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Tag Archive: Beijing


Beijing still not releasing soil pollution data: Xinhua

  • Xinhua
Technical staff examine soil contaminated by heavy metal pollution. (File photo/Huang Chih-liang)

Technical staff examine soil contaminated by heavy metal pollution. (File photo/Huang Chih-liang)

China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection will not issue data related to soil pollution for the time being but will discuss the situation after an in-depth investigation, the ministry confirmed on Thursday. The ministry said it will be difficult to investigate soil pollution nationwide, adding that it will conduct further investigations in heavily polluted areas.

In January, Beijing lawyer Dong Zhengwei sent an application to the ministry asking it to issue soil pollution data, as well as create detailed measures to handle it.

The ministry said in February that the data is a state secret and refused to issue it. Dong was not satisfied and sent a second request. In response the ministry said soil pollution is still being investigated and related data remains a state secret, adding that data will be released after further evaluation. After news of Dong’s requests spread online, many people began to wonder just how polluted the country’s soil is.

Ma Jun, head of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, said in an interview with the Legal Daily that polluted soil may affect public health via food, crops and underground water.

“Soil pollution is related to public health. Therefore, the public should have the right to be informed about the situation,” Ma said.

 

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FARM NEWS

China says massive area of its soil polluted


by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) April 17, 2014


More dead pigs found in China river: report
Beijing (AFP) April 17, 2014 – At least 170 dead pigs have been found in a Chinese river, state media reported Thursday — the latest in a string of similar incidents that have raised fears over food safety.
The animals were found floating in a tributary of China’s second-longest waterway, the Yellow River, in northwestern Qinghai province, the official Xinhua news agency said.The grim discovery follows a series of scandals involving dead pigs in Chinese rivers. Last year 16,000 carcasses were found drifting through the main waterway of the commercial hub of Shanghai.In Qinghai — the furthest west such an incident has been reported — “the source of the dead pigs is still under investigation,” Xinhua said, citing local authorities.Industry analysts say sick pigs are sometimes dumped in rivers by farmers hoping to avoid paying the costs of disposing of the animals by other means.Around 500 dead pigs are recovered every month from a Chinese reservoir in the southwestern province of Sichuan, state-run media reported in March.

Authorities also found 157 dead pigs last month in a river in central Jiangxi province.

China is a major producer of pork, which surveys have found to be the country’s most popular meat.

 

A huge area of China’s soil covering more than twice the size of Spain is estimated to be polluted, the government said Thursday, announcing findings of a survey previously kept secret.

Of about 6.3 million square kilometres (2.4 million square miles) of soil surveyed — roughly two thirds of China’s total area — 16.1 percent is thought to be polluted, the environmental protection ministry said in a report.

The study, which appeared on its website, blamed mining and farming practices among other causes.

“The national soil pollution situation is not positive,” the ministry said, adding that more than 19 percent of the farmland which was surveyed is polluted.

The ministry last year described the results of its soil pollution survey as a state secret and refused to release the results, a move which incensed environmental campaigners.

The government has come under increasing pressure in recent years to take action to improve the environment, with large parts of the country repeatedly blanketed in thick smog and waterways and land polluted.

 

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The American Interest

Filth to Table

Relentless Pollution is Poisoning China’s Food, Soil

© Getty Images

In many parts of China, officials are caught between two competing priorities: industrial development and food production. Most often, officials’ prime concern is industrial development—characterized by factories and mining, usually—since it is the bigger driver of economic growth. But, predictably, unfettered industrial development results in extremely poor conditions for food production. And it’s getting worse. Much worse. An article in yesterday’s New York Times has some sobering statistics.

An alarming glimpse of official findings came on Monday, when a vice minister of land and resources, Wang Shiyuan, said at a news conference in Beijing that eight million acres of China’s farmland, equal to the size of Maryland, had become so polluted that planting crops on it “should not be allowed.” […]

One-sixth of China’s arable land — nearly 50 million acres — suffers from soil pollution, according to a book published this year by the Ministry of Environmental Protection. The book, “Soil Pollution and Physical Health,” said that more than 13 million tons of crops harvested each year were contaminated with heavy metals, and that 22 million acres of farmland were affected by pesticides.

The result of farming on polluted land is unsurprising: poisoned food. 155 batches of rice collected from markets and restaurants in Guangdong Province in May were found to have excess levels of cadmium.

 

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AEROSPACE

 


by Staff Writers
Kuala Lumpur (AFP) April 18, 2014

Malaysia and Australia will sign a deal specifying who handles any wreckage from missing flight MH370 that may be recovered, including the crucial “black box” flight data recorders, local media reported Friday.

Malaysia is drafting the agreement “to safeguard both nations from any legal pitfalls that may surface during that (recovery) phase,” the New Straits Times reported.

The government hopes the deal can be finalised soon and endorsed in a Cabinet meeting next week. Canberra is studying the memorandum of understanding, it said.

“The MoU spells out exactly who does what and the areas of responsibility,” civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman was quoted as saying.

Azharuddin added that Malaysia would lead most of the investigation, with Australia and others helping. Details of the MoU will not be made public, the report said.

Azharuddin and other officials could not immediately be reached by AFP.

The Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 239 people inexplicably veered off course en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 and is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean far off western Australia.

But a massive international search has failed to turn up any wreckage so far.

 

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Chinese official ‘kills himself’ in latest Communist party suicide mystery

Chinese communist party flag

A Chinese communist party flag is held by soldiers. Photograph: China Newsphoto/Reuters

A senior Chinese official has killed himself in his Beijing office, according to reports – the latest mysterious suicide of a ruling Communist party cadre.

Xu Ye’an, 58, was deputy chief of China‘s state bureau for letters and calls – the agency that fields grievances from citizens over injustices or disputes.

According to the respected magazine Caixin, Xu was discovered to have killed himself in his office on Tuesday, although the details surrounding his death remain unclear.

“It is learned that Xu was not in good health lately and was suffering from tinnitus over the past few months,” Caixin reported, citing a person close to the bureau for letters and calls. “He was always in a bad mood.”

 

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China tells US not to meddle in Hong Kong’s internal affairs

Published time: April 07, 2014 19:47

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.(Reuters / Ints Kalnins)

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.(Reuters / Ints Kalnins)

China has warned the United States against meddling in Hong Kong’s internal affairs after Vice President Joe Biden met with two former Hong Kong legislators who expressed concern that Beijing is tightening control over the territory.

Biden met with Anson Chan, former chief secretary and founder of pro-democracy group Hong Kong 2020, and Martin Lee – founder of Hong Kong’s opposition Democratic Party – at the White House on Friday.

During the meeting, the activists spoke out against whey they described as Beijing’s increasing control over Hong Kong. They also said they fear that only candidates picked by the central government will be allowed to take part in the 2017 chief executive vote. Lee and Chan also voiced concerns over press freedom in Hong Kong – referring to violent assaults on journalists and alleging that Beijing is pressuring advertisers to shun critical media, AFP reported.

Vice President Biden underscored Washington’s “long-standing support for democracy in Hong Kong and for the city’s high degree of autonomy under the ‘one country, two systems’ framework,” the White House said in a statement.

In response, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it “firmly opposes any countries meddling in the city’s internal affairs in any way,” South China Morning Post quoted.

Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs,” said a spokesperson for the Office of the Commissioner of the Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong.

The official added that Hong Kong is currently going through a sensitive political reform period.

[We] would hope the US would be cautious of their words and actions regarding Hong Kong affairs and not let Hong Kong issues impede Sino-American relations,” he noted.

 

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Gale halts search for lost plane

The Boeing 777 was just leaving Malaysia-controlled air space when the final words were heard. Photograph: Greg Wood/Pool/EPA

Malaysian authorities have released a new account of the final words spoken by one of the pilots of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The last words heard by air traffic control in Kuala Lumpur were “goodnight Malaysian three seven zero” – not “all right, goodnight,” as previously reported, Malaysia‘s civil aviation authority said on Monday.

The correction of the official account of the last words was made as Malaysian authorities face heavy criticism for their handling of the disappearance, particularly from families of the Chinese passengers on board Flight MH370, who have accused Malaysia of mismanaging the search and holding back information.

“We would like to confirm that the last conversation in the transcript between the air traffic controller and the cockpit is at 01:19 (Malaysian Time) and is “goodnight Malaysian three seven zero,” the Department of Civil Aviation said in a statement.

Malaysia’s ambassador to China told Chinese families in Beijing as early as 12 March, four days after the flight went missing, that the last words had been “all right, goodnight.”

“Goodnight Malaysian three seven zero” would be a more formal, standard sign-off from the cockpit of the Boeing 777, which was just leaving Malaysia-controlled air space on its route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

 

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 NZ signs historic currency deal with China.

By Adam Bennett

Photo / New Zealand Herald

Photo / New Zealand Herald

New Zealand’s economic ties with China have been strengthened with a deal to allow direct trading of the New Zealand dollar against the Chinese currency the renminbi or yuan.

The deal, struck relatively swiftly negotiations began in April last year, will reduce costs for exporters and importers by removing the necessity for transactions to be settled in two foreign exchange trades via a third currency – usually the US dollar.

Prime Minister John Key and China’s Premier Li Keqiang announced the agreement after meeting at the Great Hall of the People during Key’s first day of an official visit to China this evening.

“It’s great to have been in Beijing to witness the conclusion of negotiations to launch direct trading of the New Zealand and Chinese currencies, which I kicked off during talks with President Xi on the margins of the Bo’ao Forum in April 2013”, Key said.

“I am delighted that the project has been brought to a successful conclusion so quickly.

It highlights the strong relationship and goodwill between New Zealand and China.”

Key said the agreement “will make doing business with China easier by reducing the costs of converting between the two currencies, and will stimulate trade and investment”.

“Direct trading will also increase the integration between the New Zealand and Chinese financial systems, and deepen the economic relationship between the two countries.”

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Earth Watch Report  –  Earthquakes

54 dead, 21,000 houses damaged in China quake

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24.07.2013 Earthquake China Province of Gansu, Dingxi Damage level
Details

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Earthquake in China on Monday, 22 July, 2013 at 03:24 (03:24 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Wednesday, 24 July, 2013 at 04:23 UTC
Description
Rescue efforts continued as the death toll in a northwestern China earthquake rose to 94. The quake and a powerful aftershock hit a remote area 105 miles southeast of Lanzhou, the provincial capital of Gansu province, on Monday morning, and injured at least 500 people. The U.S. Geological Survey reported two earthquakes, the first at a 5.9 magnitude and a strong aftershock about an hour and a half later at a 5.6 magnitude. On Monday the government of the city of Dingxi, the worst affected area, said more than 27,000 people were left homeless.

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Earthquake in China on Monday, 22 July, 2013 at 03:24 (03:24 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Wednesday, 24 July, 2013 at 13:39 UTC
Description
Rescuers with shovels and sniffer dogs chipped away at collapsed hillsides Tuesday as the death toll rose to 94 from a strong earthquake in a farming region of northwest China. Just one person was listed as missing and 1,001 as injured in Monday morning’s quake near the city of Dingxi in Gansu province. About 123,000 people were affected by the quake, with 31,600 moved to temporary shelters, the provincial earthquake administration said on its website. Almost 2,000 homes were completely destroyed, and about 22,500 damaged, the administration said. The quake toppled brick walls and telephone lines, shattered mud-and-tile-roofed houses and sent cascades of dirt and rock down hillsides, blocking roads and slowing rescue efforts by crews trying to reach remote areas. Hospitals set up aid stations in parking lots to accommodate the injured, while hundreds of paramilitary People’s Armed Police fanned out to search for victims in the region of terraced farmland where the quake struck about 760 miles west of Beijing. Min county in Dingxi’s rural south accounted for almost all the deaths and the worst damage. Urban areas where buildings are more solid were spared major damage, unlike the traditional mud and brick homes in the countryside. Tremors were felt in the provincial capital of Lanzhou 110 miles north, and as far away as Xi’an 250 miles to the east. The government’s earthquake monitoring center said the quake was magnitude-6.6, while the U.S. Geological Survey said it was 5.9. Measurements can often vary, especially if different monitoring equipment is used. The Chinese Red Cross said it was shipping 200 tents, 1,000 sets of household items, and 2,000 jackets to the area. Other supplies were being shipped in by the army and paramilitary police, which dispatched around 6,000 personnel and two helicopters to aid in rescue efforts. But heavy rain is expected later in the week, raising the need for shelter and increasing the chance of further landslides. Gansu, with a population of 26 million, is one of China’s more lightly populated provinces, although the New Jersey-sized area of Dingxi has a greater concentration of farms in rolling hills terraced for crops and fruit trees. Dingxi has a population of about 2.7 million.

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Earth Watch Report  –  Earthquakes

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Today Earthquake China Province of Gansu, Dingxi Damage level Details

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Earthquake in China on Monday, 22 July, 2013 at 03:24 (03:24 AM) UTC.

Description
A strong, shallow earthquake struck a moderately populated part of western China on Monday morning, and state media reported at least three deaths. The quake hit near the city of Dingxi in Gansu province, a largely desert and pastureland region with a population of 26 million. That makes it one of China’s more lightly populated provinces, although the Dingxi area has a greater concentration of farms and towns with a total population of about 2.7 million. The three deaths were reported in Min County in the rural southern part of Dingxi municipality, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The government’s earthquake monitoring center said the magnitude was 6.6, which can cause severe damage. More quakes were detected during the morning, including a magnitude-5.6. It said the initial quake at 7:45 a.m. hit about 12.4 miles beneath the surface, although the Gansu provincial earthquake administration said the quake was at an even shallow depth of just 3.7 miles. Quakes near the surface tend to be more destructive. The U.S. Geological Survey measured the magnitude as 5.9 and the depth at 6 miles. Initial measurements of a quake can vary widely, especially if different monitoring equipment is used. Dingxi is about 766 miles west of Beijing.

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Earthquake in China on Monday, 22 July, 2013 at 03:24 (03:24 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Monday, 22 July, 2013 at 04:23 UTC
Description
A strong earthquake struck a rural part of western China on Monday morning, killing at least 20 people and injuring 296, according to the local government. The quake hit near the city of Dingxi in Gansu province, a region of mountains, desert and pastureland with a population of 26 million. That makes it one of China’s more lightly populated provinces, although the Dingxi area has a greater concentration of farms and towns with a total population of about 2.7 million. The deaths and injuries were reported in Min County and other rural southern parts of Dingxi municipality, the provincial government said in a statement posted on its official microblog. Residents described shaking windows and swinging lights but little major damage and little panic. Shaking was felt in the provincial capital of Lanzhou 177 kilometres north, and as far away as Xi’an, 400 kilometres to the east. “You could see the chandeliers wobble and the windows vibrating and making noise, but there aren’t any cracks in the walls. Shop assistants all poured out onto the streets when the shaking began,” said a front desk clerk at the Wuyang Hotel in the Zhang County seat about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the epicenter. The clerk surnamed Bao refrained from identifying herself further, as is common among ordinary Chinese. The government’s earthquake monitoring centre said the initial quake at 7:45 a.m. (2345 GMT Sunday) was magnitude-6.6 and subsequent tremors included a magnitude-5.6. The quake was shallow, which can be more destructive. The centre said it struck about 20 kilometres beneath the surface, while the Gansu provincial earthquake administration said it was just 6 kilometres deep. The U.S. Geological Survey measured the magnitude of the initial quake as 5.9 and the depth at 10 kilometres. Initial measurements of an earthquake can vary widely, especially if different monitoring equipment is used. Dingxi is about 1,233 kilometres west of Beijing.

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Earthquake in China on Monday, 22 July, 2013 at 03:24 (03:24 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Monday, 22 July, 2013 at 05:41 UTC
Description
At least 22 people have been killed in an earthquake which hit a juncture region of two counties in northwest China’s Gansu Province Monday morning, according to the provincial civil affairs department. The victims include 19 in Minxian County, two in Zhangxian County in the city of Dingxi and one in Lixian County in the city of Longnan, according to the department. Communication was cut off in 13 towns of Zhangxian County, it said. The 6.6-magnitude quake happened at 7:45 a.m. at the junction of the Minxian County and Zhangxian County, the Gansu Provincial Seismological Bureau said. The epicenter, with a depth of 20 km, was monitored at 34.5 degrees north latitude and 104.2 degrees east longitude, the China Earthquake Networks Center said. Sources with the Minxian County government said most of the townships in the county have been affected by the quake. The townships of Meichuan and Puma were seriously hit. Many homes in the quake-hit region collapsed, according to the civil affairs bureau of the Dingxi City. Locals in Minxian County said a strong tremor was felt and they saw trees and homes shake, adding that the quake lasted for about one minute. Soldiers, police and more than 300 local militiamen have been dispatched to the quake-hit region to help with rescue efforts. The provincial civil affairs department has sent 500 tents and 2,000 quilts to the quake-hit region. Lanzhou Railway Bureau has started the emergency response to guarantee the safety of railway bridges and communication equipment in the province. Light to moderate rain and partly heavy rain were forecast in Dingxi city, according to the provincial meteorological station, which would affect the rescue efforts. Meanwhile, the earthquake was also felt in Tianshui city and the provincial capital city of Lanzhou. The quake was also felt in the cities of Xi’an, Baoji and Xianyang in neighboring Shaanxi Province.

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Earthquake in China on Monday, 22 July, 2013 at 03:24 (03:24 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Monday, 22 July, 2013 at 06:57 UTC
Description
Two strong earthquakes have devastated parts of western China, killing at least 47 people and injuring 296 with villages cut off from contact. The US Geological Survey measured the magnitude of the initial quake as 5.9 and the second at 5.6-magnitude in Gansu province. The Chinese government measured the first quake at 6.6 magnitude. The death toll has risen to 47, according to the Gansu provincial government, South China Morning Post reported. At least 296 have been injured. An estimated 380 buildings have collapsed and 5,600 more have been damaged in Zhang county, the Dingxi government said, Sina Weibo reported. Eight towns in remote, mountainous areas have been seriously damaged in the earthquake and subsequent flooding and mudslides, Xinhua News Agency reported. Power outages and communications were cut off in 13 towns in Zhangxian county, Xinhua said. The Lanzhou military region has dispatched 1000 soldiers with Gansu Military police sending 500 troops to assist in rescue efforts, Phoenix News reported. Rescuers are battling to reach survivors in remote areas. The quake hit near the city of Dingxi in Gansu province, a region of mountains, desert and pastureland with a population of 26 million. It is one of China’s more lightly populated provinces, although the Dingxi area has a greater concentration of farms and towns with a total population of about 2.7 million. Pictures broadcast on state television showed rural villages with rubble-strewn streets and houses crumbled. Locals in Minxian county in Gansu province, said they saw trees and homes shaking, with the quake lasting for about one minute. Earlier, an official surnamed He from Minxian, said there were 19 dead and more than 200 injured in seven townships severely hit by the quakes. The Chinese government measured the first earthquake at 6.6 magnitude The quake hit near the city of Dingxi in Gansu province, a region of mountains, desert and pastureland with a population of 26 million. That makes it one of China’s more lightly populated provinces, although the Dingxi area has a greater concentration of farms and towns with a total population of about 2.7 million. Deaths were also reported in Min County in the rural southern part of Dingxi municipality, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

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Earthquake in China on Monday, 22 July, 2013 at 03:24 (03:24 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Monday, 22 July, 2013 at 08:16 UTC
Description
Two strong earthquakes have devastated parts of western China, killing at least 54 people and injuring 337 with villages cut off from contact. The US Geological Survey measured the magnitude of the initial quake as 5.9 and the second at 5.6-magnitude in Gansu province. The Chinese government measured the first quake at 6.6 magnitude. The death toll has risen to 54, according to the Dingxi prefectural-city government, South China Morning Post reported. At least 337 have been injured. A total of 405 tremors have been registered by 3pm, six of which were above 3.0 on the Richter scale. An estimated 380 buildings have collapsed and 5,600 more have been damaged in Zhang county, the Dingxi government said, Sina Weibo reported. Eight towns in remote, mountainous areas have been seriously damaged in the earthquake and subsequent flooding and mudslides, Xinhua News Agency reported. Power outages and communications were cut off in 13 towns in Zhangxian county, Xinhua said. The Lanzhou military region has dispatched 1000 soldiers with Gansu Military police sending 500 troops to assist in rescue efforts, Phoenix News reported. Rescuers are battling to reach survivors in remote areas. The quake hit near the city of Dingxi in Gansu province, a region of mountains, desert and pastureland with a population of 26 million. It is one of China’s more lightly populated provinces, although the Dingxi area has a greater concentration of farms and towns with a total population of about 2.7 million. Pictures broadcast on state television showed rural villages with rubble-strewn streets and houses crumbled. Locals in Minxian county in Gansu province, said they saw trees and homes shaking, with the quake lasting for about one minute. Earlier, an official surnamed He from Minxian, said there were 19 dead and more than 200 injured in seven townships severely hit by the quakes. The Chinese government measured the first earthquake at 6.6 magnitude.

Earthquake in China on Monday, 22 July, 2013 at 03:24 (03:24 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Monday, 22 July, 2013 at 10:08 UTC
Description
A shallow earthquake struck a dry, hilly farming area in western China early Monday, killing at least 56 people, injuring more than 400, and destroying thousands of homes, the local government said. The quake hit near the city of Dingxi in Gansu province, a hilly region of mountains, desert and pastureland about 1,233 kilometers (766 miles) west of Beijing. Residents described shaking windows and swinging lights but there was relatively little major damage or panic in the city itself. Tremors were felt in the provincial capital of Lanzhou 177 kilometers (110 miles) north, and as far away as Xi’an, 400 kilometers (250 miles) to the east. “You could see the chandeliers wobble and the windows vibrating and making noise, but there aren’t any cracks in the walls. Shop assistants all poured out onto the streets when the shaking began,” said a front desk clerk at the Wuyang Hotel in the Zhang County seat about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the epicenter. The clerk surnamed Bao refrained from identifying herself further, as is common among ordinary Chinese. The government’s earthquake monitoring center said the initial quake at 7:45 a.m. (2345 GMT Sunday) was magnitude-6.6 and subsequent tremors included a magnitude-5.6.

Earthquake in China on Monday, 22 July, 2013 at 03:24 (03:24 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Monday, 22 July, 2013 at 11:38 UTC
Description
Chinese officials say two shallow earthquakes in rural northwest China have killed at least 73 people and injured hundreds of others. The U.S. Geological Survey said the first quake, with a magnitude of 5.9, hit at 7:45 a.m. near the city of Dingxi in Gansu province. It struck at a depth of 10 kilometers. A second 5.6 magnitude quake hit the same region about 90 minutes later at a similar depth. The quakes were followed by hundreds of aftershocks. Officials say several hundred buildings have collapsed and thousands of others have been damaged. Electric power has been lost in much of the region, which is not heavily populated. Soldiers, police and medical personnel have been sent to the region to search for more victims and help the survivors.

Earthquake in China on Monday, 22 July, 2013 at 03:24 (03:24 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Monday, 22 July, 2013 at 14:38 UTC
Description
A strong earthquake that shook an arid, hilly farming area in northwest China sparked landslides and destroyed or damaged thousands of brick-and-mud homes Monday, killing at least 75 people and injuring more than 400, the government said. The quake near the city of Dingxi in Gansu province toppled brick walls and telephone lines, shattered mud-and-tile-roofed houses and sent cascades of dirt and rock down hillsides that blocked roads and slowed rescue efforts by crews trying to reach remote areas. Hospitals set up aid stations in parking lots to accommodate large numbers of injured, while hundreds of paramilitary People’s Armed Police fanned out to search for victims in the region of terraced farmland where the quake struck about 760 miles west of Beijing. In addition to the 75 confirmed dead, there were 14 people missing and 459 injured, the central government’s China Earthquake Administration said.

Earthquake in China on Monday, 22 July, 2013 at 03:24 (03:24 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Monday, 22 July, 2013 at 16:27 UTC
Description
Rescuers rushed to find victims buried by twin shallow earthquakes in northwest China Monday after the double tremors killed at least 89 people and injured more than 400, officials said. The government of Dingxi city in Gansu province, which was hit by quakes with magnitudes of 5.9 and 5.6, gave the figures on a verified social media account. “More than 21,000 buildings were severely damaged and more than 1,200 have collapsed,” an official at the provincial earthquake bureau told AFP, adding that 371 aftershocks had been recorded. The tremor set off landslides which buried often crudely constructed local houses, state broadcaster CCTV reported. Pictures from the scene showed simple buildings reduced to rubble, with the pieces of corrugated metal scattered over the wreckage. In one location 12 people were buried, the broadcaster quoted a witness as saying. “The rescue work is tough, because the house has been completely buried,” the man said. More than 2,000 soldiers, 300 police, 50 medical staff and two helicopters had been sent to the area, the official Xinhua news agency said. “We are rushing to the scene,” Dingxi’s vice-mayor told CCTV, which showed an orange-suited rescue worker riding on a tractor. “The damage to houses made from earth bricks has been severe and many are now unusable,” the official said, adding that the number of people buried by the quake was still being estimated. More than 700 rescue workers had arrived at the scene, CCTV said.

Dozens reported dead in China earthquake

  • The Guardian, Monday 22 July 2013 06.30 EDT

Link to video: Powerful earthquake in north-west China leaves dozens dead

A strong earthquake struck a rural part of western China on Monday morning, killing at least 75 people, according to state media.

The quake hit near the city of Dingxi in Gansu province, a region of mountains, desert and pastureland with a population of 26 million. That makes it one of China’s more lightly populated provinces, although the Dingxi area has a greater concentration of farms and towns, with a total population of about 2.7 million.

The government’s earthquake monitoring service said an additional 459 people were injured.

The deaths and injuries were reported in Min County and other rural southern parts of the municipality, Dingxi mayor Tang Xiaoming told the state broadcaster CCTV. Tang said damage was worst in the counties of Zhang and Min, where scores of homes were damaged and telephone and electricity services knocked out.

Residents described shaking windows and swinging lights but little major damage and little panic. Shaking was felt in the provincial capital of Lanzhou and as far away as Xi’an, 250 miles (400 kilometres) to the east.

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Exclusive: Top-secret directive steps up offensive cyber capabilities to ‘advance US objectives around the world’

Read the secret presidential directive here

 

 

A cyber-security centre in the US

Obama’s move to establish a cyber warfare doctrine will heighten fears over the increasing militarization of the internet. Photograph: Jim Young/Reuters

 

Barack Obama has ordered his senior national security and intelligence officials to draw up a list of potential overseas targets for US cyber-attacks, a top secret presidential directive obtained by the Guardian reveals.

The 18-page Presidential Policy Directive 20, issued in October last year but never published, states that what it calls Offensive Cyber Effects Operations (OCEO) “can offer unique and unconventional capabilities to advance US national objectives around the world with little or no warning to the adversary or target and with potential effects ranging from subtle to severely damaging”.

It says the government will “identify potential targets of national importance where OCEO can offer a favorable balance of effectiveness and risk as compared with other instruments of national power”.

The directive also contemplates the possible use of cyber actions inside the US, though it specifies that no such domestic operations can be conducted without the prior order of the president, except in cases of emergency.

The aim of the document was “to put in place tools and a framework to enable government to make decisions” on cyber actions, a senior administration official told the Guardian.

The administration published some declassified talking points from the directive in January 2013, but those did not mention the stepping up of America’s offensive capability and the drawing up of a target list.

Obama’s move to establish a potentially aggressive cyber warfare doctrine will heighten fears over the increasing militarization of the internet.

The directive’s publication comes as the president plans to confront his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at a summit in California on Friday over alleged Chinese attacks on western targets.

Even before the publication of the directive, Beijing had hit back against US criticism, with a senior official claiming to have “mountains of data” on American cyber-attacks he claimed were every bit as serious as those China was accused of having carried out against the US.

Presidential Policy Directive 20 defines OCEO as “operations and related programs or activities … conducted by or on behalf of the United States Government, in or through cyberspace, that are intended to enable or produce cyber effects outside United States government networks.”

Asked about the stepping up of US offensive capabilities outlined in the directive, a senior administration official said: “Once humans develop the capacity to build boats, we build navies. Once you build airplanes, we build air forces.”

The official added: “As a citizen, you expect your government to plan for scenarios. We’re very interested in having a discussion with our international partners about what the appropriate boundaries are.”

The document includes caveats and precautions stating that all US cyber operations should conform to US and international law, and that any operations “reasonably likely to result in significant consequences require specific presidential approval”.

The document says that agencies should consider the consequences of any cyber-action. They include the impact on intelligence-gathering; the risk of retaliation; the impact on the stability and security of the internet itself; the balance of political risks versus gains; and the establishment of unwelcome norms of international behaviour.

Among the possible “significant consequences” are loss of life; responsive actions against the US; damage to property; serious adverse foreign policy or economic impacts.

The US is understood to have already participated in at least one major cyber attack, the use of the Stuxnet computer worm targeted on Iranian uranium enrichment centrifuges, the legality of which has been the subject of controversy. US reports citing high-level sources within the intelligence services said the US and Israel were responsible for the worm.

In the presidential directive, the criteria for offensive cyber operations in the directive is not limited to retaliatory action but vaguely framed as advancing “US national objectives around the world”.

The revelation that the US is preparing a specific target list for offensive cyber-action is likely to reignite previously raised concerns of security researchers and academics, several of whom have warned that large-scale cyber operations could easily escalate into full-scale military conflict.

Sean Lawson, assistant professor in the department of communication at the University of Utah, argues: “When militarist cyber rhetoric results in use of offensive cyber attack it is likely that those attacks will escalate into physical, kinetic uses of force.”

 

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File:Barack obama houston.JPG

By TBC Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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HUFF POST

Obama Cyber Memo Is Just The Latest Sign That The U.S. Is Preparing For Cyberwar

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 06/07/2013 5:43 pm EDT  |  Updated: 06/07/2013 6:07 pm EDT

A top-secret presidential memo published Friday marked the latest sign that the Obama administration is ready to go on the offensive in a potential cyberwar.

On Friday, the Guardian published a secret presidential directive calling on national security and intelligence officials to create a list of potential foreign targets for U.S. cyber attacks. The 18-page document, known as Presidential Policy Directive 20, aims “to put in place tools and a framework to enable government to make decisions” on cyber actions, a senior administration official told the Guardian.

The directive states that cyber attacks can be launched as part of “anticipatory action taken against imminent threats,” but should comply with U.S. and international law and receive approval from the president if they are “reasonably likely to result in significant consequences,” according to the Guardian.

 

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ChinaForbiddenNews ChinaForbiddenNews

Published on May 18, 2013

China is a country with extremely serious drought problem.

It is also one of the 13 poorest countries for
water resources per head.
The mistakes in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
recent strategies and its reckless economic development,
have further exacerbated the water shortage problem.

An article published by British media on this issue wrote that,
water poverty may negatively impact China’s economic growth;
The “China Dream” will become difficult to achieve
if this problem is not solved as quickly as possible.

UK newspaper The Financial Times published
an article which said
in the rapid economic development China seems to be ignoring
the fact it is a huge nation with poor water resources.
It has only one-fourth of the global average amount
of water per person.
The continued decimation of natural resources and polluted
environment has quickly exacerbated the water shortage issue.
Now China’s economic growth is threatened by this issue.

The Financial Times article quoted a report of the World Bank.

This estimated the economic loss due to water poverty
has reached 2.3% of China’s GDP.

Sun Qingwei, head of Climate and Energy Project, Greenpeace:
“A good mode of economic development should
produce short-term GDP growth, and also protect sustainable
development for future generations in the long run.
In my opinion, the (CCP’s) mode of destroying water resources
and environment only for short-term interests is reckless.
Such economic development cannot be viewed as real.”

Dai Qing, observer of China’s political and social affairs:
“The CCP’s GDP is meaningless.
They are simply playing the number game, trying to prove
economic growth and better civil lives with a higher GDP.
However, they don’t care about the environmental cost of
such development, or depriving Chinese people of civil rights ”

According to expert analysis, excluding the changes of natural
environment, the main reason for China’s water shortage is
still the massive emission of industrial and agricultural
water and water pollution.
The policy mistakes made by the CCP one after another
have made the situation even worse.
These mistakes include reclaiming lakes into fields, the
Three Gorges Dam project, south-to-north water diversion,
river diversions and other projects that were highly
controversial and opposed by experts.

Dai Qing: “We have investigated the water
shortage problem of Beijing.
There are two big rivers flowing into Beijing
from the countryside.
One is the Yongding River from the west, and the
other one is the Chaobai River from the east.
A number of dams have been constructed on both
rivers upstream, which block the majority of water flow.
For example, over 200 dams are built on
the upstream of Yongding River.
Therefore the river is completely dry in Beijing.
The situation is the same for Chaobai River.
On the other hand, the rivers originating in Beijing
cannot be used due to pollution.
This is one aspect of the water poverty problem.”

Sun Qingwei: “Now we see that the blockage of rivers with
dams and massively extracting groundwater has led to the
destruction of water resources in local regions.”

Statistics show that, since 2012 no less than 10 reports
have been released on China’s water poverty problem,
by HSBC Bank, KMPG, Greenpeace, Chinese Academy of
Sciences and other famous agencies.
Experts warn that, “No available water resource
will be left in China after 20 years.”

As so many research reports on water poverty were released,
the CCP officials seem to realize how serious the problem is.
Some remedial measures have been presented,
but have yet to be implemented.

Sun Qingwei: “Currently there have been some efforts
aiming at improvement of water resource management.
However, we are still far away from solving the problem, as
we haven’t seen any real implementation of those measures;
Especially in adjusting the mode of economic development.

If the style of over-consumption of natural resources and
destroying environment for economic growth does not
change, we cannot have any optimism about the situation.
Till now there has been no real action to make such a change.”

The Financial Times article further commented on the water
shortage problem has shown impact on China’s social, political, and economic affairs;
Without solving this issue, the CCP would never
achieve the “China Dream” they depicted.