Archive for the ‘earthquake’ Category

China: Human Activity May Have Increased Earthquake Severity

February 4, 2009

Pressure from a dam, its reservoir’s heavy waters weighing on geologic fault lines, may have helped trigger China’s devastating earthquake last May, some scientists say, in a finding that suggests human activity played a role in the disaster.

The magnitude-7.9 quake in Sichuan province was China’s worst in a generation, causing 70,000 deaths and leaving 5 million homeless. Just 550 yards (meters) from the fault line and 3.5 miles (5.5 kilometers) from the epicenter stands the 511-foot-high (156-meter-high) Zipingpu dam, the area’s largest. The quake cracked Zipingpu, forcing the reservoir to be drained.

By CHI-CHI ZHANG, Associate Press Writer

Fan Xiao, a chief engineer at the Sichuan Geology and Mineral Bureau, said Wednesday that the immense weight of Zipingpu’s waters — 315 million tons — likely affected the timing and magnitude of the quake. Though earthquakes are not rare in the area, one of such magnitude had not occurred for thousands of years, Fan said.

“I’m not saying the earthquake would not have happened without the dam, but the presence of the massive Zipingpu dam may have changed the size or time of the quake, thus creating a more violent quake,” Fan said in a telephone interview.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090204/ap_o
n_re_as/as_china_quake_2

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Super Bowl Cancels Schools; American Education Easily Delayed By Party, Storm, etc.

February 1, 2009

President Obama joked last week in apparent disapproval as Washington DC metro schools were closed for a minor, by Chicago standards, snow and ice storm.

He even quoted his children making fun of the Washington DC culture.

Now the Pittsburgh schools have already announced a two hour late opening time to accomodate students and parents after the Super Bowl party.

Seems it doesn’t take much to stop education in America.

After the earthquake in China last year, just about all the schools were ruined in the earthquake area.  Makeshift schools started soon thereafter in tents and on roadsides.

You reap what you sew….

Related:
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09029
/945457-100.stm?cmpid=MOSTEMAILEDBOX

 

Bankers register at the Beijing University of Technology, as others wait for picture-taking.  This for a stock broker and investment advisor exam.  Wall Street needs more education?  Photo: Gilles Sabrie for The New York Times

U.S. Always Pays Top Damages; Ever Notice That? Does That Do Any Good?

January 27, 2009

The government of China is heartbroken that so many Chinese lost children and relatives in the earthquake last year.  Heach famy got $15.00 to help celebrate the Lunar new Year which started yesterday.

When children were sickened and some killed by poisoned milk, China paid compensation:  about $300.00 per family; a little more for the families of the dead.

In Afghanistan today, U.S commanders paid out $40,000 to relatives of 15 people killed; “including a known militant commander.”

That’s more than $2,600 for every person killed.  In Afghanistan.

I wonder, why do we pay so much while other people pay so little?  And do out parments matter?  Do they do any good?  Or do Americans pay to remove American guilt?  I just wonder….

And it isn’t like China is broke.  They “own” much of the U.S. including over $1 Trillion in bonds….

Related:
China Discovers Compensation for Pain, Agony; But Don’t Expect Much

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By JASON STRAZIUSO, Associated Press Writer

U.S. commanders on Tuesday traveled to a poor Afghan village and distributed $40,000 to relatives of 15 people killed in a U.S. raid, including a known militant commander. The Americans also apologized for any civilians killed in the operation.

The issue of civilian deaths is increasingly sensitive in Afghanistan, with President Hamid Karzai accusing the U.S. of killing civilians in three separate cases over the last month. Karzai has repeatedly warned the U.S. and NATO, saying such deaths undermine his government and the international mission.

In Washington, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates echoed Karzai’s concerns, telling a Senate committee that “civilian casualties are doing us enormous harm in Afghanistan.”

As U.S. commanders paid villagers near 15 newly dug graves, Karzai met Tuesday in the capital with relatives of some of those killed. He told the villagers he has given the U.S. and NATO one month to respond to a draft agreement calling for increased Afghan participation in military operations.

Karzai said if he does not receive a response within that time, he would ask Afghans what he should do about international military operations. The statement from the presidential palace describing the meeting did not elaborate.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090127/ap_
on_re_as/as_afghan_civilian_deaths

China Discovers Compensation for Pain, Agony; But Don’t Expect Much

January 26, 2009

Unemployed: China will help out.  Loved ones lost in the earthquake?  China will pay.  Kids killed by poisoned milk: not to worry.

China’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao just visited survivors of last May’s earthquake which devastated large parts of Sichuan province last year to help them celebrate the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival.

Many Chinese lost family members, children and friends in the earthquake, along with their homes, jobs and towns.

Related:
China Premier’s gifts to Europe come with price-tags

Wen cooked spicey Chinese stew and handed out money to some earthquake victims.  The cooking was done in a government tent shelter.

Above: Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in Sichuan Province, in a photo distributed by the official Chinese news agency. Yao Dawei/Xinhua, via Reuters

China’s state run media said about 75 million earthquake victims got the equivalent of $15.00 to help them celebrate the New Year.  Per family.

Isn’t this called “papering over” trouble?
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China’s state-run Xinhua news agency also announced on Monday that the government is to help train as many as one million jobless college graduates over the next three years.

Graduates will also be offered small loans to help them start their own businesses.

Let’s hope it’s more than fifteen bucks.

Experts say there are more than 20 million newly unemployed people in China, many of them migrants.  China is worried that unemployment will cause social unrest.

But analysts say the education and job-start programs show the government’s increasing concern with rising unemployment.

Tomorrow Mr. Wen travels to Europe to pass out goodies.

There hasn’t been an earthquake in Europe unless you count the global economic melt-down.

Lets hope fifteen U.S. dollars doesn’t buy China any loyalty in Paris, London and elsewhere.  Oh, excuse us, Paris is not on Mr. Wen’s itinerary….

President Sarkozy’s love of the Dalai Lama cost him at least $15.00….and China’s love….

Related from the BBC:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7850726.stm

China celebrates New Year:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090126/ap_o
n_re_as/as_china_new_year_2

http://www.france24.com/en/20090125-
global-crisis-dampens-china-new-year-
celebrations

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The China Dairy Industry Association has claimed that 90 percent families of the victims in the country’s tainted milk scandal have been compensated.

Without disclosing the compensation amount, the association said that families of 262,662 children who were sickened after drinking the melamine-contaminated milk products had signed compensation agreements and accepted compensation, the chinaview.com reports.

Out of the families of six dead children and 891 other infants, all except two had accepted compensation, the association said. However, families of 23,651 sickened children have yet to be reached mainly because of wrong or untrue registration of names, it added.

There are only a handful of families of sickened children who want to realize their rights and interests by filing lawsuits and did not accept compensation, it said.

The Chinese Health Ministry has confirmed deaths of six infants who died after consuming contaminated milk products, whereas 296,000 infants suffered kidney stones and other urinary problems.

In a letter sent to victims last month, Sanlu Group which was at the center of the scandal along with 21 other dairy companies, offered 200,000 yuan for families whose children died and 30,000 yuan for serious cases such as kidney stones and acute kidney failure. The less severe case victims got 2,000 yuan as damage.

The dairy companies have also set up a fund to pay the medical liabilities of the sickened children until they reach the age of 18.Read the rest from ANI and New Karala:
http://www.newkerala.com/topstory-fu
llnews-81131.html

Related:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/sto
ry.php?storyId=99002599

China: Redefining “Superpower” to Mean Economic and Military Strength Without Human Rights

January 2, 2009

Human rights abuses, kangaroo courts, poor safety standards and a seeminingly callous disregard for human life in China means that this great nation is redefining the word “superpower.”

The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s religious leader, pointed this out in Europe early in December 2008, but few paid much attention.

China lacks the moral authority, including over the question of Tibet, to be a true superpower, the Dalai Lama said. 

“Because of its very poor record on human rights and religious freedom and freedom of expression and freedom of the press — too much censorship — the image of China in the field of moral authority is very, very poor,” he said.

“The sensible Chinese realize China should now pay more attention in this field in order to get more respect from the rest of the world,” the Nobel peace laureate said.

Ever wonder why so many schoolchildren were killed in last year’s earthquakes in China?  The schools were built poorly, so poorly that they collapsed upon the first quake.  Many were poorly built because of goernment corruption: the builders paid communist officials to ignore poor building practices and shoddy materials.

Why does China have such a high number of deaths in mining?  Because mine safety standard are very weak and regulation and inspection is worse — where they exist at all.

So how does China hope to gain this superpower status?  By emulating the actions of a superpower, of course.

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Chinese ... 
In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Hu Jintao, center, Premier Wen Jiabao, 4th left, and other Chinese top leaders attend a New Year tea party hosted by the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing on Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009. From left are, Zhou Yongkang, Li Keqiang, Li Changchun, Wen, Hu, , Wu Bangguo, Jia Qinglin, Xi Jinping and He Guoqiang.(AP Photo/Xinhua, Liu Weibing)

China is expanding its military and has grown to own much of the U.S. in terms of property and wealth and American debt.

File photo shows Chinese amphibious tanks and marines storming ...
China proving here it is a superpower and master of Taiwan.  File photo shows Chinese amphibious tanks and marines storming a beachhead in an amphibious assault drill in China’s Shandong Peninsula. (AFP/Xinhua/File)But some of those “human rights” and “moral authority” issues discussed by the Dalai Lama are foreign and indecernable to the Chinese.

China’s recent poisoned milk scandal and the subsequent trial of  Tian Wenhua, chairwoman of the now-bankrupt Sanlu Group, are good examples.

Melamine is poisonous.  Sanlu put melamine into milk.  For the Chinese government, case closed.

Except in China, workers put melamine into all kinds of food products for years.

Melamine, which is poisonous to humans in great enough concentrations, had been routinely mixed into food products in China for years — and other similar tainted substances for decades. 

“Many companies buy melamine scrap to make animal feed, such as fish feed,” said Ji Denghui, general manager of the Fujian Sanming Dinghui Chemical Company, which sells melamine. “I don’t know if there’s a regulation on it. Probably not. No law or regulation says ‘don’t do it,’ so everyone’s doing it. The laws in China are like that, aren’t they? If there’s no accident, there won’t be any regulation.”

Ji Denghui made that statement in 2007 to New York Times reporters  David Barboza and Alexei Barrionuevo.

China is able to get away with this kind of callous disregard for truth, honesty and its own citizens because the government controls the media, the legal system, and everything else.  The people only “vote” for representatives selected by the communist government which works tirelessly to stay in power by keeping order — not by obeying the kinds of basic laws and rules for human dignity most Westerners would expect — and take for granted.

John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Soldiers of Chinese navy special force attend an anti-piracy ... 
Soldiers of Chinese navy special force attend an anti-piracy drill on the deck of DDG-171 Haikou destroyer in Sanya, Hainan province December 25, 2008 in this photo released by China’s official Xinhua News Agency. The fleet – two destroyers and a supply ship – would have about 800 crew, including 70 special operations troops and will join in the multi-national patrolling of the Gulf of Aden and waters off the coast of Somalia, the official Xinhua news agency said. Picture taken December 25, 2008. REUTERS/Xinhua/Cha Chunming

100-yuan notes are counted at a bank in Shanghai. The US Treasury ...

Related:
http://www.hrichina.org/public/index

 China Poisoned Food, Children Died; “Show Trials,” Punishment for Innocent Next?

2008: China Hoped Only For Olympic Glory; Wound Up with Chaos in Tibet, Earthquake, Troubles

December 28, 2008

The year 2008 promised China just one big event, but instead of one, the country got four.

2008 was meant to be all about the Beijing Olympics – the giant sports day that this country had been planning for more than a decade.

But in March came big event number one, and it had nothing to do with sport.

By James Reynolds
BBC News, Beijing

In the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, Tibetan monks demonstrated on the anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s escape into exile in 1959.

These protests escalated into the biggest disturbances in Tibet for more than 20 years.

The demonstrations brought into relief the profoundly different ways in which Tibet is seen by China and the West.

For China, Tibet is an inalienable part of the Chinese motherland which has been transformed from a medieval, feudal backwater into a more equal society.

For many in the West, the people of Tibet are occupied and oppressed by a hostile country which denies Tibetans the freedom of worship.

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7795109.stm

China, Corruption and Petty Inhumanity

December 26, 2008

Shortly after China’s devastating May 12 earthquake, which killed nearly 70,000 people, I was intrigued by a terse Xinhua News Agency report. The Communist Party secretary of Unity Village, Liu Dingshuang, had been sacked within days of the quake for “dereliction of duty.” I figured there was more to this story, so in early June I tracked Liu down. (He’s not a relative.)

By Melinda Liu
Newsweek

Only a handful of residents in Unity had died. But so many buildings were damaged that, wandering through the destruction, I felt as if I’d stumbled into a post-apocalypse movie. One family welcomed me into their kitchen, which had gaping holes in the roof and a motorcycle parked near the stove. While chatting, villagers revealed that neighbor Zhang Mingzhi had blown the whistle on Liu by making a phone call to the party’s powerful Discipline and Inspection Commission, which probes official corruption. At Zhang’s equally ramshackle home, he said he became angry after hearing neighbors talk of being overcharged for mineral water, soft drinks and toothpaste at Liu’s family store. “If you’re a party cadre, you’re supposed to show leadership,” he said. “People saw Premier Wen Jiabao rush to Sichuan. He even shed tears in public. But here nobody saw Liu.”

When two investigators arrived in Unity on May 15, more than 20 villagers complained about Liu. Farmer Li Daogang told them Liu’s daughter had overcharged him by 20 percent for six bottles of Sprite. “I thought, ‘If things are like this everywhere in the quake zone, then this whole country is a mess’,” Li told me. That very evening, Liu was fired.

Read the rest:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/176402

Seven Months After Quake, China Says Many Schools Were “Totally Unsafe”

December 26, 2008

China said Friday many of its schools were structurally unsafe more than seven months after a devastating earthquake, centered on southwestern Sichuan province, killed thousands of children under collapsed school buildings.

Reuters

About 33.58 million square meters, or 13 square miles, of primary and middle schools had safety problems, state media quoted Lu Yongxiang, vice-chairman of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, as saying.

This was 2.5 percent of the country’s total school buildings, or the equivalent to 134 Bird’s Nest stadiums in floorspace, he said, referring to the showcase stadium at the Beijing Summer Olympics.

“About 90 percent of the dilapidated houses are in the country’s central and western parts,” Lu was quoted by China Daily as saying.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081226/w
l_nm/us_china_schools_1

History, dissent cloud Pakistan’s Mumbai reaction

December 19, 2008

The black-and-white flag of Jamaat-ud-Dawa still flutters over a relief camp for survivors of an earthquake that hit a remote corner of Pakistan in October.

But bearded medics who work with the group had vanished from the huddle of tents and mud huts when a half-dozen police showed up to close the operation following allegations the charity was linked to militants blamed for the deadly Mumbai attacks in India.

How Pakistan deals with the Islamic group — popular among many for its aid to the needy — is a key test of its pledge to help investigate the Mumbai tragedy and, more broadly, to prevent militants from using its soil to attack both India and Afghanistan.

The U.S. and the U.N. say Jamaat-ud-Dawa is a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group India says trained and sent the gunmen who attacked India’s commercial capital last month, killing 164 people and straining what had been improved relations between the countries.

Lashkar-e-Taiba has been an unofficial ally of the Pakistan army in Kashmir, a disputed territory claimed by both India and Pakistan.

Some believe the moment has come for Pakistan, which also backed the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, to make clear it has abandoned a shadowy policy of using militant proxies as a foreign policy tool.

The country stands before a “moment of change in people’s attitudes and thinking” toward militants, Sen. John Kerry said Tuesday in Islamabad.

Pakistan must see that Lashkar-e-Taiba has “morphed into a more al-Qaida-esque and radicalized entity” that is damaging the country’s interests, said Kerry, incoming chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081219/ap
_on_re_as/as_pakistan_curbing_jihad

REFILE - ADDING SENATOR KERRY'S TITLE U.S. Senator John ... 
U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) (L), designated head of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, talks with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Islamabad December 16, 2008.REUTERS/Mian Khursheed (PAKISTAN)