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UPDATED: March 31, 2009 NO. 13 APR. 2, 2009

New Middle East Envoy

Senior Chinese diplomat Wu Sike was recently appointed Special Envoy to the Middle East by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, replacing his predecessor Sun Bigan.

Wu, a native of central China's Anhui Province, graduated from the Beijing International Studies University in 1965 with a bachelor's degree in Arabic language.

He once served as director general of the Department of West Asian and North African Affairs of China's Foreign Ministry, ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Egypt and the first Chinese Plenipotentiary Representative to the League of Arab States. The veteran diplomat has amassed rich experience in dealing with the Middle East issue over the past decades.

Pilot Aces Emergency Landing

Veteran Air Force pilot, Captain Li Feng, successfully made a forced landing of a China-made Jian-10 fighter jet on March 7 during a training exercise, when the plane suddenly encountered engine transmission failure.

Li was flying at an altitude of 4,500 meters during a period of difficult maneuvers, when he received emergency warning of a power loss. Li checked the status of the engine and requested to land. The plane stalled 7 km from the airbase and began to fall at a speed of 25 meters per second. As the drag parachute failed to open due to loss of hydraulic power, Li was forced to steer the jet 1,400 meters down the runway before it stopped.

Li's skill at handling the emergency won him an honorary medal from the air force, in addition to a first-class merit commending his outstanding performance.

Women's Volleyball Coach Named

Cai Bin, head of the Chinese Youth Women's Volleyball Team, has been chosen to coach the national team, according to the Volleyball Center of the General Administration of Sport, the sport's governing body, on March 23.

The 43-year-old started his volleyball career at Shanghai Youth Sports School in 1978. In 1985, Cai was chosen by the Shanghai Men's Team as a professional player. Cai won his only league championship in 1990, serving as setter for the Shanghai Men's Team. Cai played an active role on court inspiring other players and organizing effective attacks. In 1997, then 31-year-old Cai took over the helm of the Shanghai Women's Volleyball Team, one year after retiring from the National Men's Team, and brought his team to the medal podium at the national championships for four consecutive years.

Known for his intensive training and tough coaching style, Cai applies hi-tech and smart tactics to train young players. Since 1999, Cai has remained in his post as head coach of the Youth Women's Team, a reserve for the national team for almost a decade, grabbing a couple of medals at the world youth championships. Chinese Women's Volleyball Team took bronze at the Beijing Olympic Games. Cai is expected to work hard for his team's preparation for the London Olympics in 2012.

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