China and India are facing a cancer crisis, with smoking, belated diagnosis and unequal access to treatment all causing large-scale problems, experts said on Friday.
In a major report, published in The Lancet Oncology, more than 40 specialists warn that Asia’s big two emerging giants are facing huge economic and human costs from the disease.
There are two major planks to Salam’s argument, and they will ring familiar to anyone who lived in the immediate post-9/11 world: that America must have an aggressive and powerful army, first because our strength is required to bring stability to a vulnerable world, and second because there is so much evil in the world, we are required to defeat it. These are not, let’s say, the freshest of arguments when it comes to the defense of neoconservatism. But since he’s brought them back up, they should be addressed.
In essence, both arguments can be refuted with three words: should implies can. For the argument towards stability, I ask simply: we have endured a war in Iraq, we still have thousands of troops in Afghanistan, we have waged secret wars in Pakistan and Yemen. I ask you: how stable do you find the world? How stable was the world at the height of the Bush Doctrine? What possible evidence can be offered that neoconservatism brings stability in fact, rather than merely in rhetoric?
Nor is it clear that the enduring American military dominance Salam advocates for can be achieved. I would certainly oppose American military hegemony even if I thought such a thing were still possible, but it’s irrelevant, because I don’t. To quote Matthew Yglesias, relative decline is not a choice. That the United States cannot maintain its status as unipolar power forever should be obvious to anyone who has studied history and anyone with a newspaper subscription. The rapidly developing economies and massive populations of countries like China and India make that plain enough. That’s not to say that there will necessarily be a new dominant superpower, but it’s a reason you should bet on the field.
In most countries, proud parents are delighted when a son or daughter decides to become a doctor when they grow up. In China, such a choice is now a source of parental trepidation: medical professionals are increasingly being threatened, humiliated, attacked and occasionally murdered by their disgruntled patients.
According to figures from the China Hospital Association, there were, on average, 27.3 serious assaults on doctors and nurses per hospital in 2012, up 35 per cent from 2006.
The situation had become so severe by the end of 2013 that many hospitals had substantially beefed up security. Hospital guards were receiving emergency training on how to identify situations that could turn ugly, as well as how to mediate in clashes. A number of top healthcare institutions in Shanghai went as far as to announce that they might employ one guard for every 20 beds.
Burma and China share a 1,300-mile, mountainous border and a complex history of conflict and, more recently, cooperation. Waves of Manchu invasions were repulsed in the 18th century, and relations between the countries remained highly antagonistic in the wake of World War II. Mao’s regime supported a series of communist uprisings in Burma’s eastern hinterlands, helping fuel the world’s longest running civil war, the embers of which continue to burst into occasional conflagration. In the early ’90s Chinese president Jiang Zemin put in place a series of economic reforms that led to invigorated trade and foreign policy throughout Southeast Asia.An engineer and Burmese laborers on the gas and oil pipeline that carves its way from Kunming in China to the Indian Ocean on the coast of Burma. Built and designed by the China National Petroleum Corporation, the pipeline will be 2800 km long once complete.
But Burma’s ruling military in particular benefited from Zemin’s reforms. China cut off its support of communist insurgents and signed a major trade pact with Burma. Meanwhile, Western sanctions left Burma with few options. Suffering from a crippled, mismanaged economy and foreign exchange reserves drawn to zero, Burma turned to its traditional foe.
The results have been remarkable: Not only has China offered Burma considerable diplomatic cover, using its seat on the UN Security Council to veto resolutions intended to further isolate the ruling junta. It’s also been a regular source of the arms, large and small, that have kept the generals in power.
According to the CIA World Factbook, China is also, by far, Burma’s largest trading partner, accounting for over 20 percent of its exports and 40 percent of its imports. This hardly accounts for the flourishing illegal trade in everything from teak to jade to women, who are smuggled over the border to marry China’s surplus of single young men.
But trade, legal or not, is dwarfed by China’s foreign direct investment in Burma which has grown exponentially in recent years. Excluding Singapore, China invests twice as much in Burma as it does in any other Southeast Asian country. China’s pledges now exceed $20 billion annually, which would amount to nearly 50 percent of the country’s GDP.
None of this assistance comes without strings, of course. China consumed 9.4 million barrels per day in 2011, but that figure is expected to nearly double by 2030. According to the International Energy Agency, a whopping 85 percent of that will need to be imported. The country’s appetite for minerals, natural gas, and electric power are equally voracious. Burma not only offers some of the richest oil and gas fields in Asia, but a strategic location on what some Chinese diplomats call China’s “second coast.”
China has moved aggressively to ensure future growth, developing the energy resources of neighboring countries like Burma. Those projects lie outside Mandalay, along the Burma Road.
And perhaps nowhere along the Mekong have the changes wrought by that regional hegemon been so dramatic as in Burma, the shores of which are now lined with illegal sawmills, bordellos, methamphetamine labs and casinos. The photographer Gary Knight and I were on assignment for GlobalPost, trying to find our way into Burma in order to better understand a country beginning a new chapter in democracy and inundated with sudden change.
Dozens of Popular WeChat Accounts Deleted Amidst Crackdown: Shanghaiist
WeChat is a growing social media app in China, and abroad. Within China’s borders, it’s giving Sina Weibo — a homebrewed version of Twitter — a run for its money. And like Weibo, WeChat has attracted the attention of China’s Internet censors.
Dozens of popular WeChat accounts, some with hundreds upon thousands of followers, were shut down or suspended yesterday, most likely in part of the government’s sweeping crackdown on online content.
Many of the accounts were operated by online news outlets like NetEase or popular columnists such as Xu Danei, whose account had an estimated 200,000 subscribers. South China Morning Post cited industry insiders who said the suspension order was handed down yesterday afternoon with no given reason, and that most of the shuttered accounts were known for posting commentaries on articles covering current affairs.
“No reason was given,” the insider said. “Some of the accounts were shut permanently.”
Some of America’s right wing Twitterati were complaining about a “gulag” of banned accounts last year — a gulag that exists mostly in their own heads. Here’s what a real “Twitter gulag” looks like, and what real (not imagined) government censorship looks like.
Take that, Dr. Ben Carson.
Chomsky will make a rare trip to Tokyo in March, where he is scheduled to give two lectures at Sophia University. Among the themes he will discuss are conceptions of the common good, one deriving from classical liberalism, the other from neoliberal globalization that he predicts will lead to disaster very soon if not radically modified.
“That gives the answer to the question posed in the title of the talk: ‘Capitalist Democracy and the Prospects for Survival,’ ” he says. “The quick answer is ‘dim.’ “
Although the U.S. is a “declining power,” and has been since the late 1940s, it still has no remote competitor as a hegemonic power. Its military spending virtually matches the rest of the world combined, and it is far more technologically advanced. No other country could dream of having a network of hundreds of military bases all over the world, nor of carrying out the world’s most expansive campaign of terror — and that is exactly what (President Barack) Obama’s drone assassination campaign is. And the U.S., of course, has a brutal record of aggression and subversion.
These are the essential conditions within which political accommodation should be sought. In concrete terms, China’s interests should be recognized along with those of others in the region. But there is no justification for accepting the domination of a global hegemon.
It makes sense for Japan to pursue a more independent role in the world, following Latin America and others in freeing itself from U.S. domination. But it should do so in a manner that is virtually the opposite of Abe’s ultranationalism, a term that seems to me accurate. The pacifist Constitution, in particular, is one legacy of the occupation that should be vigorously defended.
On nuclear power:
More accurately, there would be if limited and short-term reliance on nuclear energy, with all of its extreme hazards and unsolved problems — like waste disposal — was taken as an opportunity for rapid and extensive development of sustainable energy. That should be the highest priority, and very quickly, because severe threats of environmental catastrophe are not remote.
With Getty’s announcement that they are offering images for embedding for free - it allows us to see the world in a different light.
skyline overlooking Victoria Harbour.
A man sits in front of the city’s skyline shrouded in a dense blanket of smog
the city’s skyline is seen from the peak, a popular touristic spot
Smog hangs in the air around buildings in the Kowloon district of Hong Kong,
A junk sails past the city’s skyline
Farmland in Hong Kong, left, sits across the border from commercial and residential buildings standing in the Luohu district of Shenzhen
Commercial and residential buildings sit on the border facing Hong Kong in Shenzhen, China,
Kowloon promenade overlooking Victoria Harbour shows Hong Kong island (background) and its skyline
fireworks illuminate the skyline in Victoria Harbour to celebrate the Chinese New Year
Cranes stand at a construction site on the waterfront
Commercial buildings, reflected on the side of a walkway, stand in Hong Kong, China,
Residential buildings, shot through a curtain, stand in the Central district in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013.
A photographer looks towards the city skyline as he takes images during sunset
A general view of Shenzhen skyline taken from Ma Tso Lung village on July 11, 2013 in Hong Kong, China. The North East New Territories New Development Areas project proposed by HKSAR Government to redevelop land under active cultivation in Kwu Tung North and Fanling North and provide up to 60,700 housing units has aroused public concerns
A U.S. Navy personnel stands guard on board the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5) with the polluted Hong Kong skyline in the background.
A general view of North East New Territories in front of the Shenzhen skyline taken from Ping Che village on July 11, 2013 in Hong Kong, China. The North East New Territories New Development Areas project proposed by the HKSAR Government to redevelop land under active cultivation in Kwu Tung North and Fanling North and provide up to 60,700 housing units has aroused public concerns.
China Is So Bad at Conservation That It Had to Launch the Most Impressive Water-Pipeline Project Ever - Quartz
China’s political leaders are mostly engineers by training. So it’s no surprise that they have initiated the world’s most expensive and ambitious water transport system to “borrow” water from the southern half of the nation to bring it to the more arid north.
Not coincidentally, the capital, Beijing, lies in the arid north, and it already suffers from a serious water shortage.
The massive project, still underway, has displaced hundreds of thousands of farmers, diverted water from smaller cities and industries that say they need water, too,, and promises even more chances for government corruption.
Beijing’s leaders can get away with starting such an incredible national project, because they wield a lot of power.
But this massive display of power—some might say hubris—is also a sign of weakness. One reason why China’s water crisis is so dire is that the central government hasn’t been able to coordinate national efforts to conserve water. Local environmental bureaus are often weak. Companies fined for breaking pollution rules often ignore the fines or renegotiate them with local officials. Local officials have been loath to raise water prices, despite Beijing’s requests, because of the backlash they might face from residents, or their relationships with local businesses. “Beijing can only get localities to do a certain number of things,” says Kenneth Pomeranz, an environmental historian at the University of Chicago. Water conservation hasn’t traditionally been one of them. “It shows both the strength of the center and its limitations.”
It’s a long piece, but worth the time to read. A second part examines the plight of the farmers displaced by the water projects.
After Canada dismantled its ‘investor visa program’ when it got some 46,000 Chinese applicants, it was only a matter of time before China’s wealthy and footloose found a new country where the air is clean, the visa laws lax, and the economy eager for injections of foreign cash. Chinese millionaires, meet Portugal and the “Golden Visa.”
Portugal has rolled out a fancy new visa program, offering residence to any international investor who can buy 500,000 euros worth of real estate, invest one million euros into a Portugese corporation, or create 30 jobs. So far 542 “Golden Visas” have been issued, with Chinese investors taking up 433 of those slots, or about 80%.
If you think this story is irrelevant, or just another example of government overreach, I invite you to visit Beijing before we continue here, even if only on a virtual tour.
The air pollution there is now so dense that the sun is blocked to the degree we would find in the aftermath of a nuclear winter.
Small toxic airborne particles are 24 times levels considered safe.
Tall buildings are obscured by toxic clouds of smog.
The atmosphere is so bad that it exceeds the world’s scale for air pollution toxicity. Breathing has become risky behavior for children, who are exposed to pollutants at levels 40 times recommended limits.
Exposed children are at higher risk for cancer, anxiety, depression, attention-deficit disorders, respiratory problems and permanent lung damage. Adults too suffer a myriad of pollution-caused ailments, including an epidemic of cancers. The countryside is no escape. Chinese farmers are “almost four times more likely to die of liver cancer and twice as likely to die of stomach cancer than the global average…”
Beijing air is what happens when the environment is forsaken on the altar of economic growth. The strategy is shortsighted, unless you manufacture face masks. Beijing air is what happens when we oppose reasonable government regulation — such as removing sulfur from gasoline.