Archive for the ‘cold’ Category

China’s jobless migrants go home early for holiday

January 8, 2009

Some hefted their luggage on bamboo shoulder poles. Others carried their things in plastic buckets. All were migrant workers hurrying to get home Thursday before China‘s Lunar New Year festival — a holiday that triggers one of the world’s biggest annual migrations of humans.

Although the celebration is more than two weeks away, the travelers had to get an early start in a country where 188 million people — more than the population of Russia — were expected to squeeze onto trains during the hectic season.

Many workers were forced to go home even earlier this year because their factories went belly up or their assembly lines were idle amid the global economic crisis.

By WILLIAM FOREMAN, Associated Press Writer

A migrant worker nears the train station in Guangzhou, southern ... 
A migrant worker nears the train station in Guangzhou, southern China’s Guangdong province, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009. Some 188 million Chinese are expected to squeeze onto China’s train network in the coming weeks to return home for the Chinese Lunar New Year.(AP Photo/William Foreman)

“Last year, I went back home five or six days before the holiday started. This year, I’m going back about 20 days earlier,” said migrant Huang Mingren as he waited for his train.

For Huang and many others, the trip begins at the crowded station in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, often called the world’s factory floor because it’s China’s key manufacturing base. This is where a huge number of China’s 160 million migrant workers churn out Nike shoes, iPods and Nokia mobile phones.

“Lots of factories have been closing. The toy factory I was working at is about to go under, so the boss just told us to leave early,” added Huang, a wiry 32-year-old native of central Hunan province.

Many migrants also hit the road early because they were worried about the weather. Last year, ice storms paralyzed the transport system in southern China during the peak holiday season, forcing millions to delay or cancel their plans. About 200,000 were stranded at Guangzhou’s station and spent nights outside in a freezing drizzle.

Related:
Economic Slowdown Already Sees 600,000 Chinese Migrants Relocate

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090108/ap_on_re_as/as_chi
na_migrant_woes;_ylt=Ai0bY_Ld8gGAM1VlAjbKjZJvaA8F

Advertisements

Europe Freezes, Ukraine Gives Russia Conditions for Gas Transfer

January 8, 2009

Ukraine‘s natural gas chief says he wants Russia to provide extra fuel to boost the flow of gas before his company can allow Russia to send the fuel back into a freezing European Union.

Russia’s Gazprom has announced it will resume pumping gas toward Europe once international monitors are in place to check the flow through Ukraine’s pipelines.

Oleh Dubina of Ukraine’s Naftogaz said Thursday his company will ship Russian gas to Europe on the condition “that Russia restores supplies and provides technical gas for Ukraine’s gas transport system.”

Gazprom chief Alexei Miller and Dubina met twice Thursday and are continuing to talk as they fly back to Moscow, trying to resolve the dispute that has caused an energy crisis in Europe.

–Associated Press

Winter Festivals Cancelled: Too Much Snow, Cold, Ice

January 8, 2009

About ten years ago I invited my brother to a winter festival for ice sculpture, dog sled racing and other winter frolicking.  But too much snow, ice and cold cancelled the event.

This winter, it is happening again…

****************

By Patrick Springer, Forum Communications, Bemidji Pioneer

Here’s another entry for the annals of noteworthy winter weather: The dogsled race near Frazee, Minn., has been canceled because there’s too much snow.

Too much fluffy snow that keeps drifting and therefore made it impossible to maintain a groomed trail.

That poses a safety risk to the dogs, supercharged canines whose mushers need a groomed trail to drop a hook to stop when necessary.

“We can’t pack it,” race organizer Eddy Streeper said Monday. “We just can’t get it packed. We had to speak up on behalf of the dogs.”

The Third Crossing Sled Dog Rendezvous, slated for Jan. 23-24, would have been the ninth annual running of the sprint races, which twice were canceled for lack of snow.

This winter, as anyone with a driveway knows, has been a season of prodigious snows.

Read the rest:
http://www.bemidjipioneer.com/articles/index
.cfm?id=20594&section=News