffirmed its commitment to bilateral and strategic co-operation with Yangon’s newly elected nominally civilian government.

Krishna will be the first high level official from India to visit Myanmar since the elected government replaced the previous junta in March.

India and Myanmar have developed deep economic and security ties over the past decade. New Delhi has said it believes talking quietly is a better approach in dealing with Yangon’s military-backed rulers rather than sanctions.

Despite Western criticism, India shifted its policy from supporting Myanmar’s democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to engaging the junta’s generals.

On Monday, Krishna ducked a question on whether he would be meeting Suu Kyi during his three day visit.

“I don’t know if I will get a chance to interact with other leaders during my brief stay in Yangon,” he said.

India is also wary of China’s growing influence in Myanmar, and is in competition with its regional rival for access to the country’s large natural gas resources.

Krishna’s discussions with his Myanmarese counterpart would include security issues and co-operation in the fields of information technology, industry and infrastructure development in the isolated South Asian country.

India and Myanmar have expanded co-operation between their security forces since the mid-1990s with both countries fighting armed insurgencies along their shared border.

India says separatist rebels in its northeastern states often slip across the 1,000-mile- (1,600-kilometre-) long porous border with Myanmar and take shelter in jungle bases there.

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Libya opposition leader to visit China, further boosting Beijing’s engagement in the civil war

BEIJING, China – China said Monday that Libya’s opposition leader would visit this week, further boosting Beijing’s engagement in the North African country’s civil war and dealing another setback to Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

China’s Foreign Ministry said in a one-sentence statement posted on its website that Mahmoud Jibril would be in China on Tuesday and Wednesday. No other details were immediately available.

Jibril chairs the executive board of the Transitional National Council, the umbrella organization of rebel groups trying to unseat Gadhafi.

China stayed on the sidelines for the first few months after the revolt against Gadhafi’s government erupted in mid-February, but it has recently stepped up efforts to persuade the two sides to seek a settlement.

Chinese diplomats in Qatar met with the rebel council chairman, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, earlier this month, and Libyan Foreign Minister Abdul-Ati al-Obeidi was dispatched to Beijing days later in an apparent attempt to reassert the Libyan government’s influence.

Beijing has pointedly avoided joining international calls for Gadhafi to step down, saying that is for the Libyan people to decide. It also abstained in the U.N. Security Council vote authorizing the use of force against Libyan government loyalists and has repeatedly criticized the NATO bombing campaign in support of the rebels.

When fighting erupted in Libya, China dispatched military transport planes and arranged chartered boats to evacuate an estimated 30,000 Chinese working there, mostly in the construction and oil industries, comprising one of the largest blocs of foreign labourers.

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No action yet from Obama on guns despite call for steps

WASHINGTON – More than five months after Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head, the White House has yet to take any new steps on gun violence, even though that’s what President Barack Obama called for in the wake of the shooting.

The silence from the administration is drawing criticism from gun control activists and even some of Obama’s Democratic allies. Sen. Frank Lautenberg told the president in a letter last week that the administration “has not shown the leadership to combat gun violence.”

It’s in keeping with Obama’s general stance on gun issues since taking office: outspoken earlier in his political career in favour of tougher gun measures, he’s treaded carefully since becoming president, almost never raising the topic except when asked and offering, at-most, tepid support for legislation he once embraced, such as re-enacting a ban on assault weapons.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement that the Justice Department is “consulting with the key stakeholders to identify common-sense measures that would improve American safety and security while fully respecting Second Amendment rights.”

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Schultz declined to comment further, but whatever the administration produces is likely to fall well short of the steps activists would like to see, such as legislation banning the kind of high-capacity ammunition clips used in the Giffords shooting. Any significant change of that kind would require legislation, but with Congress hostile toward any gun-control bills, the administration sees that avenue as closed.

Firearm ownership is a American tradition dating back more than two centuries to the run-up to the American Revolution, which was initially fought by local militias relying on their own weapons.

The U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment says that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

It has been interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court as protecting personal firearm ownership and self-defence within the home.

A U.S. government official involved in the gun control talks said that suggestions currently under consideration include ways to improve the background check system dealers use to avoid selling guns to criminals, which activists say is ineffective and riddled with loopholes. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private deliberations.

Some improvements could be made administratively, such as by providing states clearer guidelines on how to provide criminal information to the federal government for the background check database. Although such steps are not nearly as bold as activist groups, including the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, would like to see, they still hope to see something – and soon.

“We’re coming on the six-month mark since the shooting and still nothing from the administration,” said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign. “It’s time for some action.”

The Justice Department deliberations began in March, after the president broke his usual silence on guns in an opinion piece in Giffords’ hometown newspaper, the Arizona Daily Star. In it, he called for “a new discussion on how we can keep America safe for all our people.”

Even then Obama steered clear of ambitious declarations, timelines or goals, but he did call for “sound and effective steps” to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, including strengthening background checks. Obama said that “if we’re serious about keeping guns away from someone who’s made up his mind to kill, then we can’t allow a situation where a responsible seller denies him a weapon at one store, but he effortlessly buys the same gun someplace else.”

Helmke and others interpreted that as support for closing what’s called the “gun-show loophole,” which allows private sellers to sell firearms at gun shows and elsewhere without conducting background checks. Activist groups say that some 40 per cent of gun sales are conducted without background checks.

But doing that would require legislation, and the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun groups are adamantly opposed. The NRA has not been involved in the Justice Department talks, but the National Shooting Sports Foundation has, and a spokesman said that when they met at the Justice Department, gun-control measures didn’t even come up.

“The topics discussed at the meeting were limited strictly to improving and enhancing the current background check system,” said spokesman Ted Novin, explaining that closing the gun-show loophole would amount to expanding the system, not improving it, and his group doesn’t support an expansion. “No gun-control measures of any kind were discussed during the meeting, nor would this organization support any such proposals that would curtail the lawful commerce of firearms or the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” Novin said.

With that kind of opposition from gun-rights groups, an election year approaching and attention focused on the economy, prospects for congressional action are dim. And the Obama administration, in turn, appears unlikely even to try to do anything more than make modest changes that don’t fundamentally alter the nation’s gun policies.

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s mother, Charlotte Bloomberg, dies at age 102

Charlotte Bloomberg, whose only son grew up to be a billionaire media mogul and then the mayor of New York City, died Sunday. She was 102.

She was a petite woman but a huge presence in the life of her son, Michael Bloomberg, who gave away millions of dollars in her name and set aside time from his harried schedule to call her every day. She died at her home in Medford, in the same house where the future mayor and his sister, Marjorie Tiven, were raised.

The mayor announced her death Sunday evening and said that for him and his sister, their mother had been the centre of their family.

“Our mother’s unimpeachable integrity, fierce independence, and constant love were gifts that profoundly shaped our lives and the lives of so many who knew her,” he said in a statement.

Charlotte Bloomberg was a local celebrity in Medford, where she served as co-president of Temple Shalom well into her 90s. Friends said she was animated, smart and a natural leader, like her son.

Rabbi Tami Crystal once told The Boston Globe that she was “the most beloved member” of the temple.

“Everybody adores Charlotte,” Crystal said. “She’s a ball of fire.”

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She was grandmother to Michael Bloomberg’s two grown daughters and Tiven’s three children. Tiven also works for the city as head of the Commission for the United Nations.

Those who knew Charlotte Bloomberg said she had the energy and sharp mind of someone years younger.

“She’s not just a little old lady to sit down and have tea with,” said Roy Belson, a friend who was also school superintendent in Medford.

She stood with her son on the steps of City Hall as he took his oaths of office in 2002 and 2006, although her health kept her from his third swearing in last year. During his first two runs, she was along for the ride on the campaign trail. During his 2005 campaign, she was a speaker at a Women for Bloomberg rally.

The proud mom told supporters that day that her son “knows which things are right, which things are good, which things he ought to do.”

The mayor often mentioned her, and it was one of his favourite ways to dismiss speculation that he planned to run for president, saying playfully that he had no interest in it but that his mother would be tickled to hear that anyone considered him a contender.

In his 1997 autobiography, he described her as “a woman of liberal views and independent mind” who taught him the value of hard work, intellectual curiosity and ambition to achieve his goals. He remembers the importance she placed on the family dining together each night, and that she set the table with linens, nice serving dishes and proper silverware each night.

“She did for us what my friends’ mothers did only for guests,” he wrote. The message, he added, was: “We’ve got to take care of each other.”

Charlotte Bloomberg graduated from high school at age 16 and completed her schooling at New York University. After marrying, she stayed home to raise her children while her husband, William Bloomberg, worked as a bookkeeper at a dairy. He had a weak heart and died when Michael Bloomberg was in college, so she became the family breadwinner.

“She taught me you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, and to do it without complaining,” Bloomberg wrote.

After he founded the financial information company that bears his name, and began to amass his multibillion-dollar fortune, Charlotte Bloomberg was proud but didn’t flaunt the relation.

“Sometimes, when people say to her, ‘Are you related to THE Bloomberg,’ she’ll say ‘No,’ just to avoid the conversation,” he wrote.

She once told a reporter that she is most proud of what doesn’t make headlines.

“The best things he does are the things that nobody knows about,” she said.

Her wealthy son made many donations in his mother’s name, including a reported $1 million gift to renovate Temple Shalom’s community centre, which was subsequently renamed The William and Charlotte Bloomberg Jewish Community Center.

In 2003, he travelled with her to Israel to dedicate a maternity and pediatric centre at Hadassah Hospital in her name. To mark her 100th birthday, the family funded a children’s centre in her name at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Michael Bloomberg has also endowed Charlotte Bloomberg funds for various other Jewish causes, and he created a Charlotte Bloomberg professorship in the study of art history at his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University.

The subject, he said, “was something she’s interested in and the school needed. To this day, she gets great pleasure knowing the Charlotte Bloomberg Professor is teaching, researching and enhancing our culture.”